An Asian Ave Maria

Before the month of the Queen of the Rosary is out, one very adequate Ave Maria from the Christian city of Manado in Indonesia to the Queen of Christian hearts. Please do listen.

See here for where the devil Manado might be exactly. In fact, the Portuguese and the Spanish squabbled over it for ages.

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Fr. George Roth: A Day With Mary, Our Lady of Fatima

It is still the month of the Holy Rosary, and in this brilliant homily, Fr. Roth gives us some solid Catholic reminders.

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Must Read-Benedict XVI Speaks Forth

Retired Pope Benedict XVI said dialogue with other religions is no substitute for spreading the Gospel to non-Christian cultures and warned against relativistic ideas of religious truth as “lethal to faith.” He also said the true motivation for missionary work is not to increase the church’s size but to share the joy of knowing Christ.

The retired pope’s words appeared in written remarks to faculty members and students at Rome’s Pontifical Urbanian University, which belongs to the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples. Archbishop Georg Ganswein, prefect of the papal household and personal secretary to retired Pope Benedict, read the 1,800-word message aloud Tuesday at a ceremony dedicating the university’s renovated main lecture hall to the retired pope.

The speech is one of a handful of public statements, including an interview and a published letter to a journalist, that Pope Benedict has made since he retired in February 2013.

“The risen Lord instructed his apostles, and through them his disciples in all ages, to take his word to the ends of the earth and to make disciples of all people,” retired Pope Benedict wrote. ” ‘But does that still apply?’ many inside and outside the church ask themselves today. ‘Is mission still something for today? Would it not be more appropriate to meet in dialogue among religions and serve together the cause of world peace?’ The counter-question is: ‘Can dialogue substitute for mission?’

Read more at NCR

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A Silent Priest is a Dead Priest – A Meditation on a Teaching of St. Gregory the Great

High Priest VestmentsA former Archbishop of Washington was known to often remark, “There’s nothing deader than a dead priest.” Some wondered as to the meaning of this expression, and those who knew him the best explained that it was a sort of version of the old Latin expression Corruptio optime pessima (The corruption of the best is the worst thing of all).

Of all the men on the planet who need to be alive, vocal, clear, and active, the priest is one of the most critical. For if he is doing as he should, and like a herald, summoning the faithful to be true to the gospel. He can reach thousands, who in turn can reach thousands more. But if he fails, the whole chain of the gospel is broken at the critical link and falls to the ground.

The same Archbishop also told us priests that if we did not go to bed tired most nights, something was wrong. There is nothing deader than a dead priest.

Two images from Pope St. Gregory the Great come to mind in this regard. He writes them in his Pastoral Rule, which is must reading for every priest. But every father of a family and every leader in the Church can also benefit from Gregory’s reflections. Both images are drawn from the ancient Jewish Law in reference to the priests and Levites.

The first image pertains to the priest’s duty to work hard:

Both the breast and the right shoulder [of the sacrificed animal] are offered to the priest for food so that he may learn from the sacrifice that he has received to offer a corresponding sacrifice to the Creator of all things (Lev 10:14-15). Thus, not only is he to have right thoughts in his breast, but by putting his own shoulder to good works he invites to sublime heights those who watch him (Pastoral Rule II.3).

So, it is not enough for the priest to be learned in orthodoxy. That is clearly essential. But he must also be willing to work hard in proclaiming and teaching the doctrinally orthodox faith by patient and persistent work. He teaches not with words only, but also by his works and by his manner of life.  He cannot merely speak of prayer, he must pray; he cannot merely warn of greed, he must live simply and humbly; he cannot merely speak of chastity, he must live chastely; he cannot merely counsel love, he must love. To adapt an old expression, he must live faith, heart and shoulder above the rest.

The second image pertains to his duty to speak, to preach:

Moses was enjoined that when a priest goes into the tabernacle, he should be canvassed with little bells, a sign that he must have a voice for preaching, or else by his silence he provoke the judgment of Him who sees everything from above. For it is written, “So that the sound is heard is heard when he entered and exits the sanctuary in the sight of the Lord, so that he may not die” (Ex 28:35). For the priest who enters and exits will die if a sound is not heard from him because he provokes the wrath of the hidden Judge if he goes about without the sound of preaching.

The bells are appropriately described as being inserted into his vestments because what else are we to understand the vestments of the priest to be but good works? The psalmist attests this when he says, “Let your priests be clothed with righteousness” (Ps 131:9). The little bells therefore are fixed to the vestment to signify that the works of the priest should be proclaimed by the sound of his voice and the way of his life (Rule II.4).

Pope Gregory’s ability to see the significance of seemingly small things is magnificent. Here he draws on the simple truth that the High Priest, gone into the Holy of Holies, wore a vestment with sounding bells. And as long as he moved and said the prayers the bells rang, signaling that he was alive before the Lord of Glory. But if the bells (of preaching) fell silent, then he was surely dead, for no sound came from him. All that could be done was to drag his dead body from the Holy place by the rope that was tied to his ankle.

The Image is clear: no sound, no life. A silent priest is a dead priest. And there is nothing deader than a dead priest. He is good for nothing but to be dragged from the Holy Place and buried underfoot.

Let priests and bishops who have ears hear. Let all leaders in the Church who have ears hear! Let parents, catechists, teachers, and elders hear! Let us heed Gregory’s warning: to be silent is to be dead, good for nothing but to be dragged off and buried.

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Pope Francis: A Grateful Heart is a Happy Heart

Gratitude is underused

At Audience, Reflects on the Masterpiece of the Body of Christ

By Deborah Castellano Lubov

VATICAN CITY, October 22, 2014 (Zenit.org) – While speaking on the beauty of the unity of the Church at his weekly General Audience, Pope Francis also used the occasion to remind the faithful to not give into those actions which divide it, such as jealousy and feeling superior.

Posing a question to the thousands gathered in St. Peter’s Square, the Pope said, “Today, we wish to ask ourselves: In what sense does the Church form the body? And why is it defined as ‘the body of Christ?’”

He reminded the faithful of the words of St. Paul that, “Just as our body is one, but made up of many members, so it is with Christ and the Church.”

Starting with the Apostle Paul, he said this expression of the body is applied to Church and is recognized as his most profound and beautiful distinctive trait.

The image of the body, he said, is used “when one wants to show how the elements that make up a reality are closely united with one another and form together one thing.”

“The Church,” the Holy Father clarified, “is not only a body built in the Spirit: the Church is the body of Christ! And it is not simply a way of saying: We truly are! It is the great gift that we receive on the day of our Baptisms!”

In the Sacrament of Baptism, the Holy Father continued, “Christ makes us His.”

Jesus, he added, welcomes us into “the heart of the mystery of the Cross, the supreme mystery of his love for us, to make us rise again with Him, as new creatures.”

A Jealous Heart Dismembers the Church

The Holy Father then went on to caution faithful against that which can “shatter” or “divide” the Church.

Speaking on jealousy, he said, “This dismembers, it hurts us! You shouldn’t do it!

“A jealous heart, is a bitter heart, a heart that instead of blood looks like it’s full of vinegar. It is heart that is never happy. It is a heart that dismembers the community.”

Asking then what we should instead do, he responded, “Appreciate, in our community, the gifts, the qualities of others, of our brothers and sisters.”

The 77 year old Pontiff reiterated St. Paul’s advice to the Corinthians: Do not esteem anyone as superior to the other.

“This is ugly! Don’t ever do it! And when this thought comes to you, remember your sins, those that no one knows about, shame yourself before God and say, ‘You Lord, you know who is superior. I will shut my mouth,’” he said.

“All these things are not good because,” he added, “instead of building and making the Church grow as the body of Christ, it shatters into many pieces, it dismembers it.”

“Say thank you!” he said. “The heart that knows how to say thank you is a good heart, a noble heart, a heart that is happy.”

Francis invited those present to appreciate others qualities, be close and participate in the sufferings of the last ones and of those most needy, and expresses your gratitude to all.

Remembering Saint John Paul II

In his remarks to the Polish pilgrims, he recalled that today is the liturgical feast of Saint John Paul II.  Early this morning, several Masses were celebrated by various pilgrims in St. Peter’s Basilica to commemorate the recently canonized Pontiff.

At 5 p.m. in Krakow, there will be a Mass at the Saint John Paul II Center constructed near the Divine Mercy Sanctuary.

Speaking on his predecessor, Pope Francis reflected that Saint John Paul II “invited everyone to open their doors to Christ; in his first visit in your country has invoked the Holy Spirit to come down to renew the land of Poland; to all the world, he remembered the mystery of the Divine mercy.”

“His spiritual heritage is not forgotten,” he continued, “but he pushes us to reflection and concrete actions for the good of the Church, the family and of society. Praised be Jesus Christ!”

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G. K. Chesterton: Saint Francis and Brother Fire

Brother Burrito:

Excellent stuff, as always.

Originally posted on Journey Towards Easter:

G. K. Chesterton’s short autobiography of Saint Francis of Assisi has, amongst many other qualities, the singular virtue of successfully separating Saint Francis from modern images of him as some sort of super-tolerant, all-inclusive eco-warrior. Instead, Chesterton places him in his true context – as a fervent lover of Christ whose love of the world and all things in it can only be properly understood in light of that greater Love, and whose life can only be properly understood in light of the extreme asceticism which allowed him to further purify his vision so that, paradoxically, by denying the trappings of the world he might see it more clearly and thereby love it all the more. His vision is outlined by Chesterton here:

St. Francis was not a lover of nature. Properly understood, a lover of nature was precisely what he was not. The phrase implies accepting the material…

View original 1,580 more words

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Misgivings About The Synod On The Family

“The Christian family is a communion of persons, a sign and image of the communion of the Father and the Son in the Holy Spirit” (Catechism, No. 2205).

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The Synod on the Family is over and we have now had a few days to digest all that took place there and catch up with the reading of Pope Francis’ final speech to the Synod Fathers and many of the numerous articles in the media outlets and blogs that have been discussing the outcome. So what do we make of it all?

If I may be so bold to voice a couple of personal misgivings (and keep quiet about others), they would be these:

1. Why was established Doctrine on the indissolubility of marriage [i.e. the insinuating that those in illicit relationships be admitted to Holy Communion “under some circumstances”] even laid on the table for discussion? Or all this talk about homosexuals being made “welcome”? Is it being suggested that some sinful situations are “less equal” than others (h/t George Orwell’s “Animal Farm”) and can be wiggled out of? These ideas were not properly clarified at the Synod and have already caused great confusion among the faithful.

