The National Association of Catholic Families




This edition of CF NEWS No.2233 posted at 2.43 pm on Sunday, May 13th, 2018. VATICAN WATCH New Vatican 'super-dicastery' for Laity, Family and Life : Cardinal Sarah on Silence : Pope Francis continues side-lining Cardinal Burke : The downfall of Pope Francis's Cardinals : Never-before-published text from Pope Benedict XVI : Knights of Malta call for resignation of chancellor : Vatican promotes occult Transcendental Meditation : New Marian feast day HUMANAE VITAE Janet Smith, fearless defender of Humanae Vitae : 'Reconsiding' Humanae Vitae UNITED NATIONS An heroic speech : Abortion advocates wish-list ahead of WHO assembly CHINA SUPPLEMENT A glimmer in Korea, but from China the news is bad NEWS FROM AROUND THE WORLD FRANCE 'Catholic' newspaper praise for Church opening doors to homosexuality : GERMANY Pope Francis has effectively approved of the intercommunion handout : IRELAND May 25th: The bloodiest day in all our history? : NETHERLANDS Cardinal Eijk warns of an Apocalypse : UK "Broken promise" on Catholic schools : UK Schools to be assessed on supoort for same-sex marriage : UK March for Life: the day the pro-life movement came to London : USA Offensive, stupid, creepy and vulgar : USA A new contemplative religious community of men : INTERNATIONAL gloria.tv.news : INTERNATIONAL Some jihad headlines of the week : INTERNATIONAL Savonarola Voris : INTERNATIONAL The World Over with Raymond Arroyo NEWMAN Fr Ian Ker : 18th Nores Lecture EVENT The Roman Conference BOOK REVIEW The interruption of a Catholic renaissance COMMENT FROM THE INTERNET Cardinal Burke in Bratislava : On an Illiberal Education : The German Church Divided : Why's every group but Christians allowed to 'preserve its identity'?



Vatican watch

New Vatican 'super-dicastery' for Laity, Family and Life   read more >>>
Cardinal Sarah on Silence
  VIDEO read more >>>
Pope Francis continues side-lining Cardinal Burke
  read more >>>
The downfall of Pope Francis's Cardinals
  read more >>>
Never-before-published text from Pope Benedict XVI
  read more >>>
Knights of Malta call for resignation of chancellor
  read more >>>
Vatican promotes occult Transcendental Meditation   VIDEO read more >>>
New Marian feast day read more >>>

Humanae Vitae

Janet Smith, fearless defender of Humanae Vitae  read more >>>
'Reconsiding' Humanae Vitae read more >>>

United Nations

An heroic speech   VIDEO read more >>>
Abortion advocates wish-list ahead of WHO assembly
 read more >>>

China Supplement

A glimmer in Korea, but from China the news is bad   read more >>>

News from around the world

FRANCE 'Catholic' newspaper praise for Church opening doors to homosexuality   read more >>>
GERMANY Pope Francis has effectively approved of the intercommunion handout
 read more >>>
IRELAND May 25th: The bloodiest day in all our history?
  read more >>>
NETHERLANDS Cardinal Eijk warns of an Apocalypse
 read more >>>
UK "Broken promise" on Catholic schools
 read more >>>
UK Schools to be assessed on supoort for same-sex marriage
read more >>>
UK March for Life: the day the pro-life movement came to London
  read more >>>  
Offensive, stupid, creepy and vulgar  VIDEO  read more >>>
USA A new contemplative religious community of men
  read more >>>
INTERNATIONAL gloria.tv.news
 VIDEO  read more >>>
INTERNATIONAL Some jihad headlines of the week
  read more >>>
INTERNATIONAL Savonarola Voris
 VIDEO  read more >>>
INTERNATIONAL The World Over with Raymond Arroyo
 VIDEO   read more >>>


Fr Ian Ker : 18th Nores Lecture  VIDEO   read more >>>


The Roman Conference   read more >>>

Book review

The interruption of a Catholic renaissance   read more >>>

Comment from the internet

Cardinal Burke in Bratislava  VIDEO  read more >>>
On an Illiberal Education
  read more >>>
The German Church Divided
  read more >>>
Why's every group but Christians allowed to 'preserve its identity'?
  read more >>>

Our Catholic Heritage

Site of the day : Talley Abbey   VIDEO  read more >>>
Te Deum
 VIDEO   read more >>>
Saint of the Day
  read more >>>


Thomas à Kempis   read more >>>




By courtesy of LifeSiteNews





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Vatican watch




New Vatican 'super-dicastery' for Laity, Family and Life

EDWARD PENTIN reports for the National Catholic Register : 'New statutes for the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life, announced by the Vatican on Tuesday, have a number of additions compared to its initial regulations released 2016 and offer a glimpse into how this pontificate's priorities are evolving.

Signed by Pope Francis on April 10, the revamped statutes of the 'super-dicastery' include new emphases on synodality, young people, women, and pastoral care for those in 'irregular' unions.

They come into force on May 13, the feast of Our Lady of Fatima.

The Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life, which Pope Francis founded by motu proprioin August 2016, aims to help inspire and promote the laity's vocation and mission in the Church, assist in the pastoral care and support of families, and to provide assistance and coordination to initiatives protecting life from conception until natural death.

American Cardinal Kevin Farrell is the dicastery prefect whose staff include a Secretary who may be a layperson (he is currently Brazilian Father Alexandre Awi Mello) and two undersecretaries who are always laypeople: currently Gabriella Gambino (Life) and Linda Ghisoni (Laity).

In keeping with the Pope's wish to give the local Church greater say, Francis makes clear in a reconfigured Article 1 that he wishes the Dicastery to 'maintain relations' with local bishops' conferences and other ecclesial bodies 'in accordance with the principles of collegiality, synodality and subsidiarity.'

All are to promote 'exchange between them' and offer 'collaboration to promote values and initiatives related to the aforementioned matters,' the statute reads. But it's not clear how much influence the Dicastery will have over local churches in view of greater powers being given to episcopal conferences, most notably over doctrine.

Possibly with an eye on the upcoming synod on youth in October, another addition not in the original 2016 statutes is an emphasis on young people. Article 8 expresses 'the particular concern of the Church for the young, promoting their agency in the midst of the challenges of today's world.' The statutes say the Dicastery, which is 'at the service' of bishops' conferences, international youth movements and associations, will play an 'important' role in preparing World Youth Days - something that used to be the domain of the now defunct Pontifical Council for the Laity.

Article 9 says the Dicastery will work to 'deepen the reflection on the relationship between men and women in their respective specificity, reciprocity, complementarity and equal dignity.' As well as 'valuing the feminine 'genius,'' the Dicastery vows to contribute to an 'ecclesial reflection on the identity and mission of women in the Church and in society, promoting their participation.'

This emphasis on greater female participation is part of wider push to give greater prominence to the role of women in the Church, a motive also thought to be behind a Vatican commission looking into the possibility of women deacons which is expected to conclude later this year.

Other additions, deriving from the Synods on the Family and the Pope's subsequent exhortation on the family, Amoris Laetitia, include 'guidelines for training programs for engaged couples preparing for marriage, and for young married couples.' Article 11 § 2 also 'expresses the pastoral care of the Church also in relation to so-called 'irregular' situations,' drawing on the contentious Chapter 8 of Amoris Laetitia.

Article 11 § 3 retains a pledge to create 'guidelines' to help form young people, but with the additional factor of 'intergenerational dialogue.'

The statutes reinforce the Dicastery's collaboration with the John Paul II Institute, now called the 'Pontifical John Paul II Theological Institute for Marriage and Family Sciences,' in order to 'promote a common direction in marriage, family and life studies.'

Article 13, related to life, also remains largely unchanged: the Dicastery 'supports and coordinates initiatives in favor of responsible procreation, as well as for the protection of human life from conception to its natural end, bearing in mind the needs of the person in the various stages of evolution' (it used the words 'stages of development' instead of 'evolution' in the previous statutes).

The Dicastery also pledges to continue to promote and encourage those that 'help women and families to welcome and cherish the gift of life, especially in the case of difficult pregnancies, and to prevent abortion. It also supports programs and initiatives aimed at helping women who have had abortions.'

Since its swift creation in 2016, the Dicastery has faced organizational challenges, and it continues to be a work in progress. Like the previous statutes, these have been approved ad experimentum (experimentally), signifying that more elements still need to be ironed out.

[NCR] 2233.1



















Carinal Sarah on silence




[St Michael's College, Torontpo] 2233.1a

















Pope Francis continues side-lining Cardinal Burke by extending mandate of special delegate to Malta

LISA BOURNE reports for LifeSiteNews : 'Pope Francis extended the mandate of his special delegate to the Knights of Malta last week, further sealing his demotion of the order's Cardinal Patron Raymond Burke.

The Vatican released the pope's May 2 letter on Friday, in which Francis asked Archbishop Angelo Becciu to remain his delegate and 'exclusive spokesman' indefinitely for everything in regard to Vatican relations to the Order of Malta.

Francis appointed Becciu, Substitute for General Affairs of the Vatican's Secretariat of State since 2011, as his personal envoy to oversee the 'spiritual and moral' reform of the Order, in particular its branch of professed Knights, on February 2, 2017.

In doing so, Francis effectively discharged Burke by handing Burke's two areas of authority as cardinal patron - promoting the spiritual interests of the Order and its members, and relations between the Holy See and the Order - over to Becciu.

Becciu's appointment as special delegate was supposed to end with the election of the Knights' new Grand Master, which occurred with the May 2 election of Fra' Giacomo Dalla Torre.

However, Francis opted for an indefinite extension of his mandate.

'Considering the fact that the path of spiritual and juridical renewal of the S.M.O.M. (Sovereign Military Order of Saint John of Jerusalem, of Rhodes and of Malta) has not yet been concluded,' Francis wrote, 'I ask you to continue to hold the office of my Delegate up to the conclusion of the reform process and in any case until I consider it useful for the Order itself.'

'Until then you will continue to benefit from all powers and of being my exclusive spokesperson for all that relates to the relations between this Apostolic See and the Order,' he added.

Controversy has surrounded governance of the Knights of Malta for the last few years, underscoring Francis' choppy relationship with Burke in the process.

German aristocrat Albrecht von Boeselager was removed as the Knights' Grand Chancellor late in 2016 for violating his promise of obedience after declining to resign in the wake of revelations he had overseen condom distribution as part of the Order's charitable work in the developing world.

Pope Francis then stepped in and reinstated Boeselager in January 2017 and asked Grand Master Matthew Festing, the Order's top official who had removed von Boeselager, to resign.

The move caused considerable controversy given the fact the Order of Malta is a sovereign state.

He named Becciu his special delegate charged with reform of the Order shortly thereafter.

The proposed reform of the Order has caused worry among some of its members for the possibility it could overturn of the practice of having a professed Knight of noble lineage at the head of the 900-year-old Order.

The First Class members, called the 'Knights of Justice,' and who take vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience, have comprised the heart of the Order from its 12th century origins and have been key in the perpetuation of its moral character.

Francis' negating Cardinal Burke's governance as cardinal patron of the Knights of Malta was the latest in an ongoing series of snubs toward the cardinal since Francis' 2013 election as Pope.

In 2013, Francis removed Burke from the Congregation for Bishops, the Vatican office that oversees the selection of new bishops.

Francis then demoted Burke the next year from his role as Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura, the Church's highest court, making Burke Patron of the Knights of Malta at that time.

Further, Francis then removed Burke from the Congregation for Divine Worship in 2016 after Burke and three other cardinals submitted the Dubia to the pope requesting clarity on Francis' controversial exhortation Amoris Laetitia.

[LSN] 2233.2




















The downfall of Pope Francis's Cardinals

DR. MAIKE HICKSON reports: 'The Decomposition of Pope Francis' reign continues. In light of what Onepeterfive has shown in the recent past concerning Pope Francis' close advisors - Cardinals Maradiaga, Errazuriz, and Marx - it might be of interest that now one of the most prominent Swiss newspaper - Der Tages-Anzeiger - joins in that discussion, talking about the 'Downfall of the Cardinals' (which is the title of the article).

The author of the article, Michael Meier, the newspapers' religion expert, picks up some of these cases that we have recently discussed, and he says that, after the 'enthusiastically' welcomed beginning of the pope's curial reform 'some of his closest papal advisors have come under pressure and threaten to perish in a whirlwind of abuse scandals. Looking back, Francis did not have a good hand in his decisions concerning cardinals,' Meier adds. 'In spite of his zero tolerance policy toward pedophilic clergymen, he himself seems to spare his own people according to an old pattern.'

In the following, Meier deals with thee cardinals, all of whom are members of the Council of Nine Cardinals who are called to help the pope with his reform: Cardinals George Pell, Francisco Errazuriz, and Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga.

With regard to the Australian Cardinal Pell and his being accused in Melbourne of both having been too lenient toward clerical abusers under his authority and of having violated himself one boy, Meier says that, while Pell insists upon his innocence, Pope Francis already knew of these charges when calling Pell into the C9 Council.

Meier then touches upon the case of the Chilean Cardinal Francisco Errazuriz who only recently has been accused by three abuse victims of having given the pope false information about responsible clergymen in Chile and of having blocked the juridical prosecution of the abusing priest, Father Fernando Karadima.

While Pope Francis now has apologized for his initial rebuke of these abuse victims, Meier says 'One nevertheless has the impression that the pope sees the problem only in part.' The journalist continues, saying: 'Because also with regard to the deceptive practices of yet another cardinal - Oscar Rodiguez Maradiaga - he does not seem to be overly interested in bringing light into the affair.' Meier shows here how this cardinal from Honduras is both accused of financial meddling - receiving a 35,000 Euros monthly payment from the Catholic University of Tegucigalpa - and of covering up for the financial and moral corruptions of his auxiliary bishop - Juan José Pineda - who even now represents Maradiaga when traveling. Pineda is even accused of having sexually harassed some seminarians, according to Meier. The journalist explains that the pope has sent, a few months ago, a papal investigator to Honduras. 'For a long time now, he [the pope] has his report,' Meier adds and then asks: 'But why does he not establish sanctions? Because he wishes to spare his friend Maradiaga?' Maradiaga, who is currently in the U.S. for the treatment of his prostate cancer, is 'being represented currently by Pineda himself.'

In conclusion, Meier wonders whether 'all these fallible cardinals are damaging the curial reform? And the credibility of Pope Francis?' He also asks whether the pope's choice of cardinals more in the sense of a globalization 'pays off. Are some Third-World-Cardinals corruptible? With these questions, one looks at the upcoming new appointments to the cardinalate in the middle of May.' The Swiss journalist ends his critical account of Pope Francis' personnel policy with the comment: 'Also with regard to the choice of personnel and cardinals, one cannot get rid of the impression that this pope acts more according to his gut and after too little reflection.'

[1P5] 2233.3




















Never-before-published text from Pope Benedict XVI

'Liberare la libertà. Fede e politica nel terzo millennio,' edited by Pierluca Azzaro and Carlos Granados, Joseph Ratzinger-Benedict XVI, preface by Pope Francis, Cantagalli, Siena, 2018, pp. 208, 18 euro.

Pope Benedict XVISANRO MAGISTER blogs from Rome: 'The book will go on sale May 10, but Settimo Cielo is previewing here the newest and most anticipated pages: a text by Joseph Ratzinger that bears the date of September 29, 2014 and has never been published until now, on the capital question of the foundation of human rights, which - he writes - are either anchored in faith in God the creator, or do not exist.

It is a text of crystalline clarity, which Ratzinger wrote in his retirement at the Vatican one and a half years after his resignation as pope, in commenting on a book - published in 2015 under the definitive title 'Diritti umani e cristianesimo. La Chiesa alla prova delle modernità' (Human rights and Christianity. The Church put to the test of modernity) - by his friend Marcello Pera, a philosopher of the liberal school and a former president of the Italian senate.

In his commentary, the 'pope emeritus' analyzes the irruption of human rights in the secular and Christian thought of the second half of the twentieth century, as an alternative to the totalitarian dictatorships of every kind, atheist or Islamic. And he explains why 'in my preaching and my writings I have always affirmed the centrality of the questions of God.'

The reason is precisely that of guaranteeing that human rights have their foundation of truth, without which rights are multiplied but also self-destruct and man ends up negating himself.

The volume in which this composition is about to come out, together with other texts by Ratzinger on the connection between faith and politics, is published in Italy by Cantagalli:

It is the second in a series of seven volumes entitled 'Joseph Ratzinger - selected texts,' on the fundamental themes of Ratzinger's thought as theologian, bishop, and pope, published contemporaneously in multiple languages and in various countries: in Germany by Herder, in Spain by BAC, in France by Parole et Silence, in Poland by KUL, in the United States by Ignatius Press.

