This edition of CF NEWS No.2301posted at 12.25 pm on Sunday, October 6th, 2019



Acies Ordinata ~ Appeal to the Angels   VIDEO    read more >>>
Proof the Amazon Synod proposes apostasy
  VIDEO   read more >>>
Voice of the Family warning VIDEO   read more >>>
Mumbo-Jumbo in Vatican Gardens   VIDEO    read more >>>
A new crisis point for the Church    VIDEO    read more >>>
Bracing for Amazon Schism
  VIDEO    read more >>>
Another high-ranking cardinal comes out against Synod guidelines   read more >>>
Bishops, priests challenge Synod working doc for 'contradicting' Catholic faith
  read more >>>
Müller: JPII ban on female priests is dogma. No, it's not says Synod organiser
  VIDEO    read more
A bid to understand the police raid at the Vatican   read more >>>
Pope sends gifts to mosque to show 'esteem and affection to Muslim community'  read more >>>
Cdl Kasper: Laity will 'not accept' future pope who doesn't continue Francis' legacy
  read more >>>
Francis says he felt 'bitterness' when introduced to Catholic converts in Africa
  read more >>>
Pro-gay Maltese bishop tapped for Vatican position    read more >>>
BXVI students gather in Rome to proclaim, defend priestly celibacy
  read more >>>
Women deacons: A Papal cover-up?    read more >>>


Progress or regress?  VIDEO    read more >>>


Pope's private meeting with pro-homosexual celebrity priest   read more >>>
LGBT activist priest meets with Vatican education chief    read more >>>


New UN Treaty may put gender ideology in international law    read more >>>


GERMANY Dubia Cardinal warns against synodal path that leads to 'final decline'   read more >>>
GERMANY Canon lawyer: Vatican should, after a warning, punish German bishops
  read more >>>
MEXICO Pro-abortion radical feminists set fire to Mexico City cathedral
  VIDEO    read more >>>
NIGERIA Bishops rail against 'attacks' on pope from 'higher levels of the Church'
  read more >>>
UK (NI) Over 800 health care workers rip UK govt imposing abortion
  read more >>>
UK Pregnant pro-abortion politician furious over billboard of 9-week foetus
  read more >>>
UK Four-year-olds taught transgenderism - but not marriage read more >>>
UK Court rules Biblical understanding of sex ‘incompatible with human dignity’    read more >>>
USA Bishop chosen by Francis to attend Synod has ultra-liberal track record
  read more >>>
  VIDEO    read more >>>
INTERNATIONAL A few more headlines of the week
  read more >>>
INTERNATIONAL gloria.tv.news
  VIDEO    read more >>>
INTERNATIONAL The World Over with Raymond Arroyo
  VIDEO    read more >>>


Newman would not have been surprised   VIDEO    read more >>>


Cdl. Müller's Manifesto of Faith film   VIDEO    read more >>>
New book opposed to priestly celibacy riddled with errors    read more >>>


Bishop Barron, Taylor Marshall, and a Stonewalling on Hell   read more >>>


Dr. Peter Kreeft's conversion   VIDEO    read more >>>
Cardinal Burke: Amazon Synod a “direct attack” on Christ read more >>>
Neocatechumenals heading into the sunset, with a push from the Pope
  read more >>>
St. Augustine had hard, furious words for cowardly bishops
  read more >>>
A Grammar of Dissent
  read more >>>
Balderdash on the Tiber
  read more >>>
Contemplative Religious: Heart of the Church, measure of Her health   read more >>>


Site of the day   VIDEO    read more >>>
Missa de Angelis
  VIDEO    read more >>>


Saint Bruno  read more >>>


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Acies Ordinata ~ Appeal to the Angels

DIANE MONTAGNA reports from Rome for LifeSiteNews ~ Flanked by banners of the four evangelists, and gathered under the patronage of the Blessed Virgin Mary, an international coalition of 200 Catholic laity on Saturday assembled in silence near St. Peter's Square, to pray 'as a united army against the enemies of God and the Church.'



Standing at the foot of Castel Sant'Angelo on the eve of the liturgical feast of St. Michael the Archangel, the international lay coalition launched an 'appeal to the angels against the evil spirits,' ahead of the Amazonian Synod being held at the Vatican Oct. 6-27.

LifeSite has learned that another act of spiritual warfare was taking place in Rome contemporaneously with the Acies Ordinata. At 3:30 pm, priests privately prayed Pope Leo XIII's Prayer of Exorcism (the longer prayer to St. Michael) in a church near Castel Sant'Angelo, with the intention of expelling the 'diabolical influence from the Vatican, especially in view of the Amazon Synod.'

The international coalition is called Acies ordinata. Its name, which Catholic tradition reserves for Mary Most Holy who assembles an army of the faithful to defeat her enemies - terribilis ut castrorum acies ordinate- is taken from the Old Testament canticle, the Song of Songs (6:3, 6:10).

'You are beautiful as Tirzah, my love, comely as Jerusalem, terrible as an army with banners' (vs.3), the Canticle says of the bride, in whom the Church has always seen a figure of the Blessed Virgin Mary. 'Who is this that looks forth like the dawn, fair as the moon, bright as the sun, terrible as an army with banners?' (vs. 10).

The coalition, organized by the Rome-based Lepanto Foundation and comprised of some of the most influential movements and Catholic sites, included men and women, young and old, quietly deployed in St. John XXIII Square, ordered in rows of 20 x 10.

For one hour they stood in silence, reciting the Rosary and reading classic texts from the Catholic tradition, such as the Gospels, the Catechism and the writings of the saints.

At the conclusion of the Acies ordinata event, participants chanted the Credo, as sunshine broke through a cloudy Roman sky.

The event was held one week before the Oct. 6-27 Synod on the Amazon opens at the Vatican. The preparatory documents for the Synod have drawn both controversy and criticism from cardinals and bishops of the Catholic Church. German Cardinal Walter Brandmüller openly saying it contains 'heresy' and approaches 'apostasy.'

The Sept. 28 Acies Ordinata is the second gathering to be held in Rome. The first was held ahead of the Vatican clerical sex abuse summit in February, to 'oppose the Vatican's policy of silence about homosexuality.'

Participants with historic ties to the papacy

The symbolic value of Acies Ordinata was increased by the presence of participants whose families have deep historic and religious ties to the Holy See and to the papacy.

One of the participants was Count Giorgio Piccolomini. In comments to LifeSite, he said that his ancestors include two popes, Pius II and Pius III, one General of the Jesuit Order, several bishops and cardinals, military leaders and scientists.

Count Piccolomini said what motivated him to participate in the Acies Ordinata event was his 'wish to reiterate my and our fidelity to the Pope, the Catholic Apostolic Roman Church and its eternal teaching.'

Asked about the symbolic significance of praying at the foot of Castel Sant'Angelo, he said 'this castle saved the lives of more than one pope in the past, and its name indicates our wish to invoke the whole celestial militia to defend the Catholic Church.'

'Our and my personal hope,' he said, 'is that our prayers may be heard in heaven and that many around the world will show their firm belief and love for the Catholic Church.'

Another participant whose presence leant great symbolic weight to today's event was Rodolphe Pfyffer von Altishofen from Luzern, Switzerland. His family provided eleven commanders for the Pontifical Swiss Guard, the armed force charged with protecting the pope.

'During the 17th through the 19th centuries, only Pfyffers were commanders of the Swiss Guard,' he told LifeSite. But, he added, 'independently from this, we have always been taught by our parents to have great respect for our holy religion. I can therefore assure you that my family history is not essential to the commitment we have to the Church.'

Asked what motivated him to participate in the Acies Ordinata, Pfyffer said 'the Church has long been threatened on every side and we, as simple lay people, have to react.'

'The Acies Ordinata event is excellent,' he said. 'We are unarmed and yet we feel that it is extremely important to respond. Otherwise, the enemies of the Church will believe that they can do anything.'

'There spiritual means of engaging in the battle. St. Michael is in charge of protecting the holy Church and will help, if he is asked,' he added. 'When the apostles were in the boat being tossed by the waves, they cried out to the Lord, 'Lord, we are perishing.' Jesus Christ will help us, there is no doubt. But we have to do our part, even if it is not easy,' he said.

Importance of Castel Sant'Angelo

Castel Sant'Angelo, which sits just opposite of the Via della Conciliazione leading to the Vatican, also has deep historic significance, making it a fitting place for the Acies Ordinata event. Castel Sant'Angelo was the pagan mausoleum of the pagan Emperor Hadrian who destroyed the city of Jerusalem in 135 A.D. and replaced it with the pagan city of Aelia Capitolina.

In 590 A.D., according to tradition, Gregory the Great carried the icon of the Salus Populi Romani in procession on Easter Sunday morning implored the mercy of God upon Rome which was being devastated by a massive plague. As he approached the mausoleum of Hadrian, setting foot about upon the Pons Aelius, the bridge which still stands to this day joining the mausoleum to the city of Rome, he saw in a vision the Archangel Michael standing upon the edifice with drawn sword of vengeance. The Archangel looked at the icon of our lady and exclaimed: 'Regina caeli, Laetare, alleluia; Quia quem meruisti portare, alleluia; Resurrexit, sicut dixit, alleluia.' And Gregory the Great shouted out: 'Ora pro nobis, Deum, alleluia.' The angel sheathed his sword of vengeance, and the plague ended.

In the Middle Ages, the mausoleum, renamed the Castel Sant'Angelo, became a favored place of refuge for the Roman pontiffs in the face of frequent riots and German invasions that vexed the medieval popes. The Acies Ordinata event, held on the vigil of the Sept. 29 liturgical feast of St. Michael the Archangel, combines all these elements: a penitential procession, a demonstration by outraged Romans (and other Catholics from across the world), and opposition to a German invasion at the upcoming Amazonian Synod.

In a statement, organizers of the Acies Ordinata event said: 'Our rally is made up of lay Catholics coming from many different nations, who are above all asking the Lord to gather together all those who are fighting for a good cause, with the purpose of forming a united army against the enemies of God and of the Church.'

'Here at the foot of Castel Sant'Angelo, the fortress which so often has defended the papacy throughout its history, we call upon the help of the angels, and above all Saint Michael, the prince of the heavenly host, asking them to protect the defenders of the Church and Christian civilization and to scatter their enemies.'

'Confusion, which is the smoke of Satan, is enveloping the battlefield. In order to defeat the forces of chaos what is necessary is purity of doctrine, clarity of words, firmness of example, accord of soul and of works,' the statement continued.

'In order for this to happen, let us call upon the Blessed Mother, Queen of the Angels, asking her to make us in her image, today and always, into an Acies Ordinata (Song of Songs 6:3,9), an army ready to fight, with that tranquility which is born from the peace of Christ which is in our hearts and which we wish to extend to the whole world.'

Read the full Acies Ordinata statement here.


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Proof that the Amazon Synod proposes apostasy 

MATTHEW HOFFMAN, LifeSite's Latin American correspondent discusses with John-Henry Westen the heretical working documents being used for the Pan-Amazonian Synod. His conclusion is that a sort of 'eco-socialism' is being introduced into the Church by liberation theologians, and that an apostasy is taking place. The radical changes being proposed would introduce a new religion, he argues.



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Voice of the Family warns about the Amazon Synod: "Pope Francis has gravely harmed the faith. It is time to say it out loud."

DOUG MAINWARING reports for LifeSiteNews — Lay Catholic leaders from around the world, increasingly alarmed about the upcoming Amazonian Synod and how it threatens to disfigure and “Protestantize” the Church, gathered not far from the Vatican on Friday to discuss their grave concerns.

The roundtable discussion, titled “Our Church – reformed or deformed?” was hosted by the international pro-life association Voice of the Family. Over 5,000 people across the continents tuned in.

On the eve of the synod, they described the multifaceted diabolical menace to the Catholic Church it portends to be. Their choice of strong language reflects the peril they sense: That after the synod, what will emerge will no longer be the Catholic Church.

“We have arrived. This week the Amazonian Synod will be underway,” said John-Henry Westen, co-founder and editor-in-chief of LifeSiteNews. “It is expected to be the most severe calamity for the faith the Church has ever known and let’s pray that it won’t turn out as dire as it threatens.”

“A few cardinals have warned of apostasy and heresy in the working document prepared for the Synod, but most have remained silent,” continued Westen. “We, the faithful, cannot remain silent because it is the faith of our children that is being threatened. It is our right as Catholics to have the faith of Jesus Christ handed down faithfully by our priests and bishops and especially the Pope.”

“There are, at this moment, two religions within the Catholic Church,” declared Professor Roberto de Mattei.

“The first is the traditional Catholicism, the religion of those who, in the current confusion, continue to be faithful to the immutable Magisterium of the Church,” said de Mattei.

“The second, until a few months ago without a name, now has a name: it is the Amazonian religion because, as declared by the person currently governing the Church, there is a plan to give the Church ‘an Amazonian face,’” explained de Mattei.

“Two religions cannot coexist within the same Church,” he reaffirmed.



“At the Pan-Amazon Synod, will we see the Church abandon that Divine Commission to convert and baptize all nations?” wondered Michael Matt, publisher of The Remnant, who spoke about the disappearance of traditional missionaries and religious orders.

He asked: “Will the Vatican bless and approve a certain indigenous theology whose animating principle is essentially pagan? Will the Church teach that pagan cultures themselves are of God because to suggest otherwise would be to engage in a sort of religious supremacism that holds Christianity as the only true religion?”

“Now we face a synod of bishops that promises to embrace an indigenous theology that would essentially abandon the Church’s missionary effort altogether while embracing an eco-theology that would send forth missionaries of climate change to teach all nations to listen to the cry of Mother Earth,” declared Matt.

“Please God, may this not come to pass, for if it does it will surely represent the Catholic Church’s formal surrender to the world and to the spirit not just of the age but also the jungle,” he pleaded.

José Antonio Ureta, a leader of the international Tradition, Family, and Property (TFP) movement in France, warned that if the synod fathers and Pope Francis approve the measure in the Instrumentum laboris (working document) to ordain elderly married men as priests, “neo-Lutheranism will have defeated the Council of Trent.”

“But, alas! Such new ecclesiastic structure based on a non-ministerial and non-hierarchical priesthood will no longer be the Catholic Church,” said Ureta.

“Pope Francis and his clerical allies are creating a globalist organization with a Catholic-appearing face,” said Church Militant’s Michael Voris. “What is emerging is not Catholic. The façade should be dropped and for once truth be allowed to prevail.”

Voris explained that Pope Francis has moved the Church to “align with a counterfeit kind of theology inspired by godless atheism, and in the rush to advance this, he’s surrounded himself with numerous clerical scoundrels — some who have been complicit in the performing of or cover-up of sex abuse of minors or young adults, mostly male.”

“The Catholic Church has been infiltrated from within and this infiltration goes back at least to the pontificate of Pope Pius IX,” said Catholic author Dr. Taylor Marshall. “It is an attack on the supernatural faith, miracles, divine revelation, and upon the origin of our creation: God’s identity of male and female, the institution of human matrimony, and the natural law precept to be fruitful and multiply with marriage. Moreover, it is a resurrection of paganism ‘that you might become gods.’”

“Pope Francis has signed a document in Abu Dhabi which contains a sentence which has explosive consequences for the Catholic faith,” said Italy’s Marco Tosatti. “Here it is: ‘The pluralism and diversity of religions, colour, gender, race and language are willed by God in His wisdom.’ The implications of a sentence of this kind are evident: if God has willed … that several religions should exist, it can be inferred that all religions are the divine will and therefore any person is free to choose the religion most suited to him or her.”

“This sentence is profoundly wrong from a Christian – and Catholic – standpoint,” said Tosatti.

“Personally, I believe that this declaration is one of the most devastating sentences for Catholicism ever uttered by a Pope, and that it is a substantial affirmation of relativism,” he added.

“Among the most obviously threatening innovations that are being introduced by the upcoming Amazon Synod is the promotion of some form of ordained ministry for women,” asserted French journalist Jeanne Smits.

She warned that the Indian theology which the synod will promote demands the ordination of women as ministers. “It is within the logic of traditional indigenous spirituality, that is, paganism. Or if you want to take it a bit further: idolatry.”

“The Amazon Synod will be arguing about the role of women in the Church, when the Church already has the most beautiful answer to that argument: the Virgin Mary,” declared Smits. “When God made the Cosmos – which means beauty – He was making a fitting earthly home and dowry for His Daughter, Mother, and Bride. She is our Queen, the Queen of the universe and even the Queen of the Angels, much to Satan's discontent, since he must submit to and be conquered by a mere woman, by a mother who can communicate to us eternal life through the sacrifice of her Beloved Son.”

“Our vision of woman is defined by that. What more could we possibly want?” asked Smits.

“With all respect owed to the ecclesiastical authorities, I accuse all those who have approved, or will approve, the Instrumentum laboris on the Amazon, of polytheism and, more specifically, polydemonism because, quoting Psalm 95, ‘All divinities of the Gentiles are Demons; our Lord has instead created the heavens,’” said de Mattei.

“I call upon the cardinals and bishops who are still Catholic to raise their voices against this scandal. If their silence continues, we will continue to seek the intervention of the Angels and Mary Queen of Angels, to save the Holy Church from every form of reinvention, distortion, and reinterpretation,” added de Mattei.

John-Henry Westen pointed out that despite all the grave concerns raised by the panelists, This “is not to say that we don’t love Pope Francis. Indeed, it would not be love at all to gloss over these monumental concerns and be silent about them, because they harm him most of all. He will have to answer to Christ at judgement just like we all will.”

“We must continue to pray for the Pope every day, pray for his conversion,” said Westen.

“It doesn’t take a theologian to recognize when the faith is being distorted,” he added. “We won’t leave the Church; it is the One True Church and there is no other. We shall fight for Christ’s truth in the Church because we are ready to die for this faith.”

During the question and answer period, when the inevitable question about the possibility of schism was raised, Professor de Mattei said we must pray for “a real counter-reformation, a counter-revolution, a restoration of the real Christianity.”

Though we are waging war against the forces of chaos in the Church, “The division of our enemy is our strength,” said de Mattei.

