Friday's Featured Sermon: "Spiritually Living, Yet Still Stinking"        

The terminology we use to describe God’s work in salvation is almost exclusively positive. We talk about the new birth, the new life, transformation and regeneration. But we also have to recognize that salvation requires death—specifically, the death of our old, sinful selves. We have to die if we’re going to be saved.

And throughout the rest of our earthly lives, we will carry around the remnants of that spiritual death. Like Lazarus, we still bear the grave clothes of our former selves, unable to fully discard the unredeemed flesh. On this side of heaven, we will never be free of that dead, old self.

In his sermon, “Spiritually Living, Yet Still Stinking,” John MacArthur explains why believers can’t stop sinning altogether—why claims of “entire sanctification” are empty lies. Dealing with the biblical facts about the nature of sin and salvation, John paints an encouraging portrait of the believer’s struggle against the flesh. He exposes the battle every Christian must face. And he helps listeners consider the glorious truths of their new birth in Christ.

You want to know something very interesting? The greatest transformation in your life has already taken place if you’re a Christian. It will be far greater than at your death. Your death will be a subtraction experience. You will just lose your unredeemed humanness. Your salvation was a transformation. You have already been created fit for heaven. And God did not do this miraculous work of regeneration, new birth, and creation, and have in it some components of sin because God can’t create sin. Therefore Paul understands that the new I is not sinning, it is sin that is still there. This new life is pure and ready for heaven and has holy aspirations and holy longings and loves the Law of God. So this new life is the full expression of that life which will fit heaven.

So why do we go on sinning? Because we still possess the corpse. Paul says it again, verse 18, “I know that nothing good dwells in me;” that is in my flesh. He puts it, he calls this old man, the remnants of this dead corpse, flesh. . . . Verse 20, “If I’m doing the very thing I do not wish, I’m no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me.” . . . It’s like a holy seed in an unholy shell, incarcerated and infected with the flesh. Or even a better illustration, the dead corpse is still attached to him.

Moreover, John encourages listeners to break the sinful habits of our old self and stifle the influence of our flesh.

So what do we do? We kill every expression of that corpse, put it to death. How do you do that? Oh, that’s another study, but you do that by applying the means of grace, abstaining from sin, avoiding temptation, making no provision for the flesh, fixing on Jesus, walking in the Spirit, meditating on Scripture, praying fervently, all the means of grace. It’s a lifelong battle. But you’ve got to take it seriously. If you want victory, if you want growth and progress, don’t wait for some epiphany experience, don’t expect some second work of grace, don’t expect to have some euphoric response to the teaching of the Bible that will catapult you to another level. It’s a slow, steady climb and all the way you’re gazing at the glory of Christ, being caught up in the wonder of who He is, walking in the Spirit, obeying Scripture and being changed into His image and killing the remaining sin every time it shows itself, using all the means of grace to do that.

“Spiritually Living, Yet Still Stinking” is a tremendous help when it comes to understanding the believer’s position in Christ, and the constant struggle against sin. It’s a great encouragement for the battle all Christians must daily wage against sin and temptation. And it provides powerful theological insight against the false teaching that promises an easier path to sanctification.

To watch or listen to “Spiritually Living, Yet Still Stinking,” click here.

       

          Hány ország van a földön?        
Elég gyakran felmerülő földrajzi kérdés, hogy tulajdonképpen hány ország van a földön, másként hány ország van a világon? Természetesen ezt nehéz pontosan megállapítani, hiszen ahogyan a történelmet figyelemmel kísérjük, rengeteg állam jött és jön is létre az évszázadok, olykor évtizedek alatt, éppen úgy, ahogyan egyesek megszűnnek vagy integrálódnak más országokba.

A legelfogadottabb és legmegbízhatóbb adatok szerint a világ jelenleg 196 országot különböztet meg bolygónkon.

Ezt az adatot, más megbízható adatok is alátámasztják, melyek jól feltérképezik a világ országait és ezzel együtt arra is rámutat, hogy mely országokat nem ismer el az adott szervezet, tehát kvázi mely országokat hagyja ki a számításából.

Ilyen például az Egyesült Nemzetek Szervezete (ENSZ), angol nevén United Nations, melynek 193 tagja van. Ellentétben a gyakori tévhittel, ez a szám nem reprezentálja a földön található összes országot. Nyilván való, hogy vannak az ENSZ-től elkülönülő független országok, ilyen például a Vatikán és Koszovó.

Az Egyesült Államok külügyminisztériuma 195 országot különböztet meg a világon. Ez a lista viszont politikai okokból nem ismeri el különálló országként Taiwant, mely 1971-ig az ENSZ-nek is tagja volt.

Érdemes megemlíteni a témával kapcsolatban, hogy vannak olyan tartományok, régiók, melyek bár a köztudatban gyakran országként jelennek meg, valójában nem rendelkeznek a független állam címével, illetve bizonyos irányítási szerepet más ország gyakorolja felettük. Erre kiváló példa Észak-Írország, Skócia, Wales, Anglia.

Biztosak vagyunk benne, hogy néhány olvasónkat egészen konkrétan érdekli, hogy mely országok tartoznak a nagy 196-os listába, ezért elkészítettük a listát az országokhoz tartozó fővárosokkal. Ne tévesszen meg senkit, hogy egy országhoz adott esetben több főváros is tartozik. Bizonyos országok több főváros kijelölésével oldják meg közigazgatási ügyintézésüket.

Afganisztán - Kabul
Albánia - Tirane
Algéria - Algiers
Andorra - Andorra la Vella
Angola - Luanda
Antigua és Barbuda - Saint John's
Argentína - Buenos Aires
Örményország - Yerevan
Ausztrália - Canberra
Ausztria - Vienna
Azerbajdzsán - Baku
Bahamák - Nassau
Bahrein - Manama
Banglades - Dhaka
Barbados - Bridgetown
Fehéroroszország - Minsk
Belgium - Brussels
Belize - Belmopan
Benin - Porto-Novo
Bhután - Thimphu
Bolívia - La Paz (közigazgatási); Sucre (bírói)
Bosznia és Hercegovina - Sarajevo
Botswana - Gaborone
Brazília - Brasilia
Brunei - Bandar Seri Begawan
Bulgária - Sofia
Burkina Faso - Ouagadougou
Burundi - Bujumbura
Kambodzsa - Phnom Penh
Kamerun - Yaounde
Kanada - Ottawa
Zöld-foki-szigetek - Praia
Közép-afrikai Köztársaság - Bangui
Csád - N'Djamena
Chile - Santiago
Kína - Beijing
Kolumbia - Bogota
Comore-szigetek - Moroni
Kongói Köztársaság - Brazzaville
Kongói Demokratikus Köztársaság - Kinshasa
Costa Rica - San Jose
Cote d'Ivoire - Yamoussoukro (hivatalos); Abidjan (tényleges)
Horvátország - Zagreb
Kuba - Havana
Ciprus - Nicosia
Cseh Köztársaság - Prague
Dánia - Copenhagen
Dzsibuti - Djibouti
Dominika - Roseau
Dominikai Köztársaság - Santo Domingo
Kelet-Timor (Timor-Leste) - Dili
Ecuador - Quito
Egyiptom - Cairo
El Salvador - San Salvador
Egyenlítői Guinea - Malabo
Eritrea - Asmara
Észtország - Tallinn
Etiópia - Addis Ababa
Fidzsi - Suva
Finnország - Helsinki
Franciaország - Paris
Gabon - Libreville
Gambia - Banjul
Grúzia - Tbilisi
Németország - Berlin
Ghána - Accra
Görögország - Athens
Grenada - Saint George's
Guatemala - Guatemala City
Guinea - Conakry
Bissau-Guinea - Bissau
Guyana - Georgetown
Haiti - Port-au-Prince
Honduras - Tegucigalpa
Magyarország - Budapest
Izland - Reykjavik
India - New Delhi
Indonézia - Jakarta
Irán - Tehran
Irak - Baghdad
Írország - Dublin
Izrael - Jerusalem
Olaszország - Rome
Jamaica - Kingston
Japán - Tokyo
Jordánia - Amman
Kazahsztán - Astana
Kenya - Nairobi
Kiribati - Tarawa Atoll
Észak-Korea - Pyongyang
Dél-Korea - Seoul
Koszovó - Pristina
Kuvait - Kuwait City
Kirgizisztán - Bishkek
Laosz - Vientiane
Lettország - Riga
Libanon - Beirut
Lesotho - Maseru
Libéria - Monrovia
Líbia - Tripoli
Liechtenstein - Vaduz
Litvánia - Vilnius
Luxemburg - Luxembourg
Macedónia - Skopje
Madagaszkár - Antananarivo
Malawi - Lilongwe
Malajzia - Kuala Lumpur
Maldív-szigetek - Male
Mali - Bamako
Málta - Valletta
Marshall-szigetek - Majuro
Mauritánia - Nouakchott
Mauritius - Port Louis
Mexikó - Mexico City
Mikronéziai Szövetségi Államok - Palikir
Moldova - Chisinau
Monaco - Monaco
Mongólia - Ulaanbaatar
Montenegró - Podgorica
Marokkó - Rabat
Mozambik - Maputo
Mianmar (Burma) - Rangoon (Yangon); Naypyidaw or Nay Pyi Taw (közigazgatási)
Namíbia - Windhoek
Nauru - Nincs hivatalos főváros; A kormányzat Yaren tartományban található
Nepál - Kathmandu
Hollandia - Amsterdam; The Hague (a kormányzat helye)
Új-Zéland - Wellington
Nicaragua - Managua
Niger - Niamey
Nigéria - Abuja
Norvégia - Oslo
Omán - Muscat
Pakisztán - Islamabad
Palau - Melekeok
Panama - Panama City
Pápua Új-Guinea - Port Moresby
Paraguay - Asuncion
Peru - Lima
Fülöp-szigetek - Manila
Lengyelország - Warsaw
Portugália - Lisbon
Katar - Doha
Románia - Bucharest
Oroszország - Moscow
Ruanda - Kigali
Saint Kitts és Nevis - Basseterre
Santa Lucia - Castries
Saint Vincent és és a Grenadine-szigetek - Kingstown
Szamoa - Apia
San Marino - San Marino
São Tomé és Príncipe - Sao Tome
Szaúd-Arábia - Riyadh
Szenegál - Dakar
Szerbia - Belgrade
Seychelle-szigetek - Victoria
Sierra Leone - Freetown
Szingapúr - Singapore
Szlovákia - Bratislava
Szlovénia - Ljubljana
Salamon-szigetek - Honiara
Szomália - Mogadishu
Dél-Afrika - Pretoria (közigazgatási); Cape Town (törvényhozói); Bloemfontein (bírósági)
Dél-Szudán - Juba (Áthelyezve Ramciel-be)
Spanyolország - Madrid
Srí Lanka - Colombo; Sri Jayewardenepura Kotte (törvényhozói)
Szudán - Khartoum
Suriname - Paramaribo
Szváziföld - Mbabane
Svédország - Stockholm
Svájc - Bern
Szíria - Damascus
Tajvan - Taipei
Tádzsikisztán - Dushanbe
Tanzánia - Dar es Salaam; Dodoma (törvényhozói)
Thaiföld - Bangkok
Togo - Lome
Tonga - Nuku'alofa
Trinidad és Tobago - Port-of-Spain
Tunézia - Tunis
Törökország - Ankara
Türkmenisztán - Ashgabat
Tuvalu - Vaiaku village, Funafuti province
Uganda - Kampala
Ukrajna - Kyiv
Egyesült Arab Emírségek - Abu Dhabi
Egyesült Királyság - London
Egyesült Államok - Washington D.C.
Uruguay - Montevideo
Üzbegisztán - Tashkent
Vanuatu - Port-Vila
Vatikán (Vatikánváros) (Holy See) - Vatican City
Venezuela - Caracas
Vietnam - Hanoi
Jemen - Sanaa
Zambia - Lusaka
Zimbabwe - Harare

          Relationship between Church and State is one of prudent distance – Archbishop Diarmuid Martin        
The challenge for the Church in the 21st Century
Speaking notes of Most Rev. Diarmuid Martin, Archbishop of Dublin
Diocese of Wurzburg, Germany, 
Saturday 8th July 2017

Understanding the religious culture of Ireland and its political impact today is not an easy task.  It is not an easy task for those of us who were born and live in Ireland; it is not easy for people living in a different cultural background.  I wish to reflect on changes in Irish religious culture today, changes that are not irrelevant to the situation in other parts of Europe. 

The Irish have every right to be proud of what was achieved by the Irish Church in history.  Ireland is proud of the cultural contribution of the early Irish monasteries.  Saint Killian, whom you honour today, was just one of the many great missionary monks who brought renewal in the faith from Ireland right across Europe.  In more recent times, Irish missionaries were pillars in the foundation and renewal of the Church across the English-speaking world, in Britain, in the United States and in Australia and New Zealand and indeed in many parts of Africa and Asia. 

I do not know how many Saint Patrick’s Cathedrals or Saint Patrick’s High Schools there are around the world, but they each indicate something of the extraordinary missionary activity of Irish priests and religious and indeed lay people.

Such a distinguished history is something to be proud of, but paying too much attention to the past can be misleading in trying to assess the present.  The religious culture of Ireland has changed greatly. 

When Bishop Hoffmann asked me for a title for this talk I answered quickly that you might be interested in hearing something about the religious culture of Ireland today

How is the Irish Church responding to change and how effective has that response been and where should we be looking towards for tomorrow?  Changes are taking place and the Church is responding in various ways: the more fundamental question, however, is whether or not in its responses the Irish Church is responding to the true challenges.

Many of the changes taking place in the Irish Church will be familiar to you from within the German Church itself.  They are often the same questions that have been challenging the German Church for many years. The Irish situation however has its own peculiarities and differences and paradoxes. Regular religious practice in Ireland has dramatically decreased in recent years but by European standards, religious practice in Ireland is still high. Secularisation is well advanced in Irish society and yet there are many residual elements of faith and religiosity present in daily life.  Irish national radio and television both transmit the Angelus bells twice a day!

The cultural influence of the Church in Irish society is difficult to define.  The Ireland which many looked on as a bastion of Catholic influence was the same one which in 2015 approved same-sex marriage by an overwhelming popular vote. 

There is no such thing, for example, as the Catholic vote in the sense that it exists in the United States. While the main political parties in Ireland would traditionally have espoused Christian principles in a general way, there has never been an officially designated Christian Democrat political party in Ireland.   In Ireland it has long since moved from being politically risky to get into a battle with the Church, to a situation in which there are few votes to be won through being too closely linked with Church issues.

The religious culture of Ireland and especially that of Catholic Ireland is unique because it is in large part the fruit of isolation.  I am not speaking of Ireland just being an island.  The religious history of Catholic Ireland was affected in a very different way to what may have been the case in mainland Europe by the various socio-cultural movements of modern history.


Before Catholic Emancipation, which came in 1829, the level of religious practice in Ireland was particularly low.  The appointment in the mid-nineteenth century of Paul Cullen, Ireland’s first Cardinal, as Archbishop of Dublin changed that situation and in more or less one generation an extraordinary renewal of Catholic practice took place.  It came through spiritual renewal, the stronger discipline of the clergy and the introduction of new forms of piety.   Cullen had lived much of his life in Rome where he was Rector of the Irish College and of the College of Propaganda Fide and he brought with him an Italianate and very much an ultramontane religious culture. 

The effects of the Enlightenment, for example, were marginal to the emerging post emancipation Catholic religious culture.  Cullen favoured the establishment of a closed Catholic culture. Catholic schools, a Catholic university, Catholic health care and a monolithic Catholic presence in society guided by the bishops were all aimed at protecting Catholics from the influence of the secular, the enlightenment, continental republicanism, socialism and Protestantism. 

It is interesting that the only Irish bishop who had been open to the idea of Catholics attending secular schools and civil universities was Cullen’s predecessor in Dublin, Archbishop Daniel Murray.  He faced strong opposition from his fellow bishops and from the Holy See. 

Cullen’s idea of a Catholic University of Ireland, to be modelled on the Catholic University at Louvain, failed due to tensions between Cullen and Newman but also because its degrees received no civil recognition.   The sole powerhouse of Catholic intellectual formation passed on to the National Seminary of Maynooth, then a purely clerical institution.

The political process which led finally to Irish independence is linked with the Home Rule movement of the early twentieth century and the uprising of 1916. Men and women, who were for the most part Catholic, inspired the 1916 Proclamation of the Irish Republic, the foundational document of the twentieth century move to Irish independence.  It was however the proclamation of a Republic and not a theocracy.  

The 1916 Proclamation had emphasised freedom of religion. After Independence in the 1920’s the new Irish Free State became more Catholic than the Proclamation had intended.   The protectionist Catholic closed culture took roots in broader society and assumed a dominant position in the politics and social policy of the new Irish State.

There is still a great deal of historical research and analysis of social history to be done on Ireland in the first decades after independence.   Michael D. Higgins, the current President of Ireland, has noted that the dominance of a sectarian ethos had negative effects on the realisation of the ideas of the Proclamation.  That cannot be denied.  The evolution was however a complex one.  Catholics began for first time to have access to public office and to important positions in the public Administration from which until then they had been largely excluded.   The mainstream of Irish society at the time was innately socially conservative and such social conservatism took root in society. 

In this situation, Catholic institutions that at their original foundation aimed at providing necessary help for the poor, began to assume a monopoly of services in education and health care and social provision.  The Church dominated the educational situation of the country.  Priests and religious were in sufficient number to provide the personnel necessary and did so generously and often with minimal financial recompense.  The Catholic Church become increasingly clerical and the influence of that clerical Church became a prevailing dimension of the Irish State.  That closeness produced, inevitably, some very unhealthy results.

Ireland did not experience the cultural tensions that occurred in Europe as the continent moved towards World War II.  Ireland remained neutral in the War not for ideological reasons but for nationalist reasons. It was felt impossible for Ireland to fight alongside Britain until the partition of Ireland was resolved.

The authoritarian Church seemed to flourish right up to the moment of the Second Vatican Council.  In 1961 a massive series of Church and State events celebrated the 1500th anniversary of the coming of Saint Patrick.  Things then began to change dramatically, a sign that in fact that what appeared as the solid edifice of mass Catholicism was already creaking and waiting for some event to decree its slow collapse.   The authoritarian monopoly of the Church in the social sphere began to give way to its opposite: a widespread desire to remove the Church from such a position of influence.

Many people – particularly bishops and even scholars – had not been strident in their discernment of what was taking place. The roots of secularization in Irish culture were not set in a sort of Kulturkampf.   It would be hard to identify a list of historical leaders of an anti-Church movement in Ireland.  The situation was more that of a series of individual winds of change which almost unknown to most, came together to bring change, while much of daily life continued outwardly unchanged.

There are no structured organic links between Church and State on a political level, except regarding education. There are no Concordats or other broad legally binding agreements between the Holy See and common law countries.   Ireland has a common law juridical culture but it also has a Constitution in which the rights of the individual are strongly protected. These rights would almost always be considered in court as superior to any arrangement or agreement between Church and State.

The Separation of Church and State is not a hostile one, but it could turn into one and there is a growing number of vocal supporters of a much more hostile relationship.  Alongside hostility to the Church one can identify more integralist elements within the Church who see a Christian presence in a pluralist culture purely in terms of a negative culture war.

Overall the political relationship between Church and State in Ireland today is one of prudent distance.   Many in Ireland and overseas were surprised by the result of the Referendum on same-sex marriage.  What is worthy of note is that every single political party in Ireland supported the change of status.  The vote was not about doctrine.  It was however not just about personal sympathy with gay and lesbian people and their families but about a conviction that gay and lesbian people should be permitted in civil law to have their stable loving relationships recognised in marriage.  

How and when did the overall religious culture of Ireland begin change?  I remember on my appointment to Dublin, Pope John Paul II asked me “how it is that secularization came to Ireland so quickly?”  My answer to that question was quite simple: “Your Holiness is wrong”, though my Vatican training did not allow me to express myself quite in those exact words.   The Pope was wrong.  Secularization, whatever that means exactly, had been on the Irish radar screen for many years.  It was not all negative but it was not an overnight wonder.   It was there, but not fully recognized.  It was there but the answer of the Irish Church was for far too long to keep the same show on the road, not noticing that there were problems with the show and that the road was changing. 

Ireland is today undergoing a further phase of revolution of its religious culture. Many outside of Ireland are surprised to discover that there are parishes in Dublin where the presence at Sunday Mass is some 5% of the Catholic population and, in some cases, even below 2%.  On any particular Sunday about 18% of the Catholic population in the Archdiocese of Dublin attends Mass.  That figure may be higher in some other parts of Ireland, but it is certainly not an isolated situation.  Statistics about Mass attendance most significantly do not examine the age of those attending.

The new national census which was carried out just over a year ago, showed a very large percentage of the population ticking the “Catholic box”, but that percentage hides the range of difference about what “catholic” may mean even within an individual family and among generations. While Ireland remains a predominantly Catholic country, the percentage of the population who identified as Catholic has fallen sharply from 84.2 per cent in 2011 to 78.3 percent in 2016.

Significantly, the number of those who registered as having “no religion” grew by 73.6 per cent, representing almost 10% of the population. The census showed that Catholicism was the largest religion, followed now by “no religion”, followed by Anglicanism and in fourth place by Islam. 

The precise makeup of the grouping who registered as no religion is hard to breakdown.  A substantial portion belonged to immigrant communities, but the most striking factor is the fact that the “no religion” category was highest in the age group 20 to 39, the group with children entering school life and the group naturally most active in the formation of political culture for the future. The age group 20-39 accounts for 28 per cent of the general population but 45 per cent of those with no religion fall into this age bracket.

Most certainly, there are still many vestiges of popular Catholic culture. The Marian Shrine at Knock is one of the most visited tourist sites in Ireland – closely following the Guinness Brewery!   Every year around 20,000 people – many of them young people – climb Croagh Patrick, a difficult mountain, in a penitential pilgrimage in honour of St Patrick. There is a growing number of youth movements and initiatives of faith formation for young people. Numbers are small but that does not mean that they may not be the signs of new beginnings.

That said, it must be repeated that the road of Irish Catholicism had been relentlessly changing for some time.  I remember already back in the mid-nineteen-sixties I had a Professor of Sociology who began his opening lecture to seminarians by affirming that “Catholicism is a minority culture in Ireland”.  Our reaction was that this man is telling a joke to provoke us.  He however stuck to his ground showing how already then many of the forces influencing Irish culture were coming from outside the country. You had the curious situation that Irish newspapers were more expensive than imported British newspapers.  Most of the programmes transmitted by Irish television were produced abroad and most families in Dublin at least were also able to watch British television.  Despite censorship, Ireland was open to art and theatre and literature from any part of the world.  Ireland has for a long time no longer been a protected island of safe Catholicism.  Irish art and literature has in any case traditionally had within it a strong anti-clerical strain.  

For decades now Ireland has been becoming one of the most open economies in the world and that economic openness inevitably was to have cultural consequences.  In general, these consequences were positive and openness was one of the vital – if risky – elements in Ireland’s economic transformation. But Ireland was becoming ever more open culturally.   Young Irish people travel and despite most of them attending Catholic schools for twelve years or more they are as secularised as the young people of any European nation.  Irish Catholic young people are among the most catechised and least evangelised in Europe.  Yet I must clearly state that young Irish people are idealistic and generous and tolerant but they find it hard to explicitly root that generosity in the type of religious education that they have received.

My sociology professor of the mid-sixties did not apply his analysis to the state of the Irish Church itself.  In the mid-sixties, the effects of Vatican II were beginning to affect the Irish Church and were receiving a warm welcome. The conformist Ireland changed very rapidly and with few tears, despite the fact that the conformism of the earlier era had not been without substantial support.  

The Vatican Council was without doubt one of the most significant cultural events of the twentieth century for Irish culture taken as a whole, especially through its documents on the Church in the Modern World and on Religious Freedom and thus on the concept of pluralism.

Was Irish Catholicism ready for radical change?  Not only was the Church culture of the time inadequate to face the challenge of change, but that culture was in itself something that made real and realistic change more difficult.   That the once conformist Ireland changed so rapidly and with few tears was read as an indication of a desire for change, but perhaps it was also an indication that the earlier conformism was covering a shallow faith and a faith built on a faulty structure which people no longer really endorsed.   The good-old-days of traditional mid-twentieth century Irish Catholicism may in reality not have so good and healthy after all. 

The sexual abuse scandals have affected the faith of many and at the same time they were an indication of an underlying crisis of faith where the self-protective institution had become in many ways decoupled from the horror which ordinary people rightly felt.  The emerging post Vatican II new religious culture, with its stress on the role of the laity, found itself once again betrayed by a culture of clerical self-protection.

All of this indicates how Ireland needs to do much more to incorporate a broad spectrum of activity of laymen and women in the life of the Church and to be witnesses to their faith in the emerging Irish culture.  

Pope Benedict in his homily at the Mass for the beatification of Cardinal Newman noted: “The service to which Blessed John Henry was called involved applying his keen intellect and his prolific pen to many of the most pressing ‘subjects of the day’”.

The Church in Ireland is very lacking precisely in “keen intellects and prolific pens addressing the pressing subjects of the day”.   Many of the reform movements are still clerically led and still fundamentally clerical in their vision of the Church. They represent an older generation. Since the failure of Newman’s Catholic University project in Ireland the Irish Church has not really found the right path of a balanced Catholic presence in Irish culture. 

When I was received by Pope Benedict on the occasion of my first ad limina visit ten years ago, I arrived well prepared with all my statistics and my analysis of the bright spots and the shadows of Catholicism in Dublin.  I had statistics about priests, about institutions, about Mass attendance.  After greeting me the Pope started the conversation immediately by asking me “where are the points of contact between the Church in Ireland and those areas where the future of Irish culture is being formed”.  Instead of asking me about the number of parishes he quizzed me about the relationship between faith and universities, and media, and politics, in art and literature, as well as fundamental ethical issues on economy and society.  Pope Benedict’s question is still today a vital one for the Church in Ireland to address and on which to reflect.

The Catholic Church in Ireland will have to learn a new manner of being present in society.  A Protestant leader from Northern Ireland told me recently that some years ago, he would have spoken of change in Church culture “from management to mission”.  Now he said we have to move “from monuments to movements”.   The Catholic Church both in Ireland and in Germany have to avoid wasting time and resources in keeping in place and maintaining monuments: physical, structural, institutional and financial.

The Irish Church in the future must become be a much more monument-less one, but rather one which reaches out into hearts and becomes heart-driven through the conviction of those who feel touched and inspired by the message and teaching of Jesus Christ.  Faith is not about establishment.  It is about taking the risk of abandoning one’s own security in order to be like the God who did not cling to the trappings of power and authority, but who gave himself totally for our sakes.   This is a message which is difficult to comprehend and realise especially by those of us who have a leadership role in the Church and who are open to the perennial temptations to defend and even to abuse the power which was given into our hands to be servants.

We celebrate Saint Kilian one of the great missionary monks who spread the good news right across the continent.  In its earliest days the Irish Church was fundamentally monastic.  Bishops were hired by Abbots to carry out sacramental ministry.  While I am not advocating a return to such practice, it is important for us to remember that hierarchy is only one pillar in the nature of the Church.  The Church has to become less narrowly institutional and allow other forms of charismatic presence to animate the Church.  Many of the attempts to address the question of the drop in the numbers of priest are still priest centred, rather then focussing on the role of the wider believing community in a different forms of leadership. This of course cannot be inspired by trying to replace priests through laymen and lay women becoming substitute priests. It requires new ways of ensuring that every member of the Church becomes a missionary disciple of Jesus.

This search for different forms of leadership is not a question of the sociology of leadership, but a form of trying to follow Christ whose concept of leadership though service was revolutionary in its time and remains revolutionary today.  We need flexible interaction which can address the future.  Above all we need new ways of reaching out to and involving young people actively in the Christian life.

How do we move towards institutional reform and achieve a less monumental Church structure.  Where are the focal points which will foster such a move.  Institutions have an innate resistance to change and a tendency to self preservation.  Some of the attempts at Church reform have only increased bureaucracy and bureaucracy is even more resistant to change.

Let me take as an example the educational system in Ireland.  Almost 90% of all primary schools in Ireland are under religious patronage, and are almost fully financed by the State.  Yet less than 80% of the population registers as Catholic.  Preparation for First Communion and Confirmation is carried out primarily in the schools.       There is a stubborn reluctance within the Church to allow that situation to change.   With the exception of Catholic Schools Week, the Irish religious education establishment is fixated on questions of ownership and management and too little on the purpose of the Catholic school and the outcomes of Catholic education in terms of faith formation. It is stressed that Catholic schools are most welcoming of people of different faiths and of social background and of educational disability.  That is indeed true.  This is not however a reason for maintaining patronage of most of the primary schools in the country, when more and more people want something else.  

From the moment of my appointment as Archbishop, I advocated a process of divestment of a substantial number Catholic schools to foster a more pluralist presence which would reflect changing demographics.  It would also open the possibility of more clearly defining the Catholic nature of catholic schools.  I have to admit that I have been relatively unsuccessful in pushing that idea into practice.

More and more parents look on their local Catholic schools primarily as State schools somehow under Catholic patronage.  If enrolment policies become more diversified, equality and non-discrimination legislation will be used to challenge any exclusive denominational character in the ethos of a State school, except where necessary to protect the rights of minorities.   The risk now looms large that effectively it will become more and more difficult to maintain a true Catholic ethos in Catholic schools.  The move towards parishes undertaking more effective faith formation of young people is miniscule.   I fear that much of the debate about schools fails to address the real challenges about the religious education of our young people.

The principal contribution of Church institutions in an increasingly secular society is, as Pope Benedict: “to witness to God in a world that has problems finding Him… and to make God visible in the human face of Jesus Christ, to offer people access to the source without which our morale becomes sterile and loses its point of reference”

Christian faith is not just a faith about doctrines or about rules and regulations or about ethical standards against which we have to measure our own moral behaviour.   It is not just about reforming structures. It is about the ability to preach and witness to the message of Jesus.  Reform in the Church is not in the first place about the redistribution of power, but about the redefinition of power in terms of the way in which Jesus revealed who God is.
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           Jak nie doszło do schizmy. Rzeczpospolita a Stolica Apostolska w czasie Sejmu Czteroletniego [How was a schism avoided? The Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and the Holy See during the Four Years' Sejm]         
Butterwick, R; (2009) Jak nie doszło do schizmy. Rzeczpospolita a Stolica Apostolska w czasie Sejmu Czteroletniego [How was a schism avoided? The Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and the Holy See during the Four Years' Sejm]. Kwartalnik Historyczny , 116 (3) pp. 73-90.
          Country by country – a new nuncio for the north        
After almost six months, the Nordic countries are once again supplied with an official ambassador from the Holy See. This new Apostolic Nuncio is Archbishop Henryk Józef Nowacki, until today the Apostolic Nuncio to Nicaragua. Appointed today to Sweden and Iceland – Denmark, Norway and Finland will almost certainly follow in due course – 65-year-old Archbishop … Continue reading "Country by country – a new nuncio for the north"
          Today on "Kresta in the Afternoon" - Feb. 6, 2014        
Talking About the “Things That Matter Most” on February 6

Live from the Legatus Summit in Orlando, FL

4:00 – Kresta Comments

5:00 – UN says Vatican 'systematically' allowed sexual abuse of children
Yesterday a U.N. human rights committee said that the Vatican "systematically" adopted policies that allowed priests to rape and molest tens of thousands of children over decades. The U.N. committee severely criticized the Holy See for its attitudes toward homosexuality, contraception and abortion and said it should change its own canon law. The Vatican promptly objected and its U.N. ambassador accused the committee of having betrayed the international body's own objectives by allowing itself to be swayed by pro-gay ideologues. He said it appeared the committee simply hadn't listened when the Holy See outlined all the measures it has taken to protect children. We talk to Matthew Bunson, author of Pope Benedict XVI and the Sexual Abuse Crisis: Working for Reform and Renewal

5:20 – The Romance of Religion: Fighting for Goodness, Truth, and Beauty
C. S. Lewis said that Christianity works on us like every other myth, except it is a myth that really happened. Fr. Dwight Longenecker grabs this idea and runs with it, showing that the Christian story is the greatest story ever told because it gathers up what is true in all the fantasy stories of the world and makes them as solid, true, and real as a tribe of dusty nomads in the desert or the death of a carpenter-king. Fr. Longenecker calls for the return of the romantic hero—the hero who knows his frailty and can fight the good fight with panache, humor, and courage. Conflict and romance are everywhere in the story of Christ, and our response is to dust off our armor, don our broad-brimmed hats, pick up our swords, and do battle for Christ with confidence, wonder, and joy. Is religion no more than a fairy tale? No, it is more than a fairy tale—much more: it is all the fairy tales and fantastic stories come true here and now. We talk to Fr. Dwight.



          Italian Film Festival returns to IUPUI for sixth year        
INDIANAPOLIS—The Italian Film Festival returns to Indianapolis for a sixth year on April 7 with a slate of 10 films running through April 29.Indianapolis is one of 12 cities around the nation hosting the Italian Film Festival USA. The festival is presented in collaboration with the Department of World Languages and Cultures in the School of Liberal Arts at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis and is sponsored by the Italian Cultural Institute of Chicago, Italian Heritage Society of Indiana, Home Advisor, Discount Copies, and Indianapolis-Monza Sister Cities."We are pleased to host an event of such cultural relevance on campus one more year. The festival is now part of Indianapolis international landscape.”All films are presented with English subtitles and are free and open to the public.The films will be shown in the Lilly Auditorium on the lower level of the IUPUI University Library, 755 W. Michigan St.The schedule for the festival is as follows:"Lo Chiamavano Jeeg Robot” ("They Call Me Jeeg"), drama, 6 p.m. Friday, April 7: Enzo comes into contact with a radioactive substance and discovers he has superpowers. Then he meets Alessia who is convinced Enzo is the hero from the famous Japanese comic strip Steel Jeeg Robot."Programma Di Cortometraggi" ("Short Film Program"), various genres, 1:30 p.m. Sunday, April 9: Featuring the short films Beautiful, Black Comedy, Candie Boy, Dear Martin, Our Hebrews, Toilets, Where Water Comes Together with Other Water."Belli Di Papa” ("Daddy’s Boy"), comedy, 3:30 p.m. Sunday, April 9: Vincenzo, a successful businessman and widower, suddenly finds himself solely in charge of his three twenty-something children living meaningless lives—Matteo, Chiara, and Andrea—who keep him up at night with worry. To bring his kids back to reality, Vincenzo dreams up a plan to convince them that they need to do something they’ve never done before—work!“Un Paese Quasi Perfetto” (“An Almost Perfect Town”) comedy, 6:30 p.m. Friday, April 14: A new factory will be built in a small town in the middle of the southern Dolomites on the condition that the residents convince a doctor to relocate his practice there. Motivated like never before, the residents hatch an elaborate plan to convince him.  Will their attentions and the beautiful Anna make him stay? (Sponsored by Home Advisor)"La Pazza Gioia ("The Crazy"), comedy, 3:30 p.m. Saturday, April 15: Beatrice is a blabbermouth and a self-proclaimed countess who believes she is intimate friends with world leaders. Donatella is a young, quiet tattooed woman, locked in her own mystery. They are both patients of a women’s mental institution and classified as socially dangerous. The film tells the story of their unpredictable friendship that will bring them to a hilarious and touching escape in search of a little happiness in the world of the sane."Andrea Doria: I Passeggeri Sono In Salvo” ("Andrea Doria: Are the Passengers Saved"), documentary, 1:30 p.m. Sunday, April 23: On July 25, 1956, the Italian passenger liner Andrea Doria was broadsided by the ship Stockholm near Nantucket Island. Pierette, a 9-year-old Italian girl immigrating to America with her grandparents, was among the 1660 survivors of the most catastrophic sea collision in peacetime history. For the 60th anniversary, Pierette returns to her native village of Pranzalito to document on film the hidden truth surrounding the tragedy. Interviews with survivors and naval experts throughout Italy and the U.S. are accompanied by re-enactments of Pierette’s departure from her village and her arrival to the New World. Archival footage from the Ansaldo shipyard accompanies the narration by some survivors and naval experts."Le Confessioni” ("The Confession"), drama, 3:30 p.m. Sunday, Sunday April 23: In a German luxury hotel, the economic ministers of the world’s eight most powerful countries are meeting and adopt a secret maneuver that will be financially devastating to several countries. The director of the International Monetary Fund, Daniel Roché, invites an Italian monk to the summit to hear his confession. A tragic and unexpected incident occurs and the meeting must be suspended. In a climate of doubt and fear, the ministers and the monk engage in an intensifying challenge regarding the secret.“Che Vuoi Che Sia” (“What’s the Big Deal?”), comedy, 6 p.m. Friday, April 28: Anna and Claudio are pushing back the decision to have a baby until the time they will be financially better off. Their hopes lie in Claudio’s new website idea, but the crowdfunding needed to launch the website doesn’t bring in the needed money. One evening after a party, Claudio jokingly posts a video daring the "people of the Internet” to offer a donation in exchange for a compromising video of himself and Anna. Unexpectedly the joke is a huge online success.“La Via Della Conciliazione” (“The Road to Reconciliation”), documentary, 1:30 p.m. Saturday, April 29: The Via della Conciliazione with St. Peter’s Basilica in the background is one of Rome’s most famous images. But few realize that this street has not always been there and, in fact, it should not be there.  Things changed in the 1930s when Benito Mussolini forged a treaty with the Holy See, leading to the birth of the Vatican City, the smallest state in the world. To commemorate the reconciliation between the Italian State and the Holy See, the Via della Conciliazione was created. Using archival film and interviews with the last living eyewitnesses, this film relates the story of an architectural project that had enormous impact on the history, religion and lives of the people of Rome.“Veloce Come Il Vento” (“Italian Race”), drama, 3:30 p.m. Saturday, April 29: The passion for racecars has always flowed in the veins of Giulia De Martino. She comes from a family that churned out racecar champions.  At the age of17 she will participate in the GT Championship under the guidance of her father, Mario.  But one day, everything changes and Giulia must face the racetrack and life all alone, until her older brother, Loris, returns and complicates the situation. (Sponsored by Indianapolis-Monza Sister Cities)
          A Bridge Too Far: Vatican Ambassador Nominee Builds Wrong Edifice        
Joseph L. Conn
The official U.S.-Vatican diplomatic relationship is a glaring breach of the First Amendment's mandate.

President Barack Obama has named his new ambassador to the Holy See, and nominee Miguel H. Diaz has already announced his understanding of the job.

"If confirmed by the U.S. Senate," said Diaz in a statement. "I will continue the work of my predecessors and build upon 25 years of formal diplomatic relations with the Holy See. I wish to be a bridge between our nation and the Holy See."

A bridge between our nation and the Holy See.

That's just the problem with U.S.-Vatican diplomatic relations, isn't it?

The U.S. Constitution specifically forbids bridges between the government and one religion or all religions. Instead, it mandates a wall of separation between church and state.

How can we square that mandate with the American government's special relationship with the Roman Catholic Church? In short, we can't.

Diplomatic ties allow the Catholic hierarchy to have a unique official channel to lobby for the church's positions on a wide range of social and international policy concerns. No other religious body has this privilege. It is a flagrant "establishment" of religion in violation of the Constitution's mandate.

I don't know much about Diaz other than what I read in the papers. According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, he's a 45-year-old Cuban-born professor of theology at St. John's University and the College of St. Benedict in Collegeville. News sources describe him as a "pro-life" Democrat who ardently supported Obama's run for the White House.

Since President Ronald Reagan established full diplomatic relations with the Vatican in 1984, every American ambassador to the Holy See has been a "pro-life" Catholic.

Is there a de facto religious requirement under way here? It sure seems like it. If so, that would violate Article VI of the Constitution, which forbids religious tests for public office.

A few weeks ago, news outlets reported that the Vatican had vetoed Caroline Kennedy and other possible ambassador nominees because they were regarded as insufficiently "pro-life." Vatican sources heatedly denied that the church hierarchy had done so.

Yet the Star Tribune reports that Vatican officials had signed off in advance on the selection of Diaz. That adds credibility to the earlier reports of a Kennedy veto.

In the 1980s, Americans United and an array of religious leaders filed a lawsuit challenging this clearly unconstitutional governmental preference for one faith. The courts refused to act, citing separation of powers issues. The courts never got to the core church-state question.

The official U.S.-Vatican diplomatic relationship is a glaring breach of the First Amendment's mandate, but for the time being, there's not much we can do about it.


          Diplomatic Demands: Vatican Vetoes U.S. Ambassador Candidates Who Fail Religious Test         
Rob Boston
So now it appears that not only must the U.S. ambassador to the Vatican be Catholic, they must oppose legal abortion as well.

One of my heroes in the church-state world is a feisty Southern Baptist minister named James Dunn.

James ran the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty here in Washington for many years. He is firmly grounded in the historic Baptist view that separation of church and state is good for both institutions. Woe to anyone who suggested that James was operating out of hostility toward religion. A man of deep faith, James would quickly set you straight on that.

I recall hearing James speak once on the issue of diplomatic ties between the Vatican and the United States. He said he was uncomfortable with the idea and noted that every U.S. ambassador to the Vatican had been Roman Catholic. It might not be a bad idea, he opined, to send a Baptist over there for a change.

Apparently that's not going to work. The Vatican would probably send him packing.

The Washington Times reported yesterday that the Holy See has rejected at least three candidates put forth by President Barack Obama to be U.S. ambassador. The prospects were apparently blackballed because they hold pro-choice views on abortion.

The Times, citing an Italian journalist, reported, "Papal advisers told Mr. Obama's aides privately that the candidates failed to meet the Vatican's most basic qualification on the abortion issue."

When U.S.-Vatican ties were proposed during the Reagan administration, Americans United vigorously opposed the move and warned that there would be problems down the line. It just wasn't right, AU argued, for the U.S. government to have formal diplomatic relations with a church. (Our ambassador goes not to the Vatican City State, an alleged country of about 110 acres within the city of Rome, but to the Holy See – the international headquarters of the church.)

Americans United tried to raise some of these issues in court, challenging the diplomatic exchange on church-state grounds. Unfortunately, a federal appeals court refused to deal with the issue and dismissed the lawsuit on a technicality, saying AU did not even have the right to even bring the case.

So now it appears that not only must the U.S. ambassador to the Vatican be Catholic, they must oppose legal abortion as well. I wonder what other qualifications a potential ambassador must meet? Must he or she oppose same-sex marriage as well? Can he or she be divorced? Will someone check up on the candidate to make certain he or she attends mass every week?

Imposing such qualifications on ambassadors would seem to violate the clear provisions of Article VI of the Constitution, which bans religious tests for federal office.

Here's an idea: Obama should name one more ambassador candidate and send his or her name to the Vatican with no vetting where that candidate stands on abortion or any other doctrinal issue. (Caroline Kennedy's name has been floated, but I'd still like to see James Dunn get it.) If the Vatican says no to that person, leave the spot vacant. After all, it should never have been created in the first place.


          SSPX and unity: more patience needed.        

From the Vatican Press Office today:
The Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei" takes this occasion to announce that, in its most recent official communication (6 September 2012), the Priestly Fraternity of St. Pius X has indicated that additional time for reflection and study is needed on their part as they prepare their response to the Holy See’s latest initiatives.

The current stage in the ongoing discussions between the Holy See and the Priestly Fraternity follows three years of doctrinal and theological dialogues during which a joint commission met eight times to study and discuss, among other matters, some disputed issues in the interpretation of certain documents of Vatican Council II. Once these doctrinal dialogues were concluded, it became possible to proceed to a phase of discussion more directly focused on the greatly desired reconciliation of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Pius X with the See of Peter.

Other critical steps in this positive process of gradual reintegration had already been taken by the Holy See in 2007 with the extension of the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite to the Universal Church by the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum and in 2009 with the lifting of the excommunications. Just a few months ago, a culminating point along this difficult path was reached when, on 13 June 2012, the Pontifical Commission presented to the Priestly Fraternity of St. Pius X a doctrinal declaration together with a proposal for the canonical normalization of its status within the Catholic Church.

At the present time, the Holy See is awaiting the official response of the superiors of the Priestly Fraternity to these two documents. After thirty years of separation, it is understandable that time is needed to absorb the significance of these recent developments. As Our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI seeks to foster and preserve the unity of the Church by realizing the long hoped-for reconciliation of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Pius X with the See of Peter – a dramatic manifestation of the munus Petrinum in action – patience, serenity, perseverance and trust are needed.
Meanwhile, the SSPX expels Bishop Williamson.
          World Evangelical Alliance seeks just peace in Syria        

Evangelicals joined other Christian bodies in calling upon the participants in Geneva 2 to pursue just peace in Syria.

The World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) has joined other Christian bodies in calling upon participants in the Geneva 2 conference to pursue just peace in Syria.

The WEA has stressed that it fully endorses the statement ‘an urgent call to action for a just peace in Syria’ that was prepared by Christian leaders from Syria, the Middle East Council of Churches, the World Council of Churches, and the Holy See.

The statement urges Geneva II participants to "pursue an immediate cessation of all armed confrontation and hostility within Syria," to "ensure that all vulnerable communities in Syria and refugees in neighboring countries receive appropriate humanitarian assistance", and to "develop a comprehensive and inclusive process toward establishing a just peace and rebuilding Syria."

Amid the civil war that has developed in Syria since early 2011 and all the related suffering, there is strong evidence that in some parts of the country Christians are suffering simply for being Christians, points out the WEA.

"We are deeply concerned for the Christian community in Syria. Like all minority groups they need protection from the very real threats that have been made against them. In addition, it is imperative that as the future shape of Syria is being determined, Christians who have had a presence in the land for two thousand years be represented," said Dr Geoff Tunnicliffe, Secretary General of the WEA.

Christian leaders in Syria have asked the WEA and the worldwide Christian community to join them in their prayers for the Geneva II conference. Specifically that individual agendas of both parties will be laid aside, keeping the interest of the people of Syria in mind; that the conference will have the goal to cleanse Syria from all fanatical and fundamentalist groups on all sides; and that the Church will play a major part in reconciliation.

Furthermore, the WEA also urges the international community to support Syria’s neighboring countries that are serving as hosts to myriads of refugees.

"With the hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees in neighbouring countries we are calling upon the worldwide Christian community to join governments, international civil society agencies and the United Nations in increasing its humanitarian aid," Dr Tunnicliffe said.

"It would be an absolute disaster if these host countries were severely de-stabilised by the magnitude of the influx of vulnerable people."

At a gathering of United States Congress members and high level diplomats in the US State Department in Washington last week, Dr Tunnicliffe spoke about the importance of the protection of Christian minorities in Syria, the need for increased financial support for Christian aid agencies working with Syrian refugees, and the acceptance of more Syrian refugees into the US.

The National Association of Evangelicals, the WEA’s national body in the United States, together with World Relief have also issued a statement on the Syrian Refugee Crisis, asking the US government to "increase its support in order to ensure that civilians are protected, displaced persons are assisted, and those in urgent need of protection are resettled to a third country."

"With the Geneva II conference beginning [imminently], we encourage Christians worldwide to pray for Syria, its suffering people, those who seek refuge and especially our brothers and sisters in Christ," Dr Tunnicliffe concluded.

* World Evangelical Alliance: http://www.worldea.org

* More on Syria from Ekklesia: http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/syria

[Ekk/3]


           A Survey of the Old Testament Law--The Trespass Offering (Leviticus chapter 5; 7:1-10) Part 3        



OK, let’s finish up with one last Trespass Offering. Again, these are offerings for sins committed in ignorance. If one sinned with a stiff neck and an obstinate heart, what kind of offering could they bring? Sorry, that’s a trick question. Numbers 15:30-31—“‘30 But the person who does anything presumptuously, whether he is native-born or a stranger, that one brings reproach on the LORD, and he shall be cut off from among his people. 31 Because he has despised the word of the LORD, and has broken His commandment, that person shall be completely cut off; his guilt shall be upon him.’” A theme which, by the way, the writer of Hebrews picks up on in Hebrews 10:26—For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins.Does this mean that if we sin intentionally and with forethought that we will be destroyed? No. The phrase “sin willfully” is in the present tense. It means, literally, “If we continue sinning sinfully.” That is, if the pattern of our life is sin, then Christ will profit us nothing. But, again, God knows us humans—in fact, He knows us better than we know ourselves (or, rather, better than we want to know ourselves). And He knows there will be times when we do something wrong, and we don’t realize it until it’s too late.

So, in the Law, He gives the people this measure of grace, Leviticus 5:14-19—14 Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying: “15 If a person commits a trespass, and sins unintentionally in regard to the holy things of the LORD, then he shall bring to the LORD as his trespass offering a ram without blemish from the flocks, with your valuation in shekels of silver according to the shekel of the sanctuary, as a trespass offering. 16 And he shall make restitution for the harm that he has done in regard to the holy thing, and shall add one-fifth to it and give it to the priest. So the priest shall make atonement for him with the ram of the trespass offering, and it shall be forgiven him. 17 If a person sins, and commits any of these things which are forbidden to be done by the commandments of the LORD, though he does not know it, yet he is guilty and shall bear his iniquity. 18 And he shall bring to the priest a ram without blemish from the flock, with your valuation, as a trespass offering. So the priest shall make atonement for him regarding his ignorance in which he erred and did not know it, and it shall be forgiven him. 19 It is a trespass offering; he has certainly trespassed against the LORD.”

So, what is the “shekel of the sanctuary”? It is 20 gerahs. What do you mean you don’t know what a gerah is? A gerah is equivalent in weight to about 16 coffee beans. A shekel of weight was equal to 20 gerahs, so the person would bring a ram without blemish, and a weight in silver equivalent to about 320 coffee beans plus 1/5 of 320 coffee beans (64), for a grand total of weight of 384 coffee beans. Why aren’t they teaching these things in school anymore? There are some times when we can plead “ignorance” with God. There are some areas of life where God gives our conscience leeway. Paul wrote on this many times, most clearly in Romans 14:1-3—1 Receive one who is weak in the faith, but not to disputes over doubtful things. 2 For one believes he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats only vegetables. 3 Let not him who eats despise him who does not eat, and let not him who does not eat judge him who eats; for God has received him. And also 1st Corinthians 8:5-9—5 For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as there are many gods and many lords), 6 yet for us there is one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we for Him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and through whom we live. 7 However, there is not in everyone that knowledge; for some, with consciousness of the idol, until now eat it as a thing offered to an idol; and their conscience, being weak, is defiled. 8 But food does not commend us to God; for neither if we eat are we the better, nor if we do not eat are we the worse. 9 But beware lest somehow this liberty of yours become a stumbling block to those who are weak.So there are some areas where we have liberty, as Christians, to allow our conscience to lead us. However, he also said in Galatians 5:13—Do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. Just doing something wrong and saying “Well, my conscience and my Christian liberty tell me this is not a sin” is not an excuse to live a sinful lifestyle.

That said, once we know something is wrong, we need to ‘fess up. We need to wash our feet daily, as the priests were to wash their feet before they took the blood into the sanctuary. And once we learn that we have sinned, there must be mourning and confession over that sin. The offering for that sin—it’s already been done in Christ. We’ll finish with an example of the realization of sin, and the heart that realizes and an offering for atonement must be made. Consider the example of Ezra, after the people came back from the Babylonian captivity, after Nehemiah led the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem. We read in Ezra about how the temple was rebuilt and all the articles of the temple were restored. And all the people were ready to once again worship God. But there was one problem. Ezra 9:1-2—1 When these things were done, the leaders came to me, saying, "The people of Israel and the priests and the Levites have not separated themselves from the peoples of the lands, with respect to the abominations of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Jebusites, the Ammonites, the Moabites, the Egyptians, and the Amorites. 2 For they have taken some of their daughters as wives for themselves and their sons, so that the holy seed is mixed with the peoples of those lands. Indeed, the hand of the leaders and rulers has been foremost in this trespass."

Remember, these people had been in captivity, and had probably not had the ability to read or hear the Law in its fullness. So the commands against marrying foreigners was, more than likely, lost on these people. They had sinned in ignorance. Now, the common response today would be, “Well, what’s done is done. Can't do anything about it now; let’s just get on with our lives.” But look at Ezra’s response. Ezra 9:3-5—3 So when I heard this thing, I tore my garment and my robe, and plucked out some of the hair of my head and beard, and sat down astonished. 4 Then everyone who trembled at the words of the God of Israel assembled to me, because of the transgression of those who had been carried away captive, and I sat astonished until the evening sacrifice. 5 At the evening sacrifice I arose from my fasting; and having torn my garment and my robe, I fell on my knees and spread out my hands to the LORD my God.The people had sinned in ignorance, and now the sin which they have committed becomes known, so what are they to do? Do they just put it behind them and try to do better next time? Do they say, “Well, now, we would mess up all these lives if we did anything about it now. We’re sure God would understand!” No.