Both volumes issued so far have a preface by Pope Francis.

And here is the previously unpublished text that opens the second volume of the series. The subtitle is the original, by Ratzinger himself.



Elements for a discussion of the book by Marcello Pera 'The Church, human rights, and estrangement from God' nby Joseph Ratzinger

The book undoubtedly represents a great challenge for contemporary thought, and also, in particular, for the Church and theology. The discontinuity between the statements of the popes of the nineteenth century and the new vision that begins with 'Pacem in Terris' is evident and on it there has been much discussion. It is also at the heart of the opposition of Lefèbvre and his followers against the Council. I do not feel able to give a clear answer to the issues of your book; I can only make a few notes which, in my view, could be important for further discussion.

1. Only thanks to your book has it become clear to me to what extent a new course begins with 'Pacem in Terris.' I was aware of how powerful the effect of that encyclical on Italian politics had been: it gave the decisive impulse for the opening up of Christian Democracy to the left. I was not aware, however, of what a new beginning this represented also in relation to the conceptual foundations of that party. And yet, as far as I remember, the issue of human rights actually acquired a place of great significance in the Magisterium and in postconciliar theology only with John Paul II.

I have the impression that, in the Saintly Pope, this was not so much the result of reflection (although this was not lacking in him) as the consequence of practical experience. Against the totalitarian claim of the Marxist state and the ideology on which it was based, he saw in the idea of human rights the concrete weapon capable of limiting the totalitarian character of the state, thus offering the room for freedom necessary not only for the thinking of the individual person, but also and above all for the faith of Christians and for the rights of the Church. The secular image of human rights, according to the formulation given to them in 1948, evidently appeared to him as the rational force contrasting the all-encompassing presumption, ideological and practical, of the state founded on Marxism. And so, as pope, he affirmed the recognition of human rights as a force acknowledged throughout the world by universal reason against dictatorships of every kind.

This affirmation now concerned not only the atheist dictatorships, but also the states founded on the basis of a religious justification, which we find above all in the Islamic world. The fusion of politics and religion in Islam, which necessarily limits the freedom of other religions, and therefore also that of Christians, is opposed to the freedom of faith, which to a certain extent also considers the secular state as the right form of state, in which that freedom of faith which Christians demanded from the beginning finds room. In this, John Paul II knew that he was in profound continuity with the nascent Church. This was facing a state that knew religious tolerance, of course, but that affirmed an ultimate identification between state and divine authority to which Christians could not consent. The Christian faith, which proclaimed a universal religion for all men, necessarily included a fundamental limitation of the authority of the state because of the rights and duties of the individual conscience.

The idea of human rights was not formulated in this way. It was rather a question of setting man's obedience to God as a limit on obedience to the state. However, it does not seem unjustified to me to define the duty of man's obedience to God as a right with respect to the state. And in this regard it was entirely logical that John Paul II, in the Christian relativization of the state in favor of the freedom of obedience to God, should see human rights as coming before any state authority. I believe that in this sense the pope could certainly have affirmed a profound continuity between the basic idea of human rights and the Christian tradition, even if of course the respective instruments, linguistic and conceptual, turn out to be very distant from each other.

2. In my opinion, in the doctrine of man as made in the image of God there is fundamentally contained what Kant affirms when he defines man as an end and not as a means. It could also be said that it contains the idea that man is a subject and not only an object of rights. This constitutive element of the idea of human rights is clearly expressed, it seems to me, in Genesis: 'I will require a reckoning of the life of man from man, from everyone for his brother. He who sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for in the image of God has man been made' (Gen 9:5f). Being created in the image of God includes the fact that man's life is placed under the special protection of God, the fact that man, with respect to human laws, is the owner of a right established by God himself.

This concept acquired fundamental importance at the beginning of the modern age with the discovery of America. All the new peoples we came across were not baptized, and so the question arose whether they had rights or not. According to the dominant opinion they became genuine subjects of rights only with baptism. The recognition that they were in the image of God by virtue of creation - and that they remained so even after original sin - meant that even before baptism they were already subjects of rights and therefore could claim respect for their humanity. It seems to me that here was a recognition of 'human rights' that precede adherence to the Christian faith and any state power, whatever its specific nature may be.

If I am not mistaken, John Paul II understood his effort for human rights in continuity with the attitude that the ancient Church had toward the Roman state. In effect, the Lord's mandate to make disciples of all peoples had created a new situation in the relationship between religion and the state. Until then there had been no religion with a claim to universality. Religion was an essential part of the identity of each society. Jesus' mandate does not mean immediately demanding a change in the structure of individual societies. And yet it demands that all societies be given the possibility to welcome his message and live in accordance with it.

What follows from this in the first place is a new definition above all of the nature of religion: this is not a ritual and observance that ultimately guarantees the identity of the state. It is instead recognition (faith), and precisely recognition of the truth. Since the spirit of man has been created for the truth, it is clear that the truth is binding, not in the sense of a positivistic ethics of duty, but rather on the basis of the nature of truth itself, which, precisely in this way, makes man free. This connection between religion and truth includes a right to freedom that can licitly be considered as being in profound continuity with the authentic core of the doctrine of human rights, as John Paul II evidently did.

3. You have rightly considered the Augustinian idea of the state and of history as fundamental, placing it as the basis of your vision of the Christian doctrine of the state. And yet the Aristotelian view may have deserved even greater consideration. As far as I can judge, it had little importance in the tradition of the Church of the Middle Ages, all the more so after it was taken up by Marsilius of Padua in opposition to the magisterium of the Church. Afterward it was taken up more and more, beginning in the nineteenth century when the social doctrine of the Church was being developed. One now began from a twofold order, the 'ordo naturalis' and the 'ordo supernaturalis'; where the 'ordo naturalis' was considered complete in itself. It was expressly emphasized that the 'ordo supernaturalis' was a free addition, signifying pure grace that cannot be claimed on the basis of the 'ordo naturalis.'

With the construction of an 'ordo naturalis' that can be grasped in a purely rational manner, an attempt was made to acquire an argumentational basis through which the Church could assert its ethical positions in political debate on the basis of pure rationality. Correctly, in this view, there is the fact that even after original sin the order of creation, in spite of being injured, has not been completely destroyed. To assert that which is authentically human where it is not possible to affirm the claim of faith is in itself a correct position. It corresponds to the autonomy of the sphere of creation and to the essential freedom of faith. In this sense, an in-depth view is justified, indeed necessary, from the point of view of the theology of creation, of the 'ordo naturalis' in connection with the Aristotelian doctrine of the state. But there are also dangers:

a) It is very easy to forget the reality of original sin and arrive at naive forms of optimism that do not do justice to reality.

b) If the 'ordo naturalis' is seen as a complete totality in itself and does not need the gospel, there exists the danger that what is properly Christian may seem to be a superstructure that is ultimately superfluous, superimposed on the naturally human. In effect I remember that once I was presented with a draft of a document in which at the end some very pious formulas were expressed, and yet throughout the whole argumentational process not only did Jesus Christ and his gospel not appear, but even God did not, and they therefore seemed superfluous. Evidently the belief was that it was possible to construct a purely rational order of nature which, however, is not strictly rational and which, on the other hand, threatens to relegate that which is properly Christian to the realm of mere sentiment. The limitation of the attempt to devise a self-contained and self-sufficient 'ordo naturalis' emerges clearly here. Father de Lubac, in his 'Surnaturel,' tried to show that Saint Thomas Aquinas himself - who was also referred to in the formulation of that attempt - did not really intend this.

c) One fundamental problem of such an attempt consists in the fact that in forgetting the doctrine of original sin there arises a naive confidence in reason that does not perceive the actual complexity of rational knowledge in the ethical field. The drama of the dispute over natural law clearly shows that metaphysical rationality, which in this context is presupposed, is not immediately evident. It seems to me that Kelsen is ultimately right when he says that deriving a duty from being is reasonable only if Someone has placed a duty in being. To him, however, this thesis is not worthy of discussion. It seems to me, therefore, that in the end everything rests on the concept of God. If God exists, if there is a creator, then being can also speak of him and indicate a duty to man. Otherwise, the ethos is ultimately reduced to pragmatism. This is why in my preaching and in my writings I have always affirmed the centrality of the question of God. It seems to me that this is the point at which the vision of your book and my thought fundamentally converge. The idea of human rights ultimately retains its solidity only if it is anchored to faith in God the creator. It is from here that it receives the definition of its limitation and at the same time its justification.

4. I have the impression that in your previous book, 'Why We Must Call Ourselves Christians,' you evaluate the great liberals' idea of God in a way different than you do in your new work. In the latter it appears as a step toward the loss of faith in God. On the contrary, in your first book you, in my opinion, had convincingly shown that without the idea of God European liberalism is incomprehensible and illogical. For the fathers of liberalism, God was still the foundation of their vision of the world and of man, so that, in that book, the logic of liberalism makes the confession of the God of the Christian faith necessary. I understand that both assessments are justified: on the one hand, in liberalism the idea of God detaches itself from its biblical foundations, thus slowly losing its concrete strength; on the other, for the great liberals God is and remains indispensable. It is possible to accentuate one or the other aspect of the process. I believe it is necessary to mention both. But the vision contained in your first book remains indispensable for me: that is to say that liberalism, if it excludes God, loses its own foundation.

5. The idea of God includes the fundamental concept of man as a subject of law and thereby justifies and at the same time establishes the limits of the conception of human rights. In your book you have shown in a persuasive and compelling way what happens when the concept of human rights is split from the idea of God. The multiplication of rights ultimately leads to the destruction of the idea of right and necessarily leads to the nihilistic 'right' of man to negate himself: abortion, suicide, the production of man as a thing become rights of man that at the same time negate him. Thus, in your book it emerges in a convincing manner that the idea of human rights as separated from the idea of God ultimately leads not only to the marginalization of Christianity, but also to its negation. This, which seems to me to be the true purpose of your book, is of great significance in the face of the current spiritual development of the West which is increasingly denying its Christian foundations and turning against them.

[Settimo Cielo] 2233.4



















Knights of Malta call for resignation of condom-promoting chancellor backed by Pope Francis

LISA BOURNE reports for LifeSiteNews : 'Senior members among the world's oldest Catholic chivalric order are calling for the group's chancellor - reinstated by Pope Francis amid an international condom scandal - to resign.

The resignation call stems from a German court finding Knights of Malta Grand Chancellor Albrecht von Boeselager to be 'untruthful' in denying knowledge of condom distribution under his watch by the Order's charitable relief arm.

Boeselager had in fact 'knowingly procured' the condom distribution, three German judges had found, with 'full knowledge and will.'

Boeselager had 'plunged the whole Order into its worst crisis for decades, if not centuries,' a leaked internal email says, by going around the Order's normal process and to the Vatican for help after he was suspended.

His behavior is dishonorable, the Knights of Malta say in the email obtained by Church Militant, and should he stay in the position of Grand Chancellor, it would be a disgrace to the order.

'How can he remain?' asked one senior knight of Boeselager. 'A court has effectively found him untruthful.'

'He claimed not to know, and the court said that he must have known,' the knight said. 'We cannot have a Grand Chancellor whose truthfulness has been impugned by a court of law. He must resign. It is as simple as that.'

The April 30 email message was sent to the entirety of the Knights of Malta global membership in advance of last week's May 2 election of Fra' Giacomo Dalla Torre to the lifetime position of Grand Master.

The Order's elective body voted last week to retain its Lieutenant Grand Master - who'd been elected to the interim term last year after Francis' controversial intervention and removal of the previous Grand Master.

'As the Order prepares for the forthcoming Council Complete of State and elections for a new leader,' the email begins, 'it is important that members of the Order worldwide understand the gravity of the judgment of a German court against the Grand Chancellor, Albrecht, Freiherr von Boeselager, in which he was effectively found by 3 judges to have been untruthful.'

It then explains how Boeselager sued Austrian Catholic news service Kath.net in the Hamburg District Court, 'attempting to silence their reporting of condom distribution when Boeselager was Grand Hospitaller of the Order.'

'However, the judges found that Boeselager's denial of knowledge about the condom distribution was untruthful and that he had 'knowingly procured' it with 'full knowledge and will,' the email states.

The court ultimately ruled in Kath.net's favor, and the June 6, 2017 decision finding Kath.net's reporting that Boeselager 'knowingly procured the distribution of condoms (was), in fact, correct,' is included in the email obtained by Church Militant.

Kath.net procured a cease-and-desist order at the end of 2016 from lawyers for Malteser International, the Order's international charitable arm, concerning the Catholic news outlet's reporting on Albrecht von Boeselager in his role as Grand Chancellor of the Order.

In addition Boeselager's involvement in condom distribution, Kath.net had also reported on coverage from another news outlet, BILD newspaper, the report saying Boeselager had 'accepted a donation of 30 million Swiss Francs, the origin of which is dubious.'

The condom scandal and the dicey donation under Boeselager's tenure have entwined the Knights of Malta in controversy over the last few years.

The Order's Grand Master at the time Matthew Festing had removed German aristocrat Boeselager from his role as the Knights' Grand Chancellor in late 2016 for Boeselager's violating his promise of obedience. This was because Boeselager had declined to resign after his part in condom distribution was revealed.

In addition, 'unexplained financial dealings involving Boeselager and a number of his associates caused considerable disquiet to the Grand Master,' an earlier Church Militant (CM) report on another internal Order document said.

The document in the April 2017 CM report detailed questionable financial dealings involving Boeselager and the Order, and suggested collusion with leadership in the German bishops and the Vatican, amid a power struggle within the Knights of Malta over the Order's religious character.

Pope Francis had intervened and reinstated Boeselager in January 2017, also asking the Order's Grand Master Matthew Festing, who had removed von Boeselager, to resign from his lifetime post.

Francis' move caused considerable surprise because the Order of Malta is a sovereign state.

Also enmeshed in this was Pope Francis' shelving of Cardinal Raymond Burke as Cardinal Patron of the Knights of Malta, by naming Archbishop Angelo Becciu his personal envoy to oversee the 'spiritual and moral' reform of the Order, especially its branch of professed Knights, in February 2017.

By doing this Francis effectively sidelined Burke by handing Burke's two areas of influence as Cardinal Patron - promoting the spiritual interests of the Order and its members, and relations between the Holy See and the Order - over to Becciu.

Cardinal Burke had supported Festing in acting to remove Boeselager. Pope Francis asked Burke in a December 2016 letter to see to it that Freemasons were removed from the Knights of Malta and also ensure that the Order 'resolve' any distribution of contraceptives it might be involved in.

The Pope's proposed reform of the Order has caused worry among some of its members for the possibility it could overturn of the practice of having a professed Knight of noble lineage at the head of the 900-year-old Order - key in sustaining the Order's moral character

The pope's sidelining of Cardinal Burke as Cardinal Patron of the Knights of Malta was further sealed last week with Francis' asking Becciu to remain his special delegate indefinitely.

The German court's decision regarding Boeselager and Kath.net in effect confirms comparable findings by the Order's own internal report from January 2017 commissioned by Grand Master Festing to look into the condom affair, the April 30 internal email says.

'Members will recall that Boeselager was suspended by the Grand Master in December 2016 for, among other things, acting without the consent of the Grand Master or the Sovereign Council,' it states. 'He plunged the whole Order into its worst crisis for decades, if not centuries, by circumventing the Order's normal appeal procedures, seeking instead intervention by the Vatican Secretariat of State.'

'Many senior figures within the Order, which includes many German knights, now consider that Boeselager is deeply compromised and behaving dishonourably,' the email adds. 'They consider that it would be a disgrace to the Order and, indeed, his own noble family, if he were to remain in the post of Grand Chancellor.'

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Vatican promotes occult Transcendental Meditation

REMNANT EDITOR Michael Matt comments on Katy "I Kissed a Girl" Perry being invited to speak at the Vatican last month. Perry, an outspoken champion of LGBTQ rights, was honored with a personal meeting with the Pope and entrusted to help the Vatican promote Transcendental Meditation.




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New Marian feast day

THE CHURCH doesn’t often add new celebrations to its pretty full liturgical calendar, but this year’s new feast day, Mary, Mother of the Church on May 21, has Catholics gearing up to mark the day or at least think a little more about Mary.

The new feast day, which will be celebrated annually the day after Pentecost, was announced in a decree by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments on March 3. The decree said the Pope approved the celebration because he thought it might “encourage the growth of the maternal sense of the church in the pastors, religious and faithful, as well as a growth of genuine Marian piety.”