“This is a scary moment,” said Michael Matt. “If this synod goes as predicted by several cardinals, this is the biggest news story in the history of the world with the exception of the crucifixion of God. Nothing is bigger than the Bride of Christ raising, hoisting the flag of surrender.”

“If this happens, this is a huge story and great people are going to come to the defense of the Church – heroes and saints,” proclaimed Matt. “Let’s prepare our children for a crusade, and let’s inspire them.”

Second day: Cardinal Burke

DREW BELSKY reports ~ During the second and last day of their series of conferences in Rome, it came as no surprise that the organizers had given the main place to talks on spiritual and interior life, which are indispensable for any kind of Catholic action.

Father Tony Pillari, an American priest incardinated in England, where he exclusively celebrates the traditional Latin Mass, opened the day with a stirring talk on spiritual battle, so necessary because we know from the Church’s daily liturgical evening prayer that the devil encircles around us like a lion, seeking whom to devour — “quaerens quem devoret.”

He explained with great clarity how and why the bad angels rejected God when given the choice — a definitive choice — when they were created: Satan acted out of pride, wanting to be honored “like God,” and hate, because he and those who followed him “knew that the gift of eternal happiness would be offered to those far inferior to them.” “He preferred to be the first in inferior order and to be one among others in an order of submission to God.”

Quoting from the Fathers of the Church and Thomas Aquinas, Fr. Pillari explained that Satan and his followers “chose the role they can accomplish through their natural powers, without grace, not to be dependent on someone else. He tries to lead men to make the same choice[.] ... For the bad angels wish they weren’t suffering, but they don’t wish they hadn't chosen this[.] ... But they do realize and hate that God turns all things to His own glory. They are allergic to reality[.] ... They are jealous of the fact that when you are living by grace, you are already higher up than they.”

All of these facts that the Catholic faith teaches us are important to know for young people today because it lets them understand where the true danger lies and on what plane present-day battles are being fought.

Fr. Pillari explained the role of guardian angels, who have been given many powers by God to help each human being personally entrusted to them, in particular protecting them from “spiritual harm, despair, irritation, agitation” and giving peace, provided they find faith. In particular, they are armed to “counteract the evil activities of the devil.” God does not leave His children alone when facing the bad angels, who seek to “deceive” and to “sully the imagination” but who “ultimately cannot destroy anything without our consent.”

The “key strategy in the spiritual battle,” said Fr. Pillari, lies in the words of compline sung every evening by Catholic religious: “sobrie estote” — be sober, be firm in the Faith. It means “living by the obedience of faith in the midst of suffering,” and also in total abandonment to divine providence because the devil’s tactic is to scare people out of faith, hope, and charity for fear of what will happen next. But God has promised sufficient grace for every day.

This abandonment can come about by “surrendering to God’s will and accepting the Cross at this moment.”

This may seem far from action and even farther from activism. But clearly, it is this abandonment to God that allows God to work good through those want to serve Him.

Michael Matt, director of The Remnant, echoed Fr. Pillari’s talk in underscoring the fact that today, the dangers faced by the Church are coming from within. But he started his remarks by saying: “Let’s never forget that we know how this ends”: with the victory of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

He warned against believing that “God is on our side” when we should be on His: “It’s up to us to remain on the side of the angels and of God, to stand in fidelity to tradition. My opinion doesn’t matter.”

He explained that he is full of hope because the present confusion is making more and more people wake up as “allies” in the fight for the good. Michael Matt insisted that all those who join that fight, however late, should not be reproached for not having joined it before, or enough: “If anyone does anything for Christ and tradition, celebrate it.”

He drew a lively portrait of the life of Christians in times of persecution: they were not seeking martyrdom. When necessary, they hid, as the catacombs show. “They were afraid because they loved life and their children.” “Courage only means something if the courageous were afraid,” he said, drawing from that reality lessons of prudence that can never stoop to compromise.

“It’s a time for Catholic action despite persecution[.] ... It could also be the darkest moment since the history of the world after the Crucifixion, because of the breakdown at the heart of the Church, with the Amazon Synod, which could become the biggest story: the Catholic Church raising the white flag of surrender,” he said.

But here, once again, it was with words of hope: “They don’t think the battle has been won, so we shouldn’t, either.” On the contrary, as Hilaire Belloc once commented: “When they start persecuting Christianity again, it will mean the dawn is near.” “Once they realize we are ready to die, they will have no power over us,” added Michael Matt.

His more practical advice to the young people on Catholic action was to encourage them not to want everyone to play the same role or all to go into the streets because all do not have the same gifts. “Let’s not die on stupid hills,” he added, recalling that St. Thomas More was silent as long as he could be and that Fr. Miguel Pro in Mexico was dressed in ordinary clothes when he was martyred, because he was “under cover.”

Michael Matt also made clear that in his view, in the present culture wars, “the front-line soldiers are the homeschool mothers.”

He concluded with a quote from Michael Davies, a historic fighter for the traditional Mass after the liturgical reform: “Revolutionaries do not need massive support; they need minimal opposition.”

Cardinal Raymond Burke honored the meeting with his presence as its last speaker, making a series of short remarks and then answering many of the written questions the young people had prepared for him.

“We must express our love for the Church in defending the truth we receive through her maternal care,” he said, immediately going on to remark that he has become more and more convinced of the “importance of the sacred liturgy, which is the form of our Christian life,” as opposed to a deformed liturgy with a “mundane approach, a loss of the sense that God is with us.” He added that it should have a character that separates him from “ any other experience or activity we have”; it comes “directly from heaven.”

Speaking about the vocational life, which was at the heart of Voice of the family’s youth program,” Cardinal Burke recalled that it “starts at our baptism,” after which we must “grow in age and grace” and “holiness of life.” “Grace is like a seed. Everything is there. It is meant to flower in our adult lives in our vocation,” he explained.

Commenting on marriage, whose love is inherently procreative, and priesthood, “or spiritual paternity in the church,” he said all are called to “pure and selfless love.” In passing, Cardinal Burke mentioned the working document for the Amazon Synod, which, if applied, will bring an “ontological change” to the priesthood, no longer making the priest the one who is “in persona Christi,” in particular with regard to celibacy, but concentrating on the “pastoral care of the flock.”

“How do you know God’s plan?” Cardinal Burke answered his own question with these words: “Pray to know it from when you’re small. We should listen to others about the things they see in us: parish priest, parents. We should be reading the lives of the saints all the time: there are saints for all vocations.”

When asked to speak about the upcoming synod and its dangers, the cardinal replied: “The Church has the Deposit of Faith, truths that do not change. We just stick to these. How can you become schismatic if you stick to the Catholic faith? Athanasius was excommunicated at one point[.] ... We can never accept that salvation comes to us in any other way than through Jesus Christ.”

Cardinal Burke encouraged the young people to bond together with other good Catholics and not to be afraid to announce that faith: “Whatever they want to call you, extremists or fascists, we should always be serene. There is some tough suffering in store for all of us, but Our Lord has told us that we should not be afraid.” He also confided that his prayer for weeks had been that the synod would not take place.

Cardinal Burke especially asked the young people as laity to respect a “delicate balance: speak the truth and at the same time keep respect for the Petrine office.” We have had very holy popes in the 20th century, he recalled, quoting the examples of Pius X and Pius XII. “We know that Peter is the principle of unity of the whole body. But we cannot tolerate the denial of the Faith. It is difficult, but we must find a way.”

He also acknowledged that one of the “shocking” things today for him “is the silence of so many cardinals” when the pope is not the “instrument of faith” that he should be.

Some don’t want us to say anything for fear of “hurting the Church,” he added, but he asked: “If you don’t say anything, aren’t you hurting the Church more?”

These talks took place on October 2, the Feast of the Guardian Angels in the traditional calendar. The final meeting of the members of the Voice of the Family youth program fittingly took place in a church, the Santissima Trinità dei Pellegrini, where Cardinal Burke celebrated a pontifical High Mass with all its ceremony, in which the person of the celebrating pontiff (in the sense of “bishop”) truly disappears behind the requirements of his office. Every vestment, every codified movement, every person present during the dramatic event of the Holy Sacrifice has a meaning. All together, this faithfulness to the Church’s historic Latin liturgy creates an atmosphere of sacredness.

The Mass was followed by Eucharistic adoration until midnight, the host shining resplendently in its monstrance high over the altar surrounded by a forest of lit candles. God with us.


LifeSiteNews is pleased to publish the text of the addresses given at the Amazon Synod Roundtable:

• Michael Matt: The disappearance of traditional missionaries and religious orders
• John-Henry Westen: Pope Francis has ‘gravely harmed the faith,’ must be called out
• Michael Voris: Amazon Synod will replace Universal Church with ‘Globalist Church
• Roberto de Mattei: The reinterpretation of the doctrine of the Church
• Marco Tosatti: Plurality of religions - willed by God?
• Taylor Marshall: Infiltration to destroy the Church from within
• Jeanne Smits: Proposals to identify ordained ministry for women
• José Antonio Ureta: Redefinition of priesthood


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Mumbo-Jumbo in Vatican Gardens: Pope Francis hosts tree-planting ritual where indigenous bow to topless pregnant statue

On October 4th, Pope Francis took part in a ritual in the Vatican gardens, labelled as "Consecration of the Amazon Synod to Saint Francis."

en.news reports - 'The mumbo-jumbo started with a dance around a blanket, placed on the lawn and symbolising "Mother Earth." In the middle of the blanket were the statues of two naked woman and a statue of a man with an erection.

A female shaman, with feathers in her hair, lifted her hands for some kind of invocation while sixteen concelebrants knelt and bowed around the blanket.

Francis sat nearby surrounded by cardinals, bishops, and normal people. He closed his eyes as if he were praying. (en.news)

DOUG MAINWARING reports for LifeSiteNews
– In a move which will most likely heighten the concerns of critics of the upcoming Amazon Synod, Pope Francis today participated in a “highly symbolic tree-planting ceremony” in the Vatican Gardens, where indegenous leaders offered prayers for the Earth and people bowed before carved images of pregnant women.

Participants planted the tree in dirt from the Amazon region (“celebrating the wealth of the bioregion’s cultures and traditions,” Vatican News explained) and India. Also brought in was “soil representing refugees and migrants, forced to leave their homes because of war, poverty, and ecological devastation” and “more soil from the Amazon, earth bathed in the blood of those who have died fighting against its destruction.”

“There was earth from places of human trafficking, and from sustainable development projects around the world,” according to Vatican News. The tree that was planted came from Assisi, a nod to today’s feast day of St. Francis, and Pope Francis used the occasion to consecrate the upcoming Synod for the Amazon to the protection of St. Francis of Assisi.

A female in ritual dress approached Pope Francis and appeared to place rings on his fingers, and then made the Sign of the Cross. To some, this resembled a pagan fertility ritual taking place within the walls of the Vatican.

“The ceremony...looks like it was lifted from the Berkeley campus in the 60s,” said one priest in a Tweet. “How am I supposed to take it seriously?

The event was organized by the Pan-Amazonian Ecclesial Network, the Order of Franciscan Friars Minor, and the left-wing Global Catholic Climate Movement. The Global Catholic Climate Movement includes working groups that “coordinate Catholic engagement in the Paris Agreement” and promote “Climate Strikes” and “fossil fuel divestment” to youth. Its executive director “served in the UN Climate Secretariat doing political outreach and comms for the COP21” – a UN climate conference – and has worked for Google, according to his bio. The group also offers a free guide that teaches strategies on forming parish “green teams,” “engaging parishioners on low carbon lifestyle choices” and “advocating for climate justice.”

“Various religious congregations and representatives of the indigenous people of the Amazon Region played important roles in providing colour and creativity” for the tree-planting ceremony, according to Vatican News.

Cardinal Peter Turkson, Prefect of the Francis-created Vatican Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, also participated in the unusual Vatican ceremony. He said the “Season of Creation” is also “a season to respond to the ecological crisis” and suggested that Pope Francis’ message for the World Day of Prayer for Creation is “a time of change: humanity’s turning a new leaf to save the planet.”


Mother Earth versus Mother Church



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Previewing the Amazon Synod: A new crisis point for the Church

"Beware of dogs! Watch out for the people who are making mischief. Watch out for the cutters" -- Philippians 3




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Bracing for Amazon Schism

REPORTING from Rome, Remnant editor Michael J. Matt breaks down the nature and extent of Catholic resistance right from the Pope's own doorstep.

In the shadow of St. Peter's, several groups of Catholic faithful are organizing full-on demonstrations of principled resistance to the pontificate of Pope Francis and the upcoming Pan-Amazon Synod.

Is this how it ends? Will the Amazon Synod become known to history as the Great Amazon Schism that represented the final culmination of the Modernist Revolution in the Church?

Includes footage from the Acies Ordinata demonstration




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Even a cardinal close to Pope Francis is condemning dangers of Amazon, German synods.
SANDRO MAGISTER blogs from Rome ~ A few days before the beginning of the synod on the Amazon, another cardinal of the highest rank has come out against the guidelines for the session, expressed in its base document, the “Instrumentum Laboris,” and forcefully propagandized by the progressive wing of the Church, especially German-speaking, guidelines that even hypothesize the extension of the priesthood to married men.

The cardinal is Marc Ouellet, 75, Canadian, Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops and President of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America. He has done so with a book on sale as of today, which right from the title makes it clear on what side he stands in the dispute over married priests: “Friends of the Bridegroom: For a Renewed Vision of Priestly Celibacy” (EWTN, Irondale, 2019).

Unlike the other cardinals before him who have publicly contested the aims of the synod – Brandmüller, Müller, Sarah, Burke, Urosa Savino – Ouellet has never been classified among the opponents of the current pontiff, on the contrary. And this makes his taking the field even more explosive.

During these same days, moreover, there have been other public position statements that have also been very critical of the aims of the synod.

The first is from the “Ratzinger Schülerkreise,” meaning the old and new circle of pupils of Pope Benedict XVI when he was a philosophy professor.

On Saturday, September 28 they held a symposium in Rome entitled: “Current challenges for holy orders,” entirely aimed at “resituating holy orders in a sacramental perspective,” and not instead in the purely functional one propounded by those who would like married priests where a need for them may be found, starting with the Amazon but then also in countries like Germany.

Among the presenters was Cardinal Gerhard Müller, who again denounced the serious danger that “the so-called ‘synodal path’ in Germany or the Amazonian synod could end up in the disaster of a further secularization of the Church” (Il cardinale Müller e gli allievi di Ratzinger criticano i due sinodi d’Amazzonia e di Germania).

And a talk was also given by Marianne Schlosser – professor of theology in Vienna, member of the international theological commission, and awarded in 2018 with the Ratzinger Prize – who dedicated much of her talk precisely to the defense of celibacy, explaining it above all as “sharing Jesus’ way of life,” all the more appropriate for those who with the sacrament of orders “participate in the priesthood of Christ.”

It must be noted that Marianne Schlosser resigned last September 21 from the synod scheduled for Germany, where she had been included as an expert in the forum on the role of women in the Church, clearly aimed at conferring holy orders on women as well.

The second position statement is from a bishop of Papua New Guinea, Cesare Bonivento, who for decades has been on mission precisely in one of those regions of the world, the islands of the Pacific, singled out even by Pope Francis as the most unequipped with celibate clergy and therefore most in need of married priests.

Bonivento has taken the field with a book in which he documents how the celibacy of the Catholic clergy was reaffirmed by Vatican II because of its theological foundation, and not because of the utilitarian reasons that instead today are brought forward to call for its retirement (“L’itinerario conciliare del celibato ecclesiastico,” Cantagalli, Siena, 2019).

The third position statement is from “quite a number of prelates, priests, and Catholic faithful all over the world,” who in a manifesto made public in multiple languages on October 1 accused four “theses” of the base document of the synod of being “in contradiction both with individual points of the Catholic doctrine always taught by the Church, and with faith in the Lord Jesus, the only savior of all men”: “To the Pope and the Synod Fathers.”

The first of the four “theses” judged as erroneous is also the most serious. It is where the “Instrumentum Laboris,” at no. 39, states that “a corporatist attitude, that reserves salvation exclusively for one’s own creed [editor’s note - meaning the creed of the Catholic Church] is destructive of that very creed.”

The authors of the manifesto contrast this thesis with the key statement of the 2000 declaration “Dominus Iesus,” which says that “those solutions that propose a salvific action of God beyond the unique mediation of Christ would be contrary to Christian and Catholic faith.”

But even before this there are the unequivocal words of Peter in the Acts of the Apostles (4:12): “Neither is there salvation in any other [than Jesus]. For there is no other name under heaven given to men, whereby we must be saved.”

So then, on this last point as well Cardinal Ouellet weighs in firmly, right from the first pages of his book.

To which it is helpful to return now.

In the introductory chapter of the book, in fact, Ouellet sets before the question of clerical celibacy another question that is even more paramount, which is precisely the same one on which John Paul II and then-cardinal Joseph Ratzinger held it necessary to publish “Dominus Jesus,” not by coincidence the most contested and debated doctrinal declaration of the Church over the past half century.

The cardinal writes:

“The new paths of the future will bear evangelical fruit if they are consistent with a complete proclamation of the Gospel, ‘sine glossa,’ which sacrifices nothing of the permanent values of the Christian tradition. […] In this light, seeking new roads for the evangelization of the indigenous in the Amazon means going beyond an approach that would be reduced to proceeding on the basis of Amazonian world views, in an effort of intercultural synthesis that runs the risk of being artificial and syncretistic. The unicity of Jesus Christ and, to a certain extent, of biblical culture imposes a dialogue that is respectful of cultures but clearly oriented to conversion to the mystery of the incarnation of the Word. The transcendent unicity of this irruption of the Word into human history confers upon biblical culture a place apart in the concert of nations, and justifies its being taught to all cultures, for the sake of bringing to them that to which they aspire and toward which their values and limitations lead, for the purpose of being illuminated and healed by it, and taken up beyond themselves.”

Two pages further on, Ouellet also applies this warning to countries like Germany, where he sees underway “modernizations” that in reality endanger the reason for being of the whole Church.

