The National Association of Catholic Families


This edition of CF NEWS (No.2178) posted at 12.05 pm on Sunday, March 19th, 2017. For full contents, scroll down or click on 'more' for the story of your choice. To return here click on one of the small green arrows





Vatican watch

The Four Cardinals throw in the towel? read more >> 1
A Vatican bishop impervious to criticism read more >> 2
'Words fail me', says pro-life leader read more >> 2a
Communion for adulterers a 'sign of obedience' read more >> 2b
Update : Archbishop Paglia's homoerotic mural read more >> 3
Faithful await Vatican verdict on Medjugorje read more >> 4
Former sex-abuse commission member rebuts Cardinal's defense of Vatican read more >> 5
Francis: 'I do not feel that Cardinal Burke is my adversary' read more >> 6
Fourth anniversary read more >> 7
Ongoing discussion about Benedict XVI's resignation read more >> 8
Academy's population alarmism stinks read more >> 9
McGill professor points to damage Francis is causing the Church read more >> 9a

Humanae Vitae

A Lesson on Sex - from Dante read more >> 10

Preserving marriage, family life

The Loneliness of Christ at the Cross read more >> 11
Indissolubility of the Marriage Bond read more >> 12

United Nations

An Unholy Allinance: the UN, Soros and the Francis Papacy read more >> UN1

News from around the world

ARGENTINA Feminists stage fake abortion on woman dressed as Virgin Mary read more >> 13
CHINA Over 63,000 abortions every day read more >> 14
ICELAND 100% of babies diagnosed with Down syndrome are aborted read more >> 15
IRELAND The American monks who might re-evangelize Ireland read more >> 16
MALTA Bishops attempts to downplay permissive guidelines read more >> 17
RUSSIA October Revolution and the return of religion read more >> 18
UK (SCOTLAND) Students complain about pro-life poster in Catholic chaplaincy read more >> 19
UK (SCOTLAND) Saturday Essay from the Scottish Daily Mail read more >> 20
UK Cardinal Nichols praises Malta's bishops over Amoris Laetitia read more >> 21
UK MP makes strong stand against unrestricted abortion read more >> 22
UK Government bans independent midwives read more >> 22a
UK Catholic institute leaves UK after years of ‘mental torture’ over visa applications read more >>
USA Planned Parenthood VP won't say if unborn baby is a human being
  VIDEO  read more >> 23
INTERNATIONAL The World Over with Raymond Arroyo
  VIDEO  read more >> 24
INTERNATIONAL Some jihad headlines of the week read more >> 26
  VIDEO  read more >> 27


Consciousness of sin read more >> 28


Conference on deposing the Pope read more >> EV1


Socci’s disappointing Advice read more >> M1

Book review

Nothing Superfluous read more >> M2

Comment from the internet

'How I grew up atheist and ended up Catholic'   VIDEO  read more >> 29
Reflections on an unprecedented Pontificate read more >> 30
A Call for the Restoration of the Roman Rite read more >> 31
The huge 'Mitigating Circumstances' mistake in Amoris Laetitia read more >> 32
Does the availability of legal abortion bring down its rates? read more >> 33
The temptations of Christ and ours read more >> 34
Is even Academia awakening to the obvious? read more >> 35
Apostacy?? read more >> 35a

Our Catholic Heritage

Site of the day : Custhorpe read more >> 36
Ave Verbum
  VIDEO  read more >> 37


William Butler Yeats read more >> 38




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Vatican watch




The Four Cardinals throw in the towel?

CHRISTOPHER A. FERRARA< President of the American Lawyers Association, writes for Fatima Perspectives : 'What ever happened to the "formal correction" of the errors of Amoris Laetitia (AL), particularly Chapter 8 nos. 300-305, that was to follow the five dubia published by Cardinals Brandmüller, Burke, Caffarra and Meisner?  Press accounts after the publication of the dubia reported that the "formal correction" had been downgraded to a private remonstrance with Pope Bergoglio. This is a manifest absurdity as the dubia themselves were made public precisely because the Pope had already ignored their private submission. What good would another private intervention do?

The magnitude of the errors in AL which the dubia address is shown by the fourth and fifth dubium alone:

'After the affirmations of Amoris Laetitia (n. 302) on “circumstances which mitigate moral responsibility,” does one still need to regard as valid the teaching of St. John Paul II’s encyclical Veritatis Splendor, n. 81, based on sacred Scripture and on the Tradition of the Church, according to which “circumstances or intentions can never transform an act intrinsically evil by virtue of its object into an act ‘subjectively’ good or defensible as a choice”?

' After Amoris Laetitia (n. 303) does one still need to regard as valid the teaching of St. John Paul II’s encyclical Veritatis Splendor, n. 56, based on sacred Scripture and on the Tradition of the Church, that excludes a creative interpretation of the role of conscience and that emphasizes that conscience can never be authorized to legitimate exceptions to absolute moral norms that prohibit intrinsically evil acts by virtue of their object?

In essence the cardinals inquire of Pope Bergoglio: Do you mean to overturn the entire moral order in the realm of human sexuality by reducing exceptionless moral absolutes to mere rules to which there can be “exceptions” according to one’s “conscience?” An error of this gravity, promulgated to the whole Church in a papal document, demands public correction.

Yet, as Canon212.com reports, it has been 177 days since the Pope received the dubia, and there is still no sign that the four cardinals ever intend to honor their commitment to correct the errors of AL in an effective way.

And now we read on the Anonimo della Croce blogsite, authored by “Fra Cristoforo,” a priest with a reputed source in Casa Santa Marta, that the four cardinals “will no longer make the public correction they had preannounced” and that “they had met again some twenty days ago and opted for this choice.” The apparent motive is that “they did not feel supported by other Cardinals at the official level and have decided to throw in the towel.”

I make “Fra Cristoforo’s” plea my own, along with my translation: “Do not leave us alone.  Do not abandon us.  You cannot leave the Church in such confusion.  Many souls will thus be lost. And what will you say then to God?”

Help is not on the way.  Humanly speaking, we are on our own. As even cardinals quail, only the most dramatic intervention from on high can rescue us from the Bergoglian tumult, which is clearly a chastisement of the Church.  Our Lady of Fatima, intercede for us!

[FP] 2178.1

CF News / Vatican watch

A Vatican bishop impervious to criticism

SorondoPETE BAKLINSKI writes for LifeSiteNews : 'The bishop tasked by Pope Francis with running the Vatican’s organization for promoting science has flipped St. Thomas Aquinas' moral principle of "double effect" on its head, stating in an interview that it means that if the “positive effect [of an action] is greater than the negative effect, then you can do it.”
This novel interpretation (at face value, indistinguishable from the moral heresy of consequentialism) just might provide the key to understanding why this bishop has a consistent track record of inviting enemies of the Church to conferences he oversees who openly advocate for contraception, abortion, and coercive population control, evils condemned by the Church.

Bishop Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo made the comment in the context of defending a Vatican-run conference he oversaw where pro-contraception-and-abortion population controllers spoke about saving the world from humans. Sorondo, from Argentina and a close advisor of the Pope, is the Chancellor for both the Pontifical Academy of Sciences as well as the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences.

RELATED: One man, close to the pope, responsible for so much evil in the Vatican

During an interview with Jan Bentz for LifeSiteNews Sorondo downplayed the significance of pro-abortion population controllers such as Paul Ehrlich (who even supports forced abortion) and John Bongaarts addressing the conference.

He defended the invitations, saying that the pontifical academy “hears all voices” and has to “dialogue with everyone.” 

“An academy has to listen to all voices. Our academics are not even Catholics. The president is not Catholic,” he said. (Critics, however, have pointed to the conspicuous absence of faithful Catholic voices at the conference.)

Sorondo specifically defended Ehrlich’s invitation, saying, “He is a specialist in these things. That’s why we invited him, because he is a specialist in these things. He wrote a bunch of books on that, so he is a specialist.” 




When pressed about why the academy invited enemies of the Church who promote a vision of the human person and of the world that is at odds with Catholic teaching, Sorondo became agitated. Instead of answering the questions, he attempted to belittle the questioner’s “rational” capacity before putting him on the spot with his own question.

LifeSite: [Ehrlich] himself has written about his agenda, that he wants sterilization [to decrease the population]. […]

Sorondo: You have to change your criteria if you want to progress in life. You need to dialogue with all cultures of the world, as the Pope said. […] And we have reached agreements that are very important. [Our partners] want to defend human liberty, human life, and peace against the new forms of slavery. And thanks to the invitation of people that your [pro-life-and-pro-family] people don’t want us to invite — [such as] Ban Ki-Moon, Geoffrey Sachs — we have achieved what those who defend the family always talk about but never achieve at all.

We, on the other hand, have achieved…that the new objectives for sustainable development…we established target 8.6 [sic, it’s actually 8.7], that is to eradicate the new forms of slavery. And that is more important for the family than all that stuff that they do.


LifeSite: Ok, Ok. 

Sorondo: You have to understand that. It is important that you understand that. You are a rational human being and reason must come before prejudices.

LifeSite: Well, I also have a doctorate in philosophy, so…

Sorondo: In what philosophy?

LifeSite: St. Thomas…

Sorondo: So, with reason, St. Thomas spoke about the principle of the “double effect.” What is it?

LifeSite: It’s when a certain action has an effect which the agent of the action had not intended, then this [second] effect, for example, does not fall under a moral judgement.

Sorondo:  Well, that’s a complicated way of saying it. It is easier to say that if an action has two effects, if the positive effect is greater than the negative effect, then you can do it.

LifeSite: No, that’s not the principle of double effect.

Sorondo: Then you have not understood the principle of the double effect. [...] You have to form your mind. And you have to understand St. Thomas better.

The ethical formula of “double effect,” attributed to St. Thomas Aquinas, enables one to evaluate the moral dimensions of an action that has two effects, one good and one evil, and to do the good action with moral certitude even though it might have an unintended consequence. In this way, according to Aquinas, killing in self-defense is morally justified.

Catholic moral theology has established specific guidelines when using the principle of double effect, including that: the intended action must be good in itself, the bad effect that results from the act may be foreseen but must not be intended, the good effect must not be brought about by using morally evil means, the good effect must be of equal or greater proportion to any evil effect which would result, and acts that have morally negative effects are permissible only when truly necessary, that is, when there are no other means by which the good may be obtained.

Sorondo’s understanding of the principle of double effect is concerning given the contraception and abortion advocates he has invited to speak at Vatican-run conferences. Some of the most prominent include:

Dot  Paul Ehrlich: The author of the 1968 bestseller The Population Bomb spoke at the February Biological Extinction conference. He has defended forced abortion, contraception, and mass forced sterilization as legitimate methods to decrease the world’s population.

Dot Ban Ki Moon: The United Nations Secretary General spoke at the April 2015 “Protect the Earth, Dignify Humanity” PAS conference. Ki Moon promotes the so-called “right” to abortion worldwide and has criticized the lack of “safe abortion” in in conflict zones where it is illegal.

Dot Jeffrey Sachs: The Director of the Earth Institute also spoke at the same conference as Ki Moon. Sachs is an international proponent of population control and abortion. He called legalized abortion a cost-effective way to eliminate “unwanted children” when contraception fails, in his 2008 book Commonwealth: Economics for a Crowded Planet. He has described abortion as a “lower-risk and lower-cost option” than bringing a new human life to the world.

Dot John Bongaarts: The vice president of the Population Council also spoke at the Biological Extinction conference. Bongaarts, who also champions population control, told the conference that women need “access to birth control” to reduce fertility.

Applying Sorondo’s misunderstanding of the principle of double effect, one could argue that if decreasing the world’s population is viewed as a “positive effect” that has the “negative effect” of using contraception and abortion as a means of doing so, then “you can do it” since the positive effect is “greater than” the negative effect.

But is it possible that a Catholic bishop at the Vatican could be trying to move the Church towards accepting contraception, or even relaxing its teaching against abortion for the sake of a so-called greater good of preserving the earth?

Unfortunately, under Francis’ pontificate it seems that anything is possible. Sorondo has gone as far as to say that Francis’ declarations on the gravity of global warming as expressed in the encyclical Laudato Si’ are “magisterial” teaching that are equivalent to the Church’s condemnation of other grave evils.

And to make matters worse, Sorondo admitted at the Biological Extinction conference that he does not “know exactly what is the doctrine of the Church – we know some part but not all the doctrine of the Church about the question of the fecundity.”

RELATED: EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Pro-abort population controller ‘thrilled’ with direction Francis is taking Church

Those were his actual words, coming from a bishop who has been appointed by Pope Francis to head two Vatican pontifical academies. If he does not know what the Church teaches about fertility and procreation, then why has he been given positions of responsibility and influence within the Church’s pontifical academies that deal with this topic?
There is a saying that birds of a feather flock together. And Sorondo is flocking with contraception and abortion advocates Ki Moon, Sachs, Ehrlich, Bongaarts, and others. And speaking of sayings about birds, there is another: If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it’s a duck.
If someone consistently associates with pro-contraception-and-abortion population controllers, if he consistently gives them a platform at the conferences he oversees, if he even uses some of the same talking points they use to justify their position, can he — or anyone else — rationally deny that he is one of them?
How many more conferences must there be where Sorondo gives the Church’s enemies prominent platforms before it can be said that Sorondo himself is no friend of the Church and must be removed from his influential post?



TORCH OF THE FAITH comments : 'One of the first ethical principles that any pro-life educationalist has to grasp is the Principle of Double Effect. At least, they do if they want to be taken seriously in debates, interviews and post-presentation question and answer sessions.

The Principle of Double Effect emerged into Western civilization with St. Thomas Aquinas' reflections in the Summa Theologia, over the culpability of homicide that resulted from self-defence.

It has been developed by various Christian philosophers, and reflected on with strict guidelines by the Catholic Church, to discern the morality of an action that has two effects - one being good and the other being an unintended evil.

This is emphatically not the same thing as the Utilitarian approach, which claims to choose the ''lesser of two evils''. This is because no evil can ever be legitimately chosen. Again, as St. Thomas underlined, ''We may never do an evil act, even if a good result might ensue.''

The Catholic Church has thus limited this principle's application, by establishing the following clear criteria for moral acts that have two effects, one good and one bad:-

1. The given act must be good in itself.

2. Whilst any bad outcomes from the given act may possibly be foreseen, they can never be intended as outcomes. In short, the good outcome must be the one that the person acting intends to happen.

3. The good effect must outweigh or, as it were, be at least ''equal to'' the evil effect.

4. The act having both a good and an evil effect must only be carried out as a last resort, when no other alternatives exist.

One example of a discussion surrounding the application of this principle, which does often come up in pro-life debates, relates to the case of a dangerous ectopic pregnancy, which threatens to kill the life of the mother.

An ectopic pregancy is, of course, a pregnancy in which the developing baby implants, at an early stage, in the fallopian tube, rather than the uterus. There is of course, no room for the embryo to grow here, and this may cause the tube to burst, causing internal bleeding and possible infection.

The Catholic Church has affirmed, in accord with natural and divine law, that direct abortion is never morally permissable.

The Principle of Double Effect would posit that, in a dangerous ectopic pregnancy, it would be licit with proportionate reason to carry out a Salpingectomy - that is to say the cutting of the fallopian tube on either side of the developing embryo - once expectant management of the tubal pregnancy is no longer possible without imminent danger of grave harm to the mother's life.

This is because the act aims at removing the damaged fallopian tube, rather than targeting the embryo for destruction. The act and intended outcome would arguably be good - removing a damaged tube to save the mother's life. At the same time, the death of the baby is bad; but it is not intended and no other alternatives could be seen to exist.

In this application of the principle, its defenders would say that there is a difference between a direct abortion and the indirect death of the developing baby; because this is unintended and indirect, happening as a regrettable consequence of removing the damaged tube to save the mother. 

I think it important to point out that, to my understanding, the Catholic Church has not explicitly affirmed the application of the Principle of Double Effect in this case.

Still, what this discussion shows is the care and precision with which the Principle of Double Effect needs to be discerned and applied.

It seems that too many of those holding Francis-enabled positions in the Church today, are lacking in that kind of care and precision.

For example, LifeSiteNews' Pete Baklinski has written a revealing article about the Francis-favourite, Archbishop Marcel Sanchez Sorondo, under the heading: Did this bishop just reveal the reason he invites pro-abortion extremists to the Vatican?

This relates, of course, to Sorondo's oft-repeated scandals of bringing in Culture of Death radicals to speak at Vatican conferences, and then scoffing at the faithful Catholics who complain.

Pete Baklinski has provided both an audio-clip and a transcript of an interview he recently had with Sorondo on these matters.

Perhaps it is his Latin temperament, but it has to be said that Sorondo comes across as tetchy in the interview. He also sounds arrogant.

To say nothing of also sounding disturbingly ill-informed...

For, in one particular exchange, Sorondo grumpily reveals his startling ignorance of the Principle of Double Effect.

Even though Baklinski answers Sorondo's demand that he describe the principle with, what I would say was, a concise working definition of the Principle of Double Effect, Sorondo tries to belittle him and then slips-up by admitting his own totally false conception of this principle.

Baklinski explains: ''It's when a certain action has an effect which the agent of the action had not intended, then this (second) effect, for example, does not fall under a moral judgement.''

Sorondo responds: ''Well that's a complicated way of saying it. It is easier to say that, if an action has two effects, if the positive effect is greater than the negative effect, then you can do it.''

When Baklinski, God bless him, quickly replies that this is not the Principle of Double Effect, Sorondo scoffs, ''Then you have not understood the Principle of Double Effect. You have to form your mind. And you have to understand St. Thomas better.''

Actually, it is you, Your Grace, that needs to go and do your homework.