That line struck Father Chuck Barthel, pastor of Mary, Mother of the Church Parish in St Louis, when he first read it and he has continued to go back to it as he considers the feast with particular significance for his parish.

Gaining a renewed and deeper understanding of Mary’s nurturing and caring side is something he said the church, especially in today’s climate, could certainly use.

His parish is one of a handful of churches in the US, along with a Benedictine Abbey in Richmond, Virginia, named Mary, Mother of the Church. For this year’s celebration of the new feast day, the St Louis church is not planning anything big, but plans to celebrate on the day itself – when he said parishioners can “enjoy each other’s company” – not during Pentecost weekend when there is already a lot going on.

The pastor said he hopes to give parishioners a prayer card for the occasion and the parish will host a hospitality event after the morning liturgy and will have evening prayer that night followed by dessert.

The parish – where Father Barthel was initially assigned more than 28 years ago as an associate pastor before returning less than a year ago – was founded in 1971 and initially was staffed by Redemptorist priests. The parish, which opened so soon after the Second Vatican Council, took its name from the title given to Mary by Blessed Paul VI in 1964.

Gloria Falcao Dodd, director of academic programmes for the International Marian Research Institute at the University of Dayton, Ohio, wrote a paper about this Marian title in 2006. Her research shows that a bishop in the 1100s described Mary as Mother of the Church, and Pope Leo XIII’s encyclical on the rosary said that Mary at Pentecost was “in very truth, the mother of the church, the teacher and queen of the apostles.”

And in 1981, the title “Mother of the Church” was given another boost when St John Paul II had a mosaic commissioned for the outside wall of his papal apartment called “Mater Ecclesiae” (“Mother of the Church”) in gratitude for his recovery after being shot in St Peter’s Square. Then, and other times, the Pope spoke of Mary as a mediator, or someone who intercedes for us, said Dodd.

That idea of Mary interceding for the Church, as a mother does for her children, is important for Catholics to consider. She also said it is key to understand its placement right after Pentecost, noting that at the time of the original Pentecost, Mary “did what a mother would do – she prayed with and for her children in the upper room.” And at Jesus’s crucifixion, when he publicly announced to the disciple John, “behold your mother” about Mary. John, symbolises all of us, the Church, Dodd said.

Auxiliary Bishop Gerard Battersby of Detroit said Mary’s presence at the foot of the cross and with the early Church at Pentecost, is an example of what it means to be a disciple.

He said this image of a mother with her children “on this pilgrim journey” is important for the Church today, especially as the Pope is calling Catholics to a new evangelisation and to unleash the Gospel message. “It’s important for us to understand the church is Marian; this is not just a pleasant sentiment added on,” he said, stressing that Mary is a guide for the Church today.

“I think this is a time of special grace,” the bishop told Catholic News Service, noting that Mary’s job has always been to point to Jesus.

The Detroit Archdiocese is celebrating the new feast day with a Mass at Old St Mary’s Catholic Church in Detroit concelebrated by Bishop Battersby, Bishop Donald Hanchon, another Detroit auxiliary bishop, and several archdiocesan priests. After Mass, there will be a May Crowning and procession through the streets with a statue of Mary carried by Catholic school students.

In some parts of the world this feast day isn’t new. The church calendars of Poland, Argentina, St Peter’s Basilica and some religious orders have already set aside the Monday after Pentecost as the feast of Mary, Mother of the Church.

When Father Barthel thinks about another day to honour Mary, he said he is reminded of the hospital ministry he did as a seminarian when a patient who was Episcopalian asked him if it was OK if she prayed to the Blessed Mother.

She said her reason for doing this, which the priest has never forgotten years later, was: “Sometimes you just need a woman to talk to.”


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Humanae Vitae


Janet Smith, fearless defender of Humanae Vitae

JOAN FRAWLEY DESMOND writes for the National Catholic Register: 'Susan Selner-Wright was a 'mouthy' 19-year-old student at the University of Notre Dame in 1979 when she first encountered Janet Smith.

Father Hans Kung, a leading dissident theologian, had been invited to speak at Notre Dame, and Smith, a popular and feisty junior professor in the university's Program of Liberal Studies, had publicly protested the theologian's appearance on campus.

Selner-Wright was among a group of students who were 'intrigued' by the young professor's decision to picket the event. But when she heard that Smith had not attended the event, the younger woman hotly challenged that decision to her face.

'After I got back in my dorm room, the phone rang. A voice said, 'This is professor Smith.' I thought she was going to chew me out,' Selner-Wright told the Register. 'Instead, she asked me to lunch.'

Selner-Wright now holds the Archbishop Charles Chaput Chair of Philosophy at St. John Vianney Theological Seminary in Denver. And as she looks back on that fateful encounter almost 40 years ago, it looms as 'one of the most decisive events of my life.'

Smith taught her that 'you don't just write people off; you cultivate them.' And like many of Smith's friends from her nine years at Notre Dame, Selner-Wright came to admire a woman who was not only an unapologetic defender of Pope Paul's encyclical Humanae Vitae (The Regulation of Birth) in hostile academic circles, but the hands-on founder of the Women's Care Center, a pregnancy-resource program that eventually spawned a network of centers around the country.

'She showed me that the Church's teachings … come out of the loving heart of the Church,' said Selner-Wright. 'So many people my age didn't have this.'

As the Church prepares to mark the 50th anniversary of Humanae Vitae July 25, this story underscores Janet Smith's multifaceted role as a leading exponent of Paul VI's encyclical in the English-speaking world.

The author of the best-selling book Humanae Vitae: A Generation Later and audio series Contraception: Why Not? helped many people embrace Paul VI's countercultural teaching.

'I am grateful that Christ has led Dr. Smith to devote so much of her life and scholarship to this particular work,' said Archbishop Allen Vigneron of Detroit, where Smith has served as a professor of moral theology at Sacred Heart Major Seminary for the past 16 years.

'The academic rigor and seriousness of her efforts have provided many with solid and compelling answers to the challenges frequently raised against the teachings of Blessed Paul VI,' said Archbishop Vigneron in a statement for the Register.

The Detroit archbishop praised her role as a teacher and mentor to future priests, even as Smith takes part in the tumultuous theological debate sparked by Pope Francis' apostolic exhortation, Amoris Laetitia (The Joy of Love).

The papal document has led to public disputes among bishops over whether divorced-and-civilly-remarried Catholics can receive Communion.

And during an April 4-6 symposium at The Catholic University of America, Smith warned that some theologians were using the papal document to change the Church's traditional approach to the formation of conscience, including the criteria to be used in a pastoral discernment, and said this trend posed 'new challenges to Humanae Vitae.'

Punctuated with anecdotes designed to clarify the best way for pastors and spiritual directors to accompany individuals in difficult situations, Smith's address was academic, but also practical - the fruit of her experience founding a pregnancy-resource center and counseling students in her care.

'As a young professor at Notre Dame, Janet would frequently go to the abortion clinic to pray' and was 'troubled' by the lack of support for women who wanted to protect the life of their children, Ann Manion, president of the Women's Care Center's governing board, told the Register.

Smith held a telethon in 1984 and raised $30,000 to hire a professional counselor, who worked in space donated by a hospital in South Bend, Indiana. Today, the Women's Care Center oversees 29 centers in 10 states.

Indeed, the brutal reality of legal abortion stirred Smith's respect for Paul VI's prophetic encyclical.

'After years of working in the pro-life movement, I came to see that it was because people were having sex with no intention of being parents to any child born, that there were so many abortions,' Smith told the Register.

'I believed it was the ready access to contraception and that way of thinking that contraception made possible (i.e., sex and pregnancy have little relationship) that led people to have sex irresponsibly.'

'I had already studied Humanae Vitae carefully and came to conclude it was true. I had many married friends who used natural family planning, and their marriages seemed manifestly happier than those who were contracepting,' she added. 'I decided my contribution to the pro-life movement would be to defend the Church's teaching on contraception.'

Smith was born in Warren, Pennsylvania, and raised in a Catholic working-class family with Portuguese and Slovakian roots.

She graduated from Grinnell College, pursued graduate studies at the University of North Carolina and completed her doctoral work at the University of Toronto. She was then hired as a junior professor at Notre Dame's interdisciplinary Program of Liberal Studies, anchored in the Great Books of the Western Canon.

Though popular with students, Smith soon made waves as she began to speak and write about life issues.

'Janet was one of the finest persons and sharpest cookies I ever met at Notre Dame,' Alfred Freddoso, a retired professor of philosophy at the South Bend university, told the Register, 'and she was a thorn in the side of the of the progressive Catholics of that era.'

In Freddoso's view, the sexual revolution had prompted progressive Catholics at the university to campaign for changes in Catholic sexual ethics. Smith challenged this trend, and thus became 'an embarrassment.'

The problem came to a head when Smith was coming up for tenure. Her friends urged her to put off her plan to write a book on contraception until her position at the university was secure, said Freddoso. Instead, she set to work on the book that cemented her national and international reputation as a fearless supporter of Paul VI's encyclical: Humanae Vitae: A Generation Later.

'What she was really interested in was the philosophical foundation of the Church's teaching on contraception and the historical brouhaha leading up to and following the publication of Humanae Vitae,' he explained.

Smith was denied tenure, a decision that was appealed, to no avail. The standard for tenure at Notre Dame required six-eight articles in professional journals and a book accepted for publication. Smith had met that standard and, during one academic year, had also been voted one of 10 teachers of the year.

She challenged the decision through the Economic Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and won a settlement. However, her tenure battle left a lasting impression on friends and colleagues at Notre Dame, even as it made her a central figure in the campaign to defend Humanae Vitae.

'Janet became, if you will, the living face of Humanae Vitae. Not an 'old celibate man,' but a relatively young celibate woman instead,' said Freddoso.

Smith began traveling across the U.S. and abroad, explaining the Church's teaching on contraception.

'If you think about a battle, there are few generals. And in this discussion, she is one of the generals,' Chris Kaczor, a professor of philosophy at Loyola Marymount University, told the Register.

Kaczor has known Smith for 25 years, co-authoring Life Issues, Medical Choices: Questions and Answers for Catholics. He first set eyes on her when he was an undergraduate at Boston College and attended a lecture she gave on contraception that provoked an uproar on campus. Kaczar remembers one professor 'yelling at her. But she stood her ground and stayed calm.'

As her reputation grew, Smith was named a consultor to the Pontifical Council for the Family, among other Vatican appointments.

Meanwhile, Smith quickly found a new position at the University of Dallas' philosophy department, where she taught for 12 years and received tenure.

Gerard Wegemer, a professor of English at the University of Dallas and the director of its Center for Thomas More Studies, knew Smith when he was a graduate student at Notre Dame and observed that she was able to maintain her reputation as a demanding and popular teacher, despite a robust schedule of outside speaking engagements.

He remembered one occasion, when her students at Dallas 'filled her office with roses at the end of the semester - an unusual sign of gratitude for the care she gave each and all.'

'She inspired many - faculty and staff, as well as students - to take on the hardest tasks and most difficult issues in giving witness to the fullness of the faith,' said Wegemer.

In 2001, Smith became a full-time professor at Sacred Heart Major Seminary and now holds the Father Michael J. McGivney Chair in Life Issues, with the support of the Knights of Columbus.

Since then, she has continued to publish books and articles on Humanae Vitae, Catholic bioethics and St. Thomas Aquinas, while reserving time to care for her mother during her final years.

In January 2012, Smith became a consecrated virgin. 'I went on several retreats sponsored by the Institute of Priestly Formation who also minister to seminary faculty,' she explained.

'During the long hours of prayer, it was clear that Jesus wanted me for himself, and I wanted that.'

That commitment has given her another point of reference as she counsels seminarians and lay students.

'Janet brings a wealth of wisdom,' Msgr. Todd John Lajiness, the seminary rector, told the Register.

'She is not removed from the front lines ... isolated in an office, pumping out articles,' said Msgr. Lajiness. 'She is deeply engaged in the apostolate.'

Now, as Humanae Vitae approaches its 50th anniversary and a papal commission is reassessing the theological debate leading up to Paul VI's decision to affirm the Church's long-standing prohibition on contraception, Smith is an invited speaker at numerous conferences on the encyclical throughout 2018.

While many of the dire predictions about society's embrace of artificial contraception foreseen by Paul VI have come to pass, Smith's message has never dwelled on the destructive power of no-strings sex. Instead, she focuses on illuminating the truth and beauty of God's healing plan for marriage and the conjugal 'one-flesh' union.

'Only God knows the good she has done, the babies that have been born because of what she has done,' said her friend Chris Kaczor.

'There are couples who have probably told her, 'We heard your talk, and this is the baby we have as a result.''

[Joan Frawley Desmond is a National Catholic Register senior editor.]

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“Reconsidering” Humanae Vitae

PROF. RANDALL SMITH writes for The Catholic Thing : 'A friend tells stories of an elderly Catholic priest with whom he used to share an office. The man frequently spoke as though it was still 1969 and nothing had happened in the Church since then.

It is said that some people are planning a meeting in Rome to “reconsider” Paul VI’s 1968 encyclical Humanae Vitae. This is interesting, but also a little odd. Consider how odd it would appear if someone suggested a meeting in Rome to “reconsider” Pope Leo XIII’s 1891 encyclical Rerum Novarum. The first thing we might say is that there has been a lot of water under the bridge since then, including Pius XI’s 1931 encyclical Quadragesimo Anno, John XXIII’s 1961 encyclical Mater et Magistra, Paul VI’s 1971 apostolic letter Octogesima Adveniens, and John Paul II’s 1981 encyclical Laborem Exercensand and 1991 encyclical Centesimus Annus on the hundredth year anniversary.

You couldn’t very well “reconsider” Rerum Novarum as Church doctrine without considering all the later official papal developments on that teaching.

The second thing you would be inclined to ask, especially after so much commentary, is how anyone could “reconsider” the teaching of Rerum Novarum. Wouldn’t this be a little like “reconsidering” the Council of Nicea? That ship has sailed.

I am not claiming the teaching of Humanae Vitae holds the same formality as Nicea. But perhaps it would be a better comparison to ask how liberal Catholics would view it if a group in Rome announced there was to be a “reconsideration” of the teaching about the relation of the Church to non-Christian religions in Nostra Aetate with the implication that there might be an effective reversal.

I imagine they would say what I just did. First, that ship has sailed; it is firm teaching. And second, there has been a lot of papal commentary on it since the publication of that document. I imagine they might even point to the numerous places where Pope John Paul II mentions it as definitive Church teaching.

How could anyone consider Humanae Vitae without considering John Paul II’s development of that teaching in his long series of Wednesday addresses that make up his “Theology of the Body”? How about the many other places he mentions it? Allow me to quote just a few from his 1994 “Letter to Families”:

'In particular, responsible fatherhood and motherhood directly concern the moment in which a man and a woman, uniting themselves “in one flesh”, can become parents. This is a moment of special value both for their interpersonal relationship and for their service to life: they can become parents – father and mother – by communicating life to a new human being. The two dimensions of conjugal union, the unitive and the procreative, cannot be artificially separated without damaging the deepest truth of the conjugal act itself. This is the constant teaching of the Church, and the “signs of the times” which we see today are providing new reasons for forcefully reaffirming that teaching.

'This subject has been extensively treated in the documents of the Second Vatican Council, the Encyclical Humanae Vitae, the “Propositiones” of the 1980 Synod of Bishops, the Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris Consortio, and in other statements, up to the Instruction Donum Vitae of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. The Church both teaches the moral truth about responsible fatherhood and motherhood and protects it from the erroneous views and tendencies which are widespread today. Why does the Church continue to do this? Is she unaware of the problems raised by those who counsel her to make concessions in this area and who even attempt to persuade her by undue pressures if not even threats'?

The Church’s Magisterium is often chided for being behind the times and closed to the promptings of the spirit of modern times, and for promoting a course of action which is harmful to humanity, and indeed to the Church herself. By obstinately holding to her own positions, it is said, the Church will end up losing popularity, and more and more believers will turn away from her. But how can it be maintained that the Church, especially the College of Bishops in communion with the Pope, is insensitive to such grave and pressing questions? It was precisely these extremely important questions which led Pope Paul VI to publish the Encyclical Humanae Vitae.

Later in this same letter, John Paul II praises those struggling to defend this teaching, saying: “I am thinking in particular about pastors and the many scholars, theologians, philosophers, writers and journalists who have resisted the powerful trend to cultural conformity and are courageously ready to ‘swim against the tide.’”

