42

PopeWatch: Ed Feser

Ed Feser, who has recently written a book on the traditional Catholic teaching on the death penalty, By Man Shall His Blood Be Shed:  A Catholic Defense of Capital Punishment, looks at the current attempt by Pope Francis to reverse Church teaching:

 

“The Church teaches that scripture is divinely inspired, that it cannot teach error where matters of faith and morals are concerned, and that it must always be interpreted in the way the Church traditionally has understood it. But many passages of scripture clearly teach that capital punishment is legitimate, and have always been interpreted by the Church as teaching this,” he said. 

Both the Old and New Testaments indicate that the death penalty can be legitimate. For instance, Genesis 9:6 states: “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; for God made man in his own image.” Or again, St. Paul in his Letter to the Romans teaches that the state “does not bear the sword in vain (but) is the servant of God to execute his wrath on the wrongdoer.”

Feser said previous popes have “consistently” reaffirmed the legitimacy of capital punishment and have “insisted that accepting its legitimacy is a requirement of Catholic orthodoxy.”

One such pope would be Pius XII, who in 1955 defended the authority of the State to punish crimes, even with the death penalty. He argued that capital punishment is morally defensible in every age and culture because “the coercive power of legitimate human authority” is based on “the sources of revelation and traditional doctrine.”  

“Even Pope St. John Paul II taught that capital punishment is not always and absolutely wrong,” said Feser. 

St. Thomas Aquinas, in his classic defense of capital punishment in the Summa Theologica, argued that “if a man be dangerous and infectious to the community, on account of some sin, it is praiseworthy and advantageous that he be killed in order to safeguard the common good.” 

The Catholic professor said the Church also has “always taught that popes are obligated to preserve traditional teaching and never to contradict it.” 

“When Pope Francis says that capital punishment is ‘in itself contrary to the Gospel,’ and ‘inadmissible … no matter how serious the crime,’ he seems to be contradicting traditional teaching,” he said.

“If that is what he is doing, then he is flirting with doctrinal error, which is possible when a pope is not speaking ex cathedra, even though it is extremely rare. There are only a handful of cases in Church history of popes who are possibly guilty of this, the best known cases being those of Pope Honorius and Pope John XXII,” he added.

Feser said that if Pope Francis is reversing past teaching on capital punishment, then he is “implicitly saying that every previous pope and scripture itself were wrong.”

“This would completely undermine the authority of the Church, and of Pope Francis himself. For if the Church could be that wrong for that long about something that serious, why trust anything else she says? And if all previous popes have been so badly mistaken, why should we think Pope Francis is right?” he said.  Continue Reading

60

Is “No One Is Condemned Forever” Perversely Compassionate, According To St. Augustine ?

In his masterpiece, City Of God, St. Augustine devotes seven entire chapters of Book XXI to this subject, as stated at the beginning of Chapter 17: “Of Those Who Fantasize That No Men Shall Be Punished Eternally.”

It was as if St. Augustine got an advance copy of the papal exhortation, Amoris Laetitia, and read its proclamation that: ”No one can be condemned forever, because that is not the logic of the Gospel! Here I am not speaking only of the divorced and remarried, but of everyone, in whatever situation they find themselves.” (Para. 297).

This discussion assumes – particularly since it has not been denied or clarified in response to responsible questions and reasonable doubts – that Amoris Laetitia teaches that there is no eternal punishment for sin, for any sin, of any kind, in any situation. Should the questions be addressed and the doubts dissolved, and the words of Jesus and the constant teaching of the Church for about two millennia be affirmed (that indeed, a person can go to Hell forever), then the following discussion can be shredded and  thrown into the bin.

Tender-Hearted Christians

St. Augustine begins with a reference to “tender-hearted Christians”:

“I must now, I see, enter the lists of amicable controversy with those tender-hearted Christians who decline to believe that any, or that all of those whom the infallibly just Judge may pronounce worthy of the punishment of hell, shall suffer eternally, and who suppose that they shall be delivered after a fixed term of punishment, longer or shorter according to the amount of each man’s sin.” (Chapter 17; Book XXI, City Of God; henceforth in the form “17:XXI”)

Mercy For The Devils In Hell ?

If no sinner will be condemned forever, St. Augustine wonders why this will not apply to the fallen angels:

“Which opinion, if it is good and true because it is merciful, will be so much the better and truer in proportion as it becomes more merciful. Let, then, this fountain of mercy be extended, and flow forth even to the lost angels, and let them also be set free, at least after as many and long ages as seem fit! Why does this stream of mercy flow to all the human race, and dry up as soon as it reaches the angelic? And yet they dare not extend their pity further, and propose the deliverance of the devil himself. Or if anyone is bold enough to do so, he does indeed put to shame their charity, but is himself convicted of error that is more unsightly, and a wresting of God’s truth that is more perverse, in proportion as his clemency of sentiment seems to be greater.” (17:XXI)

It Is In Sinners’ Interest To Deny an Eternal Hell

St. Augustine notes that there are some whose opinions he has heard, who live a bad life, who profess that God’s mercy will be their salvation:

“There are others, again, with whose opinions I have become acquainted in conversation, who, though they seem to reverence the holy Scriptures, are yet of reprehensible life, and who accordingly, in their own interest, attribute to God a still greater compassion towards men. For they acknowledge that it is truly predicted in the divine word that the wicked and unbelieving are worthy of punishment, but they assert that, when the judgment comes, mercy will prevail.” (18:XXI)

Conjectures, Absurdity & Arguing Against God

St. Augustine, again and again, makes the point that those who would rely on total, encompassing-all-sin, divine mercy, while denying endless punishment, are simply making absurd arguments. For example:

“ . . . Or is perhaps the sentence of God, which is to be pronounced on wicked men and angels alike, to be true in the case of the angels, false in that of men? Plainly it will be so if the conjectures of men are to weigh more than the word of God. But because this is absurd, they who desire to be rid of eternal punishment ought to abstain from arguing against God, and rather, while yet there is opportunity, obey the divine commands. . . . And to say in one and the same sense, life eternal shall be endless, punishment eternal shall come to an end, is the height of absurdity. Wherefore, as the eternal life of the saints shall be endless, so too the eternal punishment of those who are doomed to it shall have no end.” (23:XXI)

Asserted By No One Sound In The Faith

St. Augustine sees that some proclaiming that divine mercy trumps divine justice “attempt to invalidate the words of God,” not to proclaim the extent of His mercy, but “in their own interest . . .under the guise of greater tenderness of sprit.” (24:XXI). He wonders how far those who promote these errors will go:

“Or will there, perhaps, be someone hardy enough to affirm that even the holy angels will make common cause with holy men (then become the equals of God’s angels), and will intercede for the guilty, both men and angels, that mercy may spare them the punishment which truth has pronounced them to deserve? But this has been asserted by no one sound in the faith; nor will be. Otherwise there is no reason why the Church should not even now pray for the devil and his angels, since God her Master has ordered her to pray for her enemies. The reason, then, which prevents the Church from now praying for the wicked angels, whom she knows to be her enemies, is the identical reason which shall prevent her, however perfected in holiness, from praying at the last judgment for those men who are to be punished in eternal fire.” (24:XXI)

God’s Words Are Truth, Not An Empty Threat

St. Augustine says that these declarations about mercy are contradicted by the clear words of Jesus and of Holy Scripture:
“As for those who find an empty threat rather than a truth in such passages as these: “Depart from me, you cursed, into everlasting fire; and These shall go away into eternal punishment” [Mt 25: 41,46]; “They shall be tormented for ever and ever” [Rev 20:10]; and “Their worm shall not die, and their fire shall not be quenched, [Is 66:24] — such persons, I say, are most emphatically and abundantly refuted, not by me so much as by the divine Scripture itself.” (24:XXI)

Later in this Chapter 24, St. Augustine refers to those who deny that some sinners will be subject to eternal punishment as “perversely compassionate.” (24:XXI).

It Is Error To Say God Will Condemn No One

In discussing Romans 11: 32 – “For God has concluded all in unbelief, that He may have mercy upon all” – St. Augustine says that this statement of St. Paul “ . . . does not mean that He will condemn no one . . . “ (18:XXXI)

Conclusion

The false position on mercy has come be called the “universalist heresy,” the heresy that all persons will be saved due to God’s mercy, and that a God who is merciful will not condemn anyone to an eternal hell. If the words “No one is condemned forever” stand as written and promulgated, without change or explanation, then they are a statement of the universalist heresy.

3

PopeWatch: Knights

From the only reliable source of Catholic news on the net, Eye of the Tiber:

 

Two months after ditching their ostrich-plume chapeaus, the Knights of Columbus continue their rebranding efforts by announcing the organization shall be henceforth known as the “Knights of Indigenous Peoples.”

“This change distances us from that conquistador Columbus,” said Eric Jenkins, Commander of Assembly #4251 and one of nearly two-dozen millennial members nationwide.  “Everyone knows he was a racist.”

“We’re not caving into social pressure,” explained 4th Degree Knight Lawrence Reddy.  “We’re simply kowtowing to social justice.  Maybe one day they’ll shelf the trigger word ‘knight,’ too.  Gives me the willies.”

In addition to continuing their traditional work of high-pressure insurance sales and slinging cheap beer at fish fry’s, the Knights of Indigenous People will now also form honor guards for half-naked tribal women presenting the gifts at papal Masses.

 

Go here to read the comments.  PopeWatch contacted the Vatican for comment but was told that the Pope was still recovering from his Day of the Race celebration.

22

PopeWatch: Death Penalty

“Consistency with Scripture and longstanding Catholic tradition is important for the grounding of many current teachings of the Catholic Church; for example, those regarding abortion, contraception, the permanence of marriage and the ineligibility of women for priestly ordination. If the tradition on capital punishment had been reversed, serious questions would be raised regarding other doctrines.”

Avery Cardinal Dulles, 2004

 

Showing the contempt for prior Church teaching that has been the hallmark of this kidney stone of a pontificate, Pope Francis has stated that the death penalty is contrary to the Gospel:

 

Pope Francis has issued his strongest statement yet against the death penalty, calling it “contrary to the Gospel.” He said he would like the Catechism of the Catholic Church to change according to a “new understanding of Christian truth,” saying that only a “partial vision can think of ‘the deposit of faith’ as something static.”

The Pope made his comments in an October 11 speech to the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization, which gathered to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the release of the Catechism of the Catholic Church promulgated by Pope St. John Paul II. 

“The death penalty is an inhumane measure that humiliates, in any way it is pursued, human dignity,” said Pope Francis.

“It is, of itself, contrary to the Gospel, because it is freely decided to suppress a human life that is always sacred,” he added. “In the final analysis, God alone is the true judge and guarantor.”

The Catholic Church, following the Bible and the fathers and doctors of the Church, including St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas, as well as Pope Pius XII, has always viewed capital punishment as a legitimate form of protection of the public from immediate danger and as a legitimate punishment for serious crimes. 

Pope Francis has gone beyond the position held by Pope St. John Paul II and Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI who, while opposing capital punishment, never held that it was, in itself, intrinsically evil. 

St. Thomas Aquinas, in his classic defense of capital punishment in the Summa Theologica, argued that “if a man be dangerous and infectious to the community, on account of some sin, it is praiseworthy and advantageous that he be killed in order to safeguard the common good.” 

Pope Pius XII defended in 1955 the authority of the State to punish crimes, even with the death penalty. He argued that capital punishment is morally defensible in every age and culture because “the coercive power of legitimate human authority” is based on “the sources of revelation and traditional doctrine.” 

Both the Old and New Testaments indicate that the death penalty can be legitimate. For instance, Genesis 9:6 states: “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; for God made man in his own image.” Or again, St. Paul in his Letter to the Romans teaches that the state “does not bear the sword in vain [but] is the servant of God to execute his wrath on the wrongdoer.”

The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that the death penalty is morally permissible.  Continue Reading

10

PopeWatch: Pontifical Academy for Life

Perhaps it should be renamed The Former Pontifical Academy for Life:

 

The first gathering of Pope Francis’ now overhauled Pontifical Academy for Life did not ease pro-life concerns over its future as the Vatican’s stated new focus for the PAV will turn from abortion and bioethics to include immigration and the environment.

Some are saying the Academy has “lost its way,” that the changes made by the pope “differ drastically” from its founding by Pope Saint John Paul II, or are an “attack” on the pro-life Academy’s mandate. 

They question as well an apparent new prioritization of the temporal.

“It’s obvious that being ‘pro-life’ means, even for the academy, to rethink the semantic value of the term life, which cannot be reduced to a perspective that is uniquely bioethical,” Academy president, Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, said at a press conference.

“If we must be pro-life, we must be always, in every way, and everywhere pro-life,” he continued, according to a C-FAM report, citing Pope Francis.

Paglia also said there were no plans to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the papal encyclical Humanae Vitae next year. 

Rather, the Academy is opening “new frontiers for debate,” he said, mentioning in particular the environment, immigration, and arms control. Continue Reading

1

PopeWatch: Archbishop Savio Hon Tai-Fai

The ongoing sell out of faithful Chinese Catholics goes on apace at the Vatican:

 

 

A senior archbishop known for his strong opposition to the Communist regime in China has been removed from a key post in the Vatican by Pope Francis. The move is the latest in a series of overtures Pope Francis has made in recent years to seek resumption of diplomatic relations between the Vatican and the Chinese regime, which has always rejected the Pope’s authority to appoint Catholic bishops in Mainland China.

Pope Francis made the surprise announcement on Sept. 28 that Archbishop Savio Hon Tai-Fai, the Secretary of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples (Propaganda Fide) at the Vatican, will be reassigned to Athens, Greece to serve as the Vatican’s papal nuncio (diplomat). The 67-year-old Archbishop from Hong Kong, who has been the highest-ranking official of Chinese origin in the Vatican, has no prior diplomatic experience.

As the French newspaper La Croix noted, Archbishop Hon has been one of the most senior bishops opposed to Pope Francis’ policy of rapprochement with the Chinese regime. His position at the Vatican’s Propaganda Fide, where he served for seven years since being appointed there by previous Pope Benedict XVI in 2010, was a powerful post as that put him second-in-command in the Vatican body that directly governs Vatican’s missionary works.

