Category Archives: liberals

Had enough yet?

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?

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!

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.

Sickening

What an insult to faithful Catholics!    We’re thankful for LifeSite News!

Nine Catholic colleges to honor opponents of Catholic teaching at commencement ceremonies

May 8, 2017 (CardinalNewmanSociety) — This spring’s commencement honorees at nine Catholic colleges include pro-abortion politicians, a dissenting priest, and advocates for same-sex marriage, according to The Cardinal Newman Society’s annual review of commencement speakers and honorary degree recipients at more than 200 Catholic colleges in the United States.

“It’s important to note that these colleges are going in the opposite direction of Catholic education generally, as Catholic identity continues to improve nationwide,” said Patrick Reilly, president of The Cardinal Newman Society. “Still, these colleges seem intent on perpetuating the public scandals that we have seen on Catholic campuses for many years. It’s an affront to faithful Catholics when a Catholic college honors politicians like Maria Vullo and Xavier Becerra, who just this year took strident actions to defend and promote abortion.”

In 2004, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) released a document requiring Catholic institutions to withhold honors and platforms from public opponents of Church teaching. “Catholics in Political Life” stipulates:

The Catholic community and Catholic institutions should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles. They should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions. [emphasis in original]

By holding up those who publicly oppose Catholic teaching as role models for students, administrators at these Catholic colleges violate the mission of Catholic education.

The Cardinal Newman Society has identified concerns about commencement honorees, including commencement speakers and honorary degree recipients, at the following Catholic colleges:

Boston College

Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey, a Catholic who dissents on same-sex marriage, will speak at the commencement ceremony at Boston College in Chestnut Hill, Mass., on May 22. College President Father William Leahy, S.J., will present Casey an honorary degree.

When Sen. Casey was asked to give a lecture at Alvernia College in Reading, Penn., in 2013, the Diocese of Allentown opposed the invitation, noting that the public supporter of same-sex marriage was “increasingly in disagreement with the Church on issues involving Church teaching.”

Also, although he has repeatedly proclaimed himself to be pro-life, Sen. Casey visited a Planned Parenthood in March and has voted against defunding the abortion provider.

College of Mount Saint Vincent

Maria Vullo, superintendent of the New York State Department of Financial Services, will receive an honorary doctorate and give the commencement address at the College of Mount Saint Vincent in Riverdale, N.Y., on May 20.

Vullo has worked to force insurance companies to provide free coverage for contraceptives and “medically necessary” abortions. “New York will not tolerate any impediments or impairments of women’s rights and access to reproductive health care,” Vullo declared.

Vullo’s legal work has included fighting parental notification for minors seeking abortions.

DePaul University

DePaul University College of Law in Chicago, Ill., will honor attorney Paulette Brown as its commencement speaker and honorary degree recipient on May 14.

One of Brown’s signature achievements while president of the American Bar Association was a rule tightening prohibitions against attorney “discrimination” on the basis of “gender identity” and “sexual orientation,” which poses a serious threat to the religious freedom of Christian attorneys. Brown advocated including “gender expression” as an additional protected class.

Loyola University Chicago

Loyola University Chicago will honor Mary Frances Berry, former chairwoman of the Commission on Civil Rights and professor of American Social Thought and History at the University of Pennsylvania, as speaker at the May 9 commencement exercises for the Graduate School and Institute of Pastoral Studies. Berry has publicly advocated (see also here and here) the legalization of same-sex marriage.

Regis University and University of Notre Dame

Father Greg Boyle, S.J., founder and executive director of Homeboy Industries which focuses on gang member intervention and rehabilitation, will deliver the commencement address at Regis University’s ceremonies in Denver on May 7. He will also be honored on May 21 by the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind., with the Laetare Medal, the university’s highest honor for an exemplary Catholic. (The medal was given to pro-abortion Vice President Joe Biden last year.)

The Sycamore Trust, an organization committed to enhancing Notre Dame’s Catholic identity, reports that while Fr. Boyle has done “admirable work in Los Angeles with men and women who have been in prison and with gangs, but he has also repudiated the Church’s teaching on gay marriage as contrary to God’s will and has ridiculed the Church’s bar to ordination of women and its withholding of Communion from Catholics married outside the Church.”

University of San Francisco

Xavier Becerra, California’s pro-abortion attorney general, will deliver the School of Law commencement address at the University of San Francisco on May 20.

During his tenure as U.S. Congressman for the 30th District of California, Becerra earned a 100 percent rating from Planned Parenthood and NARAL for his votes against a ban on partial-birth abortion, supporting funding for abortions overseas, against a ban on human cloning, and in favor of embryonic stem cell research.

Becerra also recently brought felony charges against the pro-life activists behind the Planned Parenthood undercover videos.

Villanova University

Michael Bloomberg, three-term mayor of New York City, will speak at Villanova University’s commencement ceremonies on May 19 in Villanova, Penn., and will receive an honorary degree.

