Category Archives: Save Our Catholic Church

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The New Oxford Review published this salient piece last month…

A Pontificate of Mercy — or a Merciless Pontificate?

September 2017

For the past four-plus years, faithful Catholics have bent over backwards to give Pope Francis the benefit of the doubt, telling themselves that the Argentine Jesuit means well, that he is a faithful son of the Church, that he — like his immediate predecessors — has an enduring love of Catholicism and Western civilization, even if at times he comes across as ambiguous, contradictory, and intellectually deficient. The NOR, more than most Catholic-oriented journals, has published critical assessments of Francis’s confusing statements, pontifical missteps, muddled theological writings, and misguided initiatives (we have an entire online dossier devoted to this pontificate: http://www.newoxfordreview.org/dossier.jsp?did=dossier-francis). Nevertheless, we have always approached the subject with an eye toward giving Francis the benefit of the doubt. We respect the Petrine ministry and we respect the office, but that presupposes the man elected to that office respects the ministry too. The time has come to offer an unvarnished look at the fruits of this papacy and to suggest that we move beyond giving Francis the so-called benefit of the doubt. Frankly, doubt is no longer an issue. Four-and-a-half years of evidence shows that Francis has fomented division, preached politics over the Gospel, and conducted himself more like a South American strongman than a vicar of Christ.

Leaving aside for now the theological hubbub and ensuing kerfuffle surrounding Francis’s controversial apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia (see “Amoris Laetitia: What Is Pope Francis Up To?” by Anthony Giambrone, O.P., June), his accommodation and appeasement of Islam (see “Pope Francis’s Appeasement Plan: Securing a False Peace with Iran” by Timothy D. Lusch, June 2016), his enigmatic comments on shared communion (see “Francis & the Lutherans: Intercommunion Confusion” New Oxford Note, Jan.-Feb. 2016), his serial insults of orthodox Catholics (see “Pope Francis: Put-Down Artist?” New Oxford Note, April 2014), his equivocal statements regarding contraception (see “A Virus, a Crisis” by Monica Migliorino Miller, April 2016), and his willfully vague and confusing comments to reporters at 30,000 feet (see “The Poor Misunderstood Pope?” New Oxford Note, Nov. 2013, and “A Sign of Self-Contradiction,” New Oxford Note, Dec. 2016), let’s simply look at the current state of the Church vis-à-vis Pope Francis and the Bergoglio Vatican.

Longtime Francis watchers will know that, shortly after being elected, the Holy Father gave every indication that, as an outsider, he would “clean house” — ridding the Vatican of bureaucratic excesses, financial scandals, and the horrific sexual immorality among the Roman clergy, late lamented by Pope Benedict XVI. Although Francis has effected some much-needed streamlining of the Holy See’s offices, he has shown himself more intent on removing every last vestige of the St. John Paul II and Benedict eras, up to and including the Church’s commitment to life issues, defense of marriage, and support of believers who suffer persecution.

Add to that, in recent months, Pope Francis has championed Islam as a “religion of peace,” hammered Catholic Poland as a nation of xenophobes, supported the “fake” government-sponsored Catholic church in communist China, floated the idea of ordaining married priests and women deacons, and marginalized conservative prelates who question his pontifical trajectory or uncover inconvenient truths that might cast his ideological allies in an unflattering light.

Let’s look at personnel: Much has been made of the Pope’s ham-fisted treatment of Raymond Cardinal Burke, the U.S.’s premiere canon-law expert. After Burke publicly aired his “conservative” views on divorce and “remarriage” at the 2014 Synod on the Family, Francis summarily removed him as prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, where he served as the highest-ranking canon lawyer in the Church, and reassigned (read: demoted) him to the obscure position of patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta. Earlier this year, Francis removed Burke even from this largely ceremonial post after Burke uncovered the order’s promotion of condom use in Africa. To make a long story short, Pope Francis came down on the side of the condom promoter, Grand Chancellor Albrecht von Boeselager, over the whistleblower, Cardinal Burke. Not to go unnoticed: Burke was one of the four cardinals who signed the dubia asking the Pope to clarify certain passages in Amoris Laetitia, which Francis has refused to do, either publicly or privately.

There’s more: For four years running, Pope Francis has passed up awarding the red hat to either of the longtime leaders of the archdioceses of Los Angeles and Philadelphia, two of the largest sees in the U.S., both of which are traditionally home to cardinals. L.A.’s José Gómez and Philly’s Charles Chaput, appointed to their posts by Pope Benedict, are widely known as faithful, orthodox prelates. Some Vatican watchers have tried to explain this away by citing Francis’s desire for a more diversified College of Cardinals and admitting that — to put it bluntly — the Holy Father doesn’t like Americans.