2. My second misgiving is that (as far as I can see) very little, if anything, was really discussed on “The Family” (i.e. one father, one mother, and the children born from their union) and the greatest duty parents have: to prepare their children for Eternity through the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church! Parents have enormous challenges and difficulties in imparting the Faith to their children in our anti-family, promiscuous Western society nowadays. It is a great heartache for dedicated Catholic parents to often see their cherished children abandon the Church as they get sucked up into the powerful secular whirlwind, sometimes even before they have “flown the nest”. I know so many cases where this has happened, some very close to my heart. Families in non-Western societies have added enormous problems to overcome; none of these were dealt with satisfactorily at the Synod either. There is also the problem of a spouse being abandoned by the other (through no fault of their own) and desperately trying to fulfill their parental duty single-handedly to bring up their children with true Catholic values – a very challenging task. Many of us were hoping that how to confront all these issues, and others related to real family problems, would be discussed in the Synod, but we have been left disappointed.

Finally, here are some excerpts from different sources voicing their own feelings of doubt about the outcome of the Synod:

Cardinal Mauro Piacenza

Cardinal Mauro Piacenza

Excerps from Cardinal Mauro Piacenza 

The  Cardinal Grand Penitentiary of the Catholic Church, Cardinal Mauro Piacenza, exhorts the Church: “If the Church does not maintain doctrine, it can not progress. The Church must constantly pay attention to two areas in particular. On one hand, it must keep the people in the faith and strengthen them that they remain in a state of grace on the inside, and on the other hand it must always go to the outside. If it were not strong within, it could not go out… If we had no healthy people, if the doctors would not be healthy, they could not heal the sick. Therefore, always remember that you can not have the one if you lose the other.  The priority (to always realise) is to be found in preserving the deposit of faith, unchanged through the centuries and millennia,” said Cardinal Piacenza. From this position, “the doctrine is therefore not an abstract truth, but a person, Jesus Christ, always and above all else.”

Excerpts from the Bones You Have Crushed

In his speech at the close of the Synod it is true that Francis talked of other temptations, but it is noteworthy that ‘traditionalists’ were first in the line of fire. So I guess that before the ‘liberals and progressives’ (Cardinals Kasper, Madriaga, Schoenborn etc) are punished, we can assume Cardinals Mueller and Napier as well as the already demoted Burke will be first for the chop.

The various temptations put forward by Pope Francis aside from one set, have always been temptations for the Church. It is only in the reign of Francis that to hold fast to the Magisterium of Holy Mother Church, to defend with one’s speech the Church’s teaching, as Cardinal Burke has done, on the Sacrament of Marriage and the institution of the family, that it has been posited, by the Pope himself, that to do so is a ‘temptation’. The Church, in her teachings and her law has never been ‘flexible’ with sin. It has always shown leniency to repentant sinners.

Excerpts from Pat Buchanan

But the synod meets again next year, and the stakes could scarcely be higher for the church and pope.

In his remarks at the synod’s close, Pope Francis mocked “so-called traditionalists” for their “hostile rigidity.”

That is one way of putting it. Another is that traditionalists believe moral truth does not change, nor can Catholic doctrines be altered.

Even a pope cannot do that… [ ]

The Catholic Church is not the Democratic Party of Obama, Hillary and Joe, where principled positions on abortion, homosexuality and same-sex marriage “evolve.” And when did flexibility in matters of moral principle become a virtue for Catholics?

_____________

These and many other worrying opinions from Catholics, loyal to the Church’s unchanging Magisterium, are being discussed around the blogsphere. We now have a whole year to “lick our wounds” and pray hard that the Cardinals and Bishops who will take part in the Synod on the Family next October 2015 will be truly enlightened by the Holy Spirit. (A few outstanding participants of the past Synod showed themselves to be truly that, yet will they be invited next year?)

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L1

L1 is the place to be

Here’s a fascinating astronomical analogy to the spiritual life.

Try to imagine the best distance to remain between the worldly life and the Divine life. Too close to either will defile you or incinerate you, respectively, while you remain mortal.

Fortunately, the astronomers have answered this question already. At the Lagrangian point #1, the pull of the sun is exactly balanced by the pull of the Earth (and Moon), and the centrifugal force of the spacecraft.

Once there, one will float safely in the Sun’s cleansing radiance, yet remain close enough to Earth to make a difference there.

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The Catholic Church: a Catholic Meme

meme-the-catholic-church2

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Post Synod – two interviews

 H/T Father Z and Pat Archbold

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After Benedict XVl ….

from:http://rorate-caeli.blogspot.com

This is a lengthy article, but, please take the trouble to read it through.

In June 2012, Polish magazine Fronda published an extensive, incisive, and influential article on the papacy and what it calls the “Homoheresy” and the great powers of the group it calls the “Homomafia” in all levels of the Church hierarchy, going all the way to the Roman Curia – and on how Benedict XVI has tried to curtail the great influence of this underground network of deviation. The Rev. Dr. Dariusz Oko, the author, is a Professor of Theology at the Pontifical Academy of Theology (Pontifical University John Paul II), in Krakow. The article was published in German as well (D. Oko, Mit dem Papst gegen Homohäresie, “Theologisches” 9/10 [2012] pp. 403-426), but it has been sparsely available in English.

 

Considering the dark influences that will try to reach even into the most secret places in the upcoming weeks of grave decisions for the Church, we thought, after having received the translated text from several Polish readers, that this is the right time to make it known to a larger audience among English speakers. We ask our readers to make this text as widely known as possible.

 

 

WITH THE POPE AGAINST THE HOMOHERESY

Fr. Dariusz Oko, Ph.D.

 

For several weeks now Poland has witnessed a heated discussion on the “huge homosexual underground in the Church”, provoked by the most recent book by Fr. Tadeusz Isakowicz-Zaleski entitled Chodzi mi tylko o prawdę[1](Truth Is All That Matters). Some deny any such underground exists, and put forward theses profoundly inconsistent with the teaching of the Church, both being at odds with truth[2]. The problem is serious to the extent I feel I must join in the discussion as well, because I also care about truth, and first of all about good, the fundamental well-being of man and of the Church – the basic community in which he lives.

Any discussion should have as its starting point the basic, axiomatic assumption that any one of us can know with certainty only a part, and that part is likely to be partially wrong. That should result in any opinions being presented with humility, and the arguments of partners or opponents being listened to with attention. That way we may best benefit from the parts of knowledge each of us has, and correct them. They will always remain only parts, but they will be bigger and purified from errors to a greater extent. That is the blessing of an honest dialogue, and it is in this spirit that I want to proceed.

My feeling of duty to take a stance results from my involvement in the philosophical criticism of homosexual ideology and homosexual propaganda (abbreviated to homoideology and homopropaganda), which I have dealt with for several years now to the order and with encouragement from many cardinals and bishops.[3] In doing that, I have accumulated what is probably the biggest Polish collection of writings on the topic, one of the largest collections of data. This has been accomplished with the help of many friends and allies, both lay people and clergymen, university professors and practicing physicians, as well as a large number of people I had not known before, but who, encouraged by the opinions I have expressed and having read my articles, wished to add to and correct my knowledge. Thus, I have received news, results of scientific studies, and official documents from both around Poland and various regions of the world, particularly the United States, Great Britain, Ireland, Germany, Austria, Holland and Italy, and, first of all, from the Holy See. I began my work as a struggle against a deadly, external threat to Christianity, but then gradually discovered that the division is not that simple. The enemy is not only outside the Church, but within it as well, sometimes perfectly camouflaged, like the Trojan Horse. We are dealing not only with the problem of a homoideology and a homolobby outside the Church, but with an analogous problem within it as well, where homoideology takes the form of a homoheresy. One does not even need to study the archives of the Institute of National Remembrance, which is only one of many sources. These facts are self-evident also in those countries which have not heard of any such Institute at all. It is enough to collect reliable information from lay and Catholic media concerning the recent years, and add to it the knowledge of human nature, some logical thinking, put two and two together and study documents which present the Church’s response to these facts.

A GLOBAL PHENOMENON

We should first expose the common lie presented by the media. They keep talking about paedophilia among clergymen, while it is most often the case that the problem is ephebophilia, which is a perversion consisting in adult homosexual men being attracted not to children, but to pubescent and adolescent boys. It is a typical deviation related to homosexuality. Basic knowledge about that reality includes the fact that more than 80 percent of cases involving sexual abuse by clergymen reported in the U.S.A. were cases of ephebophilia, not paedophilia[4]! That fact has been carefully hidden and ignored, as it reveals particularly well the hypocrisy of the homolobby in both the world and the Church. It is all the more important that it be exposed.

In other countries, the situation is similar, it is therefore important to note that scandals involving sexual abuse which have shaken the global Church were mostly the work of homosexual clergymen. The Church has paid a very painful price for the tremendous offences which have been exposed, losing much of its credibility. This has caused dramatic difficulties both in spiritual and material terms in many dioceses, monasteries and seminaries, with churches becoming empty in entire provinces of the Church.[5] It is estimated that the Church in the U.S.A. has had to pay more than one and a half billion dollars in damages so far[6]. None of that would have been possible without the existence of a significant underground, of which prosecutors usually reveal only a small part, the tip of the iceberg.

The scandals have also involved those holding the highest offices. In Poland, for instance, Archbishop Juliusz Paetz was dismissed from his office as Bishop of Poznań in 2002. In Ireland, so similar to Poland in spiritual and historical terms, so Catholic, several bishops have been removed from office in the recent years, including John Magee, Bishop of the Diocese of Cloyne, dismissed in 2010 on the grounds of  covering up the offences of paedophilia and ephebophilia committed by 19 priests in his diocese. Before that, Fathers Paetz and Magee had worked together in Vatican for many years as part of the closest, most influential associates of the last three Popes.

The lengths to which militant homosexuals in cassocks can go can be observed in the behaviour of the particularly “liberal” and “open-minded” Archbishop Rembert Weakland, who ruled the diocese of Milwaukee, U.S.A., in the years 1977-2002. He openly admitted to being gay and to having had many partners in life. Throughout the term of his office – for 25 years – he continuously opposed the Pope and the Holy See on many issues, particularly criticizing and rejecting the teaching of the Magisterium on homosexuality. He supported and protected active gays in his diocese, helping them avoid liability for sexual offences they repeatedly committed. At leaving his office, he defrauded about a half million dollars to support his ex-partner.

