Monthly Archives: November 2016

Dubia from the four cardinals

By Augustinus

The Dean of the Roman Rota (a Pope Francis appointee) recently publicly threatened to demote the four cardinals (Cardinal Burke among them) who requested that Pope Francis clarify the Church’s position on divorce and the family as laid out in Pope Francis’ summary Amoris Laetitia, of the recent synod on these issues. These kinds of thuggish threats are becoming more frequent in Francis’ papacy thus calling into question Francis’ judgment. Francis’ has also done himself no credit by not condemning Fidel Castro’s memory after the death of the tyrant and mass murderer this past week. Like many South American leftists Pope Francis may harbor some romantic conceptions of the madman Castro; which again calls into question Francis’ judgment.

If Pope Francis takes any kind of legal action to silence the four cardinals it would mark a turning point in the Francis papacy–the point where it permanently went off the rails into heresy.

The Social Kingship of Christ

By Augustinus

How do we read the signs of the times?  With respect to politics the goal of the Church has always and everywhere been the same: to promote the social Kingship of Christ. The Catholic Church can live with and has lived with almost every political arrangement. Down through the centuries it has seen and dealt with everything from theocracies to democracies; from fascism to communism and from anarchy to tyranny. It can function under any regime including those regimes that actively persecute it. It flourishes, however, under some (not all) non-persecutory regimes. And paradoxically it has withered under the non-persecutory regimes of liberal, left of center democracies in the wealthy nations of the West in the modern age.


Political theology

By Augustinus

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

The Election

Hindsight is truly 20/20.

I was a Hillary supporter. I expected Hillary clinton to win the election, and disliked Donald Trump in a big way.  Donald was a bigot and a bully who attracted other bigots and bullies who wanted to feel that it was ok to be that way, but Donald was not stupid. Donald saw something that Hillary did not see.

For years now, I’ve felt that NAFTA was a failure and the people in the heartland were missing out in the recovery. My friends in the city didn’t always recognize this because they lived and worked in a world that recovered from recession and was thriving with growth. Home prices and wages were up and unemployment was down. Things were good and while poverty existed, it was not widespread. It was a small world.

I know I’ve am blessed because I can drive 1.5 hours to a job in the Boston area. I live on the edge of the commute range to Greater Boston and have marketable skills. I’m doing ok, but people who live just a little bit farther away and may not have those in-demand skills have been facing a very different world for some time now. Their home prices are half as much as the ones closer to the city. Their wages are much lower. Their opportunities are dismal. Their pain real.

The fact is that once we get past the reasonable commute range, instances of rural poverty and despair are rampant. Let’s be clear. I do not believe the people in Central or Western Massachusetts are any more bigoted than the people in the Boston suburbs, nor do I believe they are any less diverse than most of the Boston suburbs.  Yet, as the election map demonstrated, communities just beyond the reasonable commute range went for Trump in this election, while those closer to Boston, went for Hillary. My theory is simple; when people wake up every day and feel their life is crap, they overlook a lot of character flaws when someone shows up to promises to help them. Donald saw an opportunity that most of the Democrats and Republicans ignored.

While the Trump campaign had more than it’s share of bigots, the characterization of a majority of Trump supporters as hillbilly racists by some of the commentators during and after the election missed the mark. Hillary made a big mistake when she commented about “deplorables”. Her comments essentially discounted real economic pain that was being felt by a large part of the country. Commentators have been searching for reasons and are now coming to the conclusion that maybe it really is that bad.

There is a tipping point with poverty. When it gets bad enough, unpredictable and dangerous things happen. Hillary simply did not see it, but Donald did. The only question is if Donald and the Republican party can actually do anything to relieve the pain.



He puzzled and puzzled ’till his puzzler was sore.

What to make of this?        Hmmmm…?

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

Allan Gillis brings you this from The Remnant:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

2) Indifferentism and possible heresy

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

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

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

3) Indifferentism and bizarre theology

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

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

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

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

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

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

Does Fr. Ventura deny the Garden of Eden existed?

