Category Archives: doctrine

This is BIG NEWS locally here in Bostoniensis!

From Father Z’s Blog:

D. Worcester – Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary granted canonical status

My friend Fr. Jay Finelli let me know a while ago that Bishop of Worcester has granted canonical status to the Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary in Still River, MA. He has this on his site:

Congratulations to my dear friends, The Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary in Still River, Massachusetts. On 27 October, the Most Rev. Robert J. McManus granted them canonical status as a Public Association of the Faithful.

This is big news!   I want to get to the bottom of what really happened to Father Leonard Feeney.   Chicanery at the highest levels I suspect!   There is something rotten in the city of Brighton! (now Braintree – if ya catch my drift!)

Wherein The Remnant questions current (read NEW) Church teaching

Friday, October 6, 2017

Killing Capital Punishment: How Pope John Paul Set Precedent for Pope Francis

Written by  Joseph D’Hippolito / Published in The Remnant Newspaper today!

Two decades before the current Pope caused open consternation among the faithful by disregarding previous teaching, one of his most beloved predecessors successfully did the same thing with barely any outcry.
Concerning capital punishment for murder, Pope John Paul II arbitrarily reversed centuries of teaching from both Scripture and Tradition in favor of an abolitionist approach the Church now embraces. However, that approach changed the fundamental moral criterion the Church applies to the issue, leads to contradiction and confusion, creates a moral equivalence between perpetrators and victims – and, ultimately, threatens the Church’s theological and moral credibility.
The Old Testament provides the deepest layer of soil for the traditional teaching’s roots. In Genesis 9:5-6, God orders Noah and his descendants to execute murderers:

“I will demand an accounting for human life…  Anyone who sheds the blood of a human being, by a human being shall that one’s blood be shed. For in the image of God have human beings been made. (New American Bible).”
That command came after a flood that destroyed a morally chaotic world – and is repeated in every book of the Torah, the first five books that form the Bible’s foundation. The command implies three theological principles. First, if God is the author of life, then God retains the prerogative to define the circumstances under which life can be taken. Second, God demands that humanity create just societies to protect the innocent. Third, murder is such a heinous violation of the divine image in humanity that execution is the only appropriate punishment. Exodus 20-23 elaborates on these principles in the lex talonis, which advocates punishment proportional to the offense – the original meaning of “eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth.” Instead of encouraging vengeance, as the modern hierarchy maintains, the lex talonis discourages ad hoc vigilantism – the ultimate form of vindictiveness – in favor of due process. In the New Testament, St. Paul reinforces the idea in his letter to the Romans. In Chapter 12, he discourages his readers from avenging themselves by quoting Deuteronomy 32:35 (“Vengeance is mine, says the Lord. I will repay!”). In the next chapter, St. Paul encourages them to rely on due process through legitimate authorities “because they do not bear the sword in vain (verse 4).” Centuries of Catholic thought reinforced those principles. In The City of God, St. Augustine wrote:
“The same divine law which forbids the killing of a human being allows certain exceptions. Since the agent of authority is but a sword in the hand, and is not responsible for the killing, it is in no way contrary to the commandment ‘Thou shalt not kill,’ for the representative of the State’s authority to put criminals to death, according to the Law or the rule of rational justice.”
St. Thomas Aquinas, in his masterpiece Summa Theologica, argued against the idea that incarceration alone is enough to protect the community:
“If a man is a danger to the community, threatening it with disintegration by some wrongdoing of his, then his execution for the healing and preservation of the common good is to be commended. Only the public authority, not private persons, may licitly execute malefactors by public judgment. Men shall be sentenced to death for crimes of irreparable harm or which are particularly perverted.”
In Summa Contra Gentiles, Aquinas even argued that an impending execution can stimulate repentance:
“The fact that the evil, as long as they live, can be corrected from their errors does not prohibit the fact that they may be justly executed, for the danger which threatens from their way of life is greater and more certain than the good which may be expected from their improvement. They also have at that critical point of death the opportunity to be converted to God through repentance. And if they are so stubborn that even at the point of death their heart does not draw back from evil, it is possible to make a highly probable judgment that they would never come away from evil to the right use of their powers.”
Not even Sister Helen Prejean, one of the most popular opponents of capital punishment, contended that abolitionism has biblical roots, as she admitted in her book, Dead Man Walking:
“It is abundantly clear that the Bible depicts murder as a capital crime for which death is considered the appropriate punishment, and one is hard pressed to find a biblical ‘proof text’ in either the Hebrew Testament or the New Testament which unequivocally refutes this. Even Jesus’ admonition ‘Let him without sin cast the first stone,’ when He was asked the appropriate punishment for an adulteress (John 8:7) – the Mosaic Law prescribed death – should be read in its proper context. “This passage is an ‘entrapment’ story, which sought to show Jesus’ wisdom in besting His adversaries. It is not an ethical pronouncement about capital punishment.” (emphasis added)
John Paul’s revisionism finds its roots in his 1995 encyclical “Evangelium Vitae.” While condemning abortion, contraception and euthanasia, John Paul declared capital punishment to be fundamentally unnecessary:
“Public authority must redress the violation of personal and social rights by imposing on the offender an adequate punishment for the crime…In this way authority also fulfills the purpose of defending public order and ensuring people’s safety, while at the same time offering the offender an incentive and help to change his or her behavior and be rehabilitated. “It is clear that, for these purposes to be achieved, the nature and extent of the punishment … ought not to go to the extreme of executing the offender except in cases of absolute necessity: in other words, when it would not be possible otherwise to defend society. Today, however, as a result of steady improvements in the organization of the penal system, such cases are very rare, if not practically non-existent.” (emphasis added)
The head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith during John Paul’s tenure – Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI – changed the catechism to reflect the late pope’s view.
“If, however, non-lethal means are sufficient to defend and protect people’s safety from the aggressor, authority must limit itself to such means, as these are more in keeping with the concrete conditions of the common good and more in conformity with the dignity of the human person.” (emphases added)
Before “Evangelium Vitae,” the catechism read, “If, however, bloodless means…authority should limit itself….” (emphases added). What is the difference between “should” and “must”? “Should” is advisory but “must” implies a demand. With these substitutions, Ratzinger and John Paul changed the fundamental moral criterion from the divine image within humanity – a criterion imposed by inspired Scripture – to the State’s ability to incarcerate capital felons. Though his written opinion allowed for capital punishment in limited circumstances, John Paul used the encyclical as intellectual cover for his personal campaign to abolish the death penalty worldwide. During his 1999 trip to the United States, the late pope successfully convinced Missouri Gov. Mel Carnahan to commute the death sentence issued to Darrell Mease, who was convicted of murdering three people – including a disabled 19-year old. In 2000, John Paul asked Rome’s city officials to let the Coliseum’s lights shine continuously in memory of those who received death sentences. In 2001, the late pope wrote a personal request to President George W. Bush for clemency for Timothy McVeigh, who murdered 168 people in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing. John Paul revealed his true opinion about capital punishment at a large Mass in St. Louis on January 29, 1999, two days after Carnahan commuted Mease’s sentence:
“The new evangelization calls for followers of Christ who are unconditionally pro-life: who will proclaim, celebrate and serve the Gospel of life in every situation. A sign of hope is the increasing recognition that the dignity of human life must never be taken away, even in the case of someone who has done great evil. Modern society has the means of protecting itself, without definitively denying criminals the chance to reform. I renew the appeal I made most recently at Christmas for a consensus to end the death penalty, which is both cruel and unnecessary.” (emphasis added)
Eleven months later, Cardinal Renato Martino connected abortion with capital punishment while admitting the Church seeks to abolish the latter in an address to the United Nations:
“Abolition of the death penalty … is only one step towards creating a deeper respect for human life. If millions of budding lives are eliminated at their very roots, and if the family of nations can take for granted such crimes without a disturbed conscience, the argument for the abolition of capital punishment will become less credible. Will the international community be prepared to condemn such a culture of death and advocate a culture of life?”
Archbishop Charles Chaput, then in Denver, even equated Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia with Frances Kissling – the founder and president of the pro-abortion Catholics For A Free Choice – when Scalia expressed skepticism about John Paul’s approach to capital punishment. “(W)hen Catholic Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia publicly disputes Church teaching on the death penalty,” Chaput wrote in First Things magazine in 2002, “the message he sends is not all that different from Frances Kissling disputing what the Church teaches about abortion. Obviously, I don’t mean that abortion and the death penalty are identical issues. They’re not, and they don’t have equivalent moral gravity. But the impulse to pick and choose what we’re going to accept is exactly the same kind of ‘cafeteria Catholicism’ in both cases.” Ratzinger tried to clarify the issue – and, in the process, destroyed Chaput’s rhetorical subterfuge – when he addressed American prelates before the 2004 elections: “Not all moral issues have the same moral weight as abortion and euthanasia. For example, if a Catholic were to be at odds with the Holy Father on the application of capital punishment or on the decision to wage war, he would not for that reason be considered unworthy to present himself to receive Holy Communion…. There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about … applying the death penalty, but not however with regard to abortion and euthanasia.” Ratzinger knew he could not justify, let alone enforce, an exclusively abolitionist approach. He knows Church history all too well. Nevertheless, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops announced in 2005 its own comprehensive abolitionist campaign, complete with political lobbying, judicial intervention and educational efforts in every parish. Yet the confusion remains, as exemplified by two reactions to the Vatican’s response to the death sentence former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein received in 2006. Martino, president for the Pontifical Council for Peace and Justice, and Fr. Michele Simone, deputy director of Civilita Cattolica, condemned the sentence – with Martino expressing sympathy for Saddam. “If someone is himself a murderer, then killing him would seem to amount not to a crime but to justice – i.e., rendering unto the person according to his merits,” wrote Catholic blogger Jimmy Akin. “If you’ve got someone dead to rights, like Saddam, who clearly committed crimes against humanity, then the act of putting him to death is intrinsically an act of justice…This is something that the head of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace ought to understand…. In any event, these are statements unworthy of responsible churchmen.” (emphases in original). Kevin Miller, professor of moral theology at Franciscan University, begged to differ: “I see that the Vatican has protested the sentence, and rightly so,” Miller wrote on another blog. “Would it be just to hang Saddam for his crimes? Absolutely. But the Church teaches that this criterion, while necessary, isn’t sufficient.” Besides confusion, the Church’s effectively abolitionist position creates a moral equivalence between murderers and their victims – and demonstrates outright disregard for the latter. In 2006, Bishop Samuel Aquila of Fargo, ND, used the following rationale to oppose the execution of Alfonso Rodriguez, who murdered a 22-year-old university student, Dru Sjodin: “Responding to this senseless act of violence with another act of violence through imposition of the death penalty … reinforces the false perspective of vengeance as justice,” Aquila told Catholic News Agency. “In doing so, it diminishes respect for all human life, both the lives of the guilty and the innocent.” When she heard the news about John Paul’s intervention on McVeigh’s behalf, Kathleen Treanor – who lost her daughter and two in-laws in the bombing – told Associated Press:
“Let me ask the pope, ‘Where’s my clemency? When do I get any clemency? When does my family get some clemency?’ When the pope can answer that, we can talk.”
In 1997, John Paul and Mother Teresa – another future saint – were among those advocating clemency for Joseph O’Dell, a Virginia man convicted of raping and murdering Helen Schartner in 1985. O’Dell’s fiancée manipulated public opinion in Italy to such a point that Gail Lee, Schartner’s sister, told Associated Press: “We’re all very fragile at this point. It’s just like the Italians hate us. They in essence have said to my family, ‘You are worthless. Helen’s life doesn’t matter.'” Former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick of Washington, D.C. displayed his own self-righteous indifference when he spoke to the Washington Post in 2001 about McVeigh’s execution, which only victims’ relatives could see via closed-circuit television:
“It is like going back to the Roman Colosseum. I think that we’re watching, in my mind, an act of vengeance, and vengeance is never justified.”
McCarrick thus equated the grieving, vulnerable relatives of murder victims with the hardened, barbaric masses of ancient Rome who found the bloody agony of gladiators and religious martyrs entertaining.  By fusing the innocent with the guilty in demanding that life imprisonment without parole replace capital punishment, the abolitionists perpetuate their own form of injustice. Perhaps the ultimate example is Charles Manson, serving a life sentence in California for ordering the savage murder of seven people in 1969 – most notably, actress Sharon Tate, who was pregnant at the time. In 1971. Manson and three confederates received death sentences that California’s Supreme Court invalidated in 1972. Though the state’s Legislature re-instituted capital punishment in 1977, Manson and his confederates not only continue to serve their sentences in maximum-security prisons but are eligible for parole. Manson’s continued existence begs this question: Why is it fair or just for a murderer to retain his life after arbitrarily taking the lives of people who did no harm to him, denying them the opportunity to enjoy God’s gifts, exercise them and help others? In addressing the controversy surrounding “Amoris Laetitia,” Austrian philosopher Josef Seifert rhetorically asked whether pure logic can destroy the Church’s entire moral doctrine. Tim Capps, who blogs as “St. Corbinian’s Bear,” put the question more colloquially – and, perhaps, more powerfully:
“Is there a legitimate exercise of ‘pastoral considerations’ that is different from what looks more like Catholic three-card monte, with dogma as the Red Queen (that) suckers are led to think they can follow in a rigged game?”
Cannot the same questions be asked about the Church’s revisionism concerning capital punishment for murder? If so, can one say that the modern Magisterium has sacrificed theological and moral consistency for intellectual fashion, fideism, neo-ultramontanism and the modern papal cult of personality? If so, can one say that the modern Magisterium has no more credibility than the Ministry of Truth in Orwell’s, 1984? If so, can one say that Pope Francis is hatching the egg that John Paul laid?