That might explain why Francis has awarded cardinalates to prelates in obscure sees in far-flung parts of the world that have minuscule Catholic populations (relatively speaking), such as José Luis Lacunza Maestrojuán of the diocese of David in Panama, Philippe Ouédraogo of the diocese of Ouahigouya in Burkina Faso, Patrick D’Rozario of the diocese of Dhaka in Bangladesh, Sebastian Koto Khoarai of the diocese of Mohale’s Hoek in Lesotho, and Charles Bo of the diocese of Yangon in Myanmar, to name a few. But that doesn’t explain why Francis, after appointing Blase Cupich as archbishop of Chicago and Joseph Tobin as archbishop of Newark (New Jersey), immediately raised them to the College of Cardinals.

Francis appointed Cupich to his post in September 2014 and named him a cardinal less than two months later, one day after Cupich’s installation as Chicago’s new archbishop. Francis named Tobin a cardinal in November 2016, just 12 days after appointing him archbishop of Newark. For the record, Newark has never been home to a cardinal, perhaps because a cardinal has always lived eight miles away in Manhattan. According to The New York Times, Tobin “is considered a friend and ally of Pope Francis in a potentially important spot in the Roman Catholic hierarchy in the United States not far from New York City, where Cardinal Timothy F. Dolan has been the face of American Catholicism in the nation’s media capital” (Jan. 6). More recently, the Times contrasted him with Dolan, noting that “Cardinal Tobin is emerging as a champion of progressive, center-left Catholics” (July 16).

As for Cupich, not only is he an ardent Francis ally, the hyper-liberal National Catholic Reporter (NCR) said his appointment is symbolic of the Pope’s personal involvement in “reorienting the U.S. hierarchy after 35 years of seriously conservative, dogmatic appointments” (Sept. 25, 2014). Presumably, NCR, and Pope Francis, would lump Gómez and Chaput in the pile of “seriously conservative, dogmatic appointments” — in other words, orthodox in their views of the Church and her teachings. (By the way, it is just silly for NCR to speak of 35 years of conservative appointments, considering the extremely liberal cardinals Roger Mahony of Los Angeles and Joseph Bernardin of Chicago were appointed during that time and became the two primary kingpins in recommending U.S. bishop appointments. That said, after Bernardin died and Mahony retired, the appointments did get more “conservative.”)

Make no mistake: Francis is politically astute. His modus operandi is to marginalize Benedict’s “conservative, dogmatic” picks and promote his own like-minded ideologues. Francis knows that, if nothing else, his appointees to the College of Cardinals will be hand-picking the next pope, and maybe the one after that. Those whom Francis passes over — the Chaputs and Gómezes of the Church — will be locked out of the conclave. This is the surest way for Francis to promote his legacy for decades to come.

But Francis hasn’t stopped there. Oh no. He has extended his legacy-promoting plan by ridding the Vatican of other Benedict holdouts. In early July, Francis abruptly removed 69-year-old Gerhard Cardinal Müller as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF). Müller, whom Benedict appointed to the Church’s chief doctrinal post in 2012, told Deutsche Presse-Agentur that Pope Francis “did not give him a reason” for his dismissal, “just as he gave no reason for firing three highly competent members of the CDF a few months earlier” (July 19). Müller also told Allgemeine Zeitung that the Pope justified his dismissal by claiming that he “no longer intends to prolong roles in the Curia beyond five years,” and that Müller was the first one to whom this practice has been applied (July 10). It is instructive to note that Müller’s dismissal came on July 2, the exact expiration date of his five-year term, and that prior to that date, it had been customary for the head of the CDF to continue in his post until he resigned or reached the age of retirement, which is 75. Why the change for Cardinal Müller? Francis won’t say, but it bears mention that Müller, serving as the Vatican’s top doctrinal watchdog, has been critical of Amoris Laetitia, instead upholding the Church’s traditional teaching on Holy Communion and divorced-and-remarried Catholics. Further, he cannot have won brownie points with Francis by criticizing the Pope’s cult of personality and the accompanying “sanctimonious papolatry” he says is rampant within the Vatican. In a nutshell, it seems that Müller is too “dogmatic” for a Bergoglio Vatican. Francis prefers sycophants in his service.

Are we really supposed to believe that the Pope is going to oust every Vatican prelate at the end of his five-year term? The ever-reliable Vatican watcher Sandro Magister of Italy’s L’Espresso has noted (July 10) that Francis has kept in place other curial officials whose terms have expired. Msgr. Pio Pinto, for example, despite being 76 years old (one year past the mandatory retirement age) and at the end of his five-year term as dean of the Tribunal of the Roman Rota, remains in his position. Pinto, charged by the Pope to revise the annulment process in the Church, is a well-known Francis supporter. And then there’s Argentine cardinal Leonardo Sandri, prefect of the Congregation of Oriental Churches, whose second five-year term has expired. He’s still there. Is he a big Francis supporter? Yep, you bet.

