The National Association of Catholic Families


This edition of CF NEWS (No.2182) posted at 12.20 pm on Sunday, April 16th, 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

InfoVaticano interview with Cardinal Burke
Familiaris Consortio and Humanae Vitae restored
Gänswein: Benedict XVI won’t enter Amoris Laetitia controversy read more >>
Vatican sex-education program condemned as 'gross perversion'
VIDEO 
Vatican names pro-gay priest as communications consultant
Msgr. Ignacio Barreiro, R.I.P.

Humanae Vitae

A sceptical view of abortion VIDEO  

News from around the world

AUSTRALIA Teenagers becoming transgender because it is trendy read more >>
BELGIUM Catholic university sacks lecturer who calls abortion 'murder of an innocent' read more >>
IRELAND Government to shut down pro-life clinic for telling truth about abortion read more >> 5a
Newspaper pulls article claiming archbishop approved contraception
SWEDEN Nurse fired for refusing to assist abortions must do so court rules read more >>
UK American archbishop appointed nuncio to Great Britain read more >>
UK Public pays abortion activist £512,000 to write book about abortion for children read more >>
INTERNATIONAL The World Over with Raymond Arroyo
VIDEO  
INTERNATIONAL Some jihad headlines of the week
VIDEO  
INTERNATIONAL gloria.tv.news
VIDEO  


Easter


Roman Forum prepares for 2017 Symposium


Understanding Pope Francis

Comment from the internet

Amoris Laetitia
- is some clarity emerging?
e Mattei: It is a war of religion read more >>
Pope Francis: Christ 'Made Himself the Devil'
The Cleansing of the Temple and the Sacrifice of the Mass read more >>
Islam I, II, III
Pius XI: a pope who fulfilled his mandate read more >>
More Vatican sophistry in its attack on marriage and family read more >>

Our Catholic Heritage

Site of the day : Aston Blank
VIDEO 


The Resurrection




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CF News / World news

Msgr. Ignacio Barreiro, R.I.P. read more >>3b



[VOTF] 2182.3b



[LSN] 2182.4a



















Vatican watch




InfoVaticano interview with Cardinal Burke

CARDINAL RAYMOND BURKE has revealed in a new interview that he requested an audience with Pope Francis and has yet to receive a response.

Cardinal Burke also reconfirmed that Pope Francis effectively removed him from having any governance of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta while remaining its Patron.

The American cardinal known for his Catholic orthodoxy addressed several other topics during the wide-ranging interview with InfoVaticana's Gabriel Ariza. He said comments by the new head of the Jesuit order that cast doubt on the validity of Christ's words on marriage must be corrected. Cardinal Burke went on to say that a recent Vatican invitation and public welcome for a male homosexual head of state with his gay lover should not have occurred.

Waiting to hear from Pope Francis

Other than having greeted Pope Francis at a meeting of the College of Cardinals and the Roman Curia for Christmas, Cardinal Burke said he has not spoken with the pope since meeting with him in November. Ariza clarified with the cardinal that he has asked the pope for an audience.

'But I have not spoken to him, and he has not granted me an audience,' said Cardinal Burke. 'So I don't know what he is thinking.'

Some view the pope's actions against Cardinal Burke in the Knights of Malta controversy as retribution for the dubia submitted to Francis regarding his Amoris Laetitia document.

Cardinal Burke reaffirmed for Ariza how it was necessary to make the dubia public because of the rampant confusion in the Church about fundamental questions with regard to intrinsic moral evil, the right disposition to receive Holy Communion, and the indissolubility of marriage.

Cardinal Burke mentioned that there are additional cardinals who support the dubia beyond the four cardinals who signed it.

It is not clear whether there will be a formal public correction to Pope Francis, he said. Normally, before taking that step, the cardinals who brought the dubia would approach the pope again to tell him personally that the matter is so grave that they as Church leaders must correct it.

'And I trust that the Holy Father will respond at that moment,' continued Cardinal Burke.

The matter must be approached with 'great respect and delicacy,' he told Ariza. 'And I do not want to suggest a date that would in any way affect negatively the handling of the matter or would show disrespect to anyone involved.'












[LSN/InfoVaticano] 2182.1

CF News / Vatican watch

Familiaris Consortio and Humanae Vitae restored

Card MullerTHE CATHOLIC CHURCH under Pope Francis has not changed her teaching on the immorality of cohabitation, adultery, divorce, or homosexuality, and she has certainly not opened the door for civilly-divorced-and-remarried Catholics to receive Holy Communion, said Cardinal Gerhard Muller in a new book-length interview published April 1.

Muller, the head of the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, said in the 240-page book, titled The Cardinal Muller Report, that Catholics must not fear 'confessing our faith.' The book was dedicated to Pope Francis.

In the interview, conducted about a year ago but only made available in English this month, the Cardinal said that it would be a 'false concept of God' as well as a 'false interpretation of mercy' to allow civilly-divorced-and-remarried Catholics living in adultery to receive Communion.

In 'immoral relationships' such as cohabitation and divorce-and-remarriage, he said, 'the seeds of the Word [of God] do not abide in [these] sinful situations.' In these situations, he added, 'despite the fact that it might seem otherwise, there can be no authentic dynamic of love but, rather, only a serious obstacle to the ability to grow in humanity.'

Muller said that the 2015 Synod on the Family insisted that 'given the intimate nature of the sacraments and the character of the indissolubility of marriage as divine law, it is not possible to admit to the Eucharist divorced people who have remarried civilly.'

Any pastoral accompaniment for those in irregular situations, he said, must 'always be rendered according to conscience and the teaching of the Church.'

'Saint John Paul II warned that being pastoral does not mean a compromise between the doctrine of the Church and the complex reality of daily life but, rather, leading individuals to Christ,' he added.

The Cardinal said that Pope Francis' much used statement that the Eucharist 'is not a prize for the perfect but a powerful medicine and nourishment for the weak,' is often mistakenly interpreted. He maintained that it does not mean that 'anyone can come to receive the Eucharist even though he is not in grace and does not have the required state of mind, just because it is nourishment for the weak.'

He noted that access to the Eucharist comes with necessary preconditions.

'Certainly access to Eucharistic Communion presupposes a life of grace, presupposes communion in the Body of the Church, and also presupposes a life ordered in conformity with the Body of the Church so as to be able to say the 'Amen' to which you referred before. Saint Paul insists that whoever 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,' he said.

To go to Communion without being in the required state of grace and with the assumption that God 'grants me privately the forgiveness of my sins' is a 'false concept of God; this is tempting him,' he added.

Muller said that Pope Francis' famous statement 'Who am I to judge,' often repeated by those who are hoping to see a 'change of direction' in the Church on homosexuality, does not mean the Church has suddenly become 'less dogmatic' on the issue.

'The concept of the intrinsic disorder of homosexual acts, because they do not proceed from a genuine emotional and sexual complementarity, stems from Holy Scripture,' he said.

And yes, he said, the Church 'with her Magisterium, has the power to judge the morality of specific situations,' such as sexual acts.

'This is an undisputed truth: God is the only judge who will judge us at the end times, and the pope and bishops have the obligation to present the revealed criteria for this Last Judgment which our moral conscience already anticipates. The Church has always said 'this is true, this is false,' and no one can live by his own subjectivist interpretation of God's commandments,' he added.

The Cardinal warned against 'new anti-family ideologies' that have arisen that 'attempt to redefine what is human, based, not on the truth, but on individual feeling and social utility.'

He specifically mentioned the danger of 'gender ideology.'

This ideology, he said, 'does not respect the reality of things and that ultimately denies the Creator and man's condition of having been created.' It 'affirms that man's identity does not depend on nature, with a body that is limited to a masculine or feminine sexuality' and 'makes use of medical advances to use the body as an area of experimentation, viewing a change in sex as a simply biological operation,' he said.

Muller said that lurking behind gender ideology is the manmade 'idol' of 'our own liberty, of our own wish, proposing to be, ourselves, those who determine what is good and bad.'

'Was this not the substance of the first temptation of Adam and Eve? Is it possible to build a society without respecting the fundamental difference between a man and a woman?' he added.

The Cardinal concluded his interview by proposing how the Church can help modern man find 'peace and reconciliation with himself.'

'There is only one way open to us: compunction or repentance for the evil committed. The Cross of Christ is the only path. There is no other path for evangelization today,' he said.

Other topics Cardinal Muller addressed in his interview (paragraphs not necessarily linked in original):

Islamist terrorism

More deeply, I believe that we have here a path out of the phenomenon of Islamist terrorism: we should not favor a separation of society as a whole from God, but should instead, on the contrary, harness the power of religion as a social relationship that reinforces living together, peace, and therefore progress for all.

Priestly celibacy

Priestly celibacy, which is being challenged so much today in certain ecclesiastical quarters, is rooted in the Gospels as an evangelical counsel, but it also is intrinsically related to the ministry of the priest.

We cannot break unilaterally from the series of declarations by a long line of popes and councils and from the steady and continuous adherence of the Catholic Church to the image of the celibate priest.

Women priests

This is not a legitimate issue, because it touches on a subject that has already been decided. Pope Francis has made it clear, as have his predecessors: in that connection, I remember that Saint John Paul II, in number 4 of his Apostolic Exhortation Ordinatio sacerdotalis of 1994, reinforced with the use of the royal 'we' ('declaramus'), the only document in which that pope uses that verb form, that it is a definitive doctrine infallibly taught by the ordinary universal Magisterium (CIC, can. 750 §2) that the Church does not have the authority to admit women to the priesthood.

It is the province of the Magisterium to decide if a question is dogmatic or disciplinary: in this case, the Church has already decided that this proposition is dogmatic and that, because it is divine law, it cannot be changed or even reviewed.

[Male-only priesthood] can be supported with many reasons, such as fidelity to the example of the Lord or the normative nature of the centuries-old practice of the Church.

I would not want to leave it unsaid that there is an essential equality between male and female, in nature and also in the relationship with God through grace (see Gal 3:28). The priesthood, however, implies a sacramental symbolism of the relationship of Christ, the Head or husband, with the Church, the Body or wife.

Married priesthood (viri probati)

A vocational crisis cannot be dealt with by addressing only its symptoms and not its real cause. What has given rise to the vocational crisis? I believe I can say that it is a matter of a crisis of faith, which in turn is a result of a long secularization that has dried up what was once fertile soil and has scorched the earth.

Are we aware that a massive inclusion of viri probati, which is especially foreseeable in countries where Catholicism is expanding and there are not many priests, would unquestionably mean the end of celibacy?

We cannot solve such big problems through compromise solutions or half-measures.

Catholics and Protestants

Strictly speaking, we Catholics do not have any reason to celebrate October 31, 1517, the date that is considered to be the beginning of the Reformation that led to the rupture in Western Christianity. If we are convinced that revelation has been preserved, in its entirety and unchanged, through Scripture and tradition in the doctrine of the faith, in the sacraments, in the hierarchic constitution of the Church by divine right, founded on the sacrament of holy orders, we cannot accept that there are sufficient reasons to separate from the Church.

Indissolubility of Sacramental marriage

We therefore have to take as our premise that she will never have the authority to dispense with the divine commandments, in the name of a supposedly compassionate and loving vision, in situations that do not conform to the Word of God. She cannot, for example, grant a second marriage while a first spouse of a sacramental marriage, consummated or unconsummated, is still alive. In certain difficult family situations, the Church can allow an interruption of marital life together, but she cannot break the sacramental bond.

Population control

Anti-birth policies are nothing but another ideological proposal that hides the unmentionable: the attempt to maintain, unfairly, the privileged status of a few, at the expense of blocking access to wealth by broad layers of the population. Actually, as we have just explained, we know that hunger in the world is not at all the consequence of overpopulation and that abortion does nothing to contain population growth, serving only to satisfy our hedonism.

Based on catastrophic predictions that have never been borne out, rooted in neo-Malthusianism (for example, Paul Ehrlich, The Population Bomb), some international organizations have recently exacerbated the problem, proposing a 'responsible parenthood' that implies reducing the birthrate, by whatever means, for a better distribution and optimal use of resources.

In that regard, we must clearly denounce as having no scientific basis the claim that the alleged current population explosion has caused global economic impoverishment: if two thousand years ago the world had an estimated two hundred million inhabitants, and it took fifteen centuries to double that population, in the last two centuries the world population has multiplied by six, surpassing six billion inhabitants, while real GDP worldwide has multiplied by fifty. It is no surprise, then, that the anti-birth theories based on the myth of population's geometric progression while the means of subsistence have grown only in arithmetic progression (Thomas Robert Malthus, An Essay on the Principle of Population), should be more and more discredited among the scientific community, which now leans more and more to the conclusion that people, when they are seen clearly, unclouded by erroneous ideological distortions (Friedrich Hayek, The Fatal Conceit), end up resolving the problems themselves thanks to human creativity.

Anti-birth policies are nothing but another ideological proposal that hides the unmentionable: the attempt to maintain, unfairly, the privileged status of a few, at the expense of blocking access to wealth by broad layers of the population. Actually, as we have just explained, we know that hunger in the world is not at all the consequence of overpopulation and that abortion does nothing to contain population growth, serving only to satisfy our hedonism.

Large families

Large families are an expression of the superabundance of love. They are a great yes to life. Several children are a great gift not only for their parents but also for the Church and all of society. Lumen gentium (no. 11) speaks of Christian parents as those who in a certain way bestow their children on the Church.

Humanae Vitae / Contraception

The encyclical Humanae vitae had many difficulties in its reception, as much for its underlying anthropology- especially regarding its proposal on the experience of love and sexuality-as for its clarification of the intrinsic morality of the methods of birth control. The indiscriminate attacks to which it was subject from the outset caused it to be marginalized and forgotten, despite its richness in inventively and prophetically posing the reality of love, of marriage, and of the beauty of married life.

Today, almost fifty years later, we see much more clearly that Pope Paul VI was right in everything that at the time he had the courage to make clear. Ahead of his time, this humanist pope had the courage to offer this document to the Church and to society, denouncing with an accurate analysis what ended up happening. Are we not, indeed, witnessing a pandemic of divorce? Have we not, just as unmistakably, turned sex into a trivial reality devoid of feeling? And is it not as patently clear today that Western societies, having radically separated the unitive function from that of procreation, have a true problem in their birthrate? The situation is one of authentic demographic involution that carries grave consequences, considered both synchronically and diachronically, if we examine the present moment and the foreseeable possibilities for the near future.

But the problem, I repeat, is not only demographic but rather, above all, one of meaning: I mean the question of the identity and vitality of marriage. Perhaps five decades ago it was not so evident, since the institution of the family was still strong: in fact, it was not yet foreseen that there could be so many broken marriages in our own families, with so many children who could not enjoy a father and a mother living under the same roof or so many adolescents initiating themselves at a young age in a life of frivolous sex. Yes, we are much more able today to grasp the negative impact of a mistaken conception of sex, valued only for the gratification it brings and not for the gift that it makes possible. We understand better today the perverse effects of artificial birth control, as a simple means toward the worry-free enjoyment of sex, without wanting to see the consequences for physical, psychological, and spiritual health.

Moral problems demand moral solutions. We must humanize sexuality, which is at the service of the personal union of spouses, making it possible for each to be a gift to the other and not only a means for satisfying their desire. We must explain to new spouses the goodness, for example, of natural methods that, based on abstinence from sexual contact during the fertile days, foster dialogue, mutual respect, and understanding in the couple.


In the East, for example, after the separation of those ecclesial communities from the Cathedra Petri, an increasingly liberal praxis or 'right of consuetudinary origin' was accepted, under which-after a period of penitence-a second marriage was allowed, even in the case of a valid first marriage and with the first spouse still living, and participation in Communion, as a life preserver that enabled 'salvation', was allowed at the same time. As a result, the Orthodox Churches, by the principle of oikonomia or pastoral condescension (called the 'pastoral approach of tolerance, clemency, and indulgence') went on to justify a multitude of reasons for divorce. Considering the words of Jesus concerning the indissolubility of marriage, I do not see how this practice can be derived from the will of God.

The Church lives by God's truth and therefore is responsible to man for it. She bears witness to it with humility and with the strength that the Lord gives her, without allowing herself to be cowed by the world's accusations. On marriage and the sexual morality that she has received from God, she must remember the substantial unity of man in spirit, soul, and body, his relationship with the community, the truth about the totality of the gift required for sexuality to be human, the intergenerational responsibility, the identity as man and woman in their essential mutual reference.

These principles are not just an ideal, because love is never just an ideal, or even just a beautiful concept; it is instead a concrete dedication of life and the deep-rooted availability that opens the horizon of hope in individuals' daily lives.

All of us know that we are sinners and that it is in the sphere of sexuality that human weakness obviously manifests itself. But this does not mean that the sexual morality taught by the Church is an unattainable ideal. The biggest scandal of which the Church is capable is not that there should be sinners in her, but that she should stop explicitly calling the difference between good and evil by name and that she should relativize that difference, stop explaining what sin is, or try to justify it by a supposedly greater closeness to and mercy toward the sinner.