Why Liturgical Lessons Aren’t Being Learned

(an older article from New Oxford Review – winter 2011 – still most relevant!)

At Mass, Actions Speak Louder Than WordsBy Michael A. Beauregard

Michael A. Beauregard is Headmaster of St. Michael’s School in West Memphis, Arkansas. He is currently a doctoral candidate at the University of Memphis and has written extensively on the classical curriculum in elementary schools.

I have taught in Catholic schools for many years. For the past ten, I have had the pleasure of teaching sixth-grade religion classes in a school that is unwaveringly faithful to the Magisterium. The religious curriculum in the sixth grade includes the sacraments, the theology of the Mass, and Church history. In previous grades, the students thoroughly study the faith with the help of textbooks that are faithful to the Church, and teachers who are devout, enthusiastic, and knowledgeable.

Nevertheless, year after year I am surprised by what my students know — and do not know — at the beginning of their sixth-grade year. Students are typically baffled and sometimes even stunned to learn that the Blessed Sacrament is Christ physically present in His body, blood, soul, and divinity, and not just in a spiritual or symbolic sense. More often than not, these students have incorrectly acquired the notion that the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is just a Communion service memorializing the Last Supper with the priest acting as presider. They are fascinated to learn about the sacrificial aspects of the Mass and the priesthood, and the tremendous graces received from the Mass. Why are all these students, who have no less than five years of solid catechetical training, entering the sixth grade with an almost Protestant view of Catholic liturgy and the sacraments?

One might question the content, quality, and overall effectiveness of the religion program. But after years of observing, monitoring, and, most importantly, probing the students, I have come to a clear assessment of this peculiar situation. Irrespective of what is being taught, if the Mass and liturgies do not reflect the realities and truths of our Catholic faith, the teachings of the Church will be taught in vain. It is of the utmost importance that the Holy Mass model and emphasize what we want our students (and adults) to understand and embrace. The rubrics, gestures, and symbols that are employed serve a fundamental and very useful purpose in that they reveal and give witness to the faith we profess.

To illustrate a common example, I ask students at the beginning of their sixth-grade year what they genuflect toward inside a church. At least ninety percent say the crucifix or the spiritual omnipresence of Christ. After receiving a thorough explanation that genuflection is an act of adoration toward the real presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament, the students invariably have a number of questions, a typical one being: “If we believe that the Blessed Sacrament is Christ Himself truly and really present among us, then shouldn’t we show greater respect and reverence at Mass?” The crux of the problem is that students cannot retain the truths they are taught if these truths are not manifested on a regular basis in our liturgical language, songs, gestures, and symbols.

In the wake of the Second Vatican Council, many expressive gestures and symbols in the Mass were not necessarily suppressed, but were set aside in favor of an emphasis on simplicity. This has resulted in a watering down of the truths of the Mass, which has itself led to a lack of reverence during the Mass.

One of the greatest tragedies of the post-conciliar New Mass is that the spirit of informality has displaced our duty of reverence and respect. For example, in the pre-conciliar Tridentine Mass, only the priest was allowed to touch the sacred Species. During and after the consecration, he was required to keep his thumb and index finger joined in order not to spread the particles of the sacred Host. It was only at the final ablution that he was able to separate his finger from his thumb. This simple yet powerful rubric sent a clear message about what we as Catholics believe about the Eucharist.

During reception of Holy Communion, an altar server held a paten under the Host to ensure that Christ would not accidentally drop to the floor. The use of patens in the New Mass has been requested in the Vatican’s 2004 instruction Redemptionis Sacramentum, but they are absent from the average Catholic parish. In most Masses today, the sacred Species might be handled with care at best, but not with the ineffable care they were once given. And they are handled by virtually everyone. What does this teach our children? Furthermore, what example is given to reaffirm mature, faithful Catholics in their beliefs? The strict rubrics in the pre-conciliar Mass were established for a firm purpose: to foster a greater reverence for the Eucharist and to prevent avoidable accidents.

One of the great and unexpected phenomena of our day is the number of young Catholics who are attracted to the Tridentine Mass. Many critics of the “extraordinary form of the Mass,” as it is now called, have stated that its appeal is largely nostalgic. However, the younger generations of Catholics did not grow up with the extraordinary form and, therefore, it cannot be a nostalgic experience for them. I require my students to attend the Tridentine Mass periodically, and they often comment on how much more reverent it is than the typical New Mass. Many respond that they prefer the Tridentine Mass because it gives authentic expression to their faith in a way that is both prayerful and contemplative. This is not to say that the New Mass cannot be reverent too, but because of the rubrics and gestures employed and indeed required, the Tridentine Mass shows greater honor toward and adoration of the Holy Eucharist.