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

4) Immanentism and materialism

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

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

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

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

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

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

5) Universalism

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

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

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

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

6) Dehumanizing, judgmental attacks

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

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

Later on, he further accuses:

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Can’t We Just Ship Him Back To Argentina?

Allan Gillis brings you

This from The Catholic Herald:


Cardinal Burke: we will make ‘formal act of correction’ if Pope doesn’t issue Amoris clarification


On the election of Donald Trump to the Presidency

By Augustinus

Like any other election the surprize Trump victory is both good and bad for the Church….

One of the good items is this: Despite months and months of furious and relentless condemnations of Donald Trump from the media, the republican establishment, the democrats’ establishment, foreign leaders, the Clinton and the Bush family machines, feminist and abortionist harpies, President Obama, newspapers everywhere, all the major news organizations and websites, all of the major polling firms, all the major players on Wall street or in Silicon valley, virtually all of academia both here and abroad, virtually all of the world’s “intellectuals” and virtually everyone in Hollywood and in the music and entertainment industries worldwide….despite all of this opposition …Trump won the presidency! this shows that ordinary people can withstand the effort to brainwash them into supporting evil policies like abortion, identity politics, unjust wars and destruction of the environment.

Another potentially good outcome of the Trump presidency is that politics in America might become realigned and follow a different trajectory on all kinds of issues from abortion to foreign policy. If Trump appoints a pro-life judge to the supreme court it is possible that Roe vs Wade could be restricted or reversed. If Trump tells Europe, Asia and the middle east to pay for America protection (rather than us subsidizing THEM) then the average American will pay fewer taxes and there will be fewer wars. Most importantly if Trump follows through on his promise to scrutinize Muslim immigrants more closely then American might be spared the the introduction of Sharia law into the country for a another generation or so. Islam is a heresy and while we do not persecute Muslims we have to treat Islam like a heresy. We need to gently but firmly convert muslims not “co-exist” with them.

One of the worrisome items is this: Trump has occasionally claimed that global warming and climate change are inventions and not real threats. That is a grave error–an error that puts the planet at risk and that immorally shifts the burden of clean-up to our children and grandchildren.

Bergoglio the “Leftist World Leader”!

Brought to you by Allan Gillis from the venerable Rorate Caeli

Op-Ed: “With Democrats’ loss in the US, Francis becomes the leader of the Global Left.”


After Trump’s victory, has Pope Francis become the leader of the international left?

Roberto de Mattei

Corrispondenza Romana
November 11, 2016
The Cardinal Secretary of State, Parolin sent the Holy See’s congratulations to Donald Trump, expressing its hopes that the new president would work in service to his country and for peace in the world. Also Joseph Kurtz, Archbishop of Louisville and President of the U.S. Bishop’s Conference, congratulated the newly-elected President, urging him to govern for the common good of all citizens. The position of the Vatican diplomacy appears to be correcting, or tempering, that of Pope Francis, who has never concealed his intolerance with the candidate for the American presidency.