We know, for example, that marriage is indissoluble, that the union of a man and a woman has 'forever' as an essential and unforsakable characteristic, and that spousal love is therefore so deep and so beautiful. So in a traumatic situation where a woman has been abandoned by her husband, in the context of a sacramental marriage, whether consummated or unconsummated, it would not be permissible to say 'let us be merciful and allow her to contract a new marriage with another man.' This would not be true mercy but, instead, a failure to take her personal travail seriously, besides favoring sin and mocking God and his commandments.

Sex-education / parental rights

Throughout my years of priestly ministry, however, I have been able to see that what young people want is precisely to discover the meaning of sex, its relationship to love, its opening to the future. For that reason, emotional-sexual education is a duty that begins at the first moment of the child's life and that, unavoidably and definitively, falls on the parents. They can be supported, but they cannot be supplanted, by school and other educational institutions like the parish.


I said before that mercy cannot consist in relativizing God's commandments but must, rather, make possible the encounter with God's love, which renews and changes our life. Mercy consists in recognizing that the truth, the truth of love, will make us free (see Jn 8:32).

All of us know that we are sinners and that it is in the sphere of sexuality that human weakness obviously manifests itself. But this does not mean that the sexual morality taught by the Church is an unattainable ideal. The biggest scandal of which the Church is capable is not that there should be sinners in her, but that she should stop explicitly calling the difference between good and evil by name and that she should relativize that difference, stop explaining what sin is, or try to justify it by a supposedly greater close- ness to and mercy toward the sinner.

I think, first, that sacramental confession is the most paradigmatic expression of God's mercy.


Hell, certainly, is not just a rhetorical and pedagogical tool with which to frighten sinners: it is a real possibility.

The Cross

How can modern man find peace and reconciliation with himself ? There is only one way open to us: compunction or repentance for the evil committed. The Cross of Christ is the only path. There is no other path for evangelization today.

[LSN] 2182.2

CF News / Vatican watch

Archbishop Gänswein: Benedict XVI won’t enter Amoris Laetitia controversy - a devastating 'no comment'

CHRISTOPHER A. FERRARA writes for Fatima Perspectives: 'Ever since Benedict XVI’s mysterious abdication from the papal throne — for which the faithful have received shifting and unsatisfactory explanations — we have heard again and again from Benedict’s personal secretary, Archbishop Georg Gänswein, how “serene” and “peaceful” Benedict is concerning his unprecedented decision. So serene and peaceful, according to Gänswein, that he could not care less about the Bergoglian tumult that has divided the Church as she has never been divided before — concerning a matter of the moral law as basic as the Sixth Commandment.

As the redoubtable Edward Pentin reports, in an interview with La Repubblica — the umpteenth attempt to assure us that nothing at all was amiss with Benedict’s abdication — Gänswein reveals that Benedict “received a copy of Amoris Laetitia [AL] personally from Francis, in white and autographed” and that “He read it thoroughly, but he does not comment in any way on the content.”

No comment? That response could not be more telling. If the one and only “Pope Emeritus” in Church history — a novelty Benedict himself invented — will not defend the orthodoxy of AL, his unwillingness to do so cannot be seen as anything but an implicit recognition that its content, particularly the disastrous Chapter 8, is indefensible. Otherwise, why would the “Pope Emeritus” not simply declare that the teaching of his own successor is doctrinally sound? Answer: he will not declare it because he knows he cannot do so honestly.

Instead, just as Benedict retreated from the Chair of Peter so has he retreated from the chaos that followed in the wake of his abdication. As Pentin recounts, Gänswein “said the former pope is well aware of contrasts [!] made between him and Pope Francis, but does not let them provoke him, and has ‘no intention of entering controversies that feel far away from him.’”

Far away from him? But Benedict is living in what he himself called “the enclosure of Saint Peter” in his last General Audience on February 27, 2013, the day before his renunciation of “the ministry of the Bishop of Rome” became effective. So, according to Gänswein at least, Benedict has not only renounced the papacy but has also renounced any concern about the state of the Church under Francis! Instead, Gänswein is happy to report (as summarized by Pentin) that “the Pope Emeritus continues to watch the television news at 8pm, receives L’Osservatore Romano, and Avvenire, the Italian bishops’ newspaper, as well as Vatican press releases.”

So, if we are to believe Gänswein, Benedict is more interested in the evening news than in the ecclesial chaos Pope Bergoglio has provoked, which is “very far” from him, even though he lives in the Vatican as Bergoglio’s neighbor, whom Bergoglio trots out for public display on certain occasions.

Regarding that chaos, Gänswein will say only that “Certainly he [Benedict] is taking note of the discussion and the different forms in which it has been implemented.” Different forms? We now have a situation in which the reception of Holy Communion by people engaging in adulterous sexual relations they call “second marriages” is still considered a mortal sin in some dioceses, but is now characterized as “mercy” in others, thanks entirely to AL. But as Gänswein would have it, this disaster is “very far” from the Pope Emeritus, who nevertheless remains attentive to “the evening news at 8 pm.”

I’m not buying it. Something very fishy is going on with these repeated declarations of what Benedict thinks and feels while Benedict himself never speaks directly to the public. I detect the same fishy smell surrounding the whole event of Benedict’s abdication. Or rather, the smell of sulfur.

I believe we haven’t been told half the story of why we have a Pope Emeritus who abruptly abandoned his office only to be succeeded by a Pope for whom the term “Vicar of Christ” seems — let us be honest about this — spectacularly inapt. I suspect the full story is to be found in the Virgin’s explanation of the apocalyptic vision of the “Bishop dressed in White,” an explanation that surely exists and just as surely has been suppressed by those whose epochal malfeasance the Third Secret very probably indicts.

[FP] 2182.2a

CF News / Vatican watch

Vatican sex-education program condemned as 'gross perversion'

THE KIGHTS OF COLUMBUS Fr. Kenneth Walker Council has released a statement blasting the Vatican's sex education program, claiming it violates Church teaching and harms children.

Vancouver's Council 16076 performed a thorough evaluation of The Meeting Point: Project for Affective and Sexual Formation, launched during World Youth Day 2016 by the Vatican's Pontifical Council for Life. Comparing Catholic standards on the need for sex education, the role of parents and the types materials used, the council concludes, 'We reject this collection of documents in toto and vociferously condemn the material it contains.'

We reject this collection of documents in toto and vociferously condemn the material it contains.Tweet

'This document would be disturbing as sexual education in any context, but the fact that it is the product of a Vatican Pontifical Council is scandalous,' the evaluation begins. 'The document communicates sensitive material through the use of graphic and immoral text and images (taken from secular, 'teen' culture), with the idea that this will resonate more effectively with young people.'



The Vatican program originally met with a firestorm of criticism from Catholic groups when it was first released. '[W]e find that The Meeting Point makes frequent use of sexually explicit and morally objectionable images,' said the Cardinal Newman Society last year, 'fails to clearly identify and explain Catholic doctrine from elemental sources, including the Ten Commandments and the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and compromises the innocence and integrity of young people under the rightful care of their parents.'

'I find it monstrous that an official arm of the Church would not only create a sexual education program for teens but one that bypasses parents as the primary educator of their children,' commented Dr Thomas Ward, founder and president of the National Association of Catholic Families and a Member of the Pontifical Academy for Life.

It is entirely inappropriate for children to be exposed to explicit sexual imagery, such as that contained in this course.Tweet

'It is entirely inappropriate for children to be exposed to explicit sexual imagery, such as that contained in this course, and to be encouraged to discuss sexual matters in a classroom environment,' said John Smeaton, Chief Executive of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children and co-founder of Voice of the Family.

There are several instances where the program deviates from Church teaching, with no mention of the Sixth and Ninth Commandments or the need for the sacrament of confession after committing sins of impurity. The Meeting Point also downplays the serious nature of sexual sins. The Knights of Columbus council noted that 'abortion is not spoken of as gravely evil, but only that it causes 'strong psychological damage.''

The Knights of Columbus council also outlines 13 instances of sexually explicit content. 'The images described hereafter are inappropriate for adults, let alone children,' the evaluation notes. 'However, given that these are specifically designed for children, we condemn this gross perversion in the strongest possible terms.'

Another troubling aspect of the program is that the role parents play in their children's formation is downplayed. Though not outright excluding parents, in 40 instances The Meeting Point encourages students to get input from teachers, while only once are youth encouraged to talk with parents.

The Pontifical Council for Life is overseen by Abp. Vincenzo Paglia of the diocese Terni-Narni-Amelia in Italy, recently criticized for his praise of radical atheist politician Marco Pannella, who supported legalizing prostitution and sympathized with pedophiles. Recently, Paglia received condemnation for commissioning a homo-erotic mural featuring Our Lord and the Paglia himself in the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, Italy. A petition for his resignation has since been circulated online.

Despite the widespread objections from parents and pro-family groups, the Vatican launched the website for the The Meeting Point in December 2016. The website describes the program thus: 'An evolving project. The program available to you is the first version; improvements and modifications may be introduced.'

They are looking for input and have included a place for comments and suggestions for modifications on their homepage.

[CMTV] 2182.3

CF News / Vatican watch

Vatican names pro-LGBT Father James Martin as communications consultant

THE VATICAN has selected a prominent LGBT-pushing Jesuit priest to be a consultor to its communications office.

The priest selected is Father James Martin, a progressive Jesuit who's the editor-at-large of America magazine. Martin's new book is titled Building A Bridge: How the Catholic Church and the LGBT Community Can Enter into a Relationship of Respect, Compassion, and Sensitivity.

In it, Martin argues Church employees shouldn't be fired for going against Church teaching by endorsing homosexual acts or openly professing homosexuality because "such firings selectively target LGBT people." He also says "church leaders should address LGBT people by the term they call themselves."

Several Pope Francis-appointed cardinals endorsed the book along with far-left dissident nun Sister Jeannine Gramick, who said it "shows how the Rosary and the rainbow flag can peacefully meet each other."

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has banned Gramick from "any pastoral work involving homosexual persons."

In 2016, Martin accepted an award from New Ways Ministry, a pro-gay group that has been condemned by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and the U.S. Catholic bishops. New Ways Ministry describes itself as "a gay-positive ministry of advocacy and justice for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Catholics, and reconciliation within the larger Christian and civil communities." Part of its mission is to "identify and combat personal and structural homophobia," and "work for changes in attitudes and promote the acceptance of LGBT people as full and equal members of church and society."

During his speech to the gay activists at the New Ways Ministry event, Martin said the Church should embrace homosexuality’s "special gifts," praised a 17-year-old for “coming out” on a retreat, and equated sexual proclivities with race and age. He said the Church should "lay to rest" its language about the “objectively disordered” nature of homosexual inclinations and acts.

The Catechism’s language is “needlessly cruel” and “needlessly hurtful,” he claimed, because it says “that one of the deepest parts of a person — the part that gives and receives love — is ‘disordered’ in itself.”

Many Catholics who feel same-sex attraction yet follow the Church's teachings disagree with Martin and this reductionist approach.

After President Trump rescinded the Obama transgender bathroom order, Martin tweeted to over 100,000 followers his support of boys using the girls' bathroom and vice versa.

Martin told America he's "very happy to serve the church in this new way," and that he learned the news via Twitter.

The Vatican's Secretariat for Communications, the office Martin will be working with, runs the pope's official Twitter account, Vatican radio and TV, and the Holy See's website.

Michael Warsaw, EWTN's Chairman of the Board, was appointed as a consultor to the Secretariat for Communications. So were another Jesuit and Dominican priest, several other priests, and faculty of Pontifical universities.

Dr. Dino Cataldo Dell'Accio, Chief ICT Auditor at the United Nations, will also be a consultor to the Vatican communications office.


Comment : Why the Vatican Sounds Increasingly Anglican

FR. DWIGHT LONGNECKER comments for Patheos : 'When I was a priest in the Church of England the authorities introduced a delightfully Anglican phrase, “two integrities”. We were all supposed to embrace “two integrities”. So when it came to the issue of women’s ordination for example, we were supposed to “listen carefully and dialogue with those with whom we disagreed.” We were supposed to “accompany them” as they moved from one position to another.

Those who were opposed to women’s ordination were supposed to stand by, observe, welcome and embrace those who were in favor of women’s ordination and those who were in favor of women’s ordination were supposed to be respectful and honor their “weaker brothers and sisters” who had not yet seen the light of the progressive dawn. We were to “walk together in the creative and often difficult tension that comes with disagreement among God’s people.”

This “creative tension” was not only in matters of sexual morality like women’s ordination, same sex marriage etc. The Evangelical Protestant Anglicans were supposed to co-exist with the Anglo Catholics and both were expected to co exist with the ruling liberal establishment. This idea of “two integrities” (in fact there were many more than two “integrities”) was part of the Anglican genetic code. Ever since the Elizabethan Settlement in 1559, the Anglicans had agreed to disagree. It didn’t really matter what you believed as long as you were loyal to the crown and as long as you were NOT Catholic.

Two integrities existed within doctrinal matters as well and was illustrated by the fact that the Evangelical Protestants and the Anglo Catholics would take turns as Archbishop of Canterbury. Of course no raving, red blooded Protestant would ever be selected and no true smells and bells Anglo Catholic would be selected. It would always be a good, solid, middle of the road Evangelical like Donald Coggan or Justin Welby or an intellectual, liberal “Catholic” like Robert Runcie or Rowan Williams. (It is true that the happy clappy lightweight George Carey doesn’t fit this model, but then the story was that he was “Thatcher’s Revenge” but that tale can be told another day.)

I say all that to say this: the present trend at the Vatican seems to be running along the same lines. After the fairly conservative papacy of Benedict XVI we have Francis–who is popularly perceived as a progressive. When his reign is complete will we see the pendulum swing back with the election of someone like Cardinal Sarah? When he is finished will we see a “progressive” elected? Does the Vatican hope to hold Catholicism together with the same sort of “creative tension” that the Anglicans have engineered so ingeniously?

Is this sense of “balance” also being seen in other Vatican appointments?

The recent selection  of Fr James Martin and Michael Warsaw to be part of the Vatican communications team would indicate that this is the case. The Jesuit Fr Martin is a well known progressive. I might say he is an outspoken progressive, but he is too smart to be outspoken.

Instead he shrouds his progressive agenda with sentimental spirituality and intentional ambiguity.

If you would like to learn about Fr Martin’s advocacy of the LGBT agenda read this article at Crisis.

On the other hand we have the appointment of Michael Warsaw–head of the EWTN media empire. Folks at EWTN and National Catholic Register would be respectful to members of the LGBT community, but they  would certainly not celebrate the gay culture.

If you were trying to choose two poster boys for the two different American Catholic Churches you could hardly do better than Mr.Warsaw and Fr.Martin. Were they chosen to bring “balance” to the team? As the pope embraces Justin Welby did he also embrace the Anglican idea of “two integrities”?

Whether the Vatican is becoming increasingly Anglican and wishy washy is a point for debate–my main observation is that this idea of “two integrities” is based on a relativist foundation of sand.

Increasingly in Catholic church circles we find the idea that “you have your truth” and “I have my truth” and the important thing is that we not only tolerate one another, but listen and dialogue together.

This attempt to have “two integrities” and to “foster dialogue” is always promoted by the progressives because it springs from and reinforces their relativist philosophy.

Furthermore, as recent events in the Church of England have shown, once they have won the battle any talk of toleration and dialogue is out the window. When an Anglican bishop (Rt Rev Philip North) who doesn’t agree with women’s ordination was promoted, a media campaign led by liberals pressured him to withdraw his acceptance.

So much for two integrities.

We should take this as a word of warning. Progressives are crybaby bullies. They have learned how to pout and play the victim. Once they have got sympathy they resort to name calling. Their enemies are “cruel” and “insensitive”, “harsh and legalistic”.

Then they call for dialogue which means, “I am going to lecture you, hector you, bully you and exhaust you with my endless arguments and threats until you give in.” All of this is done under the cover of “sincere language”. Progressives are never angry. They are “saddened”. They are never aggressive. They are “courageous”. They are never manipulative. They are “careful in how they express themselves.”

If you appease the progressives they win, and they will go on from that battle to the next one. Understand: they must always have a battle, for only when they have a battle can they see themselves as the righteous warriors they believe themselves to be. Their identity is linked with this. Without a war and without an enemy they are nothing. They must have the next battle lined up.

Be prepared.



[LSN] 2182.3A

CF News / World news

Msgr. Ignacio Barreiro, R.I.P.

Fr BarrieroVOICE OF THE FAMILY write : 'It is with great sadness that we have received news of the death of Monsignor Ignacio Barreiro-Carambula. Monsignor died at 2:00am on the morning of Holy Thursday, after many years of courageous struggle against cancer. He had long fought on the front line of the battle for the protection of human life and the family, serving for many years as Director of the Rome office of Human Life International. Monsignor Barreiro was a close friend and strong supporter of the work of Voice of the Family, and we are deeply grateful for the wisdom he shared with us so freely and, most of all, for the unfailing support of his prayers.

John Smeaton, Chief Executive of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, and co-founder of Voice of the Family, has shared the following reflection:

“I am deeply saddened to hear of the death of Monsignor Barreiro – one of the greatest servants of the Catholic Church and of the pro-life movement I have been privileged to know, as well as a wonderful personal friend.