Our Holy Father has written extensively about and encouraged two liturgical practices that were at one time common in every parish: priests facing ad orientem, toward the East, and communicants receiving the sacred Host on the tongue, while kneeling. Both of these practices have been encouraged for two main reasons: to give glory and reverence to God and to reinforce our belief in the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist. These two practices express our beliefs through action and raise awareness of the sacredness of the Mass. Even smaller actions that appear at first to be trivial can have a similar effect, such as making use of chalice veils (as recommended in the General Instruction of the Roman Missal) and patens, and keeping silence in the church before and after Mass. There are a multitude of lessons we can learn about the symbolism of such acts and how this conveys and expresses our faith in the real presence. These small details, which many take for granted or ignore altogether, can make the difference between giving the appearance, to Catholics and non-Catholics alike, that the Mass is either something extraordinary and mystical or something ordinary and secular.

The hymns that are selected should be given due consideration as well. Sometimes I wonder if anyone really pays attention to the words that are sung. Are they consistent with the theology of the Mass and what we as Catholics believe? If the lyrics were recited and not sung, would they be appropriate prayers to God?

Recently, when I was teaching fifth-grade boys some of the refinements of serving at Mass, one of them did not know exactly what I meant when I mentioned “the altar.” He mistakenly thought that the altar was the general area around the altar of sacrifice — the sanctuary. After I corrected him briefly, the young student responded, “Oh, you mean the Communion table.” I then saw that it was necessary to give him a fuller explanation of the sacrificial nature of the Mass and what distinguishes the altar of sacrifice from an ordinary table. But the next day at Mass, the offertory hymn included such lines as “Come to the table of plenty” and “O come and sit at my table, where saints and sinners are friends.” That hymn served to reinforce the incorrect perception not only about the altar but about the nature of the Mass. I realized that despite the faithful, correct instruction we give, we are fighting a losing battle when the externals of the Mass do not accurately reflect what we teach.

The Church has witnessed some positive and fruitful developments over the past twenty years. I can remember a time when the ringing of the bells at the elevations had become a rarity. This very important element, which has been reintroduced in many parishes, can act as a great teaching tool to both Catholics and non-Catholics. For example, a co-worker of mine, a Lutheran, attended Mass at our school during her first week of employment. Afterward, she inquired about the ringing of the bells at the epiclesis (unbeknownst to many, this is encouraged in the General Instruction of the Roman Missal) and the elevations. It was a great opportunity not only to explain the symbolism of the actions but to talk about the Mass and how it differs from Protestant services.

Another positive development that has been occurring over the past decade is the placement — or relocation — of tabernacles in many churches to their proper place of honor. Even in many of the cathedrals in the U.S. that were modernized in the 1970s the tabernacles are beginning to be returned to prominent areas in order to foster devotion to the Blessed Sacrament. Likewise, a momentous event soon to unfold is the revised English translation of the Order of Mass. This single event will not only bring the wording of the Mass back to its Latin origins, it will also provide a richer, more compelling and beautiful translation that will uplift the faithful. [For a look at the new missal translation, see Rosemary Lunardini’s article “A Defining Step Toward Authentic Liturgical Reform,” Nov. 2010 — Ed.]

Perhaps one of the greatest changes we have seen over the past twenty years is a renewed interest in and devotion to eucharistic adoration. A majority of parishes now participates in some regular form of eucharistic adoration. This is incredible and miraculous, not only because this practice became almost extinct nearly thirty years ago, but because it occurred without any mandates or widespread movements. It was one of those things that suddenly happened everywhere, an occurrence of such great magnitude over such a short time that it can only give witness to the workings of the Holy Spirit in the life of the Church today.

It is imperative for all parishes and schools to closely examine the Church’s authoritative writings on matters liturgical, such as the General Instruction of the Roman Missal and Redemptionis Sacramentum. Employing the rubrics they call for, and in addition those that are given as options, will bring about a greater sense of mystery and sacredness to the Mass.

Beyond just reading these documents, their contents need to be incorporated into a liturgical catechesis. This could be accomplished by printing short columns in Sunday bulletins about different aspects of the Mass, or by offering workshops and classes in order to better educate the faithful in the rubrics and gestures. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that “liturgical catechesis aims to initiate people into the mystery of Christ by proceeding from the visible to the invisible, from the sign to the thing signified, from the ‘sacraments’ to the ‘mysteries’” (no. 1075).

Many parishes, schools, and dioceses have taken tremendous steps toward ensuring faithful catechetical training. This is a great turnaround from the watered-down instruction largely given in the 1970s and 1980s. However, if what we teach about the Mass and the Eucharist is not expressed in our actions and daily examples, even when good catechetical instruction is offered, we are inadvertently leading the faithful away from the fullness of truth about the most sublime and beautiful event this side of Heaven — the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, with all the graces it contains.

 

 

3 prelates appeal to prayer:

Brought to you by Allan Gillis

“That Pope Francis may confirm the unchanging praxis of the Church with regard to the truth of the indissolubility of marriage”

Note: We were asked to promote the following text and prayer with you, our readers, and ask you and other media to please share it far and wide. It was written by Tomash Peta, Metropolitan Archbishop of the archdiocese of Saint Mary in Astana; Jan Pawel Lenga, Archbishop-Bishop emeritus of Karaganda; and Athanasius Schneider, Auxiliary Bishop of the archdiocese of Saint Mary in Astana:

Following the publication of the Apostolic Exhortation Amoris laetitia, in some particular churches there were published norms for its application and interpretations whereby the divorced who have attempted civil marriage with a new partner, notwithstanding the sacramental bond by which they are joined to their legitimate spouse, are admitted to the sacraments of Penance and the Eucharist without fulfilling the duty, established by God, of ceasing to violate the bond of their existing sacramental marriage.

Cohabitation more uxorio with a person who is not one’s legitimate spouse represents, at the same time, an offense to the Covenant of Salvation, of which sacramental marriage is a sign (cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2384), and an offense to the nuptial character of the Eucharistic mystery itself. Pope Benedict XVI revealed such a correlation when he wrote: “The Eucharist inexhaustibly strengthens the indissoluble unity and love of every Christian marriage. By the power of the sacrament, the marriage bond is intrinsically linked to the Eucharistic unity of Christ the Bridegroom and his Bride, the Church (cf. Eph. 5:31-32)” (Apostolic Exhortation Sacramentum caritatis, 27).

Pastors of the Church who tolerate or authorize, even in individual or exceptional cases,  the reception of the sacrament of the Eucharist by the divorced and so-called “remarried,” without their being clothed in the “wedding garment,” despite the fact that God himself has prescribed it in Sacred Scripture (cf. Matt. 22:11 and 1 Cor. 11:28-29) as the necessary requirement for worthy participation in the nuptial Eucharistic supper, such pastors are complicit in this way with a continual offense against the sacramental bond of marriage, the nuptial bond between Christ and the Church and the nuptial bond between Christ and the individual soul who receives his Eucharistic Body.

Several particular Churches have issued or recommended pastoral guidelines with this or a similar formulation: “If then this choice [of living in continence] is difficult to practice for the stability of the couple, Amoris laetitia does not exclude the possibility of access to Penance and the Eucharist. That signifies something of an openness, as in the case where there is a moral certainty that the first marriage was null, but there are not the necessary proofs for demonstrating such in the judicial process. Therefore, there is no reason why the confessor, at a certain point, in his own conscience, after much prayer and reflection, should not assume the responsibility before God and the penitent asking that the sacraments be received in a discreet manner.”

The previously mentioned pastoral guidelines contradict the universal tradition of the Catholic Church, which by means of an uninterrupted Petrine Ministry of the Sovereign Pontiffs has always been faithfully kept, without any shadow of doubt or of ambiguity, either in its doctrine or its praxis, in that which concerns the indissolubility of marriage.

The norms mentioned and pastoral guidelines contradict moreover in practice the following truths and doctrines that the Catholic Church has continually taught as being sure:

The observance of the Ten Commandments of God, and in particular the Sixth Commandment, binds every human person, without exception, always and in every situation. In this matter, one cannot admit individual or exceptional cases or speak of a fuller ideal. St Thomas Aquinas says: “The precepts of the Decalogue embody the intention of the legislator, that is God. Therefore, the precepts of the Decalogue permit no dispensation” (Summa theol. 1-2, q.100, a.8c).

The moral and practical demands, which derive from the Ten Commandments of God, and in particular from the indissolubility of marriage, are not simple norms or positive laws of the Church, but an expression of the holy will of God. Consequently, one cannot speak in this respect of the primacy of the person over the norm or the law, but one must rather speak of the primacy of the will of God over the will of the sinful human person, in such a way that this person is saved, by fulfilling the will of God with the help of his grace.