Let’s skip ahead to Ezra 10:2-3, 16-19—2 And Shechaniah the son of Jehiel, one of the sons of Elam, spoke up and said to Ezra, "We have trespassed against our God, and have taken pagan wives from the peoples of the land; yet now there is hope in Israel in spite of this. 3 Now therefore, let us make a covenant with our God to put away all these wives and those who have been born to them, according to the advice of my master and of those who tremble at the commandment of our God; and let it be done according to the law"…16 And Ezra the priest, with certain heads of the fathers' households, were set apart by the fathers' households, each of them by name; and they sat down on the first day of the tenth month to examine the matter. 17 By the first day of the first month they finished questioning all the men who had taken pagan wives. 18 And among the sons of the priests who had taken pagan wives the following were found of the sons of Jeshua the son of Jozadak, and his brothers: Maaseiah, Eliezer, Jarib, and Gedaliah. 19 And they gave their promise that they would put away their wives; and being guilty, they presented a ram of the flock as their trespass offering. The people had sinned by taking foreign wives—a sin committed in ignorance of God’s Law. They realized their sin, and as hard as it may have been for them, they had to do that which glorified God the most, and must put away these foreign wives, and separate themselves from their (little-g) gods. That is one cost of being one of God’s people. You must separate yourself from sin. Paul says we are to put to death our body of sin (Colossians 3:5). There are some, however, who say that teaching like that makes one a “closet Catholic®” and that we are teaching “legalism” and “salvation by works.” No we’re not. We’re simply teaching the Bible.

Jesus even said in Matthew 10:37-39—“37 He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. 38 And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. 39 He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.” That’s harsh! If you don’t love Christ more than you love even your closest blood relatives—even your mother and father—then you have no part in Christ! He also said, Luke 9:62—"No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God." And He gave us this simple warning, Luke 17:32—“Remember Lot’s wife.”The apostle Paul also gives list after list of those things which God calls sin, and which we are to avoid lest we risk our very soul. 1stCorinthians 6:9-10—9 Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, 10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. Galatians 5:19-21—19 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21 envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. Those who do not turn away from doing such things willfully, as a pattern of life, will be shut outside the kingdom of God, and will have no other sacrifice for those sins. They will stand before God, be judged based on those works of the flesh, and be cast into the Lake of Fire.

Now, the following section we have already studied, when we were surveying the Ten Commandments. This section deals with theft, but there is one aspect we did not talk about, so here is the text and a final commentary. Leviticus 6:1-7—1 And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying: “2 If a person sins and commits a trespass against the LORD by lying to his neighbor about what was delivered to him for safekeeping, or about a pledge, or about a robbery, or if he has extorted from his neighbor, 3 or if he has found what was lost and lies concerning it, and swears falsely—in any one of these things that a man may do in which he sins: 4 then it shall be, because he has sinned and is guilty, that he shall restore what he has stolen, or the thing which he has extorted, or what was delivered to him for safekeeping, or the lost thing which he found, 5 or all that about which he has sworn falsely. He shall restore its full value, add one-fifth more to it, and give it to whomever it belongs, on the day of his trespass offering. 6 And he shall bring his trespass offering to the LORD, a ram without blemish from the flock, with your valuation, as a trespass offering, to the priest. 7 So the priest shall make atonement for him before the LORD, and he shall be forgiven for any one of these things that he may have done in which he trespasses.” Not only do you have to bring a Trespass Offering (אָשָׁם (asham)), but the priest set a value of what you stole. Once he establishes that valuation, you had to bring that amount, plus another 20%. So let’s say you know who stole one of Yitzhak’s goats. Or you found one of Yitzhak’s goats and kept it for yourself. Or you blackmailed Yitzhak into giving you one of his goats. Once you are found out the priest hears the matter, determines that the goat is worth 10 shekels of silver according to the shekel of the sanctuary. You come to the tabernacle with 12 shekels of silver according to the shekel of the sanctuary (the 10 shekels the goat was worth, plus the 1/5 added to it), along with a Trespass Offering (אָשָׁם (asham)). You confess your sin, and then and only then can the priest make atonement for you. Why these rules? Why these commands? Why these specifications? Because we humans need them. Because we humans are always trying to find loopholes. “Well, it’s not like I snuck into Yitzhak’s goat pen and stole it!” Yes it is.


Jesus Christ is Lord.
Amen.

          ECMENISM AND THE CATHOLIC CHURCH        
By “Ecumenism” we understand the desire many Christians feel today for contact with believers of other confessions and for community of faith.

“Ecumenism” explicitly includes a willingness to learn
from the religions tradition and community of others
in order to participate even more intensely in the
fullness which Christ wants to give the world in and
through his church, and to realize together the one
church which is to be the ecumenical inhabitable
house of the lord for the entire world”

The Catholic church has always intended the unity of all Christians. It has conceived Christian unity as the return of lost sheep to the one sheepfold of Christ where Peter was the chief shepherd.
“Catholic Ecumenism strives towards the participation
of catholics in the one great movement towards unity
which the Holyspirit has called into being throughout
the entire Christian world in our time”

Ecumenical movement was prompted by the Holy Spirit, the one spirit, of the body of Christ, it is one single movement, implanting in the hearts of Christians of every denomination the urge to come together in a single communion. This single communion is made visible in the single fellowship of the blessed Trinity.
“The Lord of Ages nevertheless wisely and patiently
follows out the plan of his grace on our behalf, sinners
that we are. In recent times he has begun to
bestow more generously upon divided Christians
remorse over their divisions and longing for unity” .

The part of individual Christians and of all Christian denominations is simply to follow the call of the Holy Spirit and take their part in the general movement towards unity which he has created. The aim is the same for all to seek fullness and catholicity, the full flowering of the christian truth, unity and charity.

“This grace is also among our separated brethens
There is increases from day to day a movement,
fostered by the grace of the Holy spirit, for the
restoration of unity among Christians. Taking part
Everywhere large number have felt the impulse of
in this movement, which is called ecumenical, are
those who invoke the triune God and confess Jesus
as Lord and saviour”

In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent His only son into the world, so that we might live through him (1Jn 4:9). Not only for the nation, but together into one the children of God who are scattered abroad( John 11:52.)

1.3 ECUMENISM AND THE PRE-VATICAN II CHURCH
The fact that modern ecumenical movement began among the non-catholic does not mean that the catholic church was in no way involved in the search for the reunion of all baptized. Since the various separations, the catholic church had never ceased to work for the return of the dissident Christians to the fold. The call for the return of the separated brethren to the Roman Catholic church characterized the official attitude of the catholic church to the ecumenical movement up to the second Vatican council.

“Pope Pius (IX) had invited the dissident
Eastern churches to the first council of
the Vatican, asking them to take part in
the council as they did in the councils
of hyons and florence”

Although the invitation of pope plus (IX) was not honoured. There were other attempts made by other popes to seek for the return of the separated brethren. During the time of pope Leo XIII he made the return of the separated brethrens one of the aims of his pontificate and took steps to invite separated brethrens especially those of the East to reunion. In 1887, he wrote to the Armenians requesting for their return.
In 1896, he also wrote the Encyelical letter on christian unity, satis Cognitum. But all his efforts did not bear fruit.

“In the context of the modern ecumenical movement,
which took it’s worldwide dimension from the
Edinburgh conference of 1910, the official attitude
of the catholic church was negative and diffident.
The catholic church declined in the invitation to join
in then proposed world conference on faith and order”

The Catholic Church did not take part in the first world conference because the movement was characterized by religious indifferentism and relativism and by a too eschatological conception of the unity of the church. Religious indifferentism would consider all religions equally good and this would lead to naturalism and atheism. Catholics could not take part in such idea. There were other conferences the catholic church did not participate because of some obvious reasons.

“On December 20, 1949, the Holy see
issued the instruction Ecelesia Catholica. This
document is regarded as the first signigicant
official opening of the catholic church to the
ecumenical movement going on in the
non-catholic Christian world. According to the
document, the ecumenical movement was inspired
by the grace of the Holy spirit and was a cause of
holy joy to the sons of the catholic church. Catholic
could discuss matters of faith and moral with the
non-catholic as equals”

Although Catholics were warned to be careful so as not comprise their doctrines. Permission was still sort from the Holy see for participation in the movement. It should be noted that in spite of the official opposition of the catholic church to the ecumenical movement going on among the non Catholics, Catholics were becoming more and more involved in the ecumenical movement. The awakening and building up of ecumenical consciousness among Catholics could be atttributed to the heroic work of priests and lay people, mostly theologians, who risked official displeasure in order to join in what many Christians saw as the work of God.



          Monsignor lefebvre: "Sono convinto che si scoprirà poco a poco che il Vaticano II ha a che fare con una loggia massonica!"        
modernista ad un concilio ecumenico...

 "Stralcio tratto dal Libro "La battaglia finale del diavolo, cap 5"

...Nello scoraggiare l'idea di un Concilio per le ragioni che abbiamo su visto, questi Cardinali si dimostrarono assai più abili, nel riconoscere i “segni dei tempi”, di tutti i teologi post Concilio Vaticano II. Potrebbero anche essere stati messi in allarme dagli scritti di quell'infame e scomunicato illuminista Canonico Roca (1830-1893) il quale invocò una rivoluzione ed una “riforma” della Chiesa, e che predisse, con un incredibile livello di precisione, la sovversione della Chiesa per mezzo di un Concilio.
       Nel libro Atanasio e la Chiesa dei nostri tempi, il Vescovo Graber riporta la predizione di Roca di una “Chiesa illuminista rinnovata”, affermando che essa sarebbe stata influenzata dal “socialismo di Gesù”.18 A metà del 19° secolo, Roca predisse che “la nuova Chiesa, che non dovrebbe mantenere niente della dottrina scolastica e dell'antica forma originale della Chiesa precedente, riceverà comunque la consacrazione e la giurisdizione canonica da parte di Roma”. Roca, abbastanza sorprendentemente, predisse la “riforma” liturgica che sarebbe avvenuta dopo il Concilio Vaticano II: “Il culto divino, nei modi specificati dalla liturgia, il suo cerimoniale, i rituali e le regole della Chiesa Romana saranno presto trasformati ad un concilio ecumenico, che restituirà ad esso la semplicità venerabile dell'era dorata degli Apostoli, in accordo con la civiltà moderna e i dettami della coscienza”.
       Roca predisse che attraverso questo concilio sarebbe giunto un “accordo perfetto tra gli ideali della civiltà moderna e l'ideale di Cristo e del Suo Vangelo. Questa sarà la consacrazione del Nuovo Ordine Sociale, ed il solenne battesimo della civiltà moderna”. In altre parole, questo concilio sarebbe stato il trionfo del piano Massonico per sovvertire la Chiesa. Roca parlò anche del futuro del Papato. Egli scrisse: “C'è un sacrificio da compiere, che rappresenta un solenne atto di espiazione… il Papato cadrà; morirà per mano del coltello consacrato che gli stessi padri dell'ultimo concilio avranno forgiato. Il Papa-cesare è una ostia [vittima] coronata per il sacrificio”. Roca predisse, così entusiasticamente, niente meno che una “nuova religione, un nuovo dogma, un nuovo rituale, un nuovo sacerdozio”. Egli definisce i nuovi sacerdoti “progressisti” e parla della “soppressione” della sottana [tonaca] e del “matrimonio dei preti”.
       Riferendosi agli scritti dell'eresiarca francese l'Abbé Melinge (che scriveva sotto lo pseudonimo di Dr. Alta), il Vescovo Graber avvertì di un programma rivoluzionario per “il rimpiazzo della fede Romana con un pontificato ‘pluri-confessionale’, capace di adattarsi ad un ecumenismo polivalente, come quello che vediamo stabilito oggi durante le concelebrazioni di preti e pastori Protestanti”. (Melinge si riferiva ad alcuni sacerdoti rinnegati; oggi, tuttavia, lo stesso Papa concelebra le funzioni religiose, tra cui i Vespri, con dei “vescovi” Protestanti.)
       Echi agghiaccianti di Roca, Melinge e dell' Alta Vendita si trovano nelle parole del dott. Rudolph Steiner (un Rosacroce), il quale nel 1910 affermava: “Abbiamo bisogno di un Concilio e di un Papa che lo proclarmi”...

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La presente conferenza di Mons. Lefebvre, del 1976, pone il problema dell'Autorità della Chiesa di fronte alle presenze massoniche esistenti in Essa. Quello che parla in questo video, in lingua francese, tradotto gentilmente da una cara amica in Italiano, è un Mons. Lefebvre molto turbato, quasi spaventato dalla notizia dell'imminente pubblicazione da parte di un giornale francese di una lista dei Massoni (lista che riportiamo in basso) presenti in Vaticano... Monsignore, intimorito dalla sola ipotesi, continua a dire "Io non so nulla, non sono sicuro, non ne so nulla..." riferendosi alle gravi conseguenze ed implicanze che tutto ciò avrebbe sull'Autorità di un Pontefice.....Questo discorso del Monsignore fa certamente parte di una delle varie fasi di riflessione che Egli ha attraversato, nel corso del tempo e dei vari avvenimenti che si sono succeduti in quegli anni. Ricordiamo che dieci anni dopo, in occasione del primo incontro multireligioso di Assisi, Lefebvre dichiarò: "Carissimi amici, la cattedra di Pietro e le posizioni autorevoli a Roma sono occupate da degli anticristi ". Nonostante questo, Egli rifuggì sempre dalla posizione del Sedevacantismo, per poi tornare seriamente a porsi il problema verso la fine della sua vita.... Non conosciamo tutto il pensiero di Monsignore su questo problema, e cosa giunse a pensare in ultima analisi, ma le sue riflessioni sono ancora fondamentali e preziose per aiutarci oggi a riflettere onestamente sull'attuale situazione che stiamo vivendo.

Cruccas Gianluca
Anna Rita Onofri
 



Un grazie vivissimo per la traduzione in Italiano, da parte di una nostra carissima amica... 
MONSEIGNEUR M. LEFEBVRE – FEBBRAIO 1976...

"(…) Sono convinto che si scoprirà poco a poco che il Vaticano II ha a che fare con una loggia massonica!Né più né meno. Lo si scoprirà, forse, di qui a breve. Verranno pubblicati dei nomi con le appartenenze massoniche, con i gradi di massoneria, con le appartenenze alle logge!..
Non può essere altrimenti! Eseguono alla perfezione il lavoro delle logge massoniche per non essere, almeno, dei sostenitori delle logge massoniche. Non è possibile, non è possibile! E tutto ciò si verifica in ogni settore. Non è possibile che il Papa, ispirato dallo Spirito Santo e sostenuto dallo Spirito Santo per bocca di Nostro Signore Gesù Cristo, possa fare una cosa del genere. In questo, sono d’accordo con voi, non è possibile, è incompatibile.
Questa distruzione della Chiesa, questa distruzione del Regno sociale di Nostro Signore Gesù Cristo, questa distruzione della fede cattolica in ogni campo: tutti i catechismi, le università, le scuole cattoliche, le congregazioni religiose, i seminari. 

Ovunque si guardi, vi è la distruzione sistematica di tutta la Chiesa! Voluta da tutte le riforme approvate dal Vaticano II. Perché il Vaticano II è stato, direi, ciò che ha permesso di fare le riforme. Ciò che bisognava fare, erano le riforme! Il Vaticano II, con termici equivoci, ha permesso di dare avvio alle riforme. Ed era proprio questo lo scopo! Il Vaticano II è stata la rampa di lancio che ha permesso tutto questo!
Dunque, si può dire del Santo Padre: in realtà, non è possibile che un Papa possa fare questo! Dunque, non è Papa! Beh, il ragionamento non fa una piega! Il ragionamento non fa una piega!

Io non ne so nulla!.. Io non dico che sia così!.. Io dico, ci sono diverse ipotesi! Questa potrebbe essere un’ipotesi attendibile... E’ possibile che venga a galla! Io non ne so nulla, io non ne so nulla… Secondo me, vedete, non è ancora chiara… Ma un giorno verrà a galla, e non si tratta di cose impossibili. A questo proposito, ci sono state delle apparizioni che lo hanno detto, e queste apparizioni sono state riconosciute dalla Santa Sede! Parliamo di Fatima! Parliamo di La Salette! Hanno detto che il demonio sarebbe salito sino al gradino più alto della Chiesa!
Io non ne so nulla, non so se il gradino più alto si riferisce al Segretario di Stato e si ferma lì, o se va ben oltre e arriva fino al Papa! Io non ne so nulla. Fino a colui che si dice Papa… io non lo so. E voi lo sapete, non è una cosa impossibile. E i teologi hanno studiato il problema. I teologi hanno studiato il problema per sapere se sia una cosa possibile, per esempio, che una papa possa essere eretico, quindi scomunicato, quindi tutti i suoi atti illegittimi e invalidi.
la massoneria vuole distruggere la chiesa cattolica

E se, per ipotesi, - io non so nulla, di nuovo non mi fate dire cose che non dico, io non lo so! – ma alla fine, premesso che lo si scopra, si scoprisse pian pianino la sua appartenenza alla massoneria... Immaginate che il Papa sia stato iscritto ad una loggia massonica prima della sua elezione! Era già scomunicato!

Scomunicato, quindi la sua elezione è invalida! Non può essere Papa! E noi avremmo, nel frattempo, un Papa che non è Papa!
Sono cose possibili! Ancora una volta non dico che sia così. Ma, cosa volete, nella situazione in cui ci troviamo, dobbiamo cercare una soluzione! Ci troviamo davanti ad una problema quasi irrisolvibile. Teologicamente, direi, teologicamente quasi irrisolvibile, quindi si cerca una soluzione!
Si vogliono distruggere tutti gli stati cattolici! Non si vuole più il Regno Sociale di Nostro Signore Gesù Cristo! Ebbene, che la Chiesa si presti a quest’opera gigantesca e demoniaca è inverosimile! Inverosimile! E’ talmente, talmente abominevole! E’ talmente spaventoso! Spaventoso!
Vedete, a questo riguardo, io sono personalmente convinto che i princìpi massonici siano entrati nella Chiesa in occasione del Concilio. Tutto il Concilio è stato equivoco, e tutto ciò è stato occultato bene. Peraltro, ci sono dei testi molto significativi, vero? Prendiamo Gaudium et Spes. Ci sono delle cose in Gaudium et Spesdel tutto insensate!
Per esempio, l‘indipendenza della cultura laica. C’è tutto un capitolo sulla cultura in Gaudium et Spes, ove si dice che la “cultura laica deve essere indipendente dalla religione”. Di nuovo, il Regno di Nostro Signore Gesù Cristo non si estende nemmeno più sulla cultura. L’uomo, vedete, può liberarsi della legge morale quando, per esempio, si esprime attraverso l’arte o cose del genere. Di liberazione in liberazione, si tratta sempre di liberazione da Nostro Signore Gesù Cristo, si abbandona Nostro Signore Gesù Cristo! E questo lo si è applicato a tutto, a tutto."

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l Una rottura col passato

Quei «conservatori» che negano che vari punti del Vaticano II costituiscano una rottura con la Tradizione e con il Magistero precedente - o
come minimo pecchino di ambiguità, implicazioni od omissioni - non hanno ascoltato i veri promotori e sbandieratori del Concilio che spudoratamente lo hanno ammesso. Padre Yves Congar, uno degli artefici della riforma, notava con soddisfazione che «la Chiesa ha fatto,joseph ratzinger pacificamente, la sua "Rivoluzione d’Ottobre"». Lo stesso Padre Congar affermava che la Dichiarazione del Vaticano II sulla libertà religiosa Dignitatis Humanæ è in contrasto con il Sillabo di Pio IX. A riguardo del paragrafo § 2 di detta Dichiarazione, egli ebbe a dire: «Non si può negare che un testo come questo dica materialmente qualcosa di diverso dal Sillabo del 1864, e addirittura quasi l'opposto delle proposizioni 15 e 77-79 di quel documento» . Recentemente, alcuni anni fa, il Cardinale Joseph Ratzinger, apparentemente non turbato dalla sua stessa ammissione, ha affermato di considerare il documento conciliare Gaudium et spes una specie di «contro-Sillabo»: «Se si volesse fare una diagnosi del testo (Gaudium et spes) nell'insieme, è probabile che diremmo che (in rapporto ai testi sulla libertà religiosa e sulle religioni del mondo) esso è una revisione del Sillabo di Pio IX, quasi una specie di contro-Sillabo [...]. Permetteteci di essere contenti di dire che il testo serve come un contro-Sillabo, così come esso rappresenta, da parte della Chiesa, un tentativo di riconciliazione ufficiale con la nuova era inaugurata dal 1789». La nuova epoca inaugurata dal 1789 consiste, in effetti, nell'elevazione dei Diritti dell'Uomo al di sopra dei diritti di Dio. In verità, un commento come quello del Cardinale Ratzinger è inquietante, specialmente quando proviene dal Prefetto della Sacra Congregazione per la Dottrina della Fede, la quale ha il compito di preservare la purezza della dottrina cattolica. Possiamo anche citare un'asserzione simile del progressista Cardinale Leo Iozef Suenens (1904-1996), a suo tempo Padre conciliare, il quale parlò in termini di «vecchi regimi» che sono terminati. Le parole che egli ha usato per elogiare il Concilio sono tra le più efficaci, le più agghiaccianti e le più schiaccianti. Suenens ha dichiarato che «il Vaticano II è stato la Rivoluzione Francese nella Chiesa»
.
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Continua il Monsignore...

"E quando ad un incontro di teologi – c’erano 150 teologi a Bruxelles – il cardinale Suenens ha detto: “il Concilio, è l’89 della Chiesa”! Ah ah, ma pensa, pensa, pensa, l’89 della Chiesa! (intendi: "il 1789 della Chiesa"-ndr) Tutto questo è sintomatico, è chiaro! E allora, per quanto mi riguarda, io soffro. Quando penso che talvolta qualche sacerdote amico, o molto ben sistemato, simpaticamente mi dice: “Ah no, no, no, non parlate male del Concilio, non parlate male del Concilio, ve ne supplico. Non del Concilio. Delle riforme, dell’interpretazione del Concilio, tutto ciò che volete, ma non del Concilio!”
Ma suvvia, è una fesseria! E’ in nome del Concilio che fanno le riforme. Tutte le riforme vengono fatte pubblicamente. Per farla breve, quando parlano della riforma della messa, quando parlano della riforma liturgica in nome di una certa idea, di una certa costituzione, di una certa dichiarazione, e ancora quando fanno tutte le trasformazioni politiche, è in nome della libertà religiosa. Quindi, per loro è tutto chiaro. Per loro, è il Concilio che vuole tutto questo. Bene, ma sono loro che hanno fatto il Concilio! Sono loro che lo hanno diretto!

Quando pensiamo che oggigiorno si pubblica ovunque, nelle riviste - l’avevo già visto in una rivista tedesca e l’ho ritrovato in una rivista italiana di Roma -  tutto il pedigree massonico del CardinaleLiénart, pubblicato con tanto di foto in piena Roma nella rivista Chiesa Viva, una rivista molto, molto, molto, vi confesso, molto moderata, una rivista che definirei di persone dai principi cattolici, o comunque di questo genere: allora, in una rivista di questo tipo, in piena Roma, foto di questo cardinale, tutte le sue appartenenze, tutti i suoi gradi e quando è salito da un grado all’altro, e tutte le logge di cui ha fatto parte, tutte queste cose… Si tratta, in pratica, di un uomo che ha guidato il gruppo liberale del Concilio e che ha dominato il Concilio; e costui è molto amico del Santo Padre, bisogna assolutamente dire le cose come stanno! Il cardinale Liénart, il cardinale Frings, il cardinale Alfrink, il cardinale Suenens erano amici del Santo Padre. Il cardinale Döpfner, è lui che lo ha nominato moderatore del Concilio, non possiamo negarlo. E’un dato di fatto che fossero amici del Santo Padre. E noi, noi siamo stati, si può dire, emarginati dal Concilio; noi che avevamo difeso la Tradizione, i 250 che difendevano la Tradizione sono praticamente rimasti orfani e mai abbiamo avuto alcuna eco presso il Santo Padre.

Il cardinale Larraona ha redatto un atto che ho conservato, e che vorrei pubblicare presto, con la risposta del Santo Padre, sulla collegialità, durante il Concilio. Si affronta il pericolo della collegialità, che è addirittura una democratizzazione episcopale, assolutamente pericolosa: il Santo Padre ha risposto: “Non capisco, non capisco cosa vogliate dire. E poi, nonostante tutto, la maggioranza dei vescovi è favorevole”. Cosa significa “la maggioranza dei vescovi è favorevole…”, è pazzesco! E così, da quel momento, il cardinale Larraona è stato perseguitato dal Santo Padre, ed è morto anche di dolore, quel povero cardinale Larraona, perseguitato, come pure il cardinale Ottaviani - che viene mandato in pensione adesso, ma che deve morire di dolore davanti a tutto ciò che succede – anche lui messo da parte; e il cardinale Palazzini, anche lui nominato per essere allontanato dalla Congregazione del Clero, anche lui ignorato. Non conta nulla a Roma. Lo stesso si dica per il cardinale Oddi. Tutti i Tradizionalisti sono stati scartati, nessuna funzione e tutti disgraziatamente, bisogna dire disgraziatamente, bocche tappate!

Allora, come diceva il cardinale Staffa, “ma aspettate, aspettate, state zitto, cambierà, cambierà, perché vi siete tanto affannato, a quale pro, per manifestare la vostra disapprovazione…” Ed io gli dissi: ”Ma, sentite, voi ora siete dietro la vostra scrivania, è tutto facile ovviamente, voi aspettate, dietro la vostra scrivania, aspettate ancora due o tre anni poi cambierà, vero?, ma tranquillamente, dietro la vostra scrivania di Presidente della Signatura Apostolica e così, nel frattempo, milioni di anime si perdono, vanno all’inferno a causa di questo abbandono dei cardinali e dei vescovi, anche tradizionalisti, che non dicono niente a nessuno”.
O come anche Monsignor Graber, che mi ha scritto ancora 15 giorni fa dicendomi:” Monsignore, vi supplico, accettate il Novus Ordo, accettate non so cosa, è gravissimo, sarete fuori dalla Chiesa, sarete…” Allora ho risposto dicendogli: “Ma senta, se giudicassi secondo il suo scritto Atanasio e la Chiesa di oggi, lei è ben più severo di me sul Concilio, lei parla delle influenze massoniche nel Concilio… Ma io non ne ho ancora mai parlato, ne parlo adesso perché la cosa comincia ad essere chiara, ma non ne ho mai parlato, è lei che ne ha parlato. E allora, come può chiedere proprio a me di accettare le riforme ed il Concilio che lei dice essere influenzati dalla massoneria. Come può farlo?”

Ebbene, è inaudito, sarebbe inaudito. Persino davanti a Monsignor Graber… E non parliamo ovviamente di D’Ambrois, di Monsignor Moriot, che voi conoscete, amici, amici fraterni direi: “Allora, Monsignore, sottomettetevi, sottomettetevi, andate a dire al Santo Padre che riconoscete ogni cosa, poi dopo andate sulla tomba di San Pietro a pregare e vedrete come stanno le cose, tutto si aggiusterà, e quando voi sarete…
Certo, come sosteneva Monsignor Benelli, che mi disse: “Monsignore, bisogna firmare, dovete sottoscrivere che vi siete sbagliato, che accettate il Concilio, che accettate tutte le riforme postconciliari, che accettate tutte le direttive di Roma, che accettate la nuova messa, - e mi mette in mano un messale del Novus Ordo – e che accettate di trascinarvi dietro tutti i vostri adepti…”
“Ma io non ho degli adepti, non ho degli adepti…”, risposi.
“Come? E tutti quelli che vi seguono?”
“Tutti quelli che mi seguono o che non mi seguono, sono tutti nella stessa situazione, si trovano tutti in una situazione della Chiesa che è intollerabile, che è inaccettabile, si perderà la fede, si diventerà protestanti. E allorareagiscono. Capita che per molti vescovi che hanno dei seminari io sia un esempio, un po’ come un faro in mezzo all’oceano. Allora, le persone che la pensano come noi si riuniscono, Ecône diventa un simbolo, ma non sono io che condiziono il loro modo di pensare, sono sufficientemente intelligenti da sapere che non ci si può sottomettere a ciò che capita attualmente nella Chiesa.  Vediamo bene che non è possibile, perché oggi ciò che Roma propone è avvelenato, sta succedendo qualcosa di molto grave, vogliono annientare le nostre anime, portandole alla perdizione.

Noi non vogliamo, non vogliamo nessuna religione universale, nessuna religione sincretista, nessuna religione mezzo massonica e mezzo non so cosa, sentimentale – vero? – che porterebbe all’unione di tutti gli uomini di tutte le religioni.
Non lo vogliamo, a nessun prezzo, a nessun prezzo! "

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Il cardinale Leo Suenens: «padrino» del Movimento Carismatico

Il «padrino» del «Movimento Carismatico» fu il cardinale Leo Suenens, arcivescovo della diocesi di Malines-Bruxelles.
Nel 1967, introdusse nella Chiesa cattolica l’eresia del «Pentecostismo», al quale cambiò il nome in «Rinnovamento Carismatico».
Il cardinale Suenes, nel Vaticano II fu uno degli arbitri occulti degli schemi sulla «libertà religiosa» e la «Chiesa nel mondo moderno», sulla Liturgia, sulla Collegialità…
Egli patrocinò, a Bruxelles, il Congresso Internazionale dell’Alta Massoneria ebraica dei B’nai B’rith; ricevette il «Premio Templeton» (Fondazione massonica metodista americana) con la seguente motivazione: «Per il suo contributo alla trasformazione delle strutture ecclesiastiche». Una delle sue «trasformazioni», da lui auspicata, fu: «Nulla si oppone, sul piano teologico, all’accesso delle donne al sacerdozio».
Inoltre, prese posizione contro l’enciclica «Humanae vitae», e a favore dei contraccettivi; lasciò che un parroco invitasse, a distribuire la Comunione, un prete apostata, fattosi pastore protestante; per di più, lo elevò al rango di «Decano»; impose la Comunione sulle mani; fece costruire chiese nuove senza alcuna possibilità di inginocchiarsi, parificandosi, così, ai protestanti che negano la Presenza Reale…
Di questo Prelato, «Il Borghese» del 26 ottobre 1969, (pagine  502-503) scrisse di un suo «matrimonio civile» (avvenuto prima o dopo il suo sacerdozio?).
Era questa, forse, la ragione per la quale voleva la reintegrazione dei «preti-sposati»?
Premesso tutto questo, è forse una sorpresa trovare il nome del cardinale Leo Suenens, nell’elenco dei 121 nomi di alti prelati della famosa «Lista Pecorelli», con tanto di data di iniziazione massonica: 15 giugno 1967; numero di matricola: 21/64; e sigla: LESU?.....
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Il seguente è un elenco di massoni ristampato con alcuni aggiornamenti dal Bulletin de l'Occidente Chrétien Nr.12, luglio, 1976, (Direttore Pierre Fautrad uno Fye - 72490 Bourg Le Roi.) Tutti gli uomini di questo elenco, se appartengono alla massoneria, sono scomunicati come da "Diritto Canonico 2338"....
  1. Albondi, Alberto. Bishop of Livorno, (Leghorn). Initiated 8-5-58; I.D. # 7-2431.
  2. Abrech, Pio. In the Sacred Congregation Bishops. 11-27-67; # 63-143.
  3. Acquaviva, Sabino. Professor of Religion at the University of Padova, (Padua). 12-3-69; # 275-69.
  4. Alessandro, Father Gottardi. (Addressed as Doctor in Masonic meetings.) President of Fratelli Maristi. 6-14-59.
  5. Angelini Fiorenzo. Bishop of Messenel Greece. 10-14-57; # 14-005.
  6. Argentieri, Benedetto. Patriarch to the Holy See. 3-11-70; # 298-A.
  7. Bea, Augustin. Cardinal. Secretary of State (next to Pope) under Pope John XXIII and Pope Paul VI.
  8. Baggio, Sebastiano. Cardinal. Prefect of the Sacred Congregation of Bishops. (This is a crucial Congregation since it appoints new Bishops.) Secretary of State under Pope John Paul II from 1989 to 1992. 8-14-57; # 85-1640. Masonic code name "SEBA." He controls consecration of Bishops.
  9. Balboni, Dante. Assistant to the Vatican Pontifical . Commission for Biblical Studies. 7-23-68; # 79-14 "BALDA."
  10. Baldassarri Salvatore. Bishop of Ravenna, Italy. 2-19-58; # 4315-19. "BALSA."
  11. Balducci, Ernesto. Religious sculpture artist. 5-16-66; # 1452-3.
  12. Basadonna, Ernesto. Prelate of Milan, 9-14-63; # 9-243. "BASE."
  13. Batelli, Guilio. Lay member of many scientific academies. 8-24-59; # 29-A. "GIBA."
  14. Bedeschi, Lorenzo. 2-19-59; # 24-041. "BELO."
  15. Belloli, Luigi. Rector of Seminar; Lombardy, Ita- ly. 4-6-58; # 22-04. "BELLU."
  16. Belluchi, Cleto. Coadjutor Bishop of Fermo, Italy. 6-4-68; # 12-217.
  17. Bettazzi, Luigi. Bishop of Ivera, Italy. 5-11-66; # 1347-45. "LUBE."
  18. Bianchi, Ciovanni. 10-23-69; # 2215-11. "BIGI."
  19. Biffi, Franco, Msgr. Rector of Church of St. John Lateran Pontifical University. He is head of this University and controls what is being taught. He heard confessions of Pope Paul VI. 8-15-59. "BIFRA."
  20. Bicarella, Mario. Prelate of Vicenza, Italy. 9-23-64; # 21-014. "BIMA."
  21. Bonicelli, Gaetano. Bishop of Albano, Italy. 5-12-59; # 63-1428, "BOGA."
  22. Boretti, Giancarlo. 3-21-65; # 0-241. "BORGI."
  23. Bovone, Alberto. Substitute Secretary of the Sacred Office. 3-30-67; # 254-3. "ALBO."
  24. Brini, Mario. Archbishop. Secretary of Chinese, Oriental, and Pagans. Member of Pontifical Commission to Russia. Has control of rewriting Canon Law. 7-7-68; # 15670. "MABRI."
  25. Bugnini, Annibale. Archbishop.Wrote Novus Ordo Mass. Envoy to Iran, 4-23-63; # 1365-75. "BUAN."
  26. Buro, Michele. Bishop. Prelate of Pontifical Commission to Latin America, 3-21-69; # 140-2. "BUMI."
  27. Cacciavillan, Agostino. Secretariat of State. 11-6-60; # 13-154.
  28. Cameli, Umberto. Director in Office of the Ecclesiastical Affairs of Italy in regard to education in Catholic doctrine. 11-17-60; # 9-1436.
  29. Caprile, Giovanni. Director of Catholic Civil Affairs. 9-5-57; # 21-014. "GICA."
  30. Caputo, Giuseppe. 11-15-71; # 6125-63. "GICAP."
  31. Casaroli, Agostino. Cardinal. Secretary of State (next to Pope) under Pope John Paul II since July 1, 1979 until retired in 1989. 9-28-57; # 41-076. "CASA."
  32. Cerruti, Flaminio. Chief of the Office of the University of Congregation Studies. 4-2-60; # 76-2154. "CEFLA."
  33. Ciarrocchi, Mario. Bishop. 8-23-62; # 123-A. "CIMA."
  34. Chiavacci, Enrico. Professor of Moral Theology, University of
          Vatican turns off its historic fountains due to drought in Italy        
The Holy See says it is shutting off 100 of its fountains because of Italy’s drought. More than 1 million residents of Rome are facing water rationing.
          Chairman of Ukrainian Parliament met with Cardinal Pietro Parolin        
On June 5, this year, Chairman of Ukrainian Parliament Andriy Parubiy met with Secretary of State of the Holy See (Head of Government) Cardinal Pietro Parolin.
          New English Missal: Archbishop Pell to chair international Vox Clara committee        
Michael Gilchrist

Following publication of the third Latin edition of the Roman Missal in March 2002 as the official standard for the liturgy, the next step was to make vernacular language editions available - including English.

To this end, on 20 April, Pope John Paul II announced the setting up of a new body representative of the world's English-speaking bishops' conferences - called the Vox Clara Committee. Its role, he said, was "to assist and advise the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments in fulfilling its responsibilities with regard to the English translations of liturgical texts."

The Committee, consisting of 12 bishops from such nations as the US, Canada, England, Ireland, Ghana, India, the Philippines and Australia, elected as its chairman Archbishop George Pell of Sydney.

Liturgiam Authenticam

John Paul II further directed that this Committee ensure "the texts of the Roman Rite are accurately translated in accordance with the norms of the Instruction Liturgiam Authenticam" and the process of completing an English translation of the new Roman Missal is completed "as soon as possible."

The Holy Father's concerns derive from the problems that have dogged the work of the International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL), the body set up to produce uniform English translations of liturgical texts under the supervision of representatives of the world's English-speaking bishops' conferences.

In practice, over the years since Vatican II, ICEL had taken on a life of its own, at times by-passing both the bishops' conferences and Rome in producing and publishing its sometimes free-wheeling, ideologically-driven translations.

Vatican dissatisfaction with ICEL came to a head in the form of a strongly-worded letter dated 26 October 1999 from Cardinal Jorge Medina Estévez, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments, to the Chairman of the Episcopal Board which oversees ICEL, Scotland's Bishop Maurice Taylor.

Cardinal Estévez wrote: "In its present form [ICEL] is not in a position to render to the bishops, to the Holy See and to the English-speaking faithful an adequate level of service." He pointed out that "ICEL texts often did not follow the original Latin closely enough; the process for developing, copyrighting and approving translations did not give bishops enough room for making changes and suggestions; and ICEL was writing its own material, not just translating Vatican-approved Latin texts."

Cardinal Estévez directed that ICEL's governing statutes "be revised thoroughly and without delay," adding that his Vatican office had communicated "for a number of years now ... concerns regarding an undue autonomy that has been observed in the translations prepared by ICEL."

Now, with the setting up of the Vox Clara Committee, Rome clearly wants to strengthen its supervision of ICEL's work while allowing for a more direct role for the world's English-speaking bishops' conferences.

Earlier, Australia's National Liturgical Commission had announced on 4 April 2002 that ICEL was expected to be forwarding a draft translation to Rome for approval before the end of the year. But any such text would need to embody the principles for translation set out in Liturgiam Authenticam.

In this regard, the Vox Clara Committee should be in a position to minimise any gaps in thinking between ICEL, the world's English-speaking bishops' conferences and the Holy See, thus eliminating needless delays in finalising the official translations - as has occurred in the past.

Close alignment to Liturgiam Authenticam by all concerned should ensure a common approach prevails, as this Vatican document, issued with the endorsement of John Paul II on 25 April 2001, leaves little margin for error: "The greatest prudence and attention are required in the preparation of liturgical books marked by sound doctrine, which are exact in wording [and] free from all ideological influence ...".

The document calls for a more literal approach to translation than has been ICEL's previous practice and stresses the importance of using a specifically sacral vocabulary: "While the translation must transmit the perennial treasury of orations by means of language understandable in the cultural context for which it is intended, it should also be guided by the conviction that liturgical prayer not only is formed by the genius of a culture, but itself contributes to the development of that culture. Consequently it should cause no surprise that such language differs somewhat from ordinary speech. Liturgical translation ... will facilitate the development of a sacral vernacular, characterised by a vocabulary, syntax and grammar that are proper to divine worship...".

It cited a number of examples of what it wanted in a revised English translation, e.g., "I believe" instead of "We believe" in the Creed.

Consultation

In a statement dated 24 April, the Vox Clara Committee outlined its role: to serve "as an instrument of consultation to assist the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments in its work for English-language translations of liturgical texts and to enhance and strengthen effective cooperation with the Conferences of Bishops." Archbishop Pell emphasised "the absolute need for translations of the Roman editiones typicae" to be "precise, theologically faithful and effectively proclaimable".

The Committee statement concluded that ICEL now faces a major challenge to renew its Statutes and structures in the light of the Instruction Liturgiam Authenticam, and to send "an unmistakable signal that the goal of achieving good liturgical translations is in sight".


          Cao Dai Temple in Tay Ninh, Vietnam: Is it Really Worth a Visit?        
Cao Dai Temple, also known as Holy See, is the center of Cao Dai faith, an indigenous Vietnamese religion that...
          Soul of a Nation review – the sorrowful, shattering art of black power        

Tate Modern, London
Searing artistic responses to the agony of America’s racial struggle sit alongside powerful abstracts by forgotten artists. This compelling show puts the battle for civil rights in a brutal, brilliant new light

Sam Gilliam’s 1969 painting April 4 is an epic cascade of purple tears, a huge curtain of sorrow. Agony stains it. Melancholy seeps through its delicate clouds of colour. You don’t need to know what its title means to be moved by it.

When you know it was painted to mark the first anniversary of the murder of Martin Luther King on 4 April 1968, this abstract painting becomes a funeral elegy for assassinated hopes. It is one of the most powerful things in an exhibition that unconvers an entire lost history of American art.

Continue reading...
          M.Aquilina commented on '"The cats are invading the Holy See"'        

I loved His Holiness Pope Benedict and now will Love him more being a catlover myself.


          andophiroxia commented on '"The cats are invading the Holy See"'        

Hey, he's a cat person, I like him already.

I wonder if he has seen the pic of my cat, Emy.


          Laurence Simon commented on '"The cats are invading the Holy See"'        

I'm eagerly awaiting the first authenticated Benedict katzen photo. ;)


          Walter E. Wallis commented on '"The cats are invading the Holy See"'        

There goes the dog owner vote!


                  

          Society of St Pius X (letter)        
Anthony Bono

John Young's reference to the Society of St Pius X (SSPX) as "unlawful" (November AD2000) was unfortunate (and debatable), especially for those Catholics like myself who have difficulty finding Novus Ordo parishes where liturgical abuses do not occur regularly, even at times putting the validity of Masses in doubt.

It is all very well if reverently celebrated Latin Masses, for those Catholics desiring them, are readily accessible with the blessing of the bishop - including ones celebrated by the Fraternity of St Peter. Some dioceses are fortunate in this regard.

But what is a Catholic to do - particularly in rural areas where distance is a major obstacle - when the choice is between what can amount to a liturgical circus of questionable validity or a Mass celebrated reverently and scrupulously by a SSPX priest?

The present status of the SSPX continues to be debated by scholars, and one hopes good sense ultimately prevails and reconciliation occurs in the not too distant future. The Church as a whole would benefit from the spiritual resources many SSPX priests and religious could offer were they in communion with the Holy See.

In any case, if a Greek or Russian Orthodox Mass were the only alternative to the kinds of aberrations flourishing in some dioceses, a Catholic would be entitled in conscience to prefer the more clearly valid sacraments of those churches, despite their schismatic situations.

If the SSPX is seen as a problem, the onus is on all bishops to ensure that the liturgical abuses identified in Redemptoris Sacramentum are eliminated without delay and that Latin Masses are made more widely available to those preferring them, as Pope John Paul II has requested.

ANTHONY BONO
Lake Munmorah, NSW


          Numbers of priests (letter)        
Frank Mobbs

The drought of priests in the Church has been dramatically exhibited in the statistics published by the Holy See for the year 2003.

During 2003 the number of Catholics throughout the world increased by 9.4 million. If one assumes that an adequate ratio of priests to Catholics is one priest for every thousand Catholics (1:1000), then an additional 9,400 priests was required in 2003. In fact there were no additional priests. That means that 9.4 million new Catholics have no one to provide pastoral care for them.

FRANK MOBBS
Gosford, NSW


          This Woman is Bat-S*it CRAZY.        
I’m a couple of days late in posting this, but here is a post about the LCWR and its planned speaker for thier upcoming convention. I am grateful for the intervention of the Holy See in thier affairs. It’s no … Continue reading
          What the Holy See told the UN about Middle East Christians        

New York City, N.Y. - The Middle East needs peace, human rights, and the continued presence of Christians, a Holy See diplomat told the U.N. Security Council Tuesday. “Christian communities have existed for over two thousand years in that region and have peacefully coexisted with the other communities. The Holy See urges the international community, through

The post What the Holy See told the UN about Middle East Christians appeared first on Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation.


          The Pope's too Pooped to Pop!        

It's Ash Wednesday, and it's the beginning of the Season of Lent. So what better topic to talk about than Pope Benedict XVI Abdicating the Holy See? Upon hearing this, I thought to myself how much of a shame that was because of all the good things this pope had to say about Martin Luther... So we speculate, "what would have happened if this pope had vacated Martin Luther's Excommunication?" We did also talk about Lent, and repentance, and doing good works.

 

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          Sowing Hatred by Teaching Doctrine?        
In this edition of Radical Grace we take time to clarify the historic position that Lutherans have confessed concerning who or what the Anti Christ is.  We talk about what our confessions say, and about how this same spirit of Anti Christ exists not just in Rome in the form of the Holy See, but also in Evangelicalism, obscuring the Gospel just as much as Rome does.

Also, a caller challenges us on this, stating that we shouldn't be sowing hatred in a time where religious hatred is rampant in the world. 

          Cardinal Parolin: Don’t Judge the Trump Administration Rashly        
By Edward Pentin | It’s still too early to judge the Trump administration, the Holy See must continue to pursue constructive and patient dialogue with both China and Russia, and nationalism risks emptying Europe of its values and reason for...
          Pope St. John Paul II’s Former Spokesman Navarro-Valls Dies at 80        
By Edward Pentin | Pope St. John Paul II’s former spokesman, Dr. Joaquìn Navarro-Valls, has died at the age of 80. His current successor, Holy See Press Office Director Greg Burke, announced the news this evening with the following...
          Cardinal Pell: I’m Looking Forward to Having My Day in Court        
By Edward Pentin | The Holy See has stressed the Secretariat for the Economy will continue its work after Pope Francis gave its prefect, Cardinal George Pell, a leave of absence to defend himself in court against sexual assault charges. Earlier on...
          The Church Around the World        

Ten Commandments and a just society

At his regular weekly audience on 25 January, Pope Benedict XVI said that God's law offered a blueprint for "peace and harmony in the world."

Speaking to 7,500 people in the Paul VI auditorium, the Pope called attention to the publication of his first encyclical, Deus Caritas Est, and the conclusion of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.

The Pope's address was a meditation on Psalm 143 (144), "the king's prayer", which, said Benedict, provided a vision of a time "when the voice of evil will finally be silent," with the complete victory of God's people. The text depicted an ideal society, marked by contented families, abundant crops, and "the entire civil community finally enjoying the precious gift of peace and of public order."

This vision could be realised, he said, only through "the work of the Messiah and his people" and could be reached only by making a clear choice to "take the side of God, of love and of justice." The psalmist says that he will play on a 10-stringed harp, and Benedict - following St Augustine, whose commentary he cited - interpreted that image as a reference to the Ten Commandments.

Psalm 143, the Pope concluded, calls believers to "sing a new song with the 10-stringed harp, to sing with the sentiments of Christ, to live the Ten Commandments in the dimension of love, and thus to contribute to a world of peace and harmony."

Catholic World News


Anglican group seeks full communion with Rome

The Traditional Anglican Communion, 400,000 laity and clergy separate from the Anglican Church, has drawn up detailed plans on how to come into full communion with the Holy See, according to a report in the US National Catholic Register on 24 December.

After 12 years of consultations, both internally and informally with the Vatican, the group - with the help of a Catholic layman - is preparing a "Pastoral Plan" asking the Vatican for an "Anglican Rite Church" that would preserve their Anglican heritage while allowing them to be "visibly united" with Rome.

The Traditional Anglican Communion's worldwide Primate, Archbishop John Hepworth, hoped the group's College of Bishops would approve the plan at a possible Synod in Rome.

The church's members are so far reportedly unanimous in their desire for full communion. If formally agreed, the proposal would then be presented to Vatican officials.

If Rome approves, the Traditional Anglican Communion, a worldwide ecclesial body based in Australia, could become the largest Anglican assembly to return to the Church since the Reformation.

In a statement released in 2005, Archbishop Hepworth, a former Catholic priest, said the denomination had "no doctrinal differences with Rome" that impeded full communion. "My broad vision is to see the end of the Reformation of the 16th century," he said.


Secular fundamentalism in Western countries

The President of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, Cardinal Julian Herranz, warned in Madrid in February against "ideological totalitarian tendencies" that can manifest themselves in democratic countries.

During a gathering marking the 40th anniversary of Vatican II's document on religious freedom, Dignitatis Humanae, the Cardinal warned against "the danger of agnostic totalitarianism or secular fundamentalism" which is evident in some governments that "pass laws or make statements that are harmful to religious freedom."

Cardinal Herranz noted with alarm the situation in "some democratic states that declare themselves non-sectarian but where there is a danger that secular fundamentalism might become a sort of state religion, a militant atheism that is undeclared but nevertheless real."

He said that such trends manifested themselves in the "progressive ethical impoverishment of civil laws and political agendas," resulting in the legalisation of abortion, euthanasia and drug use, as well as contempt for the indissolubility of marriage and the traditional family. Society is regressing because of this, he continued, as truth and error are placed on the same level, thus contributing to the establishing of "the dictatorship of relativism."

Catholic News Agency


European Union seeks to enforce same-sex marriage

The European Union (EU) Justice Affairs commissioner Franco Frattini announced in January at the EU Parliament in Strasburg that member states not eliminating all forms of "discrimination" against homosexuals, including the refusal to approve "marriage" and unions between same-sex couples, would face sanctions and eventual expulsion from the EU.

According to a report by the Archdiocese of Madrid's news service, Analisis Digital, the commissioner's statements came as the governments of Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and Poland ruled against legalising same-sex marriages.

"Homophobia is a violation of human rights and we are watching member states on this issue and reporting on cases in which our efforts have been unsuccessful," Frattini said. In this way "the Commission and the European Parliament seek to make any refusal to grant homosexual couples the same rights as a married couple a crime of 'homophobia'," the report warned.

Nevertheless, Analisis Digital reports that these proposals have been contested by Polish EU representative Jan Tadeusz Masiel, who called the adoption of children by homosexual couples "repulsive" and "shocking." Likewise, her fellow Polish EU representative, Barbara Kurdycka, said the EU Parliament had no business telling people what they should think about homosexuality.

Catholic News Agency


Compendium of the Catechism available soon

The new Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, a 200-page synthesis of the 1992 Catechism, will be available starting 31 March from the publishing office of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).

USCCB Publishing will launch the compendium in English and Spanish at the 2006 Los Angeles Religious Education Congress. The annual congress gathers more than 30,000 parish and diocesan leaders in faith education, liturgy and youth ministry.

The compendium consists of 598 questions and answers, a format similar to the very popular Baltimore Catechism, which was a standard text in many Catholic parishes and schools from 1885 to the 1960s.

Msgr Daniel Kutys, USCCB deputy secretary for catechesis, said the compendium was initially developed for the purpose of catechising teens and young adults. However, "the bishops on the Catechism Committee have recommended the text be used as a standard reference companion to which teachers and catechists refer their students in much the same way that they use Bibles for instruction," he said.

The compendium is structured in four parts, like the Catechism of the Catholic Church. The text has some direct quotes from the Catechism used as sidebars, but the questions and answers are original text.

In addition to the questions and answers, the compendium also includes two appendices. The first is a list of Catholic prayers. The second appendix contains "Formulas of Catholic Doctrine," including the Ten Commandments, Beatitudes, theological and cardinal virtues, and spiritual and corporal works of mercy. Fourteen masterpieces of Christian art are also reproduced in the text.

Catholic News Agency



          High-ranking Vatican cardinal charged with sex offenses        
SYDNEY — Australian police charged a top Vatican cardinal on Thursday with multiple counts of historical sexual assault offenses, a stunning decision certain to rock the highest levels of the Holy See. Cardinal George Pell, Pope Francis’ chief financial adviser and Australia’s most senior Catholic, is the highest-ranking Vatican official to ever be charged in...
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Vatican told to pay taxes as Italy tackles budget crisis

End of controversial property tax breaks leaves the Pope facing €600m-a-year bill


After several years of scandal in which the Catholic Church has faced allegations of financial impropriety, paedophile priests and rumours of plots to kill the Pope, the Vatican is now facing a new €600m-a-year tax bill as Rome seeks to head off European Commission censure over controversial property tax breaks enjoyed by the Church.

As the EC heads closer to officially condemning the fiscal perks enjoyed by the Catholic Church and introduced by the Berlusconi administration, Prime Minister Mario Monti has written to the Competition Commissioner, Joaquin Almunia, saying that the Vatican will resume property tax, or Ici, payments.