The list goes on! Most notably, February 15 of this year brought the end of the second five-year term of one of the Pope’s closest collaborators, 79-year-old Francesco Cardinal Coccopalmerio, president of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts. Coccopalmerio published a book earlier this year defending Amoris Laetitia and promoting unmarried, cohabiting couples receiving Holy Communion. (Cardinal Cupich wrote the foreword to the English-language edition of the book, by the way.) Of course, Coccopalmerio is still in his position, despite his age, despite his double-term expiration, and despite a bizarre drug-sex scandal involving his secretary, Luigi Capozzi. Msgr. Capozzi, a 49-year-old canonist, was arrested by Vatican police this spring after they caught him hosting a cocaine-fueled homosexual orgy in the former Palace of the Holy Office — a mere 500 yards away from Francis’s Santa Marta residence. Lord have mercy! Accounts by Italian news service Il Fato Quotidiano, which broke the story months after the fact, reported that Capozzi, whom it described as an “ardent supporter of Pope Francis,” was so high on cocaine when arrested that he had to be hospitalized for detoxification (June 28). Interestingly, Capozzi’s arrest came on the verge of his appointment as a bishop — on the recommendation of Cardinal Coccopalmerio, who, incidentally, made news in 2014 by emphasizing, in an interview with the Italian Catholic website Rossoporpora, the “positive realities” of homosexual relationships. No, the cardinal hasn’t yet shared his thoughts on the possible “positive realities” of cocaine use.

As of this writing, Capozzi remains Coccopalmerio’s secretary. Further, in follow-up accounts of the coked-up gay orgy, a senior member of the Curia told veteran Vatican correspondent Edward Pentin that homosexual activity among the clergy in Rome has “never been worse” (National Catholic Register, July 8). According to the NOR’s boots-on-the-ground sources in Rome, the Vatican is filled with an active gay subculture that is flourishing under Pope Francis. Why? It just so happens that those who are members of this subculture are the Pope’s most ardent ideological supporters, in a certain sense “friends of Francis.” No wonder he tends to look the other way. (Il Fato Quotidiano reported that Francis knew all about Capozzi’s orgy and arrest, months before the story broke in the news, but has remained silent about it.)

Francis is also hard at work undoing the great pro-life work begun by John Paul II. This May, Francis dismantled and reconstituted the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy for Life. He dismissed those, appointed by John Paul and Benedict, who believe abortion is an intrinsic evil, in favor of new members who aren’t so sure. In at least one case, the Pope appointed a pro-abortion theologian who has expressed support for euthanasia in certain circumstances. Francis began his initiative last November when he released new statutes for the academy that summarily ended the terms of 116 of its 139 members (23 of them were re-appointed). The revised statutes no longer require Francis’s new appointees to sign a declaration that they uphold the Church’s pro-life teachings. Among the new appointees who won’t be signing that declaration is Nigel Biggar, a professor of moral and pastoral theology at the University of Oxford. Biggar has supported legal abortion up to 18 weeks and has expressed qualified support for euthanasia. And this man now represents the Vatican on life issues!

Founded by John Paul II in 1994, the academy is dedicated to promoting the Church’s consistent life ethic and carries out research in bioethics and Catholic moral theology. It has promoted and developed the Church’s teaching on medical ethics, including in-vitro fertilization, gene therapy, euthanasia, and abortion. Francis has now expanded the academy’s mandate to include a focus on the environment and street violence, giving Cardinal Bernardin’s “seamless garment” concept a further watering down.

For those wondering (1) why the Pope has summarily dismissed longtime, faithful, intelligent, and effective pro-life leaders around the world, and (2) why he wants to “refocus” the efforts of the Pontifical Academy for Life, the newly appointed head of the academy provides some insight. In an interview with Cruxnow.com (July 19), Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia — a close collaborator and ally of Pope Francis? but of course! — explained that the academy “now aims to be missionary in outlook…in collaboration with believers of other churches and faiths as well as non-believers.” The Pope’s new appointments include two Jews, a Muslim, an Anglican, and a number of those “non-believers.” Paglia went on to criticize the current Catholic pro-life movement, calling it ineffectual. “If I may say so,” he told Cruxnow.com, “there is a certain way of defending life that doesn’t defend it.”