To believe in the indissolubility of marriage and to contradict it by one’s own actions while at the same time considering oneself even being free from grave sin and calming one’s conscience by trusting in God’s mercy alone, represents a self-deception against which Tertullian, a witness to the faith and practice of the Church of the first centuries warned:  “Some say that for God it is sufficient that one accepts his will in one’s heart and soul, even if one’s actions do not correspond to this: in this manner they think themselves able to sin while maintaining the integrity of the principle of faith and fear of God: in this way, it is absolutely the same as if one attempted to maintain the principle of chastity, while violating and breaking the holiness and integrity of the matrimonial bond” (Tertullian, De poenitentia 5,10).

The observance of the Commandments of God and in particular of the indissolubility of marriage cannot be presented as a fuller expression of an ideal towards which one should strive in accordance with the criterion of the good which is possible or achievable. It is rather the case of an obligation which God himself has unequivocally commanded, the non-observance of which, in accordance with his Word, carries the penalty of eternal damnation. To say to the faithful the contrary would seem to signify misleading them or encouraging them to disobey the will of God, and in such way endangering their eternal salvation.

God gives to every man assistance in the observance of his Commandments, when such a request is properly made, as the Church has infallibly taught: “God does not command that which is impossible, but in commanding he exhorts you to do that which you are able, and to ask for that which you cannot do, and so he assists you that you might be able to do it” (Council of Trent, session 6, chapter 11) and “and if someone says that even for the man who has been justified and established in grace  the commandments of God are impossible to observe: let him be anathema” (Council of Trent, session 6, canon 18.) Following this infallible doctrine, St John Paul II taught: “Keeping God’s law in particular situations can be difficult, extremely difficult, but it is never impossible. This is the constant teaching of the Church’s tradition” (Encyclical Veritatis splendor, 102) and “All husbands and wives are called in marriage to holiness, and this lofty vocation is fulfilled to the extent that the human person is able to respond to God’s command with serene confidence in God’s grace and in his or her own will” (Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris consortio, 34).

The sexual act outside of a valid marriage, and in particular adultery, is always objectively gravely sinful and no circumstance and no reason can render it admissible or pleasing in the sight of God. St Thomas Aquinas says that the Sixth Commandment obliges even in the case where an act of adultery could save a country from tyranny (De Malo, q.15, a.1, ad. 5). St John Paul II taught this perennial truth of the Church: “The negative moral precepts, those prohibiting certain concrete actions or kinds of behaviour as intrinsically evil, do not allow for any legitimate exception. They do not leave room, in any morally acceptable way, for the “creativity” of any contrary determination whatsoever. Once the moral species of an action prohibited by a universal rule is concretely recognized, the only morally good act is that of obeying the moral law and of refraining from the action which it forbids” (Encyclical Veritatis splendor, 67).

The adulterous union of those who are civilly divorced and “remarried,” “consolidated,” as they say, over time and characterized by a so-called “proven fidelity” in the sin of adultery, cannot change the moral quality of their act of violation of the sacramental bond of marriage, that is, of their adultery, which remains always an intrinsically evil act. A person who has the true faith and a filial fear of God can never be “understanding” towards acts which are intrinsically evil, as are sexual acts outside of a valid marriage, since these acts are offensive to God.

The admission of the divorced and “remarried” to Holy Communion constitutes in practice an implicit dispensation from the observance of the Sixth Commandment. No ecclesiastical authority has the power to concede such an implicit dispensation in a single case, or in an exceptional or complex situation or with the goal of achieving a good end (as in example the education of the children born of an adulterous union) invoking for such a concession the principle of mercy, or the “via caritatis,” or the maternal care of the Church or affirming not to want to impose many conditions to mercy. St Thomas Aquinas said: “In no circumstances should a person commit adultery (pro nulla enim utilitate debet aliquis adulterium committere)” (De Malo, q.15, a.1, ad. 5).

A norm which permits the violation of the Sixth Commandment of God and of the sacramental matrimonial bond only in a single case or in exceptional cases, presumably to avoid a general change to the canonical norm, nonetheless always signifies a contradiction of the truth and of the will of God. Consequently, it is psychologically out of place and theologically erroneous to speak in this case of a restrictive norm or of a lesser evil in contrast with the general norm.

A valid marriage of the baptized is a sacrament of the Church and of its nature has a public character. A subjective judgment of the conscience in relation to the invalidity of one’s own marriage, in contrast to the corresponding definitive judgment of an ecclesiastical tribunal, cannot bring consequences for sacramental discipline, since the sacramental discipline always has a public character.

The Church, and specifically the minister of the sacrament of Penance, does not have the faculty to judge on the state of conscience of an individual member of the faithful or on the rectitude of the intention of the conscience, since “ecclesia de occultis non iudicat” (Council of Trent, session 24, chapter 1). The minister of the sacrament of Penance is consequently not the vicar or representative of the Holy Spirit, able to enter with His light in the innermost recesses of the conscience, since God has reserved such access to the conscience strictly to himself: “sacrarium in quo homo solus est cum Deo” (Vatican Council II, Gaudium et spes, 16). The confessor cannot arrogate to himself the responsibility before God and before the penitent, of implicitly dispensing him from the observance of the Sixth Commandment and of the indissolubility of the matrimonial bond by admitting him to Holy Communion. The Church does not have the faculty to derive consequences for the external forum of sacramental discipline on the basis of a presumed conviction of conscience of the invalidity of one’s own marriage in the internal forum.

A practice which permits to those who have a civil divorce, the so called “remarried,” to receive the sacraments of Penance and the Eucharist, notwithstanding their intention to continue to violate the Sixth Commandment and their sacramental bond of matrimony in the future, would be contrary to Divine truth and alien to the perennial sense of the Catholic Church, to the proven custom, received and faithfully kept from the time of the Apostles and more recently confirmed in a sure manner by St John Paul II (cf. Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris consortio, 84) and by Pope Benedict XVI (cf Apostolic Exhortation Sacramentum caritatis, 29).

The practice mentioned would be for every rational and sensible person an evident rupture with the perennial and Apostolic practice of the Church and would therefore not represent a development in continuity. In the face of such a fact, no argument would be valid: contra factum non valet argumentum. Such a pastoral practice would be a counter-witness to the indissolubility of marriage and a kind of collaboration on the part of the Church in the propagation of the “plague of divorce,” which the Vatican Council II warned against (cf. Gaudium et spes, 47).

The Church teaches by means of what she does, and she has to do what she teaches. With relation to the pastoral action concerning those in irregular unions, St John Paul II said: “The aim of pastoral action will be to make these people understand the need for consistency between their choice of life and the faith that they profess, and to try to do everything possible to induce them to regularize their situation in the light of Christian principle. While treating them with great charity and bringing them into the life of the respective communities, the pastors of the Church will regrettably not be able to admit them to the sacraments” (Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris consortio, 82).

An authentic accompaniment of persons who find themselves in an objective state of grave sin and on a corresponding journey of pastoral discernment cannot fail to announce to such people, in all charity, the complete will of God, in such a way that they repent wholeheartedly of their sinful actions of living more uxorio with a person who is not their legitimate spouse. At the same time, an authentic accompaniment and pastoral discernment must encourage them, with the help of God’s grace, not to commit such acts in the future. The Apostles and the entire Church throughout two millennia have always announced to mankind the whole truth concerning the Sixth Commandment and the indissolubility of marriage, following the admonition of St Paul the Apostle: “I did not shrink from the responsibility of announcing to you the complete will of God” (Acts 20:27).

The pastoral praxis of the Church concerning Marriage and the sacrament of the Eucharist has such an importance and such decisive consequences for the faith and the life of the faithful, that the Church, in order to remain faithful to the revealed Word of God, must avoid in this matter any shadow of doubt and confusion. St John Paul II formulated this perennial truth of the Church thus: “With this reminder of the doctrine and the law of the church I wish to instill into everyone the lively sense of responsibility which must guide us when we deal with sacred things like the sacraments, which are not our property, or like consciences, which have a right not to be left in uncertainty and confusion. The sacraments and consciences, I repeat, are sacred, and both require that we serve them in truth. This is the reason for the Church’s law” (Apostolic Exhortation Reconciliatio et Paenitentia, 33).

Notwithstanding repeated declarations concerning the immutability of the teaching of the Church concerning divorce, several particular churches nowadays accept divorce in their sacramental practice, and the phenomenon is growing. Only the voice of the Supreme Pastor of the Church can definitively impede a situation where in the future, the Church of our time is described with the following expression: “All the world groaned and noticed with amazement that it has in practice accepted divorce” (ingenuit totus orbis et divortium in praxi se accepisse miratus est), evoking an analogous saying by which St Jerome described the Arian crisis.

Given this very real danger and the widespread plague of divorce within the life of the Church, which is implicitly legitimized by the mentioned norms and applications of the Apostolic Exhortation Amoris laetitia; given that the aforementioned norms and guidelines from some particular churches as a result of today’s global culture are in the public domain; given, furthermore, the ineffectiveness of numerous appeals made privately and in a discreet manner to Pope Francis both by many faithful and by some Shepherds of the Church, we are forced to make this urgent appeal to prayer. As successors of the Apostles, we are also moved by the obligation of raising our voices when the most sacred things of the Church and the matter of eternal salvation of souls are in question.