Such words, expressed in definitive terms, repeated again and again, not only here, but in other documents, suggest an irreformable teaching. You can “reconsider” it only in the way any official teaching can be reconsidered: to reiterate and re-emphasize it. You could no more reverse it than you could reverse the teaching on the Immaculate Conception of Mary. My question is simply whether those reconsidering Humanae Vitae will give strength to the swimmers, or seek to drown them in the tide?

But by all means, talk about Humanae Vitae. It is a document worth reading and re-reading. In my view, the addenda Pope John Paul II made are sometimes even better than the original. But you will probably need more than a few days to talk it over. Let me suggest constant meetings over two or three years. Otherwise, you look like those students who take a weekend to read the Iliad and then say, “Yeah, I read that.” Somehow, I doubt it.

And if you discuss it as though nothing had been written about it since 1968, you will sound like the elderly priest with whom my friend shared an office: trite, tired, dull, and dated, popular with a certain Boomer Catholic who thought the Second Vatican Council “didn’t go far enough,” but of absolutely no relevance at all to the skeptical young agnostics and baptized non-believers I teach every day.

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United Nations


An heroic speech

A FEW weeks ago, C-Fam’s Stefano Gennarini gave a heroic address to a UN Commission.




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The Lancet, Guttmacher Institute publish abortion-centered wish list ahead of World Health Assembly

REBECCA OAS, Ph.D. reports for C-FAM : 'Advocates for abortion and “sexual rights” have worked for decades to advance their agenda at international institutions, but have never won global consensus. This week they launched a series of papers in hopes of influencing the upcoming World Health Organization’s governing body, the World Health Assembly, which meets later this month in Geneva and sets forth the WHO’s agenda.

The United States contributed or was assessed nearly half a billion dollars to fund that agenda in 2017.

At an event in South Africa on Tuesday, the Guttmacher Institute unveiled an ambitious agenda to define and advance “sexual and reproductive health and rights” (SRHR)—which unambiguously includes abortion, and not only where currently legal.

Published in the Lancet, the new Commission was several years in the making and sets out to “comprehensively” define SRHR, which has been rejected by nations at the UN General Assembly and has never been formally defined or accepted in a global binding agreement. The proposed definition explicitly includes “safe” abortion and comprehensive sexuality education, which are among the most contentious issues in UN negotiations.

Also called for by the Commission—but absent from UN consensus—are hormone therapy for those identifying as transgender and possible changes in law “related to infertility treatment, adoption, and surrogacy” to enable same-sex couples to start families.

Like many other UN agencies, the WHO answers to the nations of the world for its authority, but is also a large bureaucracy with a history of exceeding its mandate. In recent years, it has published guidance documents on “safe abortion” that explicitly undermine the right of countries to set their own laws and policies on the legality of abortion and place the conscience rights of health care workers second to the “right” of women to access abortion procedures. Last year, the WHO launched a global database of abortion laws and policies—explicitly for the purpose of eliminating barriers to “safe abortion”—on the website SRHR.org.

With regard to the new Lancet-Guttmacher Commission on SRHR, the WHO is careful to acknowledge its limits, while telegraphing strong support for the recommendations it contains. The Commission includes a disclaimer saying WHO-affiliated co-authors are solely responsible for their views, which “do not necessarily represent the decisions, policy, or views of WHO.” Yet published alongside the Commission in a separate comment is a statement by the heads of WHO and UNFPA saying the two agencies “welcome the report” and acknowledging that a “strategic priority” for both agencies is universal health coverage that includes “as detailed in the report and in line with existing WHO guidelines” a list of things that includes “safe abortion” and “comprehensive sexuality education.”

While the Commission draws heavily on the language of human rights to defend its strategy, neither its recommendations nor its notion of what constitute a human right are the result of global consensus, leaving open the question of the source of their moral authority. At best, they offer Guttmacher-generated “evidence” which cannot resolve the fundamental philosophical questions at stake. Nevertheless, as stated in an accompanying editorial co-authored by Lancet editor Richard Horton, “while globally conservative forces are rallying, so is a committed and organised response.”

As if the unsuccessful attempt to establish a global right to abortion at the International Conference on Population and Development in 1994—and every attempt since—were anything but committed and organized.


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China Supplement


A glimmer in Korea, but from China the news is bad

S MagisterSANDRO MAGISTER blogs from Rome : 'The political news concerning the two Koreas has also kindled new hopes on the fate of the Catholic Church in the North.

South Korea is the only Asian country in which Catholicism is on the rise. But in North Korea, the advent of the communist dictatorship annihilated any visible trace of it. The 57 parishes that used to be there have disappeared. And Cardinal Andrew Yeom Soo-jung, archbishop of Seoul, has never been able to set foot north of the 38th parallel, in spite of the fact that he is also the apostolic administrator of Pyongyang, the capital of the other Korea.

On May 4, Cardinal Yeom gave an interview to the former ambassador of Seoul to the Holy See, Thomas Han, published by 'Asia News,' the online agency of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions. And he did not rule out the possibility - in spite of everything - that in the North there could continue to be 'lay faithful who still live their faith and preserve the memory of sacramental life.' His hope - he said - is that they may 'return to living in full faith in the Church just as before.'

In other words, it is the conviction of the South Korean cardinal, but not only his, that in North Korea there could be 'hidden Christians' like those who kept the faith alive for two centuries in Japan, under persecution, without priests or bishops. And one day they could come into the open, if only spaces of freedom could be opened for them.

Questioned recently about North Korea, cardinal secretary of State Pietro Parolin also expressed confidence in positive political developments. But he did not say anything about the future of the Church.

On the contrary. He also showed caution concerning the fate of the Catholic Church in neighbouring China. To the question: 'At what stage are the Holy See's negotiations with the Chinese government?' he answered as follows :

'Dialogue has been going on for a long time, with a lot of patience and with successes and failures. Someone said: it is like the 'dance of Saint Vito,' two steps forward and one step back. Anyway, we are proceeding, this is important.'

Parolin insisted on 'religious freedom' as the true objective of the negotiation. A freedom that does not exist in China, because if it did - he said - 'there would be no need to negotiate.'

In effect, the news coming from China in recent weeks has not been encouraging at all.

On April 20, 'Asia News' and 'UCA News' published dramatic reports on the wave of repression that is battering the Catholic community in the province of Henan.

Henan is traditionally considered the cradle of Chinese civilization. It occupies the great plain halfway between Beijing and Shanghai, and numbers 100 million inhabitants. Catholics make up a small minority of them. Among a dozen or so dioceses only one of them, that of Anyang, is governed by a bishop recognized by the Chinese government, while the others are vacant or governed by 'underground' bishops, devoid of official recognition.

But the repression has fallen indifferently on them all. In Anyang, even though the bishop is 'official,' there have been raids on the churches, crosses have been knocked down, a kindergarten has been closed, and a sign has been posted on the doors of the cathedral forbidding entrance for anyone under the age of 18, a ban that is now being applied all over China and is increasingly applied to any kind of 'religious education,' not only in the churches but also in catechism centres and schools.

In Zhengzhou, where the diocese is vacant, the security forces even raided a church on Easter, during the Mass, to take the children out by force. And then guards were stationed at the doors of the churches, to deny access even to mothers with children in their arms.

In the diocese of Luoyang a crew demolished the tomb of Bishop Li Hongye, who died in 2011 after spending decades in forced labor or under arrest. And a church has been rased to the ground in the village of Hutuo.


Church closure

In the diocese of Zhumadian the church of
Gadazhang has been closed and sealed


A complete presentation of the report: Church crackdown intensifies in China's Henan province

So if this is what the Chinese authorities are doing in the thick of the negotiations with the Holy See, one can certainly understand Cardinal Parolin's caution.

As also the firm opposition of Cardinal Zen Zekiun, bishop emeritus of Hong Kong, to an agreement that - seeing the behavior of the counterparty - would in reality be a concession for the Church, 'with everything to lose and nothing to gain.'

With regard to the negotiation between the Holy See and China over the procedure for appointing future bishops, it must be kept in mind that last March 29 the director of the Vatican press office, Greg Burke, officially stated - in response to questions from journalists - that 'there is no imminent signature of an agreement between the Holy See and the People's Republic of China.'

The topic was revisited on May 2 by the Jesuit Bern Hagenkord, director of the German section of Vatican Radio, with a curious article on Vatican News that does not reveal anything new but emphasizes - right in the title - that the negotiation over the appointment of bishops 'is not the waving of a magic wand' that could resolve all the existing problems.

Evidently Fr. Hagenkord and the actual director of Vatican News, Monsignor Dario Viganò, did not evaluate the impact that the expression 'magic wand' has in China. And in fact there has been no shortage of polemical reactions, in particular on the part of the priest and blogger Shan Ren Shen Fu, who has lamented how with that article the Vatican has lapsed into tawdry language, giving it to be understood that 'in the negotiations it has always been arrogant.'

In China the expression 'magic wand' means 'rod of the devil.'

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News from around the world


France Liberal 'Catholic' newspaper praises Church for opening doors to homosexuality

JEANNE SMITS, Paris correspondent for LifeSiteNews reports : 'Five years after the legalization of same-sex 'marriage' in France, homosexuals are finding more 'openness' and 'space' in the Catholic Church. To date, 35 of the 93 dioceses in continental France have entrusted collaborators with the mission to 'suggest initiatives relating to homosexuality.'

According to Claude Besson, who authored a book in 2012 in which he advocated for a change of attitude on the part of the Church towards homosexuals, saying that asking them to be chaste was 'ineffective', this situation would have been unthinkable before the law. Claude Besson himself cofounded a pioneer program, 'Reflecting and sharing', in Nantes (on the Atlantic coast) in 2000 with the aim of welcoming homosexuals and the families in the Catholic Church.

'Of course, some people would like to see these proposals progress more quickly and go further, but ten years ago, I would never have imagined we could have reached where we are today', he said, speaking to La Croix, a liberal Catholic daily widely seen as 'the bishop's newspaper' - it belongs to the Augustinian Assumptionist Fathers.

His statement was quoted in a recent article titled: 'Church and homosexuals: the door is opening.' Five years to the day after the 'Taubira law' on same-sex 'marriage' was first adopted by the French parliament on April 23, 2013, La Croix remembers how divisive the text was for Christian communities in France. According to the paper, this is what triggered a number of dioceses to become aware of the problem and to organize ways 'better to welcome homosexual persons'.

Not once does this lengthy article recall the Church's moral teachings about homosexual activity and lifestyle. But while it does speak about people with homosexual leanings, it also strongly implies that recent pastoral programs in the 35 aforementioned dioceses are fine with homosexual couples, 'married' or otherwise, with or without children.

La Croix gives many details as to the initiatives that have been popping up these last five years. Bishop Michel Santier of Creteil, in the suburbs of Paris, it says, decided to set up a support group when he realized how divided the parishes were as to the homosexual 'marriage' debate. Under the leadership of a lay deacon and his wife, homosexual persons, whether they be alone or living as couples, in civil unions or even 'married', and also parents of homosexual children can meet and talk together. No specific mission has been assigned to the group, whose only purpose is to 'bear witness to the fraternal presence of the Church' by the sides of the people concerned, and to be 'the sign' of that proximity within the diocese.

After the first year, in which many 'wounds came to the surface and were healed', the diocese organized a march for the group during which the bishop himself told the participants that they were 'part of the body of Christ'. Some of them 'had not heard those words for a long time, and they cried', the deacon recalls.

La Croix goes on to say that for many Catholics, the heated debate about same-sex 'marriage' revealed deep-seated suffering in homosexuals who felt 'rejected' by the Church. This prompted a number of bishops to commission laypeople, deacons and even priests to analyze the situation and to offer pastoral pathways, 'completing the work done by Christian homosexual movements' that include organizations favorable to same-sex 'marriage' such as 'David & Jonathan'. La Croix also quotes secular local associations that help homosexuals with their 'coming out' and life in society as outed LGBT's.

What has changed, according to the Catholic daily, is that stories are now surfacing about homosexuals all over the country being ostracized in their parishes and even 'relieved of their responsibilities' once their homosexuality became known. It also speaks of parents who worry about how their child could have become homosexual: 'Will he be able to be happy?' is the main concern.

In the diocese of Saint-Etienne, near Lyon, Loïc and Delphine Hussenot, in charge of the pastoral care of people concerned with homosexuality, deplore the fact that 'many felt that they were being attacked by the demonstrations (of the Manif pour Tous against same-sex 'marriage') which they found even more painful because they had the feeling that the Church was behind them'. So, is opposing same-sex 'marriage' an aggression against homosexuals? In some French dioceses, it would appear so.

In the historic diocese of Poitiers, erected in the third century, Bishop Pascal Wintzer entrusted the outreach to homosexuals to Isabelle Parmentier in 2013. She is quoted as saying that 'homophobia' is still very present in society and 'is still one of the major causes of adolescent suicides'. She is in charge of helping homosexuals, their partners and their parents, and of leading them to reconstruct their relationship with the Church if they are Catholics. 'In certain Catholic families, the suffering is even worse because of the idea that a homosexual child is 'living in sin'', she told La Croix.

The newspaper also quotes the fears of some Catholics who are afraid that welcoming homosexuals would 'trivialize' homosexuality and lead young people to say to themselves: 'Why not?' Some priests, the article says, are wary of joining pastoral groups for homosexuals - like the one who told a fellow priest: 'Oh, you, you would be capable of marrying a gay couple!'

But according to La Croix, things are getting better: priests are welcoming homosexuals more openly, especially since Pope Francis said: 'Who am I to judge!' More and more dioceses are offering propositions such as the 'Thursdays for difference' cycle organized by Isabelle Parmentier in Poitiers and now also by a priest in Nantes.

The idea is to 'say and repeat that it is possible to be Christian and homosexual, that it is not incompatible or contrary to the faith', says one pastoral worker. In theory, that is quite correct: all Christians, including those with homosexual leanings, are called upon to 'find God in their lives', in the same way as all sinners - our shared condition - need pardon and forgiveness. But these particular words just do not appear.

The objective is rather to 'help homosexual persons to be integrated into parishes'. 'It must be remembered that they can take up responsibilities there, that their children can be baptized, etc.', writes La Croix.

As to requests for the blessing of same-sex 'married' couples, 'practices still differ from one diocese to the other, and even from one priest to the other'. In Saint-Etienne, Bishop Dominique Lebrun is all for welcoming all Christians as an 'absolute necessity'. While reminding priests that they should tell these couples that there is a contradiction between their life choice and the position of the church when they ask for the baptism of a child, he offers couples a 'time of prayer' with a pastoral worker 'in order to entrust their love to God', albeit 'outside of a church to avoid all confusion'.

Says La Croix: 'Progress has been made these last five years, but this work is only beginning.'

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Germany Bishop: Pope Francis has effectively approved of the intercommunion handout

DR.MAIKE HICKSON reports for OnePeterFive: 'As was to be reasonably expected, the progressive wing of the German episcopacy now tries to interpret favorably the recent 3 May message sent by Pope Francis to the German bishops through Archbishop Luis Ladaria, the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. The pope had told the German bishops in Rome that he wishes for a unanimous solution among them and thus effectively declined to give any further doctrinal clarity in the matter of the new German pastoral handout that allows certain Protestant spouses of Catholics to receive Holy Communion on a regular basis.

After the initial silence of the progressive wing of the German bishops, that wing has now taken an initiative in public and has given its own interpretation of the pope’s recent advice and action. Archbishop Stefan Hesse, of Hamburg, just met on Tuesday in Münster with the assembly of the Central Committee of German Catholics (ZdK) prior to the bi-annual Katholikentag (Catholics Day) which also takes place in that same town and which started on Wednesday and which will last until Sunday. He told the assembly according to a Katholisch.de report, that Pope Francis has given “a clear hint about the direction” [emphasis added] with regard to the current struggle in the German Catholic Church about Holy Communion for Protestant spouses of Catholics.

Hesse explained that Pope Francis, by returning the conflict back to the German bishops instead of solving it in Rome, has sent a signal that a bishops’ conference has very well the competence to decide such a question. Additionally, the pope, in Hesse’s eyes, has made it clear that the German Bishops’ Conference may decide on this question as it has already done with its majority vote. So far, no more is known about Hesse’s other words at that ZdK gathering. However, they give us already enough of an idea of how, most probably, the progressives will try to steer the upcoming discussions within the German episcopacy in order to gain that papally desired cooperative and “unanimous consent.”

That Archbishop Hesse’s own interpretation of the papal guidance is essentially correct can be seen in the fact that Cardinal Gerhard Müller, the former Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, is himself not pleased with Pope Francis’ decision (or indecision) with regard to the German intercommunion dispute.