One of the most influential people in the Church of his time, Marcial Maciel Degollado, founder of the Legion of Christ, turned out to be bisexual and to have perpetrated serious sexual offences against many members and underage students in his own congregation, including even his own son…

All four went entirely unpunished for a long time, despite many complaints and charges against them sent to Rome for years. Only direct contact with the Pope or publications in the media finally helped. Otherwise, everything was blocked at lower levels of local or by the Vatican hierarchy. It was similar in many other cases. For instance, several years passed before Bishops Patrick Ziemann of Santa Rosa in California (1999), Juan Carlos Maccarone of Santiago del Estero in Argentina (2005), Georg Müller of Trondheim and Oslo in Norway (2009), Raymond John Lahey of Antigonish in Canada (2009), Roger Vangheluw of Bruges, in Belgium (2010), John C. Favalora of Miami (2010) and Anthony J. O’Connell of Palm Beach in Florida (2010) were removed from office for active engagement in[, or cover-up of,] homosexual paedophilia or ephebophilia. Similar steps had to be taken with respect to many other bishops who concealed or covered up such offences. The same applied to many, sometimes very influential priests. Not only the number of serious sexual offences proves the power of that underground, but also – to an ever greater extent – the degree to which the process of selecting candidate bishops has been disturbed, who were allowed to make a great “career” in the Church despite their having perpetrated such offences, despite leading a double life. This is further confirmed by the efficiency with which such cases were covered up and concealed, the often insurmountable blockade of all attempts made within the Church to protect the wronged, to strive for elementary truth and justice. It has been so difficult at times to take appropriate, self-evident measures against homosexuals, so many strange difficulties have arisen, and even any success in that area is limited, partial and temporary. We witness a terrible phenomenon – it turns out the comfort of homosexual offenders is more important than the fate of children and youth, the fate of the whole Church. If that was done deliberately, that would be high treason, the Church would be guilty of betraying the youth!

This can also be seen in the fear and confusion of the clergy, particularly in certain dioceses and congregations, when faced with that topic – they escape into silence, unable to articulate even elementary statements on the teaching of the Church on the subject. What are they afraid of? Where does that fear in entire groups of mature, adult men come from? And where do the neuroses, heart diseases and other complaints come from in priests who nevertheless try to oppose such phenomena, especially to protect children and youth? They must be afraid of some influential lobby which wields its power and which they may fall into disfavour with[7].

In order for such evil to be concealed and tolerated, it is necessary that the right people hold key positions, and that not only a homolobby, but a homoclique or a homomafia is created. Indeed, that is what the present Polish Minister of Justice, Jarosław Gowin, called that group when referring to the scandal of homosexual abuses perpetrated by priests in the Diocese of Płock, the offences of molestation against young people and seminarians, and the covering up of such facts. He said that when he intervened in the Church in the case of Archbishop Paetz, he had the impression he was dealing with a mafia, brutally negating even the most obvious principles and facts.[8]

Similar references to mafia have recently been made by F. Charles Scicluna, the main person responsible for sorting out such cases in the Church, a “prosecutor” in the Disciplinary Section of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. He spoke during the symposium entitled “Towards Healing and Renewal” held in February 2012 in Rome, devoted to the problem of sexual abuse in the Church.[9] On behalf of Benedict XVI, he strongly condemned not only the perpetrators, but also their superiors in the Church who covered up their deeds, and called for a strong opposition to such behaviour, open cooperation with the police, taking the path of cleansing set out by the Holy See. The more organized offenders are successful in protecting their own interests, the more successful they are in bringing harm to others and in destroying the credibility of the Church. This way, a powerful impulse towards dechristianization comes forward from within the Church itself.

A particularly valuable comment in the discussion has been made by F. Professor Józef Augustyn SJ, who said: “The problem, in my opinion, is not “in them” but in our reaction “to them”. How do we, ordinary priests and superiors, react to their behaviour? Do we yield to fear, step back, call for silence, pretend the problem does not exist? Or do we face the problem, are explicit about it, take away their influential positions, remove them from their offices? They should not work in seminaries or hold any important positions. If the homosexual lobby exists and has anything to say in the structures of the Church, it is because we give in, withdraw, pretend, and so on. …

The Holy See … has given us a clear sign, a direction on how such problems should be solved. Concealing the behaviour of dishonest persons, which will sooner or later be exposed anyway, destroys the authority of the Church. The faithful spontaneously ask about the reliability of a community which tolerates such arrangements. If we make an a priori assumption that no lobby of homosexual priests has ever existed, exists now or will exist in the future, we actually support the phenomenon. The homosexual lobby of the clergy get off scot-free and become a serious threat[10].

THE FORMATION MECHANISM OF THE HOMO-COMMUNITY

As can be seen from the above examples, that lobby must have been allowed to have its way for a long time for such a situation to have been (and still be) possible. But the normal majority should not be intimidated by a disturbed minority. It is therefore necessary to understand the mechanism allowing that lobby to become so influential.

Everything begins with the fact that it is much more difficult for a seminarian with homosexual tendencies or an established homosexual orientation to become a decent priest. On the one hand, priesthood may appear attractive, seeming an ideal biotope, since he can stay here in his preferred manly company without the need to explain the absence of women in his life. On the contrary, this is, after all, seen as a great sacrifice for the Heavenly Kingdom, giving up the greatest value of marriage (even though he is not marriageable anyway). The situation appears to be very comfortable. Consequently, if no requirements are made of such young men, in particular congregations or dioceses there may be many times more of them than in the world on the average, i.e. many times more than 1.5 percent[11]. Their exact number will depend on how dominating the position they have already achieved is, and how much other clergymen are intimidated or unaware of the significance of the problem.

On the other hand, homosexuality is a wound on the personality which may impair many other functions. Such impairments include distorted relationships with other men, women and children; the habit of constantly pretending, hiding something important in their lives; the pattern of playing a game which prevents honest, deep, emotionally fair relationships with peers and tutors. It also hampers proper understanding and respect for the nature of femininity and marriage as the mystery of the love between a man and a woman. Besides, if a homosexual feel similar desires towards men as a man who is undisturbed in that regard feels towards women, these desires will be constantly aroused in him by the permanent, close presence of the objects of his desire. He finds himself in a situation analogous to that of a normal man who were to live for several years (or for the whole life) under one roof, using the same dormitory and common bathrooms with many attractive women. The likelihood of maintaining chastity in such a situation would rapidly decline. We should respect and try to understand our homosexual brothers to the same extent we respect and try to understand any human being. They often do their best, try, and some of them succeed, live a decent or even a holy life. Objectively, however, it is much, much harder for them, and so they fail much more often.

If, however, they are unable to control their tendencies, and succeed in passing through the sieves of seminarian control, real trouble begins in priesthood or monastic life. They no longer benefit from the presence and control of their supervisors, their freedom is much greater. If they yield to temptation and go down the road of active homosexuality, their situation becomes desperate. On the one hand, they administer the sacraments, celebrate the Holy Mass every day, deal with the holiest of holy objects; and on the other hand they keep doing the exact opposite, that which is particularly deplorable. This way they “become immune” to that which is higher, that which is holy, their moral life yields to atrophy, going steadily downhill towards the fall. The more of that which is higher dies in them, the more room there is for that which is lower – the desire for material, sensual things – money, power, career, lust and sex. They can hardly be helped, since the highest means of formation, faith and grace have failed. They know well, however, that they may be exposed and embarrassed, so they shield one another by offering mutual support. They build informal relationships reminding of a clique or even mafia, aim at holding particularly those positions which offer power and money. When they achieve a decision-making position, they try to promote and advance mostly those whose nature is similar to theirs, or at least who are known to be too weak to oppose them. This way, leading positions in the Church may be held by people suffering from deep internal wounds, hardly displaying the spiritual level expected of their office; people who have given themselves away to hypocrisy and are especially prone to blackmailing by the enemies of Christianity. People who never “speak from the heart”, never revealing it for fear of being brought to shame. Instead, they repeat what they have learned by heart, copy that which has been said by others. Often an atmosphere of hypocrisy and lifelessness can be sensed around them. Pharisaism in its pure form[12]. Even if they do not actively practice homosexuality, as a rule they try to shield and promote even those who do, with much solidarity, ready to “dig in their heels” together with them. This way they prefer their own well-being to the well-being of the community, according to the rule which says: “Let the Church be disgraced, ridiculed and humiliated, as long as myself and “mine” are well-set for life, as long as there is always enough to satisfy us”. “Omertà” in its pure form. This way, however, they may actually achieve a dominating position in many areas of church hierarchy, become a “backroom elite” which actually has tremendous power in deciding about important nominations and the whole life of the Church. Indeed, they may even prove to be too powerful for honest, well-meaning bishops.[13]

The situation then becomes quite desperate for other priests. New clerical students may, for instance, include the younger partners of such homo-priests. When the vice-chancellor or another superior tries to remove them, they may end up being removed themselves instead of the homo-seminarians. Or, when a vicar tries to protect youth from the parish priest who molests them, it is the vicar and not the parish priest that is disciplined, ostracized and moved elsewhere. He goes through an ordeal for courageously fulfilling his fundamental duty. He may even be blackmailed, humiliated and slandered in the parish or among other priests as a victim of an organized campaign. And when a priest or a religious is molested by a peer or a superior and applies for help and protection to a higher instance, he often finds the office occupied by an even more ardent homosexual.

Along the road, members of the homo-clique can achieve such positions and influence that they come to believe they have extraordinary powers and will go unpunished forever.[14] Their life often becomes a diabolic caricature of priesthood, just like homosexual relationships are a caricature of marriage. As can be learned from the media, for instance, they act like homosexual addicts, becoming more and more unbridled, resorting to violence. They start to molest and abuse even minors. A grievous wrong may result, including murder and suicide.

I learned about Bishop Paetz by accident, from a seminarian who told me, all trembling from emotions and terror, about his having been molested by his own ordinary. He was at a brink of losing faith as well as mental and spiritual integrity. It was not an easy job to convince him that one man is not the whole Church, that such case is yet another reason to become a priest so that something as wonderful as that is not left in the hands of such people. I have heard many similar stories from priests from Łomża and Poznań (where he served as an ordinary) I met during national and international academic symposia. Our interventions at various levels of Church hierarchy were of no avail, however; we encountered a wall that could not be overcome, even in a case as self-evident as that. In the case of a vicar or a catechist, a small part of such revelations would be enough to cause some reaction. In that case, a tremendous commotion in the media and reaching the Pope himself was necessary.