“If this reflection on evangelization is valid for the Amazon, a similar reflection holds true for the ‘new evangelization’ of countries that have long been Christian. If this is confused with a modernization of habits and customs, for the sake of making Christianity more acceptable in spite of certain negativities in its history, it is doomed to fail, and the people will not be fooled by superficial recipes that are offered to them to keep up their interest in the ecclesial institution. The Church either proposes the authentic Jesus who is identical with the Christ of faith, or it loses the reason for being of its mission, and the new powers of the media wielded by hostile hands will very soon render it superannuated and superfluous.”

The question of the priesthood and of celibacy is addressed by Cardinal Ouellet precisely against the backdrop just described. Presenting reasons that show its “pertinence today, all the more so in difficult contexts.”

Ouellet is among the participants in the upcoming synod on the Amazon. It will be interesting to see how much agreement these criticisms of his will receive.

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Bishops, priests challenge Amazon Synod working doc for "contradicting" Catholic faith

DIANE MONTAGNA reports from Rome for LifeSiteNews - In view of the upcoming Amazonian Synod, an international group of Catholic prelates, priests and laity, who have chosen to remain anonymous due to a 'climate of intimidation' in the Church, have addressed a brief statement to Pope Francis and the synod fathers identifying four areas of the working document which they say are 'contradictory' to the Catholic faith.

The Oct. 1 statement (see below), issued by a group which calls itself the Coetus Internationalis Patrum Working Group (International Group of Fathers), states:

'We, numerous bishops, priests, and Catholic faithful from all over the world, hereby affirm that the Instrumentum Laboris prepared for the coming Synodal assembly raises serious questions and very grave reservations, because of its contradiction of individual points of Catholic doctrine which have always been taught by the Church, as well as its contradiction of faith in Jesus Christ, the One Savior of all mankind.

Using what it calls a 'classical method,' the group summarizes into four 'propositions' or 'theses' the main points of the Instrumentum Laboris, which they regard as 'unacceptable.' The group then contrasts them specific magisterial texts to support their position.

Edward Pentin of the National Catholic Register, who was among the first to report on the statement, explained that the group is named after 'the most influential interest group at the Second Vatican Council which submitted numerous amendments to conciliar documents in a bid to uphold tradition.'

He also noted that, 'although 'numerous' bishops, priests and laity share the concerns, no names will be revealed 'because of the growing climate of intimidation and purges present in the Roman Curia and in the Church in general.''

The Instrumentum laboris will form the basis of discussions at the Oct. 6-27 Special Synod of Bishops on the Amazon, being held at the Vatican.

Four areas of concern

The first area of concern noted by the group is the working document's call to respect 'Amazonian diversity' which means 'to recognize that there are other paths to salvation, without reserving salvation exclusively to the Catholic faith.' The working document calls on the Church to 'integrate' other non-Catholic Christian 'modalities' of 'being Church.'

The group of prelates, priests and laity contrasts this assertion with the teaching of Dominus Iesus, the declaration issued by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in 2000, which reiterates that 'the universal salvific will of the One and Triune God is offered and accomplished once for all in the mystery of the incarnation, death, and resurrection of the Son of God' (14) and 'the unicity (oneness and uniqueness) of the Church founded by him' (16) must be 'firmly believed as a truth of Catholic faith.'

The second area of concern is the working document's assertion that Pan-Amazonian theology is required in all educational institutions (IL 98, c3) and the proposal that the Church 'adapt the Eucharistic rite to their cultures' (IL 126 d).

The group rejects this assertion again on the basis of Dominus Iesus, which reiterates that 'it would be contrary to the faith to consider the Church as one way of salvation alongside those constituted by the other religions.' While affirming that 'some prayers and rituals of the other religions may assume a role of preparation for the Gospel,' it firmly states that 'one cannot attribute' to them a 'divine origin' or the 'salvific efficacy' which is 'proper to the Christian sacraments.'

The third point of contention is the notion that the 'territory [of the Amazon] and the cry of its peoples' is in some way a place of revelation and source of theology - like Sacred Scripture, the Councils and the Fathers of the Church.

The Coetus Internationalis Patrum rejects this notion, citing the Vatican II dogmatic constitution on divine revelation Dei Verbum, which reasserts the nature of divine revelation, its closure with the death of the last Apostle, and the sacred bond between Tradition, Sacred Scripture and the teaching authority of the Catholic Church (4, 7, 10).

Lastly, the group rejects the 'new vision of Holy Orders' proposed by the synod's working document, which they argue 'does not come from Revelation, but from the cultural usages of the Amazonian people.' This new vision includes the proposal that 'ordination be conferred on older persons who have families' and that 'official ministries' be conferred on women.

The group opposes this 'new vision' on the basis of five magisterial texts, including the Vatican II dogmatic constitution on the Church, Lumen Gentium, and its decree on the ministry and life of priests, Presbyterorum Ordinis; Pope Paul VI's encyclical on priestly celibacy, Sacerdotalis Coelibatus; Pope John Paul II's apostolic exhortation on the formation of priests, Pastores Dabo Vobis; and his apostolic letter on reserving the priesthood only to men, Ordinatio Sacerdotalis.

Today's statement comes as the latest in a chorus of voices criticizing the synod's working document. In June, German Cardinal Walter Brandmüller, president emeritus of the Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences, warned that 'decisive points' in the working document are 'heretical' and that 'inasmuch as even the fact of Divine Revelation is here being questioned or misunderstood' we may speak of 'apostasy.'

Here below is the full statement by the Coetus Internationalis Patrum Working Group (International Group of Fathers).


To the Pope and the Synod Fathers:

We, numerous bishops, priests, and Catholic faithful from all over the world, hereby affirm that the Instrumentum Laboris prepared for the coming Synodal assembly raises serious questions and very grave reservations, because of its contradiction of individual points of Catholic doctrine which have always been taught by the Church, as well as its contradiction of faith in Jesus Christ, the One Savior of all mankind. We have drawn up, following the classical method, four propositions in the form of 'theses' summarizing the main points of the Instrumentum Laboris. In conscience and with great frankness, we affirm that the teaching of these theses is unacceptable.

1. Amazonian diversity, which is above all religious diversity, evokes a new Pentecost (IL 30): respect for this diversity means to recognize that there are other paths to salvation, without reserving salvation exclusively to the Catholic faith. Non-Catholic Christian groups teach other modalities of being Church, without censures, without dogmatism, without ritual disciplines and ecclesial forms (IL 138); the Catholic Church ought to integrate these modalities. Reserving salvation exclusively to the Creed is destructive of the Creed (IL 39).

Against this, among other texts: Dominus Iesus 14 and 16.

2. The teaching of Pan-Amazonian theology, which takes special account of myths, rituals, and celebrations of indigenous cultures, is required in all educational institutions (IL 98 c 3). Non-Christian rites and celebrations are proposed as 'essential for integral salvation' (IL 87) and we are asked to 'adapt the Eucharistic rite to their cultures' (IL 126 d). On rituals: IL 87, 126.

Against this: Dominus Iesus 21.

3. Among the various Loci Theologici (that is, among the various sources of theology, such as Sacred Scripture, the Councils, the Fathers of the Church) there is included the territory [of the Amazon] and the cry of its peoples. (IL 18, 19, 94, 98 c 3, 98 d 2, 144).

Against this: Dei Verbum 4, 7, 10.

4. It is suggested that ordination be conferred on older persons who have families and to confer 'official ministries' on women. There is thus proposed a new vision of Holy Orders which does not come from Revelation, but from the cultural usages of the Amazonian people (which provide for a rotating system of authority, among other things). Therefore, there ought to be separation made between the priesthood and the munus regendi (IL 129 a 2, 129 a 3, 129 c 2).

Against this: Lumen Gentium 21, Presbyterorum Ordinis 13, Pastores Dabo Vobis 26; and also: the entire document Sacerdotalis Coelibatus, especially 21 and 26, Ordinatio Sacerdotalis1, 3 and 4; Pastores Dabo Vobis 29.

Coetus Internationalis Patrum Working Group

October 1, 2019

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Cardinal Müller: JPII's ban on female priests is a "dogma." No, it's not says Synod organiser

MAIKE HICKSON reports for LifeSiteNews - Cardinal Gerhard Müller, the former Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, has provided LifeSiteNews with a statement on why the Church's teaching of an all-male priesthood is infallible and therefore not up for a corrective discussion.

In his comments, Cardinal Müller refers to Pope John Paul II's authoritative document Ordinatio Sacerdotalis (1994). In this document, the Pope stated at the time that 'although the teaching that priestly ordination is to be reserved to men alone has been preserved by the constant and universal Tradition of the Church and firmly taught by the Magisterium in its more recent documents, at the present time in some places it is nonetheless considered still open to debate, or the Church's judgment that women are not to be admitted to ordination is considered to have a merely disciplinary force.'

In light of the debates on female 'ordination' that were then already taking place, John Paul II makes it clear that this discussion is not possible when he writes: 'Wherefore, in order that all doubt may be removed regarding a matter of great importance, a matter which pertains to the Church's divine constitution itself, in virtue of my ministry of confirming the brethren (cf. Lk 22:32) I declare that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church's faithful.'

Comments Cardinal Müller himself:

'It is certain without doubt, however, that this definitive decision from Pope John Paul II is indeed a dogma of the Faith of the Catholic Church and that this was of course the case already before this Pope defined this truth as contained in Revelation in the year 1994. The impossibility that a woman validly receives the Sacrament of Holy Orders in each of the three degrees is a truth contained in Revelation and it is thus infallibly confirmed by the Church's Magisterium and presented as to be believed.'

Herewith, the German prelate makes it clear that even the female 'diaconate' is infallibly ruled out.


In the recent past, there have been in Germany different voices demanding female 'ordination' and thereby also questioning Pope John Paul II's 1994 document Ordinatio Sacerdotalis.

The most recent and prominent example of questioning this authoritative document is Bishop Erwin Kräutler, one of the key organizers of the upcoming October 6 to 27 Synod of Bishops on the Pan-Amazon, and a staunch promoter of the idea of 'ordaining' women. He just stated that John Paul II's ban on female 'priests' is 'not a dogma' and that the female 'diaconate' is now a 'must.'

The Bishop credited with writing the Amazon Synod's controversial working document has stated that Pope John Paul II's teaching about the impossibility of female priests is 'not a dogma.'

Bishop Erwin Kräutler, the retired bishop of Xingu, Brazil, made this claim in an interview with Blickpunkt Lateinamerika, the journal of the German relief agency Adveniat - a group which heavily funded the preparations for the upcoming Synod happening in Rome October 6-27.

Making it once more clear that he is in favor of female priests, the Bishop explained that the reason why he never speaks of 'viri probati' (morally proven married men who could possibly be ordained), but, rather, of 'personae probatae' (proven persons) is because the former is 'too much bound to one sex.'

'I know it is not easy to oppose exclusion of women from the ordained priesthood, as it has been cemented [sic] by Pope John Paul II in his 1994 apostolic document Ordinatio Sacerdotalis,' he said, adding: 'But, even if the Pope explained at the time that 'all the faithful of the Church are definitely to hold this decision,' it is nevertheless not a dogma.'

In 1994, St. John Paul II declared in an apostolic letter Ordinatio Sacerdotalis that the Church has 'no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church's faithful.'

In May of last year, Archbishop Luis Ladaria, the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, reaffirmed Pope John Paul II's teaching, stating that the male-only priesthood is 'infallible' teaching. 'The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, in response to a doubt about the teaching of Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, reiterated that it is a truth belonging to the deposit of faith,' he stated at that time.

Also in 2018, German Cardinal Walter Brandmüller - one of the two remaining dubia cardinals - declared that anyone who calls for female priests in the Catholic Church 'fulfills the elements of heresy which has, as its consequence, the exclusion from the Church - excommunication.' He made the case that John Paul II's 1994 declaration 'fulfills all the preconditions which are necessary for an infallible - that is to say, an irrevocable - dogmatic decision.'

Cardinal Gerhard Müller, the former Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, stated in July that not even a pope or a council could change this dogma that excludes women from Holy Orders. He said that 'no synod - with or without the Pope - and also no ecumenical council, or the Pope alone, if he spoke ex cathedra, could make possible the ordination of women as bishop, priest, or deacon. They would stand in contradiction to the defined doctrine of the Church.'

The fact that Bishop Kräutler, a key organizer of the upcoming Amazon Synod, can so lightly question settled teaching of the Catholic Church does not bode well for this synod and its outcome. Kräutler also stated in the interview that the Amazon Synod 'must admit women to the ordination to the diaconate.'

The Austrian bishop has been involved in preparations for the Amazon Synod since 2014 after he met Pope Francis in a private audience, at which he discussed with the Pope the ideas of Bishop Fritz Lobinger to ordain married priests. Lobinger also proposes to ordain women.

At that audience, Pope Francis told Kräutler to make 'bold proposals' for the Amazon region.

In March of 2018, the Pope called the bishop into the pre-synodal council for the Amazon Synod. Different progressivist sources, such as The Tablet and Professor Paul Zulehner, claim that the Austrian bishop is the main author of the synod's working document.


The ordination of women priests



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A bid to understand the police raid at the Vatican

PHIL LAWLERn reports for CatholicCulture - A shocking, unprecedented scene: Vatican police raiding the offices of the Vatican’s own Secretariat of State, seizing documents and electronic devices.

As usual the Vatican is tight-lipped about this latest scandal, disclosing only that the Vatican’s top prosecutor has been investigating questionable financial transactions.

But wait: The Vatican gendarmerie also raided the offices of the Financial Information Authority (AIF), which was set up precisely to guard against questionable transactions. Sed quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

What on earth is going on here?

For a partial answer to that question—and I’ll be the first to acknowledge that it’s only a partial answer—please read through to the final paragraph of today’s follow-up CWN story on the suspension of five Vatican officials.

Here’s what we know:

• For at least several months, the Vatican prosecutor has been investigating questionable financial transactions which had been flagged by the Vatican bank and by the office of the auditor general. It’s the latter—the auditor general—that concerns us here.

• The office of the auditor general is currently vacant; the work there is being done by an interim administrator.

• The last full-time auditor general, Libero Milone, was forced to resign in June 2017. He was forced out by then-Archbishop (now Cardinal) Angelo Becciu. Milone claimed that he had been ousted after he began hunting down financial irregularities; Becciu countered that Milone had been spying on his superiors. As I observed at the time, those charges are not mutually exclusive.

• One of the Vatican officials now suspended in connection with this investigation, Msgr. Mauro Carlino, was until recently an aide to Becciu in the Secretariat of State.

Those facts lead toward a possible explanation—not only for this week’s astonishing raids, but also for the dismissal of the Vatican’s auditor general.

• Milone, whose job was to ask questions about finances, became suspicious about some deals that flowed through the offices of the sostituto—at the time Becciu.

• Becciu became aware the Milone was prying into the affairs of his office without his (Becciu’s) authorization, and was enraged. Becciu threatened Milone with criminal indictment for spying on his superiors: a threat that was withdrawn only after Milone resigned.

Those are established facts. Does this week’s raid tell us that Milone had good reason to be suspicious—if not of Becciu, at least of his Carlino, his secretary? The Vatican prosecutor seems to think so.

More facts will surely—slowly—emerge. But even the few facts that have already come to light are sufficient to buttress one more argument that the Vatican cannot eliminate financial corruption as long as the Secretariat of State holds effective veto power over the Secretariat for the Economy. Cardinal George Pell, brought to Rome to bring financial transparency to the Vatican, lost a key battle when his plan for an independent audit was blocked—by the Secretariat of State. Milone, as auditor general, lost his job when his quest for inside information was blocked—by the Secretariat of State.

So now is the Vatican prosecutor chasing down information that Milone, left to his own devices, might have uncovered more than two years ago? It seems likely that this latest scandal might have been avoided.

By the way, consider this measure of the Vatican’s commitment to financial transparency: In June 2017, when Milone resigned, the Vatican promised that a new auditor general would be appointed “as soon as possible.” More than two years later we’re still waiting. Instead of filling the post, in February of this year the Vatican issued new statutes for the office of the auditor general, trimming his powers.

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Pope Francis sends gifts to mosque to show "esteem and affection to the Muslim community"

LISA BOURNE reports for LifeSiteNews - Cardinal Maurice Piat, Bishop of Port-Louis, Mauritius, presented two gifts to a local mosque on behalf of Pope Francis last week, one a copy of the controversial Abu-Dhabi statement which claims that a diversity of religions is willed by God.

Piat went to the Jummah Mosque on September 24 to present Nissar Ramtoolah, president of the mosque, with the two gifts from Pope Francis, according to a translated report from the Diocese of Port-Louis.

Photos of the exchange show the cardinal dressed as a layman all in white.

The diocese's report said the pope was touched by the gesture of brotherhood that the Jummah Mosque made for him during his recent apostolic visit to Mauritius, which was sending of a bouquet of flowers to Port Louis diocese when he was there.

The pope 'also wanted to show his esteem and affection for the Muslim community,' according to the report.

Francis visited the nations of Madagascar, Mozambique, and Mauritius earlier this month. Mauritius is an island country in the Indian Ocean, located off the eastern coast of Africa.

Francis offered Ramtoolah a memorial medal created for his recent papal trip to Africa, and also the copy of the problematic Abu Dhabi statement, which says in part that the 'diversity of religions' is 'willed by God.'

The pope signed the 'Document on Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together,' with Ahmad el-Tayeb, Grand Imam of al-Azhar Mosque in Egypt, during an interreligious meeting in Abu Dhabi in February.

The statement has continued to receive criticism in the months following its release for the assertion that God willed the diversity of religions, which many say is in conflict with the Catholic faith.

Pope Francis has made repeated affirming statements about Islam, and has also been dismissive of Islamist violence. He ignited controversy in 2016 when he likened Islamic violence to individual violent acts committed by some Catholics.

Asked by a journalist on the papal plane in August of that year why he never spoke about Islamic violence, the question coming in the wake of the brutal murder of French priest Father Jacques Hamel - who was beheaded in the name of Islam as he celebrated Mass, the Pope said he didn't like to speak about Islamic violence.