As Edward Pentin, Rome Correspondent of the National Catholic Register, reports, Cardinal Müller “expressed his disappointment with the outcome, saying the statement was ‘very poor’ as it contained ‘no answer to the central, essential question.’” The cardinal also stressed that it is not possible for one to be in “sacramental communion without ecclesial communion.” Importantly, the German cardinal stressed that, if this principle of Catholic identity, thus requiring both sacramental and ecclesial communion, is destroyed, “then the Catholic Church is destroyed.” [emphasis added] A “clear expression of the Catholic faith” is needed, thus the need for the Pope himself to “affirm the faith,” especially about the “pillar of our faith, the Eucharist,” Müller added. The Pope and the CDF, he went on, are called to “give a very clear orientation” not through “personal opinion but according to the revealed faith.” “I hope more bishops will raise their voices and do their duty,” Cardinal Müller added. He also reminds every cardinal of his duty:

'Every cardinal has a duty to explain, defend, promote the Catholic faith, not according to personal feelings, or the swings of public opinion, but by reading the Gospel, the Bible, Holy Scripture, the Church fathers and to know them. Also the Councils, to study the great theologians of the past, and be able to explain and defend the Catholic faith, not with sophistic arguments to please all sides, to be everyone’s darling'.

Müller also regrets that there will now be a continued conflict over this matter, especially if it continues “without the clear necessity for a declaration about the Catholic faith.” “More clarity and courage must be encouraged,” he said.

Therefore, just as Cardinal Müller shows himself to be concerned about the pope’s approach to the intercommunion dispute, Archbishop Hesse, by way of contrast, is glad and optimistic. As Edward Pentin has reported – from a source close to the seven bishops who have opposed the new pastoral intercommunion handout – during the next six months, Cardinal Reinhard Marx himself will attempt to win over some of the opposing seven bishops that they be in concord with the progressivist camp. As the source added: “Our job now is to strengthen the seven bishops, to strengthen our priests in the argumentation” as the source said. “It’ll be a long fight and over the next six months, this is what we’ll be dedicating ourselves to.”

That at least one of the seven opposing bishops will not easily falter could be seen this past Wednesday, one day after the intervention of Archbishop Hesse. This time, it was Bishop Rudolf Voderholzer, of Regensburg, who is said to have been the crucial one in the earlier writing of the Seven Bishops’ Letter opposing the new German pastoral intercommunion guidelines. Voderholzer gave a forceful homily yesterday, on the vigil of today’s Feast of the Ascension. In his homily, which was published by the Austrian Catholic news website Kath.net, Voderholzer cautions us not to use the occasion of the current Katholikentag (with some 50,000 participants) in Münster in order to push “loud claims concerning matters of the faith, especially concerning the questions of the sacramental teaching and its related theology.” It would be a strange, yes a false signal,” adds the prelate, if the Katholikentag would “carry into the larger public the old, well-know ecclesial-political demands.” Voderholzer specifies his warning: “I especially warn against building up pressure now, for current purposes, in the debate concerning the [permissible] reception of Communion for Protestant spouses in mixed marriages.”

It nearly seems as if Voderholzer is here already responding to Archbishop Hesse.

Subsequently, the Bavarian bishop explains that he and his six co-signers of the letter to Rome are “convinced” that this discussion “touches upon the doctrine of the faith” and is not merely a “pastoral matter.” According to Voderholzer, pastoral questions in this regard would be, for example, how one has to receive Holy Communion, whether on the tongue or into the hand, whether kneeling or standing. He continues, saying:

'Where it is, however, about the conviction of faith and the Church membership of the communicant, there is more at stake; that is to say, the understanding of Church and the profession [of faith] as a whole'.

Indirectly contradicting Pope Francis and his de-centralizing decision to return the conflict to the German Bishops’ Conference, Voderholzer makes it clear that “such a far-reaching change of the heretofore [Catholic] teaching” cannot be made “on the level of only one bishops’ conference.” “What is valid here with us, must also be valid in Chicago, Shanghai, and Johannesburg,” he adds.

Moreover, Voderholzer mentions his own visit to Rome and his conversation with Cardinals Reinhard Marx and Rainer Woelki, as well as some other German and Vatican representatives, and he quotes Pope Francis’ request that the German bishops find a “unanimous” solution in the conflict. “This task will not be easy to fulfill, since the ecclesial community reaches beyond the limits of the Church of Germany.” Directly in opposition to Pope Francis, Voderholzer makes it clear that such a “preferably unanimous rule can only exist in communion with the world’s episcopacy, with the whole Universal Church,” and with each and every national bishops’ conference. For this bishop, “it is about a true theological grappling, about a question which binds us in our consciences.”

It is in this context – and especially in light of the fitting awe to be rendered before the Holy Eucharist, which is often misunderstood in the larger public – that the bishop regrets that this agenda is being pushed on a level of “political strategies” and “personal animosities.” “It is not a question of politeness or niceness, but, rather, it is about the circumstances and preconditions of an encounter with the Blessed Sacrament.”

Voderholzer now receives from a Protestant source further support for his insistence on a careful treatment of the matter of intercomunion. Professor Thomas Schirrmacher, the General Secretary of the World Evangelical Alliance – the largest international organization of Evangelical churches which has 700 million members worldwide – responds to an inquiry from Onepterfive, as follows:

'Most Evangelicals agree with the Catholic Church that intercommunion is the end goal of ecumenism, not the start. That is what we just discussed at the Global Christian Forum in Bogota [Colombia]. There are, however, in the evangelical realm also representatives of the Transsubstantiation; they could theoretically, of course, participate in the Catholic Mass if that were to be permitted by the Catholic side. We as the Worldwide Evangelical Alliance nevertheless would counsel against it'.

The conservative bishops in Germany – in addition to the clearly supportive high-ranking prelates Cardinal Müller and Cardinal Willem Eijk – now also receive further support from a German theologian, Professor Klaus Obenauer, who teaches Dogmatic Theology at the University of Bonn. In an open appeal today, he describes the “massively irresponsible” decision of Pope Francis to decline “to decide unambiguously in favor of the unity of Church membership and the reception of the sacraments – especially of the Eucharist – in order to leave the dynamics of conflict up to the local ecclesial level.” With reference to the First Vatican Council’s Dogmatic Constitution Pastor Aeternus (S 3063), Obenauer makes it clear that the pope has the duty to take sides in doctrinal and pastoral matters – in favor of faith and law – “especially when there exists the proximate danger that the faithful could be led into error.”

Amoris Laetitia, Gaudete et Exsultate, as well as the 3 May papal decision not to intervene decisively into the German intercommunion conflict – all of these statements and measures, says the theologian, “give the impression that Pope Francis has an aversion” to the taking of clear and consecutive practical actions “with regard to being a Catholic, especially there where it gets decisively and intimately important [“einschneidend auf den Leibe rücken”].” On the contrary, the author says, the pope seems to wish to “paralyze such expectations.” Instead, he adds, the pope gives “free reign to centrifugal forces on the local level, with the further effect that the faithful Catholics are being more and more marginalized.” Professor Obenauer concludes his stirring and inspiring appeal with the following words:

'This cannot go on like this! I therefore thank Cardinals Müller (Rome) and Eijk (Utrecht) that they have found clear words. And therefore I myself wish to ask, in a very, very heartfelt and humble manner, all cardinals and bishops who see and regret these dangerous tendencies of this Bergoglio pontificate finally to take public and clear position against this unholy ratio agendi [the rationale of action] of Pope Francis. Do not the statements of the above-mentioned cardinals give us enough of a sense of the inner dramatic? “Usque quo?”[unto where, unto what?] Or: Do we wish to wake up at some point and realize that we, by way of a sleeping car, have arrived at the end station: apostasy'?

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Ireland May 25th: The bloodiest day in all our history?

JOHN WATERS writes for FrontPage.org : 'The Yes side of this referendum is big on euphemism: 'reproductive rights'; the 'right to choose' (choose what?); and the most nauseating of all - 'abortion care'.

At the heart of the exercise is an immense evasion: the baby. It is as if the baby is a kind of cancer, to be eliminated, chopped off, expunged.

Another word for 'euphemism' is 'lie'. This is a referendum of lies. Not, as we are sometimes told, lies on both sides but lies on only one side: the side that seeks the slaughter of innocents but will not come right out and say so. We are enjoined to be polite, to keep the debate 'respectful', to avoid 'shock tactics', but these injunctions invariably come from the people who are engaged in the telling of these colossal lies. 'Shock tactics' means the truth. Keeping the debate 'respectful' means avoiding mention of the truth.

This referendum is about destroying under Irish law the right-to-life of a category of human being - the most innocent, defenceless, vulnerable and voiceless category of human being. When the euphemisms, evasions, and prevarications are stripped away - the lies, that is - this is what it comes down to.

The mechanism adopted by the Government for replacing the right-to-life of the unborn child in Article 40.3.3 of the Irish Constitution with a right to annihilate that child using lethal force is to remove that article and put in its place what looks like a kind of signpost: 'Provision may be made in law for the regulation of termination of pregnancy'.

This, too, needs translation, for it mimics in style the approach of the Government and other elements of the Yes side - concealing by a sleight-of-hand what is really going to happen.

In fact, inserting the phrase 'Provision may be made in law for the regulation of termination of pregnancy' appears to be a nonsense in the immediate context in which it will appear in the Constitution should this amendment - God in Your mercy forbid - be passed. Article 40 is the first of a series of five articles that are utterly different to the other article in the Constitution. The language of these articles is quite different also: they contain words that, by and large, do not appear elsewhere in the Constitution: 'antecedent', 'inalienable', 'imprescriptible', 'natural'. These words mean, respectively, more or less: 'pre-existing', 'incapable of being given up', 'incapable of being taken away', 'by virtue of a natural and given condition'. These words ought to alert us to something here that is neither minor nor usual.

Just above Article 40 is a heading: 'Fundamental Rights'. This refers to a category of rights that is distinct and discrete in the context of the dispensations laid down by Bunreacht na hÉireann: these are rights that do not derive from human lawmaking, and therefore cannot be annulled by court, parliament or ballot box. There is a good reason for this, best understood by reference to C.S. Lewis's observation in The Abolition of Man that, when man abolishes God, we do not end up in a situation whereby all men (all humans) become gods, but invariably with only a few men coming to dominate over the many. This is how tyranny develops, and it is why the most fundamental rights of man require to be constructed and set down in a manner that places them out of the reach of mere men. Hence this special section of the Irish Constitution, comprising Articles 40-44, which you might call the Out of Human Reach section of the Constitution. The right-to-life of the unborn child is one of these most fundamental rights.

By a series of evasions engineered by judges, lawyers and politicians, we are coming very close to the total abolition of this principle whereby the most fundamental rights of each one of us (the right-to-life being the most fundamental of all) will be struck down in their present form and reinvented - by men - so that they will in the future be amenable to reinterpretation and dispensation by men - by judges, politicians and, to a limited extent, under 'guidance' from judges and politicians, by the electorate.

And the mechanism of this amendment is precisely in line with these tendencies and trends. For in striking down the right-to-life of the unborn child, and replacing this with a provision asserting that the Oireachtas (our lawmaking institution) will 'regulate for the termination of pregnancy', we will be supplanting the right-to-life with a right-to-kill. Not merely that, but this right-to-kill will, by virtue of being situated within Article 40 (the first of the fundamental rights articles) will immediately assert a new fundamental right: the right to terminate pregnancies, which being translated means the right to kill babies in the womb. If this happens, it will be the first time anywhere in the world that abortion will have been deemed a 'fundamental human right'. Not even the United States, which has had abortion for 45 years and has used it to kill about 60 million of its own citizens, has reached the stage of making abortion a fundamental human right.

And, moreover, if we do this, we will become the first people in the world to vote down the rights of a type of human person in our midst. Is that something we will feel proud to trumpet around the world?

In this era of euphemism, I want therefore to translate the question we are to be asked on May 25th. It is, in effect a two-part question, and this is its essence:

Are you, (a) prepared to strike down, to eliminate, to annul, void and remove the right-to-life of the most innocent and defenceless human beings in our midst - the unborn children in the wombs of their mothers - so that, (b) we, your Government and Parliament, may introduce lethal force to extinguish their lives and tell the world that that is what you wanted?

Friday, May 25th will be a momentous day in the annals of Irish history. In the past 1,000 years, we have had a long and bloody journey to where we have now fetched up, with many gory days, from the Battle of Clontarf to the bombing of Omagh. But, unless we awaken before that day from the sleep of euphemism that currently grips us, Friday, May 25th may emerge as the bloodiest day in all of our history.

Betrayal: Irish priest group won’t tell Catholics to vote against abortion

LifeSiteNews : 'According to a small association of Irish Catholic priests, Catholics should vote on whether to legalize abortion based on their “conscience” and as priests, “we are not best placed to be in any way dogmatic on this issue.”

A Dublin priest along with pro-life advocates in Ireland told LifeSiteNews this group of priests is “usually first in line to attack the Catholic Church and her teachings” and not at all representative of the faithful in Ireland, including priests and bishops.

The Association of Catholic Priests (ACP) in Ireland issued this statement on May 5, saying “we do not wish to tell anyone how they should vote” and that “a vote cast in accordance with each person’s conscience, whatever the result, deserves the respect of all.”

The priests prefaced this by claiming, “As an association representing Catholic priests we fully endorse the Catholic teaching that all human life, from beginning to end, is sacred, and that every human person shares in the fundamental right to life.”

But they went on to assert:

'We are also aware, and are constantly reminded in our ministry, that human life is complex, throwing up situations that are more often grey than black and white and that demand from us a sensitive, non-judgemental, pastoral approach. Also, as leadership of an association made up of men who are unmarried and without children of our own, we are not best placed to be in any way dogmatic on this issue.

'We do not wish to tell anyone how they should vote. But we encourage both ourselves and any citizens who may be interested in our viewpoint, to do the best we can to acquaint ourselves with exactly what we are being asked to vote for, and what the possible consequences of our vote may be. Having done that to the best of our ability, and following it with the, often painful and difficult, task of consulting our conscience, let us cast our vote.

On May 25, the Emerald Isle will vote on whether to repeal its Eighth Amendment, which guarantees unborn children the right to life. This group of priests condemned the practice of allowing representatives from the “No” to abortion campaign speak during or after Mass, because “as there are, among faithful, Church-going Catholics, a great variety of opinions on this vote, we believe this is inappropriate and insensitive and will be regarded by some as an abuse of the Eucharist.”

“We believe it would be better if this practice ceased for the rest of the campaign,” they said. “We wish the Irish people well in this immensely important decision awaiting all of us. The leadership of the Association of Catholic Priests will have no further engagement in this debate.”

Complaints from leftists in the Church about “abuse of the Eucharist” are particularly rich given that they are typically the ones pushing for liturgical abuses in the forms of Communion in the Hand, female altar boys, ignoring the rubrics of the Mass, and diminishing the priesthood by employing a large number of lay people to distribute Holy Communion.

Just as it is convenient for leftists to quote parts of the Bible to further their cause – even though they don’t actually care what the Bible teaches, and normally would be busy castigating it – so too it is convenient for liberal-minded priests to pretend to care about liturgical norms when it suits their agenda, though normally they are the ones complaining about the Church’s “rigid” rules on the subject.

(The U.S. equivalent of this “Association of Priests,” for example, is known for its elderly priests who wear street clothes, enjoy “modern” liturgies, and advocate for a number of liberal sacramental changes.)

Only a tiny portion of all Irish priests are part of ACP. Dublin-based Father Terence Crotty explained to LifeSiteNews that the ACP has “no representative status for Irish priests as a whole.”

“Much has been made of the ACP request for no pro-life talkers at Mass, because, of course, it chimes with the government and media campaign to introduce abortion, so these forces are glad to hear it and publicise it,” said Crotty. But “it is worth remembering that the active membership of the ACP is absolutely tiny. I'd imagine you're talking about, at the very most, a few dozen priests out of a population of around about 4,700 Irish priests (going by a 2012 figure in given the Journal.ie - a bit lower now).”

“We are doing our bit for the referendum with a 40 hours devotion for the protection of unborn children,” Crotty told LifeSiteNews. “I think we are much more typical of the reaction of the Irish clergy than the ACP. Several other churches are doing the same or similar around Dublin. In my experience, Catholics of whatever leanings are right behind the no vote in this referendum.”

“Faithful Catholics continue to be horrified by statements that come from the so-called ‘Association of Catholic Priests,’” said Lisa Hare of Human Life International Ireland. “Their recent statement on the 8th Amendment is no exception. This group are usually first in line to attack the Catholic Church and her teachings.”

