Category Archives: Save Our Catholic Church

Do not be conformed to this world

By Augustinus

One of the greatest temptations for the church and indeed for any Christian is to adopt the morals of the surrounding world instead of adhering to the divine law. When the whole world is saying you must burn incense to the emperor as that is what all right-minded people do; then there is strong temptation to do just that. When you look around and all of the best people, the decent, humane, citizens are burning the incense, then you ask yourself why can’t I and my church do the right thing and do the same? When upright, compassionate, right-thinking, civilized, forward-thinking, progressive, decent, smiling people are burning incense to the emperor, then there is a strong temptation for you to do so as well. When all of the leaders, all of the cultural leaders of the country say you must burn incense to the emperor or be seen as an anti-social, hate-monger, then there is a strong temptation to “burn the incense”..

After all, who wants to be seen as judgmental, backward-looking, retrogressive, hate-filled, condemnatory, indecent, uncivilized resisters to the simple act of burning the incense? How can one resist these decent humane people when they argue that morals have progressed beyond old testament superstitions? They point out that scriptures did not condemn slavery and yet the whole world now sees slavery as a gross immorality! Clearly, humanity can progress morally over the centuries and sometimes it must do so without the support of the divine law as evidenced by scripture.

Scripture, tradition, church fathers, church councils, doctors of the church, popes and saints alike have all condemned active homosexuality (the orientation is a different matter as that is not chosen by the afflicted individual) and none of these authorities have unequivocally condemned slavery (St Patrick was an exception). Yet the modern world celebrates homosexuality and condemns slavery. Members of the church from the Pope down to the laity in the pews wish that things were different. But the record is clear. What the church has historically condemned is now practiced as a liberatory virtue by the modern world. Something has to give. Should divine law bend to the sensibilities of modern bourgeoisie in their celebration of the sexual revolution? Or should the Church LEAD the modern world in observance of divine law?

The church is going through a phase where it wants to be liked by the modern world. The current Pope and much of the hierarchy and certainly most of the laity in the pews basically agrees with the modern world regarding the moral status of the sexual revolution. Masturbation is not really a vice, Homosexuality is not an intrinsic evil. Divorce is OK under many circumstances. Sex outside marriage is not always bad, in fact it is natural and OK.  Virginity and chastity are weird and anti-life. Married and homosexual priests are OK (especially when they are both homosexual and married!). Abortion is both virtuous and life enhancing. In fact it is a human right!

The church is in crisis partly because it wants to be loved by the right-thinking cultural leaders of our time all of whom have bought into the values of the sexual revolution. Unfortunately for the current Pope and the coterie of bourgeois bishops he has surrounded himself with, the church has to deal with the long record of scripture, councils, popes, doctors, theologians etc all condemning what the modern world praises.

I myself find some good in some aspects of the sexual revolution and much good in modernity itself (see my articles on Vatican II in this blog) but I despise the leaders of the church who would have the church kowtow, virtue-signal, apologize,  bow and scrape to the bourgeois cultured-despisers of religion in the modern world who are demanding and indeed shrieking that ALL must “burn the incense” or be considered retrogressive hate-mongers..

Albertus Magnus

 

By Augustinus

Today, November 15, is the feast day of Albert the Great. He is the patron saint of scientists. As I was trained as a neuroscientist it seemed fit to say a few words here in honor of the man. He was born just before 1200 AD near Cologne Germany and died some 84 years later. That was a tremendously long life to live for the middle ages (most people died by 40 years of age in those days) and it is no exaggeration to say that he spent it well in service to the Church and to science.besides authoring dozens of scientific and theological works he worked tirelessly as official administrative Church positions all his life.

Most people remember Albert the Great as the mentor and teacher of his more famous student St Thomas Aquinas. Albert was fiercely proud and protective of Thomas. He more than once defended Thomas against charges of heresy from the theologians at the University of Paris.  While Thomas surpassed his master in the area of theology, Albert was by far the better scientist than Thomas (and Thomas was the better theologian).

What is the significance of the man for us today? I hesitate to pronounce on so weighty a question as I have read only the De homine. How can you evaluate a man’s intellectual legacy after having read only a single one of his works? Answer: You can’t. So what I am about to share here are simply my impressions of Albert’s key contributions.

First of all Albert was the key figure who introduced all of the newly discovered corpus of Aristotle’s works to the church and the west. Since Aristotle was a man who was interested in everything he required a man like Albert 9who was also interested in everything) to appreciate the magnitude of Aristotle’s accomplishments and bring them to the intellectual foreground in the high middle ages. Aristotle’s interests included everything from minerals and geology to ethics and psychology. Albert produced small advances on Aristotle in several scientific fields including geology, mathematics, biology, astronomy and psychology.