Bloomberg is strongly pro-abortion and has been critical of pro-life Democrats, saying, “Reproductive choice is a fundamental human right, and we can never take it for granted,” and adding, “On this issue, you’re either with us or against us.”

Xavier University of Louisiana

Xavier University of Louisiana will honor a public advocate of abortion, U.S. Congressman Cedric Richmond from Louisiana’s 2nd Congressional District, as its commencement speaker and honorary degree recipient in New Orleans, La., on May 20.

Congressman Richmond supports legal abortion: “Every woman has been guaranteed the right to dictate her own reproductive health by the Supreme Court and no one should have the ability to make that decision for her.”

Reprinted with permission from Cardinal Newman Society.

My God!, They’d Have a Field-Day With Me!

Check this out snowflake!

University hosts ‘Masculinity Confession Booth’ for men to repent of their ‘hypermasculinity sins’

From The College Fix  –  3/28/17

Hypermasculinity is a “sin” at one university.

The University of Regina this week is hosting a Man Up Against Violence series of events that aim to redefine “what it means to man up,” according to organizers.

Among the events hosted at the Canadian institution is a “Masculinity Confession Booth.”

“We have all reinforced hypermasculinity one way or another regardless of our gender,” organizers state. “Come and share your sins so we can begin to discuss how to identify and change our ways!”

The booth is offered at many of the events this week, which include a “Social House” and “Healthy Relationships” workshop.

As The Daily Caller reports:

Man Up Against Violence aims to reduce violence, but also challenges “social norms surrounding masculinity.” The group’s introductory video criticizes the stereotypical view of men as macho and unemotional, linking this to spousal abuse by asserting that men have violent outbursts as a result of pent-up emotions.

“We don’t have to continue to live in a misogynistic society,” says Tyler Perkins, a football player at the University of Regina, in the video. “I think [changing this] falls on everyone and especially men because quite frankly we are the problem right now.”

According to Man Up organizers,  they use “education, training, partnerships and awareness” to “inspire men to accept their role as advocates in the movement to prevent violence in our communities.”

Brought to you by Allan Gillis

Something gave me “the willies” as I read her piece

By Allan Gillis

So, I opened The Pilot’s e-mailed list of today’s offering of pap, chopped cuttlefish and what should otherwise be considered merely compost material for next year’s garden. I see that Kathy Mears has posted an announcement that she’s proud of the “partnerships” that she’s created as the  Superintendent of Catholic Schools in the Archdiocese of Boston.  She lists a few organizations and individuals that “collaborate” with “educators” (I HATE those two words!   When did “teachers” become “educators”?  I don’t get it – code word for liberal teacher I suspect).

One organization caught my eye.

She writes:

Many of our teachers have been able to participate in the “Facing History” program. The crux of Facing History is to work with teachers to guide their students through historical events and to think critically about them. As its website states, “By integrating the study of history, literature, and human behavior with ethical decision making and innovative teaching strategies, our program enables secondary school teachers to promote students’ historical understanding, critical thinking, and social-emotional learning. As students explore the complexities of history, and make connections to current events, they reflect on the choices they confront today and consider how they can make a difference.” Many of our schools use these methods to address antisemitism in our society and to make history more meaningful for students. Facing History partners with the archdiocese to offer the professional development that teachers need to fully and thoughtfully implement the program.[ sounds ominous!] They also assist our teachers in linking these historical events to Church teaching and doctrine, providing a Catholic approach to these important teaching moments.[ YEEEAAHH  RIGHT!!!]

So, my curiosity leads me further down the path of discovery…   she cites the website – so, I pop over there and see this:

“Facing History’s content and methods have been proven to significantly increase engagement, empathy, critical thinking skills, and civic responsibility among young people. Our approach is evidence-based: forty years of studies demonstrate how we impact students, teachers, and whole schools. With your help, we can reach even more young people, educators and schools across the globe.”

Now ask yourself a question.  “Do kids today in Catholic school seem any better catechized than the kids were… say forty years ago?

Maybe with a glimpse at a “learning capsule” under the selection of courses  “Justice and Human Rights” resources, we find…

After Stonewall

Since the riots of Stonewall in 1969, The LBQT community has worked hard, fought, and experienced tragic defeats and exciting victories.

or how about this?

Out of the Past

From the beginning of American history, homosexuality and love between people of the same sex have been part of the social and political landscape.

Catholic schools are infiltrated with teachers and administrators that hate the Church and despise Natural Law.  I know.  I have two grandchildren in a local Catholic school.  My school does well…but then again, my grandkids are in elementary school.  Perhaps too young (as of yet) to fill their little skulls with mush.

Is there a connection between the Halcyon Days of Vatican II and the complete destruction of moral values with the concomitant ascendancy of the Left politically and culturally? Is it a coincidence that churches have been shuttered and vocations have plummeted all while Catholic schools have been in bed with groups such as Facing History?