Mr Almunia said in 2010 that the exemption amounted to state aid that might breach EU competition law. A parliamentary proposal by the Italian Radicals party last August to repeal the exemption, with a successful petition on Facebook, upped the pressure. A spokesman for Mr Almunia appeared to give the thumbs-up yesterday: "It is a proposal that constitutes a significant progress on the issue and I hope will be implemented," he said.

"This is a victory for public pressure," said Mario Staderini, the leader of the Italian Radicals party. "We've managed to break down – a little bit – the wall protecting the Church."

The Vatican avoids Ici tax on about 100,000 properties, classed as non-commercial, including 8,779 schools, 26,300 ecclesiastical structures and 4,714 hospitals and clinics.

Estimates of its annual saving from avoiding the levy range widely from €600m to €2.2bn. The Church, however, says the tax exemption is worth only €100m a year. Neither is it clear from Mr Monti's comments how much Ici tax the Church will now have to pay.

Since 2005 church-run organisations have not been considered ordinary commercial structures and have been exempt. According to Corriere della Sera newspaper, tax authorities will judge how much of a property is used purely for religious purposes and tax it accordingly. Thus a church will remain exempt. But a hostel with a chapel would have to make contributions. In addition, Mr Monti said in his letter that by changing the law, and removing some of the church's exemption from Ici, he expected the EC to relent on demands that tax payments be backdated.

"We think the Church should have to pay the arrears," said Mr Staderini. "It should make the payment back to 2005. Given how much the Vatican stood to pay with arrears, I think they will not be that unhappy with the result."

Monsignor Domenico Pompili, a spokesman for the Italian Bishops Conference said the Church hoped the "social value" of their establishments would be taken into account.

Meanwhile, as the Vatican financial authorities do their sums and continue to lobby, the Holy See has announced an official investigation into a series of embarrassing leaks. After the child abuse and financial scandals of recent years, the prospects for another annus horribilis were underlined last week when a document emerged suggesting there was a plot to kill Pope Benedict XVI this year.

"It's now complete war inside the Vatican," said Robert Mickens, The Tablet's Rome correspondent, who has20 years' experience of reporting on the Vatican. "Things are falling apart."

The rancour has been blamed on manoeuvring surrounding the succession of Pope Benedict and the exceptional unpopularity of the current leadership.




          Return of the Vocations Crisis        

The recovery in priestly vocations seems to be over. Between 1978 and 2012, after the great crisis of the 1970s following Vatican II, seminaries around the world enjoyed a season of growth. The growth was not constant, nor was it uniform across countries and continents. But the trend was clear. Numbers revealed recently by the Central Office of Statistics of the Holy See show that in the past five years, the vocations crisis has returned.

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          Ecumenism, Influence-envy, Etc.         

Defending the indefensible is never pretty. Or so we’re reminded by recent attempts from the portside of the Catholic commentariat to defend the madcap analysis of America’s alleged “ecumenism of hate” that appeared last month in the Italian Catholic journal La Civilt à Cattolica (edited by the Jesuits of Rome and published after vetting by the Secretariat of State of the Holy See). The more sober-minded defenders admit that the article, jointly authored by Fr. Anthony Spadaro, SJ and Pastor Marcelo Figueroa, contains errors of fact and tendentious interpretations of recent history—but they go on to suggest that it raises important questions. How, though, are serious questions raised, much less clarified or answered, by falsifications of both history and contemporary reality?

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          Faith Or Fallacy: Dangers of the Supernatural        

pope

[vc_row][vc_column width="1/1"][vc_column_text]In recent years, the Holy See assigned a committee to review the apparitions of Medjugorje to determine whether the alleged phenomenon there is worthy of belief or not. In 1981, six children from Medjugorje claimed to have begun receiving messages from our Blessed Mother, and since then, thousands of pilgrims have flocked to the city, yearly, to witness the supposed supernatural occurrences. Stories of various miracles have spawned over the years, but doubt and controversy have also sprouted from the city. In fact, various Catholic news sites are reporting that the Holy See is apparently leaning toward declaring the apparitions unworthy of belief due to a lack of willingness on the part of the visionaries to visit with members of the Holy See. http://www.catholic.org/news/international/europe/story.php?id=60435   As human beings, the realm of the supernatural constantly intrigues us. As Christians, that fascination is multiplied by our battle with Principalities and Powers which Christ warns us of. It is easy to fall into the trap of becoming too enamored of supernatural occurrences and lose sight of the fact that the real foundation of our faith is the Word of Christ in Scripture and the teachings of the Catholic Church. Paintings and statues have dripped oil and tears throughout the ages; our Blessed Mother has appeared in different parts of the world with prophetic and spiritual messages; and it is easy for us to get lured into focusing more on these happenings than it is for us to give heed to the basis of our faith.   As the Catechism of the Catholic Church states, though: 67 Throughout the ages, there have been so-called "private”  revelations, some of which have been recognized by the authority of the Church.  They do not belong, however, to the deposit of faith. It is not their role to improve or complete Christ's definitive Revelation, but to help live more fully by it in a certain period of history. Guided by the Magisterium of the Church, the sensus fidelium knows how to discern and welcome in these revelations whatever constitutes an authentic call of Christ or his saints to the Church.   Christian faith cannot accept "revelations" that claim to surpass or correct the Revelation of which Christ is the fulfillment, as is the case in certain non-Christian religions and also in certain recent sects which base themselves on such "revelations." [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]
          The Church Around the World        

Possibility of Synod on the Eucharist in 2004

John Paul II wants to "purify worship of deformations"

At his regular weekly public audience on 26 February, Pope John Paul II focused on the need for reverence and beauty in the liturgy. He said that Catholics should undertake an "examination of conscience" regarding the liturgy.

The Pope continued: "We must pray to God not only with theologically precise words, but also with beauty and dignity ... It is necessary to purify worship of deformations, of careless forms of expression, of ill-prepared music and texts, which are not very suited to the grandeur of the act being celebrated."

The Pope's growing concern about liturgical abuses has led to the organisation of a Synod of Bishops devoted to the Eucharist; that meeting is likely to be held in October 2004. The Holy Father will also publish an encyclical on the Eucharist on 17 April, with a Vatican "doctrinal note" to accompany the encyclical.

In announcing that the next ordinary meeting of the Synod would focus on the Eucharist, the Vatican pointed to the "grave concern of the Pope and the Roman Curia" regarding doctrinal and liturgical abuses centring on the Eucharist, which is "the central focus of the Catholic faith." The next meeting of the Synod of Bishops will be the seventh ordinary general assembly called by Pope John Paul II.

Each meeting of the Synod is followed by the publication of an apostolic exhortation in which the Pope summarises the conclusions of the assembled prelates. The apostolic exhortation concluding the work of the 2001 Synod, on the role of bishops, is expected later this year.


Vocations urgent in Latin America

Holy See's statistics highlight problem

Vocations are the priority of the Catholic Church in Latin America, the Holy See says.

Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re and Bishop Cipriano Calderon, president and vice president, respectively, of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America, highlighted this priority in a letter sent on the occasion of the Day of Spanish-speaking America. The event was observed on 2 March in the dioceses of Spain.

"John Paul II has indicated as a priority for Latin America 'the fomenting and care of vocations,' given that that continent 'still needs many more priests,'" the message sent by the commission states.

Many villages in Latin America only have Mass once a month because of the shortage of priests. According to the Church's Statistical Yearbook, there are 20,874 baptised Catholics per priest in Cuba, 14,035 in Honduras and 10,809 in Nicaragua. By comparison, in Ireland there are 870 Catholics per priest, in the United States 1,312, in Spain 1,362, and in Italy 1,017.

Zenit News Service


Pope meets Romanian bishops

Work with Orthodox to restore Christian Europe

In a meeting with the bishops of Romania, who were making their ad limina visit to Rome in March, Pope John Paul II has said that Catholics of both Eastern and Western rites should work together with the Orthodox faithful in building a new European society.

The Holy Father also urged the Romanian bishops to be on guard against the dangers of modern society, including egotism, consumerism and forms of moral licence that undermine family life. Pointing towards Romania's candidacy for a place in the European Union - a step that is scheduled to be taken in 2007 - he said that the people of Romania should help to preserve the Christian patrimony of the continent.

John Paul II's emphasis on Europe's spiritual patrimony was a familiar theme - one that he has raised repeatedly in recent months. As the young European Union works to draft its constitution, the Pope and the Vatican have lobbied heavily in favour of an explicit recognition of the role that the Christian faith has played in the formation of European society, and the rights that religious bodies should have in the new European Union.

Valery Giscard d'Estaing, the former French President who now heads a committee drafting the European constitution, has assured the Holy Father that the document will recognise the role of faith.

In his discussion of the dangers posed by modern society, the Pope again mentioned a familiar list of problems: divorce, abortion and the decline of family life. These problems can only be resolved, he said, through a new evangelisation, igniting the fervour of the country's Christian population.

He also noted the tensions that have persisted between Catholics - especially those of the Byzantine-rite Romanian Catholic Church - and the Orthodox faithful of Romania. He urged Catholic leaders to redouble their efforts towards a rediscovery of Christian unity, so that Romania could be a "spiritual laboratory, where the riches of undivided Christianity can show all their glory."

Eastern-rite Catholics account for about five percent of the population of Romania, while the Romanian Orthodox Church claims nearly 85 percent. The Romanian Catholic Church was brutally suppressed by the Communist regime, and parish properties confiscated by the state and handed over to Orthodox clerics. Relations between the two bodies have been strained, since the fall of the Communist regime, by disputes over the ownership of these properties today.

Catholic World News


TMC Autumn School for Adelaide

Archbishop Wilson to speak on vocations

Following the success of a similar event in 2002, the Thomas More Centre will conduct its Autumn School in Adelaide in April.

"The Hope That is in You" will develop the themes of the Holy Father's address to youth at the beginning of International Youth Year in 1985. Speakers will include Archbishop Philip Wilson on vocations, well-known Melbourne educator, Anna Krohn, on "Love and Responsibility", and National Vice-President of the TMC, Pat Byrne, on the lay apostolate. Other topics covered will focus on prayer, Christian service and political and social responsibility.

The Autumn School will run from Friday evening, 11 April, and conclude on Saturday the 12th with a casual dinner and the film Witness to Hope - on the life of Pope John Paul II.

Attendance is by donation. All young people from Year 11 age upward are encouraged to attend. Bookings are essential and can be made by phoning Paul Russell on 8379 0246 or 0413 702 854



          Convention on the Conservation        
The Bern Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats 1979, also known as the Bern Convention (or Berne Convention), came into force on June 1, 1982. It has now been signed by all member states of the Council of Europe – except San Marino and Russia – as well as by the European Union, Burkina Faso, Morocco, Tunisia and Senegal. Algeria, Belarus, Cape Verde, the Holy See, San Marino and Russia are among non-signatories that have observer status at meetings of the ...
          Be Sealed With The Gift of the Holy Spirit        
Last night was Evans's Confirmation Mass at St. Rose. He's been preparing for it for some time now (of course). Last year he attended his Religious Ed classes at St. Joe's. This year he went to weekly YRE classes at St. Rose on Monday nights. Along the way he had to memorize material and pass tests and complete hours (about 20 I think) of community service.The culmination was last night.

Cathy and I were very proud of him for all he had done to prepare and the serious approach he took to the sacrament. (In the picture you can see how serious he looks.)

When the moment of his confirmation came, he stepped forward boldly. Deacon Bassett announced his chosen name and the Monsignor said, "Ferdinand, be sealed with the gift of the Holy Spirit."

Evan answered a firm, "Amen".

The Monsignor embraced him saying, "Peace be with you" and Evan answered (again firmly) "And also with you."

Pictured with him in the photo on the right are his sponsor (behind him) and the back of Deacon Bassett's head. The Monsignor is somewhat hidden as a result of the angle from which I shot the photo.

Those who are familiar with the Faith may be wondering why the Monsignor administered the sacrament. After all, the Bishop is the usual Minister of Confirmation.

The answer is simple, really. We are presently Bishop-less. Bishop Neiderhauer was assigned to be an Arch-Bishop in California and the Holy See hasn't named a replacement yet. The Diocesan administrator delegated the task of confirmation to Monsignor Bonnell. So, EBC has received all of his sacraments thus far from the same priest. Pretty cool, huh?
          C4RH: Taking a page (and money) from the abortion lobby        
They call themselves Catholics, but they readily admit that their pro-contraception positions don’t agree with the Magisterium. With help from a few dissenting clergy, they are building their own teaching authority, insisting at the same time on the authenticity of their Catholic faith. They organize and hold rallies and protests. They align themselves publicly and privately with known liberal politicians, atheists, agnostics, church/religion haters, ultra-feminists and the LGBT crowd. They rely heavily on funding from population controllers and other anti-life sources like Planned Parenthood and the Ford, Packard and Hewlett Foundations. They bash the bishops and the Pope every chance they get, and habitually twist and manipulate anything coming out of the Vatican.

This is Catholics for RH (C4RH), the mish-mash of academics, lapsed and nominal Catholics, and kibitzers out to undermine the official Church position on the controversial Reproductive Health (RH) bill. But that’s not the story. Looking a bit beyond the local group that has made itself a champion for the RH bill, you'll find that these “Catholics in name only” learned these strategies from a well-funded foreign mentor, and learned them well.

Their mentor, with whom C4RH's leaders have enjoyed a rather chummy relationship for a while now, is none other than the dissident US pro-abortion group Catholics for Choice.

Catholics for Choice was founded by abortion lobbyists in 1970, under the name “Catholics for the Elimination of All Restrictive Abortion and Contraceptive Laws”. Nine years and a name change later (to Catholics for a Free Choice), Frances Kissling became its president. Kissling is vigorously pro-abortion, envisioning a huge underground of activist women “learning how to do menstrual extractions and vacuum aspiration abortions, mothers teaching their daughters, sub rosa classes at campus women's centers."  She started out as an abortion clinic director in Pelham, New York, eventually becoming the founding director of the National Abortion Federation. She was so good at what she did that abortion equipment manufacturer IPAS enlisted her help in establishing illegal abortion clinics around the world.  IPAS’ illegal activities including circumventing countries’ abortion laws, were confirmed, documented and reported by Harvard professor Donald P. Warwick in his 1980 report Foreign Aid for Abortion.

It is no surprise that Kissling found a kindred spirit in Junice Demeterio-Melgar, pro-RH lobbyist and head of Likhaan. Melgar, like Kissling, nonchalantly brags about her network of underground abortionists. Note the following exchange in a 2002 interview with Frances Kissling:

Sharpless Not to sound naïve, but how do you open an illegal clinic?
Kissling You find a doctor who is willing to do abortions. That’s the first thing, find a
doctor. Now they already had the doctor for Mexico. And you rent a space and
you start doing abortions.
Sharpless What keeps the government from shutting it down?
Kissling What kept the government from shutting down illegal providers in the United
States of America prior to 1970? Bribes and a lack of political will. There’s never been a real political will to stop illegal abortions.

Now here’s an interview with Melgar in a 2006 video produced by Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy:  

Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy: Dr. Melgar said that faced with stories like Remy's, she had   no option but to give advice on abortions, despite what the law said.

Junice Melgar: Eventually, we give them information about the safe abortion. We also warn them against unsafe practices that could kill them.

Chinoy: But you.. But you know of service providers -- safe service providers -- who would look after these poor women and give them a proper abortion?

Melgar: Yes. I think most women's NGOs would have contact. I think if you really are pro-women you would have contact to these services that are underground.

In a country like the Philippines where corruption is rampant at all levels of government, the Melgars of the world could operate without much opposition, and have. Like two peas in a pod, Kissling and Melgar are so attuned to each other that they even collaborated on a statement in 2004 addressed to the Holy See and titled “The Holy See and the Convention on the Rights of the Child in the Republic of the Philippines”. Like most pro-choice activists, both women see the church as an institution that has run its course and needs to go. Kissling has dedicated most of her life doing her best to make this happen. In an interview with Mother Jones in 1991, she reveals that she has “spent twenty years looking for a government that [she] could overthrow without being thrown in jail. I finally found one in the Catholic church." Agitprop specialist Carlos Celdran might have fared better had he taken a page or two from Frances Kissling.

In 1984, Kissling hit the jackpot when Catholics for Choice took out a full page ad in the New York Times, speaking of plurality on the issue of abortion among the Catholic faithful. Prior to this, their funding was a measly $20,000 a year, mostly from the Unitarian Universalists, but the ad catapulted the dissident group to notoriety and money began pouring in like never before. That Catholics for Choice has been repeatedly denounced by the US bishops became further incentive for moneyed anti-life organizations to support the group.

In 2007, Kissling stepped down from her throne and handed the reins to long-time fan and sycophant Jon O'Brien. O'Brien has prepared well for the position, having been a spokesperson and information officer for the Irish Family Planning Association and program manager for the International Planned Parenthood Federation in London prior to his appointment at Catholics for Choice.

Both Kissling and O'Brien have developed quite the arsenal in their work at Catholics for Choice, and funding increases through the years have enabled them to train dissident Catholic groups around the globe. The Philippine C4RH and passage of the Philippine RH bill have been special pet projects for O'Brien, who sees the “challenges” the Catholic Church presents as similar to those he had to deal with in his native Ireland. Since taking over at Catholics for Choice, he has nurtured dissident Catholics, meeting with them in the US at least once a year and even coming to Manila for a training workshop in November 2009.  A $10,000 grant isn’t pocket change after all.  He met with leaders Luz Francess “Bicbic” Chua and Magdalena Lopez in the US in 2010.  Chua and Lopez had the special privilege of paying a visit to Planned Parenthood Columbia Willamette’s spanking new facilities built that year to accommodate the organization’s administrative headquarters.

Planned Parenthood, of course, is known worldwide as the foremost provider of abortion services. Funded by mostly US taxpayer money and private donations from anti-life organizations, Planned Parenthood then turns around and donates money to building more abortuaries locally and internationally. Both Likhaan and Catholics for Choice have been beneficiaries of Planned Parenthood's “generosity”.

In the interest of helping C4RH's quest to pass the RH bill, Catholics for Choice has spoonfed them anti-Catholic articles and other materials to continue the work of attacking the Church. C4RH training graduates like Elizabeth Angsioco give the material extra mileage as she posts her regular weekly Catholic bashes at Manila Standard Today. Individually and as a group, they continue to reinterpret church teaching to suit their purposes, and make sure they do it loudly to convince people that it's the official Catholic position, even when it's not. Hence the fallacious argument that having as few as two children via contraception and sterilization is also “pro-life” as it is “pro-quality of life”, disregarding the efficacy and benefits of Natural Family Planning. The $75,000 received by Catholics for Choice from the Wallace Global Fund in 2009 to promote RH in the Philippines, specifically for “opposition research” is well-utilized indeed.

Why, the reader may ask, would Catholics do this? The answer is simple. Stubbornly clinging to the name “Catholic” puts these dissident pro-choicers in the unique position of being able to attack the Church in ways that anti-Catholic or secular sources cannot. They can vilify the church they supposedly love without being branded anti-religion. Unfortunately, it is a strategy that works on the confused and/or poorly-catechized Catholics, and provides avowed atheists and other non-Catholic entities the oomph they need to further the anti-life cause, even and especially in the face of church opposition. By redefining the authentic Catholic definition of conscience, and by working to prevent conscience clauses from being passed, they ensure that this generation of Catholics and subsequent generations further lose their sense of direction.
In the global arena, Catholics for Choice has campaigned heavily to downgrade the Holy See's Permanent Observer status at the United Nations. Locally, this means that Catholics for Choice and its trained minions has and will continue to undermine Church authority, with the ultimate goal of eliminating its influence on the culture at large.  

Interestingly, there is an item on which C4RH and Catholics for Choice don't seem to see eye to eye. While C4RH insists that the RH bill isn't about abortion, Jon O'Brien professes that “access to safe and legal abortion will always be necessary, no matter what preventative measures are available. Contraception fails, people get carried away, fetal anomalies occur, women’s circumstances change.” Or perhaps, as history has shown in most countries, legalized contraception is only the first step. Legalized abortion can always follow shortly thereafter, and has.  

Catholics for Choice, and consequently, Catholics for RH, operate on the premise that Church teaching should change with the times. They will continue to do everything in their power to bring about that change.  So far, they have failed in this mission.  They may have a long list of arguments against Church teaching, but all of these boil down to two:  1) most Catholics do not agree with Church teaching on contraception and abortion, and therefore the Magisterium doesn’t hold the final authority on these and 2) the priests have not been preaching about these things from the pulpit so it must be that the Vatican actually agrees with the pro-choice position. What these pretend Catholics conveniently choose to forget are the millions of Catholics who try to live their faith, fully and authentically, every single day.  Disagreement with the Church on Her teachings doesn’t make the dissenter right, it just makes the dissenter a dissenter.


References:

Fifth Progress Report:  Abortion.  The All-Party Oireachtas Committee on the Constitution.  Dublin 2000. Web. <http://www.constitution.ie/reports/5th-Report-Abortion.pdf>

Harvey, Brett. "The Morning After." Mother Jones Magazine May 1989: 27+. Web.

"Frances Kissling." Interview by Rebecca Sharpless. Population and Reproductive Health Oral History Project. Sophia Smith Collection, Smith College. Web. <http://www.smith.edu/library/libs/ssc/prh/transcripts/kissling-trans.pdf>.

Warwick, Donald P. "Foreign Aid for Abortion." The Hastings Center 10.2 (1980): 30-37. Print.

City of Guilt. Dir. Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy. Perf. Junice Demeterio-Melgar.
<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uX2Bgc5VKzU>. Sharmeen Obaid Films. Web.

Likhaan, Child Justice League and Catholics for a Free Choice.  The Holy See and the Convention on the Rights of the Child in the Republic of the Philippines. Rep. Web.
<http://www.crin.org/docs/resources/treaties/crc.39/Philippines_CFFC_ngo_report.doc>

Theodorou, Naomi.  â€œHail Frances.” Mother Jones Magazine May-June 1991: 11.  Web.

Woods, Jr., Thomas E. The War on Faith: How Catholics for Choice Seeks to Undermine the Catholic Church. Rep. New York: Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute, 2009. Web.

National Catholic Conference of Bishops. Abortion and “Free Choice”:  Statement of the NCCB Committee on Doctrine. Nov. 1984.  Web.

United States Catholic Conference of Bishops.  NCCB/USCC President Issues Statement on Catholics for a Free Choice.  May 2000.  Web.

Lopez, Magdalena M.  Philippines’ Achievements Year One.  Report to IIE-LDM.  2009. Web.

"Annual Report." Planned Parenthood. Web. 03 Jan. 2012.
<http://www.plannedparenthood.org/about-us/annual-report-4661.htm>

Simon, Stephanie. "Planned Parenthood: By the Numbers." Business News & Financial News - The Wall Street Journal - Wsj.com. The Wall Street Journal. Web. 03 Jan. 2012.
<http://s.wsj.net/public/resources/documents/info-flash08.html?project=FORTRESS0806>.

Banerjee, Neela.  â€œBacking Abortion Rights While Keeping the Faith.”  The New York Times February 27, 2007.  Web.

Form 990.  Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax.  Planned Parenthood, 2007.  Web. <http://www.plannedparenthood.org/files/PPFA990_2007.pdf>.

Catholics for Choice. Catholic Organizations Call on Secretary Sebelius to Include Contraception as a Preventive Method under Affordable Care Act (ACA). 26 July 2011. Web.

O’Brien, Jon.  â€œReducing the Need for Abortion.”  Conscience Magazine 30.1 (2011).  Web.






          Belgian child sex abuse victims sue Catholic church        
GHENT, Belgium (AFP) – Dozens of victims of a child sex scandal in the Belgian Catholic church on Wednesday announced the launch of legal action against the Holy See, the first such suit in Europe. Lawyers and victims said at a news conference a summons was on its way to Rome as well as to Belgian b...
          How Pope Francis Became A Foreign Policy Player        
When Pope Francis travels to the Greek island of Lesbos on Saturday, he will likely bring with him a sharp rebuke for Europe's response to the migrant crisis. In 2013, on his very first papal trip, he traveled to Lampedusa to decry the "globalization of indifference" toward refugees and migrants. The Italian island — closer to Tunisia than to Italy — was then the major gateway to Europe for hundreds of thousands of migrants making the perilous sea crossing on smugglers' boats from North Africa. The pope laid a wreath in memory of the thousands who died at sea. And he lamented that no one had the courage to take responsibility for Europe's immigration dilemma. That 2013 trip, and the message that Pope Francis carried with him, was one of the first signs of a more assertive and less predictable Vatican stance on the global stage. Throughout the Cold War, the Vatican remained firmly in the Western camp. With Pope Francis, the first pope from the Global South, the Holy See showed his
          Catholic News Digital Archive launched - National Archives’ users to have free access        

In commemoration of the 125th anniversary of the Catholic News, the Catholic News Digital Archives was formally launched on 17 July 2017 at the Apostolic Nunciature of the Holy See, St. Clair, Trinidad.

The digital archive was an initiative of the Catholic Media Services (CAMSEL) with financial support from the Holy See/Vatican. The project was completed in collaboration with the National Archives at its Reprographics Lab, using part of its Catholic News collection - 1892 -2012. 

The Catholic News is the Archdiocesan newspaper which started in May 1892 at the Holy Name Convent, #33 St Ann’s Road, Port of Spain (Queen’s Park East).  It is Trinidad and Tobago’s oldest newspaper in circulation and the second oldest in the Anglophone Caribbean, after the Gleaner. In 1910 the Catholic News office moved to No. 34 Belmont Circular Road and in 1975 the office and its staff of six moved to No. 31 Independence Square Port of Spain. The first editor was Charles Williams.

The Catholic News Digital Archives will now give easy and quick access to documentation of 125 years of the life and history of Trinidad and Tobago and of the Catholic and Christian communities. It will be an indispensable tool for both local and foreign researchers.

Online access is free until 17 September 2017 after which there will be nominal costs associated with three tiers of membership: three months, six months and annual.

Online access will be available free of charge to users of the National Archives at its premises at #105 St. Vincent Street, Port of Spain.

 

Catholic News Digital Archive launched

Belinda James, one of the CAMSEL's Board of Directors makes a presentation to Avril Belfon, Government Archivist, National Archives of Trinidad and Tobago. 


 

Dr Kwynn Johnson, Curator of the 125-year Catholic News Digital Archive, along with Mr Malachi Alexis and Ms Deborah Best of the National Archives at the National Archives’ Reprographics Lab. Photo by Mark Lyndersay.

Dr Kwynn Johnson, Curator of the 125-year Catholic News Digital Archive, along with Mr Malachi Alexis and Ms Deborah Best of the National Archives at the National Archives’ Reprographics Lab. Photo by Mark Lyndersay.

 

Janice Jeffrey of the Conservation Lab, National Archives,  prepares issues of the Catholic News for preservation. Photo by Mark Lyndersay.

Janice Jeffrey of the Conservation Lab, National Archives,  prepares issues of the Catholic News for preservation. Photo by Mark Lyndersay.


          Comment on President Trump to Name Callista Gingrich Ambassador to Vatican by Denis Brown-Bouvier        
If Trump is going to name Calista Gingrich the ambassador to The Holy See, she should wear a big red letter "A" on her clothes, so everyone will know she is an.... ambassador
          Comment on Drop The Truth 09: Alex Nicholson by The Holy See        
This guy fucking rocks.
          MOTHER TERESA        
Born: August 26, 1910
Died: September 5, 1997
Achievements: Started Missionaries of Charity in 1950; received Nobel Prize for Peace in 1979; received Bharat Ratna in 1980.

Mother Teresa was one of the great servants of humanity. She was an Albanian Catholic nun who came to India and founded the Missionaries of Charity in Kolkata. Later on Mother Teresa attained Indian citizenship. Her selfless work among the poverty-stricken people of Kolkata (Calcutta) is an inspiration for people all over the world and she was honored with Nobel Prize for her work.

Mother Teresa's original name was Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu. She was born on August 27, 1910 in Skopje, Macedonia. Her father was a successful merchant and she was youngest of the three siblings. At the age of 12, she decided that she wanted to be a missionary and spread the love of Christ. At the age of 18 she left her parental home in Skopje and joined the Sisters of Loreto, an Irish community of nuns with missions in India.

After a few months of training at the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Dublin Mother Teresa came to India. On May 24, 1931, she took her initial vows as a nun. From 1931 to 1948, Mother Teresa taught geography and catechism at St. Mary's High School in Calcutta. However, the prevailing poverty in Calcutta had a deep impact on Mother Teresa's mind and in 1948, she received permission from her superiors to leave the convent school and devote herself to working among the poorest of the poor in the slums of Calcutta.
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After a short course with the Medical Mission Sisters in Patna, she returned to Calcutta and found temporary lodging with the Little Sisters of the Poor. She started an open-air school for homeless children. Soon she was joined by voluntary helpers, and she received financial support from church organizations and the municipal authorities. On October 7, 1950, Mother Teresa received permission from the Vatican to start her own order. Vatican originally labeled the order as the Diocesan Congregation of the Calcutta Diocese, and it later came to known as the "Missionaries of Charity". The primary task of the Missionaries of Charity was to take care of those persons who nobody was prepared to look after.

The Missionaries of Charity, which began as a small Order with 12 members in Calcutta, today has more than 4,000 nuns running orphanages, AIDS hospices, charity centres worldwide, and caring for refugees, the blind, disabled, aged, alcoholics, the poor and homeless and victims of floods, epidemics and famine in Asia, Africa, Latin America, North America, Poland, and Australia. In 1965, by granting a Decree of Praise, Pope Paul VI granted Mother Teresa permission to expand her order to other countries. The order's first house outside India was in Venezuela. Presently, the "Missionaries of Charity" has presence in more than 100 countries.

Mother Teresa's work has been recognised and acclaimed throughout the world and she has received a number of awards and distinctions. These include the Pope John XXIII Peace Prize (1971), Nehru Prize for Promotion of International Peace & Understanding (1972), Balzan Prize (1978), Nobel Peace Prize (1979) and Bharat Ratna (1980).

On March 13, 1997, Mother Teresa stepped down from the head of Missionaries of Charity and died on September 5, 1997, just 9 days after her 87th birthday. Following Mother Teresa's death, the Holy See began the process of beatification, the second step towards possible canonization, or sainthood. This process requires the documentation of a miracle performed from the intercession of Mother Teresa. In 2002, the Vatican recognized as a miracle the healing of a tumor in the abdomen of an Indian woman, Monica Besra, following the application of a locket containing Teresa's picture. Monica Besra said that a beam of light emanated from the picture, curing the cancerous tumor. Mother Teresa was formally beatified by Pope John Paul II on October 19, 2003 with the title Blessed Teresa of Calcutta. A second miracle is required for her to proceed to canonization.
          Poor Bishop Nienstedt        
My good friend Bishop Nienstedt is not a happy man. He called me late last night. He is furious about an article that just came out through the Associated Press. You can click on this to read it. He told me that the article makes him sound like an idiot.

He is quoted: "I don't know where the document is," Nienstedt said in a phone interview Wednesday. "My understanding from the congregation was that it would come out soon."

John said he talked to the reporter for nearly half an hour, mostly about the state of seminaries in the United States. At the very end, the reporter asked about the Vatican document, and Bishop Nienstedt basically said he didn't know anything about it. And, of course, the reporter chose that sentence to put in the article.

Poor Bishop Nienstedt. He has this same problem every time he talks to reporters. When he did an interview in Rome last year on the Apostolic Visitations, he had to write the Holy See and apologize for what was printed in the resulting article. He says he'll be damned if he ever talks to a reporter again. I told him it wasn't that bad, but, well, I'm just glad it wasn't me!
          The Sad End of the Priestly Ministry of Mr. Roy Bourgeois        
Disobedience and preaching against the teaching of the Catholic Church about women's ordination led to his excommunication, dismissal and laicization. Then Fr. Bourgeois engaged in an obstinate crusade which involved public and direct defiance of the Holy See and a repudiation of the unbroken teaching of the Magisterium of the Catholic Church concerning sacred ordination. MARYKNOLL, N.Y. (Catholic Online) - The short Press Release from the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers confirmed some sad news on Monday, November 19, 2012. The priestly ministry of Roy Bourgeois has come to an end: ***** FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEThe Congregation For The Doctrine Of The...
          New Pope to be Chosen by Celebrity MasterChef        

Sources from Vatican City have stunned the world on Monday, not only by announcing His Holiness Benedict XVI had resigned, but also that the next pope would be selected from a list of candidates participating in a special edition of Celebrity MasterChef.

“It’s been 600 years since someone last resigned from the papacy. To our knowledge no ruler of the Holy See has ever been selected by a televised cook-off,” announced Vatican spokesman Frederico Lombardi.

The series, set to be advertised next month with the tagline of “Vatican or Vatican’t?”, will feature a number of prominent celebrities who have nominated themselves and been approved by the Conclave.

“While traditionally the only requirements to become a pope are that the candidate be a male Catholic, we are excited to expand our range to connect with the world’s population, while still maintaining Catholic values. Chris Brown, for example, was one of the first to volunteer for the competition. He shows such clear disregard for women’s rights that he was an obvious choice,” Lombardi explains

“Plus I hear he makes an excellent soufflé.”

Other participants in the competition currently include Queens Park Rangers manager Harry Redknapp, who can “always find top ingredients for a good price”, and QI presenter Stephen Fry, who “makes a fine Ratzinger Ratatouille, a staple of the papal.”

Judges John Torode and Gregg Wallace claim that current West Ham United manager Sam Allardyce, who is “usually able to get the best from old ingredients”, has an excellent chance having seen him in the preliminary rounds.

“He showed a real boldness about his cooking, creating a delicious selection of traditional English cooking, opting for a truffled ballotine of quail with red onion and beetroot puree and garlic cream, beautifully garnished with an assortment of herbs you could find in your own back garden. He even made sure to boil the vegetables in holy water. This is particularly important for carrots – truly the root of all evil.”

Torode was less hopeful about participant Chris Huhne, former MP. “Initially he tried to keep it simple, serving just wine and bread. When he made the jump to eggs Benedict… Well, all I’ll say is that there was black smoke coming from the kitchens – never a good sign.”

“Apparently his wife usually helps him out,” Torode added.

"Let's see what you could have won...!"
Former presidential candidate Mitt Romney has announced himself as a surprise contender, despite being a Mormon. “But let’s face it, he’s no ones first choice,” Wallace states. “I’m fairly sure he’s only competing as the job of pope won't entail the same pay cut as presidency would have."

Pope Benedict XVI, who has somewhat embarrassingly left no heirs, has shown his full support for the programme. He was widely known respected for taking his quick decision skills from the kitchen into office. “For example when he exonerated all Jews for the crucifixion of Jesus Christ – he really nipped that one in the bud before it got out of hand,” Lombardi states.

Joseph Ratzinger, as he will presumably now be known, has recently taken to Twitter, where he hopes to “really connect with the youth of today”, something many in the Catholic Church are attempting.

In other news, sources in Tibet state that the current Dalai Lama will face his previous incarnations in a special episode of Come Dine With Me.

Ryan

          Will China Buy Our Silence About Persecution of Catholics? – Bishop Finn        

From the upcoming edition of The Catholic Key:

Will China Buy Our Silence About Persecution of Catholics?

By Most Rev. Robert W. Finn

In May of 2007, Pope Benedict XVI issued a Pastoral Letter to Clergy, Religious, and Lay Faithful of the Catholic Church in the People’s Republic of China. There the Holy Father expressed his affection for the people and his solidarity with them. He explained the proper relationships within the diocese, between the dioceses and the State, and the indispensable link between the local Churches and the Church Universal. The Pope offered encouragement for unity and a guide for evangelization.

The challenging circumstances for the work of the Church in China have been intensified because of a separation that has existed between a state-supervised Patriotic Catholic Association, China’s only legal public form of Catholicism, said to have about 5 Million members, and an “illegal,” “underground church,” believed to be the home for perhaps 10 million clergy, Religious and laity, who have sought to maintain a more unfettered communion with the Vatican. It is acknowledged that many members of the Patriotic Association, bishops included, have attempted to keep ties with Rome.

In his letter of four years ago, the Holy Father seemed to succeed in establishing a conciliatory note, while clearly outlining vital principles of religious freedom, and the Church’s requisite foundation for governance and pastoral action. The Vatican was able to build some level of communications with the Peoples’ Republic, giving rise to what has been, for the last few years, a more active and helpful collaboration in the selection of bishops – within the Patriotic Association – on the Mainland.

As 2010 was drawing to a close, the mood of cooperation collapsed as the Patriotic Catholic Association began forcibly gathering bishops in order to bring them to Beijing for an assembly, the intended purpose of which was to elect a new national president of the Patriotic Association and president of the council of Chinese bishops. A number of bishops resisted and fled; others refused to participate in Masses that were to be part of the assembly.

An illicit ordination of a bishop – one in which there was no mandate from the Holy See or permission from the Holy Father – took place in November of 2010; another a few weeks ago on June 29, 2011, and another last week. In the Vatican’s daily Press Release of July 15, Vatican Press Office Director, Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J. spoke of the Pope's “sadness and concern at the latest illegitimate episcopal ordination in China” which, he said, damages “the unity of the universal Church.”

July 14, 2011, “at Shantou in the region of Guandong Fr. Joseph Huang Bingzhang was ordained a bishop without pontifical mandate. … A number of bishops who are in communion with the Pope were obliged to attend yesterday's ceremony.” Shantou already had a bishop, and the “new bishop” had been cautioned several times by the Holy See not to accept Episcopal ordination.

Following the June 29 ordination, the Holy See released a declaration highlighting how a bishop ordained “without the papal mandate, and hence illegitimately, has no authority to govern the diocesan Catholic community, and the Holy See does not recognize him as the bishop of that diocese.” In a release of July 18, the Vatican formally confirmed the sanctions against the illegitimate bishops, expressed support for the conscientious resistance of those who remain faithful to the Holy See, and asked for a cessation of the hurtful actions, “The Holy Father, having learned of these events, once again deplores the manner in which the Church in China is being treated and hopes that the present difficulties can be overcome as soon as possible”.

Some news sites suggest that, after the forced elections of the Patriotic Associations, in which ballots were reported to have only one name, as many as ten ordinations of new bishops are expected.

Aside from the concern over the kidnapping and arrest of bishops compelling them to participate in fraudulent elections, there are grave implications for all Catholics in China who, whether within the Patriotic Association or in the so-called ‘illegal’ or underground church fear more interference in Church life, and a renewal of reprisals from years past.

According to a July 17 CNN story, leaders in China have, in turn, accused the Vatican of interfering in its religious affairs. Last November the U.S. State Department listed China as one of eight countries of "particular concern" on religious freedom. Specifically the U.S. accused China of persecuting followers of the Dalai Lama in Tibet and Uyghur Muslims in western China. While President Barak Obama met last week with the Dalai Lama, apparently no public mention has yet been made by the administration about actions against Catholics.

In his July 17 blog post, Deacon Keith Fournier of Catholic Online (www.catholic.org) lamented the silence of the U.S. and other western governments about these abuses against human rights and religious freedom in China. “We should ask ourselves the following question; with our growing economic reliance and dependence upon the Regime in China: Are we sacrificing our fundamental obligation to defend human freedom and human rights because we depend on the economic assistance of a repressive regime?”

At one time we might have insisted that China’s desires to be accepted and welcomed as a partner with the West must be met by an insistence that it respects this fundamental human right of religious expression and organization. Now we must be careful that our need to come, hat in hand, to China in the economic sphere doesn’t require us to be silent about such significant restraints on human dignity.

For our Catholic brothers and sisters on the Mainland who have endured so much to hold on to an authentic Catholic faith, this is hardly an intellectual exercise. They need our support in prayer and political clout. Mary, Mother of the Church, intercede for your children. St. Joseph, defender of justice, pray for us.


          Vatican Nuncio to U.N. Discusses ‘Nuclear Question’ in Kansas City        

20110701_0236 Archbishop Francis Assisi Chullikat, Apostolic Nuncio to the United Nations, gave a major address July 1 on the Church’s teaching on nuclear deterrence, the use of nuclear weapons and the goal of a nuclear weapon free world. Before his appointment to the UN post last year, Archbishop Chullikat served as Nuncio to Jordan and Iraq. The address at The Catholic Center of the Diocese of Kansas City – St. Joseph was sponsored by the diocesan Human Rights Office.

Two years ago, the diocese and Bishop Finn himself had made statements on a proposed nuclear weapon parts plant in Kansas City. It became clear that in the general public, and not just locally, the Church’s teaching on nuclear weapons and their proliferation is not well known. Bishop Robert Finn invited Archbishop Chullikat to address this subject because of the Nuncio’s expertise, but also to help make Kansas Citians more aware of the Church’s teaching on nuclear weapons.

Following the address, Archbishop Chullikat and Bishop Finn held a press conference on the subject. Look for more in the next edition of the Catholic Key.

This is probably the longest blog post you’ll ever see here, but since there is little readily available explaining the Church’s teaching on this important subject, it is well worth while publishing the full text of Archbishop Chullikat’s speech:

The Nuclear Question:

The Church’s Teachings and the Current State of Affairs
Remarks by Archbishop Francis Chullikatt
Kansas City, 1 July 2011

Thank you, Bishop Finn, for the opportunity to join you in the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, and address a very critical question that has such particular relevance here. The “nuclear question” is at once complex and straightforward: what do we do with the Cold War legacy of thousands of the most destructive weapons humankind has ever created? For more than 60 years since the dawn of the nuclear age, the world, and particularly the Church, has grappled with the role of these weapons, their legality and the moral implications of their production, deployment and intended use.

What I would like to do here is to share how the development of the Church’s teachings have advanced over the years and what those teachings say to us today. I will then explore the current status of efforts to address these unique weapons and specifically, the position of the Holy See.

As you all are aware, new attention is being paid to the unresolved problem of 20,000 nuclear weapons located at 111 sites in 14 countries. More than half the population of the world lives in a nuclear-armed country. Each year, nations spend $100 billion on maintaining and modernizing their nuclear arsenals.

When we are talking about the nuclear disarmament, the principle of good faith is vital within international law. Essentially, good faith means abiding by agreements in a manner true to their purposes and working sincerely and cooperatively through negotiations to attain agreed objectives.

Therefore, the current modernization of nuclear forces and their technical infrastructure are contrary to such good faith because they make difficult or impossible a negotiated achievement of global nuclear disarmament.

President Ronald Reagan at his second inaugural address in 1985 said: “We seek the total elimination one day of nuclear weapons from the face of the Earth”. I think it is time to follow through on his goal.

The vastness of this problem has long concerned the Catholic Church. With new efforts now being made to build a global legal ban on nuclear weapons, this is a good moment to review the Church’s teaching on weapons of mass destruction.

Catholic teaching on nuclear deterrence is found in the documents of the Second Vatican Council and in subsequent statements by Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI.

Indeed, we can see that the indiscriminate use and devastating effects of nuclear weapons have led the Church to abhor any use of nuclear weapons. In the Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World, the Church’s fundamental condemnation of any use of nuclear weapons is stated clearly: “Any act of war aimed indiscriminately at the destruction of entire cities or of extensive areas along with their population is a crime against God and man himself. It merits unequivocal and unhesitating condemnation” (n. 80).

As you well know, the Church’s condemnation of any use of nuclear weapons has always been grounded in the Church’s respect for life and the dignity of the human person.

Although the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council expressed their desire for a universal prohibition against war, they, with the understanding they had at that time, seemed to have rather reluctantly accepted the strategy of nuclear deterrence. The accumulation of arms, they said, serves “as a deterrent to possible enemy attack.”

Pope John Paul II restated the Catholic position on nuclear deterrence in a message to the UN Second Special Session on Disarmament in 1982 at the height of the Cold War nuclear weapons build-up by the United States and the Soviet Union:

In current conditions, ‘deterrence’ based on balance, certainly not as an end in itself but as a step along the way towards a progressive disarmament, may still be judged morally acceptable. Nonetheless, in order to ensure peace, it is indispensable not to be satisfied with the minimum which is always susceptible to the real danger of explosion.

This statement made clear that nuclear deterrence during the Cold War years could only be acceptable if it led to progressive disarmament. What is intended therefore is not nuclear deterrence as a single, permanent policy.

Here lies the central question of deterrence: the Church’s moral acceptance of nuclear deterrence was always conditioned on progress toward their elimination.

Deterrence must be an interim measure; it should not be an acceptable long-term basis for peace. Deterrence must be used only as a bridge to provide stability while nuclear disarmament is pursued, as required under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Nuclear deterrence is only justified in this limited way, as a means of deterring the use of nuclear weapons by an adversary. Deterrence was never accepted as a means of projecting state power, protecting economic or political interests, nor was it acceptable to use nuclear deterrence as a primary defense strategy to address other security issues or to deter other, non-nuclear threats.

As the Soviet Union disintegrated and the Cold War came to a close, great hope was ignited that the world could move decisively and expeditiously with nuclear disarmament. The Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty was extended in 1995 and new energy was focused on Article VI, the grand bargain, as it were, which lies at the heart of the NPT. The nations of the world agreed to forgo any development of nuclear weapons in exchange for a commitment from the nuclear-weapon states to eliminate their own arsenals and provide access to nuclear technology for peaceful uses.

The Holy See is party to the Nonproliferation Treaty and remains actively engaged in the Treaty’s review process every five years. Unfortunately, rather than pursuing disarmament as they are obligated to do under the Treaty, the nuclear-weapon states engaged in a reinvestment in their nuclear weapons complexes, pouring tens of billions of dollars into new technologies to allow them to continue to design, test and deploy these weapons for the indefinite future. New missions were conceived for their nuclear arsenals and new capabilities and upgrades for their weapons were aggressively pursued.

As the Cold War receded and a new century dawned, the international community continued to press the nuclear-weapon states for concrete movement on fulfilling their obligations to eliminate their nuclear arsenals as called for under the Non‑Proliferation Treaty. The Church’s efforts in this area increased, and became focused on challenging what we came to see as the institutionalization of deterrence. Deterrence was not being considered anymore as an interim measure. Rather, nuclear-weapon states started to pursue nuclear advantage, maintaining that nuclear weapons were fundamental to their security doctrines. Modernization programs were accelerated. Hundreds of billions of dollars were earmarked for these modernization efforts and the fragile barrier between nuclear and conventional arms was obliterated.

In 2005 when the nations of the world gathered to review the Non-Proliferation Treaty, the Treaty itself was on the verge of collapse. Not only were the commitments to disarm under Article VI being ignored, the very concept of nuclear elimination was dismissed out of hand by the nuclear-weapon states. And the Church increased its pressure on the nuclear-weapon states.

The Holy See voiced its growing concern over this situation, for example, at the 2005 Review Conference of the NPT:

When the Holy See expressed its limited acceptance of nuclear deterrence during the Cold War, it was with the clearly stated condition that deterrence was only a step on the way towards progressive nuclear disarmament. The Holy See has never countenanced nuclear deterrence as a permanent measure, nor does it today when it is evident that nuclear deterrence drives the development of ever newer nuclear arms, thus preventing genuine nuclear disarmament.

On his part, Pope Benedict XVI reinforced this position in his address on World Peace Day, 1 January 2006, when he asked:

What can be said, too, about those governments which count on nuclear arms as a means of ensuring the security of their countries? Along with countless persons of good will, one can state that this point of view is not only baneful but also completely fallacious. In a nuclear war there would be no victors, only victims. The truth of peace requires that all —whether those governments which openly or secretly possess nuclear arms, or those planning to acquire them— agree to change their course by clear and firm decisions, and strive for a progressive and concerted nuclear disarmament. The resources which would be saved could then be employed in projects of development capable of benefiting all their people, especially the poor.

Indeed, experts have estimated that more than $1 trillion has been spent on developing and maintaining nuclear arsenals. Today, hundreds of billons of additional dollars are being channeled to maintain this scourge. With development needs across the globe far outpacing the resources being devoted to address them, the thought of pouring hundreds of billions of additional dollars into the world’s nuclear arsenals is nothing short of sinful. It is the grossest misplacement of priorities and truly constitutes the very “theft from the poor” which the Second Vatican Council condemned so long ago.

Today, more and more people are convinced that nuclear deterrence is not a viable means of providing security. If some nations can continue to claim the right to possess nuclear weapons, then other states will claim that right as well. There can be no privileged position whereby some states can rely on nuclear weapons while simultaneously denying that same right to other states. Such an unbalanced position is unsustainable.

Some 40 nations possess the capacity to weaponize their civilian nuclear programs. Proliferation is a real and serious challenge. However, nonproliferation efforts will only be effective if they are universal. The nuclear-weapon states must abide by their obligations to negotiate the total elimination of their own arsenals if they are to have any authenticity in holding the non-nuclear-weapon states to their commitments not to pursue nuclear weapons or if they are to be effective in bringing those last few states who remain outside the NPT to the table of negotiations for the gradual elimination of their nuclear arsenals.

It is now more than two decades since the end of the Cold War. Though nuclear weapons stocks held by the major powers have been reduced, they are still being maintained and modernized, and the prospect of even more proliferation to other countries is growing. We are now witnessing an “extended deterrence” by which non-nuclear countries are put under the protection of a friendly nuclear state. Instead of being a temporary measure during the Cold War, the “doctrine of nuclear deterrence” has become permanent and is used to justify continued nuclear buildup.

When the 2010 Review Conference of the Non-Proliferation Treaty opened, Pope Benedict XVI, who had previously called for “negotiations for a progressive and mutually agreed dismantling of existing nuclear weapons” sent a message asking delegates to “overcome the burdens of history”. He said, “I encourage the initiatives to seek progressive disarmament and the creation of zones free of nuclear weapons, with a view to their complete elimination from the planet”.

From this body of teaching, the Church has made clear its growing abhorrence of nuclear weapons. It is now recognized that they are incompatible with the peace we seek for the 21st century. In the 2001 Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) Conference, the Holy See Delegation had stated:

The most perilous of all the old Cold War assumptions carried into the new age is the belief that the strategy of nuclear deterrence is essential to a nation’s security. Maintaining nuclear deterrence into the 21st century will not aid but impede peace. Nuclear deterrence prevents genuine nuclear disarmament. It maintains an unacceptable hegemony over non-nuclear development for the poorest half of the world’s population. It is a fundamental obstacle to achieving a new age of global security.

International law and the Church’s Just War principles have always recognized that limitation and proportionality must be respected in warfare. But the very point of a nuclear weapon is to kill massively; the killing and the poisonous radiation cannot be contained (Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Chernobyl are permanent ominous reminders). The social and economic consequences of nuclear war in a world whose life-support systems are intimately interconnected would be catastrophic.

In the event of a nuclear explosion, the severe physical damage from radiation would be followed by the collapse of food production and distribution and even water supplies. The prospect of widespread starvation would confront huge masses of people. Rampant disease would follow the breakdown in health-care facilities. The entire question of human rights would be up-ended. The right to a social and international order, as set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, would be completely lost. The structures underpinning international law would be gone. Order would be inverted into disorder.

The Holy See believes that international law is essential to the maintenance of peace among nations. When peace breaks down, international law, setting limits on the conduct of warfare, is essential to the reestablishment of an enduring peace and civilized life at war’s end.

In 1996, fifteen years ago this very month, the International Court of Justice issued its landmark decision on the threat or use of nuclear weapons and the obligations of States parties to the NPT. The Court said that negotiations for elimination must be concluded. The Court’s decision stated: "There exists an obligation to pursue in good faith and bring to a conclusion negotiations leading to nuclear disarmament in all its aspects under strict and effective international control".

The Catholic Church embraced the Court’s call for negotiations to eliminate nuclear weapons and, in 1997, in addressing the United Nation’s First Committee, the Holy See Delegation put forth the Church’s position in the strongest terms:

Nuclear weapons, aptly described as the 'ultimate evil', are still possessed by the most powerful States which refuse to let them go.... If biological weapons, chemical weapons, and now landmines can be done away with, so too can nuclear weapons. No weapon so threatens the longed-for peace of the 21st century as the nuclear. Let not the immensity of this task dissuade us from the efforts needed to free humanity from such a scourge. With the valuable admonition offered in the Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice, the international community can now see how the legal and moral arguments against nuclear weapons intertwine with the strategic: since nuclear weapons can destroy all life on the planet, they imperil all that humanity has ever stood for, and indeed humanity itself...

The work... in calling for negotiations leading to a Nuclear Weapons Convention must be increased. Those nuclear-weapon States resisting such negotiations must be challenged, for, in clinging to their outmoded rationales for nuclear deterrence, they are denying the most ardent aspirations of humanity...