“In his role as director of the Rome office of Human Life International, amidst countless other responsibilities as a priest and pro-life leader, he was an adviser and friend to the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children of the highest quality. His vast experience, his erudition, his unfailing charity, self-deprecating good humour, were always present in all his communications on both a professional and personal level. Above all, his priestly pastoral charity was always at the service of others – demonstrated by the deep interest he showed in all the problems and challenges which were brought to his door. In the days before his death SPUC's International Director had the privilege of spending time with him and of conveying to him our deep gratitude and promise of prayers.

“May Monsignor Barreiro, the great apostle of Christ and the great champion of unborn children and the family, res
t in peace!”


[VOTF] 2182.3b






















Humanae Vitae


A sceptical view of abortion


PETER J. KREEFT, PhD speaks on the problem of abortion



[Theology, Philosophy of abortion ] 2182.4



























News from around the world


Australia Teenagers becoming transgender because it is trendy

CHILDREN think it's cool to be transgender and they're trying the self-identity out in droves, claims an Australian psychiatrist.

Psychiatrist Stephen Stathis, who runs the gender clinic at Brisbane's Lady Cilento Children's Hospital and is responsible for diagnosing gender dysphoria, reports that “many” youth are “trying out being transgender” in order to stand out.

Apparently, declaring oneself “transgender” is trendy. “One said to me, ‘Doctor Steve ... I want to be transgender, it’s the new black,’” Stathis related.

Dr. Stathis also says many girls want to be transgender as a result of sexual abuse. “The girls say, ‘If only I had been a male, I wouldn’t have been abused,’” Stathis explained.

Some are so convinced their life would be better if they were the opposite sex that they do something drastic or permanent. “I’ve seen genital mutilation, some who try to cut off their penis,’’ Stathis said.

Australia began a new, government-funded "gender service" for children at Lady Cilento Hospital, which expects to assess 180 youth this year. The goal of most of the gender-confused children is to get puberty blocking chemicals and/or sex change hormone treatment.  

Most patients, however, are simply going through a common phase of adolescent life, Stathis explained.

Despite intense feelings of gender dysphoria, by the time boys and girls reach puberty, most identify as their birth gender. By early adulthood, they have outgrown their previous feelings of gender confusion.

Because gender confusion is usually temporary and hormone blockers can cause permanent damage, Stathis requires his young patients to go through intense mental-health screenings. The pro-transgender pediatrician also insists that teens "socially transition" successfully before he proscribes sex-change drugs.

Online response to Dr. Stathis' testimony was overwhelmingly against viewing transgenderism as healthy. "People should get it once and for all that transgender is a mental illness," Jack posted. "You can put a rubber glove on a dog's head and attach a feather-duster to its tail, but that don't make it a chicken."

Helen noted that it "is pretty normal for many kids to hate their bodies. And eventually we get over it."


Update : UK schools told they should give transgender
pupils a cake to celebrate their transition

THE DAILY TELEGRAPH reports : 'Schools have been told they should give transgender pupils a cake to celebrate their “transition”, as experts warn that teachers must be trained to deal with an “explosion” of students who no longer identity with their sex.

Delegates at the Association of Teachers and Lecturers conference this week were told that changing attitudes have resulted in a "huge" surge in the number of transgender and non-binary people coming forward.

“Five years ago, hardly anyone in school or in university would come across a young trans person, but it’s changed substantially,” said Terry Reed, a campaigner for transsexual rights who co-founded the Gender Identity Research and Education Society (GIRES).

She told teachers that they must send an “upbeat” message to pupils who no longer identify with their birth sex. She advised that schools should mark the transitioning of a transgender pupil with “celebratory” events such as marking the announcement of their new name with a cake.

“It doesn’t have to be cake, it’s just making it an upbeat, ‘we’re absolutely behind you and with you’ message immediately, so that it doesn’t get downbeat,” she added.

Ms Reed, who set up GIRES with his husband Bernard after fighting a landmark legal battle for their transsexual daughter, said that teachers should introduce transitioning pupils to their new toilet facilities.  

“If there are still boys’ and girls’ toilets and she’s going to be using the girls’ toilets, it’s quite helpful just to familiarise her before that actually happens," she said.

"Take her in when there’s nobody else there and let her look around so that she feels familiar with the surrounding.” Ms Reed said the parents of other children are far more likely to  cause difficulties than the pupils themselves.

“If other parents are going to be told, this is a much trickier issue  – parents are always the worry aren’t they? The kids are okay.”  

“If they’re going to be told again it needs to be done in a positive,  well informed way.”  She said that teachers should "dissuade parents that this is not catching".

"It is true that sometimes the children will copy the other [trans]  children for fun, just to experiment a bit, but if they’re not trans  it’s not going to stick," she said. Ms Reed urged schools to avoid separating boys and girls where  possible to achieve “gender blurring”.

In sport, she said “no  distinctions are necessary” before puberty, and schools should take a “common sense” approach after this stage based on “fairness and risk”. She also advised schools to “think about how to put transgender”  on the curriculum, and make clear there is “zero tolerance for transphobic behaviour”.



[LSN/ DT] 2182.4a

CF News / World news

Belgium Catholic university sacks lecturer who called abortion 'the murder of an innocent

SANDRO MAGISTER blogs : 'There has been an uproar over events at the Catholic University of Louvain, which has suspended and finally dismissed one of its philosophy professors, Stéphane Mercier, for having written in a note for his students that 'abortion is the murder of an innocent person.'

The matter is not surprising, seeing the track record of this university which is nonetheless endowed with the title of 'Catholic,' the hospital of which has for some time been openly practicing euthanasia procedures, 'from 12 to 15 per year,' according to the rector of the twin Flemish university of Leuven, the canonist Rik Torfs.

But what is more striking is the substantial approval that the bishops of Belgium have given to the removal of Professor Mercier.

Also startling is the reticence of the newspaper of the Italian episcopal conference, 'Avvenire,' which in giving a concise account of the affair - the more complete documentation of which has appeared on the blog Rossoporpora - avoided taking a position, limiting itself to this: 'It remains to be understood what is the meaning of what has been stated by the spokesman of the Belgian episcopal conference.'

Not to mention the silence of Pope Francis, who however has not failed on other occasions to call abortion a 'horrendous crime.'

There is in effect a significant discrepancy between how the papacy and much of the Catholic hierarchy speak out on abortion and euthanasia today and how they used to speak out.

What during the previous pontificates were 'non-negotiable principles' have now become realities to be 'discerned' and 'mediated' both in politics and in pastoral practice.

The Italian episcopal conference and its newspaper 'Avvenire' are perfect examples of this mutation.

In February of 2009, when Italy was rocked by the case of Eluana Englaro, the young woman in a vegetative state whose life was taken when her nutrition and hydration were cut off, the current editor of 'Avvenire,' Marco Tarquinio, wrote a fiery editorial, calling that act a 'killing'.

While today the climate is different. It should be enough to look at the courteous detachment with which 'Avvenire' refers to and comments on the law currently under discussion in Italy on advance healthcare directives, abbreviated DAT, the indications to be given to physicians beforehand on what lifesaving measures to take or not take in case of loss of consciousness.

One glaring example of this change of course is given by Professor Francesco D'Agostino, professor of the philosophy of law at the University of Roma Tor Vergata and at the Pontifical Lateran University, president of the Union of Italian Catholic Journalists, honorary president of the Italian national bioethics committee, member of the pontifical academy for life, editorialist for 'Avvenire,' in short, a historic point of reference for the Italian Church on questions of bioethics.

The letter reproduced below brings to light the contrast between what Professor D'Agostino writes today on advance healthcare directives and what he wrote on the same subject ten years ago.

The author of the letter is attorney Antonio Caragliu, of the Trieste bar, he too a member of the Union of Italian Catholic Jurists.

Two observations for better understanding his statements:

- the honorable Mario Marazziti, member of parliament since 2013 and president of the commission for social affairs that deals with the law on DAT, is a high-ranking member of the Community of Sant'Egidio, of which he was spokesman for many years;

- Bishop Nunzio Galantino, secretary general of the Italian episcopal conference and with a direct connection to Pope Francis, who personally placed him in this position in 2013 and confirmed him until 2019, is de facto the sole editor of 'Avvenire,' over which he has full and compelling control.

Here is the letter.

Dear Magister,

I find it interesting to compare the editorial by Francesco D'Agostino, published in 'Avvenire' on March 30, 2017, entitled 'On DAT a good law is needed. Not everything is euthanasia. History calls for courage,' with another editorial of his, published ten years before, also in 'Avvenire,' on April 6, 2007, eloquently entitled 'Like a booby trap into euthanasia.'

In 2007 D'Agostino maintained that advance healthcare directives could be considered justified and valid under certain conditions, among which he contemplated the following:

1. that the physician, the recipient of the advance directives, while having the duty to take them into adequate and serious consideration, should never be bound by law to observe them (just as the physician of a 'competent' patient can never be turned into a blind and passive executor of this person's requests);

2. that the refusal of treatment should not include artificial hydration and nutrition, since these should be considered 'pre-medical forms of vital support, endowed with the highest ethical and symbolic value, the suspension of which would in fact carry out a particularly insidious, because indirect, form of euthanasia.' In maintaining this, D'Agostino referred to the December 18, 2003 document of the national bioethics committee on 'Advance healthcare directives.'

Now, article 3 of the draft legislation currently under review by the commission for social affairs, headed by the honorable Mario Marazziti, does not respect either of these two conditions.

But in spite of this, Professor D'Agostino writes that 'the draft legislation is in no way aimed at introducing into Italy a system that would legalize euthanasia.' On the contrary, only 'a devious and malevolent interpreter' could reach such a conclusion, through a 'forced interpretation.'

There is no cause for amazement in the fact that many Catholic jurists have been surprised by the about-face of Professor D'Agostino, who heads their association.

It is an about-face that, in my view, could find an explanation in the position of substantial approval for the draft legislation currently under review that was expressed by the secretary general of the Italian episcopal conference, Nunzio Galantino, at the concluding press conference for the permanent council of the CEI on January 26, 2017.

On that occasion Galantino said:

'On the commission for social affairs, headed by the honorable Mario Marazziti, they are preparing a text that should be looked at with some interest. It has clearly emerged that all the power must not be attributed to the person, because self-determination dismantles the alliance between patient, physician, and relatives, and ends up being only a triumph of individualism.'

In short, for Galantino the text under review represents a good compromise. All of it in line with the now well-known policy of the secretary general of the CEI, careful to avoid any contrast between Catholics and the center-left government in office. As if to say that the action of Catholics in politics must be dictated by the views of the high churchman of the day, in this case him, in yet another form of clericalism.

Obviously the situation is unpleasant, from various points of view.

It is to be hoped that Professor D'Agostino, the one of 2007, who is a person of proven intelligence and competence, may sort things out with the Professor D'Agostino of 2017. And then, perhaps, face up to Bishop Galantino. Without seconding him.

Warm regards,

Antonio Caragliu

[Settimo Cielo] 2182.5

CF News / World news

Ireland Government vows to shut down pro-life clinic for telling truth about abortion

IRELAND'S health minister said he is determined to shut down a pro-life crisis pregnancy center run by Human Life International (HLI) after an undercover video sting by The Times of Ireland found pro-life counselors linking abortion to trauma, breast cancer, and long-term regret.

Health minister Simon Harris said the pregnancy center made him “sick to the pit of his stomach.”

“I have been very clear that I want to see these agencies shut down. It makes me sick to the pit of my stomach. It’s not even false or misleading, it’s just wrong and disgusting so-called information being presented to women in extremely vulnerable situations,” he told reporters April 6.

An undercover video sting published last week showed two counselors from HLI’s ‘Ask Majella’ crisis pregnancy center (CPC) telling a woman that fatal diseases could be transmitted during sexual intercourse, that abortion is linked to breast cancer, that contraception was dangerous, and that having an abortion was like “pushing your child in front of a moving car.” Another CPC not connected to HLI was also featured in the sting.

On its website, the CPC describes itself as a "Catholic support service" that offers help to women so that "there is no loss of or detriment to life."

The Times ran a number of hit pieces in a matter of hours expressing outrage that the “unregulated” and “rogue” CPCs were pressuring women to have their babies, giving them what they suggested was false information, and even offering free ultrasounds to try to persuade them to choose life.

The undercover video sting comes on the heels of similar tactics being used by U.S. pro-life advocates, but with the goal of exposing what goes on inside America’s main abortion provider Planned Parenthood. Undercover investigations from the Center for Medical Progress as well as Live Action exposed the abortion giant as being involved in the illegal selling of aborted baby body parts, sex-selective abortions, covering up the sexual abuse of minors, accepting racially-motivated donations, and disseminating medical misinformation.

The outrage expressed by The Times as well as the country’s health minister is interesting given that the majority of the claims made by the CPC councillors are, in fact, true.

Common sexually transmitted diseases that cause death if left untreated include AIDS, syphilis, and hepatitis. In 2015, the American College of Pediatricians stated that women should be informed about the link between abortion and breast cancer. It also stated at the same time that the medical establishment had been reticent to admit the connection. In 2015, former abortion worker Abby Johnson published a series of articles in which she outlined the dangers of contraception.

The Times articles suggested that the CPCs should be shut down by the government.

“The state has put too much of an emphasis on the value of motherhood for a situation in which women are deceived into giving birth to continue,” an opinion piece in The Times stated.

Three different pro-life CPCs, each run by different organizations, are now in the government's crosshairs, according to HLI.

But Patrick McCrystal, executive director of Human Life International Ireland, told LifeSiteNews that his organization remains “unfazed and unsurprised by the attack.”

“‘Ask Majella’ is one of the few organizations supporting women by giving them the full truth about the humanity of the unborn child and the horrific nature of abortion,” he said.

“We stand by our counselors in speaking the truth about the horror of abortion and the humanity of the unborn child,” he added.

McCrystal called the sting against CPCs part of an attempt by secularists to “destroy everything Catholic, everything that upholds Church teaching, everything God wants — to eliminate dissenting voices.”

“All the government-funded crisis pregnancy agencies in Ireland are ‘non-directive.’ We are Catholic and thoroughly encouraging of women to keep their babies. Pro-abortion forces here hate that. In our counseling, we uphold the Church's teaching on marriage, pre-marital sexuality, chastity, and marital fidelity. We encounter every type of situation,” he said.

McCrystal said attempts to “silence or smear authentic Catholic voices cannot change the truth about the sacredness of human life and society’s duty of care to mothers, fathers, and their unborn children.”

HLI Ireland is asking for prayers as it looks into its legal options so it can continue its mission of defending life while helping vulnerable women.

The sting comes as HLI launches its “Holy Face of Jesus” campaign where it evangelizes through the image believed to be the face of Jesus impressed on the cloth that wrapped his body in the tomb before he rose from the dead.


[LSN] 2182.5a

CF News / World news

Malta Malta Today pulls article claiming archbishop approved contraception in marriage

MALTA TODAY has deleted an article that incorrectly claimed Malta Archbishop Charles Scicluna said non-abortifacient contraception is acceptable within marriage. One of the country's pro-life activists has provided LifeSiteNews with a translation of Scicluna's remarks proving he didn't say that.

Scicluna made the remarks at issue on an interview with Xtra on TVM. But Dr. Miriam Sciberras of Life Network Foundation Malta, who also participated in the interview, said Malta Today's description of Scicluna's remarks was completely inaccurate.

'He is completely misquoted,' Sciberras told LifeSiteNews. 'He explained that the Church teaching about contraception is a teaching specifically to be presented within marriage.'

Malta Today's report last week claimed Scicluna said the Church's teaching against contraception had 'softened in the past few years.' Their article began:

The Church's teachings on contraception, though always tied to the tenet of sex belonging within the marriage, had softened in the past few years, as long as no life was lost in the process, Archbishop Charles J. Scicluna said on Thursday.

According to the now-deleted article, Scicluna said, 'What we are saying is that if you have to use a contraceptive, make sure it is not one that kills life.'

Sciberras clarified that the archbishop 'explained that the Church teaching about contraception is a teaching specifically to be presented within marriage.'

The segment was discussing contraception and the morning-after pill. Scicluna explained that certain forms of contraception can act as abortifacients, preventing an already-existing tiny human from being able to implant in his or her mother's womb.

'First of all, we insist that people who request or buy these medicines should be informed on the mode of action of these products,' said Sciculuna. 'We are also saying that the faithful should listen to us, that people of good will listen to our advice. That if any of these tablets - because there are various, just as there are various active ingredients - instead of preventing fertilisation, actually act after fertilisation - then they are not acting as contraceptives but stifle a new life that has begun. In this case the consumer has a right to know and to avoid killing a newly conceived human life.'

Whether a drug is a contraceptive or a potential abortifacient is a 'legitimate question,' Scicluna said.

'I feel that the role of the Archbishop is not to decide on brand names - because it is simply not within my role to substitute science,' he continued. 'Science must be presented, the consumer should be informed - he is then free not to accept my suggestion. What I am saying is - do not take pills that kill a new life.'

'You are clearly stating that a couple who have sexual relations can use some form of contraception,' journalist Saviour Balzan suggested.