And so, Francis is entrusting the pro-life mission to Archbishop Paglia, who presumes to know more about promoting the pro-life ethic (as redefined by Francis) than those dismissed from the academy, including philosopher Robert Spaemann of Germany, Maria Mercedes Arzú de Wilson of Guatemala, Christine de Marcellus Vollmer of Venezuela, Andrzej Szostek of Poland, Mieczyslaw Grzegocki of Ukraine, Jaroslav Sturma of the Czech Republic, and Etienne Kaboré of Burkina Faso, whom Sandro Magister describes as “perfectly in line with the positions of the African Church on marriage, family, and sexuality, seen at work during the last two synods” (L’Espresso, March 13). These are just some of the dismissed members, but the list illustrates how geographically diversified the former members of the academy were. What all the dismissed members have in common is that they ardently believe in the teachings of the Church on critical life issues. What many of the dismissed members have in common, according to Magister, is that “they have distinguished themselves in publicly criticizing the new moral and practical paradigms that have entered into vogue with the pontificate of Francis.”

Have you noticed a pattern yet?

Interesting, isn’t it? Pope Francis has consistently removed those who dare to try to “dialogue” with him or who publicly criticize his initiatives, his offhand utterances, his publications, or his “moral and practical paradigms.” If you’re tempted to draw parallels between Francis’s managerial playbook and that of your run-of-the-mill 20th-century communist dictator, you wouldn’t be alone. Bishop Athanasius Schneider of Kazakhstan made the same comparison, likening the Bergoglio Vatican to the Soviet “regime” under which he was born, where those who didn’t “follow the line of the party” weren’t allowed a voice (LifeSiteNews.com, Dec. 6, 2016).

Certainly, in any institution, a case can be made for removing those in positions of authority who seek to undermine that institution through public words and actions. But it is important to note that, by and large, those who are being “silenced” in the Church of Francis are those who have consistently upheld and defended what the Church has always taught, not those liberal Catholics who have made a career of undermining those teachings in a very public manner.

One last point about personnel, and this one is arguably the most troubling of Pope Francis’s pontifical trajectories. One would think that, given the Pope’s penchant for naming cardinals throughout the world — even in traditionally non-Christian countries — he would readily accept the advice of Joseph Cardinal Zen when it comes to the Church in China. Zen was China’s first cardinal and a key adviser to Pope Benedict regarding China-Vatican détente. But now it seems that Francis is ignoring the longtime advocate of religious liberty in communist China. Back in 2014 Cardinal Zen warned Francis not to visit China, cautioning that he would be manipulated by the government, which controls the “officially recognized” church on the mainland and persecutes the Chinese Catholics who make up the Vatican-aligned “underground” Church. The government-sanctioned church includes illegitimate bishops, three of whom have been excommunicated by the real Church. Nevertheless, Pope Francis disregarded Cardinal Zen’s warning. In an interview with Spanish daily El País, the Pope stated in a very dramatic manner that he would like to go to China, and that he awaits his invitation. “In China, the churches are packed,” he said. “In China they can worship freely” (Jan. 24).

Cardinal Zen knows there’s no truth to the Pope’s statement. The Catholic Church in China — the real Church — remains small and persecuted. In 2016 alone, five “underground” bishops from mainland China who had served time in prison or labor camps died either in prison or from health complications arising from their confinement. In 2016 the U.S. Commission for International Religious Freedom recommended that China be designated a “country of particular concern,” meaning it is one of the world’s worst violators when it comes to respecting the right to religious liberty. Are we to believe that Francis, the alleged Pope of the peripheries, is unaware of the realities in China, given the advice from Cardinal Zen and the widely available reports issued by international agencies?

In response to the Pope’s inaccuracies, Cardinal Zen said he feared that the Vatican, in its desperation to make a deal with China, would sell out the long-persecuted underground Church, the only legitimate Catholic presence in the communist country. The situation regarding religious liberty in China, Zen has said, is worse today than ever.

And now Pope Francis’s Vatican has indeed made an agreement with the Chinese government. Although Benedict stated that China has no legitimate Catholic bishops’ conference, the Holy See under Francis has given the initiative of choosing bishops to the so-called Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association. This agreement amounts to giving an atheistic government the power to choose bishops for its state-sponsored church.

Cardinal Zen has repeated Benedict’s insistence that no legitimate bishops’ conference exists in mainland China. “The whole thing is fake,” he explained in an interview with the Polish outlet Polonia Christiana (July 14). “I really cannot believe that the Holy See doesn’t know that there is no bishops’ conference! There is only a name. They never really have a discussion, meetings. They meet when they are called by the government. The government gives instructions. They obey.” Francis’s Vatican, continued Zen, is “too eager to dialogue, dialogue so they tell everybody not to make noise, to accommodate, to compromise, to obey the government. Now things are going down, down.”

Clearly, Francis has his own ideas, regardless of what Pope Benedict might have said and despite Cardinal Zen’s warnings and the reports of violations of human rights and religious liberty from the international community. Pope Francis will plow determinedly ahead, with his sycophants at his side, just as he has done vis-à-vis his detractors in the hierarchy, even while preaching mercy, mercy, mercy and dialogue, dialogue, dialogue. But where exactly is the mercy for those with whom he disagrees? Where is the dialogue?