And finally, in that statement, the Holy See Delegation voiced in clearest terms the Church’s position on nuclear weapons, “Nuclear weapons are incompatible with the peace we seek for the 21st century. They cannot be justified. They deserve condemnation. The preservation of the Non-Proliferation Treaty demands an unequivocal commitment to their abolition.”

Yet the comprehensive negotiations called for by the International Court of Justice have not even started. The bilateral START treaty between the US and Russia only makes small reductions and leaves intact a vast nuclear arsenal on both sides, with many nuclear weapons held on constant alert status.

At last year’s Review Conference of the NPT, the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon put forth a Five-Point Plan for Nuclear Disarmament, which is worthy of the full support of all nations. He called specifically for a new convention or set of mutually reinforcing instruments to eliminate nuclear weapons, backed by strong verification and has asked that nations start negotiations. “Nuclear disarmament is not a distant, unattainable dream,” Mr. Ban said. “It is an urgent necessity here and now. We are determined to achieve it.”

The Holy See supports this plan and strongly advocates for transparent, verifiable, global and irreversible nuclear disarmament and for addressing seriously the issues of nuclear strategic arms, the tactical ones and their means of delivery. The Church remains fully engaged in efforts both to stem proliferation and to move forward on negotiating a binding international agreement, or framework of agreements, to eliminate existing arsenals under effective international verification.

The 2010 NPT Review Conference called on “all nuclear-weapon states to undertake concrete disarmament efforts,” and also affirmed that “all states need to make special efforts to establish the necessary framework to achieve and maintain a world without nuclear weapons.” This responsibility must be taken seriously. Nations which continue to refuse to enter a process of negotiating mutual, assured and verifiable nuclear disarmament are acting irresponsibly.

From its part, also the UN Security Council held summit level meetings devoted to nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament.

The Holy See welcomes such developments regarding nuclear non proliferation and disarmament.

Viewed from a legal, political, security and most of all - moral - perspective, there is no justification today for the continued maintenance of nuclear weapons. This is the moment to begin addressing in a systematic way the legal, political and technical requisites for a nuclear-weapons-free world. For this reason, preparatory work should begin as soon as possible on a convention or framework agreement leading to the phased elimination of nuclear weapons.

To accomplish this goal, we must rethink and change our perception of nuclear weapons. It is a fact that no force on earth will be able to protect civilian populations from the explosion of nuclear bombs, which could cause as many as millions of immediate deaths. We must understand the catastrophic humanitarian and environmental consequences of any use of nuclear weapons.

Reports indicate that workers employed by the nuclear weapons industry are exposed to radiation at nuclear weapons production sites across the globe. Hundreds of highly toxic substances are used every day in the production and maintenance of nuclear weapons and their non-nuclear components. Workers suffer from a range of illnesses, many affecting them only years after exposure. People are asking for transparency and guarantee about the safeguards measures. Secrecy surrounding nuclear weapons programs has led to a failure to inform - if not an outright misleading of - workers and civilian populations living in close proximity to nuclear weapons facilities about the dangers their activities pose to human health.

The Holy See cannot countenance this disregard for human life and the health of those most directly and immediately affected by the nuclear weapons enterprise. Provisions must be established to ensure transparency and appropriate safeguards support to workers as well as civilians living in proximity to these facilities to ensure their safety, even as we move expeditiously to a process for dismantling and destroying these unlawful weapons under international supervision. Moreover, the toxic legacy of the nuclear era will continue to pose urgent challenges requiring substantial investments of resources to clean up the heavily contaminated sites that dot the landscapes of every nuclear weapon state.

The need to effectively and transparently address the toxic legacy posed by six decades of nuclear weapons production and maintenance is of the highest priority. The risks involved with even the peaceful use of nuclear technology illustrate the problem. Here I wish to underscore the Holy See’s active role in confronting global environmental issues. His Holiness Benedict XVI has personally appealed for environmental justice in defense of creation. Nothing less than the dignity of the human person and the right to a fully human and healthy life are at stake in the global challenge to clean up the environmental damage of the nuclear era.

The recent experience in Fukishima, Japan, has refocused attention on the inherent dangers and indiscriminate nature of radiation.

As a founding Member State of the IAEA, the Holy See participated last week in the IAEA Ministerial Conference which took place in Vienna, Austria. The concerns and observations made there by the Holy See bear repeating.

Is it legitimate to construct or to maintain operational nuclear reactors on territories that are exposed to serious seismic risks? Does nuclear fission technology, or the construction of new atomic power plants, or the continued operation of existing ones exclude human error in its phases of design, normal and emergency operation?

Besides the above questions, there are others concerning political will, technical capacity and necessary finances in order to proceed to the dismantling of old nuclear reactors and the handling of radioactive material or waste. With regard to standards of safety and security, the Holy See asks:

Are States willing to adopt new safety and security standards? If so, who will monitor them? However, one fact remains: without transparency, safety and security cannot be pursued with absolute diligence.

Understanding that enhanced safety standards are only part of the solution, the Holy See also observed that

threats to security come from attitudes and actions hostile to human nature. It is, therefore, on the human level that one must act – on the cultural and ethical level.... What is absolutely necessary are programs of formation for the diffusion of a “culture of safety and security” both in the nuclear sector and in the public conscience in general.... Security depends upon the State, but also on the sense of responsibility of each person....

As a result of the nuclear crisis in Fukishima, one point emerges with ever greater clarity. A shared and co-responsible management of nuclear research and safety and security, of energy and water supplies and of the environmental protection of the planet call for one or more international authorities with true and effective powers.

The nuclear sector can represent a great opportunity for the future. This explains the “nuclear renaissance” at the world level. This renaissance seems to offer horizons of development and prosperity. At the same time, it could be reduced to an illusion without a “cultural and moral renaissance.” Energy policies are to be viewed in the perspective of the “integral development of the human being” (Declaration on the Right to Development of 1986, 5), which includes not only material development, but, above all, the cultural and moral development of each and every person and of all peoples. All are involved in this ambitious and indispensable project, both inside and outside of the nuclear and energy sector, both in the public and private sector, and both on a governmental and non-governmental level. In this way, a common commitment to security and peace will lead not only to a just distribution of the earth’s resources, but above all to the building of a “social and international order in which the rights and freedoms” (Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 28) of all human persons can be fully realized.

As terrible as the Fukishima disaster has been - let us not forget what happened in Chernobyl in 1986 - its impact would be dwarfed by the effects of a nuclear weapon explosion. Perhaps it is also because of this Germany decided just recently to close all of its nucelar reactors by 2022. So, the Church’s condemnation of any use of nuclear weapons remains as unequivocal today as it was nearly 50 years ago when the Second Vatican Council expressed that condemnation so clearly.

International law governing the conduct of warfare is known as the law of armed conflict. More recently, it is referred to as “international humanitarian law.” This recognizes the purpose of protecting civilians from the effects of warfare, and also protecting combatants from unnecessary and cruel suffering. The Church’s unequivocal commitment to the dignity of the human person lies at the very heart of its commitment to international law.

The simple truth about the use of nuclear weapons is that, being weapons of mass destruction by their very nature, they cannot comply with fundamental rules of international humanitarian law forbidding the infliction of indiscriminate and disproportionate harm. Nor can their use meet the rigorous standards of the Just War principles’ moral assessment of the use of force.

Both Just War principles and international humanitarian law prohibit the use of means of attack incapable of distinguishing between military objectives and civilians or civilian property. In this regard, it is appropriate to recall what the International Court of Justice has to say about it: “states must never make civilians the object of attack and must consequently never use weapons that are incapable of distinguishing between civilian and military targets.”

Your 40th president asked: “Is there either logic or morality in believing that if one side threatens to kill tens of millions of our people, our only recourse is to threaten killing tens of millions of theirs?” So, even President Regan considered the strategy of deterrence to be in need of being replaced by a more permanent solution.

The threat as well as the use of nuclear weapons is barred by law. It is unlawful to threaten an attack if the attack itself would be unlawful. This rule makes unlawful specific signals of intent to use nuclear weapons if demands are not met. It also makes unlawful general policies of so-called deterrence declaring a readiness to resort to nuclear weapons when vital interests are at stake.

The unlawfulness of the threat and use of nuclear weapons calls into serious question the lawfulness of the possession of nuclear weapons. The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty prohibits acquisition of nuclear weapons by the vast majority of states. In conformity with the good faith principle, it cannot be lawful to continue indefinitely to possess weapons which are unlawful to use or threaten to use, or are already banned for most states, and are subject to an obligation of elimination. Countries must abide by agreements to “pursue negotiations on... a treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control” (NPT, Art. VI).

The Holy See supports this gathering body of work and calls for more stringent attention to the urgency of implementing a well-founded comprehensive approach to eliminating nuclear weapons. For far too long, nuclear weapons have threatened humanity and there has not been sufficient political will toward removing this scourge. Now is the time for a profound rethinking and change in our perception of nuclear weapons. Nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation are essential from a humanitarian point of view. That is why the Holy See welcomed the clear statement made in the Final Document of the 2010 NPT Review conference which stated:

The conference expresses its deep concern at the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons, and reaffirms the need for all States at all times to comply with applicable international law, including international humanitarian law.

This principle lays the groundwork for a possible outlawing of nuclear weapons. The international community is now challenged to ensure that every step on the non-proliferation and disarmament agenda is geared toward ensuring the security and survival of humanity and built on principles of the preeminent and inherent value of human dignity and the centrality of the human person, which constitute the basis of international humanitarian law.

The Holy See delegation articulated this very sentiment at the 2009 Deterrence Symposium organized by the U.S. Strategic Command in Omaha, Nebraska. There the Delegation stated that:

In Catholic teaching, the task is not to make the world safer through the threat of nuclear weapons, but rather to make the world safer from nuclear weapons through mutual and verifiable nuclear disarmament… The moral end is clear: a world free of the threat of nuclear weapons. This goal should guide our efforts. Every nuclear weapons system and every nuclear weapons policy should be judged by the ultimate goal of protecting human life and dignity and the related goal of ridding the world of these weapons in mutually verifiable ways.

It is becoming ever clearer that nuclear disarmament must be addressed from a comprehensive approach. Despite steps for decades, we still have a profusion of nuclear weapons. The Holy See believes there needs to be a binding together of steps into a coherent commitment to eliminate nuclear weapons in clearly defined phases for an incremental disarmament. Only the expression of a visible intent to construct a global legal basis for the systematic elimination of all nuclear weapons will suffice. It cannot be considered morally sufficient to draw down the stocks of superfluous nuclear weapons while modernizing nuclear arsenals and investing vast sums to ensure their future production and maintenance. This current course will ensure the perpetuation of these weapons indefinitely.

The Holy See therefore welcomes the new dialogue starting on a Nuclear Weapons Convention or framework of instruments to accomplish nuclear disarmament. At the 2010 NPT Review Conference, the Holy See Delegation stated:

The world has arrived at an opportune moment to begin addressing in a systematic way the legal, political and technical requisites for a nuclear-weapons-free world. For this reason, preparatory work should begin as soon as possible on a convention or framework agreement leading to the phased elimination of nuclear weapons.

A critical component of any framework to eliminate nuclear weapons is an immediate ban on the testing of new weapons. For decades the international community has struggled to institute a legal ban on all forms of nuclear weapons test explosions. In this regard, the Holy See continues to call upon all non signatory States to ratify without delay the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty for its earliest entry into force. Its passage and entry into force remains a commitment made by the nuclear-weapon states at the 2000 Review Conference of the NPT that would most clearly signify their willingness to forgo the development of new nuclear weapons. The international community views the CTBT not as an end in itself but as a concrete signal by the nuclear-weapon states that they intend to fulfill their international commitments and take seriously the global demand to end the nuclear arms race and begin negotiations to eliminate these weapons.

In closing, I think it is appropriate to restate the position of the Holy See expressed back in 1997, that “If biological weapons, chemical weapons, and now landmines can be done away with, so too can nuclear weapons.” This is the challenge before the international community today. It is the challenge before the Church today, and it is the challenge facing all people of goodwill today, believers and non believers alike.

As someone wrote, in the 18th and 19th centuries individuals fought for the abolition of slavery because they understood that every human being has the God-given right to live in freedom and dignity. In the end, slavery was brought to an end. In today’s world, we confront an issue of even greater importance: the possible annihilation of human species and human civilization by nuclear explosion. So, together we should work to build a world free of nuclear weapons. A world without nuclear weapons is not only possible, it has now become urgent.

Thank you and God bless you all!


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          Vatican City - Trial of Józef Wesołowski        
The trial has commenced within the Vatican of, former Archbishop Józef Wesołowski on charges of the sexual abuse of minors.  

The trial has aroused questions as to why such trials have not taken place before and why it is taking place in the Vatican rather than in the Dominican Republic where the offences are alleged to have occured.  A complicating factor also leading to questions is the fact that this is the second trial of Wesolowski to have taken place in the Vatican on the same allegations.  The following is an attempt to provide a simple explanation of the legal issues and systems involved

The reason why the trial is taking place in the Vatican rather than the Dominican Republic is the fact that Wesolowski was the Papal Nuncio in the Dominican Republic at the time of the alleged offences and therefore he is protected by Diplomatic Immunity in respect of any offences he may have committed there.

A Papal Nuncio is an ambassador sent by the Pope to a country which has diplomatic relations with the Holy See and therefore a Nununcio has the same rights and privileges as any othe Ambassador.  Diplomatic Immunity is an old concept but is currently covered internationally by the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of 1961 which has been ratified by virtually every country in the world.  Under the Convention Diplomatic Immunity is unambiguously protected

Article 29:  The person of a diplomatic agent shall be inviolable. He shall not be liable to any form of arrest or detention. 

Article 31:  A diplomatic agent shall enjoy immunity from the criminal jurisdiction of the receiving State.

Therefore as a diplomat the normal rule is that Weslowski could neither be arrested, questioned nor prosecuted in the Dominican Republic regarding his alleged crimes.  However as a diplomat of the Holy See he is subject to the criminal law of the Vatican State and that criminal law extends to prosecuting him for offences committed abroad whilst acting as Nuncio.  Diplomatic Immunity protects a diplomat from the criminal law of the country he is sent to but it does not protect him from the criminal law of his own country which is why Weslowski is able to be prosecuted in the Vatican.  

Had Weslowski not been a Papal Nuncio but instead been an ordinary Bishop in the Dominican Republic then the question of Diplomatic Immunity would not have arisen and he could have been tried there, "Ordinary" Bishops, Cardinals etc who are not Papal Nuncios are not protected by Diplomatic Immunity.  On the same basis since they are not citizens of the Vatican State they are not be subject to the laws of the Vatican State except when they are physically there.  

The Investigation of the allegations against Weolowski will have been carried out by the Vatican Gendarmerie who are all former officers in one of the Italian Police Forces and who will follow standard Italian Police procedures.  The trial itself will similarly be conducted according to the rules of Italian criminal procedure which have been adopted by the Vatican since the Lateran Treaties of 1929.  The Judges in the case will be lay Judges trained in Italian civil law. If convicted Wesolowki can be sentenced to imprisonment and under exisiting agreements between Italy and the Vatican he could serve any prison sentence in an Italian prison.

The trial Wesolowski has already faced, was a separate trial under Catholic Canon Law which is a code that applies to Catholic Priests and Ecclesiastics throughout the World and which relates to whether they have broken the rules which apply to them as Priests.  An offence under Canon Law may well not be an offence under the Civil Law of the country in which it took place and the penalities under Canon Law are purely religious penalties.  In the case of Wesolowski the penalty imposed by the Canon Law trial was that he was stripped of his priestly status and laicised, in England often referred to as "being de-frocked".  

As already mentioned if  Wesolowski had not been a Nuncio and was not covered by Diplomatic Immunity he would have been dealt with by the criminal courts of the Dominican Republic and not the courts of the Vatican; however he would still have had to be dealt with separately under Canon Law to decide if he should be laicised 

There are therefore 2 separate trials because there are 2 separate legal systems involved.  There is the Vatican State legal system, which is specific to Wesolowski and the small number of priests and Ecclesistics who are Vatican State citizens, and there is the Canon law system which applies to all Catholic Priests everywhere
          The Holy See (no evil)        

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          I Had a Thought and Then...        
I was participating in Mass yesterday at the Pastoral Center during the Catechetical Conference and an idea popped into my head and not a few minutes later popped right back out. Drives me crazy because normally when I receive something while at Mass, I want it to stick with me. Who wouldn't? Right? It was a long day, setting up St. Mary's Bookstore on 3 long tables a little after 7 a.m. then selling all day and packing up at 3 to take back to the store and return to the shelves, then close the store at 5. But, I had some great help and got to spend time with great people so I was all good. After dinner I watched a little football with my husband and promptly fell asleep on the couch. When I woke up, I asked about the game and my husband responded that Auburn just couldn't seem to get out of their own way. And that was it! That was the message I received at Mass! I couldn't believe it. It's all about Auburn...no, I mean, it's all about getting out of our own ways.

This past week my youngest daughter had several volleyball games and as I watched them fall short for the 3rd match in a row, I thought, "they just cannot seem to get our of their own way". They did more to beat themselves than the other team did to beat them. Not saying the other teams were not good or didn't deserve the wins but come on....talk, work together.

During Mass, the thought came clearly. Come on. Stop beating ourselves. We all need to get out of our own ways and talk, work together. Because after all, it's not really about who gets what or who did this or that, it's about how we treat one another during this mass confusion we call living in this world. Every day we are given many opportunities to be kind, to love, to change lives by what we say or how we say it, by what we do or don't do. Social media especially has become a major player in how we treat one another. Think about some of the things we read and some of the comments made. We really are not very kind to one another. What if we knew that every comment, every action was to test our reaction? Do we discuss topics and work with one another? Or do we react with anger? We are constantly and continually beating ourselves here. We cannot seem to get out of our own way.
I am not good about this but what if we used all the bad things that happen to us or are said about us as the chance to make a difference? Maybe even by not doing or saying anything. Or, maybe by turning bad into good. I think that's the major difference between us and the saints. With the Canonization of Mother Teresa I guess all of this has made me start thinking of the simple things she and the other Missionary of Charity sisters did and still do that all of us can do. Granted, few of us are going to serve the poor in India, but there are plenty of poor in our own cities. Wait. I'm getting off course. We all know we can do and be better. My point here is that we need to stop working against ourselves. We need to stop making what is good and holy seem so difficult. We need to take the simple opportunities put before us day after day and complete the tasks. We need to be kind to the meanest and love the haters and do for the ungrateful. We need to stop beating ourselves with unforced errors so to speak. Let's talk. Let's work together. Let's share our good thoughts and let's stay out of our own way.
          The Case of the Pope: Vatican Accountability for Human Rights Abuse [Audio]        
Speaker(s): Geoffrey Robertson | Editor's note: This lecture contains sexually explicit language and/or profanity, please do not download if you may be offended. The Case of the Pope delivers a devastating indictment of the way the Vatican has run a secret legal system that has shielded paedophile priests from criminal trial around the world. Is the Pope morally responsible or legally liable under domestic or international law for the negligence that has allowed so many terrible crimes to go unpunished? Should he and his seat of power, the Holy See, continue to enjoy an immunity that places them above the law? To what extent do Vatican dogmas conflict with human rights treatise, and why has the United Nations allowed this church – alone of religions and NGOs – a privileged platform to promote them? Geoffrey Robertson QC demonstrates a deep respect for the good works of Catholics and their church. But, he argues, unless Pope Benedict XVI can divest himself of the beguilements of statehood and devotion to obsolete canon law, the Vatican will remain in grave breach of the convention on the Right of the Child and in some other respects, an enemy of human rights. This event marks the publication of Geoffrey Robertson's new book 'The Case of the Pope: Vatican Accountability for Human Rights Abuse.'
          The "priest shortage": natural or artificial?        
Larry A. Carstens

Over the past two decades or so, Catholics in the US have grown accustomed to hearing about a "vocations crisis" in their Church. The number of priests has been in decline, while the number of laity has continually risen. The conventional wisdom - articulated by fashionable theologians and feminist nuns - has been that the solution to the crisis is to ordain women to the priesthood.

In response to these aggressive assertions, the Holy See made it absolutely clear that the Church has no authority to ordain priestesses. In 1994 Pope John Paul II issued his apostolic letter Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued its 1995 Responsum ad Dubium. These acts made it an infallible declaration of the ordinary Magisterium that God's plan for His Church does not include ordination of women: never has, never will. The critics, however, continued unabated; in fact, they became more strident in their demands.

Then, within the past year or two (depending on which sources you read) a funny thing happened: the numbers of seminarians and recent ordinations increased - not only throughout the world (which was nothing new), but in the US, itself, and that was news. The increase was noted not only by the Catholic press, but by the secular press, such as The New York Times and USA Today.

Unfortunately, for many Catholics a priest shortage continues at their local level. Many parish rectories are understaffed; in many dioceses there are few priests (who are terribly overworked). Thus, while the statistics indicate an increase, it still feels like a shortage to many practising Catholics - which raises the question: Is there or isn't there a famine of priestly vocations at this tirne? The answer depends largely on your geographical location. That is so largely because of the policies of local bishops. And so, if you are a Catholic in America today, where you live is perhaps the best predictor of vocational abundance or scarcity.

Dioceses headed by bishops with a reputation for robust orthodoxy now have full seminaries and an abundance of seminarians. Witness Denver under Archbishop Chaput (and Cardinal Stafford before him), Peoria under Bishop Myers or Lincoln under Bishop Bruskewitz, to name a few. It is dioceses like these that are now causing the upward trend in vocations, more than counterbalancing the paucity in other locations. Meanwhile, those dioceses headed by more liberal bishops are characterised by a decline in vocations - sometimes sharp - and in some cases actual closing of parishes.

Currently this is occurring in Milwaukee under Archbishop Weakland; Saginaw, Michigan, under Bishop Untener; and Los Angeles under Cardinal Mahony. In the early 1990s, this pattern was evident in San Francisco under Archbishop Quinn, and Chicago under Cardinal Bernardin (where, despite his high profile in the national prestige press, parish closings in his own backyard sparked bitter local protests). The formula appears simple: "conservative" (or "pro-Roman") bishop equals abundance of new priests; a "liberal" (or "Americanised") bishop equals shortage of vocations and ordinations.

Rapid growth

Moreover, those religious orders that are known for their "traditionalism" and discipline are attracting many young applicants and growing rapidly, while those which appear "stuck in the Sixties," with a feminist/liberal ideology, are declining and dying out. Witness the rapid growth of the Missionaries of Charity, the Oblates of Mary Immaculate, Opus Dei and the Legionaries of Christ, to name a few.

Similar trends are evident among American Protestant churches as well: the mainline bodies (Episcopal, Presbyterian, Methodist) that have become the most trendy are dying out, while the Evangelical communities (where pastors insist on the importance of doctrine and preach a strongly "biblical" Christianity) are growing. Again, the formula seems evident. Following society's trends (sexual laxity, feminism, selfism) equals decline in the religious arena.

One of my acquaintances has given me permission to describe the details of his experience as an applicant for priestly training, on condition that his name not be used. He graduated from a Catholic university in 1989, and later applied to the major seminary of his diocese. Before he went for the interview, he had been "briefed" by two priest friends on the politically correct (read, feminist) answers he needed to give to get through the screening process.

In the course of his interview, the nun who was screening him made him wait while she took a phone call. In the course of her conversation - while my friend sat patiently - she stated to the party on the other end of the line that she fully expected to be wearing a priest's stole and celebrating Masses soon. She also showed my friend a birthday card she had recently received which had a humorous yet clearly "anti-male" (his words) message. He was also asked searchingly if he had ever attended Mass at a certain Catholic college known for its orthodoxy. Her tone, he said, clearly indicated what his answer should be.

He actually made it through the screening process and was accepted. But so disheartened was he at what had happened (both the nun's bullying, and his own acquiescence and evasiveness) that he did not begin studies at the seminary.

Two other young men I know applied at the same seminary. One was accepted and began studying, but was asked to leave before his first year of studies was completed. He is not sure why, but thinks his preference for the Tridentine Mass and praying the Rosary may have had something to do with it. My other friend is a student there now, but the last time I talked with him, he told me he was thinking about transferring to the seminary of another diocese where the bishop has a reputation for strong orthodoxy.

In addition to these personal acquaintances, I have heard of at least one student who left that seminary in disgust and entered a religious order, and of another who left under similar circumstances and is now a happily functioning priest of another diocese. What these men, and very likely scores of others like them, have in common is a traditional sensibility and piety (not unlike the Holy Father's), and a clear sense that they were not satisfactorily "progressive" for those in charge of the seminay. Perhaps they were too fond of the Rosary, or disagreed with the latest dissenting editorial in the National Catholic Reporter (the "in" paper at the seminary), or defended the Holy Father's decree on the ordination of women.

Here a dark suspicion arises: is the apparent failure of some dioceses to attract and ordain new priests actually a desired outcome for those in charge? If the local bishop appoints to high positions in the diocese persons who favor certain radical non- Catholic changes, such as the ordination of women, is it surprising that the number of new priests goes down, that the applicants are found unsuitable if orthodox, and that the calls to ordain women increase? In other words, the same leadership that created the shortage now uses that shortage to cry out for priestesses. Indeed, this is exactly what Archbishop Elden Curtiss of Omaha has remarked upon.

Feminism

The situation bears all the marks of dogmatic feminism. Feminism begins by denying male headship - in the family or the Church - and ends by decrying the lack of males (in the home or the seminary) which it caused. If it is true that behind every good man is a good woman, it is perhaps equally true that behind many an absent man is a spiteful feminist. The dearth of vocations in some dioceses may have been what certain highly placed feminists in the Church (and those bishops who dance to their tune) had as part of their agenda all along.

And so, while there are dramatic increases in those cities where the bishop is vigorously orthodox, the tragedy continues in others, where the bishop's associates are predominantly feminists, or at least go along with the feminist agenda.

I am glad when I hear positive reports about vocations from various dioceses, and I attribute the positive changes to the steadfastness of a certain man in Rome. I attribute the upswing in vocations to the bishops he has appointed (even if some have been disappointments). If your diocese now has a full seminary, and your local parish or diocese suffers no priest shortage, chances are you have Pope John Paul II to thank.

You have often heard it said that we must pray for vocations. While this is correct, it would also be wise to pray for the conversion of those who present stumbling blocks to men who consider priestly vocations. And, if your diocese is not one of those partaking in the current feast, one recourse you have is to write to the Holy Father and request his help to correct abuses in your diocese: Pope John Paul II, Apostolic Palace, 00120 Vatican City, Europe.

If your diocese has ample vocations, you might want to pray for those Catholics suffering a priestly famine alongside your feast.

With acknowledgement to 'New Oxford Review'.


          Cardeal Zen Diz que Papa Francisco Está Apoiando Governo Chinês contra a Igreja.        

Cardeal Zen condena o comportamento do Papa Francisco em relação a China. Diz que o governo comunista está tão ruim quanto era na década de 50 e que o Papa não conhece o comunismo da China, só o da América Latina, que não é nada comparado ao chinês.

Diz que o Papa exige diálogo sem restrições e silêncio da Igreja frente à ditadura chinesa.

Papa Francisco realmente anda rebaixando a Igreja frente a seus inimigos históricos, Islã e comunismo. Será que ele acha que esses inimigos vão ficar bonzinhos? Cardeal Zen diz que não.

Vejamos texto do site Life News

Cardinal Zen: Pope Francis’ Vatican is backing a ‘fake’ church in China

July 14, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — Cardinal Joseph Zen, the first Cardinal from China and a key adviser to Pope Benedict XVI regarding China-Vatican relations, has denounced a new Vatican agreement with the Chinese atheistic Communist government in an interview with the Polish outlet Polonia Christiana. The former Archbishop of Hong Kong compared the current situation of the Church in China with the times of brutal physical repression during the 1950s and 1960s, saying the situation is “worse” today.
“Why? Because the church has been weakened,” he said. “I'm very sorry to say the government has not changed, but the Holy See is adopting a wrong strategy. They are too eager to dialogue, dialogue so they tell everybody not to make noise, to accommodate, to compromise, to obey the government. Now things are going down, down.”
Explaining how the intolerable situation has come to pass, he suggests that Pope Francis is naïve having only experienced communism in Latin America, not a totalitarian form as in China or Poland. Thus, he says, both Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI understood the situation while Pope Francis is confused.
“On the surface,” he said of the new agreement it seems that “the authority of the Pope is safe because they say the Pope has the last word.” 
“But the whole thing is fake. They are giving decisive power to the government … how can the initiative of choosing bishops be given to an atheistic government? Incredible. Incredible.”

The 85-year-old Cardinal, born in Shanghai, explains that while Pope Francis might believe everything is fine with the agreement because “on paper” the government approves the election at the bishops’ conference and then the Pope has the last word. “But both election and the Bishops Conference are fake,” and the Pope cannot say no to suggested bishops forever.

Zen says there are no real elections in China. “Everything is fixed before.”
“I really cannot believe that the Holy See doesn’t know that there is no bishops' conference! There is only a name. They never really have a discussion, meetings. They meet when they are called by the government. The government gives instructions. They obey. It’s fake.”
Cardinal Zen recalled that Pope Benedict stated there is no legitimate bishops’ conference in China. There are illegitimate bishops in that conference and legitimate underground bishops who are not in it, the Cardinal explained.
Responding to the objection that some may suggest that historically some kings or emperors were able to make bishops, Cardinal Zen said: “But at least those were Christian kings or Christian emperors. But these are atheist communists. They want to destroy the church or at least if they cannot destroy it they want to weaken the Church.

          Lista de A-Z dos Problemas com o Papa Francisco        



As imagens acima revelam três problemas que o Papa Francisco trouxe para a Igreja. A primeira mostra um encontro do Papa Francisco com um "casal" de duas mulheres. A pessoa que aparece do lado direito da foto é mulher que fez cirurgia para "ficar homem". O Papa, no encontro, chamou esse pessoa de "ele" e ainda justificou dizendo que "era ela mas agora é ele", desprezando a razão e a natureza humana, sem falar nos ensinamentos divinos. A segunda imagem  lembra as homenagens que o Papa Francisco vem fazendo ao grande herético Martinho Lutero. E a terceira lembra o desprezo que o Papa Francisco tem dado a quatro cardeais, a não se reunir com eles e a não responder às perguntas feitas por eles.

O Life Site News fez uma lista dos problemas que o Papa Francisco trouxe para a Igreja classificando esses problemas em ordem alfabética (em inglês). São 26 problemas. Escolha uma letra e verá um enorme problema.

The A - Z list of concerns with Pope Francis



July 11, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – The confusion caused by Pope Francis in the Catholic Church is out of control. There have been so many incidents over the last four years that the specifics, despite their grave damage, are often forgotten. In an effort to encourage prayer for an end to the confusion and disorientation in the Church, LifeSite presents the following A-Z list of concerns with Pope Francis.
Amoris Laetitia
The document so long awaited to bring needed clarification from the Pope served rather to increase confusion the world over as the Pope himself approved interpretations (Malta, Germany) which allowed for Holy Communion to be given to divorced and remarried Catholics.
Burke demotion
Cardinal Raymond Burke was removed from one of the highest offices in the Church, as the supreme justice of the Church's highest court. Instead he, one of the most faithful Cardinals, was given a largely ceremonial position with the Order of Malta and even there his role was stripped.
Cohabitation
Pope Francis said â€œcohabitations” with fidelity are “real marriage” and “have the grace of real marriage.” On another occasion when the Pope made similar remarks, papal confidante Fr. Antonio Spadaro tweeted a photo of the Pope greeting a couple who “prefer to live together without getting married.”
Danneels
Cardinal Godfried Danneels, the emeritus archbishop of Brussels, was a personal appointment by Pope Francis to the Synods of Bishops on the family. In addition to wearing rainbow liturgical vestments and being caught on tape concealing sexual abuse, Danneels said in 2013 of the passage of gay “marriage”: “I think it’s a positive development that states are free to open up civil marriage for gays if they want.”


Image
Cardinal Danneels in Rainbow vestments

Emma Bonino
Pope calls Italy’s foremost abortion promoter one of nation’s ‘forgotten greats’In an interview with Corriere Della Sera Pope Francis praised Italy’s unrepentant leading abortionist and proponent of abortion, Emma Bonino, as one of the nation’s “forgotten greats,” comparing her to great historical figures such as Konrad Adenauer and Robert Schuman.
First synod interim doc
The scandalous mid-term relatio of the first Synod on the Family was seen and approved-for-release by the Pope according to Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, secretary general of the Synod of Bishops. “The documents were all seen and approved by the Pope,” Baldisseri said. In a section titled ‘Welcoming homosexual persons’, the document states: “Homosexuals have gifts and qualities to offer to the Christian community.” It then asks: “Are our communities capable of providing [them a welcoming home], accepting and valuing their sexual orientation, without compromising Catholic doctrine on the family and matrimony?”
Gender-confused couple at Vatican
P

On October 2, 2016, Pope Francis referred to a woman who underwent a sex-change operation as a “man.” He referred to her as having “married” another woman and admitted to inviting and receiving them to the Vatican in 2015, describing the couple as “happy”. Clarifying his use of pronouns, the pope said, "He that was her but is he."
Holy See population control
Since shortly after the election of Pope Francis there has been a steady stream of population control pushers speaking at the Vatican. These include: Paul Ehrlich, the father of the population control movement; John Bongaarts, vice president of the pro-abortion Population Council; pro-abortion U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon; and population controllers Jeffrey Sachs and John Schellnhuber. The head of the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Sciences, Bishop Marcelo Sorondo, who ran most of those conferences, is himself a population control advocate saying on camera at one such Vatican conference that limiting births was an obligation of the Church.
Irresponsible to have 8 children?
On January 19, 2015 while speaking of "responsible" parenthood, the pope cautioned against Catholics being “like rabbits.” The pope spoke about a woman he knows who he said was pregnant with her eighth child after having the first seven by C-section.  He said he had “rebuked” her, saying, “But do you want to leave seven orphans? That is to tempt God!” “That is an irresponsibility. [That woman might say] 'no but I trust in God.' But God gives you methods to be responsible,” he said.
“Some think that, excuse me if I use that word, that in order to be good Catholics we have to be like rabbits.”  He added, “No. Responsible parenthood!”
Judge – Who am I to….
Despite the avalanche of evidence of harm to the Church from the Pope’s first ‘Who am I to judge’ remark on his first plane interview in 2013, he repeated the line in June 2016 while misrepresenting the Catechism on homosexuality.
Kasper
A few days into his pontificate, Pope Francis praised one of Cardinal Kasper’s books and then selected Kasper to deliver the controversial keynote address to launch the synods on the family. Kasper was selected as a personal appointee of the pope to the synods and regularly meets with Pope Francis. Kasper defended the vote of the Irish in favor of homosexual “marriages”, saying: “A democratic state has the duty to respect the will of the people; and it seems clear that, if the majority of the people wants such homosexual unions, the state has a duty to recognize such rights.”
Luther, serious sin to convert
On another occassion he said it is a “very grave sin” to try to convert Orthodox to Catholicism: “There is a very grave sin against ecumenism: proselytism.”The Pope spoke to an audience before a statue of Luther in the Vatican just prior to his going to Sweden to helplaunch the 500th anniversary of Lutheranism. The Vatican issued a stamp featuring Luther and put out a document saying Catholics now recognize Martin Luther as a ‘witness to the gospel’.
Multiplication of loaves
During the Angelus of June 2, 2013, he spoke about Christ’s miracle of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes as taking place by "sharing." “This is the miracle: rather than a multiplication it is a sharing, inspired by faith and prayer,” he said. He was even more explicit about it in July 2015 in a homily preached in Christ the Redeemer Square in Bolivia. Pope Francis said, “This is how the miracle takes place. It is not magic or sorcery. … Jesus managed to generate a current among his followers: they all went on sharing what was their own, turning it into a gift for the others; and that is how they all got to eat their fill. Incredibly, food was left over: they collected it in seven baskets.”
Name calling against faithful
Pope Francis has frequently castigated faithful adherents of the Catholic faith as “obsessed,” “doctors of the law,” “neo-pelagian,” “self-absorbed,” “restorationist,” “fundamentalist,” “rigid,” “ideological,” “hypocritical,” and much more. In addressing faithful Cardinals at the Synod of the Family, in magazine interviews,book interviews, radio interviews, official church documents, and in homily afterhomily, he has used condemning language indicating they are “idolaters and rebelswho will never arrive at the fullness of the truth,” and  â€œheretics and not Catholics.”
Overhaul of Cardinal Sarah’s dicastery
Cardinal Sarah, head of the Vatican’s liturgical dicastery, called for the faithful to kneel for Holy Communion and priests to face ad orientem for Mass. Pope Francis reacted swiftly to counter the suggestion, having the Vatican press office issue a statement saying that there was no change and stressing the ordinary form is to be preferred. Shortly thereafter the Pope replaced most of Cardinal Sarah’s collaborators in his dicastery with liberals.
Pontifical Academy for Life scandals
Pope Francis named controversial Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia to lead the Pontifical Academy for Life despite scandals such as the Vatican sex-edprogram and the homoerotic mural he erected at his former cathedral. Thereafter all the members of the Academy were removed, the pro-lifepledge discontinued, and a new list of members named that included anti-life advocates.

Queer selection of Cupich
In 2014 Pope Francis appointed Bishop Blase Cupich as Archbishop of Chicagodespite his reputation for telling priests not to join 40 Days for Life. After he demonstrated his dissent to Catholic teaching on homosexuality, saying homosexual couples should be given Holy Communion, Cupich was nevertheless named a Cardinal.  
Refusal to answer dubia
After massive confusion around the globe over Communion for adulterers, four prominent Cardinals sent Pope Francis a letter on September 19, 2016 asking for clarification to five key questions. Two months later with no answer received, they went public with their questions and humbly begged the Pope for an answer for the good of the Church. Despite the pleas of theologiansand scholars worldwide, and tens of thousands of faithful and clergy, the Holy Father has steadfastly refused to answer. On April 25 the Cardinals formally asked the Pope for a meeting to discuss the matter, but after not even receiving the courtesy of a reply, they released their letter June 19.

Scalfari interviews: ‘Annihilation’ rather than hell?
After massive confusion around the globe over Communion for adulterers, four prominent Cardinals sent Pope Francis a letter on September 19, 2016 asking for clarification to five key questions. Two months later with no answer received, they went public with their questions and humbly begged the Pope for an answer for the good of the Church. Despite the pleas of theologiansand scholars worldwide, and tens of thousands of faithful and clergy, the Holy Father has steadfastly refused to answer. On April 25 the Cardinals formally asked the Pope for a meeting to discuss the matter, but after not even receiving the courtesy of a reply, they released their letter June 19.
In March 2015 in an interview with La Repubblica founder Eugenio Scalfari, the Pope suggested no person could go to hell, and proposed annihilation for those who fully reject God. The article says: “What happens to that lost soul? Will it be punished? And how? The response of Francis is distinct and clear: there is no punishment, but the annihilation of that soul.”
There was some controversy over Repubblica's Scalfari interview. The Vatican would neither verify nor deny it in its specific parts, but nevertheless published it in the Vatican newspaper, and on the Vatican website. They later deleted it from the website, only to republish it again, then delete it again. Vatican watchers compared the most controversial part regarding the impossibility of people going to hell for all eternity to the statement from the Pope’s latest exhortation Amoris Laetitia, in which he said, “No one can be condemned for ever, because that is not the logic of the Gospel!”
Traditional youth bashing
"I always try to understand what's behind people who are too young to have experienced the pre-conciliar liturgy and yet still they want it," the pontiff said in a November 2016 interview. "Sometimes I found myself confronted with a very strict person, with an attitude of rigidity. And I ask myself: Why so much rigidity? Dig, dig, this rigidity always hides something, insecurity or even something else. Rigidity is defensive. True love is not rigid."
He spoke similarly in May 2017 when in a homily he spoke “of the many young people in the Church today who have fallen into the temptation of rigidity.”  Speaking of those who are ‘rigid’ and insincere, he said, “They are rigid people living a double life: They make themselves look good, sincere, but when no one sees them, they do ugly things.”
Universality destruction
In his 2013 Exhortation Evangeli Gaudium, Pope Francis called for a “conversion of the papacy” and expressed a need to give episcopal conferences “genuine doctrinal authority.” Decentralization is a key demand of heterodox clergy in the Church. During the 2015 Synod on the Family, Pope Francis said he “felt the need to proceed in a healthy ‘decentralization'” of power to the “Episcopal Conferences.” He discussed plans for decentralization with his College of Cardinals both in December 2015 and again in June 2017. In 2016 Pope Francis suggested decentralization as a way forward in the debate over Communion for adulterers.
Vatican doctrine chief dismissal
Cardinal Gerhard Muller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, 69, was removed from his post despite all his contemporary predecessors remaining in office till their retirement. Several Cardinals told Pope Francis to remove Muller, who maintained doctrinal orthodoxy since he was opposing the Pope’s agenda for change. Muller revealed that the Pope dismissed him in a one minute conversation. The move is widely seen as a punishment for opposing the Pope’s agenda.
World Youth Day sex ed
At World Youth Day in 2016, the Vatican released a teen sex-ed program that neglected the parents’ central role in such matters, failed to even mention mortal sin, and included sexually explicit photos and films.
X-rated speech
The dignity of the papacy took a hit when Pope Francis used the scatological termscoprophilia (love of excrement) and coprophagia (love of eating excrement) to bash the media for reporting on scandals within the Church.
Yayo Grassi
When the United States nuncio had pro-family hero Kim Davis meet with Pope Francis at the nunciature during his USA papal visit, Davis was refused permission to take photos of the meeting. When the media asked the Vatican about the meeting they first refused to confirm it, and after some time said that "the only real audiencegranted by the Pope at the nunciature (embassy) was with one of his former students and his family." The Pope’s former student, Yayo Grassi, was there with his sister and mother and his homosexual partner. They took not only photos but also video in which Pope Francis can be seen embracing Grassi and his homosexual partner.
Zika (contraception)
Pope Francis was asked about “avoiding pregnancy” in areas at risk of Zika virus transmission. “Paul VI, a great man, in a difficult situation in Africa, permitted nuns to use contraceptives in cases of rape,” he said.  â€œOn the other hand, avoiding pregnancy is not an absolute evil,” he added. “In certain cases, as in this one, such as the one I mentioned of Blessed Paul VI, it was clear.” Asked for clarification, the Vatican confirmed that Pope Francis was approving use of contraceptives and condoms in grave cases. (A contradiction of Church teaching.)




          Deus para Santa Catarina de Siena: "Atos Homossexuais São Tão Malignos Que Causam Repulsa Até aos Demônios"        

O renomado jornalista Edward Pentin escreveu hoje sobre o últimas informações sobre o caso do monsenhor que foi preso em flagrante em uma orgia gay drogado com cocaína dentro de um apartamento que pertencia ao cardeal Coccopalmerio. Esse monsenhor era secretário de Coccopalmerio e iria se tornar bispo. Falei do caso aqui no blog duas vezes, a última pode ser lida clicando aqui.

Pentin e muitos outros jornalistas estão tentando arrancar algum comentário sobre o fato, mas o porta-voz do Vaticano Greg Burke foge das perguntas como o diabo foge da cruz. Apenas dizendo que não vai comentar ou que não pode falar.

Que incrível! Um caso dessa magnitude e o Vaticano silencia.

Esse silêncio do Vaticano apenas confirma a história. Mas Pentin lembra que inúmeras fontes do Vaticano confirmam o fato.

Pentin também diz que o cardeal Coccopalmerio desapareceu socialmente. Não é mais visto há dois meses.

Uma fonte de Pentin diz que os casos de atos homossexuais nunca foram tão frequentes dentro do Vaticano.

Pentin lembrar a famosa frase do Papa Francisco dita no avião saindo do Rio de Janeiro e indo para Roma, no qual se absteve de julgar os gays. O que na prática liberava o homossexualismo. A "comunidade" LGBT não cansa de explorar essa frase do Papa Francisco, como mostra a imagem acima.

A frase exata do Papa é "Se a pessoa é gay, procura Deus e tem boa vontade, quem sou eu para julgar".

Assim, sobrou apenas "procurar Deus" e "ter boa vontade" para evitar julgamento do Papa. Esvaziando a quase nada as palavras de Cristo.

Quantas vezes Cristo julgou as pessoas quando estava entre nós? Ele chegou a chamar São Pedro de Demônio, condenou os fariseus (apesar de lembrar que a Lei que eles defendiam era para ser seguida. E essa lei sempre condenou atos homossexuais), pediu para a prostituta nunca mais pecar, disse que a primeira missão dos apóstolos era expulsar os demônios...

Finalmente, Pentin lembra as palavras de Deus dirigidas a Santa Catarina de Siena contra padres que praticam atos homossexuais.

Deus diz a Santa Catarina que o ato homossexual é tão maligno que causa repulsa até aos demônios. 

Vejamos parte do texto de Edward Pentin publicado no The National Catholic Register.

The Drug-Fueled Homosexual Scandal Allegations at the Holy Office
Whatever the exact truth behind the lurid and disturbing story, it has further exposed such gravely sinful behavior taking place in the Vatican that one senior member of the curia says has “never been worse.”

          How Pope Francis Became A Foreign Policy Player        
When Pope Francis travels to the Greek island of Lesbos on Saturday, he will likely bring with him a sharp rebuke for Europe's response to the migrant crisis. In 2013, on his very first papal trip, he traveled to Lampedusa to decry the "globalization of indifference" toward refugees and migrants. The Italian island — closer to Tunisia than to Italy — was then the major gateway to Europe for hundreds of thousands of migrants making the perilous sea crossing on smugglers' boats from North Africa. The pope laid a wreath in memory of the thousands who died at sea. And he lamented that no one had the courage to take responsibility for Europe's immigration dilemma. That 2013 trip, and the message that Pope Francis carried with him, was one of the first signs of a more assertive and less predictable Vatican stance on the global stage. Throughout the Cold War, the Vatican remained firmly in the Western camp. With Pope Francis, the first pope from the Global South, the Holy See showed his
          Saturday, 24th February 2001: In which I talk to Fr Anthony about my annulment application, and begin reading the Catechism        
Things are preceding slowly at the moment. I have had no “bites”--not even “nibbles”--from the job market, but I am remaining hopeful. Not getting a job before May is now my biggest worry. Not much of a worry, though... I had an interview with Library Locums [an agency for placing librarians on temp contracts] on Wednesday, and I remain hopeful of something coming up in that department sooner or later. In the mean time, I continue applying for jobs. There was nothing in this morning’s paper however, and nothing new on the internet either.

I saw Fr Anthony yesterday. It was good to see him again. He is concerned that nothing much seems to be happening with Cathy’s application for annulment, and we discussed things we could do to make it easier for Cathy. Two suggestions: first, we will have Anthony around to dinner soon so that he can meet Cathy; second, I will try to make it possible for Cathy to take [baby] Mia and herself off somewhere for two or three days so that she can make a start on her application. I have brought both of these suggestions to Cathy, and she was quite agreeable to both.

I said to Anthony that I really wasn’t worried about Cathy’s application being in straight away. Before long I will know the outcome of my own application, and then, if it is negative there will be no point in Cathy applying. Anthony agreed. Second, I said that if I get a positive answer then the delay in Cathy’s annulment will not be a great concern to me, since I have valued the time that God has given me to fully consider what I am doing. Anthony was not so agreeable on this point. He said, with some emphasis, “I want to give you the Eucharist”. This was very gratifying, as it seems that there is no doubt about my convictions at least from his (their) side. Peter [Holmes], on the other hand, has been told that they want him to test his decision a little more.

I raised again my supreme annoyance at the generosity of the Holy See in recognising Mormon baptism [this was still a disputed issue at this point in 2001]. I even asked (half joking) if there was a chance I might get an audience with the Holy Father when he comes out (if he comes out) later in the year, and make a personal appeal to him. Anthony said that he needs to cure me from this Lutheran “voluntarism” (a new term for me) that makes us think that the saying of something can make it so, and that the Pope has the power to make something so which is, in reality, not so. Fair enough, of course. I knew that.

I also said that I have no doubt that Cathy’s annulment will be granted if mine is. Anthony, on the bare evidence he has, agreed.

We talked a little about “grave” and “venial” sin--a distinction that I have not been used to making, and the reasons for this distinction. Anthony compared our relationship to God like a marriage relationship, where there are some offences that fundamentally threaten the relationship, while there are others that, while making the relationship rocky and difficult, do not fundamentally do so. This made sense.

We discussed also whether or not my remarriage was a grave sin. Anthony said that on the evidence he has, he would not consider it so, since at the time of marrying, neither Cathy nor I had any notion that we were not free to marry, nor did we think that what we were actually doing was contracting a bigamous marriage in contradiction of God’s law.

However, the discussion made me very aware that there are grave sins that I have committed that do need confession and absolution (I don’t think Anthony believed this, and I didn’t go into details with him since he is not my confessor--nor probably ever will be), and so towards the end, I asked him if there was any possibility of my being admitted to the sacrament of confession even though I have not been confirmed nor admitted to communion. He said that it may be possible--in the same way that a new convert usually will receive the sacrament of reconciliation before receiving communion, and he will check this out with his canonist friends.

Anthony has encouraged me to hope to attain to a life of holiness, and I will sincerely try to do this.

I have realised that a certain “schizophrenia” has characterised my Lutheran/Catholic life. While this has begun to be resolved, there is another schizophrenia -- that of hardened sinner and sanctified saint -- which is even more urgent to be overcome.

I have now received a copy of the Catechism, and am working my way through it. This has been made more difficult by the fact that I have one of the early translations that needs all the corrections done. I did it once with pen--but it looks very untidy, so now I am downloading the revised sections from the net, and will cut and paste them into my copy. It’s one way of getting to know the contents, at least!!!

In preparing my sermon on the Transfiguration for tomorrow, I have used a lot of material from the Catechism. Nothing that is remotely “un-Lutheran”, of course, but I have discovered that there is a good deal of excellent exegesis in the Catechism that is really useful.

I rang the pastor who works as a counsellor in my parish yesterday to tell him of what was happening, since Cathy would like to use him as a witness. I also talked to [a friend] whose marriage I will be celebrating in a month or so on the phone about my decision today. I ran into [some aquaintances] from the Moorabbin parish at the joint regional service at Casey last Sunday, and they were quite surprised by my decision. [One dear old lady] from Casey though is quite convinced that I am doing the right thing. “I knew all along”, she said! I am afraid though that this will just convince her that the Lutheran Church has nothing in common with the Catholic Church. Probably she is right after all... It is strange now--I can agree with those Lutherans who want to ordain women, and who want to be anti-Catholic, because I see this now as a perfectly valid living out of some aspects of the Lutheran creed.
          A theologian’s take on how to avoid conflict with North Korea        

Washington D.C., Aug 10, 2017 / 11:08 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Dialogue and prudent actions to uphold international resolutions are key to maintaining peace amid rising tensions between North Korea and the international community, one theologian said.

“Dialogue is critical to resolving this particular issue,” Dr. Joseph Capizzi, a moral theologian at the Catholic University of America, told CNA. “We have kicked the can down the road for 50-plus years, with regard to Korea.”

“And the further we kick the can down the road, the more difficult the situation becomes, the less solvable it becomes by the use of force. So dialogue is more essential now than it ever was before.”

The Vatican has shown concern over the developing situation and has also expressed the need for dialogue between countries. Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, former Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations in Geneva, said on Wednesday that the “way of conflict is always the wrong way.”

“The way forward is not that of having the latest military technology, but of having an approach of inclusion,” the archbishop said, as reported by Vatican Radio.

In July, North Korea successfully tested ballistic missiles that had the capability of reaching the U.S. mainland, following a series of launches of medium-range and intercontinental ballistic missiles earlier this year.

Then on Tuesday, the Washington Post reported that North Korea had produced a small-enough nuclear warhead that could be placed inside a missile, according to intelligence analysts. North Korea reportedly has as many as 60 nuclear weapons, according to one United States estimate.

On Wednesday, DPRK state media reported that the Kim Jong-Un regime was considering a strike against the island of Guam in the West Pacific, the westernmost U.S. territory and one from which B-1 bombers have flown over the Korean peninsula in military exercises. The AP followed up on Thursday by reporting that a plan for North Korea to launch four missiles aimed to land in the ocean within 25 miles of Guam, as an exercise of its threat to the U.S. territory, had been hatched and could be submitted for approval in the next week to Kim Jong Un.

Because of North Korea’s continued nuclear buildup and its ballistic missile tests, the UN Security Council unanimously voted last weekend to impose more sanctions on the Communist dictatorship.

President Donald Trump vowed on Tuesday that if North Korea continued to threaten the United States, they would “face fire and fury like the world has never seen.”

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said at a Wednesday press conference that “what the President is doing is sending a strong message to North Korea in language that Kim Jong-un can understand, because he doesn’t seem to understand diplomatic language.”