'I do not judge people who use contraception in sexual relationships,' the archbishop said. He didn't say that contraception is morally permissible.

Balzan asked him, if you 'were speaking on the Church position on contraception in this room 10 years ago, your position would have been crystal clear - today you are more cautious?'

'Quite often we avoid mentioning the Church teaching but I think in this case, it needs to be made clear, that the anti-contraceptive stance is first of all related to marriage - and in these discussions we are not speaking about marriage,' said Scicluna. 'The second point is that the Church teaches that one should not have sexual relations outside of marriage, thereby avoiding the problem. However, should anyone still insist or persist in using a contraceptive, we are saying, do not kill a newly conceived human being in the process.'

The Church teaches that all sexual relations outside of marriage, whether involving contraception or not, are gravely sinful.

Scicluna, along with fellow Maltese Bishop Mario Grech of Gozo, issued guidelines implementing Amoris Laetitia earlier this year indicating that divorced and civilly 'remarried' Catholics may receive Holy Communion if they feel 'at peace with God.'

Scicluna defended the guidelines, saying he and Grech were just following the pope. In February, Scicluna confirmed that he told seminarians 'the seminary gate is open' for them to leave if they disagree with the Maltese bishops' allowance of Communion for people engaged in unions the Church labels adultery.

Below is a translation of the relevant portion of Scicluna's Xtra on TVM interview, courtesy Dr. Miriam Sciberras:

Archbishop Scicluna: First of all, we insist that people who request or buy these medicines should be informed on the mode of action of these products. We are also saying that the faithful should listen to us, that people of good will listen to our advice. That if any of these tablets - because there are various, just as there are various active ingredients - instead of preventing fertilisation, actually act after fertilisation - then they are not acting as contraceptives but stifle a new life that has begun. In this case the consumer has a right to know and to avoid killing a newly conceived human life.

Saviour Balzan: How do you see the position taken by Gift of Life Network*?

Archbishop Scicluna: I think that they have a right to ask the question, Is the drug authorised corresponding to the intention of the authorities such that it acts as a contraceptive, or is the product abortive? This is a legitimate question and I feel that I should not be the one to answer it...I do not agree that all is black or white because there is also the grey...that is why people do not always agree with what I say... because I would be speaking about grey, and not necessarily clear cut white or black. Why? Because I feel that the role of the Archbishop is not to decide on brand names - because it is simply not within my role to substitute science. Science must be presented, the consumer should be informed - he is then free not to accept my suggestion. What I am saying is - do not take pills that kill a new life.

Saviour Balzan: You are clearly stating that a couple who have sexual relations can use some form of contraception.

Archbishop Scicluna: I do not judge people who use contraception in sexual relationships.

Saviour Balzan: If you were speaking on the Church position on contraception in this room 10 years ago, your position would have been crystal clear. Today you are more cautious?

Archbishop Scicluna: Quite often we avoid mentioning the Church teaching but I think in this case, it needs to be made clear that the anti-contraceptive stance is first of all related to marriage - and in these discussions we are not speaking about marriage. The second point is that the Church teaches that one should not have sexual relations outside of marriage, thereby avoiding the problem. However, should anyone still insist or persist in using a contraceptive, we are saying, do not kill a newly conceived human being in the process.

Leading pro-life NGOs in Malta are Life Network Foundation and Gift of Life, two separate organizations.

[LSN] 2182.6


CF News / World news

Sweden Court rules that nurse who was fired for refusing to assist abortions must do so to keep her job

E GrammarkELLINOR GRIMMARK is a nurse in Sweden who filed a claim that the hospital where she worked discriminated against her because she refused to participate in abortions.

Newly-graduated, Grimmark was fired from her position because she refused to assist abortions. Even though there was a shortage of midwives at the time she was fired and even though she is willing to take on double shifts, she has been denied a job ever since. One employer had first agreed to hire her in spite of the “complication”, but withdrew the offer when her story began to spread in media.

Grimmark says in a statement to the newspaper Aftonbladet: ”As a midwife, I want to exercise a profession which defends life and saves lives at all cost. Are healthcare practitioners in Sweden to be forced to take part in procedures that extinguish life, at its beginning or final stages? Somebody has to take the little children’s side, somebody has to fight for their right to life. A midwife described to me how she had held an aborted baby in her arms, still alive, and cried desperately for an hour while the baby struggled to breathe. These children do not even have a right to pain relief. I cannot take part in this.”

But a Swedish court ruled today that Grimmark has no choice but to participate in abortions if she wants to keep her job.

The Swedish Appeals Court decided Wednesday that the government can force medical professionals to perform abortions, or else be forced out of their profession. Because the ruling in Grimmark v. Landstinget i Jönköpings Län contradicts international law protecting conscientious objection, Grimmark is now considering whether to take her case to the European Court of Human Rights.

Three different medical clinics unjustly denied Grimmark employment because she will not assist with abortions. In Sweden, midwives are essentially nurses who specialize in pregnancy and child birth.

“Participation in abortions should not be a requirement for employment as a medical professional. In accordance with international law, the court should have protected Ellinor’s fundamental right to freedom of conscience,” said ADF International Director of European Advocacy Robert Clarke in a statement to LifeNews after the ruling. “For that reason, Ellinor is considering an appeal to the European Court of Human Rights.”

Three different medical clinics in the district of Jönköping refused to employ Grimmark because she would not assist with abortions in light of her convictions about the dignity of all human life. Despite this, in November 2015, a district court found that her right to freedom of conscience had not been violated. That court required her to pay the local government’s legal costs, amounting to 100,000 euros (the equivalent of nearly $106,000). ADF International filed an expert brief in support of her case, highlighting international protections for freedom of conscience.

“The desire to protect life is what leads many midwives and nurses to enter the medical profession in the first place,” Clarke said. “Instead of forcing desperately needed midwives out of their profession, governments should safeguard the moral convictions of medical staff. The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe has affirmed that ‘no person, hospital or institution shall be coerced, held liable, or discriminated against in any manner because of a refusal to perform, accommodate, assist, or submit to an abortion.’ As a member state, Sweden must be held to its obligation to respect this freedom.”

In November 2013, Höglandssjukhuset women’s clinic rescinded a job offer as a midwife from Grimmark after she explained that she could not perform abortions because of her conscientious objection and her Christian faith. The head of the maternity ward said that “she was no longer welcome to work with them” and questioned “whether a person with such views actually can become a midwife.” A few months later, Grimmark tried to obtain employment with Ryhovs women’s clinic, which told her that a person who refuses to perform abortions does not belong at a women’s clinic.

In January, Värnamo Hospital’s women’s clinic offered Grimmark a job but then withdrew employment because of the complaint she filed against Höglandssjukhuset in April. The head of the hospital told Grimmark that no employee was allowed to publicly take a stand against abortion. The group Scandinavian Human Rights Lawyers represents Grimmark in court.

The ADF International brief filed in the case explained that the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe has affirmed that “no person, hospital or institution shall be coerced, held liable or discriminated against in any manner because of a refusal to perform, accommodate, assist or submit to an abortion, the performance of a human miscarriage, or euthanasia or any act which could cause the death of a human foetus or embryo, for any reason.”

“Being pro-abortion should not be a requirement for employment as a midwife,” added ADF International Legal Counsel Robert Clarke. “The desire to protect life is what leads many midwives and nurses to enter the medical profession in the first place. Medical centers should respect that desire and conviction.”




CF News / World news

United Kingdom American archbishop appointed nuncio to Great Britain

AN AMERICAN ARCHBISHOP who has served as nuncio to Bangladesh, Zimbabwe and the Philippines has been appointed the Holy See's ambassador to Great Britain.

He replaces Archbishop Antonio Mennini, who earlier this year was transferred to the Secretariat of State, the Vatican department responsible for relations with states.

For the last six years Archbishop Edward Joseph Adams, 72, has been nuncio to Greece.

He grew up in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and was ordained a priest in 1970 by the city's then archbishop, Cardinal John Krol. He began his career as a diplomat in 1976 after completing advanced studies in Rome.

He was consecrated archbishop in 1996 by Cardinal Angelo Sodano, then Vatican Secretary of State. That year he was also appointed nuncio to Bangladesh.

Cardinal Vincent Nichols, president of the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales, extended Archbishop Adams 'the warmest of welcomes' and gave him an 'assurance of prayers as he takes up his new office', according to a press statement.

Archbishop Philip Tartaglia, president of the Bishops' Conference of Scotland, said: 'On behalf of the bishops' conference and of the whole Catholic community of Scotland, I welcome the appointment of the new Apostolic Nuncio and offer him our prayerful good wishes for his important service as nuncio. Together with all the Scottish bishops, I look forward to welcoming Archbishop Adams to Scotland in due course.'

[Catholic Herald] 2182.7

CF News / World news

United Kingdom Tax-payers pay abortion activist £512,000 to write a book about abortion for children

THE UK GOVERNMENT has awarded a pro-abortion activist more than half a million pounds to write a book and create lessons on abortion for schoolchildren.

The Arts and Humanities Research Council gave £512,000 ($635,340) to the University of Kent's Sally Sheldon to research and author a study on the country's Abortion Act, which legalized the procedure in 1967.

Professor Sheldon is an abortion activist, fighting for unrestricted abortion throughout all nine months of pregnancy. A trustee of the nation's largest abortion provider ('Pregnancy Advisory Service'), Sheldon championed in March a bill to make abortion legal without any limits and for any reason until birth.

She has written in favor of sex selection abortions and recruited others who have defended sex-selection abortions for her project.

Sheldon, who teaches ethics at the University of Kent Law School, publicly opposed a proposed sex-selection abortion ban, calling it 'flawed' and 'criminalizing women.' In an article defending sex-selection abortions, she propagates the falsehood that carrying to term is more dangerous than aborting one's baby, and equates perceived 'mental health' with physical health.

Part of her tax-funded assignment is to create teaching packs for schools and a website for children on abortion.

Besides the pro-abortion book and school curricula, the University of Kent proclaimed that Sheldon has been commissioned to write 'a range of academic articles in law, history, sociology and gender studies journals; a series of shorter papers for practitioner journals; at least nine conference papers,' and 'active dissemination of research via the media and social networking sites.'

Labor MP Robert Flello criticized the public expenditure, questioning whether Sheldon would give a fair and balanced presentation.

'If public money is going to be used to fund work that is not only going to be a book but is going to fund materials going into our schools in support of pro-abortion propaganda, then it is an utterly outrageous use of public money,' he told the Daily Mail.

'At a time when people are not being able to get access to wheelchairs, when people are having hospital appointments delayed, to have public money squandered in this way is just disgraceful,' Flello said.

MP Maria Caulfield also blasted the project.

'I would demand that the government department funding this put a stop to it,' the former medical researcher said. '(M)y concern is that this money has been donated and will be used to fuel an argument that won't necessarily be impartial.'

Sheldon's Abortion Act study begins in May and is expected to be complete in 2018. The project presentation is designed to coincide with the 50th anniversary celebration of the legalization of abortion in England.

In Sheldon's view, any restrictions on abortion are outdated. She calls the Act that legalized abortion-on-demand but with limitations 'a remnant of the attitude of a previous age.' In an article pushing for liberalization of England's abortion law, she characterized the 1967 law as condescending 'paternalism.'

The ethics professor says the law should be 'living, evolving,' expandable, and adapted to societal changes making abortion popularly acceptable.

Sheldon advocates 'taking seriously the idea of 'living law:' law exists only in its interpretation.' She explains that 'while the text of the Abortion Act has changed little since 1967, its interpretation has evolved significantly.'

Apparently included in Sheldon's study will be gender ideology.

'The story of the Abortion Act is also the story of evolving ideas of gender and family,' she said, and 'changes to ... the ethical values that inform modern medicine.'

Sheldon already is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council to research abortion drugs.

The Arts and Humanities Research Council is the tax disbursement arm of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. Among its funded projects was a £50,000 study that recommended deleting 'Ladies' and 'Gents' from public bathrooms.

[LSN] 2182.8

CF News / World news

International The World Over with Raymond Arroyo



[EWTN News] 2182.9

CF News / World news

International Some jihad headlines of the week


Australia : Islamic group video calls wife-beating 'a beautiful blessing'

Australia: Muslims assault Christian while screaming 'F*** Jesus'

Pakistan : Mob screaming 'Allahu akbar' lynches student for 'blasphemy'

Pakistan : 'Major terrorist attack' on Christians for Easter Sunday foiled

Somalia : Seventeen murdered in jihad car bombing

Spain : Sreams of Allahu akbar cause panic at Good Friday event, 17 injured

Syria : Isil fighters launch bomb attack on British forces training base

Wales: Fear of jihad drone-attack leads to closure of Cardiff stadium roof


[CF News] 2182.10

CF News / World news

International The Prophet Voris





[ChurchMilitant.TV] 2182.11

CF News / World news

International gloria.tv.news



[Gloria.tv.news] 2182.12


























Bl.John Newman




O BLESSED DAY of the Resurrection, which of old time was called the Queen of Festivals, and raised among Christians an anxious, nay contentious diligence duly to honour it! Blessed day, once only passed in sorrow, when the Lord actually rose, and the disciples believed not; but ever since a day of joy to the faith and love of the Church! In ancient times, Christians all over the world began it with a morning salutation. Each man said to his neighbour, 'Christ is risen;' and his neighbour answered him, 'Christ is risen indeed, and hath appeared unto Simon.' Even to Simon, the coward disciple who denied Him thrice, Christ is risen; even to us, who long ago vowed to obey Him, and have yet so often denied Him before men, so often taken part with sin, and followed the world, when Christ called us another way. 'Christ is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon!' to Simon Peter the favoured Apostle, on whom the Church is built, Christ has appeared. He has appeared to His Holy Church first of all, and in the Church He dispenses blessings, such as the world knows not of. Blessed are they if they knew their blessedness, who are allowed, as we are, week after week, and Festival after Festival, to seek and find in that Holy Church the Saviour of their souls! Blessed are they beyond language or thought, to whom it is vouchsafed to receive those tokens of His love, which cannot otherwise be gained by man, the pledges and means of His special presence, in the Sacrament of His Supper; who are allowed to eat and drink the food of immortality, and receive life from the bleeding side of the Son of God!
























Roman Forum prepares for 2017 Symposium

Luther SACRADOS ROMANUS writes : 'Angelico Press has published the proceedings of The Roman Forum's 2016 symposium in Gardone: Luther and His Progeny: 500 Years of Protestantism and Its Consequences for Church, State, and Society. The volume includes essays by John Rao, the Rev. John Hunwicke, and Christopher A. Ferrara, among others. The essays examine Luther's role in the dissolution of Christendom, and the effects of his teachings on later developments. The authors show how deeply the modern world has been marked by Luther's innovations. Traditionalists interested in a restoration of Christendom would do well to read Luther and His Progeny for insights on how Medieval Christendom declined and fell, since the success of a restoration will in part depend on understanding that fall.

This book demonstrates the importance of the Roman Forum's yearly gathering of traditionalist Catholics committed to the restoration of Christendom on the shores of Lake Garda. The 2017 symposium will address the topic 'Setting Right a World Turned Upside Down: Transformation in Christ Versus a Sickness Unto Death.' We urge our readers to attend. Those unable to attend might consider supporting this important work by prayers and financial contributions. In a recent fund raising e-mail the organizer, Dr. John Rao, wrote as follows:

There is no point mincing words regarding the rather desperate state of our finances. We are still very much in need of $22,500 of the $50,000in tax-deductible donations required to pay for our Twenty-Fifth Annual Summer Symposium in Gardone from July 3rd through July 14th, 2017, the publication of its lectures next year, and our New York City Church History program, 2017-2018, dealing with the years 1799-1848. Please do consider giving a tax-deductible donation to support the attendance of a speaker, a member of the clergy, a seminarian, or a student and make this twenty-fifth anniversary session---and the second book that will come from it---possible.

Donations may be made through our our website

And please think of participating in our programs personally!

[Rorate Caeli] 2182.14



























Understanding Pope Francis: The need for a new narrative framework


Bergolio / Videla

(Image: Left to Right, Cardinal Bergoglio; General Videla)


'Jorge Mario Bergoglio… has been a staunch supporter of US imperial interests in Latin America for more than 30 years.'

'…one of the main supporters… of Argentina's military dictatorship which came to power in a CIA supported coup in 1976.'

'Jorge Mario Bergoglio not only supported the US sponsored dictatorship, he also played a direct and complicit role in the 'Dirty War' (la guerra sucia) in liaison with the military Junta headed by General Jorge Videla, leading to the arrest, imprisonment, torture and disappearance of progressive Catholic priests and laymen who were opposed to Argentina's military rule.'