May the following words, with which St John Paul II described the unjust attacks against the faithfulness of the Church’s Magisterium, be a light for all pastors of the Church in these difficult times and encourage them to act in an increasingly united manner: “The Church’s Magisterium is often chided for being behind the times and closed to the promptings of the spirit of modern times, and for promoting a course of action which is harmful to humanity, and indeed to the Church herself. By obstinately holding to her own positions, it is said, the Church will end up losing popularity, and more and more believers will turn away from her” (Letter to families, Gratissimam sane, 12).

Considering that the admission of the divorced and so-called “remarried” to the sacraments of Penance and the Eucharist, without requiring of them the obligation to live in continence, constitutes a danger for the faith and for the salvation of souls and furthermore constitutes an offense to the holy will of God; furthermore, taking into consideration that such pastoral practice can never be the expression of mercy, of the “via caritatis” or of the maternal sense of the Church towards souls that are sinning, we make with profound pastoral solicitude this urgent appeal to prayer that Pope Francis may revoke in an unequivocal manner the aforementioned pastoral guidelines which are already introduced in several particular churches. Such an act of the Visible Head of the Church would comfort the shepherds and the faithful of the Church, according to the mandate which Christ, the Supreme Shepherd of souls, has given to the Apostle Peter, and through him to all his successors: “Confirm your brethren!” (Luke 22:32).

May the following words of a holy Pope and of St Catherine of Siena, a Doctor of the Church, be a light and a comfort for all in the Church of our days:

“Error when not resisted, is accepted. Truth, which is not defended, is oppressed” (Pope St Felix III, +492). “Holy Father, God has elected you in the Church, so that you might be an instrument for the stamping out of heresy, the confounding of lies, the exaltation of the Truth, the dissipation of darkness and the manifestation of light” (St Catherine of Siena, +1380).

When Pope Honorius I (625 – 638) adopted an ambiguous attitude towards the spreading of the new heresy of Monothelitism, Saint Sophronius, Patriarch of Jerusalem, sent a bishop from Palestine to Rome, saying to him the following words: “Go to the Apostolic See, where are the foundations of holy doctrine, and do not cease to pray till the Apostolic See condemn the new heresy.” The condemnation occurred in 649 through the holy pope and martyr Martin I.

We make this appeal to prayer conscious that our failure to do so would have been a serious omission. Christ, the Truth and the Supreme Shepherd, will judge us when He appears. We ask Him, with humility and confidence, to reward all the shepherds and all the sheep with the imperishable crown of glory (cf. 1 Pet. 5:4).

In the spirit of faith and with filial and devout affection we raise our prayer for Pope Francis:

“Oremus pro Pontifice nostro Francisco: Dominus conservet eum, et vivificet eum, et beatum faciat eum in terra, et non tradat eum in animam inimicorum eius. Tu es Petrus, et super hanc petram aedificabo Ecclesiam Meam, et portae inferi non praevalebunt adversus eam.”

As a concrete means we recommend to recite every day this ancient prayer of the Church or a part of the holy rosary in the intention that Pope Francis may revoke in an unequivocal manner those pastoral guidelines, which permit the divorced and so-called “remarried” to receive the sacraments of Penance and Eucharist without asking them to fulfil the obligation of a life in continence.

18 January 2017, the ancient feast of the Chair of Saint Peter in Rome

+ Tomash Peta, Metropolitan Archbishop of the archdiocese of Saint Mary in Astana

+ Jan Pawel Lenga, Archbishop-Bishop emeritus of Karaganda

+ Athanasius Schneider, Auxiliary Bishop of the archdiocese of Saint Mary in Astana

See more at: http://rorate-caeli.blogspot.com/2017/01/3-prelates-appeal-to-prayer-that-pope.html#more

Guardini’s “End of the modern world”

by Augustinus

A favorite book of all of post world war II Popes right up to Benedict and Francis has been Romano Guardini’s “The End of the Modern World” written by Guardini during the second world war but first published in America in 1956.  In that prophetic work Guardini goes through the list of theories concerning the modern world, as it was exemplified in the mass slaughters of the 20th century. Those slaughters were caused by the modern heresies of capitalism, communism, fascism and Islamism but Guardini argues that we cannot understand those slaughters or the modern condition with all the old theories….History is not some gradual decline from a golden age like the philosophies of India and of the ancient world contended. History is also not the narrative favored by modern liberals of gradual progress and emancipation rooted in science and technology. History is not cyclic and it is not merely a “nightmare from which I am trying to awake” as Stephen Daedelus exclaimed in James Joyce’s Ulysses. All these common understandings of where the world is going are incorrect according to Guardini. Instead the modern world we find ourselves in is in utter discontinuity with anything experienced by human beings in the past. We are as a species embarked on something completely new and there are as of yet no categories that can capture the great rupture that began in the 20th century.

Even the traditional Christian view of history will need deepening (not revision or “updating”). The Christian view of history involves a pivot point that occurred 2000 years ago in Palestine with the birth of Christ and then the scandal of the Cross and then a long period of expectant hope, based on the resurrection and the looking forward to the final revelation. While these dogmatic truths remain true in our current situation, most nominal Christian no longer believe these truths. Instead they have bought into one of the 20th century heresies. Yet it is these and other dogmatic truths of the Catholic church that will give us the categories to understand what is occurring to human beings in the modern era.

We live now, according to Guardini, in the era of the mass man; a frightening creature who knows more and more about less and less and into whose hands are concentrated enormous powers. Science has delivered Nature into the hands of the anonymous mass man-an utter mediocrity who because of the heresies he is taught in schools and via media is capable of the greatest crimes—all the while believing that he is serving “progress” or “emancipation” of some kind. A single individual infected with heresy who acts from the mass can press the button on a nuclear device or release into the air a pathogen that will annihilate hundreds of millions of people. Science and ‘democracy” and capitalism has delivered into the hands of the imbecilic mass man these and other awesome powers.

Needless to say the anonymous mass crushes true individuality and excellence which can only come about when the individual is oriented to God and Church. But Guardini does not merely catalogue the horrors of the mass man. Instead he asks what should the church do given this is what we have to work with? It as if the Church now has to develop a ministry or theology for working with autistic savants only because modern education is designed to create mere mediocrities who can nevertheless crunch numbers competently in a huge corporate or government bureaucracy. The imbecilic mass man has immense technical skills but no wisdom. Each individual is therefore a truncated individual with hypertrophied tech skills and absolutely no spiritual awareness. Or better his spiritual awareness is driven only by one of the modern heresies that accommodate the mass man: Islamism, democracy, capitalism, progressivism, liberalism or communism etc…

What happens to the church is such as mass society?  True doctrine and true belief begins to disappear. The church will need to respond to the rapid decline of true belief: “The rapid advance of a non- Christian ethos will be crucial for the Christian sensibility. As unbelievers deny revelation more decisively–as they put their denial into more frequent practice it will become more evident what it really means to be Christian…”

“Christianity will once again need to prove itself deliberately as a faith which is not self-evident; it will be forced to distinguish itself more sharply from a dominantly non-Christian ethos. At that juncture the theological significance of dogma will begin a fresh advance…I emphasize its absoluteness, its unconditional demands and affirmations. Dogma in its very nature surmounts the march of time because it is rooted in eternity….In this manner the Faith will maintain itself against animosity and danger.”

In order to withstand the onslaught of dehumanizing heresies thrown at the church from all sides the thing that will save the church is its reliance and its adherence to the ancient and ex cathedra defined dogmas. In addition, since human beings cannot live long without these life affirming dogmas the culture of the unbeliever will begin to die out. He with then flail about looking for anything but those dogmas to generate meaning and culture.

“At the same time the unbeliever will emerge from the fogs of secularism. He will eventually cease to reap benefits from the values and forces developed by the very revelation he denies. He will have to lean to exist honestly without Christ and without the God revealed through him. He will have to learn to experience what this honesty means…The last decades (meaning the world wars) have suggested what life without Christ really is. The last decades are only the beginning…”

The modern man is really a child who nonetheless has access to nuclear weapons. So how does the church deal with this situation. The church needs to be there to offer to mass man the old dogmas thus giving him an alternative to the heresies which will only lead to mass slaughters again.

Guardini claims that aside from the horrors of mass man the phenomena of mass man points to the need for a new theology and a new ‘personalism’ that can lead mass man away from the lure of the heresies. The new person has to be born out of the mass man. Indeed mass man makes possible the birth of the new person: “The new “Person” is destined to stand forth with a spiritual resoluteness never demanded of man before. Strangely the very mass which carries the dangers of totalitarianism also offer the fullest range of spiritual maturity to the new human person. Such a challenge demands an inner freedom and strength of character which we can scarcely conceive. Nothing else however can withstand the powers of anonymity which grow more immense day by day.”