“I think the President just wanted to be clear to the North Korean regime on the U.S. unquestionable ability to defend itself, will defend itself and its allies,” he said.

The need for dialogue carries with it the importance of prudence and “sobriety” in the rhetoric of U.S. and world leaders, Capizzi said.

“We do want to engage them,” he said. “We’re trying to pull back some of the incendiary nature of the rhetoric. And then to have the President immediately follow that up with the ‘fire and fury’ comment, it makes us seem erratic. It makes us seem inconsistent,” he said.

Yet, he added, “action is much more important here than rhetoric.” The international sanctions, and the unanimous vote of UN Security Council members – including even Russia and China -- to impose them, were an important step to take, he said, “to induce North Korea to stop testing missiles.”

Also, the actions that have not been taken are important, he said, like an overly aggressive mobilization of U.S. military forces.  “You don’t see our military or our navy sort of ratcheting up right now,” he said.

“That’s what we really need to keep our eyes on, is what is our military doing? Where are our ships going in that part of the world? What is Japan doing?” he said. “And so far I think everybody recognizes there’s nothing to gain by pushing this further. What we really want to do is sit down and see if we can negotiate out of this.”

Pope Francis, in an April 29 in-flight press conference during his return from Egypt, said that regarding the escalating international tensions with North Korea, “the path is the path of negotiation, the path of diplomatic solutions.”

“This world war in pieces of which I've been talking about for two years, more or less, it's in pieces, but the pieces have gotten bigger, they are concentrated, they are focused on points that are already hot,” he said.

“Things are already hot, as the issue of missiles in North Korea has been there for more than a year, now it seems that the thing has gotten too hot.”

Archbishop Bernardito Auza, Apostolic Nuncio and Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, told UN News this summer “general disarmament -- that is a priority this year.”

“There is no doubt that the Catholic Church, Pope Francis now in particular, is very much against not only the use but also the possession of nuclear weapons,” he said.  

Leaders for the U.S. and European bishops also called for nuclear disarmament in a July 6 statement “Nuclear Disarmament: Seeking Human Security.” Bishop Oscar Cantu, chair of the U.S. bishops’ international justice and peace committee, signed the statement along with Archbishop Jean-Claude Hollerich, president of the Conference of European Justice and Peace Commissions.

“For many, the horror of a potential nuclear war receded from consciousness with the end of the Cold War, but recent geopolitical developments remind us that our world remains in grave danger,” the bishops stated.

“Even a limited nuclear exchange would have devastating consequences for people and the planet. Tragically, human error or miscalculation could lead to a humanitarian catastrophe.”

While the United Nations conference to negotiate the multi-lateral and legally-binding Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons was wrapping up in July, the bishops said, the U.S. and “most European nations” were noticeably absent.

122 countries present voted in favor of the treaty, with one, the Netherlands, voting against it and Singapore abstaining, the UN reported.

“Nuclear states are making significant new investments to modernize nuclear arsenals. These costly programs will divert enormous resources from other pressing needs that build security, including achieving the Sustainable Development Goals,” the bishops stated.

“The indiscriminate and disproportionate nature of nuclear weapons, compel the world to move beyond nuclear deterrence. We call upon the United States and European nations to work with other nations to map out a credible, verifiable and enforceable strategy for the total elimination of nuclear weapons.”


          Cardinal Parolin says urgency of peace a key reason for Russia trip        

Vatican City, Aug 9, 2017 / 11:01 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin has said he will be going to Russia Aug. 20-24 largely out of a desire to promote peace both there and with the West, and to solidify relations with the Eastern Orthodox.

Conflicts throughout the world, particularly in areas such as the Middle East, Syria and Ukraine, “are constant objects of attention and concern for the Holy See,” Cardinal Parolin said in the interview published Aug. 9 in Corriere della Sera.

“Because of this, the need and urgency of searching for peace and the way to do it will certainly be one of the principle themes” of his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, he indicated.

In addition to meeting with with Putin, the cardinal is also expected to hold meetings with Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill, as well as several other high-level authorities in the Russian Orthodox Church.

In his interview, Cardinal Parolin stressed that the Holy See has always held “a special interest for the vast eastern portion of Europe,” which he said “has a role to play in the search for greater stability on the continent and greater unity, including relations between East and West.”

“After the period of ideological opposition, which obviously can't entirely fade from today to tomorrow, and in the new scenarios that have opened up since the end of the Cold War, it's important to take advantage of every occasion to encourage respect, dialogue, and mutual collaboration in a view to promoting peace.”

The visit, he said, is also understood as a completion of the tour he has made of the region over the past few years, which, through official papal trips or visits he has made alone, has brought him to Belarus, the Caucasus nations, the Baltic countries, and Ukraine.

Now “I will have the opportunity to complete the picture with the visit to Russia.”

When asked whether or not he is concerned about rising tensions between the United States and Russia, Cardinal Parolin said he trusts that both parties involved “will know how to act with due responsibility to avoid the escalation of tensions.”

He also voiced confidence that the two nations will be able to recognize “the eventual errors that could have been at the origin of that situation.”

U.S. President Donald Trump recently turned up the heat in the ongoing conflict with Russia, due largely to tensions over their involvement in Syria and Ukraine, and possible meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Recently Trump hit Russia with more economic sanctions due to the country's involvement in the election, prompting Putin to expel 755 people from its U.S. embassy and consulates.

“It would be dramatic if nothing were done in this respect and, as a consequence, relations would deteriorate further,” Cardinal Parolin said, and stressed the crucial role of both Churches and civil society “in encouraging every initiative that leads to creating a more positive general atmosphere.”

The cardinal was also questioned on a comment made by Pope Francis to German Chancellor Angela Merkel during a recent audience, when he said it is a “tragic contradiction” to promote unity and persist in war.

Asked if this would be a topic raised in his meeting with Putin, the Vatican Secretary of State stressed that the Church consistently calls on all political leaders “not promote national interests, or in any case, particular interests,” but rather to work for “the common good, to respect for international law.”

“Not the law of force, but the force of the law,” he said, noting that the Church also urges global leaders to make decisions which promote the integral development of man throughout the world, as well as “concord and collaboration among nations.”

“And the method is always dialogue,” he said, and pointed to a quote from a letter written by St. Augustine in which the saint says that for a true leader, “the greatest title of glory is that of killing war with the word.”

In the Latin verb, Cardinal Parolin said, this means “with negotiation, with discussions instead of killing men with the sword, and ensuring that peace is maintained with peace and not with war.”

On his meeting with Patriarch Kirill, the cardinal said relations between the Catholic and Russian Orthodox Church would obviously be a big priority, as well as how their respective Churches interact with society in facing the “great spiritual, cultural and political themes of today.”

“From this point of view, it's important to seek a positive and open means to continue to weave inter-ecclesial relations and to contribute constructively, on the part of the Churches, to the resolution of the complex problems which afflict and challenge humanity,” he said.

“It is my living hope, then, that the encounter may serve for an ever greater awareness, mutual esteem and collaboration between Catholics and Orthodox.”

Cardinal Parolin said that while his trip is not intended as a preparation for an eventual visit from Pope Francis, he hopes that “with the help of God,” his visit “can offer some contribution in this regard.”


          The Francis Inquisition – Amid Tumult on Amoris and Abuse, Pope Switches Hands at CDF        
Capping a week of shockwaves at the topmost levels of the Roman Curia, at Roman Noon this Saturday, the Pope declined to reconfirm Cardinal Gerhard Müller as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith at the close of the German's first five-year mandate, and handed the reins of the "Holy Office" to its longtime #2 official, Archbishop Luis Ladaria SJ.

Despite the delicacy of the formal language, the move can indeed be viewed as Francis' ouster of the 69 year-old German, who brought a combination of firmness on moral teaching and affinity for liberation theology to the Doctrine office upon his appointment by then-Pope Benedict XVI five years ago tomorrow.

Under normal circumstances, a pontiff's renewal of a Curial prefect for successive quinquennial terms is a pro forma act done without public notification.

Himself a veteran collaborator of Joseph Ratzinger over the latter's quarter-century at the CDF's helm, Ladaria, 73, has served as the congregation's secretary since 2008. With his ascent to the top post, the Spanish Jesuit takes on the additional duties linked to the role: the presidencies of the International Theological Commission, the Pontifical Biblical Commission and the Ecclesia Dei Commission, the lead liaison for the church's relations with traditionalist groups and questions on the use of the pre-Conciliar "Extraordinary Form" of the Roman rite.

On a related front, Ecclesia Dei is the Curial organ responsible for the ongoing reconciliation talks with the Society of St Pius X, which have notched multiple major inroads through the last year, paving the way to the Swiss-based group's potential return to communion with the Catholic church. Yet another major item in the main congregation's portfolio – of particular interest in the English-speaking world – is its complete jurisdiction over the Personal Ordinariates for former Anglicans, which were established in England, North America and Australia by Benedict following 2009's Anglicanorum coetibus.

The historic successor to the "Holy Office of the Inquisition" – rechristened after Vatican II – the congregation's founding dates to 1542. The principal Congregation of the Curia, amid Francis' ongoing reform CDF (its Sant'Uffizio headquarters seen below) is now viewed as ranking third among the dicasteries, after the Secretariats of State and for the Economy.

In making the shift official roughly 18 hours after reports began to swirl â€“ yet could not be independently verified – that Müller was told of his departure in an audience yesterday with the Pope, the Holy See gave no indication of the 69 year-old cardinal's next assignment. While some speculation has tipped the theological heavyweight for the role of Grand Master of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre, as of late Friday Whispers ops close to that post's current holder, Cardinal Edwin O'Brien, were blindsided on learning of said rumors, and relayed that the 78 year-old New Yorker – who was en route to the US for this holiday weekend – had not been informed of any move.

As for Müller's potential landing spots, it's worth noting that no major posts in his homeland – where he served as bishop of B16's adopted base of Regensburg until his transfer to Rome – are currently open. Closing out a recent flurry of top-level moves in Germany, the last key post to go was Mainz, where Francis named Peter Kohlgraf â€“ a 50 year-old pastoral theologian – in April as successor to Cardinal Karl Lehmann, the progressive titan who chaired the country's formidable bishops' conference for two decades.

While the now-former CDF chief had drawn considerable attention for staking out a skeptical position on Francis' potential openings in Amoris Laetitia toward the civilly remarried and others in difficult situations vis a vis church teaching, it bears no less recalling that Müller had come in for ferocious criticism by survivors of clergy sex-abuse and their advocates given the office's role as the church's global clearinghouse of those cases. Above all, the cardinal was roundly blasted by the prominent Irish survivor Marie Collins, who resigned her seat on the Pope's new Commission for the Protection of Minors (PCPM) in April over the congregation's refusal to comply with Francis' directive that they reply to inquiries sent by victims, then continued to rap Müller for not changing course after the fact.

Among other related issues was the CDF's ostensible resistance to the pontiff's 2015 push to establish a tribunal to hear cases of abuse of office by bishops, a block that forced Francis to devise a workaround in norms issued last year. In a move that was taken as a sign of papal frustration on the accountability front, in mid-January the Pope conspicuously named the head of the PCPM, Boston's Cardinal Seán O'Malley OFM Cap., to the congregation's membership despite the Capuchin's lack of an advanced background in theology.

Along the way, too, Francis had gradually undercut Müller's standing by openly highlighting other figures on theological questions, most prominently Cardinals Walter Kasper and Christoph Schönborn, and the Argentine Archbishop Victor Manuel Fernández, the pontiff's longtime confidant, widely reputed to be the "ghostwriter" of Papa Bergoglio's major texts.

Developing... you were told there was "more to come," eh?

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          For The Cardinal-Prefect, "My Day in Court"        
For all the spectacles the Vatican tends to witness, this one was simply surreal.

At the same dais where the Pope's major documents are unveiled and the global press briefed on Catholicism's showcase events – on what's usually one of the most joyous feasts of the year – today the Curia's third-ranking cardinal addressed his new fate as the church's most senior figure by far to face criminal charges of sexual abuse:


To understand the full import of Cardinal George Pell's return to Australia to appear in court and "clear my name," there's more to it than his current profile as the founding Secretary for the Economy, initially entrusted by Pope Francis with sweeping powers over finances and personnel across the Holy See's sprawling apparatus.

Indeed, what makes the 76 year-old prelate's quick move to go home for an 18 July initial hearing so significant is that Pell has not returned to his homeland since departing in early 2014 to take up his Vatican post – neither for the late 2014 installation of his hand-picked successor in Sydney, Archbishop Anthony Fisher, nor for what became a four day summons to testify before the national inquiry on religious institutions' handling of child abuse, obtained by video link from Rome.

With the scenario of a first-ever court process against a cardinal on sex crimes alleged by "multiple claimants" – the precise nature of which have not been clarified by law enforcement in his native state of Victoria – the Italian media's traditional summer "soap opera" involving the church is now set, albeit some 4,000 miles afield.

Still, despite the inevitable circus that will surround the scrutiny on one of the top rank's most enduring figures – a presence on the global scene over some two decades – for the apex of the Catholic world, it just doesn't get more serious than this.

For starters, even as Pell announced his own "leave" from his Vatican duties – and the Holy See's lead spokesman, Greg Burke, indicated that the cardinal would not "participate in public liturgies" for the duration of the judicial process – the moves amount to a de facto suspension from ministry.

Regardless of whose volition spurred the act, a recusal of the kind is without precedent for a top Curial official. What's more, however, while two decades of revelations of abuse and cover-up have been treated as a political football among the church's ideological camps, Pell is one of the few major prelates whose trajectory and alliances cut across partisan lines.

Long a favorite of the Catholic right for his unapologetic approach to moral teachings, the Oxford-trained onetime fullback – who's long relished his reputation for being a "bull in a china shop" – was initially tapped by then-Pope Benedict XVI to take the helm of the Congregation for Bishops in 2009, a move which would've made the Aussie the first prelate from the English-speaking world to oversee the all-powerful body that recommends candidates for appointments to the pontiff.

In response, what was widely perceived in Rome as a "smear campaign" went into overdrive, raising the specter of a 2002 allegation of abuse against the cardinal which dated to the 1960s. Though Pell had been cleared years earlier by an internal probe chartered by the archdiocese of Sydney, conducted by a retired judge – during which he stood aside as archbishop for several months – the ferocity of opposition to Benedict's plan led the now-retired Pope to scuttle the move before it was formally made. (Along the way, however, Pell's hard-charging style saw him successfully tackle another high-wire Vatican mission: as chair of the Vox Clara committee of senior prelates tasked with managing English liturgical translations, he led the push that brought the group's major project – the long-stymied overhaul of the Roman Missal – to completion and a historic implementation across the Anglophone world in 2011.)

Of course, that wouldn't be the end of the story. Perceived by many as angling for a Roman office from his days as an auxiliary in Melbourne – when, as one Curialist recalled, Pell "was always showing up" at the Vatican – the 2012 outbreak of the Vatileaks fiasco provided the cardinal with an opportunity for payback, and Benedict took him up on it, bringing Pell into an ad hoc group of cardinal-advisers Papa Ratzinger had convened on tackling the crisis.

Months later, the election of Pope Francis would surprisingly bring the Australian's rebound to its zenith – with his profile as a blunt, sharp-elbowed manager (and one seen as wronged by the Vatican's old guard), Pell's temporal acumen landed him a seat on the new pontiff's "Gang of 8" for the reform of the Curia (below), arguably the most surprising choice for the group given his conservative leanings.

Less than a year afterward, Francis would deliver the ultimate call – with the new Pope and his "crown council" determined to clean up the famously murky orbit of the Holy See's finances, Pell was unveiled as the choice to consolidate all control of budgets and investments under one umbrella, a first-ever CFO to replace the small village of separate entities which oversaw various pieces of the books, with varying degrees of success.

To say that the Aussie was ready would be an understatement – Pell's full-time arrival in Rome came shortly after the opening of the Domus Australia, a onetime convent converted into a hostel and event center for pilgrims from Down Under, with an ample living space already created for himself.

To be sure, though, if there was one area that the natives guarded more jealously than appointments, it was the money – and Francis' putting Pell in charge of it was greeted as something of an apocalyptic event. Unlike Benedict, however, Papa Bergoglio's Italian stubbornness wouldn't be as easily conquered.

At least, that's how it seemed at the start. While Francis has stood by his man – re-confirming the cardinal's position after he reached the retirement age of 75 last year – the Curia's penchant for bureaucratic turf-war has challenged Pell's mandate at practically every turn and made significant inroads against the new bureau's initial remit, most prominently in last year's move to suspend a first-ever external audit of all Vatican entities, which had been ordered by the Secretariat.

At the same time, the financial reform hit another major speed-bump last week as Libero Milone – the freshly empowered auditor-general hired by Pell's team – suddenly resigned from the post as reports on the move spoke of an unspecified "ugly situation" that could "get worse."

Amid the fallout from Milone's surprise departure, the Council for the Economy – the mixed group of  15 top prelates and lay experts to which Pell's Secretariat reports – had already summoned its members to an extraordinary meeting set for early July in Rome to discuss the way forward. With the new development of the charges against the cardinal-prefect – and no clarity yet on the leadership of the Economy office in the wake of Pell's leave for the court case – any long-term resolutions just became considerably more difficult.

Back in Australia, meanwhile, the indictment has come as a fresh firestorm for a church already struggling under a cloud of abuse developments. With the cardinal's polarizing shadow ever looming large despite years of absence from the scene, the nation's hierarchy has spent 2017 bracing for what's widely expected to be a damning report from the national inquiry on sex-abuse in religious institutions, which is due by the end of its mandate in mid-December.

Beyond the wide attention – and equal heaping of scorn – that Pell's 2016 testimony to the Royal Commission drew, the Australian archbishops were likewise deposed at length by the panel last February. And in another moment of major impact, a rising star of the Aussie bench – Vietnamese-born Franciscan Bishop Vincent Long of Parramatta – revealed to the probe that he had been a victim of abuse by a cleric.

All the while, another major shoe from Rome is likely soon to drop: the Pope's appointment of the next archbishop of Melbourne – already a critical move given the city's place as the continent's largest local church, yet now even more of a "hot seat" as the venue for Pell's state trial on the charges.

In a letter released after the charges were filed, Sydney's Fisher – himself a civil lawyer – warned his clergy and people that his predecessor's return to face justice "will be unsettling for many of us."

While defending Pell as "a man of integrity in his dealings with others... a thoroughly decent man," the archbishop emphasized that "we must now allow the impartial pursuit of justice," adding that the church "is not responsible" for the cardinal's legal costs and won't be footing them.

Keeping with Australian conventions for the accused, a recent biography which levied a new allegation of abuse by Pell has been pulled from sale in Victoria pending the trial. On another context note, the southern coastal state does not allow cameras in its courts, so the impending hearings will not be filmed nor televised.

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So, folks, another "Scarlet Bowl" is now in the books... but its full picture is still to be had. And as the usual clearing of desks that marks the end of the "Vatican Year" is only just getting underway, in terms of news, there's simply no end in sight.

Even if it's already made for quite the week in the mine, don't be surprised that – both at home and from Rome – there's more to come....

At least, if you’ll make it happen.

As this shop has its bills to pay – and at month's end, the costs especially tend to gang up – yet again, the reminder's in order that these pages keep running solely by means of your support:

*  *  *
SVILUPPO (9pm ET, Wed 28 June) – In a watershed development after a lengthy, high-profile investigation, early Thursday morning in Australia, law enforcement in the state of Victoria made the blockbuster announcement that Cardinal George Pell – Pope Francis' hand-picked field marshal to lead a wholesale financial reform of the Vatican as Secretary of the Economy, as well as a member of the pontiff's "Gang of 9" principal advisers for the revamping the Roman Curia – had been charged with multiple "historical sexual assault offenses" and was summoned to appear in court there on July 18th:


For clarity's sake, the counts against Pell – now, by far, global Catholicism's highest-ranking cleric to face criminal scrutiny on sex-abuse claims – are not tied to the work of the Royal Commission (the years-long Federal inquiry on abuse in religious institutions), its final report expected to be released late this year.

Formerly the archbishop of both Sydney and Melbourne – respectively the Australian church's most prominent and largest outposts – Pell testified before the national probe over four days in early 2016 via videolink from Rome, after the cardinal's legal team argued that his health prevented him from returning home. At that time, a viral song released by the Aussie comedian/musician Tim Minchin which blasted Pell whilst beseeching him to "come home" and face the moment topped the continent's singles charts over its week of release; the song's effect likewise fueled a successful crowdfunding push that allowed a group of survivors from the cardinal's home-diocese of Ballarat (in Victoria) to make the trip and watch his testimony in person.

Having "strenuously denied" the charges anew in a written statement issued overnight, Pell is slated to make a live response to the media – from no less than the Holy See Press Office – at 8.30 Thursday morning in Rome (2.30am ET, 4.30pm Sydney), an hour before the Pope's major Mass on this feast of Saints Peter and Paul.

As ever, no shortage of context and institutional memory are needed to flesh out this story, and this shop has a good bit of it stocked up...

..but when it comes to the Economy, well, that's the one job here that belongs to the other side of the screen. And with what's now on deck – long, complex and ugly as it's bound to be – the necessary high-grade content will only be possible with this readership's according backup.

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          Ambrose, Charles... and Francis' Choice – In Italy (and Beyond), All Eyes on Milan        
While late last week was supposed to be given to the Midsummer Classic – eventful as it was for a June meeting – more pressing developments have pushed the bench to the side... at least, the Stateside one.

As ever, news has its ways of disrupting the best-laid plans. Still, as sidetracks go, this instance brings the specter of a blockbuster: the most important personnel choice Pope Francis will make, bar none, is said to be on deck.

According to mounting reports from Italy over recent days, Papa Bergoglio has settled upon his pick for the archbishopric of Milan: with 5 million Catholics, Europe's largest diocese by far – above all, the Italian church's most critical assignment outside Rome thanks to the city's place as the country's financial and media hub, not to mention its top population center.

Upon his unveiling, Francis' choice will succeed Cardinal Angelo Scola, who reached the retirement age of 75 last November.

Long a favorite of Benedict XVI, the 2011 choice of Scola – Papa Ratzinger's decades-long collaborator on numerous fronts, above all in seeking to set the goalposts for a dialogue with post-modern culture – was merely the latest instance of how every Pope of the modern era has sought to send an unmistakable message with his appointment to the seat of Saints Ambrose and Charles (Borromeo).

Among others, three more recent turnovers of the post likewise stand out: Pius XII's 1954 call of his Co-Secretary of State, Msgr Giovanni Battista Montini, to the Lombard church, from which he would be elected nine years later as Pope Paul VI; now-St John Paul II's 1979 shock tap of the then-rector of the Gregorian, Fr Carlo Maria Martini, which served to launch the Jesuit Scripture scholar into cult figure status across broad swathes of progressives and others worldwide, then the 2002 choice of his successor, Dionigi Tettamanzi – already cardinal-archbishop of Genoa and, a decade prior, the primary ghostwriter of JPII's pro-life manifesto, Evangelium Vitae.

As a pontiff's ability to run the table only extends for the course of his own reign, beyond the confidence of his Maker in White – and with it, the Milanese prelate's day-to-day influence over the life of a mega-fold spread across 1,000-plus parishes – that five of the city's nine archbishops over the last century have either been beatified or elected to the papacy (or both) speaks to an enduring imprint long beyond their respective turns at its helm.

Indeed, in an act underscoring the post's nonpareil standing in papal eyes, Benedict continued the tradition (begun with Martini) of conferring Scola's pallium privately, in this case at Castel Gandolfo (above), instead of doing so alongside the world's other newly-named archbishops. In its last instance, however, the move echoed the 2002 moment when – breaking the norm that restricts the wool band to metropolitans – John Paul II placed it on the shoulders of Joseph Ratzinger, effectively singling out his eventual successor.

Accordingly, that Scola's considerable buzz as Papabile in 2013 was only short-circuited, at least in part, by sudden civil investigations into the cardinal's allies in local government – a probe which curiously leaked onto the front-pages of Italian papers on the very morning before the cardinals entered Conclave – just emphasized further both the outsize shadow of Milan and B16's unspoken "message" bolstering it. And in one of the most priceless "comic relief" moments that are Italian ecclesiastics' stock-in-trade, when the election was accomplished within 24 hours, the country's bishops' conference famously didn't let the the choice's actual identity prevent them from issuing a statement exulting over Scola as the new "Pope." (And especially these days, how that hasn't birthed a Fiat factory's worth of conspiracy theories is anyone's guess.)

In light of said lineage, then, whether the Milan pick comes this week, next month or (at the latest) early next year, it's nonetheless the ultimate venue for Francis – as both the first non-European Pope in over a millennium, and ever the son of Northern Italian emigres – to set his stamp, both for the direction of Catholicism on the "Boot" and across the wider church... let alone, on a personal level, serving as an especially meaningful act given his marked devotion both to the now-Blessed Montini – whose post-Conciliar efforts Francis sees himself as "picking up" after a half-century of Curial obstruction – and the late Martini, whose posthumously-released final interview given just before his August 2012 death (read: six months before the last Conclave) could be read as a "tell" into the election that followed on its heels, and the current moment writ large.

Within Italy itself, a new occupant for the Lombard seat – the place which, 18 centuries ago, witnessed the conversion and baptism of a certain Augustine – would cap an epochal hat-trick by Papa Bergoglio over recent weeks, following last month's appointment of now-Archbishop Angelo De Donatis, 63, a "career pastor" and spiritual director to priests, as Francis' Vicar for Rome, then his assent to the Italian bishops' choice of Cardinal Gualtiero Bassetti of Perugia as the new president of their national conference, known as the CEI.

In both cases, the respective choices merely capped off trajectories signaled by the Pope himself: the preacher of the Lenten retreat for pontiff and Curia in 2014, De Donatis was catapulted into Rome's diocesan leadership a year later – when, in a rarity for one of his auxiliaries, Francis performed the ordination himself (right) in St John Lateran – while, in another shock to the system, Bassetti (a prior vice-president of the Italian bench) was plucked for the red hat in the Pope's first intake, as the cardinalate's traditional destinations in Venice and Turin were (and remain) bypassed.

On the other hand, meanwhile, both choices were the result of freshly-amplified attempts at consultation ordered from the Domus: for the Roman seat (technically the Pope's vicar-general), earlier this year Francis issued an open call for input among the clergy and faithful to be sent to him by mid-April, while in a first for the CEI's corner office – a key power-center of Italian life in the not-so-distant past – Bassetti's selection only came after the Italian bishops voted on a terna (three-man shortlist) of preferred presidents at last month's plenary, with the cardinal handily coming out on top.

That said, it is indeed conspicuous that – as the vicariate of Rome invariably brings its holder a red hat – despite having decided on De Donatis prior to his announcement of a Consistory next week, the Pope still opted against making a cardinal of the de facto head of his own diocese.

In a perfect world, that alone should end any complaints about any other place not seeing the scarlet again. Yet in an age that prefers decibel levels to actual context, it won't.

As speculation goes for Milan, listing potential names is only healthy as clickbait; in factual terms it's simply pointless in this case. Keeping with his established practice for other critical nods, it's an easy call that Francis will reserve the file to himself, taking his own soundings by phone, private letter or face-to-face and short-circuiting any debate or vote from the Congregation for Bishops.

While no shortage of possibilities have been buzzed about among Roman ops for months on end, the most scintillating among them – Pierbattista Pizzaballa, 52, the longtime head of the Franciscans' centuries-old mission in the Holy Land – is ostensibly off the table due to early days into his new assignment as archbishop-administrator of Jerusalem's Latin Patriarchate, armed with a mandate to remedy what he's termed "a critical situation, mainly financial" facing the jurisdiction which encompasses Israel, Palestine and Jordan. (And as one op summed up the scene facing the widely-regarded friar, "When an Italian's been sent in to fix the money, you really know it's bad.")

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Immense as the expectation's running for Milan, however, Italy's super-seat is just one of three of the world's premier local churches awaiting the Pope's choice of a new leader in short order.

Likewise Catholicism's most sizable outposts on their respective continents, the archdioceses of Kinshasa and, as of early this month, Mexico City are now in play as their respective occupants have submitted their retirement letters. On the latter front, lest anyone forgot a certain "bombshell" address in the heart of global fold's second-largest national turf some 16 months ago – widely seen as Francis' pointed critique on Cardinal Norberto Rivera's leadership of the Mexican hierarchy over two decades at its helm – well, do the math.

What's more still, considering the ample audience el Arzobispo Primado de México now enjoys North of the Border – in light of Univision and Telemundo (the networks of choice for the Stateside Church's emerging majority bloc) often besting ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC and in major-market TV ratings – as the future of the US fold goes, Rivera's succession is a move of almost unparalleled domestic consequence, to boot.

Speaking of (fading European) numbers, it's a sign of the times that Italy's largest diocese is now the smallest among the A-list trio pending before Francis: the principal seat of the onetime Belgian Congo, Kinshasa's growing fold comprises over over 6 million Catholics, and while Mexico City – the global church's largest diocese of all – is said to number close to 8 million members, that figure is likely low-balled due to migration patterns and iffy record-keeping.

Though last Thursday brought the antique celebration of Corpus Christi – a holy day within Vatican City itself (read: all offices closed) – in a rarity, the Holy See apparently saw fit to troll the Italian press' outbreak of "Milanese fever" by opening shop to roll out a number of appointments in Albania, Mexico and Colombia.

Meanwhile, in a first, the Vatican observance's traditional outdoor Mass at St John Lateran and procession to St Mary Major was moved to Sunday, ending a longtime work-week ritual which tended to reflect some degree of liturgical schizophrenia and/or longing for the restoration of the Papal States.

Simply put, in choosing to match the Monstrance-march to Italy's actual calendar, the Pope didn't just opt to facilitate the convenience of the faithful, but – like so much else in the works â€“ chose to abide by the decision of the episcopal conference... even if it took some four decades after the fact.

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          "Welcome" – For Pope and Trump, The Main Event        
(Updated 12pm ET with White House readout.)
After weeks of anticipation – and a rhetorical flare from the host's side – just before 8.30 this morning President Trump arrived at the Apostolic Palace for his reception by the Pope.

On reaching the Private Library in the Papal Apartment, the duo spent a half-hour in one-on-one talks behind closed doors. In what's become a sign of welcome under Francis for visiting heads of state, the American flag was again flown over the San Damaso courtyard, where the POTUS' 70-car motorcade rolled up.

While Papa Bergoglio appeared unusually somber or apprehensive as he emerged to welcome the beaming President upon his arrival, Francis returned to his smiling, animated form after the private discussion, seeming especially charmed by First Lady Melania Trump. Meanwhile, in a notable break from the standard practice for bilateral meetings, the US side didn't bring its own translator, leaving Msgr Mark Miles – the Gibraltar-born chief of the English desk in the Secretariat of State – as the sole interpreter for both parties.

Keeping the custom of his predecessors for every meeting with a major political leader, the pontiff gave Trump copies of his own principal texts – Evangelii Gaudium, Laudato Si' and Amoris Laetitia – adding alongside them a signed edition of this year's message for the World Day of Peace (1 January), in which he urged a politics of "nonviolence." Per the White House pool, the President's main gift was a boxed set of the published works of Dr Martin Luther King Jr., who Francis quoted in the Peace Day message and highlighted at length in his 2015 address to a joint meeting of Congress, the first such speech ever given by a Pope.

Here, the Vatican feed of the encounter's public moments before and after the private visit, which wrapped up with the traditional exchange of gifts and greeting of the US delegation:


As with every other diplomatic guest, after the audience itself the US principals – the President, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster – sat for detailed policy talks with the Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, and his British-born "foreign minister," Archbishop Paul Gallagher.

With the Pope zipping off for this morning's general audience, the second meeting reportedly stretched for 50 minutes.

In the one unique aspect of today's summit – at least, beyond the overpowering security presence that comes with this visitor alone – given Trump's first visit to the Vatican, the President, First Lady and their retinue were given a private tour of the Sistine Chapel (right) and St Peter's Basilica, which were closed to the public for the occasion.

While the new administration's domestic turmoil has taken a backseat to the spectacle of Trump's first overseas tour – and the Holy See, as a matter of course, steers clear of a country's internal politics – the US bishops notably minced few words in criticizing yesterday's release of the President's first budget, terming the plan's drastic cuts to social benefits for the poor and vulnerable (while increasing defense spending) as "profoundly troubling" and "a threat to the security of our nation and world."

SVILUPPO (5.50am ET): Just released, the Vatican's readout summarizing the private discussions as Francis and his team saw it....
This morning, Wednesday 24 May 2017, the Honorable Donald Trump, President of the United States of America, was received in Audience by the Holy Father Francis and subsequently met with His Eminence Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, accompanied by His Excellency [Archbishop] Paul Richard Gallagher, Secretary for Relations with States.

During the cordial discussions, satisfaction was expressed for the good existing bilateral relations between the Holy See and the United States of America, as well as the joint commitment in favour of life, and freedom of worship and conscience. It is hoped that there may be serene collaboration between the State and the Catholic Church in the United States, engaged in service to the people in the fields of healthcare, education and assistance to immigrants.

The discussions then enabled an exchange of views on various themes relating to international affairs and the promotion of peace in the world through political negotiation and interreligious dialogue, with particular reference to the situation in the Middle East and the protection of Christian communities.
And in the first US comment on the audience, Trump lauded the moment in one of his trademark tweets:
SVILUPPO 2 (12PM ET): Only several hours after the motorcade pulled away, the White House released the following communiqué on the talks, featuring a marked difference of emphasis from much of the Vatican's summary:
President Donald J. Trump met today with His Holiness Pope Francis and Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin. This was the President’s first engagement with the Holy See. In their meetings, the President focused on how the United States, the Holy See, and the international community can work together to combat terrorism.

The Pope and the President discussed how religious communities can combat human suffering in crisis regions, such as Syria, Libya, and ISIS-controlled territory. The President affirmed that the United States and the Holy See share many fundamental values and seek to engage globally to promote human rights, combat human suffering, and protect religious freedom.

The President also renewed the commitment of the United States to fighting global famine. As he relayed at the Vatican, the United States is proud to announce more than $300 million in anti-famine spending, focused on the crises in Yemen, South Sudan, Somalia, and Nigeria.
Briefing members of the traveling press pool as Air Force One headed toward a NATO summit in Brussels, Tillerson mentioned another issue that came up in the meting with Parolin and Gallagher: climate change – specifically, the Holy See's interest in the US' remaining a signatory to the 2015 Paris Agreement which committed most of the world's governments to implementing targeted limits on carbon emissions.

While Francis himself played a key behind-the-scenes role in securing the accord – now ratified by nearly 150 nations – the Trump administration has pledged to withdraw from it.

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          For Communications Day, "Big Red" Seeks "Bridges," Not "Tunnels"        
Four months into an experiment without precedent in American Catholic life, to speak of "the Cardinal-Archbishop of Newark" still takes some getting used to. And even more, when you've been around long enough to recall the relentless dumping on the place in which a certain late occupant of the chair across the Hudson took mountains of relish, the new state of things is all the more extraordinary.

To be sure, the "Clash of the Titans" for which some partisans have been salivating has not come to pass – at least, not yet. But little by little – with subtle swings on "evil empires," gays and lesbians, polarization, Amoris and the like – Cardinal Joe Tobin has taken to carving out his own niche, both in the church's top rank and the nation's largest media market.

Catapulted into the scarlet and the Northeast to the shock of many – elsewhere, that is – the place the former Redemptorist general and top Curial official holds in the current dynamic has a rough equivalent in recent times: just as another Midwestern-born religious superior in Rome was vaulted from relative obscurity into becoming the articulator of the Stateside church's mission in the zeitgeist, to Mamma Tobin's eldest boy now belongs the role occupied by Francis George over the prior generation of the bench. (Indeed, it bears recalling that Tobin's November elevation coincided with the start of his three-year term at the helm of the USCCB arm for clergy, consecrated life and vocations – one of the Mothership's "Big Four" committee chairs – in which he'll oversee the national implementation of the Holy See's new global guidelines for priestly formation.)

At January's installation (video), perhaps the most striking element of the scene was the full descent of the New York press corps – which packed a transept of the Cathedral-Basilica of the Sacred Heart, as every TV station's live trucks lined the street outside – in the biggest media throng Jersey Catholicism had seen since the Papal Visit of 1995.

Three years earlier in the same place, the "press box" for Bernie Hebda's ultimately-thwarted start as the next archbishop was made up of this scribe and crickets, so the contrast was as stark as the blinding Klieg lights that came out for Tobin's entrance (above). And as Francis' second, finally successful pick for Newark stomped around every aisle of the French-Gothic cathedral to show his letter of appointment (holding the parchment bull over his head), it was no less telling that Jim Goodness, the long-suffering archdiocesan spokesman, was heard to exult to no one in particular that "We have a showman!"

While the initial frenzy's calmed down, having spent the spring in "town hall" meetings and regional Masses across his new, 1.3 million-member turf, yesterday saw "Big Red" in his most high-profile Gotham turn since his launch, headlining the Brooklyn diocese's annual gathering of Catholic and secular press pros for World Communications Day – marked across the church on the so-called "Ascension Sunday," the lone ecclesial event called for by Vatican II.

Long on-record blasting what he's termed a "Fox News" approach that "keep[s] people coming back because they keep them afraid," albeit without naming the cable outlet this time, the thread returned again in Tobin's keynote, which focused on the imperative of "communicating hope" in a time of societal tumult, drawing heavily from a widely-covered intervention he made in March on behalf of an undocumented immigrant facing deportation.

Here, the fullvid:


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          Comment on Playground, Italy – A Short Travel Video by Mike McAlister        
Rome, the capital of Italy, has for centuries been a political and religious centre of Western civilisation as the capital of the Roman Empire and site of the Holy See.
          Comment on the Comments        

William Oddie FAITH MAGAZINE March-April 2014

Pius XII and Soviet Propaganda

In February, The Vatican insider Sandro Magister wrote a piece headlined “The Thousands of Jews Saved in Churches and Convents”. He drew attention to an article by the Jewish historian Anna Foa which had been picked up by Osservatore Romano, and also to the fact that Pope Francis will as soon as possible make available the complete documentation of the pontificate of Pius XII, from 1939 to 1958, which runs to 16 million pages. The work of organising this vast mound of papers has been going on for six years and, says the prefect of the Vatican secret archive, Bishop Sergio Pagano, “will take another year or year and a half”.

The point that emerges from Anna Foa’s researches, however, is that the question of access to this huge archive has quite wrongly dominated the whole controversy of what the pope did or didn’t do for the Jews for many years, with frequent insinuations that the archive’s inaccessibility was motivated by attempts to suppress the shameful secrets it supposedly contains. Now, Anna Foa suggests that this was quite unnecessary, since there was always plenty of evidence of what was happening during the German occupation, outside the archives, in the witness of those Jews directly involved. This is now being properly researched by historians like Dr Foa, who insists that, as a result, we can be sure that the “more recent image of the aid given to Jews by the Church arises not from pro-Catholicideological positions, but above all from thorough research into the lives of Jews during the occupation, from the reconstruction of the stories of families or individuals. From field work, in short”.

The research in this regard, noted Sandro Magister, is highly advanced. And from this it is becoming ever more clear that the saving of many Jews was not only permitted but also co-ordinated by the highest leadership of the Church. And as Anna Foa unambiguously makes clear, this research “ erases [my emphasis] the image proposed in the 1960s of a Pope Pius XII indifferent to the fate of Jews or even an accomplice of the Nazis”.

The eminent English historian Michael Burleigh agrees with Feldkamp, and adds that “Soviet attempts to smear Pius had actually commenced as soon as the Red Army crossed into Catholic Poland”.

When, in February, I wrote a piece about Anna Foa’s research in my Catholic Herald blog, I added that I was still mystified by the hardening of Jewish opinion against Pius XII in the aftermath of Hochhuth’s play Der Stellvertreter, which had depicted him virtually as a Nazi collaborator, given that the universal feeling expressed by Jews immediately after the war was one of gratitude and warmth towards Pope Pius. When Pius died in 1958, it was still quite natural that Golda Meir, then the Israeli Foreign Minister, should send a cable to the Holy See paying tribute to him. “During the decade of Nazi terror,” she recalled, “when fearful martyrdom came to our people, the voice of the Pope was raised for the victims. The life of our times was enriched by a voice speaking out on the greatmoral truths, above the tumult of daily conflict. We mourn a great servant of peace.” All that collapsed virtually overnight. What happened?

My attention was drawn to a link to an article by a lieutenant general in the Romanian Securitate, published in National Review online, where the whole thing is credibly explained. The National Review is a paper I have written for myself back in the days when it was still edited by Bill Buckley: this is no fly-by-night old rag, but a paper that stands up its facts before it publishes. There had to be an explanation, and here it was: the revolution in Jewish –and even in much Catholic – opinion had been achieved by a classic and brilliantly executed example of Soviet disinformation. Here’s the story.

In February 1960, Nikita Khrushchev authorised a covert plan to discredit, because of its fervent anticommunism, the Vatican’s moral authority in Western Europe with a campaign of disinformation, Pope Pius XII being the prime target. According to General Pacepa, who had KGB links:

In 1963, General Ivan Agayants, the famous chief of the KGB’s disinformation department, told us that ‘Seat-12’ [the code name for the campaign] had materialised into a powerful play attacking Pope Pius XII, entitled The Deputy, an oblique reference to the pope as Christ’s representative on earth.

Agayants took credit for the outline of the play, and he told us that it had voluminous appendices of background documents put together by his experts with help from documents purloined from the Vatican. Agayants also told us that The Deputy’s producer, Erwin Piscator, was a devoted communist who had a longstanding relationship with Moscow. In 1929 he had founded the Proletarian Theater in Berlin, then sought political asylum in the Soviet Union when Hitler came to power, and a few years later had ‘emigrated’ to the United States. In 1962 Piscator had returned to West Berlin to produce The Deputy.

The motto of Seat-12 was “Dead men cannot defend themselves”: Pius had died in 1958. Pacepa says that the KGB employed Romanian spies to feign that Romania was preparing to re-establish diplomatic relations with the Holy See. Under this ruse, Pacepa claims that he obtained entrée to Vatican archives from the Church’s head of secret discussions with the Warsaw Pact, Monsignor Agostino Casaroli. Over two years, three communist spies in the guise of priests secreted materials out of the archives for copying and transfer to the KGB. “In fact,” Pacepa reported, “no incriminating material against the pontiff ever turned up.” But the documents purloined were used in the preparation of the forged documentation which accompanied Hochhuth’s play.

How credible is all this? Well, according to the National Catholic Register (www.ncregister.com/daily-news/disinformation-and-a-dubious-source) it’s not credible at all. A book called Disinformation, co-written by General Pacepa and the American professor of law Ronald Rychlak (best known for his book Hitler, the War and the Pope, a well-researched defence of Pius XII’s record during the Second World War), which spells out these revelations at greater length, is “dubious at best” – or at least, the bits written by Pacepa are: the reviewer NCR admits that “what Rychlak contributes, drawn from his earlier work on Pope Pius, appears solid”.

Of the National Review article, NCR says: “Under scrutiny, Pacepa’s story began to unravel, with doubts expressed by historians and Vatican experts.” NCR gives a link to some of these doubts by “Vatican experts”: unfortunately, these “experts” include John Cornwell, author of Hitler’s Pope, who said he had never heard the claims described by Pacepa and considers them “most unlikely”, though “as a supporter of Nato and the Western Alliance, it’s not inconceivable the pope could have been targeted [by the KGB]. But I haven’t seen any credible documents indicating anyone doctored material”. NCR seemed particularly affronted that “by casting suspicion on Cardinal Casaroli’s judgment and character, Pacepa undermines the integrity of the entire Vatican strategy between 1963 and 1989, knownas ‘Ostpolitik’.”

“The policy”, they explained, “involved maintaining dialogue with communist regimes in order to assist the oppressed Church and believers behind the Iron Curtain without legitimising dictatorships. In his memoirs, Cardinal Casaroli described this effort as ‘exceptionally difficult’.” But the Ostpolitik wasn’t just difficult, it was disastrous: it didn’t help believers behind the Iron Curtain; on the contrary, it undermined them. The Ostpolitik’s greatest victim was Cardinal Mindszenty, who was ordered by the Vatican to resign so that its Ostpolitik could proceed on its disastrous way unhindered by all the awkwardness with the communist authorities which he was causing. The assumption behind the Ostpolitik was that the Eastern bloc would always be there and so had to be accepted as apermanent fact of life: the future Pope John Paul II already knew that it must not be accepted as a fact of life, and that it was itself vulnerable, especially to the Catholic Church. The communists knew that too: hence the disinformation campaign against the anti-communist Pius XII.

Back to General Pacepa. NCR’s ultimate debunking of his claims is provided by a quotation from Fr Peter Gumpel, the relator of Pius XII’s cause. NCR claims this shows that he too is sceptical about Pacepa’s claims. Unfortunately for the newspaper, however, Fr Gumpel read its article and absolutely denied any scepticism about Pacepa’s claims: not only that, he insisted that NCR publish a letter from him, to appear immediately after the “uncouth review” in which it had misquoted him, to express his “outrage”:

My 2007 comment was simply meant to encourage a proper scholarly evaluation of Gen Pacepa’s statements at that time – not to dismiss all of them outright, much less declare none of them could ever be established. In fact, the Zenit story referenced misleadingly in your review actually notes that I “agreed” with Pacepa in large part; and what I also told Zenit, but which your review of Disinformation left unmentioned, was the following: “One needs to be extremely prudent and try to verify the facts.” I did not – l repeat – say every aspect of Gen Pacepa’s account could never be verified, only that it needed to be carefully considered – which it has been, by numerous scholars, since 2007, during which a considerable amount of new information has appeared supporting it.

Moreover, the way in which my 2001 quotation was used, in the Register’s review of Disinformation, leaves the impression that I doubt Pacepa’s statements dealing with the communist disinformation campaign against Pius XII, and consider them nothing more than a spy-induced fabrication. In fact, as anyone who reads the 2007 Zenit news article can see, I made it abundantly clear at the time that there was in fact a concerted communist campaign to infiltrate and compromise the Vatican, and to defame Venerable Pius XII.

Therefore, both Professor Rychlak and Gen Pacepa deserve to be praised, not attacked, for recounting and documenting this indisputable historical reality in Disinformation.

So, where does that leave us? Certainly not with any convincing debunking of General Pacepa’s claims. NCR gives a link to an article quoting some of those sceptical about them (including John Cornwell, who would be, wouldn’t he?). But it doesn’t quote any of those who take them seriously. These include, for instance, the German historian Michael F Feldkamp, who writes that “Pacepa’s report is wholly credible. It fits like a missing piece in the puzzle of communist propaganda and disinformation aimed at discrediting the Catholic Church and its Pontiff.”

The eminent English historian Michael Burleigh agrees with Feldkamp, and adds that “Soviet attempts to smear Pius had actually commenced as soon as the Red Army crossed into Catholic Poland”. He notes that the Soviets “hired a militantly anti-religious propagandist, Mikhail Markovich Sheinmann” – and that “Hochhuth’s play…drew heavily upon Sheinmann’s lies and falsehoods…” Victor Gaetan, the author of the NCR story, persisted in saying, even after Fr Gumpel’s rebuttal of his “uncouth” piece, that “there’s no evidence for [Pacepa’s] particular story”. But that’s rubbish: Pacepa is a witness, so what he says is itself evidence. And for me, the fact that both Fr Gumpel and the impressive Michael Burleigh take Pacepa seriously has to mean that so must I. And so should the NCR.


          Book Reviews        

FAITH MAGAZINE March-April 2014

The Church and New Media – Blogging converts, online activists, and Bishops who tweet
By Brandon Vogt. Our Sunday Visitor, 2011, 224pp paperback. Available from Amazon at £8.95

Despite the image of a professor pope who would prefer a quiet library, Pope Benedict enthusiastically promoted the use of the new media in the task of evangelisation in his messages for World Communications Day over several years. Brandon Vogt, a young married man, is an upbeat apostle who has enthusiastically used the new media himself and made great efforts to encourage others to do so. The Church and New Media is a part of this apostolate.

Vogt has gathered a collection of articles from some of the best-known bloggers and users of other new media to give guidance on the effectiveness of evangelisation using social media and to offer sound advice to those starting out in the field. In the rough labelling used today, the contributors might be described as “neo-orthodox”: they are some of the people who have used the social media in a positive and effective way in complete loyalty to the magisterium of the Church. There is a local bias in that several of the contributors come from Texas A&M College. Having come to know the contributions and style of many of the writers, I was impressed that they seem to have networked so effectively – and astonished that one college should have produced so many great apostles.

Priests occasionally say in a mildly superior and accusatory manner: “I don’t know how you find the time to blog.” My stock reply is to answer immediately: “I don’t have a television.”

Fr Robert Barron, whose Catholicism series of DVDs has proved so popular a means of building up the faith of uncatechised Catholics, writes of his engagement with those who comment on his YouTube videos. Open comment boxes on the internet provide an outlet for prejudice, abuse and the publication of opinions that do not merit serious consideration. Patience in responding to such commenters is admirable.

The internet apostolate plays a major part in the conversion story of blogger Jennifer Fulwiler. She repeatedly saw how “someone would toss out a half-baked argument against Christianity that might have sounded impressive offline, but it would be quickly demolished in the flood of facts provided by the internet”. She noticed that Catholics had the best answers in a ruthless intellectual environment and were not afraid to get involved in online debate on the most difficult questions.

The prolific blogger Mark Shea points to one of the attractions of the new media for writers: there is nobody who will change your headline “Exploring the Mysteries of the Rosary” to “My Friend the Rosary”. Writers do indeed need to edit themselves, but mistakes are quickly punished in an environment where anyone can comment, and there is a direct link between the quality of writing and the number of readers. Blogging can become a tyranny, though: Fr Dwight Longenecker speaks of how people visit his blog every day looking for the three “E’s”: education, entertainment and enlightenment. I have some sympathy with him. One time, when things were very busy in the parish I did not blog for a week. My sister rang up to check whether I was ill.

As well as direct evangelisation, Catholics are using the internet in imaginative ways to help people within the Church. Matthew Warner’s “Flocknote” project enables parishes to contact people from one source, sending the same material to a person’s email inbox, Facebook or Twitter account, or to their mobile phone by text message; the important thing is that it is the end user that chooses which of these means is the one by which they prefer to receive information. There is also a chapter on “innovative shepherding” looking at examples from the Archdiocese of Boston and giving recommendations for dioceses and bishops. In England, the dioceses of Lancaster and Shrewsbury have made particularly effective use of the internet in pushing out good news and keeping up with the way in whichpeople choose to receive information, but in some dioceses there is often still an attitude in which people see the internet as irrelevant, looking down on what they see as technically advanced enthusiasts who spend too much time “playing on their computers”.

Priests occasionally say in a mildly superior and accusatory manner: “I don’t know how you find the time to blog.” My stock reply is to answer immediately: “I don’t have a television.” I confess that I find it amusing when this is met with the protest: “Well, I only watch documentaries and the history channel.” As long as we are not nuked back to the stone age or sent offline by a massive solar electromagnetic pulse, the internet is here to stay and is an indispensable part of communication. In the Church we are obliged to communicate in order to spread the gospel of Christ. The Church and New Media is an easily readable introduction and demonstration of some of the ways in which this apostolate can flourish.

Within the Church there is much ground to be made up. The priest-blogger Fr John Zuhlsdorf once said that in the Vatican it is “yesterday’s technology tomorrow”, and this is true of many local churches. On the day that the encyclical Lumen Fidei was issued, Brandon Vogt set to work to make versions of the encyclical available for Kindle and other e-book formats. Fr Zuhlsdorf immediately read out the entire encyclical and published an audio file. (Lest there be any doubt, the downloads were given away free of charge, as is customary.) In both cases, letters followed from the Libreria Editrice Vaticana complaining about copyright infringement. Brandon Vogt was even accused of “stealing from the Pope”. Pope Benedict’s message on the importance of using the new media for evangelisationhas not penetrated everywhere, even at the Holy See. The Church and New Media would be a good primer for anyone who wants to understand why some of us devote some of our time trying to use the new media for the good.

Fr Timothy Finigan

 

The Pope’s Last Crusade
By Peter Eisner. William Morrow, 292pp, $27.99, £18.99

The successor of St Peter has probably from the very beginning had to contend with conflict from afar and intrigue nearer at home. This was certainly the experience of Pope Benedict XVI, and it was also true of Pius XI, as this book shows.

Pius XI wrote an average of two encyclicals a year. He condemned communism in Divini Redemptoris. But he came to realise that the more immediate menace was from the Nazis. His outspoken denunciation in Mit  Brennender Sorge (1937) was an unparalleled attack on the racism of Nazi policies. In 1938 Pius XI was considering a second encyclical which would enlarge on the point in an even more forthright way.