HILARY WHITE writes for OnePeterFive : 'The statements above were made in an online article by Michel Chossudovsky, a Russian-Canadian researcher, immediately after Pope Francis was elected. It should be noted that Chossudovsky is known as a purveyor of conspiracy theories, but he's hardly alone in pointing the finger at the former Cardinal Archbishop of Buenos Aires as a figure complicit in Argentina's 'Dirty War'. Argentinian left-wing investigative journalist Horatio Verbitsky has made similar claims. In 2005, Verbitsky published a book entitled, The Silence: From Paul VI to Bergoglio: The Secret Relations Between the Church and the ESMA. (The ESMA was the naval academy-turned torture facility used by the Argentinian junta during the war.) Verbitsky's book led to a lawsuit against Jorge Bergoglio, alleging that he was involved in the kidnappings of two Jesuit priests in the 1970s. After twice refusing to testify, Bergoglio took the stand in 2010. Start asking around among well-connected Catholics in Buenos Aires, and you'll hear a consistent refrain: everyone has heard he was involved, nobody has been able to prove it, he always denied everything.

Though we may never know the real answers, the truth of the matter should be of extreme interest to any serious journalist seeking to understand the man who now reigns as one of the most controversial popes in history. But for now, I want to focus on the more fundamental question these allegations raise: Why don't we already know more about who Jorge Mario Bergoglio is?

And to understand the answer to that, you need to know a bit more about how such information is discovered and shared.

Are you wondering why no one ever heard about any of these rather serious charges from the mainstream press? Is it because they had already, the same day as the Chossudovsky article was published - March 14th, 2013 - launched their very public love affair with the 'humble' new Argentinean pope? It seems unlikely. The quotes above were published the morning after Bergoglio had stood - an almost totally unknown figure - on the loggia and said next to nothing to the crowd.

That night, the press dove for their keyboards to Google his name and find something to say that continued their own safe and well-established narrative. In their minds at the time the notion was still lodged that the figure of the pope was equivalent to Catholicism's 'oppressive' views. It was the rare writer in Rome that night who was receiving - and paying attention to - the warning messages coming in from the new pope's countrymen. Within several days, however, both the secular and Catholic media found things in this pope they could love, and the cautionary messages were drowned out.

I recently asked why journalists have been so eager to avoid digging into the more interesting questions about the pope's past, implying that it was sheer laziness or ideological manipulation. This lack of interest seems quite strange on its face, given that Francis comes from a country whose recent history has been of such dramatic political interest. When I was a child, Argentina was synonymous with the 'mess in South America' - grossly corrupt and murderous tin-pot military regimes brutally grasping power by applying both ends of their rifles to their own people and amassing personal wealth without the slightest regard for human life. I was ten when the military coup happened, and even at that age I could grasp that there was something horrifying going on down there.

Remember, this was one South American revolution that stood above the rest for its extreme brutality. This was the one where they 'disappeared' political opponents by shoving them out of airplanes into shark-infested waters - after which, surviving witnesses testified to seeing bits and pieces of human remains floating amidst pinkish sea-foam.

Immediately after that chilly, damp night in Rome when the Church was given her 266th pope, I remember seeing some brief comment here and there about 'questions' over Bergoglio's involvement in the Dirty War. But since no one really knew what it was all about, it got no traction. And so, these questions dried up almost instantly, lasting no more than a couple of days post-Conclave, until the secular media decided to change tracks. Only a scant few weeks later, Bergoglio himself started the game, distracting the media with his 'Who am I to judge?' plane presser, and the lot of us have been running barking after his trail of carefully deposited breadcrumbs ever since. One thing the man knows how to do magnificently, we have learned, is bait the press. And the press was only too willing to go along for the ride. They suddenly realized they'd found a friend, a fellow-traveler proposing the same cultural ret-conned reboot.

But still…

Body parts… sharks… once you've heard it, that kind of thing sticks in your head.

Given that Jorge Bergoglio, SJ, was the Provincial Superior of the Jesuits of Argentina, he was also a major figure in the Church right smack in the middle of the whole messy, brutal, blood-soaked festa. Which, one would think, should make the rapidly-diminished lack of interest in his past a little more inexplicable.

Except…not really.

If horror and brutality were the metrics by which we remembered history, Argentina should be on the same plane as the Killing Fields and Gulags. But for some reason, Latin American horrors just don't count, and I think the reason is the nature of modern journalism. No one today knows anything about the present, let alone the past, that writers on the internet are not willing to tell them. The horrors of the Holocaust of World War II is useful to the narrative; the horrors of the Gulags less so; the Dirty War not at all.

The fact is that most readers at present are in their 20s and 30s, and to this supremely solipsistic demographic anything that happened before they were born, in some country they've never been to, is irrelevant. We live in a time when teenaged SJWs shrieking obscenities on Twitter are considered sober and informed political analysts. A fifty year-old, like me, whose memory of the world's political affairs stretches back before Return of the Jedi was in theatres might as well be a dinosaur. And it would be useful to remember that most of the journalists working the Vatican beat are younger than I am.

To understand how the narrative is being developed around Pope Francis, therefore, we have to understand how journalism works.

I would like to propose three reasons that Francis' rather colourful past has not come to light either in the secular or Catholic mainstream press:

Time and space constraints

Poor political and philosophical education

And most importantly, the transformation of the role of news media into a political narrative-generator divided according to rigidly defined, almost sacrosanct - and totally useless - factional categories.

Since journalists are now in the reality-generating business, they must decide what is and isn't real. And for the chosen narrative, nothing outside those categories can be acknowledged to exist.

Time and Space in the Internet Vortex

In fact, I will defend my colleagues on both sides of our ideological divide, and say this failure is not really completely their fault. They are presented with a nearly impossible task, the need to make complex political and social issues simple enough for an ordinary non-expert to read and digest in no more than 20 minutes with his morning coffee.

Actually, no. Let me amend that. 20 minutes was in the days of print journalism. Now the writer has about 150 words to grab someone's attention from his TwittFace feed. (To give you an idea how long that is, this paragraph and the one before it are exactly 154 words.) Buzzfeed is perhaps the venue to have most successfully grasped that most 'journalism' is now read on phones on the subway. The 'daily news cycle' has been reduced from 36 to no more than about 6 hours (give or take time zone differences).

The bottom line is that a news-cycle writer has no more than a few hours to produce copy, and that copy has a shelf life of about six hours. I used to tell my contacts that they had three hours to return my emails requesting comment or I would have to go on to the next person on my list. And one of the reasons I finally quit the daily grind and went indie was that I had realized I was losing touch with the issues I was covering under the sheer pressure of producing copy every day. I had no time to read or digest or even really figure out what was going on.

Frankly, one does not get into journalism in these times because of a need to inform the public. Once you have done this a few years, you will have realized that 'the public' cannot really be informed. And if you try, you will go mad with despair. If you keep going in the job at all it is most likely because of your own personal desire to know what's going on.

Bad Education

There is a reason journalism has reached its current state.

J-schools in our times are mostly leftist ideological indoctrination camps. The critique of university 'education' that has suddenly burst onto the public screens since the Trump election has for at least 60 years been infinitely multiplied in faculties of journalism.

Way back in 1998, I re-started my college education in the Classics department of Dalhousie University. Officially, I was studying Latin. Unofficially, it was Boethius and Augustine. At the time, I started writing for the campus newspaper, which consisted mostly of just attending campus events and producing modest five-paragraph pieces. It was my little hobby.

But I started thinking I would like to write for a living. I was reading Edmund Burke and becoming interested in Hannah Arendt's investigation into human and political evil. (I also attended a few public lectures at the philosophy department and learned all about why no one at university could think straight. Seriously? … Derrida?…)

I visited the j-school at Kings, my college at Dalhousie, and just what I saw on the student bulletin board was enough to put me off. I discovered after examining the syllabus that these kids weren't learning anything of substance. They were being drawn into a self-referential and totally enclosed bubble-verse, to be used as political activists - pawns essentially - by their older, more deeply ideologically-entrenched professors.

A working journalist I contacted said that in her experience, a j-school ticket was nothing more than an ideological merit badge, and editors even then were avoiding them. Not only were they all vicious little Marxists, unable to play nicely with others, but they weren't being taught even the rudiments of composition. In other words, they couldn't write.

To expect people who have never read anything but ideological pamphlets, who can't construct simple sentences in English, to have a sufficiently broad worldview to tackle the complexities of the Great South American Tangle, is, quite honestly, asking too much.

'Bias' and the Narrative Framework: the Big Blind Spot

Because it is their job to tell stories, journalists have to start by looking for a coherent structure, a comprehensible framework within which the topic they're covering can be understood. This is where we come into the world of 'editorial bias'. But even a novice in the field will quickly realize that every single news outlet is biased. The difficulty comes when they try to claim to be 'objective' and unbiased. When they try to hide what they really think for the purpose of hoodwinking the public. Hidden bias - bias that claims not to be biased - is a vice. But without a 'narrative framework', journalism could not exist.

In the case of journalists working for established outlets, whether the BBC or the National Catholic Register, this means they have to work within the framework that has already been created by their predecessors and editors. Something the public generally doesn't know - because newspapers don't like to tell anyone - is that these 'biases' or narrative structures are even at times set in stone in an outlet's organizational charter. It's written into the founding charter of the Toronto Star, for instance, that the paper was established specifically in order to promote a leftist political viewpoint.

But acknowledged or not, a narrative framework is an absolute necessity, and it is the job of the individual writer to try to discern honestly the truth of the one within which he works. This work is usually done early in one's career.

In certain cases (cf. Malcolm Muggeridge) an individual will discover that he has been working for the 'wrong side' and switch, sometimes quite dramatically. But these instances are exceedingly rare, and can be likened to a sort of ideological religious conversion. (And if we're wondering where most of the paying journalism jobs are found, it should be remembered that Malcolm Muggeridge, one of the most respected voices of his time, had a heck of a time finding a paying gig after he switched.)

The simple fact is that even if they are not writing for the AP or the BBC, but for a niche audience like First Things or The Federalist or the Spectator, they necessarily must write something that their audience can understand - and are willing to accept.

And South American politics is hard. It's complex. It defies our Star Wars-derived political metaphors. The more nuanced national character of Argentineans, Paraguayans, Chileans, and Brazilians is something most of us have little to no experience with. It's all tangled up with 16th century Spanish colonial aristocrats, Marxism, the CIA, drugs, vicious power struggles, military coups, disappearing civilians, and the Catholic Church - none of which a normal, WASPy North American j-school graduate is going to have the first notion about.

We balk when we can't figure out where the key players fit into our categories. When we hear it said that Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, whom we are told is a 'liberal,' with the support of the Jimmy Carter-era CIA, was helping the 'right wing' military regime disappear 'progressive' priests, our wiring gets crossed and our ears get a little smoky. It's why so few have dared to tackle the meaning of his 'Peronism'. It just defies our attempts to mash it into our paradigm, so we turn to easier subjects.

Our dichotomous left/right North American political paradigm has been out of date even in secular politics for decades. This is perhaps particularly true for we Catholics whose political training was in the Reagan/Bush era of the American Culture Wars. Our worldview consists of two mutually opposed political camps, cleanly divided by the 'political fence'. One can live very close to the fence, perhaps, having 'moderate' views on immigration, war, poverty and the environment (Left) and contraception, abortion and 'gay marriage' (Right), but the fence is still the central image of our now hopelessly outmoded political paradigm.

The Culture War-era attempt to paste this paradigm onto the internal struggle in the Catholic Church since the advent of the Social/Sexual Revolution has become even more hopeless. This or that prelate is still regularly defined in the secular press as a 'liberal' or a 'conservative,' disregarding completely even the most superficial understanding of actual Catholic social teaching.

Writers on Catholic subjects will often decry the use of these labels (and prelates will be even more offended by their designated categories, but for different reasons) as next to useless. But they will say that since their audience, Catholic and secular, are in the main entirely innocent of even rudimentary knowledge of Catholic teaching, the labels are what we're stuck with.

The problem in both realms is that it creates a state of nearly total blindness for everything that does not fit the predetermined categories. One must shoehorn everyone into one camp or another. It is like saying that in the animal kingdom there are only two categories, cnidaria and ungulates; if one is not either a jellyfish or a grass-eating quadruped, one simply cannot really exist. Or at least, having only two possible categories, that the wolves, ants, crows, fish, seals and polar bears must in some as-yet undisclosed way be classifiable as some form either of jellyfish or cow.

A New Way Forward

This poverty of categories among the rather narrowly educated journalists, working to their daily deadlines, was the problem we had when Jorge Mario Bergoglio was elected pope in 2013.

The media immediately dove in and started to position him in relation to their paradigm-defining fence. And sure enough, some of the first things we heard about him, on that very night, were that he was 'a conservative' because he had opposed 'gay marriage' and been 'very strong' against abortion in Argentina.

Presto! He fit the paradigm in time for an aperitivo! By nine o'clock, everyone had clicked 'send' and gone out to dinner in the Borgo to celebrate a narrative well-maintained. That none of that narrative could be demonstrated as true after five minutes of Googling did not deter its journalistic curators one bit.

About three days later, without batting an eye, they had read his signals and retconned him as a hero of their cause, and here we sit today, with this Peronist wrecking ball playing the press like the chumps they are. Like tossing fish to a pool full of trained seals. But in all this, the confusion has grown and grown. The journalists are losing their audiences as they continue to parrot their narrative while the pope carries on defying all the categories. The one thing in Bergoglio's mind - his all-consuming passion - is the one thing they've missed: his single-minded and scruple-free lust for power.

To understand this, what we need is a new narrative framework. I suggest that because we are not limited by the constraints of the daily deadline and the big operating budgets, the work of clarifying the narrative framework could be undertaken by bloggers and other kinds of independent researchers, making our living as we do by direct-to-customer sales.

But crucially, the public must start to use their own rational faculties. If a journalist talks about 'humble Pope Francis,' the reader must start asking whether this characterization fits the facts. If we are told by the Tablet that Cardinal Burke or Matthew Festing (the former Grand Master of the Knights of Malta) are liars and cheats, we must look at what kind of publication the Tablet is, and at what we know about the character and intentions of such men.

When the Independent or the Tablet or the Guardian or the Washington Post tells us that Jorge Mario Bergoglio has been cleared of any suspicion of wrongdoing in his involvement in the atrocities of the military junta of 1970s Argentina, we must ask what kind of writers these are, and how they have covered other issues related to the Church. And we would do well to compare it with what we know about Bergoglio's current behaviour, and ask what is plausible and likely.

We cannot know the truth by blindly accepting a given narrative framework. But we also have to remember that no journalist can possibly tell the truth without one.

[1P5] 2182.15


























Comment from the internet



Fascinating exchanges over the meaning of Amoris Laetitia – is some clarity emerging?

FR JOHN ZUHLSDORF blogs : 'Pope Francis’ document Amoris Laetitia has sparked sharp divisions and debates.  The sides have drawn up pretty much into two camps… well… three if you count the uninformed, which is pretty large.
For the 1st anniversary of Amoris, Washington DC’s Archbishop Card. Wuerl said:

He notes that the pastoral guidance of Amoris Laetitia, found in chapter 8, has been controversial, but explains why there is no cause for alarm:

“The hermeneutic required for a fruitful appropriation of the document’s teaching on this point is based on the understanding that none of the teaching of the Church has been changed: This includes the doctrine on the indissolubility of marriage, the directives of the Code of Canon Law, and also the role of individual conscience in the determination of personal culpability…..

“The exhortation does not create some sort of internal forum process in which a marriage can be annulled, or in which the objective moral order can be changed…. Instead, the exhortation places greater emphasis on the role of the individual conscience in appropriating those moral norms in the person’s actual circumstances.”

Fr Raymond de Souza then made the sound point at the ever iffy Crux that the bishops of Malta, in their guidelines for applying Chapter 8 issued a while back (aka “The Maltese Fiasco”), the bishops of Germany and curial Cardinal Coccopalmerio think that something has changed.  Whereas Card. Wuerl tries to uphold John Paul II’s teaching in Familiaris consortio, the others say Amoris revises it.

So, in simple terms within this complicated debate, there are a couple camps.  One camp holds that doctrine and discipline haven’t changed, and the other holds that it has.  De Souza  rightly concludes that they can’t both be right.
Then, again at iffy Crux  – and this is another example of why Crux is iffy – the former editor of the ultra-liberal Pill (aka The Tablet), Austen Ivereigh, and now an editor for Crux – wrote a condescending rebuttal of Fr. de Souza stating:

'The hermeneutic of interpretation of Pope Francis’s document on the joy of love, says Wuerl, is that the Church’s teaching on marriage has not changed. Questioning that idea, de Souza responds that Wuerl can only be right if the German and Maltese bishops are wrong.

'This is a classic maneuver of those whom the cardinal accurately describes as “challenging the integrity” of Amoris. De Souza says he hopes Wuerl is right, that “nothing has changed”; but if it hasn’t, then how can the Maltese bishops say “something has changed?”

'But Wuerl never says nothing has changed. He says church teaching and laws on marriage haven’t changed.

'Something has changed, not in church law or doctrine, but in moral theology and the pastoral application of sacramental discipline.

' shouldn’t be necessary to say, but for the record, Amoris Laetitia throughout its nine chapters upholds, promotes and passionately seeks to restore lifelong, faithful, stable, indissoluble unions'.

In response to Ivereigh’s patronizing response to de Souza comes the deft canonist Ed Peters.

