The Healing Power of Confession – St Matthew Apostle, September 21

The Calling of Saint Matthew – Hendrick ter Brugghen

St. Matthew the Apostle (1st c.) was a Jew who also went by the name of Levi. He was from Galilee and served in Capernaum as a tax collector for Herod Antipas before becoming a disciple of Jesus. It was in the home of St. Matthew that Jesus dined with the “sinners and tax collectors.”  Under Jesus’ influence St. Matthew was led to true repentance for the evil he had done as a tax-collector, a position despised by his fellow Jews. Matthew’s repentance was complete and sincere. He repaid those he cheated four-fold, sold all his possessions, and followed Christ faithfully as one of the twelve Apostles. St. Matthew preached among the Jews for fifteen years following the Resurrection and Ascension of Jesus. He is one of the four evangelists, the author of the Gospel that bears his name, which he wrote to convince the Jews that Jesus Christ was the Messiah promised to Israel. According to tradition, St. Matthew the Apostle brought the Gospel to Syria, Media, Persia, Parthia, and finished his preaching in Ethiopia with a martyr’s death. He is the patron of guards, bankers, accountants, security forces, and stock brokers. His feast day is September 21st.

Perhaps the feast of St Matthew, a sinner who became a great saint, is as good a time as any to remember the importance of having real sorrow for our sins that have so offended God. Repentance should lead us to desire the necessity of making a good Confession and a firm purpose to amend our lives. Only by living in the grace of God can our hearts be filled with true peace and joy.

See this example of a repentant sinner’s conversion (from Father Z’s blog):

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“The Church doesn’t belong to Bergoglio but to Christ.”

“The Church doesn’t belong to Bergoglio but to Christ.” This assertion was made by the well-known Catholic journalist, Vittorio Messori, fine intellectual, author of a historic, John Paul II interview, at the time when interviewing a pope was not the done thing by newspapers.

“The Church doesn’t belong to Bergoglio but to Christ. Certainly, I’m worried. I have seen many people worried, even desperately. As a believer, nonetheless, I keep in mind that  the Church is not a business, a multinational or a state. In a word, it cannot fail. Certainly, there are plenty of reasons for alarm. I’m thinking, for instance, of the upcoming Synod on the Amazon and its related equivocations; I don’t know what they want to attain – probably the married priesthood.   So, I’m worried, but not desperate because the Church does not belong to Bergoglio or the bishops, but to Christ alone and He governs it with wisdom. The forces of evil will not prevail,”

In your opinion, is there a kind of underlying confusion?
“Yes, there is, and it is saddening, bewildering, But I think sooner or later the Father will intervene. God surpasses our limited vision of things”.
Do you believe that there is a type of conformism, even informational, regarding Pope Francis?
“The conformism you are referring to exists. It is quite palpable in the Church. It is staggering that only two or three, almost ninety-year-old cardinals are speaking up and protesting. Many bishops and cardinals I talk to in private, throw up their hands in despair and dissent, but they are afraid, silent – they keep quiet. For 2000 years, touching the Pope has [always] been discouraged, but such a tendency is accentuated today and one can clearly experience it firsthand. 
It is said that this is the Church of mercy, but is it really so? Those in command are intolerant of any criticism.
I wrote a polite article for the Corriere della Sera, in which I posed some questions and reflections and I was covered with insults, especially from certain Catholics in the media. A committee to petition my removal from the Corriere sprung up. This committee includes – to use the fashionable expression –  the “giglio magico”* of the Pope. Well then, how can it be affirmed coherently that this is the Church of mercy, of open and sincere dialogue, of parrhesia. As I said before, I’m worried, but not desperate.   Christ will not abandon His Church.”

[Source: ]

According to Messori a committee connected to Francis’ “magic circle” was set up in order to ask the Corriere della Sera to remove him as a collaborator. [See also: Francis “Magic Circle’” Tried Even to Silence Vittorio Messori – ]

He said a kind of “conformism” about Pope Francis exists, which is “palpable” in the Church. “It’s disconcerting that only two or three almost 90-year-old cardinals speak and protest,” he observed, adding that he knows of “many bishops and also cardinals whom I have dialogued with in private who are pulling their hair out in disagreement.” [Read more of Edward Pentin’s article at the National Catholic Register]

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Our Lady of La Salette – September 19, 1846

On September 19, 1846, the Mother of God appeared to two young shepherds, Melanie Calvat and Maximin Giraud, on the heights of the mountain of La Salette in France. There She dictated to them a public message which She asked to make known to all Her people. And to each little shepherd privately She confided a secret, concerning which She gave special directives. Our text for the feast of Blessed Maximin Giraud, September 20th, gives in his own words a brief description of the apparition. And we summarize [tomorrow] the public message, with its warnings and predictions, all of which have already been fulfilled. Blessed Melanie Calvat was invested with the mission of founding a new religious Order, the Order of the Mother of God, which would associate under one single common rule more than one community, and would include the Apostles of the Latter Times announced by Saint Louis Mary de Montfort in his Prophetic Prayer.

Blessed Melanie was told by the Mother of God to make known her secret after the year 1858, and she published it herself in the face of great difficulties. It was important, and remains important, for the Church to be aware of its contents. We therefore will summarize today, briefly, the secret of La Salette for those who may not yet know it, or even of it.

The Blessed Virgin announced that it was primarily the defections of the Church which will bring down on the world the exemplary chastisement:

God is going to strike in an unprecedented manner. Woe to the inhabitants of the earth! God is going to exhaust His wrath, and no one will be able to resist so many concerted woes… Many will abandon the faith, and the number of priests and religious who will dissociate themselves from the true religion will be great… Many religious institutes will lose the faith entirely and will cause the loss of many souls. The Church will pass through a frightful crisis… The Holy Father will suffer greatly. I will be with him to the end to receive his sacrifice… For a time God will not remember France or Italy because the Gospel of Jesus Christ is no longer known… [But the] prayers, penance and tears of the just will ascend to heaven, and the entire people of God will beg for pardon and mercy and will ask My assistance and My intercession. Then Jesus Christ, by an act of His justice and His great mercy toward the just [will intervene and] then there will be peace, the reconciliation of God with men… Charity will flourish everywhere.. The Gospel will be preached everywhere, and men will make great progress in the faith, because there will be unity among the workers of Jesus Christ and men will live in the fear of God.

She foretells: Rome will lose the faith and will become the seat of Antichrist. To call Her children to combat for God in the days of darkness and sin, the Mother of God concludes:

I address an urgent appeal to the earth: I summon the true disciples of God who lives and reigns in heaven; I summon the true imitators of Christ made man, the one true Saviour of men; I summon My children, My true devotees, those who have given themselves to Me so that I might lead them to My divine Son, those whom I carry, so to speak, in My arms, those who have lived according to My spirit; finally, I summon the Apostles of the Latter Times, the faithful disciples of Jesus Christ who have lived in scorn of the world and of themselves, in poverty and in humility, in contempt and in silence, in prayer and in mortification, in chastity and in union with God, in suffering and unknown to the world. It is time for them to arise and come forth to enlighten the earth.

Go, and show yourselves as My cherished children; I am with you and in you, provided that your faith be the light that enlightens you in these days of woe. May your zeal cause you to be as famished for the glory and honor of Jesus Christ. Fight, children of light, you little number who see; for behold the time of times, the end of ends.


The Apparition of the Blessed Virgin on the Mountain of La Salette (Editions Magnificat: Mont-Tremblant (St. Jovite), Québec, Canada, 1973).

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Idea for the Pan-Amazonian #Synod2019

This, from the Twitter feed of Union Seminary in NYC (non-denominational at Columbia U).

This is a GREAT idea for the upcoming Synod! They could bring in all sorts of trees and plants, maybe with some snakes and frogs still in them and then collectively confess our sins against them.

Union Seminary


Today in chapel, we confessed to plants. Together, we held our grief, joy, regret, hope, guilt and sorrow in prayer; offering them to the beings who sustain us but whose gift we too often fail to honor.

What do you confess to the plants in your life?

View image on Twitter


We have a lot to apologize for.

Think of all the plants being abused because of climate change!

We are making those poor plants work harder than ever before to save us from ourselves.  They are sacrificing their own well-being to keep us from destroying creation with our closed-minded, blinkered, selfish materialist rape of the Amazon forests.

As Ed Pentin reported HERE:

From an ecological point of view, the Instrumentum laboris represents the Church’s acceptance of the deification of nature promoted by the UN conferences on the environment.

In fact, official UN documents, already in 1972, claimed that man has mismanaged natural resources mainly due to “a certain philosophical conception of the world.” While “pantheistic theories … attributed part of the divinity to living beings … scientific discoveries led to … a kind of desacralization of natural beings,” the best justification of which is reaffirmed “in the Judeo-Christian conceptions according to which God created man in his image and gave him the earth to subdue.” Conversely, the UN said, practicing the cult of ancestors “constituted a bulwark for the environment, since trees or water courses were protected and revered as a reincarnation of ancestors” (Aspects éducatifs, sociaux et culturels des problèmes de l’environnement et questions de l’information, UN General Assembly, Stockholm, June 5-6 1972, A/CONF.48.9, p. 8 & 9).

In the closing speech of Rio 92 in Rio de Janeiro, the then-UN Secretary General, Boutros Boutros-Ghali declared that “for the ancients, the Nile was a god that was worshiped, as was the Rhine, an infinite source of European myths, or the Amazon rainforest, mother of all forests. Everywhere, nature was the home of gods. They gave the forest, the desert, the mountain, a personality that imposed adoration and respect. The Earth had a soul. Finding it, resurrecting it: this is the essence [of the Intergovernmental Conference] in Rio.” (A / CONF.151 / 26, vol. IV, p. 76).