By saying what he did, and being caught saying it on tape, Sorondo has really demonstrated both his ignorance and his arrogance for all to see.

His position appears to actually be that of the atheistic utilitarian model that has helped to pave the way for the post-modern relativism which so afflicts these times.

This exchange does make even more obvious what kind of thinking is operative behind all those extensive invitations to anti-Catholic pro-aborts, and their globalist fellow-travellers, in the days of Pope Francis and his collaborators.

Actually, that word ''collaborators'' is one that Francis recently used in a Tweet to describe those going on Lenten retreat with him.

It is interesting that Sorondo's position sounds very like the words Francis himself used during an in-flight interview in February 2016. I refer to his discussion of ''choosing the lesser of two evils'' in relation to contraception-use in relation to the Zika-virus.

As we pointed out at the time, such a position is explicitly rejected by the Magisterium of the Catholic Church in paragraph HV 14 of Humanae Vitae.

This reads: ''Though it is true that sometimes it is lawful to tolerate a lesser moral evil in order to avoid a greater evil, or in order to promote a greater good, 'it is never lawful, even for the gravest reasons, to do evil that good may come of it' (Romans 3:8) - in other words, to intend directly something which by its very nature contradicts the moral order, and which must therefore be judged unworthy of man, even though the intention is to protect or promote the welfare of an individual, of a family, or of society in general.''

To sum up, both Francis and his close-collaborator Sorondo have demonstrated with public statements that they have a utilitarian, rather than a clearly Catholic, approach to ethics and moral questions.

Given that this has been done so publicly, that it leads to confusion among the faithful and others who are observing, and that it has such dangerous ethical and spiritual consequences, is it not beyond high time for cardinals, bishops, priests, lay people and ethicists everywhere to call them out on this in order to defend the Faith and save souls?

We think so!

St. Thomas Aquinas - Pray for us!



[LSN] 2178.2

CF News / Vatican watch

‘Words fail me' : President of the Population Research Institute reacts to population control advocates speaking at Vatican conference

CLAIRE CHRETIEN reports for LifeSiteNews : 'The Vatican hosting population control advocates at a conference is "such a departure from the solid, orthodox teaching [of] the two previous popes," a pro-life leader who has spent decades fighting the "myth" of overpopulation told LifeSiteNews.

Steve Mosher, president of the Population Research Institute, told LifeSiteNews that the Pontifical Academy of Sciences shouldn't be surprised that speakers at its Biological Extinction conference, which included the pro-abortion "father" of the population control movement and supporters of contraception, espoused anti-Catholic views.

"This is what you get if you invite secular humanists to speak at a Catholic conference," said Mosher. "You get a secular humanist perspective, which is to say, if you think that human beings – men – are nothing but animals, then it’s perfectly alright to thin the herd." This is done "on the pretense that there’s not enough in the way of resources to support the existing herd."

And "they propagate their myth of overpopulation," said Mosher.

During one part of the conference, the Population Council's John Bongaarts' claimedthat there is a worldwide "unmet need" for contraception.

"You have these numbers based on surveys where you go into countries and you ask women, ‘Have you had a child in the last two years?’" Mosher explained. "And if they say yes, then you ask them a second question: ‘Are you using a modern method of contraception?’ By which they mean an abortifacient pill, an IUD, condoms, Depo Provera, or other methods. And if they say no, then they have an ‘unmet need for contraception.’"

Such surveys "assume that because [women have] had a baby in the last two years and because they’re not using a modern method of contraception, that they need contraception," said Mosher. They "are designed to produce pre-determined outcomes."

Vatican bishop 'fails to understand why God created the Earth and human beings in the first place'

During a discussion portion of the conference, Bishop Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo said"we don't know exactly" what the Church teaches about procreation, and "education" will help women have one or two children instead of "seven."

Sorondo is the Chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences.

Sorondo "has spent his adult life – most of his adult life – in a country, Argentina, where the politicians for the last century have repeatedly, periodically destroyed the economy," said Mosher.

They've done this "by periodically inflating the currency and destroying the middle class and the middle class savings and the middle class assets. So he has no idea how an economy should be run. He has no idea that a thriving, free market economy needs people. And that ... people are the ultimate resource – the one resource you cannot do without."

Mosher continued, "For anybody who is a bishop in the Catholic Church – God help us all – who doesn’t understand the first commandment given our first parents to be fruitful and multiply, has never been rescinded and instead argues for people not to be generous in having children I think fails to understand why God created the Earth and human beings in the first place."


[LSN] 2178.2a

CF News / Vatican watch

Communion for adulterers is a ‘sign of obedience to God’s mercy’: Francis’ former Special Secretary to family synod

ITALIAN ARCHBISHOP BRUNO FORTE said that it is loving “as God does” for priests to give Holy Communion to the civilly-divorced-and-remarried who are living in adultery.

“The accompanying path culminates in communion for divorced and remarried that is a sign of obedience to God's mercy,” he said in a March 10 interview with RomaSette.

The Archbishop of Chieti-Vasto, Italy, was appointed Special Secretary to the 2014 Synod on the Family by Francis. He was credited with writing the synod’s controversial mid-term report which suggested that the Church emphasize the “positive” aspects of actions it considers to be mortally sinful, such as adultery, premarital cohabitation, and homosexual relations.

In the interview, Forte defended Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia, the Pope’s reflections after the conclusion of the Family Synod. He suggested that the four cardinals who raised a series of questions (dubia) to Francis, asking him if his teaching was in continuity with the faith, should by that very act have doubt cast on themselves.

"The doubts that were raised present doubts on who has raised them,” he said. “At the center of Amoris Laetitia there is the crisis of the real family. The message is that, despite the wounds and the failures, it is worth it to bet on the family. And then what do we do? Love as God does. And how do we show this attention for those who are wounded? With pardon, which is the great strength of love,” he added.

Forte said the proposals in Amoris can be summarized as welcoming, accompanying, discerning, and integrating.

Last May the Archbishop revealed how Pope Francis told him during the Synod on the Family to avoid speaking “plainly” about the question of admitting remarried divorcees to Holy Communion, because doing so would make a “terrible mess.”

Forte claimed that the pope told him: “If we speak explicitly about communion for the divorced and remarried, you do not know what a terrible mess we will make. So we won’t speak plainly, do it in a way that the premises are there, then I will draw out the conclusions.”

Cardinal Gerhard Muller, the head of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, issued a strong rebuke earlier this year against those who use Amoris to justify Communion for those in adulterous unions.

“Adultery is always a mortal sin and the bishops who create confusion about this must study the doctrine of the Church,” he said at that time.

Müller said that Communion for civilly-divorced-and-remarried Catholics is not possible, as St. John Paul II’s exhortation Familiaris Consortio presented it: “Of course, this cannot be overcome because it is not only a positive law of John Paul II, but he expressed an essential element of Christian moral theology and the theology of the sacraments.”

The Catholic Church teaches that the faithful may receive Holy Communion if they have the proper disposition, namely that they be in the state of grace (free from mortal sin). The Church follows the teaching of St. Paul in this matter where he states that the one who “eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord.”

St. Paul teaches that the one who receives Communion unworthily “eats and drinks judgment upon himself.”


[LSN] 2178.2b

CF News / Vatican watch

Update : Archbishop Paglia's homoerotic mural

STEVE SKOJEC writes for OnePeterFive : 'Last week on the 1P5 podcast, I talked to Joseph Sciambra about the revelation that Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, Pope Francis' newly-appointed head of the Pontifical Academy for Life and Grand Chancellor of the John Paul II Institute for Marriage and Family, had commissioned an openly homosexual artist to paint a homoerotic mural in his cathedral Church in 2007.

Reactions to that story are now coming in from Catholic leaders, including former members of Paglia's freshly-gutted Pontifical Academy for Life. At LifeSiteNews, Pete Baklinksi reports that the fallout from these revelations among Catholic leaders has been strong and vocal:

'Critics are saying the work commissioned by Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia is "blasphemous," "disgusting," and even "demonic."

"There is a need for reparation for this blasphemous work. And it is blasphemy because of the effeminate depiction of Christ in a context that the artist himself said was meant to be 'erotic,'" said Dr. Thomas Ward, president of the National Association of Catholic Families and former corresponding member of the Pontifical Academy for Life.

"It is especially insulting that this image is in the presence of the tabernacle, in the presence of Our Blessed Lord. It is no stretch to say that in this context, and with the image's clearly erotic content, it is demonic," he told LifeSiteNews.

'Paglia, former bishop of the Italian diocese of Terni-Narni-Amelia where the mural hangs in the cathedral, has been elevated to influential levels of responsibility.

'After serving as President of the Pontifical Council for the Family, Pope Francis appointed him last year to head the Pontifical Academy for Life and also made him Grand Chancellor of the St. John Paul II Pontifical Institute for Studies of Marriage and Family. As the former head of the Pontifical Council for the Family, he oversaw the development and launch of a sex-ed course for teens that experts criticized as "thoroughly immoral," "entirely inappropriate," and "quite tragic."

Descriptions of the mural make clear the reason for the outrage:

'The image of the Savior is painted with the face of a local male hairdresser, and his private parts can be seen through his translucent garb.

'In one instance, one male can be seen with his hand between another male's legs groping his reproductive organ.

'Included in one of the nets is Paglia, the then diocesan bishop. Wearing his skull cap, he is depicted as clutching another semi-nude man who is tenderly embracing him.

'Cinalli told La Repubblica that the naked people in the nets were meant to be "erotic," although Paglia drew the line when Cinalli proposed to show people actually copulating.

"In this case, there was not - in this sense - a sexual intention, but erotic, yes," Cinalli said. "I think that the erotic aspect is the most notable among the people inside the nets." He later added, "The one thing that they didn't permit me to insert was the copulation of two people within this net where everything is permitted."

Answers are lacking as to why a man who would commission such a work would be put in such significant positions of influence within Church institutions responsible for the implementation of Catholic sexual teaching:

'Dr. Ward questioned Paglia's recent appointments to influential posts within the Vatican given his artistic sensibilities.

"Given that Archbishop Paglia is in the net of erotic figures going to heaven, and given that he discussed every detail with the painter, the question has to be asked by parents worldwide why was this man put in charge of a prototype of sex education aimed at Catholic children throughout the world?" he said.

"Catholic parents must look at the scale of evil [that has infiltrated the Church at the highest levels]. They have to wake up to what is going on: It's a moral nuclear wasteland," he added.

'Christine Vollmer, president of the Latin American Alliance for the Family as well as a founding member of the Vatican's Pontifical Academy for Life, called the mural "disgusting."

"This work is absolutely disgusting," she told LifeSiteNews. "Added to this scandal is the huge debt Bishop Paglia allegedly left in his diocese. Given this, along with his elevation to key posts in the Church, it's obvious that this man has high-ranking protection at the Vatican."

Is the implication of "high-ranking protection at the Vatican" comparable to what Michael Brendan Dougherty described in his January 3rd column at The Week as pertains to clerical sexual abusers?

'Pope Francis and his cardinal allies have been known to interfere with CDF's judgments on abuse cases. This intervention has become so endemic to the system that cases of priestly abuse in Rome are now known to have two sets of distinctions. The first is guilty or innocent. The second is "with cardinal friends" or "without cardinal friends."


'Consider the case of Fr. Mauro Inzoli. Inzoli lived in a flamboyant fashion and had such a taste for flashy cars that he earned the nickname "Don Mercedes." He was also accused of molesting children. He allegedly abused minors in the confessional. He even went so far as to teach children that sexual contact with him was legitimated by scripture and their faith. When his case reached CDF, he was found guilty. And in 2012, under the papacy of Pope Benedict, Inzoli was defrocked.

'But Don Mercedes was "with cardinal friends," we have learned. Cardinal Coccopalmerio and Monsignor Pio Vito Pinto, now dean of the Roman Rota, both intervened on behalf of Inzoli, and Pope Francis returned him to the priestly state in 2014, inviting him to a "a life of humility and prayer." These strictures seem not to have troubled Inzoli too much. In January 2015, Don Mercedes participated in a conference on the family in Lombardy.

OnePeterFive reached out to Greg Burke, Director of the Holy See Press Office, for comment on the Paglia revelations. At the time of this writing, we have not yet received a response.

In our prior reporting, we've raised questions about the pope's closeness to clerical sexual-abuse enabler Cardinal Godfried Daneels, as well as his appointment of accused abuser Bishop Juan Barros to the see of Osorno in Chile. We've shared allegations that Cardinal Reinhard Marx - Archbishop of Munich, head of the German Bishops' Conference, and close adviser to Pope Francis - has been accused of negligence in dealing with clerical sexual abuse while he was the bishop of Trier. We have highlighted that the administrator of the Domus Sanctae Marta and papal-appointed liasion to the Vatican bank reform process, Msgr. Battista Ricca, has been accused of living a scandalous homosexual life in Latin America, and was the figure about whom the pope famously asked, "Who am I to judge?" We have noted that Fr. Timothy Radcliffe, whom the pope appointed as a consultor to the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, advocates for Catholic acceptance of gay relationships and identity, women's ordination, and has speculated about the "Eucharistic" nature of sodomy.

While this list is not comprehensive, the number of times such figures are appointed or honored by Francis pushes the suggestion that these are mere accidents beyond credulity. As the number of figures associated with sexual misconduct but nevertheless favored by Pope Francis continues to grow - with no remedial action in sight - hard questions need to be asked about whether any moral standards are being applied to candidates in positions of power in Francis' Vatican. Or perhaps more to the point, whether noteworthy moral weakness is a characteristic preferred by the pontiff for reasons of his own.

Two Catholic psychologists of note - Dr. Rick Fitzgibbons and Dr. Gerard J. M. van den Aardweg - recently published an op-ed making the situation clear:

'To begin with, the exposition of homoerotic art in Archbishop Paglia's Cathedral from 2007 raises the important question of how he could ever have been chosen to lead the Pontifical Council for the Family and later the Pontifical Academy for Life and the John Paul II Institute for Studies in Marriage and Family. It is now clear that he opposes the Church's teaching on sexual morality. This question in itself requires an inquiry as to the intentions and criteria used within the Vatican for appointments under Pope Francis.

'Archbishop Paglia's use of homoerotic art reinforces the earlier views, presented to the Vatican by several Catholic mental health professionals, that Archbishop Paglia should be suspended from his responsibilities at the Vatican and be required to undergo an evaluation required of clergy who abuse Our Cat with a focus on psycho-sexual development. This request was made because the initial Meeting Point online sexual education program for youth, developed under Archbishop Paglia's direction when he headed the Pontifical Council for the Family, contained homoerotic and heterosexual pornography which was like that employed by adult sexual predators of youth.


'However, even more troubling is the role of Pope Francis. His apparent approval of the release of the Meeting Point program at World Youth Day with its homoerotic content and heterosexual pornography was severely negligent.

The authors conclude:

'In the United States, a member of the hierarchy who deliberately places youth at risk of abuse by a known sexual predator is expected to resign from his Episcopal ministry. This norm is valid for all countries. In addition, such a Bishop would also face criminal charges of severe negligence for contributing to the sexual abuse of a minor, which could have been prevented.

'With all due respect, it is time that Pope Francis takes a firm stand in favor of Catholic moral doctrine, publicly distancing himself fro1P5m those prelates who favor homosexuality as an alternate form of love by removing them from positions of leadership in the Vatican.

[1P5] 2178.3

CF News / Vatican watch

Faithful await Vatican verdict on Medjugorje

Cardinal Francis Arinze, whose new book about Marian veneration will be released this month, tells the National Catholic Register 'it's not so simple' for Rome to rule on the matter.

EDWARD PENTIN, the National Catholic's Rome correspondent, reports : 'Cardinal Francis Arinze has said the continued wait for a papal decision on the authenticity of the Medjugorje apparitions shows they are not so easy to verify or disprove, but the important aspect to remember is that the Blessed Virgin Mary is venerated there.

Speaking to the Register March 13, the retired Nigerian cardinal stressed he is no authority on Medjugorje, but drew attention to the lack of unanimity on the authenticity of the apparitions and the lack of a papal decision on a 2010-2014 investigation ordered by Benedict XVI to look into the matter.

'The fact that, since then, we have had nothing officially publicized shows it's not so simple,' said Cardinal Arinze, whose new book - Marian Veneration: Firm Foundations - will be published later this month. 'If it were so clear, why have we not heard anything?'

He said lightheartedly he is 'tempted to ask' Cardinal Camillo Ruini, who headed the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) commission, what they advised the Pope to decide, but has refrained from doing so because the Italian cardinal is 'bound to keep his mouth shut and let the Pope decide.'

The commission of specialists undertook a detailed study of reports of the Marian apparitions at Medjugorje, which allegedly began in 1981. These visions continue regularly to this day, according to the shrine's six 'seers,' attracting hundreds of thousands of pilgrims each year.

The Holy Father implied he was about to make a decision on the commission's work in the summer of 2015, but the Vatican later denied any pronouncement was imminent.

Cardinal Arinze's comments follow those of Bishop Ratko Peric of Mostar-Duvno, Bosnia and Herzegovina, whose diocese includes Medjugorje. In a Feb. 26 statement, the bishop said he and his predecessor have always been 'clear and resolute' in their belief that the Blessed Virgin has never appeared at the famous pilgrimage site.

'These are not true apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary,' Bishop Peric wrote. 'The female figure who supposedly appeared in Medjugorje behaves in a manner completely different from the real Virgin, Mother of God, in the apparitions currently recognized as authentic by the Church.'

In his detailed statement, he also cited other examples connected to the apparitions to demonstrate 'this is not the Virgin of the Gospels.'