Without the rediscovery of Aristotle’s works in the high middle ages it is likely that the scientific revolution in the west would have been delayed for centuries. It was Albert who made Aristotle acceptable to the Church and thus to the west. The battle within the church over Aristotle went on for over a century and continued even after Albert’s death but Albert’s intervention on behalf of Aristotle was certainly a turning point for the Church in its acceptance of the imago dei as reason or intellect.

The theologians were suspicious of Aristotle not just because he was a pagan philosopher but also because they interpreted him through the commentaries of Averroes-the famous Muslim philosopher. Averroes put a Muslim spin on Aristotelian concepts and thus Aristotle came off as incompatible with Christian doctrine. But Albert showed that Averroes interpretations of Aristotle were incorrect and that Aristotle’s basic metaphysics and categories were perfectly compatible with Christian doctrine. Averroes for example, tended to treat individuals as simple emanations from a larger agent intellect or world soul or God. Albert saw that that perspective destroyed individuality and pointed out that the doctrine could not be found in Aristotle’s treatment of the agent intellect. Thus, Albert preserved the long tradition in the west to favor the individual over group consciousness.

This accent on the individual could also be seen in his nuanced treatment of the problem of universals. Are general concepts like “whiteness” or “man” independent ideas that exist in a realm of eternal ideas or are there no eternal ideas and are these general ideas better understood as qualities that only appear in individuals? The nominalists denied existence to universal ideas and argued that the only reality existed in individual things while the universalists argued with Plato that only the universals were real and individual things simply manifested these eternal ideas. The problem will never be solved until we have direct access to an eternal realm to verify whether eternal ideas exist. Albert argued for a moderate realism and allowed theologians and philosophers to make a bit of progress on the issue by making some crucial distinctions. Albert suggested that we should distinguish 1) universals that pre-exist (perhaps in some eternal realm) the individuals that manifest them; 2) those that exist in individual things (i.e. particulars) and 3) those that exist in the mind when abstracted from particulars. In Albert’s scheme each position has some truth: there are eternal ideas and universals can also be manifest in particulars. They are sometimes in the eternal realm; sometimes in the mind only and sometimes in the substance itself, independent of the mind. These distinctions allowed later philosophers to preserve the integrity of the individual. The individual need not be seen as merely an instance of a larger group or abstract idea.

I find that one of the most interesting of Albert’s contributions to philosophy and theology to be his treatment of the agent intellect in De homine. The agent intellect is largely an idea of the western catholic philosophers in the middle ages with Albert being the first to make it central to his philosophical anthropology. The mediaeval philosophers thought they had found the idea of the agent intellect in Aristotle’s De Anima but if they had it was derived from a very cursory treatment of the idea. No. Aristotle did not produce the idea—the mediaeval philosophers (especially Albert and Thomas) did.

What is the agent intellect and why is it important? It is the imago dei; the essence of the human soul — the human intellect. It is our capacity to reason, to make free choices. The agent intellect spiritualizes all that it attends to. It extracts form and intelligibility from the particulars in the world out there beyond the mind. Complimentary to the agent intellect is the passive intellect which picks up sensory impressions and provides the raw material for the agent intellect to transform into spirit. Now Albert asked what happens if the agent intellect turned its powers on itself and the passive intellect? In that case the possible intellect can consider the intelligible forms of the mental images of the mind which are derived from the senses, thus spiritualizing consciousness itself. When the passive intellect operates under the sole influence of the agent intellect, the possible intellect undergoes a complete transformation and subsequently enhances the powers of the agent intellect. Then emerges what Albert called the “adept intellect” which then allows the human being to undergo mystical illumination by higher angelic intellects and this constitutes man’s natural happiness.

Saint Albertus Magnus pray for us!

 

The paradox of world marxism

By Augustinus

Although Karl Marx was a detestable human being, he was also a very smart guy. Heretics in general have always been smarter and more culturally sophisticated and influential than orthodox intellectuals. Marx was no exception. Although he was not Christian and did not work within the Christian tradition proper, his work should nevertheless be seen as a Christian heresy. We therefore need to take his ideas seriously. After all, marxism in some form or other has taken over the levers of cultural and political power in large parts of the world during this and the bloody 20th century. From China and Russia to Africa, South America and beyond. Marxism has captured the intellectuals across the globe who later become the political and cultural elite in almost every part of the world.