The Vatican and the People’s Republic of China have had no diplomatic relations since 1951, as the Chinese Communist Party insisted from the very beginning of its rule that all bishops of the Roman Catholic Church in mainland China should be appointed by itself so as to maintain control. Instead, a regime-controlled Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association (CPCA) was created to supposedly represent Catholics in China, yet the CPCA has never been recognized by the Vatican.

Since Pope Francis was elected in 2013, however, he has made numerous overtures to open diplomatic relations, such as a Papal flight over China in 2014, and an announcement in February of this year that an agreement over the issue of the power to appoint Bishops has been reached with Beijing, among other events.

Go here to read the rest.  For this Pope there are no enemies on the Left, and no friends who are not on the Left.

9

PopeWatch: Homilies

If one wishes to understand this Pope, it is a good idea to look at his homilies.  He often “wings” them rather than reading from a prepared text.  Thus in his homilies we get the pure and unadulterated Francis.  Case in point this extract from a homily last month:

 

“This (is the) healthy realism of the Catholic Church: the Church never teaches us ‘or this or that.’ That is not Catholic. The Church says to us: ‘this and that.’ ‘Strive for perfectionism: reconcile with your brother.  Do not insult him. Love him. And if there is a problem, at the very least settle your differences so that war doesn’t break out.’ This (is) the healthy realism of Catholicism. It is not Catholic (to say) ‘or this or nothing:’ This is not Catholic, this is heretical.  Jesus always knows how to accompany us, he gives us the ideal, he accompanies us towards the ideal, He frees us from the chains of the laws’ rigidity and tells us: ‘But do that up to the point that you are capable.’ And he understands us very well.  He is our Lord and this is what he teaches us.” Continue Reading

2

PopeWatch: Christopher Columbus

On May 27, 2017 when visiting Genoa, Pope Francis mentioned and praised Christopher Columbus.  Ironically it was in the context of attempting to convince Italians to accept mass illegal immigration from Islamic countries, something that would have appalled Columbus:

 

And thank you, Luca, for your restlessness. Genoa is a port city, which historically has received many ships and has produced great navigators! To be a disciple it takes the same navigator’s heart: horizon and courage. If you have no horizon, or prospect, and are unable to look at what is under your nose, you will never be a good missionary. If you do not have courage, you will never be one. It is the virtue of the navigator: they know how to read the horizon, to go, and they have the courage to go. Let us think of the great navigators of the fifteenth century, many set out from here. You have the opportunity to know everything with new techniques, but these techniques of information very often make us fall into a trap: because instead of being informed we are saturated, and when you are saturated your horizon draws in, until you have a wall in front of you, and you lose the capacity to look to the horizon. Be careful: always watch for what they are selling you! Also what they are selling you in the media. Contemplation, the capacity to contemplate the horizon, of making your own judgement, not eating what they serve you on a plate. This is a challenge: it is a challenge that I think should lead us to prayer, to say to the Lord, “Lord, I ask you a favour: please, never stop challenging me”. Challenges to our horizon which require courage. Are you Genoese? Navigator: horizon and courage. And to all Genoese, I say: onwards! That prayer I offered to you: “Lord, I ask you a favour, challenge me today”. Yes, “Jesus, please, come, trouble me, give me the courage to be able to answer to the challenge and to You”. I like this Jesus Who bothers, Who troubles: because He is the living Jesus, Who moves within you with the Holy Spirit. And how good it is to see a boy or a girl let themselves be moved by Jesus; and the young person who does not allow his or her mouth to be closed easily, who learns not to stay with a closed mouth, who is not happy with simplistic answers, who seeks the truth, who looks for the profound, who sets out at large, who goes ahead, onwards. And who has the courage to ask questions about the truth and many things. We must learn to challenge the present. A healthy spiritual life generates lively young people, who when faced with some things that are offered nowadays by this culture – “normal”, they say, it may be, I don’t know – ask themselves, “Is this normal, or is this not normal?”. The courage to seek the truth. Is it normal that every day that sense of indifference increases? I don’t care what happens to others: indifference with friends, neighbours, in our neighbourhood, at work, in school… Is it normal – as Francesca invites us to ask – that many of our peers, migrants or from distant, difficult countries, bloodied by selfishness that leads to death, that they live in our cities in truly difficult situations? Is this normal? Is it normal that the Mediterranean has become a cemetery? Is this normal? Is it normal that many, many countries – and I am not saying Italy, because Italy is very generous – is it normal that many countries are closing their doors to these people who are wounded and flee from hunger, from war, these exploited people, who come in search of a little security … is it normal? This question: is this normal? If it is not normal, I must get involved to make sure it doesn’t happen. My dear, this takes courage, it takes courage.

Returning to navigators, Christopher Columbus, whom they say was one of yours – but we know, but many like him or he himself perhaps departed from here – of him they say, “This crazy man wants to arrive here going from there”. But he had reasoned on the “normality” of certain things and faced a great challenge: he had courage. Is it normal that, faced with the pain of others, our attitude is to close the doors? If it is not normal, get involved. Challenging the present is having the courage to say, “There are things that seem normal but they are not normal”. And you, this you must think: these are not things willed by God, and they must not be willed by us! And say this with force! This is Jesus: untimely, Who breaks up our systems, our plans. It is Jesus Who sows in our hearts the restlessness to ask this question. And this is good: this is very good! Continue Reading

23

PopeWatch: Pope Issues Apology for Lepanto

 

 

Well this comes as little surprise:

 

The Pope at the Vatican today issued an apology for the victory of the Holy League at Lepanto on October 7, 1571.  “All those poor Turks were seeking to do was to get to Italy.  How much better if our predecessor Pius V had organized a grand reception for them, meeting the Turkish forces with open arms and Christian charity and humility.  Why the whole course of human history may well have been changed for the better.”  The Pope also lamented the attribution of the victory of Lepanto to the intercession of the Virgin Mary.  “The Blessed Virgin always stands for peace and mercy, and not for war and what Man calls victory.  Our predecessor no doubt had his heart in the right place, but what he did by proclaiming the feast day of Our Lady of Victory was near blasphemy.”  The Pope then proclaimed that October 7 would henceforth be the feast day of Our Lady of Perpetual Defeat on which day Catholics will say rosaries in reparation for the many non-ecumenical sins Catholics have been guilty of in waging wars of aggression against the followers of the Religion of Peace. Continue Reading

10

PopeWatch: Separated at Birth

Jonathan Last at The Weekly Standard reminds of the similarities between The Pope and The Donald:

 

I used to think of Francis as the David Souter of Rome. But the deeper we get into his papacy, the clearer it is that he’s incredibly similar to President Trump. Francis doesn’t read, or seem overly concerned with policy or theology. He’s dismissive of long-standing traditions and established theological “experts” and instead wants the Church to be more populist. He’s prone to speaking off-the-cuff and without the pieties of formality. He likes to bully his subordinates instead of building consensus. He has a knack for searching out hot-button issues where he can sow division rather than building consensus. He has an incredibly healthy sense of his own executive acumen. Continue Reading

13

PopeWatch: Cafeteria Catholics

Father Z takes on the accusation that orthodox critics of Pope Francis are cafeteria Catholics:

 

First, Jesuit Thomas Reese wrote (at the horrid RNS), about how more conservative Catholics are now “cafeteria Catholics” because they disagree with Pope Francis.  But there are some problems with his argument.

More Catholic than the pope

[…]

Four cardinals (two of whom have recently gone to their eternal reward) criticized the pope publicly in 2016 by issuing what they called a “dubia,” asking the pope to clarify what they considered his straying from the true faith. [No.  They did not criticize the Pope.  They asked, rather humbly, for clarifications of what he really means to teach.] Last month, several dozen theologians accused the pope of spreading heresy.  [No. The Correctio Filialis does not accuse the Pope of spreading heresy.  It states that the Pope has caused confusion through negligence.  That’s not nothing, but it isn’t a direct accusation of here, as Reese falsely claimed.]

[…]

These criticisms of Pope Francis put progressive Catholics in an awkward position. Progressives are big fans of Francis, but it would be somewhat hypocritical of them to suddenly become papal absolutists when they clearly had disagreements with Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI. On the other hand, conservatives who are now critical of Francis accused progressives of being “cafeteria Catholics” when they disagreed with John Paul or Benedict. [No.  When they disagree with the CHURCH’s teaching, such as on the issue of the ordination of women or contraception, etc.]

All I can say is, “Welcome to the cafeteria.”  [Um… no.  Some of us don’t want to be in the cafeteria at all and we refuse to enter.]

The truth is all Catholics are cafeteria Catholics. [No.  We don’t accept the premise.]  Conservative Catholics were quite willing to ignore John Paul’s and Benedict’s strong statements on justice and peace, [No.  That’s not the case.] and progressive Catholics are happy to ignore Francis’ opposition to women priests.

Disagreeing with the pope was not welcomed during the papacies of John Paul and Benedict. [Does he seriously think that FRANCIS welcomes disagreement?!?] Bishops, priests, theologians, and Catholic publications were expected to unreservedly cheer any statement that came out of Rome. [For those of you who don’t know, Reese was sacked as editor of Jesuit-run America because of its increasingly heterodoxy.  He is still grinding his axe.] Priests were silenced, [that’s happening now] seminary professors were removed, and magazine editors were fired if they strayed from the party line. The open debate that occurred during the Second Vatican Council was closed down. [Pure fantasy.] Candidates for the episcopacy were chosen based on loyalty to Rome rather than on intelligence or pastoral abilities. [B as in B. S as in S.  How insulting.]

[…]

Enough of that.  All he is trying to do is justify liberal dissent.  We are unconvinced.

Continue Reading

2

PopeWatch: Valeria Fedeli

 

Sadly, this is no surprise:

 

When a book bearing the Pope’s name, Learning to Learn: Reflections on Education Issues (“Imparare ad imparare. Riflessioni sui temi dell’educazione”), appeared in bookstores last Thursday, it bore the preface by Fedeli, sparking a wave of criticism by Catholics and pro-family groups. One local media outlet noted that the choice for preface-writer seemed “almost a provocation.”

When Fedeli was appointed Education Minister last December, the Italian pro-family group Generazione Famiglia called the decision a “declaration of war” against the traditional family and the right of children to have a mother and a father.

In recent years, Fedeli has been “undoubtedly the most tenacious and ideological supporter of the manipulation of school programs at every level according to the dictates of gender theories,” the organization declared. Continue Reading

3

PopeWatch: Stand Up, Stand Up For Jesus

From the only reliable source of Catholic news on the net, Eye of the Tiber:

 

Catholics parishioners across the U.S. protested during the Our Father Sunday in defiance of Pope Francis, who said that parishioners who kneel during the “Lord’s Prayer” should be denied communion.

Many parishioners sat, kneeled, or stayed inside restrooms during the recitation of the Our Father, with some pastors encouraging parishioners to express themselves.

Demonstrations began Sunday when nearly two dozen parishioners of Our Lady of Good Counsel parish took a knee. Other laymen who chose to remain standing locked arms, as opposed to holding hands.

Seattle parishioners announced they would not participate in the anthem as a city, saying, “We will no longer stand for the crappy catechesis in this country. Out of love for our Church, and in honor of Christ’s sacrifice made on our behalf, we unite to oppose those that would deny our most basic religious instructions. We remain committed in continuing to work towards better homilies and for better motu proprios.” Continue Reading

10

PopeWatch: Fear

Father Z explains why more priests and clerics do not speak out about this mad pontificate:

 

My friend Fr. Ray Blake, PP of Brighton, has a stupendous post today about FEAR.   HERE  He was asked to sign the Correctio Filialis and he writes openly about his fear of reprisals if he does so.

He is right to be afraid.  The question is, how shall we move forward, intelligently, and do the right thing even though we are in peril?

Here is some of Fr. Blake’s piece with my usual additions.

To Sign or Not to Sign

I have been asked to sign the Filial Correction, I signed the letter of the 45 academics and pastors last year, and almost immediately found Cardinal Nichols’ tanks parked on my lawn to inform me of his displeasure, which was quite mild unlike other lay signatories, who were sacked from their jobs in Catholic institutions for their pains, Dr. Josef Seifertis being the most high profile. I admit it, I am afraid to sign and I know other priests who share my fear. Many of those who might have signed have in the last four years have a certain fear about their place in the Church.

Rome and those surrounding the Pontiff have certainly become more vicious in defending him, never ever engaging in intellectual arguments, merely attacking like ravenous wolves or child bullies those who pose questions. The climate is bad throughout the Church, in Rome it is positively toxic. [I can attest that this is true.  Rome is like… a WWI field full of trenches with creeping yellow gas.] Under Francis the Vatican has become a place of fear and arbitrary oppression, there was a public glimpse of that in the sacking of Cdl Mueller by the Pope, and earlier in the dismissal of a couple of priests from the CDF and amongst laymen of Libero Milone, former Auditor General and many others. It is not just in theology that 2+2=5, or whatever number the Pope chooses that day, it extends to morality and ordinary human decency, ultimately it is a serious attack on the rationality of the Catholic faith and intellectual rigour. [In the name of being “pastoral” and “compassionate”.]

The abusive attacks on any one who asks legitimate filial questions or even of people like Cardinal Burke and the other “Dubia Cardinas” or even Cdls Sarah or Mueller  by the likes Austen Ivereigh, Rosica or Spadaro [Wile E., Beans, etc.] merely echo the statements of the notoriously immoderate Cardinal Madriaga the senior member of the Pope’s Council of Nine or the shocking insults always aimed at faithful Catholics by the Pope himself. Let us not even go to the shenanigans and manipulation surrounding the Synod on the Family

The men who rule the Church are not even in the worldly sense good, as the former Prefect of the CDF has said “power has become more important than truth”. It would be easy to dwell on the gay chem-sex parties hosted in the Vatican City itself and the advancement of those with a gay agenda, which produces apparently no reaction, not even a dismissal. In the matter of financial mismanagement and corruption, there appears to be window dressing masking inaction, John Allen seems to think this is the big issue above others. In fact, maybe because Francis centralises and 2+2 = whatever he decides, many of those in Rome suggest things have never been worse, a ‘kingdom of brigands’ as one former Nuncio described it.