The Medjugorje apparitions are currently not officially approved by the Church as being of supernatural origin (constat de supernaturalitate), but neither are they condemned by the Church as being false or invalid (constat de non supernaturalitate). Bishop Peric's position as the local bishop is taken to be his 'personal opinion,' according to a 1998 CDF letter.

The visions are instead considered non constat de supernaturalitate, which allows for personal belief in the authenticity of the apparitions along with personal (not diocesan sponsored) pilgrimages to the apparition site, pending the Pope's awaited decision.

The Vatican remains cautious; and in 2013, Cardinal Gerhard Müller, prefect of the CDF, asked the U.S. papal nuncio to instruct U.S. clergy and laity not to participate in any meetings, conferences or public celebrations in which the authenticity of the Medjugorje apparitions are taken for granted.

In his instruction, Cardinal Müller stressed the 1991 finding of the bishops of the former Yugoslavia, who asserted, 'On the basis of the research that has been done, it is not possible to state that there were apparitions or supernatural revelations.'

Notwithstanding the contentious debate over the visions, more important for Cardinal Arinze are the positive effects Medjugorje has had on the faithful who visit.

'One point that is not doubted is that people who go there actually repent. They actually go to confession, go to Mass - that is, they become better Christians,' he said.

He also pointed out that the Blessed Virgin Mary has not appeared at every shrine dedicated to her and gave as an example the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida in Brazil. The Mother of God did not appear there, he explained, but fisherman found a statue of her in the ocean and brought it there, after which people visited the shrine and received graces by doing so.

'So it is a shrine, and whether she appeared there or not is a secondary question,' he said. 'She doesn't have to appear there to give grace.'

'The most important thing is that people venerate the Blessed Virgin Mary and that they venerate her in the correct way, that it changes their lives and that they become better Christians,' said Cardinal Arinze, a former prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.

For this reason, he welcomed Pope Francis' decision last month to appoint Archbishop Henryk Hoser of Warsaw-Prague, Poland, to be the Holy See's special envoy to Medjugorje. The Vatican said the archbishop's task will be of an 'exclusively pastoral character,' to acquire a 'deeper knowledge' of the pastoral situation there, especially the needs of pilgrims, and to ascertain 'possible pastoral initiatives for the future.'

Archbishop Hoser is expected to finish his assignment by the summer.

The prelate's work also is seen as needed, because of problems that have emerged from Medjugorje in the form of disobedience to Church authority and cases of religious communities being established without diocesan approval.

The Pope's own views on Medjugorje are unclear, although some believe he appeared to allude to the apparitions when, in a talk to 140 superiors general of male religious orders and congregations last November, he said the real Madonna is not 'at the head of a post office,' every day sending 'a different letter' that says: 'My children, do this and then the next day do that.''

'The real Madonna is the one who generates Jesus in our hearts, a mother,' he said. 'The superstar Virgin Mary, who seeks the limelight, is not Catholic,' he added. Francis made similar comments, also taken to be in the context of Medjugorje, in June 2015.

Seen in the context of the Pope's remarks and Archbishop Hoser's appointment, Bishop Peric's statement was to be expected, according to Donal Anthony Foley, author of Medjugorje Revisited: 30 Years of Visions or Religious Fraud? More significant for him is that, in his statement, Bishop Peric focused on the first seven days of the alleged visions, and in particular transcripts of the taped conversations with the visionaries during that first week in June 1981.

These transcripts are 'the key to understanding Medjugorje,' Foley believes, as they 'reveal the serious problems with accepting the visions as genuinely supernatural,' an aspect he highlighted in his book.

Foley hopes that more people will pay attention to them, and he would like the Vatican to publish 'an agreed and authentic' multilingual version of the transcripts to help

Given these ongoing questions, Foley believes Medjugorje will continue to be popular, but probably not as much as before. He noted the numbers of pilgrims to the shrine, which is particularly loved by Italians, have 'dropped since the repeated remarks of Pope Francis on the subject have become better known.'

But like Cardinal Arinze, he values how some pilgrims have experienced 'a change of heart, a conversion' there. He believes this is 'more due to their use of the sacrament of confession than to the alleged visions,' which he believes are 'highly suspect.'

Although he said it was on a smaller scale, he compared Medjugorje to the alleged Marian visions at Marpingen, Germany, which dated from the 1870s and led the area to be once labeled the 'German Lourdes.' The place drew large crowds, especially in the 1930s and 1950s, before interest gradually waned. Then-Bishop Reinhard Marx of Trier issued a statement in 2005 denying the events there were of supernatural character.

'The fact that it took nearly a century for interest in Marpingen to finally die down probably indicates that we will have Medjugorje devotees with us for some time to come,' Foley said.

Whatever the truth behind the apparitions, for Cardinal Arinze, the pastoral effects of Medjugorje are 'the most important thing.'

'If the effects are good,' he said, 'we rejoice.'

[NCRegister] 2178.4

CF News / Vatican watch

Former sex-abuse commission member rebuts Cardinal Müller's defense of Vatican

MARIE COLLINS, who cited an intransigent Vatican bureaucracy when she resigned from her post on the Vatican sex-abuse commission, has taken issue with Cardinal Gerhard Müller's defense of the Roman Curia and especially the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), which he heads.

In an open letter to the National Catholic Reporter, Collins disputed claims that the CDF has cooperated with the abuse commission. She said that CDF officials had flatly rejected an invitation to meet with the commission, and that a CDF staff member who was assigned to the commission stopped attending meetings in 2015-and did not formally resign until 2016.

Cardinal Müller had said that a proposal from the sex-abuse commission for a tribunal to judge negligent bishops had been found unnecessary, because existing Vatican policies allow the Congregation for Bishops to take disciplinary action. Collins replied that in fact the tribunal not been a mere proposal, but a policy approved by Pope Francis. It was only after the Pope's approval, she said, that 'it was rejected by [Cardinal Müller's] congregation.' Pope Francis eventually rescinded his approval for the tribunal, siding with the CDF's opinion that existing policies were adequate.

But if the Vatican currently has appropriate means of disciplining bishops for the failure to curb abuse, Collins asked, 'why then has no bishop been officially, transparently sanctioned or removed for his negligence.' She asked: 'If it is not lack of laws, then is it lack of will?'

[CWN] 2178.5

CF News / Vatican watch

Francis: 'I do not feel that Cardinal Burke is my adversary'

REGARDLESS of the distinct appearance of acrimony between Pope Francis and Cardinal Raymond Burke, the pontiff said in a recent interview that he does not see the American cardinal as his enemy.

At the same time, the pope said Cardinal Burke - regarded as the forefront in resistance to his Church reform - was incapable of handling the seeming disorder within the Knights of Malta, referencing other forces involved.

'The problem with the Knights of Malta,' Pope Francis said, 'was that Cardinal Burke could not handle the situation, because he did not act on his own accord [alone] anymore.'

In an interview published last week with German newspaper 'Die Zeit,' the pope tried to downplay the significance of his having rendered the cardinal null as patron of the Knights with the appointment of a papal delegate.

And he seemed to feign that allowing Cardinal Burke to retain his title as cardinal patron of the Knights was meaningful, even as his papal delegate is charged with doing the job he said the cardinal was unable to handle.

'I have not taken the title of Patronus from him,' stated Pope Francis. 'He is still the Patronus of the Knights of Malta, but it is time to clean up the order a little bit and this is why I have sent a delegate, who disposes of another charism as Burke.'

The Knights of Malta has been swathed in controversy in recent months since its Grand Chancellor was removed for violating his promise of obedience after refusing to resign when his involvement in condom distribution via the Knights' aid programs was discovered.

Pope Francis intervened, reinstated Albrecht von Boeselager and then asked Grand Master Matthew Festing, the order's top official who had removed von Boeselager, to step down. The move by the pope was abnormal due to the Order of Malta's status as a sovereign state.

It was then that Pope Francis appointed his papal delegate to reform the order.

It is expected that a new Grand Master for the Knights of Malta will be elected near the end of April at the conclusion of Archbishop Giovanni Angelo Becciu's visitation as the pope's special delegate.

The pope's actions to downgrade Cardinal Burke didn't start with the Knights of Malta controversy.

Pope Francis removed Cardinal Burke from his position as prefect of the Vatican's Apostolic Signatura - the highest court of the Catholic Church - in 2014, less than a year into his pontificate.

Cardinal Burke's role as patron for the Knights of Malta was regarded as largely ceremonial at the time, and now with the current controversy appears to many as having been intended as a no-win for the cardinal.

Pope Francis had earlier removed Cardinal Burke from an important post in the Congregation for Bishops, where he had influence on bishops' appointments worldwide.

In the Die Zeit interview, Pope Francis also denied that Cardinal Burke's recent assignment to oversee the canonical trial of the archbishop of Guam was a sort of banishment.

The interview question for Pope Francis was: 'The conservative Cardinal Raymond Burke, who counts as one of your most fierce adversaries in the Vatican, you have sent to the island of Guam somewhere in the Pacific - some say banished.'

'Cardinal Burke traveled there in a very serious matter,' Pope Francis replied. 'I am very grateful to him; there was a grave case of abuse there and he is an excellent jurist. I think that the task is almost done there.'

Kidding in the Der Zeit interview about the posters that were recently put up around Rome critical of his mercy, Pope Francis said this clever use of humor was 'great.'

When the interviewer asked the pope if his response to the posters of 'basta (enough) already' also goes for Cardinal Burke, Pope Francis responded, 'I do not feel that Cardinal Burke is my adversary.'

Pope Francis did, however, find fault once again with 'fundamentalist Catholics.'

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Speaking about crises of faith, the pontiff mentioned the Scripture passage where Peter denied Christ three times despite declaring he would not do so.

'When Jesus feels that certainty of Peter,' Pope Francis said, 'it makes me think of so many fundamentalist Catholics.'

Pope Francis has repeatedly been critical of 'fundamentalist' or 'traditionalist' Catholics throughout his pontificate, charged them with 'hostile inflexibility,' doing 'great harm,' and 'rigidity.'

[LSN] 2178.6


CF News / Vatican watch

The Fourth Anniversary

Fr. RAY BLAKE blogs : Congratulations to the Holy Father on the 4th Anniversary of his election.

The rumours are, based on a Marco Tosatti piece, that even Francis' electors have had second thoughts, that is probably, natural but there are several reason this should happen.

1 He has 'bigged up the Papacy'

After JPII, who bestrode the world, lots of Cardinals and bishops were hoping for a smaller Papacy, in which the Pope was primarily the Bishop of Rome, and interfered less in other bishops diocese.

I am not sure that there was much of a cry for national Churches but simply less paperwork from the Holy See to give bishops more time to govern their diocese.

2 The divisive nature of Pope Francis

Wherever Jorge Bergoglio has been he has brought division, in the Society of Jesus, in his diocese of Buenos Aires, and now in the Universal Church.

I would think most bishops want the Church to be at peace, and riven with internal arguments that distract from its Mission. The Pontifex, the bridge maker, should be concerned about the internal unity and healing of the Church, practically every week, Francis introduces yet another controversial issue.

3 The rise of Ultramontanists

Few of his electors would have foreseen that the Papacy depend not on the Dominical foundation of the Church but on the sheer personality of the current office holder, which has force men like the Archbishop Scicluna of Malta to suggest, it is said, in a way totally irreconcilable with Christian doctrine, that to hear Jesus one must listen solely to the present pope, not to Benedict XVI or to John Paul II.

The foundation of Catholicism, and its future, cannot depend on the popularity, or media spin, of one man but on truth and authenticity. If I had been an elector, even if I had grown tired, or recognised the rejection by the secular world, of the Church's formulaic doctrinal responses of the past. I would be growing increasingly anxious about the anti-intellectualism of this Papacy, which speaks to first decades of the 21st century but is unlikely to have much to say beyond it.

4 Nepotism

Whether it is sexual abuse or the Order of Malta or the appointment of bishops (then of course there is China), much in the Francis Papacy depends on who are your friends, doctrine and the law of the Church seem unimportant.

4 The Future

The Conclave that elected Benedict's main concern was, I am told, who could possibly follow the highly singular Wojty?a, in a few years time the question will be even more intense: who could possibly follow Bergoglio, who has remade the Papacy in his own image. What would be disconcerting for the future of the Papacy and the Church is that no-one knows (or understands) where it should be going.

[]http://marymagdalen.blogspot.co.uk/] 2178.7

CF News / Vatican watch

Ongoing discussion about Benedict XVI's resignation

DR MAIKE HICKSON reports for OnePeterFive : 'Since the abdication of Pope Benedict XVI in February of 2013, speculations have never fully ceased as to whether he was pressured to do so, after all, in order to make way for a more progressive-leaning pontiff. Archbishop Luigi Negri has now given new fuel to this debate in a recent 6 March interview, as reported by John-Henry Westen at LifeSiteNews:

'An Italian archbishop close to Pope Benedict XVI says the former pope decided to resign as a result of 'tremendous pressure.'

Archbishop Luigi Negri, who says he has visited Pope Benedict 'several times' since his resignation in 2013, is the only Italian bishop to have ever participated in the annual pro-life march in Rome. Negri resigned as archbishop of Ferrara-Comacchio in February [2017] after reaching the mandatory retirement age of 75.

'In an article published Monday by news outlet Rimini 2.0, Archbishop Negri said that, while he has little knowledge of the inner workings of the Curia, 'I am certain that the truth will emerge one day showing a grave liability both inside and outside the Vatican.'

'It is no coincidence that in America, even on the basis of what has been published by Wikileaks, some Catholic groups have asked President Trump to open a commission of inquiry to investigate whether the administration of Barack Obama exerted pressure on Benedict,' he said. It remains shrouded in mystery for now, he said, 'but I am sure that those responsible will be found out.'

Archbishop Negri is referring in this interview to the 22 January 2017 Open Letter to President Donald Trump, as published by the traditional Catholic newspaper The Remnant. Part of that letter reads, as follows:

'We were alarmed to discover that, during the third year of the first term of the Obama administration your previous opponent, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and other government officials with whom she associated, proposed a Catholic 'revolution' in which the final demise of what was left of the Catholic Church in America would be realized. Approximately a year after this e-mail discussion, which was never intended to be made public, we find that Pope Benedict XVI abdicated under highly unusual circumstances and was replaced by a pope whose apparent mission is to provide a spiritual component to the radical ideological agenda of the international left. The Pontificate of Pope Francis has subsequently called into question its own legitimacy on a multitude of occasions. […]

'We remain puzzled by the behavior of this ideologically charged Pope, whose mission seems to be one of advancing secular agendas of the left rather than guiding the Catholic Church in Her sacred mission. It is simply not the proper role of a Pope to be involved in politics to the point that he is considered to be the leader of the international left. [my emphasis]

Among The Remnant's trenchant questions put to the President of the United States, the following can be found: 'What other covert operations were carried out by US government operatives concerning the resignation of Pope Benedict or the conclave that elected Pope Francis?' [my emphasis]

This Open Letter has subsequently, after its publication, found international interest, even some notoriety, and has now been spreading much more than some ideological circles in the U.S. and in Europe might have desired. Archbishop Negri's own reference to it is the best proof of the wide circulation of that Remnant document. The reason for this strong interest in the Remnant's Open Letter might be that many people in the world - and I do not even talk only about Catholics; for I have likewise heard, as well, from secular people in Europe about this same story - realize that something has gone wrong in Rome ever since Benedict's abdication.

Important to note is that the former head of the Vatican Press Office, Father Federico Lombardi, S.J. immediately released a statement denying Archbishop Negri's claims about Pope Benedict's resignation, calling Negri's words 'untenable' and even 'a strange proof of friendship' toward Benedict.

However, there have now also come to us other voices joining the one from Archbishop Negri, and they are supportive of his claim with regard to the pressure that had been put on Pope Benedict to resign. In the following, we shall therefore present translations from two texts as composed by two distinct lay witnesses.

One is an 8 March interview with the former President of the Vatican Bank, Ettore Gotti Tedeschi, who was forced to resign not long before Benedict's own resignation. As the Vatican expert, Dr. Sandro Magister, had put it in February of 2016: 'And they drove him [Tedeschi] out in short order, in 2012,' even though he was committed to reforming the bank. Tedeschi most of all admires the cardinals Robert Sarah, Carlo Caffarra, Gerhard Müller, Raymond Burke, and George Pell. Tedeschi, in book excerpts published last year by Sandro Magister, then also criticized Pope Francis's Encyclical, Laudato Si, for allowing certain dubious people to work on this papal text. Tedeschi wrote last year, as follows:

'But what surprises me the most is to see that neo-Malthusian environmentalists were called to work on the encyclical itself. Fortunately the spirit of the magisterium remained intact, even if it took no little effort for most observers to find it, or rather, to give it the benefit of the doubt that it was [actually] there'.

These older quotes from Tedeschi might help us to get a sense of this man who has now again raised his voice, in the here translated 8 March interview, and this time with regard to the discussion about the resignation of Pope Benedict in 2013.

The second text here presented in translation, entitled 'Ratzinger Eliminated by Hypocritical Do-Gooders' ('Ratzinger eliminato dal buonismo ipocrita') is written by the Italian scholar, book author, and journalist, Dr. Rino Cammilleri, and it has been published on 10 March by Professor Roberto de Mattei's website Corrispondenza Romana.