To recap: Pope Francis is making deals with the state-sponsored church in communist China, diluting the Church’s pro-life ministry, sidelining his critics in the hierarchy, and looking the other way when it comes to homosexual activity that takes place right under his nose (when those involved happen to be his ardent supporters). He has consistently demonstrated that he rejects orthodox Catholicism, a Catholicism that recognizes and respects the legitimate structures and devotional life of the Church — e.g., the parish, the priesthood, religious life, the liturgy properly celebrated, traditional devotions and devotionals, a faith life built on prayer, the corporal and spiritual works of mercy, and so on.

A recent article in L’Osservatore Romano, the official Vatican newspaper and often considered a “mouthpiece” of the papacy, illustrates well Francis’s attitude. The article, penned by Giulio Cirignano, an Italian Scripture scholar, asserts that the “main obstacle” to implementing Pope Francis’s vision for the Church is “closure, if not hostility” from bishops and priests. Fr. Cirignano believes that the laity understands and supports Francis’s vision, but those pesky bishops and priests keep getting in the way. Fr. Cirignano charges that “seriously conservative” and “dogmatic” clergymen are unfit for a 21st-century Church. He says, for example, that they hold to an “antiquated image of the priesthood,” one that sees the priest as the “boss” or a “sort of solitary protagonist”; that they are relatively uneducated, their “theological and Biblical preparation is often scarce”; and — wait for it — these “seriously conservative” priests and bishops subscribe to a kind of counterreformation theology that is “lacking the resources of the Word,” is “without a soul,” and has “transformed the impassioned and mysterious adventure of believing into religion,” resulting in a “limpid faith.” Yow!

It’s actually reassuring, assuming Fr. Cirignano is correct, to know that bishops and priests present the greatest obstacle to the implementation of Pope Francis’s program. Further, Fr. Cirignano has unwittingly revealed that the Pope just might be the one who considers himself a “sort of solitary protagonist,” that he is unwilling or unable to be collaborative, to listen to other authentic voices in the Catholic Church.

But we’ll give Francis this: His perseverance in reversing so many of the great strides made during the pontificates of St. John Paul II and Benedict XVI is impressive. For Francis, his pontificate has become about his geopolitical agenda, his scattershot efforts at “reform,” the installation of his comrades in high places, and the exercise of his own personal power. The aim of his pontificate seems to be to remake the Church in the idiosyncrasies of Jesuit-trained Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina, son of an Italian communist. As Cardinal Zen said, “Now things are going down, down.” Perhaps that’s exactly Pope Francis’s intent. The question is: How much further will things descend?

Matthew Schmitz surrenders

By Augustinus

Jesse Russell over at 1Peter5 has a great response to Catholic neoconservative Matthew Schmitz who attempted to polemicize against alt right critiques of liberal Christians as suicidal effeminates. In a bizzare post at First Things Schmitz actually argues that a cuckolded soldier in a novel by Evelyn Waugh who apparently (I have not read the novel) serves as a Christ like figure…is a good model for the Church. While it is true that the individual who undergoes defeat in everything he attempts can be a better model of Christ than the victorius solider or winner ….that certainly does not mean that Christendom itself should welcome its own destruction at the hands of modernism and Islam! As Pius X said kindness when the Church is under attack is for fools (and not the fool for Christ version!) and Schmitz I am saddened to say has, like a fool, drunk the modernist kool aid…

Christianity Is for Champions: A Response to Matthew Schmitz

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?

Good Little Jewish Girl…

Brought to you by Allan Gillis

Check this out…     makes me sick!

CBS fires vice president who said Vegas victims didn’t deserve sympathy because country music fans ‘often are Republican’

By Brian Flood, Fox News

CBS has parted ways with one of the company’s top lawyers after she said she is “not even sympathetic” to victims of the Las Vegas shooting because “country music fans often are Republican,” when discussing the tragic mass shooting that occurred in Las Vegas late Sunday night.

“This individual, who was with us for approximately one year, violated the standards of our company and is no longer an employee of CBS. Her views as expressed on social media are deeply unacceptable to all of us at CBS. Our hearts go out to the victims in Las Vegas and their families,” a CBS spokeswoman told Fox News.

Hayley Geftman-Gold, [A HILLARY CAMPAIGN ORGANIZER AND FUNDRAISER!] the network’s now-former vice president and senior counsel, took to Facebook after a gunman opened fire at the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival in Las Vegas, killing at least 58 people and sending more than 520 others to hospitals.

“If they wouldn’t do anything when children were murdered I have no hope that Repugs [sic] will ever do the right thing,” Geftman-Gold wrote in a now-deleted message that was first reported and captured by The Daily Caller.

Geftman-Gold continued: “I’m actually not even sympathetic bc [sic] country music fans often are Republican gun toters [sic].”