And this neo-pagan UN agenda is now proposed by a Synodal Assembly of the Catholic Church!

Citing a document from Bolivia, the Instrumentum laboris states that, “the forest is not a resource to be exploited, it is a being or more beings with which to relate” (n ° 23); it continues by stating that “The life of the Amazon communities still unaffected by the influence of Western civilization [sic], is reflected in the beliefs and rituals regarding the action of spirits, of the divinity – called in so many names – with and in the territory, with and in relation to nature. This cosmovision [I learned a new word!] is summarized in the “mantra” of Francis: ‘everything is connected’” (n ° 25).

We have no time to lose!

Apologize to your houseplants today!

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Really Pope Francis? Must We Obey the United Nations and the Evil it Commands?

So here we go again… environmentalist, anti-Catholic Jorge Bergoglio who sits on the Chair of Saint Peter is telling us that we must obey the UN and its evil agenda of ungodly laws. This is blatant apostasy from the Catholic Faith. “Our Father, Who Art in Heaven … Lead us not into temptation and deliver us from evil. Amen”

United Nations headquarters: seat of the Illuminati

Pope Francis: “Man Must Obey the UN”

by David Martin

2000 years ago, Christ instituted the Roman Catholic Church with the commission that it enlighten all peoples on the path of salvation and provide a sure means of attaining it. As Christ sees it, the Roman Catholic Church is the one central world authority to which all peoples should be subjugated. In 1945, the archenemies of Christianity founded the United Nations with the objective of destroying Christianity and submerging the world’s peoples under the tyranny of communistic one-world government. The U.N. today is that central world force that is generating the present day revolt against the Faith, with special emphasis on children’s rights, feminist rights, abortion rights, LGBTQ rights, and all the Masonic rights that were created to separate man from God. The U.N. asserts that these “rights” are to be respected everywhere by all peoples. Pope Francis agrees. During a September 10 press conference on route to Rome from Madagascar, the pope insisted that when the United Nations speaks, man must listen. “When we acknowledge international organizations and we recognize their capacity to give judgment, on a global scale—for example the international tribunal in The Hague, or the United Nations—If we consider ourselves humanity, when they make statements, our duty is to obey … We must obey international institutions. That is why the United Nations were created.”

So according to Francis, when the U.N. says that homosexuals must be free to express their sexual orientation and that women must be guaranteed their right to abortion, the world must obey. Hard to believe? Let us not forget that the pope on several occasions has invited U.N. abortion advocates like Jeffery Sachs and Ban Ki moon to speak at the Vatican. As they see it, the Church’s duty is to help make “mother earth” a safer place through population control and the Vatican on April 29, 2015, even adopted the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which include contraception, abortion, and euthanasia. Since his election, the pope has advocated that we look to these global elite masters for our instruction, as expressed in his encyclical Laudato Si: “There is urgent need of a true world political authority.” Wasn’t the authority of the King of kings good enough? The U.N. is the infamous brood of vipers that is perverting the nations and bringing them to a collision course, so why is Francis commending his flock to them?

Rooted in the Talmud

Let us take a closer look that these infernal elite masters that Francis adulates. The cult of the Grand Masters goes back to the time of the Pharisees with their practice of sorcery and their murder of the Christ. The written form of the Pharisaic tradition is the Talmud, penned by the descendants of the Pharisees in the fourth century, which forms the backbone of modern Judaism and which hurls the most hateful and pornographic insults against Jesus Christ, even condemning Him to hell to boil in His own excrement. The Talmudic cult has come up through the ages as the key persecutor of religion, though it formerly wasn’t known by any particular name other than “pagan” or “infidel.” The name “Illuminati,” signifying “light bearer,” was first used by a 15th century German sect that claimed to possess the “light” of Lucifer.

The Illuminati

The movement then assumed a more structured form in 1776 with the founding of the Illuminati in Germany by Adam Weishaupt, a Jewish philosopher and Talmudist. He supposedly converted and became a priest of the Jesuit order, but after being expelled from the ranks he harbored a vicious hatred against God and the Roman Catholic Church, and thence he was committed to founding a global system that would war against Christ and subjugate the world’s peoples to the authority of a world government run by a small financial elite. Meanwhile, Mayer Amschal of the Rothschild banking dynasty was in search of a way to establish world control through his financial empire, being a Talmudist himself. He knew that in order for his dark empire to succeed, the Catholic Church with its illuminating force would have to be destroyed. In 1773 he met with Weishaupt, and seeing his sinister ambitions he commissioned him to formulate a system that would advance his own aspirations, and in turn he vowed to financially support Weishaupt’s war against religion.

Hence we saw the birth of the Illuminati which, from that point, would labor incessantly to replace the institutionalized Order of God with its own. The Illuminati would then be the foundation of all anarchist movements to follow, including the French Revolution of 1789 and the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia (1917) that was funded by Jacob Schiff and the Rothschilds in New York.

Revolution indeed is on tap for mankind if there isn’t a universal return to God and His Divine Laws. The plan of globalists is to create a global state of emergency through revolution, but this can be foiled through prayer and a concerted effort to expose this diabolical plan.

The Illuminati banks on its secrecy for success. When certain people started growing wise to their secret plotting in the 1800s, members found it necessary to camouflage their existence in order to keep the public in the dark, so they began operating under different names in different parts of the globe.

The Council on Foreign Relations

Hence the Council on Foreign Relations was born. Founded in 1921, the CFR is nothing more than the North American branch of the Illuminati. Their plan is to crumble the U.S. so that we will eventually be forced to merge with their new-world government, whereby our nation’s sovereignty will be nullified.

Admiral Chester Ward, a former Judge Advocate of the U.S. Navy, was a CFR member for sixteen years before resigning in disgust. He said: “The main purpose of the Council on Foreign Relations is promoting the disarmament of U.S. sovereignty and national independence, and submergence into an all-powerful one-world government.”

United Nations Drafted by the CFR

It was the Council on Foreign Relations that drafted the United Nations in 1945. A group of CFR members in the State Department calling themselves the Informal Agenda Group conceived the idea of the U.N. They played their advantage knowing that the proposal of a “world peace-keeping organization” would go over big in the wake of all the heartbreaks of World War II. They drafted the original plan and secured the approval of President Roosevelt, a secret society initiate himself, who then made establishing the U.N. his highest postwar priority. At the UN’s founding meeting in San Francisco in 1945, forty-seven of the American delegates were CFR members. Speaks volumes!

David Rockefeller, the long-time Chairman of the CFR had this to say in 2002 about his aspirations: “Some even believe we are part of a secret cabal working against the best interests of the United States, characterizing my family and me as ‘internationalists’ and of conspiring with others around the world to build a more integrated global political and economic structure—one world, if you will. If that’s the charge, I stand guilty, and I am proud of it.” (Memoirs, pg. 405)

Rockefeller was the former invisible head of this secret government that is now bearing down on the west and reducing it to a socialist state. Obama acted as visible head of this cabal in North America. His assignment was to execute its internationalist design for “change.” Francis Executing Internationalist Plan Pope Francis advocates this very change, which has elicited praise from globalists the world over. There isn’t a communist or Freemason today who isn’t in praise of Francis. For instance, In July 2013, commemorating his friend and late Cardinal Ersilio Tonini, the Masonic Grand Master Gustavo Raffi (Grand Orient of Italy) launched this tribute to Pope Francis: “Humanity today is poorer and poorer, as is also the Catholic Church. But the one of Pope Francis is a church that promises to be respectful of the otherness and to share the idea that the secular state promotes peace and coexistence of different religions.” On September 21, 2013, during the celebrations by the Freemasons of the Grand Orient of Italy, the Grand Master Gustavo Raffi also stated, inter alia: “Pope Francis launches messages of humanity that are in tune with what we have been saying for years. He also invites people to come out of the catacombs and not to withdraw but to witness among the different peoples to one’s own values [i.e. personal aspirations], in speaking to society. The reflections should not be limited to today but should build the future. This is a living Masonry, talking to people [in a dialogue].”

On and on the praises go, the reason being that this pope from the beginning has done the bidding of Freemasons to down-talk Church tradition, even dubbing “schismatic” those who hold tenaciously to the old teachings, while continually emphasizing that we move forward with the change of ecumenism that Freemasons have advocated for three centuries.

Perhaps this pope is confused, naïve, or bound by Masonic extortion, but he cannot bow to Jesus Christ and to global elite masters at the same time. He cannot join the new church of man and at the same time be Roman Catholic. Contrary to what Francis says, doctrine is simply “this or that way,” and this doctrine never changes. It is man who must always change to please God, and the change that Christ requires of the hierarchy right now is that they reject modernism and restore the Church to its former position of honor as it stood before Vatican II. For Satan infiltrated the Council through the Freemasons and engendered the new order of change—a change that is fast coming to a head under Francis—so our duty as Catholics is to resist this new order of temptation and to remain ever faithful under siege, remembering the exhortation of St. Paul for withstanding these days of Antichrist: “Therefore, brethren, stand fast; and hold the traditions which you have learned, whether by word, or by our epistle.” (2 Thessalonians 2:14)

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Psychiatrist To Bergoglio’s Priests Who Sought Help: “I Need to Treat Your Archbishop”

This revelation from an acclaimed psychiatrist explains much towards understanding the twisted mind of Francis.

Pope Francis answers questions from journalists aboard his flight from Antananarivo, Madagascar, to Rome Sept. 10, 2019. (CNS photo)

Henry Sire, the author of  “The Dictator Pope”, commented on Twitter (September 13) Pope Francis’ words on the flight from Mozambique to Rome, that his [own] critics may have psychological problems and should be treated kindly.