To quote F. Józef Augustyn once again: “The Church does not generate homosexuality, but falls victim to dishonest men with homosexual tendencies, who take advantage of its structures to follow their lowest instincts. Active homosexual priests are masters of camouflage. They are often exposed by accident. … The real threat to the Church are cynical homosexual priests who take advantage of their functions on their own behalf, sometimes in an extraordinarily devious way. Such situations cause great suffering to the Church, the priestly community, the superiors. The problem is indeed a very difficult one.”[15]

 

THE STRUGGLE OF BENEDICT XVI

Benedict XVI has come to know that type of clergymen well during his long years of work in Vatican. He has repeatedly stressed how shocked he was to learn the extent of the plague of homosexual abuses in the Church, the size of that underground and the terrible damage caused to youth and the Church as a whole. He recalls: “Yes, it is a great crisis, we have to say that. It was upsetting for all of us. Suddenly so much filth. It was really almost like the crater of a volcano, out of which suddenly a tremendous cloud of filth came, darkening and soiling everything, so that above all the priesthood suddenly seemed to be a place of shame and every priest was under the suspicion of being one like that too.”[16]  It was mostly about such clergymen that he referred to while still a Cardinal during the famous Way of the Cross at the Colosseum in 2005, shortly before the death of John Paul II and his own election as Pope: “Should we not also think of how much Christ suffers in his own Church? … how often must he enter empty and evil hearts! How often do we celebrate only ourselves, without even realizing that he is there! How often is his Word twisted and misused! What little faith is present behind so many theories, so many empty words! How much filth there is in the Church, and even among those who, in the priesthood, ought to belong entirely to him! How much pride, how much self-complacency! … We can only call to him from the depths of our hearts: Kyrie eleison – Lord, save us (cf. Mt 8: 25)”. The Pope also said: “The greatest persecution of the Church comes not from her enemies without, but arises from sin within the Church”[17]. He knew what task was awaiting him, and taking office on April 24, 2005, said: “Pray for me, that I may not flee for fear of the wolves”[18].

The greatest persecution of the Church comes not from her enemies without, but arises from sin within the Church.

And that is why he took resolute and fast action as Pope. He made cleansing the Church from homosexual abuse and preventing its reoccurrence in the future one of the priorities of his pontificate. He removed compromised clergymen from their offices with much energy. In the very first months following his election, still in 2005, he had an instruction issued to strictly forbid ordaining untreated homosexuals. The instruction was preceded by a letter sent from the Holy See to bishops around the world, ordering that priests with homosexual tendencies be immediately removed from any educational functions at seminaries[19]. A letter from the Congregation for Catholic Education issued in 2008 prohibited their admission to seminaries. It says explicitly they may only be admitted after they have been permanently healed[20]. These principles were confirmed in 2010 by a Note from the Vicariate of Rome for the Successor of Saint Peter – a standard for the entire Church[21]. A model to be followed in such cases was also provided by the Pope’s pastoral letter to the Catholics of Ireland, also in 2010, on serious sins against defenceless children[22]. Just like the current President of Germany, Joachim Gauck, carried out a successful, model inspection in the former East Germany, his fellow countryman in the Vatican has been carrying out a thorough, honest, Christian cleansing of the Church[23]. The Pope is also trying not to allow for a similar disaster to happen again in the future by strictly prohibiting the ordaining of homosexually-oriented persons, by preventing the rebirth of that community.

That should be stressed, because in the Polish Church the issue of the relationship between homosexuality and priesthood has been underestimated. It appears that the breakthrough in that matter accomplished by Benedict XVI and the Holy See is not sufficiently understood here. Its results could be summarized as follows:

1)     instead of a division into active and passive homosexuality, in his official documents the Holy Father introduces a division into temporary homosexual tendencies which occur during puberty, and tendencies which have become deeply rooted. Both forms are an obstacle which precludes holy orders, so the  requirements is not merely (usually temporary) freedom from active homosexuality.

2)     Homosexuality is irreconcilable with priestly vocation. Consequently, it is strictly forbidden not only to ordain men having any homosexual tendencies (be it temporary), but even to admit them in seminaries.

3)     Temporary homosexual tendencies must be cured even before admission to the first year of studies or the novitiate.

4)     Seminaries and monasteries, presbyteries and diocesan curias must be completely free from any forms of homosexuality.

5)     Men with homosexual tendencies who have already been ordained as deacons, priests or bishops remain to be validly ordained, but are called to keep all commandments given by God and the Church. Just like other priests, they should live in purity and desist from any activities harmful to man and the Church, in particular from any rebellion against the Holy Father and the Holy See, or any mafia-like activities.

6)     Clergymen who suffer from such disorders are strongly encouraged to immediately commence appropriate therapy[24].

In Benedict XVI’s Light of the World of 2010, we find as an afterword a very important passage about homosexuality and priesthood. These words of the Holy Father are, in a way, a comment on the earlier documents of the Holy See. It seems he is speaking “from the heart”, and is quite explicit:

          “Homosexuality is incompatible with the priestly vocation. Otherwise, celibacy itself would lose its meaning as a renunciation. It would be extremely dangerous if celibacy became a sort of pretext for bringing people into priesthood who don’t want to get married anyway. For, in the end, their attitude toward man and woman is somehow distorted, off centre, and, in any case, is not within the direction of creation of which we have spoken.

          The Congregation for Education issued a decision a few years ago to the effect that homosexual candidates cannot become priests because their sexual orientation estranges them from the proper sense of paternity, from the intrinsic nature of priestly being. The selection of candidates to the priesthood must therefore be very careful. The greatest attention is needed here in order to prevent the intrusion of this kind of ambiguity and to head off a situation where the celibacy of priests would practically end up being identified with the tendency to homosexuality”[25].

The importance of the matter for the Pope and the Holy See is emphasized by the fact that despite a great shortage of priests and new vocations in Western Europe and America, the Church does not want to admit such candidates in its seminaries; the grave abuses of homosexual clergymen have already caused too much evil, too many disasters, and have cost too much.

HOMOHERESY IN THE CHURCH

Not everyone wants to accept the above rules. There is resistance to what is taught by the Pope. The homosexual community in the Church defends itself and is on the attack. It also needs an intellectual tool, a justification, and that is why homoideology takes in their minds, words and writings the form of homoheresy. The most open revolt against the Pope and the Church is headed by some Jesuits in the United States, who openly oppose them and announce that despite the above decisions, they will keep admitting homosexually-oriented seminarians, who are, indeed, especially welcome[26]. They have a long tradition in that vein, for years being the mainstay of homoideology and homoheresy. They take many views of the heretical moral theologian, ex-priest Charles Curran, for their own. They are also under the overwhelming influence of their former fellow friar, F. John McNeill SJ, who founded the pro-homosexual movement called Dignity, and published a book entitled The Church and the Homosexual, where he explicitly rejects the teaching of the Church and adopts homoideology. The book was given an imprimatur by his provincial from New York, and has been republished several times despite being banned by the Vatican. This way, it has become a homosexual bible for many American Jesuits. McNeill seems to mean more for them than Jesus or Saint Paul, much less the Pope[27]. The Theological Studies and America papers they publish still uphold and promote pro-homosexual ideas. Consequently, it is estimated they have achieved the highest saturation with homosexuals, way above 30 percent. Gays feel more comfortable with them than ever, while other priests find the specific atmosphere less and less bearable[28].

It appears as though the Jesuits have replaced their traditional, fourth vow of obedience to the Pope with a fourth vow of arch-disobedience. We should not be particularly surprised or shocked, though, knowing that the clergy is submitted to all influences of their times, including the worst ones. If they are intellectually or morally weak, they are not only subject, but succumb to them. That is one of the basic sources of heresy in the Church, which has already seen so many of them that needed to be exposed and overcome so many times. In the age of fascist ideologies and Marxism, we also had fascist priests and Marxist priests in the Church. Now that the extreme leftists promote homoideology in turn, we naturally have homoideologist, and sometimes even homoheretic priests in the Church.

In Poland, their best known representative is F. Jacek Prusak, SJ, who had been trained by American Jesuits, after all. For eight years now he has taken on the role of a spokesman of the homolobby in the Church, fighting uncompromisingly to defend its interests. His vocabulary and his arguments sometimes seem to be literal quotations from handbooks on homoideology, copied from gay websites. His writings suffer from numerous defects both as to the contents and to logic, but their main goal is always the same: the ultimate apology of homosexuality in general, and homosexual priesthood in particular – no matter how much manipulation is needed to achieve that goal[29]. Whenever a priest or a lay person talks about what the Church teaches on homosexuality, when they defend and explain it and call for it to be followed, they should expect an immediate, brutal attack from Father Prusak – sometimes even on the pages of particularly anti-Christian papers. In this great struggle fought by the Church against homoideology, he explicitly takes sides with the enemy and excels in it. He was once supported by Father Tadeusz Bartoś OP, even though in a much less aggressive way. Since F. Bartoś left priesthood and his congregation in 2007, he has remained alone in that role[30]. He is the tried-and-tested commentator for the media particularly hostile to the Church in that regard. In 2005, right after the instruction prohibiting the ordaining of homosexuals was announced, F. J. Prusak published a devastating criticism in a paper whose editors are known for their fanatic propagation of homoideology[31]. Similarly, in his article entitled The Lavender History of the Church, precisely contravening the statements of the Magisterium quoted above, he claims that homosexual orientation does not preclude a candidate for priesthood. He questions the existence of a homolobby in the Church, even though he and his activities are particularly convincing evidence to the contrary[32]. Thus, he continues in the long line of priests who presented views contrary to the teaching of the Church, for which they were promoted in leftist, antichristian media, e.g. F. Michał Czajkowski, ex-Jesuit Stanisław Obirek, and ex-Dominican Tadeusz Bartoś.

One can easily see that, comparing his opinions with those expressed by the Pope quoted above and the documents of the Church mentioned here. One cannot allow, however, for a homoideologist priest to continue his attacks on the teaching of the Church and on the priests and lay people who defend that teaching, for homoideological minority to dominate the normal majority. The way in which Father J. Prusak opposes the Holy Father is inadmissible and scandalous.

The way Father Jacek Prusak opposes the Holy Father is inadmissible and scandalous.

This is about the very existence of the Church. Ideology and manipulation must be nipped in the bud, for if more clergymen like Father Prusak appear, it may be too late. The Church may destroy itself from within – just as has already been the case in many places in the West. A Church which contradicts itself, rejects its own teaching, becomes useless and dies – like the Church in Holland. Anything that is self-contradictory is bound to disappear.

Bad theology is deadly dangerous. An incompetent theologian may reduce faith, theology and philosophy to psychology, may infect the organism of the Church with viruses of the enemy’s sick ideas, may pick up and pass on somebody else’s illnesses. That was, for example, the case with the ex-priest Eugene Drewmann, who began as a professor of dogmatic theology in Paderborn, and through a reduction of theology to psychology ended up with New Age and Buddhism. For him, Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung became more important than Jesus and Saint Paul. The consequences were already waiting around the corner[33]. If such theories are allowed to spread, their consequences may be destructive for the entire Church – as it was in Holland. It was there that the sick theology of Edward Schillebeecks contributed to the disintegration and near destruction of the Church which was once so full of life. Within a dozen or so years, it almost made it disappear. It was like a mine planted under a building. We should defend ourselves with all resolution against such “Dutch theology”. This is about the Church’s to be or not to be. If homolobbyists are allowed to act freely, in a dozen or so years they may destroy entire congregations and dioceses – like in the USA, where the priestly vocation is more and more now called a gay profession (particularly with reference to American Jesuits), or like in Ireland, where men are hesitant about joining the emptying seminaries for fear of being suspected of suffering from some disorders.