But, before I present to you more fully these two translations, let me repeat my report of an important article written by Antonio Socci, which I published back in the summer of 2016. It would be fitting to reconsider his own earlier insights and findings in this new context:

'In this context, it might be worth referring to a 12 June post written by the Italian journalist and Fatima expert, Antonio Socci. Socci tries to clarify the matter of two putative popes - Francis and Benedict - in light of the recent confusion caused by the speech by Archbishop Georg Gänswein. Socci thus attempts to put this claim into a larger geopolitical perspective. Although I myself cannot fully follow parts of Socci's reflections here, one part seems very striking and sobering - and if true, it is also gravely shocking. Socci claims that, while still in his papal office, Benedict XVI was given an 'opportunity' - a proposition. To him it was 'proposed to accept an 'ecumenical re-unification' with the Protestants of North Europe and/or North America in order to create a kind of 'common religion of the West.'' For the Catholic Church, says Socci, this would have meant to 'enter the unified politically correct thought soup' and to become an 'irrelevant folk museum within a 'multicultural' Europe.' Socci continues: 'To this 'dictatorship of relativism,' Benedict XVI said 'no!' He answered: ' As long as I am here, this will not happen.''

'The Italian journalist then adds that, subsequently, Pope Benedict 'was forced to give up the 'active exercise' of the Petrine Office (only half-way?).' Later on, Socci puts the further development of Bergoglio's election as pope into the larger context of the hegemonic reign of relativism in the West, which we now see to be growing. Moreover, he says: 'Bergoglio has made the Obama agenda his own.' RFRRR And Socci then refers to a speech by United States President Obama in May in front of the Catholic-Evangelical Leadership Summit in Washington, D.C., where he said that the Church should abandon 'divisive terms' such as abortion and 'gay' marriage and and that she should rather 'dedicate herself to the problem of poverty.' Socci thus concludes: 'The empire wants the Church to be a 'social worker' who comforts the losers in the field hospital of the strong powers, but does not disturb the handlers.' Additionally, according to Socci, U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton herself had proposed a year ago, at a conference of pro-abortion feminists, that 'the deeply rooted cultural codes, religious beliefs and the structural bias must be changed.'

Socci then piercingly and ironically says: 'The churches must therefore surrender to the 'liberal' secularism of the imperium. In fact, Bergoglio has already abandoned the 'non-negotiable principles [such as those found in Amoris Laetitia!].'' It is in this same context, that Socci sees the upcoming 31 October 2016 papal trip to Sweden, in order to 'celebrate Luther and to 'stitch up' the 500 years exactly since the schism - evidence of a new imperial religion?' [my emphasis added]

These earlier insights from Antonio Socci might become more weighty in our judgments when we now consider and incorporate the new developments coming to us from Italy.

Let us now first consider Ettore Tedeschi's interview, and, subsequently, then the text written by Rino Cammilleri.



Ettore Gotti Tedeschi, Former President of the IOR (Institute for the Works of Religion - Vatican Bank) from 2009 to 2012, Interview with IntelligoNews.it, 8 March 2017

Monsignor Negri says that 'Obama's hand was behind the resignation of Benedict XVI.' The former archbishop of Ferrara speaks of an 'American conspiracy' against the Pope. Is this plausible?

'The plot appears to be American only because they have had the leadership of the New World Order. You see, the conspiracy, if we can so call it, was aimed at trying to solve some problems caused by the failure of the famous New World Order of the '70s, gnostic, neo-Malthusian and environmentalist. This project of the New Order was openly intended (among other things) to relativize the most dogmatic religious faiths and clearly proved to be so opposed to the Catholic faith as to publicly state - and by the highest authorities at the U.N., WHO…. - that Christian ethics could no longer be applied and that religious syncretism is to be required to create a new universal religion (thanks also to processes of immigration). Even the U.S. President, Obama specifically, in 2009, personally declared that, for healthy bio-psycho-social well-being, free access must be given to abortion without restrictions, euthanasia due to rationing of care, and denial of the rights of conscience. Well it is not difficult to understand that, in this context of opposition to the Catholic faith, the Pope, the highest moral authority in the world, could become the subject of attention for his disposition or else his willingness 'to understand the needs of the global world.' Now, Pope Benedict XVI insisted, instead, on re-proposing the anthropological problem according to the Catholic vision (ergo man is a creature of the Creator-God), he combatted relativism, bringing God to the center of the cultural debate, especially closing the gap between faith and reason, and he affirmed the need to return to evangelizing, explaining that the failure of Western civilization was due to the rejection of Catholicism, etc. Why are we surprised that such a restorer Pope should not be considered 'out of play'? A famous secularist philosopher wrote, as reported by Il Fatto Quotidiano, on November 26, 2009: 'When the Church of silence will take the floor, the 'reconquista' of Ratzinger will vanish, like dreams and vampires at daybreak.''

If the Americans had been able to make a Pope resign, could they have had the strength also to make them elect someone else to their liking?

'The Americans were able to 'fire' Clinton/Obama and get Trump elected. I am thinking that they have great capacity to react…. One day I would like to explain to the Pope my Vatican experience with American circles which are directly and indirectly influential. But returning to Monsignor Negri, I think that it is difficult to understand how it can be decided to no longer take seriously a priest of his character. Neither is it even comprehensible to me how people like him and the four cardinals who have raised the dubia, demonstrating just how much they love Church, can be ignored and put aside. I find it not only incomprehensible but also unwise, because thereby we are deprived of their expertise, which does not seem to me so easily replaceable. Monsignor Negri, who will certainly continue to serve the Church, will do so with many worthy Catholics who are nearby. It is a sin that the current leaders of the Church close to the Pope, threaten to deprive him of his loving and prestigious help, expertise, and energy. Someone suggested yesterday that one could think of putting Monsignor Negri in charge of the [Ecumenical Monastic] Community of Bose, in order to 'enhance it,' as was already done with the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate.'

Could his removal and the resignation of Ratzinger be connected?

'How should I know? Certainly Negri was a favorite 'spiritual son' of Ratzinger, certainly with an extraordinarily strong personality and character, typical of great 'saintly' personalities in the history of the Church. They also tell me that, apart from everything else, we are only at the beginnings of the attack on our holy Church. But I can also assure you that the Church will be defended, unto martyrdom, by people just like Monsignor Negri. This is the difference between a saintly man like him and the many rampant 'boot lickers.'' [my emphasis added]

(Translation kindly provided by Andrew Guernsey)


Rino Cammilleri, 'Ratzinger Eliminated by Hypocritical Do-Gooders,' Corrispondenza Romana, 10 March 2017

If it was not a plot, then it certainly is very similar to one. We speak about the resignation of Benedict XVI on 11 February (the Lourdes Day) four years ago [2013].

The former Archbishop of Ferrara, Msgr. Luigi Negri, wanted to get rid of a stone in his shoe which has bothered him for quite a while: 'I am certain that the truth will emerge one day showing a grave liability both inside and outside the Vatican.'

He declared, to be sure, that there was put upon Benedict XVI an enormous pressure. From whom? From Obama?

Negri reminds us that: 'It is no coincidence that in America, even on the basis of what has been published by Wikileaks, some Catholic groups have asked President Trump to open a commission of inquiry to investigate whether the administration of Barack Obama exerted pressure on Benedict.'

The one concerned himself has denied [the existence of such pressures] in a recent book of conversation with Peter Seewald, saying: 'Nobody has attempted to blackmail me.'

Maybe. But, one may ask how much credibility these above-quoted Ratzinger words should have since they contradict his earlier words. At the time of his resignation, he announced that he would retire into silence and prayer, and that he wished to make himself 'invisible to the world.' Since when, however, does someone who wishes to retire into silence and prayer, give bestseller-interviews? Thus remains the fact that he never gave a convincing reason for his resignation. After all, this is not about just anything that one could take lightly.

A pope who resigned is an epochal event for the Church, even more so when he still dresses as a pope and lets himself be called pope (emeritus). And moreover: such a thing has never happened before.

Another additional fact is: through him and his resignation, the Church has come to face a new pontificate which is out to do always the opposite from the previous one. Just as Trump now dismantles Obamaism.

The dark marks which have lain on the resignation of Benedict XVI remain. The fact that it is mostly traditional Catholics who have doubts about this case does not change any iota of the assumption. Yes - and exactly because one judges the trees by their fruits, as the Gospel teaches us and it is also basic common sense.

As much as Ratzinger was reviled by those who truly have influence, just as much Bergoglio is now being celebrated by those same people. Ratzinger was blocked from speaking at the State University of Rome; but, for Francis, the red carpet was laid out in front of that same university. And surely not because Francis has held there any epochal speeches as did his predecessor in Regensburg. No, he [Francis] spoke spontaneously; and more: he kept on talking as if he were among friends in the bar. Most of all, this was really a political speech, that is to say, a politically correct speech. Also, his insistence - whether appropriate or not - upon the undifferentiated reception of the migrants fosters the further suspicion of those who are now convinced of a plot.

The Catholic teaching is seen to be too strict for the 'New World,' which gnomes like Soros want to create: a hybrid, flowingly amorphous, homosexualized and individualized world of uprooted consumers. Therefore: away with the theologian-pope and move forward with the pastor-pope who attenuates the doctrine of the Faith and who pleases, so much, the masters of political correctness. Moving on in the direction of a Jovanotti [Italian rapper] Church, which can best be inserted into the coming Brave New World.

As I said: It will not be a conspiracy. Of course not. Only: If it turns out to be one, after all - would the results then look different? [my emphasis added]

[1p5] 2178.8

CF News / Vatican watch

Pontifical Academy's population alarmism stinks

FR.RAYMOND DE SOUZA writes for the Catholic Herald : 'A lot of lessons can be learnt about population control from horse manure

Horsesh--. That's what came to mind when reading reports of the recent meeting of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences (Pass), convened to discuss 'biological extinction' last week. It's not that the learned scholars were talking horse dung, but that they weren't.

The Pass has, since its founding in 1994, been charged with surveying the scholarship on contemporary topics in order to be of use to the Church's pastors and theologians in the application of the principles of Catholic social teaching. In recent years, it has taken a turn towards publicity seeking, as when it invited Evo Morales of Bolivia and American senator Bernie Sanders last year to discuss the 25th anniversary of Centesimus Annus.

This year's gambit was to invite the completely discredited Paul Ehrlich, the grandfather - if one might use that natalist term - of coercive population control, presumably to show broadmindedness by inviting the Church's enemies and to generate notoriety by gratuitously sticking a finger in the eye of the Church's pro-life witnesses.

This year's meeting of the Pass was little different from any routine gathering of environmental alarmists at the United Nations. Consider the preamble to the meeting, which is standard man-is-a-cancer-on-the-planet boilerplate:

The Global Footprint Network carefully measures our consumption of all aspects of the world's sustainable productivity, and has calculated that in about 1970 we were using about 70 per cent of the Earth's sustainable capacity, and that now we are using about 156 per cent. Nevertheless, there are 800 million people chronically malnourished and 100 million on the verge of starvation at any one time… The problems wouldn't go away if we had another 56 per cent of the Earth to take care of our needs, but we could at least stop eating into the productive capacity of the Earth progressively as the years go by.

Careful measurement indeed. How can we use 156 per cent of something? It means that someone calculates what the Earth can sustain, and then compares it with what we are currently using. The problem is that, as Paul Ehrlich can testify after a lifetime of spectacular predictive failure, figuring out what the Earth can sustain is near impossible, because as the demand for current resources increases, human creativity finds new efficiencies, or alternative methods altogether.

That's where the horse dung enters. Even casual students of environmental policy know about the primary environmental problem of late 19th-century cities. New York was overwhelmed by the dung generated by some 150,000-plus horses working in the city each day, pulling streetcars, carriages and freight transport. With more than 20lbs of manure per horse per day, New York faced a daily inundation of millions of pounds of manure, coating all the streets and piling up in vacant lots.

In the last years of the 19th century, it was predicted that by the mid-20th century mountains of dung would rise to the third floor of buildings on Manhattan streets. On the other side of the Atlantic, the Times estimated in 1894 that by 1950 every street in London would be buried under 9ft of horse manure. It was an environmental disaster, with billions of flies spreading disease and daily life a constant struggle to avoid the oozing sludge of equine excrement and urine.

The first international urban planning conference was held in 1898, the principal topic of which was the threat of manure. Scheduled for 10 days, the delegates went home after only three, concluding that there was nothing that could be done.

Then the problem disappeared entirely. This year marks the centenary of the last horse-drawn streetcar in New York. Already by 1912, there were more 'horseless carriages' than horses in Manhattan, and soon the horses were gone, replaced by electric streetcars and internal combustion automobiles.

The city horse problem is loathed by progressive policymakers, who prefer a regulatory solution which expands state power rather than relying on market-driven technology. The New Yorker even derisively referred to it as the 'Parable of Horsesh-', granting it the contempt it reserves for the Bible.

Yet any environmental analysis driven by alarmist predictions about the future - as the Pass meeting was this year - has to grapple with the Parable of Horsesh-, however messy it might be.

It was not accidental that the Pass papers this year had precious little to say about God as Creator, and man in His image. Once the creativity of man is factored into models, sustainability changes radically. That's why the Earth today supports seven billion people, more than three times as many as when Paul Ehrlich first pronounced that the 'battle to feed humanity' was already over.

The Parable of Horsesh- has striking similarities to the parable Jesus actually tells, about the servants and the talents they invest. Neither got any attention this year. In refusing to talk about horse dung, the Pass condemned their deliberations to remaining just that.

[CH] 2178.9


CF News / Vatican watch

To hell with accompaniment’: Catholic professor at McGill University points to damage Pope Francis is causing the Church

JONATHON VAN MAREN writes for LifeSiteNews : American Catholic writer Flannery O’Connor is famous for answering a pronouncement by leftist author Mary McCarthy that the Eucharist is a “symbol” by exclaiming, albeit in a shaky voice: “Well, if it’s a symbol, to hell with it!”

Relating this encounter in a letter, O’Connor added: “That was all the defense I was capable of but I realize now that this is all I will ever be able to say about it, outside of a story, except that it is the center of existence for me; all the rest of life is expendable.”

O’Connor’s matchless apologia comes to mind when reading Douglas Farrow’s analysis on the crisis in the Catholic Church, and not because his essay in March’s First Things is titled: “To h
ell with accompaniment.” (It’s found under Discernment of Situations in the online edition.)

It’s because Farrow, a professor of Christian thought at McGill University, is clear that the rapidly rising discord in the Church involves “not merely on pastoral judgment with respect to the sacraments” but the sacraments themselves, and so “must be resolved, however painful the process.”

Farrow faults Pope Francis’ enigmatic spin on “discernment of situations” in his apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia for triggering the current “scandal of bishop against bishop, and of bishops permitting their priests to offer the sacraments where mortal sin is being committed.”
The Church’s fracturing into regionalism under the “rubric of ‘discernment of situations’” (a phrase Pope St. John Paul II used in his 1981 Familiaris Consortio) is itself a “failure to discern both the nature of the sacraments and the situation of the Church.”

Four cardinals, as is well known, have asked Pope Francis to clarify his contention in Amoris that “discernment” for Catholics in “irregular” unions may include the “help of the sacraments.” The pope has not responded directly to those five questions or dubia.

Farrow asserts the “trauma of the two synods on the family, which led to Amoris and to the dubia, is a trauma for which Francis himself is largely responsible. … And the flaws in Amoris are of his making.”

Moreover, Francis has “permitted, if not encouraged” an “ongoing rebellion” against Pope Paul VI’s encyclical Humanae Vitae, which upholds Catholic teaching that contraception is intrinsically evil, and Pope St. John Paul II’s encyclical Veritatis Splendor, which systematically spells out Catholic moral doctrine.

But it is in his first apostolic exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium, that Francis makes what Farrow describes “as perhaps the single most problematic remark by a pontiff given to problematic remarks.”

That is where the Holy Father prescribes “personal accompaniment in the process of growth.”
He writes: “The Church will have to initiate everyone – priests, religious and laity – into this ‘art of accompaniment’ which teaches us to remove our sandals before the sacred ground of the other (cf. Ex 3:5).”

Canada’s Atlantic bishops’ assembly used this remark to justify taking “much the same posture” toward legalized euthanasia as their predecessors did toward Humanae Vitae in their “notorious” 1968 Winnipeg Statement, notes Farrow.

That Statement permitted “the faithful to decide freely for themselves, without any fear of sacramental discipline, whether contraception is or isn’t a grave sin.”

Similarly, in their guidelines on “Medical assistance in Dying” the Atlantic bishops declare: “As people of faith, and ministers of God’s grace, we are called to entrust everyone, whatever their decisions may be, to the mercy of God.”

They add: “To one and all we wish to say that the pastoral care of souls cannot be reduced to norms for the reception of the sacraments or the celebration of funeral rites.”

“In other words,” Farrow notes wryly, “the most important thing in discerning situations is not this principle or that, but, well, discerning situations. Which is not really very difficult, because in the final analysis there is only one situation: Whatever your decision, we will commend you to God.”
This “unprincipled accompaniment forgets divine justice in its rush to divine mercy,” he writes. “It is Winnipeg all over again. There, the bishops made themselves chaplains to the contraceptive culture; here, to the culture of death.”

In Winnipeg, however, the bishops could not claim to be practicing the “art of accompaniment.”
In Exodus, to which Francis’ “sacred ground” remark refers, Moses stands on ground made holy by the presence of God, Farrow points out.

In stark contrast, the Atlantic assembly of bishops are removing their “apostolic sandals before the autonomous man” who in asserting the decision to kill himself — or to contracept, abort, engage in adulterous or same-sex couplings — is his to make, asserts his independence from God.

“What irony there is, then, in this appeal to Exodus to justify the kind of ‘pastoral accompaniment’ that refuses to discipline sacramentally those who have chosen the path of self-assertion and self-destruction!” writes Farrow.

It is “scandalous” that an “assembly of bishops should take up this analogy, which transfers the concept of ‘sacred ground’ from God to man, and use it to deny the clear moral judgment of the Church against suicide and euthanasia.”

