Venerable Fulton Sheen to be beatified in December

 

Venerable Fulton Sheen.

 

.- The Diocese of Peoria announced Monday that Venerable Fulton Sheen will be beatified Dec. 21 at the city’s Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Immaculate Conception.

Sheen had been ordained a priest of the diocese in that cathedral Sept. 20, 1919.

“It seems entirely fitting that the Beatification will take place at the end of this 100-year anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood,” the Peoria diocese stated Nov. 18.

Sheen was born in Illinois in 1895, and was 24 when he was ordained a priest.

He was appointed auxiliary bishop of New York in 1951, and he remained there until his appointment as Bishop of Rochester in 1966. He retired in 1969 and moved back to New York City until his death in 1979.

Sheen was a beloved television catechist during the 1950s and ’60s in the United States. His television show “Life is Worth Living” reached an audience of millions.

The Congregation for the Causes of Saints promulgated a decree July 6 recognizing a miracle attributed to Sheen’s intercession, which allowed for his beatification.

The miracle involves the unexplained recovery of James Fulton Engstrom, a boy born apparently stillborn in September 2010 to Bonnie and Travis Engstrom of the Peoria-area town of Goodfield. He showed no signs of life as medical professionals tried to revive him. The child’s mother and father prayed to Archbishop Sheen to heal their son.

The Peoria diocese opened the cause for Sheen’s canonization in 2002, after Archdiocese of New York said it would not explore the case. In 2012, Benedict XVI recognized the heroic virtues of the archbishop.

The beatification follows legal battles in civil courts over the location of Sheen’s body.

His corpse was transferred to the Peoria cathedral June 27 after a protracted series of suits.

Sheen’s will had declared his wish to be buried in the Archdiocese of New York Calvary Cemetery. Soon after Sheen died, Cardinal Terence Cooke of New York asked Joan Sheen Cunningham, Sheen’s niece and closest living relative, if his remains could be placed in the crypt of St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City, and she consented.

In September 2014, Bishop Daniel Jenky of Peoria suspended Sheen’s cause on the grounds that the Holy See expected Sheen’s remains to be in the Peoria diocese.

Cunningham has since said that Sheen would have wanted to have been interred in Peoria if he knew that he would be considered for sainthood. In 2016, she filed a legal complaint seeking to have her uncle’s remains moved to the Peoria cathedral.

The Miracle

 

In 2010, in central Illinois, a newborn infant was born showing no signs of life. This absence of vital signs lasted for 61 minutes. Family and friends immediately began offering prayers begging Fulton Sheen to intercede for their newborn child. The infant was transferred to OSF Medical Center in Peoria, a few blocks away from the Cathedral of St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception in Peoria where Sheen was ordained in 1919 and now is entombed.

Despite receiving the most advanced medical treatment available, the infant continued to show no signs of life. Moments before the doctor was going to declare the infant to be dead, suddenly and without any medical explanation, the infant’s heart began to beat normally and the baby breathed normally. After 61 minutes without a heartbeat, the baby was alive! After a few weeks in the hospital, the infant was sent home and has now grown into a healthy young child.

In 2011, the Diocese of Peoria initiated a canonical investigation into the events of this miraculous recovery. This investigation examined medical records and testimony provided by family members, EMT’s, doctors, nurses, and others present at the time of birth. Each testified that there was no medical explanation for the infant’s recovery. Nearly all involved, and some with tears, stated, “It was a miracle.”

In December 2011, the findings of the Peoria investigation were presented to the Vatican’s Congregation of the Causes of Saints. This case was reviewed by a panel of medical experts, theologians, and finally by the Cardinals and the Bishops of the Congregation. This miracle received a unanimous recommendation at every stage of the process. This week, the Congregation’s favorable findings were presented to Pope Francis. Today, Pope Francis has declared the recovery of the infant to be a miracle attributed to the intercession of Archbishop Sheen.

Bishop Jenky stated:

“It is truly amazing how God continues to work miracles. I am so grateful that the Vatican acted so quickly after last week’s transfer of Sheen’s remains from New York to the Cathedral of St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception in Peoria.”

Now that the miracle has been confirmed by Pope Francis, the Diocese of Peoria can formally begin planning for the Beatification of Archbishop Sheen, which will take place in Peoria. According to the current practice of the Vatican, a Beatification is celebrated in the local diocese where the Cause was instructed. Once the date for the Beatification is granted by Pope Francis, Cardinal Giovanni Angelo Becciu, Prefect for the Congregation of the Causes of Saints, would come to Peoria to preside at the ceremony.

Although the date of Beatification is not known at this time, Bishop Jenky hopes and prays that the date of Beatification will be announced very soon. Bishop Jenky continues to be hopeful that Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen will be Beatified during this 100th anniversary year of his ordination to the priesthood in Peoria.

In the meantime, the Diocese will now begin preparing for the Beatification celebration. The Diocese of Peoria has established a website in order to assist the faithful in preparing for the Beatification. Bishop Jenky encourages everyone to visit the website, celebratesheen.com.

The Diocese of Peoria issued the following press release on Monday afternoon, Nov. 18.

PEORIA, IL: It is with great joy and thanksgiving that the Most Reverend Daniel Jenky, C.S.C., Bishop of the Diocese of Peoria, Illinois announces that he received notification from the Vatican today that the Holy Father, Pope Francis, has called for Venerable Servant of God Fulton J. Sheen’s Beatification on December 21, 2019.

Confirmation of Sheen’s Beatification date was received with enthusiasm, and plans for the Beatification are already underway. The Beatification Ceremony will be held at 10:00 a.m. on December 21, 2019, at the Cathedral of St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception in Peoria, Illinois. This is the same Cathedral where Sheen was ordained a priest 100 years ago on September 20, 1919. It seems entirely fitting that the Beatification will take place at the end of this 100-year anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood. The Cathedral is also the current resting place for Sheen, who is entombed in a marble vault next to the altar where he was ordained.

Further information regarding the Beatification will be released in the next few days. Information about the Cause for Beatification of Fulton Sheen can be found at celebratesheen.com.

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Intimations of Immortality in the Americas

Monday, November 18, 2019

Intimations of eternity are rare in this life. I had one, about this time of the year, when I was in high school. I’m enough of a modern man to know how unreal the claim seems. But it’s true. I was walking with a few friends under autumn leaves. We’d just been reading Virgil together in Latin, during last period. From somewhere, there welled up in me an overwhelming sense of both geologic ages and the immense extent of human life. And something beyond even those. Years later, I came upon an Italian poem – L’infinito – that captures the experience.

I had a similar experience this past Saturday morning. Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco celebrated an Extraordinary Form Latin “Mass of the Americas” at the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, accompanied by the music of Frank La Rocca, whom the archbishop had commissioned for that purpose. You can watch it by clicking here.

But listening to the recording and even watching the video can’t even begin to convey what the Mass was like in the Basilica. To underscore just one element, Archbishop Cordileone celebrated the Mass on the main altar under the baldacchino, way at the back of the church (instead of the new altar closer to the congregation). That had a marvelous effect. At least for me.

When he and the concelebrants processed to the far altar, near the imposing mosaic of Jesus as Pantocrator (“Ruler of All”), it was as if they were going deep into the divine mysteries. And later, when the priests came forward to distribute Communion, it was as if they were bringing the Body and Blood to the congregation from the depths of God Himself.