Peters published simultaneously at the Catholic World Report and his own blog In The Light Of The Law a post which reveals the fatal flaw in Ivereigh’s snooty piece.  Peters writes (with my emphases and comments):

'Sever ‘canon law’ from ‘pastoral pratice’ and lots of things make sense

'I am tempted to address at length Austen Ivereigh’s commentary onFr. Raymond de Souza’s observations on Cdl. Wuerl’s statementon Francis’ document Amoris Laetitia, but at a certain point the law of diminishing returns sets leaving such an exercise tedious.

'So let me just say: Ivereigh is free to argue that Amoris does not undermine Church teaching on sin, but he needs to respond to those who disagree with his claim with something more than paternalistic tsk-tsk’ing [Peters also noted Ivereigh’s condescension] and, before anything else, he needs to face the simple fact that Wuerl can’t be right (as I think he is, if narrowly read) and the bishops of Malta also be right (as I think they certainly are not)—which is de Souza’s main point.

The reason Ivereigh misses de Souza’s point is, I suspect, that, deep down, Ivereigh thinks that “canon law” and ‘approved pastoral practice’ are two fundamentally different things. [This error has infected a great many people today, churchmen, newsies, etc.  It is dangerous.] Thus Ivereigh could logically hold that canon law (including the barring of divorced-and-remarried Catholics from holy Communion) has remained the same, while at the same time holding that pastors may admit such persons to holy Communion under conditions other than those already recognized by the Church (namely, separation of abodes, or a commitment to live as brother-sister where the irregular marriage is not known). Ivereigh would be right, if canon law has little or nothing to do with what pastors should really do.

At some point I hope that Ivereigh et al will sit down, look at the text of Canon 915 and the numerous ecclesial values behind it, and recognize, among other things, that degrees of personal culpability (which Ivereigh and others go on and on and on about, as if that were the central insight his adversaries lack) have nothing to do with the operation of the objectively oriented Canon 915, the main law that controls pastoral practice in this area—whereupon they will do one of two things: (1) accept that tradition and promote it, or (2) acknowledge that tradition and honestly call for changing it.  [!] At which point all sides would be talking about the same, and the dispositive, issue.

What I fear is that, instead, Ivereigh et al, ignoring the connection that must, and usually does, exist between law and practice, will simply keep on repeating that canon law has not changed but good pastoral practice has. Which is a huge waste of time.

Peters got this exactly right.

I am reminded of the exchange in Aristophanes The Birds between Meton and Pisthetaerus.

Let’s be honest about what Amoris says and doesn’t say without verbose fan-dances which attempt to square the circle.
The ongoing debate about Amoris Ch. 8 reveals a possible approach of Pope Francis, who, so far at least, has declined to offer any clarifications.  He has not, for example, responded to the Five Dubia of the Four Cardinals.

As Tracy Rowand points out in her terrific new book Catholic Theology (HERE), …

'If Pope Francis has sympathy for any particular approach to Catholic theology, it is that of ‘People’s Theology’. One of the most extensive articles on this subject is Juan Carlos Scannone’s ‘El papa Francisco y la teologia del pueblo’ published in the journal Razón y Fe. In this paper Scannone claims that not only is Pope Francis a practitioner of ‘People’s Theology’ but also that Francis extracted his favourite four principles – time is greater than space, unity prevails over conflict, reality is more important than ideas, and the whole is greater than the parts – from a letter of the nineteenth-century Argentinian dictator, Juan Manuel de Rosas (1793– 1877) sent to another Argentinian caudillo, Facundo Quiroga (1788– 1835), in 1834. These four principles, which are said to govern the decision-making processes of Pope Francis, have their own section in his Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium and references to one or other of them can be found scattered throughout his other papal documents. Pope Francis calls them principles for ‘building a people’.

'A common thread running through each of these principles is the tendency to give priority to praxis over theory. [NOTA BENE…] There is also a sense that conflict in itself is not a bad thing, that ‘unity will prevail’ somehow and that time will remove at least some of the protagonists in any conflict. The underlying metaphysics is quite strongly Hegelian, and the approach to praxis itself resembles what Lamb classified as ‘cultural-historical’ activity and is associated primarily with Luther and Kant rather than Marx. (Kindle Locations 4226-4252)

The ongoing conflicts between the camps which have sharply divided over Amoris Laetitia may reveal a kind of “Hegelian” approach to doing theology favored by the Holy Father: let the positions clash and, over time, things will settle down and there will have emerged a new approach, changes in doctrine, revised laws, etc.

In the meantime, Ed Peters got it right and Ivereigh got it wrong.  De Souza is right to point out that both Card. Wuerl (in what De Souza cites) and the bishops of German and Malta, etc., can’t both be right about Amoris.

Lastly, I renewed my serious questions about why the Knights of Columbus would bankroll Crux if this is what Crux is determined to produce. This is the second time that Crux – with the Knights’ money – has published something troubling by Ivereigh, whom Crux employees an editor.

Perhaps it is time for Knights to think about shedding their KC insurance.



CF News / Comment from the internet

De Mattei: It is a war of religion

R. de MatteiROBERTO DE MATTEI writes for Rorate Caeli: 'The bloodshed in Tanta and Alessandria is a brusque wake-up call for Pope Francis on the eve of his trip to Egypt. The attacks in the Middle East, as in Europe, are not natural disasters, preventable through ecumenical meetings, like the one that Pope Francis will have on April 28th with the Grand Imam di Azhar, but  episodes which remind us of the existence in the world of deep ideological and religious divisions that can only be healed by returning to the truth. And the first truth to remember, if he doesn’t want to deceive himself and the world, is that the attackers in Cairo, like those in Stockholm and London, are not unhinged or psychologically unstable, but bringers of a religious vision going back to the 7th century  that has since then been combating Christianity.  Over the centuries, not only Europe, but the Christian East and West,  have defined their identity by defending themselves from the attacks of Islam which has never ever renounced its universal supremacy.

Pope Francis’ analysis is different. In his Palm Sunday homily he reaffirmed his closeness to those  who “suffer from slave labour, from family tragedies, from diseases. They suffer from wars and terrorism, from interests that are armed and ready to strike.” Then looking up from his  notes, the Pope added: "let us pray for the conversion of the  hearts “of those who produce and traffic in weapons”. Pope Bergoglio reaffirmed what he has often declared: it is not Islam in itself, and neither its deviations that are a threat to peace in the world, but the  “economic interests” of the arms dealers.

In an interview with the journalist Henrique Cymerman, published in the daily “La Vanguardia, on June 12th 2014, Francis had stated: “We are discarding a generation to maintain an economic system that doesn’t work anymore, a system that in order to survive must make war, as great empires have always done. But since you cannot have a Third World War, you have regional wars. And what does this mean? That arms are made and sold, and in this way the idolatrous economies, the great world economies that sacrifice man at the feet of the idol of money, obviously keep their balance sheets in the black.”

The Pope doesn’t appear to believe that one can choose to live and die following a political or religious dream. What moves history are economic interests, which at one time were those of the middle class against the working class; today they are interests of the multinationals and the capitalist countries against the “poor of the earth”. The President of the United States, Donald Trump, and the President of the Russian Federation, Putin, are opposed to this vision of the events, which comes directly from Marxist economics, 

Trump and Putin have rediscovered the national interests of their respective nations and on the international front of the Middle East are fighting a tough game at diplomatic and media levels and do not exclude moves at a military level.  Islam, in turn, is stirring up the spectre of a religious war in the world.  

On this eve of Easter, what words are the faithful expecting from the Head of the Catholic Church?  We expect to hear that the real causes of war are not of an economic order nor a political one, but primarily of a religious and moral order. They have their deepest origins in the hearts of men and their ultimate roots in sin. It was to ransom the world from sin that Jesus Christ suffered His Passion, which today is also the Passion of a persecuted Church over the entire world.

In the prayer for peace that he composed on September 8th 1914, after the First World War had broken out, Benedict XV exhorted private and public implorations to “God, judge and ruler of all things, so that, mindful of His Mercy, He avert this scourge of wrath which is justice for the sins of the people. Let us implore, that in our common vows, the Virgin Mother of God, whose propitious birth we celebrate this very day assist and favour us, [that She may] shine brightly as the dawn of peace on the troubled human race, She having had to bring to the world He in Whom the Eternal Father wanted to reconcile all things, “ making peace through the blood of His cross, both as to the things that are on earth, and the things that are in heaven.” (1 Col. 1,20).

Is it a dream to imagine that a Pope might address words of this sort to mankind in the tempestuous international situation we are living today?

[Rorate Caeli] 2182.15a



CF News / Comment from the internet

Pope Francis: Christ 'Made Himself the Devil'

STEVE SKOJEC writes for OnePeterFive : 'As a result of H. Reed Armstrong's recent article on the influence of Hans Urs von Balthasar and Henri de Lubac on the thinking of the contemporary Church, I found myself perusing an analysis of von Balthasar's 'Delirious Hope that All be Saved' by Dr. Christopher Malloy, professor of theology at the University of Dallas.

In the midst of that essay, one particular paragraph stood out, because it jogged my memory about something almost entirely unrelated:

'And as for the related claim that Jesus took on our sins themselves - not simply the punishment due to them - here we have Balthasar coming very close to supporting, if not outright supporting, the notion of penal substitution. Perhaps Balthasar avoids claiming the Christ truly became guilty, thus freeing himself from Luther's blasphemy on this matter. But his assertion that Christ takes on damnation itself cannot square with the truth of hell. Hell is a place of sinful alienation, a place of aversion from the divine good. But Christ cannot become averse to the divine good. (On this topic, see Thomas Joseph White, 'Jesus' Cry on the Cross and His Beatific Vision' Nova et Vetera 5 (2007): 573-581.) The Catholic view regarding Christ's act is that it was atonement, a vicarious act of satisfaction. By his loving obedience, Christ offered the Father a satisfaction sufficient for the forgiveness of infinitely many persons. Thus, he died for all. However, one must receive the fruit of this redemption by being justified in order to benefit from it. [emphasis added]

I went immediately began searching the Internet to find Francis' own words on this topic, which I recalled reading near the beginning of his papacy. I found the first instance here, at Vatican Radio, from June, 2013:

'What is reconciliation? Taking one from this side, taking another one for that side and uniting them: no, that's part of it but it's not it … True reconciliation means that God in Christ took on our sins and He became the sinner for us. When we go to confession, for example, it isn't that we say our sin and God forgives us. No, not that! We look for Jesus Christ and say: 'This is your sin, and I will sin again'. And Jesus likes that, because it was his mission: to become the sinner for us, to liberate us. [emphasis added]

Further searching turned up another instance at the invaluable website, The Denzinger-Bergoglio (TDB), taken from the pope's morning meditation on March 15, 2016:

'And this is the Mystery of Christ. Paul, when speaking about this mystery, said the Jesus [sic] emptied himself, humiliated himself and destroyed himself in order to save us. And (what's) even stronger, 'he became sin'. Using this symbol, he became a serpent. This is the prophetic message of today's reading. The Son of Man, who like a serpent, 'became sin,' is raised up to save us. […] the story of our redemption, this is the story of God's love. If we want to know God's love, let us look at the Cross, a man tortured, a God, emptied of his divinity, dirtied [stained] by sin. But at the same time, he concluded, a God who through his self-annihilation, defeats forever the true name of evil, that Revelation calls 'the ancient serpent'.

' Sin is the work of Satan and Jesus defeats Satan by 'becoming sin' and from there he lifts up all of us. The Cross is not an ornament or a work of art with many precious stones as we see around us. The Cross is the Mystery of God's annihilation for love. And the serpent that makes a prophecy in the desert is salvation, it is raised up and whoever looks at it is healed. And this is not done with a magic wand by a God who does these things: No! This is done through the suffering of the Son of Man, through the suffering of Jesus Christ.

This strange imagery was therefore already fresh in my mind when it came to my attention that the pope had revisited this theme yet again in his morning meditation on Tuesday, April 4, 2017. The following excerpts are taken from a larger translation by Andrew Guernsey of a text as published in L'Osservatore Romano, which I will include in full below:

'[T]he Pope stated, referring to the passage from the Book of Numbers (21:4-9), 'Jesus reminds us of what happened in the desert and which we heard in the first reading.' It is the moment when 'the weary people, the people who cannot endure the path, turns away from the Lord, speaks evil of Moses and of the Lord, and encounters those serpents which bite and cause the death.' Then 'the Lord says to Moses to make a bronze serpent and raise it, and the person who suffers a wound of a serpent, and that looks at the one of bronze, will be healed.'

'The serpent,' the Pope continued, 'is the symbol of wickedness, is the symbol of the devil: it was the most cunning of the animals in earthly paradise.' Because 'the serpent is the one that is able to seduce with lies', he is 'the father of lies: this is the mystery.' But then 'we have to look at the devil to save us? The serpent is the father of sin, the one that made humanity sin.' In reality, 'Jesus says, 'When I am lifted up, everyone will come to me.' Obviously this is the mystery of the cross.'

'The bronze serpent healed,' said Francis, 'but the bronze serpent was a sign of two things: the sin done by the serpent, the seduction of the serpent, the cunning of the serpent; and it was also the sign of the cross of Christ, it was a prophecy.' And 'this is why the Lord tells them: 'When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am. So we can say,' the Pope affirmed, that 'Jesus 'made himself the serpent,' Jesus 'made himself sin,' and he took upon himself all the filth of humanity, all the filth of sin. And he 'made himself sin', he made himself to rise up so that all the people might look at him, the people wounded by sin, us. This is the mystery of the cross and Paul says it: 'He made himself sin' and he took the appearance of the father of sin, the cunning serpent.'

'Those who did not look at the bronze serpent after being wounded by a snake in the desert,' the Pontiff explained, 'died in sin, the sin of murmuring against God and Moses.' In the same way, 'those who do not recognize the strength of God, who made himself sin to heal us, in that man who is lifted up, like the serpent, will die in their sin.' Because 'salvation comes only from the cross, still from this cross on which God made himself flesh: there is no salvation in ideas, there is no salvation in good will, in the desire to be good.' In reality, the Pope insisted, 'the only salvation is in Christ crucified, because only he, as the bronze serpent signified, was able to take all the venom of sin and he healed us there.'

'But what is the cross for us?' is the question posed by Francis. 'Yes, it is the sign of Christians, it is the symbol of Christians, and we make the sign of the cross, but we do not always do it well, sometimes we do it so so … because we do not have this faith in the cross,' emphasized the Pope. The cross, then, he stated, 'for some people is a badge of belonging: 'Yes, I carry the cross to show that I am a Christian. And 'It's fine,' but 'not just as a badge, as if it were a team, the badge of a team'; but [rather], said Francis, 'as the memory of the man who made himself sin, who made himself the devil, the serpent, for us; he debased himself up to the point of totally annihilating himself.' [emphasis added]

Christ made himself the devil?

The odd thing here is how close Francis actually is to the traditional teaching on the matter, but with a gut-wrenching twist. In the above-cited post at TDB, the Church's understanding of this mystery is perhaps best explained in these excerpts from St. Thomas Aquinas…

- 'He made him to be sin', that is, 'the victim of sacrifice for sin'

- 'He made him to be sin': that is, 'he made him assume mortal and suffering flesh'

- 'He made him to be sin': that is, 'made him regarded a sinner'


- In Christ there was no proneness towards evil, much less could there be sin

And St. Augustine:

' What are the biting serpents? Sins, from the mortality of the flesh. What is the serpent lifted up? The Lord's death on the cross. For as death came by the serpent, it was figured by the image of a serpent. The serpent's bite was deadly, the Lord's death is life-giving. A serpent is gazed on that the serpent may have no power. What is this? A death is gazed on, that death may have no power. […] Meanwhile brethren, that we may be healed from sin, let us now gaze on Christ crucified; for ' as Moses,' says He, 'lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of man be lifted up; that whosoever believes in Him may not perish, but have everlasting life.' Just as they who looked on that serpent perished not by the serpent's bites, so they who look in faith on Christ's death are healed from the bites of sins. But those were healed from death to temporal life; while here He says, 'that they may have everlasting life.' Now there is this difference between the figurative image and the real thing: the figure procured temporal life; the reality, of which that was the figure, procures eternal life. (Saint Augustine of Hippo. Tractates on the Gospel of Saint John, XII, 11)


' This Word of God made flesh and dwelt amongst us. […] This was the way in which, though immortal, he was able to die; the way in which he chose to give life to mortal men: he would first share with us, and then enable us to share with him. Of ourselves we had no power to live, nor did he of himself have the power to die. In other words, he performed the most wonderful exchange with us. Through us, he died; through him, we shall live. The death of the Lord our God should not be a cause of shame for us; rather, it should be our greatest hope, our greatest glory. In taking upon himself the death that he found in us, he has most faithfully promised to give us life in him, such as we cannot have of ourselves. He loved us so much that, sinless himself, he suffered for us sinners the punishment we deserved for our sins. How then can he fail to give us the reward we deserve for our righteousness, for he is the source of righteousness? How can he, whose promises are true, fail to reward the saints when he bore the punishment of sinners, though without sin himself? Brethren, let us then fearlessly acknowledge, and even openly proclaim, that Christ was crucified for us; let us confess it, not in fear but in joy, not in shame but in glory. (Saint Augustine of Hippo. Sermon Guelf 3 from the Office of Readings, Monday of Holy Week)

The shift is subtle, but perceptible. Christ did not literally become sin, or a sinner. Christ bore the punishment for our sins, taking on mortal flesh so that he could redeem us from sin. Christ did not literally become the devil, or even take on the form of the serpent. In Numbers 21:5-9, we see the origin of this imagery:

'And speaking against God and Moses, they said: Why didst thou bring us out of Egypt, to die in the wilderness? There is no bread, nor have we any waters: our soul now loatheth this very light food. Wherefore the Lord sent among the people fiery serpents, which bit them and killed many of them. Upon which they came to Moses, and said: We have sinned, because we have spoken against the Lord and thee: pray that he may take away these serpents from us. And Moses prayed for the people. And the Lord said to him: Make brazen serpent, and set it up for a sign: whosoever being struck shall look on it, shall live. Moses therefore made a brazen serpent, and set it up for a sign: which when they that were bitten looked upon, they were healed.