Dioceses are not Rome but they do reflect Rome, Cardinals and bishops intimidate clergy and others who are faithful, if Francis has done anything it is to highlight a deep rift in the Church, marked by the quite extraordinary rise of an Ultramontane/Liberal faction against those who are faithful. Many bishops, who are often chosen for not for fidelity to Christ nor depth of learning nor moral fibre, not even their pastoral abilities but for their admin skills are quite happy to side with that faction which has power at the moment, moving Vicar of Bray-like from convinced Wojtylaians to Ratzingerians to Bergoglianians.

[…]

Read the rest over there. Continue Reading

17

Pope Francis Responds (?) to Criticisms of Amoris Laetitia

In an interview from La Civilta Cattolica quoted in the blog Whispers in the Loggia, Pope Francis says, as I near as I understand, that we have to go beyond theology and Thomism–they’re not that useful nowadays.    He also says that the morality of Amoris Laetitia is Thomist.  (Is there a contradiction here?)   I don’t see that, but then I’m not a theologian nor a philosopher.   Here’s the quote–judge for yourself.

Fr. Vicente Durán Casas stands to ask another question: “Holy Father, again thank you for your visit. I teach philosophy and I would like to know, and I speak for my teaching colleagues in theology too, what do you expect from philosophical and theological reflection in a country such as ours and in the Church generally?”

[Pope:] To start, I’d say let’s not have laboratory reflection. We’ve seen what damage occurred when the great and brilliant Thomist scholastics deteriorated, falling down, down, down to a manualistic scholasticism without life, mere ideas that transformed into a casuistic pastoral approach. At least, in our day we were formed that way… I’d say it was quite ridiculous how, to explain metaphysical continuity, the philosopher Losada spoke of puncta inflata [Ed. “an inflated point”]… To demonstrate some ideas, things got ridiculous. He was a good philosopher, but decadent, he didn’t become famous…

So, philosophy not in a laboratory, but in life, in dialogue with reality. In dialogue with reality, philosophers will find the three transcendentals that constitute unity, but they will have a real name. Recall the words of our great writer Dostoyevsky. Like him we must reflect on which beauty will save us, on goodness, on truth. Benedict XVI spoke of truth as an encounter, that is to say no longer a classification, but a road. Always in dialogue with reality, for you cannot do philosophy with a logarithmic table. Besides, nobody uses them anymore.

The same is true for theology, but this does not mean to corrupt theology, depriving it of its purity. Quite the opposite. The theology of Jesus was the most real thing of all; it began with reality and rose up to the Father. It began with a seed, a parable, a fact… and explained them. Jesus wanted to make a deep theology and the great reality is the Lord. I like to repeat that to be a good theologian, together with study you have to be dedicated, awake and seize hold of reality; and you need to reflect on all of this on your knees.

A man who does not pray, a woman who does not pray, cannot be a theologian. They might be a living form of Denzinger, they might know every possible existing doctrine, but they’ll not be doing theology. They’ll be a compendium or a manual containing everything. But today it is a matter of how you express God, how you tell who God is, how you show the Spirit, the wounds of Christ, the mystery of Christ, starting with the Letter to the Philippians 2:7…. How you explain these mysteries and keep explaining them, and how you are teaching the encounter that is grace. As when you read Paul in the Letter to the Romans where there’s the entire mystery of grace and you want to explain it.

I’ll use this question to say something else that I believe should be said out of justice, and also out of charity. In fact I hear many comments – they are respectable for they come from children of God, but wrong – concerning the post-synod apostolic exhortation. To understand Amoris Laetitia you need to read it from the start to the end. Beginning with the first chapter, and to continue to the second and then on … and reflect. And read what was said in the Synod.

A second thing: some maintain that there is no Catholic morality underlying Amoris Laetitia, or at least, no sure morality. I want to repeat clearly that the morality of Amoris Laetitia is Thomist, the morality of the great Thomas. You can speak of it with a great theologian, one of the best today and one of the most mature, Cardinal Schönborn.

I want to say this so that you can help those who believe that morality is purely casuistic. Help them understand that the great Thomas possesses the greatest richness, which is still able to inspire us today. But on your knees, always on your knees….

3

PopeWatch: Negative Stereotypes

The Pope is concerned that people simply do not want illegal aliens colonizing their homelands:

 

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis on Wednesday launched a two-year education campaign about the plight of migrants to counteract mounting anti-immigrant sentiment in the U.S. and Europe, urging the world: “Don’t be afraid!”

Francis posed for selfies, shook hands, kissed babies and hugged migrants at the end of his weekly general audience, teaching by example that “others” are not to be feared but embraced.

The campaign, spearheaded by the Vatican’s Caritas charity, encourages people to meet with migrants and listen to their stories, rather than treat them as statistics clouded by negative stereotypes. Continue Reading

11

PopeWatch: Debate?

Some fanboys and girls of the Pope are taking the Filial Correction of the Pope as a joke.  It is not:

 

To resolve the impasse between Pope Francis and those who have grave reservations about his teaching, Cardinal Gerhard Müller has proposed that one solution to this “serious situation” could be for the Holy Father to appoint a group of cardinals that would begin a “theological disputation” with his critics.

In comments to the Register Sept. 26, the prefect emeritus of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith said such an initiative could be conducted with “some prominent representatives” of the dubia, as well as the filial correction which was made public on Sunday.

Cardinal Müller said a theological disputation, a formalized method of debate designed to uncover and establish truths in theology, would be specifically about “the different and sometimes controversial interpretations of some statements in Chapter 8 of Amoris Laetitia” — Francis’ apostolic exhortation on marriage and the family.

The Church needs “more dialogue and reciprocal confidence” rather than “polarization and polemics,” he continued, adding that the Successor of St. Peter “deserves full respect for his person and divine mandate, and on the other hand his honest critics deserve a convincing answer.”

“We must avoid a new schism and separations from the one Catholic Church, whose permanent principle and foundation of its unity and communion in Jesus Christ is the current pope, Francis, and all bishops in full communion with him,” he said. Continue Reading

19

PopeWatch: Why No Cardinals

Why did no cardinals sign the petition for filial correction of the Pope?  Apparently that was by design:

 

 

After the release of the historic ‘filial correction’ to the Pope on the weekend, many concerned Catholics have wondered why no Cardinals attached their name.

Cardinal Raymond Burke in particular has been very public about a coming “formal correction” from cardinals after Pope Francis failed to respond to their call to clarify Amoris Laetitia.

So why didn’t he or others sign this “filial correction”?

The basic answer is that the scholars and pastors behind the initiative chose not to ask any cardinals to join them.

“We wanted this to be an independent initiative,” spokesman Dr. Joseph Shaw told LifeSiteNews. “We made the decision not to include the Cardinals.”

Shaw wishes to squelch any rumours – he has seen some on social media – that there were prelates working behind the scenes. “We want to make it absolutely clear that Cardinal Burke is not behind this initiative,” he said.

The primary reason for not asking the cardinals to sign the document was prudence. “It’s not practical to expect any Cardinal to sign any document of this nature,” said Shaw, “because it comes too close to the person of the Pope.”

Shaw, a Fellow of St. Benet’s Hall, Oxford University, contrasted the 25-page Correction to the short dubia sent to Pope Francis by Cardinals Brandmüller, Burke, Caffara and Meisner in 2016. Shaw praised the dubia letter for its “simplicity” and expressions of fidelity to the Pope. He explained that a Cardinal would not readily sign off on a theological document as complex and serious as the Filial Correction written by anyone but himself.

“The more senior [churchmen] are, the more careful they will want to be with the wording,” said Shaw. “They will want brevity.”

READ MORE: Over 60 scholars correct Pope Francis for ‘propagating heresies’

In Shaw’s view, theologians and pastors have more freedom than prelates to lay out the arguments against Amoris Laetitia and its problems. Meanwhile, the way the Filial Correction is set out “should be helpful to a wide variety of Catholics.”

Of course, the document was originally meant for an audience of one. The Filial Correction was sent to Rome six weeks ago and, Shaw told LifeSiteNews, was handed to Pope Francis personally in Casa Santa Marta. The signers received no answer.

“If Pope Francis had responded, we would have entered into another kind of conversation,” said Shaw. “So now we are including the Catholic faithful.”

Shaw knows the media is interested in who signed and how many signed, but he says that the number of signers of the Fraternal Correction is not the point. The important issue is the arguments presented. That is why the signers are all scholars or pastors.

“The way the Church develops things is in accordance with [theological] arguments,” Shaw explained. “There is development because the leading arguments have prevailed.”  He pointed out that people argued over the dogma of the Immaculate Conception for centuries. “It’s very important that the arguments be made,” Shaw stressed.

The Filial Correction was written by a core group from among the signatories who showed it to other scholars and pastors for their comments and contributions. It was revised many times before it was signed and sent. Continue Reading

9

PopeWatch: Filial Correction

Edward Pentin at National Catholic Register brings us the latest development in this bizarre ponitificate:

 

 

A group of clergy and lay scholars from around the world have taken the very rare step of presenting Pope Francis with a formal filial correction, accusing him of propagating heresies concerning marriage, the moral life, and reception of the sacraments.

Entitled Correctio filialis de haeresibus propagatis, meaning ‘A Filial Correction Concerning the Propagation of Heresies,’ the 25 page letter was delivered to the Holy Father at his Santa Marta residence on Aug. 11.

The Pope has so far not responded to the initiative, whose 62 signatories include the German intellectual Martin Mosebach, former president of the Vatican Bank, Ettore Gotti Tedeschi, and the superior general of the Society of St. Pius X, Bishop Bernard Fellay (he learned of the document only after it had been delivered to the Pope and signed it on behalf of the Society).

The letter begins by saying that with “profound grief but moved by fidelity to our Lord Jesus Christ, by love for the Church and for the papacy, and by filial devotion toward yourself” the signatories feel “compelled” to take this action “on account of the propagation of heresies.”

They cite in particular Francis’ apostolic exhortation on marriage and the family, Amoris Laetitia, and “other words, deeds and omissions.”

They accuse the Pope of upholding seven heretical positions about “marriage, the moral life, and the reception of the sacraments” which, they say, has “caused these heretical opinions to spread in the Catholic Church.”

The clergy and scholars “respectfully insist” that Pope Francis condemn the heresies that he has directly or indirectly upheld, and that he teach the truth of the Catholic faith in its integrity.

The filial correction, the first to be made of a reigning Pontiff since Pope John XXII was admonished in 1333, is divided into three main parts. Continue Reading

1

PopeWatch: That 70’s Show

From the only reliable source of Catholic news on the net, Eye of the Tiber:

 

 

USCCB spokesman, Bishop Roger Belvedere confirmed this week that any Catholic organization attempting to make themselves appear current will be suppressed, as “anything that appears technologically modern is directly contrary to the Holy Spirit.”

“Everything from websites to event flyers to marketing materials will be monitored and under careful scrutiny beginning this week,” Belvedere told the press. “In addition, we will soon begin the process of purging the world of the small amount of visually appealing Catholic publicity that already exists. We estimate that this process should take us no more than about half an hour to complete.”

Going on to give instructions for Catholic web designers and graphic artists, Belvedere said that the mandate will seek to make sure that all design work, whether in media or in print must have a distastefully low white-space-to-text ratio, a mandatory rosary border on all print materials, and a reversal of any design changes made after 1996.

“If we see a single Catholic logo that does not include the color navy blue, let that organization be anathema. Also, flowers—we need to see more flowers. Web designers, bonus points if flowers appear to fall from the top of a web page when opened.”

One Vatican insider told EOTT this morning that he was excited with the USCCB’s decision, and hoped that other countries would soon follow suit.

“To be honest, I’m relieved that they finally said something. Catholic organizations need to be better about distinguishing themselves from Protestants, who for the most part, have excelled in respect to design work. And since our Church has been around a lot longer than theirs, everything we do needs to look that much older.”

At press time, USCCB officials estimate that the new requirements are expected to affect less than one percent of Catholic groups. Continue Reading

11

PopeWatch: His Answer

George Orwell would have found Pope Francis fascinating:

 

One year ago to this day, four Cardinals submitted five yes-or-no questions to Pope Francis asking him if his 2016 exhortation on marriage and the family — Amoris Laetitia — conforms to perennial Catholic teaching on marriage, moral absolutes, conscience, and the sacraments. 

The Pope has refused to answer their questions, despite the moral and pastoral chaos that ensued throughout the whole of Christendom as priests, bishops, and cardinals interpreted his teachings in completely contradictory ways. Some allowed civilly-divorced-and-remarried Catholics living in habitual adultery to receive Holy Communion. Some did not. 

Today, on the first anniversary of the dubia, has the Pope finally given his answer? It would seem so, though certainly not directly.

Let me explain. 

While the body of Cardinal Carlo Caffarra, one of the four dubia signers, has hardly been in the ground more than a week, the pope today announced he is abolishing the John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and the Family and replacing it with a new institute focused on implementing Amoris Laetitia.

Cardinal Caffarra was the founding president of the institute, overseeing it from its launch in 1981 until 1995. The institute was founded to be a center for scientific study in the fields of anthropology and Christocentric thought so as to address the crisis of marriage and the family within the Church. 

The institute has been faithful to perennial Catholic teaching. It even produced an excellent book titled Marriage: Theological and Pastoral Considerations in the lead-up to the recent Synods on the Family that faithfully and clearly put forward Catholic teaching on marriage and the sacraments.

Caffarra outlined what he called the “institute’s DNA” in a 2016 graduation address to the John Paul II Institute in Washington D.C. 

He said that the institute was founded to address a crisis where “the human person had lost awareness of himself, of the truth of his being a person, so that he no longer understood the truth of marriage; not only in the intellectual sense, but in the existential sense.”

“John Paul II establishes the relation between marriage and the human person by means of the philosophy and the theology of the body. This is the most precious heritage that he entrusted to the Institute. The Church lacked this theology and philosophy, and she still has not fully assimilated the wealth of insights contained in these teachings,” he said at the time. 

I was studying for a Ph.D at the John Paul II Institute for Marriage and Family in Australia a few years ago, before it was closed. I selected this school knowing that I would be formed in authentic Catholic teaching on all the hot-button issues of the day, including contraception, abortion, homosexuality, divorce, etc. My dissertation topic was on the morality behind using the naked human body in art and media. It was an intellectually rich time in my life for which I will be forever grateful. I, and many other faithful Catholics, have always viewed the institute as a lighthouse of orthodoxy. 

Caffarra outlined in his Washington D.C. talk how the institute was originally founded to especially reflect on the Church teaching against contraception as found in Pope Paul VI’s 1968 encyclical Humanae Vitae. 