Call this romantic illusion, if you will – though I don’t consider myself prone to that sort of thing. But that’s what the Mass of the Americas conveyed to, I think, more than one person Saturday. Liturgical formality, noble music, serene worship, and the basilica’s very architecture combined to produce that rare experience.

We used to have a lot of that in the liturgy. The Mass, consequently, often impressed non-Catholics, even anti-Catholics. In 1774, John Adams (both non- and anti-) famously wrote to his wife, Abigail, about a Mass at Philadelphia’s Old S. Mary’s: “Here is every Thing which can lay hold of the Eye, Ear and Imagination. Every Thing which can charm and bewitch the simple and ignorant. I wonder how Luther ever broke the spell.”

Adams wouldn’t have been so quick to reach for the old anti-Catholic slur about “the simple and ignorant” if he had been in the Basilica Saturday. And he wouldn’t have been so sure that the Protestant Reformation – now ailing and seemingly in terminal decline – had done away with real Catholicism.

Archbishop Cordileone had a brilliant insight in developing this Mass of the Americas (plural). He wanted an instance of real liturgical beauty. As he said in the homily, Catholicism teaches the Three Transcendentals: the Good, the True, and the Beautiful. Naturally, we seek to follow and extend the Good in various forms; we cannot do so properly, though, unless we know the Truth; and for most people the Truth has to be manifested, primarily through Beauty.

The Christ Pantocrator mosaic by Jan Henryk de Rosen, Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, Washington, D.C.

Archbishop Cordileone also wanted a Mass that would be rooted in both Americas, North and South. And that meant incorporating elements of the two great Marian traditions: Our Lady of Guadalupe, Patroness of Latin America, and Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, Patroness of the United States.

There has been a lot of discussion in the Church recently about the old notion of “inculturation.” By the end of Amazon Synod last month, it had become a contentious term, primarily because the Vatican seemed to have chosen to promote a kind of inculturation that bent the Church in the direction of “indigenous spiritualities” more than drawing those indigenous beliefs into the fullness of Catholic truth and practice.

Frank La Rocca’s music struck a much better note of inculturation. The Mass was in Latin, Extraordinary Form, so the music drew appropriately from Church traditions of chant and polyphony, but also spoke a fluid and, above all, contemplative modern musical idiom.

One of the temptations of composers writing modern Masses is to draw attention to the music – and themselves. As Joseph Ratzinger often said, both before and after becoming pope, some sacred music seems more an opera or a concert than a Mass. La Rocca’s lovely work never gives into such temptations. Rather, it serves the spirit of the liturgy at every point.

There were Spanish and Indian motifs, particularly the melody of a popular hymn La Guadalupana woven into traditional musical forms, but never in a way that was intrusive or out of balance. While the archbishop was vesting publicly – quite something to witness in a pontifical Mass – the choir sang La Rocca’s beautiful arrangement of El Cantico del Alba (“The Song of the Dawn”), which contains the line: “Hell trembles three times at the sound of ‘Ave Maria.’”

At the de-vesting after Mass, a soprano sang the equally lovely Aue Maria (sic) – in Nahuatl, the native language in which Our Lady of Guadalupe addressed St. Juan Diego in her appearances on the hill of Tepeyac.

And it all ended with the familiar melody of the Salve Regina, sung in Latin but with La Rocca’s exquisite arrangement surrounding and advancing it.

The Mass of the Americas will be celebrated in other places here in the United States as well as in Mexico. If you have the chance, do yourself – your spiritual life – a great favor: make the effort to attend. Or see if you can bring it to your local cathedral.

My hope is not only that it will be repeated many times in the future, but that some of the aesthetic and spiritual possibilities it has opened up will also find their way into parish Masses – which desperately need fresh inspiration – all over our Hemisphere, and beyond.  

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Reflection for the 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time – Cycle C.

 

 

Image result for many will come saying i am he

 

Readings: Book of the Prophet Malachi 3:19-20; Saint Paul’s Second Letter to the Thessalonians 3:7-12; Gospel According to Saint Luke 21:5-19

No doubt to the consternation of his hearers, Jesus predicted the destruction of the great Temple in Jerusalem. The people took much pride in their glorious central place of worship and any thought of its ceasing to exist was shocking, to say the least. No one wanted to hear a prediction of the Temple’s destruction, yet we know it eventually came about, and not long after Jesus’ earthly sojourn. We can still see the ruins of the former Temple in Jerusalem and realize in looking at those ruins how enormous and impressive was the structure and how unimaginable its destruction must have been.

As we come to the end of the Liturgical Year, the Church is directing us to meditate on the final times, the end of our life, the end of the world and the coming again of Christ as Judge and Redeemer. Next Sunday we celebrate the Solemnity of Christ the King, and the following Sunday we begin a new Liturgical Year with the first Sunday of Advent.

In today’s first Mass reading the prophet Malachi speaks of the Lord’s Day, that is the coming of the Lord, described as “blazing like an oven,” when the proud and evildoers are set on fire. It is anything but a pretty picture!

Even with such strong imagery, a careful consideration of the end times and the final coming of the Lord are not meant to frighten us, but rather to wake us up to what really matters in life. Contrary to what we might be hearing, life is not about health, wealth, youth and beauty, as our culture teaches, but life in Christ, for which we were created, that is, participating to the full in the life of the Blessed Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

The things that cannot fade or vanish, which constitute our life in Christ, are rooted in eternal values that will never disappear. We are being invited by God who loved us into existence to do all we can to possess the “unfading crown of glory,” in the words of the First Letter of Saint Peter, chapter 5, verse 4. This is being offered to us at every moment and extends beyond our earthly existence into eternity.

With this in mind, the beautiful words at the conclusion of the passage from Malachi today are very consoling. The prophet says, speaking in God’s name, “For you who revere my name the sun of righteousness shall arise with healing in its wings.” Could there be a more consoling image for each of us and for all humankind, that is, consolation under God’s wings?

We live in a world characterized by moral crisis and decay of culture. Life is taken for granted and often discarded. Some have called the present climate a “culture of death.” Despite this reality, Christians are called to moral integrity and to the promotion of life in all its stages. We believe there is a reward for living righteously and penalty for wrongdoing, sure to come in God’s Day of Judgment.

The Lord will come, we are assured in Sacred Scripture and Christian Tradition, and the question remains: Are we ready? Am I ready? We believe that God’s justice and Kingdom of righteousness and peace will surely be established and prevail in the end. We are being offered grace by God to heed his call and to do his will, to be builders of God’s Kingdom that lasts forever.

Our vocation is to work at drawing others to the Good News (the Gospel) we have found and embraced in Jesus Christ. This means truly loving our enemies, joyfully accepting setbacks and sufferings, being patient in adversity, forgiving those who trespass against us, and extending comfort and compassion to those who lack hope or help.

Saint Paul writing to the Thessalonians puts it in very practical terms in the second lesson today: work quietly that you might eat. Don’t keep busy with other peoples’ business, but mind your own. That could sound like “tending your own garden,” and closing in on oneself. Saint Paul doesn’t promote an avoidance of involvement with others, but sticking to what pertains to the welfare of others and not meddling in what is not our concern. This takes practice, prudence, tact, discretion and strength, for which we should pray to the Holy Spirit.