'I don't like to speak of Islamic violence,' Francis said, 'because every day, when I browse the newspapers, I see violence, here in Italy … this one who has murdered his girlfriend, another who has murdered the mother-in-law … and these are baptized Catholics! There are violent Catholics! If I speak of Islamic violence, I must speak of Catholic violence.'

A group of Muslims who had converted to the Catholic faith wrote an open letter to Francis in December 2017 questioning, 'If Islam is a good religion in itself, as you seem to teach, why did we become Catholic?'

'Do not your words question the soundness of the choice we made at the risk of our lives?' the converts asked in the letter.

Jummah Mosque's Ramtoolllah and several of his associates received Cardinal Piat and the gifts from Francis 'very cordially,' last week, the Port-Louis diocese report said. 'They exchanged [gifts] around a cup of tea and some cakes.'

Pope Francis appointed Piat as a cardinal in November 2016, in the same consistory that created Chicago Cardinal Blasé Cupich, New Jersey Cardinal Joseph Tobin and Cardinal Kevin Farrell.

Piat, as president of the Mauritius Episcopal Conference, was named an attendee of the October 2015 Ordinary Synod on the Family.

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Cardinal Kasper: Laity will "not accept" future pope who doesn't continue Francis' legacy

MARTIN M. BARILLAS and PETE BAKLINSKI report for LifeSiteNews - German Cardinal Walter Kasper said that Pope Francis is securing his successor who will carry on his legacy by appointing the majority of cardinals who will vote in the next conclave. He added that if it was possible that a pope was elected who would attempt to erase Francis' mark upon the Catholic Church, then the people 'would not accept him.'

'I think that in the next conclave, you cannot choose a pope who is 'a contrarian.' The people would not accept him,' said Cardinal Kasper in a Sept. 26 interview (read excerpt of interview below) with Religion Digital's José Manuel Vidal which took place while the Cardinal was visiting Madrid for a conference on world peace organized by the pacifist Sant' Egidio movement.

When asked if Pope Francis has guaranteed his successor by having handpicked the majority of cardinals voting in the next conclave, Kasper replied: 'Yes. It gives the impression that with the nominations to the cardinalate that what the Pope wants is to ensure his succession.'

Cardinal Kasper's proposal during the 2014 Synod on the Family of admitting civilly 'remarried' Catholics who are living in adultery to receive Communion found its way into the synod's final document. Pope Francis' 2016 Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia has been interpreted by many bishops from around the world as adopting this proposal in footnote 351. The footnote states in the context of a discussion about the Church's pastoral response to Catholics living in 'irregular' unions that in 'certain cases' such Catholics can receive the Church's 'help,' which 'can include the help of the sacraments.' The footnote then makes a reference to the Eucharist and confession. Kasper has since asserted that the proper understanding of Francis' Amoris Laetitia is to allow divorced and 'remarried' Catholics to receive Holy Communion.

Elsewhere in the interview, Cardinal Kasper acknowledged that neither the Pope nor he fear a schism over questions about the Pope's theology. Affirming that the pontiff wants to guarantee a successor, Kasper said, 'Those who are causing fears [about the schism] are small groups that are openly against the Pope. But you have to know and keep in mind that they are few, very few, although they make a lot of noise through the media. Do not attach any importance to them.'


Translated excerpts from Religion Digital's interview with Cardinal Kasper:

Religion Digital: You were just with Pope Francis. Is he as strong as ever?

Cardinal Walter Kasper: Yes, the Pope continues to be quite strong. He has an interior motion that pushes him to continue moving ahead, and he is not afraid of the criticisms that circulate around him, even within the Catholic world. He continues down his path and is quite well, even physically, for a man of 82 years. And the proof is that he works tirelessly.

He is not even afraid of a schism, as he just said.

Kasper: The Pope is not afraid of schism.

And you?

Kasper: Nor do I believe that there will be schism. Those who are causing fears are small groups that are openly against the Pope. But you have to know and keep in mind that they are few, very few, although they make a lot of noise through the media. Do not attach any importance to them.

What do you expect from the Amazonia synod?

Kasper: This Amazonia synod will be very important and meaningful for the churches incarnated in the cultures of that area of the world.

Will the synod approve of giving married men access to the priesthood?

Kasper: The problem of the lack of vocations in Amazonia is very serious and that issue of the ordination of married men, and others, will depend on the decision and the unanimity of the bishops of the region. The Pope, with his synodal spirit, will put those decisions into motion if there is sufficient consensus among the bishops.

The German Church will also celebrate a synod with which the Vatican apparently has some problems.

Kasper: Yes, there are some who have problems with the Vatican. There has always been tension between Germany and Rome. It is something historic, but I can say that at this time that the great majority of the German Church is totally and profoundly in tune with Rome. There is some nervousness around, but I believe that they can be overcome.

With the cardinals at the next consistory, those chosen by Francis will be a majority. Has the Pope therefore guarantee his succession?

Kasper: Yes. It gives the impression that with the nominations to the cardinalate that what the Pope wants is to ensure his succession.

In what sense?

Kasper: I think that in the next conclave, you cannot choose a pope who is 'a contrarian.' The people would not accept him.

Who do you think will succeed Pope Francis?

Kasper: That is an open question and not applicable.

Are you convinced that, after Francis, there is no turning back?

Kasper: No, it isn't possible. The people will not accept it because they want a normal and human Pope, one that is not imperial like those of the past.

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Pope Francis says he felt "bitterness" when introduced to Catholic converts in Africa

DOROTHY CUMMINGS McLEAN reports for LifeSiteNews ~ In a question-and-answer session with Jesuits in Mozambique, Pope Francis underscored his dislike of 'proselytization' by condemning the actions of a Catholic woman he had met that day.

The Argentinian pontiff's September 5 remarks were published yesterday in the Holy See's news website Vatican News.

'Today I felt a certain bitterness after a meeting with young people,' Pope Francis told the assembled Jesuits.

'A woman approached me with a young man and a young woman. I was told they were part of a slightly fundamentalist movement,' he continued.

'She said to me in perfect Spanish: 'Your Holiness, I am from South Africa. This boy was a Hindu and converted to Catholicism. This girl was Anglican and converted to Catholicism.' But she told me in a triumphant way, as though she was showing off a hunting trophy. I felt uncomfortable and said to her, 'Madam, evangelization yes, proselytism no.''

Pope Francis seemed to believe that the young people had been coerced in some way, for he told his listeners that whereas 'evangelization is free, proselytism … makes you lose your freedom.'

'Proselytism is incapable of creating a religious path in freedom,' he said.

'It always sees people being subjugated in one way or another. In evangelization the protagonist is God, in proselytism it is the I.'

Pope Francis continued by saying that there were 'many forms of proselytism' and that 'the one practiced by soccer teams, acquiring fans, is all right, obviously!'

'And then it is clear that there are those forms of proselytism for commerce and business, for political parties,' he added.

'Proselytism is widespread, we know that. But it doesn't have to be the case with us. We must evangelize, which is very different from proselytizing.'

The pontiff repeated the old story about St. Francis telling his friars to evangelize and 'if necessary, use words, too.' [Ed. He didn't]

'Evangelization is essentially witness,' Francis continued.

'Proselytizing is convincing, but it is all about membership and takes your freedom away.'

He cited an address Benedict XVI gave at the Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida in Brazil during his visit in 2017. The German pontiff had said that the Church does not engage in proselytism.

'Instead, she grows by 'attraction': just as Christ 'draws all to himself' by the power of his love, culminating in the sacrifice of the Cross, so the Church fulfils her mission to the extent that, in union with Christ, she accomplishes every one of her works in spiritual and practical imitation of the love of her Lord,' Benedict continued.

Catholics expressed their dismay about Francis' rejection of the South African lady on social media. British Father Evan Julce contrasted Pope Francis' approached with that of St. Padre Pio when an enthusiastic lady addressed him.

'A woman excitedly told Padre Pio that there was a prophecy that a Franciscan would convert 1/3 of the world,' Julce recalled over Twitter.

'The saintly Padre responded: 'what would I want with only 1/3? I want everyone to come to Christ,'' he continued.

'He didn't spurn her. Her spurred her (and himself) to work more.'

A Twitter user named Heather replied, 'I feel so sad for this lady. She was probably just so excited for the Pope to meet her convert friends.'

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Pro-gay Maltese bishop tapped for Vatican position, will participate in Amazon Synod

DAVID NUSSMAN reports for ChurchMilitant.com ~ A pro-gay bishop from Malta has been appointed to a position at the Vatican.

On Wednesday, Pope Francis appointed Bishop Mario Grech of the Gozo diocese in Malta to be the general pro-secretary of the Synod of Bishops. This means Grech will later become the general secretary per se after Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri's term comes to an end — according to a press statement from Cardinal Baldisseri.

Cardinal Baldisseri announced that Bishop Grech would "walk alongside" him and participate as a member in the Amazon Synod.

Bishop Grech will stay on as apostolic administrator in the Gozo diocese until his successor is appointed.

The Maltese bishop has a history of pro-gay messaging. In a speech to the 2014 Synod on the Family, Bishop Grech claimed that the Catechism's language on homosexuality is hurtful to homosexuals.

After saying that modern families find themselves "having to live in a framework which renders incomprehensible the very concepts of natural law," he went on to argue:

'We need to know our families very well if we are to offer them the Gospel in a practical way. A good point of departure would be in our choice of language — may it be the language of a Church that is both merciful and brings healing. I must confess to facing the urgency of this need while listening to families of homosexuals as well as to the same persons having such an orientation and who feel wounded by the language directed towards them in certain texts, for instance in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (1997 edition, §2358); these persons consequently struggle both with maintaining their faith alive as well as cultivating their sense of filial belonging to the Church. It is necessary to learn to speak that language which is known to contemporary human beings and who acknowledge it as a way of conveying the truth and the charity of the Gospel'.

During a televised interview in March 2018, Grech said he welcomed gay unions "with satisfaction," arguing that homosexual partners "have the right not to be judged."

On social media Wednesday, Catholic journalist Edward Pentin commented on Bishop Grech's appointment, "Grech wrote the contentious Maltese bishops' guidelines on chapter 8 of Amoris Laetitia."

In January 2017, Bishop Grech and the Malta archdiocese's ABishop Charles Scicluna co-published a set of guidelines for implementing the controversial papal document Amoris Laetitia. The guidelines stated, "If ... a separated or divorced person who is living in a new relationship manages ... to acknowledge and believe that he or she is at peace with God, he or she cannot be precluded from participating in the sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist."

Church Militant reported at the time that Bishop Grech threatened to punish clergy in his diocese if they refused to give Holy Communion to the divorced and civilly remarried.

In a subsequent report, an anonymous Maltese confirmed with Church Militant that Bishop Grech had threatened to punish a priest who voiced concern about the guidelines regarding Holy Communion for the civilly remarried.

The Times of Malta interviewed Bishop Grech in December 2015. On the question of a Catholic getting a divorce, the bishop replied, "Life is not black or white — there are also a lot of shades in between. What makes a good Christian? Perfection? If this were the case it would probably be beyond everybody's reach."

"We are not a Church for perfect people," he added, "even though we have been brought up with the idea that there is only room for saints within the Church."

Grech said later in the interview, "The Church cannot refuse to administer communion to somebody who genuinely wishes to receive it and is trying to live in forgiveness, regardless of whether they are divorced or not. This could be the first step of a longer journey towards God, and the Church must not hinder such a process."

A September 2015 report in Malta Today stated there have been complaints that Bishop Grech is a "bully" and "aggressive" to clergy in his diocese.

The report highlighted an alleged letter that was sent to Vatican officials such as Cardinal Reinhard Marx back in 2014, when the archdiocese of Malta needed a new archbishop and the Vatican was allegedly eyeing Bishop Grech for the position.

In that letter, clergy of the diocese voiced complaints about Bishop Grech's leadership. They warned of a "hostile," "aggressive" attitude and a "bullying culture" — even calling the bishop himself a "bully."

The letter also accused Bishop Grech of "bad pastoral decisions" and "a manifest attachment to material wealth."

"The Church in Gozo has been run for the last nine years by a 'grin of a Cheshire cat,'" the clergy's letter concluded. "It would be a sheer disaster if Bishop Grech were appointed archbishop. He is utterly unfit to lead the Metropolitan See. The Maltese Church requires a robust leader."

Malta Today noted that Bishop Grech was not appointed to the Malta archdiocese; rather, then-auxiliary bishop Charles Scicluna was appointed archbishop of Malta in 2015.


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Students of Pope Benedict XVI gather in Rome to proclaim, defend priestly celibacy

MAIKE HICKSON reports for LifeSiteNews - On September 28, the Circle of Students, as well as the New Circle of Students of Joseph Ratzinger/Pope Benedict XVI, had a symposium addressing the topic of the Catholic priesthood. At the end of this symposium, they published a statement summing up some key elements of their discussion. The statement defends priestly celibacy as intimately linked with the essence of the priesthood, which is the imitation of Christ.

Additionally, the organizers published a summary of the different speeches. Both documents can be found at the end of this report.

In the final statement, the Ratzinger Circle of Students write: '[O]ne can deduce some fundamental statements regarding the priestly lifestyle, which must remain in harmony with the lifestyle of Christ himself. Only then will the 're-presentation of Christ' of the priest be believable. The presence of Christ should not be limited solely to the sacramental action, either, but must be evident and at work in the daily life of the priest. This is the reason for the duty of the priest to obedience and the commitment to celibacy, as remaining single for the sake of the Kingdom - that is, a human as well as spiritual expression of the sacramental unity of the priest with Christ.'

The symposium was titled 'Recent Challenges of the Ordained Ministry in the Church,' and it took place at the Augustinianum in Rome.

Most prominently, Cardinal Gerhard Müller spoke on 'What are the preconditions for ordination?,' and Cardinal Kurt Koch spoke a welcoming word and the conclusion of the symposium.

Among the speakers were Professor Karl-Heinz Menke, a dogmatician from Bonn and a member of the Vatican's International Theological Commission. He spoke on 'The Sacramental Office in the Church.' Christoph Ohly, a canon law professor of Trier, spoke on 'Why is an ordained office needed in the Church?'

Professor Marianne Schlosser - who has just made it public that she will not participate at the women's forum of the upcoming 'synodal path' in Germany, due to its 'fixation' on the ordained office - spoke on 'Ordained priesthood and celibacy for the sake of the Kingdom.'

In their final statement, the Ratzinger Circle of Students explains that 'in this 'time of suffering,' overshadowed by the scandal of clerical abuse, we set ourselves this challenge of searching 'for words and paths of hope.' Thus, after a certain time of purification, the ordained ministry can once again shine forth in all its beauty as a great gift from the Lord to His Church.'

The authors remind us that the vocation to the priesthood, 'as well as the existence of the priest are solely dependent upon the will of Jesus Christ alone (see Hebrews 5:1ff)' and are, therefore, 'not derived from either human considerations or Church regulations.'

The final statement recalls that the Catholic priest is 'being made like unto' Christ, which the priest 'receives in the sacrament of Holy Orders.' The priest acts 'in the person of Christ, the Head of the Church,' for example, when he gives absolution in the Sacrament of Penance or when he celebrates the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. The priest, in a sacramental way, represents Christ as the Good Shepherd,' the statement continues.

With repeated specific reference to the current abuse crisis, the Ratzinger Circle of Students believes that 'it is not first and foremost structural reforms that will bring healing and relief, but an authentically lived life of faith.' Members call for priestly celibacy, which, according to the constant tradition of the Latin Church, is seen as 'a clear witness to a belief-filled hope and generous love for Christ and his Church.'

A renewal of the priesthood - for which the Ratzinger Circle of Students wishes to study Joseph Ratzinger's theology - lies in making clear 'what the essence of the Church's ordained ministry actually is, and priests show this clearly through their actual lives.' Such a renewal has to be 'deeply rooted in Tradition, but also leads to those reforms that our lives will align with Christ.'

Please see below the full statement and a summary of the talks:

Statement to the public symposium on 'Current
Challenges to the Ordained Ministry in the Church'

1. With the symposium on 'Current Challenges to the Ordained Ministry in the Church,' the Circle of Students, as well as the New Circle of Students of Joseph Ratzinger / Pope Benedict XVI, have, for the first time in many years, decided to bring this subject to a larger audience. This decision came about from the conviction that the time has come for the theological thought of the Pope Emeritus to be brought to the wider public. We aim to open up this unique 'School of Thought' through presentations and discussions. We are glad and grateful that so many people have shown interest and followed our invitation, and we hope this Symposium will set a good start for our future work.

2. The letter of Pope Francis to the priests on the occasion of the 160th anniversary of the death of the sainted Curé of Ars - from the 4th of August 2019 - has only strengthened us in the previously taken decision, to devote this Symposium to the subject of the ordained ministry. In this 'time of suffering,' overshadowed by the scandal of clerical abuse, we set ourselves this challenge of searching 'for words and paths of hope.' Thus, after a certain time of purification, the ordained ministry can once again shine forth in all its beauty as a great gift from the Lord to His Church. Therefore, in our ponderings, we decided to set the accent on the sacramental priesthood and try to penetrate its mysteries with the light of the theology of Joseph Ratzinger / Pope Benedict XVI.

3. The statements to the ordained priesthood are inseparably joined to the nature of the Church. The theology of Joseph Ratzinger relies heavily upon the 2nd Vatican Council for its sources and provides an authentic interpretation of the same. Pope John XXIII had already recognized this as he with general agreement accepted the document prepared by Professor Ratzinger for Cardinal Frings on 'The Council and the Modern World of Thought.' The last council referred to the Church as the 'universal sacrament of salvation' (Lumen Gentium 48). As such, it is 'a sign and a tool for the most intimate union with God as well as for the unity of all humanity' (LG 1). In the Church, the risen Christ continues His work of salvation. In baptism being conformed to Christ and in the Church becoming a member of his body, the Christian receives a share of eternal life and is called to follow the way of holiness. To such a life of giving witness all those baptized into the common priesthood have been appointed. As is evident in Joseph Ratzinger's theology - those people who are called to live such a holy life will find themselves being drawn into the very center of the Church. That is the aim of every Christian: becoming ever more like unto Jesus Christ himself. Thus, we are grateful for all witnesses to this holiness in their lives, in marriage and the family, in the consecrated life, and in other ways of life that can still be found in the Church today.