Sire observes that Francis, in his remarks, often reveals his own personality, because “it was Bergoglio who was seeing a psychiatrist while he was Archbishop of Buenos Aires.”

Sire also recalls the Buenos Aires priests who sought treatment from a well-known Argentinean psychiatrist because of the “merry dance” Bergoglio was leading them.

However, the psychiatrist told them, “I can’t treat you, to solve your problems I would need to treat your Archbishop.”

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Reflection for the 24th Sunday of Ordinary Time–Cycle C

Image result for rubens prodigal son

FIRST READING Exodus 32:7-11, 13-14

The LORD said to Moses, “Go down at once to your people, whom you brought out of the land of Egypt, for they have become depraved. They have soon turned aside from the way I pointed out to them, making for themselves a molten calf and worshiping it, sacrificing to it and crying out, ‘This is your God, O Israel, who brought you out of the land of Egypt!’ I see how stiff-necked this people is,” continued the LORD to Moses. “Let me alone, then, that my wrath may blaze up against them to consume them. Then I will make of you a great nation.” But Moses implored the LORD, his God, saying, “Why, O LORD, should your wrath blaze up against your own people, whom you brought out of the land of Egypt with such great power and with so strong a hand? Remember your servants Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, and how you swore to them by your own self, saying, ‘”I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky; and all this land that I promised, I will give your descendants as their perpetual heritage.’” So the LORD relented in the punishment he had threatened to inflict on his people.

SECOND READING 1 Timothy 1:12-17

Beloved: I am grateful to him who has strengthened me, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he considered me trustworthy in appointing me to the ministry. I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and arrogant, but I have been mercifully treated because I acted out of ignorance in my unbelief. Indeed, the grace of our Lord has been abundant, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. This saying is trustworthy and deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. Of these I am the foremost. But for that reason I was mercifully treated, so that in me, as the foremost, Christ Jesus might display all his patience as an example for those who would come to believe in him for everlasting life. To the king of ages, incorruptible, invisible, the only God, honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.

GOSPEL Luke 15:1-32

Tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to listen to Jesus, but the Pharisees and scribes began to complain, saying, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” So to them he addressed this parable. “What man among you having a hundred sheep and losing one of them would not leave the ninety-nine in the desert and go after the lost one until he finds it? And when he does find it, he sets it on his shoulders with great joy and, upon his arrival home, he calls together his friends and neighbors and says to them, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you, in just the same way there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who have no need of repentance. “Or what woman having ten coins and losing one would not light a lamp and sweep the house, searching carefully until she finds it? And when she does find it, she calls together her friends and neighbors and says to them, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found the coin that I lost.’ In just the same way, I tell you, there will be rejoicing among the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” Then he said, “A man had two sons, and the younger son said to his father, ‘Father give me the share of your estate that should come to me.’ So the father divided the property between them. After a few days, the younger son collected all his belongings and set off to a distant country where he squandered his inheritance on a life of dissipation. When he had freely spent everything, a severe famine struck that country, and he found himself in dire need. So he hired himself out to one of the local citizens who sent him to his farm to tend the swine. And he longed to eat his fill of the pods on which the swine fed, but nobody gave him any. Coming to his senses he thought, ‘How many of my father’s hired workers have more than enough food to eat, but here am I, dying from hunger. I shall get up and go to my father and I shall say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I no longer deserve to be called your son; treat me as you would treat one of your hired workers.”‘ So he got up and went back to his father. While he was still a long way off, his father caught sight of him, and was filled with compassion. He ran to his son, embraced him and kissed him. His son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you; I no longer deserve to be called your son.’ But his father ordered his servants, ‘Quickly bring the finest robe and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Take the fattened calf and slaughter it. Then let us celebrate with a feast, because this son of mine was dead, and has come to life again; he was lost, and has been found.’ Then the celebration began. Now the older son had been out in the field and, on his way back, as he neared the house, he heard the sound of music and dancing. He called one of the servants and asked what this might mean. The servant said to him, ‘Your brother has returned and your father has slaughtered the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’ He became angry, and when he refused to enter the house, his father came out and pleaded with him. He said to his father in reply, ‘Look, all these years I served you and not once did I disobey your orders; yet you never gave me even a young goat to feast on with my friends. But when your son returns, who swallowed up your property with prostitutes, for him you slaughter the fattened calf.’ He said to him, ‘My son, you are here with me always; everything I have is yours. But now we must celebrate and rejoice, because your brother was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.’”

My sisters and brothers in the Lord,

How much we must learn from today’s Gospel! How much we must acknowledge that whatever good we have comes from the Lord! How much mercy we must have for others! Our love and our mercy must reflect that of God Himself, who is boundless love and mercy.

We must look at the first reading from the Book of Exodus. God is tired of His people because they are never faithful to Him. Yet God allows Himself to be persuaded by Moses and does not destroy His own people. Are we intercessors? Do we pray for others to be spared? Do we ask God to be faithful to His promises to us? We can only do this if we are praying regularly have a deep and solid connection to the Lord. Such a deep and solid connection never means that we will not faithful. Rather it means that no matter how often we fail, we trust in Him to bring us back to Him. We must do our part, but God is always faithful.

The second reading today is an instance of God being faithful to His people. Saint Paul tells us in the First Letter to Timothy: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. Of these I am the foremost.” We can doubt that Paul was any worse of a sinner than we are, but we cannot doubt that God is always present, seeking us out to save us.

The Gospel of Saint Luke today gives us the story of the Prodigal Son, the son who asks for everything of his inheritance, goes off and wastes it, then returns and his father rushes to embrace him. The ungrateful and unworthy son is contrasted to the other son, who is always faithful and yet who grows angry when the father shows his love for the first son, the son who wasted everything but at least came home.

Hardly any of us really want God to be this merciful! We want some kind of measuring device so that we can say who is good and who is not. Yet God Himself knows that the only way to live is with love: love for those who love us and love for those who want to kill us; love for those who are nice and love for those who are not nice; love for those who do well and love for those who always fail. We can be embarrassed by God’s enormous love because we often don’t want God to love others if they don’t seem to deserve it.

This challenges us today: do I deserve God’s love? We cannot answer that question by telling Him what we have done. We must answer that question by the way that we live His love in our lives. It is not just doing good things that can save us, but doing good because we know that we are loved. We must return God’s love with our love and we must love others as God shows us He loves in this story today.

O God of love, change our hearts so that they reflect your heart, which loves everyone now and always: let us be merciful as our Father is merciful

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St Pio and the Cross

Finding of the True Cross, by Agnolo Gaddi (1350-96). Basilica di Santa Croce, Florence, Italy.

The feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross celebrates two historical events: the discovery of the True Cross by Saint Helena, the mother of the Emperor Constantine, in 320 under the temple of Venus in Jerusalem, and the dedication in 335 of the basilica and shrine built on Calvary by Constantine, which mark the site of the Crucifixion.

In the Roman liturgy the preface of the Mass reminds us that since the tree of Paradise was the place of mankind’s fall, God has wanted the Cross to be the new tree that would save us: “ut unde mors oriebatur, inde vita resurgeret, so that where death arose, life might again spring forth.” The readings emphasise the lifting up of Christ on the wood of the Cross as an anticipation of his being raised into glory, and as the “magnet” that would draw all creatures unto HimThe Cross is the place of Jesus’ triumph, and from it, He wants us to help spread His reign. Christ our Lord was crucified; from the height of the Cross He redeemed the world, thereby restoring peace between God and men. Jesus reminds all of us, ‘And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, I will draw all things to myself’ (Jn 12:32).

We adore You O’ Christ and we bless You, because by Your holy Cross, You have redeemed the world!

O Crux, ave spes unica! Hail, O Cross, our only hope!

The Cross has been the “only hope” in this vale of tears of countless saints throughout the history of the Church. The witness of saints (known, or unknown) and their willingness to carry their cross with love, patience and humility for the salvation of souls for Christ, has brought abundant grace and good fruits to the Faith. But one saint of the Holy Cross – a saint of our own times – has shone out above all others…

Imagine Jesus crucified in your arms and on your chest, and say a hundred times as you kiss His chest, “This is my hope, the living source of my happiness; this is the heart of my soul; nothing will ever separate me from His love.” (St Padre Pio)

Padre Pio was aware of being picked by God as collaborator in the redemption work of Christ (even if in his letters he confessed his unworthiness) and that this collaboration would be realised through the cross. The cross was the light that illuminated his life of tremendous, unbelievable suffering, and an endless fountain of strength, generosity, faithfulness and perseverance which were asked by his vocation.


by Sensus Fidelium 


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American priest to Pope: I’m ‘wearied from being scorned and demonized by you’

From LifeSiteNews:

Mgsr. Charles Pope on EWTN, Nov. 8, 2018

A widely-recognized and respected American priest has responded to Pope Francis’ recent remarks on “young, rigid priests,” saying in a social media post addressed to the Pope that he must “honestly and painfully say that I am wearied from being scorned and demonized by you.”

On his way to Mozambique, the Argentinian pontiff stated that he considered it to be an honor to be attacked by Americans. In a prepared speech to the bishops of Mozambique on September 7, he warned them against “young, rigid priests.” On his return to Rome yesterday, Pope Francis again mentioned “rigidity,” saying that “we have many, many schools of rigidity” in the Church. The pontiff also said that he does not “fear schisms” and said that there had been many schisms in the Church.

While advising the bishops of Mozambique on choosing men for ministry, Pope Francis said:

“I would like to emphasize an attitude that I do not like, because it does not come from God: rigidity. Today it is fashionable, I do not know about here, but in other parts of the world it is fashionable, to find rigid people. Young, rigid priests, who want to save with rigidity, perhaps, I don’t know, but they take this attitude of rigidity and sometimes – excuse me – from the museum. They are afraid of everything, they are rigid. Be careful, and know that under any rigidity there are serious problems.”