God bestows the needed grace and wisdom to face trials and to respond to the challenges to our faith. Our adherence to Christ doesn’t mean sidestepping spiritual conflict, persecution, suffering and difficulties. Rather, belonging to Christ enables us to face trials with greater courage and love. That is the heart of Jesus’ admonition, “Come to me all you who labor and are heavy laden.”

It is always important to remember that the burdens of life don’t disappear when we belong to Christ, but they do become bearable, because another is at our side, so much so that Saint Augustine could pray in his Confessions (Book III.vi): “But Thou, Lord, wast more within me than my inmost being and higher than what is highest in me.”

If this is so, and we believe it is for all who adhere to Christ, then we should not fear or run away from whatever we experience as a challenge in life.

The reality of a time of destruction and uprooting, the coming of the Son of Righteousness, our Lord Jesus Christ, and peacefully going about our daily tasks are all to be held in balance in our life. Only with God’s help can we do so, filled with joy and confidence that makes us bold witnesses of God’s saving message of freedom and salvation in the Lord.

Our God comes to rule the world with righteousness and the peoples with fairness, Sacred Scripture reminds us. May we be unafraid to let God act in the depths of our being today and always. May our reception of the Body and Blood of the Lord at the Holy Eucharist strengthen us for the journey, until Christ returns to take us home.

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ST. GERTRUDE: A UNIQUE INFLUENCE ON CHRISTIAN SPIRITUALITY

CP&S:  Today we celebrate that great Benedictine Saint – Gertrude.  This post was originally published here some years ago, and was our Holy Father Emeritus Pope Benedict’s catechesis for that day.

 

 

ST. GERTRUDE: A UNIQUE INFLUENCE ON CHRISTIAN SPIRITUALITY

VATICAN CITY, 6 OCT 2010 (VIS) – In his general audience, held this morning
in St. Peter’s Square, the Pope dedicated his catechesis to St. Gertrude,
“one of the most famous mystics and the only woman in Germany to receive the
title of ‘Great'”, which was given to her “for her great cultural and
evangelical importance. With her life and thought she made a uniquely
incisive contribution to Christian spirituality”, he said.

Born in the year 1256, at the age of five “she entered the convent, as
often happened at that time, for education and study. There she spent her
whole life”.

Gertrude “was an outstanding student. … She went on to dedicate herself
totally to God in monastic life and for twenty years nothing exceptional
happened: her principal activities were study and prayer”. Then, at the age
of twenty-five, “she had a vision of a young man who took her by the hand
and guided her to loosen the knot of thorns oppressing her soul. In that
hand, Gertrude recognised … the One Who saved us with His blood on the
cross: Jesus.

“From that moment her life of intimate communion with the Lord became more
intense”, the Holy Father added. She abandoned “the profane humanistic
sciences for theological studies, and in her monastic observance she moved
from a life she herself defined as ‘negligent’ to one of intense mystical
prayer, showing exceptional missionary ardour”.

Gertrude, Pope Benedict explained, “understood that she had been distant
from God, … that she had dedicated herself too avidly to liberal studies,
to human knowledge, disregarding the spiritual sciences and depriving
herself of the taste of true wisdom. Now she was being led to the mountain
of contemplation where she abandoned the old self to clothe herself in the
new”.

This German saint “dedicated herself to writing, to revealing the truth of
faith with clarity, simplicity, grace and conviction, serving the Church
with love and faithfulness, and becoming much appreciated by theologians and
men of piety”. Among her writings – of which few remain “because of the
events that led to the destruction of the convent of Helfta” – are the
“‘Herald of Divine Love’ or ‘The Revelations’, as well as the ‘Spiritual
Exercises’, a rare jewel of mystic spiritual literature”, said the Holy
Father.

“Gertrude added other prayers and penance to those imposed by the monastic
rule, with such devotion and faithful abandonment to God that she aroused in
those who met here the conviction of being in the presence of the Lord. And
in fact God Himself brought her to understand that He had called her to be
an instrument of His grace. Yet Gertrude felt unworthy of this immense
divine treasure, and confessed that she had not protected and cherished it”.
She died in 1301 or 1302.

In closing, Benedict XVI highlighted how the example of St. Gertrude
“shows us that the focal point of a happy and authentic life is friendship
with Jesus the Lord. This is learned through love for Sacred Scripture and
the liturgy, through profound faith and through love for Mary, so as to gain
increasing knowledge of God and, therefore, to know true happiness which is
the goal of our existence”.

Having concluded his catechesis, the Holy Father reminded the various
pilgrim groups present that October is the month dedicated to the Holy
Rosary, and that tomorrow marks the feast day of the Blessed Virgin of the
Rosary.

“The Rosary”, he said turning to address Polish pilgrims, “is a special
prayer of the Church and a spiritual weapon for each one of you. May
meditation on the lives of Jesus and Mary be a light for all of us on our
evangelical journey of spiritual renewal and conversion of heart”.

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Catechism will be updated to include ecological sins, pope says

By Junno Arocho Esteves Catholic News Service:

VATICAN CITY (CNS)

Following through on a proposal made at the Synod of Bishops for the Amazon, Pope Francis said there are plans to include a definition of ecological sins in the church’s official teaching.

“We should be introducing — we were thinking — in the Catechism of the Catholic Church the sin against ecology, ecological sin against the common home,” he told participants at a conference on criminal justice Nov. 15.

Members of the International Association of Penal Law were in Rome Nov. 13-16 for the conference, which centered on the theme, “Criminal Justice and Corporate Business.”

Pope Francis also denounced the abuse of law and legislation to justify acts of violence and hatred.

Today’s throwaway culture, as well as other “psycho-social phenomenon” pose threats to the common good while insidiously promoting a “culture of hate,” he said. These threats, he added, often take the form of “symbols and actions that are typical of Nazism.”

“I must confess,” the pope said, departing from his prepared remarks, “that when I hear some speeches, some person in charge of order or the government, I am reminded of Hitler’s speeches in 1934 and 1936.”

“They are actions typical of Nazism that, with its persecution of Jews, gypsies and people of homosexual orientation, represent a negative model par excellence of a throwaway culture and hate,” the pope said. “That is what happened in that time and today, these things are reappearing.”

Today’s “current of punitivism, which claims to solve social problems through the penal system,” has not worked, the pope said. Instead, an “elementary sense of justice” must be applied so that “certain conduct for which corporations are usually responsible, does not go unpunished.”

Chief among those crimes, he added, are acts that “can be considered as ‘ecocide’: the massive contamination of air, land and water resources, the large-scale destruction of flora and fauna, and any action capable of producing an ecological disaster or destroying an ecosystem.”

Pope Francis also called on the international community to recognize ecocide as a “fifth category of crime against peace.”

According to the Rome Statute, which was adopted by the International Criminal Court in 1998, the four core international crimes currently established are: crimes against humanity, genocide, war crimes and crimes of aggression.

“On this occasion, and through you,” the pope told conference participants, “I would like to appeal to all the leaders and representatives in this sector to help with efforts in order to ensure the adequate legal protection of our common home.”

In the synod’s final document, bishops defined ecological sin as a sin against God and future generations that “manifests itself in acts and habits of pollution and destruction of the harmony of the environment.”

A true model of justice, the pope said, can find “its perfect incarnation in the life of Jesus” who, after being treated violently and put to death, brought “a message of peace, forgiveness and reconciliation.”