In the USA, the priestly vocation is more and more often now called gay profession.

In Ireland, men are hesitant about joining the emptying seminaries for fear of being suspected of suffering from some disorders.

The situation is a bit like that in the beginning of the Reformation, when entire countries and nations left the Church, and when one of the fundamental reasons for that state of affairs was the unprecedented decline in morality and libertinism of some clergymen, including Pope Alexander VI himself. Just like the Council of Trent tried to save the Church first of all through repentance and discipline, Benedict XVI tries to save it by limiting the size and the influence of the homolobby within the Church. This shows his prophetic and scientific genius, and emphasizes his importance as one of the greatest theologians of our time, capable of participating in spiritual warfare. This can be seen particularly in a longer perspective, when we think about how many other theologians flirted with fashionable ideologies, or even succumbed to them. As theologian and bishop, Ratzinger was always high-principled and made excellent, accurate decisions. He never came under such illusions, never went either into “newspaper theology” or “postmodern theology” with their utmost irresponsibility, making it is easy to put forward claims which profoundly contradict Christianity. Now, he has nothing to be ashamed about. And yet, it is for that accuracy of opinion that he is so vehemently opposed, or even hated by some in the Church, especially by members of the homolobby which represents the very centre of internal opposition against the Pope. The greatness of Benedict XVI can also be seen in the way he suffers all that, peaceful, trustful and patient, when he humbly remains silent in reply to the most primitive attacks – from those who are “in the same camp”. He does not defend himself, what he cares about is first of all Christ and the wellbeing of man. He is a great scientist and a faithful witness to the Revelation. He is indeed not only the most outstanding intellectual, but also a “good shepherd who does not abandon the sheep or run away when he sees the wolf coming, but lays down his life for the sheep” (cf. John 10;12.15).

He cannot do it all by himself, however. He needs each and everyone of us. He needs support and healthy preaching in every local Church. It is a matter of remaining faithful to one’s conscience: defending the truth of salvation, no matter how much it should cost us. In this context the greatness and holiness of the Church can be seen particularly well. Homoideology seems to be so powerful and is being as aggressively promoted as Marxism or fascism used to be in the past. Its victory seems unavoidable to many (just like with those other ideologies). In that situation, it is first of all the Church that openly defends elementary truth, defends that which is reasonable. When the demons of ideology rage, faith must, paradoxically, become a special guardian and defender of reason. The Church has survived through difficulties and heresies greater than this. That which is absurd must ultimately collapse, exhaust and devour itself. One cannot live in contradiction forever. We cannot always live against reason, against nature, against commandments, just like we cannot stand on our head forever. We must finally either repent or fall.

The greatness of the Catholic Church is revealed also in that it can admit to being wrong, acknowledge the faults of its members, apologize for them, embark on the road of repentance and cleansing. Other communities are capable of doing that to a much lesser extent, even though their faults are much greater. The media, which could at times be called CHC – Centres of Hatred against Christianity, present the situation as though that was the main or the only problem of the Catholic Church, as though ephebophiles were only found among priests and every priest should be suspected of the same thing. Exactly in the same way Catholic clergy was presented by Goebbels’ propaganda in the times of Hitler, with the same methods of generalization applied to individual cases. Honest journalists, however, say: “We can see the Catholic Church is the only institution to be doing anything with paedophilia. The paedophilia which is a common problem in all communities and educational institutions”[34].

One could ask, then, when will journalists start investigating the scale of the problem among themselves, including the owners of the newspapers they work for, among those who set the tone for manipulations and witch-hunts in the media? It may be hard – as for example in Belgium or Lithuania, where even people at the topmost levels in the hierarchy of various authorities are involved in paedophilia. But where is the courage and enthusiasm of those journalists who have been so willing to attack the Church? Reliable studies show that the problem is the least widespread in the Catholic Church. Why, then, it is the only thing we hear? According to researchers, only one for a thousand cases of pedo- or ephebophilia is related to the sphere of the Catholic Church, in the USA only one to five Catholic priests are involved in that problem per ten thousand people. Statistically, much greater risk exists e.g. with married Protestant clergymen or teachers, particularly sports teachers[35].

 

There is no relationship between celibacy and paedophilia. Statistically, much greater risk exists e.g. with married Protestant clergymen or teachers, particularly sports teachers.

It is not celibacy, then, that is to blame here, contrary to what is sometimes suggested. This has been pointed out, among others, by the Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, who said that “many psychologists and psychiatrists have proved that there is no relationship between celibacy and paedophilia, while many others have shown that there is a relationship between homosexuality and paedophilia”. He also points to the fact that “80 percent of paedophiles convicted in the USA are homosexuals. Among priests convicted for paedophilia, they represent 90 percent”. These data show that “the Catholic Church has had a problem with homosexuals rather than paedophiles”. He is backed up by Itrovigne Massimo, an Italian sociologist, who reminds us that “there is no relationship between celibacy and paedophilia, as there are more paedophiles among married clergymen than among Catholic priests … . In the USA, nearly one thousand priests have been charged with sexual abuse against minors, and only about fifty were found guilty. Meanwhile, there were as many as six thousand sports teachers and coaches, most of them married, convicted for the same abuse”[36].

Is that not a perfect scoop for the media? Why do they hardly talk about it? It appears their intentions are not so much to protect children and youth as to destroy the Church. If their intentions were honest, they would first strike at those who commit the greatest number of such crimes. But their shortage of “just men” is much greater than here, however, they lack people who would be willing to do something about the problem, to take the risk. Such incidents among those who are “one of us” are covered up and justified much more than was the case in the Church (e.g. the behaviour of Roman Polanski in Hollywood in 1978, which apparently was a standard in that community then). They seem to be saying: “if this is done by ‘one of us’, we will not lift a finger, let the children be tormented, we do not care, as long as we are fine”. Here is the hypocrisy and cynicism of the “brave” journalists and their employers.

OUR STRUGGLE

It is important to understand the reasons for which the Church has been unable to deal with the problem of the homolobby for so long. It is not only about the influences of the homolobby itself, where complaints about one homosexual wearing a cassock end up on the desk of another, then in the dustbin or, worse even, in the hands of the wrongdoer himself – so that he can freely take revenge on his victims. It is not only the evil kind of group solidarity, defending those who are “one of us”, no matter how guilty they are[37].

There is yet another reason, and that is ignorance, failure to understand the weight of the problem. For a normal priest, it is inconceivable for such terrible evil to be taking place behind his back. Moreover, decent, well-meaning clergymen are usually burdened with so much work they feel unable to deal with yet another problem. Who would want to deal with such filth, unless they were forced to, anyway? That is why until a really huge scandal erupts, people tend to act like “it’s rickety, it’s wobbly, but at least it’s moving”. After all, we are at times dealing here with criminal activity, and the Church is not the police, it does not have the tools necessary to deal with organized crime. If a priest has caused a car accident or committed an economic crime, he must first be dealt with by the police or the prosecutor, not the bishop or provincial. And acts of paedophilia and ephebophilia belong to the most serious offences against the bodies, psyche and souls of children and youth. What a great disturbance in clergymen who repeatedly do things like that for a moment’s pleasure! They ruin the lives of their neighbours. It was first of all about paedophiles and ephebophiles that Jesus said: “Woe to you”. He said that for anyone who “causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea” (cf. Matthew 18:6-11 and Luke 17:1-2). Such abuse is the most abominable, terrible harm for a normal boy, it is like killing his soul. Sometimes the victim of an ephebophile is unable to get over such an abuse for his entire life, to trust others, to respect himself or to obey any moral norms. If such brutal evil is done by a clergyman, the issue becomes even more painful, because harm is inflicted by the one who has preached beautiful ideas, whom the boy trusted, from whom he had the right to expect all that is good and noble. Abused boys then say: “I will never go to church anymore”, “all priests are bastards”. Sometimes, they loose faith altogether or join some sect, and sometimes they really never come back to the Church. Even though they used to be part of the young group closest to the priest, particularly involved in their religion, most of them coming from families of believers; they used to be altar boys, lectors, went to summer camps, retreats, pilgrimages, they were the treasure and future of the Church. The ardent work of a multitude of decent parents, religious sisters, catechists, priests, bishops, is destroyed by the crimes of a group of vile men. In that situation, those wronged may be helped especially if defended by another priest. That is the most effective way of restoring their trust in the Church, to have another priest defend the victim from a perverted fellow priest, and take them to the police. That is faithfulness to man and to Christ. It is necessary, because an act of paedophilia or ephebophilia is usually one in a whole series, and needs to be stopped immediately.

In such matter, there is no room for hesitation, no matter how much there is to risk, no matter whom we might fall into disfavour with, no matter what there is to lose. Just like a father has the duty to die to defend his child if necessary, so a priest has the duty to die to defend each and every one of the little ones, who are God’s children. In Poland, the situation is particularly dangerous because some elderly gays and ephebophiles in cassocks may have connections with the former Security Service and other special services. Many secret collaborators recruited from them, since they were especially prone to blackmail. Sometimes, they are still blackmailed today. If their vile acts are exposed, the officers of such services will have nothing to blackmail them with, and thus their source of regular income will run dry. That is why a priest who stands up in defence of youth and opposes an influential paedophile or ephebophile may undergo an ordeal. He may find himself standing up against not only the homomafia in the local Church, but also the old structures of special services. And they are proficient in maltreating and murdering clergymen, as was the case not so long ago not only with Blessed F. Jerzy Popiełuszko, but also with F. Zych, F. Niedzielak, F. Suchowolec, and others.

Therefore, the homomafia in the Church must be dealt with in a very professional way – we must act like a prosecutor or an officer in the battlefield. We must be aware that the other party may have become internally degenerated by decades of living in sin and hypocrisy, that they may have gone downhill to the level of ordinary criminals, that they are prepared to do even the worst things, both in words and acts, to defend their interests and position.

We must be prepared, and not be surprised even if we are insulted with the worst curses, if we are accused of the worst things, for it is “out of the overflow of the heart that the mouth speaks” (cf. Matthew 12:34). Someone who has committed great iniquities for dozens of years is ready to do things at least equally vile to conceal evil and avoid responsibility. It is much easier to lie and say they have not done anything wrong than to beat or kill someone.