 

STAT CRUX DUM VOLVITUR ORBIS

Allan Gillis 

“The Cross stands while the world turns”     …as the old Carthusian motto reads.  A most fitting  epithet to adorn the article I found at Rorate Caeli today.  I’m glad to hear someone else express their disdain for CRUX writer and liberal rump-swab Austen Ivereigh.

I’m quite disturbed by the cuddling up between CRUX and the Knights of Columbus.   As a Past Grand Knight to a local KOC council, I am getting a rash as I ponder this and remember how Carl Anderson’s regime disallowed us to speak to local Democrat “catholic” politicians who clearly needed to be roasted in the public square as heretics (O! for the days of yore!)   …or at least catapulted from the council rolls of the KOC!  But, I digress…that’s for another day!

I bring this to you from the good folks at Rorate Caeli:

Adultery and Communion: The Church is not a “train”

Professional liberal sycophant Austen Ivereigh penned an article for the Knights of Columbus’ website “Crux“, criticizing those who know that the Church cannot change her doctrine established by Our Lord Jesus Christ on Marriage, Penance, and Eucharistic Communion. In the article, he makes repeated use of this metaphor:
“…the train has left the station, the Church is moving on…”
That, of course, is a ludicrous metaphor which makes no sense whatsoever.
The Church, in moments of crisis, when others “move on”, doubles down in defense of her unchanging Truth, the Truth given to her by Christ to be protected: in the “Reformation”, the north of Europe “moved on”, and the only possible response the Church could give (and that gave her enormous vigor) was the reaffirmation of all doctrines and practices contested by the Protestants — including on what is necessary for Eucharistic Communion.
It is to be found in canon XI of the Decree on the Most Holy Sacrament of the 13th Session of the Council:
CANON XI.-If any one saith, that faith alone is a sufficient preparation for receiving the sacrament of the most holy Eucharist; let him be anathema. And for fear lest so great a sacrament may be received unworthily, and so unto death and condemnation, this holy Synod ordains and declares, that sacramental confession, when a confessor may be had, is of necessity to be made beforehand, by those whose conscience is burdened with mortal sin, how contrite even soever they may think themselves. But if any one shall presume to teach, preach, or obstinately to assert, or even in public disputation to defend the contrary, he shall be thereupon excommunicated.
Quite right: a continued state of adultery or fornicatory cohabitation with no prospect of penance and stopping the sinful situation is not a sufficient preparation for Eucharistic communion. It will never be so.

The Church is not a “train” and she will never “move on”:

 

 

– See more at: http://rorate-caeli.blogspot.com/2016/12/the-church-is-not-train.html#more

Just In This Morning…

This just posted on the awesome blog “1Peter5“:

“A Grave and Pressing Duty”: Statement of Support for the Four Cardinals’ Dubia

We [the blog 1Peter5] received the following statement of support for the four cardinals’ dubia this morning. It has been signed by various pastors, theologians, and scholars from around the world.


As Catholic scholars and pastors of souls, we wish to express our profound gratitude and full support for the courageous initiative of four members of the College of Cardinals, Their Eminences Walter Brandmüller, Raymond Leo Burke, Carlo Caffarra and Joachim Meisner. As has been widely publicized, these cardinals have formally submitted five dubia to Pope Francis, asking him to clarify five fundamental points of Catholic doctrine and sacramental discipline, the treatment of which in Chapter 8 of the recent Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia (AL) appears to conflict with Scripture and/or Tradition and the teaching of previous papal documents – notably Pope St. John Paul II’s Encyclical Veritatis Splendor and his Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris Consortio. Pope Francis has so far declined to answer the four cardinals; but since they are in effect asking him whether the above weighty magisterial documents still require our full assent, we think that the Holy Father’s continued silence may open him to the charge of negligence in the exercise of the Petrine duty of confirming his brethren in the faith.

Several prominent prelates have been sharply critical of the four cardinals’ submission, but without shedding any light on their pertinent and searching questions. We have read attempts to interpret the apostolic exhortation within a ‘hermeneutic of continuity’ by Christoph Cardinal Schӧnborn and Professor Rocco Buttiglione; but we find that they fail to demonstrate their central claim that the novel elements found in AL do not endanger divine law, but merely envisage legitimate changes in pastoral practice and ecclesiastical discipline.

Indeed, a number of commentators, notably Professor Claudio Pierantoni in an extensive new historical-theological study, have argued that as a result of the widespread confusion and disunity following the promulgation of AL, the universal Church is now entering a gravely critical moment in her history that shows alarming similarities with the great Arian crisis of the fourth century. During that catastrophic conflict the great majority of bishops, including even the Successor of Peter, vacillated over the very divinity of Christ. Many did not fully lapse into heresy; however, disarmed by confusion or weakened by timidity, they sought convenient compromise formulae in the interests of “peace” and “unity”. Today we are witnessing a similar metastasizing crisis, this time over fundamental aspects of Christian living. Continued lip service is given to the indissolubility of marriage, the grave objective sinfulness of fornication, adultery and sodomy, the sanctity of the Holy Eucharist, and the terrible reality of mortal sin. But in practice, increasing numbers of highly placed prelates and theologians are undermining or effectively denying these dogmas – and indeed, the very existence of exceptionless negative prohibitions in the divine law governing sexual conduct – by virtue of their exaggerated or one-sided emphasis on “mercy”, “pastoral accompaniment”, and “mitigating circumstances”.

With the reigning Pontiff now sounding a very uncertain trumpet in this battle against the ‘principalities and powers’ of the Enemy, the barque of Peter is drifting perilously like a ship without a rudder, and indeed, shows symptoms of incipient disintegration. In such a situation, we believe that all Successors of the Apostles have a grave and pressing duty to speak out clearly and strongly in confirmation of the moral teachings clearly expounded in the magisterial teachings of previous popes and the Council of Trent. Several bishops and another cardinal have already said they find the five dubia opportune and appropriate. We ardently hope, and fervently pray, that many more of them will now endorse publicly not only the four cardinals’ respectful request that Peter’s Successor confirm his brethren in these five points of the faith “delivered once and for all to the saints” (Jude 3), but also Cardinal Burke’s recommendation that if the Holy Father fails to do so, the cardinals then collectively approach him with some form of fraternal correction, in the spirit of Paul’s admonition to his fellow apostle Peter at Antioch (cf. Gal. 2:11).

We entrust this grave problem to the care and heavenly intercession of Mary Immaculate, Mother of the Church and Vanquisher of all heresies.

December 8, 2016, Feast of the Immaculate Conception

(Signed):

 

Msgr. Ignacio Barreiro Carambula, STD, JD

Chaplain and Faculty Member of the Roman Forum

 

Rev. Claude Barthe,

France

 

Dr. Robert Beddard, MA (Oxon et Cantab), D.Phil (Oxon)

Fellow emeritus and former Vice Provost of Oriel College Oxford.

 

Carlos A. Casanova Guerra

Doctor of Philosophy, Full Professor,

Universidad Santo Tomás, Santiago de Chile

 

Salvatore J. Ciresi MA

Notre Dame Graduate School of Christendom College

Director of the St. Jerome Biblical Guild

 

Luke Gormally, PhL

Director Emeritus, The Linacre Centre for Healthcare Ethics (1981-2000)

Sometime Research Professor, Ave Maria School of Law, Ann Arbor, Michigan (2001-2007)

Ordinary Member, The Pontifical Academy for Life

 

Rev. Brian W. Harrison OS, MA, STD

Associate Professor of Theology (retired), Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico; Scholar-in-Residence, Oblates of Wisdom Study Center, St. Louis, Missouri

 

Rev. John Hunwicke, MA (Oxon.)

Former Senior Research Fellow, Pusey House, Oxford; Priest of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham; Member, Roman Forum

 

Peter A. Kwasniewski PhD (Philosophy)

Professor, Wyoming Catholic College

 

Rev. Dr. Dr Stephen Morgan

Academies Conversion Project Leader & Oeconomus

Diocese of Portsmouth

 

Don Alfredo Morselli STL

Parish priest of the Archdiocese of Bologna

 

Rev. Richard A. Munkelt PhD (Philosophy)

Chaplain and Faculty Member, Roman Forum

 

Rev. John Osman MA, STL

Parish priest in the archdiocese of Birmingham,

former Catholic chaplain to the University of Cambridge

 

Dr Paolo Pasqualucci

Professor of Philosophy (retired),

University of Perugia

 

Dr Claudio Pierantoni

Professor of Medieval Philosophy in the Philosophy Faculty of the University of Chile

Former Professor of Church History and Patrology at the Faculty of Theology of the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile

Member of the International Association of Patristic Studies

 

Dr John C. Rao D.Phil (Oxon.)

Associate Professor of History, St. John’s University (NYC)

Chairman, Roman Forum

 

Dr Nicholas Richardson. MA, DPhil (Oxon.)

Fellow emeritus and Sub-Warden of Merton College, Oxford

and former Warden of Greyfriars, Oxford.

 

Dr Joseph Shaw MA, DPhil (Oxon.) FRSA

Senior Research Fellow (Philosophy) at St Benet’s Hall,

Oxford University

 

Dr Anna M. Silvas FAHA,

Adjunct research fellow, University of New England,

Armidale, NSW, Australia.