“The Apostolic Constitution Magnum matrimonii sacramentum, the document which founded the Institute canonically, assigns as a specific task of the Institute the reflection on this Encyclical. This is the great theme of the truth about human procreation,” he said. 

“The Institute’s DNA, if we can say that, is therefore as follows: to discover the truth about marriage and the family, on the basis of an adequate anthropology, in order to help the husband and the wife to live fully their conjugal vocation,” he said.

Caffarra has not been dead two weeks and Pope Francis has already issued a Motu Proprio (by his own command) that destroys the John Paul II Institute’s DNA and replaces it with a DNA foreign to the institute’s original aim. That foreign DNA can be precisely summed up in the dubia submitted to the Pope by Caffarra and the other three Cardinals. 

What I find especially disturbing in this matter is that the Pope has gutted the institute while essentially keeping the institute’s name the same. All I could think of was George Orwell’s novel 1984 in which institutes are set up with beautiful-sounding names like the ‘Ministry of Truth,’ but which are actually agents of the ever-changing politically correct propaganda of the day. 

Pope Francis, in his Motu Proprio, says the newly reformed “John Paul II Pontifical Theological Institute for Marriage and Family Sciences” will be used as a platform to implement his teachings in Amoris Laetitia.  Continue Reading

7

PopeWatch: The Pope Luther Was Looking For?

America, the Jesuit rag, published a fan letter from a liberal Lutheran who loves Pope Francis:

 

Dear Pope Francis,

Maybe you have heard: 2017 is a big year for Lutherans. Many are giddy with excitement as we commemorate the audacity of a certain 16th-century Augustinian monk, who on Oct. 31, 1517, nailed his 95 theses to a church door in Wittenberg. Fingers flutter across keyboards feverishly extolling or disputing Martin Luther’s contributions and flaws. But I—one who has marinated in American Lutheranism most of her life—find myself writing to you, the leader of the Roman Catholic Church.

Perhaps it is an odd moment for Lutheran fan mail. Yet, ever since you became the Bishop of Rome in 2013, I have become increasingly convinced that you are the pope that Luther was looking for 500 years ago. Here are four reasons why.

12

Trump UN Speech

 

President Trump was very undiplomatic in his speech at the UN:  he told the truth:

 

Mr. Secretary General, Mr. President, world leaders, and distinguished delegates, welcome to New York. It is a profound honor to stand here in my home city as a representative of the American people to address the people of the world. As millions of our citizens continue to suffer the effects of the devastating hurricanes that have struck our country, I want to begin by expressing my appreciation to every leader in this room who has offered assistance and aid. The American people are strong and resilient, and they will emerge from these hardships more determined than ever before.

Fortunately, the United States has done very well since Election Day last November 8. The stock market is at an all-time high, a record. Unemployment is at its lowest level in 16 years, and because of our regulatory and other reforms, we have more people working in the United States today than ever before. Companies are moving back, creating job growth, the likes of which our country has not seen in a very long time, and it has just been announced that we will be spending almost $700 billion on our military and defense. Our military will soon be the strongest it has ever been. For more than 70 years, in times of war and peace, the leaders of nations, movements, and religions have stood before this assembly.

Like them, I intend to address some of the very serious threats before us today, but also the enormous potential waiting to be unleashed. We live in a time of extraordinary opportunity. Breakthroughs in science, technology, and medicine are curing illnesses and solving problems that prior generations thought impossible to solve. But each day also brings news of growing dangers that threaten everything we cherish and value. Terrorists and extremists have gathered strength and spread to every region of the planet. Rogue regimes represented in this body not only support terror but threaten other nations and their own people with the most destructive weapons known to humanity.

Authority and authoritarian powers seek to collapse the values, the systems, and alliances, that prevented conflict and tilted the word toward freedom since World War II. International criminal networks traffic drugs, weapons, people, force dislocation and mass migration, threaten our borders and new forms of aggression exploit technology to menace our citizens. To put it simply, we meet at a time of both immense promise and great peril. It is entirely up to us whether we lift the world to new heights or let it fall into a valley of disrepair. We have it in our power, should we so choose, to lift millions from poverty, to help our citizens realize their dreams, and to ensure that new generations of children are raised free from violence, hatred, and fear.

This institution was founded in the aftermath of two world wars, to help shape this better future. It was based on the vision that diverse nations could cooperate to protect their sovereignty, preserve their security, and promote their prosperity. It was in the same period exactly 70 years ago that the United States developed the Marshall Plan to help restore Europe. Those these beautiful pillars, they are pillars of peace, sovereignty, security, and prosperity. The Marshall Plan was built on the noble idea that the whole world is safer when nations are strong, independent, and free. As president, Truman said in his message to Congress at that time, our support of European recovery is in full accord with our support of the United Nations.

The success of the United Nations depends upon the independent strength of its members. To overcome the perils of the present, and to achieve the promise of the future, we must begin with the wisdom of the past. Our success depends on a coalition of strong and independent nations that embrace their sovereignty, to promote security, prosperity, and peace, for themselves and for the world. We do not expect diverse countries to share the same cultures, traditions, or even systems of government, but we do expect all nations to uphold these two core sovereign duties, to respect the interests of their own people and the rights of every other sovereign nation.

This is the beautiful vision of this institution, and this is the foundation for cooperation and success. Strong sovereign nations let diverse countries with different values, different cultures, and different dreams not just coexist, but work side by side on the basis of mutual respect. Strong sovereign nations let their people take ownership of the future and control their own destiny. And strong sovereign nations allow individuals to flourish in the fullness of the life intended by God. In America, we do not seek to impose our way of life on anyone, but rather to let it shine as an example for everyone to watch.

This week gives our country a special reason to take pride in that example. We are celebrating the 230th anniversary of our beloved Constitution, the oldest constitution still in use in the world today. This timeless document has been the foundation of peace, prosperity, and freedom for the Americans and for countless millions around the globe whose own countries have found inspiration in its respect for human nature, human dignity, and the rule of law. The greatest in the United States Constitution is its first three beautiful words. They are “We the people.” Generations of Americans have sacrificed to maintain the promise of those words, the promise of our country and of our great history.

In America, the people govern, the people rule, and the people are sovereign. I was elected not to take power, but to give power to the American people where it belongs. In foreign affairs, we are renewing this founding principle of sovereignty. Our government’s first duty is to its people, to our citizens, to serve their needs, to ensure their safety, to preserve their rights, and to defend their values. As president of the United States, I will always put America first. Just like you, as the leaders of your countries, will always and should always put your countries first.

All responsible leaders have an obligation to serve their own citizens, and the nation state remains the best vehicle for elevating the human condition. But making a better life for our people also requires us to with work together in close harmony and unity, to create a more safe and peaceful future for all people.

The United States will forever be a great friend to the world and especially to its allies. But we can no longer be taken advantage of or enter into a one-sided deal where the United States gets nothing in return. As long as I hold this office, I will defend America’s interests above all else, but in fulfilling our obligations to our nations, we also realize that it’s in everyone’s interests to seek the future where all nations can be sovereign, prosperous, and secure.

America does more than speak for the values expressed in the United Nations charter. Our citizens have paid the ultimate price to defend our freedom and the freedom of many nations represented in this great hall. America’s devotion is measured on the battlefields where our young men and women have fought and sacrificed alongside of our allies. From the beaches of Europe to the deserts of the Middle East to the jungles of Asia, it is an eternal credit to the American character that even after we and our allies emerge victorious from the bloodiest war in history, we did not seek territorial expansion or attempt to oppose and impose our way of life on others. Instead, we helped build institutions such as this one to defend the sovereignty, security, and prosperity for all. For the diverse nations of the world, this is our hope.

We want harmony and friendship, not conflict and strife. We are guided by outcomes, not ideologies. We have a policy of principled realism, rooted in shared goal, interests, and values. That realism forces us to confront the question facing every leader and nation in this room, it is a question we cannot escape or avoid. We will slide down the path of complacency, numb to the challenges, threats, and even wars that we face, or do we have enough strength and pride to confront those dangers today so that our citizens can enjoy peace and prosperity tomorrow.

If we desire to lift up our citizens, if we aspire to the approval of history, then we must fulfill our sovereign duties to the people we faithfully represent. We must protect our nations, their interests and their futures. We must reject threats to sovereignty from the Ukraine to the South China Sea. We must uphold respect for law, respect for borders, and respect for culture, and the peaceful engagement these allow.

And just as the founders of this body intended, we must work together and confront together those who threatens us with chaos, turmoil, and terror. The score of our planet today is small regimes that violate every principle that the United Nations is based. They respect neither their own citizens nor the sovereign rights of their countries. If the righteous many do not confront the wicked few, then evil will triumph. When decent people and nations become bystanders to history, the forces of destruction only gather power and strength.

No one has shown more contempt for other nations and for the well-being of their own people than the depraved regime in North Korea. It is responsible for the starvation deaths of millions of North Koreans. And for the imprisonment, torture, killing, and oppression of countless more. We were all witness to the regime’s deadly abuse when an innocent American college student, Otto Warmbier, was returned to America, only to die a few days later.

We saw it in the assassination of the dictator’s brother, using banned nerve agents in an international airport. We know it kidnapped a sweet 13-year-old Japanese girl from a beach in her own country, to enslave her as a language tutor for North Korea’s spies. If this is not twisted enough, now North Korea’s reckless pursuit of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles threatens the entire world with unthinkable loss of human life. It is an outrage that some nations would not only trade with such a regime, but would arm, supply, and financially support a country that imperils the world with nuclear conflict.

No nation on Earth has an interest in seeing this band of criminals arm itself with nuclear weapons and missiles. The United States has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea. Rocket Man is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime. The United States is ready, willing, and able, but hopefully this will not be necessary. That’s what the United Nations is all about. That’s what the United Nations is for. Let’s see how they do.

It is time for North Korea to realize that the denuclearization is its only acceptable future. The United Nations Security Council recently held two unanimous 15-0 votes adopting hard-hitting resolutions against North Korea, and I want to thank China and Russia for joining the vote to impose sanctions, along with all of the other members of the Security Council. Thank you to all involved. But we must do much more.

It is time for all nations to work together to isolate the Kim regime until it ceases its hostile behavior. We face this decision not only in North Korea; it is far past time for the nations of the world to confront another reckless regime, one that speaks openly of mass murder, vowing death to America, destruction to Israel, and ruin for many leaders and nations in this room.

The Iranian government masks a corrupt dictatorship behind the false guise of a democracy. It has turned a wealthy country, with a rich history and culture, into an economically depleted rogue state whose chief exports are violence, bloodshed, and chaos. The longest-suffering victims of Iran’s leaders are, in fact, its own people. Rather than use its resources to improve Iranian live, its oil profits go to fund Hezbollah and other terrorists that kill innocent Muslims and attack their peaceful Arab and Israeli neighbors.

This wealth, which rightly belongs to Iran’s people, also goes to shore up Bashar al-Assad’s dictatorship, fuel Yemen’s civil war, and undermine peace throughout the entire Middle East. We cannot let a murderous regime continue these destabilizing activities while building dangerous missiles, and we cannot abide by an agreement if it provides cover for the eventual construction of a nuclear program. The Iran deal was one of the worst and most one-sided transactions the United States has ever entered into. Frankly, that deal is an embarrassment to the United States, and I don’t think you’ve heard the last of it. Believe me.

It is time for the entire world to join us in demanding that Iran’s government end its pursuit of death and destruction. It is time for the regime to free all Americans and citizens of other nations that they have unjustly detained. Above all, Iran’s government must stop supporting terrorists, begin serving its own people, and respect the sovereign rights of its neighbors. The entire world understands that the good people of Iran want change, and, other than the vast military power of the United States, that Iran’s people are what their leaders fear the most. This is what causes the regime to restrict internet access, tear down satellite dishes, shoot unarmed student protesters, and imprison political reformers.

Oppressive regimes cannot endure forever, and the day will come when the people will face a choice. Will they continue down the path of poverty, bloodshed, and terror, or will the Iranian people return to the nation’s proud roots as a center of civilization, culture, and wealth, where their people can be happy and prosperous once again? The Iranian regime’s support for terror is in stark contrast to the recent commitments of many of its neighbors to fight terrorism and halt its finance, and in Saudi Arabia early last year, I was greatly honored to address the leaders of more than 50 Arab and Muslim nations. We agreed that all responsible nations must work together to confront terrorists and the Islamic extremism that inspires them.

We will stop radical islamic terrorism because we cannot allow it to tear up our nation and, indeed, to tear up the entire world. We must deny the terrorists safe haven, transit, funding, and any form of support for their vile and sinister ideology. We must drive them out of our nation. It is time to expose and hold responsible those countries whose support and fi — who support and finance terror groups like al-Qaeda, Hezbollah, the Taliban, and others that slaughter innocent people.

The United States and our allies are working together throughout the Middle East to crush the loser terrorists and stop the reemergence of safe havens they use to launch attacks on all of our people. Last month I announced a new strategy for victory in the fight against this evil in Afghanistan. From now on, our security interests will dictate the length and scope of military operation, not arbitrary benchmarks and timetables set up by politicians. I have also totally changed the rules of engagement in our fight against the Taliban and other terrorist groups.

In Syria and Iraq, we have made big gains toward lasting defeat of ISIS. In fact, our country has achieved more against ISIS in the last eight months than it has in many, many years combined. We seek the deescalation of the Syrian conflict, and a political solution that honors the will of the Syrian people. The actions of the criminal regime of Bashar al-Assad, including the use of chemical weapons against his own citizens, even innocent children, shock the conscience of every decent person. No society could be safe if banned chemical weapons are allowed to spread. That is why the United States carried out a missile strike on the airbase that launched the attack.

We appreciate the efforts of the United Nations agencies that are providing vital humanitarian assistance in areas liberated from ISIS, and we especially thank Jordan, Turkey, and Lebanon for their role in hosting refugees from the Syrian conflict. The United States is a compassionate nation and has spent billions and billions of dollars in helping to support this effort. We seek an approach to refugee resettlement that is designed to help these horribly treated people and which enables their eventual return to their home countries to be part of the rebuilding process. For the cost of resettling one refugee in the United States, we can assist more than 10 in their home region.