“These are values that are difficult to achieve but necessary for the good life of all,” the pope said. “I don’t think it’s a utopia, but it’s a big challenge. A challenge that we must all address if we are to treat the problems of our civilized coexistence in a way that is rational, peaceful and democratic.”

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The United States Conference of Catholic Blowhards

 

The bishops hold another pointless left-wing powwow in Baltimore

By George Neumayr at The American Spectator:

This week the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) held its annual meeting in Baltimore. The bishops gathered at the four-star Marriott near the city’s inner harbor, a mark of the event’s spiritual unseriousness. The bishops could save the faithful millions of dollars by holding it at one of the Church’s many empty retreat centers. But no, “we have to be close to the people,” Church leaders said in the decades after Vatican II — a hilarious conceit given that the bishops spend much of these meetings cowering behind security guards and cops.

The shepherds beefed up security from last year, as they increasingly fear a flock fed up with their heterodoxy and misrule of the Church. Security officials roamed the Marriott, eyeing any potential protesters warily. While the bishops upstairs were calling for “virtual zero access” among citizens to guns, they made sure to have cops downstairs bearing them.

The meeting was marked by the usual tone-deaf leftist politics — a lot of babbling about gun control, amnesty, and racism and almost no talk of the Church’s collapse in faith and morals. “The meeting was a mess,” said one observer. The bishops much prefer to talk about society’s failures over their own. And they would rather pontificate about “justice” than enforce any on wayward priests and bishops. As one attendee put it to me, “Why should anyone take their thoughts on social justice seriously when they can’t even hold molesters in their midst accountable?”

The cluelessness of some of the bishops about the various elephants in the room can’t be overstated. I got a taste of that after I asked the recently appointed bishop of Wheeling-Charleston, Mark Brennan, about the Monsignor Walter Rossi investigation, which is now almost three months old. “I am not aware of that investigation,” he replied.

Brennan was selected to take over the Wheeling-Charleston diocese in the wake of the Bishop Michael Bransfield scandal — a move orchestrated, I’m told, by the disgraced Cardinal Donald Wuerl to ensure that the gay mafia had someone “controllable” in that position, lest all of Bransfield’s secrets spill out. Bransfield, by the way, was officially disinvited to the Baltimore event — the USCCB’s idea of a “brave” stance. Never mind that Bransfield had no intention of coming. (In the past, when he did come, he would stay not at the Marriott but at the even swankier Four Seasons a block away.)

While Bransfield wasn’t welcome, the molester Theodore McCarrick’s other cronies and enablers certainly were. Wuerl, who knew of McCarrick’s predatory behavior for at least 14 years before he got popped, continues to cast his sinister shadow over the USCCB proceedings. One of Wuerl’s protégés, Bishop George Murry, became the chair of the USCCB’s Religious Liberty committee.

I saw Wuerl and the equally subversive Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago join Michael Sean Winters of the openly heretical National Catholic Reporter for lunch at Fleming’s Steakhouse. (Wuerl hit Ruth’s Chris for dinner later that day.) One protester, holding a sign that called McCarrick’s enablers “a disgrace,” told me Wuerl physically flinched upon seeing it.

It was announced at the meeting that the supposed Vatican report on how the scandal-plagued McCarrick rose to the top of the Church still isn’t complete. Boston Cardinal Seán O’Malley said that the report is undergoing an Italian translation and may not appear until early next year.

Meanwhile, outside the meeting, it was reported that Brooklyn’s bishop, Nicholas DiMarzio, the very official Pope Francis recently dispatched to Buffalo to investigate the botched handling of sex abuse claims there, has now been accused of molestation himself. I am told that the news sent shock waves through the conference.

“You can’t make this stuff up,” said one attendee, who laughed about the bishops’ plans to institute a phone line for people to complain about episcopal misconduct. “Do these guys understand what a joke they have become and how no one is listening to them anymore?”

One of the few good votes from the conference was to freeze funding for the USCCB. Several bishops complained that they can’t afford to give it any more money given all the sex abuse-related debts with which they have been saddled. But a better question for them to debate is, Why does the USCCB need to meet at all? It is a colossal waste of money and simply an occasion for left-wing blowhards to opine on political matters beyond their authority and competence.

For all their blather about playing a “prophetic role,” the U.S. bishops are a portrait of timidity. They have been reduced to quibbles about documents that no one bothers to read. One of the few flash points of the conference came on Tuesday, when Bishop Robert McElroy of San Diego and the soon-to-retire Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia sparred briefly over the wording in a document on forming consciences. McElroy, citing the pope’s liberalism, wanted a line removed from a USCCB document saying that abortion is the bishops’ “preeminent priority.” Chaput wanted the line to stay in the document. Chaput’s side prevailed, though almost a third of the bishops voted in support of McElroy’s view. The media portrayed the difference as greater than it actually was. Chaput insisted his view didn’t represent any break with the pope; McElroy said it did, arguing that the pope wants a greater balancing of issues. Nowhere represented in the discussion was anyone questioning the pope’s liberal emphases.

“They are terrified of the pope,” said one observer. “They are all company men.” But behind the scenes, apparently, some of them do fret over the damage the pope is doing to the Church. In this regard, it is notable that Cupich, Joseph Tobin, and McElroy didn’t put their names into the hat for any leadership positions. “They were afraid they might lose,” said a source close to the bishops.

The new president of the USCCB is the archbishop of Los Angeles, José Gomez, for whom amnesty is the burning issue. One conference session resembled a La Raza meeting, as one bishop after another called for open borders in the most sophistical and emotionally manipulative language. That was followed by a report on racism and how priests need to devote more homilies to the subject.

While the bishops gave plenty of time to that nonsense, they had none for the pro-life rosaries held outside the Marriott. (Yesterday, I saw a grand total of two bishops at the rosary: Bishop Joseph Strickland, who led it, and Bishop Joseph Coffey of the archdiocese of military services.) Catholic spirituality simply doesn’t interest them. The USCCB used to be called the DNC at prayer, but even that presupposition of prayer seems passé.

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The demonic Pachamama idol mess isn’t going to go away

From Father Z’s blog:

The constant veneration and display of the demon Pachamama during the Amazon Synod must not be simply waved aside.

Two things for the record.

Card. Cupich of Chicago has defended the veneration of this demon idol, though that is not what he thinks it is.  Lifesite HERE  Chicago Catholic HERE on 6 November. He writes with anger about how “statues” were taken from Santa Maria in Traspontina and thrown into the river.  He writes:

The artwork from the Amazon region depicted a pregnant woman, a symbol of motherhood and the sacredness of life, that represents for indigenous peoples the bond humanity has with our “mother earth,” much as St. Francis of Assisi portrayed in his Canticle of the Creatures.

He then admits that the statues were from a “pagan” culture.   But he then defends the … respect?… they were shown threw his understanding of inculturation.   The argument is… remarkable.  It’s not convincing, however.

Moving overseas, we find a defense of Pachamama veneration the Bishop Emeritus of San Cristóbal de las Casas, Felipe Arizmendi Esquivel in, of all places, the Vatican’s daily L’Osservatore Romano of 12 November!

?È una divinità la Pachamama?

Is Pachamama a deity?