Why is that? After the revolutions against Marxism in the former USSR and eastern Europe, you would think that intellectuals in the rest of the world would have re-evaluated their commitments to marxist ideas given the evidence that people who actually had to live under those ideas for decades decisively rejected them as inhuman. But paradoxically just as marxism was rejected in the east, it finally won in the west! During the 1990s just after the fall of communism in 1989 in the east, the neoliberal consensus was forged among western elites with cultural marxism as its intellectual edifice. Neoliberalism is just marxism in its trotskyist internationalist form.

President Bill Clinton’s presidency marked the alliance of former liberals who moved right a bit and former conservatives who moved left a bit so that they could unite around the “new world order”. At that time the EU was solidified into a new neoliberal form as well. The business and financial community endorsed the new alliance as it would open up international trade without regard to national working class interests of national communities. The political and cultural elites of the world loved the new world order as it made them rich and gave them global audiences. It seemed everyone loved the new world order…EXCEPT for a couple of sticks in the mud–namely  traditionalist religious people all over the world.

It is often claimed that radical Islam came out against the new world order as well but that ain’t quite true. The radical Islamists re-appeared on the world stage at this point in history precisely because they too had a vision of world domination. It just happened to cast the caliphate in the form of the world hegemon rather than Washington.

International trade is good but it does not need marxism/trostkyism as its background rationale. it can just as easily run on some other more benign ideology. It is the tragedy of the West (and therefore of the world) that the cultural elites in the West chose marxism as its operating system as it will inevitably implode.

 

Fire From Yet Another Quarter!

The Catholic Herald reports today that:

“The US bishops’ conference has announced that Fr Thomas Weinandy has resigned as an advisor to their Committee on Doctrine after he published a letter strongly critical of Pope Francis.”

Here is the letter:

July 31, 2017

Feast of St. Ignatius of Loyola

 

Your Holiness,

I write this letter with love for the Church and sincere respect for your office. You are the Vicar of Christ on earth, the shepherd of his flock, the successor to St. Peter and so the rock upon which Christ will build his Church. All Catholics, clergy and laity alike, are to look to you with filial loyalty and obedience grounded in truth. The Church turns to you in a spirit of faith, with the hope that you will guide her in love.

Yet, Your Holiness, a chronic confusion seems to mark your pontificate. The light of faith, hope, and love is not absent, but too often it is obscured by the ambiguity of your words and actions. This fosters within the faithful a growing unease. It compromises their capacity for love, joy and peace. Allow me to offer a few brief examples.

First there is the disputed Chapter 8 of Amoris Laetitia. I need not share my own concerns about its content. Others, not only theologians, but also cardinals and bishops, have already done that. The main source of concern is the manner of your teaching. In Amoris Laetitia, your guidance at times seems intentionally ambiguous, thus inviting both a traditional interpretation of Catholic teaching on marriage and divorce as well as one that might imply a change in that teaching. As you wisely note, pastors should accompany and encourage persons in irregular marriages; but ambiguity persists about what that “accompaniment” actually means. To teach with such a seemingly intentional lack of clarity inevitably risks sinning against the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of truth. The Holy Spirit is given to the Church, and particularly to yourself, to dispel error, not to foster it. Moreover, only where there is truth can there be authentic love, for truth is the light that sets women and men free from the blindness of sin, a darkness that kills the life of the soul. Yet you seem to censor and even mock those who interpret Chapter 8 of Amoris Laetitia in accord with Church tradition as Pharisaic stone-throwers who embody a merciless rigorism. This kind of calumny is alien to the nature of the Petrine ministry. Some of your advisors regrettably seem to encouraged, particularly during the two past synods, all persons, especially bishops, to speak their mind and not be fearful of what the pope may think. But have you noticed that the majority of bishops throughout the world are remarkably silent? Why is this? Bishops are quick learners, and what many have learned from your pontificate is not that you are open to criticism, but that you resent it. Many bishops are silent because they desire to be loyal to you, and so they do not express – at least publicly; privately is another matter – the concerns that your pontificate raises. Many fear that if they speak their mind, they will be marginalized or worse.

I have often asked myself: “Why has Jesus let all of this happen?” The only answer that comes to mind is that Jesus wants to manifest just how weak is the faith of many within the Church, even among too many of her bishops. Ironically, your pontificate has given those who hold harmful theological and pastoral views the license and confidence to come into the light and expose their previously hidden darkness. In recognizing this darkness, the Church will humbly need to renew herself, and so continue to grow in holiness.