They “cause much scandal to the Body of Christ,” she told LifeSiteNews via email. “For the ACP to do anything other than UNAMBIGUOUSLY support the right to life of EVERY unborn child in Ireland in EVERY circumstance, demonstrates just how far they have walked away from Christ and his church.”

Human Life International Ireland is holding a National Day of Reparation in various Irish locations today, May 13.

The Catholic Church teaches that abortion is “intrinsically evil” and therefore never morally acceptable.

“The moral gravity of procured abortion is apparent in all its truth if we recognize that we are dealing with murder and, in particular, when we consider the specific elements involved,” wrote Pope St. John Paul II in Evangelium Vitae. “The one eliminated is a human being at the very beginning of life. No one more absolutely innocent could be imagined.”

Pope Francis, too, has repeatedly condemned abortion throughout his papacy.

Bishops respond...sort of

Martin Long, a spokesperson for the Irish Conference of Catholic Bishops, referred LifeSiteNews to a comments Bishop Dermot Farrell made to RTE in response to the ACP statement.

“You need to look for that to answer the quote,” he said.

According to the May 5 RTE report:

'Responding to the statement from the ACP, Bishop Dermot Farrell of the diocese of Ossory said there is a tradition in the Catholic Church, down through the years, of lay people preaching in church on various issues including the right to life and other social issues.

He said these lay people complement priests and are not there to replace them. He also welcomed the ACP's statement which defends the fundamental right to life.

Asked if campaigners from the opposite side would be allowed into church he said no, as the Catholic church was defending its own teaching which is the right to life of the unborn.

Bishop Farrell said the church was not there to present sides of a case but explain its central teaching on the right to life.

A spokesperson for the Catholic Communications Office confirmed that that Bishop Farrell was speaking in a personal capacity and not on behalf of all the hierarchy.

Long told LifeSiteNews the Irish Catholic bishops are having their summer meeting in June.

The Irish Catholic bishops have been encouraging voters to reject abortion and save the Eighth Amendment. The new bishop of Galway, Kilmacduagh, and Kilfenora gave a pro-life homily at his installation Mass in February 2018.

Bishops Denis Nulty of Kildare and Leighlin, John Buckley of Cork and Ross, and Alan McGuckian of Raphoe all issued letters calling on parishioners to vote no on May 25.

“Nothing is as important for the future of our shared humanity as the right to life,” wrote Nulty.

Archbishop Eamon Martin, the archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland, used his 2018 pastoral message to promote the pro-life message.

“In the name of ‘modernising healthcare’, the [government] Committee proposes a very liberal abortion regime, including unrestricted access to abortion up to twelve weeks, and, thereafter during pregnancy, very broad grounds for abortion and access to abortion,” he wrote.

“We should focus our energies and resources on making Ireland the most welcoming country in the world for a woman and her baby in the womb,” Martin declared. “Our doctors, nurses, midwives and other care professionals have already helped to earn Ireland’s place as one of the safest countries in the world for mothers and their babies during pregnancy. Ireland now has an opportunity to give even stronger witness that: we value all life equally; we care for the weakest and smallest, the strongest and healthiest, the youngest, the oldest, and the whole wonderful and beautiful spectrum of life in-between.”

Priests can’t have an opinion on abortion

One of the claims the ACP made as to why it won’t take a “dogmatic” stance on abortion is “as leadership of an association made up of men who are unmarried and without children of our own, we are not best placed to be in any way dogmatic on this issue.”

Jesus Christ was also an unmarried man with no children of his own, but he had spiritual children. As a father in a spiritual sense, he had the duty to be dogmatic about protecting the little children from harm's’ way, be it supernatural harm (heresy) or natural harm.

Priests are ordained to be representatives of Jesus Christ on Earth, and they have a duty to uphold and preach the commandment “thou shalt not kill.”

[Stephen Kokx contributed to this report.]

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Netherlands Cardinal Eijk warns of an Apocalypse

Cdl. EijkCHRISTOPHER A. FERRARA writes for Fatima Perspectives: 'Cardinal William Eijk of the Netherlands, writing in EWTN’s National Catholic Register, has just implied nothing less than that Pope Francis’ governance of the Church represents an apocalyptic state of affairs. After describing as “incomprehensible” Francis’ directive that the German bishops seek a “possibly unanimous” “solution” to the majority’s determination to administer Holy Communion to Protestants married to Catholics — no such “solution” being possible — the Cardinal concludes:

“Observing that the bishops and, above all, the Successor of Peter fail to maintain and transmit faithfully and in unity the deposit of faith contained in Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture, I cannot help but think of Article 675 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

The Church’s ultimate trial : Before Christ’s second coming the Church must pass through a final trial that will shake the faith of many believers. The persecution that accompanies her pilgrimage on earth will unveil the ‘mystery of iniquity’ in the form of a religious deception offering men an apparent solution to their problems at the price of apostasy from the truth….”

That is precisely the passage from the Catechism we quoted here last month in reference to the German bishops’ drive for sacrilegious intercommunion and Francis’ undoubted sub rosa support for it. Now a prince of the Church, not any mere lay columnist, is speaking in terms of an apocalyptic papacy — a cardinal from the ultra-liberal Netherlands, no less.

Michael Chapman, at the conservative new site CNSNews, has not missed the point: His headline declares: “Cardinal: Pope’s Failure to Transmit Faith Clearly Points to End Times Prophecy.” We have been saying as much on these pages for some time, and now a Cardinal confirms the diagnosis.

This is not to suggest, obviously, that we are in the End Times prophesied in Sacred Scripture. Rather, what we are witnessing is certainly a prelude to those times. As the following section of the Catechism observes: “The Antichrist’s deception already begins to take shape in the world every time the claim is made to realize within history that messianic hope which can only be realized beyond history through the eschatological judgment. The Church has rejected even modified forms of this falsification of the kingdom to come under the name of millenarianism, especially the ‘intrinsically perverse’ political form of a secular messianism.”

Are we not witnessing precisely an age secular of messianism, in which the Catholic confessional state has been abolished in favor of a secular state recognizing no authority higher than itself? And are we not witnessing as well a concomitant surrender of the human element of the Church to the spirit of this age, a surrender that, under this pontificate, is reaching even fundamental questions of morality and dogma? Indeed, has the Church in her entire history ever experienced a state of disorder of such breadth and depth (with even the Arian crisis of the 4th century involving only a single heresy)?

For years, the “radical traditionalists” and “Fatimists” have been warning of apocalyptic developments in the Church. And now even a Cardinal from the Netherlands has recognized what Dietrich von Hildebrand, back in 1973, called “the apocalyptic decline of our time” which “many have failed to see.” From this Fatima perspective, however, what is now obvious has long been clearly in view


Moral Laws Turn into Recommendations

DR. MAIKE HICKSON comments for OnePeterFive: 'In light of Cardinal Eijk's recent stunning remarks about the pope's failure to clearly teach the doctrine of the Church with regard to the intercommunion debate, it might be worthwhile to consider another example of such a failure also coming out of Rome these days. Vatican News reports on Cardinal Jozef de Kesel's approach to homosexuality in a way that seems to replace Commandments with recommendations. The German section of Vatican News seems more and more frequently to be a source of moral confusion.

As some of our readers might have heard, de Kesel - who had been made a cardinal by Pope Francis in 2016 in spite of the fact that he had already publicly promoted homosexuality - is now considering the establishment of a special liturgical rite for homosexual couples. While he sees it as impermissible to have a kind of a blessing for them, he nevertheless envisions the possibility of a form of thanksgiving or prayer liturgy for homosexual couples.

This information can be found in an article which was published by the official organ of the Vatican, Vatican News, in its German section, an outlet which was formerly called Radio Vatikan. That section of the Vatican media had been in the headlines in the past for promoting clearly controversial views and even salacious pictures, for example when depicting two kissing women in their report on homosexuality. In that same report, in 2015, there was quoted an Italian theologian, Dr. Martin Lintner, as saying: 'The Church's sexual morality is changing,' and theology and the Magisterium 'perceive sexuality more and more in its personal and integral [sic] dimension.'

The then-Radio Vatikan continued its report on Lintner by adding that the discussions during the Extraordinary Synod of Bishops last fall 2014 - as well as the recent working paper for the upcoming Synod on the Family in October 2015 - manifoldly show, according to Lintner, a 'change of mind' in the Church's dealing with homosexual persons.

Lintner is being quoted as saying: 'The Church becomes more sensible toward the experiences of suffering by the concerned persons and by families in which homosexual persons are living.' This putative development, moreover, is 'significant, even if the Church stresses that a homosexual partnership has to remain different from a marriage.'

At the time, this article caused an outcry of indignation - not only for its airing heterodox views, but also because of the depiction of a female couple kissing. Yet, Father Bernd Hagenkord, S.J., then and still the head of the German section of the Vatican media, did not repent for this presentation, but, rather, thought only that the picture was ill-chosen 'because it does not really fit the article. But [it is] not really a scandal,' he added.

That came then from the same man who only recently was caught spreading the false claim that Pope emeritus Benedict XVI had given his consent to the truncated publication of his private letter to Monsignor Dario Viganò, something that at the time caused the 'Lettergate' scandal - a scandal which Hagenkord sought to downplay. Hagenkord later removed that false claim from his Vatican News blog, but without any apology; subsequently, the Vatican-based information service Il Sismografo openly accused him of manipulation.

Still, a course-correction cannot be detected in the Vatican News section under the leadership of Father Hagenkord. Now, in this new blunder, Vatican News Germany reports on this de Kesel push for a sort of liturgy honoring homosexual couples which stands in utter opposition to the Church's teaching, and this 5 May report only adds one sentence: 'The official [sic] Church's doctrine recommends continence to homosexuals.' ('Die offizielle katholische Kirchenlehre empfiehlt Homosexuellen Enthaltsamkeit.')


Has the Catholic Church effectively become an organization that issues official 'recommendations for a good and healthy life,'? And, what about the expression 'official doctrine'? Is there then to be found in the Church also an 'unofficial' doctrine concerning homosexuality? In addition, one wonders whether the Church really teaches that two homosexuals may live together like a couple, so long as they merely abstain from sexual acts.

Should not the Church, as Cardinal Eijk has just said, present 'the clear doctrine and practice of the Church'? That is, the teaching that homosexual acts are gravely sinful, and that they endanger, not only the bodily health, but most importantly also the salvation of the souls involved in such acts?

It is time that Father Bernd Hagenkord - who is now even the managing director of the entire Vatican News outlet and has thus an even more prominent place within the Vatican media than he had in 2015 - be asked to leave his position and to stop this further confusing of the faithful.

But, then again, this might only take place when Pope Francis himself has a change of mind, or resigns, or is otherwise justly removed from office.

Here it is worth repeating what Cardinal Eijk so candidly said in his own commentary concerning Pope Francis' own omission to teach the 'clear doctrine and practice of the Church' with regard to intercommunion:

'Observing that the bishops and, above all, the Successor of Peter fail to maintain and transmit faithfully and in unity the deposit of faith contained in Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture, I cannot help but think of Article 675 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

'The Church's ultimate trial

'Before Christ's second coming the Church must pass through a final trial that will shake the faith of many believers. The persecution that accompanies her pilgrimage on earth will unveil the 'mystery of iniquity' in the form of a religious deception offering men an apparent solution to their problems at the price of apostasy from the truth

[FP / 1P5] 2233.11




















United Kingdom Archbishop condemns government's "broken promise" on Catholic schools

The government will keep a policy that effectively prevents the Church from opening new free schools

NICK HALLETT reports for the Catholic Herald : 'The Archbishop of Liverpool has condemned the British government after it broke a manifesto promise to allow new Catholic schools to open.

The government announced on Friday that it had dropped a manifesto pledge to lift the faith school admissions cap – a policy that forbids new faith-based free schools from selecting more than 50 per cent of their intake from their own faith. The cap effectively prevents any new Catholic free schools from opening and it would require them to break Canon Law.

Prime Minister Theresa May had consistently promised to scrap the cap, and the Conservative Party’s 2017 manifesto explicitly mentioned the detrimental effect it has on Britain’s Catholic community.

However, Education Secretary Damian Hinds – who is himself Catholic – has now said the policy will stay.

Instead, the government will allow the creation of new “voluntary-aided” faith schools that can select all students based on faith. However, unlike free schools, they are under the authority of local government, raising concerns that local councils may prevent them from opening.

Archbishop Malcolm McMahon said: “In their general election manifesto, the Conservative Party made a commitment to the Catholic community that the unfair rule effectively stopping the opening of new Catholic free schools would be lifted.

“Today the government has broken this promise, dropped the pledge they made to our country’s six million Catholics and ignored the tens of thousands of Catholics who campaigned on this issue.”


[CH] 2233.11a



















United Kingdom Schools to be assessed on supoort for same-sex marriage

COALITION FOR MARRIAGE (C4M) reports : ' Ofsted could fail a school if a teacher says they back the repeal of same-sex marriage.

That’s the effect of new guidance the Government is consulting on right now. Initially it just applies to independent schools, but it’s only a matter of time before it is applied to all schools in England through Ofsted’s common inspection framework.

The proposed guidance says it will be a breach of the school standards if a school curriculum “suggests that same-sex marriages or civil partnerships should not be recognised as being lawful unions under civil law” (see the draft guidance, para. 20).

Teachers will be gagged. Children will be indoctrinated. Even teachers who give views for and against could fall foul of this approach. This will dramatically escalate the high-profile clashes between Ofsted and schools with a Christian or Jewish ethos.

This is an outrageous proposal. Politically-correct Whitehall bureaucrats are testing our defences.

This is the most audacious attack on supporters of traditional marriage since same-sex marriage was legalised in 2013. If ever there was a case of LGBT overreach this is it.

[C4M] 2233.11b





















United Kingdom March for Life: the day the pro-life movement came to London

CORINNA TURNER reports for The Catholic Herald : 'The March for Life came to London for the first time this year - and made itself heard

1March for Life 2018 was an event filled with firsts, not least that it was in London! As Bishop John Keenan said: 'Well done to Birmingham for beginning it in 2012. The move to London shows that the pro-Life movement has taken on prominence. This is truly an international march.' An estimated 4,000 people (a record!) marched in glorious weather, finishing-for the first time-outside the very place where the abortion laws were made-and where they could be struck down.

The March was preceded by the first ever All Night Vigil for Life at the Dominican Rosary Shrine. At the opening Mass, Abbot Christopher Jamison OSB drew the connection between the English Martyrs (whose feast day it was), the modern martyrs-such as the 21 Coptic Christians martyred in Libya in 2014-and the slaughter of the unborn.

A torch-lit Eucharistic rosary procession and a talk on Our Lady of Guadeloupe followed. At midnight a good turnout of stalwarts settled in for the duration as Silent Adoration continued through the night. As the morning sun bathed the Exposition throne and its Divine Occupant in glorious light, the Vigil concluded with Benediction followed by Mass.

It was time to head off to a LifeFest taking place entirely undercover (another first!) in the luxurious De Vere Connaught rooms. Naturally, since we had a roof this year, the rain stayed away-but no one was complaining! A morning programme bursting with talks, workshops, and activities wrapped up at midday, as everyone-or at least as many as could fit!-crowded into the Grand Hall.

There was silence as Christie Spurling, CEO of N-Gage, who was conceived in rape, addressed the crowd-but as Clare McCullough from the Good Counsel Network told us later, sometimes police will tell a woman pregnant after rape that unless she has an abortion, they will not believe she has been raped!

There was silence as Charlotte Fien, (the first person with Down Syndrome to address a March for Life), spoke about how Ireland is one of the only countries in the world where people with her condition are safe in the womb-90% of mainland UK babies with Down Syndrome are aborted up to birth.

The first celebrity to attend the march was up last, Joy Villa, who recently scandalised mainstream culture by wearing a pro-life dress to the Grammies: 'Today we are going to rock London for Life! Let them see how loving and joyful we are and let their hearts and minds be changed!'

Then it was time to march-for the first time-through the busy, sun-soaked streets of London. 'We're here to stand for life and because Jesus wants us to be here,' said Sr Faustina of the Franciscans of the Renewal.

'I believe in true justice and that everyone has a right to life,' said Fiona Johnston, who'd travelled down from Newcastle. 'Everyone has the entitlement to feel the sun, the wind, to see the flowers, the mountains and the sky, and to feel love. I notice everyone who is for abortion has already been born.'

A nearby placard made the same poignant point: 'To an unborn child, abortion is the end of the world.'

'If you can't defend life, then what's worth defending?' Fr David Marsden, from Oscott College, told me-towering above me in particularly clear illustration of the fact that when it comes to the right to life, size doesn't matter!