You won’t be surprised to learn that, NO!, indeed not. She is really a manifestation of our respect for the love of God through our respect for “mother nature” which God created. See?

Anni fa, durante un incontro del Celam che ho coordinato a Cochabamba, in Bolivia, sui diversi nomi di Dio nelle culture originarie del Cono Sud, ho chiesto a un indigeno aymara se, per la sua gente, la pachamama (la madre terra) e l’inti (il padre sole) erano dei e lui mi ha risposto: «Chi non ha ricevuto l’evangelizzazione li considera dei; per noi che siamo stati evangelizzati, non sono dei, ma i doni migliori di Dio». Risposta stupenda! Questo sono! Sono manifestazioni dell’amore di Dio, non dei.

Years ago, during a meeting of the CELAM which I coordinated in Cochabamba, Bolivia, on the different names of God in the original cultures of the Southern Cone, I asked an indigenous Aymara if, for his people, pachamama (mother earth) and the inti (the sun father) were gods and he replied: ‘Those who have not received evangelization consider them gods; for us who have been evangelized, they are not gods, but God’s best gifts ». Wonderful answer! This is it! They are manifestations of God’s love, not gods.

So there it is.

I guess that if it walks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then its a prairie dog.

UPDATE:

Meanwhile, the woman who was the “priestess” in the Vatican Gardens idol fiasco at the beginning of October, said what it was all about.  HERE

The female indigenous leader who planted a tree alongside Pope Francis in the Vatican Gardens ahead of the Amazon Synod was clear from the beginning about the syncretistic and pagan meaning of the act which, she explains, was intended to “satisfy the hunger of Mother Earth” and reconnect with “the divinity present in the Amazonian soil.”

In an October 4 statement that went under the radar during the Synod itself, Ednamar de Oliveira Viana, of the Maués region in Brazil, says of the Vatican Garden tree-planting ceremony: “To plant … is believing in a growing and fruitful life to satisfy the hunger of Mother Earth’s creation. This brings us to our origin by reconnecting divine energy and teaching us the way back to the Creator Father.”

I dunno.  That doesn’t sound good to me.

There are a lot of kabuki dances going on to explain away what sure looked like demonic idol veneration.

No… correction… kabuki is quite beautiful.  Nothing about the idol or the explanations is beautiful.  It is more like Three Card Monte with all the teamwork.  We got a dealer (also called a “tosser”… ya, I know…) and some shills in the crowd who place bets to give punters the idea they could win.  And their muscle will eventually manifest, who takes out some of the naysayers.

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Cardinal pressured bishops to stay quiet on abuse case so as not to harm Pope’s image

November 12, 2019, LifeSiteNews:

Today is a very special episode of the John-Henry Westen Show. We have documents and testimony directly from two Bishops and a Cardinal admitting to refusing to issue a public statement supporting a clergy sexual abuse victim for fear of tarnishing the reputation of Pope Francis.

Recent hearings at the UK government-established Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) has elicited testimony from two bishops replete with incriminating evidence on Cardinal Vincent Nichols, the Archbishop of Westminster and President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales. Nichols was made a Cardinal by Pope Francis in 2014.

Both Portsmouth Bishop Philip Egan and Northhampton Bishop Peter Doyle testify that Cardinal Nichols cajoled them into refusing to issue a statement in support of a known victim of sexual abuse who was being disparaged in Catholic media as non-credible and her claims as “fantastical.” Cardinal Nichols, the bishops testify, warned that any public statement issued by the bishops in support of the abuse victim would be used to bolster attacks on Pope Francis.

Both Bishops Egan and Doyle testify that communications directors from the Bishops’ Conference, of which Nichols is President, advised them against any public statement in favor of the victim as it would lead to an attack on the Pope. Both also testify, under oath, that Cardinal Nichols himself had later intervened to confirm these fears of his Conference’s PR agents, and that it was the Cardinal’s intervention that convinced both bishops not to act for the abuse victim. In an email Bishop Doyle sent to the victim, subpoenaed by the inquiry, the bishop explained why he was now refusing to honor the victim’s request that a public statement be issued asserting her credibility. Bishop Egan also stated that, “I saw it as an attempt to discredit the Holy Father, actually, because it was so connected at that time with the Viganò affair.”

However, when Cardinal Nichols himself took the stand (watch here) he vehemently rejected the assertion that his primary concern was trying to protect the reputation of the Pope and suggests rather that his overriding concern was for the victim. But the Cardinal’s own testimony is not only contradicted by the other two bishops who took the stand but also by a woman who worked in the Portsmouth diocese as an advocate for abuse victims – a position called a safeguarding commissioner. Watch her testimony here.

What are Cardinal Nichols and the two bishops trying to conceal about Pope Francis? What is it that has them so concerned about an attack on Pope Francis that they’d be willing to refuse to assist a clergy sexual abuse victim? Remember the leaked reports that early in Pope Francis’ reign he personally halted a Vatican investigation into sexual abuse perpetrated by a Cardinal? That Cardinal was none other than Cormac Murphy O’Connor who by all accounts was very instrumental in electing Pope Francis. He is the same Cardinal who this victim alleges abused her. O’Connor was, incidentally, Nichols’ predecessor.

Pope Francis’ blocking of that investigation was confirmed to me by Cardinal Gerhard Müller in October 2018 at a Napa conference in Washington, D.C. The conclusion of this entire sad tale is this: This abuse victim made her request for a hearing into these new allegations of abuse by Cardinal Cormac Murphy O’Connor in 2009, a decade ago. Despite Cardinal Nichols’ testimony that it was investigated, the other two bishops disagree and sent a joint letter to the Cardinal asking him to reopen her case.

In his sworn testimony, Cardinal Nichols claims that the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith had closed the case of this abuse victim in 2011, thus implying that the Pope did not stop it in 2013. However the other two bishops ask him to reopen the case. “I was going to ask Cardinal Vincent,” says Egan in his testimony, “if he would re-open and re-examine this case and see what could be done to help the person concerned.” Bishops Egan and Doyle wrote a joint letter on Egan’s letterhead to Nichols on May 1, 2019. Egan testified that Cardinal Nichols didn’t even respond to the letter.

And finally in the interests of full disclosure I should tell you that LifeSiteNews is brought up several times in this hearing. Remember LifeSiteNews was used by Nichols and the PR folks as the threat to the bishops that should they speak in defense of the abuse victim her case would surely be used to attack Pope Francis.

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Clergy and Laity to Pope Francis: We Have Had Enough of This Insanity

from: Fatima Perspectives

Fatima Perspectives #1352

As LifeSiteNews has just reported (Nov. 12): “An international group of 100 priests and lay scholars published a statement today to protest the pagan worship of Pachamama that took place last month during the Amazon Synod in Rome with Pope Francis’ active participation and apparent support.”

I am one of the signatories and drafters of this document.  Quite simply, it is a declaration by concerned clergy and laity alike that an already wayward pontificate has gone completely off the rails into the realm of outright sacrilege, much of it perpetrated in Saint Peter’s Basilica itself.