It is important that we find a possibly large group of people of goodwill to protect us and support what we do[38]. That group should include clergymen, as high in the hierarchy as possible, experts in various fields, archive records specialists, lawyers, policemen, journalists, and as may believers as possible. It is good to exchange information, documents, evidence. The global network of the homolobbies and homomafias must be counterbalanced by a network of honest people. An excellent tool that can be used here is the Internet, which makes it possible to create a global community of people concerned about the fate of the Church, who have resolved to oppose homoideology and homoheresy. The more we know, the more we can do. We need to remember that in these matters we are like “sheep sent among wolves”, and so we must be “as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves” (Matthew 10:16). We must have the courage to stand up against evildoers, as Christ had the courage to stand up against the Pharisees of his times. We cannot build our lives on sweet illusions, for only “the truth will set you free” (John 8:32), and that is why “God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7).

The global network of homolobbies and homomafias must be counterbalanced by a global network of decent people.

All interventions should be made with utmost respect and love for every person, including the abusers. The essence of Christianity is reflected in the will to save everyone, and the worst criminals are especially at risk of losing both their earthly and their eternal life, so they need an especially abundant portion of concern and prayer. The greatness and beauty of Christianity resides also in the fact that Abel here should try not only to save himself, but everybody else too, including Cain.

LOVE AND TRUTH OF THE CHURCH

In our struggle for the Church of Jesus Christ, we must not be misled by arguments like: “The Church is our mother, and one must not say bad things about one’s mother”. Such words are often heard from those who have hurt their mother the most, who have made her seriously ill, and now refuse to begin the treatment. If the best mother of all is sick, to treat her effectively we need the best possible tools and the best, most accurate diagnosis possible. Thus, we must know about the illness and talk about it. If the Church in Poland is now heading for harder times, if it must prepare itself for persecution, if it must resist and fight, its organism must be healthy and strong, and any gangrene must be removed. President Joachim Hauck said that in the former East Germany the process of cleansing and compensation was opposed most strongly by those who had the most to weigh on their conscience, who had hurt their brothers and sisters the most, who betrayed them the most.

Similar charges of disloyalty could be brought against the Evangelists themselves, because they reported on the betrayal of Judas, Peter’s denial of Jesus, his being rebuked by Jesus, on Thomas’s incredulity, on the careerism of James and John. One might ask why they did not hide that shameful truth – especially in the times of the initial weakness of the first Church, in the times of the first bloody persecutions, when both the Apostles and other Christians were being killed, one by one? And in the end, similar charges could be brought against Lord Jesus himself – why did he criticize the Pharisees so radically, why did he publicly expose their inequity, their falsehood, their hypocrisy and lies? He was, after all, attacking the religious and national elites of his time, the public form of a religion as valuable, as deserving as that of the Chosen People. And not only did the Evangelists write it all down, but then they described the way priests, Sadducees and Pharisees dealt with Jesus during the Passover. This way greatly undermining the highest religious and moral authorities of their nation – and all of that was done during the dark night of Roman occupation!

It was indeed the public fight against the social structures of sin, against Pharisees, that was one of the most important areas of Christ’s activity. We should follow in his footsteps as well – in his courage, in his determination to fight against evil, in the precision of his arguments in exposing evildoers. Whatever Christ did is a model to be followed in any age. But we need knowledge to make sure our struggle against evil is effective. And so, remembering to “recognize them by their fruit” (cf. Matthew 7:16), based on the publicly known events of the last quarter of the century, the reaction of the Holy See and the documents it issued, we must clearly, explicitly and resolvedly say: yes, there is a strong homosexual underground in the Church (just like in many other places), which – depending on the degree of involvement of its members, depending on their words and deeds – may be referred to as homoheresy, homolobby, homoclique or even homomafia[39]. Such circles in the Church strongly oppose truth, morality and Revelation, cooperate with the enemies of the Church, incite a revolt against the Peter of our times, the Holy See and the entire Church. Members of that lobby in the Church are a relatively small group, but often hold key positions (which they are very anxious to achieve), create a close network of relationships and support one another, which is what makes them dangerous. They are dangerous especially to the youth, who are threatened by sexual abuse. They are dangerous to themselves, as, more and more hardened in evil, they may finally “die in their sins” (John 8:23), as Christ warned. They are dangerous to honest lay people and clergymen who oppose them. Finally, they are dangerous to the Church at large, because when their iniquities are finally exposed, when they become a topic for media coverage, the faith of millions of people is weakened or destroyed. Many say then: “No, in a Church like that there is no place either for me, or my children or grandchildren”. And so, homosexual depravers and abusers scandalize millions of people, putting a huge obstacle on their road to faith, to Christ, to salvation. And all of that just for several dozen years of a comfortable life of sin. Can there be a greater sin? The Church has been created as the most wonderful, most beautiful community of love and kindness, of believers living in peace with the Lord and with one another. We must not allow our greatest treasure to be destroyed. Let us be confident and peaceful. Normal, honest people are the overwhelming majority. They only need to be properly informed, mobilized and unified in action.

It was indeed the public fight against the social structures of sin, against the Pharisees, that was one of the most important areas of Christ’s activity.

Every truth, even that which is the most difficult, should lead us to work for the better, to struggle for the wellbeing of man and the Church. Despite all sin and weakness, the best, the most beautiful thing we have is the Church. Evil, including homosexual evil, is present to a much greater degree outside the Church, in other communities. Those who criticize us are often like hypocrites who cannot see “the plank in their own eye” (cf. Matthew 7:1-5). That is why the Church is now hated so much and attacked with such vehemence – because its very existence is a constant prick of conscience, a constant admonition for those who live in sins which are much, much greater than those of some people in the Church. Let us keep the right proportions. There have always been and will most likely be baptized people in the Church who live like Cain or Judas, but we must not condemn Abel because of Cain, or reject the other eleven Apostles and Christ himself because of Judas. That would be a fundamental mistake, Judas represents only about 8% of the Twelve Apostles. But neither should we allow Judas to dominate and rule in the Church. His influence must not be greater than that of John or Paul. It is the Peter of our times that is the most important person in the Church, and he should be listened to. Benedict XVI is a great gift of the Providence, just like his honourable predecessor, John Paul II. Let us stand together on Benedict XVI’s side, just as we would have stood on the side of Blessed John Paul the Great. They were such a wonderful, wise and courageous duet of apostles. They agreed and supported each other so much – also on this matter[40].

To say “I am leaving the Church because it is too evil for me, and too sinful” is to say that apparently “I am too good for it”, to say, in a way, that “I am a better, a more valuable person than Mother Theresa, or even Our Lady or Lord Jesus himself”, since for them that Church is good enough to stay in, to love and protect.

The Church is like the people who make it up, and that is why it is always sinful, but always holy as well. Among more then a billion of its members, there are thousands of people who commit vile and base acts, but there are also hundreds of millions of Catholic men and women who are honest and holy. More than half of them are women – persons who are particularly sensitive to the well-being of man, to the fate of children and youth, to pure love. There are hundreds of millions of people who take up the great effort of work, marriage, family, bearing and rearing children. There are thousands of missionary men and women (more than two thousand from Poland alone) who devote all of their lives in the most difficult conditions, the greatest poverty. There are about 700,000 religious sisters who try to live their lives as unsparingly and evangelically as they can. There is Mother Theresa and several thousand of her sisters. To say “I am leaving the Church because it is too evil for me, and too sinful” is to say that apparently “I am too good for it”, to say, in a way, that “I am a better, a more valuable person than Mother Theresa, or even Our Lady or Lord Jesus himself”, since for them that Church is good enough to stay in, to love and protect. For it is that Church that has the most of God in it, and thus the most of truth, goodness and beauty. That is why being part of it and growing in it, one may reach the topmost heights of Christianity and humanity – like Blessed Mother Theresa of Calcutta, like Blessed John Paul the Great, like Benedict XVI – the most beautiful people of our times.

We are all invited to become holy in the Church of Lord Jesus Christ through grace and our own work – no matter at which phase of development and what place in the Church we are in now. All we need to do is “arise and go” (John 14:31).

Krakow, Easter, April 8, 2012

____________________________________________

  1. Dariusz Oko, born in 1960 in Oswiecim, was ordained in 1985, and is a priest in the Archdiocese of Krakow He is an Assistant Professor at Pontifical University John Paul II in Krakow.

The article was also published in the German journal “Theologisches”. Cf. D. Oko, Mit dem Papst gegen Homohäresie, “Theologisches” 9/10 (2012) pp. 403-426.

It was immediately translated into Czech and broadcast in July 2001 in a series of Wednesday programmes (July 4, 11, 18, 25 and 31) by the Czech Section of the Vatican Radio.

[Translated by Małgorzata Wójcik - adapted, where necessary, by Rorate Caeli]

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Asia Bibi: condemned to death

Asia Bibi’s death sentence sparks outrage from Pakistan’s Christians

From EWTN/CNA Rawalpindi, Pakistan.

The Lahore High Court’s rejection last Thursday of Asia Bibi’s appeal against her death sentence, passed by a lower court, has dismayed Christians and others in Pakistan.

Nooses_Credit_Copyright_Matthew_Lee_High_via_Flickr_CC_BY_NC_20_EWTN_10_16_14

Bishop Rufin Anthony of Islamabad-Rawalpindi said Oct. 16 that the decision was “heartbreaking.”

Bibi, a Christian, was convicted under Pakistan’s strict blasphemy laws in 2010. She allegedly made derogatory comments against Muhammad while arguing with a Muslim woman.
She has denied the allegations, and says the case stems from an argument she had with a Muslim woman over a pot of water. During his Nov. 17, 2010 General Audience address, Benedict XVI urged that she be granted “complete freedom … as soon as possible.”

Her lawyers intend to submit her case to Pakistan’s Supreme Court within the allotted 30 days.

The Centre for Legal Aid Assistance and Settlement (CLAAS), an inter-denominational organization working for persecuted Christians in Pakistan, as assisted and supported her legal defense team.

According to the center, “around 25” mullahs were present at the high court “to apply pressure and push for the sentence … to be upheld.”

Christian lawyers, including Tahir Khalil Sindhu, a provincial minister for minority affairs and human rights, were present to defend Bibi.

“I am very disappointed with today’s result and my thoughts and prayers are with Asia’s family,” Nasir Saeed, director of CLAAS-UK commented.

“It is not surprising that the judges were swayed by pressure from local influential Muslims, but I had hoped that justice would prevail and that the case would be judged based on its merits.”

“While the rest of the world condemns such draconian laws, Pakistan continues to persecute its minorities simply because of their religion. I have to now remain hopeful that the Supreme Court judges will look at the case objectively and allow the final appeal, eventually acquitting Asia.”