Holy Father, I pray for you constantly and will continue to do so. May the Holy Spirit lead you to the light of truth and the life of love so that you can dispel the darkness that now hides the beauty of Jesus’ Church.

Sincerely in Christ,

Thomas G. Weinandy, O.F.M., Cap.

Another U.S. theologian bites the dust.  But, at least he got his “Parthian shot” off and sent the arrow home!  May it cause much discomfort to the unbelieving cabal within the USCCB and the Vatican!  It is the grain of sand that causes the oyster to bring forth a pearl!

-Allan Gillis

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!)

The Catholic Identity Conference in Weirton, WV

By Allan Gillis

What a wonderful experience for an old “rad-trad grump”!   I flew down to Pittsburgh Friday morning, picked up my rental car and drove southwest to the cozy little hamlet of Weirton, West Virginia.  There the folks at The Remnant Newspaper had assembled a great stable of Catholic writers and speakers.  The theme seemed essentially to be a look at Fatima, 100 years later…   in light of the current Church crisis.   Very, very interesting stuff!

I’m not going to write a play-by-play as I know I wouldn’t do justice to many of the speakers.  You can subscribe to (and I encourage you to!) the online recorded talks given. See their website:  www.remnantnewspaper.com

Let me just share briefly my impressions of some people and some ideas of mine as to the experience.

I met Michael Matt and he is a dynamo.   Clearly very passionate about his faith (our faith) and clearly a dedicated and loving dad.  Many of his brood were there in different roles i.e. greeting conferees, audio/visual technical help and various logistical tasks.  The kids in turn seemed to be surrounded by a friendly warren of same-aged kids helping out.  It was real nice seeing the younger folk taking part in this conference!  Let me be emphatic here; there were a good 20% of the attendees under the age of 40 years old!  It wasn’t just us old farts!

I made a point of meeting Chris Ferrara.  Gracious and witty!   Sharp tongue and pen!  A riot of a man.

John Rao …    a towering intellect and quite well-read.

Elizabeth Yore…  wielding a stinging pen and a rather humorous, righteous indignation.

It seems that this group meets yearly. But, it had an aura of “newness” about it.  I did take a random look online at several websites that reported on the same conference of years gone by and the accompanying photos showed far, far fewer people there in the past.  So, take my word for it – this thing is growing exponentially!

It felt so nice to be around a few hundred people that saw the world and the Church in a similar way as I do.  I fight a degree of skepticism as I grow older.  I feel sometimes frightened by the rapidity of decay in the culture.  Our civilization is on fire.  The Devil is waxing bold.  I worry about my children and grandchildren.  What will become of them?  Will they be able to build and hold onto a faith in Jesus Christ?  Will they cleave to truth?  …or slide under the mud of the mundane or slowly rot with the dis-believing soul-dead?  My task is to pray them into Heaven and set an example of holiness, honesty and self-sacrifice.   I found many, many others at this conference that have the exact same sense!  It felt nice.

There was a Extraordinary-Form Mass all three days (2 on Sunday!) just down the road in a BEAUTIFUL old Catholic church!  Delightful!  Bishop Athanasius Schneider celebrated Friday evening’s Mass in Steubenville (10-15 minutes west of Weirton) at St.Peter’s

Here are a few photos from St.Peter’s website in Steubenville (click to enlarge):

the gorgeous altar:

the incredible schola:

I salute the whole team at The Remnant and shall endeavor to wrestle out on my keyboard a few issues that I faced and ideas that I had at the conference.

One thing that really occurs to me is that we traditionalists must be scaring the shit out of some of these unbelieving bishops across Europe and these United States.  As Bishop Schneider said: “thank God for the internet”!  We’re successfully connecting with, communicating with and continually encouraging one another in the faith and ancient traditions of Holy Mother Church.  Modernism be damned!

Ave Maria, Ora Pro Nobis!

 

Nice goin’ Jorge’!

Bergoglio’s “Lunch of Solidarity” proves to be an opportunity to dodge justice for two Italian criminals.

Nice goin’ Jorge’!   The Catholic News Agency reports:

Pope invites prisoners to lunch, they break free instead

.- They were supposed to be having lunch with Pope Francis.   By Mary Rezac

During his Oct. 1 trip to Bologna, the Holy Father was scheduled to dine with 20 prisoners from a local drug rehabilitation facility, along with refugees and the poor of the area, during a “Lunch of Solidarity” at San Petronio Basilica.