In response to Pope Francis’s remarks about Americans and “rigid young priests,” Monsignor Charles Pope wrote on social media:

Santo Padre, I’m not feeling the love here, I don’t feel accompanied by you. Make room in your heart for me and others like me. I am not a young priest, but I know you don’t like my type of priesthood. Further I am an American and this mere fact seems to also make me troublesome in your eyes. I am not afraid of everything a you state, but I do have concerns for the ambiguity of some of your teachings and severity of some of your actions. Yet when we, your less favored sons, ask you questions you will not answer or clarify. In all this I am still your son and share the priesthood of Jesus with you. I await the solicitude and gentle care from you that you say I, and others like me, lack. Meanwhile I must honestly and painfully say that I am wearied from being scorned and demonized by you.



British blogger-priest Fr. Raymond Blake circulated the cri-de-coeur on Twitter,adding, “I don’t see this continuous criticism from our beloved Holy Father as Christlike, I find it painful and destructive of faith and unity, and contrary to the action of the Holy Spirit’s action in the Church.”

Mark Lambert, an American Catholic lay blogger and father of five, posted Msgr. Pope’s message on his blog. He believes millions of Catholics feel the same sense of being abandoned.

“As a son abandoned by a father who chose immorality over paternal duties, I recognise the tone of these comments,” Lambert wrote. “They are as [by] a wounded child to his father, trying to understand his abandonment.”

“I sense this is a feeling millions of Catholics are feeling as this papacy rages on, seemingly completely unstoppable. Pope Francis’ rampage appears all powerful, with no one even interested in commenting.”

Lambert sees this expression of power as a “stark contrast” with the helplessness of Pope Benedict XVI, who reportedly told Bishop Fellay of the Society of St. Pius X that his papal “authority ends at that door.”

‘A fair criticism is always well received, at least by me’

Lambert also joined a chorus of Catholic voices disturbed that Pope Francis claimed he welcomes criticism and also that he would speak glibly about a schism in the Church.

Following up on the furor caused by the pontiff’s off-the-cuff remarks about Americans, Jason Horowitz of The New York Times asked Pope Francis if he is “afraid of a schism in the American Church.”

“On the plane to Maputo, you acknowledged being under attack by a sector of the American Church,” Horowitz said.

“Evidently, there are strong criticisms, and there are even some cardinals and bishops, TV [stations], Catholics, American web sites – many criticisms. Even some very close allies have spoken of a plot against you, some of your allies in the Italian curia,” the NYT reporter continued.

“Is there something these critics don’t understand about your pontificate, or is there something that you have learned from the criticisms [coming from] the United States? Another thing, are you afraid of a schism in the American Church and if yes, is there something that you could do, dialogue to help avoid it?”

In response, the pontiff said that he sees the value of criticism and that he likes it when people criticize him directly. He thinks that to write articles critiquing him and asking for a response is fair and “love for the Church,” but “to criticize without wanting to hear the response and without dialogue is not wanting the good of the Church.”

“It is to go backward to a fixed idea, to change the pope, to change the style, to create schism, this is clear, no?” he continued.

“A fair criticism is always well received, at least by me.”

In an editorial entitled “The passive-aggressive papacy continues – and the Synod approaches,” Carl Olson of Catholic World Report pointed out the obvious: Pope Francis still has not responded to criticism regarding Amoris laetitia.

“… There have been respectful and reasonable concerns—some expressed in critical but not outrageous ways—that Francis has pointedly ignored,” Olson wrote.

“The famous dubia submitted by four cardinals (two of whom [are] now deceased) is an obvious example. The dubia were submitted in writing, the cardinals asked respectfully for a response, and they wanted an answer,” he continued.

“None came, and none will, I’m convinced. As I noted in June 2017: ‘I’ll be shocked—and I don’t use that term lightly—if Francis agrees to meet with the four cardinals, or if he formally responds to the dubia. I believe Francis is content to create the mess that is currently spreading throughout the Church, and even, at times, to encourage it even more by way of dubious assertions.’”

Olson also cast doubt on the assertion that Francis does mull over good criticism in a “mature, pastoral manner.”

“… While Francis makes distinctions between good and bad critics, he and his closest collaborators (not to mention his defenders on Twitter, who are equal parts passive and aggressive) rarely, if ever, really address or consider good criticism in a mature, pastoral manner,” Olson wrote.

“In many cases they misrepresent it or attack those who put it forward in good faith,” he continued.

“Put another way, Francis and company make it quite clear, in the end, that any and all criticism is motivated by some irrational, ideological, political, and unCatholic hatred of Francis. They would rather stonewall, deflect, and even insult rather than actually dialogue. If I’ve seen it once, I’ve seen it several dozen times.”

However, Pope Francis’ English biographer, Austen Ivereigh, thought the pontiff had described his supposedly “well financed” American critics very well.

“Francis’s description of those who dispense criticism via ‘arsenic pills’ & of those who ‘throw a stone and then hide their hands’ is a perfect description of the well financed US opposition,” Ivereigh wrote on Twitter. 

‘I don’t fear schisms’

Regarding threats to Church unity, Pope Francis told the NYT there have been many schisms throughout Church history, including the “best known break of [Archbishop] Lefebvre.”

“There is always schismatic action in the Church, always, no? It is one of the actions that the Lord always leaves to human freedom,” he continued.

“I don’t fear schisms, I pray they don’t exist because there’s the spiritual health of many people [to consider], right? [I pray] there will be dialogue, that there will be correction if there is some mistake, but the path of schism is not Christian.”

Mark Lambert was horrified by Francis’ tone.

“It seems frankly inconceivable to me that any pope would speak of one of the very worst things to happen to the Church in the way this Pope is speaking of possible schism,” the blogger said.

Lambert stated that expressing no fear of schism was “the very antithesis to” Francis’ role as Pope for, as Lumen Gentium states, the Bishop of Rome “is the perpetual and visible source and foundation of the unity both of the bishops and of the whole company of the faithful” (LG 23, CCC 882).

Lambert recalled that in 2016, the pontiff was reported as having said, “It is not to be excluded that I will enter history as the one who split the Catholic Church,” and wondered if Francis sees schism “as some sort of plan for his papacy.”

Pope Francis’ remarks about not fearing a schism were widely reported in the worldwide Catholic and mainstream media.

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The Fool in the Vatican

Opinion piece by William Marshall at Townhall:

I never thought I would refer to a Pope as a fool, but it has come to that. If in so doing my fellow Catholics condemn me as somehow blaspheming against the Mother Church or God, so be it. But after reading Francis X. Rocca’s article in the September 11 edition of the Wall Street Journal, which has the pontiff saying that it would be “an honor that [conservative Catholic] Americans attack me,” for not standing up for traditional Catholic teachings on marriage, sexuality and bioethics, while instead opining on climate change and migration, I can’t hold my tongue.

Dear God, give me strength.

The photo the Journal chose to accompany Rocca’s piece is very fitting. It depicts Pope Francis gesticulating with his left hand with a moronic grin, raised eyebrows and wild eyes, which just screams “I’m in so over my head, you have no idea!”

The article’s title, “Pope Francis Doesn’t Fear Schism”, pretty much sums up how benighted is this man in the Vatican. While he ventures into waters in which he has no expertise, like “man-made climate change,” he is making fundamental changes to Catholic doctrine where he presumably does have some expertise, that is sowing confusion and turmoil among tradition-minded Catholics.

One of Pope Francis’s most egregious moves was elevating a known homosexual pederast, former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, from the disgraced obscurity to which Pope Benedict had consigned him back to lofty heights within the Church, as one of Francis’s top advisors, despite Pope Francis being forewarned of McCarrick’s perversions. The mind reels. Eventually, thankfully, Pope Francis removed McCarrick following a public uproar and Cardinal McCarrick, now Mr. McCarrick, was finally defrocked.

Even Pope Francis’s comment, cited in the Journal article, on the potential of a schism within the Church caused by his changes (or confused thinking) evidences a cognitive incoherence that should make the entire College of Cardinals question whether this man is fit to lead the billion-member Church. He said, “There is always a schismatic option in the church,” but added that the “path of schism is not Christian.”


By saying that schism is always an “option” in the church and then, in the very same breath, saying “schism is not Christian”, he contradicts himself. No, schism is not an option for Catholics. Look what has happened to the Episcopal Church created by their Francis-like schizophrenic social teachings and policies. That denomination has fractured. Domestic Episcopal church attendance has declined 13 percent over the last five years, largely due to “doctrinal disagreements.” Think the Roman Catholic church can’t fracture similarly? Think again.

We’re in real trouble with this individual at the helm of arguably the most powerful institution for the protection of humanity that the world has ever known. The Church’s contributions to education, medicine, science, the rule of law, and caring for the world’s poor have been immense. The Journal reports the Pope saying, “I pray that there will not be schisms, but I am not afraid.”

Well, Your Holiness, my recommendation is that you should be afraid. As the article points out, you have very powerful, very erudite, and I think truly holy men within the church who recognize the damage you are causing and are so afraid for its continued unity, that they are directly challenging you. That is not something to be taken lightly.

One top-ranking Catholic prelate, Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, who served as Papal Nuncio (ambassador) to the United States from 2011 to 2016, was so incensed by his first-hand knowledge of Pope Francis covering up for Cardinal McCarrick’s crimes, and then elevating him despite his awareness of them, that he bravely wrote an extraordinary 11-page open letter blowing the whistle on Pope Francis that every Catholic should read. He called on Pope Francis to resign.