4. To understand the ordained ministry, one requires such a sacramental perspective, as was set out by the last council. Christ the Lord has given his Church various offices 'which are organized for the well-being of the whole body' (LG 18). The vocation as well as the existence of the priest are solely dependent upon the will of Jesus Christ alone (see Hebrews 5:1ff) and are not derived from either human considerations or Church regulations. In Him and with Him the priest becomes the 'proclaimer of the Word and the servant of joy.'

5. The 'being made like unto' Christ, which the priest receives in the sacrament of Holy Orders, differs not only in degree, but in essence from that of the common or general priesthood received by all the baptized (see LG 10). The priest acts 'in the person of Christ, the Head of the Church' (agere in persona Christi capitis). He is not an official, but rather, in being united with Christ, he performs a mission that comes directly from God. This is especially evident in the holy power to absolve sinners, to turn bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ, and to celebrate the other sacraments. The priest, in a sacramental way, represents Christ as the Good Shepherd (cf. Jn. 10:10). In this personal relationship between Christ and the Church, between priests and faithful, is to be found, according to the teaching of the Church, the crucial difference, because it is the essential foundation for the sacramental representation of Christ in the priest. He does not represent Christ as an ambassador would his king or government; rather, it is a real representation, wherein the key criterion is the way of the cross (Christ's own via dolorosa).

6. Therefore, one can deduce some fundamental statements regarding the priestly lifestyle, which must remain in harmony with the lifestyle of Christ himself. Only then will the 'representation of Christ' of the priest be believable. The presence of Christ should not be limited solely to the sacramental action, either, but must be evident and at work in the daily life of the priest. This is the reason for the duty of the priest to obedience and the commitment to celibacy, as remaining single for the sake of the Kingdom - that is, a human as well as spiritual expression of the sacramental unity of the priest with Christ. Consequently, ordination to the priesthood implies an individual following of Christ, and thus, the sins of the present scandal reduce the believability of this position. As the priest exists only from his relationship with Christ, a participation in the lifestyle of Christ would seem to be appropriate (Presbyterorum Ordinis 5) for those who are to act in His person. According to the constant tradition of the Latin Church, celibacy is seen as a clear witness to a belief-filled hope and generous love for Christ and his Church.

7. In these times of crisis and a painful cleansing of the Church, it is not first and foremost structural reforms that will bring healing and relief, but an authentically lived life of faith. Only when we all return united to our common understanding of Jesus Christ as true God and true man will the Church be able to be renewed.

8. The statement of St. Paul's, 'I have received from the Lord what I have delivered to you' (1 Cor. 11:23), reflects the essential feature of the priest. The magnitude of this gift has been veiled by the scandals, and its credibility has been shaken. A way out can be found only if we make clear what the essence of the Church's ordained ministry actually is, and priests show this clearly through their actual lives. The theology of Joseph Ratzinger / Pope Benedict gives an answer to this dual challenge, pointing to a road that remains deeply rooted in Tradition, but also leads to those reforms that will align our lives with Christ and give them a new credibility.

9. We dedicate our study and prayers during this symposium to the intercession and assistance of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church.

Rome, on the 28th September, 2019

Circle of Students and New Circle of Students

Joseph Ratzinger / Pope Benedict XVI



Symposium 'Recent Challenges of the Ordained Ministry in the Church'


September 28, 2019 / 3 P.M.-7 P.M.

Institutum Patristicum Augustinianum, Rome

Summary / Lecture Prof. Dr. Karl-Heinz Menke

The sacramental ministry in the Church is currently facing criticism - not only as a result of clerical abuse scandals and the newly fired debates about celibacy and the ordination of women. There are theological currents that question the sacramental nature of the Church as a whole and the distinction between the specific priesthood of ordained ministers and the universal priesthood of all the baptized. This is the challenge that the Schülerkreis and the Neue Schülerkreis Joseph Ratzinger / Papst Benedikt XVI would like to take up at their annual symposium this year.

Summary / Statement Dr. María Esther Gómez de Pedro

The sacrament of baptism is the door through which we enter God's family; in it we are conformed to Christ, who is Priest, Prophet, and King. This unction, which is common to all the baptized, gives us access to the presence of God to lay before him our supplications, our praise, and our spiritual offerings. Our entire life can thus become an offering to God and a service of charity for our brothers and sisters. The ordained ministry, in that it makes possible our union with Christ in the sacraments, is established and has to be lived as a service to the universal priesthood of all believers.

Summary / Statement Prof. Dr. Christoph Ohly

The question of why the ordained ministry in the Church exists can be answered when we look at its origin. We connect it with the conviction that Christ himself established the apostolic ministry in his Church, to be present in it sacramentally through the existence and the actions of the priest. The gift of the priest's conformation to Christ consequently becomes his mission, in his style of life, his personal attitudes, his life of prayer as well as in the duties assigned to him.

Summary / Statement Prof. Dr. Marianne Schlosser

According to the Catholic understanding of the term, ordination to the priesthood signifies not just an empowerment to fulfil a certain function within the Church, but a call to personal identification with Christ, the Good Shepherd. Celibate life thus appears to be convenient in many respects (Presbyterorum Ordinis 16): it is Christ's own way of life, who gave His life for humanity, even unto death. Since there is no other priesthood in the New Testament but that of participating in the priesthood of Christ, it is also convenient for those who have been taken into His service (sacerdotium ministeriale) to proclaim His word and to act 'in his person' (in persona Christi capitis) to share His style of life. Celibacy is a telling witness of the faithful person's hope for eternal life. By renouncing marriage and the founding of a family, celibacy wants to foster a generous love for the entire familia Christi as well as a personal bond with the Lord.

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Women deacons: A Papal cover-up?

C FerraraCHRISTOPHER A.FERRARA writes for Fatima Perspectives ~ In prior columns I have referred to Pope Francis’ commission on “female deacons” as semi-secret. That is because, although we know of its existence, its findings have been kept under wraps. It appears that now we know why.

As LifeSiteNews reported back in March, an advocate of female deacons, the German progressivist theologian Professor Peter Hünermann, admitted that “according to members of the German bishops’ doctrinal commission who spoke to him, the report of the Vatican commission on female deacons found that ‘there is no historical evidence that in the patristics women were ordained as deacons.’”

LifeSite cites an interview in Germany in which Hünermann noted that while the commission issued its report in mid-2018, Pope Francis “has withheld the results for months now,” which Hünermann views as “a sign for me that he does not agree with this statement as it stands.”

Hünermann’s revelation about the commission’s negative finding is what lawyers call an “admission against interest.” That is, a statement contrary to what the witness would prefer to be true and thus is particularly credible as no one would lie in a way that damages his own position. Because admissions against interest are considered especially trustworthy — who would lie in order to hurt his case? — they are considered an exception to the rule barring admission of hearsay in court.

Of course, we are not in a court of law, so the admission is good evidence in any event. But there is more. Hünermann told LifeSite that “Professor [Marianne] Schlosser of Vienna – a student of then-Professor Ratzinger [and a member of the Vatican female deacon commission] – informed the German doctrinal commission about the results of this study [of the commission].” So Hünermann’s ultra-progressive German colleagues know of the commission’s negative finding as well.

As Hünermann notes, the commission’s negative finding reflects the same position held by Cardinal Gerhard Müller, sacked by Francis as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) at age 69, six years short of the usual retirement age. As LifeSite further observes, it was Müller who, while still Prefect of the CDF in 2013, stated: “According to Catholic doctrine, the Sacrament of Holy Orders – in its stages bishop, priest, and deacon – can only be validly received by a man.”

And yet, as I noted in my last column, during an in-flight press conference Francis represented that his commission had not come down against women deacons but rather was “not seeing clearly” whether there was a “sacramental ordination” of “deaconesses” and that “there is not certainty that it was an ordination with the same formula and the same finality of men’s ordination. We arrived at a certain point. But now each member of the commission is studying, according to their own thesis. This is good.”

That seems to be a clever way of saying that dissenting members of the commission are now pursuing their own views even if the commission majority has decided against the historicity of female deacons.

There is only one way to get to the bottom of this matter: produce the commission’s final report, which Francis has apparently had in his possession for more than a year as even an opponent of its findings has admitted.

Is Francis hiding a report that contradicts his plan for some kind of female deaconate coming out of the Synod on the Amazon? Is this yet another example of how he intends to get what he wants while using whatever apparatus he sets up to give the appearance of “dialogue” and “consensus” — as we have seen with the previous sham synods?

You decide.

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Progress or regress?

INTERNATIONALLY-RECOGNIZED Humanae Vitae expert Dr. Janet Smith delivered an exclusive talk to the Christendom community on February 5, 2018, titled: 'Humanae Vitae, 50 Years Later: Progress or Regress?'.



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Pope Francis meets privately with pro-homosexual celebrity priest James Martin

STEVE SKOJEC reports for OnePeterFive ~ On Monday, September 30, Pope Francis - the first Jesuit pope - sat down in the library of the Apostolic Palace with fellow Jesuit Fr. James Martin for a half-hour private audience. Gerard O'Connell, writing for the Jesuit-run America magazine, says, 'It was their third meeting but their first substantial conversation.'

Be that as it may, Martin is hardly an unknown at the Vatican. He is both a popular and a deeply controversial figure. An editor for America and appointed by the pope as a consultor to Vatican communications in 2017, Martin is most identified with a relentless campaign to align the Church and her teachings with LGBT ideology. His 2017 book, Building a Bridge: How the Catholic Church and the LGBT Community Can Enter into a Relationship of Respect, Compassion, and Sensitivity, was endorsed by progressive cardinals Kevin Farrell and Joseph Tobin, the latter of whom called the book 'brave, prophetic, and inspiring' and deemed it a reminder that 'LGBT Catholics … are as much of a part of our church as any other Catholic.'

Bishop McElroy of San Diego, who also gave an endorsement, took the sentiment further: 'The Gospel demands that LGBT Catholics must be genuinely loved and treasured in the life of the church.' He said Martin's book 'provides us with the language, perspective, and sense of urgency to replace a culture of alienation with a culture of merciful inclusion.'

And Martin has certainly been included by this pope.

'Dear friends:' Martin tweeted after this week's meeting. 'Today Pope Francis received me for a private 30-minute audience in the Apostolic Palace, where I shared with him the joys and hopes, and the griefs and anxieties, of LGBT Catholics and LGBT people worldwide.'

The official Twitter account of the Jesuits was quick to weigh in:

Society of Jesus@TheJesuits No Politics. No strategies. No hidden agendas. Just two brothers in the Lord in an honest conversation about how best to reach those who feel as if they are on the margins. This is the Gospel at work in our Church today. 3:45 PM - Sep 30, 2019

Martin would not disclose the details of what he discussed with the pope, saying only that he and the pope 'laughed several times' and that he 'saw this audience as a sign of the Holy Father's care for LGBT people.'

Martin constantly beats this drum: in his view, the Church needs to be better about embracing not just those with same-sex attraction, but those involved in active same-sex relationships. He is keen to challenge his critics, arguing that he never says anything in violation of Church teaching, but the defense is anemic, when one considers the implications of some of his statements. Among the most infamous of these was when he told a man at a talk at Villanova in 2017 that he hoped 'in ten years' he'd be 'able to kiss your partner or, you know, soon to be your husband' during the sign of peace at Mass.

Writing for LifeSiteNews, Dorothy Cummings McLean notes that Martin has garnered opposition from 'high-ranking churchmen and respected Catholic lay academics (here and here) for dissenting from Catholic sexual teaching.' McLean continues:

Cardinal Robert Sarah, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, has called Fr. Martin 'one of the most outspoken critics of the church's message with regard to sexuality.' Cardinal Raymond Burke has called the celebrity priest's teaching 'not coherent with the Church's teaching on homosexuality.'

Earlier this month, Archbishop Chaput of Philadelphia released a statement noting that Fr. Martin's 'statements and activities' have caused confusion.

'A pattern of ambiguity in his teachings tends to undermine his stated aims, alienating people from the very support they need for authentic human flourishing,' Chaput wrote. 'Due to the confusion caused by his statements and activities regarding same-sex related (LGBT) issues, I find it necessary to emphasize that Father Martin does not speak with authority on behalf of the Church, and to caution the faithful about some of his claims.'

Bishop Thomas Paprocki of the Diocese of Springfield, Illinois quickly issued a statement supporting Chaput, saying that aspects of Martin's teachings are 'deeply scandalous,' and his 'messages create confusion among the faithful and disrupt the unity of the Church.'

O'Connell notes that the meeting between Martin and the pope took place not at Casa Santa Marta, where he lives, but in his private library, where he meets heads of state, members of the curia, and other dignitaries.

'By choosing to meet him in this place,' O'Connell writes, 'Pope Francis was making a public statement. In some ways, the meeting was the message.'

It was a message that was no doubt received by the dubia cardinals, who, three years later, and having lost two of their number to death, still have not had their request for an audience with the pope granted, in order that they might discuss their grave concerns about his post-synodal apostolic exhortation, Amoris Laetitia.

The meeting with Martin also sends another message: that the pope knows the controversial priest's positions, making it impossible for positivists to explain away the favor Francis has shown Martin as a mere product of ignorance.

Another Jesuit, Fr. Thomas Reese, pressed the significance of Martin's views - and the pope's tacit endorsement of them - in a September 30 article for Religion News Service.

Referencing the pope's infamous 'who am I to judge' comments about a notoriously homosexual priest in his employ, Reese pivots immediately to an attack on those concerned with Martin's agenda.

'Conservative Catholics are upset,' he writes, 'that Francis is more concerned about sins of exploitation and injustice than sexual sins between consenting adults.'

'Consenting adults' in this context is less of a dog whistle and more of an air horn, the phrase having become synonymous in social discourse with the attitude that whatever goes on in the bedroom is perfectly acceptable, as long as everyone participating gives consent.

Reese goes on to condescend to Catholics who think 'sexual sins are the worst kind of sin,' saying that 'for the scrupulous, weekly confession was all about having dirty thoughts.'

On the matter of homosexuality, he continues:

'Sex between people of the same gender was an unspeakable sin. I grew up in the 1950s and had no idea what homosexuals were until I was in my 20s, although 'sissies' were subject to bullying in grammar school and high school. Perhaps I was just out of it.

'At the same time, the clergy and the convent were always an attractive vocation for good gay Catholics. After all, if you don't want to marry and can't have sex, why not be a priest or nun? The priesthood or religious life gave you a socially acceptable explanation for why you did not marry.

'Celibacy, however, is neither easy nor natural. Conservatives feel that any softening of the church's approach to sexual sins will release a flood of promiscuity. Without chastity, there will be unwed pregnancies and disease. The only way to keep young people from having sex is by scaring the hell out of them.

'Older people who grew up under this moral regime were appalled by the sexual revolution of the 1960s and 1970s. Unwed pregnancies, abortions and disease did increase. They saw the church as the last bulwark against this cultural revolution.

'But few people today worry about going to hell. Even using traditional Catholic morality, many moralists and confessors believe that most sexual sins occur under conditions where there is not 'sufficient reflection' or 'full consent of the will' to qualify as mortal sins, even if you believe that all sexual acts are 'grave matter.'

Moralists, one assumes, like those involved in the drafting of Amoris Laetitia.

Reese pays lip service to the fact that sexual sins 'were always grave matter' - the use of the past tense here is noteworthy - and says neither Francis nor Martin has 'contradicted the church's traditional teaching against sex outside of marriage between a man and a woman.' Nevertheless, he concludes, 'Francis and Martin are simply imitating Jesus, who, by his example and words, taught us that our God is a compassionate Father who cares for all his children.'

Not judging disordered behavior that 'cries out to heaven for vengeance.' Treating tolerance of the same as nothing more than a simple imitation of Jesus. The whole thing reminds me of a meme that was being passed around in response to Martin and Francis a couple of years back:

The Gospels can say whatever you want them to say if you redact them enough.

Martin's lengthy but secretive audience aroused in me a darker thought: with another consistory for the creation of new cardinals taking place this Saturday (October 5), and Cardinal Kasper's recent confirmation that the pope is absolutely stacking the deck in the hopes of ensuring an ideological successor at the next conclave, what if Martin is about to get a red hat?

You may think it far-fetched, but is it?

Canon 351 states that candidates to become cardinals must 'have been ordained at least into the order of the presbyterate.' (Those who are not yet bishops must receive episcopal consecration when elevated.)

They are also supposed to be 'especially outstanding in doctrine, morals, piety, and prudence in action.' Sadly, we already know from multiple consistories, perhaps especially the most recent one, that Francis doesn't give a tinker's damn about that particular requirement.

Though it wasn't the only elevation to raise eyebrows, consider the case of José Tolentino Calaça de Mendonça, who was merely another controversial priest endorsing a strange Gospel at the beginning of 2018. Practically unknown, Mendonça garnered attention after writing an introduction to a book about feminist theology by Spaniard Sister Maria Teresa Forcades - a progressive Benedictine nun, social activist, and speaker known for her support of 'queer theology,' homosexual relationships, contraception, abortion, and so-called 'feminist ordination.'

She is also a self-described anti-capitalist who believes that private property must be rejected as an absolute right. (Pope Leo XIII evidently hadn't gotten the memo when he wrote Rerum Novarum.)

'Teresa Forcades I Vila,' Mendonça said, 'reminds us of the essential thing: that Jesus of Nazareth did not codify laws or lay down rules. Jesus simply lived. That is, he constructed an ethic of relationship; he embodied the poetry of his message in the visibility of his flesh; he displayed his own body as a premise.'

Evidently, his 'no rules Jesus' caught the ear of the pope; in February of 2018, he was asked to give a Lenten retreat to Francis and other members of the curia. In September of that year, he was consecrated an archbishop and appointed archivist and librarian of the Holy Roman Church.