Geftman-Gold is presumably referring to Sandy Hook, which occurred in Newtown, Conn. back in 2012. A 20-year-old gunman, Adam Lanza, killed 20 children and six adults during the tragic event that sparked intense political debates regarding gun control.

Geftman-Gold did not work directly with the network’s news division. According to her LinkedIn bio, Geftman-Gold worked at CBS since September 2016 and graduated from the prestigious Columbia University law school in 2000.

I WANT TO THROW UP AS I SEE THE MAIN-STREAM MEDIA QUICKLY TRYING TO DISTANCE THEMSELVES FROM THIS CHICK!

Need for militant resistance

By Augustinus

In any conflict reasoned discourse is the best route forward but when one side takes up arms your side needs to do so as well. Why is it OK for for there to be a muslim brotherhood but not a Christian brotherhood? Why is it ok for there to be a jewish defense league but not a catholic defense league? Why is it ok for there to be “democratic karen Buddhist Army” in southeast Asia (heirs to the fanatical Budhhist monks who inflicted horrific violence against the Catholic regime in the early 60s in Viet Nam) but not a catholic army in the USA? Why is Hindu militancy OK but catholic militancy not ok?

I have looked around for militant catholic organizations or brotherhoods but there are none. The Knights of Columbus are too busy conducting pancake breakfasts. The “This man is YOU” trainings that has captured the attention of catholic male laity is too busy trying to be holy to notice that the church is sinking and is under attack. The ancient military orders of the catholic church have all become mere charities -some of them assisting the very enemies out to destroy the church.  The so-called “Church Militant” media group in the midewest USA at least has the honor of being labeled a hate group by the totalitarians at Southern Poverty law Center but they are merely an informational and agitprop group-not a disciplined brotherhood organizing active and militant resistance.

its no use looking to the bishops for guidance on militancy. The old Irish bishops that once ruled whole cities with an iron dictatorial hand in the USA have all died away and their congregations with them. The present crop of bishops with one or two exceptions (perhaps Chaput) are all effeminate servile sops.

Can we look to the popes? In some ages we cannot. Recall the period of the Avignon captivity which ended with three popes all excommunicating one another? At that point the laity could not look to the popes for guidance so the military orders organized themselves and protected Europe against the muslim turks without papal help during that period. The monarchs were too concerned with  battling one another to worry about christendom itself. Indeed some of them actively connived with the ottoman turks in hopes of gaining advantage in their internecine struggles.

The church is always in crisis and christendom is always divided. In past ages we have always had local organized militant brotherhoods that protected the inheritance. Today I can find no such brotherhoods.

 

Charlottesville August 2017

By Augustinus

We all know by now that groups of the alt right along with leftist neo-Nazis and assorted white identitarian groups attempted to march in Charlottesville to support retaining statues honoring soldiers of the confederacy. They were met with fanatical “anti-fa” marchers who were protesting and challenging the right of the marchers to be there at all. The leftist anti-fa position is that the alt right marchers are “hate groups” and therefore should have no right at all to march or express their opinions. “Hate speech” should result in jail time for these people. tragically, these anti-fa protesters began to bash in the windows of a car whose driver apparently panicked and rammed into some marchers–several of whom were seriously injured and one of whom died. the press claimed that this was deliberate killing and called it domestic terrorism.

But the fundamental premise of the anti-fa marchers is totalitarian. Once you start to claim that some speech should be banned you go down the slippery slope of totalitarian thought police. Who defines what is hate speech? You? The mob? The government? A group of “experts”?

free speech is fundamental to free men and a free polity. Without it we are no better than slaves.

Novus Ordo in Latin

By Augustinus

The courageous priest at my local parish who I mentioned in a previous post a few months ago has done it again! Despite opposition from the parish vicar he has put on a Latin mass for the feast of the assumption. It was not the tridentine mass but the novus ordo but as Pope Benedict has said the two forms are one rite and both are valid. In addition to the beautiful latin a schola contorum sung and chant. As he always does this courageous priest said the mass ad orientam. All in all a blessed experience! I thank God that I landed at a parish with a real priest.

Separated from God – By Our Own Sin

By Allan Gillis

Sin…     then contrition, confession, absolution and penance.  This seems to be the cycle as it were.   I have written about this dynamic before.  It is always before us.  We sin and we are ipso facto separated from God.  Its that simple.

in Habakkuk 1:13, we read where the prophet reminds himself about God’s dis-inclination toward gazing upon “sin”:  “Thy eyes are too pure to behold evil, and thou canst not look on iniquity”.   I believe this is exactly what Jesus himself was aware of as he languished on the cross crying out;  “My God, My God!  Why hast Thou forsaken me?!”

I had a very real sense of this bitter anguish recently.  This eerie sense that I not only was separated from God…  but that I had (almost physically) removed myself….intentionally stepped out from under His wing…   purposefully exited His presence.  It was rather jolting…certainly frightening.