Pope Francis, however, seems “untroubled” by the scandal, Farrow observes. “Or perhaps, since the bishops are not only using his words but following his example, he thinks it no scandal.”

Quebec’s Cardinal Gerald Lacroix took an approach similar to the Atlantic bishops’ assembly in responding to legalized euthanasia, but the Alberta and Northwest Territories bishops released a “model guide for clergy.”

The Alberta bishops’ guidelines stress “both pastoral readiness to accompany anyone who desires accompaniment and sacramental discipline for those who purposefully persist on the path to the mortal sin of suicide.”  

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Cyril of Jerusalem contended that “disunity among the bishops over these matters” is “a sign of Antichrist and of the second advent,” writes Farrow. “It is ‘a sign proper to the Church,’ because it goes to the core of the Church.”

While his “own efforts to read the signs of the times” are “inconclusive,” it is clear “we are living in a long period of apostasy and of purification.”

And it’s also clear the Catholic Church “has been under extraordinary pressure to compromise the sacraments and, just so, to change the Gospel that is embodied in them.”

The “old gods, sex, mammon, and death, are reviving and reasserting themselves as the gods of autonomy,” he wrote.

“They are groping even for the holy sacraments, that they might defile them. In this situation, do we really need more talk about the internal forum and ‘the sacred ground of the other’?”

[LSN] 2178.EV1




















Humanae Vitae




A Lesson on Sex - from Dante

ROBERT ROYAL writes for The Catholic Thing : 'When I teach Dante's Inferno, it often happens that students are surprised to find that Lust is the first real circle (after the Limbo of the virtuous pagans) in his medieval Hell. Which is to say, it's the lightest of sins for which people are eternally damned. The real rogues - the evil counselors, sowers of discord, and traitors to lawful rulers and to God Himself are much further down and suffer far worse punishments. The Lustful are blown around in a relentless wind like birds or leaves in a tempest, an image of their untethered and unruly emotions.

And to make matters worse (for the students first encountering the text), Dante the pilgrim/character in the poem (we always have to remember he's not necessarily the same Dante as the Dante who is doing the writing) seems half sympathetic to a pair of adulterous lovers - the famous Paolo and Francesca - as they recount their plight. She was married to a brute of a husband (and perhaps was offered marriage under false pretenses that it would be another person as well). And he is so courteous and refined. If there had been a medieval equivalent of our modern 'discernment' regime, these two would have been perfect candidates for accompaniment and mercy.

But as we (students and I) start to read the text more carefully, some other features begin to emerge. For example, the Canto (Inferno V) where the two adulterers tell their story begins with Dante (and his guide Virgil) meeting Minos, judge of the underworld, who tells them: 'O you who come to this abode of pain. . .beware how you come in and whom you trust. Don't let the easy entrance fool you.'

Virgil, a smart pagan, thinks Minos is just trying to block their way. But that's not what he said or did. He's warning them about infernal deception, especially how easy it is to find yourself entangled in it. It may, thus, be something that even Virgil's pagan wisdom doesn't see clearly on its own. And since what follows is two adulterers presenting a touching and almost beautiful picture of their sin, maybe the pagan poet, for all his wisdom, is not the best guide in this particular case.

Because what follows needs a different framework to be understood properly. The two souls come at Dante's bidding out of the violent wind, like two doves coming to their nest, he says. And Francesca addresses Dante:

O living creature, gracious and kind,

that come through somber air to visit us

who stained the world with blood,

if the King of the universe were our friend

we would pray that He might give you peace,

since you show pity for our grievous plight.


How gentle. And courtly. And delicate. And how great a contrast with their brutal murder by a jealous husband. But also, how subtly strange: 'If the King of the universe were our friend. . .' Francesca seems to think that God should be like one of the worldly members of the court at a castle, sympathetic to their situation and willing to indulge them because their love is so cultivated and understandable.

It's all love, love, love:

Love, quick to kindle in the gentle heart,

seized this man with the fair form taken from me.

The way of it afflicts me still.

Love, which absolves no one beloved from loving,

seized me so strongly with his charm that,

as you see, it has not left me yet.

Love brought us to one death.

Caïna waits for him who quenched our lives.


Dante gets drawn into this fantasy until he faints and wakes up further down in Hell.

I've found that once students get the bigger picture of what's going on here, they recognize the seductiveness that Dante has reproduced - but also the lesson that he teaches by not presenting it overtly. Many people, as we know from daily life, are misled by what they think is love because it has the capacity to present itself as right even when it's wrong.

Most of us won't be tempted to betray a ruler or steal from a bank, even assuming we were in a position to do so. But lust turns one of our prime human qualities - our spontaneous affections towards other people - into a tool for diverting us from our high calling as human persons. It's the most understandable of sins, in its way, because it counterfeits the real interpersonal love of the Trinity and the ordered love we should have for God and one another. In other words, it's not just that it touches the root of our affections. It's subtle, and that's all the more reason why we need to be wary of what we're entering into and who we trust. It's easy to be deceived and - to judge by divorces and family breakups - it happens a lot.

It happened a lot in Dante's time, too, if not quite so openly or as celebrated as it seems to be today. And those medieval thinkers and poets, those great geniuses who were able to see how concrete instances fit into larger patterns of vice and virtue, were themselves subtle - and realistic. They didn't make temptations to lust look horrifying like the devilish practices seen further down in Hell. They made them appear as they are, tempting - and clever at concocting rationalizations.

'If the King of the universe were our friend. . .' We seem to say that to ourselves, in our own modern idiom, about many things, as if the fault were God's. And it were an excuse.

[The Catholic Thing] 2178.10




















Preserving marriage, family life




The Loneliness of Christ at the Cross

OnePeterFive Editor’s Note: This article written by Maike Hickson has been originally published in Lent of 2015 by Professor Roberto de Mattei on the Italian website Corrispondenza Romana. Subsequently, it was republished in German on Giuseppe Nardi’s website Katholisches.info and in English on a smaller website in the U.S – by the now-deceased Father Peter Carota, may he rest in peace. Since it has not yet been widely distributed in the English language, we thought to post it here for its obvious relevance to the current Church crisis.

IN the current shifting state of the Catholic Church’s ambiguous disorders, some Catholic families, and individual Catholics too, feel an unmistakable agony over the sad fact (and indeed a psychological fact) that they have few people with whom they can even talk about these matters with a wholehearted candor and in depth. And this form of trial is especially the case if one also wants to take action: to consider a cooperative, engaged and active resistance to some of the things that are unfaithfully now coming out of Rome. In this challenging situation and individual probation of character there often seems to occur a growing “isolation of the human soul” and thus an enervating and dispiriting loneliness. And this trial inclines us to consider afresh the loneliness of Christ Himself, not only in His final Passion, but also in those other portions of  His Life amongst us in His own Sensitively Passible Sacred Humanity. Those who fully believe that “the Incarnation happened,” also fittingly affirm that “God has a Human Heart.” And He intimately knows of the agony that we may also now have in our hearts—and also knows if we have it for the right reasons.

After publishing my own [2014] Open Letter to Pope Francis—where I expressed my own resistance against the novel ideas coming from Rome concerning marriage and the family—several of our family’s friends called us or came to talk to us in person, telling us about their sense of being lost in the face of a Pope (with a small group of Cardinals surrounding him) who seems to want to change the Unchangeable: to alter Irreformable Moral Doctrines, and maybe even to subvert some defined Dogmas of the Faith. They have come to this conclusion after Pope Francis’ explicit support of Cardinal Kasper’s proposal to admit “remarried” couples to Holy Communion,” after the shocking “Mid-term Report” of the Synod of Bishops of last October [2014], which was approved beforehand by the Pope, and by Pope Francis’ own words in the interview with La Nacion (Dec. 2014), where he said that admitting these “remarried” divorcees to Holy Communion is not the solution alone, but that they have to be fully integrated in the life of the Church and be able to become God parents and Lectors at Holy Masses.

Nonetheless, some of our other Catholic friends said: “But a Pope cannot do that.” Or: “God will surely not allow it.” After such denials or evasions, another friend told us about her resultant sense of loneliness, since almost none of her Catholic friends wants to face this unsettling situation, and most of them would rather avoid this topic altogether. (Yet, should we not all act, as if the Holy Ghost would want to use US as His instrument to prevent such a possible disastrous destruction of the Faith?)

After having sent out to a few friends my own public act of resistance and cri de coeur to the Pope, I felt nearly the same. For, only a few the friends and acquaintances even responded to my letter. And most of the responses commented on my sincerity, not at all on the specific substance of the Letter.

What is troubling in this fact is that there seems to be a certain lack of robust willingness to fight for Christ, and an inclination not to want to resist any equivocal development that comes right out of Rome. It seems to be even more uncomfortable for them to make that further step of resisting a pope directly and forthrightly.

Yes, that is what still troubles me. Where is the sustained outcry from the loyal Catholic world at the gathering onslaught against Christ and His irreformable teaching? Do we not owe Him so much, so sacrificially much, to the extent that we feel obliged to act in concert and intelligently? And are we not even honored to be able to defend Him? As many of us know, the attack on the marriage and the family and the little children is finally an attack on the Divinity of Christ Himself. It is, after all, His Teaching that is regarded now to be out-of-date,  too strict, too unrealistic, too inflexible, too uncharitable, even if the advocates of these proposed reforms would not quite put it in that way. But such a disjunctive “evolution of doctrine” is implied.

Finally, indeed, the attack on the Church’s longstanding doctrine on marriage and the family—hence the protection and education of the  vulnerable children  unto Eternal Life—is an attack on Christ Himself and His Redemptive Mission for our now-possible Salvation under Grace.

To what extent, and how soon, are we going to stand up and defend Him and His Teaching and instructive Example?

While on my walks some ten years ago around the hills and paths of the Swiss Pilgrimage Shrine of the Nativity of Mary at St. Pelagiberg  (near Sankt Gallen)—during my gradual conversion to the Catholic Faith—I suddenly discovered the following inscription written in Gothic Script on a Field Cross along the path, and it was beneath the sheltered presentation of Our Lord on His Crucifix:

“This I did for you. And what do you do for me?” (“Das tat ich für dich. Und was tust du für mich?”)
These incisive and very piercing words confused and troubled me at the time – because I did not then yet have our supernatural faith – but, more and more over the years these words have touched my heart; and this inscription, dare I say it?, inspires me now. For, I regard it to be a special time in Church history to be able to be part of a doctrinal and moral struggle that is not only a matter of integrity, but also so fundamentally serious and which goes to the very roots of our Faith.

Many have gone before us and have fought this kind of fight, people with such a fervent love for Christ that it made them wince when they saw His words trampled upon and besmirched and mocked: especially His words about our More Abundant Life, our possible Eternal Salvation, and the Glorified Kingdom of His Father. These fervent and loyal disciples called aloud in manifold ways when Rome appeared to mingle promiscuously with other religions both in prayer and in festive song, as if Our Lord’s words did not matter any more and were not still to be our standard: “No man cometh to the Father, but by Me.” (John 14:6) In their diligence, these loyal disciples of the Lord sat down and wrote studies – just as some courageous and  good Cardinals have recently done about the matter of the family and sacramental marriage – in defense of Christ’s Truth and with the intention of helping us  to remain in that Truth. And with our Loyal Love.

These Catholics who have gone before us should still be honored by us. They will one day perhaps even be counted among the Saints. For, they were attentively perceptive and woke up early to the subversive disorders in doctrine and the moral order; and they had to face just the same kinds of derision and loneliness that some of us are now more hesitant to face: the isolating loneliness. Loneliness in the battle. Loneliness in the heart. Our questions:  Where are those expected and  cooperative comrades who still receive daily Our Lord in Holy Communion, who have received His other fortifying Sacraments  and have regularly received the Sacrament of Penance and even pray the Rosary every day? When will they also give Him back what is still owed in action and in what Jean Ousset called “doctrinal action”? Lest our inaction become a culpable omission—the sluggishness and inner unrest of spiritual sloth or of passive quietism.

Now is the time to act in certain truly prudent ways—as the first cardinal virtue should teach us—and in a timely and intelligently decisive way, before it is too little too late. The Catholic authorities in Rome must see and feel the ardent earnestness of the Catholic resistance and effective indignation that is loyal to Christ.

“How dare you to want to change God’s Laws!?” some of us might want to vociferate! “Do you think that human nature has changed since God laid down His Laws—His “Manufacturer’s Instructions” to make things work well and better?”

How must Christ Himself have felt when He walked upon this earth, in comparison to what we poor sinners feel in our weakness. He gave so much, all of Himself, and even unto the end. But even before His final and mortal Passion, He healed bodies and souls, He loved the Little Ones, He cried for the death of His friend, he had wonder at the faith and trust of the pagan Centurion, He had pity again and again on the maimed and impurely vulnerable, He instructed and He rebuked, not only the hypocrites and the defiling money-changers and the scandalizers of the Little Ones.

And in the end, in the final test, many still did not understand Him and many even walked away and left him (except, of course, for Our Lady and Saint John and Saint  Mary Magdalene and a few other loyal women). He was largely alone. O, how alone must He have felt in His Sacred Humanity, hanging there on the Cross. So derided and so ignored. The preceding Gethsemane trials may even have tempted Him almost utterly, not only by suggesting the futility of  His approaching Sacrifice, but also by tempting Him even to  abandon His Redemptive Mission that would merit the salvation of man. These are deep and unsearchable mysteries. As G.K. Chesterton even once said: “Man must not tempt God; but God may (and can) tempt God.”

It nearly seems that the same might soon happen with the Passion and Loneliness of His Church – or perhaps, it is already perceptibly happening to His Mystical Body on earth – His Church Militant. “Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou Me [My Church]?” (Acts 22:7) Is He already stripped of His garments? Did He already fall for the third time?

Within my own grave limitations of knowledge and understanding, I do not think He is already hanging on the Cross. But perhaps that will come, too, and soon. For sure, Christ is hunted again, even as He was at His birth.

So, therefore, for all of us who sometimes have this agony of loneliness in our struggles to attain and sustain a greater fidelity to Christ, and thus to include the struggle for the conversion and grace-filled salvation of souls – let us more fully try to unite ourselves here with Him and His beloved Mother. Let us unite ourselves with the Loneliness of Christ at the Cross and the Com-Passion of Our Blessed Mother. And, as was the case on Good Friday and on Holy Saturday, when the lights seemed nearly to go out, may we attentively await and robustly trust and hope for His Resurrection in the more abundant Life of Grace of His Militant Mystical Body still supra terram. “What we have is Nature; what we need is Grace.” (Father John A. Hardon, S.J.)


(Maike Hickson would like to dedicate this re-published text to Dom Gregor Hesse (R.I.P), Brother Francis M.I.C.M. (R.I.P.), Arnaud de Lassus (R.I.P), Anthony S. Fraser (R.I.P), and John Vennari.)


[1P5] 2178.11

CF News / Preserving marriage, family life

Indissolubility of the Marriage Bond

'What God has joined, let no man put asunder.' ( Matthew,19: 6)

DR. PRAVIN THEVATHASAN writes for Christendom Awake : 'When the Pharisees asked Our Lord: 'Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?' what they were really asking him was whether he followed the School of Shammai or the School of Hillel on this matter. The Mosaic law allowed for divorce if the wife 'has not pleased' the husband owing to 'some impropriety' (Deuteronomy, 24: 1-4). But what does this mean? According to the School of Hillel, any and every reason justified the giving of a bill of divorce: if the wife lets her husband's food get burned, for example. Rabbi Aciba famously said that divorce could be granted if a man finds another woman more attractive. The School of Shammai applied a more severe interpretation: the impropriety needed to be a sexual offence. However, the offence was well short of adultery: divorce could be granted if a wife went outside with her hair unfastened, if she spun cloth in the streets with armpits uncovered or if she took her bath in an area previously occupied by men.

The Hillel School was the dominant one at the time of Our Lord: the historian Josephus, for example, was allowed to divorce his wife because he was 'not content with her nature'. Our Lord rejected both Schools: ' Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning..' The Jews must have asked themselves what kind of man this was who challenged their greatest prophet.

The German Professor of New Testament Exegetics, Peter Ketter, commented on this matter as follows:

'Jesus did not even trouble to ascertain whether his questioners were disciples of Shammai or Hillel.The perfect law of marriage for his kingdom , which he already enunciated in the Sermon on the Mount, he here repeats in the presence of the representatives of the Doctors of the old covenant. In his answer, he raises the question to a much higher plane, by applying to this important aspect of social life, the highest moral criterion, namely, the will of God...let Hillel say what he will, let Shammai contradict him. In the beginning, Another spoke. He must be heard again, for His word alone is decisive. Jesus goes right back to the primeval fount, which springs, not from the swampy soil of easy moods nor from the slime of human passion, but from the pure heights of the eternal light, from God Himself. Back beyond Deuteronomy, the second law, Jesus leads the question to the Book of Origin, to Genesis. There they may read how it was in the beginning, and how it shall be again in the future.'

We hear a good deal these days about life-long marriage being an ideal to be aimed at. But Ketter notes that this ideal can only become a reality by means of indissoluble monogamous marriage: ' The mere possibility of divorce looses instincts which are destructive instead of constructive, and which estranges rather than unite.'

In challenging the Mosaic law, Our Lord is actually bringing it to fulfillment and he is ushering in his Kingdom. We are in the presence of someone greater than Moses.

The Gospels teach clearly on the indissolubility of marriage, as does Paul. What, then, of the famous 'exception-clause' found in Matthew 5:31 and 19:9: 'Anyone who divorces his wife, except in cases of 'porneia', and marries another commits adultery'?