And Archbishop Vigano is not alone among the remarkable men who are questioning whether Pope Francis should continue in his holy office. The very estimable American Cardinal Raymond Burke, a conservative who was the chief of the Vatican supreme court until his removal by Pope Francis, has more subtly suggested that a removal or resignation of Pope Francis may be in order or, to use his word, “licit”, based upon Archbishop Vigano’s allegations.

Some Catholics have questioned whether the election of Pope Francis, then Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, was illicitly engineered in an orchestrated campaign prior to or during the papal conclave which elevated Bergoglio, in violation of the rules of the apostolic constitution, based upon revelations and comments made by the late  Cardinal Godfried Danneels of Belgium, and by former Cardinal McCarrick. In an interview in August, Cardinal Burke was a bit more circumspect regarding whether such plotting would void Francis’s election as pontiff.

Francis’s confounding policies and statements have so alarmed senior Church officials that four cardinals, with the support of Cardinal Burke, have petitioned Pope Francis with a letter asking for simple yes/no responses to five simple questions seeking clarity on Church doctrine. That’s a very serious matter.

I do not believe one should blindly follow a celebrity-obsessed man who finds time to lecture Americans about eliminating their borders, allowing illegal aliens to flout their laws and flood their country, all while he lives in a palace safely protected by the Swiss Guard.  And as I wrote earlier this year in a column titled “The Silence of the Shepherd”, Pope Francis’s failure to speak out against the abhorrent comments of Virginia’s governor/physician in which he effectively advocated for infanticide, was a gross dereliction of duty.

I love the Church. I love its history, its majesty, its enormous contributions to human civilization, and its teachings, imperfect as I may be in following them. And it requires the finest of men to lead it. Where is Pope (now Saint) John Paul II when we most need him?

William F. Marshall has been an intelligence analyst and investigator in the government, private, and non-profit sectors for more than 30 years. He is a senior investigator for Judicial Watch, Inc. and a contributor to Townhall, American Thinker, and The Federalist.

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Burke And Schneider Launch Crusade: The Six Amazon Errors

From (breaking news)

Cardinal Raymond Burke and Bishop Athanasius Schneider have issued an[other] eight-page declaration against six “serious theological errors and heresies” in the Amazon Synod’s working document.

They call on the faithful to engage in a crusade of prayer and fasting for forty days to prevent such errors of being approved. The suggestion is to pray daily one decade of the Rosary and to fast once a week for this intentions from September 17 to October 26. The six errors are:

● an implicit pantheism identifying God with nature and the universe

● the notion that paganism is a source of Divine Revelation and an alternative pathway to salvation

● the idea that natives already received divine revelation and that the Church in the Amazon needs a missionary and pastoral “conversion”

● granting ministries to women and turning married local chieftains into second-class priests

● considering man as a mere link in nature’s ecological chain and economic development as an aggression against ‘Mother Earth’

● calling for an “integral ecological conversion” which includes the adoption of the collective social model of natives where individual personality and freedom are undermined.

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The Matter of Schism

By Robert Moynihan at Inside The Vatican:

Schism embraces two distinct species: heretical or mixed schism, and schism pure and simple. The first has its source in heresy or joined with it, the second, which most theologians designate absolutely as schism, is the rupture of the bond of subordination without an accompanying persistent error, directly opposed to a definite dogma. This distinction was drawn by St. Jerome and St. Augustine. ‘Between heresy and schism,’ explains St. Jerome, ‘there is this difference, that heresy perverts dogma, while schism, by rebellion against the bishop, separates from the Church. Nevertheless there is no schism which does not trump up a heresy to justify its departure from the Church’ (In Ep. ad Tit., iii, 10). And St. Augustine: “By false doctrines concerning God heretics wound faith, by iniquitous dissensions schismatics deviate from fraternal charity, although they believe what we believe” (On Faith and the Creed 9). But as St. Jerome remarks, practically and historically, heresy and schism nearly always go hand in hand; schism leads almost invariably to denial of the papal primacy.” —The Catholic Encyclopedia, “Schism” (link)

It is not to be excluded that I will enter history as the one who split the Catholic Church.” —Words attributed to Pope Francis by German journalist Walter Mayr in the German magazine Der Spiegel (“The Mirror”) in a December 23, 2016, article, almost three years ago now. Francis is said to have spoken those words to members of his inner circle, and the words were repeated to Mayr. It is not clear whether Mayr heard this declaration from one of the members of that circle, or from someone who overheard the words. No disclaimer has come from the Vatican Press Office, that is, the remark has not been denied. But it has also never been officially confirmed (link)

It is to be emphatically stated that the Instrumentum Laboris (for the upcoming October 6-27 Synod on the Amazon Region) contradicts the binding teaching of the Church on decisive points, and is therefore to be qualified as heretical. Inasmuch as the fact of Divine Revelation is here even being questioned or misunderstood, one must also speak of apostasy.” —The German Cardinal Walter Brandmüller, 89 — one of the leading Church historians alive today (he is an expert of the history of the Reformation) — in his brief, sharply critical study of the preparatory working document for the Amazon Synod (link), which he issued about two and a half months ago, on June 27, 2019

For me it’s an honor if Americans attack me.” —Pope Francis, one week ago, at the beginning of his just-concluded trip to Africa, on the papal plane, after being handed a new French book, How America Wanted to Change the Pope, by its author, French journalist Nicholas Seneze, a journalist who covers the Vatican for La Croix (a French Catholic newspaper) (link)

Pope Francis answers questions from journalists aboard his flight from Antananarivo, Madagascar, to Rome Sept. 10, 2019. (CNS photo/Paul Haring) See AFRICA-POPE-PLANE Sept. 10, 2019.

I am not afraid of schisms, I pray that there will be none, because what is at stake is people’s spiritual health. Let there be dialogue, let there be correction if there is an error, but the schismatic path is not ChristianA schism is always an elitist separation stemming from an ideology detached from doctrine. It is an ideology, perhaps correct, but that engages doctrine and detaches it… And so I pray that schisms do not happen, but I am not afraid of them.” —Pope Francis, September 10, 2019 (yesterday), on the papal plane returning from a 5-day visit to Mozambique and Madagascar, in an airplane press conference, when asked a sort of “follow-up question” to the remark included just above. Here is a link to an English-dubbed video of the Pope speaking these words, with commentary (link) and a link to a longer article on the Pope’s remarks (link)

“Pope Francis is saying that because he knows the Amazon Synod may provoke a schism. He is ready to say others are making the schism, but (by his actions in continuing to support the Amazon Synod) he is provoking it himself. Is this the attitude of a pastor who cares for the faithful? It is his own duty to prevent a schism.” —Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, in a conversation with me today

I think it is likely we are being setup to be labeled the scapegoat ‘schismatics’ when the Vatican officially becomes apostate (and the real schismatics), though the groundwork was laid decades ago. In the eyes of the world, that will support the Vatican’s claims that anything orthodox is ‘outside the Church.’ It is almost a perfect ploy for secular governments intent on eliminating Christianity from any public presence and moral conscience of the world.” —A commenter named “Luxsit” (“Let there be light”) on the Lifesitenews website, commenting on the Pope’s words on the papal airplane (link)

I believe you are spot on here. The liberals could have split off from the Church at any time in the previous 4 pontificates: they have been in a de facto schism ever since the (dissenting) response to Humanae Vitae. But Francis gives them the opportunity, and they want it to appear, that THEY are Church and the Catholics are splitting off from them. That way they get the money, power, property, and can claim to be the Catholic church when by belief they are nothing of the sort. All that won’t last, if you are separated from the Source.” —A comment in response to the previous comment by a commenter named “Borghesius” on the same website (link)

I beseech you, brethren, that there be no schisms among you; but that you be perfect in the same mind, and in the same judgment.” —St. Paul, 1 Corinthians 1:10


The Tragedy of a Possible Coming Schism…

To many observers — who do not follow Catholic affairs with very close attention — the situation of the Church today seems not particularly troubled.

But superficial looks can be deceiving.

In fact, several indications suggest that a break — a schism — between conservative Catholics and Pope Francis (and his top advisors) may be imminent.

The general opinion of the many is that the Church is being reasonably well led by a kind, modest, open-minded Pope — Pope Francis, 82, elected in 2013, six and a half years ago.

They perceive Francis as energetically leading the Church in line with the central teachings of Jesus: “love thy neighbor,” “forgive seventy times seven times,” go beyond even the Mosaic Ten Commandments to observe the “Golden Rule”: “Love thy neighbor as thyself.”

Yet there is a troubling drum-beat of a different sort that increasingly imposes itself.

It is the drumbeat of a criticism of many of Pope Francis’ decisions and actions, from the sexual abuse crisis, to the reform of the Roman Curia, to the agreement with the Chinese government, to his closing of conservative religious orders, to his seeming focus of environmental issues though all previous Popes focused above all on the sacrificial life and death of Jesus Christ, and on what that meant for all human beings.

This drum-beat seems to have reached the ears of Pope Francis himself (he has said he is quite aware of it) — and this has led him to speak about his own reaction to criticism, and his attitude to the possibility of… a schism in the Church.

The drum-beat comes especially from a still small number of Catholic web sites in America, like Lifesitenews, ChurchMilitant, OnePeterFive, Abyssus Abyssum Invocat, Rorate Caeli, but also from quite a few others in Italy, Spain, England, Poland, and elsewhere.

On these web sites, open critics of Pope Francis and more circumspect supporters of ideas the Pope has criticized or set aside have called on Pope Francis to clarify his teaching on certain matters, but have not received a response from him satisfactory to them.

Generally, the critics say Francis has been “silent.”