Here’s what happened and I ask your indulgence as I am going to be rather candid.

It has been several weeks since my last confession.   Getting out on my boat is often of paramount importance to me as these seasonal sailing days seem to be so fleeting – especially as I grow older.  Tempus fugit!  So, I have missed a couple of Saturday afternoons at the local Novus Ordo parish where I often go for confession. (I HATE the N.O. “snowflake” term; “reconciliation”!)  I have from time to time availed myself of the wondrous services of the Franciscans intown Boston during the weekdays at St. Anthony’s. (Such a service to the faithful!  God bless them!)  I often tell myself: “oh, I’ll just take care of confession on Saturday or just prior to Mass”.      Not always reliable.  I am awash in the stinking cesspool-waters of pride.  I could go regularly to my very good friend and spiritual-director. He’s the most wonderful priest I have ever known.   But, I am often too proud to reveal how utterly reprobate I am in my heart of hearts.  I am too haughty to ever have Father Fagioli know just what a dirt-bag I really am.  Not that he’s ever said or done anything that would invite me to ever forget that he’s a priest and I’m a layman.  I spend friendly and very enjoyable hours with him at meals and discussions…while afraid of what others might think of me – I fail to secure a good confession with him regularly.

I don’t want him to know what a creep I am.   Pride is such a trap.

So, circumstances didn’t allow me to get to confession.  I then compounded my sin by dilly-dallying this past Sunday…       knowing I had to get to Foxboro by early afternoon to “tailgate BBQ” at Gillette’s Stadium for the Roma vs. Juventus (Serie A) Italian soccer match.  I skipped Mass.

Yeah, a mortal sin.

Driving down to Foxboro I was gripped by this aweful sensation that I had intentionally vacated Almighty God’s protection of Graces.  Compounding my sin…

I am aware of my failings. I can even admit it here to you readers – but, can I personally overcome this prideful propensity to care too much about what people think of me?  … to the detriment of my eternal soul?

Despite what Satan often whispers to me – I am not a fraud.  I am simply a man intermittently  – sometimes gingerly, often-times reluctantly – trying to pick up my cross and follow Him.

Here’s the kicker:  I haven’t even bothered to do my daily prayer regimen since then – all this week…   insolence?    laziness?      I now have this “feeling” that I must somehow  –  body-slam myself, crash through this wall of sinful impudence.  I must get to confession.  I will go.

To be quite honest with you – just writing this is making me cry.

Say a quick prayer for me?

The Marian Option

By Augustinus

The main dangers to the church today are a resurgent Islam and the modernist heresy taking over the church from within. How to deal with these dangers? This year is the hundredth anniversary of the appearance of the blessed Virgin Mary to the three children in Fatima Portugal. The official position of the Catholic Church is that that Fatima apparition was worthy of belief–that it was real. Therefore we have to take the apparition seriously. The children claimed that the Blessed Virgin wanted us all to pray the rosary daily…but whom among us do so? In addition, Mary asked (through the children) for the church, in the person of the Pope and the Bishops, to consecrate Russia to her immaculate heart. That was done I believe by John Paul II and confirmed by the last surviving Fatima child. Shortly thereafter communist Russia was transformed into a renewed Russia that is now a haven for orthodox Christians of all kinds–though it remains to be seen the extent to which Russia starts appeasing its muslim populations. The third secret or request was more vague and concerned a vision of the Pope and bishops and other servants of God being martyred.

Bishop Fulton Sheen suggested in his 1952 “The world’s first love: Mary, Mother of God” that Islam was likely to rise again and threaten the West and Christendom. His prophecy has come true. Sheen suggested that muslims could be converted to Christianity via their love and veneration of Mary. They defend her immaculate conception, her virginity, and her closeness to God. She is according to the Koran the greatest woman in heaven.  Sheen asks why did Mary appear to three children in a town called Fatima? Fatima was the daughter of Mohammed. Muslims believe she is the greatest woman in heaven–after Mary.

The third Fatima secret is often thought to refer to the destruction of the church from within via the modernist heresy but it is equally likely to refer to the martyrdom of Catholics by muslim terrorists and jihadists. The thirs secret is about a resurgent Islam that needs to be militarily opposed while simultaneously converting as many as possible via their love of Mary.

Glad-Handing at Holy Mass?

Allan Gillis brings you this from The Remnant:

On the Sign of Peace

  Written by  Michael Warren Davis

A right-minded friend recently told me about a campaign of (shall we say?) nonviolent resistance undertaken by an Anglophone remnant following Vatican II: after the priest intoned, ‘The Lord be with you,’ they would shout, ‘Et cum spiritu tuo!