Christ, like the bronze serpent of Moses, took the form of that which brought death to his people - the form of Adam. He was then raised up in the form of that which caused the evil, like the bronze serpent was raised up, to heal us of our sins. TDB cites Theophylus of Antioch as quoted by St. Thomas on this theme:

'See then the aptness of the figure. The figure of the serpent has the appearance of the beast, but not its poison: in the same way Christ came in the likeness of sinful flesh, being free from sin. By Christ's being lifted up, understand His being suspended on high, by which suspension He sanctified the air, even as He had sanctified the earth by walking upon it. Herein too is typified the glory of Christ: for the height of the cross was made His glory for in that He submitted to be judged, He judged the prince of this world; for Adam died justly, because he sinned; our Lord unjustly, because He did no sin. So He overcame him, who delivered Him over to death, and thus delivered Adam from death. And in this the devil found himself vanquished, that he could not upon the cross torment our Lord into hating His murderers: but only made Him love and pray for them the more. In this way the cross of Christ was made His lifting up, and glory. (Theophylus of Antioch quoted by Saint Thomas Aquinas. Catena Aurea on Jn 3:14-15)


(The full translation of the L'Osservatore Romano story on the pope's mediation follows)



In the sign of the cross

Tuesday, April 4, 2017 (from: L'Osservatore Romano , daily ed., Anno CLVII, 79, 04/05/2017)

To make 'the sign of the cross' distractedly and to flaunt 'the symbol of Christians' as if it were 'the badge of a team' or 'an ornament', perhaps with 'precious stones, jewels and gold', has nothing to do with 'the mystery' of Christ. So much so that Pope Francis has suggested his own examination of conscience on the cross, to see how each of us carries the only real 'instrument of salvation' in daily life. Here are the lines of reflections which the Pontiff offered at the Mass celebrated on Tuesday morning, April 4, at Santa Marta.

'It draws attention,' he noted immediately, referring to the passage of John the Evangelist (8:21-30), 'that in this short passage from the Gospel, Jesus said three times to the lawyers, to the scribes, and to some Pharisees: 'You will die in your sins. '' He repeats it 'three times.' And 'he says it,' he added, 'because they did not understand the mystery of Jesus, because they had closed hearts and were not able to open them a little, to try to understand the mystery that was the Lord.' In fact, the Pope explained, 'to die in your sin is an awful thing: it means that everything ends there, in the filth of sin.'

But then 'this dialogue - in which Jesus repeats three times 'you will die in your sins' - he continues and, in the end, Jesus looks back at the history of salvation and reminds them of something: 'When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am and that I do nothing on my own. The Lord himself says: 'When you have lifted up the Son of Man.'

With these words, the Pope stated, referring to the passage from the Book of Numbers (21:4-9), 'Jesus reminds us of what happened in the desert and which we heard in the first reading.' It is the moment when 'the weary people, the people who cannot endure the path, turns away from the Lord, speaks evil of Moses and of the Lord, and encounters those serpents which bite and cause the death.' Then 'the Lord says to Moses to make a bronze serpent and raise it, and the person who suffers a wound of a serpent, and that looks at the one of bronze, will be healed.'

'The serpent,' the Pope continued, 'is the symbol of wickedness, is the symbol of the devil: it was the most cunning of the animals in earthly paradise.' Because 'the serpent is the one that is able to seduce with lies', he is 'the father of lies: this is the mystery.' But then 'we have to look at the devil to save us? The serpent is the father of sin, the one that made humanity sin.' In reality, 'Jesus says, 'When I am lifted up, everyone will come to me.' Obviously this is the mystery of the cross.'

'The bronze serpent healed,' said Francis, 'but the bronze serpent was a sign of two things: the sin done by the serpent, the seduction of the serpent, the cunning of the serpent; and it was also the sign of the cross of Christ, it was a prophecy.' And 'this is why the Lord tells them: 'When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am. So we can say,' the Pope affirmed, that 'Jesus 'made himself the serpent,' Jesus 'made himself sin,' and he took upon himself all the filth of humanity, all the filth of sin. And he 'made himself sin', he made himself to rise up so that all the people might look at him, the people wounded by sin, us. This is the mystery of the cross and Paul says it: 'He made himself sin' and he took the appearance of the father of sin, the cunning serpent.'

'Those who did not look at the bronze serpent after being wounded by a snake in the desert,' the Pontiff explained, 'died in sin, the sin of murmuring against God and Moses.' In the same way, 'those who do not recognize the strength of God, who made himself sin to heal us, in that man who is lifted up, like the serpent, will die in their sin.' Because 'salvation comes only from the cross, still from this cross on which God made himself flesh: there is no salvation in ideas, there is no salvation in good will, in the desire to be good.' In reality, the Pope insisted, 'the only salvation is in Christ crucified, because only he, as the bronze serpent signified, was able to take all the venom of sin and he healed us there.'

'But what is the cross for us?' is the question posed by Francis. 'Yes, it is the sign of Christians, it is the symbol of Christians, and we make the sign of the cross, but we do not always do it well, sometimes we do it so so … because we do not have this faith in the cross,' emphasized the Pope. The cross, then, he stated, 'for some people is a badge of belonging: 'Yes, I carry the cross to show that I am a Christian. And 'It's fine,' but 'not just as a badge, as if it were a team, the badge of a team'; but [rather], said Francis, 'as the memory of the man who made himself sin, who made himself the devil, the serpent, for us; he debased himself up to the point of totally annihilating himself.'

Moreover, it is true, 'others carry the cross as an ornament, they carry crosses with precious stones, in order to be seen.' But, the Pontiff pointed out, 'God said to Moses: 'Whoever looks at the snake will be healed;' Jesus says to his enemies: 'When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know. In essence, he explained, 'those who do not look at the cross, in this way, with faith, will die in their sins, they will not receive that salvation.'

'Today,' the Pope raised again, 'the Church proposes to us a dialogue with the mystery of the cross, with this God who made himself sin for love of me.' And 'each one of us can say: 'for love of me.' So, he continued, it is appropriate to ask ourselves: 'How do I carry the cross?: only as a reminder? When I make the sign of the cross, am I aware of what I am doing? How do I carry the cross?: only as a symbol of belonging to a religious group? How do I carry the cross?: as an ornament, as a jewel with so many precious golden gems?' Or 'have I learned to carry it on my shoulders, where it hurts?'.

'Each of us today,' the Pope suggested at the conclusion of his meditation, 'look at the crucifix, look at this God who made himself sin so that we do not die in our sins, and answer these questions that I have suggested to you.'

[1P5] 2182.16

CF News / Comment from the internet

The Cleansing of the Temple and the Sacrifice of the Mass

FR JOHN HUNWICKE blogs : 'The Neusner reference I give below is from a periodical called New Testament Studies that comes out several times a year. You could embark upon Neusner by reading the extensive extracts in Joseph Ratzinger's Jesus of Nazareth and following up the Bibliography reference Ratzinger gives.

Ratzinger and Neusner are close friends and Neusner often defended Ratzinger on the occasions when the wolf-pack attacked him.

The central purpose of the Mass ... even before the 'Supper' aspect ... is sacrifice. Do you feel any little doubts lurking on the outskirts of your mind about this proposition?

Doubt 1: Why did S Paul call the Eucharist the Lord's Supper (kyriakon deipnon)?

But deipnon, Supper, is, surprisingly to us, sacrificial language. In the Greco-Roman world, sacrifice was a communal activity. After the animal was killed and the prescribed portions sacrificially burned, the rest was cooked and eaten by the worshippers in a supper which was not just a sequel but was an integral part of the sacrificial ritual (what the Jews called a Communion Sacrifice). Many such invitations have come to light in the rubbish dumps of ancient Egypt, preserved by the dryness of the desert sand. A typical example is 'An invitation to you from Nilos to have deipnon in the dining room of the Kyrios Serapis in the Serapeum' (POxy 2592; late first century). That is why so many excavated temple complexes have dining rooms and extensive kitchen areas attached to them; although sometimes the sacrificial banquet happened, like Christian Eucharist, in a private home (when this happened, the phrase in the papyri is en tei idiai oikiai). And it is one reason why S Paul is so concerned about his Corinthian converts partaking 'in the tables of demons'. To do so is to share in the pagan sacrifice. Look at I Cor 10:14-22 and note the parallelism the Saint draws between pagan sacificial banquets and the sacrificial banquet which is the Eucharist. Kyriakon deipnon certainly did not, as liberals like to assume, mean some informal sort of matey event ('an expression of fellowship') or a plate in front of the television during Channel Four News.

Doubt 2: Did Jesus really have the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and its sacrificial theology in mind when he sat at table with his disciples hours before his death?

Jacob Neusner powerfully argues that he did ... [New Testament Studies 1989 pp287-290]

Jacob Neusner? Who's he? He's a very distinguished and learned rabbi and academic expert on first century Judaism and Christian origins.

Oh yes? So why didn't I hear about him when I was doing New Testament Studies? Because his researches often give strong support to the Catholic and Orthodox Faith from an academic, non-Christian, Jewish standpoint. Your mentors, careful men, naturally wanted to spare you such explosive material, and anyway they were far too busy teaching you about the Synoptic Problem, the Historical Jesus, the non-physical nature of the Resurrection, and the inauthenticity of most of S Paul's letters.

But you can't expect me to take seriously what a Jewish scholar thinks about Jesus. I don't see why not. Pope Benedict did. In the first volume of his Jesus of Nazareth, the entire section on the Sermon on the Mount was indebted to an analysis by Neusner. And Neusner, in another brilliantly argued piece, shows that the reason why our Lord 'cleansed' the Temple on the first Palm Sunday was to denote the termination of the Jewish sacrificial system (particularly the offering of the tamid lamb, morning and evening, for the People; their Temple taxes, paid in Temple shekels acquired from the money-changers, went to provide the lambs) because he purposed, on Maundy Thursday, to replace it with his own sacrifice of the Eucharist: Table in place of Table, Sacrifice in place of Sacrifice.

[liturgicalnotes.blogspot.co.uk] 2182.17

CF News / Comment from the internet




I. A 'religion of peace'? The question is more complicated than it looks

FRANCIS PHILLIPS writes for The Catholic Herald : 'When it comes to a discussion of Islam in Britain, there is always a distinction made between 'Islamism' which is bad and 'Islam' which is good. I never know quite what to make of this, partly because the media tends to focus on 'Islamism' with its terrorist implications, and partly because one rarely hears a strong, public voice from the side of the peace-loving Islam. Naturally enough, opinion is also polarised between those who think Islam's history and its beginnings make it inherently warlike and those who don't.

Reading Letters to a Young Muslim (UK, US) by Omar Saif Ghobash does not clear up this problem - though it is good to read the reflections of a cultured, educated and cosmopolitan Muslim who also takes his faith with great seriousness. Of mixed parentage himself - his mother is Russian and his father, killed by terrorists in 1977 when the author was aged four, was from the United Arab Emirates - he was educated at Oxford and the University of London and is currently the UAE ambassador to Russia.

His book is written for his two sons, aged 12 and 16, in an attempt to help them to 'understand how to be faithful to their inherited religion of Islam and its deepest values' and at the same time to recognise 'through observation and thought that there need be no conflict between Islam and the rest of the world'. Much of what he writes would strike a chord with any loving, concerned parent, anxious that their children should grow up with the right values, to deplore mindless violence and to be aware that 'the West offers temptations, both physical and moral', where 'freedom is worshipped'.

One can truly sympathise with Ghobash as he tries to warn his sons of the dangers they will face as young adults, where many people they meet will be hostile to their faith while others within it will tempt them 'with the limited fantasies of deeply unhappy people' - ie, terrorism. Emphasising to his sons that 'Islam is a religion of peace', he pleads with them not to spread the 'behavioural patterns suited to the 7th or 10th centuries' but rather 'the Islamic values of respect, care for others, humour, generosity and the search for knowledge and justice.'

However, the book does raise unresolved questions for a sympathetic but critical Westerner or Christian: for instance, Ghobash describes the Prophet Mohammed as 'the finest role model we have'; he says that the Koran, 'unchanged and uncorrupted for over 1,400 years', provides a 'stable reference point in a world of change or turmoil and of turbulence'. He also allows his sons to attend a Muslim school, then realises he needs to challenge what they have been taught there about hating infidels.

He acknowledges that there is a conflict within Islam when its proponents speak of suicide being wrong but suicide bombing being acceptable. He also suggests that it is the 'Ummah', the global Islamic community, which is under attack - without reference to the widespread persecution of Christians in Islamic territories or the tolerance towards Islamic immigrants in the West.

One wants to ask: with what authority does the author write here? How numerous are those Muslims who agree with him? What influence do they have on the mullahs and imams? Can the conflict between the hard-line fundamentalists and other members of the Muslim community, ably represented by this thoughtful and reflective writer, ever be resolved? Such questions deserve to be answered.


II. St. Gabriel: Messenger to Mohammed?

JACK MOISUK writes for he Remnant : 'I was chatting with a guy in a waiting room the other day about religion. He related that his cousin converted to the Russian Orthodox religion and eventually became a bishop. He said that his cousin believed that Islam was an evil religion and remarked about how unchristian it was to allege such a thing. I replied that most Christians today refuse to acknowledge the truth about their own religions, let alone Islam.

Is Islam just a bad or corrupted religion, or is it really evil? This is why I believe it to be evil:

The fundamentals of the Islam faith are the messages dictated to Mohammed during his trances in a cave. He related these verses to his followers, some of whom committed them to memory. Many years later, they were recorded in writing and assembled into what became the Koran. Mohammed said the messages were dictated to him by the Angel Gabriel in Arabic as directed by Allah. Mohammedans believe this. The Koran, complemented by the ahadith and sunan (plurals of hadith and Sunnah) which are the sayings, teachings, and actions of the prophet, is the basis of the Mohammedan religion.

The messages and instructions are arranged into chapters, called suras. They include a chronologically and factually inaccurate version of the Old and New Testaments as well as the laws and rules of Islam, which cover just about all aspects of life and relationships. They depict the nature and characteristics of Allah which are considerably different from the true, Almighty God the Father, of Christians and Jews. The laws and guidance contained in the Koran are not just a corruption of those in the Bible, but in many cases, contradict the teaching of the Bible.

This raises the question regarding the real source of the suras. Clearly, the author of the Koran wasn't God Almighty or any of his angels; certainly not Gabriel of the Annunciation. In spite of the many contradictions and discrepancies among the suras, they are too coherent to attribute to hallucinations. It's not likely that Mohammed could have made this stuff up as he went along. In order to develop into a full-blown major world-wide religion, Islam would need super-natural support. Therefore, Mohammed's trances must have been induced by a malevolent spirit who identified himself to Mohammed as Gabriel.

Before Mohammed left Mecca for Medina to build up his forces, his spirit guide told him to get along with the Pagans for the good of the Moslems. He was first told to get along with the Pagans so that the Moslems were permitted to worship Allah. Then he was directed to encourage both groups to honor one another's gods. In context with the rest of the Koran, Imams don't believe Allah would have actually condoned this. Accordingly, they believe these particular suras weren't really dictated by Gabriel. They refer to them as 'Satanic Verses.' The question of whether Mohammed could have been snookered by a devious spirit is now considered off-limits. The obvious implication is that if some of the suras can be dismissed as being invalid, others might be similarly challenged. That's why Mohammedans don't permit further discussion of this topic. Salman Rushdie had the audacity to write the novel, The Satanic Verses. Accordingly, Ayatollah Khomeini issued the fatwa for his murder.

When Mohammed was able to muster sufficient fighting strength, 'Gabriel' changed his tune and encouraged him to attack and subdue the pagans in Mecca. The earlier suras about getting along with non-Moslems when Mohammed was outnumbered are often quoted to substantiate Islam as some sort of religion of peace. When Moslems have sufficient combat power, they conduct jihad by force in compliance with the 'sword to the neck' suras. When they are outnumbered, they conduct jihad by infiltration, deceit, and terror.