Instead, two of the Italian prisoners shirked their invitation for what they saw as a prime opportunity for escape.

According to Bologna newspaper Il Resto del Carlino, the prisoners escaped sometime during the hour, though it is unclear whether they first ate lunch.

They have yet to be found.

Pope Francis regularly includes prisoners in his trips and events, including washing the feet of prisoners on Holy Thursday and holding a Jubilee Mass for prisoners at the Vatican last year.

Thank God for the Hungarians!

check this out from Edward Pentin at the National Catholic Reporter!

(I urge you to check out the original story :     http://www.ncregister.com/blog/edward-pentin/hungary-hosts-first-ever-government-hosted-conference-for-persecuted-christ

since they have some great photos accompanying the article!)

 

Oct. 14, 2017

Hungary Hosts First Ever Government Conference for Persecuted Christians

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán opens conference by calling on nations, particularly in Europe, to cast aside political correctness, stand up against Christian persecution, and defend the roots of Christian civilization.

It is time for Europe to free itself from the shackles of political correctness, speak the truth, and face the facts about the violent persecution of Christians, Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said on Thursday.

In a hard-hitting speech delivered at the opening of the first major conference ever held by a government in support of persecuted Christians, Orbán said that the “forced expulsion” of Christians from parts of the Middle East and Africa are “crimes” against the people and communities concerned that also “threaten our European values.”

“The world should understand that what is at stake today is nothing less than the future of the European way of life, and of our identity,” he told the delegates in Budapest.

Over 300 participants from 30 countries, including Christian leaders and representatives from think tanks and charities, gathered for the Oct. 11-13 international consultation on Christian persecution — “Finding the Appropriate Answers to a Long Neglected Crisis.”

The Hungarian leader, who has been an outspoken defender of Christian values in Europe — and has suffered a backlash from the European Union and others as a result — said it is time to “liberate” the issue from the “shackles of political correctness and human rights incantations which conflate everything with everything else.”

Rather, he said, we are “duty bound” to use facts and “straight-forward language” in describing these events and to “identify the dangers that threaten us.” Four out of five persecuted people are Christians, Orbán noted, and the religion is the most persecuted in the world today, yet the international media gives it “little coverage.”

Furthermore, he said the “greatest danger” is the “indifferent, apathetic silence of a Europe which denies its Christian roots.” The fate of what is happening in the Middle East should “bring home to Europe” what “may also happen to us” he said, at a time when European governments are pursuing an immigration policy  that allows in “dangerous extremists” and will “utterly transform” its culture, ethnicity and Christian identity within a “few generations.”

After centuries of fighting to defend the “whole of Christian Europe,” and having lived under atheistic Communist dictatorships for much of the 20th century, Orbán said it is a “cruel, absurd joke of fate” to be again living as members of a community “under siege.”

But for all these reasons, he said Hungary wishes to be at the forefront of helping persecuted Christians, and referred to the watchman in the Book of Ezekiel to underline its responsibility: “If a watchman sees the enemy approaching and does not sound the alarm, the Lord will hold that watchman accountable for the deaths of those killed as a result of his inaction.”

“Europe is a Christian continent,” he said, “and this is how we want to keep it.”

Orbán highlighted the fact that Hungary, although only a “medium sized European state,” is a “stable country” and unlike many other countries, is therefore in a position to “speak up for persecuted Christians.” But he stressed it’s not just about talking but acting, and he drew attention to some of the initiatives it has taken, in particular being the only government to set up a ministry dedicated to helping persecuted Christians (the Deputy State Secretariat for the Aid of Persecuted Christians began work last year).

He gave an overview of its achievements so far, which include rebuilding Christian homes, funding scholarships, and resettling displaced Christians. He said he drew attention to these deeds not to “burnish our reputation” (he said the government avoids “doing good things out of calculation, as good deeds must come from the heart, and for the glory of God”) but rather to serve as an example to other countries in the hope they might do likewise.

“When we support the return of persecuted Christians to their homelands, the Hungarian people is fulfilling a mission,” Orbán said, noting that Hungary’s Constitution recognizes “the role of Christianity in preserving nationhood.”

“If we recognize this for ourselves, then we also recognize it for other nations,” he said. Hungarians, he added, want Christian communities returning to their homelands, becoming “forces for the preservation of their own countries, just as, for us, Hungarian Christianity is a force for preservation.”

He closed by urging Europe’s politicians “to cast aside politically correct modes of speech” and “human rights-induced caution” and instead “do everything within their power for persecuted Christians.”