Last month, Mendonça was made a cardinal.

So what of Fr. Martin? As a popular speaker and author with a sizable following and the freedom to challenge the Church's traditional understanding of human sexuality with impunity, it's possible that he might not even want the job. But it would empower him in a way little else could; after all, a cardinal cannot be restricted in his movement throughout the Church. He could not be kept from speaking in a diocese by an orthodox bishop. Canon 357 §2 states, 'In those matters which pertain to their own person, cardinals living outside of Rome and outside their own diocese are exempt from the power of governance of the bishop of the diocese in which they are residing.'

It's a frightening thought, but as a practical matter, it seems it would change little. Martin has been acting without fear of consequence for years. A Cardinal Martin, however, would carry more weight. And he would have a vote in the next conclave.

Even if Martin simply continues as a priest, the Vatican and, by extension, an empowered network of Jesuits, has sent the clear message that his views are welcome, and the orthodox concerns of the faithful are not.

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LGBT activist priest meets with Vatican education chief to discuss doc critical of "gender theory"
DOROTHY CUMMINGS McLEAN reports for LifeSiteNews ~ An American celebrity priest continued his tour of the Vatican by meeting with the Prefect and Undersecretary of the Congregation for Catholic Education.

Fr. James Martin, S.J., 58, principally known for his LGBT activism, publicized his October 1 meeting with Cardinal Giuseppe Versaldi and Fr. Friedrich Bechina in a series of messages on Twitter.

Martin indicated that he had a “dialogue” with these officials about the Congregation for Catholic Education’s recent document addressing gender ideology.

“Dear friends: I am happy to say, with their permission, that I met with Cardinal Giuseppe Versaldi, the prefect of the Congregation for Education, and Fr. Friedrich Bechina, undersecretary, for a dialogue about the Congregation's document ‘Male and Female He Created Them’,” Martin wrote.

“During our meeting I read aloud letters from a Sister who ministers to transgender individuals, from a family with LGBT children, and a transgender person himself. Again, with their permission, I can share that they spoke about the context and purpose of their document which was focused on Catholic schools,” Martin continued.

“His Eminence (Cardinal Versaldi) expressed sorrow if people thought the Congregation was accusing people of being ideologically distorted, and they wish to share their care for transgender people and want to continue dialogue to reflect on their experiences.”

Martin underscored that he had his interlocutors’ permission to publish these details but said he would keep the rest of their meeting private.

“I was happy to bring LGBT voices to this warm meeting and very grateful for their openness to dialogue,” he concluded.

The full title of the Congregation’s statement is “Male and Female He Created Them: Towards a Path of Dialogue on the Question of Gender Theory in Education.” Published on February 2, 2019, the document is a gentle exploration of new and erroneous theories concerning human sexuality, particularly the divorce between physical reality and so-called “gender identity.”

Whereas the document agrees with gender theorists that bullying and undue discrimination against any person is wrong, it critiques gender theorists’ battle against nature, their “dualist anthropology” that pits the human will against the human body, and “denies the difference as well as natural reciprocity that exists between men and women.”

Quoting Pope Francis’ Amoris Laetitia, the document states that gender ideology:

“... inspires educational programmes and legislative trends that promote ideas of personal identity and affective intimacy that make a radical break with the actual biological difference between male and female. Human identity is consigned to the individual’s choice, which can also change in time. These ideas are the expression of a widespread way of thinking and acting in today’s culture that confuses ‘genuine freedom with the idea that each individual can act arbitrarily as if there were no truths, values and principles to provide guidance, and everything were possible and permissible’ (AL, 34).”

“Man and Woman He Created Them” also draws upon the writings of St. John Paul II, whose Love and Responsibility and other writings on human sexuality have sustained two generations of Catholics in the aftermath of the Sexual Revolution. It cites Pope Francis’ Laudato Si’ and other writings, addresses by Benedict XVI, documents from the Second Vatican Council and statements from both the Congregation for Catholic Education and from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Martin did not indicate that he had cited anything but the three personal letters he had in his possession.

This was the second high-profile Vatican visit for America magazine’s celebrated “editor-in-chief.” Earlier this week, Martin publicized his private half-hour meeting with Pope Francis in the papal library, stressing that the two men had, save for a translator, been alone.

Although Martin’s religious order, the Society of Jesus, denied this meeting was political or strategic or had “a hidden agenda,” the Jesuit-run America magazine swiftly suggested that the meeting was a “highly significant public statement of support and encouragement” for the American priest. It found a coded meaning also in the fact that the pontiff had met Martin in the library where he normally greets heads of state.

“By choosing to meet him in this place, Pope Francis was making a public statement,” America stressed. “In some ways, the meeting was the message.”

Martin himself took the audience “as a sign of the Holy Father’s care for LGBT people.”

The author’s interaction with Catholics who experience same-sex attractions, though celebrated, arguably does not fill a gap in the Church’s ministry. Since 1980, a faithful, orthodox ministry called “Courage,” founded by an unassuming priest named John F. Harvey (1918-2010), has served Catholics who experience same-sex attractions and their families. Now called Courage International, the apostolate prefers not to define human persons by their sexual inclinations and therefore does not use the English-language initialism LGBT. It encourages its members to find happiness through greater closeness to Christ and in chaste friendships


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UN logo


New UN Treaty may put gender-ideology in international law

STEFANO GENNARINI, J.D., reports for the Friday Fax ~ In a new treaty, the General Assembly may scrap the definition of gender as “male and female” currently in international law and endorse a definition of gender as “socially constructed.” The new definition would open the door to 100+ “genders” in binding law.

The International Law Commission has asked the General Assembly to discard the legal definition of gender in international law as “the two sexes, male and female, within the context of society.” That hard-fought definition was decided in the Rome Statues creating the International Criminal Court and excludes any “meaning different from the above.”

The left-leaning commission proposed the change in a new treaty on the prosecution of crimes against humanity that will be reviewed by the General Assembly’s legal experts later this month.

In making the recommendation, the commission cites “several developments in international human rights law and international criminal law.” As evidence, the commission lists the non-binding opinions of human rights bodies and other international law entities who promote gender as a social construct, including the notions of “sexual orientation” and “gender identity.”

The commission cites, for instance, the UN Independent Expert on protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, who has written that gender is “each person’s deeply felt internal and individual experience of gender, which may or may not correspond with the sex assigned at birth.”

The report also cites the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, according to whom gender is not a biological reality but a “social construction” related to the “accompanying roles, behaviors, activities, and attributes assigned to women and men, and girls and boys.”

The legal effect of discarding the Rome Statute’s definition of gender will be to enshrine gender as a social construct in international law. It wouldn’t merely leave the definition of gender open to each country’s national legislation to define, as some may believe. Far from it. Because of the elaborate rationale in the report of the commission, dropping the definition will have the legal effect of defining gender in international law very broadly.

The request is likely to attract controversy in the General Assembly. The Commission told the General Assembly in the last two years that it would not change any of the definitions from the Rome Statute in this new treaty. And it has gone back on its word because of intense lobbying from LGBT groups.

Moreover, the commission wholly overlooks the fact that a majority of countries do not consider gender as a social construct. Indeed, the UN entities and bodies cited by the commission go further than most countries’ laws.

Through 2019, only seven countries allow gender change based on self-identification alone, according to the pro-LGBT group Amnesty International.

Even in the roughly 40 other countries where individuals are allowed to legally assume an identity different from their biological sex, countries restrict who may do so and under what circumstance.

In most countries identity change is only permitted after a psychiatric determination of gender dysphoria or a surgical operation to mutate the sexual physiognomy of an individual. In addition, some countries require individuals to divorce their spouses and do not allow individuals with children to change their gender.

The sixth committee of the General Assembly is scheduled to review the report of the International Law Commission, where the new treaty is contained between October 28 and November 6

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GERMANY Dubia Cardinal warns Church against synodal path that leads to "final decline"

MAIKE HICKSON reports for LifeSiteNews - A German cardinal is warning Catholics in his country that proceeding down a so-called synodal path - one that aims at questioning the Church's teaching on celibacy, an all-male priesthood, homosexuality, etc. - could lead to a 'national church' without 'nearly any ties to Rome,' stating that this would be 'certainly be the surest path into the final decline.'

Cardinal Walter Brandmüller - the former President of the Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences and one of the two remaining dubia cardinals - made this comment in a statement in light of the developments in Germany where the German bishops have decided to enter into the controversial 'synodal path.' He published his statement today on the Austrian Catholic news website Kath.net. LifeSiteNews has published an English translation of it (read full statement below).

'It cannot be overlooked anymore: the phantom of a German national church shows itself more and more,' writes the Cardinal, adding that 'national isolation of the remnant of German Catholicism into a national church without nearly any ties to Rome would certainly be the surest path into the final decline.'

Cardinal Brandmüller noted that Jesus 'speaks of His Church in the singular' and called it 'absurd' for the Catholic Church in Germany to be pursuing a 'self-destructive, national particularism.'

The Cardinal's warning is similar to that of Cardinal Rainer Woelki, the archbishop of Cologne, who earlier this month warned of a 'schism within the Church in Germany' that would lead to a 'German national church.'

Cardinal Brandmüller in his statement today traced the history of German ideas of a 'national church' and of anti-Roman resentments. The anti-Roman resentments have come to a fuller development in the second half of the 20th century, when the German bishops increasingly disobeyed decisions from Rome.

Cardinal Brandmüller explained: 'One is tempted to think that, with the announcement of the Council, John XXIII opened the German 'Pandora's Box.' What had continued to smolder under the blanket since the unresolved Modernism crisis [in the early 20th century], now broke out visibly, loudly, with new vehemence.'

As an example, Cardinal Brandmüller mentioned that the German bishops 'relativized' Pope Paul VI's encyclical Humanae Vitae's ban on artificial contraception and that they never revised their position.

'Thus it came to the 'Königstein Declaration,' which left it up to the decision of conscience of the spouses whether they use contraceptive means or practices, or not. None of the subsequent Popes succeeded with their demand that the decisions of the time would be revised,' he wrote. Piercingly, he added that 'the German episcopacy remained in resistance against the Papal Magisterium.'

The cardinal mentioned the 1971-75 German Synod of Würzburg, which, he noted, has some similarities to today's 'synodal path.' For example, he pointed out, this earlier synod 'clearly broke with the synodal tradition of the Church, both with its statutes and with its agenda, because it gave equal voting rights to lay people who had the same number of members at the synod as the bishops and priests.' This same problem exists now also with regard to the 'synodal path.'

Furthermore, showing the intensity of the conflict at the time, Brandmüller explained that 'Professor Joseph Ratzinger [the later Pope Benedict XVI] and Prelate Karl Forster - who at the time was the secretary of the Bishops' Conference - left the synod under protest.' Today, it is Professor Marianne Schlosser - a member of the synodal path's discussion forum on women - who announced that she has left the discussion forum, and Bishop Rudolf Voderholzer of Regensburg has announced that he might at some point leave the synodal path altogether.

Cardinal Brandmüller, in his historical overview, also touched upon the German bishops' resistance against Pope John Paul II.

'John Paul II received an even stronger resistance when he forbade the Church's counseling centers for pregnant women from giving out the 'counseling certificate' which was by law a precondition for a legal abortion, which was de facto a death sentence of the unborn children,' he wrote. Here, again 'there arose such strong and insistent resistance on the part of most of the German bishops, especially of Cardinal Lehmann and Bishop Kamphaus,' he added.

The Cardinal's history lesson sheds light on why the German bishops are once again trying to go their own way in what appears to be an attempt to form their own 'national church' that is separate from Rome. Brandmüller also points out that the German bishops seemingly have taken it upon themselves to be the 'school masters' of the Universal Church as they export their ideas to other nations. The Cardinal noted how the German Bishop's attempt at 'influencing' the Universal Church is supported by the fact that 'the abundant money' now 'flows from German Church tax desks into poorer regions,' thus strengthening German influence in the world. The German influence on the Amazon Synod, for instance, has been well established.

But in light of the fact that the numbers of Catholics in Germany decrease in dramatic numbers, Cardinal Brandmüller mentioned what he called an 'embarrassing arrogance' in the German Bishops' Conference. Here, he quoted the well-known question as to whether 'the world may not once be healed by the German being?' The German Cardinal noted that there is a resemblance to this idea in the recent letter from Cardinal Reinhard Marx to Cardinal Marc Ouellet, the Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops: 'One may compare the answering letter of the President of the German Bishops' Conference to Cardinal Ouellet from 12 September 2019,' Brandmüller stated.

According to a CNA report, Cardinal Marx had written to Cardinal Ouellet that he hoped the German synodal path will also be of benefit for the Universal Church: 'We hope that the results of forming an opinion [on these matters] in our country will also be helpful for the guidance of the universal Church and for other episcopal conferences on a case-by-case basis. In any case, I cannot see why questions about which the magisterium has made determinations should be withdrawn from any debate, as your writings suggest.'

In conclusion, Brandmüller warned the German Catholics not to go the way of building their own church.


Statement by Cardinal Walter Cardinal Brandmüller on the Catholic Church in Germany

October 1, 2019

'Without Judah, without Rome, we shall build Germany's Dome [Cathedral]'

'Without Judah, without Rome, we shall build Germany's Dome [Cathedral]' - this slogan from Hitler's early inspirer, Georg von Schönerer (1842-1921), gives expression to a German resentment, which - ultimately - had its expression in the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest. The defeat of Rome in that 9 AD 'Hermann Battle' [the Arminius Battle] has been at least for the last two hundred years an essential part of the 'Teutonic' culture of remembrance.

It is then no surprise that from thence there falls a strange light upon the relationship of the German Catholics to 'Rome' - from the 'Gravamina Nationis Germanicae' against the 'Rome' of the early 16th century up until today.

If we follow this aspect, we shall find traces of it at the turn of the 19th century. Some people accused Rome of having been guilty for the decline of the 'Imperial Church' because it did not move at all in order to save the old prince-bishoprics and imperial abbeys when the Holy Roman Empire collapsed - a stab-in-the-back myth avant le mot [before the word was created].

In this very context - the Congress of Vienna was in full swing - the diocesan administrator Ignaz Henrich von Wessenberg (Constance) developed the idea of a German National Church. A rebuilding out of the rubble then was meant also to overcome the confessional split and to achieve peace between State and Church.

Upon this foundation, then, the political unity of the nation was also to be built. It was, of course, very far away from reality when he [von Wessenberg] thought that such a national church would still be Catholic. In any event, he demanded a concordat with the Holy See - Napoleon's example might have inspired him here. Wassenberg's idea was that a German primate would thereby head a German church with loose connections with the Roman center... However, these ideas remained as mere ideas.

Admittedly, these ideas still occupied the minds, when they were revived during the emergence of a new German sense of nationality around the revolutionary year of 1848 when the Frankfurt National Assembly took place ['Paulskirchenjahr'].

It was Professor Ignaz von Döllinger - who was already highly respected at the age of 50 - who, with a tinge of awareness of the problem - said: 'The largest part of the Catholics who, in their appreciation of German nationality, have wished for a national church, did not enter into any contradiction to the Catholic Church.' However, this Church historian from Munich overlooked here the meteor-like phenomenon of 'German Catholicism' - or perhaps he intentionally ignored it? - which at the time troubled the religious landscape.

There were two chaplains - Ronge and Gersky - who were separated in matters of faith and with regard to celibacy and who went ahead and founded, in protest against the 'Holy Shroud Pilgrimage' in Trier in the year 1844, their 'German-Catholic church.' It found considerable approval in the north and in the west of the Empire.

'Ha! I am trembling in that we are already so close! But now it is over. The great success has come, the progress of this century has been secured. The genius of Germany is already reaching for the laurel wreath, and Rome has to fall!' Thus spoke Johannes Ronge.

Well, it was not Rome that fell. Around 1860, no one spoke of him anymore. That he indeed had some success with his ideas was not only due to the continued influence of the Enlightenment. It was the national sentiment that was emerging in the Romantic Era and with its admiration of the Middles Ages, which also highlighted the broken religious unity in Germany. To regain that unity seemed then to be a worthy goal: one German nation, one German national church.

These were ideas which remained alive here and there, until Bismarck's Kulturkampf created a completely new situation. The state according to Hegel's understanding could not incorporate the 'alien element, the Catholic Church' and therefore it made use of force. In this situation that was life-threatening for German Catholicism - bishops were imprisoned or expelled, hundreds of priests were removed from their offices and also imprisoned - the German Catholics rallied unanimously around Rome, around the Pope - those Catholics who were too loyal to the state soon found their 'church' to be in the [schismatic] Old Catholic Church.

Now Ultramontanism - whose forerunners always stressed the universality of the Church and her loyalty toward the state, while at the same time clearly rejecting every form of nationalism, and especially the Prussian militarism - bore its fruits: an impressive revival of popular piety, a loyalty toward the Catholic Faith, to the bishops, and to the much-cherished Pope - it was Pius IX.

To put it briefly: the consciousness of being part of the Church of Jesus Christ that spanned the whole world did not give any scope for national-ecclesial thinking.

However, there took place one relapse - with serious consequences for German theology - that can be seen in the conduct of some German bishops and Catholic intellectuals in the Modernism crisis at the turn to the 20th century. The philosophy of German Idealism - which is fixed on human consciousness - and its connection with evolutionary thought had led to the result that one regarded religion as a product of the depth of the human soul which develops from one stage to the next higher one in the course of evolution and that religion therefore is subject to change. From today's perspective, one might consider some of the actions on the part of 'Rome' in those years to have been rigid, but one cannot put into doubt the danger of these ideas - which one since then summarizes with the name of 'Modernism' - which were indeed undermining the foundations of the Faith

That Pius X here pulled the emergency brake in this situation by demanding from theology teachers that they make the Oath Against Modernism, one should not demean or ridicule it as an expression of 'Roman alarmism.' It can, instead, astonish us that, of all people, the German theology professors were excluded from fulfilling this demand. They feared for their freedom in teaching and research, whose loss would have exposed them to some disdain in the academic world.