If that claim seems extreme, consider the particulars of our protest, lodged on the Internet here:

  • On October 4, Pope Francis attended an act of idolatrous worship of the pagan goddess Pachamama. He allowed this worship to take place in the Vatican Gardens, thus desecrating the vicinity of the graves of the martyrs and of the church of the Apostle Peter. (See, first two photos above.)
  • He participated in this act of idolatrous worship by blessing a wooden image of Pachamama. (See, first photo above.)
  • On October 7, the idol of Pachamama was placed in front of the main altar at St. Peter’s and then carried in procession to the Synod Hall. Pope Francis said prayers in a ceremony involving this image and then joined in this procession. (See, third photo above and photo published here.)
  • When wooden images of this pagan deity were removed from the church of Santa Maria in Traspontina, where they had been sacrilegiously placed, and thrown into the Tiber by Catholics outraged by this profanation of the church, Pope Francis, on October 25, apologized for their removal and another wooden image of Pachamama was returned to the church.  Thus, a new profanation was initiated.
  • On October 27, in the closing Mass for the synod, he accepted a bowl used in the idolatrous worship of Pachamama and placed it on the altar.
  • Pope Francis himself confirmed that these wooden images were pagan idols. In his apology for the removal of these idols from a Catholic church, he specifically called them Pachamama, a name for a false goddess of mother earth according to pagan religious belief in South America.

Moreover, as the statement notes, even before its publication, “Different features of these proceedings [were] condemned as idolatrous or sacrilegious by Cardinal Walter Brandmüller, Cardinal Gerhard Müller, Cardinal Jorge Urosa Savino, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, Bishop Athanasius Schneider, Bishop José Luis Azcona Hermoso, Bishop Rudolf Voderholzer, and Bishop Marian Eleganti.  Lastly, Card. Raymond Burke has given the same assessment of this cult in an interview.”

Among these prelates, however, only Archbishop Viganò, the first signatory of the statement, has had the courage and the candor to protest Francis’ direct involvement in the scandal. He alone among the entire world episcopate has explicitly protested the Pope’s participation in blatant sacrilege and idolatry in the very basilica where the remains of Saint Peter are enshrined at the heart of the Catholic world.

What this protest attempts to do is to rally the rest of the bishops of the world, who unanimously refuse to identify the Pope as the source of one papally-initiated scandal after another.  As the statement concludes, “We respectfully ask all the bishops of the Catholic Church to offer fraternal correction to Pope Francis for these scandals, and to warn their flocks that according to the divinely revealed teaching of the Catholic faith, they will risk eternal damnation if they follow his example of offending against the First Commandment.”

Without the support of the episcopacy, no mere statement of protest from the faithful, even from priests and deacons, will effect a change in the disastrous course of this astounding pontificate.  Pope Francis has not only proved impervious to such entreaties, but on the contrary has doubled down on the demand that his “Magisterium” be imposed, as if the Magisterium were the property of a single pope who would be free to disregard the perennial Magisterium to which every Pope is bound.

Hence, as LifeSiteNews further reports, the apostolic nuncio to the United State, Archbishop Christophe Pierre, has issued a Vatican diktat that the “Magisterium of Pope Francis” and “[t]he pastoral thrust of this pontificate must reach the American people.”  As Pierre put it, “Especially, as families continue to demand of parishes and dioceses the accompaniment envisioned by Amoris Laetitia.”

Meaning, of course, admitting public adulterers in “second marriages” to Holy Communion while ramping up the annulment factory to crank out as many annulments as possible in keeping with Francis’ demand, announced by the Dean of the Roman Rota, that the Church undergo a “‘conversion’, a change of mentality which convinces and sustains them in following the invitation of Christ, present in their brother, the Bishop of Rome, to pass from the restricted number of a few thousand annulments to that immeasurable [number] of unfortunates who might have a declaration of nullity….”

Yes, we have a Pope who dares to proclaim via one of his subalterns that Christ Himself, speaking through Francis, is calling for an “immeasurable number” of quickie annulments — along with Holy Communion for public adulterers who have not yet obtained a rubber stamp annulling their “first marriage.”

The lay faithful and numerous priests have done what they can to resist this out-of-control papacy. But where are the bishops, including certain cardinals who fret about “confusion” and “error” in the Church without having the fortitude to confront their obvious primary author “to his face,” as Saint Paul did with the first Pope at Antioch?  (Cf. Gal 2:11)

We can only hope and pray that this statement will prompt at least a few bishops, and perhaps a cardinal or two, to emulate the example of Saint Paul in keeping with their duty to defend the Faith against anyone, including a wayward Pope — especially a wayward Pope — who would undermine it.

 

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Australian High Court allows Cardinal Pell to appeal sex abuse conviction

Cardinal George Pell. Credit: Alexey Gotovskiy/CNA.
Cardinal George Pell. Credit: Alexey Gotovskiy/CNA.

.- The Australian High Court announced Tuesday that Cardinal George Pell has been granted leave to appeal an August decision by the Court of Appeal in Victoria to uphold his conviction for child sexual abuse.

Pell’s appeal to the High Court in Canberra, Australia’s supreme court, was his last legal avenue to overturn a conviction which has divided opinion in the country and internationally.

The cardinal was convicted Dec. 11, 2018, on five charges that he sexually abused two choir boys after Sunday Mass while he was Archbishop of Melbourne in 1996 and 1997.

He was sentenced to six years in prison, of which he must serve at least three years and eight months before being eligible to apply for parole.

The cardinal, 78, who remains an archbishop and a member of the College of Cardinals, was returned to prison immediately after court adjourned. He has been held in solitary confinement and has not been permitted to celebrate Mass in prison.

Pell was convicted of exposing himself and forcing two choir boys to commit sex acts while fully vested in his Sunday Mass garb, almost immediately after Mass in the priests’ sacristy at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in 1996. Pell was at that time Archbishop of Melbourne. He was also convicted of fondling one of the boys in a corridor in 1997.

The prosecution rested on the testimony of one of the alleged victims— the one reported to have suffered two instances of abuse by Pell. The other victim died in 2014 and was unable to testify, but in 2001 had denied to his mother that any abuse occurred while he was a member of the choir.

Pell has maintained his innocence, with his defense making central the argument that the alleged crimes would have been, under the circumstances, “simply impossible.”

The cardinal’s defenders have contended that the sacristy abuse allegations are not possible given the high traffic after Mass and the obstructing nature of the Mass vestments.

Pell had appealed to the Court of Appeal in Victoria. Three judges considered his case and dismissed his procedural appeal. The judges were divided on Pell’s primary ground of appeal, that the decision of the jury was “unreasonable.”

At particular issue was the question of whether the jury which convicted Pell had properly weighed all of the evidence presented in his defense, or reached the determination of guilt despite the demonstration of clear “reasonable doubt” that he committed the crimes with which he was charged.

Chief Justice Anne Ferguson and Court President Chris Maxwell formed the majority in favor of rejecting Pell’s appeal that the jury verdict was unreasonable on the evidence presented, finding that it was open to the jury to find beyond “reasonable doubt about the truth of the complainant’s account.”

In an extensive dissent from the majority finding, Justice Mark Weinberg noted that the entirety of the evidence against Pell consisted of the testimony of a single accuser, whereas more than 20 witnesses were produced to testify against his narrative.

“Even the ‘reasonable possibility’ that what the witnesses who testified to these matters may have been true must inevitably have led to an acquittal,” Weinberg wrote, concluding that Pell had, in effect, been improperly asked to establish the “impossibility” of his guilt and not merely reasonable doubt.

All three judges granted further leave to appeal on the ground of the unreasonableness of the jury’s conviction.