Open Eyes of Europe

The two day conference featured a wide variety of speakers who underlined a number of common themes: that Christian communities in the Middle East are on the brink of extinction; that the West is showing a lamentable amount of attention and concern to their plight (but which they often give to other persecuted groups instead); and the need to give aid directly to those affected through the churches so Christians can remain, be resettled, and rebuild their homes and lives.

All the foreign speakers heaped praise on Hungary for stepping up to the plate and offering tangible help specifically for Christians.

The president of the Hungarian bishops’ conference, Bishop Andràs Veres of Györ, highlighted Hungary’s own history of suffering in defense of the faith which has given “compassion in our own hearts” and admiration for the “courage” of today’s persecuted Christians.

Zoltán Balog, minister for Human Capacities who runs the ministry for persecuted Christians, said loving others does not mean covering up the truth nor failing to express it. Drawing attention to the plight of Christians, and the work his ministry is doing, is vital to “open the eyes of people in Europe,” he said.

“We Hungarians were sentenced to death many times, Hungary was told it was going to disappear, but we learned to swim against the tide, and today we need to swim together” in order to “advance,” he said.

Chaldean Patriarch Louis Sako of Baghdad, in a message delivered by Archbishop Bashar Warda of Erbil, expressed “heartfelt thanks” to the Hungarian government for the help they have received in this “tragic situation” (he noted, for example, its donation of $2.4 million to support 1,000 families to return to the predominantly Christian Iraqi city of Teleskof that was overrun by ISIS in 2014).

He noted the drastic decline of Iraqi Christians, from 1.5 million in 2003 to less than 500,000 today. He also warned that a Sept. 25 referendum in which 90 percent of Kurds in northern Iraq voted to secede from Iraq has “accelerated tensions” between Iraqis and Kurds, leading to “the drums of war.”

If it leads to a new military conflict, he said, “the consequences will be a disaster for all and minorities will pay the highest price.” He foresaw for certain “another exodus of Christians” if that happened, adding he could see “no guarantees” to stop the “vanishing of an innocent and peaceful people, violently forced from their homeland because of their faith.”

But Archbishop Warda was more optimistic, telling the Register later that he believed all these political disputes can be resolved, and it now could even be “the time to resolve them for good.”

“We are fed up with crisis after crisis,” he said, adding that he and other Church leaders have been imploring the politicians to dialogue. If these issue are indefinitely postponed, “it’s not healthy,” he said.

In his speech, Patriarch Sako called on the international community to help, especially the U.S. which has a particular “moral responsibility,” and highlighted the importance of education; security and stability in liberated areas; humanitarian assistance; and the dismantling of fundamentalist ideologies.

Syriac Orthodox Patriarch Ignatius Aphrem II said there was a “real danger” Christianity could just become a “museum” in the Middle East, noting that Iraq has lost 80-90% of its Christian population, and Syria, 40-45%. Christianity might be growing worldwide, he said, but where it is uprooted, it’s not always easy to replant a tree in new soil.

And if the West really cared about them, he added, “they would try to do something,” which is why he greatly appreciated Hungary’s efforts. Instead, he said the international community seems more concerned about protecting “species of vegetables.”

“I’m sorry to be very blunt but this is how we feel,” he said. “We’re being killed by groups sometimes supported by Western powers … and the international community overlooks what they’re doing.”

Avoid the “Three Ps”

Syriac Catholic Patriarch Ignatius Youssef III Younan stressed that Middle East Christians are not an “imported” but indigenous people who have lived there for millennia. He urged those who have a “voice on the international scene” to avoid “three Ps”: Paternalism (looking on them as if they’re very young and need to go through what the West went through in the Middle Ages); Profitism (viewing the region as a place to exploit); and Panderism (pandering to Islam and Muslim countries).

As with many other speakers from the Middle East, he said he felt “betrayed and abandoned” by the West. When he gives a speech, the Patriarch said it is as though he has to “stand up to be seen, speak loud to be heard, and shut up to be appreciated.”

Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, head of external relations for the Russian Orthodox Church, highlighted how, in Syria, Russian troops have been protecting churches, setting up security zones, and working with the Vatican and Lebanon to get the UN Human Rights Council to support the rights of Christians in the Middle East. The “time has come,” he said, for Christians to unite and “rebuff the misanthropic ideology of extremism.”

He later told the Register he agreed with Orbán that it is important to “name things the way they are,” adding he was glad to see an EU politician willing to go “contrary to trends of political correctness and say what he thinks.”