Well, it is a German Sonderweg [separate path]. It was in a large part due to the outbreak of the First World War and, in its wake, due to the 'Third Reich' and the victory of National Socialism that a fundamental debate about Modernism within German theology never took place. After the catastrophe and the recovery of Germany, and in the run-up to the Second Vatican Council, however, the Modernism problem re-emerged with a new intensity.

One is tempted to think that, with the announcement of the Council, John XXIII opened the German 'Pandora's Box.' What had continued to smolder under the blanket since the unresolved Modernism crisis, now broke out visibly, loudly, and with new vehemence. The German Catholic Convention of the consequential year of 1968 became the stage for angry, vulgar protests against Paul VI's encyclical Humanae Vitae, whose prophetic character is more and more being recognized today.

In the same year, the German Bishops' Conference tried to calm the waves by relativizing the encyclical's ban on artificial contraception. This had some superficial success; Cardinal Döpfner, the President of the West-German Bishops' Conference, did not pass on to the addressees - and thus misappropriated - some letters from Cardinal Bengsch who, in the name of the bishops of the GDR [German Democratic Republic, Eastern Germany], called for support of the encyclical. An unbelievable event!

Thus it came to the 'Königstein Declaration,' which left it up to the decision of conscience of the spouses whether they use contraceptive means or practices, or not. None of the subsequent Popes succeeded with their demand that the decisions [of the German bishops] of the time would be corrected. The German episcopacy remained in resistance against the Papal Magisterium.

In this anti-Roman atmosphere, soon there emerged the 'Common Synod of the German Dioceses' in the years 1971-1975. It clearly broke with the synodal tradition of the Church, both with its statutes and with its agenda, because it gave equal voting rights to lay people who had the same number of members at the synod as the bishops and priests. With this decision, conflicts became unavoidable. Here, we may recall only the debates concerning the lay homily. Professor Joseph Ratzinger and Prelate Karl Forster - who was at the time the secretary of the Bishops' Conference - left the synod under protest.

Finally, we might also recall the Cologne Declaration of the year 1989, 'Against the Deprivation of the Right to Decide ['Entmündigung] - for an open Catholicity,' which was signed by 200 theologians. First, it was a protest against the appointment of Cardinal Meisner as archbishop of Cologne, but then it turned against 'Rome's' Magisterium as such.

John Paul II received an even stronger resistance when he forbade the Church's counseling centers for pregnant women from giving out the 'counseling certificate' which was by law a precondition for a legal abortion, which was de facto a death sentence for the unborn children.

One cannot anymore understand today that there arose such strong and insistent resistance on the part of most of the German bishops, especially of Cardinal Lehmann and Bishop Kamphaus. Only from the year 2000 on, one decided to obey the Pope. Nevertheless, there was still resistance which led to the creation of the association Donum Vitae - a truly cynical name - which continued to give out the counseling certificates.

If one then adds the Church Referendum and the formation of protest groups such as We Are Church, as well as the degeneration of the formerly loyal Catholic organizations - not to forget the Marxist infiltration of the Association of the German Catholic Youth - then one can see the extent of the centrifugal dynamic, with the help of which the 'National Catholicism' (what a 'contradictio in terminis') has distanced itself after World War II from the Rome of Pius XII. That Rome was in 1945 the only international authority that had reached out its hand to the destroyed Germany when it re-entered the community of free nations.

Today, however, the 'German Church' - the German Bishops' Conference - tries to influence the Universal Church. Are not Emanuel Geibel's stanzas of the poem 'Germany's Vocation' (from the year 1861) once more here of interest: '... then the fisher from Rome in vain casts out his nets … and the world may not once be healed by the German being?' One may compare the answering letter of the President of the German Bishops' Conference to Cardinal Ouellet from 12 September 2019.

Such a claim of course has for a long time not been any more justified by special achievements of German theology. There are lacking today - except for a few remarkable exceptions - great names, as they existed around the time of the Second Vatican Council and they then were the foundation for the international reputation of German theology. Much less is German Catholicism characterized today by religious aliveness, since the Church statistics show a constant decline what pertains to Church attendance, use of the Sacraments, priestly vocations and so on.

In the meantime, it is rather the abundant money that flows from German Church tax desks into poorer regions of the Universal Church which lays the foundation for the German influence. That makes the arrogance even more embarrassing, with which the representatives of German Catholicism present themselves as school masters to the Universal Church.

It cannot be overlooked anymore: the phantom of a German national church shows itself more and more. Already in the middle of the 19th century, some people dreamed of a national council, which - that was already then the thought - would establish the unity of the nation on the religious level. But even if such ideas remained mere dreams: national isolation of the remnant of German Catholicism into a national church without nearly any ties to Rome would certainly be the surest path into the final decline.

One may only ask what, then, is left at all of 'church,' where the nation, the state, is the true element of structuring, and the point of reference for the church.

In Scandinavia now, there are state churches which have abandoned for a long time the Apostolic Creed. In the Church of England, the Queen is the head of the church and the 'Prime Minister' names the bishops. One cultivates a highly aesthetic ritual, and everybody believes whatever he wants. A similarly close connection with the state can be seen in the 'autocephalous' churches in the areas of the Byzantine culture.

However, in light of these or similar models of 'churches,' one has to present the simple fact that Jesus Christ speaks of His Church in the singular. His Apostle Paul, who calls the Church the - of course unique - Body of Christ, did the same.

It is therefore nearly absurd when, at a time where the whole world speaks of globalism, there takes place within the Church a self-destructive, national particularism. The attempt to have a German Sonderweg has now also to be seen in light of such reflections.

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GERMANY Canon lawyer: Vatican should, after a warning, punish German bishops, "excommunication" possible

MAIKE HICKSON reports for LifeSiteNews - Father Gero P. Weishaupt, a German priest with a doctorate in canon law, just wrote a commentary in light of the recent fall assembly of the German bishops. At this assembly, they decided to start a 'synodal path' questioning the Church's teaching on celibacy, the all-male priesthood, and homosexuality, among others.

Two German prelates - Cardinal Rainer Woelki and Bishop Rudolf Voderholzer - strongly oppose this controversial choice of topics for the 'synodal path,' and Voderholzer announced already that he might at some point leave this event.

Dr. Weishaupt entitled his own commentary on the problem of the 'synodal path' To Take Seriously the Penal Law, which already indicates the theme of his text.

Weishaupt received his doctorate from the Gregoriana in Rome and since then has served as judge at diocesan tribunals, as a curial secretary in Rome, as a Latin expert for Radio Vatikan (the German section of Vatican Radio), as a professor at the Benedict XVI University Heiligenkreuz (Austria), and as the editor of the Catholic website Kathnews.

Right at the beginning of his article, Weishaupt makes it clear that the discussion about the possibility of 'ordaining' female 'priests' is a 'questioning of a definitive, infallible and unchangeable doctrine of the Church.' The 'unending' discussion in Germany on this matter is therefore 'a criminal offense.'

'The Apostolic See would now have to admonish the majority of the German Bishops' Conference and the members of the Central Committee of German Catholics [ZdK, a lay organization that takes a leading role in the 'synodal path'] and, should there be no revocation, then to sanction them with a penalty.'

Weishaupt makes it clear that, 'he who wishes to discuss a topic, puts the object of the discussion into question, otherwise, a discussion would be superfluous.'

After some detailed explanations of a 1998 document by Pope John Paul II as to the nature of different infallible doctrines (those that are part of the deposit of the faith as revealed by God and those which are infallible without the Church saying that they 'have been revealed by God'), Dr. Weishaupt explains that Pope John Paul II, for the 'protection of these definitive doctrines of the faith which are most intimately connected with the revealed deposit of the faith, in a historical and logical manner,' had also established penal norms.

Those Catholics who reject a doctrine and don't recant that rejection should be punished. (can. 1371 § 1) Accordingly, can. 750 § 2 explains that everything has to be held 'that has been presented by the Magisterium of the Church concerning faith and morals as being definitive.' He who rejects these teachings finds himself in 'resistance to the teaching of the Catholic Church.'

Dr. Weishaupt then presents to his readers Pope John Paul II's 1994 document Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, in which the Pope writes, 'I declare that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church's faithful.'

Since the German bishops and some members of the ZdK have already declared that they wish to discuss the matter of female 'priests,' Weishaupt continues, this decision is 'an act of disobedience toward the Pope and the Church's Magisterium,' to include a 'rejection of an infallible, definite doctrine.'

'Therefore,' he explains, 'the criminal offense according to can. 1371 § 1 is fulfilled.'

'It would now be the duty of the Apostolic See first to admonish those bishops of the German Bishops' Conference who wish to discuss this doctrine, as well as the members of the Zdk, according to the precepts of can. 1371 § 1,' Weishaupt states.

'If, on the part of the majority of the German bishops and of the ZdK, there does not follow a recantation,' the canon lawyer continues, 'there should be imposed upon them a 'just penalty,' which does not exclude the excommunication of the concerned bishops and of the members of the ZdK, as well as, in reference to bishops, the removal from the episcopal office as the highest form and ultima ratio of ecclesial penalties.'

Weishaupt explains that, since the outbreak of the sex abuse crisis in the Church, the Church's penal law has been 'rediscovered, after it had been gravely neglected in the wake of the Second Vatican Council.'

'The abuse crisis,' the canon law expert continues, 'led to a deepened insight that penalties are necessary.'

He also draws a connection to the German 'synodal path' and its questioning of dogmatic teachings of the Catholic Church, saying that such questioning also 'damages the Church.'

'It will be seen,' Dr. Weishaupt concludes, 'whether the Church will apply in a resolute manner the penal law with regard to the 'synodal' discussion of the definitively settled doctrine that the priestly ordination can only be conferred on men.'

[LSN] 2301.14



















MEXICO Pro-abortion radical feminists set fire to Mexico City cathedral

MARTIN M. BARILLAS reports for LifeSiteNews ~ In coordination with worldwide pro-abortion protests, a gang of radical feminists set fire to the metropolitan Catholic cathedral in Mexico City during a march last Saturday. They also smeared obscene graffiti on the church's exterior walls and committed other acts of arson.

Hundreds of masked radical feminists dressed in black marched with banners demanding abortion and LGBTQ rights in Mexico City. Television news crews recorded how some of the masked marchers destroyed shelters at bus stops, spray-painted slogans on private and public property, and attacked journalists and police officers.

Resembling so-called antifa leftists in the United States, the black-clad hooligans painted slogans such as 'My body, legal abortion,' and 'God is a woman.' Some wore the green bandanas that have become the symbol of pro-abortion activists throughout Latin America.

When marchers set fires at the entrance gate of the cathedral, firefighters were able to extinguish the flames and prevent them from spreading. Police and members of Guardia Cristera Nacional, a group of Catholics who are dedicated to the Virgin of Guadalupe and are sworn to protect churches, formed a peaceful human cordon to prevent marchers from entering the historic church. They also gathered at other churches in the city to prevent arson and destruction.



The pro-abortion marchers, according to local reports, attacked bystanders on the street.

Seeing that the fire was not spreading at the cathedral, pro-abortion marchers retreated to the center of the Zocalo, the central plaza of the city, where they made a bonfire and continued to chant slogans demanding legal abortion.

Arsonists also set fire to the entrance of the offices of Mexico's National Council of Merchants and Service Providers (CONACO) and the national Chamber of Commerce in the city centre.

The largely female contingent of municipal police on hand were passive as the marchers smashed public property and set fires. Local media reported that marchers attacked Catholics, members of media recording the event, and police officers. The archbishop of Mexico is expecting an official report from civil authorities about the incident.

ACI Prensa reported that Mauricio Alfonso Guizar of Guardia Nacional Cristera said his organization sent out an appeal via social media to Catholics to come to the city center to pray and defend churches from planned attacks.

'Thanks to the reports on Catholic social networks, we were able to defend the churches, and the government sent public safety officers, having realized that churches are not a trifle,' he told the media outlet.

The riot in Mexico City came just days after the legislature of Oaxaca, a poverty-stricken state in southern Mexico, largely decriminalized abortion. While pro-life advocates shouted 'Murderer! Murderer!' outside the state legislature on Wednesday, a majority of legislators voted to make Oaxaca the second jurisdiction after Mexico City to liberalize abortion law.

While the new law amends the state's penal code, it is an apparent contradiction to the state's constitution. Pro-abortion forces are expecting that the state constitution will be reformed next. The change in the penal code was passed by 24 of the 41 state legislators. A constitutional amendment, however, requires a vote of two-thirds of the chamber.

The 'Green Wave' of pro-abortion advocates that began last year in Argentina was nearly successful in seeing pro-abortion law passed by Argentina's national senate. All of the political parties currently fielding presidential candidates except one in the South American country support abortion.

In pro-abortion marches in Buenos Aires and other cities in Argentina, pro-abortion protesters have set fires, thrown stones, and launched physical attacks

The pro-abortion victory in Mexico is being heralded as a success for the movement that began in Argentina.

Archbishop Pedro Vázquez Villalobos of Oaxaca issued a statement that said that people of good will in his region 'love life' and do not want laws that continue to deteriorate the respect for life.

'To make laws that promote the death of the unborn cause grave moral decay, deforms our values, do not defend the defenseless nor defend the weak, he said.

The archbishop pointed out that St. John Paul II's Evangelium Vitae encyclical called on mankind to 'respect, protect, love and serve life, all human life!'

'We don't want brother to kill brother, mother to kill a child, we want (laws) that put value on us,' the archbishop continued ' … We need laws that fight poverty, that support the countryside, and that suppress all forms of violence.'

Oaxaca is known not only for its material poverty but for its wealth of culture. At least a third of its citizens speak indigenous languages such as Mixtec and Zapotec, of which one-half do not speak Spanish. They are known for their colorful weavings and traditional culture.

Approximately 95 percent of Mexicans identity as Catholics, and Catholics in Brazil amount to about 86 percent of all Brazilians.

This year, the Guardia Nacional Cristera commemorated the 90th anniversary of the date that Mexico's atheist revolutionary government reopened churches and allowed the faithful to attend Mass. When the revolutionary government began shutting down churches and killing priests, Catholics rose up to defend their faith throughout the country in a counter-revolutionary struggle that became known as the Cristero War.

Cristeros were insurgents whose motto was 'Viva Cristo Rey!' (Spanish for Long live Christ the King) and fought the armies of the government to a final stalemate.

[LSN] 2301.16



















NIGERIA Bishops rail against "attacks" on pope from "higher levels of the Church"

MARTIN M. BARILLAS reports for LifeSiteNews - At the end of their conference in Ogun State, the Catholic bishops of Nigeria issued a statement deploring what they called 'attacks' on Pope Francis from unspecified 'higher levels of the Church.'

After conducting their plenary conference in the city of Abeokuta, the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) issued a statement on September 20 that especially criticized those within the Catholic Church who they say are attacking Pope Francis. They said in their communiqué, 'The Holy Father Pope Francis has come under attacks in recent times. Of more serious concern are the attacks coming from some higher levels of the Church in some parts of the world. As members of the Episcopal College, of which the Holy Father is the Head, we regard these attacks as the proverbial ill wind that blows no one any good, bearing in mind that there are other more legitimate and traditionally tested avenues of expressing our opinions to the Holy Father.'

The statement continued: 'We reaffirm our faith in and commitment to the Pontificate of the Holy Father Pope Francis. Consequently, we pledge our loyalty and availability to him in the exercise of his Petrine office, and we promise to continue to cooperate with him fully in the discharge of his divine mandate as the Pastor of the Universal Church.'

The Nigerian bishops' statement did not specify which are 'the higher levels of the Church' that are ostensibly attacking Pope Francis. Emails from LifeSiteNews to the Nigerian Conference of Catholic Bishops, as well as to Cardinal John Onaiyekan and coadjutor Archbishop Ignatius Ayau Kaigama of Abuja and Bishop Emannuel Badejo of Oyo, went unanswered.

Among Pope Francis's critics can be numbered at least one high-ranking Nigerian bishop. In 2015, Cardinal Francis Arinze, formerly prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, gave an exclusive interview to LifeSiteNews in which the cardinal blasted propositions that would soon become codified in Pope Francis's post-synodal apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia. Chief among these propositions was the idea that people living in a state of objective and persistent mortal sin can licitly receive Holy Communion according to their consciences.

Other African bishops have forthrightly criticized some of the pope's initiatives as well. For example, Cardinal Robert Sarah of Guinea, who now heads the Congregation for Divine Worship, said the forthcoming Synod of Bishops on the Pan-Amazon Region, because it is a regional assembly, should not be a forum for discussing priestly celibacy throughout the Latin rite. Celibacy will one of a number of topics that are due to be discussed when the synod begins on Sunday.

In an interview with Edward Pentin of the National Catholic Register, Cardinal Sarah said last month that the crisis in the Church is driven by atheism and the widely shared wish to impose 'personal opinion as truth.' They are 'false prophets,' he said, who announce 'revolutions and radical changes' that are not for the 'good of the flock.' A firm defender of the traditional Latin Mass, he told Pentin that a 'demon' is among those prohibiting it. He said, 'How can we not be surprised and deeply shocked that what was the rule yesterday is prohibited today?'

In 2017, Pope Francis issued a letter to Cardinal Sarah that was seen by the pope's defenders as a 'correction' of Sarah's concerns over translations of the liturgy from Latin into various vernacular languages. The papal rebuke came after the cardinal published an article in L'Homme Nouveau, which stated that Pope Francis's motu proprio Magnum Principium does not alter the authority of the Holy See over liturgical translations. The pope wrote that provisions of St. John Paul II's Liturgiam Authenticam on the use of the vernacular in liturgical books of the Latin rite have been 'abrogated.' The pope also stated that he was shifting responsibility over the fidelity of translations from the Vatican to local bishops' conferences.

In another instance when Cardinal Sarah was at odds with the pope, the cardinal praised the martyrs of the Vendée region of France, who in the late 1700s resisted revolutionary armies ('infernal columns') bent on destroying the Church and killing believers. He told French Catholics in 2016 that modern advocates of abortion, contraception, and sterilization are the modern equivalent of those infernal columns. 'Once again today, more than ever, revolutionary ideologists want to annihilate the natural place of self-giving, joyful generosity and of love. I want to talk about the family! Gender ideology, and contempt for fertility and fidelity are the many slogans of this revolution.'