This book recounts how the Pope turned to Fr John LaFarge, an American Jesuit on the board of America, the Jesuit magazine which had already published his analysis on racism, which Pius had read and appreciated. LaFarge, who was on a fact-finding mission to Europe for his editor, was summoned to Castel Gandolfo by personal letter and asked to draft the new encyclical in the deepest secrecy as soon as possible.

LaFarge enlisted the help of two fellow Jesuits and completed the task in four months. He then left for America, because of the worsening health of his brother, and entrusted the draft of the new encyclical to the Jesuit General, Wlodimir Ledochowski. His superior had other thoughts in mind. He shared the opinion of Pius’s Secretary of State, Eugenio Pacelli, who considered that communism was by far the greatest danger and that criticism of Germany should therefore be muted. The draft encyclical was filed away until Pius died in February 1939 when it was shelved. The softly-softly policy was in fact pursued by Pacelli when he became Pius XII. Personally he sheltered Jews in Vatican territory, but he drew back from denouncing the Nazis’ racist policies except in carefully worded terms.

It is perhaps vain to speculate whether a new encyclical would have aroused such a wave of revulsion around the world that Kristallnacht and the Final Solution might have been avoided. Pius XII made a tactical decision because he thought Pius XI’s approach was too brutal – and because his fondness for Germany led him to consider that Hitler might eventually become more democratic. That was despite outbursts like the speech at the Sportpalast in 1938, in which Hitler raved: “In this hour the whole German people will be united to me: my will they shall feel as their will, just as I regard their future and fate as director of my actions.”


This does not take away from the undoubted holiness of Pius XII, who gave us such magisterial documents as Mystici Corporis and Mediator Dei and the revised paschal triduum. But it brings home that it takes a great pope to see the broader picture and to rise above the inner circle which surrounds him, advising, prompting and sometimes undermining him. Popes always need our prayers.

James Tolhurst

 

The Evolution of Adam: What the Bible does and doesn’t say about human origins
By Peter Enns. Brazos Press, 161pp, £10.99

The Bible speaks about the creation of the universe and of man. The language and images it uses to describe such beginnings have their roots in a particular time and culture. One cannot read these passages of the Bible as if they intend to give an accurate description of physical, historical reality. This is neither the way nor the reason they were composed.

Furthermore, in view of the state of scientific knowledge today, unless one is prepared simply to reject scientific evidence, adjustments to the interpretation of the scriptural accounts are always necessary. Without such development of doctrine, those of us who hold the Bible dear can be forced into closing down all dialogue with modern thought. In this book Peter Enns seeks to give Christians, who value Scripture as the Word of God, parameters by which they can understand the Bible and its message while accepting evolution as a valid description of the origin of humans.

Enns has a gift for expressing in an accessible way modern developments in biblical scholarship. The way he describes the setting, culture and language of the biblical authors is engaging. And his outline of current thought on the formation of Genesis and the other books of the Bible is clear and comprehensible. His approach takes seriously the “human dimension” of Scripture and sees it not as an unhappy condescension but as a mark of God’s love and of how far He will stoop to commune with His people.

In this respect Enns, an evangelical, is close to Catholic theology, expressed by Pius XII in Divino Afflante Spiritu: “Just as the substantial Word of God became like men in every respect except sin, so too the words of God, expressed in human languages, became like human language in every respect except error.” This book describes well many of the facets of the “human languages” used by the Holy Spirit to communicate the Word of God to us.

However, in order to be successful in giving parameters for an authentic and modern interpretation of the Bible, one needs a clear understanding of biblical inspiration and a sound theology of biblical interpretation. Enns does not demonstrate that he has either in a Catholic sense. A Catholic exegete seeks to be faithful to the Church, which means resolutely seeking one’s place in the mainstream of the great Tradition of the Church. Assured of the assistance of the Holy Spirit this Tradition, under the guidance of the Magisterium, in former times recognised the canonical writings of the Word of God and has never ceased to meditate on them and search their meaning. Furthermore, since the Holy Spirit is the divine author of the Scriptures, speaking the One Word of God, the Church has avision of the unity of the Bible. In this context a development of doctrine can be positively identified and adjustments to the interpretation of Scripture, which Enns argues for, can be confidently and authentically made.

Enns does not know this Tradition and, although he recognises a kind of “development of doctrine” within the Bible itself, he does not have the theological tools to set his own thinking in dialogue with the living theology of the Church. It is inevitable that such an individualistic approach to the study of the Scriptures, which does not know how to “listen to the Church”, will wander from authentic interpretation.

We see this especially when Enns describes St Paul’s use of the span of Adam simply as a “biblical idiom” available to him as he seeks to express what God has achieved in the death and resurrection of Christ. While Enns recognises that Paul uses the language and symbolism of Adam, he is unable to see that Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit, brings to fruit the doctrine sown “in seed” in the book of Genesis. Paul is not only using the vocabulary, language and idioms of the Old Testament in a new context, but developing the content of Revelation itself.

The early writers of the Church expressed it thus: The New Testament lies hidden in the Old and the Old Testament is unveiled in the New. The Holy Spirit gradually unveils the nature of God and His plan for mankind. This “unveiling” is expressed through the Scriptures, the human authors of which are inspired to write what God wishes while employing their own faculties and doing so in the language and culture of their time. In the Old Testament it was piecemeal and incomplete. In the New Testament it was perfected in the fullness of revelation in Christ. Not having such a theology of inspiration and interpretation, when Enns is wrestling with the concept of a historical Adam he strays from the doctrine of original sin, which teaches that original sin is passed on by generation, and allowsfor an interpretation that “all have sinned” through imitation or accident or, worse still, because we were created that way.

Enns does not fail in his intention to describe what the Bible does and doesn’t say about human origins. What is more, he conveys in a simple way the cultural background which gave rise to the vocabulary, expressions, images and idioms of the words of Scripture. But the Catholic reader cannot place complete trust in Enns’ conclusions. Ultimately, he does not speak from the heart of the Church.

Luiz Ruscillo

 

Love is his Meaning – The Impact of Julian of Norwich
By John Skinner. Gracewing, 145p, £7.99

Julian of Norwich is the best known of the 14th-century English mystics. Her famous book Revelations of Divine Love, with its account of the “showing” of her “courteous Lord”, is loved by modern readers more than ever. If her English is quaint, her message is refreshingly contemporary with its stress on God’s love for us, prefiguring devotions to the Sacred Heart and, more recently, the Divine Mercy. Julian’s influence reaches beyond the Catholic world, and there are many interfaith Julian prayer groups around the country.

This being the case, a new introduction to Julian for beginners is always welcome. John Skinner, a journalist and former Jesuit, has already translated the entire text for Gracewing into modern inclusive language. In this book he presents excerpts from his own translation with a commentary punctuating the text. These comments are most helpful when they refer to the original Middle English to resolve a textual ambiguity or bring out a fuller meaning, and when they set Julian in the context of her time. Unfortunately, there is a tendency to re-state Julian’s words in a kind of summing-up, and a subjectivism that some may find off-putting. Extraneous information, such as comparing one of Julian’s images with an Orthodox icon, show the author’s breadth of knowledge but doesn’t really helpwith understanding Julian. There is very little about medieval anchoritic life, for example.

When she was 34, Julian (we don’t know her real name) fell seriously ill and was prepared for death. On her sickbed she received a number of visions, or “shewings”, several of which concerned the Passion. The rest of her life was spent meditating on these visions and writing about her experiences. For many years she lived as an anchoress in a cell attached to St Julia’s church in Norwich. It might have been helpful to describe the world of Julian, in many ways so different from our own.

The use of the word “impact” in the title is misleading; the book does not address Julian’s influence on Christian thinking – a fascinating subject in itself. Anyone buying the book expecting to read about this will be disappointed.

However, as an introduction to the thought of Julian, John Skinner’s book is good. The 16 revelations are each quoted in brief and discussed. To begin, a longer vision taken from the latter part of Julian’s book is presented as an overview of her thought. The book’s format, excerpts from a modern translation divided into short sections by commentary, would lend itself well to group study. If the editorial habit of paraphrasing Julian may seem at times patronising to the reader, it does serve to drive home her message.

Gracewing’s edition has large, clear type with a slightly different font for the commentary. It would perhaps have made it easier to determine at a glance which is Julian and which is commentary to have the latter in italics. As they stand, the fonts are similar enough at first glance to confuse the eye.

A book like this runs the risk of being too personal, both in the selection of text and in the commentary. Some readers may find the interruptions in Julian’s text annoying and prefer to let her speak for herself. However, as an introduction for complete beginners, the book will no doubt prove useful and may help to encourage a new generation of Julia’s followers.

Clare Anderson

 

The Twilight of Atheism: The Rise and Fall of Disbelief in the Modern World
By Alister McGrath. Rider, 320pp, £8.99

In the past few years the “New Atheism” of Richard Dawkins and his associates has sought to make atheism seem credible and current. However, as this fascinating, educational and highly readable book indicates, atheism is an ideology past its sell-by date. How does McGrath argue this? Is he convincing, and what are the weaknesses in his account?

The narrative of this book’s subtitle, The Rise and Fall of Disbelief in the Modern World, runs as follows: the corruption of the Church was so horrendous that it made belief in its God cease to be credible; atheism thus arose as a credible alternative proposing that a new, freer and happier world would arise when belief in God was rejected. However, the horror of atheist regimes in the 20th century made this claim incredible (in the original sense). In addition, at a philosophical level, postmodernity rejected the claims that atheistic modernity had made about reason’s capacity to know with certainty that there was no God. Thus at both an existential and a theoretical level atheism has lost its appeal. He further argues that the worldwide rise of Pentecostalism fulfils a need for a faithin God that is not linked to the discredited institutions of historical Christianity (ie the mainline churches) and that likewise shares the postmodern rejection of reason.

The argument that McGrath uses to trace and explain this rise and fall is both historical and philosophical. It is historical in that his account progresses through the eras of the Western world to describe the way in which various cultural changes made certain key philosophers seem more credible in one era than they would have been in another. It is historical in that it provides useful thumbnail sketches of the pivotal thinkers involved, describing the different ways in which Feuerbach, Marx and Freud explain away religion as a delusion.


Interestingly, linked with McGrath’s description of the historically conditioned attractiveness of various thought systems is an account of their capacity to engender in the human imagination a vision of a possible society that can appeal and attract intellectual assent as well as seeming to argue for its conclusions. A less sophisticated illustration of this can be seen in the way that science fiction has envisioned various atheistic scientific futures: over the course of the past century such visions of the future have shifted from being utopias to being dystopias. Such a shift parallels the cultural sense that a future without God is no longer felt to be a happy future, and with this cultural shift atheism has lost its appeal.

The general account provided by the book is convincing in many respects, not least in the manner in which it largely fits the facts of history. That said, the fundamentally Protestant thinking of its author deeply colours the work and leads to some significant weaknesses. While the book gives an interesting summary of various authors who have argued that it was the Protestant Reformation that gave rise to atheism, the author fails to note any connection between the rejection (traceable from nominalism) of reason’s capacity to know reality, the Protestant Reformation’s appeal to faith against reason, intellectual scepticism and current postmodernism. Similarly, given that the book attributes the rise of atheism to the moral corruption of the Catholic Church, it might be noted that thisaccount fails to argue why atheism became prominent when it did. Why didn’t 12th-century corruption give rise to atheism rather than giving rise to great reformers like St Francis of Assisi? The book’s account of Christian history fails to address such questions. Might the influence of nominalism in the subsequent century be relevant? The book does not say.

To look at the same point from a slightly different angle, McGrath seems too uncritical in his acceptance of postmodernism’s rejection of reason’s capacity to know the truth. Thus he asserts that “nothing can be proven at all” (p98) about God by reason – a point that he doesn’t really prove (perhaps because postmodernism denies that reason can prove such things). With reason deemed powerless, all that is left is “faith”. An account that, in contrast, truly acknowledged the capacity of reason to grasp truth would have shown how authentic reason can not only demonstrate that God exists but even show many of His attributes. Another point that could have been usefully articulated is that, despite the scandal and doubt caused by corruption in the Church, the goodness of many Christians and theholiness that is inherent within the Church has led many people to believe in God. The book is thus limited by the postmodernism that it rather uncritically reflects.
This said, while McGrath doesn’t address the problems within postmodernism, the book stands as a fascinating and illuminating postmodern critique of atheism. Such a critique might provide a good morale booster to those weighed down by the triumphalism of the New Atheism, a triumphalism McGrath shows to be misplaced.

Dylan James


          Emily and Paulette's Reign Brings Real Change in Weather        

Most people thought that Emily and Paulette's campaign for Art was Bullshit, but it turns out that it was for real, and now that they're art queens of the queendom of art, they're making real changes, changes of substance, substantial changes that are easy to see and that are really helpful to everybody in the world, artists and human beings alike.

One of these changes is the weather.  It's been getting cooler lately.  August was really warm, hot even, and then look at now, it's November, it rained, and we all know that rain is good.  It's great even because California is in a terrible, death threatening drought.  But look at when the rain came.  It came after Emily and Paulette were elected.

Another change is the Pope urging the G-20 to do something about greenhouse gases.  This isn't just some random idea that he got one day while praying to whomever he prays to.  Paulette sent him a message through her fillings which the holy see received on his foil-covered, pesto chicken sandwich which he stalked and killed on the vatican's wild game preserve.

And another change is the profound amount of compassion and patience and friendliness people are displaying to each other on the freeways and roads and boulevards and ways and avenues and streets, especially in heavily congested areas with little to no parking.

Are you better off today than you were a week and a half ago?



          CCM Newsletter for January 25, 2010        

SELECTED E-MAIL MESSAGES

POST: November 11, 2009: Manila, PHILIPPINES

I represent 98.7 DZFE-FM The Master's Touch in Metro Manila. I would like to inquire about the possibility of carrying THE ADORATION SONGBOOK on our station. We would like to broadcast both the weekly and daily programs and make them a regular feature of our early morning. DZFE is a non-commercial classical FM station that is part of the Far East Broadcasting network of stations, whose mission is to bring Christ to the world by radio. Thank you for your consideration.

Tiffany Liong

Note: We have corresponded with Tiffany--and our program is now on the air in the Philippines via the MBN network. This is a great answer to prayer. More on this in the "Director's Update" on the reverse side.

POST: January 7, 2010, Nairobi, KENYA

God bless you, I have been listening to your music in the net and I'm wondering how I can get it either in DVD or audio CD?

Jeremiah Njeru

POST: January 14, 2010: Trinidad, WEST INDIES

[I listen to your Internet program.] do you ship international?

Victor

POST: Monday, January 4, 2010, Charlotte NC

Dr. Lusher, I spoke to you back in December about using the devotion on "O Come All Ye Faithful" with my choir. I wanted to let you know that it was very well received by the choir members. I am going to use the devotional, "Guide Me O Thou Great Jehovah" with them. I have printed it out and put your website on the sheet so the choir can go home and use the hymns in their personal devotional times. Thank you for your great ministry!

Monty (Friendship Missionary Baptist Church)

Note: This is terrific--and one of the singular purposes of our website. We pray that churches will use the site in the same way--to shape the mind and the heart for God's grace and glory through singing!

Website Report: 2009
A Record Year!

Source: Google Analytics

Total Hits: 1,001,683 (A Record!) 25% higher than 2008.

Countries: 209 Countries. This number includes the Vatican (Holy See)

Visits: 273,743 Up 35% from 2008.

Unique Visitors: 221,485 Up 34$ from 2008.

Highest Hits from a Foreign Country: Great Britain Up 39% from 2008.

Five Highest States in 2009 vs 2008 California: Up 27%
Texas: Up 36%
New York: Up 36%
Florida: Up 47%
Pennsylvania: Up 36%

Most Popular Hymn on the Site in 2009: "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing"

As you can see from the above statistics (the statistics are a free service from Google) the Lord has significantly increased our site usage this year. To say that we are surprised by this great leap forward is a bit of an understatement, but we are grateful to the Lord for this the tremendous influence of the site.

We continue to pray that God will provide the funds to continue our site and to be able to increase the number of hymns that are heard around the world. After a rewarding 2009 we say: To God be the Glory!

THIS MONTH'S ESSAY

God's Gift: Song!

From the beginning of Scripture to its dramatic climax in Revelation, song is never far from God's people. Over the next months, we will look at the extraordinary usage of music and song found in the Bible. Combined with the teaching of the Apostolic fathers (the early church), Scripture provides a striking picture of how music is to be used in today's church.

READ MORE



JANUARY HYMN HIGHLIGHT

I Greet Thee Who My Sure Redeemer Art

Listen to it on the website or on a radio station in your area. This hymn is one of the most important hymns of the Reformation!












DIRECTOR'S UPDATE

I hope that you find website statistics from Google to be encouraging. It is a great reminder of the power of the Internet and how widespread its usage has become. (A real surprise: This is the second year that the Vatican has used our site for hymns!)

Another surprise (and answer to prayer!) was the request by a powerful FM station in the Philippines to broadcast our radio programs. We have been praying for several months that we might be able to link up with some of the evangelical broadcasting networks around the world.

For months we had difficulty making the proper contacts. But, God intervened and unexpectedly we received an e-mail message late last year regarding putting our program on the air in the Philippines. (See "Selected E-Mail Messages")

We pray that this will be just the beginning of more exposure on International radio. Frankly, many Christians are too poor or isolated to have exposure to a computer and the Internet. But they do need to hear the joy of the Gospel, and join in the great experience of singing the great hymns of the faith. Please pray with us!

As we begin 2010, your financial help is greatly appreciated. The need to return to the studio and record additional hymns is urgent. As we receive e-mail from around the USA and the globe, we need to be able to respond to their requests for more material on our website.

Thank you in advance for your help. A gift of any size will make a difference--and the greater the gift, the greater the opportunity for the Center for Church Music to continue to make a significant impact in over 200 countries!

To Donate

Paul


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          Chapter 101        
Chapter 101

“Memaw! Memaw! What happened? Who was wearing the boots?!”

Kiri looked over at Joy and then at her husband, still deep in his thoughts. “No need to shout child. I’m sitting right here.”

Joy, still impatient, knew her Memaw meant business so she tried to ask more quiet and ladylike, “But who was it Memaw? Was it Peepaw?”

A deep sigh preceeded Kiri’s answer. “No child. It was Uncle Ram and Ken.”

“Ken? Pastor Ken?! The really old man that sometimes gives the eulogies at the Old Timers’ funerals?”

Rand snorted in suppressed laughter, Kiri was less amused. “Joy … would you like me to set you to peeling potatoes from now until Juvember?”

Joy thought, “Memaw knows I hate peeling dirty ol’ taters.” But all she said was, “Uh, no ma’am.”

“Then think before you speak. Lord willing you’ll get to enjoy aging too and then we’ll see how much you like some pretty young thing calling you an old timer.”

Rand, not quite as deep in thought as Kiri believed muttered, “Seems to me the pot is calling the kettle black.”

This time it was Joy who had to hide a laugh as her Memaw gave her Peepaw the evil eye. Everybody knew that Memaw could go off like a Tallahassee bottle rocket with no warning. It was fun watching Peepaw and Uncle Ram tease her about it. ‘Course they were the only ones brave enough to set her off on purpose. However, still impatient for the rest of the story she asked, “Where was Peepaw?”

“Your Aunt Missy’s first husband Bill and some other men held him back.”

“Why? Didn’t he want to see you?”

Kiri glanced at Rand again who had gone pale. “Hush Joy; what a thing to say. Of course he wanted to rush in and see me, but you’re old enough to realize not every story ends like a fairy tale. Sometimes bad things happen. Those men were trying to protect your Peepaw. They didn’t know if it was me or what kind of shape I’d be in if it was.”

In truth the men had feared the worst when they’d first laid eyes on the still and silent figure huddled around the crying babies and they worried for Rand’s sanity nearly as much they had feared for Kiri’s safety. There was a lot of temporary relief when Ken had found she was still breathing. Ken and Ram did their best to examine Kiri and clean her up before Rand rushed in and got his first look at her, but it still shocked him so bad his knees gave out. Rand tried to gather her into his arms as he started calling her name but Ken pulled him back.

“Easy now. Rand, we need to get her into the wagon and be careful doing it and then get her back to your place as soon as we can. There isn’t much I can do for her out in the middle of nowhere like this. And we need to find some goat milk for those babies.”

“Why isn’t she moving? What’s wrong with her? Those guardsmen said she seemed OK, just tired. What …?”

“She’s wore thin son. We don’t know what the circumstances around the birth was, if she was alone or had help. She looks like she’s been on short rations. We don’t even know how long she’s been on the road but one of the babies still has its umbilical cord barely hanging on so the birth itself couldn’t have been that long ago.”

Rand gulped and whispered as he took in the noisy duo, “So it was twins just like you worried.”

Ken nodded. “Fraternal; boy and a girl. Girl is the one making the most noise. They’re small but seem healthy given the circumstances. It is Kiri we need to focus on, she’s more fragile than the babies are. Her blood pressure is too high for my comfort and her lungs are congested. I want to break out those supplies the ladies packed, get Kiri and the babies settled in the wagon, and travel as far as we can tonight.”

Of course Kiri didn’t find any of this out for nearly two weeks. She’d been unconscious most of that time and it took her several days to convince the men that she wasn’t as frail as she appeared at the time. It was also then that she learned that the guardsmen who had given her a lift through Williston had been instrumental in her rescue. As soon as they had learned that kidnapping and human trafficking was involved they had used that as leverage to get permission to begin grid by grid search efforts with another team despite what was going on in Williston.

The guardsmen had met up with Ram’s men and were on their second day of looking when Rand arrived with the others and it was the morning after that that someone had heard crying and the rest as they say was history.

Joy asked, “But Memaw, you got better right?”

“Good Heavens child, do you think I’d be sitting here if I hadn’t?” Kiri regretted her words when she saw Rand wince out of the corner of her eye. She changed gears and said brightly, “All’s well that ends well and this corn is finally finished. Now go on out and get a couple of the boys to come cart it all to the summer kitchen. It isn’t going to can itself and your mother promised to give me a hand and get it started after I got it shucked.”

Joy, knowing that she’d learned all she was going to be allowed to for a while said, “Yes ma’am” before doing as her Memaw had told her.

After the girl left Kiri got up and walked over to the door to make sure Joy didn’t get side tracked; then she shook her corn silk covered apron off outside before returning and closing the door behind her. Rand looked up at the sound and then let out a surprised laugh after reading the look on his wife’s face.

“Joy’s comment get to you ol’ woman?”

“Who are you calling ol’ woman you old man?” Kiri sassed as she eased onto Rand’s lap, careful of the leg he had broken ten years ago falling from the hay loft. It still occasionally gave him trouble.

Rand smiled and pulled her more firmly against him, not letting her be as careful as she was wont to treat him when he got like this. “Sure puts a crimp in things will all the kids back home and under foot,” Rand said as he wrapped his still lean and muscular arms around his wife. She wasn’t as petite and willowy as she had been when they first married but long days in the garden had kept her trim despite all of the children she’d given him.

“Humph. Didn’t seem to crimp you any last night,” Kiri twinkled wickedly.

Rand grinned back just as wickedly, thankful once again that love and time had taken care of much of her shyness. “Why thank you kindly Mrs. Joyner,” he said tipping an imaginary hat.

“You’re welcome Mr. Joyner.” Kiri smiled, she being thankful that his drift into melancholy seemed to be over. “You doing OK?”

“Mmmm hmmm, good food and a good woman makes for a good day.” At Kiri’s raised eyebrow Rand said a little more seriously, “It was finding your old desk and journal. Caught me off guard. Memories kinda swamped me there for a while.”

“That’s years gone Rand. We survived it and have lived a lot of life since then,” Kiri said as she cupped his grizzled cheek with her work roughened hand.

He sighed and set the rocker moving gently, “I know it Babe. And don’t think I’m not forever grateful for every one of those days.”

“Humph, well there are a few I could have done without. Remember when all of ‘em came down with diphtheria? Or when Beau and Caleb went with Ram and caught polio down in Miami and had to be quarantined outside of town? When Francine …?”

“I said every one of them and I meant every one of them … both good and bad. I’ll take a bad day with you over a good day without you every time.”

They had just tilted their heads for a kiss when two of Austin’s sons banged open the door and barreled through. “Memaw, Joy said you wanted us to … eeewwwww! Daaaddddd, they’re doing it again!”

Austin stuck his head around the door and then started laughing as he caught sight of a very red-faced Kiri who was trying to get out of Rand’s lap. Problem was that Rand wasn’t cooperating and was making it worse by laughing too. Austin prayed silently that he and his bride would still be playing and catching a smooch when they reach his parents’ age.

“Honestly, you’d think I raised a bunch of heathens the way y’all act sometimes,” Kiri grumped after she finally managed to extricate herself and get her clothes and hair straightened enough to pass in polite company. “And stop encouraging them Rand. You even worse than they are.” And of course that only set both Rand and Austin to laughing even more.

After catching his breath but still chuckling Austin said, “Momma, Missy and Belle are coming down the road and they told me to warn you that Beau radioed that he’d be at the train depot by dinner time and would appreciate it if someone could leave a wagon or truck for him and his brood and maybe a snack for everyone since they were only allowed to board with one picnic hamper.”

Kiri went into a tizzy. “Oh Lord Rand, where are we going to put ‘em all? I mean I’m glad that Missy finally agreed to come for a visit but I didn’t expect for her to bring all eight of her grandchildren. How many does that make now?”

Austin snorted then asked, “Need a calculator Momma?”

Austin was a grown man with children of his own but he still stopped when his mother gave him “that” look. Kiri pulled out her note pad, “Let’s see. You and Camille and your six. Beau and Rachel and their four … Austin can you make sure that Beau doesn’t try to talk her into sleeping in the wagon? The last thing we need is for her to go into labor and have that baby under a palmetto like she did the last one. My stars and garters, I nearly swallowed my teeth when I found out about it.”

Austin was thinking the same thing and praying thankfully that the few times he’d gotten an itchy foot to go exploring Camille had been content to stay home with the children. Rachel on the other hand was at least as adventuresome as Beau and they’d dragged their brood all across the country into all kinds of craziness.

Unaware of Austin’s thoughts Kiri continued, “Belle and Freddie and their four will split their time between us and Laurabeth and Ron. I think Freddie is finally going to accept his father deeding him over that land to work. I sure hope he does, it’ll be so nice to have Belle closer to home and if Freddie gets that position at the hospital … Anywho, next comes Caleb and Cynthia and their two. Then Daniel and Yolanda … and if I’m not mistaken their last letter hinted at some special news from them, maybe the adoption finally went through. And Everett and Penny; I expect they’ll want the baby to sleep in their room so Rand we need to bring the cradle down from storage. Add in Francine and Charlie and their two rapscallions … if I catch them swinging in my plum trees again I know who can help shovel the manure into the methane holding tank. Georgie and Caroline will have their three stay in their bedroom because they’re too young to sleep with the older kids. Henry and Joyce will come over during the day but I expect they’ll have to get back to the farm at night so Henry can help that old grump of a father in law he has …”

“Kiri …,” Rand warned pointing his head towards the children.

“Don’t you Kiri me, Rand Joyner. The children know exactly how cantankerous that old coot is. He takes all the fun out of every childrens program the Ladies’ Auxiliary has put on for the last year with his starched up judgementalism. Last one he nearly had poor Joy in tears simply because she got Lamentations and Leviticus mixed up.”

“Man’s had a hard life Momma,” Austin said trying to keep his mother from going off on one of her tangents.

“Man makes his life hard Austin. How such a sweet thing like Joyce could turn out the way she did with a father like she has I’ll never know; honestly, she reminds me of Alicia when we were all younger. And he doesn’t show the least bit of appreciation for the fact that Henry has turned that farm around. He just sits back and enjoys the fruit of Henry’s labor like he is entitled to it. That man is a real Laban through and through.”

“What does that mean Memaw?” Joy asked.

“Oh,” Kiri said, realizing that little pitchers do have big ears. “Well, read your Bible Joy and you’ll find out. And until you do you just keep family talk to yourself. You hear?”

“Aw Memaw,” Joy lamented. “You boys do the same. Family talk is family talk. I’d like to know I can trust you and speak my mind around you without having to treat you like a bunch of toddlers.”

The boys nearly stood at attention in pride that they were getting acknowledged to be old enough to hear and be trusted with family talk.

Kiri returned to her counting almost without missing a beat. “Then Isabell and Archie and their three. That just leaves Janet and Johnnie and Ram said that he’ll go kidnap them from that college if he has to but they’ll come back for Pioneer Day this year and that is all there is to it. I doubt he’ll have to kidnap them though. Janet called to see if we minded if she invited that boy she is so partial to and … Oh Lord, I’ve lost count again.”

Austin laughed and said, “Don’t worry about it Momma. The boys and I put up the canvas tents and if we run out of room the kids can roost in the trees with the chickens.”

At the suddenly intent look on the two younger boys’ faces Kiri just shook her head and looked at Rand and Austin silently telling them to check for wood rot in the old tree house because that is where several of them would wind up if she didn’t miss her guess.

Finally winding down she shooed everyone out of the house and set to putting everything back to rights. She couldn’t remember the mess being quite this bad even when her ducklings were all young and rowdy. Of course they weren’t stair steps like some women had. It took three years after Beau and Belle were born before she caught pregnant again and she’d lost that one; and the one right after that one too. Rand had sectioned off a piece of the farm for a cemetery in an area that never flooded but which wasn’t good for farming and buried both little bodies and commissioned concrete markers never realizing how quickly the plot would grow.

Uncle George had died of a sudden heart attack not two days after they’d buried the second little lost one, and then a few months later Janet had some kind of seizure right after she’d gotten engaged to that boy from Branford and died in her sleep. And not three months after that Bill had accidentally been killed by some boys that had been arguing over a girl at one of the old market days; he’d died before he’d even realize he’d been shot. Missy had been pregnant again and lost her husband and her baby on the same day; buried them in the same plot next to the other graves still so new the grass hadn’t covered them yet. Those had been hard times.

She and Rand had just come to accept and be content with the fact that they’d only have the twins when she started banging them out like she’d never had problems, surprising everyone herself included. Every child was another miracle, especially Janet and Johnnie who came when she had supposedly been in menopause for two years. Hadn’t Rand laughed over that particular practical joke God had played on them; twins on both ends.

Then diphtheria had ripped through the community and Brendan and Alicia had laid one of their babies to rest with the others. Ram and his bride had three little ones in the cemetery and had given up hope having any children together. Then Ram had gotten that contract with that new Shands hospital and one of the doctors there discovered she had a cyst and once it had been removed they were eventually able to have two, a little boy and a little girl.

Missy never really recovered from Bill’s death but she did eventually remarry to a kind man who helped to raise Bill’s children as if they were his own. After Bill’s death Ram and Brendan went into partnership and took over the Trade Shack since Missy couldn’t stand the place because of all of its memories. Missy’s second husband, Robert, had been a business contact of Ram’s who ran an aquaculture farm in Ocala. When they married Missy moved her family to his place and seemed to finally come to terms with things and find peace and contentment. Because of this Rand and Kiri always had a special place in her hearts for Robert.

Their feelings for Ron Harbinger were just as strong though it had taken years to really get to where they were these days. Ron and Rand were like brothers and had reached a point where they could look back on the past and if not laugh about the way things used to be, at least acknowledge that God had a purpose not always easily understood by mere mortals. Beau and Bell had been almost a year old when Ron finally got the courage to acknowledge that he’d fallen in love with LauraBeth. When he’d spoken to Uncle George the man had laughed and said, “About flaming time! I knew you was hard headed boy, but you’s just about as blind as a bat too.”

Ron never seemed to cease to be amazed that LauraBeth returned his feelings. You could still catch him, all these years later, with an arrested expression on his face as he looked at her when he didn’t think anyone was looking. They named one of their daughters Julia and not a few people were surprised by it. LauraBeth had told Kiri once, “Good grief, you’d think people would have more important things to worry about than what Ron and I decide to call our children … and what business it is of theirs I don’t know.” Kiri thought she understood, it was their way of commemorating the young woman whose sacrifice gave them both the chance to live on for Freddie’s sake when it would have been easier to simply have given up.

After Uncle George’s death Ron and LauraBeth moved back to the old Harbinger farm off of River Road. All the family came together and helped to repair and rebuild the place. LauraBeth signed her portion of Uncle George’s farm over to Brendan and Alicia in exchange for enough cattle, feed, and seed to get Ron’s farm back up and running. The old Winston place was farmed by both families but was always understood to be in trust for Freddie when he was ready.

Charlene eventually married and had a family of her own but it was only after she’d gone on a few adventures of her own … surreptitiously guided and watched over by Ram’s young “brother in law.” Charlene and her husband now operate one of the trading hubs outside of Tampa though they travel frequently back to see everyone now that their children are grown.

Mick could have had part of the farm but instead chose to join the military. He did two tours and saw quite a bit of action during the Sino-American war but after being injured in a plane crash and then losing the hearing in one ear from a grenade exploding near his position he returned home to marry a local girl. They still run the postal office though it is their sons rather than Mick that do most of the local courier work and express deliveries.

Momma O and Mrs. Withrow both outlived Uncle George by several years, but even those illustrious ladies eventually had to meet their Maker. Momma O was more than ready, having suffered a long time from the arthritis that crippled her so that she couldn’t even go out and about. Mrs. Withrow passed away in church. Everyone thought the old dear had taken a brief nap as had become her habit but when she didn’t get up to signal that it was time for the ladies to tend to the afternoon meal the Pastor stopped, and then after checking on her called for a moment of silence as everyone shed a few tears.

Kiri thought, “The years have passed so fast. Half my grandchildren think it isn’t much more than a bed time story when I tell them how I walked and then rode a bike all the way from Tampa to Sparkleberry Ranch. They look at the stories of the time right after the pandemic the same way kids of my generation looked at the stories of the wild west and the wagon trains and have as little understanding of what really went on to survive.”

She swept up the last errant corn silk and then twitched the curtains straight before looking around for something else that needed doing. When nothing presented itself quickly enough she glanced at her old journal and decided to read the last page before putting the dog eared old thing away in her cedar chest so that Rand wouldn’t worry at it any more.

--------------------------

I don’t remember the wagon ride home at all. Don’t remember the next week or so to be honest. The first thing I do remember is Rand’s voice in my ear telling me that I couldn’t die because I hadn’t even told him what I’d named the babies. For some reason I was able to grab that thought and hold on and eventually I was able to say “Beans.” It was another few hours of oblivion before I had the energy to wake up enough to say, “Beau and Belle … our little B&B Beans.”

For some reason everyone that heard that over the next couple of days found it hysterically funny. Mostly I guess it was just relief that I’d drawn back from dying. I saw so many tears from people that I never expected to see them from that I’m embarrassed to even write it down, it seems such a private thing. Rand and Ram have been the worst; both are nearly smothering me with their love and over protectiveness.

I finally managed to get Ram to lighten up a bit but Rand is another story. I’m really worried about him; he’s not acting like himself at all. ‘Course I don’t feel much like my old self either. Maybe there are things that happen in life that just change you; this certainly seems like it could be one of them for both of us. For Austin too, he’s lost that little boy look that he’d just gotten back after I was finally able to feed him up. He and Woofer have become like little guards. There was a fly in the twins’ room yesterday and Austin was totally outraged. He and Woofer made more of a mess trying to catch the fly than the fly ever would have done on its own but I didn’t have the heart to get on to them. I guess it is just going to take a while for all of us to get used to feeling safe again.

Ram finally convinced the Navy that he was on the up and up and was able to find out that the other pregnant women had arrived back in port ahead of the storm and that all were doing well and had been reunited with their family. They had thought that both the sailor and I had been lost at sea.

He also found out who “she” was for me … the “she” that the sailor had told me to tell he was sorry. “She” was Delores Carruthers Douglas, sister of Petty Officer Third Class Caleb Carruthers. He was sorry because he wouldn’t be able to make it to her wedding and walk the bride down the aisle. Ram made sure she got her brother’s dog tags and in return brought me back a letter telling me how grateful she was that I taken care of her brother’s last request and let her know what a hero he was.

I cried a bit and told Rand that I was the one that was grateful. Rand said that we could make Caleb Beau’s middle name if I wanted to but it doesn’t seem right somehow. Maybe we’ll name the next little boy we have Caleb but I won’t mention that to Rand yet. Rand is so careful of me we might not have any more kids at this rate. I tried to tell him that it doesn’t seem so bad in hindsight but he just shudders. I guess we’ll just have to see who will have their way this time. It isn’t like I’m looking to get pregnant again too soon really and there are so many things that need doing. I just don’t want to give up on the idea the way he seems to.

The hurricane, I don’t think it has been named yet since the Meteorological Society is kind of defunct, bounced up the west coast making landfall several times before swinging east and sweeping across Florida and ripping itself apart as it traveled into Georgia and basically followed the Appalachian trail northward until it was just a tropical depression up passed the Blue Ridge Parkway. Ram said roadways have been destroyed making it imperative (his word, not mine) that new trade routes be found.

Ram has been trying to get Rand to focus on the future instead of mired in the present that seems to worry him so. This coming January and February we are going to plant a new orchard. We’ll start with Hood pears, persimmons, and figs and if those do well we’ll branch out into other varieties. Ram says he can create a market down south for our deciduous fruit with an even exchange for citrus and other exotics and that what we don’t want we could then trade up north for things that are harder for us to grow like some grains or we could get some more seed potatoes or the like.

I’m running out of energy again and I have to get some sleep. I plan on resting up the next few days and then I’m going to Market Day on Saturday. I am not letting Rand talk me out of it again. I want to get out. I want to show our babies off. I’ve got a list as long as my arm of things I want to trade for including some seeds for this coming garden season and maybe some starts for a new flower bed. I also realized I don’t have near enough diapers and clothes for the babies; about half of what I need to be honest which makes sense because I doubled the number I expected to have.

I still am not sure why Ken and Rand didn’t tell me they expected me to have twins. Their reasons sound OK but on the other hand a little warning would have been nice. I tried to gloss over how scared I had gotten when the pains had come on me the second time but Rand still got so gray I thought he was going to fall over into his oatmeal after I let it slip while answering some of Ken’s questions. I finally just told them from here on out if they have a suspicion that something is going on inside my body I’d appreciate an honest warning.

That’s not the only thing that hasn’t made sense to me. I’m still wondering why God let things happen the way they did and why that sailor had to die so that I and the babies might live. I’m trying to find the sense in the senseless. What was all of this for? Is this the worst we will ever experience? Was this some kind of experience that is supposed to teach me what is really important? Or to prepare me for even harder times ahead?

I’m trying to put my thoughts in order and one of things that seems the most ironic is that Rand and I celebrated one year of marriage yesterday. I remembered right off but I hadn’t known how to ask if he remembered. I guess we both danced around about it for a while and then I had one of those silly crying fits that seem to still come at me out of the blue. Rand wanted to go get Ken but I managed to stop him and then blurted out about our anniversary and how I was upset that I couldn’t even seem to find the strength to make his breakfast like I used to and then fell apart even more as I asked him if it bothered him that I’d gone completely useless on him.

That took him aback and I guess he is starting to see that sitting around doing nothing is helping me a whole lot less than he thought it was. I can’t just sit and do nothing because my thoughts climb into the hamster wheel in my head and wind up going in circles so fast I have a meltdown.

He seems to be accepting that he’s got a problem too but I’m not sure if he realizes how bad it is yet. I have some healing yet to do and I guess he does too. The last few weeks has seen us both taking turns thinking the worst but instead of it being the beginning of the end as we had feared, it has turned out to be the only the end of the beginning for us all.

And there go the Beans again, singing for their supper. I’m glad because I was getting kind of sore. This motherhood thing is turning out to be both easier and harder than I ever expected it to be.

-------------------------------

Kiri laughed in spite of herself realizing that she’d gotten so busy she’d never finished the journal. Shaking her head she said, “You didn’t even have a clue yet that you’d said a mouth full. Good Heavens, it is hard to believe I was ever that young.”

“What?” Rand asked, coming up behind her.

She turned and stepped into his embrace that could still both excite and bring her comfort after all these years. “You married a very silly young thing. She was so clueless.”

“We both were. I think it is supposed to be that way. If we had known what life would hand us over the years …”

Kiri shook her head. “I don’t mean that. Not precisely anyway. The innocence I can understand, even appreciate in hindsight.” She stopped and just shook her head again.

“What?” Rand asked again. Even after all of these years sometimes the only thing that worked was simple patience until she could string her thoughts together enough to share them.

“We could have missed this.”

“Missed what?”

“This. All of it. I remember who I used to be Rand. I had a chip on my shoulder the size of the old Mt. Rushmore carving. You remember what it used to look like, how big it used to be. Same for the chip on my shoulder. I don’t even know where I would have ended up … how I would have ended up … if you hadn’t come into my life.”

Rand gently kissed her forehead, “I feel the same way. Always have, always will. God smiled on me the day I came to in that wheelbarrow. Even upside down I could tell you were something else,” he said with a tickle.

“Oh you,” she smiled. “Lordy, look at us, we’ll be embarrassing the kids again if we aren’t careful.” She decided to put some safe distance between them and then said, “I made blackberry jam cake and forgot to bring it out at lunch. You hungry?”

“Always.”

Kiri just shook her head at his double meaning. “Rand Joyner … honestly,” she laughed.

“What?” Rand asked a little too innocently not to know exactly what she was laughing at. Then he caught her to him again and said, “We survived.”

“Yes we did.”

“Gonna keep on surviving for as long as we’ve got.”

“Yes we are.”

He squeezed her tightly and said, “Together.”

“Is there any other way?” she asked squeezing back just as firmly.

And they did … through the good times and the bad … together … for a good many more years after that …

THE END
          High Court Update: Church-State Developments You Might Have Missed        
Rob Boston
Two recent actions from the Supreme Court shouldn’t be overlooked.

Advocates of church-state separation knew Monday was going to be a big day at the Supreme Court. It was the high court’s final day in session for the 2009-10 term, and four cases were left. Among them was Christian Legal Society v. Martinez, a church-state case.

Our normal practice at AU is to pull up a Web site called SCOTUS blog, which provides live blogging and immediate links to opinions right from the court. But yesterday, so many people tried to get on SCOTUS blog that it couldn’t handle the traffic.

I was able to pull up the site, but no one else on staff could. So AU Executive Director Barry W. Lynn, Assistant Legal Director Richard B. Katskee and I huddled around my computer, waiting to see what would happen.

When we saw that our side had won the case, we couldn’t help but let out a little cheer. Richard returned to his office to analyze the ruling, and Barry and I started drafting a press release for the media.

In all the hubbub over the CLS case, it was easy to overlook the other actions the high court took yesterday that are also of interest.

The Supreme Court agrees to hear just a fraction of the cases that are appealed to it – less than 2 percent. The odds are always against a case being heard, and when the court declines, the lower court opinion stands.

Yesterday the court rejected two cases with church-state overtones. In the first, Holy See v. John Doe, an Oregon man is suing the Vatican, charging that he was sexually abused by a priest in the 1960s.

Church officials had sought to squelch the suit, claiming that the Vatican is a sovereign nation that can’t be sued in U.S. courts. They asked the justices to take up the case and dismiss the Holy See as a defendant. (The Obama administration sided with the church.)

But the high court was not swayed and declined to intervene.

The Supreme Court’s refusal to dismiss the case means that Doe’s claims can go forward. It does not mean that Doe has won his case against the church – only that he has the right to press his claim. I wrote about this issue recently for Church & State; it should be interesting to watch this legal battle unfold.

The second case dealt with a long-running battle over religion in a public school in Plano, Texas. The dispute goes back a 2003 winter holiday party, when a 9-year-old boy was told to stop distributing candy canes with religious messages. The boy’s parents also sought permission to distribute religious material in school but were denied. Backed by the Liberty Institute, a Texas-based Religious Right group, the family sued.

In  response to the lawsuit, the school district drafted a policy that allows for the distribution of non-school material at certain times and under certain conditions. A federal appeals court upheld the policy, but the Liberty Institute appealed to the Supreme Court. The high court’s refusal to hear the case brings the matter to a close. (Morgan v. Plano ISD)

Questions of literature distribution by students can be complex. They call for a balancing of rights and more than a dollop of common sense. Obviously, minors do not have an unfettered right to pass out just anything in schools. And when the material distributed is food, health issues come in to play as well, since many children today have allergies to certain foodstuffs. Public schools, like the one in Plano, have the right to craft reasonable policies to deal with these issues.

Religious Right groups are seeking open access to captive audiences of public school students and are not above using children as proselytizing agents. It looks like their gambit has failed once again.

The Supreme Court takes the summer off and comes back in session on Oct. 4. Chances are we’ll have a new justice then. One church-state case is already on the docket. Arizona Christian School Tuition Organization v. Winn deals with a voucher-like religious school subsidy plan in Arizona.

Stay tuned.


          Pope calls family of US journalist James Foley        

Vatican City - Pope Francis has called the family of U.S. journalist James Foley, who was beheaded by ISIS militants earlier this week, a Vatican spokesman has confirmed.

Fr. Federico Lombardi, director of the Holy See press office, confirmed to CNA in an Aug. 21 email that Pope called the ...

          Catholics as 'bearers of light' in a secular culture        
Bishop Peter J. Elliott

The following are extracts from Bishop Peter J. Elliott's homily in St Patrick's Cathedral, Melbourne, on 2 February 2009, at the Annual Red Mass for the opening of the Legal Year in the State of Victoria.

The United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights (December 10, 1948) states, 'Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion: this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practices, worship and observance.'

Families and individuals are free to practise their religion, to live according to its moral laws, to teach its precepts to their children, to worship in conscience according to customs. Yet today the right to freedom of religion must be distinguished from freedom to worship.

Secularists believe in freedom to worship. But do they really believe in freedom of religion, at home, at work, at school and in a pluralistic public forum? Many of them do not understand people of faith. Being children of the darker side of the Enlightenment, they imagine they are the centre of the universe, that their atheistic opinions are the norm. For them religion is a quirky private hobby, best filed away under 'multiculturalism'.

However, the right to freedom of religion is not bestowed by the State. Nor should that freedom be rationed out by any civil authority, as hard-won exceptions or concessions grudgingly granted to those who beg for them. That would reinforce another secularist attitude that these weird religious people may be tolerated - as long as they keep in their place.

Related to that view is the implication that religious freedom should be restricted in these times - 'these people who take religion seriously', are they not dangerous 'fundamentalists'?

Here in Victoria, shamefully callous and crude abortion legislation is now in place, without, at this stage, any assurance of freedom of conscience for the medical profession. Unborn humans have no rights here.

How have we descended to such depths?

It was all planned. Fifteen years ago at the United Nations sponsored meetings in Cairo, Copenhagen and Beijing, in the Delegation of the Holy See, I observed how universal access to abortion was being pushed by ambiguous language: 'reproductive health' or 'reproductive rights'. We recently heard the same words in this State from the voices of the culture of death.

What was planned years ago has now trickled down to the legislatures of nations. International groups monitor this gradual process, now coming out openly as pressure for a new 'human right', which is, believe it or not - the right to abortion.

Pluralist society

What then is the duty of the Catholic in a society where unjust and immoral laws are in place? Once that question was only raised within the confines of a totalitarian society.

As the secularists wish, we can privatise our religion, opting out: 'Oh, personally I believe this and that, howeverÉ.'.What would St Thomas More say to that? What would our courageous forebears in the faith say? Would Archbishop Daniel Mannix expect us to hide in the sacristy?

Christians should not be intimidated by an imposed 'tolerance' that, in practice, muzzles free discourse. In these times more than ever we all need an open exchange of views in a democratic pluralist society.

Every victory for secularist social engineering erodes what we value. The pedagogy of the law means that political decisions made or administered do influence human behaviour. Children and grandchildren are deeply influenced by the social milieu, by peer groups, media, internet, etc, and we confront this every day in our schools.

Likewise when legislation and the application of law condone that fashionable fascism of the mind, political correctness, then we ourselves can easily lose sight of reality. Right and wrong are realities, not subjective matters of taste, preference or 'choice'.

Now whether or not a natural community of persons can be the subject of rights, at least there can be broad agreement that parents have rights and responsibilities: to have children, to raise them, and educate them according to conscience and culture.

Parents are the primary educators of their children. Teachers in all schools act in loco parentis. This is no legal fiction or myth. It was affirmed in the Declaration on Christian Education of the Second Vatican Council. The principle of parental rights in education is derived from the Natural Law, hence included in the United Nations Declaration.

This is why Catholic parents expect that the morality of our faith should be taught in our own schools, without hindrance, external interference or vexatious distraction. In the same way, parents should peacefully pass on those values of Christ and his Gospel at home.

The Fathers of the Second Vatican Council named their greatest document, on the Church, Lumen Gentium - the 'Light of the Nations'. The Council's fresh vision of the Catholic Church in the world as light to all peoples is a challenge and an invitation. As the members of this Church, each of us is called to be a bearer of light, to be positive, pro- active.

By keeping that flame of faith 'burning brightly', we are saying yes to a culture of life, yes to procreation, to marriage and family, yes to educating our children and young people in love, goodness and freedom, yes to justice for poor families.


          The Mass and private devotions in Catholic life        
Br Barry Coldrey

Some three or four years ago, this writer was at a family funeral for the last of the twelve survivors of my father's five brothers and sisters and their spouses. 'Aunt' Louise, the widow of my father's brother, had died at an advanced age in a nursing home. She lived a devoted family and community-centred Catholic life.

During the funeral Mass, one of the young eulogists mentioned that her grandmother had a strong, life-long devotion to St Jude, the patron saint of the 'hope of the hopeless'. The congregation smiled audibly. There appeared to be nothing in the deceased's quiet, suburban, family life which warranted desperate recourse to the patron saint of hopeless cases!

There is a point in this family memory: while the liturgy is the official worship of the Catholic people and the Church regulates the liturgy closely, there is some latitude in the case of each Catholic's choice of private devotions and personal prayer. They are not 'foundations of faith' in themselves but rather complement these foundations.

As with approved apparitions, such as Lourdes or Fatima, particular approved devotions, while not obligatory for Catholics, are recommended practices for fostering commitment to the essentials, such as the Scriptures, including the central role of Our Lady, the Mass and the sacraments.

Among the Church's more conspicuously promoted devotions are Eucharistic devotions, the Divine Mercy devotion, and veneration of Mary as the Mother of God. These are the focus of this article.

Liturgy

The Second Vatican Council pointed out clearly that the life of the Church centres on the liturgy, the official public worship of God by the Church as the Body of Christ. The liturgy includes, above all, the Eucharist and the other six sacraments: Baptism, Confirmation, Penance, (Reconciliation), Holy Orders, Matrimony and Extreme Unction (the Sacrament of the Sick).

Christ Himself is at work in the liturgy, so that the action of the Church, which is the Body of Christ, participates in the saving act of Christ as priest.

The liturgy also includes other actions of the Church:

* The Divine Office or the daily prayer of the Liturgy of the Hours, which is said by priests and most members of religious orders.

* The rites of Christian burial.

* And the rites for those making religious profession.

However, in the wake of the Council, devotions such as to Jesus present in the Eucharist and to veneration of the Blessed Virgin tended to disappear from the Church's normal round of worship in many Catholic churches, although not all. There were reasons for this:

* The initiatives in liturgical renewal and the Biblical revival consumed the energies of many active Catholics.

* The secularisation of Western society affected many churchgoers profoundly. The secular trend encouraged some active Catholics to concentrate their efforts on good works for the marginalised, excluded and ignored in their societies; this passion for social justice, the mainstream secular society could understand, endorse and applaud.

* Vatican II's ecumenical thrust distracted some committed Catholics from devotions which might prove a stumbling block to other Christians.

* Some considered Marian and other devotions unsuitable for educated, sophisticated urban Catholics in the post-industrial age.

Today the now ageing 1960s spiritual trend setters appear not to have noticed that the tectonic plates of religious sensibility are moving again. Times keep changing; the '60s mindset is of the heady days of the Council, now almost a half-century ago. They are 'modern' as of two generations ago! Times were changing then and they are changing again; so back to the future.

Moreover, the 'passion for social justice', to which vast energy is given in many quarters, ignores - at a certain stage - the reality that Jesus proclaimed a spiritual message, a Kingdom not of this world. He did not proclaim an earthly paradise. He healed bodies to make them receptive to His message of spiritual liberation. His message embraces service, especially to the marginalised, but in addition, belief, worship and an appropriate lifestyle are essentials.

Whatever the reasons for the eclipse of devotions among many Catholics, Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI have sought to correct the secularising trend in the Church on many levels. The modern focus is still on the liturgy, but time-honoured devotions are promoted also.