The devil is cunning and capable of causing men to believe that which is not true. Islam is a terrible religion which promises carnal rewards in paradise for committing atrocities which would result in condemnation to Hell for a Christian or Jew. The scary part of this is that Moslems are not breaking with the traditional beliefs of their religion when they commit atrocities; they actually believe they are pleasing Allah. They are in critical need of our prayers. I believe the whole Koran was inspired by a fallen angel who continues to function as a guardian for this false religion. I don't know how many angels, good or bad, are named Gabriel. I do know that Mohammed's Gabriel sure as hell wasn't the Angel Gabriel of the Annunciation.

Consider how a Moslem, lax in his faith (a so-called 'moderate'), may contemplate the hereafter. He knows what Allah said about what happens to those who make excuses not to pick up their swords to fight for Islam. He knows what Allah promises him if he dies killing infidels. Considering his eternal fate, he decides to join ISIS or die committing mass murder. Some refer to this as 'radicalization.' Since the Moslem faith is not compatible with American laws and values, how can we 'vet' Moslem immigrants be to ensure they won't act according to their convictions?

Surely there are many Moslems living in this country who enjoy the good life and don't make trouble. Some create incidents for the purpose of portraying Moslems as victims of discrimination to incrementally inspire laws and rules which protect, support, and even promote the concepts of sharia. Many, I'm sure, are happy to be outnumbered so they are not called upon to fight. Like many so-called Christians and Jews, there must be many Muslims who don't take their religion that seriously. The latest initiative of naïve politicians to encourage imams to preach against jihad and inspire Moslem citizens to report Islamic terrorists to the infidel authorities reflects a complete lack of understanding of Mohammedan belief in Allah.

If I'm wrong, and it was the real Gabriel who instructed Mohammed, Christians and Jews are in deep kimchi. We worship a God who we think loves us, when in fact he hates us. He condemns us to hell and takes pleasure in the atrocities committed against us.

But since I'm right, it is important to pray for the enlightenment and conversion of Moslems. It's dangerous to perpetuate politically correct lies about what these people actually believe because it leads to policies which endanger most Americans and other infidels.

President Bush, the younger, proclaimed that Islam is a religion of peace. Did he base this determination on an in-depth study of the Koran, the life of Mohammed, or just wishful thinking? I think it was probably just ignorance. In a sense, Bush was right. Mohammedans do strive for 'world peace'. But that peace is achieved when the infidels are killed, converted, or subdued and sharia is imposed.

Pope Francis recently proclaimed that Moslem terrorism is non-existent and that there are no Islamic terrorists. The Pope, disregarding the First Commandment, promotes ecumenism, a false doctrine that regards all religions as good. One can infer the logic: If all religions are good, Moslems who act badly are not really Moslems. The problem with this logic is that good is relative. That which pleases Allah offends God Almighty. Given the many atrocities committed by Mohammed, I wonder if the Pope would regard him as a true Moslem.

The real problem is that the imams who preach the Koran and allege that Mohammed represents the standard of behavior to be emulated think they know more about Islam than the Pope and a former U.S. president! How do we convince them that George Bush and Pope Francis are right and that Mohammed was wrong?

Pray for the conversion of Mohammedans. And get ready to defend your children against Jihad right here in America. If nothing changes, it's a question of when... not if.


III. The Pope of Islam?

CHRISTOPHER FERRARA writes for Fatima Perspectives
: ' Take a look at this latest “Pope Video,” which contains the usual utterly secular “message” having nothing to do with Christ or the Church of which Pope Bergoglio is supposed to be the earthly head. After a ridiculous segment featuring a jeans-clad girl grunting and sweating as she struggles to lift a huge truck tire, she is seen packing her knapsack and marching off to meet the “challenge to youth” that Bergoglio poses. The “challenge” is shown in the next segment, which depicts the girl wearing a surgical mask as she assists in the arrival of a boat filled with the “refugees” whose massive influx into Italy and the rest of Europe Bergoglio promotes incessantly.  




Laughably enough, the caption of the video attempts to give it a Catholic spin: “That young people may respond generously to their vocations and seriously consider offering themselves to God in the priesthood or consecrated life” — about which Bergoglio says absolutely nothing in the video, which makes no mention and offers no depiction of the priesthood or consecrated life. Quite the contrary, Pope Bergoglio merely expresses the hope that young people “will respond generously to their own vocation and mobilize for the great causes of the world.”

One of the “great causes of the world” is “open borders” for Muslim “immigrants.” Look closely at the passengers in the boat seen in the video: every single one of them is a male. This is but a snapshot of a wave of mass migration that is overwhelmingly composed of Muslim males. According to statistics compiled by the Pew Research Center, which is hardly a right-wing organization, in 2015 “men made up nearly three-fourths (73%) of Europe’s asylum seekers in 2015. Refugees from leading origin countries such as Syria (71%), Iraq (75%) and Afghanistan (80%) were also predominately male in 2015. By contrast, asylum seekers from other top origin countries, such as Gambia (97% male), Pakistan (95% male) and Bangladesh (95% male), were almost entirely male.”
And overwhelmingly Muslim. Indeed, even Newsweek magazine recognizes the gross discrimination practiced by the Obama administration against Christian refugees from Syria and in favor of Muslim refugees.

 Worse, among this predominantly male wave of “refugees,” Pew reports, “four-in-ten asylum seekers in Europe in 2015 (42%) were young men ages 18 to 34.” That is, young Muslim men whose presence has caused severe social disruption which liberal governments and their allies in the media labor to conceal.

Moreover, in Europe the male dominance of the wave of “refugees” has been increasing ever since 2013, as has the percentage of very young, military-age males. As Pew also reports:
“Since 2013, the demographic profile of asylum seekers in the EU-28 [the 28 member states of the EU], Norway and Switzerland has become slightly more male (67% in 2013, 71% in 2014 and 73% in 2015), with a steady share of asylum seekers arriving under 35 years of age (80% in 2013 and in 2014, 83% in 2015).

“Among all asylum seekers in 2015, about two-in-ten (19%) were male minors (0 to 17 years of age), compared with one-in-ten who were female minors. And while about four-in-ten (42%) asylum seekers were young adult males (18 to 34 years of age) in 2015, just about one-in-ten (11%) were young adult females in the same age bracket.

“These age and gender patterns are largely consistent across some of the largest asylum seeker groups, including those from Syria, Iraq, Iran and Somalia. The large proportion of young males and comparatively smaller shares of young adult women and female children suggests that many refugees from these source countries are young men traveling alone….”

In fact, one of the perpetrators of the deadly truck attack in Stockholm, Sweden, whose local and national governments are desperately suppressing evidence that male Muslim immigration has had a disastrous impact on that country, was an asylum seeker whose application had been rejected and was eluding deportation.

Yet on and on Pope Bergoglio goes, heedlessly meddling in the political affairs of European states and the United States by demanding that they “build bridges, not walls” and adopt liberal immigration policies which are essentially an invitation to Islamicization through mass Muslim male migration. And he has yet to acknowledge the undeniable link between radical Islam, whose goal for centuries has been a worldwide caliphate, and the acts of terror perpetrated entirely by Muslim males all over Europe and in the United States.  

Even the attack on the Coptic church in the Nile Delta this Palm Sunday, which killed scores of Christians and was hailed by ISIS as part of its campaign to eradicate Christianity from Egypt, elicited only this weak response from Bergoglio: “May the Lord convert the hearts of people who sow terror, violence and death and even the hearts of those who produce and traffic in weapons.”
Who exactly are “those” and what does weapons trafficking have to do with the attack on the Coptic church, which involved a homemade bomb? Like the liberal politicians of Europe and the US, Bergoglio refuses to utter the phrase “radical Islamic terrorism.” And, like the liberal politicians, he seeks to deflect attention from the real problem — Islamic terrorists who seek to kill Christians because they are Christian — to a politically correct target: weapons traffickers.

When Hillaire Belloc predicted the resurgence of Islam in Europe back in the 1920s, I doubt that even that prescient voice of Catholicism foresaw that an instrumental cause in the resurgence would be a future Pope. For that insight, heavenly assistance would have been required: that is, the Message of Fatima and the Third Secret in particular.

[CH / Remnant / FP] 2182.18

CF News / Comment from the internet

Pius XI: a pope who fulfilled his mandate

VOICE OF THE FAMILY writes : 'On Palm Sunday 1937, 80 years ago this month, Pius XI's encyclical letter Mit Brennender Sorge was read out from the pulpits of Germany. The encyclical, which had been smuggled into Germany to avoid confiscation, critiqued key aspects of Nazi ideology including ideas concerning God, race and the nature of the state. A central theme of the encyclical was the pope's encouragement to Catholics, and in particular Catholic parents, to remain faithful to Christ and His Church in the face of increasing attempts by the Nazi regime to indoctrinate German children through school curricula and organisations such as the Hitler Youth.

Pope Pius XI's defence of parents against the attempts of the state to impose its ideology on children will resonate with many today, when many national governments and international organisations are attempting to impose destructive anti-life and anti-family programmes on children worldwide.

In Mit Brennender Sorge Pius XI taught that:

'The believer has an absolute right to profess his Faith and live according to its dictates. Laws which impede this profession and practice of Faith are against natural law. Parents who are earnest and conscious of their educative duties, have a primary right to the education of the children God has given them in the spirit of their Faith, and according to its prescriptions. Laws and measures which in school questions fail to respect this freedom of the parents go against natural law, and are immoral.' (No.37)

He continued:

'We address Our special greetings to the Catholic parents. Their rights and duties as educators, conferred on them by God, are at present the stake of a campaign pregnant with consequences. The Church cannot wait to deplore the devastation of its altars, the destruction of its temples, if an education, hostile to Christ, is to profane the temple of the child's soul consecrated by baptism, and extinguish the eternal light of the faith in Christ for the sake of counterfeit light alien to the Cross. Then the violation of temples is nigh, and it will be every one's duty to sever his responsibility from the opposite camp, and free his conscience from guilty cooperation with such corruption. The more the enemies attempt to disguise their designs, the more a distrustful vigilance will be needed, in the light of bitter experience... Yet do not forget this: none can free you from the responsibility God has placed on you over your children. None of your oppressors, who pretend to relieve you of your duties can answer for you to the eternal Judge, when he will ask: 'Where are those I confided to you?' May every one of you be able to answer: 'Of them whom thou hast given me, I have not lost any one' (John xviii. 9).' (No. 39)

The strong defence of parents and children offered by Pope Pius XI provides a clear contrast with the actions of Pope Francis, who has professed himself 'gratified' by international goals that seek to acheive 'universal access to sexual and reproductive health, including for family planning, information and education' (such terms include abortion and contraception) by 2030. In his apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia, Pope Francis opened the way for ecclesiastical acceptance of dangerous sex education programmes in the section entitled 'The Need for Sex Education'. This section does not make any reference to the role of parents in educating their children in areas relating sexuality, speaking only of 'educational institutions'. Yet the Church teaches that sex education is 'a basic right and duty of parents' which 'must always be carried out under their attentive guidance, whether at home or in educational centers chosen and controlled by them.' (Familiaris Consortio, No. 37). Amoris Laetitia does make a brief reference to the general rights of parents in an earlier chapter (paragraph 84) but the omission of any reference to parental rights over sex education in a section dedicated to asserting the 'need for sex education', in the context of 'educational institutions', is an extremely grave omission.

Furthermore, under Pope Francis, the Holy See has produced and promoted an obscence, pornographic, sex education programme targeted at children. Serious problems with the programme have been identified by Dr Rick Fitzgibbons, a psychiatrist and adjunct professor of the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family, at the Catholic University of America. Dr Fitzgibbons has said:

'the most dangerous threat to Catholic youth that I have seen over the past 40 years is the Vatican's new sexual education program, The Meeting Point: Course of Affective Sexual Education for Young People... I was particularly shocked by the images contained in this new sex education program, some of which are clearly pornographic. My immediate professional reaction was that this obscene or pornographic approach abuses youth psychologically and spiritually... As a professional who has treated both priest perpetrators and the victims of the abuse crisis in the Church, what I found particularly troubling was that the pornographic images in this program are similar to those used by adult sexual predators of adolescents.'

He continued:

'The Meeting Point program constitutes sexual abuse of Catholic adolescents worldwide and reveals an ignorance of the enormous sexual pressure upon youth today and will result in their subsequent confusion in accepting the Church's teaching. It represents a grave future crisis in the Church and particularly for Catholic youth and families in far greater proportions than the scandalous sexual abuse crisis of youth recently so widely reported in the press.'

Catholics today, like their forefathers in 1930s Germany, look towards Rome for confirmation and reassurance in the face of attacks on their families. As Pius XI taught:

'At a time when your faith, like gold, is being tested in the fire of tribulation and persecution, when your religious freedom is beset on all sides, when the lack of religious teaching and of normal defence is heavily weighing on you, you have every right to words of truth and spiritual comfort from him whose first predecessor heard these words from the Lord: 'I have prayed for thee that thy faith fail not: and thou being once converted, confirm thy brethren' (Lukexxii. 32).' (No.6)

Yet, today, far from receiving the support that they need, they see Pope Francis, expressing gratification at international goals that will further the systematic killing of unborn children, promoting a 'need for sex education', and presiding over a Vatican body that is introducing children to obscene material. These Catholics will perhaps find renewed hope by turning once more to the words of Pius XI, a pope who fulfilled his mandate to confirm his brethren:

'Like other periods of the history of the Church, the present has ushered in a new ascension of interior purification... May the holy time of Lent and Easter, which preaches interior renovation and penance, turn Christian eyes towards the Cross and the risen Christ; be for all of you the joyful occasion that will fill your souls with heroism, patience and victory. Then We are sure, the enemies of the Church, who think that their time has come, will see that their joy was premature, and that they may close the grave they had dug. The day will come when the Te Deum of liberation will succeed to the premature hymns of the enemies of Christ.' (No. 42)

[VOTF] 2182.19

CF News / Comment from the internet

More Vatican sophistry in its attack on marriage and family: Cohabiting couples just can't help it.

CHRISTOPHER A. FERRARA writes for Fatima Perpectives : 'There is no use pretending otherwise: the Bergoglian pontificate is assuming apocalyptic dimensions in line with Sister Lucia's warning to Cardinal Caffarra, one of the four cardinals who presented the five (thus far unanswered) dubia concerning the disastrous Amoris Laetitia (AL): "the final battle between the Lord and the reign of Satan will be about marriage and the family."

This column has already explored at length AL's opening to Holy Communion for the divorced and "remarried" - that is, for people living in what the Catechism of John Paul II rightly calls a "situation of public and permanent adultery." But now it seems that the door is also being opened for mass sacrilege by couples who merely cohabit without even the pretense of a marriage.

The headline at LifeSiteNews says it all: "Francis urges priests to 'welcome' cohabitating couples in the 'style of the Gospel'." What does "welcome" mean? Clearly it means the same as it does for the divorced and "remarried," as confirmed by Francis' letter to the bishops of Buenos Aires: give them Holy Communion following "discernment." In other words, give them Holy Communion. And that is exactly what the bishops of Malta and elsewhere - pointing to Francis, who does not correct them - have decreed in sole reliance on AL.

As Francis put the matter in his advice to priests: "At the same time, make yourselves close with the style of the Gospel itself, in the encounter and welcome of those young people that prefer living together without getting married."

As LifeSite notes: "The pope did not ask priests to admonish such couples for living in grave sin nor did he ask them to work for their conversion and repentance." To which I would add: Why draw the line here, to include only cohabiting couples? What if couples "prefer" simply to engage in continuous fornication while living with their respective parents, "preferring" to avoid the expense of living together? What does sharing an apartment add to their moral standing? Why are non-cohabiting fornicators not entitled to a "Eucharistic welcome" under the same Bergoglian standard?

Francis went on to say that "On the spiritual and moral plane, they [cohabiting couples] are among the poor and the little ones, toward whom the Church, following in the footsteps of her Teacher and Lord, wants to be a Mother that does not abandon but comes close and takes care. These persons are also loved by Christ's heart. This care of the last, precisely because it emanates from the Gospel, is an essential part of your work of promotion and defense of the Sacrament of Marriage."

But this is doubletalk, for sacramental marriage can hardly be defended on the basis of the attitude that immoral cohabitation is merely a "preference" on the part of "poor and little ones," not a gravely sinful way of life the "poor and little ones" have deliberately chosen and which must be ended for their own temporal and eternal good.

It is clear, however, that in Francis' view cohabitation constitutes no threat to souls, but rather is acceptable behavior in given circumstances. If that contention seems extreme, recall Francis' astonishing declaration, published in the original Italian on the Vatican's website, that couples who cohabit in the Argentinian countryside, deliberately avoiding a Church wedding out of superstition, nonetheless have a "real marriage":

"I've seen a lot of fidelity in these cohabitations, and I am sure that this is a real marriage, they have the grace of a real marriage because of their fidelity." [Eppure davvero dico che ho visto tanta fedeltà in queste convivenze, tanta fedeltà; e sono sicuro che questo è un matrimonio vero, hanno la grazia del matrimonio, proprio per la fedeltà che hanno.]

Quite simply, Francis regards cohabitation - which is essentially fornication - as not only morally unobjectionable but even the moral equivalent of marriage when the fornicators show "fidelity" to each other. At the very least, he clearly views it as entirely excusable and understan