Out of the goodness of our hearts, we offer financial assistance to hosting countries in the region and we support recent agreements of the G20 nations that will seek to host refugees as close to their home countries as possible. This is the safe, responsible, and humanitarian approach. For decades the United States has dealt with migration challenges here in the Western Hemisphere.

We have learned that over the long term, uncontrolled migration is deeply unfair to both the sending and the receiving countries. For the sending countries, it reduces domestic pressure to pursue needed political and economic reform and drains them of the human capital necessary to motivate and implement those reforms. For the receiving countries, the substantial costs of uncontrolled migration are born overwhelmingly by low-income citizens whose concerns are often ignored by both media and government.

I want to salute the work of the United Nations in seeking to address the problems that cause people to flee from their home. The United Nations and African Union led peacekeeping missions to have invaluable contributions in stabilizing conflict in Africa. The United States continues to lead the world in humanitarian assistance, including famine prevention and relief, in South Sudan, Somalia, and northern Nigeria and Yemen.

We have invested in better health and opportunity all over the world through programs like PEPFAR, which funds AIDS relief, the President’s Malaria Initiative, the Global Health Security Agenda, the Global Fund to End Modern Slavery, and the Women Entrepreneur’s Finance Initiative, part of our commitment to empowering women all across the globe.

We also thank — we also thank the secretary general for recognizing that the United Nations must reform if it is to be an effective partner in confronting threats to sovereignty, security, and prosperity. Too often the focus of this organization has not been on results, but on bureaucracy and process. In some cases, states that seek to subvert this institution’s noble end have hijacked the very systems that are supposed to advance them. For example, it is a massive source of embarrassment to the United Nations that some governments with egregious human rights records sit on the UN Human Rights Council.

The United States is one out of 193 countries in the United Nations, and yet we pay 22 percent of the entire budget and more. In fact, we pay far more than anybody realizes. The United States bears an unfair cost burden, but to be fair, if it could actually accomplish all of its stated goals, especially the goal of peace, this investment would easily be well worth it. Major portions of the world are in conflict, and some, in fact, are going to hell, but the powerful people in this room, under the guidance and auspices of the United Nations, can solve many of these vicious and complex problems. The American people hope that one day soon the United Nations can be a much more accountable and effective advocate for human dignity and freedom around the world.

In the meantime, we believe that no nation should have to bear a disproportionate share of the burden, militarily or financially. Nations of the world must take a greater role in promoting secure and prosperous societies in their own region. That is why in the Western Hemisphere the United States has stood against the corrupt, destabilizing regime in Cuba and embraced the enduring dream of the Cuban people to live in freedom.

My administration recently announced that we will not lift sanctions on the Cuban government until it makes fundamental reforms. We have also imposed tough calibrated sanctions on the socialist Maduro regime in Venezuela, which has brought a once thriving nation to the brink of total collapse. The socialist dictatorship of Nicolás Maduro has inflicted terrible pain and suffering on the good people of that country.

This corrupt regime destroyed a prosperous nation — prosperous nation, by imposing a failed ideology that has produced poverty and misery everywhere it has been tried. To make matters worse, Maduro has defied his own people, stealing power from their elected representatives, to preserve his disastrous rule. The Venezuelan people are starving, and their country is collapsing. Their democratic institutions are being destroyed. The situation is completely unacceptable, and we cannot stand by and watch.

As a responsible neighbor and friend, we and all others have a goal — that goal is to help them regain their freedom, recover their country, and restore their democracy. I would like to thank leaders in this room for condemning the regime and providing vital support to the Venezuelan people. The United States has taken important steps to hold the regime accountable. We are prepared to take further action if the government of Venezuela persists on its path to impose authoritarian rule on the Venezuelan people.

We are fortunate to have incredibly strong and healthy trade relationships with many of the Latin American countries gathered here today. Our economic bond forms a critical foundation for advancing peace and prosperity for all of our people and all of our neighbors. I ask every country represented here today to be prepared to do more to address this very real crisis. We call for the full restoration of democracy and political freedoms in Venezuela. The problem in Venezuela is not that socialism has been poorly implemented, but that socialism has been faithfully implemented.

From the Soviet Union to Cuba to Venezuela, wherever true socialism or communism has been adopted, it has delivered anguish and devastation and failure. Those who preach the tenets of these discredited ideologies only contribute to the continued suffering of the people who live under these cruel systems. America stands with every person living under a brutal regime. Our respect for sovereignty is also a call for action. All people deserve a government that cares for their safety, their interests, and their well-being, including their prosperity. In America, we seek stronger ties of business and trade with all nations of goodwill, but this trade must be fair and it must be reciprocal.

For too long the American people were told that mammoth, multinational trade deals, unaccountable international tribunals, and powerful global bureaucracies were the best way to promote their success. But as those promises flowed, millions of jobs vanished and thousands of factories disappeared. Others gamed the system and broke the rules, and our great middle class, once the bedrock of American prosperity, was forgotten and left behind, but they are forgotten no more and they will never be forgotten again.

While America will pursue cooperation and commerce with other nations, we are renewing our commitment to the first duty of every government, the duty of our citizens. This bond is the source of America’s strength and that of every responsible nation represented here today. If this organization is to have any hope of successfully confronting the challenges before us, it will depend, as President Truman said some 70 years ago, on the independent strength of its members.

If we are to embrace the opportunities of the future and overcome the present dangers together, there can be no substantive for strong, sovereign, and independent nations, nations that are rooted in the histories and invested in their destiny, nations that seek allies to befriend, not enemies to conquer, and most important of all, nations that are home to men and women who are willing to sacrifice for their countries, their fellow citizens, and for all that is best in the human spirit.

In remembering the great victory that led to this body’s founding, we must never forget that those heroes who fought against evil, also fought for the nations that they love. Patriotism led the Poles to die to save Poland, the French to fight for a free France, and the Brits to stand strong for Britain. Today, if we do not invest ourselves, our hearts, our minds, and our nations, if we will not build strong families, safe communities, and healthy societies for ourselves, no one can do it for us.

This is the ancient wish of every people and the deepest yearning that lives inside every sacred soul. So let this be our mission, and let this be our message to the world. We will fight together, sacrifice together, and stand together for peace, for freedom, for justice, for family, for humanity, and for the almighty God who made us all. Thank you, God bless you, God bless the nations of the world, and God bless the United States of America. Thank you very much.

 

7

PopeWatch: Rodolfo Kusch

Sandro Magister gives us one of the intellectual fathers of the Pope:

 

 

Halfway through the first chapter, Jorge Mario Bergoglio also gives for the first time the name of the anthropologist who inspired his conception of “people”:

“There is a thinker that you should read: Rodolfo Kusch, a German who lived in northwestern Argentina, an excellent philosopher and anthropologist. He made one thing clear: that the word ‘people’ is not a logical word. It is a mythical word. It is not possible to speak of people logically, because that would mean making only a description. In order to understand a people, to understand what are the values of this people, one must enter into the spirit, into the heart, into the work, into the history, and into the myth of its tradition. This point is truly at the basis of the theology called ‘of the people.’ That is to say, to go with the people, see how it expresses itself. This distinction is important. The people is not a logical category, it is a mythical category.”

And a few pages later, Francis comes back to the subject to scold “L’Osservatore Romano” for having distorted his thought:

“I have said and have repeated: the word ‘people’ is not a logical concept, it is a mythical concept. Not mystical, but mythical. [. . .] I once said ‘mythical’ and L’Osservatore Romano involuntarily erred in the translation, speaking of ‘mystical people’. And do you know why? Because they did not understand what mythical people means. They said to themselves: No it is the pope who made a mistake, let’s put ‘mystical’.”

In effect, that’s precisely what happened. On the way back from the journey to Mexico, during the usual in-flight press conference, on February 7, 2016 Francis said precisely – speaking in Italian – that “the word ‘people’ is not a logical category, it is a mythical category.”

The video of the press conference, which is still available, is irrefutable proof of this. At the 52:29 mark, the word that comes from the pope’s mouth is “mythical” and not “mystical.”

The next day, however, “L’Osservatore Romano” changed the word to “mystical.” And the same thing happened with the official transcription of the press conference in multiple languages, the one that can still be read today on the Vatican website.

Francis quickly found out about the word change. And in an interview the following July 6 with the trusty Antonio Spadaro, director of “La Civiltà Cattolica” – an interview that ended up in a volume with the homilies and discourses of Bergoglio from when he was archbishop of Buenos Aires, published that same summer – he did all he could to put things back into place:

“There is a word that is very mistreated: there is so much talk about populism, about populist politics, about populist platforms. But this is a mistake. People is not a logical category, nor is it a mystical category, if we understand it in the sense that everything the people does is good or in the sense that the people is an angelic category. No! It is a mythical category, if anything. I repeat: mythical. People is an historical and mythical category. The people is made in a process, with the sights set on a common objective and project. History is built by this process of generations that succeed each other within a people. It takes a myth to understand the people. When you explain what a people is, you use logical categories because you have to explain it: they are needed, of course. But you do not explain in this way the meaning of belonging to the people. The word people has something more that cannot be explained in a logical manner. Being part of the people is being part of a shared identity made of social and cultural bonds. And this is not an automatic thing, on the contrary: it is a slow, difficult process toward a shared project.”

Curiously, “L’Osservatore Romano” – on November 11, 2016, in presenting the book with the homilies and discourses of Bergoglio – reproduced this clarification in its entirety, perhaps without realizing that it had been the cause of it.

But even those who manage the official publication of the pope’s texts did not bat an eye, leaving the word “mystical” in place of “mythical.”

And this brings us up to the book-length interview of this year with Dominique Wolton, in which Bergoglio lets loose.

Once again without anyone correcting the error, in the official collection of the pope’s discourses.

In any case, this “qui pro quo” has brought one benefit. It has given Pope Francis an opportunity to clarify further the meaning and roots of his populism. Where between “myth” and “mystique” the difference is not so great, as has been understood for some time:

> Bergoglio, Politician. The Myth of the Chosen People

As for his inspiration, Rodolfo Kusch (1922-1979), it is interesting that the pope should have named him.

An author of both anthropological and theatrical works, Kusch took his inspiration from Heidegger’s philosophy to distinguish between “being” and “dwelling,” describing with the first category the rationalistic and domineering vision of Western man and with the second the vision of the indigenous Latin American peoples, in peace with nature and animated by none other than a “myth.”

For Kusch, the first of the two visions, the Eurocentric one, is intolerant and incapable of understanding the second, which he instead wanted to accentuate and to which he dedicated his most important studies. For this reason too he found himself at the margins of the culture of the dominant elites and instead found an admirer in Bergoglio. Continue Reading

15

PopeWatch: Humanae Vitae

 

The next shoe to drop in this Pontificate?

 

Father George Woodall, who teaches moral theology at the Pontifical Athenaeum Regina Apostolorum in Rome, outlined what he called “grave” concerns about a papal commission recently set up by Pope Francis that will, he says, “re-examine Humanae vitae (HV) in the light of Amoris laetitia.” The article was published on the National Catholic Register September 12. 

Pope Paul VI’s 1968 encyclical Humanae Vitae taught that “each and every marriage act must remain open to the transmission of human life,” calling the use of contraception (including the pill, condom, withdrawal, and other methods) “intrinsically wrong.” The encyclical celebrates its 50th anniversary next year. 

Woodall listed the “precise points of doctrine” in the encyclical that he suspects the commission will re-examine. These include: 

  • “The principle of the inseparability of the unitive and procreative meanings of the conjugal act (HV, n. 12), stated by Paul VI to be the basis for the condemnation of contraception (HV, n. 14).”
  • “The teaching that each and every conjugal act must remain open to procreation (HV, n. 11).”
  • “The condemnation of contraception as intrinsically morally disordered and hence incapable of being justified even for a good intention in pressing circumstances on the basis either that it might be the lesser evil or that it might partake of the goodness of those conjugal acts before and/ or after, during the whole of the married life, which had been or would be open to procreation, the reason being that what is intrinsically immoral may never be done even for a good intention (HV, n. 14).”
  • “The fact that this teaching, as the constant teaching of the Magisterium on this matter, is unchanged and unchangeable because the Magisterium has no power to decide what should be true, but only to proclaim what is true (HV, nn. 6, 18).”

Woodall predicted that if the commission were to use the moral principles and language found in Pope Francis 2016 Exhortation Amoris Laetitia, it would recommend that Humanae vitae “should be rejected or, more likely, should not be interpreted legalistically.”

The commission would likely say, he said, that the encyclical should not be “imposed as burdens on couples unable to bear them by those wishing to cast stones at people in difficulties, but should be presented to them as mere ‘ideals’, which married couples should seek to fulfill, but which they might not be able always to fulfill in pressing circumstances and which, for a good intention — and perhaps through discernment, assisted by a pastor in the light of their unique circumstances — they might violate, set aside, or interpret creatively,” he said. 

Just as the “pastoral approach” in Amoris Laetitia was used to suggest that the 6th commandment against adultery does not apply to some couples in “irregular” situations, so too in this case, said Woodall, a similar approach would be used to suggest that Humanae vitae does not “really apply to some couples because, in their circumstances they could not be expected to abide by them.” Continue Reading

5

PopeWatch: Punched by the Holy Spirit

From the only reliable source of Catholic news on the net, Eye of the Tiber:

 

 

Days after the Pontiff sustained injuries after hitting his head in a popemobile accident in Colombia, Pope Francis has now condemned his own motu proprio, Magnum Principium, allowing bishops’ conferences control over the translation of liturgical texts.

Pope Francis had originally published the motu proprio, which shifted control over liturgical texts from Apostolic See to diocesan bishop, before hitting his head against a bar during the accident.

According to one adviser to the pope, Monsignor Alberto Pico, Pope Francis began acting “odd” not long after the accident.

“On the plane back to Rome, he was reading a copy of Magnum Principium and began calling it a bunch of crap, before opening the door to the plane and throwing it out. He wasn’t aware that he was the one who wrote it. When we told him that it was his own writing, he became extremely angry and would not believe us.”

Pico went on to say that moments after landing in Rome, Francis demanded to go to a chapel located just miles from the airport, where he began preparations to say the Latin Mass, saying, “Dammit, Pico, hand me my chasuble…now!”