Media commentators and members of the Australian legal community have voiced concerns about the reasoning of the two-judge majority opinion and the wider implications its argumentation could have for standards of evidence in criminal trials.

Holy See press office director Matteo Bruni responded to the Court of Appeal decision by saying that “the Holy See acknowledges the court’s decision to dismiss Cardinal Pell’s appeal,” while reiterating its “respect for the Australian judicial system.”

“As the proceedings continue to develop, the Holy See recalls that the Cardinal has always maintained his innocence throughout the judicial process and that it is his right to appeal to the High Court,” Bruni said at the time.

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The Three Popes and the End of Times in Garabandal

Until the Church makes a public and definitive declaration on Garabandal, let us work on our conversion peacefully and with a heart full of gratitude toward Our Blessed Mother who loves us and so eagerly seeks our salvation.

3papa

One of the topics that has set people talking about Garabandal is the so-called prophecy of the three popes, linked to the proclamation of an imminent end of time. It is such a delicate topic that it can be misunderstood and misinterpreted. Therefore, we are going to reflect using the information we have, taking care not to interpret what is not up to us to decide but rather up to the Church.

It was June 3, 1963. The news of Pope John XXIII’s death had just reached Garabandal and Conchita made her way to the church with her mother to pray for the Pontiff’s eternal repose. On their way, Conchita hears the unmistakable voice of Our Blessed Mother in her saying, “After this pope, there are only three left. Then [it will be] the end of times.” Soon after, the Virgin Mary specifies that even though she says that only three are left, there will be another that will “govern the Church for a very short time,” which is why She does not include him on the list. There are witnesses that affirm hearing Conchita make this clarification during that very month: June 1963. This means that, in one sentence Our Blessed Mother prophesied two things:

1. There are only three popes left. Then it will be the end of times.
2. To assure us that her first affirmation is true, Our Blessed Mother provides a sign: there will actually be one more pope, but his pontificate will be so brief that I do not count him.

We all know who that pope is whose pontificate was so ephemeral that it did not come to be a great influence on the Church’s destiny: John Paul I, pope from August 26, 1978 until his death on September 28, 1978. Pope Luciani’s 33 day-long pontificate corresponded perfectly to this exceptional prediction, impossible to predict in 1963. The three popes from Our Lady’s prophecy are therefore Paul VI, John Paul II and Benedict XVI. After Pope Francis’ arrival, the start of the “end of times” will have begun.

But what does this really mean? I insist on the fact that we must be very prudent and humble when we try to explain it, like Sister Lucia at Fatima when the Third Secret of Fatima was published in 2000. Fr. José Luis Saavedra explains that, before the Holy See published an interpretation carried out by Cardinal Angelo Sodano, “he [Sodano] showed it to Sister Lucia in order to know her opinion and find out if she shared the same interpretation. Sister Lucia,” explains Cardinal Ratzinger, “responded that ‘the vision was given to her, not its interpretation. The interpretation is not determined by the visionary but by the Church.’”

A visionary cannot risk interpreting the message received. His or her duty is to pass them to the Church to be studied and interpreted legitimately. In Garabandal, this is also why Conchita left the judgment of the matter completely in the Church’s hands. We ought to do the same thing and not risk thinking up our own interpretation that might harm our faith or that of others. The comprehension of a message coming from a private revelation normally needs several years to develop. Sometimes it even needs time to see the foretold events fulfilled. But prophecy in the history of salvation cannot be confused with divination, because it is not a mere foretelling future events but a call to conversion. Prophecy reveals God’s will for the present rather than for the future. It is a call to convert today, without waiting for the prophesied events, whose mission is solely a sign and confirmation of God’s intervention in history.

Our Blessed Mother’s words are, “After this pope, there are only three left. Then [it will be] the end of times.” The adverb “then,” as Fr. José Luis Saavedra rightly points out in his book Garabandal: Message of Hope, does not mean “immediately.” Nor does “the end of times” mean “the end of the world,” as Conchita has repeated on several occasions. “There are only three left” does not mean that there will be no more popes, or that the Church or human race will disappear. We have to get all those heavy black clouds out of our head and imagination. “There are only three left. Then [it will be] the end of time” simply means that there will only be three popes before this mysterious “end of times” begins. Then there will continue to be popes and the Church and the world will continue to exist. We will have, however, entered into a new period in the Church’s history.

Our Blessed Mother did not say more than what She said in Garabandal and we cannot venture to add another word. Nevertheless, we cannot deny that we are living a very transcendent moment in the history of the Church. As I write these lines—July 2019—I am reading a commentary by Cardinal Reinhard Marx, President of German Bishops’ Conference, in which he declares that we are not in an epoch of change but “in a change of epoch.” He comes to affirm: “Whoever does not see it must adapt his or her intellect.”Surely, Cardinal Marx did not intend it, but his observation is very similar to that proclamation of the “end of times.” This end times of goes hand in hand with a great test for and purification in the Church. This is not interpreting; it is evidence that we confirm daily. The Church is currently being greatly tested, persecuted and purified. But this does not mean that the Church is coming to an end, quite the opposite, if we are faithful and respond to Our Blessed Mother’s calls this entire situation will end in a providential moment of grace.

In fact, Fr. José Luis Saavedra puts the announcement of the “end of times” with Fatima’s luminous prophecy: “Finally, my Immaculate Heart will triumph.” “Finally” is an adverb used to express emphatically the end of a pending situation. In the present case, it seems to indicate the conclusion of a period of difficulty preceding the Immaculate Heart of Mary’s triumph. For Santiago Lanús—expert in modern Marian apparitions—“the end of times,” which would begin with Garabandal’s Warning, “will last until the triumph of the Immaculate Heart announced in Fatima.” That “end of times” will be marked by a sorrowful period of interior trials and exterior persecution, in which the Church, like the girls announced in Garabandal, will look as if it is at the point of disappearing. We are already suffering some of this time of trial, but we do not give in to the evil temptation to despair or go down the path of morbidity because all the events we speak of come from the depths of the Lord’s merciful Heart. We should not fear future events but place ourselves trustfully in Our Heavenly Mother’s hands. Everything is thought out carefully for our own good and to lead us to a deep conversion.

Still, I insist that Church authority must interpret announcements like the ones in Garabandal. These demand, for their part, a particular prudence and study. Until the Church makes a public and definitive declaration on Garabandal, let us work on our conversion peacefully and with a heart full of gratitude toward Our Blessed Mother who loves us and so eagerly seeks our salvation.

Source: SAAVEDRA, J.L., Garabandal: Message of Hope. Santander, 2015.
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Praying for the Souls in Purgatory

Purgatory by Ludovico Carracci

Have you lost a loved one who passed away, or know someone who has? Prayers for souls in purgatory can help them! While we can derive great comfort from the hope that our loved ones are enjoying Eternal Life with God, it never hurts to pray for their souls in any case.

In purgatory, the souls of many of those who have died in God’s grace undergo purification so that they may enter heaven.

The Prayer of St. Gertrude, below, is one of the most famous of the prayers for souls in purgatory. St. Gertrude the Great (pictured at left) was a Benedictine nun and mystic who lived in the 13th century. According to tradition, our Lord promised her that 1000 souls would be released from purgatory each time it is said devoutly. Whether or not this is actually the case, this is a great prayer for focusing on helping the Holy Souls in Purgatory nonetheless:

Eternal Father, I offer Thee the Most Precious Blood of Thy Divine Son, Jesus, in union with the masses said throughout the world today, for all the holy souls in purgatory, for sinners everywhere, for sinners in the universal church, those in my own home and within my family. Amen.