Some of these “requesters of clarification” are not without a certain standing in the Church — a small group of cardinals (Brandmueller, Burke, Eijk of Utrecht (Holland), Müller, Sarah — though Sarah has told me that he is profoundly loyal to Pope Francis, calling him “Our Papa“) and they include a few bishops, like René Henry Gracida (born June 9, 1923, now 96(!), former Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Miami (1971–1975), first bishop of Galveston then bishop of Corpus Christi, Texas) and Athanasius Schneider of Kazakhstan (not an American… in fact, none of the men named thus far are American except Burke and Gracida).

These critics seem to be persuaded that the Church is being badly led by a group of insiders who have persuaded the Pope to go along with a number of initiatives which depart in lesser and greater ways from traditional Catholic teaching.

Some of these critics think the teaching of the Pope, or those chosen and supported by him, has reached the level of heresy — the level of contradicting defined Catholic doctrine (see the text of Cardinal Brandmüller on the Amazon Synod included below).

There does seem to be a danger that this opposition to Francis may be supported by wealthy powers hidden “in the shadows” whose aim is to divide the Church at all costs, no matter what the issue, to weaken the Church — and this suggests caution in calling for any division of the Catholic Church into an “old” and “new” Catholic Church(!).

There also seems another danger: that the circle around Pope Francis, and Francis himself, underestimate the implacable hatred of “the world” for the Church.

Very powerful secular forces seem anxious to subject the Church to their worldly agenda, which begins as a call for “mercy” and ends with an attack on all traditional Christian doctrinal and moral teaching.

The slow erosion of respect for human life is one example.

As abortion is ever more widely accepted, society as a whole has become callous to the taking of human life. Pope Francis has seemingly downplayed the defense of human life, the right-to-life of the innocent. In this context, his actions seem almost incomprehensible to pro-life Catholics. Why has he seemingly lessened the Church’s commitment to the pro-life cause precisely at the moment when it is most needed?

Likewise, marriage is in crisis.

The traditional teaching on the indissolubility of marriage is critical to a defense of the family, and of the right of children to grow up with a father and mother. The seeming downplaying of the indissolubility of marriage seems obviously directed to the situation of millions whose marriages have failed, to provide pastoral care for them. But in the long term, the diminishing of the marital ideal will likely create an even more difficult situation for the flourishing of family life in time to come. Why has Pope Francis seemingly not recognized this?

There is yet time, perhaps, for some change of direction, some meeting to clarify positions and avoid a break.

Something like that would seem much needed, and soon.

But the time is growing short.


The Pope on Schism

Here is the text of the Pope’s remarks about schism yesterday on the papal airplane returning form Africa. It began with a question….

Jason Drew Horowitz (The New York Times, United States): On the flight to Maputo, you acknowledged being under attack by a segment of the American Church. Obviously, there is strong criticism from some bishops and cardinals, there are Catholic Television stations and American websites that are very critical. And there are even some of your closest allies who have spoken of a plot against you. Is there something that these critics do not understand about your pontificate? Is there something that you have learned from your critics? Are you afraid of a schism in the American Church? And if so, is there something that you could do — a dialogue — to keep it from happening?

Pope Francis: First of all, criticism always helps, always. When someone receives criticism, that persons needs to do a self-critique right away and say: is this true or not? To what point? And I always benefit from criticism. Sometimes it makes you angry…. But there are advantages.

Traveling to Maputo, one of you gave me that book in French on how the Americans want to change the Pope. I knew about that book, but I had not read it.

Criticisms are not coming only from the Americans, they are coming a bit from everywhere, even from the Curia. At least those that say them have the benefit of the honesty of having said them. I do not like it when criticism stays under the table: they smile at you letting you see their teeth and then they stab you in the back. That is not fair, it is not human.

Criticism is a component in construction, and if your criticism is unjust, be prepared to receive a response, and get into dialogue, and arrive to the right conclusion. This is the dynamic of true criticism.

The criticism of the arsenic pills, instead, of which we were speaking regarding the article that I gave to Msgr Rueda, it’s like throwing the stone and then hiding your hand…

This is not beneficial, it is no help. It helps small cliques, who do not want to hear the response to their criticism. Instead, fair criticism — I think thus and so — is open to a response. This is constructive.

Regarding the case of the Pope [Note: Here Francis speaks about how his critics seem him]: I don’t like this aspect of the Pope, I criticize him, I speak about him, I write an article and ask him to respond. This is fair.

To criticize without wanting to hear a response and without getting into dialogue is not to have the good of the Church at heart, it is chasing after a fixed idea, to change the Pope or to create a schism.

This is clear: a fair criticism is always well received, at least by me.

Secondly, the problem of the schism: within the Church there have been many schisms. After the First Vatican Council, for example, the last vote, the one on infallibility, a good-sized group left and founded the Old Catholic Church so as to remain “true” to the tradition of the Church.

Then they developed differently and now they ordain women.

But in that moment they were rigid, they rallied behind orthodoxy and thought that the council had erred.

Another group left very, very quietly, but they did not want to vote.

Vatican II had these things among its consequences. Perhaps the most well-known post-conciliar split is that of (French Archbishop Marcel) Lefebvre.

In the Church there is always the option for schism, always. But it is an option that the Lord leaves to human freedom.

I am not afraid of schisms, I pray that there will be none, because what is at stake is people’s spiritual health.

Let there be dialogue, let there be correction if there is an error, but the schismatic path is not Christian.

Let’s think about the beginnings of the Church, how it began with many schisms, one after the other: Arians, Gnostics, Monophysites…

An anecdote is coming to mind that I would like to recount: it was the people of God who saved [the Church] from the schisms. The schismatics always have one thing in common: they separate themselves from the people, from the faith of the people of God. And when there was a discussion in the council of Ephesus regarding Mary’s divine maternity, the people — this is history — were at the entrance of the cathedral while the bishops entered to take part in the Council. They were there with clubs. They made the bishops see them as they shouted, ‘Mother of God! Mother of God!’ as if to say: if you do not do this, this is what you can expect…

The people of God always correct, and help. A schism is always an elitist separation stemming from an ideology detached from doctrine. It is an ideology, perhaps correct, but that engages doctrine and detaches it…

And so I pray that schisms do not happen, but I am not afraid of them.

This is one of the results of Vatican II, not because of this or that Pope. For example, the social things that I say are the same things that John Paul II said, the same things! I copy him. But they say: the Pope is a communist…

Ideologies enter into doctrine and when doctrine slips into ideology that’s where there’s the possibility of a schism. There’s the ideology of the primacy of a sterile morality regarding the morality of the people of God. The pastors must lead their flock between grace and sin, because this is evangelical morality.

Instead, a morality based on such a Pelagian ideology leads you to rigidity, and today we have many schools of rigidity within the Church, which are not schisms, but pseudo-schismatic Christian developments that will end badly. When you see rigid Christians, bishops, priests, there are problems behind that, not Gospel holiness.

So, we need to be gentle with those who are tempted by these attacks, they are going through a tough time, we must accompany them gently.

[End, comments of Pope Francis]


Here below is the full report of Cardinal Brandmüller on the upcoming Amazon Synod (October 6-27).

A Critique of the Instrumentum Laboris for the Amazon Synod

By Cardinal Walter Brandmüller

June 27, 2019


It is truly astonishing that, contrary to former assemblies, the upcoming Synod of Bishops on the Amazon will deal exclusively with a region of the earth whose population is just half that of Mexico City, that is to say, 4 million.

This also raises suspicions regarding the true intentions to be implemented in a hidden way at the October assembly.

But one especially has to question the understanding of religion, Christianity and the Church that forms the basis of the recently published Instrumentum Laboris.

This shall be examined here, with the help of individual elements from the text.

Why a synod on this region?

In principle, we must ask why a synod of bishops should deal with topics which, at best, (as is now the case with three quarters of the Instrumentum Laboris) relate only marginally to the Gospels and the Church.

Clearly, there is an encroaching interference here by a synod of bishops into the purely secular affairs of the Brazilian state and society. What do ecology, economy, and politics have to do with the mandate and mission of the Church?

More importantly: what professional expertise authorizes an ecclesial synod of bishops to express itself on such topics?

Should the synod of bishops indeed do this, it would be a crossing of boundaries and act of clerical presumption which state authorities would have to reject.

On natural religions and inculturation

Furthermore, throughout the Instrumentum Laboris one finds by a very positive assessment of natural religions, including indigenous healing practices etc., even mythic-religious practices and cult forms. In the context of the call for harmony with nature, for example, there is even talk about “dialogue with the spirits” (n. 75).

It is not only the Rousseauian or Enlightenment ideal of the “noble savage” that is being contrasted with the decadent European. The line of thought in the Instrumentum laboris continues right up to turn to the 20thcentury, ending in a pantheistic idolatry of nature. Hermann Claudius (1913) created the hymn of the Socialist Worker’s Movement, “When we walk side by side….” One verse reads: “Birches green and seeds of green, with a praying gesture old Mother Earth extends her full hands, that man may become her own…”

It is remarkable that this verse was later copied into the songbook of the Hitler Youth, presumably because it corresponded to the National-Socialist myth of blood and soil.

The ideological proximity with the Instrumentum is is remarkable.

The anti-rational rejection of “Western” culture (that stresses the importance of reason) is characteristic of the Instrumentum Laboris, which speaks in no. 44 of “Mother Earth” and of the “cry of the earth and of the peoples” (no. 101) respectively.

Accordingly, the territory — the forests of the Amazon region — even becomes a locus theologicus, a special source of Divine Revelation.

These are “epiphanic places” where “the reserve of life and wisdom for the planet is manifest, a life and wisdom that speaks of God” (n. 19).