The term, Eucharistic devotions refers to a number of religious practices to honour the Blessed Sacrament outside the celebration of Mass. These practices include private visits to a church, Benediction, exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, processions and International Congresses.

These devotions presuppose faith in Christ present in the Sacred Host as well as the reservation of the Blessed Sacrament outside of Mass, a practice which can be traced at least as far back as St Justin in the second century.

Eucharistic devotions are a remedy for a weakened faith in the presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. They are identity markers for active Catholics in a rough-and-tumble secular society hostile to religious faith and Christian morality.

The Divine Mercy devotion

The story of St Faustina is, superficially, simple enough. She was born in 1905, the third of ten children, to a Polish peasant family making a meagre living on a small property near Lodz in centre of the country. At the age of fourteen she began to have thoughts about becoming a nun, but her parents were opposed. Meanwhile, for one reason or another - including the Russian occupation of Poland during World War I - her education was interrupted and she completed only three years of primary school.

In 1925, she at last entered the convent of the Sisters of Our Lady of Divine Mercy in Warsaw as a lay sister. Thereafter, until her early death from tuberculosis, she lived - to all outward appearances - a quiet life while working as portress, cook and gardener in various communities of her congregation.

However, internally, Faustina was experiencing a dramatic spiritual adventure centering, she tells us, on frequent, sometimes daily appearances of Jesus, Mary or one of the saints who spoke of many things; but the focal point was always divine mercy - God's desire to give it, humanity's need for mercy and the methods by which Divine Mercy could be obtained.

On 22 February 1931, when Faustina was in her cell, exhausted after a busy day in the bakery, she records how Jesus gave her the first intimation of her mission:

'One hand was raised in the gesture of blessing; the other was touching the garment at the breast. From beneath the garment, slightly drawn aside at the breast, there were emanating two large rays, one red, the other pale. In silence, I kept my gaze fixed on the Lord. After a while, Jesus said to me: 'Paint an image according to the pattern you see, with the signature: 'Jesus, I trust in you'.

'I wish that this image be venerated, first in your chapel, and then throughout the world. I promise that the soul that will venerate this image will not perish. I also promise victory over its enemies already here on earth, especially at the hour of death. I myself will defend this soul as My own glory.'

It is not possible in this short article to trace in the steps by which the Holy See validated St Faustina's visions and endorsed the Divine Mercy devotion along the lines she claimed to have received from the Lord.

The form the devotion was to take was revealed gradually to Sr Faustina over the next few months in 1931 and became the basis for the celebrated Chaplet of Divine Mercy:

'Eternal Father, I offer you the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Your dearly beloved Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, for our sins and for those of the whole world. For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.'

According to Sr Faustina, more details were given the next day. The prayer should be recited for nine days in a novena, and the ordinary Rosary beads would be used. Before these prayers, were to be said, an Our Father, a Hail Mary and the Apostles Creed on the three beads near the crucifix of the Rosary. She was then to say the first part of the prayer on the large beads separating the five decades and the shorter part of the prayer on each of the ten beads of each decade. At the end of all five decades Faustina was to recite three times: 'Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us and on the whole world.'

Faustina died on 5 October 1938. The devotion itself and the cause for the canonisation of Sister Faustina were promoted vigorously by Pope John Paul II and she was canonised on 30 June 2000, the first saint of the new millennium.

In due course, John Paul II died in the first hours of the feast and his last words and symbolic actions took place in the context of the Divine Mercy vigil and Mass celebrated at his bedside by his long-standing personal aide, Archbishop Stanislas Dziwisz, and a dozen close friends.


          In wake of Civilta Cattolica piece, Evangelicals seek papal chat        

Washington D.C., Aug 8, 2017 / 03:49 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Some U.S. evangelical Christian leaders want to talk with Pope Francis about a prominent Jesuit-run journal’s essay on Christianity and American politics that depicted some Catholic-Evangelical collaboration as an “ecumenism of hate.”

“Rather than being offended, we have chosen to attempt to make peace,” Johnnie Moore said, according to Time Magazine. “We would be willing to get on a plane tomorrow to Rome to meet with whoever, whenever to create a space for dialogue instead of conflict.”

Moore, a board member of the National Association of Evangelicals and past president of the Virginia-based Liberty University, requested the meeting with the Pope and other Vatican leaders on behalf of some U.S. Evangelical leaders, including some close to President Trump.

He is part of a group of evangelical Christian leaders who are informal advisors to President Trump. Only parts of the letter were made public.
 
Moore voiced surprise at the essay, considering the Pope's reputation as a “bridge-builder,” the Washington Post reports. His letter alluded to contemporary “ongoing persecution, political division and global conflict,” saying there are “efforts to divide Catholics and Evangelicals.”

“We think it would be of great benefit to sit together and to discuss these things,” said the letter. “Then, when we disagree we can do it within the context of friendship. Though, I'm sure we will find once again that we agree far more than we disagree, and we can work together with diligence on those areas of agreement.”

Moore sent the request to Pope Francis as well as to the Archdiocese of Washington and other possible intermediaries on Aug. 3.

The Rome-based Jesuit-run journal La Civilta Cattolica on July 13 published an analysis piece co-authored by its editor, Father Antonio Spadaro, S.J., and Rev. Marcelo Figueroa, a Presbyterian pastor who is editor-in-chief of the Argentine edition of L'Osservatore Romano, the daily newspaper of Vatican City.

The essay, titled “Evangelical Fundamentalism and Catholic Integralism in the USA: A Surprising Ecumenism” made a number of claims, alleging that many conservative Christians have united to promote an “ecumenism of hate” in policies that contradict Pope Francis' message of mercy. They claimed that that “Evangelical fundamenta lists” and “Catholic Integralists” are being brought together in a “surprising ecumenism” by a shared desire for religious influence in politics.

The piece's analysis of American Christianity listed various influences like Christian fundamentalism, the “dominionism” of Presbyterian thinker Pastor Rousas John Rushdoony, the Prosperity Gospel, inspirational writer Rev. Norman Vincent Peale, and the polemical lay Catholic site Church Militant. It attempted to link these figures and trends with political trends and figures like Republican strategist Steve Bannon and Presidents Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush and Donald Trump.

The essay did not mention by name any of President Trump’s religious advisers.

The essay noted the American trend of “values voters” whose political decisions prioritize abortion, same-sex marriage, religion in schools and other matters. Both of these Catholic and Evangelical factions, the authors claimed, “condemn traditional ecumenism and yet promote an ecumenism of conflict that unites them in the nostalgic dream of a theocratic type of state.” They charged that this collaboration also advances a “xenophobic and Islamophobic vision that wants walls and purifying deportations” and thus an “ecumenism of hate.”

However, the essay drew criticism from several quarters, including the editors of Commonweal Magazine, themselves unsympathetic to U.S. Catholic conservatism.

In a July 25 editorial, they described the essay as “a mishmash of wild and erroneous claims, made in a disjointed, almost impenetrable style,” whose authors “seem woefully ignorant of American religious history.” They said the essay was a “lost opportunity” to criticize the partisan use of religion in a way that might engage “those who do not yet have ears to hear.”

Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Philadelphia characterized the essay as “an exercise in dumbing down and inadequately presenting the nature of Catholic/Evangelical cooperation on religious freedom and other key issues.” He characterized this cooperation as “a function of shared concerns and principles, not ambition for political power.” The archbishop said it was surprising “when believers are attacked by their co-religionists merely for fighting for what their Churches have always held to be true.”

New York Times columnist Ross Douthat half-panned the essay as “bad but important.” Despite its apparent intention to warn about “the darker tendencies in Trumpism,” he said it reflected a superficial understanding of American religion and missed the fact that both Catholic-Evangelical alliances and liberal religious politics have failed. Douthat saw an increase in “disillusionment and homelessness” among Catholic thinkers, while the contradictions of political liberalism seem to make the moment “ripe for serious Catholic rethinking.”

For his part, Catholic commentator George Weigel suggested the publishing of the article reflected poorly on the competence of La Civilta Cattolica and the Vatican Secretariat of State, which vets its articles.

The essay drew support from Prof. Miguel H. Diaz, a U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See under the Obama administration. Writing at Crux, he said the essay rejects “human indifference” that is “politically manifested and religiously justified.”

Anthony Annett, a climate change and sustainable development advisor at the Center for Sustainable Development – Earth Institute at Columbia University, wrote in Commonweal July 28 that the essay showed a light on “the pathologies of a certain brand of American Catholicism.” Its basic point, he contended, was that “a small but vocal and influential segment of American Catholicism is now far more comfortable with the world of right-wing political evangelicalism than with global Catholicism.”


          Vatican II at Fifty: One Deacon's Reflection        
The following was written last week, but only posted now because of technical difficulties.

October 11, Vatican City: 1962, 2012

I apologize for not being an active blogger since last July, but what better time to start up again than today, the fiftieth anniversary of the Solemn Opening of the Second Vatican Council?  Through the generosity of my bishop and my university, I am here in Rome as I write this reflection.  I am here primarily to attend meetings related to our new St. Lawrence Institute here in Rome; a marvelous coincidence of events put us here for this grand celebration surrounding Vatican II and the initiation of a Year of Faith for the New Evangelization.

It will take many years, probably the rest of my life, to reflect fully on this day.  This is but a poor initial attempt.

First, a word about the cassock I am wearing in this photograph, for those who might be interested/curious/upset/confused/angry/offended!  The communication with the Holy See about those of us who were to assist with the liturgy was, to say the least, confusing.  One day we'd get an e-mail that said to bring no special attire or vestments at all.  Then the next day, we would be told to bring cassocks (sottani), and then the next day, we were to bring albs only.  And around it went.  So, finally, I brought a cassock and an alb. Tonight, I was still in it from earlier.  More about THAT in a moment as well.  And for those who still are confused: what I'm wearing is CLERICAL attire, not simply PRIESTLY attire.  Since deacons are clergy, it's OK.  Not something I want to do every day, but somehow it seemed to fit here and at this celebration.

This morning's papal Mass was exciting of course.  We were told to be at the altar at 8:00 AM for a final rehearsal.  I was part of a team of 12 deacons who were going to distribute communion to the cardinal/bishop concelebrants.  There were dozens of other priests and deacons who distributed communion to the non-concelebrating priests and bishops and deacons and the faithful.  The rehearsal went well and we were taken to a special sacristy where the 12 of us were to vest along with all the Cardinals.  The bishop-concelebrants vested in another sacristy.  Why they put us with the Cardinals is a Vatican mystery.  I spoke briefly to Cardinal Rigali before vesting.  I didn't see Cardinal Dolan until later.  Then, personal disappointment struck.  It seems that the only dalmatics they had for the 12 of us were very, VERY short ones.  So short, in fact, that when I put mine on, it looked like a surplice, not a dalmatic.  The Franciscan priest who is the head Sacristan scurried around trying to find something else, but in that style there was nothing, so two of us tall guys had to drop out of the group. I was given a good seat among the bishops and priests just to the side of the papal altar, however, so I was able to see what was going on.  I would have loved to assist, of course, but that was a personal disappointment that in the grand scheme of things just doesn't matter.

Some general observations, and these are just mine.  I haven't read or seen any press accounts yet so I don't know what else has been said.  First, during the whole run-up to this event, the correspondence has focused on this Mass as the beginning of the Year of Faith for the New Evangelization.  Almost no mention whatsoever was made about this being the golden anniverary of Vatican II.  As an Italian friend put it, "Many here don't really want to focus on the Council."  Yesterday, before our first rehearsal, I spoke with some of the pilgrims who had come, and it was clear how much work remains to be done.  One lady asked me, as she entered St. Peter's Basilica, what all the preparations were for. I explained that the pope was going to have a big celebration today,  "Oh," she said, "does the pope say Mass in this church?"  Still another pilgrim asked what the big Mass was going to be for, I responded that it was to commemorate the beginning of Vatican II.  "What's that?", he asked, and then laughing at his own wit, he continued, "so there was a Vatican I sometime, huh?"  For these folks, the Basilica was simply an interesting sight to see on vacation without any particular connection to their daily lives.  And certainly, Vatican II had no more meaning for them than any other distant event of history.

Today, however, the Pope, in his homily, spoke warmly of the Council, as did Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew.  Another connection to the Council came at the end of the Mass.  First, a bit of history.  On December 8, 1965, at the solemn closing of the Council, a series of "Messages" were given from the Council Fathers to various groups of people: to statesmen and politicians, to artists, to young people, to medical professionals, to workers, and so on.  At that time, these messages were given by various Council Fathers, and they were presented in French.  All of this was to communicate that the messages were coming from all of the Council Fathers and that they were intended for wide distribution; French at that time was considered the language of international communication and diplomacy, a kind of "universal" language.  At today's Mass, the Pope invited up representatives from each of these same groups and presented a souvenir copy of the original messages.  Curiously, I thought, however, the souvenir copy was printed only in Latin and in Italian, not in the original French.  I admit that I was somewhat disappointed by this, since it seems to miss the "universal" intent of the messages themselves.  Still, it was a nice nod to the Council.

However, there was another aspect of the Mass which I found even more disconcerting.  On the upper platform were hundreds of bishops and Cardinals, priests and deacons; two choirs, multiple Masters of Ceremonies: all of the pomp and ceremony one could expect at a papal Mass.  About halfway through the Mass, however, I turned to look at the rest of St. Peter's Square and I was struck by the fact that there seemed to be almost no one there.  Using the famous obelisk as a reference point, it was clear that the crowd in the Square didn't even come close to extending that far.  The impression from where I was sitting was that, essentially, the Square was empty.  Given the fact that this was the occasion being used to inaugurate a Year of Faith dedicated to the New Evangelization, the relative emptiness of the Square seemed to emphasize both the lack of "connectedness" the average person has for the institutional dimensions of Church today.  Obviously it also highlighted the need for the Church to find more powerful ways to reach out and to connect with the everyday lives of people.  That was the whole point of the Council fifty years ago, and it remains as vital a mission today!

After Mass, my two friends and I agreed upon where we would meet later in the day for supper and planning for our meetings the next day.  So, for supper (cena) we met at a little place a few hundred years from St. Peter's.  We then decided to walk over to the Square and see what was going on.  What was going on was remarkable.  But first, some more history.

Fifty years ago, one the opening night of the Council, thousands upon thousands of people came to St. Peter's Square to pray for the success of the Council.  I'm attaching a link here so you can watch it.  It was a stunning sight, to say the least!  If you look at the video closely, you will see that the crowd not only fills the entire Square: it looks like it reaches back to the Tiber!  And then, the best bit: Pope John XXIII comes to his window and addresses the crowd.  He speaks of the moon looking down on this wonderful spectacle, so his remarks are sometimes referred to as the "Discourse to the Moon" ("discorso della Luna") or similar titles.  At the end, he tells everyone to go home and to embrace their children, and to tell the children that this embrace is from the Pope.  For people who were there, this event was one of the most significant of their lives.

Now, fifty years later, my friends and I walked into the Square and it was full of people, many carrying candles, singing songs and praying.  It wasn't nearly as large as that original crowd fifty years ago, but it was still a stunning sight.  As "empty" as the Square had seemed that morning was contrasted vividly by how full it was tonight.  HERE and NOW the Church was connecting with people.  Sure enough, the light in the papal apartment was lit, and at 9:00 PM Rome time, Pope Benedict appeared at the window.  He recalled Pope John's famous remarks, and the crowd roared its appreciation of that memory.

Leaving the Square tonight, I was left with a feeling that this desire for connectedness is the heart of what we seek in our understanding of communio and evangelization.  The whole point of Vatican II was to serve as an act of evangelization, and Pope Paul VI himself referred to the Council as "the great Catechism of our day."  The "New Evangelization" is not really so new; it is, and remains, the perpetual mission of the Church since Pentecost: to offer Christ to a world in pain in the Spirit of God who loves, sustains and provides for us.

For now, I've rambled long enough.  More soon.
          The Institute of St. Lawrence of Rome        
As I reported in my last post, I have recently been to Rome for meetings at the Vatican.  A new graduate studies institute is being created, with the formal approval of the Holy See, which will focus on all matters related to diakonia and the renewed diaconate in the Catholic Church.  The Institute of St. Lawrence has been founded by three deacon-professors: Deacon Dr. Enzo Petrolino of Italy, Deacon Rob Mascini of the Netherlands, and myself.

The new Institute will be headquartered at the Lateran University in Rome, with courses being taught at several of the other so-called "Pontifical" universities as well, such as the Biblicum, the Angelicum, the Augustinianum (or Patristicum), and so on.  The courses will all be taught for graduate credit, and are not designed for those in formation for ordination, unless those candidates already have significant theological background and are pursuing either a Master's or Doctorate.  In short, any person who is eligible for graduate education in Theology is welcome.  The goals of the Institute are quite simple: to provide an opportunity for advanced research on the diaconate, and to create an archive of such research to support future scholarship.

Students will be able to proceed in one of two ways.  They may either take all of the courses offered over a three-year summer program and obtain a Master's degree in diaconal study from the Lateran, or they may take courses to be applied to an existing program at another accredited institution.  For example, if one of our graduate students at Santa Clara University wishes to take a couple of the courses and apply those credits to their program here at Santa Clara, that will be perfectly fine.  All of the Institute's courses are fully accredited.

Each course will consist of significant work (background reading, research) prior to coming to Rome for a one week intensive seminar; normally, there will be lectures in the mornings, with afternoons free for research, group study, and other activities related to the course.  Then, after students leave Rome, they prepare a major research paper or project.  We intend to offer three of these one-week sessions each summer for a three year cycle.  So, if a student simply wants one of the three courses, that's fine; if they wish to do all three (!) then in theory they could stay for the whole three weeks.

The Institute will be launched in June 2013 when we begin our first courses.  Once the dates and other course information is finalized in a month or so, I will be publishing the information extensively through the USCCB, Deacon Digest, and a variety of other sources.

This is an exciting project and I ask for your prayers for its success.

Oh, and while I was walking down the street one day in Rome, this white golf cart pulled up. . . .



          Preghiamo, tutti!        
As I write this, I'm at JFK International.  I just finished giving a couple of talks at a Deacon Convocation nearby, and now I'm preparing for a flight to Rome later this afternoon.  I ask for your prayers as my colleagues and I finalize some details for a new graduate Institute of Advanced Studies on the Diaconate in Rome.

The Institute will bring together scholars from all over the world who will teach graduate courses on every aspect of diakonia and diaconate.  Archeologists, theologians of every specialization, canon lawyers, and so on are all welcome.  Each course will involve extensive preparatory work, often online, before coming to Rome for a one-week long intensive seminar.  Each student will then prepare a research paper after Rome.  The opportunity in Rome will include lectures offered at the appropriate pontifical university (for example, courses on the spirituality of diakonia would be offered at the Teresianum), the opportunity for fellowship and social interaction with students from around the world, and access to significant research materials available in Rome and the Vatican.

The three "founders" of the Institute include a deacon-professor from Italy, another from the Netherlands, and myself.  The Institute has already been granted an official "recognitio" from the Holy See, so the courses will be offered for credit either through the professor's home university, or through the Lateranum.

I'll post as I can over the next week, but for now I simply ask for your prayers!
          Benedict XVI names 22 new cardinals for his fourth consistory        
Peter Westmore

Benedict XVI has announced that a consistory will be held on 18 February 2012, reading out the names of 22 future cardinals in St Peter's Square following a Mass to celebrate the Feast of the Epiphany on 6 January. It will be the fourth consistory of his pontificate.

"As is well known", he explained, "cardinals have the task of helping Peter's Successor carry out his mission to confirm people in the faith and to be the source and foundation of the Church's unity and communion". The new cardinals, he said, will "come from various parts of the world and perform various ministries in the service of the Holy See, in direct contact with the faithful as fathers and pastors of particular Churches."

Benedict's previous three consistories since the start of his pontificate in 2005 were in 2006, 2007 and 2010 when he created a total of 62 cardinals, 50 of whom were under 80 years and therefore eligible to vote at a future conclave to choose a new Pope. With the latest selections, for the first time, a majority of the cardinals will have been chosen by Benedict.

New evangelisation

Among the new cardinals, 10 are currently serving in senior positions on the Roman Curia, while eight are archbishops of major metropolitan sees.

Age and deaths had reduced the number of eligible electors to well below the traditional level of 120 but following the formal elevation ceremony on 18 February, the number will increase to 125.

The latest list of names for red hats underlines one of the key themes of Benedict's papacy: his determination to revitalise the faith in lands where it is in decline, especially in Western Europe.

While Pope John Paul II added numerous cardinals from the Third World during his long papacy, Benedict has chosen many more Italians, including seven in the latest group, many of them holding positions in Vatican congregations. There will now be 30 electors from Italy while the USA is second with 12.

Overall, Benedict has kept his focus on the West, emphasising places where the Church's historic strength is eroding, and calling for a "new evangelisation" in the face of increasing secularism and relativism. In this regard, he has named the Archbishop of Prague, Dominik Duka, the Archbishop of Utrecht, Wim Eijk, the Archbishop of Berlin, Rainer Maria Woelki, and the Archbishop of Toronto, Thomas Collins, plus two Americans.

Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York, an archdiocese which automatically carries with it a red hat, will be among the new cardinals, as will Archbishop Edwin O'Brien, the former Archbishop of Baltimore, who was named last year as Grand Master of the Knights of Malta.

Archbishop Dolan described himself, following the Pope's announcement, as "humbled, and grateful."

Other interesting names include John Tong Hon, Bishop of Hong Kong, a highly sensitive position given the ongoing tensions between China and the Holy See over Beijing's unauthorised episcopal appointments.

Cardinal-elect Tong succeeds the courageous Cardinal Zen, who repeatedly crossed swords with Beijing over the persecution of Christians, Falun Gong practitioners and others in China, and defended democracy in Hong Kong.

In his 2010 Christmas message, Cardinal-elect Tong called on the Chinese Government to free the Nobel Peace Prize Winner Liu Xiaobo, activist Zhao Lianhai who exposed the tainted milk scandal, and all those who are in jail for promoting human rights.

He also urged Beijing to release all the clergymen from the underground Church who are behind bars for seeking to practise the faith in China.

In his message he expressed four aspirations he has for the future of his diocese, namely evangelisation, vocations, the Universal Church, and acting as a bridge with the mainland.

The Pope also named two leaders of the Eastern Catholic churches as cardinals: Major Archbishop George Alencherry of Ernakulam-Angamaly, the head of India's Syro-Malabar Church, and Major Archbishop Lucian Muresan of Fagaras and Alba Julia, the head of the Romanian Catholic Church.

The new members will strengthen the European character of the College of Cardinals and enhance the Italian presence. Of the 22 new cardinals, 16 will be European, including the seven Italians. Only one new cardinal is from Latin America, and none from Africa.

With its new members, the College of Cardinals will number 214, of whom 125 will be eligible electors. Benedict has exercised his authority to exceed the normal limit of 120 cardinal-electors. Among these, a slight majority - 64 of the 125 - will have been appointed by the present Pope since 2005.

Continuity of reforms

This number has particular significance as it increases the likelihood that Benedict's successor as Pope will continue with his reform policies, and might well be an Italian.

The Jesuits remain the religious order with the highest representation in the college, with eight cardinals, followed by the Salesians with six, including the Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone. There are seven Franciscan cardinals, divided between the Order of Friars Minor and the Capuchins, with the latter represented by Cardinal Sean P. O'Malley of Boston.

In his closing words in St Peter's Square on 6 January, Benedict invited the faithful to pray for the new cardinals, "asking the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church, to intercede that they may always bear courageous and dedicated witness of their love for Christ and His Church".


          ROBERT ‘Virte Britto’ GUIBÉ        
Birthed in Vitrè, Bretagne. It is claimed that he was the son of Adanet Guibè and Olive Laudais. He is also known under the appellatives Guibè, "Vitrè, Britto" (1) and Challand.

Entered the ecclesiastical state and became chantre of the cathedral chapter of Doll in 1475, at the age of 15 yrs old, then Archdeacon of Dinan in 1481.

He was elected Bishop of Tréguier, May 16, 1483; with dispensation for not having yet reached the canonical age; an administrator was named on May 23, 1483. On August 18, 1483, he took the oath before the duke of Bretagne, who sent him at the head of an embassy to Rome in 1485 to pay homage to the newly elected Pope Innocent VIII. Prior of the Benedictine monastery of Sainte-Croix, Vitré, 1490; resigned when he was transferred to the see of Rennes. Abbot commendatario of Saint-Méen, 1493. Prior of Châteaugiron, 1495. At the time of the Synod of Tréguier, June 11, 1495, he had not yet received the episcopal consecration. Returned to Rome in 1499 by orders from Queen Anne in order to expedite the issuing of the bull of election of Guillaume Gueguien as bishop of Nantes; the bull was issued on September 25, 1500. Abbot commendatario of Sainte-Melaine, Rennes, 1501. Transferred to the see of Rennes, succeeding his late brother Michel Guibè, March 24, 1502; the see had been reserved for him since February 12, 1501. Resigned the commendam of the Benedictine monastery of Sainte-Corix de Quimperié at the same time of his transfer to Rennes. Abbot commendatario of Saint-Gildas de Rhuys, 1503. Returned to Rome for the third time; became ambassador of Kig Louis XI of France to Rome and was promoted to the cardinalate at the recommendation of Queen Anne of Bretagne.

Cardinalate. Created cardinal priest in the consistory of December 1, 1505; published, December 12, 1505; received the red hat and the title of S. Anastasia, December 17, 1505. Transferred to the see of Nantes, January 24, 1507; resigned the government of the see in favor of his nephew François Hamon, reserving its denomination, jurisdiction and collation of benefices, May 30, 1511. Ambassador of King Louis XII of France to the Holy See; in 1511, sided with the pope in his disputes with the king; in retaliation, the latter seized the rents of all his benefices; this action reduced the cardinal, who had been one of the richest prelates, to a real poverty; other cardinals had to aid him. Abbot commendatario of the Benedictine abbey of Saint-Victor, Marseille, May 4, 1507. His vicar general celebrated a synod in Nantes, May 27, 1507. Prior commendatario of SS. Trinité de Fougères and of Batz. Rector commendatario of Saint-Julien de Vouvantez. Administrator of the see of Amalfi, beginning of 1510; resigned the post, December 9, 1510. Administrator of the see of Alby, September 30, 1510; occupied the post until his death. Administrator of the see of Vannes, March 17, 1511; occupied the post until his death. Archpriest of the patriarchal Liberian basilica, October 4, 1511. Legate in Avignon after the death of Cardinal Georges I d'Amboise occurred on May 25, 1510. Camerlengo of the Sacred College of Cardinals, January 29, 1512 until February 1513; camerlengo again in 1513 until his death. Participated in the V Lateran Council, 1512. Abbot commendatario of the Benedictine monastery of Saint-Julien de Tours, April 17, 1513. Received several benefices in the sees of Sevilla and Tortona, June 16, 1513. Participated in the conclave of 1513. Named by Pope Leo X legate a latere in France; his mission was to induce the French king to condemn the schismatic council of Pisa and to approve as legitimate that of Letran; he died in Rome a few months after the nomination. Administrator ad vitam of the city of Anagni, Campagna, June 3, 1513. Named by the Apostolic See apostolic vicar general of the spiritual and temporal affairs of the city of Avigon and of Comtat Venaissin; and legate to provinces of Vienne, Arles, Embrun, Dax and Narbonne, July 8, 1513. It is possible that he was not able to occupy several of the posts in France to which he was named in the final years of his life due to the conflict between Pope Leo X and King Louis XII of France.
Died on 09 November 1513, Rome. Buried in the church of Saint-Yves des Bretons, Rome; since the burial was temporary, no monument to his memory was built; each year in his anniversary a memorial service is still celebrated in that church. According to his will, his remains were transferred to Rennes and buried in the chapel of Saint-Armel, that his brother had built near the choir of the cathedral; there are two statues of bishops, Michel and Robert, over the sarcophagus (2).
(1) This the Latinization of Bretagne, then still independent from France; it was the equivalent of saying that he was a "Bretton".

(2) According to Guillotin de Corson, Amédée. Pouillé historique de l'archevêché de Rennes, I, 82 and 83, when the tomb was opened in 1756, only one coffin containing one body, that of Michel, the cardinal's brother, was found, with a tablet of lead with the following inscription: HIC JACET REVERENDUS IN CHRISTOPATER ET DOMINUS, DOMINUS MICHAEL GUIBOEUS HUJUS ECCLESIAE, CIVITATIS ET DIOCESIS EPISCOPUS, QUI OBIIT DIE DOMINICA PENE ULTIMA MENSIS FEBRUARII.
Resourses
Bibliography. Berton, Charles. Dictionnaire des cardinaux, contenant des notions générales sur le cardinalat, la nomenclature complète ..., des cardinaux de tous less temps et de tous les pays ... les détails biographiques essentiels sur tous les cardinaux ... de longues études sur les cardinaux célèbre ... Paris : J.-P. Migne, 1857 ; Facsimile edition. Farnborough ; Gregg, 1969, col. 1064; Cardella, Lorenzo. Memorie storiche de' cardinali della Santa Romana Chiesa. Rome : Stamperia Pagliarini, 1793, III, 312-313; Chacón, Alfonso. Vitæ, et res gestæ Pontificvm Romanorum et S. R. E. Cardinalivm ab initio nascentis Ecclesiæ vsque ad Vrbanvm VIII. Pont. Max. 2 volumes. Romae : Typis Vaticanis, 1630, II, col. 1375; "Robert Guibé" in "Essai de liste générale des Cardinaux. VIII. Les Cardinaux du XVIe siècle." Annuaire Pontifical Catholique de 1939, Paris : Maison de la Bonne Presse, 1939, pp. 80-81; Eubel, Conradus and Gulik, Guglielmus van. Hierarchia Catholica Medii et Recientoris Aevi. Volumen II (1431-1503). Münich : Sumptibus et Typis Librariae Regensbergianae, 1914; reprint, Padua : Il Messagero di S. Antonio, 1960, p. 222; Eubel, Conradus and Gulik, Guglielmus van. Hierarchia Catholica Medii et Recientoris Aevi. Münich : Sumptibus et Typis Librariae Regensbergianae, 1935; reprint, Padua : Il Messagero di S. Antonio, 1960, III, 10, 59, 84, 101, 105, 252, 283 and 329; Guillotin de Corson, Amédée. Pouillé historique de l'archevêché de Rennes. 6 vols. Rennes : Fougeray, 1880-1886, I, 82-83.
Email me for the links to this Biographical data, in French, pp. 82-83.
DCGIBBS

           the statement that burberry sale        
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          Liturgical rights of Catholics must be upheld        
Fr Martin Durham

In the latest edition of The Swag, the official magazine of the National Council of Priests, it was reported that some priests who attended their 2010 conference in Parramatta declared that they did not intend to use the new translation of the Missal, due to be introduced in Advent 2011. Obedience, apparently, is no longer a consideration for some.

Yet the Vatican II Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy makes it clear that "Regulation of the Sacred Liturgy depends solely on the authority of the church - not even a priest may add, remove or change anything in the Liturgy on his own authority" (22).

After almost half a century, it is surely time the Vatican II documents were read to discover what they actually say, rather than, as many have done, rely on the "spirit of Vatican II" in order to rationalise all manner of spurious opinions and practices.

Well known American Franciscan, Fr Benedict Groeschel, on one occasion wryly suggested that the so-called "spirit of Vatican II should be more accurately called a poltergeist" (a noisy and confusing ghost).

However, it is not only disobedience to the authority of the Church over the liturgy that is involved here. There is another consideration, equally important, which has been overlooked, namely that the faithful have the right to have Mass celebrated properly, according to the norms laid down by the Apostolic See. No Mass celebrant has any right to ignore that right of the faithful.

Vatican Instruction

This was spelt out in the Vatican Instruction on the Eucharist (Redemptionis Sacramentum, 25 March 2004). The following are some relevant extracts:

• "It is the right of Christ's faithful that the Liturgy, especially the celebration of Holy Mass, should truly be as the Church wishes according to what is prescribed in the liturgical books and by the other laws and norms" (12).

• "Christ's faithful have the right that ecclesiastical authority should fully and efficaciously regulate the Sacred Liturgy lest it should ever seem to be 'anyone's private property, whether of the celebrant or of the community in which the mysteries are celebrated'" (18).

• "Each sacred minister should always remember that he is a servant of the sacred Liturgy" (186).

• "The Mystery of the Eucharist 'is too great for anyone to permit himself to treat it according to his own whim'" (11).

(In this regard Cardinal Arinze, former Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, observed a few years ago: "The do-it-yourself Mass is ended.")

• "It is the right of the Christian people themselves that their diocesan Bishop should take care to prevent the occurrence of abuses in ecclesiastical discipline, especially as regards the ministry of the word, the celebration of the sacraments and sacramentals, the worship of God and devotion to the Saints" (24).

• "Let everyone do all that is in their power to ensure that the Most Holy Sacrament of the Eucharist will be protected from any and every irreverence or distortion and that all abuses be thoroughly corrected. This is a most serious duty incumbent upon each and everyone, and all are bound to carry it out without any favouritism" (183).

• No abuse is "to be considered of little account" and is "to be carefully avoided and corrected" (174). (Emphases above added).

Episcopal limits

As set out in Canon 838 of the Code of Canon Law, the individual bishop's authority over the liturgy is limited.

Par 1: The ordering and guidance of the sacred liturgy depends solely upon the authority of the Church, namely, that of the Apostolic See and, as provided by law, that of the diocesan Bishop.

Par 2: It is the prerogative of the Apostolic See to regulate the sacred liturgy of the universal Church, to publish liturgical books and review their vernacular translations, and to be watchful that liturgical regulations are everywhere faithfully observed.

Par 4: Within the limits of his competence, it belongs to the diocesan Bishop to lay down for the Church entrusted to his care, liturgical regulations which are binding on all.

Likewise, according to the same Canon, Bishops' Conferences are also subject to limitations.

Par 3: It pertains to Episcopal Conferences to prepare vernacular translations of liturgical books, with appropriate adaptations as allowed by the books themselves and, with the prior review of the Holy See, to publish these.

It follows that the so-called "spirit of Vatican II" does not and cannot justify the myriad, unauthorised and seemingly endless changes in the Mass that have been inflicted on the faithful since the Council.

It is important to find out what Vatican II actually said and to study the documents themselves, especially The Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy (paragraphs 21 ff).

More Catholics - priests, liturgists and lay people - should also obtain a copy of Redemptionis Sacramentum, either in print or on the internet, and study it closely. It lists about one hundred abuses in the Mass ranging from the most serious (incurring automatic excommunication) to minor ones. All of them need to be corrected (see RS, 174 above), wherever they occur.

The introduction of the revised Missal translation will be an ideal time for clergy to read the General Instructions about the Mass and put them into practice, and for those in authority to see to it that this is done.

Let the recently beatified Cardinal John Henry Newman have the last word. He said that there are two basic requirements for the genuine follower of Christ: faith and obedience.

Fr Martin Durham is a priest of the Rockhampton Diocese, Queensland.


          Pope Benedict honours Catholic Women's League member Brenda Finlayson        
AD2000 Report

Brenda Finlayson, Immediate Past Vice President General of the World Union of Catholic Women's Organisations and recently retired WUCWO Board Member Australia, was the recent recipient of the Papal Honour of Dame in the (Pontifical Equestrian) Order of St Gregory the Great. She joins a handful of "fellow dames" in Australia and is the second Catholic Women's League member to be so honoured.

Brenda was officially invested with the Papal title at a special ceremony during Mass celebrated by Bishop Peter Connors in Ballarat's St Patrick's Cathedral on 7 November 2010.

While the prestigious award cites her service to the Church, WUCWO, the Catholic Women's League Australia and the Catholic Women's League of Victoria and Wagga Wagga, Brenda insists that the award is testimony to the faithful grassroots apostolate in Church and society undertaken by Catholic women worldwide.

Founded in 1910 in Europe, WUCWO now represents 100 Catholic women's organisations worldwide with a membership of more than five million.

UN recognition

Its aims are to promote the presence, participation and co-responsibility of Catholic women in society and the Church, to enable them to fulfil their mission of evangelisation and to work for human development. It was the first international Catholic organisation to receive United Nations recognition as an NGO in 1947, and was also a force in the creation and adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948.

In 2006, WUCWO was erected by the Holy See as a Public International Association of the Faithful, meaning that as an organisation of Catholic women it speaks and acts in the name of the Catholic Church.

Its international Board is currently made up of 27 members from five regions - Africa, Asia Pacific, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean and North America - each representing the Catholic women's organisation(s) of her country. Brenda has served on this Board since 2001 and as Vice President General, she was responsible for leading the organisation's lobbyists in several key international agencies.

WUCWO has consultative status with the UN and is represented at the Economic and Social Council in New York and Geneva, the Food and Agricultural Organisation in Rome, the Human Rights Council in Geneva, the International Labour Organisation also in Geneva, and UNESCO in Paris.

It is also present at the Council of Europe, Strasbourg where its representatives, working at the highest level of international civic society, fearlessly champion the social teachings of the Catholic Church on all matters pertaining to "the common good."

Brenda says, "this facet of WUCWO's work is tremendously important, as it is becoming increasingly more difficult to combat the anti-Christian influence exerted on UN policy by atheistic humanists embedded in the United Nations and the Council of Europe. What is instigated there slowly infiltrates the legislation of UN states, Australia included. It is imperative that this vital apostolate continues, now more than ever before."

Its members undertake advocacy for those people whose human development is impeded by poverty, apathy, corrupt governance or unjust laws, stressing the lack of appreciation of the dignity of each human person by all those who violate it in any way.

As the Convenor of the organisation's Permanent Communications, Information and Publications Committee and Editor of its newsletter Women's Voice (published also in French and Spanish), Brenda has been responsible for sharing information about the work of "ordinary" Catholic women performing "extraordinary" tasks for "the common good" all around the world and highlighting WUCWO's strong commitment to and interaction with the Holy See. In 2008, Brenda spoke about the role and mission of women at the International Congress, Mulieris Dignitatem.

She says that although "the workload has been extremely demanding, I have been the recipient of many blessings, including the friendship of women from many other countries, the opportunity to meet with wonderful people in the countries visited in the course of my duties, and the interaction with senior Church personnel within the dicasteries of the Holy See."

Brenda also expresses her deep gratitude to the CWLA leadership and its members for their affirmation and support in this unique work for Church and society.

Centenary Assembly

Appointed to the organising committee for the Centenary Assembly in Jerusalem in October 2010, Brenda found herself with an even bigger workload than normal. Attended by 500 women from 40 countries, the Assembly was a huge success and during her time as Vice President General she says she was "extraordinarily privileged to represent not only the 6,000 Australian Catholic Women's League members, but the five million women worldwide."

With this significant background Brenda challenges a popular misconception about the Catholic Women's League Australia and its many branches across the country that its members are old ladies who sit around and drink cups of tea and do little else!

This perception is a long way from the truth: members of the Catholic Women's League are not only involved with social issues, bonded by a shared and deep spirituality, but play a central and important role on the world stage.

Brenda shows great respect for the Archbishop of Sydney, Cardinal George Pell, who has inspired her Church activities for many years. "He is a wonderful leader of our Catholic people and we need leaders like him to bring us messages of faith and to help us grow in our faith," she says. "I have known His Eminence for many years and I admire him for his many lovely qualities."


          How Pope Francis Became A Foreign Policy Player        
When Pope Francis travels to the Greek island of Lesbos on Saturday, he will likely bring with him a sharp rebuke for Europe's response to the migrant crisis.In 2013, on his very first papal trip, he traveled to Lampedusa to decry the "globalization of indifference" toward refugees and migrants. The Italian island — closer to Tunisia than to Italy — was then the major gateway to Europe for hundreds of thousands of migrants making the perilous sea crossing on smugglers' boats from North Africa. The pope laid a wreath in memory of the thousands who died at sea. And he lamented that no one had the courage to take responsibility for Europe's immigration dilemma.That 2013 trip, and the message that Pope Francis carried with him, was one of the first signs of a more assertive and less predictable Vatican stance on the global stage. Throughout the Cold War, the Vatican remained firmly in the Western camp. With Pope Francis, the first pope from the Global South, the Holy See showed his
          Matthew Henry On Spiritual Blindness        
'He has blinded their eyes... I would heal them.' (John 12:40).
What are we to say about these words? Are we to say, "It is God who blinds their eyes"? or Is there a difference between He - "He has blinded their eyes" - and I - "I would heal them"? Could "He" be understood as a reference to "the god of this world" -  "The god of this world has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the Gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God" (2 Corinthians 4:4)? Here, we may recall the parable of the sower - "When they hear, Satan comes immediately and takes away the word that was sown in their hearts" (Mark 4:15). 

 * Matthew Henry comments on John 12:39-40.
"God damns none by mere sovereignty... They could not believe, that is, they would not; they were obstinately resolved in their infidelity... God is not the author of sin... yet... (t)here is a righteous hand of God sometimes to be acknowledged in the blindness of those who persist in impenitency and unbelief,  by which they are justly punished for their former resistance of divine light."
What is the connection between "they could not believe" and "He has blinded their eyes"? Matthew Henry suggests that there's something else behind "they could not." It's "they would not." When we speak about spiritual blindness, we should never forget this - they would not.

 * Matthew Henry comments on Isaiah 6:9-13.
"... when they should obstinately reject the gospel and should thereupon be rejected by God"
Here, Henry is saying the same thing as he said on John 12:40 - "they are justly punished for their former resistance of divine light." 
Where does spiritual blindness come from? - "their former resistance of divine light." The more resistance there is, the more blindness there will be.  

* Commenting on John 12:39-40, Matthew Henry notes that God's Word speaks, with "reserve", about spiritual blindness. Alluding to the prophecy, in Isaiah 6:13, regarding a remnant - "the holy seed", he says that this "reserve" is "sufficient to keep a door of hope open to particular persons; for each one might say, 'Why may I not be of that remnant?'"
There is hope. Let us pray that more people will come to have this testimony: "I once was blind, but now I see" (John 9:25).

 * Matthew Henry comments on Romans 9:18,22-24.
"Those who are saved must thank God only, and those who perish must  thank themselves... Sinners fit themselves for hell but it is God who fits saints for heaven."
Let us never blame God for our spiritual blindness. When the Lord opens our eyes, let us praise Him. Let us say, "This is the Lord's doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes" (Psalm 118:23). Let us say, "Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to Your Name be the glory, because of Your love and faithfulness" (Psalm 115:1).

          Tell Netflix to Nix DRM on original productions        

Through the creation of original work, Netflix can no longer hide behind the excuse that they only use DRM due to requirements from the film and television industries. Netflix needs to work for their subscribers, and their subscribers are mistreated by DRM. Please sign the petition below, insisting that Netflix respect the rights of its subscribers!

If you'd like to read more about the issue first, scroll past the letter.

To: Reed Hastings, Netflix Founder and CEO, and Officers and Directors of the Board

Please Drop DRM on Netflix Originals

Please drop DRM on Netflix Originals.

For years you've said Hollywood production companies and other studios have demanded videos be restricted with DRM before they can be streamed on Netflix. Now that you're producing a large volume of original movies and shows, no one is holding you back from releasing them DRM-free.

You have transformed how people engage with media, but now you need to think bigger. We believe you know that DRM is harmful, that it is simply not right to demand deep control over Netflix watchers' computers just because they might do something wrong.

We're asking you to make Netflix Originals available without DRM. We respect your creative efforts. Respect us by making it possible to enjoy these movies and shows without installing dangerous, restrictive, unethical software. Netflix fancies itself an innovative company. We can't have innovation without freedom, and we can't have freedom with DRM.

Sincerely, the undersigned



TO SIGN

Please create an account below while you sign the petition. If you have an account, please follow this link to log-in and sign. Sorry for the inconvenience.

 Check if you use Netflix
 Check to receive updates on our anti-DRM work



We won't share your information. See our privacy policy.


Why you should sign

DRM is the practice of imposing technological restrictions that control what users can do with digital media. This concentrates control over production and distribution of media, giving DRM peddlers the power to carry out massive digital book (or movie!) burnings and large scale surveillance over people's media viewing habits.

Why does Netflix have Digital Restrictions Management (DRM) on their original productions? In the past, they have excused their use of DRM by claiming that the film and television industries made them do it.

That was an unacceptable excuse to begin with, but now that they make their own movies and shows, it's also a blatant falsehood.

More on Netflix & their relationship to DRM

We have been urging people to cancel their Netflix subscriptions-- and not only because the videos are locked down with DRM.

Netflix was an early supporter of efforts to get DRM (via "Encrypted Media Extensions") into Web standards (along with companies like Microsoft, Google, Comcast, and even the BBC). Netflix's DRM requirements pushed Mozilla to add it Firefox. Subscriber fees have paid for this lobbying and activity.

DRM proponents talk about the security provided by DRM, but while it may "protect" video files by limiting your access to them, it also opens you up to risks. The Electronic Frontier Foundation rightly points out that "DRM creates a massive security hole by requiring users to give up some control of their own computers." This weakness in DRM is one example of the security threat it poses to your devices: by being easy to break, it is easy to break into and use to do things like taking advantage of backdoors DRM programs install in your devices.

Contrary to public statements that restrictive technologies like DRM are a requirement in obtaining a license, artists have asked Netflix to provide their work DRM-free. When cartoonist and animator Nina Paley asked them to stream her film "Sita Sings the Blues"DRM-free, they told her it wasn't possible with their electronic delivery system. They also refused to allow her to add a notice telling viewers where they could find and download the film.

In addition to Paley, Aziz Ansari, Jim Gaffigan, and Louis CK all sell DRM-free videos from their own sites. However, Netflix made their Netflix Specials come with DRM. We've been asking ourselves if they really required Netflix to add it in order to make and stream these videos.

We're always working to keep you informed about DRM. To learn more, read:


          Tell Netflix to Nix DRM on original productions        

Through the creation of original work, Netflix can no longer hide behind the excuse that they only use DRM due to requirements from the film and television industries. Netflix needs to work for their subscribers, and their subscribers are mistreated by DRM. Please sign the petition below, insisting that Netflix respect the rights of its subscribers!

If you'd like to read more about the issue first, scroll past the letter.

To: Reed Hastings, Netflix Founder and CEO, and Officers and Directors of the Board

Please Drop DRM on Netflix Originals

Please drop DRM on Netflix Originals.

For years you've said Hollywood production companies and other studios have demanded videos be restricted with DRM before they can be streamed on Netflix. Now that you're producing a large volume of original movies and shows, no one is holding you back from releasing them DRM-free.

You have transformed how people engage with media, but now you need to think bigger. We believe you know that DRM is harmful, that it is simply not right to demand deep control over Netflix watchers' computers just because they might do something wrong.

We're asking you to make Netflix Originals available without DRM. We respect your creative efforts. Respect us by making it possible to enjoy these movies and shows without installing dangerous, restrictive, unethical software. Netflix fancies itself an innovative company. We can't have innovation without freedom, and we can't have freedom with DRM.

Sincerely, the undersigned



TO SIGN

Please create an account below while you sign the petition. If you have an account, please follow this link to log-in and sign. Sorry for the inconvenience.

 Check if you use Netflix
 Check to receive updates on our anti-DRM work



We won't share your information. See our privacy policy.


Why you should sign

DRM is the practice of imposing technological restrictions that control what users can do with digital media. This concentrates control over production and distribution of media, giving DRM peddlers the power to carry out massive digital book (or movie!) burnings and large scale surveillance over people's media viewing habits.

Why does Netflix have Digital Restrictions Management (DRM) on their original productions? In the past, they have excused their use of DRM by claiming that the film and television industries made them do it.

That was an unacceptable excuse to begin with, but now that they make their own movies and shows, it's also a blatant falsehood.

More on Netflix & their relationship to DRM

We have been urging people to cancel their Netflix subscriptions-- and not only because the videos are locked down with DRM.

Netflix was an early supporter of efforts to get DRM (via "Encrypted Media Extensions") into Web standards (along with companies like Microsoft, Google, Comcast, and even the BBC). Netflix's DRM requirements pushed Mozilla to add it Firefox. Subscriber fees have paid for this lobbying and activity.

DRM proponents talk about the security provided by DRM, but while it may "protect" video files by limiting your access to them, it also opens you up to risks. The Electronic Frontier Foundation rightly points out that "DRM creates a massive security hole by requiring users to give up some control of their own computers." This weakness in DRM is one example of the security threat it poses to your devices: by being easy to break, it is easy to break into and use to do things like taking advantage of backdoors DRM programs install in your devices.

Contrary to public statements that restrictive technologies like DRM are a requirement in obtaining a license, artists have asked Netflix to provide their work DRM-free. When cartoonist and animator Nina Paley asked them to stream her film "Sita Sings the Blues"DRM-free, they told her it wasn't possible with their electronic delivery system. They also refused to allow her to add a notice telling viewers where they could find and download the film.

In addition to Paley, Aziz Ansari, Jim Gaffigan, and Louis CK all sell DRM-free videos from their own sites. However, Netflix made their Netflix Specials come with DRM. We've been asking ourselves if they really required Netflix to add it in order to make and stream these videos.

We're always working to keep you informed about DRM. To learn more, read:


          Sex and Drug Ring Raided at Apartment of Third Highest-Ranking Vatican Cardinal        
Only days after the third highest-ranking member of the Vatican was charged with raping children, another scandal has been uncovered in Rome.

In 2014, Pope Francis admitted that “about two percent” or 1 in 50 Roman Catholic priests are pedophiles. He then promised solutions to the history of the church essentially condoning the horrid practice.

However, in light of recent events, it appears the Pope is either unconcerned with or actually facilitating the abuse and hypocrisy of those within his holy ranks.

Within the last few weeks, scandal has plagued the Vatican as the third highest-ranking cardinal, George Pell, was charged with sex abuse against children in Australia.


Now, on top of pedophilia, the Vatican can add drug running to its ever-expanding list of corruption.

The newspaper, Il Fatto Quotidiano — translated from Italian to The Face Daily — reported last week that Vatican police raided the apartment belonging to the Con­gregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Ironically, that department is charged with, among other things, tackling clerical sexual abuse.

The occupant of the apartment is alleged by the paper to be the secretary of Cardinal Francesco Coccopa­l­merio, head of the Pontifical Council for Legislative texts and a key adviser to the Pope.

Coccopalmeria had reportedly just recommended the secretary, who was charged with running drugs, be promoted to bishop. That promotion is apparently on hold at this time.

During the raid, police allegedly walked in on a massive ‘drug-fueled gay orgy’ taking place, according to the report.

We feel that it is anyone’s right to do as they please with other consenting adults so long as all parties act voluntarily.

If someone wants to host a ‘drug-fueled gay orgy,’ by all means, host it, as both the drug use and sex are voluntary. What consenting adults do behind closed doors is nobody’s business but their own.

That being said, however, the hypocrisy of the church in this instance is rife and certainly warrants scrutiny.


Moreover, the ages of those involved in the raid have yet to be disclosed and — given the sordid history of the Catholic church — to say there may have been children present is not an excessive assumption.

Also, as Il Fatto Quotidiano reported, the corrupt clergymen were able to use their church jurisdiction to transport drugs freely without worrying about the Italian police.

The luxury cars driven by the traffickers all had license plates and official Holy See plaques that allowed them to move about freely without being worried about getting caught.

The alleged sex ring has been the subject of recent protests in the area by residents who say they heard and saw many unusual comings and goings of people at all hours of the night.

As the Pope preaches reform and claims the church is ridding itself of problem members, it appears, according to all the recent revelations, that the exact opposite is happening. And, it appears that it may even be deliberate.

According to a recent report out of the AP, Pope Francis has quietly reduced sanctions against a handful of pedophile priests, applying his vision of a merciful church even to its worst offenders in ways that survivors of abuse and the pope’s own advisers question.

It is no secret that the Vatican has been sweeping the issue of pedophilia under the rug for many years. In 2014, the UN issued a scathing report, blasting the Vatican for protecting pedophiles.

The U.N. committee’s main human rights investigator, Sara Oviedo, led the most intense grilling the Holy See has received on the issue, according to a report by The Associated Press.

Given the “zero tolerance” policy of the Vatican, she asked, why were there “efforts to cover up and obscure these types of cases?”

After observing the sheer number of recent alleged crimes committed by members of the church, the answer to that question could be quite simple; corruption within the church is so rampant that cover-ups have become the norm.