 

Michael G. Sirilla PhD

Director of Graduate Theology,

Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio

 

Professor Dr Thomas Stark

Phil.-Theol. Hochschule Benedikt XVI, Heiligenkreuz

 

Rev.  Glen Tattersall

Parish Priest, Parish of Bl. John Henry Newman, Archdiocese of Melbourne

Rector, St Aloysius’ Church, Melbourne

 

Rev. Dr David Watt STL, PhD (Cantab.)

Priest of the Archdiocese of Perth

Chaplain, St Philomena’s chapel, Malaga

Visit them at:

http://www.onepeterfive.com/

Fr. Z In Consideration Of Catholic Snowflakes

This from Father Zuhlsdorf’s site today! It is awesome!

6 Dec – St Nicholas: SNOWFLAKE ALERT! NOT A “SAFE SPACE”!

soumela_nicaea_nicholas slaps ariusWARNING SNOWFLAKES!

This blog is NOT a Safe Space for you!  This post, especially, is NOT a Safe Space for you.

You know which sites you can go to to be affirmed and unchallenged by anything truly Catholic.  Please go to one of them NOW.

The Management

_____

There arrived in my email today an interesting study in contrasts, which I gave a bit more attention and detail.

Missale Romanum 1962:

Deus, qui beatum Nicolaum Pontificem innumeris decorasti miraculis: tribue, quaesumus; ut, eius meritis et precibus, a gehennae incendiis liberemur.

O God, Who didst adorn blessed Nicholas, the bishop, with miracles unnumbered, grant, we beseech Thee, that by his merits and prayer we may be delivered from the fire of hell.

What’s this prayers pedigree?

16_12_06_Nicholas

Meanwhile, the experts of the Consilium, dedicated to turning every Mass – sorry… “liturgy” – into a Safe Space to make Catholics into Tender Snowflakes…

Missale Romanum 2002 (new composition for the Novus Ordo):

Misericordiam tuam, Domine, supplices imploramus, et, beati Nicholai episcopi interveniente suffragio, nos in omnibus custodi periculis, ut via salutis nobis pateat expedita.

We humbly implore your mercy, Lord: protect us in all dangers through the prayers of the Bishop Saint Nicholas that the way of salvation may lie open before us.

Interesting choice, no?   Let’s water down the Four Last Things.

Our brothers in the Anglican Use surely took the following from the Book of Common Prayer, which in turn mined the Roman Missal

New “Anglican Use” Missal  

“O God, who didst adorn thy blessed Bishop Saint Nicholas with power to work many and great miracles: grant, we beseech thee; that by his prayers and merits, we may be delivered from the fires of everlasting torment.”

They got it right.

nicholas arius deck the hallsToday we are facing something rather like the Arian crisis in the 4th century.

Think about it this way.  There are a lot of people – more and more – going over to the position that Christ simply got it wrong about indissolubility of marriage (Kasperites).  That means that He wasn’t divine, right?  Moreover, these same people are reducing Holy Communion to a token of affirmation in the comfortable club we all more or less belong to.  What does that say for their belief in the divinity of the Lord?

The questions which are being hotly debated today go waaaaay beyond mere considerations of Communion for one group of sinners in hard cases (the divorced and civilly remarried).  The questions go ultimately to:  Who is Jesus Christ?

In the early centuries of the Church this question had to be settled by the Council of Nicea.  There were those who, following the heretical proposition of the priest Arius, believed that Christ was not divine as the Father is divine, that Christ was the greatest of creatures.

According to some accounts, during the heated debate of the Council the bishop of Myra, St. Nicholas, struck Arius across the face. Apocryphal or not, an exaggeration over time of a lesser micro-aggression or not, you have to admire the bishop’s zeal. After all, Arianism was not a small deal. They weren’t having a disagreement over the translation of a liturgical Collect. They were debating an issue which had torn apart the Church to the point the the Emperor Constantine had to intervene for the sake of civic unity.

The apocryphal story of Nicholas belting Arius in the chops continued. Nicholas, for his infraction, was taken to Constantine, divested of his episcopal garb and locked up. This is why Nicholas is sometimes in art not depicted with a miter, etc. During the night, the Blessed Virgin appeared to him and gave him an omophorion, the Eastern style of today’s pallium. When in the morning he was thus found clothed as a bishop, he was reinstated.

Nicholas-Icon-Meme-heretics

Political theology

By Augustinus

How does one read the sign of the times? While I feel that the election of Trump to the presidency was a good thing (given that it was a repudiation of the totalitarian mindset associated with the effeminate political correctness mania sweeping the land), there were and are very smart, good, orthodox Catholics who supported Clinton (including our own Mr Shields); despite her clear facilitation of the abortion rights movement and half a dozen ions/other positions/things she advocated that merit automatic excommunication from the Church. Look at the “Catholic” politicians she surrounded herself with …from Kaine her running mate to Vice President Biden, to Secretary of State John Kerry to John Podesta and Nancy Pelosi. All catholics but all at odds with basic teachings of the church. Nevertheless, they are not evil persons. They have arguably done a lot of good for this country in crafting legislation that rights some injustices and so forth. But that is always the case with heretics. Heretics are very often, morally speaking, BETTER human beings than non-heretics. Look at Pelagius versus Augustine or look at Anthansius vs Arius and so on. The heretics are typically brilliant, likeable, good and compassionate people. Its just that the doctrines they were advocating were wrong, heretical and celebrations of death. Only people like the doctrinaire, boorish, rigid, and spiteful Jerome or Iraneaus or Athanisius could see the dangers these heretical but otherwise angelic creatures were spouting.

He puzzled and puzzled ’till his puzzler was sore.

What to make of this?        Hmmmm…?

“And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow,
stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so?”

Allan Gillis brings you this from The Remnant:

Franciscans vs. St. Francis: The Sad State of Secular Franciscan Spiritual Formation

Written by  Benjamin J. Vail, OFS  Wednesday November 16, 2016

For several years, there has been an international discussion at the highest levels of the Secular Franciscan Order (OFS) – the Third Order of St. Francis of Assisi – on the identity and future of the Order. This discussion was kicked off by two keynote addresses at the 2011 General Chapter. These texts reveal the sad state of spiritual formation for incoming and already professed Franciscan tertiaries. At best, I am afraid the faithful followers of St. Francis will be confused. At worst, these materials may lead the flock away from the truths of the faith.

In this article, I want to raise some questions about one of those texts delivered at the General Chapter and which has been translated and distributed around the world as recommended reading for all Secular Franciscans (click here for an example of how it is presented in the USA). I am not a theologian, but I would describe the 17-page text “Evangelized to Evangelize” by Fr. Fernando Ventura, OFM Cap., as rambling, confusing, unclear, incoherent, vulgar (see his use of a swear word on p. 2), almost certainly blasphemous, and possibly heretical. The text seems to aim at being poetic and literary, but ends up sounding distinctly New Age.

For the purpose of formation, Fr. Ventura’s text is at best questionable, and in my opinion quite probably dangerous to the faith of Secular Franciscans. I am no theological expert. I am simply a baptized, confirmed, and professed lay tertiary. But as far as I can tell, the text promotes multiple errors including indifferentism, universalism, and a false Franciscan spirituality. I will phrase my concerns as questions rather than direct accusations, because I am not really qualified to judge these statements as definite errors.

Here are some of the themes that stand out to me as questionable:

1) Blasphemy against the Blessed Virgin Mary and those who venerate her

 

Fr. Ventura writes: “Not long ago people were running behind the images of the virgins that would weep blood. And they were shouting at the miracle! Bands of hysterical and historical people! We do not realize that the miracle of our time is not the plastic images that cry glue, but rather that our brothers and sisters stop crying” (page 6).Is Fr. Ventura denying or mocking apparitions of Our Lady, and those who believe in them?

2) Indifferentism and possible heresy

Fr. Ventura writes on page 6: “What is the status of the Spirit in Genesis? He is alone. He is unmarried. This is the first sentence of the Bible. Let’s      take a leap. We will land in the last book of the Bible, almost the last sentence of Revelation 22, 17. ‘The Spirit and the bride say come.’  Status: ‘Married.’ A single God in Genesis, ends up married in the Apocalypse. And married to whom? With creation! What is the opposite of ‘polygamy’? Monotony! We don’t have a monotonous God, but a God who is polygamous. Married with creation. With all peoples, with all cultures, religions, philosophies … and if we don’t understand this, then we don’t understand anything” (emphasis in the original).

I suspect it is blasphemous and possibly heretical to call God polygamous, and incorrect to say God is married with creation. Isn’t the Bride of Christ the Catholic Church? Also, this quote implies that God agrees with all religions and philosophies – which sounds a lot like indifferentism.

On page 15, this theme is repeated: “A passionate heart, a heart not  solitary; married to life and to the world, just as God married the whole creation… no exceptions … God married all … even the Catholics.” The “even the Catholics” part sounds like a joke. Is Fr. Ventura being snarky about the Faith?