The anti-rational rejection of the “western” culture, which stresses the importance of reason, is characteristic of the Instrumentum Laboris.

Meanwhile, the subsequent regression from Logos to Mythos is raised to the criterion of what the Instrumentum Laboris calls the inculturation of the Church. The result is a natural religion in Christian masquerade.

The concept of inculturation is perverted in the document, for it proposes the opposite of what the International Theological Commission presented in 1988, and what had already been taught in the Second Vatican Council’s Decree on the Church’s Missionary Activity, Ad Gentes.

On the abolition of priestly celibacy and the introduction of a female priesthood

It is impossible to conceal that the “synod” intends, above all, to help implement two most cherished projects that heretofore have never been implemented: namely, the abolition of priestly celibacy and the introduction of a female priesthood — beginning with female deacons.

In any event, it is about “identifying the type of official ministry that can be conferred on women … in the Church (129 a 3).

In a similar manner, “room is now opening up to create new ministries appropriate to this historical moment. It is the right moment to listen to the voice of the Amazon…” (n. 43).

But the fact is omitted here that, in the end, John Paul II also stated with highest magisterial authority that it is not in the power of the Church to administer the Sacrament of Holy Orders to women. Indeed, in two thousand years, the Church has never administered the Sacrament of Holy Orders to a woman.

The demand which stands in direct opposition to this fact shows that the word “Church” is now being used purely as a sociological term on the part of the authors of the Instrumentum Laboris, thus implicitly denying the sacramental-hierarchical character of the Church.

On the denial of the sacramental-hierarchical character of the Church

In a similar manner — though expressed in passing –no. 127 represents a direct attack on the hierarchical-sacramental constitution of the Church, when it is suggested that it would be opportune “to reconsider the notion that the exercise of jurisdiction (power of government) must be linked in all areas (sacramental, judicial, administrative) and in a permanent way to the Sacrament of Holy Orders.” (no. 127)

From such an erroneous view arises (in no. 129) the call for the creation of new offices which correspond to the needs of the Amazonian peoples.

However, liturgy, i.e. worship, is the field where the ideology of a falsely understood inculturation finds its expression in an especially spectacular manner.

Here, certain forms from natural religions are to be positively adopted.

The Instrumentum Laboris does not hold back from demanding that the “poor and simple people” may express “their (!) faith through images, symbols, traditions, rites and other sacraments” (!!) (no. 126 e).

This certainly does not correspond to the precepts of the Constitution “Sacrosanctum Concilium,” nor to those in the Decree on the Church’s Missionary Activity, Ad Gentes. It also manifests a purely horizontal understanding of liturgy.


Summa summarum: The Instrumentum Laboris burdens the synod of bishops and ultimately the Pope with a serious break with the depositum fidei.

Such a break consequently implies the self-destruction of the Church or the change of the Corpus Christi mysticum into a secular NGO with an ecological-social-psychological mandate.

After these observations, questions naturally arise: above all, in relation to the sacramental-hierarchical structure of the Church, is there a decisive break with the apostolic tradition constitutive of the Church, or do the authors rather have a notion of the development of doctrine which is presented theologically in order to justify the aforementioned rupture?

Indeed, this seems to be the case.

We are witnessing a new form of the classical Modernism of the early 20th century.

At the time, from a decidedly evolutionist approach, the view was presented that, in accord with the continually higher development of man, higher levels of human consciousness and culture also result, whereby what had been false yesterday can turn out to be true today.

Religion and religious consciousness, with its forms in doctrine and cult — and also, of course, in morality — are also subject to this revolutionary dynamic.

This, however, would presuppose a concept of dogmatic development that is sharply opposed to the genuine Catholic understanding. The latter understands the development of dogma and the Church not as change, but as an organic development of the subject which remains identical to itself.

That is what the two Vatican Councils teach us in their Constitutions Dei Filius, Lumen Gentium, and Dei Verbum.

It is to be emphatically stated that the Instrumentum Laboris contradicts the binding teaching of the Church on decisive points, and is therefore to be qualified as heretical.

Inasmuch as the fact of Divine Revelation is here even being questioned or misunderstood, one must also speak of apostasy.

This is all the more justified in light of the fact that the Instrumentum Laboris uses a purely immanentist notion of religion and regards religion as the result and expression of man’s spiritual self-experience.

The use of Christian words and concepts cannot obscure the fact that, regardless of their original meaning, they are being used merely as empty words.

The Instrumentum Laboris for the Amazon Synod constitutes an attack on the foundations of the Faith, in a way that has heretofore not been thought possible. It must therefore be firmly and decidedly rejected.

(to be continued)

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Why I Love You, O Mary! – a poem by St Thérèse of Lisieux

Today is the Feast of the Most Holy Name of Mary


Oh! I would like to sing, Mary, why I love you,
Why your sweet name thrills my heart,
And why the thought of your supreme greatness
Could not bring fear to my soul.
If I gazed upon you in your sublime glory,
Surpassing the splendour of all blessed,
I could not believe that I am your child
O Mary, before you I would lower my eyes!

If a child is to cherish his mother,
She has to cry with him and share his sorrows,
O my dearest Mother, on this foreign shore
How many tears you shed to draw me to you!…
In pondering your life in the holy Gospels,
I dare look at you and come near you.
It’s not difficult for me to believe I’m your child,
For I see you human and suffering like me…

When an angel from Heaven bids you be the Mother
Of God who is to reign for all eternity,
I see you prefer, O Mary, what a mystery!
the ineffable treasure of virginity.
O Immaculate Virgin, I understand how your soul
Is dearer to the Lord than his heavenly dwelling.
I understand how your soul, Humble and Sweet Valley,
Can contain Jesus, the Ocean of Love!

Oh! I love you, Mary, saying you are the servant
Of God whom you charm by humility.
This hidden virtue makes you all powerful,
It attracts the Holy Trinity into your heart.
Then the Spirit of Love covering you with his shadow,
The Son equal to the Father became incarnate in you,
There will be a great many of His sinner brothers,
Since He will be called: Jesus, your first-born

At least you find Him and you are overcome with joy,
You say to the fair Child captivating the doctors;
“O my Son, why have you done this?
Your father and I have been searching for you in tears.”
And the Child God replies (O what a deep mystery!)
To his dearest Mother holding out her arms to him:
“Why were you searching for me? I must be about
My Father’s business. Didn’t you know?”

The Gospel tells me that, growing in wisdom,
Jesus remains subject to Joseph and Mary,
And my heart reveals to me with what tenderness
He always obeys his dear parents.
Now I understand the mystery of the temple,
The hidden words of my Lovable King.
Mother, your sweet Child wants you to be the example
Of the soul searching for Him in the night of faith.

Since the King of Heaven wanted his Mother
To be plunged into the night, in anguish of heart,
Mary, is it thus a blessing to suffer on earth?
Yes, to suffer while loving is the purest happiness!…
All that He has given me, Jesus can take back.
Tell Him not to bother with me….
He can indeed hide from me, I’m willing to wait for Him
Till the day without sunset when my faith will fade away…

Mother full of grace, I know that in Nazareth
You live in poverty, wanting nothing more.
No rapture, miracle, or ecstasy
Embellish your life, O Queen of the Elect!…
The number of little ones on earth is truly great.
They can raise their eyes to you without trembling.
It’s by the ordinary way, incomparable Mother,
That you like to walk to guide them in Heaven.

While waiting for Heaven, O my dear Mother
I want to live with you, to follow you each day.
Mother, contemplating you, I joyfully immerse myself,
Discovering in your heart abysses of love.
You motherly gaze banishes all my fears.
It teaches me to cry, it teaches me to rejoice.
Instead of scorning pure and simple joys,
You want to share in them, you deign to bless them.
At Cana, seeing the married couple’s anxiety
Which they cannot hide, for they have run out of
In your concern you tell the Saviour,
Hoping for the help of his divine power,
Jesus seems at first to reject your prayer:
“Woman, what does this matter,” he answers,”to you
and to me?”
But in the depths of his heart, He calls you his Mother,
And works his first miracle for you…

One day when sinners are listening to the doctrine
Of Him who would like to welcome them in Heaven,
Mary, I find you with them on the hill.
Someone says to Jesus that you wish to see him.
Then, before the whole multitude, your Divine Son
Shows us the immensity of his love for us.
He says: “Who is my brother and my sister and my
If not the one who does my will?”

O Immaculate Virgin, most tender of Mothers,
In listening to Jesus, you are not saddened.
But you rejoice that He makes us understand
How our souls become his family here below.
Yes, you rejoice that He gives us his life,
The infinite treasures of his divinity !…
How can we not love you, O my dear Mother,
On seeing so much love and so much humility ?

You love us, Mary, as Jesus loves us,
And for us you accept being separated from Him.
To love is to give everything. It’s to give oneself.
You wanted to prove this by remaining our support.
The Saviour knew your immense tenderness.
He knew the secrets of your maternal heart.
Refuge of sinners, He leaves us to you
When He leaves the Cross to wait for us in Heaven.

Mary, at the top of Calvary standing beside the Cross
To me you seem like a priest at the altar,
Offering your beloved Jesus, the sweet Emmanuel,
To appease the Father’s justice…
A prophet said, O afflicted Mother,
« There is no sorrow like your sorrow ! _ » O Queen of Martyrs, while remaining in exile
You lavish on us all the blood of your heart !

Saint John’s home becomes your only refuge.
Zebedee’s son is to replace Jesus…
That is the last detail the Gospel gives.
It tells me nothing more of the Queen of Heaven.
But, O my dear Mother, doesn’t its profound silence
Reveal that The Eternal Word Himself
Wants to sing the secrets of your life
To charm your children, all the Elect of Heaven ?