On his return flight from Mexico on February 18th of this year, in commenting Trump’s plan to build a wall between the United States and Mexico in order to slow down the migratory surge the Pope had said that “a person who thinks only of building walls and not bridges, is not a Christian.” On another return flight, of October 2nd from Baku to Rome, to those who asked what candidate he favoured, he didn’t commit himself. Yet, no matter how strong the reservations towards Trump can be, for a Catholic it would be difficult to imagine a position of equidistance between him and Hilary Clinton, who had officially inserted a massive implementation of abortion and the LGBT agenda into her programme. Unless self-defence against the migratory invasion is considered a graver sin than the legalization of abortion and so-called homosexual marriage.
Over and above any moral judgment on such questions, the basic problem that divides the Vatican and the new American presidency is of a political order. The theme of immigration in fact, from the very beginning of this pontificate – the basic cornerstone of Bergoglian politics – constitutes nonetheless a keystone also in Donald Trump’s programme. On this point Francis’ vision and the President of the United States’ are in opposition. “A nation without borders is not a nation, just as a country without laws is not an nation” Trump affirms, whereas for Pope Francis, an unlimited welcome to immigrants is almost a theological “locus”. If Trump goes ahead with his plan, he will not only pull the brakes on the reigning multiculturalism in his country since the Kennedy era, but he will also give inevitable impetus to those parties on the right and “those who identify with it”, which in the upcoming weeks and months, will go to elections in Austria, Holland, France and Germany.
For his part, after Clinton’s defeat, Francesco now remains the only point of reference for the international left, [now] lacking a leader. On November 5th at the conclusion of the Third World Meeting of the so-called “Popular Movements” in the Vatican, in the presence of revolutionary agitators from the five continents, Pope Francis turned to them saying: “I make your cry mine”. But the cry of protest, that is raised by the movements gathered in Paul VI’s audience hall, is, unfortunately, characterized by ideological fanaticism and incitement to violence.
The trend line is clear. In his last trip to South America, Francis expressed his sympathy for the Bolivian and Ecuadorian Presidents, and on October 24th received in private audience in the Vatican, the Venezuelan President, Nicolas Maduro Moros, also of the extreme left, to whom he guaranteed his support. No word of approval or pleasure came instead from the Vatican for the extraordinary gesture by the Peruvian President, Pedro Paplo Kuczynski, who, on October 21st, before members of the Chamber and Senate, consecrated his country to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
How fitting it would be, if in staying out of politics, the Pope and Bishops of the world would unite their efforts in religious acts of this type, beginning with the long-awaited consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, on the occasion of the 2017 Fatima centenary, which coincides with the evil one of the October Bolshevik Revolution.
Translation: Francesca Romana

To Whom Much is Given, Much Will Be Required

By Allan Gillis

St. Luke’s Gospel holds this admonishment in the 12th Chapter.  I have spouted here and everywhere as to how good I personally have had it.  Life has been so good.  I mean just wondrous. Truly delicious.  I have often wondered aloud as to what I might have done earlier in life to deserve such blessings.  Materially, spiritually, health-wise, family-wise – the whole enchilada!  I have been so blessed!

Now, I am being tested.  Through some very, very horrible circumstances, our son and daughter-in-law have separated.  She, with two children – a four year old and a six year old – have moved into my house with me and my wife. It is sheer – well, I won’t say Hell    ..but seemingly pretty close to it.    My wife and I are so distraught – broken-hearted.

I am in my late fifties.  I loved it when the grandchildren would come for dinner two Sundays a month!  Loved it.  I especially enjoyed it when they went home as well!  Have you ever unsuspectingly stepped barefoot on an over-looked Lego piece that was supposed to be picked up – but is now camouflaged by an Oriental rug – first thing in the morning?!  THAT is what it was like on the Monday mornings after they went home the evening before!  Now it is 24/7.

I so loved “our little spot”, where it was just me, my Helen, our cat and our three stuffed Curious George monkeys!   She has made the most wondrous little garden and I have fashioned this great little backyard campground complete with an archery range, a “Roman” garden and a BBQ pit.  Now we are stuffing another adult and two little kids into our cozy cottage.  My life is on fire.

I sometimes wonder if I can pull this off.   Our son was faithless to his commitment to fatherhood, but that does NOT give me the license to break faith with my commitment to fatherhood. Hence, I pick up this sack of duty that God has put at my feet and throw it onto my seemingly-capable shoulder.  Seemingly-capable.

I alluded earlier in my post titled “Your Charitable Consideration” to my prospective future posts on the duty of fatherhood.  Here is where I shall really begin such ramblings.  I shall talk to you as I would have myself edified. I shall encourage you as I hope to find courage.  I shall beg for your charity in prayer as I think and write on the task we men face as fathers.  Fathers who are Catholic and care about being Catholic.  Whether or not we are expectant fathers, fathers of small children or even grandfathers or great-grandfathers…or even spiritual fathers.  St. Joseph, pray for us!

I continue to plead for your charitable consideration. Pray for me and my family – please?