Passing an unusually small and well-behaved group of pro-abortion supporters (maybe they had done a bit of self-policing after the shameful behaviour last year?) we finished in Parliament Square, where Rachel MacKenzie of Rachel's Vineyard spoke movingly about how the abortion of her second son, Jude, left her unable to have children, but the turning point in her journey of denial and grief came when a priest told her, 'It's not that you can't be a mother-you are a mother.'

Yet another first followed: seven women of all ethnicities and religions brought their babies up on stage, just a few representatives of all the women who went to the Ealing abortion centre simply because they couldn't find the help they needed-but were offered it outside by the-now tragically outlawed-vigil.

Finally, the first ever Anglican bishop to attend the March for Life, Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali, said the closing prayer-after assuring everyone that he'd left home clean and tidy, and the pro-abortion activists were responsible for his appearance. Clearly, the self-policing hadn't entirely worked!

I overheard a small child gravely explaining the protestors to a little friend: 'They're really bad people-they don't want to pray the rosary and stuff.'

But Rachel McKenzie had the best response to this: 'We are not called to like pro-abortion groups-we are called to love them, because every life deserves love.'

[CH] 2233.12



















United States Offensive, stupid, creepy and vulgar



FR. DWIGHT LONGENECKER writes for Patheos: 'Social media is a wonder because it throws into your face aspects of life you might never otherwise consider, and last night was no exception.

I stumbled across this Gala at the Met extravaganza in which numerous people who are evidently famous in some way wore outlandish outfits to a gala in New York City having to do with a display at the art museum of liturgical garb and other fashion items with an ecclesiastical theme.

Some thin skinned Catholics are upset that some of the outfits were tasteless, vulgar, lewd or even blasphemous. So there was one gal dressed in a glittering mini skirt crowned with a huge bejeweled miter like some mock pope-ette (or poppet if you like). Another woman with bare shoulders was sheathed in a gown covered with icons of the Virgin Mary. Other celebrities' outfits were churchily themed in one way or another. To be fair, some were tacky and vulgar and when they were combined with all the heaving, exposed female flesh it was pretty trashy.

It was also interesting to observe that Cardinal Dolan was there hobnobbing with the glitterati along with New York media darling and LGBT activist Fr James Martin SJ.

I guess those who would defend his presence said Jesus mixed with the low life in his day, so there's a precedent.

To be honest I wasn't that offended by the display. It was more like I was fascinated by the vulgarity, the vanity and stupidity of it. In fact it was fascinating the way a really bad theater production might be. After sitting through one scene where they forgot their lines, missed their entrances and sang off key you want to stay for the rest of the show because the awfulness of it has, itself, become entertaining.

The other thing that was absorbing was that it was clear that a good number of people took the event seriously and were very interested in who was there and who wore what and who was seen with whom.

Then in my social media browse I happened across a video of another thing in New York City-a restaurant that serves gold planted chicken wings.


The folks in the video seem all chirpy and happy about this disgusting extravagance. Gold plated chicken wings in a world of starving children? That is disgusting in itself, but chicken wings are a kind of trashy fast food. You want to gold plate chicken wings? Nice people used to eat amazingly well cooked food off gold plated china using gold plated cutlery, and that could be excused perhaps as a refined luxury for the elite. But chicken wings? What next a gold plated cheeseburger? I snooped around a bit more and it seems you can also get a gold plated cheeseburger.

Talk about lipstick on a pig. We can now pump up that metaphor and say it was gold leaf on a cheeseburger.

What to make of the Met Gala and the gold plated junk food? Simply that when ignorance and extreme wealth are put together you get the most meaningless and vulgar displays of human vanity imaginable.

The whole thing came across as trailer trash with cash.

What tops it all is that Cardinal Dolan and Fr James Martin were in attendance like official chaplains to Vanity Fair. One doesn't want to be too much of a spoil sport, but let's be honest-this sort of vulgarity with Catholic clergy playing along is reminiscent of the decadence of Renaissance Florence and Rome. There and then the prelates mixed with the super wealthy, either turning a blind eye on their profligacy, prostitution, racketeering and promiscuity or else justifying it and participating in it.

I wish Michael Voris- the Savonarola de nos jours might have turned up to turn up the volume and turn up the temperature.


The MET Gala and the consequences of Catholic cultural indifference

MARK NOWAKOWSKI comments for OnePeterFive: 'The MET Gala has long been an elitist cultural touchstone in New York City, a high profile and bedazzling gathering of Hollywood, fashion, and art elites. With the aim of raising money for the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute, this “Oscars of the East Coast” asks guests to dress in accordance with the theme of the opening exhibit. This year’s theme was “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination.”

Never a chance to miss a chance to show off, the celebrity guests took their own secularized and largely ignorant stabs at the symbols of “Catholicism”, including highly ornate female Pope and archangel costumes. Conveniently placed crosses and halos can be seen throughout the red carpet gallery, while one actress wore a dress which Reuters described as: “a gold Dolce & Gabbana gown embroidered with sacred hearts and a towering nativity scene headpiece.” Even more sinister objectifications also made their way into the display, from a cleavage hugging “seven swords” to a Catholic themed bondage mask.

Predictably, none of the organizers seemed to apply their hyper-sensitivity to a new favorite victim category – “cultural appropriation” – to the Catholic symbols quite literally being “appropriated” out of their intended context and meaning. Various Catholic groups and even secular media commentators rightfully pointed out that the organizers of the event would not dare to take a similar approach to Islam or Hinduism, nor was anyone decorating their cleavage with a Star of David.

And yet does much of the outrage on the part of various high profile orthodox Catholics carry authentic weight, or is it perhaps a bit misplaced and disingenuous? Seen in the larger and sorry picture of Catholic “culture” in the west, one easily perceives the general abandonment of the Catholic aesthetic, its traditions, and its liturgical practices in favor of a culturally-flavored homogenized pastiche. Many of those complaining at the appropriation of Catholic symbols are no better than children who – having not thought about a previously cherished toy for a weeks – suddenly express dismay when another child seizes it for her own purposes.

There is a simple maxim that we can follow: “If Catholics do not boldly and clearly teach our truths, then the secular culture will address them in its own way, being that they are true and ultimately compelling.” Consider the mainstream take on purgatory and exorcism in various Hollywood films, to the repurposing of marriage or spirituality along secular lines in recent decades. Consider the prevalence of Catholic imagery in various popular music videos, and you can see the truth of this. The same principle can be applied to Catholic culture and various successful Christian aesthetics. Surely there was something sinister and even demonic in some of the appropriations of Catholic symbols and art into the Met gala event. Yet another reason that our symbols and artworks are routinely targeted in such a way – as opposed to other major world religions – is because of their singular beauty and power: emerging out of the majesty of Christendom from Byzantium to Northern Europe, reflecting the splendor of truth, the historical reality of the Catholic aesthetic is one unmatched in human history. Little wonder that it has proven fascinating to those who would run the gamut from ignorant use and appropriation to downright blasphemy. Furthermore, in our time the symbols have been stripped of their power in the larger culture, and Catholics have duly played along or turned their heads away altogether from their self-inflicted cultural disintegration. There is blasphemy here surely, but also simple ignorance borne of longtime neglect.

For all we know, some of the Hollywood attendees, being culturally-sensitive West Coast types, may have checked out the most local major Catholic event – the Los Angeles Religious Education Conference – just to make sure that they weren’t stepping on any toes. If they encountered one of the many Masses on display, they’d be safe in assuming that Catholic art was no longer what it used to be, and that nobody would really care if they donned the odd Bishop’s mitre or slapped some sacred hearts on that Dolce Gabbana. After all, look at how comfortable a Bishop of the Church is in the glitzy modernist LAREC setting? Yes, much of what Bishop Barron says in this talk is philosophically and aesthetically good, but what is the value of such a speech when it fails to denounce a “mass” like this? With such sights and sounds at home, how can we possibly complain about what those outside of the Church are doing? Compared to the previous linked mass video, some of what happened at the MET recently is downright tasteful and respectful by comparison.

And some of the ignorance on display at the Met can further be forgiven when one considers that the Vatican gave its blessing for this theme and display, working personally with the MET for over a year to curate dozens of items for the display. If the Vatican blesses the union, who are we to judge? If the Pope himself eschews the trappings of his office – clearly telegraphing the bygone nature of Catholic hierarchical symbolism – who are we to judge? If the princes of the modern Church eschew tradition in favor of commissioning homoerotic altar art, who are we to judge? If the Sistine Chapel itself is being appropriated for a celebration of pop culture (instead of picking legitimate Catholic artists to create such a show), who are we to judge? One wonders that the Vatican didn’t request to host the opening event, as we hear that they can now throw quite the after party.

Perhaps the singular most important takeaway from this dust-up for Catholics should be the realization that in the face of the massive onslaught of secular culture, there is virtually no mainstream authentically Catholic response. The post-conciliar Church has, for the first time since her initial historic ascendency, reneged on her cultural duties. Armed with the greatest cultural patrimony in history – a literal aesthetic magisterium – the most she can do is send some museum pieces to the Met or to appropriate popular culture in her “worship” and “ministries.” It is an astoundingly sad state of affairs, a self-inflicted decrepitude as inexplicable as it is unnecessary. And it further speaks to our cultural Stockholm Syndrome that some Catholic media personalities actually seemed glad to have the attention, as if we need Hollywood stars and the Met to look Catholic for us.

Yet if this is the age of the lay person as is so often claimed, the question must therefore be asked: where have our offended modern “orthodox” Catholics been for the past fifty years as the aesthetic and liturgical legacy of the Church was decimated? There has been no shortage of occasions for those concerned parties to reclaim their heritage or protect it from further internal desecration. To give just one poignant example: where were these offended Catholics when perhaps the greatest modern example of American Catholic sacred visual art – the stunning Ken Woo revitalization of the Sanctuary of the Church of Our Savior in New York City – was torn down only a few short years after it was completed? Despite receiving the rare dual accolades of both secular and sacred art critics, drawing tourists, and having being sponsored by the life savings of a businessman turned priest along with Vatican funds, a pastor of dubious reputation was allowed to tear down and whitewash a modern masterpiece with barely a peep from those same people who would be offended at the MET display. Where were they when such literal Catholic vandalism was taking place? Why should they respect our traditions when we can’t even respect them ourselves? And was the highly charismatic bishop of New York City too busy planning his next Hollywood luncheon to notice?

An even deeper question to the dedicated lay Catholic is this: why, in the myriad of high energy Catholic apostolates out there, is a secular aesthetic the general mainstay? Open the videos on the front page of many Catholic apostolates, and you see secular-looking people (dressed a bit more modestly) having a great time to popular-sounding music. What exactly is the message being telegraphed in such instances? One can almost hear a stereotypical announcer chime in and say: “Catholicism, just as cool as the rest of the world, but with Jesus.” Is that really what we are selling?

Many of the readers of this publication are doubtless members of that brave resistance to pressures external and internal. They drive long distances, donate money, volunteer, and stretch limited resources well past the breaking point in order to create small centers of authentic Catholic liturgy and culture. Therefore the preceding observations are intended for those of the general Catholic “conservative” body, those clinging to some manner of orthodoxy in their religion while still making détentes with modernism and the surrounding culture. Tell me, dear friends: did your Church this weekend have any real Catholic beauty? Were any of the garments as well made as those parading down the Met Gala red carpet? Were any of the religious symbols or art as carefully crafted as the misappropriated symbols at the Met event? Did your Church, liturgy, and its trappings come even remotely close to echoing the majesty of some of the curated Vatican pieces now displayed – as if from a forever bygone era – at the museum?

Many prominent conservative Catholics regularly attend parishes and liturgies that Catholics even two generations ago would not have recognized as aesthetically Catholic, and their personal aesthetic lives are hardly more refined than those of their secular peers. Many of these same Catholics pay no more than lip service to the Church’s duty to curate the creation and propagation of authentic artistic Beauty. Many of these same Catholics were educated in otherwise orthodox Catholic universities with little to no degreed art, music, architecture, and media programs to speak of. When these same Catholics then take offense at an understandably ignorant culture with no real point of Catholic reference, then they are being disingenuous indeed. You weren’t playing with it, son, and now you can’t be angry when somebody else wants their turn.

Far more useful than protesting understandable ignorance is the building of something beautiful in your own neck of the Catholic woods. There is no shortage of Catholic churches in need of de-wreckovations in our nation, no shortage of churches in need of an authentic sacred music program. And in our time, having followed the call of John Paul II’s “Letter to Artists” and the further promptings of Pope Benedict XVI, there is no shortage of Catholic artists, composers, architects, and artisans waiting to be commissioned to do this vital work. (And it must be fairly paid work, as these artists have worked a lifetime — and often taken significant student loans — to hone both the technical craft and aesthetic vision to do the work which must be done). Therefore those people of financial means and those in prominent organizational and educational positions – the ones potentially being called by God to be educated and active patrons of Beauty – are especially responsible for the forming of committees, gathering of funds, creation of endowments, and every means of securing material support for these dedicated Catholic artists waiting in the wings.

Be authentically Catholic. Have beautiful and reverent liturgies. Beautify your Church. Do not be afraid to reject secular musical conventions. Take an aesthetic retreat of silence and ask God to show you a deeper way. Commission new music and art and liturgical vestments. And when these things are in place, march them straight in to town as part of large Eucharistic processions at every possible occasion. And then invite others into your beautiful Church, to witness the true Beauty of the authentic Catholic experience. Create the valid Catholic cultural alternative.

If you build it, they will come. If you don’t, worldly powers will rightfully assume that your symbols are a part of a bygone era, subsequently re-using them as they see fit. Yet we can have hope, as there are centers of Catholic culture around the world where the very practicality and power of Beauty has been put on full display. The call now is to multiply their fruits.

The richest nation in history can certainly do better in helping resurrect an authentic culture of Catholic Beauty. It may in fact be harshly judged if it fails to do so.



[catholicvote.org / patheos / 1P5] 2233.13




















United States A new contemplative religious community of men

RORATE CAELI reports :'His Excellency, Bishop Ronald Gainer of the Diocese of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania has warmly given his blessing to a new religious community of men, the Hermits of Our Lady of Mount Carmel (www.eremitaednmc.org), erecting the community as an Association of the Faithful on February 22nd, the 15th anniversary of His Excellency's episcopal consecration.

This community observes the eremitical Carmelite charism according to the life of the original community of hermits on Mount Carmel and the primitive Carmelite Rule written for them by St. Albert of Jerusalem in the early 1200s. Strictly following the Rule in its original character of eremitical contemplative religious life, they are reviving the life of those ancient religious, who 'in imitation of that holy anchorite the prophet Elijah, led solitary lives' (Jacques de Vitry, Bishop of Acre, History of Jerusalem). 'Let each stay in his cell or nearby it, day and night meditating on the law of the Lord and keeping vigil in prayers unless occupied by other just occasions' (Primitive Carmelite Rule of St. Albert).

Deus caritas est (1 Jn. 4:16). Without charity the soul dies and the Church withers. St. Thomas Aquinas explains that charity is the life of the soul, even as the soul is the life of the body. The specific end of charity is to be united to God, and thus prayer, which is the raising of the mind and heart to God, is necessary for perfect charity. 'Limitless loving devotion to God, and the gift God makes of Himself to you, are the highest elevation of which the heart is capable; it is the highest degree of prayer. The souls that have reached this point are truly the heart of the Church' (St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross).

To assist the life of the other members of the Mystical Body of Christ, God provides, as the heart of the Church, contemplative religious who are especially dedicated to striving for consummate union with the Redeemer, and to perpetuating the redemptive and sanctifying power of His crucified love through the offering of continual prayer and penance united to the holy Sacrifice of the Mass: Salve, Salus mundi, Verbum Patris, Hostia sacra, viva Caro, Deitas integra, verus Homo (Priest's Prayer Before Communion in the Carmelite Rite). Therefore, clothed in the holy Habit of Our Lady, Mater Pulchrae Dilectionis, the Mother of Fair Love, and in union with Him Whose Heart is Fornax Ardens Caritatis, the Burning Furnace of Charity, the Hermits of Our Lady of Mount Carmel immolate themselves for the glory of the one true God, the honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and the spiritual benefit of the Church, so that God may be known, adored, loved, and served in every soul.

Zelo zelatus sum pro Domino Deo exercituum (3 Kings 19:10). The Hermits came to the Diocese of Harrisburg to live an eremitical religious life of prayer and penance. Nicholas, the Prior General of the Carmelite Order (1266-1271) records that the first religious on Mount Carmel 'tarried long in the solitude of the desert, conscious of their own imperfection. Sometimes, however, though rarely, they came down from their desert, anxious, so as not to fail in what they regarded as their duty, to be of service to their neighbors, and sowed broadcast of the grain, threshed out in preaching, that they had so sweetly reaped in solitude with the sickle of contemplation.'