Soon I’ll hear that sweet harmony.
Soon I’ll go to beautiful Heaven to see you.
You who came to smile at me in the morning of my life,
Come smile at me again … Mother… It’s evening now !…
I no longer fear the splendour of your supreme glory.
With you I’ve suffered and now I want
To sing on your lap, Mary, why I love you,
And to go on saying that I am your child !…

[This poem was written by St Thérèse of Lisieux in May 1897 from the Infirmary where she lay dying. “Do not be afraid of loving the Blessed Virgin Mary too much, you will never love her enough, and Jesus will be very happy, because the Blessed Virgin Mary is His Mother.”]

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Sermon for the Memorial Mass for the Victims of 9/11

by Fr Richard G. Cipolla of the New York Purgatorial Society 

One of the greatest pieces in Western literature is the Confessions of St Augustine.  For Catholics this work is more than literature.  It is the testament of faith of one of the most important writers of the Western tradition.  It is the testament of faith of one of the most important figures in the Catholic tradition, tradition here with a capital T.   What most people know about and have read in the Confessions is the history of Augustine’s conversion and the role of his mother Monica in that conversion.  But equally as compelling in this seminal work of Western literature is Augustine’s thought on memory.  We take memory for granted and often in an objective way, but if we pause to think about memory, its essence and its essential part of who each of us as a person, then we are faced with mystery.  This is how Augustine begins the section of the Confession on memory:

“Great is the power of memory, an awe-inspiring mystery, my God, a power of profound and infinite multiplicity… See how widely I have ranged, O Lord, searching for you in my memory. I have not found you outside it. For I have found nothing coming from you which I have not stored in my memory since the first time I learnt of you. Where I discovered the truth there I have found my God, truth itself, which from the time I learnt it, I have not forgotten.”
We come here on this day to remember, to remember an act of violence that seared the memory of this country, and in some way, the whole world.  We come here to mourn those who died on 9/11, and to mourn is not possible without remembering.  Each of us here has his own memory of 9/11.  So many of us saw on television and other media the attack on the twin towers, the smoke billowing out from the first tower and then the second. And the probably the most searing image, the fall of the towers.  The chaos, the disbelief, and the sight of the first responders, including at least one Catholic priest, entering a veritable holocaust.  In the memory of some here and of many not here, there exists those family members who died in this tragic event.  In the memory of some here, and this includes myself, knowing families who lost loved ones in this act of terrorism.  And there are so very many who will never forget the images of the towers live on television and other media, burning and falling, a national tragedy that affected in some way every American.
And yet there are those who at the time of 9/11 who were very young, whose memories do not hold those images and the grief of the country.  And there are now many who have no memories of this event, for they were born after 9/11 and so this event is for them just part of history, history that is the recording of events that are part of facts one learns but are not part of one’s deep memory of these events.
To know the facts of history is memorization.  It is not memory.  Memory in the deepest sense, what St Augustine was talking about, is a mystery. It is not merely a call to remembrance.  It is much more like a making present of something important in my past.  When I remember someone whom I have loved like my mother or father, that act of remembrance is impossible without my memory.  I remember their faces, their voices, their dedication to me and my siblings, their presence at the big family gatherings, especially Christmas Eve.  But this act of remembrance is still only in my memory.  My parents do not re-enter this world of time and space by my act of remembering.  But what is true is that what is made really present in this time and space for me in a real way is the love that bound us while they were here on earth.  That love is something real and does not come from memory.  The presence of that love in the here and now in a real way teaches us what Christians believe about the act of remembering and the reality of love.
What we do here this evening is certainly to remember the tragedy of 9/11 and to remember those who died in that tragedy.  But Catholics do not have memorial services.  Memorial services are not Catholic. They are essentially, even if they occur in religious services, attempts to come to terms with death in a secular way, secular even if in a religious context.  Speakers come forward to offer remembrances of the person who has died, often with praise, sometime with humor, most often with affection.  And that is a good thing to do.
But this is not what Catholics do.   Catholics offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass for those they have loved and even for those they have not known to love personally. Catholics do not gather in the face of death to merely remember. As I say this, I know how Catholic funeral Masses have degraded to mere remembrance in the most sentimental and therefore unreal way. And everyone, despite the outward appearances, always recognize fakery and denial of truth, the truth of death as a result of sin.   But the perversion of a truth always has at its heart the truth itself.  And that truth is the person of Jesus Christ, who died for our sins and who rose on the third day and has conquered death for those who believe in him as Lord and Savior.
What we do here this evening in the offering of the Requiem Mass for the faithful departed especially those who died on 9/11in New York, in the Pentagon, and in Shanksville, Pennsylvania,  is not to remember them in a secular sense.  We come here to offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass for them, and the heart of the Mass is the memory of God, that is, on this altar Christ himself is offered to the Father, the Son is offered to the Father, just as the Son was offered to the Father in the sacrifice of the Cross.  It is where the Father remembers the sacrifice of the Son and accepts the sacrifice as he did on the first Good Friday, where memory of the infinite God is pierced by the Cross of his Son.  And the act of remembrance of the Father is an act of grace, grace that pours forth from this altar that touches those who have died in a way we cannot know, for the Mass is the kiss of time with eternity and that kiss is the kiss of the grace of God, that is, the kiss of the love of the Holy Trinity for those men and women who have died and are in eternity and are yet deeply linked by love, that love that cannot be quenched by death, for it is the love of the Cross itself.
The beauty of this Mass is very real.  Not merely the music that supports what is going on here, which is very important.  This beauty is the real antidote to that sentimentality that has debased and eroded Catholic faith for half a century.  For what we celebrate here is the beauty of the God who loved us so much that he died for us and whoever believes in Him though he die will live forever.

The world is charged with the grandeur of God.
It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?
Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;
And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
And wears man’s smudge and shares man’s smell: the soil
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.
And for all this, nature is never spent;
There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
And though the last lights off the black West went
Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs —
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.

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Pope Francis welcomes honest criticism: ‘This is loving the Church’

ROME, September 10, 2019, LifeSiteNews:

Pope Francis returned to the topic of his critics in America today, saying that he values honest and constructive criticism but not those who dispense “arsenic pills” or “throw a stone and then hide their hands.”

He also said that while he prays a schism will not occur, he is not afraid of it as it has always been part of the Church’s history.

The Pope’s remarks were in response to a question from the New York Times on Tuesday, during an inflight press conference on his return from a seven-day visit to the nations of Madagascar, Mozambique and Mauritius.

They come one week after Pope Francis said “for me it’s an honor if Americans attack me,” after being handed a new French book, How America Wanted to Change the Pope, by its author.

Picking up on last week’s comments, NYT reporter Jason Horowitz said:

Holy Father, on the flight to Maputo, you acknowledged being under attack by a sector of the American Church. Clearly there are strong criticisms, and there are even some cardinals and bishops, TV [stations], Catholics, American websites — many criticisms. Even some very close allies have spoken about a plot against you, as have some of your allies in the Italian curia.

Is there something these critics don’t understand about your pontificate or is there something that you have learned from the criticisms [coming from] the United States? Are you afraid of a schism in the American Church and if so, is there something that you could do, dialogue to help avoid it?

Pope Francis responded by saying that “criticism is always helpful” and that one ought to ask oneself: “for me, is it true or is it not true, and up to what point?”

“Sometimes you get angry,” he said, but there’s always something to learn from it.

Expounding on his recent comments, Pope Francis then observed that Americans aren’t his only critics. “Criticism is coming from everywhere, even from inside the curia,” he said.

A promoter of “parrhesia,” or frankness, the Pope insisted that he “likes” it when people are “honest” enough to criticize him to his face. “What I do not like is when critics operate under the table. They smile … and then they stab you in the back. This is not loyal,” he said.

True criticism can be a constructive tool, he observed, but one has to be ready for a response and dialogue. On the other hand, those who disguise their criticism dispense “arsenic pills, somewhat like throwing a stone and hiding your hand. This doesn’t help, and it comes from closed [minded] people who don’t want to hear the response.”

When it comes to criticizing the pope, he said, “saying what you don’t like, writing an article and asking for a response, this is loyal. This is loving the Church. Instead, voicing a criticism without dialogue, without wanting an answer, is not loving the Church … it is to want to change the pope, to create schism.”

“A fair criticism is always well received, at least by me,” he said.

“On the question of schism,” the Pope continued, “in the Church there have been many.” Noting examples of breaks that followed the First and Second Vatican Councils, he said that many have been rooted in a “rigid” attitude cloaked in a quest for “orthodoxy.”

The “best known break,” he said, was that of the traditionist prelate Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, who founded the Society of St. Pius X after Vatican II.

“There has always been a schismatic option in the Church. It is one of the actions that the Lord always leaves to human freedom,” he said.

“I do not fear schisms. I pray for them not to happen, as the spiritual health of many people is at stake,” he said. “[I pray] there will be dialogue, that there will be correction if there is some mistake, but the path of schism is not Christian.”

It is possible that Pope Francis is thinking of his exchange with Bishop Athanasius Schneider, as he has gone some way to try to correct the misunderstanding arising from the Abu Dhabi document, which states that the “diversity of religions” is “willed by God.” Pope Francis and Bishop Schneider discussed the matter openly, in person and in writing, in March and April 2019.

Although Pope Francis has given indications that his private understanding is that the statement regards the permissive will of God, he has so far omitted to make an official clarification of its meaning.

For many this is not sufficient, as the difference between a private clarification and an official correction is no small thing in so grave a matter. Bishop Schneider has said the Vatican’s support for the spreading of the Abu Dhabi document, absent of an official clarification, is tantamount to “promoting the neglect of the first Commandment” and a “betrayal of the Gospel.”

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