He also agreed with Orbán’s warnings to Europe, saying its general immigration policy “is very short sighted and in the long run it may bring disastrous results for European identity.” A Europe which denies its own Christian identity and roots “will be destined to annihilation,” Metropolitan Hilarion predicted. “If Europe officially denies Christ and Christianity, in a few generations there will be other people living in Europe professing other faiths.”

In a message read out to the conference, Cardinal Christoph Schönborn of Vienna said the scale of Christian persecution “is not widely appreciated” and being a Christian has “never been as dangerous as it is today.” As Christians “we’re called to take a stand for our persecuted brothers and sisters in Christ,” he said.

American Steve Rasche, director of the Nineveh Reconstruction Project based in Erbil, gave an overview of the reconstruction efforts and fully endorsed Hungary’s approach of direct investment through churches — a common sense approach, he said, as opposed to giving aid through governments and the UN which “stands common sense on its head.”

He said he has testified on behalf of Iraq’s Christians in congress, the UK parliament and elsewhere but “we’re still waiting” for a response. “Taking this action has not been easy for Hungary, it’s created much talk in the EU, but talk is all we’ve received from the EU while the people are disappearing,” Rasche said. “Well let them talk. The people of Hungary have acted and the persecuted know who has truly helped them and who has not.”

UN Corruption

Nina Shea, senior fellow and director of Center for Religious Freedom at the Hudson Institute, congratulated Hungary for a “magnificent conference” and for “standing up unapologetically for persecuted Christians.” She called for more governments to imitate Hungary, and criticized the UN for, among other things,  “diverting money” away from minorities who have “suffered the most grievously.”

Many expressed disappointment with the Trump administration for not following through with campaign promises. Shea said it needs to stop funneling money through the UN, and also highlighted a bureaucratic “cold indifference” or “dislike of Christians” among some staff, many of whom were appointed during the Obama presidency. What is needed are “right political appointees,” Shea told the Register, and for Trump to “issue directives to his cabinet.” She said she is “bewildered” that after nine months since Trump took office, “things have not changed.”

Father Benedict Kiely, founder of the charity Nasarean.org for persecuted Christians, said the “jury is really still out” on Trump. “He continually says he’s not a politician but unless he holds to some of his promises, he will be proving he is a politician,” he said. “Time is running out for his promises now to be put into action into defending Christians.

Some signs of hope for greater inter-governmental involvement came on the second day when Hungary’s foreign minister, Péter Szijjártó, announced that Hungary and Italy had agreed to join forces to help persecuted Christians. He stressed that Hungary’s willingness to stand up for Christians does not mean “being against others” but that political correctness “doesn’t enable us to speak up and represent the interests of Christians as we would like.”

“How many times do we specifically say the word Christians? Zero,” he said. “We say protect minorities or communities but we dare not talk about protection of Christians. That’s unacceptable.”

“This politically correct hypocrisy has to change,” he said. “We mustn’t use double standards, as if persecution of Christians is the last acceptable form of discrimination.” He added that Hungary would “take up those initiatives where we are able to attract international institutions and get them involved in protecting persecuted Christians and those in need.”

But not all agreed with a tendency at the conference to portray persecuted Christians as victims with a focus on the injustice. Speaking to the Register, Amal Marogy, an Iraqi native now living in England and running the Aradin Charitable Trust, stressed that land, possessions, and property are all “secondary” to what Christians believe is ultimately important: that “faith is the highest and most valuable thing we have in life.” Forgiveness is therefore crucial, she said, and only that way will it be possible to bring healing and bring Muslims to the faith.

Hungary Helps

Also discussed at the conference was the “Hungary Helps” initiative under which the government’s help for Christians is managed. The program aims to help give people futures in their homelands rather than leaving their community. The idea behind it is not an anti-immigrant one, they stressed, but rather based on their own history. Parliamentary state secretary Bency Rétvári recalled how 800,000 Hungarians were forcibly taken to the far reaches of the Soviet Union and a large number of them never returned. “We’re therefore especially sensitive to people exposed to violence by foreign armed forces,” he said.

Péter Heltai, Hungary Helps’ ambassador-at-large, said the project is also aimed at lifting up and “speaking up” for these minorities “so western countries will listen.” He gave examples of the help Hungary has given, from donating $450,000 to build a new school in Erbil to spending $1.7 million renovating 32 churches in Lebanon.

Tristan Azbej, Hungary’s deputy state secretary for the Aid of Persecuted Christians, closed the conference by saying many people had congratulated the government on the event, but he said “time will tell” if it is a success, if action is taken on what was discussed.