What does porneia mean? It cannot mean adultery because Matthew has another word for adultery which he has used in that same sentence: moicheia. Ketter has argued that 'If Jesus had recognized adultery as a ground for divorce, he would have been introducing something completely new into the Jewish marriage laws... for in Jewish law adultery involved the death penalty, this in itself rendering superfluous the giving of a bill of divorce and putting away. With such an innovation,Jesus would have been going very much below the Jewish marriage code, whereas in all the other instances grouped in that part of the Sermon on the Mount, he went far above it.' The story of the woman caught in adultery reminds us that Jesus did not want the restoration of the death penalty. But he certainly wanted us to follow something more perfect than what Hillel or Shammai could ever offer.

Scholars and saints have spilled much ink on this one single word, porneia. Augustine put forward five different interpretations before settling on porneia being serious sexual sins that justify separation but not a second marriage. In a brilliant lecture given thirty years ago, the American moral theologian William Smith argued convincingly that porneia refers to incestuous, hence illicit, marriages as condemned in Leviticus 18:6-18. In which case, the exception clause may prove to be no exception at all.

Our Lord's teaching on this matter is clear: there can be no exception to the rule. The Pharisees and Doctors of the Law wanted to accommodate the teaching on marriage indissolubility to the spirit of their age. They asked for discernment and accompaniment in each particular situation. Not so Our Lord: little wonder, then, that they must have found him rigid and inflexible.


Christ and Womankind, Peter Ketter, Burne & Oates, 1937

[http://www.christendom-awake.org] 2178.12












United Nations


An unholy alliance: the UN, Soros and the Francis Papacy





[Fatima Center] 2178.UN1


















News from around the world


Argentina Feminists stage fake abortion on woman dressed as Virgin Mary

FEMINISTS in pink masks pretended to commit an abortion on a woman dressed as the Virgin Mary outside a northern Argentina cathedral as part of an International Women's Day protest last week.

A photo of the protest shows what looks like blood and body parts gushing from between the Virgin Mary's legs, facilitated by the pink mask-wearing feminists. The woman dressed as the Virgin Mary holds a fist in the air. She appears to be smiling and wearing a rosary around her neck.

A photo of the 'performance art' was circulated on social media. Clarin and a Spanish EWTN affiliate reported that Tucuman Archbishop Alfredo Zecca condemned it.

'It is with great sadness that we read about this highly offensive protest in Argentina,' Maureen Ferguson of The Catholic Association told LifeSiteNews. 'It is gravely disrespectful to mock the faith of billions of people in the woman whom National Geographic recently described as 'The Most Powerful Woman in the World' in its cover story on the Virgin Mary. It is also highly ironic for a feminist march protesting femicide to advocate for the right to take human lives, including the lives of female babies. Annually about 25 million little girls are aborted worldwide.'

The activist group Pan y Rosas ('Bread and Roses') wrote a lengthy Facebook post defending the women who staged the fake abortion.

The group Socorro Rosa Tucuman praised the image on Facebook, the Spanish EWTN affiliate reported, saying the woman dressed as the Virgin Mary aborted 'patriarchy' and 'forced heterosexuality.' The post appears to have been removed. Pan y Rosas expressed its solidarity with the Socorro Rosa group.

'This grotesque and blasphemous act represents what every abortion actually is, and those who are upset by it should be equally upset by each and every abortion that occurs,' Father Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, told LifeSiteNews. 'As Pope St. John Paul the Second wrote in Evangelium Vitae, every attack on a human life is an attack on God and every rejection of a human life is a rejection of Christ himself.'

'This scenario serves to remind us that we have our work cut out for us,' March for Life President Jeanne Mancini told LifeSiteNews. 'It is symbolic of the painful confusion in our culture regarding the inherent dignity and vocation of woman. In particular, it shows a deep misunderstanding and lack of appreciation that a woman's capacity for motherhood is a beautiful gift to be treasured, not a liability and not a right either. Thankfully Mary, mother of Jesus, was courageous despite her difficult circumstance and said yes to motherhood and the miracle of life.'

'This act also shows what is at the foundation of the hard-core pro-abortion people,' Pavone concluded. 'They hate the church, and they literally want to abort Jesus off the face of the earth in every manifestation of his presence today.'

Meanwhile, in Buenos Aires, participants in an International Women's Day march tried to set the city's cathedral on fire. They attacked a lone man who held a Vatican flag and tried to defend the cathedral.

At the Women's March in Washington, D.C. in January 2017, a protester carried a sign depicting Our Lady of Guadalupe as a bloody vagina.

'I believe more of this persecution will occur the more the Church stands against the sin of pre-born child killing,' Father Stephen Imbarrato, a priest associate at Priests for Life, predicted.a


Parish desecrated in Argentina

TWO men entered an Argentine parish's perpetual adoration chapel on March 10, smashed through protective glass with a mallet, and stole a monstrance with the Blessed Sacrament, according to ACI Prensa.

The incident took place at Sacred Heart Parishin City Bell as a 70-year-old woman was adoring the Blessed Sacrament.

The archbishop of La Plata condemned the desecration, and a Mass of reparation was offered the following day.

[LSN / CWN] 2178.13

CF News / World news

China Over 63,000 abortions every single day

ASK the average person on the street how many abortions take place in America each year, and few probably will know the answer.

The average currently is just under 1 million - a number that tends to surprise and shock people. But abortion numbers in the U.S. are small compared to those in China.

More unborn babies are killed in abortions in China every year than anywhere else in the world. Breitbart News reports that according to Chinese government data, more than 63,000 unborn babies are killed in abortions every single day in China.

Here's more:

Although Chinese officials report that 13 million abortions took place in China in 2015, the U.S. State Department reported that the number is likely 10 million more.

That amounts to 63,013 abortions a day, 2,625 abortions an hour, or 43 per minute, according to the number of abortions given by the State Department.

And abuses of women and girls, both born and unborn, have been closely connected to abortions in China.

Reggie Littlejohn, president of Women's Rights Without Frontiers, which works to protect women and girls in China from forced abortion and forced sterilization, said many girls are targeted while they still are in the womb.

'Because of son preference, second daughters will remain at risk - so our Save a Girl Campaign remains important,' Littlejohn told Breitbart News. 'We cannot give up the fight for the women and families of China, until every woman is free from the threat of coercion and every baby girl is free from the threat of sex-selection abortion or abandonment.'

Some of these abortions may be the woman's choice, but many others are forced or coerced. China's oppressive one child policy, changed to a two child policy in 2016, has led to massive abuses including forced late-term abortions and sterilizations.

'It is astonishing and heartbreaking that for every abortion in the United States, there are 23 million abortions in China - and we will never know how many of these are forced,' Littlejohn continued.

Last August, Women's Rights Without Frontiers reported a woman who was six months pregnant was coerced to abort her baby because she violated the two-child policy. Threatened with huge fines and loss of their jobs, Anxiang and her husband said they aborted their much-wanted child, according to the group.

'Although Anxiang was not physically dragged out of her home for an abortion, this abortion was nevertheless coerced,' Reggie Littlejohn, president of the organization, said in August. 'You can force someone through physical coercion or financial coercion. Any abortion against the will of the mother is forced.'

The group reported two other cases where women who were eight- and six-months pregnant also were facing threats and onerous fines if they did not abort their babies.

In October, the BBC reported another family went into hiding to protect their third child from being forcibly aborted. Government officials also admitted to frequently visiting pregnant women's homes and pressuring them to abort their unborn babies.

U.S. Congressman Chris Smith of New Jersey said he has listened to several Chinese women share their horrific forced abortion experiences. He said their stories are what motivate him to work to stop these abuses.

As Smith wrote in an editorial at LifeNews earlier this month, 'By shining a light on what is happening in China we hope to move toward a world where every woman and girl is valued and deeply respected because of her intrinsic dignity, and where every child is welcomed regardless of his or her sex.'

[LifeNews] 2178.14

CF News / World news

Iceland 100% of babies diagnosed with Down syndrome are aborted

Down Syndrome childIN RECENT remarks to the Citizens Assembly in Ireland, Dr. Peter McParland, an ob-gyn at National Maternity Hospital, pointed to a sign of things to come, reports PregnancyHelpNews .

'In Iceland,' the doctor said, 'every single baby-100 percent of all those diagnosed with Down syndrome-are aborted.'

The horrors of the statement above can scarcely be grasped. Iceland has become the first nation to boast of eradicating Down syndrome from its country.

Dr. McParland expounded on this systematic annihilation stating, 'There hasn't been a baby with Down syndrome born in Iceland in the past five years.'

Iceland is not alone in its aspirations to create a 'Down syndrome-free' world. The holocaust of Down syndrome babies is a global epidemic, taking the lives of human beings created in the image of God on the basis of a prenatal diagnosis indicating Down syndrome.

Denmark follows closely behind Iceland and predicts it will be a 'Down-syndrome free' nation in the next 10 years.

Meanwhile, 90 percent of babies diagnosed with Down syndrome in the womb are aborted in Great Britain and the United States.

Among the many reasons these statistics are so tragic is that some babies diagnosed in utero with Down syndrome are born without the condition, while in other cases, doctors who fail to recognize markers for Down syndrome through prenatal testing are open to shockingly titled 'wrongful birth' lawsuits.

Even assuming all diagnoses are correct, exactly who are we eradicating from our planet?

NBC News points to studies showing the following:

99% of people with Down syndrome are happy with their lives.

97% of people with Down syndrome like who they are.

96% of people with Down syndrome like how they look.

Statically the vast majority of people with Down syndrome are happy, satisfied, and affectionate members of society-something that couldn't be said of people born without the disability.

Down syndrome does not have to be a death sentence

As our world increasingly devalues life to the extent of attempting (and in some cases, succeeding) to 'cleanse' the world of anyone who may have a disability, Heartbeat International's 24-7 contact center, Option Line is standing against these cultural forces.

The urgent need for Option Line, and the many pregnancy help organizations connected to Option Line, increases daily.

In January, alone, Option Line consultants answered a total of 23,660 calls, texts, emails and live chats from women and men seeking help during an unexpected pregnancy.

One of those calls came from a woman pregnant with twins and desperately seeking help. Her doctor had just delivered the devastating news: 'Your test results are positive for Down syndrome.'

The woman felt alone, confused and conflicted on what to do next. It was her first pregnancy and she had not anticipated receiving such news. In most cases, medical professionals would urge this woman to consider terminating her pregnancy through abortion.

Instead, Option Line's highly trained consultant was able to offer her hope and practical help.

The Option Line consultant explained that no matter what the outcome of her pregnancy, support was available. She was able to connect the frightened mother to a local pregnancy help center immediately.

The Option Line consultant ended the conversation by praying with the mother. By the end of the call, the mother felt assured and courageous as she faced the future.

It is never easy for a parent to receive devastating news during a pregnancy. But the overwhelming majority of parents who have a child with Down syndrome report their outlook on life is much more positive because of their child.

The value of a child born with any disability cannot be eradicated by any nation. They are created in the image of God.

That's no less true in Iceland and Denmark than it is in Ireland and the U.S. And it's no less true based on a person's chromosome count.

Reprinted by LifeSiteNews with permission from Pregnancy Help News

[LSN] 2178.15

CF News / World news

Ireland The American monks who might re-evangelize Ireland

SilverstreaMICHAEK KELLY, editor of The Irish Catholic. writes from Dublin. For The National Catholic Register : ' Local Catholics have too often been used to nothing but bad news about religious life in Ireland: Whether it's the punishing revelations about past abuses in institutions run by religious orders or the dearth of vocations, the picture has often seemed bleak.

But news that a new monastery has been established in the Diocese of Meath - the first in that diocese since the Reformation - is raising hopes for a new springtime in religious life in the island once dubbed the 'Land of Saints and Scholars.'

Nestled in the heart of the Boyne Valley in Stamullen, County Meath, Silverstream Priory has been open for five years. At a time when many religious communities are consolidating and closing down houses, the Benedictines at Silverstream have an ambitious plan of work to build their monastic community as a powerhouse of prayer and hospitality. 'Hardly a day passes when I do not receive a vocational enquiry,' said its prior, Dom Mark Kirby.

That plan took a step forward on Feb. 25, when Bishop Michael Smith of Meath presided at the canonical establishment of a new monastery at Silverstream. The monks follow the Rule of St. Benedict and came to Ireland from Tulsa, Oklahoma, in 2012. The monks have made their home in Silverstream House, built in 1843, and their community is contemplative in nature, with a particular focus on the Divine Office and Eucharistic adoration.

Bishop Smith signed a decree Feb. 25, 'erecting the Benedictine Monks of Perpetual Adoration of the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar as a monastic Institute of Consecrated Life of diocesan right in the Diocese of Meath.' The decree is believed to mark the first formal establishment of a monastic community in the Diocese of Meath since the suppression of the monasteries by Henry VIII in 1536.

During the Mass, Bishop Smith said, 'The history of religious life has seen many developments over the centuries, and I am delighted to recognize the unique presence of this new monastery in the Diocese of Meath. Through their prayer, study and hospitality, the monks are 'speaking to the heart,' and their quiet witness is a reminder that the Lord continues to provide the Church with new gifts and grace.'

The community's constitution and canonical norms were approved by the Holy See earlier this month.

Conventual Prior of the Institute Dom Kirby, 64, was born and raised in the United States, but he feels that the gentle hand of God has led him to Ireland. The story took shape in 2007, during a lengthy layover in Dublin airport en route to Rome. Dom Mark wanted to celebrate Mass, and so went to the airport church. While there, a prayer came to him: 'Lord, let me do something for the Church in Ireland.' At a conference in Rome in 2011, he met some people from Ireland, and he shared with them the fact that Eucharistic adoration and a special care for priests is at the heart of the charism of his community, which then was based in Oklahoma. The Irish people he met shared their hope that such a community could benefit the Church in Ireland.

'The invitation to consider Ireland touched me deeply, because, for several years, I had felt a growing desire to respond to the needs of the Church in Ireland with a humble love.'

In a certain sense, establishing a Benedictine community in Meath was a sort of coming home. 'The Diocese of Meath has a rich and ancient monastic heritage going all the way back to St. Finnian (470-549) and his disciples,' according to Dom Mark.

'Dom Benedict [the other monk with whom Dom Mark founded the community at Silverstream] and I were conscious that, in God's providence, we were called to rekindle the torch that blazed from the Benedictine abbey of Fore in County Westmeath until its suppression under Henry VIII in 1536.'

And God's providence has certainly shone on the community. 'Since our arrival at Silverstream in 2012, our Benedictine community has grown steadily, from two to eight members. Two more men, both in their 20s, will enter the novitiate later this spring.' Currently, the community is made up of four professed and four novices. Three of the community are priests.

The community is also international in character, representing Ireland, the U.S., Denmark and Australia. Interestingly, two of the men are converts to the Catholic faith. Bucking the trend in religious life, all but one of the monks is under 36 years of age, with several men in their 20s. 'Our goal is to implant traditional Benedictine life at Silverstream,' according to Dom Mark. 'This means a close adhesion to the letter and spirit of the Rule [of St. Benedict] and a commitment to the traditional forms of the sacred liturgy in Latin and Gregorian chant.'

Mass at the priory is celebrated in the extraordinary form, and the community has gathered a healthy congregation, particularly on Sundays.?

'We have people coming from all over Ireland,' Dom Benedict said.

'Some people travel from Dublin, from Belfast and farther afield. We have young families and many people from different ethnic backgrounds.'

The traditional Latin Mass is celebrated every day in the provisional oratory. The monks also celebrate the full Divine Office, reciting the entire 150 Psalms over the course of a week.

The community is convinced that people can be attracted to an authentic encounter with Christ through beauty. 'When people approach the Church,' Dom Mark insists, 'we must offer them beauty. We must enchant people and attract them, by pointing them towards something that is beautiful.'

But, like many religious foundations, there have been times when it has been tough going. Dom Mark admits that 'the first five years have been difficult and, at certain hours, hardly looked promising, as we had to struggle with a poorly heated house through cold, damp winters and with woefully outdated and inadequate electrical and plumbing systems.?

'This past year we were able - thanks to the sacrifices and support of friends and benefactors - to complete the renovation of 11 new monastic cells and a common room.'

But the monks are not resting on their laurels, and there are big plans afoot. Dom Mark says that the 'next project - and it is urgent - is the conversion of a dilapidated cattle shed into a chapel equipped for a community of between 25 and 30 monks.'?

The current chapel is a makeshift arrangement. There are only 10 choir stalls, and, very soon, the new men will be sitting on the windowsills.

In an age where people often value apostolic work over contemplative work, Dom Mark is passionate about the vital role monastic life plays in the life of the Church. 'People often ask me, 'What good are monks, silent and enclosed behind walls, when so much cries out to be done in our troubled world?'' he said.

'We monks, by remaining faithful to our daily round of liturgical prayer - seven times a day and once in the night - provide the Church, the Body of Christ, with the regular heartbeat of the Divine Office.'?

'The Church, if she is to be a healthy organism, needs a regular heartbeat. Without the prayer of monks, the Church would suffer from a kind of spiritual cardiac arrhythmia and, over time, slip into a critical lethargy,' the prior insists.?

The monks at Silverstream very much see their monastic way of life as being at the heart of the Church's mission.

According to Dom Mark, 'The Church has bishops and priests to stand at her altars and to shepherd the flock; she has a voice in her preachers and teachers; she has hands and feet in her caregivers and missionaries. In us monks, the Church has her heart.'?

Added the Benedictine prior, 'So long as there a monks in their choir stalls, manfully singing the praises of God by day and by night, and monks in adoration before the altar where the living Christ is truly present in the sacrament of his love, the Church will be forever young, forever alive and equipped to continue her mission into generations to come.'