A Pakistani youth, who spoke to EWTN News on condition of anonymity, said, “This case is one of the bloodiest cases where also innocent lives of two politicians, Governor of Punjab Salmaan Taseer and Shahbaz Bhatti, who raised their voice against reviewing the blasphemy law were brutally murdered.”

Taseer, a Muslim, and Bhatti, a Catholic, were both assassinated in 2011 for opposing the blasphemy laws under which Bibi has been sentenced.

“Only God would be the judge of their wicked actions and the innocent bloodshed and their cry of the victims will not go in vain,” he said.

Describing the conditions of Christians in Pakistan, he further said that “we are treated (like) third class citizens, and to settle their personal agendas and litigations the accusation of blasphemy is an easy way to settle personal revenge and grudges.”

“It’s frustrating to see a vast influence of fanatic leaders who place the gun in the hands of the poor, instigate them and they die in these hateful battles while the leaders continue to remain safe and live to a ripe old age with pomp and glory.”

He lamented that many groups are “paper tigers,” making statements and appeals but failing to become actively involved in the defense of Pakistan’s minorities.

Pakistan’s blasphemy laws are said to be often used to settle scores or to persecute minorities.

Please also read: Asia Bibi: More Suffering to Comeimages-1

ICC’s Regional Manager for South Asia, William Stark, said, “The case against Asia Bibi is a great example of how Christians and other religious minorities are abused in Pakistan by fundamentalists wielding the controversial blasphemy laws. The blasphemy laws were originally written to protect against religious intolerance in Pakistan, but the law has warped into a tool used by extremists and others to settle personal scores and persecute Pakistan’s vulnerable religious minorities. Sadly, the vast majority of blasphemy accusations brought against Christians and others are false. Unfortunately, pressure from Islamic radical groups and general discrimination against Christians in Pakistan has transformed trial courts and now appeals courts into little more than rubber stamps for blasphemy accusations brought against Christians, regardless of the evidence brought to bear in the case.”

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Full transcript of the BuzzFeed interview with Cardinal Burke

Raymond+Burke+Vatican+Prepares+Election+Next+zFY7Gcbl6W9lAs an update to the post on the BuzzFeed telephone interview with Cardinal Burke, here is the full transcript of that interview:

At the request of many readers, BuzzFeed News has published a full transcript of its interview with Cardinal Burke in which he confirms his removal from the Catholic Church’s highest court.
posted on Oct. 18, 2014, at 12:30 p.m.

BuzzFeed News reporter J. Lester Feder spoke with Cardinal Raymond Burke Friday morning via Skype to discuss the Extraordinary Synod on the Family and address rumors that he was being removed as the head of the Vatican’s highest court of canon law.

Cardinal Burke: Hello, this is Cardinal Burke.

BuzzFeed News: Apologies, it seems we got disconnected. I was just asking if it’s okay if I record our conversation.

CB: Yes, it’s fine. That’s fine.

BFN: I know you don’t have a lot of time, so why don’t we just dive in. I’ve seen your comments suggesting that [the Extraordinary Synod on the Family] was being manipulated. Can you say a little bit more about that, and who is doing the manipulating?

CB: Since the presentation of Cardinal Kasper in February to the extraordinary consistory of cardinals, there’s been a consistent repetition of [Kasper’s] position that is trying to weaken the church’s teaching and practice with regard to the indissolubility of marriage. This has just been consistent, casting the synod — which was to be on the family, directed in a positive way on family life — suggesting that the main purpose of the synod would be to permit those who are in irregular unions to receive the sacraments of penance and holy communion, which is not possible. If someone is bound to a prior marriage which has not been declared null, and is living as husband or wife with someone else. That’s a public state of sin and therefore the person cannot receive holy communion or go to the sacrament of penance until the matter is resolved.
But that’s been — all along this keeps coming back, and I see more clearly than ever that that’s how the synod is. And certainly the media has picked up on this — very much so.

BFN: To the question of how that’s being done, presumably the pope was the one who asked Cardinal Kasper to frame the synod. Are you saying that [the pope] is the one who is manipulating these proceedings?

CB: The pope has never said openly what his position is on the matter and people conjecture that because of the fact that he asked Cardinal Kasper — who was well known to have these views for many, many years — to speak to the cardinals and has permitted Cardinal Kasper to publish his presentation in five different languages and to travel around advancing his position on the matter, and then even recently to publicly claim that he’s speaking for the pope and there’s no correction of this.
I can’t speak for the pope and I can’t say what his position is on this, but the lack of clarity about the matter has certainly done a lot of harm.

BFN: Would it be inappropriate for the pope to do that? To structure the conversation in such a way that it is consistent with his thinking?

CB: According to my understanding of the church’s teaching and discipline, no it wouldn’t be correct.

BFN: I did a story a while back reporting on a conversation that sources relayed to me between an LGBT activist and Cardinal Müller. In that conversation, the activist apparently asked Müller about the possibility of the church possibly accepting some forms of civil unions, based on some of the comments that the pope had made and some of the positions he was understood to have taken while he was the president of the bishops conference of Argentina. Müller reportedly responded that [that decision] wasn’t up to the pope, it was up to “us,” referring to the curia. In that thinking about how these kinds of church teachings are made, can you explain to an outsider what the relationship is between this kind of conversation and the pope’s personal thinking?

CB: Well I suppose the simplest way to put it is that all of us who serve the church are at the service of the truth: the truth that Christ teaches us in the church. And the pope more than anyone else, as the pastor of the universal church, is bound to serve the truth. And so the cardinal is quite correct that the pope is not free to change the church’s teachings with regard to the immorality of homosexual acts or the insolubility of marriage or any other truth of the faith. On the contrary, his work is to teach these truths and to insist on the discipline which reflects the truths in practice.

BFN: It sounds like there’s a tension, what we’re seeing play out in this [synod]. It sounds like you’re saying there are some people who deliberately want to change teaching. Like the people who are supportive of some of the positions that were articulated in the Relatio are saying that they’re trying to balance the pastoral need to find space for people who are living outside what the church teaches is the appropriate lifestyle, to find a way pastorally to incorporate them into the community and to bring them more in line.
You’ve used very strong words about homosexuality; in a recent interview you say again that homosexual acts are always wrong and evil. Is there any middle ground, any way to make space for LGBT people inside the church while also adhering to church teaching?

CB: Well the church doesn’t exclude anyone who’s of good will, even if the person is suffering from same-sex attraction or even acting on that attraction. But at the same time out of her love for the person who’s involved in sinful acts, she calls the person to conversion, in a loving way, but obviously, like a father or mother in a family, in a firm way for the person’s own good.
There never can be in the Catholic Church a difference between doctrine and practice. In other words, you can’t have a doctrine that teaches one thing and a practice which does something differently. If people don’t accept the church’s teaching on these matters than they’re not thinking with the church and they need to examine themselves on that and correct their thinking or leave the church if they absolutely can’t accept what the church teaches. They’re certainly not free to change the teaching of the church to suit their own ideas.

BFN: But as I read the Relatio — and again I’m reading this as a layperson — it seems like what they’re saying is [trying to establish] a welcoming tone. While not changing the teaching, they’re also trying to not make the primary point of contact be a fight over these lifestyle choices. While holding up that the ideal remains matrimony, they’re not going to be pushed out and harassed by virtue of not being in that arrangement.

CB: The point is that for the church, moral teaching is never a matter of ideals. They’re understood to be real commands that we’re meant to put into practice. All of us are sinners and we have to undergo a daily conversion to live according to the moral truth, but it remains for us always compelling. It’s not just an ideal that we hold out there, that, “It would be nice if it were this way, but I can’t do it.” No, we’re called to conform ourselves to those truths.
That’s the difficulty with the Relatio, which is not well expressed, and does not have a good foundation neither in the sacred scriptures nor in the church’s perennial teachings, and also uses language which can be very confusing.
One of the confusions is that it confuses the person with the sinful acts. In other words, it tries to say that if the church teaches that these acts are sinful that somehow they are turning on the people and driving them away from the church. Well, if the individuals involved are sincere and want to live the truth of moral law, the church is always ready to help. Even if someone sins repeatedly, the church always stands ready to help them begin again. But the truth of the moral law remains and it is compelling. It’s for now, it’s for me, it’s not something out there, some ideal out there that would be nice to realize but it doesn’t compel me.

BFN: I should ask you about the reports that you’re being removed from the Signatura. What message is that sending? Do you think you are being removed in part because of how outspoken you have been on these issues?

CB: The difficulty — I know about all the reports, obviously. I’ve not received an official transfer yet. Obviously, these matters depend on official acts. I mean, I can be told that i’m going to be transferred to a new position but until I have a letter of transfer in my hand it’s difficult for me to speak about it. I’m not free to comment on why I think this may be going to happen.

BFN: Have you been told that you will be transferred?

CB: Yes.

BFN: You’re obviously a very well respected person. That must be disappointing.

CB: Well, I have to say, the area in which I work is an area for which I’m prepared and I’ve tried to give very good service. I very much have enjoyed and have been happy to give this service, so it is a disappointment to leave it. On the other hand, in the church as priests, we always have to be ready to accept whatever assignment we’re given. And so I trust that by accepting this assignment, I trust that God will bless me, and that’s what’s in the end most important. And even though I would have liked to have continued to work in the Apostolic Signatura, I’ll give myself to whatever is the new work that I’m assigned to…

BFN: And that is as the chancellor to the order of Malta, is that right?

CB: It’s called the patron of the sovereign military order of Malta, that’s right.

BFN: So where are we now? As I understand it, the final draft of the Relatio is expected later today and it will be voted on tomorrow, is that right?

CB: It’s scheduled to be read to us tomorrow morning and then there’s to be discussion and the final vote is tomorrow afternoon.

BFN: I’m curious about the revisions that happened yesterday in the English version of the [Relatio] and none of the others. I don’t know if you can shed any light on that…

CB: I only know the revisions that were suggested by the small group to which I belonged, I haven’t seen the other ones, they were all delivered yesterday and were studied yesterday afternoon and today for the revision of the text. From the reports which were published, the summary reports, I believe that there was a rather thorough revision.

BFN: On this final stretch, you have very well respected doctrinal experts like Cardinal Wuerl on [the Relatio] writing committee. Do you have confidence in them going forward?

CB: I trust that they will produce a worthy document. I must say I was shocked by what I heard on Monday morning, which was presented by a very reputable cardinal, the Cardinal-Archbishop of Budapest. So you can imagine I’m a little shaken by that, my trust is a little bit shaken, but I am hoping that we won’t have a repeat of that.

BFN: All right, sir, I very much appreciate you making the time, I know you haven’t spoken with a lot of secular outlets, so I am really honored that you’d be willing to do that for us.