I’m all for cheeky traditionalism. In fact, we need much more of it. Think of the thousands upon thousands of souls who’ve been formed by great Catholic wits – be it the levitous Chesterton, the acidic Waugh, or the droll Newman. Ours is an uncontrollably joyful faith. Yet we know that underneath it all is a deadly seriousness, too. Think of Saint Lawrence, who mocked his torturers as they roasted him on a spit. ‘Turn me over,’ he teased; ‘This side’s done.’ That’s our greatest example. In the fight to restore the fulness of Faith, we must be solemn, but never dour – humble, not shy.


By my reckoning, the most dangerous inversion of the traditional Mass is the so-called Sign of Peace. It marks the post-VII Church’s most aggressive rejection of the Early Fathers. We gather to witness the sacrifice of Our Lord on the altar, falling on our knees as the priest calls God Himself down from Heaven. This happens every hour of every day, as it has done for millennia. Without exaggeration, it’s the single most important event in the history of the world.

Maybe after 2,000 years we’ve come to take it for granted, because the Peace in the new Roman Rite amounts to nothing but a distraction. Instead of being engrossed by the miracle of transubstantiation – humbled and awed by the love of a God who died the cross to redeem our sins and feed our souls with His own precious body – we mill around the pews making pleasantries.

Dei gratia, those of us who live near a parish that uses the traditional form are spared this rude interruption. But what about those who don’t? Or if we want to attend a weekday Mass, which are rarely said in Latin? And what if we’re invited to a Novus Ordo funeral, wedding, baptism, first communion, or confirmation? My suggestion – and it’s only a suggestion – is this: when you kneel at the beginning of the consecration, resolve in your own mind not to stand until it’s time to approach the altar and receive the Sacrament.

Now, there are certainly reasons why this could prove dangerous. It might foster feelings of spiritual pride. It may sow malicious disobedience to Mother Church. And then there’s the fact that it’s just plain embarrassing. But the sad irony is that traditionalists reject the Novus Peace precisely because it lays out all these spiritual perils. It diverts our focus from the altar. It trivialises the great gift given to the Church by her Bridegroom: the power to summon Him in sacred matter. And it draws our attention back to ourselves, the people – attention that should be given solely and completely to the Lord of Hosts. What could be unseemlier?

Yet it can be overcome. Just be cognizant of the risk, and remember why you’re undertaking them. Shut your eyes tight and bow your head. Meditate on the mystery of the Incarnation. Pray ‘O sacrament most holy…’ Adore Christ, who offers Himself as our spiritual food. And, for God’s sake, smile! If you look down (or, I suppose, up) your nose at those turning to offer you the Peace, grumbling and frowning, that profits neither you nor them. Besides, this your salvation we’re talking about. Where can a man find true, soul-shuddering delight if not here?

The Early Fathers, in their wisdom, asked us for this one brief moment to turn our hearts and minds completely toward the Altar, at the moment Heaven and Earth intersect. Waugh himself wrote in The Catholic Herald that what most affected his conversion was:

the spectacle of the priest and his server at low Mass, stumping up to the altar without a glance to discover how many or how few he had in his congregation; a craftsman and his apprentice; a man with a job which he alone was qualified to do.

‘Waugh’s love of the Tridentine rite was not a matter of loving the solemn splendour of a high Mass,’ writes Francis Phillips, also in the Herald; ‘it was simply the priest’s humble absorption in the rite of a low Mass.’ Low or high, modest or majestic, that ‘humble absorption’ is the quintessence of the traditional form. And it should be true of the laity as well as the clergy. What could be more inappropriate to that end than this mini-coffee hour wedged into the middle of the Liturgy of the Eucharist?

Heaven knows this is nothing against the Peace in itself. But throughout the pre-VII history of the Roman Rite, it was only offered among the clergy. Even in the Ambrosian Rite, it’s given immediately after the Liturgy of the Word. Placing it mid-consecration was unprecedented, and evident of some overtly Protestant influence. It reduces the Eucharist to a meal – a ‘memorial supper’ as Zwingli taught. That’s the same corrupt understanding that leads to female ‘Extraordinary Ministers’ in tank-tops and jeans dropping the Host in people’s hands, which they peel off their sweaty palms and pop in their mouths like potato chips. (God help us.)

But, just as we’re always free to receive the Eucharist from a priest on the tongue, so too are we free to remain immersed in the holy mystery throughout. And by staying loyal to the example set by the Fathers, we can share their example with others. Even in the midst of a Novus Mass, we can encourage others in a deeper and more ancient understanding of the Pascha. It’s as simple as it is luminous: frankly, the Mass isn’t about you.

It is, however, for you. It was instituted by Christ Himself, for your good and for the good of all His holy Church. That’s nothing to be embarrassed about. It’s nothing to be prideful of. It’s something to be observed with solemnity, humility, good humour, and – above all – unspeakable joy.

– Michael Warren Davis is a Boston-based columnist.