“It was all quite surreal. After the Mass, he asked those close to him to begin the processes of reversing nearly everything he has said and done since his election, including demoting nearly all of the bishops and cardinals that he had created. In this way, His Holiness added, he would be able to retire in one year, and would be able leave the Church as it had been before his election.” Continue Reading

15

PopeWatch: Fifty Shades of Gray

Pope Francis continues on his course of ensuring that traditional Catholic moral teachings is watered down into useless pap:

Pope Francis told a group of newly ordained bishops that “authentic discernment” cannot be reduced to repeating “rigid” moral formulas to persons whose situations “can’t be reduced to black and white.”Discernment, the pope said, “can’t be reduced to repeating formulas such as ‘high clouds send little rain’ to a concrete person, who’s often immersed in a reality that can’t be reduced to black and white.”

He cautioned bishops against being “imprisoned by nostalgia for being able to give just one answer to apply in all cases,” adding that discernment is an “antidote against rigidity, because the same solutions aren’t valid everywhere.” 

Pastors must have “the courage to ask themselves if yesterday’s proposals are still evangelically valid,” he said. 

Pope Francis’ made his comments Thursday morning to newly appointed bishops from around the world. They met at the Vatican’s Apostolic Palace as part of an annual training program offered by the Vatican’s Congregation for Bishops. 

During the meeting, Pope Francis advised the bishops to consult three specific groups — his brother bishops, his own priests, and the lay faithful — when discerning. Continue Reading

16

PopeWatch: Murderous Monks

This should be instructive:

 

After remarking on the need for a consistent pro-life approach on immigration in the US, Pope Francis might have to clean house on that topic with religious brothers closer to home. The Belgian Brothers of Charity issued a defiant statement today after a Vatican order to stop offering euthanasia, especially in non-terminal cases, for their psychiatric patients. Rather than comply, the monks insist that they have plenty of room within Catholic teaching to assist in suicides when patients request it:

 

Go here to read the rest.  So here we have Catholic Monks killing people in defiance of Church teaching and the Vatican has been having “talks” with them.  Compare and contrast the draconian treatment of the friars and sisters of the Immaculate who committed the appalling offense of being more Catholic than the current Pope.  Stay tuned and we will see how the Vatican deals with an Order committing the minor offense of being complicit in the slaying of the innocent.

20

PopeWatch: Anti-Catholicism

Robert Royal at The Catholic Thing notes that anti-Catholicism is on the rise:

 

But anti-Catholicism did not and still has not gone away: witness the outrageous grilling of Notre Dame law professor Amy Coney Barrett last week in a Senate judiciary hearing by Dianne Feinstein, Al Franken, and Dick Durbin.

I will pass over the slimy details, which you may read here, except to say that “orthodox Catholic” may be about to become a political term for someone whose religious beliefs disqualify him or her from public office. Perhaps even make them unwelcome in polite society.

You can’t be surprised that the Democrats – even the nominally Catholic Durbin – attacked. They are wedded to the belief that contraception, abortion, gay marriage, transgender rights (even for very young children) not only define our “deepest values” as Americans, but must be embraced by any faith that wishes to remain a respectable presence in American society.

 

Go here to read the rest.

 

 

 

In 2012 the Pope Emeritus warned of a rising threat to American religious liberty:

 

One of the most memorable aspects of my Pastoral Visit to the United States was the opportunity it afforded me to reflect on America’s historical experience of religious freedom, and specifically the relationship between religion and culture. At the heart of every culture, whether perceived or not, is a consensus about the nature of reality and the moral good, and thus about the conditions for human flourishing. In America, that consensus, as enshrined in your nation’s founding documents, was grounded in a worldview shaped not only by faith but a commitment to certain ethical principles deriving from nature and nature’s God. Today that consensus has eroded significantly in the face of powerful new cultural currents which are not only directly opposed to core moral teachings of the Judeo-Christian tradition, but increasingly hostile to Christianity as such.

 

And Pope Francis?  PopeWatch is simply grateful that he is not cheering on the anti-Catholic bigots–yet.

24

Hello, my name is Bob, and I’m a climate change denier.

Pope Francis, in an interview to the press (9/11/17) opined that “Humanity will ‘go down’ if it does not address climate change”.   Now, despite the title of this post, I don’t deny that climate changes.   It has changed and will change.  There was the Medieval Warm Period, when the Viking colonized Greenland, and there have been glacial and inter-glacial changes.    I will deny that man-made production of CO2 has much to do with such climate change, and I’ve justified that in a number of blog posts (see here, for example), as have other scientists.

What concerns me is that the Church, in the person of the Vicar of Christ,  takes a  position on unsettled science;  and, despite some of Pope Francis’s statements–the verdict, in terms of model predictions being empirically justified, is not proven at all.

Let me go to a different case, where the science was more established.   Abbe LeMaitre (and the Russian mathematician Friedmann) had shown that Einstein’s General Relativity Field equation yielded  a time dependent solution with a singularity at the beginning of time, t=0, an expanding universe.  And lo, and behold, the galactic red shift relations shown by Hubble were in accord with that expanding universe.    And thus we knew about the “Big Bang”.    Supposedly Pope Pius XII wanted to use this science as evidence for the doctrine,  Creatio ex Nihilo, but was dissuaded from doing so by Abbe LeMaitre, who argued that science changes but faith does not.  (The incident is discussed in much greater detail here.)

My point is that the Church is not competent to judge whether science is good or bad, and science can not say whether Doctrine or Dogma are true or false.  The Church can certainly weigh in on the morality of  applications of science–for example, Designer Babies, fetal cell research–but it can’t and shouldn’t make judgments on what science is true and what is not.

5

PopeWatch: DACA

 

 

 

Well, the Pope has put his uninformed two cents in on DACA:

 

During the interview, Francis admitted that he’s unfamiliar with the particulars of DACA, or with Trump’s decision. But he is confident about one thing: Separating children from their families doesn’t align with a pro-life attitude, because it “isn’t something that bears fruit for either the youngsters or their families.”

Francis said he hopes Trump rethinks the decision.

“I believe that this law comes, I think, not from Congress but from the executive branch of the government,” he said, according to a translation by Crux. “If it is so, I have the hope that it’s re-thought, because I heard the president of the United States introduce himself as a ‘pro-life’ man.” Continue Reading

3

PopeWatch: Cardinal Caffarra

Two of the four cardinals who requested clarification from the Pope of Amoris Laetitia have now died while waiting for an answer.  Sandro Magister brings us the letter that the late Cardinal Caffarra sent to the Pope on April 25, the feast day of Saint Mark the Evangelist:

 

 

Most Holy Father,

It is with a certain trepidation that I address myself to Your Holiness, during these days of the Easter season. I do so on behalf of the Most Eminent Cardinals: Walter Brandmüller, Raymond L. Burke, Joachim Meisner, and myself.

We wish to begin by renewing our absolute dedication and our unconditional love for the Chair of Peter and for Your august person, in whom we recognize the Successor of Peter and the Vicar of Jesus: the “sweet Christ on earth,” as Saint Catherine of Siena was fond of saying. We do not share in the slightest the position of those who consider the See of Peter vacant, nor of those who want to attribute to others the indivisible responsibility of the Petrine “munus.” We are moved solely by the awareness of the grave responsibility arising from the “munus” of cardinals: to be advisers of the Successor of Peter in his sovereign ministry. And from the Sacrament of the Episcopate, which “has placed us as bishops to pasture the Church, which He has acquired with his blood” (Acts 20:28).

On September 19, 2016 we delivered to Your Holiness and to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith five “dubia,” asking You to resolve uncertainties and to bring clarity on some points of the post-synodal Apostolic Exhortation, “Amoris Laetitia.”

Not having received any response from Your Holiness, we have reached the decision to ask You, respectfully and humbly, for an Audience, together if Your Holiness would like. We attach, as is the practice, an Audience Sheet in which we present the two points we wish to discuss with you.

Most Holy Father,

A year has now gone by since the publication of “Amoris Laetitia.” During this time, interpretations of some objectively ambiguous passages of the post-synodal Exhortation have publicly been given that are not divergent from but contrary to the permanent Magisterium of the Church. Despite the fact that the Prefect of the Doctrine of the Faith has repeatedly declared that the doctrine of the Church has not changed, numerous statements have appeared from individual Bishops, Cardinals, and even Episcopal Conferences, approving what the Magisterium of the Church has never approved. Not only access to the Holy Eucharist for those who objectively and publicly live in a situation of grave sin, and intend to remain in it, but also a conception of moral conscience contrary to the Tradition of the Church. And so it is happening – how painful it is to see this! – that what is sin in Poland is good in Germany, that what is prohibited in the archdiocese of Philadelphia is permitted in Malta. And so on. One is reminded of the bitter observation of B. Pascal: “Justice on this side of the Pyrenees, injustice on the other; justice on the left bank of the river, injustice on the right bank.”

Numerous competent lay faithful, who are deeply in love with the Church and staunchly loyal to the Apostolic See, have turned to their Pastors and to Your Holiness in order to be confirmed in the Holy Doctrine concerning the three sacraments of Marriage, Confession, and the Eucharist. And in these very days, in Rome, six lay faithful, from every Continent, have presented a very well-attended study seminar with the meaningful title: “Bringing clarity.”

Faced with this grave situation, in which many Christian communities are being divided, we feel the weight of our responsibility, and our conscience impels us to ask humbly and respectfully for an Audience.

May Your Holiness remember us in Your prayers, as we pledge to remember You in ours. And we ask for the gift of Your Apostolic Blessing.

Carlo Card. Caffarra

Rome, April 25, 2017
Feast of Saint Mark the Evangelist Continue Reading

6

PopeWatch: Jonathan Pryce

Well this is interesting.  Actor Jonathan Pryce is going to portray Pope Francis:

 

Add Pope Francis to Netflix’s continually growing TV and movie roster names. The streaming service is moving forward with the feature film The Pope, with Jonathan Pryce tapped to play the leader of the Roman Catholic Church, and Anthony Hopkins in talks to play his predecessor Pope Benedict. The film will be directed by City of God helmer Fernando Meirelles, has a script by Anthony McCarten, who wrote The Theory of Everything about Stephen Hawking and the upcoming Darkest Hour with Gary Oldman as Winston Churchill.  McCarten adapted his stage play. Dan Lin is producing with Jonathan Eirich, and Tracey Seaward. Filming will begin November in Argentina.

Go here to read the rest.  Intriguingly Pryce also has portrayed the religious figure, and true believer, High Sparrow in Game of Thrones:

 

 

 

In 1996 he played Juan Peron in Evita:

 

A religious figure with a good deal of Juan Peron in him.  That sounds unpleasantly familiar.

14

PopeWatch: Cracking Down on the Orthodox

It has long been a scandal in the Catholic Church that dissenters from Church teaching are welcomed with open arms in Catholic academia.  Under the current pontificate orthodox Catholics are now being tossed out of  Catholic academia:

A renowned Catholic philosopher has been removed from a Catholic university in Spain by a local archbishop after publishing a critique of Pope Francis’ exhortation on marriage and family. 

Dr. Josef Seifert, an intimate friend of the late Pope St. John Paul II, was removed last week from his post at the International Academy of Philosophy in Granada by Archbishop Javier Martínez Fernández. 

In an article published online last month, Seifert called the Pope’s 2016 Exhortation Amoris Laetitia (AL) a ticking “theological atomic bomb” that has the capacity to destroy all Catholic moral teaching. 

In his article, the philosopher argued that if Pope Francis believes that adultery — to quote the exhortation — “is what God himself is asking” of couples in “irregular” situations, then there is nothing stopping any other intrinsically evil acts from eventually being justified.

“If this is truly what AL affirms, all alarm over AL’s direct affirmations regarding matters of changes of sacramental discipline refer only to the peak of an iceberg, to the weak beginning of an avalanche, or to the first few buildings destroyed by a moral theological atomic bomb that threatens to tear down the whole moral edifice of the Ten Commandments and of Catholic moral teaching,” Seifert wrote. 

Archbishop Fernández related in an August 31 public statement that Seifert’s removal was spurred precisely by his recent article. He said the article “damages the communion of the Church, confuses the faith of the faithful, and sows distrust in the successor of Peter, which, in the end, does not serve the truth of faith, but, rather, the interests of the world.”

Fernández also said that while Seifert was removed from his teaching duties last year after his “first critical writing” on the exhortation, he is now being entirely dismissed from the university. 

“And right now, concurring with the precise and fuller reasons for it, his retirement from the above-mentioned International Academy of Philosophy is now being processed,” the archbishop wrote. 

Last October, the archbishop stated that his archdiocese would adopt the Buenos Aires interpretation of Amoris Laetitia, endorsed by Pope Francis, that allows Communion to be given to couples living in habitual adultery.  Continue Reading

8

PopeWatch: Rigid

The Pope really hates “rigid” priests:

 

The pope also speaks of his state of mind now.

“I feel free,” he said. “Sure, I’m in a cage here at the Vatican, but not spiritually. Nothing makes me afraid.”

What bothers him, he ventured, are people with straitjacket point of views. He singled out “rigid priests, who are afraid to communicate.”

“It’s a form of fundamentalism,” the pope said. “Whenever I run into a rigid person, especially if young, I tell myself that he’s sick.” Continue Reading

8

PopeWatch: Statues

From that only reliable source of Catholic news on the net, Eye of the Tiber:

 

SAN ANSELMO, California, August 28, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – A Catholic school in California has removed around 162 icons and statues in an effort to be more “inclusive” and avoid “alienating” non-Catholic students.

San Domenico School, a K-12 boarding and day school, is the oldest independent school in California. It was founded by Dominican sisters, who remain involved in its operations today. It is in the Archdiocese of San Francisco.

The Marin Independent Journal reported last week that parents are concerned the statues being removed is the just the latest incident that demonstrates the school’s declining Catholic identity.

“In our time here, the word ‘Catholic’ has been removed from the mission statement, sacraments were removed from the curriculum, the lower school curriculum was changed to world religions, the logo and colors were changed to be ‘less Catholic,’ and the uniform was changed to be less Catholic,” Shannon Fitzpatrick wrote in an email to school officials. The MIJ published some of her complaints.

The head of San Domenico’s board of trustees, Amy Skewes-Cox, said the school isn’t doing this because of the recent push to remove Confederate statues from public places.

There is “absolutely no connection other than it is change, and people have a hard time with change,” she said. 