In contrast to Cardinal Sarah, Pope Francis told reporters in 2017 that contraception is the 'lesser of two evils' in cases of danger of fetal deformity. He also recalled approvingly 'a difficult situation in Africa,' in which Pope Paul VI is alleged to 'have permitted nuns to use contraceptives in cases of rape.' While he repeated that there is no moral basis for abortion, the Pope said, 'On the other hand, avoiding pregnancy is not an absolute evil. In certain cases, as in this one, such as the one I mentioned of Blessed Paul VI, it was clear.'

Other high-ranking churchmen whom the Nigerian bishops may be referring to include Cardinals Raymund Burke, Carlo Caffarra, Walter Brandmüller, and Joachim Meisner, who published five yes-or-no questions (dubia) pressing the pope on the controversial points of Amoris Laetitia. Cardinal George Pell, then-prefect of the Vatican Secretariat for the Economy, also voiced concerns about Amoris Laetitia and the dubia. Cardinal Gerhard Müller, former prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, has several times criticized Pope Francis's papal actions, even earning a rebuke from the pontiff.

The superior general of the Jesuits, Fr. Arturo Sosa, told the press on September 16 that the 'attacks' on the pope are 'a fight between those who want the church dreamed of by the Second Vatican Council and those who do not want this.' Sosa acknowledged that there is a 'political fight' in the Church today, explaining that the pope's emphasis on synodality 'creates unity' that he sees in the preparations for the coming synod on the Amazonian region.

This is the full statement by the Nigerian bishops' conference.



A Communiqué issued at the end of the Second Plenary Meeting of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) at the Divine Mercy Pastoral Centre, Agbamaya, Obada-Oko, Abeokuta, Ogun State, 11-20 September 2019.


We, the Catholic Bishops of Nigeria held our Second Plenary Meeting for the year at the Divine Mercy Pastoral Centre, Agbamaya, Obada-Oko, Abeokuta, Ogun State from 11-20 September 2019. Having prayerfully reflected on issues affecting the Church and the Nigerian State, we now issue this Communiqué.


The Holy Father Pope Francis has come under attacks in recent times. Of more serious concern are the attacks coming from some higher levels of the Church in some parts of the world. As members of the Episcopal College, of which the Holy Father is the Head, we regard these attacks as the proverbial ill wind that blows no one any good, bearing in mind that there are other more legitimate and traditionally tested avenues of expressing our opinions to the Holy Father. To be able to lead the flock of Christ in the right direction in a world filled with many contradicting and confusing voices, we as a College must speak with one voice. We therefore recognise that 'The Roman Pontiff, as the successor of Peter, is the perpetual and visible source and foundation of the unity both of the Bishops and of the whole company of the faithful' (Vat II, Lumen Gentium 23). We reaffirm our faith in and commitment to the Pontificate of the Holy Father Pope Francis. Consequently, we pledge our loyalty and availability to him in the exercise of his Petrine office, and we promise to continue to cooperate with him fully in the discharge of his divine mandate as the Pastor of the Universal Church (cf. Code of Canon Law, Cann. 331, 334).


i) Continued Insecurity and the Need for Respect for Human Life

There are, unfortunately, still many instances of killings as a result of banditry, kidnapping, assassination, armed robbery, reckless use of force by security agencies and lynching. Lately, too, there is an upsurge in the cases of suicide, even among our youths. Furthermore, the clashes between herdsmen and communities, and the activities of Boko Haram insurgents have continued, in which many innocent people lose their lives. These make living in Nigeria very precarious. We recognise the efforts being made by the government to fight insecurity in the land. However, we emphasise that a lot more still needs to be done in this regard. We pray for the peaceful repose of the victims and sympathise with the bereaved families. We reiterate that without adequate security of lives and property, there can be no stability and enabling environment for meaningful development. We observe that the Federal Government, in which the power to control the major security agencies is vested, is overwhelmed. There is, therefore, need for proper decentralization of these agencies for effective results. We call on all citizens to be law abiding and vigilant, be one another's keeper, live by sound moral principles and, above all, obey the commandments of God. We urge governments at all levels to provide the enabling environment that would make it possible for both the government and the private sector to create job opportunities for our teeming youth population. This would certainly minimise the menace of insecurity in our land. We continue to urge the government and security agencies to do all they can to secure the immediate release of Leah Sharibu, the remaining Chibok girls and all the other persons still in captivity.

ii) Necessity for National Integration

We thank God for making it possible for our country to continue to exist as a sovereign nation. Yet, much effort is required from both government and citizens in order to have a nation in which everyone and every part, irrespective of differences of tribe or religion or political affiliation, will have a sense of belonging. We note with dismay that many months after the general elections, many parts of our nation are still in disarray. The country is badly divided. This is evident in appointments to positions of national importance, sharing of resources, and distribution of social amenities. We urge especially the Federal Government, to ensure that it does not allow ethnic or religious hegemony to prevail in our multi-religious and secular state. No one religion should be favoured over another. There should be fairness, justice and neutrality in relation to all religions and ethnic groups, for where there is no justice, there can be no peace, unity and development. We therefore enjoin all Nigerians to see themselves as one united people and work for justice in order to ensure a peaceful and united nation.

iii) Religion, Politics and Life

We are grateful to God that in these trying times, many Nigerians remain manifestly religious. Our practice of religion, however, seems to have little effect on our moral, socio-economic and political lives. While praying for solutions to our problems, we must endeavour to be just in our dealings with others, work hard in fulfilling our duties, and collaborate with others in the social transformation of our country. We observe that our democracy is derailing from what it should be. The qualities of accountability, transparency, independence of the judiciary, respect for fundamental rights, observance of the rule of law, and fair and credible electoral process, to mention only these, are still lacking. We therefore urge all politicians, businessmen, religious leaders, public servants and indeed all citizens to live out the values of their faith for the common good. To all of us we address the challenge of our Lord Jesus Christ: 'You are the salt of the earth… You are the light of the world' (Mt. 5: 13-14).


We denounce the horrendous xenophobic attacks in South Africa in which many non-nationals, including Nigerians, lost their lives and/or have their property looted and/or forced to flee the country for their dear lives. We condemn the unfortunate reprisals on perceived South African investments in some part of Nigeria, as two wrongs do not make a right! We pray for the peaceful repose of those who lost their lives and sympathise with those who have suffered bereavement, injuries and heavy losses. We commend the South African Catholic Bishops' Conference (SACBC) for being prophetic in their condemnation of the attacks and urging the government to take decisive steps to end them. We join our brother Bishops in vehemently condemning the attacks and with them draw the attention of all nations to Deuteronomy 10:18: 'He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing.' At the same time, we note that South Africa and Nigeria have come a long way in fraternal and diplomatic relations. We advise Nigerians living at home and abroad to be good and law abiding.


Marriage, the sacred and inviolable union between one man and one woman, is under pressure throughout the world. In our country, this pressure has been increased by the economic and social crises that have lasted for several years. As a result, many a family is no longer stable enough to fulfill the traditional roles of the family in the Church and in the society. We therefore reiterate that the family, as the cradle of life and development, needs to be helped to rediscover as well as to cherish its divine mandate as the first school of virtues and values. Parents are called upon to, by their words and examples, uphold the ideals of decency, discipline, honesty and marital fidelity. The pursuit of wealth and 'success' must be guided by those values if families are to bequeath to the wider society responsible young people, who cherish hard work and merit, who respect elders, value the sacredness of life, the sanctity of the sacrament of marriage and are willing to honestly contribute to the building of the nation and the growth of the Church. Parents are also enjoined to keep vigilance over their children and wards, in order to provide moral guidance and protection from unhealthy influences, sexual deviance and exploitation. In spite of present economic challenges, we urge the members of families never to throw away the important African and Christian values of respect and care for the elderly.


In union with the Holy Father Pope Francis, we thank and encourage those priests and religious who continue to put themselves at risk in serving the people of God and giving themselves up unreservedly, never to give up. However, we also insist that the times call for holiness of life and more sacrifice on the part of all priests and religious if we are to be true to our vocations. All priests and religious must exercise discretion and be committed to a life of simplicity that is consistent with the life of the Master, who had nowhere to lay his head (cf. Lk 9:57-58). An ostentatious and materialistic life of luxury draws unnecessary attention and portends counter witnessing.

We also enjoin all priests and religious to have a healthy relationship with young people and do more to inculcate the faith in them. Altar servers, members of the Association of the Holy Childhood, teenagers, members of Catholic Youth Organization of Nigeria (CYON), Young Catholic Students (YCS), Nigeria Federation of Catholic Students (NFCS) and others, need faith mentoring to ensure a fruitful future for the Church. All forms of abuse of minors and vulnerable adults are to be abhorred, since they are a betrayal not only of the confidence our people repose in us but also of our vocations and ministry as priests and religious.


This year marks the centenary celebration of the Apostolic Letter of Pope Benedict XV, Maximum Illud, on the Church's missionary role, issued on 30 November 1919. To mark the celebration, Pope Francis has drawn the attention of the entire Church to the Extraordinary Mission Month of October 2019. This month serves as a momentous opportunity to reflect on the meaning of the missionary mandate of Christ, to assess the effectiveness of our response to this mandate, to reignite our zeal for the mission, and provide prayerful support for missionary efforts all over the Catholic world.

The International Young Catholic Students (IYCS) held their World Council meeting in Abuja, Nigeria, from 30 August to 10 September 2019 with the theme: 'Taking Action for Peace, Here and Now.'

The Golden Jubilee of the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM) was celebrated in Kampala, Uganda, 19-29 July 2019. The Conferences of Africa and Madagascar were represented. The Jubilee celebration provided a significant opportunity for the Church in Africa to evaluate her evangelizing strategy and effectiveness of her becoming Family of God in the true and rich sense.

The third Plenary Assembly of the Regional Episcopal Conference of West Africa (RECOWA) was held in Ouagadougou 13-20 May 2019. Thirty-four Nigerian Bishops were in attendance. The Assembly called on the governments and civil authorities in the West Africa region to pay more attention and commit more resources to the development of the youths. The next Plenary Assembly comes up in the year 2022 and will be hosted by the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Nigeria (CBCN). We take this opportunity to congratulate Most Rev. Ignatius Ayau Kaigama, the Co-adjutor Archbishop of Abuja and the Apostolic Administrator of Jos Archdiocese, on his re-election as the President of RECOWA.

We congratulate the Ecclesiastical Provinces of Abuja, Benin City, Calabar, Ibadan, Jos and Owerri for celebrating the 25th Anniversary of their erection this year. May the Church of Christ continue to flourish in our land. Amen. We thank God for the increase in the number of Bishops in Nigeria. Most Rev. Francis Obafemi Adesina, the Bishop of Ijebu Ode Diocese, was ordained on 25 April 2019. Most Rev. Patrick Eluke, the Auxiliary Bishop of Port Harcourt Diocese, was also ordained on 9 May 2019. We wish Most Rev. Albert Fasina, the Bishop Emeritus of Ijebu Ode Diocese, a happy retirement and thank him for his services. We thank God for Most Rev. Paul Olawoore who on 12 July 2019 officially assumed office as the substantive Bishop of Ilorin Diocese. We rejoice with and thank Most Rev. Ayo Maria Atoyebi, OP, the Bishop Emeritus of the same Diocese for his stewardship. We regret the death of Most Rev. Kevin Joseph Aje, the Bishop Emeritus of Sokoto Diocese, who died on 27 May 2019 and has since been buried. We condole with the Bishop, Priests and the Laity of Sokoto Diocese and pray God to grant his servant eternal rest.

We equally congratulate the Dioceses of Maiduguri and Ijebu Ode on their epoch-making achievements. The Diocese of Maiduguri dedicated her St. Patrick's Cathedral on 10 July 2019. Ijebu Ode Diocese celebrated the Golden Jubilee of her canonical erection as a Diocese on 18 July 2019.


The Nigerian State is much endowed with natural, human and spiritual resources. Sadly, political authorities have not been completely diligent in relating to these resources neither have they been fair and equitable in distributing them. Justice requires them to give everyone their due, from sharing of resources to caring for the human person. Where there is no fair sharing of wealth and opportunities, there is bound to be crisis. It is only when we have justice that we can have true peace and sustainable development. We enjoin all Christians and people of good will to preach daily this message of justice and peace, and to live it out coherently. May the Blessed Virgin Mary our Mother, the Queen of Peace and Patroness of Nigeria intercede for us.

Most Rev. Augustine Obiora AKUBEZE

Most Rev. Camillus Raymond UMOH

President, CBCN Secretary, CBCN

Archbishop of Benin City Bishop of Ikot-Ekpene

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UK (NORTHERN IRELAND) Over 800 health care workers rip UK govt imposing abortion

THE SOCIETY FOR THE PROTECTION OF UNBORN CHILDREN (SPUC) reports ~ More than 800 health care professionals have written to the secretary of state opposing the imposition of a radical new abortion regime on Northern Ireland.

The letter is addressed to Julian Smith MP, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, and permanent health secretary for Northern Ireland, Richard Pengelley. It has been signed by doctors, nurses and midwives, who say 'our consciences demand that we not be silent'.

Protect The Most Vulnerable

The medics say that they 'wish to make known our opposition to the imminent introduction of abortion in Northern Ireland' and that their 'concern throughout is for pregnant mothers and their unborn children'.

'The concept of taking a human life at any stage is inimical to us, and the concept of taking a human life in the womb especially so,' they wrote.

The group also 'appeal to the UK government not to impose this unwanted legislation'.

'We appeal to our elected representatives to re-establish a functional Northern Ireland government so that democratic process be restored,' they state.

'We appeal to the wider society to consider and reflect on the humanity and value of every life, from conception to death, that the weakest and most vulnerable would be protected and cherished by all.'

Fears About Conscience Rights

Dr Andrew Cupples told the Belfast Telegraph that many medical professionals were concerned that they would not have a right to conscientious objection. 'We have a lot of Christians who very strongly feel that the unborn child is a human being with value and worth. On the same side we have a strong compassion and a real desire to care for woman in crisis pregnancies.

'At the moment Northern Ireland has the best and most protected care for women and unborn children. On October 22 it will have the worst in western Europe. The unborn child in the womb will have no legal rights up to 28 weeks.'

Dr Cupples said there would be a gap of five months before any potential legislation will be introduced to protect midwives and nurses who choose not to be involved in an abortion.

Midwives for Both Lives has also written to Mr Pengelly and Mr Smith. In addition, this pro-life group wrote to the Royal College of Midwives, saying there was 'currently no conscientious objection in law in NI for midwives... in contrast to our counterparts in mainland UK who are protected under law and under the NMC code'.

The Royal College of Midwives said it was 'insisting that... the development of interim guidance and regulation safeguard the right to conscientious objection'. However, the RCM is a leading supporter of decriminalising abortion in the UK, a stance it took up under former CEO Cathy Warwick, who was also a trustee of abortion provider BPAS.

She Asked For Medical Opinions...We're Giving Them

Dr Cupples also slammed the lack of consultation with the people of Northern Ireland. 'We don't want this brought in. We haven't been asked,' he said. 'Stella Creasy [Labour MP] who tabled this motion said during the debate that she didn't want to ask the people in Northern Ireland, but she wanted the opinion of healthcare professionals. The healthcare professionals are giving her our opinion. I emailed her last night with this letter and I am awaiting a response.'

SPUC is running a petition calling on the DUP, as the main pro-life political party, to do all it can to get Stormont up and running again.

[LSN] 2301.18



















UNITED KINGDOM Pregnant pro-abortion politician furious over billboard of 9-week foetus

DOUG MAINWARING reports for LifeSiteNews - A member of Parliament who is leading the charge to legalize abortion in Northern Ireland has demanded that pro-life billboards popping up in the London suburb she represents be taken down.

The billboards picture a nine-week-old living fetus and which direct people to 'StopStella.com,' are part of a campaign targeting MP Stella Creasy in Walthamstow, north of London, where she resides.

Creasy has called for the immediate removal of the billboards, which she claims are a form of 'harassment.'

Portraying the billboard posters as the 'harassment of women' in Walthamstow, she asked the local police department if they still think this is just 'free speech?'

Creasy asked her Twitter followers to put her in contact with the CEO of Clear Channel UK, the company which owns the billboards, and wondered, 'how much did you get for this cr*p?'

Clear Channel UK Direct Marketing wasted no time in capitulating to Creasy's demands, responding on Twitter: 'We apologise for a recent billboard campaign in Walthamstow. We have removed this campaign and are reviewing our internal processes.'

Some of Creasy's supporters didn't wait for clear Channel to remove the billboards; they simply painted over them. One of the white-washed pro-life posters displayed a new hand-written message, 'My body, my choice.'

London's Mayor, Sadiq Khan, also joined the pro-abortion chorus and condemned the pro-life ads as creating 'Sickening scenes in Walthamstow where anti-abortion campaigners are targeting Stella Creasy.'

The Pro-abortion MP has recently sought to railroad through an extreme new abortion regime in Northern Ireland without consulting the public.

The unfolding drama over the pro-life billboards is occurring just as 800 health care professionals have written to the UK secretary of state opposing the imposition of the radical new abortion regime on Northern Ireland.

The billboards are part of a larger effort by the Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform (CBRUK) to get Creasy to 'stop promoting human rights abuses of children in the womb.'

'We are saturating Walthamstow, MP Stella Creasy's constituency, with the humanity of the unborn child and the reality of abortion,' read a statement on the CBRUK's website.

'Whilst highlighting to constituents how their MP is working hard to promote abortion as a 'human right,'' it continued.

The CBRUK site noted that Creasy voted last year to decriminalize abortion up to birth across the United Kingdom.


The CBRUK website calls Creasy, who is pregnant, a 'hypocrite' because of the inconsistencies in ignoring the humanity of unborn children in order to support abortion, yet identifying her own child in utero as a 'baby'