CB: You’re welcome. Goodbye, and God bless you.

This interview has been edited for clarity and to protect the identity of a source.

H/T to Father Z

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Lectio Divina: 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A

Denarius of Tiberius

Giving to God What Is God’s

Paris, October 17, 2014 (Zenit.org) Monsignor Francesco Follo

1) Caesar and God.

Today’s Gospel presents Christ’s famous sentence: “Repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God.” This phrase is repeated in context and out of context when talking about the relationship between Christianity, the institutions, and political power.

In order to provide an evangelic meditation not limited to a short lesson on Church-State relations, I think it important to explain the context in which this phrase is uttered by Jesus.

The Pharisees and the Herodians want to trap Jesus even if they have different views of Israel’s Roman occupation at the time of the Jesus’ earthly life. When a prophet’s words become uncomfortable for the status quo to hear, he must be proven to be in error, it must be shown that he contradicts himself. The question laid out to Him is: “Tell us, then, what is your opinion: Is it lawful to pay the census tax to Caesar or not?

Continue reading

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Pope Francis’ address at the conclusion of the Synod

 Participants_begin_to_enter_the_Vaticans_Synod_Hall_before_the_Friday_session_of_the_Synod_on_the_Family_Oct_10_2014_Credit_Daniel_Ibez_CNA_CNA_10_10_14(Vatican Radio) At the conclusion of the Extraordinary Synod on the Family, Pope Francis addressed the assembled Fathers, thanking them for their efforts and encouraging them to continue to journey.

Below, please find Vatican Radio’s provisional translation of Pope Francis’ address to the Synod Fathers: 

Dear Eminences, Beatitudes, Excellencies, Brothers and Sisters,

With a heart full of appreciation and gratitude I want to thank, along with you, the Lord who has accompanied and guided us in the past days, with the light of the Holy Spirit.

From the heart I thank Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, Secretary General of the Synod, Bishop Fabio Fabene, under-secretary, and with them I thank the Relators, Cardinal Peter Erdo, who has worked so much in these days of family mourning, and the Special Secretary Bishop Bruno Forte, the three President delegates, the transcribers, the consultors, the translators and the unknown workers, all those who have worked with true fidelity and total dedication behind the scenes and without rest. Thank you so much from the heart.

I thank all of you as well, dear Synod fathers, Fraternal Delegates, Auditors, and Assessors, for your active and fruitful participation. I will keep you in prayer asking the Lord to reward you with the abundance of His gifts of grace!

I can happily say that – with a spirit of collegiality and of synodality – we have truly lived the experience of “Synod,” a path of solidarity, a “journey together.”

And it has been “a journey” – and like every journey there were moments of running fast, as if wanting to conquer time and reach the goal as soon as possible; other moments of fatigue, as if wanting to say “enough”; other moments of enthusiasm and ardour. There were moments of profound consolation listening to the testimony of true pastors, who wisely carry in their hearts the joys and the tears of their faithful people. Moments of consolation and grace and comfort hearing the testimonies of the families who have participated in the Synod and have shared with us the beauty and the joy of their married life. A journey where the stronger feel compelled to help the less strong, where the more experienced are led to serve others, even through confrontations. And since it is a journey of human beings, with the consolations there were also moments of desolation, of tensions and temptations, of which a few possibilities could be mentioned:

- One, a temptation to hostile inflexibility, that is, wanting to close oneself within the written word, (the letter) and not allowing oneself to be surprised by God, by the God of surprises, (the spirit); within the law, within the certitude of what we know and not of what we still need to learn and to achieve. From the time of Christ, it is the temptation of the zealous, of the scrupulous, of the solicitous and of the so-called – today – “traditionalists” and also of the intellectuals.

- The temptation to a destructive tendency to goodness [it. buonismo], that in the name of a deceptive mercy binds the wounds without first curing them and treating them; that treats the symptoms and not the causes and the roots. It is the temptation of the “do-gooders,” of the fearful, and also of the so-called “progressives and liberals.”

- The temptation to transform stones into bread to break the long, heavy, and painful fast (cf. Lk 4:1-4); and also to transform the bread into a stone and cast it against the sinners, the weak, and the sick (cf Jn 8:7), that is, to transform it into unbearable burdens (Lk 11:46).

- The temptation to come down off the Cross, to please the people, and not stay there, in order to fulfil the will of the Father; to bow down to a worldly spirit instead of purifying it and bending it to the Spirit of God.

- The temptation to neglect the “depositum fidei” [the deposit of faith], not thinking of themselves as guardians but as owners or masters [of it]; or, on the other hand, the temptation to neglect reality, making use of meticulous language and a language of smoothing to say so many things and to say nothing! They call them “byzantinisms,” I think, these things…

Dear brothers and sisters, the temptations must not frighten or disconcert us, or even discourage us, because no disciple is greater than his master; so if Jesus Himself was tempted – and even called Beelzebul (cf. Mt 12:24) – His disciples should not expect better treatment.

Personally I would be very worried and saddened if it were not for these temptations and these animated discussions; this movement of the spirits, as St Ignatius called it (Spiritual Exercises, 6), if all were in a state of agreement, or silent in a false and quietist peace. Instead, I have seen and I have heard – with joy and appreciation – speeches and interventions full of faith, of pastoral and doctrinal zeal, of wisdom, of frankness and of courage: and of parresia. And I have felt that what was set before our eyes was the good of the Church, of families, and the “supreme law,” the “good of souls” (cf. Can. 1752). And this always – we have said it here, in the Hall – without ever putting into question the fundamental truths of the Sacrament of marriage: the indissolubility, the unity, the faithfulness, the fruitfulness, that openness to life (cf. Cann. 1055, 1056; and Gaudium et spes, 48).

And this is the Church, the vineyard of the Lord, the fertile Mother and the caring Teacher, who is not afraid to roll up her sleeves to pour oil and wine on people’s wound; who doesn’t see humanity as a house of glass to judge or categorize people. This is the Church, One, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic and composed of sinners, needful of God’s mercy. This is the Church, the true bride of Christ, who seeks to be faithful to her spouse and to her doctrine. It is the Church that is not afraid to eat and drink with prostitutes and publicans. The Church that has the doors wide open to receive the needy, the penitent, and not only the just or those who believe they are perfect! The Church that is not ashamed of the fallen brother and pretends not to see him, but on the contrary feels involved and almost obliged to lift him up and to encourage him to take up the journey again and accompany him toward a definitive encounter with her Spouse, in the heavenly Jerusalem.

The is the Church, our Mother! And when the Church, in the variety of her charisms, expresses herself in communion, she cannot err: it is the beauty and the strength of the sensus fidei, of that supernatural sense of the faith which is bestowed by the Holy Spirit so that, together, we can all enter into the heart of the Gospel and learn to follow Jesus in our life. And this should never be seen as a source of confusion and discord.

Many commentators, or people who talk, have imagined that they see a disputatious Church where one part is against the other, doubting even the Holy Spirit, the true promoter and guarantor of the unity and harmony of the Church – the Holy Spirit who throughout history has always guided the barque, through her Ministers, even when the sea was rough and choppy, and the ministers unfaithful and sinners.

And, as I have dared to tell you , [as] I told you from the beginning of the Synod, it was necessary to live through all this with tranquillity, and with interior peace, so that the Synod would take place cum Petro and sub Petro(with Peter and under Peter), and the presence of the Pope is the guarantee of it all.

We will speak a little bit about the Pope, now, in relation to the Bishops [laughing]. So, the duty of the Pope is that of guaranteeing the unity of the Church; it is that of reminding the faithful of  their duty to faithfully follow the Gospel of Christ; it is that of reminding the pastors that their first duty is to nourish the flock – to nourish the flock – that the Lord has entrusted to them, and to seek to welcome – with fatherly care and mercy, and without false fears – the lost sheep. I made a mistake here. I said welcome: [rather] to go out and find them.

His duty is to remind everyone that authority in the Church is a service, as Pope Benedict XVI clearly explained, with words I cite verbatim: “The Church is called and commits herself to exercise this kind of authority which is service and exercises it not in her own name, but in the name of Jesus Christ… through the Pastors of the Church, in fact: it is he who guides, protects and corrects them, because he loves them deeply. But the Lord Jesus, the supreme Shepherd of our souls, has willed that the Apostolic College, today the Bishops, in communion with the Successor of Peter… to participate in his mission of taking care of God’s People, of educating them in the faith and of guiding, inspiring and sustaining the Christian community, or, as the Council puts it, ‘to see to it… that each member of the faithful shall be led in the Holy Spirit to the full development of his own vocation in accordance with Gospel preaching, and to sincere and active charity’ and to exercise that liberty with which Christ has set us free (cf. Presbyterorum Ordinis, 6)… and it is through us,” Pope Benedict continues, “that the Lord reaches souls, instructs, guards and guides them. St Augustine, in his Commentary on the Gospel of St John, says: ‘let it therefore be a commitment of love to feed the flock of the Lord’ (cf. 123, 5); this is the supreme rule of conduct for the ministers of God, an unconditional love, like that of the Good Shepherd, full of joy, given to all, attentive to those close to us and solicitous for those who are distant (cf. St Augustine, Discourse 340, 1; Discourse 46, 15), gentle towards the weakest, the little ones, the simple, the sinners, to manifest the infinite mercy of God with the reassuring words of hope (cf. ibid., Epistle, 95, 1).”

So, the Church is Christ’s – she is His bride – and all the bishops, in communion with the Successor of Peter, have the task and the duty of guarding her and serving her, not as masters but as servants. The Pope, in this context, is not the supreme lord but rather the supreme servant – the “servant of the servants of God”; the guarantor of the obedience and the conformity of the Church to the will of God, to the Gospel of Christ, and to the Tradition of the Church, putting aside every personal whim, despite being – by the will of Christ Himself – the “supreme Pastor and Teacher of all the faithful” (Can. 749) and despite enjoying “supreme, full, immediate, and universal ordinary power in the Church” (cf. Cann. 331-334).

Dear brothers and sisters, now we still have one year to mature, with true spiritual discernment, the proposed ideas and to find concrete solutions to so many difficulties and innumerable challenges that families must confront; to give answers to the many discouragements that surround and suffocate families.

One year to work on the “Synodal Relatio” which is the faithful and clear summary of everything that has been said and discussed in this hall and in the small groups. It is presented to the Episcopal Conferences as “lineamenta” [guidelines].

May the Lord accompany us, and guide us in this journey for the glory of His Name, with the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary and of Saint Joseph. And please, do not forget to pray for me! Thank you!

[The hymn Te Deum was sung, and Benediction given.]

Thank you, and rest well, eh?

Here’s the speech with Father Z’s comments.

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