By Matt Agorist, Guest author
The Free Thought Project
SOURCE

           El principio de reciprocidad en las relaciones internacionales de la Santa Sede The principle of reciprocity in international relationships of the Holy See         
Roca, María J. (2008) El principio de reciprocidad en las relaciones internacionales de la Santa Sede. Revista Española de Derecho Canónico, 65 (164). pp. 127-138. ISSN 0034-9372
           El principio de reciprocidad y las relaciones internacionales de la Santa Sede The principle of reciprocity and international relationships of the Holy See         
Roca, María J. (2008) El principio de reciprocidad y las relaciones internacionales de la Santa Sede. In Iglesia Católica y Relaciones Internacionales. actas del III Simposio Internacional de Derecho Concordatario : Almería 7-9 de noviembre de 2007. Comares, Granada, pp. 565-574. ISBN 978-84-9836-420-0
          What are the best temples & historical sites in Vietnam ?        
The Cao Dai Holy See
The spiritual home base of the Cao Dai religion, a unique contemporary faith, the Holy See is a fantasyland of colored mosaics and elaborates painting. Followers are dressed in white turbans during the picturesque daily procession. 

Tomb of Khai Dinh: 
The egotistical, eccentric emperor Khai Dinh left behind a tomb that is a gaudy mix of Gothic, baroque, and classical Chinese architecture. Quite unique. 

The Tunnels of Vinh Moc and Cu Chi: 
Faced with devastating air raids, both of these sites supported large groups of soldiers and civilians who used the tunnels as supply lines, as escape routes, and as bases for waging a devastating guerilla campaign against U.S. forces. Day trips to either site are memorable. See p. 202 and 328.

Hoa Lo Prison (Known as Hanoi Hilton Prison): 
Home to U.S. pilots—including John McCain—who was shot down during the Vietnamese war with the U.S., Hoa Lo Prison is now a small museum (most of it was demolished for a high-rise). A good glimpse into Vietnam’s grisly past. 

Reunification Palace: 
In 1975 tanks rolled over the gates of the prime minister’s palace, signaling an end to the Vietnam War. You can see the actual tanks on-site. 

Visit here to see more about Vietnam Travel Guide or Vietnam Tours.

          TLM in Argentina: A Priest's Interview        
In the occasion of Summorum Pontificum's 10th anniversary we are offering a translation of a parish priest's words describing for the first time the big picture of the current situation of the Traditional Latin Mass (TLM) in Argentina. We aim to offer English-readers from all over the world the possibility of learning in some detail the general state of things regarding Tradition in the Pope's country of origin.

Last month was the 10thanniversary of Benedict XVI’s Summorum Pontificum. How would you describe the present situation of the TLM in Argentina?

Reality shows that in Argentina the case of the Tridentine Mass is the same for everyone willing to celebrate it. Europe is another thing; but here it is impossible to start celebrating Mass if the ecclesiastical head or parish priest doesn't want it. The outlook is extremely bleak.

People seeking Tradition often say that Argentine priests and Bishops should be braver and risk themselves to provide TLM…

'Bravery' isn't enough. The only option left is to follow the example of the priest living in [the Italian movie character] Don Gabino's loft –a choice that if I am permitted to say, I'll be making in the short or long run. Or immigrate to a little spot in Europe where the bishop has at least a quarter of a sane personality. And notice that I am not asking for a bishop with faith. But at least with a minimum of human complexion in accordance with nature.

What is the Argentine Bishops' general attitude?

Argentina is scorched earth. There is no turning back. Bishops are walking pathologies.

This is an issue I speak with my priest colleagues: it is not worthy to continue betting on a priesthood disengaged from the founding pivot hole. It is impossible to set a liturgical pastorale (or whatever you want to call it) with s-i-c-k bishops and parish priests.

Anything else is wishful thinking, said with the greatest of respect. And with the deepest sorrow.

The subject is wide and it has its edges. "Me and my circumstances" as Ortega y Gasset put it. It is a pity that over here circumstances are the rule. If not, name me a sole bishop that might be an exception from my shallow analisys. ONE ALONE. Name me one, or at least name me a sole parish priest with an "open mind" capable of brooking (I don't even say 'approving') a vicar willing to do things right. Because I inform you that the ones that usually celebrate TLM are vicars. Maybe a parish priest here and there too, surely. And they are magnificent.

But as I see it, the lack is outright.

What are the possible consequences of starting to celebrate TLM in a regular diocese in Argentina? Might that bring a suspension ultimately?

I don’t think that celebrating ad Orientem or directly TLM might bring a suspension per se. Of course, that depends on several factors: which parish, which diocese, etc. In Argentina the Bishops and many parish priests don’t want a traditional ‘regrowth’. Some specifically out of fear of [Pope] Francis. Thus, I am not saying that a priest will be automatically suspended for celebrating ad Orientem, but he will end up like that sooner or later for the following reason: When the priest be removed, what is going to be done with the faithful that requested the ad Orientem or even the EF? Are they to be abandoned to the previous situation or will they continue to be assisted? There will be a conflict there and the bishop will profit from this confusing situation. 
It has already happened with a well-known priest.

What is your experience with Traditionalist faithful seeking a “Summorum Pontificum Mass”?

On the other side, the faithful have the particularity of being ‘particular traditionalists’. In the sense that they all want ‘something’ different from what is offered. Older or modern rubrics, more Latin or less Latin, the prohibition for women to attend with no trousers (or not), that the mantilla be mandatory or not, etc. And they want all of this said from the pulpit. This brings conflicts too.

Can you mention an example of this particular situation?

When the Military Bishop [of the Ordinariate] celebrated Mass in the EF in a church of Buenos Aires, these issues emerged even when only a few celebrations took place. The diocesan Bishops isolated him entirely, and even though he had received ‘congratulations’ from the Holy See, he was urged by his own clergy and the rest of the bishops to desist, which he did. And that was in the peaceful times of Benedict XVI.

What is the general position of conservative priests in Argentina regarding the TLM?

Even the most conservatives don’t understand the importance of celebrating facing the East (or the altar) and much less according to what is known today as the extraordinary form. Bishops fear this traditional regrowth and won’t approve TLM—in theory they consider it licit, but in practice they repress these celebrations.

A final word about regular faithful and their approach towards the TLM?

The faithful are the ones that resist these celebrations the most and are the ones who carry complaints to the bishopric. And then the Bishop uses them for the removal.

Is there any possibility of a positive change in the current sterile situation?

That’s it, my friend. That’s how things are. Maybe they will change, I don’t know. With this Pope I certainly doubt it.



This is a fictional interview which gathered real comments from a parish priest in Argentina.

          Decree for John Paul II's Beatification        


VATICAN CITY, JAN. 14, 2011 (Zenit.org).- Here is the full text of the decree written by the Congregation for Saints' Causes regarding the beatification of Servant of God John Paul II, published today by Vatican Radio. The prefect of the saints' causes dicastery is Cardinal Angelo Amato.

Beatification: Sign of the depth of faith and invitation to a fully Christian life

The proclamation of a Saint or of a Blessed by the Church is the fruit of putting together various aspects regarding a specific Person. First, it is an act which says something important in the life of the Church herself. It is linked to a "cult," i.e. to the memory of the person, to his full acknowledgment of him in the awareness of the ecclesial community, of the country, of the Universal Church in various countries, continents and cultures. Another aspect is the awareness that the "presentation on the altars" will be an important sign of the depth of the faith, of the diffusion of faith in the path of life of that person, and that this sign will become an invitation, a stimulus for us all towards a Christian life ever more profound and full. Finally, the sine qua non condition is the holiness of the person's life, verified during the precise and formal canonical proceedings. All this provides the material for the decision of the Successor of Peter, of the Pope in view of the proclamation of a Blessed or of a Saint, of the cult in the context of the ecclesial community and of its liturgy.

John Paul II's pontificate was an eloquent and clear sign, not only for Catholics, but also for world public opinion, for people of all color and creed. The world's reaction to his lifestyle, to the development of his apostolic mission, to the way he bore his suffering, to the decision to continue his Petrine mission to the end as willed by divine Providence, and finally, the reaction to his death, the popularity of the acclamation "Saint right now!" which someone made on the day of his funerals, all this has its solid foundation in the experience of having met with the person who was the Pope. The faithful have felt, have experienced that he is "God's man," who really sees the concrete steps and the mechanisms of contemporary world "in God," in God's perspective, with the eyes of a mystic who looks up to God only. He was clearly a man of prayer: so much so that it is from the dynamism of his personal union with God, from the permanent listening to what God wants to say in a concrete situation, that the whole of "Pope John Paul II's activity" flowed. Those who were closest to him have been able to see that, prior to his meetings with his guests, with Heads of State, with Church high officials or ordinary citizens, John Paul II would recollect himself in prayer according to the intentions of the guests and of the meeting that was to come.

1. Karol Wojtyla's contribution to Vatican II Council

After Vatican II, during the pontificates of Paul VI and of John Paul II, the manner of presentation, and thus of self-presentation of the papacy, has become quite expressive. On the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the pontificate of John Paul II, the Italian Minister for Foreign Affairs published in 2004 a book entitled "Go Forth in the Whole World." Giancarlo Zizola, a "vaticanist," remarked on the fact that "the papacy has conquered its citizenship in the realm of public visibility, breaking away from the siege of worship marginalisation where it had been kept by decree of secular society, in the name of a militant vision of the liberal tenet of Separation of Church and State" (p. 17). A German historian, Jesuit Klaus Schatz, speaking of Paul VI and of John Paul II, underlined the meaning of the "papacy on the way" -- thus in conformity with Vatican II -- more in the manner of a missionary movement than as a static pole of unity. Schatz refers to the manner of interpreting the papal mission as a challenge to "confirm the brothers in the faith" (Luke 22:32), in a way tied to structural authority, but with a strong spiritual and charismatic hint, in link with the personal credibility and rooted in God himself.

Let us pause a moment to consider Vatican II. The young archbishop of Cracow was one of the most active Council Fathers. He made a significant contribution to the "Scheme XIII" which was to become the Pastoral Constitution of the Council "Gaudium et Spes" on the Church in the Modern World, and to the Dogmatic Constitution "Lumen Gentium." Thanks to his studies abroad, bishop Wojtyla had a concrete experience of evangelisation and of the mission of the Church, in Western Europe or in other continents, but above all of totalitarian atheism in Poland and in the other countries of the "Soviet Block." He brought all this experience to the Council debates, which were certainly not like drawing-room conversations, extremely courteous but void of contents. Here was a substantial and decisive effort to insert the Gospel's dynamism into the conciliar enthusiasm rooted on the conviction that Christianity is capable of furnishing a "soul" to the development of modernity and to the reality of the social and cultural world.

All this was to be of use in preparing for the future responsibilities of the Successor of Peter. As John Paul II said, he already had in his mind his first encyclical, "Redemptor Hominis," and brought it to Rome from Cracow. All he had to do in Rome was to write down all these ideas. In this encyclical, there is a wide invitation to humankind to rediscover the reality of Redemption in Christ: "Man (…) remains a being that is incomprehensible for himself, his life is senseless, if love is not revealed to him, if he does not encounter love, if he does not experience it and make it his own, if he does not participate intimately in it. This, as has already been said, is why Christ the Redeemer 'fully reveals man to himself.' [...] man finds again the greatness, dignity and value that belong to his humanity. In the mystery of the Redemption man becomes newly 'expressed' and, in a way, is newly created. [...] The man who wishes to understand himself thoroughly -- and not just in accordance with immediate, partial, often superficial, and even illusory standards and measures of his being -- he must with his unrest, uncertainty and even his weakness and sinfulness, with his life and death, draw near to Christ. He must, so to speak, enter into him with all his own self, he must 'appropriate' and assimilate the whole of the reality of the Incarnation and Redemption in order to find himself (No. 10). [...]

"This union of Christ with man is in itself a mystery. From the mystery is born 'the new man,' called to become a partaker of God's life, and newly created in Christ for the fullness of grace and truth. [...] Man is transformed inwardly by this power as the source of a new life that does not disappear and pass away but lasts to eternal life. [...] This life, which the Father has promised and offered to each man in Jesus Christ (…) is in a way the fulfilment of the 'destiny' that God has prepared for him from eternity. This 'divine destiny' is advancing, in spite of all the enigmas, the unsolved riddles, the twists and turns of 'human destiny' in the world of time. Indeed, while all this, in spite of all the riches of life in time, necessarily and inevitably leads to the frontier of death and the goal of the destruction of the human body, beyond that goal we see Christ. 'I am the resurrection and the life, he who believes in me ... shall never die'" (No. 18).

2. "Totus Tuus": Trust in Mary Mother of God

The life of John Paul II was totally devoted to the service of the Lord, by the intercession of the Mother. His motto was "Totus Tuus," whether for the good of the Church or for that of man who is the way for the Church ("Redemptor Hominis," No. 14). This is the "raison d'être" of the international Apostolic Voyages, the daily meetings with people, with those in charge of ecclesial communities, with cardinals and bishops, with the Heads of other Churches and Christian communities, the Heads of other religions, and with the laity. This is equally true of the written documents of the Pope, the diplomatic relations of the Holy See with the States and International Organisations. The deep conviction of the value of Vatican II -- not only on the necessity but also about the possibility, by the Church, to bring the Gospel of Christ and build on it the experience of the Church as a vibrant and energising inspiration of the vision and mechanisms of the modern world -- this has always been the Pope's conviction.

In 1989, the Berlin Wall fell, but on the international level, one could feel the destructive force of the commercial mechanisms and of the particular economic and ideological interests, ever more anonymous, bringing injustice and marginalisation to all peoples -- even of certain social groups in well developed countries -- and in particular, one could perceive how human life has been devalued. In his many International Apostolic Voyages in the various continents, the Pope voiced the Gospel of Christ and the Church's preoccupation. He wrote it in a more systematic way in the encyclicals: "Laborem Exercens," "Sollicitudo Rei Socialis," "Centesimus Annus"; and also "Evangelium Vitae," "Veritatis Splendor," "Fides et Ratio"; and the encyclicals dealing directly with life and the apostolate of the Church, like "Dominum et Vivificantem," "Redemptoris Missio," "Ut Unum Sint," "Ecclesia de Eucharistia."

3. The Iraq war and the "peace offensive"

Sometimes, as in the case of the efforts to avoid war between the United States and Iraq, there is a real "peace offensive" not only in order to save people's lives, but also to bring to a halt the growth of hatred and of the insane ideas about civilisation clashes, or about the new phenomenon of world scale terrorism. Thus, the New Year address to the diplomatic Corps accredited to the Holy See, and the unforgettable February 2002 with the series of meetings of the Pope with diplomats of "first category": J. Fischer (Feb. 7); Tarek Aziz (Feb. 14); Kofi Annan (Feb. 18); Tony Blair (Feb. 22); José Maria Aznar and the envoy of Seyyed Mohammad Khatami, Head of the Islamic Republic of Iran (Feb. 27); and finally, because of the humanly unbearable situation, the decision to send Cardinal Etchegaray on a special mission to Baghdad (Feb. 15) and Cardinal Pio Laghi to Washington (March 3-9). The "February of the Pope" came to a conclusion with the meeting of Cardinal J.L. Tauran with the 74 ambassadors and diplomats from the entire world; as the Secretary for the Relations with the States, the "Minister for Foreign Affairs" of the Pope, Cardinal Tauran made an appeal in order to avoid war, and called to mind all that the Pope had said in his "peace offensive."

4. Year 2000 Jubilee: a historical reality to remember the coming of Jesus of Nazareth

The current task of John Paul II was centred on the pastoral and life of the Church: the Bishops' "ad limina" visits from the entire world, the Wednesday audiences and the Sunday meetings with the faithful for the Angelus, the pastoral visits of Roman parishes. All was done to promote the proclamation of Christ, to bring closer to our knowledge His Person and the fact that "the words that Christ has said when he was about to leave the Apostles tell us about the mystery of man's history, of one and all, the mystery of humankind's history. Baptism in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit is an immersion in the living God, "in the One who is, who was and who will be." Baptism is the start of the encounter, of unity, of communion, and of this earthly life is but a prologue and an introduction; fulfilment and fullness belong to eternity. "This world's figure is fading away." We must therefore find ourselves "in the world of God", in order to reach the goal, to come to the fullness of life and of man's vocation" (Cracow, June 10, 1979).

"This was precisely one of the things that John Paul II wanted most: to explain clearly that we look to Christ who comes; of course, to the One who came, but even more to the One who comes, and that, in this perspective, our faith keeps us oriented towards the future. In this way, we are really capable of presenting the message of faith, in a new manner, in the perspective of Christ who comes," (Benedict XVI, "Light of the World").

The Great Jubilee of Redemption, in the Year 2000, was not for John Paul II a "pretext" for pastoral action, but first and foremost a historical reality reminding us of the coming of Jesus of Nazareth and everything that this historical event has brought, viz. Redemption, the Testimony of the Love of God unto the Cross and Resurrection, the life of the early Church, the path of salvation accomplished by the Saviour by which He has introduced his Church as a sign and an instrument of internal unity with God, as well as that of the human family. The Year 2000 Jubilee reminds us of the Holy Land, the land of Jesus, and of Rome, the place of apostolate of the Successor of Peter, the bond of authenticity of the message and of the unity of the ecclesial community. This message has been reformulated in the Apostolic Letters Tertio Millenio Adveniente and Novo Millennio Ineunte. But, for the Pope, what mattered most was the personal thanksgiving and that of the entire Church to our Lord Jesus and the encounter in faith with the One who has loved to the end, who has saved us and remains a sign so sorely needed in a world that is becoming increasingly deaf, while trying to organise its life as if God did not exist, thus erring without identity and without meaning.

5. Attention to the youth and the meaning of WYD

John Paul II used to evaluate the results of the international Apostolic Voyages with his collaborators, to identify what was well done, and to see to the changes for the coming voyages. After the voyage in Poland in 1991, the Pope noticed that, during the Mass in Warsaw, in the farthest parts, the young people came and went away, drank beer or coca-cola, and came back. "It was not like this during the previous voyages," he noted, "there has been a change in the society's mentality. It is not worth looking at the 'first places.' The VIP are always seated in the same manner, but the 'margins' are important and worth our attention." It is worth noting that the Pope did not use the word "crowd": he has always seen and paid attention to "people." He was very attentive to the role of the laity in the life and mission of the Church. It is quite meaningful that, when he was still University chaplain in Cracow, he exploited a brief period of "political thaw" in 1957 to organise -- in collaboration with the archbishop of Wroclaw, Boleslaw Kominek -- a symposium in the city for more than 100 university students from all Poland (for the first time since decades!) precisely on the theme "The role of lay people in the Church" (and that was years before Vatican II!). Later, during the summer vacations, he organized spiritual exercises at the place of the Ursuline Sisters of the Roman Union in Bado Ślaskie for a slightly smaller group of the participants of the symposium of Wroclaw, precisely to promote the "formation of the laity."

With the creation of the World Youth Days, the Pope gave his support to various forms of activity of the lay people in the life and mission of the Church, thus paving the way to the very meaningful initiatives, some years later, during the pontificate of Benedict XVI: the holding in September 2010 in Korea, of an important Congress for the lay Catholics of Asia; the meetings of African bishops who are ever more encouraging the lay people to hold positions of responsibility in the sectors of evangelisation, social activity and in the Church's educational sphere; the significant presence of lay Catholics in the continental Mission of Latin America.

Reviewing his pontificate, Benedict XVI makes a note of the generation changes on a world scale, and comes to the same conclusion as his predecessor, namely that "times have changed." Meanwhile a new generation has come, with new problems. The generation of the late sixties, with its own peculiarities, has come and gone. Even the following generation, more pragmatic, is ageing. Today, one must ask: "How can we cope with a world that threatens itself, and in which progress becomes a danger? Should we not start all over again from God?" (Light of the World). So Benedict XVI makes an appeal "that a new generation of Catholics may rise, people inwardly renewed who would commit themselves in politics without any inferiority complex" (an idea oft repeated by the Pope, namely in the Message for the 46th Social Week of Italian Catholics, Oct. 12, 2010). He goes on to call for a new generation of good intellectuals and scientists, attentive to the fact "that a scientific perspective that ignores the ethical and religious dimension of life becomes dangerously narrow, just as a religion would, if it were to refuse a legitimate contribution of science to our understanding of the world" (London, St. Mary's College, Sept. 17, 2010); the Pope calls for a "new generation of committed Christian laypeople capable of seeking, with competency and moral rigor, solutions of sustainable development" (Sept. 7, 2008).

6. The simplicity of John Paul II's prayer

When we recall what John Paul II has accomplished, the "big events" are mixed with the remembrance of simple moments of prayer, which have been a source of surprise even to his collaborators. I'll mention only two, coming from two different periods of his life. In the seventies, I was students' chaplain at the Catholic University in Lublin. At the beginning of the academic year, the then Cardinal of Cracow came to take part in the Eucharist at the university church, in the official inauguration of the big Hall, and for lunch. After that, the Cardinal was ready to return to Cracow. The Rector of the University, Fr. Krapiec, accompanied him to the car, but stopped to chat with another guest, so much so that they were late to arrive at the car. But lo! The Cardinal had "disappeared"! The ten seconds they waited seemed like ten centuries. The Rector, accustomed to having everything under control, did not know where the Cardinal could have gone to. He asked me: "Where is Wojtyla? The Cardinal has disappeared! Where is he?" With a slight mocking smile, I took some time before answering him, just to tease him a bit. Then I told him: "He has probably gone to the church." There we went, and sure enough, we found the Cardinal, kneeling in prayer in front of the Way of the Cross.

The other recollection was in 1999, during his seventh Apostolic Voyage in Poland. It lasted for 13 days, with 22 stops in the programme, from the North to the South of the country. A programme well beyond the physical capabilities of the Pope. One of those days, there was to be -- according to the programme -- the blessing of the Sanctuary of Lichen, the Eucharist in Bydgoszcz, then a meeting with the university people, the liturgy of the Sacred Heart, in link with the beatification of Fr. Frelichowski in another city, in Torun, then back to Lichen for the overnight stay. A more than busy day! Thus, after dinner, the papal suite went to bed immediately. But the Pope just locked himself in the chapel for a long, a very long moment of prayer. There remained only three of us: Bishop Chrapek, in charge of the visit planning for the episcopate; myself, as "assistant," and the famous Camillo Cibin, head of the Vatican security. At last the Pope came out of the chapel to go to his bedroom. Cibin said to me: "Father Andrea, bring me a chair. But one that is hard, made of wood, not a sofa, two cups of coffee, strong coffee, and an apple." All this was to help him wait all night at the door of the Pope's bedroom, which was not totally closed, to ascertain if the Pope -- not only tired but also advanced in years -- was breathing normally or if he had any need of assistance. The personal holiness of the Pope was something over and above the esteem he enjoyed among his closest collaborators, and that was quite significant.

7. The will of John Paul II

John Paul II was conscious of the fact that we are experiencing a very trying moment in history, that the Successor of Peter has the duty to confirm in the faith, but he was equally conscious of the fact that the most important aspect was to depend on God. The will he wrote in 1979, and which he modified every year, during the spiritual exercises, gives us a powerful testimony of this. From Feb. 24 to March 1, he wrote:

"24.II – 1.III.1980. During these spiritual exercises, I reflected on the truth of Christ's Priesthood in view of the Passage which is, for each of us, the hour of our own death. For us, parting from this world -- to be reborn in the next, the world to come, eloquent sign (he adds the word decisive above it), is the Resurrection of Christ. […] The times we live in have become unspeakably difficult and worrying. The life of the Church has also become difficult and tense, a characteristic trial of these times -- for the faithful and for the pastors. In some countries (like the one which I read about during the spiritual exercises), the Church finds herself in a time of persecution equal to that of the first centuries, maybe more, according to the degree of cruelty and hatred. Sanguis martyrum -- semen christianorum. Furthermore, so many innocent people have disappeared, even in this country where we are living […]

"Once again I wish to entrust myself totally to the Lord's grace. He will decide when and how I am to end my earthly life and my pastoral ministry. In life as in death, Totus Tuus, through the Immaculate. By already accepting this death, I hope that Christ give me the grace for this last passage, that is (my) Pasch. I equally hope that he renders it useful for this more important cause I try to serve: the salvation of human beings, the protection of the human family, in all nations and among all peoples (among these I am thinking in particular of my own earthly country), useful for those who, in a special way, have been entrusted to me, in the Church, for the glory of the same God."

On the March 5, 1982, he added: "The attempt on my life, on 13.V.1981, has confirmed, in a certain way, the accuracy of the words written during the 1980 spiritual exercises (24.II – 1.III). I feel even more deeply that I am completely in the Hands of God -- and I remain constantly available to my Lord, entrusting myself to Him in His Immaculate Mother (Totus Tuus)."

Then, on the March 17 of the Jubilee Year 2000, No. 3: "As for every year, during the spiritual exercises, I read my will of the 6.III.1979. I continue to maintain the provisions contained in it. What has been added, at that time and during the following spiritual exercises, constitutes a reflection of the difficult and tense general situation which has marked the eighties. Since the autumn of 1989, this situation has changed. The last decade of the past century was free of the previous tensions; this does not mean there were no new problems or difficulties. In a special way, may the Divine Providence be praised for this, in that the so-called 'Cold War' period has ended without violent nuclear conflict, a threat which weighed on the world during the previous period" (words underlined by the Pope himself).

8. An essential aspect of the new blessed: "God is the foundation of all our efforts"

This is again an essential aspect, if one wishes to understand more deeply the personality of the Church's new Blessed, Karol Wojtyla – John Paul II. The foundation of all the efforts of our life is in God. We are covered by divine love, by the results of Redemption and Salvation. But we must help people to become deeply rooted in God himself; we must do everything possible to create personal and social attitudes rooted in the reality of God. This requires patience, time and the ability to see everything through the eyes of God.

The last, brief pilgrimage of Pope John Paul II in Poland, more specifically in his "small country", in Cracow, Wadovice and the Way of the Cross (of Kalwaria Zebrzydowska), showed a determination, but also a spiritual acuity "in the process of maturation in time" so that all humankind, especially the ecclesial and Christian community, can understand more fully some of the fundamental aspects of faith. Since the beginning of his pontificate, in 1978, John Paul II often spoke in his homilies of the mercy of God. This became the theme of his second encyclical, "Dives in Misericordia," in 1980. He was aware that modern culture and its language do not have a place for mercy, treating it as something strange; they try to inscribe everything in the categories of justice and law. But this does not suffice, for it is not what the reality of God is about.

9. Entrusting the world to Divine Mercy

Later on, the Pope took some steps to finalise the process of Beatification of Sr. Faustina Kowalska, and the canonisation (2000). The whole ecclesial community was brought to feel the closeness of the person so intimately linked to the message of Mercy; this facilitated the development of the topic for John Paul II, showing the reality of Divine Mercy in the many contexts around the world, in various continents, of humanity today.

Finally, in August 2002, in Lagiewniki, where Sr. Faustina lived and died, John Paul II entrusted the world to Divine Mercy, to the unlimited trust in God the Merciful, to the One who has been a source of inspiration, but also of strength for his service as Successor of Peter. "It is the Holy Spirit, the Comforter and Spirit of Truth, who leads us on the ways of Divine Mercy. By convicting the world "concerning sin, righteousness and condemnation" (John 16:8), he reveals at the same time the fullness of salvation in Christ. This convicting concerning sin is doubly related to the Cross of Christ. On the one hand, the Holy Spirit enables us, through the Cross of Christ, to recognize sin, any sin, in the dimension of evil which it contains and hides. On the other hand, the Holy Spirit enables us, again through the Cross of Christ, to see sin in the light of the mysterium pietatis, i.e. of the forgiving and merciful love of God (cf. "Dominum et Vivificantem," No. 32). Thus, the "convicting concerning sin" also becomes a conviction that sin can be forgiven, and that man can recover the dignity of a beloved son of God. The Cross is in fact the most profound humbling of God before man. The Cross is like a touch of eternal love on the most painful wounds of man's earthly existence" ("Dives in Misericordia," No. 8).

This truth will always be brought to mind by the cornerstone of this Sanctuary, extracted from Mount Calvary, in a certain way under the Cross on which Jesus Christ conquered sin and death. (…) How much the world is in need of the mercy of God today! In every continent, from the depths of human suffering, a cry for mercy seems to rise. In those places where hatred and the thirst for revenge are overwhelming, where war brings suffering and the death of innocents, one needs the grace of mercy to pacify the minds and the hearts and make peace spring forth. In those places where there is less respect for life and human dignity, one needs the merciful love of God, in whose light we see the ineffable value of every single human being. Mercy is needed to ensure that every injustice may find its solution in the splendour of truth. So today, in this Sanctuary, I solemnly wish to entrust the world to Divine Mercy. I do so with the burning desire that the message of God's merciful love, proclaimed here through Saint Faustina, may reach all the inhabitants of the earth and fill their hearts with hope. May this message spread from this place to our beloved homeland and throughout the world. May the binding promise of the Lord Jesus be fulfilled: from here has to come out "the spark that will prepare the world for his final coming" (Homily in Lagiewniki, 17thAugust 2002).

Thus did the last months in the life of Pope John Paul II, marked by suffering, bring his Pontificate to its fulfillment.
          Von: Benedikt        
Das ist eine Radio Vatikan-Meldung. Radio Vatikan kannste vergessen. Zenit schreibt dazu: http://zenit.org/article-26078?l=english Finally, Archbishop Zimowski noted the Holy See's concern for "millions of children around the world who do not fully develop their potential because of the great differences and injustices existing in the health care field." "We cannot," he said, "permit these defenseless children, their parents, and other adults of the poorest communities of the world to become more and more vulnerable because of the global economic crisis, extensively stoked by egotism and greed."
          Roma Half Marathon Via Pacis 2017        

2017-09-17

Half Marathon Via Pacis

Peace, integration, solidarity: these are the fundamentals that inspired the "Rome Half Marathon VIA PACIS", an event promoted by Rome Capitale and by the Pontifical Council for Culture, the dicastery of the Holy See, in collaboration with the FIDAL - the Italian Athletics Federation - with the patronage of the CONI and of the CIP.

The first edition will take place on Sunday 17th September, with departure at 9 a.m. from Piazza San Pietro, and will be open to all those who, through this great sporting popular event, want to say No to violence, No to racism, No discrimination of any kind and origin. That’s why, on the streets of the Capital, women, men, families, old and young people, children, sportsmen, people with disabilities, but also refugees will run, each one with his bib number, each one with his message of peace that will release, when arrive at the finish line, in some transparent columns that symbolize the columns of peace. The phrases and the testimonies collected will be published later in the book "Via Pacis"

Inspired by the traditional pilgrimage of the seven churches, the "VIA PACIS" will create an ideal link between some of the places of worship and emblematic of the capital.
Five stages that will highlight the participation of the various religious confessions: San Pietro, the Synagogue, the Mosque, the Waldensian church and the Orthodox Church, in two walking route from distance equivalent to a half marathon of 21,097 km for competitive and 5 km for the non-competitive.

The race will be broadcast live on RAI Sport.


          How Much Wealth Does The Vatican Control?        
One of the world’s 7 remaining absolute monarchies, Vatican City in the heart of Rome, Italy, is a peculiar city within a city, and one of the wealthiest establishments on earth. If you’ve ever been to the Vatican, which is actually a sovereign nation, you’ve seen the unbelievable wealth owned by the Catholic Church, but how much is the Vatican really worth?

How Much Wealth Does The Vatican Control?

The Rothschild family is believed to hold some five times more than the combined wealth of the world’s 8 top private billionaires, but when it comes to the Vatican, it’s much more difficult to assess its overall wealth. In fact, it’s actually practically impossible to pin down the Vatican’s wealth, as the sum total depends greatly on how you add up their assets and affiliations with churches around the world, and also on who you ask.

For example, a 1987 investigation into the Vatican’s finances by Forbes magazine, claims that the Vatican was nearly broke, spending almost twice as much annually as it brought in.
“For all its splendor, the Vatican is nearly broke. Last year the Holy See, the administrative center of the Church and the spiritual capital of its members, took in $57.3 million from sources as diverse as fees for ceremonies; income from publications, newspaper ads, and the sale of videocassettes; and surprisingly modest investment earnings of $18 million. With investments of some $500 million, the Vatican commands fewer financial resources than many U.S. universities.” [Source]
This is hard to fathom when you consider the sheer material extravagance held within the property itself which features thousands of priceless works of art and gold.

The Vatican is composed of two major entities: Vatican City-State and the Holy See. As estimated by Forbes, Vatican wealth is nominal, merely in the hundreds of millions when factoring in the entity’s investments and various funds.

“The Vatican comprises two separate administrations, the City-State and the Holy See. The Vatican City-State, a 108.7-acre enclave within the city of Rome — the last remnant of the once powerful Papal States — is thriving financially. Its government provides municipal services for the world’s smallest sovereign nation. The City-State also maintains the Vatican Museum and runs a 200-man security force featuring a platoon of spear-carrying Swiss guards.” [Source]
The Holy See is, “an independent sovereign entity, holding the Vatican City enclave in Rome as sovereign territory, it maintains diplomatic relations with other states.” Employing several thousand laborers tasked with maintaining and securing the premises, as well as members of the clergy, the Holy See serves as the central point for the Catholic Church around the world. While labor costs are high, the Vatican maintains that its top members still work for ‘peanuts.’


“The Vatican’s top brass, however, still work for peanuts. Some cardinals make as little as $20,000 a year, and 30 Jesuits in top posts at Radio Vatican voluntarily accept the same salaries as janitors, about $11,000. Cardinals do get lavish perks, including sumptuous apartments at bargain rents.” [Source] Fast forward to 2015, and a CNN Money analysis of the Vatican Bank suggests that the bank holds some $8 billion plus in assets, a number which includes the personal savings of many Vatican employees.
“Vatican Bank accounts are only supposed to be held by residents of Vatican City and church personnel. But according to Gerald Posner, a Vatican bank scholar and the author of “God’s Bankers,” these accounts were often awarded to powerful Italian officials looking to stash money without paying taxes.” [Source]
Looking at Vatican wealth on paper is also quite misleading. Time Magazine ran this assessment of Vatican wealth in 1965, offering an estimate of total wealth, which at that time reached into the tens of billions of dollars.
“Bankers’ best guesses about the Vatican’s wealth put it at $10 billion to $15 billion. Of this wealth, Italian stockholdings alone run to $1.6 billion, 15% of the value of listed shares on the Italian market. The Vatican has big investments in banking, insurance, chemicals, steel, construction, real estate. Dividends help pay for Vatican expenses and charities such as assisting 1,500,000 children and providing some measure of food and clothing to 7,000,000 needy Italians. Unlike ordinary stockholders, the Vatican pays no taxes on this income, which led the leftist Rome weekly L’Espresso last week to call it “the biggest tax evader in Italy.” [Source]
In other words, estimates are all over the place, and contemporary reporting on this subject is rather slim. Another dimension to this is the sheer value of all of the priceless works of art housed in Vatican City. Estimating the value of all of this in terms of dollars is impossible, but looking at just one well-known prize, the Sistine Chapel, offers a look at how difficult it is to appraise all of this. Estimates range from $400 billion all the way up to $2 trillion for just this one masterpiece.

Regarding real estate values of properties held by the Vatican, a 2004 estimate claimed the number was just under a billion dollars.
“According to the AP’s Nicole Winfield, the Holy See’s real estate was worth about $900 million in 2004 — before the real estate bust. That doesn’t include St. Peter’s Basilica and the Sistine Chapel, but even if both brought holy sites brought in another billion, that wouldn’t come close to covering it.” [Source]
In short, no one really knows how much wealth the Catholic Church controls, and the organization’s secrecy and obfuscation of the facts surrounding its wealth continues to lead investigators on a wild goose chase. The Vatican’s cashflow is in the hundreds of millions a year, individual holdings in the Vatican Bank total perhaps $15 billion, property held by the Vatican may be worth over a billion dollars, and the Church owns the largest store of the world’s most priceless art.

Waking Times
SOURCE

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          From “Street Art” To “Street Theology.” The Two Faces of the Superhero "Pope"        
From “Street Art” To “Street Theology.” The Two Faces of the Superhero "Pope"
Francis is Mythical...also heretical
SOURCE
For a few weeks the souvenir kiosks in and around Saint Peter’s Square have been selling T-shirts with Francis dressed as “Superpope.”
The effigy is not new. It appeared in 2014 on a wall on Via Plauto, a short walk from the Vatican, and was removed a few hours later. But it brought fame to its creator, Mauro Pallotta, 45, who goes by the name Maupal. And since then it has gone viral:


Maupal3
Last October, Maupal once again depicted the pope on a new mural, on Vicolo del Campanile, this time playing tic-tac-toe and drawing peace symbols instead of O’s, with a Swiss Guard acting as his lookout. This new drawing was also erased in a matter of hours, but it too has gone down in history:
Maupal2
So when an apparel company got the idea to reproduce the first of the two drawings on a T-shirt, no one at the Vatican made any objection. On the contrary, Monsignor Dario Viganò, prefect of the newly created secretariat for communication and one of the pope’s closest confidants, expressed his full approval. Which, wonder of wonders, coincided with that of the artist, according to whom Pope Francis is “a man who with his simplicity and great openness toward the real needs of the people instills hope on a par with a Superhero.”
After getting the copyright from Maupal, the company successfully completed the steps for the necessary Vatican authorizations, with a formal contract and the approval of the secretariat of state.
In exchange for the license to commercialize the image of Francis as “Superpope,” the Holy See has had 9 percent of the sales price of each T-shirt set aside for Peter’s Pence, the fund of offerings made directly to the pope from all over the world.
No surprise so far with a pope like Jorge Mario Bergoglio, in perfect symbiosis with the mechanisms of the media and publicity.
But there is a book published last year that right from its cover, it too polemically inspired by street art, raises serious questions about the appropriateness of this happy-go-lucky adherence of the reigning pope to the current canons of communication:
Radaelli3
The author, Enrico Maria Radaelli, a disciple of the Swiss philosopher Romano Amerio, is one of the most sophisticated voices of theological criticism of the tendencies of the Catholic Church from Vatican Council II until today. And he has a field day showing how with Pope Francis this tendency is not only one of image, but above all one of doctrine.
For him, the “street theology” personified by Bergoglio and by his magisterium is to classical theology as the “street art” of a Kendridge or a Basquiat – or why not, of a Maupal – is to the immortal art of a Giotto or a Michelangelo.




          TRADCATKNIGHT MAIL....        
TRADCATKNIGHT MAIL....
Here is some of the latest coming through my inbox.  Please spread word of Tradcatknight to your friends, family and church members.
 
Raymond Long on the Great Pope Peter II to come:
Abbot Joachim Merlin (born circa 1480, died 1541) was a canon of Notre Dame; in 1529 he became the grand penitentiary after being imprisoned for two years in the court of Francis I, and he was exiled in Nantes for a year because of his opposition to the Lutherans. Upon his return to Paris in 1530 he became the vicar-general. The following lengthy prophecy of his is about the Great Pope:
"After many prolonged sufferings endured by Christians, and after a too great effusion of innocent blood, the Lord shall give peace and happiness to the desolated nations. A remarkable pope will be seated on the pontifical throne, under the special protection of the angels. Holy and full of gentleness, he shall undo all wrong, he shall recover the states of the Church, and reunite the exiled temporal powers. He shall be revered by all people, and shall recover the kingdom of Jerusalem. As the only Pastor he shall reunite the Eastern to the Western Church, and thus only one faith will be in vigor. The sanctity of this beneficent Pontiff will be so great that the highest potentates shall bow before his presence. This holy man shall crush the arrogance of religious schism and heresy. All men will return to the primitive Church, and there shall be only one pastor, one law, one master --- humble, modest, and fearing God. The true God of the Jews, our Lord Jesus Christ, will make everything prosper beyond all human hope, because God alone can and will pour down on the wounds of humanity the oily balm of sweetness.

"The heavens proclaim the glory of God, and the faithful are in joy and happiness, because the Lord has vouchsafed to be merciful to them. He shall invite his elect to the banquet of the Lamb, where melodious canticles and harmonious concerts will be heard.

"The power of this Pontiff's holiness will be so great as to be able to check the fury and impetuosity of threatening waves. Mountains shall be lowered before him, the sea shall be dried up, the dead shall be raised, the churches shall be reopened and altars erected.

"It should be known that there will be two heads, one in the East, and the other in the West. This Pope shall break the weapons and scatter the fighting hordes. He will be the joy of God's elect. This angelic pope will preach the gospel in every country. Through his zeal and solicitude the Greek Church shall be forever reunited to the Catholic Church.

"Before, however, being firmly and solidly established in the Holy See, there will be innumerable wars and violent conflicts during which the sacred throne shall be shaken. But through the favor of divine clemency, moved by the prayers of the faithful, everything will succeed so well that they shall be able to sing hymns of thanksgiving to the glory of the Lord.

"This holy Pope shall be both pastor and reformer. Through him the East and West shall be in everlasting concord. The city of Babylon shall then be the head and guide of the world. Rome, weakened in temporal power, shall forever preserve her spiritual dominion, and shall enjoy great peace. During these happy days the Angelic Pope shall be able to address to Heaven prayers full of sweetness. The dispersed nation shall also enjoy tranquillity. Six and a half years after this time the Pope will render his soul to God. The end of his days shall arrive in an arid province, situated between a river and a lake near the mountains...

"At the beginning, in order these happy results, having need of a powerful temporal assistance, this holy Pontiff will ask the cooperation of the generous monarch of France. At that time a handsome monarch, a scion of King Pepin, will come as a pilgrim to witness the splendor of this glorious pontiff, whose name shall begin with "R."... A temporal throne being vacant, the Pope shall place on it this king whose assistance he shall ask.

"When a monster shall appear in the sky, thou shalt find a ready escape towards the east, and after nine years thou shalt render thy soul to God.

"A man of remarkable sanctity will be his successor in the Pontifical chair. Through him God will work so many prodigies that all men shall revere him, and no person will dare to oppose his holy precepts. He shall not allow the clergy to have many benefices. He will induce them to live by tithes and offerings of the faithful. He shall interdict pomp in dress, and all immorality in dance and songs. He will preach the gospel in person, and exhort all honest ladies to appear in public without any ornament of gold or precious stones. After having occupied the Holy See for a long time he shall happily return to the Lord.

"His three immediate successors shall be men of exemplary holiness. One after the other will be models of virtue, and shall work miracles, confirming the teaching of their predecessors. Under their government the Church shall spread, and these Popes shall be called the Angelic Pastors."
 --------------------------------

Thank you for your You Tube videos. 
I heard that Father Hewko has asked Carmelites to pray for people at least one time.
I am very new to doing things digitally, email etc.  I am hoping that I could ask the Carmelites to pray for me.  You could email or call. I really appreciate you efforts to help find the true
Catholic Faith. Your provide very good information overall.
Rick K.
-----------------------------------

Hello Eric

I hope your health is improving. I want to recount a recent incident that occurred. For reason I won't get into , I tried to book hotel 5 star ones and motels for a few days . I was turned at all of then, because I would not give them my credit cards and offered to pay in cash ahead of time.  Only 1 in about 8 hotel motels I visited, allowed me to use cash. Is the "chips" on the cards going to be the mark of the best. I have gone back to cash for over a year now. 

Please share it with your audience.

Alfred P
--------------------------------------------

Hi,

My name is Olivier Corveleyn, I'm from Bruges, Belgium, and I've been wanting to thank you for bringing me back to the true faith. I listen to TradCatKnight youtube channel all the time, and it was your channel that opened my eyes to the reality of divine, absolute Truth. If you wish I'd like to tell you a bit about myself, I also have a past of addiction problems.

I'm so glad there still are people so dedicated and passionate like you are. I've learned so much from your channel I can now say I don't just believe, I am deeply convinced in my heart that traditional Catholicism is the true Church of Our Lord. I can't thank you enough for showing me the way out of darkness.

Sincerely,

Olivier C
---------------------------------

Dear Eric

Regarding predictive programming in movies
I have decyphered predictive programming in over 35 Hollywood movies and series.


Not just movies but coded news stories, historical data, newspapers, economist magazine covers, posters, band cover album, gematria and numerology.

TPTB who controls your government already have a plan for next 9/11 for at least 5 years.

Their next 9/11 attack will bring to them a long waited WW3 that they are expecting for over a 100 years.

This what i am going to say now has nothing to do with me, state of my mind, fantasy in my head and etc. but from meticulous research ive done for past 7 months and 13 hours of videos made on basis of that research.
If you have truly open mind and you are passionate for the truth please ask me any of 35 movies and I will  explain to you.


God bless
"FreeHumanity"
 ---------------------------------

Eric:
Do you still have available the instruction that people can use when they cannot make it to Mass or for when there is no Mass? You posted it once on your website but I can`t find it now.
I appreciate it.
To Jesus through Mary
Paula Adams
 
http://tradcatknight.blogspot.com/2015/05/resistance-missing-mass-spiritual.html
1130AM Streaming Latin Mass here: http://www.sgg.org/for-newcomers/mass-streaming/
 
Eric;
2 Questions- #1. Does it appear that the 3 days of darkness begin around the time that the antichrist is about to fall, as a last resort to gather souls to hell before the abyss is closed? Or is that about to befall us now? (3 days of darkness kills antichrist)

#2. Is there a difference between Chastisements and Tribulations? I always thought that the chastisements occur before antichrist and the tribulations are what happen to the wicked that follow his evil doctrine.  (we are already being chastised, the Great Tribulation is close)
 
Paula Adams
 
 ----------------------------------------

 OZARK Homestead:
July '17 is behind us and August looks like a very interesting month. I want to thank everyone for being patient. Here are the major points in this update:

1) Progress Report
2) Construction Schedule
3) HOA (Homestead Owners Association)
4) Your New Address!!

PROGRESS REPORT
20,928 square feet is now under roof, and scheduled to be completed very soon. Given the general contractor wasn't up and in full swing until April, this is a pretty good pace. Now we step it up. There will be an announcement in the next few days as to which 10 homes are ready to move into. As soon as more come online, I will contact each member individually. Our schedule has between 22 and 25 being ready to live in before the month is finished. Because these homes are in the final stages, there will be no pictures to protect the privacy of the owners property. Each month gets busier than the previous, and August is not an exception. As members move in, if they choose to share photos, I will post them as permission is given.

We will talk soon, and I will be seeing most of you before you know it. 

Jeff Harness
MyOzarkHomestead.com
 -------------------------------

Betsy Kraus:
Excerpts:
“Would you also like me to give her an apostolic pardon?” the priest asked. Although Sitte was a lifelong Catholic, she had never heard of it. He explained that it was an indulgence for the remission of temporal punishment due to sin given to a dying person who is in the state of grace.
In other words, just as Jesus promised the Good Thief on Good Friday he would be with him in paradise “this day,” properly disposed Catholics who receive the apostolic pardon (or blessing) will enter heaven.
 Plenary Indulgence
The apostolic pardon is given as part of last rites. The Handbook of Indulgences, 28, says: “Priests who minister the sacraments to the Christian faithful who are in a life-and-death situation should not neglect to impart to them the apostolic blessing, with its attached indulgence.
“But if a priest cannot be present, holy Mother Church lovingly grants such persons who are rightly disposed a plenary indulgence to be obtained at the approach of death, provided they regularly prayed in some way during their lifetime. The use of a crucifix or a cross is recommended in obtaining this plenary indulgence. In such a situation, the three usual conditions required in order to gain a plenary indulgence are substituted for by the condition ‘provided they regularly prayed in some way.’”
 Register correspondent Patti Armstrong writes from North Dakota Two apostolic pardon prayers explain what it imparts.
“Through the holy mysteries of our redemption, may Almighty God release you from all punishments in this life and in the life to come. May he open to you the gates of paradise and welcome you to everlasting joy.”
 
---------------------------------------
 
Hi Mr Gajewski !

I would like to thank you for all the great job that you do as the Tradcatknight.
I was reading your last poetry, and i smiled when i saw that you talked about the eagles at the end.

As i'm french, i'm maybe not completely receptive to all the eagle thematic that you can deploy on your website, you have to excuse us, we are so much dependent to the lily, to the lys flower, to our Lady that we have less consideration for the rest. And the eagle is something more german, it's in fact so much german than my first name that is from german roots, means : "old eagle" or "the commander of the eagle".
As i told you, I'm not so used about these eagles, and since few days, I asked myself some questions about the use that you do of the matthew verset :
"Wheresoever the body is, there shall the eagles also be gathered together", the french translation is using the name vulture instead of eagle, and it never shows me the nobleness and the idea behind this sentence, it was so much obscure for me that in fact i never realy understood it. The fact that you have insisted today on the eagle through Isaiah or the psalmist, is a true answer to all my questioning.
As another coincidence, today as i was cleaning my bedroom, i found a paper, an advertising of the mount saint michel in 2015 when i visited it for the last time, it was called "the secret habitant of the Abbaye", and this secret habitant was a giant eagle living at the top. In fact when I visited it, i didn't know there was a kind of poetical and night adventure inside the mount, but I saw at one moment a giant metalic claw passing through an iron grille and after in a room a ceiling of feathers that guide me to know that it was in fact an eagle ...

Also if there are so much eagles on your webpage, be sure I won't accuse you to work for the germans, you're talking too much about Mr Lefebvre, Marie July Jahenny, sister Jeanne Le Royer, le curé d'Ars for that, and i don't forget le Mont saint Michel. You have a very good knowledge of the situation, I'm surprised of your knowledge about french things (that are also catholic), none of my french friends knows the undreth that you know, I can only explain it that it's the true fruits of the tradition and the grace certainly !

To finish on the eagles, I suppose you know this poem of Hölderlin called "Patmos"
Patmos, in reference to saint John, the Eagle of Patmos and the writer of the Apocalypse.
I like the very first words of the beginning :

The god 
Is near, and hard to grasp. 
But where there is danger, 
A rescuing element grows as well. 
Eagles live in the darkness, 
And the sons of the Alps 
Cross over the abyss without fear 
On lightly-built bridges. 
Therefore, since the summits 
Of Time are heaped about, 
And dear friends live near, 
Growing weak on the separate mountains
Then give us calm waters; 
Give us wings, and loyal minds 
To cross over and return ...


Arnaud
 
--------------------------------------------
 
Barbara G:
Novena to surrender to Will of God
------------------------------------
 
 
 
 
TradCatKnight,

Pax. 

I am Braden N. Plyler, Marshal and founder of the Catholic Monarchist organization called The Counter-Revolution. We boast 200 members and chapters in many states and abroad. We also recently brought on a former guest of yours, Mr. Charles Coulombe, as a member of our organization.

We are in a period of rapid growth, and I would like to appear on your show to promote the social Kingship of Christ, devotion to Our Blessed Mother, promoting Catholic society and monarchy in America, and how it all ties together within my organization. I would be willing to provide a small donation to your apostolate in exchange for you letting me promote my ideas and organization.

Attached is our platform in the form of a PDF, and I will also be including links to our website and social media.

To Christ through Mary.

--
☩Deus â˜© Rex â˜© Patria☩
☩ Omnes honorate: fraternitatem diligite: Deum timete: regem honorificate. â˜©
-Braden N. Plyler, Marshal of The Counter-Revolution
 
--------------------------------------
 
 Dear Mr.Gajewski,

I finally got to teach on Monday 7/17/17. But I still had cough so I had to wear a mask. While I was teaching at GMS, Suzuki violin teacher training in BK.6 was ongoing with Swiss trainer Martin Ruttiman who is currently president of European Suzuki Association (ESA) and he taught as a demonstration student my BK.6 student Karl who just graduated from college in Business Administration in a Jesuit-run school, Ateneo. But Karl has been my violin student since he began violin at 4 years old at CTEC preschool.

Anyways, I read your poem Die Self Die. It's good. It resonated in me especially because I had composed a pop song 30 years ago called "Die Well" (1987). It's the first composition my future wife Gigi heard from me. 10 years ago, my mom bought a book by Saint Robert Bellarmine titled "THE ART OF DYING WELL." The alternate title is "How to be a Saint, Now and Forever." I thought, I can improve on the lyrics of "Die Well" by reading the book. Now, I think by experiencing unprecedented daily crosses first hand I can improve on the lyrics of "Die Well."

May Crucified JESUS cover you with His Most Precious Blood. May Mother Mary cover you under her mantle of protection, in JESUS, Almighty Name, Amen.

God bless you all!

Ariel Arambulo
 
Been praying.  Take flax seed /grapeseed oil (omega 3 in flax) and a high-potency
B-vitamin for nerve repair and maintenance. It should have 100 mg of
most of the B's to be therapeutic.

We know something is up when we don't see your posts.
Denis L.
--------------------------------------
 
Just checking to see if you are doing ok. I noticed you haven't posted anything new on your site and was wondering about you. Hope all is well. God bless.
Mary Jones
Covington, TN
--------------------------------
 
Hi Eric,
           thought I would send you this story to you. im very sad to see a ex convent in a small town in Ireland is being bought up by a pakastani business man and turned into a mosque.

Regards
Angela D



 ------------------------------------------------
 
 Hi Eric


I was just wondering if the Luminous Mysteries are part of the original 5 mysteries since they were introduced by Pope John Paul II. (NO; avoid)


Thanks


Natasha C
--------------------------------------