 

You are a shill Kathy Mears! a shill for the Leftist elites that run Boston College, that run the Archdiocese and that run the Chancery!  Shame, Shame on YOU Cardinal Sean!

Bold emphasis my own

Should there be separation of church and state?

By Augustinus

Across most of history religion was integral to the polis; to what we call today “political affairs”. It is only in the protestant west during the last 2 or 3 hundred years that protestant intellectuals have advocated separation of church and “state”. During the founding of the USA there were huge debates about “disestablishment” or whether each state would choose its own “established” church/religion. Inspired by the atheism of the French revolution Jeffersonian radicals in the USA won the debate over religion in the public sphere and so “separation of church and state” became settled constitutional doctrine in the USA.

The separation doctrine has never really worked that well because human beings are largely religious creatures. They don’t like leaving their religion behind when they enter the public sphere. The history of political conflicts within the USA since the founding has largely been fueled by intrusions of religion into politics. there would have been no civil war and no abolition of slavery without the abolitionist religious fanatics to cite just one example.

The only reason why the separation has SEEMED to work well for the USA in the last 200 years is because the only religions the state has had to deal with are the emasculated form of Christianity (i.e. protestantism); and a protestantizing form of catholicism (the “Americanist” heresy gained allegiance from most of the catholic bishops throughout the 20th century. Americanism was given new life by Vatican II and by similar anti-catholic trends in Europe in the 20th century.

These two forms of Christianity do not threaten the state as they are inherently statist themselves. When a religion casts away its identity markers such as distinctive dress, distinctive liturgical ceremonies, public processions, a distinctive calendar of commemorative days, religiously homogenous ghettos, neighborhoods or communities and so on …in short when a religion forfeits culture to the state the state has won and the religion will accommodate to the state’s liturgical feasts, the states commemorative calendar, the state’s values etc.

The separation doctrine, however, is on its last legs. It cannot survive the 21st century. Unlike the emasculated forms of Christianity that have existed in America until now Islam cannot and will not be assimilated into the modern state. Similarly the the left wing of the Catholic church which is the main supporter of the Americanist heresy is on its way out seeing its last gasp in the papacy of Pope Francis. In Europe and in Russia orthodox brands of religion are on the rise. You do not need whole populations to adopt orthodoxy for the orthodox to win. You only need a dedicated few like St Francis of Assisi who along with St Dominic largely saved the church in the 12 century just as St Ignatius and the jesuits saved the church after the reformation nearly destroyed it in the 16th and 17th centuries and St Benedict did after the fall of Rome and the dawn of the dark ages. It is the saints who save the church but saints who are also leaders who can organize and inspire other men with zeal.

Our Hippie-Pope longs for the 60’s-70’s, Groovy!

Frankie wants to take a hammer to the recent ICEL. The interpretations re-tooled after the 60’s version of the Roman Missal was finally heaved due to its “creative” license with language. This recent ICEL seemed nice to me – nice; in that it was MUCH MORE adherent to the Latin text for liturgy!  What’s wrong with that Frankie?!?  You give me such heartburn!  Why can’t YOU retire and give us back our Pope!

Catholic World News reports:

Pope orders fresh review of liturgical translations

January 27, 2017

Pope Francis has ordered a new review of the principles that guide translations of the liturgy, America magazine has confirmed.

The Pope reportedly formed a commission to review Liturgiam Authenticam, the document issued by the Vatican in 2001 that called for liturgical translations that adhered closely to the Latin of the Roman Missal. That document, which led to a new and more accurate English translation of liturgy, has continued to draw criticism from liturgists who favor a more “creative” interpretation of the language of the Mass.

The Pope’s decision to launch such a review has been widely rumored, but never officially announced. The commission has not yet met, America reports, nor has the list of its members been made public. However, it will be chaired by Archbishop Arthur Roche, the secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship—rather than by that congregation’s prefect, Cardinal Robert Sarah, who is known to favor a more conservative approach.

Brought to you by Allan Gillis

Poste Vaticane – Commemorative stamping to honor Martin Luther

Brought to you by Allan Gillis

From Fr. Z’s Blog (with great respect)

***************************************************************************

Yesterday I heard that the Vatican Post was to issue a commemorative stamp honoring Martin Luther.  HERE

To honor someone who so publicly ripped asunder the fabric of Christendom is appalling.  Who’s next?  Judas Iscariot?

This is like:

  • Augustus Caesar minting coins honoring Marcus Iunius Brutus
  • Sparta founding a momument for Ephialtes
  • West Point renaming a building for Benedict Arnold
  • Norway designating a national holiday for Vikdun Quisling
  • The FBI creating a plaque for the Rosenburgs

I want a special commemorative stamp of Leo X, who excommunicated Luther.  His tomb is in Santa Maria sopra Minerva.  The next time I’m in Rome, I’ll bring flowers for his grave.

3 prelates appeal to prayer:

Brought to you by Allan Gillis

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

+ Jan Pawel Lenga, Archbishop-Bishop emeritus of Karaganda

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

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