[NCRegister] 2178.16

CF News / World news

Malta New letter from bishops attempts to downplay permissive guidelines

STEVE SKOJEC reports for OnePetrFive : 'On Saturday, March 11, a new pastoral letter (PDF link) was issued by the bishops of Malta to be read in all parish Masses. In it, they address - rather abruptly, and without introduction as part of a larger reflection - the question of their approach to providing sacraments to the 'remarried':

[W]e, Bisho'ps, gave our priests a number of criteria to assist couples who find themselves in complex situations, either in their married life, or in their life together. We, Bishops, are not giving permission to a category of people to receive Communion without going through the necessary process of discernment. In no way do we want to lessen the power of the Lord's Gospel on the family and marriage. At one with the heart of the Pope, we, Bishops, would like to draw the heart of the Church closer to each and every one of you, to each and every one of our brothers and sisters who are going through difficult situations. The priest, in our name and on behalf of the Church, does not hide the words of Jesus, nor does he fail to convey the merciful heart of the Lord.

As the Pope teaches, the temptations that we mentioned apply to everyone. They also apply to those who are preparing for marriage. As a Christian community, we are committed to announce marriage as it has been created by God: a permanent union between one man and one woman, open to the gift of life. The fact that we care for our brothers and sisters who have made different choices in their affective life, does not in any way detract from the beauty of the Gospel that has been from the very beginning the Gospel of the Joy of love between one man and one woman. [emphasis added]

As OnePeterFive has previously reported, however, the Maltese bishops' guidelines on Amoris Laetitia provide one of the most permissive interpretations of the exhortation issued to date. A look at the Maltese bishops' guidelines shows just how anemic their standards for 'discernment' really are:

'9. Throughout the discernment process, we should also examine the possibility of conjugal continence. Despite the fact that this ideal is not at all easy, there may be couples who, with the help of grace, practice this virtue without putting at risk other aspects of their life together. On the other hand, there are complex situations where the choice of living 'as brothers and sisters' becomes humanly impossible and give rise to greater harm (see AL, note 329).

10. If, as a result of the process of discernment, undertaken with 'humility, discretion and love for the Church and her teaching, in a sincere search for God's will and a desire to make a more perfect response to it' (AL 300), a separated or divorced person who is living in a new relationship manages, with an informed and enlightened conscience, to acknowledge and believe that he or she are at peace with God, he or she cannot be precluded from participating in the sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist (see AL, notes 336 and 351).

Fr. Brian Harrison's January 16 analysis of these guidelines punctures the feigned innocence of the Maltese bishops' March 11 letter:

'Humanly impossible', Your Excellencies? Have you forgotten that the Council of Trent has anathematized as heresy the view that, even with the help of sanctifying grace, compliance with God's commands can sometimes be impossible? (Cf. canon 18 on justification, Dz 828 [DS/DH 1568].) And how could obeying a divine command ever 'give rise to greater harm' than disobeying it? Would it not be blasphemous to suggest that our loving Father could ever command us to do something that is to our real detriment, not our benefit?

It is all too easy to foresee the conclusion that will naturally be drawn from this paragraph (art. 9) by invalidly remarried Maltese Catholics: 'Our official teachers of the faith are clearly telling us that sex between divorced and civilly remarried couples is not always gravely sinful; for they're saying that the 'brother-sister' option is no longer a prerequisite for receiving the sacraments. And their rationale is that continence is not only humanly impossible for most couples but will in any case usually do more harm than good. So why we should even attempt to live according this so-called 'ideal' when our bishops are saying that if we find it too burdensome we can go to Communion anyway?'

Fr. Harrison continues, with specific attention to article 10 of the guidelines:

'Thus, Catholics in Malta who are cohabiting with one partner while still legally and sacramentally married to another will henceforth have access to the sacraments on the same basis as the divorced and remarried. Note also the ominous word 'cannot' in art. 10. The island nation's priest confessors are being told they not only may, but must, grant absolution (and thus, access to Communion) to unrepentant adulterers provided only that the latter insist they have 'manage[d], with an informed and enlightened conscience, to acknowledge and believe that [they] are at peace with God'. What, then, of the priest whose own 'informed and enlightened conscience' tells him he may not comply with this revolutionary diktat? Once again Orwell's scenario springs to mind: in Malta, it seems, all Catholic consciences may (perhaps) be equal, but some are now clearly 'more equal than others'.

Precisely what Fr. Harrison predicted - that priests in Malta would be compelled to offer sacraments to unrepentant adulterers - made headlines just days later as reports surfaced that one of Malta's two bishops - Mario Grech of Gozo - was overheard on a flight back from Rome threatening a priest with suspension if he did not implement the new guidelines. The Diocese of Gozo later denied these allegations, but a Maltese priest who contacted me with the story stands by them.

Further evidence of this zero-tolerance approach came to light in February, when National Catholic Register Rome correspondent Edward Pentin reported that Archbishop Scicluna of Malta

'confirmed to the Register that he told the country's seminarians earlier this month that if any of them do not agree with Pope Francis, 'the seminary gate is open,' implying they are free to leave.

'Archbishop Charles Scicluna's remarks are the latest in what Church sources in Malta say is a heavy-handed crackdown on any ecclesiastic unwilling to subscribe to the Maltese bishops' interpretation of the apostolic exhortation, Amoris Laetitia - an interpretation the bishops say is identical to the Holy Father's.


'Since the Criteria were published Jan. 13, a number of clergy sources in Malta have contacted the Register alleging the bishops won't tolerate any clergy having a different interpretation of Amoris Laetitia than the one presented in the Criteria among the clergy.

'According to the sources, three priests are allegedly intimidating anyone who does not agree with the Criteria. The three had been opponents of the previous bishop, Archbishop Paul Cremona, but have now become the present bishops' allies. One of them reputedly attacks any priest who shares critical stories on the Internet.

'This group of priests, with a few others, have been hogging the conversation for decades,' said a Maltese priest on condition of anonymity. 'No one else seems to be allowed to contribute to the debate and they have done untold damage to bridge-building since they brook no opposition.' [emphasis added]

In that same report, Pentin revealed that Archbishop Scicluna, in a meeting with the priests of his diocese,

'appealed for understanding, saying he had no choice in co-signing the guidelines. According to sources present, he said in conscience he could not go against the wishes of the Pope.

Such an admission raises questions about whether the Archbishop himself felt pressured to issue the permissive guidelines which, when compared to the pope's letter affirming similar guidelines from the bishops of the Buenos Aires region, represent what Francis believes is the authoritative interpretation of Amoris Laetitia.

A source who works for the Church in Malta and who spoke to 1P5 on condition of anonymity said that they believed Malta was chosen to be the tip of the spear on permissive guidelines because of the island nation has only two bishops. 'It's easier to get all bishops to agree,' this person said, 'When the episcopal conference is tiny.'

[1P5] 2178.17

CF News / World news

Russia Procession in Saint Petersburg ~ October Revolution and the return of religion

Russia processionTHIS is a picture of the cross procession in Saint Petersburg in September. The procession led from the Kazan Cathedral over the famous Nevsky Prospect to the Alexander Nevsky Monastery.

The Rurikid AlePrince of Novgorod (from 1249 Grand Prince of Kiev), brought the advance of the Swedes into Russian territory to a halt at the Battle of the Neva in 1240, and in 1242 in the Battle of Peipus also that of the Teutonic Order. He has been officially honoured by the Russian Orthodox Church since 1547 as a saint. The Nevsky Prospekt, a 300-year-old grand boulevard of 4.5 kilometers, connects the Tsar's winter palace to the Alexander Nevsky Monastery at the other end. In the monastery, the bones of the Saint Prince Rurikid are buried.

Along the boulevard you will also find the Kazan Cathedral, erected more than 200 years ago. It was built with St. Peter's in Rome as a model. The cathedral was built over an older predecessor, the Church of the Virgin Mary. It is named after an icon of the Mother of Kazan who is venerated in the cathedral.

The church is considered a memorial church for the victorious defense against Napoleon's campaign of 1812. In it, Field Marshal Michail Kutusov is buried, who as the Russian commander-in-chief, directed the defense. The Field Marshal had prayed before the fighting in the just finished church and asked the Mother of God for help.

After the Communist October Revolution, the cathedral was plundered and devastated. In 1918 the Archpriest of the Church, the philosopher Ornatsky, suffered martyrdom together with his two sons. Ornatsky had celebrated a requiem for the victims of the Communists. Shortly after, he and his two sons were then arrested. He was allowed to say a prayer for those condemned to death on a cliff above the Finnish Gulf, then he, his sons and 30 other men were shot and their bodies thrown over the cliffs into the sea.

In 1922 all the valuables, liturgical implements, and icons were confiscated by the Soviet government, and the cathedral was transformed into a museum of atheism in 1932.

In November 1990, the Sacred Liturgy was celebrated for the first time in consultation with the Museum Directorate - the museum has renamed the Museum of Religious History after the end of the Soviets. In 1999 the evacuation of the museum and the return of the cathedral to the Russian Orthodox Church was agreed. The transfer was completed in 2001. In 2002 the icon of the Mother of Kazan was returned to the church. Since 2017, the cathedral has once again been the seat of the metropolitan of Novgorod and Saint Petersburg.

After more than 90 years, the first cross-procession took place in 2013, which commemorates the transfer of the relics of the Rurikid Prince Nevsky to the monastery named after him at the end of the Nevsky Prospect.

[EF] 2178.18

CF News / World news

UK (Scotland) Aberdeen students complain about pro-life poster ~ in a Catholic chaplaincy

STUDENTS at Aberdeen University have expressed outrage that a 40 Days for Life poster is being displayed - at the Catholic Chaplaincy.

A number of students have signed an open letter calling on the Aberdeen chaplaincy to remove posters advertising 40 Days for Life, which is currently running a peaceful prayer vigil outside Aberdeen Maternity Hospital. The posters invite people to mark Lent with "40 days of prayer and fasting for an end to abortion".

The letter, signed by several members of the Student's Union and groups such as the feminist society, says: "We feel these [posters] are harmful and make our campus a distressing place."

It goes on to say that "while we understand the church's stance on reproductive issues, we feel that it is deeply inappropriate to display posters encouraging people to take action outside maternity clinics...Our campus is a place for discussion but displaying material that appears to condemn those who have had abortions is actively harmful. Students, staff and others should be able to walk about campus without feeling attacked by the material that is displayed."

The Catholic Chaplaincy is owned by the Diocese of Aberdeen, and is not controlled by the Students Union. A University of Aberdeen spokesman responded to the letter, saying: "Our attention has been drawn to two small posters in support of the 40 Days for Life campaign which are displayed in the window of the Catholic Chaplaincy.

"This building forms part of the Catholic Diocese and as such, is not a university-owned or managed facility so falls outwith our control."

A spokesman for the Bishop of Aberdeen defended the chaplaincy, saying: "Freedom of speech and expression should be at the heart of academic life.

"The decision by the Catholic chaplaincy to display a poster advertising a peaceful pro-life vigil cannot in any way be deemed harmful or distressing.

"The 40 Days for Life Vigils are peaceful, yet poignant reminders of the tragic reality of abortion. Almost half a million unborn lives have been lost in Scotland since the 1967 Abortion Act was passed and it continues to carve a deep scar on our society."

[SPUC] 2178.19

CF News / World news

UK (Scotland) Saturday Essay from the Scottish Daily Mail

JOHN MacLEOD writes for the Scottish Daily mail : 'It was bright, modern, with a lovely airy chancel and elegant bell-tower, on a stance with magnificent views over Edinburgh and the Firth of Forth.

Built only in 1956, for years St John's Parish Church was at the heart of the post-war Oxgangs housing scheme, when there was still no community centre or library or swimming pool. Services were packed; thousands of infants baptised, untold weddings celebrated; innumerable societies and organisations made use of its facilities.

But, late in 2013, final worship was held, for a trickle of people in their seventies; the congregation subsumed into Colinton Mains Parish Church, half a mile down the road. St John's was sold. An Aldi supermarket now rises in its stead, because they tore down St John's a few weeks ago.

The church's demise is especially poignant because it opened its doors just as the clout of the Church of Scotland reached its all-time apogee. That very year, 1956, its membership peaked at 1.32 million; and church attendance generally, across Scotland, was as high as it had ever been.

And then it went to pitiable, relentless decline, in one of the most dramatic secularisations experienced by any country in the world. In just twenty years the Kirk lost 65% of her communicants. Scotland, a land so long defined by Biblical Christianity we were known as the 'People of the Book,' had her culture, her values and her education system substantially shaped by her faith and overseen by the Kirk. No one could ever have expected it to collapse, in historical terms, so suddenly. But it did.

That decline of churchgoing in Scotland - and the retreat of Christianity generally from the public square - has been so rapid that the recent past seems almost a foreign country.

As recently as the 1990s, STV still broadcast Late Call, where every weekday evening a minister or priest could talk straight to camera, for four minutes and without interruption, about God, sin, death and redemption.

The General Assembly of the Church of Scotland enjoyed live television coverage, for hours on end; its proceedings filled pages of the daily papers and its Moderator broadcast to the nation every New Year.

In the 1970s, men like Cardinal Gray, Andrew Herron, Leonard Small and Maxwell Craig were household names. Every day at my Glasgow school began with unabashed worship: a hymn, a Bible-reading and a prayer.

Our headmaster was not only a local elder, but sat on the Kirk's Board of Ministry. Most of us went to church or at least attended, say, the Boys Brigade or a similar youth organisation on church premises. I still remember the faint frisson, in my Physics class one day in 1979, when we learned one boy in our midst had never been baptised; the bewildered pity with which we viewed another because his parents were divorced.

The era should not be unduly romanticised. In all state schools then, and into the 1980s, there was savage corporal punishment; relations between us and youngsters from the Roman Catholic secondary, on the other side of the railway, were so bad there were on occasion pitched battles on the street. And, as senior churchmen agree, behind the general respect still paid to organised religion into the 1980s, the mainstream churches already ran on empty.

It's a balmy spring morning in Edinburgh and I ask Archbishop Leo Cushley, Scotland's ablest Catholic leader and with a past, distinguished career as a Vatican diplomat, how Scotland lost her faith.

'It's a big question,' he murmurs. 'A number of things - I think, especially, the history of the twentieth century. We had atheistic regimes, extreme and evil regimes, ranged against the West. The Soviet Union, Nazi Germany, Red China. And with the sheer size of their crimes - well, people started to say, 'Where was God? Where was God when this happened?' I think we ignore at our peril just how much this shook so many people.'

But Archbishop Cushley is worried at still bigger implications for our society than Sunday becoming, for most, a day for shopping.

'We underestimate how much the mores of the Western world have slid, and not even in an ancient pagan direction. We're legislating now without regard for those ancient natural virtues - you know, justice, prudence, temperance, fortitude.

'Even Cicero was mindful of them, and he knew nothing of Christ. And on top of these, the three Christian virtues - faith, hope and charity. People talk of 'values,' but it all seems terribly vague.'

In Dundee, Rev. David Robertson - a passionate, casually clad Free Church minister who has built a substantial Tayside congregation since the early 1990s; on his arrival, attendance was in single figures - echoes much of this.

'The First World War really shook people. I don't think you can exaggerate the impact of that. By then we had this general, social, sugar-daddy religion of not much substance and, at a time of such horrors, it had no answers. And so people began falling away from it.'

Robertson points to doctrinal decline from the late nineteenth century, when - intimidated by Darwinism and dazzled by fashionable German scholarship - mainstream Protestantism the world over began to water down its beliefs.

By the Great War, some Scottish ministers already denied the deity of Christ. The Kirk is now all at sea on openly gay clergy; and early in 2015, the minister of Edinburgh's Mayfield Salisbury Parish Church, Rev. Scott McKenna, unblushingly asserted that to preach Christ died for our sins is 'ghastly theology.'

The sad farce in January, besides, at Glasgow's Episcopalian cathedral - when, by the complacency of its Provost, Muslim readings from the Koran mocked the authority of Christ on the Feast of the Epiphany - are in like vein.

'The Kirk's membership did hit an all-time high in the Fifties,' agrees Robertson, 'but there were reasons for that. An economic boom, full employment, new housing estates. There was the Billy Graham campaign… anyway, at that time, there wasn't much else to do on Sundays.

'But then came the Sixties. And suddenly we had the sexual revolution, we had an atmosphere of counter-culture, anti-authoritarianism - huge questions were raised and the Kirk didn't have the men of the intellect or, frankly, the moral backbone to address them.'

We had into the 1980s, David Robertson argues, perhaps a largely nominal Christianity, 'but it still shaped public life and public institutions. Well, there is now a determined bid to dismantle all that. I think we're going to see a society that is militantly secular and a church that is more and more militantly evangelical.

'And I'd include the Roman Catholic Church in that. At its best, in its Christology, in its grasp of original sin, its value on human life, its witness against a 'culture of death,' we share so much core-theology.

'I think there'll always be a Catholic Church in Scotland. But I don't think there will always be a Church of Scotland. Its demographics are terrible. Forget the membership figures; I don't think 4% of Scots attend the Kirk on Sunday. I've been in Dundee, now, since 1992, and pretty well on average one Church of Scotland in the city has closed every year. Numerically, they're losing the equivalent of two congregations a week.'

It is difficult to grasp, until you think about it, what Scotland's rapid retreat from her God entails.

Supposing I had not been raised in a church-going family, my Glasgow school experience would still have brought me to adulthood with a basic knowledge of Bible stories, the Ten Commandments, the life and example of Christ and the great hymns of the church.