“We didn’t want to further that feeling” of “alienation” non-Catholic students might have if they see statues, said Skewes-Cox. 

The statues were apparently “pitched in the basement,” according to the parent of a former student. According to the MIJ, there were 180 statues around the school. There are now only “at least 18” left.

Sister Maureen McInerney, the prioress general of the Dominican Sisters of San Rafael, said it “really isn’t my place” to be involved with the school’s day-to-day operations. 

“If there has been a reduction in the number of statues but there are still many statues around the campus, I think that would be fine,” she said. San Domenico is just “making an effort to be inclusive of all faiths.” 

The school, which costs anywhere from $29,850 to $58,350 annually, says its students “tend to our garden, learn interconnectedness through our ecological literacy program, and reflect on their place within the sacred community of nature.” Continue Reading

4

PopeWatch: Formal Correction

Cardinal Burke has outlined what a formal correction of Pope Francis might look like:

 

The cardinal told The Wanderer newspaper Aug. 14 that such a formal act of correction has not been invoked “for several centuries” and until now it has never been used “in a doctrinal way.”

But he said it would be “quite simple” and involve presenting on the one hand the “clear teaching of the Church” and on the other “what is actually being taught by the Roman Pontiff.” The teaching in question in particular relates to doctrinal matters published in the Pope’s 2016 apostolic exhortation, Amoris laetitia. 

“If there is a contradiction, the Roman Pontiff is called to conform his own teaching in obedience to Christ and the Magisterium of the Church,” the cardinal explained, adding that a “formal declaration” would be submitted to the Holy Father to which he would be “obliged to respond.”

The cardinal stressed that the dubia, five questions which he and three other cardinals (Cardinals Carlo Caffarra, Walter Brandmüller and Joachim Meisner) issued nearly a year ago, aimed to give the Holy Father the occasion to clarify these aspects of Church teaching.

They were issued in a “very respectful way and not in any way aggressive,” he said, but as the Pope has “chosen not to respond” to them, “so it is now necessary simply to state what the Church teaches about marriage, the family, acts that are intrinsically evil, and so forth.”

“These are the points that are not clear in the current teachings of the Roman Pontiff; therefore, this situation must be corrected. The correction would then direct itself principally to those doctrinal points,” he said. 

The cardinal, a former prefect of the Apostolic Signatura, the Church’s highest court, did not give a timeframe for the correction, but hinted at its urgency by stressing that the Church is “being torn asunder right now by confusion and division” and that unity is at stake.

“The Holy Father must be called on to exercise his office to put an end to this,” he said.

Cardinal Burke first suggested a possible formal correction of the Pope in an interview with the Register last November, saying it is “clearly quite rare” but if there was no response, then it would be a “question of taking a formal act of correction of a serious error.” He spoke then of “tremendous division” that is “not the way of the Church.” Continue Reading

4

PopeWatch: Amoris Laetitia

Pope Francis continues to let others “clarify” Amoris Laetitia, and Sandro Magister gives us the details:

 

 

“The writing is very good and fully explicates the meaning of chapter VIII. . . There are no other interpretations.” With these words Pope Francis, in a letter dated September 5 of last year, approved a note from the bishops of the region of Buenos Aires who in interpreting the postsynodal apostolic exhortation “Amoris Laetitia” admitted the possibility of Eucharistic communion for the divorced and remarried who continue to cohabit “more uxorio.”

But this was a matter of a private letter to an Argentine monsignor employed in the secretariat of that group of bishops. And even the note approved by the pope was not initially intended for publication and does not bear the names of the signers. Too little and too poorly done to clarify in a definitive way the authentic meaning – that is, attributable with certainty to its author – of “Amoris Laetitia.”

An attempt has been made in recent days by the theologian closest to the pope, the Argentine Víctor Manuel Fernández, to settle this question, with the tepid assistance of “L’Osservatore Romano.” But without success.

And it could not have been otherwise. Because the confusion is at the origin. It is within the very text of “Amoris Laetitia,” which never says fully, in a clear and incontrovertible way, what Pope Francis limits himself to hinting at.

The passage that gets closest to it is in paragraph 305:

“Because of forms of conditioning and mitigating factors, it is possible that in an objective situation of sin –which may not be subjectively culpable, or fully such – a person can be living in God’s grace, can love and can also grow in the life of grace and charity, while receiving the Church’s help to this end.”

And in the connected footnote 351:

“In certain cases, this can include the help of the sacraments. Hence, ‘I want to remind priests that the confessional must not be a torture chamber, but rather an encounter with the Lord’s mercy” (Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium [24 November 2013], 44: AAS 105 [2013], 1038). I would also point out that the Eucharist ‘is not a prize for the perfect, but a powerful medicine and nourishment for the weak’ (ibid., 47: 1039).”

As is very well known, Francis has been asked in various forms and a number of times to bring clarity on such a confused and bungled text. In particular on the part of four cardinals, to whom the pope did not want to give a response or even grant an audience.

But here comes Fernández to sermonize that the letter to the bishops of Buenos Aires is enough and then some for those who “want to know how the pope himself interprets what he has written.”

And to those who object that a letter of that sort is too little, Fernández makes his rebuttal by dusting off a precedent concerning the interpretation of Vatican Council I, when Pius IX, in 1875, clarified a controversial point by endorsing a letter from the bishops of Germany to chancellor Bismarck.

“If the pope has received a unique charism in the Church at the service of the correct interpretation of the Word of God,” Fernández writes peremptorily, “this cannot rule out his capacity to interpret the documents that he himself has written.” It does not matter how and when he does so, the important thing is that it should be known that the “war” against him is over.

“What is left after the storm:” this is the title that the pope’s trusted theologian decided to give to the essay that he published in the latest issue of “Medellín,” the theology journal of the Latin American Episcopal Council, in the run-up to Francis’s journey to Colombia in September and to Chile and Peru next January:

> El capítulo VIII de “Amoris Laetitia”: lo que queda después de la tormenta

Since the author of the article is not only very close to Jorge Mario Bergoglio but also the de facto architect of much of “Amoris Laetitia,” to such an extent that it contains entire sections of articles of his from a decade or so ago, this statement of his was immediately interpreted as inspired by the pope himself.

Whose intention would have been to clarify once and for all – through Fernández as his chosen spokesman – two things above all.

The first is that the interpretation of the Argentine bishops is also his, and is the right one.

The second is that if Francis preferred to make way for communion for the divorced and remarried not in the body of “Amoris Laetitia” but only in skimpy footnotes, it is because he wanted to do so “in a discreet manner,” because he does not consider this the center of the document, but rather the capitals “dedicated to love.”

But the question remains: what level of authority can be attributed to an article like the one that appears in the journal “Medellín,” signed by a theologian universally considered less than mediocre? Continue Reading

6

PopeWatch: Halting the Tides

 

King Canute Pope Francis called a halt to liturgical change from Vatican II for all time:

 

Today, Pope Francis said, “there is still work to do in this direction, in particular rediscovering the reasons for the decisions made with the liturgical reform, overcoming unfounded and superficial readings, partial receptions, and practices that disfigure it.” He said that this is not a question “of rethinking the reform by reviewing its choices, but of knowing better the underlying reasons [for it]… [and] of internalizing its inspirational principles and of observing the discipline that governs it.”

The Supreme Pontiff insisted, “After this magisterial, and after this long journey, we can assert with certainty and magisterial authority that the liturgical reform is irreversible.” Continue Reading

7

PopeWatch: Criticisms

The Pope’s leftist agenda is drawing fire not only within the Church but from without the Church according to Sandro Magister:

In this month of August, Pope Francis has found himself facing opposition on two of the best-known points of his preaching. And opposition in an unusual form: because the critiques have not come from inside the Church, but from outside, from authoritative voices of secular opinion; and also because he has never been explicitly named in the controversy, although it is evident that the criticisms were aimed against him as well.

*

The first point concerns the phenomenon of migration. In recent days, a ruling from the Italian judiciary and an appeal signed by a certain number of intellectuals of the far left have compared the reception centers for immigrants sailing from Libya for Italy to “concentration camps,” and the rejection of their indiscriminate admittance to a “mass extermination” analogous to that of the Jews on the part of the Nazis.

These comparisons are not new. Frequent recourse has been made in recent times to words like “lager,” “extermination,” “holocaust” to denounce the treatment reserved for immigrants by those who do not want to accommodate them without reservation.

But this time, in conjunction with the joint decision of the Italian government and the Libyan authorities to put the brakes on the shipments of migrants carried out until now by criminal organizations at the expense of many lives, and in conjunction with the resolute support for this decision from the president of the Italian episcopal conference, Cardinal Gualtiero Bassetti, the aberrant association of the “non-welcome” of immigrants with the extermination of the Jews has not passed by in silence, but has generated a healthy flare-up of criticisms.

Properly speaking, none of the critics has mentioned Pope Francis by name. But he too not long ago had referred to as “concentration camps” the camps for receiving immigrants in Greece and Italy.

He did so in a homily given on April 22 at the Roman basilica of St. Bartholomew on the Tiber Island, during a ceremony commemorating the “new martyrs” of the 20th and 21st centuries.

And this sally of his reinforced even more the standard storyline on Pope Francis when it comes to immigration: as a pope of unlimited welcome for all, always and at all costs.

Because it is true that Francis, in this regard, has also occasionally said the opposite. For example, during one of his inflight press conferences, on the way back from Sweden last November 1, he praised the “prudence” of leaders who put limits on accommodation, because “there is not room for all.”

Just as it is true that Cardinal Bassetti spoke with the prearranged approval of the pope – who had himself just come from a private meeting with Italian prime minister Paolo Gentiloni – when last August 10 he supported the hard line of the government of Rome against “those who exploit the phenomenon of migration in an inhumane manner” by organizing crossings from Libya to Italy.

But the fact remains that these correctives have not made a dent in the image of Francis that has been built up in the media, as a champion of indiscriminate accommodation. And one may wonder if this is the work of the media alone or his as well, considering the overwhelming preponderance of his appeals for welcome full stop, compared with the paltry number of his commendations of “prudence” in governing the phenomenon of migration.

*

The second point of the preaching of Pope Jorge Mario Bergoglio that has ended up under fire from criticism has to do with his overall political vision, hostile both to globalization, in which he sees the perverse effects prevailing, and to free market policies, which he has often branded as “economy that kills.” Continue Reading

13

PopeWatch: Open Borders

I answer that, Man’s relations with foreigners are twofold: peaceful, and hostile: and in directing both kinds of relation the Law contained suitable precepts. For the Jews were offered three opportunities of peaceful relations with foreigners. First, when foreigners passed through their land as travelers. Secondly, when they came to dwell in their land as newcomers. And in both these respects the Law made kind provision in its precepts: for it is written (Exodus 22:21): “Thou shalt not molest a stranger [advenam]”; and again (Exodus 22:9): “Thou shalt not molest a stranger [peregrino].” Thirdly, when any foreigners wished to be admitted entirely to their fellowship and mode of worship. With regard to these a certain order was observed. For they were not at once admitted to citizenship: just as it was law with some nations that no one was deemed a citizen except after two or three generations, as the Philosopher says (Polit. iii, 1). The reason for this was that if foreigners were allowed to meddle with the affairs of a nation as soon as they settled down in its midst, many dangers might occur, since the foreigners not yet having the common good firmly at heart might attempt something hurtful to the people. Hence it was that the Law prescribed in respect of certain nations that had close relations with the Jews (viz., the Egyptians among whom they were born and educated, and the Idumeans, the children of Esau, Jacob’s brother), that they should be admitted to the fellowship of the people after the third generation; whereas others (with whom their relations had been hostile, such as the Ammonites and Moabites) were never to be admitted to citizenship; while the Amalekites, who were yet more hostile to them, and had no fellowship of kindred with them, were to be held as foes in perpetuity: for it is written (Exodus 17:16): “The war of the Lord shall be against Amalec from generation to generation.”

Saint Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae, Question 105, Article 3

 

 

 

 

The Pope is in favor of open borders as he made very clear in this statement issued yesterday:

 

Every stranger who knocks at our door is an opportunity for an encounter with Jesus Christ, who identifies with the welcomed and rejected strangers of every age (Matthew 25:35-43).  The Lord entrusts to the Church’s motherly love every person forced to leave their homeland in search of a better future.[1] This solidarity must be concretely expressed at every stage of the migratory experience – from departure through journey to arrival and return.  This is a great responsibility, which the Church intends to share with all believers and men and women of good will, who are called to respond to the many challenges of contemporary migration with generosity, promptness, wisdom and foresight, each according to their own abilities.

In this regard, I wish to reaffirm that “our shared response may be articulated by four verbs: to welcome, to protect, to promote and to integrate”.[2]

Considering the current situation, welcoming means, above all, offering broader options for migrants and refugees to enter destination countries safely and legally.  This calls for a concrete commitment to increase and simplify the process for granting humanitarian visas and for reunifying families.  At the same time, I hope that a greater number of countries will adopt private and community sponsorship programmes, and open humanitarian corridors for particularly vulnerable refugees.  Furthermore, special temporary visas should be granted to people fleeing conflicts in neighbouring countries.  Collective and arbitrary expulsions of migrants and refugees are not suitable solutions, particularly where people are returned to countries which cannot guarantee respect for human dignity and fundamental rights.[3]  Once again, I want to emphasise the importance of offering migrants and refugees adequate and dignified initial accommodation.  “More widespread programmes of welcome, already initiated in different places, seem to favour a personal encounter and allow for greater quality of service and increased guarantees of success”.[4]  The principle of the centrality of the human person, firmly stated by my beloved Predecessor, Benedict XVI,[5] obliges us to always prioritise personal safety over national security.  It is necessary, therefore, to ensure that agents in charge of border control are properly trained.  The situation of migrants, asylum seekers and refugees requires that they be guaranteed personal safety and access to basic services.  For the sake of the fundamental dignity of every human person, we must strive to find alternative solutions to detention for those who enter a country without authorisation.[6]

The second verb – protecting – may be understood as a series of steps intended to defend the rights and dignity of migrants and refugees, independent of their legal status.[7]  Such protection begins in the country of origin, and consists in offering reliable and verified information before departure, and in providing safety from illegal recruitment practices.[8]  This must be ongoing, as far as possible, in the country of migration, guaranteeing them adequate consular assistance, the right to personally retain their documents of identification at all times, fair access to justice, the possibility of opening a personal bank account, and a minimum sufficient to live on.  When duly recognised and valued, the potential and skills of migrants, asylum seekers and refugees are a true resource for the communities that welcome them.[9]  This is why I hope that, in countries of arrival, migrants may be offered freedom of movement, work opportunities, and access to means of communication, out of respect for their dignity.  For those who decide to return to their homeland, I want to emphasise the need to develop social and professional reintegration programmes.  The International Convention on the Rights of the Child provides a universal legal basis for the protection of underage migrants.  They must be spared any form of detention related to migratory status, and must be guaranteed regular access to primary and secondary education.  Equally, when they come of age they must be guaranteed the right to remain and to enjoy the possibility of continuing their studies.  Temporary custody or foster programmes should be provided for unaccompanied minors and minors separated from their families.[10]  The universal right to a nationality should be recognised and duly certified for all children at birth.  The statelessness which migrants and refugees sometimes fall into can easily be avoided with the adoption of “nationality legislation that is in conformity with the fundamental principles of international law”.[11]  Migratory status should not limit access to national healthcare and pension plans, nor affect the transfer of their contributions if repatriated.