Therefore, in an age when the charity of many has grown cold, the Hermits also labor to help souls to advance in the spiritual life and in perfect charity so as to produce enduring fruits in their proper vocations and states of life. Being located in Fairfield, Pennsylvania makes it possible for the Hermits to help to provide traditional priestly and sacramental services for the holy daughters of St. Teresa in the area, the Discalced Carmelite Nuns in the Carmel of Jesus, Mary & Joseph in Fairfield.

In addition, once the Hermits receive the necessary resources, they will establish a guest and retreat house available for a prayerful retreat for priests, seminarians, religious, and the lay faithful, or a religious setting for those visiting the area or the beautiful chapel of the Discalced Carmelite Nuns in order to be refreshed and enkindled by the rich liturgical and spiritual life that resounds therein. Committed to a full religious observance, manual labor, and priestly service to souls, the community does not operate any regular business, but subsists on alms and the charity of the faithful.

The community's location in Fairfield, is only minutes from Emmitsburg, MD, near Mount Saint Mary's Seminary, the National Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes, and the National Shrine of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, and is also within driving range of Harrisburg, Washington DC, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Richmond, and even New Jersey or New York.

For More Information

To contact or learn more about the ancient charism, religious observance, and community of the Hermits of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, or for vocation inquiries, please visit: www.eremitaednmc.org or write to:

Hermits of Our Lady of Mount Carmel

P.O. Box 485

Fairfield, PA 17320, United States

'Confidito, Petre; religio enim Carmelitarum in finem usque saeculi est perseveratura; Elias namque ejus Institutor jam olim etiam a Filio meo id impetravit. Have confidence, Peter; for the Order of the Carmelites is to persevere until the end of the world; for indeed Elias, its Founder, has already obtained that from my Son.' -- Words of the Blessed Virgin Mary to St. Peter Thomas in the Carmelite Rite Breviary

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International gloria.tv.news



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International Some jihad headlines of the week


Afghanistan: Muslims jihadists kill several and injure more in two attacks in Kabul

Indonesia : Bombers strike three churches, at least ten dead; ISIS suspected

Pakistan : Spy service plans to free terrorists, train them for jihad in Jammu and Kashmir

Russia : 'Kill them all': ISIS call for attacks at the World Cup in chilling new propaganda

UK: All-female ISIS gang plotted jihad massacres at British Museum

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International The Prophet Voris



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International The World Over with Raymond Arroyo



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Fr Ian Ker : Eighteenth Nores Lecture




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Clock face Event


The Roman Conference

Rome conference to explore 'old and new Modernism' at root of today's Church crisis

DIANE MONTAGNA writes for LifeSiteNews:,'On June 23, 2018, an international group of theologians, philosophers, historians and other scholars will gather in Rome for a one-day conference dedicated to exploring the roots of the current crisis in the Church.

The international symposium, titled 'Old and New Modernism: the roots of the Church's crisis,' is being organized by the promoters of the 2017 'Filial Correction,' which charged Pope Francis with permitting the spread of seven heresies, at least by omission. Submitted to the Pope on August 11, 2017, the Correctio filialis was signed by 250 clergy and lay scholars from prestigious academic institutions around the world.

According to the organizers of the June symposium, the rejection of the errors that have penetrated the Mystical Body of Christ, and the return, with God's help, to complete Catholic truth believed and lived, are the necessary conditions for the Church's renewal.

LifeSiteNews spoke with the prime mover behind the conference, Professor Roberto de Mattei, about the event, the issues it will explore, and what its organizers seek to to achieve.

Roberto de Mattei is an Italian historian and president of the Lepanto Foundation. He has taught at various universities and has served as vice-president of the National Research Council, Italy's leading scientific institution. De Mattei was one of the principal promoters of the Correctio filialis submitted to Pope Francis in 2017.

LifeSite: Professor de Mattei, what is the aim and goal of the conference being held in Rome on June 23?

De Mattei: The June 23rd study day is meant to contribute to a better understanding of the nature of the crisis in the Church and, on the basis of this analysis, to identify the most effective remedies for overcoming it. The pontificate of Pope Francis has brought this crisis to light in a dramatic way. But the process of the self-demolition of the Church had already been denounced by Paul VI in 1968, after the opposition to Humanae Vitae. Today the heirs of that opposition occupy the highest positions in the Church. The authors of the Correctio filialis identified in that document a series of errors and heresies propagated by Pope Francis. But none of the authors, I believe, thinks that Pope Francis is the only one responsible for the situation of doctrinal and pastoral confusion in which the Church is immersed today. Let us imagine that Pope Francis, for whatever reason, leaves the scene overnight and a new Pontiff is elected. Would everything get back in order? No, of course not. The crisis has a synchronic dimension, which is its spread throughout the whole body of the Church, from top to bottom, including entire episcopal conferences. But it also has a diachronic dimension, which makes it a process over time. Pope Francis is the historical product of this process.

LSN : Why has the conference been titled 'Old and New Modernism: the roots of the Church's crisis'?

RDM : The term modernism was coined by Saint Pius X to define a whole set of theological, philosophical, and exegetical errors that arose during the pontificate of his predecessor Leo XIII. In 1907, Pius X condemned modernism with the encyclical Pascendi and the decreee Lamentabili. Following this condemnation and the disciplinary measures that followed, modernism seemed to disappear, but it re-emerged in the 1930s and penetrated every sphere of the Church, especially after the death of Pius XII.

Modernism was influenced by liberal Protestantism and was a synthesis of ancient errors such as Gnosticism, Pelagianism and Arianism. Neo-modernism, in a particular way, adopts old modernism's primacy of praxis, and has become a philosophy of life and pastoral action, even before being a doctrinal school.

LSN : What questions will the conference explore?

RDM : The speakers will address the epistemological, theological and philosophical roots of the religious crisis of our time. We will speak about modernism, nouvelle théologie, the Second Vatican Council and its consequences and, of course, the pontificate of Pope Francis, but without concentrating on this last point.

The international symposium will also present an interesting opportunity to discuss the theological and canonical hypothesis of a heretical Pope. But it is clear that it's impossible to exhaust such vast and complex issues in one day. We will therefore limit ourselves to offering some ideas, in the hope that other scholars will study them more deeply, and above all that bishops and cardinals will take them into account.

LSN : Will any cardinals or bishops be addressing or attending the conference?

RDM : We would be delighted to have the presence of a cardinal or bishop at the conference, but it is not an ecclesiastical initiative. I believe that it's necessary to distinguish the role of pastors, who are to teach and guide the disoriented flock, from that of theologians and philosophers, who are tasked with providing those who govern the Church with the necessary elements to better carry out their pastoral duty.

LSN : Who are the featured speakers?

RDM : On this point, I should exercise some discretion until the program has been finalized. What I can say is that scholars of different nationalities will be participating, who teach or have taught in public and private, civil and ecclesiastical institutions in Italy and abroad. Most, but not all of them, are signatories of the Filial Correction.

LSN : What do you hope to achieve?

RDM : First and foremost, we want to do our duty, which is not to remain silent, but to witness to the Church's Faith and to denounce the errors opposed to it, as well as identifying those who are responsible for them. We are certainly not the ones who will save the Church. But without the militant commitment of each individual, according to his own role and capacities, the intervention of Divine Grace, which is the only means to resolve the situation, will not occur. Our study day follows the conferences, appeals, declarations, initiatives, each of which has contributed to a climate of renewed fidelity to the Church and of firm opposition to the process of self-dissolution that is attacking it. The Correctio filialis and the conference on 23 June are an expression of the vitality of the Mystical Body of Christ, and they nourish our supernatural hope in a future rebirth of the Church.

LSN : How will the day be structured? And how do people register?

RDM : The conference will be held on Saturday, June 23, from 9am to 6pm and will feature a series of talks, some of them longer and some shorter, each followed by discussion. A round table discussion is also being planned at the conclusion of the conference. Each speaker will deliver his talk in his or her own language. However, we plan to translate the talks, distribute them to those present at the conference, and publish them afterward. Those who wish to register for the conference are invited to do so online. We recommend that people register soon as places are limited.

NOTE: Register for the conference here.


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Book review


The interruption of a Catholic renaissance

To Change the Church: Pope Francis and the Future of Catholicism. Ross Douthat, New York: Simon and Schuster, 2018. xvii + 234 pp. £13.19

To Change the ChurchJUDE DOUGHERTY writes for The Wanderer : 'The Archdiocese of Washington, D. C., has recently issued a 56- page, richly illustrated booklet entitled Joy of Love in Marriage and the Family: A Pastoral Plan to Implement Amoris Laetitia. His Eminence Donald Cardinal Wuerl has made it available to all parishioners in the archdiocese. The faithful are assured that the Church's teaching on faith and morals has not changed, and that there is an objective moral order to which one is accountable. While ' one's culpability before God follows on one's conscience, [ nevertheless] the decision of conscience to action one way or another requires guidance and spiritual formation.'

The booklet is designed to offer such guidance and does so admirably.

It is the ambiguity of Pope Francis' 256- page Amoris Laetitia, the longest papal document in history, that provoked this unusual diocesan response on the part of Cardinal Wuerl.

Pope Francis, in discussing the Church's teaching on marriage and sexuality, seems to have fallen into the situational trap. Speaking of Catholics in irregular marital relationships, Francis offered a list of mitigating circumstances that would allow the divorced and remarried to receive Communion, seemingly undermining the Church's traditional teaching on the sanctity of marriage.

Francis may not have explicitly taught heresy, but there were doubts with respect to his intent. In 2016 four cardinals now known as the ' dubia cardinals,' Raymond Burke, Walter Brandmller, Carlo Caffarra, and Joachim Meisner, in a letter to the Pope asked for clarification of certain parts of Amoris Laetitia.

The cardinals were not the only ones to question the Pope's intention. Two book- length studies appeared subsequent to the publication of Amoris Laetitia. One was The Dictator Pope by a Vatican insider, Marcantonio Colonna ( the pen name for historian Henry Sire), and the other, To Change the Church: Pope Francis and the Future of Catholicism by the American journalist Ross Douthat.

Douthat ends his book with a telling passage that he takes from a work by the British writer Paul Vallely, the author of Pope Francis: Untying the Knots. Vallely tells the story of a Latin American Jesuit who served for years under Jorge Bergoglio when he was provincial of the order in Argentina.

The Jesuit is quoted as saying, ' As provincial he generated divided loyalties: some groups almost worshiped him, while others would have nothing to do with him, and he would hardly speak to them. . . . He had the aura of spirituality which he used to gain power. It would be a catastrophe to have someone like him in the Holy See. He left the Society of Jesus in Argentina destroyed, with Jesuits divided and institutions destroyed and financially broken. We have spent two decades trying to fix the chaos that the man has left us.'

Douthat believes that Pope Francis by his reckless style has plunged the Church into the worst theological crisis in its history. Douthat is not a historian but an op- ed columnist for The New York Times who knows enough history to warrant his assessment of Francis' papacy. He also knows enough theology to recognize the seriousness of the Church's teaching on marriage. That teaching, he reminds his readers, begins with the Gospel of Mark where Christ says, ' whoever divorces his wife and takes another commits adultery.' This vision of the indissolubility of marriage was crucial to Christianity's development.

Douthat rightly adds, ' If a rule rooted in Jesus's own words, confirmed by dogmatic definitions, and explicitly reconfirmed by the previous two popes . . . could be so easily rewritten . . . then what rule or teaching could not?'

Throughout To Change the Church, Douthat addresses what he regards as the big issues facing the Church, namely, clarity with respect to the purpose of the Church itself, the authority of the Bible, the nature of the sacraments, the definition of sin, the true identity of Jesus, the nature of God, and the reality of Hell. These have all been addressed before, notably by the Second Vatican Council.

The retreat from traditional teaching on marriage and sexuality may have begun in the aftermath of Vatican II, although nothing in the Council's deliberations and doctrines were meant to rewrite doctrine or Protestantize the Catholic faith. Yet the impact of Vatican II was noted before the Council was closed. In retrospect it is hard to deny the ambiguous nature of many of the documents released after the close of the council. Even Gaudium et Spes: The Pastoral Constitution of the Church in the Modern World, one of four constitutions, lent itself to interpretation, left and right, liberal and traditional.

Douthat recounts the consequences: ' In the heartland of the ' Spirit of Vatican II Catholicism,' the northern European nations whose theologians contributed so much to the Council's liberal voice, the Church's collapse was swift, steep, and stunning. Over the course of two generations, much of German, French, Belgium, and Dutch Catholicism became Potemkin churches, rich in art and finery and historic buildings, but empty of numbers, vitality and zeal.' The subsequent promulgation of Humanae Vitae by Paul VI in 1968 stoked further dissent by liberal theologians and other intellectuals.

By 1970 the institutional collapse of the Church in the West was evident in the sudden drop in religious vocations, with many priests and nuns abandoning their vocations, and a drop in Mass attendance. Karol Wojtyla, who had played a significant role in the Council's deliberations, recognized that reform had turned into revolution.

Within months after his election in 1978 as John Paul II, he set about clarifying the situation with his encyclical Redemptor Hominis. Thus began a resurgence now recognized as the John Paul II/ Benedict XVI era. A Catholic renaissance was in the making, but that too was to come to an end.

Douthat sums up the situation: ' Many of the legacy institutions of Western Catholicism, the diocesan bureaucracies and national committees and prominent universities and charitable organizations never reconciled themselves with the John Paul II era, as they went along with it half- hearted, awaiting a different era and a different pope. The liberal element now has their pope.'

In a playful supposition, Douthat suggests that the damage done may await the Council of Nairobi in 2088 to definitively clarify the ambiguity created by Pope Francis. He is particularly appreciative of the role that Cardinal Burke is playing in his defense of orthodoxy, comparing him to St. Athanasius in the fourth century, who defended the tradition against the Arians. Who knows, Douthat reasons, some future generation may pray to St. Raymond Burke, lion of orthodoxy, as we today pray to St. Athanasius for his defense of the Nicene Creed.

The recently published text The Paris Document: A Europe We Can Believe In, signed by thirteen distinguished European scholars, is a distinctly European document, but it is one that Douthat could endorse for its recognition of the Christian origins of Western civilization, for he too believes that the survival of Western culture depends on an acknowledgment of is sources.

Given what this reader regards as the accuracy of its reporting, To Change the Church is highly recommended for both the informed and the ill- informed.

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Comment from the internet


Cardinal Burke's speech in Bratislava



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On an Illiberal Education

FR. JAMES V. SCHALL, S.J. writes for The Catholic Thing : 'A Wall Street Journal editorial (April 20) commented on Reed College's capitulation to student 'bullies,' as it called them: 'This (campus protest)) is about blocking the study of core texts of Western civilization. That Reed would agree to this, and, especially under political pressure, is an insult to the meaning of a liberal arts degree.'

The situation recalls Allan Bloom, Walter Berns, and others leaving Cornell in the 1960s for much the same reasons - administration/faculty fecklessness, intolerant students.

In universities today, a student can find more classes in Buddhism, Islam, or African tribal culture than he can find courses on Plato, Cicero, St. Paul, or Boethius - let alone Aristotle, Aquinas, and Augustine. It is not just that classic and Christian texts have a central place in a 'liberal' education. No liberal education is possible without them.

The tired objection that the classical writers are not men of 'colour' implies the very illiberal principle that only men of one colour can understand men of the same colour. On these premises, all men are evidently not created equal. They are created so differently that they cannot understand each other.

In effect, we can talk to no one but our colour-mates. The corollary of this view is that men of colour, because of their colour, cannot understand the classical writers. The classical writers, because of their colour, supposedly had no clue about what the men of other colours were talking about.

Today's protesting undergraduate students, even with a semester or two of classics classes, have really read little themselves either of the classics or of the philosophic literature of other lands.

Likewise, if a white man cannot understand a man of colour, men of various other hues - yellow, brown, red - cannot understand each other either. The great intellectual enterprise of knowing what man is - and is about - collapses at the bar of colour, which determines what we can think.

uI was once in Kenya where I came across a paper that maintained that Plato and Aristotle were really Africans, or, at least, that they pirated their knowledge from African sources. If somehow it were proved that Plato and Aristotle were in fact Africans (like Augustine), would we stop reading them? Hardly. Logically, if Plato and Aristotle were themselves men of colour, it would follow, on this hypothesis, that the Greeks back home could not understand them on account of their colour.