It meant that I (and most of my classmates) were very good singers, for we had to sing daily and keen attention was paid to standards. It meant that we were used to sitting still and listening; that we could engage easily with clergymen (for the parish minister took assembly once a week, and led a regular discussion-group for Sixth Formers) and that, to this day, we know how to comport ourselves in public worship.

Not to mention how faith bled into other parts of the syllabus: in mid-primary, for instance, we learned about the saints of the Celtic Church, and heard about such missionaries as David Livingston, Mary Slessor and Gladys Aylward.

In secondary, we noted how much vital social reform historically, from the abolition of the slave trade to the protection of child-workers, had been driven by such Christians as Wilberforce, Fry and Shaftesbury - Scottish, scientific pioneers like Hugh Miller, Michael Faraday and James Young Simpson.

And considered in these terms alone, you realise of how much succeeding generations have been deprived on an atheistic syllabus.

It is an unfortunate legacy of Scottish church history (until the Great Union of 1929, what is today's Kirk was two rival Presbyterian bodies) that the 1918 Education Act set up non-denominational state schools that are, today, widely thought officially secular.

But they were intended to be robustly Christian. Archbishop Cushley is first to acknowledge not just how the Catholic Church in Scotland has been bolstered by recent immigration - there is scarcely a town in the country where Mass is not regularly said in Polish - but by the blessing of its enduring state schools.

Noted, generally, for their excellent pastoral care and high standards of discipline, places in them are increasingly sought even by those of other faiths.

'I do mourn the waning of the Christian religion in our non-denominational schools,' sighs Cushley. 'It's nothing for me to rejoice in, that our main Christian denomination has no longer the impact it had. Now I walk into a Catholic school and I know what it feels like - the Christian faith is the very water-table; it's part of the air that you breathe.

Under a self-consciously 'progressive' SNP administration - unlike her predecessor, Nicola Sturgeon has scant church background and no comprehension of faith - churchmen everywhere worry about what mainstream Scottish schools are becoming.

'In my congregation,' says Robertson grimly, 'a 7-year old girl recently came home in tears. 'Mummy, am I a boy or a girl? Teacher says we can choose…' Our non-denominational schools are becoming centres of indoctrination - secular indoctrination. A 'progressiveness' that wants nothing to do with Christianity and is becoming, basically, the State religion.

'They talk of 'equality.' But it's not economic equality. There hasn't been such a gulf in incomes since before the war. And it's the poor who suffer most. I'd say the destruction of the family is even worse than the destruction of the church.'

'Children are by definition immature,' muses Archbishop Cushley on the current transgender fuss. 'And yet we're seeing life-changing decisions being made, with seemingly little prudence, and perhaps to an adult agenda…

'There's a lack of debate today. There are things that cannot be debated. Partly, I think, that's the power of NGOs and campaign-groups. They've been very slick and very clever. The lobbying industry is so strong nowadays, and so self-serving - groups even win government funding to pay them to tell the government what the government is planning to do anyway…'

There are other unsettling straws in the wind. Last week one SNP MP, Carol Monaghan, was widely ridiculed for appearing at a Commons select-committee with Lenten ash drawn on her forehead - spite even a decade ago that would have been unthinkable bigotry.

Earlier this week, it was reported that the local minister will not be allowed to hold the customary Easter service at Ullapool Primary School. 'Several events have arisen in the last week that are immoveable,' Rev. James Munro was advised snidely by the headmistress.

'Many in the church think that the Easter narrative is a central aspect of our faith,' Mr Munro quietly wrote in the local paper. 'To cancel such a gathering for a school could be regarded as yet another example of marginalisation of the Christian way.'

But this is our hard new Scotland - where, several years ago, a triumphalist exhibition toured the land: photographs of churches derelict or converted into night-clubs and carpet showrooms, entitled only 'Jesus Has Left The Building.'

[Scottish Daily Mail 2178.20

CF News / World news

United Kingdom Cardinal Nichols praises Malta's bishops over Amoris Laetitia

CARDINAL VINCENT NICHOLS, the Archbishop of Westminster, has praised Maltese Archdiocese of Malta and the Diocese of Gozo's approach to the Pope's apostolic exhortation on the family, Amoris Laetitia, according to a report in the Catholic Herald.

Malta's two bishops last January released 'criteria' on interpreting Chapter 8 of the Pope's apostolic exhortation on the family in which they appeared to assert the primacy of conscience over the objective moral truth. The guidelines allowed some remarried divorcees to receive Holy Communion after a period of discernment, with an informed and enlightened conscience, and if they are 'at peace with God.'

Their interpretation caused an international outcry among theologians, canonists and others who argued that it contradicted previous papal teaching, as well as breached canon law and the catechism. Archbishop Scicluna has defended the guidelines, saying they 'adhered to Amoris Laetitia' and also 'followed the interpretation that the Pope approved.'

Cardinal Nichols, in the news report, argued that the Maltese document does not start by saying ''What about this rule or that rule?' but rather by saying that 'if this is your position and you feel uneasy, you want to know where you stand, what you ought to be doing, then come and we'll talk. But let's be honest, let's be open and let's see where we go.''

He said that Bishops in England and Wales have not yet drafted their guidelines on Amoris Laetitia. He said that there is nothing wrong with guidelines varying from one country to the next, arguing that a variety of pastoral responses is a response to the realities people live in today, and is not decentralisation.

[Independent ] 2178.21

CF News / World news

United Kingdom MP makes strong stand against unrestricted abortion

MARIA CAULFIELD, the Conservative MP for Lewes, made a strong speech defending unborn children and vulnerable mothers during a debate in Parliament that sought to completely decriminalise abortion.

Diana Johnson, the Labour MP for Kingston upon Hull North, brought forward her Reproductive Health (Access to Terminations) bill, which sought to remove abortion from criminal law, thereby allowing it up to birth and for any reason. The bill narrowly passed its first reading, but has next to no chance of becoming law, due to a lack of parliamentary time.

The gall of the abortion industry

Diana Johnson argued that the 'Victorian' abortion laws needed to be updated, especially in light of the growing availability of abortion pills online. Maria Caulfield began her rebuttal by dismissing the 'progressive' credentials of the bill, saying it would be a 'charter for unsafe abortion practises'.

She went on to attack the backers of the bill, which include the abortion provider BPAS.

'That brings me to the current state of the abortion industry in the UK. I am amazed that the Bill's backers, including private abortion providers, have the gall to propose these changes, which would remove regulations at a time when the UK abortion industry is knee-deep in revelations of unethical, unsafe and unprofessional practices,' she said, describing in detail the recent revelations of breaches in safety, especially as found by the CQC report into Marie Stopes. 'No wonder these abortion providers are calling for a Bill that would get rid of the regulations and safeguards in the Abortion Act.'

Read the full article on the SPUC website here

[SPUC] 2178.22

CF News / World news

United Kingdom Independent midwives face extinction

DR JOSEPH SHAW, Chairman of the Latin Mass Society, writes : 'I've been trying (with some success) to get Catholic and pro-life news outlets to take an interest in the shocking story of the banning of 'independent' midwives in the UK: that is, midwives who are employed by individual women to assist them in giving birth, rather than the NHS or a private hospital or 'birth centre'. Independent midwives had a fantastic safety record, but the Government regulator, the Nursing and Midwifery Council, has told them their insurance is 'inadequate': just not what 'adequate' actually means.

Why is this a Catholic story? Because the culture of the NHS is far from pro-life, and independent midwives offer a client-focused alternative. In the NHS women routinely face pressure to have abortions, pressure to limit family size after Caesarian sections (which is related to pressure not to have a natural birth after a section), pressure to limit family size for any and no reason, pressure to stop having children after a certain arbitrary age (you can be 'high risk' at 35), and a patronising and totally out of place pep-talk on contraception, which is apparantly a legal obligation following childbirth. Independent midwives are not as a group committed to any special pro-life principles, but they have the freedom to care about their clients and genuinely respect their choices and values. If you are having a tough time with the NHS on any of these issues, they are a safe harbour. But no longer.

If you want to protest, see the website 'Save Our Midwives' for suggestions. The story has also appeared in Church Militant.

From the Catholic Herald. ' In preparing for the birth of our first child, we considered all the available options. Our research was not reassuring. Expectant mothers could talk to midwives, but it may not be the one who would assist at the birth. There was a birthing pool, but it might not be available when the moment came. Yes you can give birth at home, if a midwife was free. When it comes down to it, the mother’s preferences and plans for birth might, or might not, have some application when labour starts

Our friends’ experiences of the NHS didn’t reassure us either, and it seems they were not untypical. A recent study reported women feeling unsafe and frightened while in NHS facilities, describing their experience as being treated “like cattle” or being “on a conveyor belt”.

See the rest here.


[LMS] 2178.22a



CF News / World new

United Kingdom Catholic institute leaves the country after years of ‘mental torture’ over visa applications

THE CATHOLIC HERALD reports : 'The Institute of St Anselm in Margate is relocating to Rome after the Home Office withdrew its license for visas. Institute founder Fr Len Kofler said that dealing with the Home Office over the years had been like “mental torture”.

He said that a Catholic priest was recently refused a visa to study at the Institute because he wasn’t married. A nun was also denied entry to the UK because she did not have a personal bank account because she belonged to a religious order.

Fr Kofler said: “All our priests and religious are sent to train and go back to their own countries after their studies. I think its a total misunderstanding and religious illiteracy from the Home Office.

“At the age of 82, I am no longer able to work in a situation where my hands are bound due to the Home Office’s inability to function. To work in that mess is not my desire any longer.”

A spokeswoman for the Institute added: “There is clearly a non-understanding in the Home Office of Catholic and religious priestly life or it is not taken in to consideration. We lost our licence for having more than 10 per cent refusals… All these refusals count against us and we are then considered responsible and even criminalised as encouraging the wrong people to come.

“All our inspections have been highly positive – some directly by Home Office personnel. It seems they do not even read what is sent. There is no one to explain or negotiate the situation, just letters of supreme authority.

“Because of our closure up to 10 local people will be made redundant and half a million pounds that goes to the local economy – not to mention what the students put into it through their travel and purchases – is lost to the local economy.”

The Institute of St Anselm was founded in 1984 to train formators, leaders and evangelisers in the Church.

Writing in this week’s Catholic Herald, former prisons minister Ann Widdecombe accused the Home Office of failing to understand basic facts about religious life.

“Officials seem unable to comprehend that, for example, African nuns do not have bank accounts and Catholic priests cannot adduce wives and families as evidence of an incentive to return home after their studies,” she wrote.

“One would think the Home Office would want to hold up St Anselm’s as a shining example of probity, because 100 per cent of its students do complete their courses and return home; but instead it has removed that college’s Tier 4 status (which enables institutions to take in over-16s on student visas).

“The reason given is that revocation is automatic following the refusal of more than 10 per cent of visa applications. Yet the applications have been refused on the spurious grounds given above.”
She continued: “Expecting nuns and priests to satisfy financial thresholds designed for people who are self-sufficient is of a quite different order of ignorance and is inexcusable. St Anselm’s itself undertook responsibility for them so it is that institution’s record which should have been the salient factor.

“Some fairly significant people are writing to [Home Secretary] Amber Rudd, but if the letters are opened by people in her department who think Christmas is about Santa Claus and Easter about chocolate eggs then it is unlikely she will see them before St Anselm’s has gone to live in a better-informed state.”

A spokesman for the Home Office said: “Educational institutions that benefit from the immigration system must ensure they have robust compliance systems in place or risk losing their privilege to sponsor students.

“All institutions holding a Tier 4 sponsor licence must pass an annual assessment in order to retain the ability to recruit international students.”


[Catholic Herald] 2178.22b


CF News / World news

United State Planned Parenthood VP repeatedly won't say if an unborn baby is a human being

FOX NEWS'S Tucker Carlson put Planned Parenthood Vice President Dawn Laguens on the spot Monday when he repeatedly asked her what she thinks about babies in the womb.

Carlson brought up biology and human development as he questioned Laguens on her employer's abortion work; and Laguens responded by giving non-answers and then by appealing to moral relativism.

Carlson began by talking about the number of abortions Planned Parenthood does each year - more than 300,000, the Washington Free Beacon reports. Laguens confirmed this with a nod.

He then brought up the ability to detect a fetal heartbeat by about five and a half weeks into the pregnancy, and asked Laguens what she thought about that.

According to the report:

'I'm just wondering, as someone who works there, what do you think of that?' he asked. 'What is being aborted? If you can hear the heartbeat, what is that thing being aborted? How do you feel about that?'

Laguens said that abortion is a right in the United States.

'Well abortion is a right in this country. Women have their own views on whether or not they want to be pregnant. That is not a viable fetus at five and a half weeks, anyone knows that,' she said. 'And what you would do is make your own choice.'

Carlson asked again.

'What specifically do you think?' he asked. 'You work for the country's biggest abortion provider, if you can hear the heartbeat of this fetus, what is it? Is it a piece of tissue or is it a separate human being?'

'I think that's up to each individual to decide what they believe,' Laguens said.

Throughout the interview, Laguens continued to dodge Carlson's questions about the nature of an abortion and the development of a baby in the womb.

Planned Parenthood routinely avoids talking about human development and biology, whether in media interviews or in its clinics. Some women who visited Planned Parenthood reported being denied the chance to see an ultrasound of their unborn baby or lied to about their baby's heartbeat.

In the scientific community, it is well established that human life begins at the moment of conception. It also is generally accepted as fact that the fetal heartbeat begins during the earliest stages of pregnancy, typically between four to six weeks after fertilization. In October, researchers at the University of Oxford announced findings that the heart actually may begin beating earlier - as soon as 16 days after conception.




[LifeNews] 2178.23

CF News / World news

International The World Over with Raymond Arroy




[EWTN News] 2178.24















CF News / World news

International Some jihad headlines of the week


Australia : Muslim students threaten to behead teacher, her complaints dismissed

Germany : Budget outstripped as $21,000,000,000 spent on refugees

Iran : Official boasts of 'guerilla movement' in US from 'all Islamic countries'

Switzerland :500 accused of spreading jihadist propaganda online

Tunisia : Imam leads jihad attack killing policeman at checkpoint

Turkey : Foreign Minister: “Religion wars will soon begin in Europe”

UK : Palestinian children at state school pretend to execute Israeli soldier

UK : Police say Bristol was 'hours away' from jihad suicide attack

UK : Books promoting jihad killing of homosexuals sold openly

USA : Christian convert, former radical Islamist, warns of educational jihad against West

USA : Wisconsis-Madison students support religious freedom for Muslims, not Christians


[CF News] 2178.26

CF News / World news

International The Prophet Voris






[ChurchMilitant.TV] 2178.27




















Bl.John Newman


Consciousness of sin

THERE [in the Gospel] Callista learned . . . that the greatness must be sacrificed for the future; that what is seen must give way to what is believed. Nay, more, she drank in the teachings which at first sight seems so paradoxical, that even present happiness and present greatness lie in relinquishing what at first sight seems to promise them; that the greater true pleasure is, not through self-indulgence, but through mortification; that the way to power is weakness, the wayto success failure, the way to wisdom foolishness, the way to glory dishonour. She saw that there was higher beauty than that which the order and harmony of the natural world revealed, and a deeper peace and calm than that which the exercise, whether of the intellect or the purest human affection can supply. She now began to understand that strange, unearthly composure, which had struck her in Chione, Agellius and Caecilius; she understood that they were detached from the world, not because they had not the possession, not the natural love of its gifts, but because they possessed a higher blessing already, which they loved above everything else.

[Callista, 327] 2178.28
















Event Event


Canon lawyers and theologians to hold conference on ‘deposing the pope’

CANON LAWYERS, theologians, and scholars will be meeting in Paris in two weeks to discuss a topic that has never been the focus of a Catholic conference before: How to depose a heretical pope.

Titled Deposing the Pope: Theological Premises, Canonical Models, Constitutional Challenge, the conference seeks to explore the mechanisms that are built into the Catholic Church for dealing with a pope who openly teaches falsehood and even heresy.

Speaking at the conference will be University of Paris Professor Laurent Fonbaustier who published a 1,200 page book last year on the topic that was titled The Deposition of the Heretical Pope.

The conference includes 15 speakers who will be giving a range of talks on the subject matter with titles such as “Conciliarism and the Deposition of a Pope Through the Prism of Gallicanism,” "The Downfall of the Pope: Between Renunciation and Deposition," and "The Deposition of John XXIII and Benedict XIII at Constance, 1415–1417." ,

Speaking at the conference are Professors Nicolas Warembourg and Cyrille Dounot, two of the 45 Catholic academics who last June submitted an appeal to the Dean of the College of Cardinals in Rome requesting a repudiation of erroneous propositions they found in Pope Francis’ exhortation Amoris Laetitia.

The group of 45 Catholic academics said the Pope’s exhortation presented “dangers to Catholic faith and morals” since it “contains a number of statements that can be understood in a sense that is contrary to Catholic faith and morals.”

The conference comes after four years of Francis at the helm of the Barque of Peter. During this time the Pope, and the people he has put into key positions, have steered the Church in a direction that would have been unthinkable to faithful Catholics under the two previous pontiffs of John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI.

Francis’ ambiguous speeches and especially his papal writings have turned cardinal against cardinal, bishop against bishop, and lay-faithful against lay-faithful. Doctrinal confusion has resulted in pastoral guidelines being issued based on his writings that allow Holy Communion to be given to those living in adultery.

Last November Vaticanist Giuseppe Nardi reported that a 1975 theological study by the learned Brazilian layman Arnaldo Vidigal Xavier da Silveira was making the rounds in the Vatican. The layman examined in his work titled The Theological Hypothesis of a Heretical Pope whether it is possible for a pope to be or