“This was about sowing seeds that can grow into success, and we hope turn into fruits that will help us to find other governments to help, to solve the problems of persecuted Christians,” he said. He noted it was a pity more political leaders were not present, but that was something they will try to improve on in the future.

He said there isn’t a clash of civilizations but rather a lack of awareness of what is happening, and “our worst problem now: not listening.” Azbej spoke of two crises: the loss of Christian identity due to secularism in the West, and violent persecution in the Middle East and other regions.

He also highlighted the importance of the “Budapest Declaration” — a list of recommendations agreed upon by the conference participants. Among the proposals is to call on governments to implement long term solutions to end the persecution of Christians.

“It’s not a political document imposed on others,” Azbej said, “but a message to persecuted Christians saying: you brothers and sisters are not alone, we’re listening to you and we’ll take your concerns to the international organizations.”

“It’s time to act, to listen to the voices of those in need,” the Hungarian official said. “At the beginning we greeted you with the words that God brought you to Hungary… May God be with us on the road ahead that we will travel together.”

The Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace

Allan Gillis

“Justice and peace”, “community”, “sustainable”, “safety”, “equality”… words loaded with political import these days. How I grimace as I hear or read them. How my skin crawls as I sometimes listen (as a penance) to NPR. Or read something in the NYT – or pretty much anywhere in media these days.  The choice of words is often a statement of ideology…I guess it always has been.  I am so convinced that the Devil is the father of the political Left.  I’m serious.

I came upon this particular months-old story; of which I previously commented and posted upon here in this venue. [ “Birds of a Feather Flock Together” (part 2)  – July 7 2017 ] The cocaine-fueled gay orgy in the Vatican earlier this year. (the one that we just happen to know about – only God knows how often it has and continues to occur!)

The Church IS IN CRISIS!

Yes we know of times in the past – namely during the Renaissance reign of Pope Pius V, that the scourge of homosexuality ran rampant throughout the culture/church/clergy…  but at least then the reigning pontiff took a militant (and public) stance against the wave of sin!  Pope Pius V (who was later canonized) didn’t spout any “girly-man” statements such as “who am I to judge?”!  Pius kicked ass!

Here’s what “ticked me off” this morning as I re-read an older post on Life Site News:

Vatican appointee says gay sex can express Christ’s ‘self-gift’

ROME, May 19, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) — Pope Francis has appointed radically liberal, pro-homosexual Dominican Father Timothy Radcliffe as a consultor for the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.

The Holy Father made the appointment on Saturday, according to Vatican Radio.

Father Radcliffe, an Englishman, author and speaker, was Master of the Dominican order from 1992 to 2001, and is an outspoken proponent of homosexuality.

“We must accompany [gay people] as they discern what this means, letting our images be stretched open,” he said in a 2006 religious education lecture in Los Angeles. “This means watching ‘Brokeback Mountain,’ reading gay novels, living with our gay friends and listening with them as they listen to the Lord.”

In 2005, as the Vatican deliberated the admission of men with homosexual tendencies to study for the priesthood in the wake of the Church sex abuse scandal, Father Radcliffe said that homosexuality should not bar men from the priesthood, and rather, those who oppose it should be banned.

As a contributor to the 2013 Anglican Pilling Report on human sexual ethics Father Radcliffe said of homosexuality:

How does all of this bear on the question of gay sexuality? We cannot begin with the question of whether it is permitted or forbidden! We must ask what it means, and how far it is Eucharistic. Certainly it can be generous, vulnerable, tender, mutual and non-violent. So in many ways, I would think that it can be expressive of Christ’s self-gift. We can also see how it can be expressive of mutual fidelity, a covenantal relationship in which two people bind themselves to each other for ever.

Father Radcliffe often celebrated Mass for the U.K. dissident group Soho Masses Pastoral Council (now renamed the LGBT Catholics Westminster Pastoral Council).

The priest is also a supporter of the proposal of to allow communion for divorced and remarried Catholics.

He currently works as director of the Las Casas Institute of Blackfriars at Oxford University, a social justice center.

Social justice is the focus of the Pontifical Council of Justice and Peace, established in 1967 by Pope Paul VI in response to the Vatican II proposal for establishment of a body of the universal Church that would “stimulate the Catholic Community to foster progress in needy regions and social justice on the international scene.”

Read the rest here:

https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/vatican-appointee-says-gay-sex-can-express-christs-self-gift

Ave Maria, ora pro nobis !!!