3) Indifferentism and bizarre theology

Fr. Ventura writes on page 5, “What is God’s religion? In whom does God believe? Do we have a God who is an atheist? We have a God made like us. I am God’s religion. We are God’s religion. This is a punch in the stomach, but we still don’t have it clear. Catholics have the crazy idea that God is Catholic, Protestants believe that God is Protestant. Muslims, that God is Muslim. Jews that God is Jewish.”

This statement is simply bizarre. God is not made like us. We are made in the image and likeness of God. Fr. Ventura seems to imply God does not care what anyone’s religion is, and that all religions are the same and worship the same God.

Referring to Isaiah 25:6-8, on page 8 Fr. Ventura writes: “Here is the Eucharistic text of the Old Testament. Here’s the challenge of intimacy dreamed. This is Isaiah. What is the theme behind the text? It’s a meal. Who is the cook? GOD! Who invites to the meal? GOD! Who are the guests? All the people, including Catholics.”

Does he mean that everyone can receive Holy Communion? The phrase “including Catholics” is odd – isn’t it precisely the baptized who are in communion with the Pope who may receive Holy Communion?

On  page 13, Fr. Ventura writes: “What is at stake is the construction of a society, a kingdom where everyone can be and feels free to be himself, in full relation, complete, and definitive.”

Does he mean that everyone should be free to do and believe whatever he wants? There are no standards of morality, or proper ordering of freedom?

Does Fr. Ventura deny the Garden of Eden existed?

On page 6 he writes: “From Genesis, we have to yearn for the past, or desire the future. Paradise, as it is in the Bible, never existed. It’s not about mourning a paradise lost, it’s about crying and shouting for a future paradise. We are here for that reason, not to lick our tears, but to wipe the tears of others. This is the miracle that the world awaits.”

4) Immanentism and materialism

This statement sounds New Age and raises the question whether Fr. Ventura means that God is not in heaven, but only in the created universe:

“The God of Abraham, of Isaac, Jacob, Jesus Christ, is not a God of a distant heaven, but a God of the here and now. A gypsy God, of the road, of the dust, and of the wind. He is YOUR (familiar) God” (page 7).

This theme is repeated on page 8, “Where is God? He is not a God in a distant heaven.”

And again, on page 15: “… it will be possible to understand that those who can really ‘see God’ are those who are able to see the others … because God is not in any distant heaven, but here, in the right now, in the life and the time which is already eternity and it is now. The God of the Bible, the God of Israel, the God of Jesus Christ, is not a God of a distant heaven, but a God of ‘earth,’ a God ‘Gypsy,’ of the road, of dust and wind, a companion God, a God of you, and, therefore, a God of relationship. Thus, because of this, God lets us ‘see’, to ‘touch’, and is not preserved in terms of relation.”

A main point of the text is that it is important to help people. I agree that it is good and necessary to help people, but I thought the primary Christian calling is to get to heaven, and help others get to heaven. Indeed, isn’t evangelization primarily about spreading the Good News of salvation, and secondarily about service and material assistance? But Fr. Ventura seems to reverse these priorities.

On p. 12 he writes: “It is not therefore a delay of any hope of happiness for the future, but a personal and not transferable pledge, to now, for now.  It is now, it is immediate, it is this time, in this space, and on earth, it’s already time, space, and land of eternity where there are people whose rights are violated, suffering, starving, who have no right to be human.”

5) Universalism

Fr. Ventura obscures the meaning of death and resurrection, seemingly ignoring the Church’s teaching on the Four Last Things (death, judgment, heaven and hell). He seems to suggest that everyone goes to heaven, and asserts Masses for the dead should not be said.

On page 10, Fr. Ventura writes, “…the moment of death is the moment of the definitive encounter with God, therefore, the moment of death is the moment of resurrection!”

Does he mean that at death, everyone is “resurrected,” in the sense that everyone goes to heaven?

Again, on p. 11, he writes: “There are still many – too many – circumstances in which we hear of ‘celebrate Masses for the dead’! How is it possible? For where is the certainty that Christians have of the resurrection? … If Christ is really risen, in the expression ‘to celebrate Masses for the dead’ we have no less than two gross errors. First, in the risen Christ there are no dead but living; in the second, we do not have the right to celebrate Masses for the dead but to celebrate the Eucharist …”Does Fr. Ventura mean to say that no one goes to hell (i.e., the second death, as St. Francis of Assisi called it), or to purgatory? I thought it is Catholic doctrine that souls in purgatory benefit from our prayers, and that souls in hell are not with the risen Christ.

6) Dehumanizing, judgmental attacks

It is very odd that someone who preaches inclusion, peace, forgiveness, and reconciliation engages in very unfriendly attacks on fellow Franciscans.

Fr. Ventura seems to demean faithful people (and uses odd phraseology) when he says, “It is time to turn the tables (the omelet). It’s time to feel that  we don’t have the right to say we have a religion, because this is the time to understand that we have a religion that possesses us. People of religion are unbearable. People living with a belly full of God and what comes from within, are nothing more than mystical breezes, which do not touch anyone’s life” (page 2).

Later on, he further accuses:

“It’s the hysterical foolishness of hysterical people, who live crouching in fear before God, and live like chickens in a poultry house, in front of others. (We have many people like this in our communities.)” (pages 5-6).

“And this [is what] we have. People coming to suck, parasites — of the Church, parasites of the order, parasites of the fraternities, of the convents and monasteries. We are fed up with these people!” (page 7).

Conclusion

In contrast to the confused words of Fr. Ventura, St. Francis himself is a clear and simple guide to the religious life. I think it’s important for Secular Franciscans to get back to basics, and formation materials should emphasize the fundamental teachings of the Seraphic Father.

St. Francis of Assisi was above all an uncompromising Catholic, and of paramount concern to him was proper worship and reverence for the Holy Eucharist. A few quotations from his texts reveal the zeal of his Catholic faith. For an example of this, see his “On Reverence for the Lord’s Body and on the Cleanliness of the Altar,” which some sources preface with this greeting from the saint: “To my reverend masters in Christ; to all the clerics who are in the world and live conformably to the rules of the Catholic faith: brother Francis, their least one and unworthy servant, sends greeting with the greatest respect and kissing their feet.”

In the First Rule of the Friars Minor (no. 19), St. Francis writes: “Let all the brothers be Catholics, and live and speak in a Catholic manner. But if anyone should err from the Catholic faith and life in word or in deed, and will not amend, let him be altogether expelled from our fraternity. And let us hold all clerics and religious as our masters in those things which regard the salvation of souls, if they do not deviate from our religion, and let us reverence their office and order and administration in the Lord.”

In the Second Rule, St. Francis writes that of those who wish to be Franciscans, “let the ministers diligently examine them regarding the Catholic faith and the Sacraments of the Church. And if they believe all these things, and if they will confess them faithfully and observe them firmly to the end” they may enter the Order (no. 2).

Holy father St. Francis also says, “Moreover, I enjoin on the ministers, by obedience, that they ask of the Lord Pope one of the Cardinals of the holy Roman Church to be governor, protector, and corrector of this brotherhood, so that being always subject and submissive at the feet of the same holy Church, grounded in the Catholic faith, we may observe poverty and humility and the holy Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, which we have firmly promised” (no. 12).

In his Testament, St. Francis writes: “this is a remembrance, a warning, and an exhortation and my Testament which I, little Brother Francis, make for you, my blessed brothers, in order that we may observe in a more Catholic way the Rule which we have promised to the Lord.”

A final example: in the Letter to All the Faithful, St. Francis writes, “We ought also to fast and to abstain from vices and sins and from superfluity of food and drink, and to be Catholics. We ought also to visit Churches frequently and to reverence clerics not only for themselves, if they are sinners, but on account of their office and administration of the most holy Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, which they sacrifice on the altar and receive and administer to others. And let us all know for certain that no one can be saved except by the Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ and by the holy words of the Lord which clerics say and announce and distribute and they alone administer and not others.”

Such quotations are refreshing reminders of what the Catholic Church actually teaches.

I think that Fr. Ventura has a very clever title for his text, “Evangelized to evangelize.” But what exactly is evangelization? The US Conference of Catholic Bishops says, “Evangelizing means bringing the Good News of Jesus into every human situation and seeking to convert individuals and society by the divine power of the Gospel itself.” And what is the Good News, what is the power of the Gospel? That Jesus Christ through his suffering and death has saved us from our sins, saved us from the second death, saved us from hell. That was Christ’s primary mission.

Whatever wisdom or valid Christian inspiration may be found in Fr. Ventura’s text, it is overshadowed by the questionable and apparently heterodox statements cited above. Used as formation material rather than edification, this text may well lead the faithful into confusion and away from the Good News. Fr. Ventura’s text certainly does not admonish Franciscans to be aware of the seriousness of personal sin and the necessity for salvation of being a baptized, practicing member of the One True Church established by Our Lord, as St. Francis did in the most strict and urgent terms. I believe that the future of the Secular Franciscan Order lies in the clear, truly evangelical example of its founder.

Perhaps we could have someone close to us shed some light on this malady?