Promoting essentially means a determined effort to ensure that all migrants and refugees – as well as the communities which welcome them – are empowered to achieve their potential as human beings, in all the dimensions which constitute the humanity intended by the Creator.[12]  Among these, we must recognize the true value of the religious dimension, ensuring to all foreigners in any country the freedom of religious belief and practice.   Many migrants and refugees have abilities which must be appropriately recognised and valued.  Since “work, by its nature, is meant to unite peoples”,[13] I encourage a determined effort to promote the social and professional inclusion of migrants and refugees, guaranteeing for all – including those seeking asylum – the possibility of employment, language instruction and active citizenship, together with sufficient information provided in their mother tongue.  In the case of underage migrants, their involvement in labour must be regulated to prevent exploitation and risks to their normal growth and development.  In 2006, Benedict XVI highlighted how, in the context of migration, the family is “a place and resource of the culture of life and a factor for the integration of values”.[14]  The family’s integrity must always be promoted, supporting family reunifications – including grandparents, grandchildren and siblings – independent of financial requirements.  Migrants, asylum seekers and refugees with disabilities must be granted greater assistance and support.  While I recognize the praiseworthy efforts, thus far, of many countries, in terms of international cooperation and humanitarian aid, I hope that the offering of this assistance will take into account the needs (such as medical and social assistance, as well as education) of developing countries which receive a significant influx of migrants and refugees.  I also hope that local communities which are vulnerable and facing material hardship, will be included among aid beneficiaries.[15]

The final verb – integrating – concerns the opportunities for intercultural enrichment brought about by the presence of migrants and refugees.  Integration is not “an assimilation that leads migrants to suppress or to forget their own cultural identity. Rather, contact with others leads to discovering their ‘secret’, to being open to them in order to welcome their valid aspects and thus contribute to knowing each one better.  This is a lengthy process that aims to shape societies and cultures, making them more and more a reflection of the multi-faceted gifts of God to human beings”.[16]  This process can be accelerated by granting citizenship free of financial or linguistic requirements, and by offering the possibility of special legalisation to migrants who can claim a long period of residence in the country of arrival.  I reiterate the need to foster a culture of encounter in every way possible – by increasing opportunities for intercultural exchange, documenting and disseminating best practices of integration, and developing programmes to prepare local communities for integration processes.   I wish to stress the special case of people forced to abandon their country of arrival due to a humanitarian crisis.  These people must be ensured adequate assistance for repatriation and effective reintegration programmes in their home countries.

In line with her pastoral tradition, the Church is ready to commit herself to realising all the initiatives proposed above.  Yet in order to achieve the desired outcome, the contribution of political communities and civil societies is indispensable, each according to their own responsibilities. Continue Reading

7

PopeWatch: It’s Not Just Converts!

 

Friends of PopeWatch, Paul Zummo and Jay Anderson, dealt last week with the convert bashing that has become the latest line of defense by the acolytes of the current pontificate.  That some of the more ardent defenders of every jot and tittle of the current pontificate, Mark Shea that is your cue, are themselves converts, was not addressed by the convert bashers.  Of course the simple truth is that many Catholics, cradle and convert, are alarmed by Pope Francis.  Dan Hitchens at Catholic Herald points this out:

This brings me to Austen Ivereigh’s latest piece suggesting that the epicentre of current anxiety is neither priests nor the laity, neither Westerners nor Africans, but converts. Ivereigh diagnoses “convert neurosis” in a range of writers, from “elegant commentators such as Ross Douthat” all the way down to “ex-Anglicans in my own patch such as Daniel Hitchens of the Catholic Herald.” Our neurosis reveals itself in disproportionate anxiety at the state of the Church; a horror of doctrinal development beyond our favourite period of Catholic history; and a failure to trust that “the Holy Spirit guides” Pope Francis. In sum, “their baggage has distorted their hermeneutic”.

I’m wary of this kind of psychologising: it is hard, even with those we know best, to say how their psychological issues affect their opinions. And in this instance the psychoanalysis seems needless, since there are at least as many cradle Catholics who have the same worries as us converts. An obvious example is Cardinal Raymond Burke, who learnt the faith from his mother and father as a farm boy in 1950s Wisconsin. Again, there are many cradle Catholics among the theologians who have expressed concerns: for instance, Dr Joseph Shaw, the spokesman for the 45 priests and theologians. And so on.

Converts and cradle Catholics have the same worries. I’m sorry to go over this again, but it seems worthwhile, since there is a determined effort in some quarters to change the subject. The concerns are about the sacraments and about doctrine. Nothing on this earth is more beautiful and precious than the sacraments, and it is natural for Catholics to be alarmed about the abuse of them. Scarcely anything is as necessary for our happiness as sound doctrine, and it is normal for Catholics to worry that doctrine is being contradicted or confused. There have been as many saints who were relaxed about heresy as there have been saints who despised the poor.

So of course converts and cradle Catholics will be dismayed by sacramental abuses and doctrinal confusion. And it is hard not to use such terms when we read Malta’s bishops claiming that avoiding adultery may be impossible; when we hear of priests, bishops and even cardinals abandoning the Church’s practice on Communion; when papal teachings are used – without contradiction from Rome – to justify novel approaches to divorce, euthanasia and extramarital relationships. (I have chosen a few examples here out of many, which together form a pattern.)

Catholics are living through a serious – not wholly unprecedented, but serious – doctrinal crisis. We all have psychological issues; as Samuel Johnson observed, “Perhaps, if we speak with rigorous exactness, no human mind is in its right state.” But as Johnson elsewhere remarked, there is one indispensable remedy: “The mind can only repose on the stability of truth.”

A favorite tactic of the old Soviet Union was to label dissidents as insane and lock them up in insane asylums.  It surprises PopeWatch not a whit that a similar mode of looking at Catholics who dissent from FrancisChurch, is becoming popular among those who view Pope Francis as ordained by the Holy Spirit to lead us to a New Light that somehow escaped the Church for twenty centuries.

 

6

PopeWatch: Denzinger

 

 

From the only source of reliable Catholic news on net, Eye of the Tiber:

 

 

The largest cross-boarder Lefeverist smuggling tunnel to date was discovered in a midnight raid earlier today by Swiss Guards.  The smugglers fled, abandoning contraband with a street value of over 3 million euros.

Smuggled goods found included pirated copies of “Teach Yourself Latin” software, DVD’s of “The Cardinal,” as well as thousands of copies of Familiaris Consortio and the Decrees of the Council of Trent.

Lead detective on the case Giovanni Verde told EOTT this morning that all of the items seized were street ready.

“From here they would have gone out and been available in the Vatican colleges and back rooms by sunrise,” noting that the tunnel terminated in a small subterranean chapel under one of the Vatican buildings.  “See how the chapel is set up ad orientem?  This is a site of a clandestine Tridentine Mass.”

Rumors have been circulating for years that undocumented Lefeverists were responsible for the countless tunnels undermining the Vatican since the early 1970’s.  According to Verde, his goal is not simply taking down the powerful Lefeverist “cartel,” but also “the numerous groups inside the Vatican supporting them.”

Verde told reporters that he has been tracking a “shadowy figure” who is considered the true leader of the cartel.

“We only know him as “Denzinger,” but he is highly respected in some circles, and his writings are quoted like the Bible. It’s not a secret in the Vatican that the recently terminated the head of the CDF, Gerhard Cardinal Muller, was an admirer of Dezinger.

“It was clear for a number of years that the Cardinal had been Denzinger’s man inside the halls of the Vatican, and now we finally have hard evidence of a conspiracy. Denzinger’s influence over the CDF and the Church will finally be broken.” Continue Reading

5

PopeWatch: Something to Keep in Mind

 

During the current Pontificate, PopeWatch has found comfort in this passage on the entry under Alexander VI at New Advent:

 

An impartial appreciation of the career of this extraordinary person must at once distinguish between the man and the office. “An imperfect setting”, says Dr. Pastor (op. cit., III, 475), “does not affect the intrinsic worth of the jewel, nor does the golden coin lose its value when it passes through impure hands. In so far as the priest is a public officer of a holy Church, a blameless life is expected from him, both because he is by his office the model of virtue to whom the laity look up, and because his life, when virtuous, inspires in onlookers respect for the society of which he is an ornament. But the treasures of the Church, her Divine character, her holiness, Divine revelation, the grace of God, spiritual authority, it is well known, are not dependent on the moral character of the agents and officers of the Church. The foremost of her priests cannot diminish by an iota the intrinsic value of the spiritual treasures confided to him.” There have been at all times wicked men in the ecclesiastical ranks. Our Lord foretold, as one of its severest trials, the presence in His Church not only of false brethren, but of rulers who would offend, by various forms of selfishness, both the children of the household and “those who are without”. Similarly, He compared His beloved spouse, the Church, to a threshing floor, on which fall both chaff and grain until the time of separation.

 

Go here to read the entire entry.

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PopeWatch: Letter to the Pope

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An Evangelical minister who specializes in helping Christians facing persecution writes to the Pope:

 

August 3, 2017

Your Holiness,

I am writing to request a meeting between Catholic and Evangelical leaders from the United States at a place and time of your choosing. Though, I’m hoping we can meet quickly.

I speak for many Evangelicals when I say that we have looked upon your appointment with great gratitude to God and with great optimism for the new spirit that you have brought to the Catholic Church. Your commitment to the poor and to pastoral ministry and your efforts to build bridges and to spread the doctrine of mercy around the world have been a light and hope to us all.

As you know more than most, all of this has also come at a time of historic Christian persecution in more places than perhaps at any time in Christian history. Together, Catholics, Orthodox, Protestant, and Evangelical Christians throughout the entire world have shared – as you’ve said – “an ecumenism of blood.”

It’s in this moment of ongoing persecution, political division and global conflict that we have also witnessed efforts to divide Catholics and Evangelicals. We think it would be of great benefit to sit together and to discuss these things. Then, when we disagree we can do it within the context of friendship. Though, I’m sure we will find once again that we agree far more than we disagree, and we can work together with diligence on those areas of agreement.

I have to confess what prompted this request were articles published in the La Cattolica Civilitas recently and in the New York Times.  

We feel like this conversation is an urgent one, and I will bring a half dozen or so of our denominational heads and significantly influential Evangelicals for our time together.

We would also like to use the time to meet with various other high level officials throughout the Vatican to find ways in which we can cooperate on matters of great concern to us all, especially as it relates to refugees, the poor and the persecuted.  

I might add that when God put it on my heart to write you directly, I immediately reached out to a mutual friend of ours. He has recounted to me the warm experiences that he’s had with you, and they are what prompted me to write you, knowing that you would receive this letter in kindred spirits. 

With all the respect in the world and with love for Christ’s Church and every corner of it, I’ll earnestly await your reply.

Sincerely,

Rev. Johnnie Moore Continue Reading

PopeWatch: Bishop José Luis Azuaje Ayala of Barinas

 

 

Bishop José Luis Azuaje Ayala of Barinas, vice president of the Venezuelan bishops’ conference, speaks on the dire situation in Venezuela:

 

 

The representative of the bishops’ conference also addressed the Vatican-facilitated dialogue process that took place in Venezuela between the government and the opposition in 2016.

The bishop denounced the result, which, in his view, was “a feigned dialogue on the part of the government without any result.”

“Whenever this government has been at a disadvantage, it has asked to dialogue; but it is always the same script: dialogue is used to gain time and advance in the hegemonic project of totalitarianism and greater power of domination,” Bishop Azuaje stated.

“The Holy See has always been aware of what is happening in the country. Both Pope Francis and the Secretary of State, Cardinal Parolin, are well informed of the country’s problems. They have always been willing to mediate, and we thank them for that. But experiences teach. The failed dialogue from October to December has taught that governments like this should have something more than goodwill,” he said categorically.

 

He also explained that the Vatican “has reminded the government that to return to the table, they must meet what was agreed in October of last year, and recorded by Cardinal Parolin in the letter addressed to President Maduro on December 1, 2016.”

This agreement states that the government must commit to “setting an electoral calendar, the release of political prisoners, the opening of a humanitarian channel to let food and medicines enter the country, and return power to the National Assembly.”

 

In the bishop’s view, the real solution involves a “total change of government through general elections,” perhaps beginning with a “possible transitional national government.”

However, he noted that “we can not forget justice” because “there has been a lot of corruption and violence” and “those responsible for this can not be left uninvestigated.”

Regardless of how the political situation in Venezuela ends, however, Catholics must live and react to the crisis facing the country.

“A Catholic in the circumstances in which we live must be a permanent promoter of the common good, solidarity, and justice,” the bishop advised. “It is not a time of adornment, but of going to the essential, to what gives meaning to life.”

“We know that nothing will be easy when working for the good of the community, but Christians have a fundamental belief that the power of the Holy Spirit not only animates us, but enlightens us in walking the narrow way. It offers us challenges, but it gives us its strength, ” Bishop Azuaje said.

“I want to go to the extreme of saying that a Catholic can not bend to exclusionary policies, much less the voracious corruption that exists in the country, nor raise his hand to strike the dignity of anyone,” he added.

“A committed Catholic should demand justice and work for the people with the sole interest of developing processes that lead to greater human development,” the bishop urged. Continue Reading