Many of the Fathers of the Church, such as St. Augustine and St. John Chrysostom, considered prayers for souls in purgatory to be essential. The church has endorsed the doctrine of purgatory from the Councils of Florence and Trent in the 15th and 16th centuries right up through Vatican II in the 1960’s.

The most famous scriptural reference, among others, concerning these prayers comes from the Old Testament where it is called “a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from sins” (2 Macabees 12:46).

November is traditionally the month dedicated to prayer for the Holy Souls in purgatory and visits to the graves of departed loved ones. It is also important to remember those who have no one praying for them, for the souls of priests and religious as well as for those who died young, at war or in other tragic circumstances.

While the sacrament of penance (confession) is essential for the forgiveness of sins, purgatory may be necessary for many of us to satisfy the temporal punishment still due for venial and forgiven mortal sins.

To get a better handle on what this means, think of a kid who breaks a window while playing ball. He can, and should, apologize to the person whose window has been broken, but either he or his parents, (or both!) still have to pay to fix it!

While the souls in purgatory can do nothing for themselves, their purification “pays for the damages” of their sins. It makes whatever restitution remains for these sins to God.

For another good way to look at it, think of your soul at baptism as being bright white. In your daily life it picks up bits of grime from sin, much like snow in a city a few days after a winter storm.

Even with frequent confession many of us still need purgatory to really get our souls really spotless. Purgatory is more than just some sort of Divine Detergent, however. It prepares souls for their heavenly home!

Purgatory has been described, at times rather poetically, as a “cleansing fire” that burns away the dross of sins on our souls. St. Paul wrote those of being saved “yet so as through fire” (1 Cor 3:15), and whether or not the soul endures a literal fire, its purification does involve suffering.

Thus, when it comes to purgatory the expression “No pain, no gain!” seems apt. The time each soul spends there, and the severity of the pains it experiences, varies.

However, our prayers for these souls can help alleviate their sufferings and help them reach heaven more quickly. Although they can no longer pray for themselves, they can and do pray for us as well out of gratitude!

In addition to saying prayers for souls in purgatory, we can help them by having masses said for the departed and by engaging in works of charity and sacrifice on their behalf.

Speaking of charity, this prayer below, known as the Heroic Act of Charity is especially powerful, calling to mind as it does an especially powerful intercessor with our Lord, His Mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary:

Heavenly Father, in union with the merits of Jesus and Mary, I offer to You for the sake of the poor souls all the satisfactory value of my works during life, as well as all that will be done for me after death. I give You my all through the hands of the Immaculate Virgin Mary that she may set free whatever souls she pleases, according to her heavenly wisdom and mother’s love for them. Recieve this offering, O God, and grant me in return an increase of Your grace. Amen.

Also, the degree of grace with which we bear our own misfortunes, offering them up to God for the forgiveness of sins, can shorten whatever time in purgatory we ourselves might face.

Here are two other good prayers for souls in purgatory:

Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord; And let perpetual light shine upon them. May they rest in peace. Amen

O Lord, who art ever merciful and bounteous with Thy gifts, look down upon the suffering souls in purgatory. Remember not their offenses and negligences, but be mindful of Thy loving mercy, which is from all eternity. Cleanse them of their sins and fulfill their ardent desires that they may be made worthy to behold Thee face to face in Thy glory. May they soon be united with Thee and hear those blessed words which will call them to their heavenly home: “Come, blessed of My Father, take possession of the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.”

Keep in mind, however, that for the souls in purgatory there is great joy as well as pain. They know for certain they are bound for heaven! St. Catherine of Genoa wrote of the “flame of love” in purgatory removing what she called “the rust and stain of sins” and filling souls there with an intense longing for God’s eternal embrace. Talk about a burning desire!

Remember that our prayers for souls in purgatory, along with our sacrifices and sufferings, can shorten their time there (and perhaps ours as well). Christmas is known to be one of the biggest days of the year for the release of souls from purgatory to heaven. What better gift can we give them than our prayers?

(Adapted from Our Catholic Prayers)

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Saint Martin of Tours, pray for us!

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Reflection for the 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time – Cycle C

 

Image result for god of the living not the dead

 

 

Scripture Readings: Second Book of Maccabees 7:1-2, 9-14; Second Letter of Saint Paul to the Thessalonians 2:16-3:5; Gospel According to Saint Luke 20:27-38

November is traditionally the month in the Catholic Church to recount and pray for the Faithful Departed, those who have gone before us, “with the sign of faith and rest in the sleep of peace,” words from the Eucharistic Prayer at Mass. Each November 2nd, on All Souls Days, is especailly dedicated to praying for the deceased.

Appropriately, this Sunday’s Mass readings revolve around the topic of the resurrection of the body. This of course is one of the great mysteries of life and of faith, namely, what happens after death. For the Christian and Catholic, this is one of the tenants of our belief in the possibility of eternal life in God’s Kingdom. But how exactly will it come to be?

Some of the most beautiful words on the subject in Sacred Scripture, written by Saint Paul, have this to say:

“If we believe that Jesus died and rose, God will bring forth with him from the dead those who have fallen asleep believing in him (First Thessalonians, chapter 4, verse 14).

And in another place, wiring to the Church of Corinth, Saint Paul is emphatic, that:
“If there is no resurrection of the dead, Christ has not been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is void of content and your faith is empty too” (First Corinthians, chapter 15, verses 13 and 14).

Christians believe wholeheartedly in the resurrection of the body, but precisely how it will come to be and look, is a mystery. This means that some questions remain unanswered, but that should not be cause for doubt or frustration, but in fact an opportunity for going deeper into the bigger mystery of God and the work of salvation of the human race which God intends.

Already in the time of the Maccabees, some two centuries before the birth of Christ, there existed among some of the Jewish people a strong sense of life beyond the grave, what we would now call a belief in bodily resurrection. “The King of the world will raise us up to live again forever,” we hear in the first lesson for Mass today, proclaimed by one of the seven Maccabean brothers.

If we compare the Maccabean contention, of life beyond this one, with the Gospel text today, we see further evidence of belief in the resurrection. Jesus is clear to state, though, that life in heaven will be different from what we have and experience on earth in this life. Jesus says that in the life to come people will not marry, but be more like the angels, no longer subject to death.

Of course angels have no bodies and if no marriage or other “usual” aspects of life as we know it will be in heaven, then surely our resurrected bodies will possess some notable differences in heaven.

Regarding the mystery of the resurrection of the body, we live with the reality that all the aspects of life after death remain unknown in precise details. Should that frighten us? Hopefully not. Analogously, we do not know precisely how those we love will become in the future, how long they will live, what might become of their talents and abilities as we know them now.

Or how about ourselves as well? Will be become more peaceful or more crabby as the years go on? Will our communities, families or spouses eventually show us to the door or truly embrace us with all our eccentricities? We don’t really know, do we? Likewise what exactly the resurrected body and life beyond the grave will be like we don’t know for sure. But we go on believing, hoping and loving God and others.

Mystery remains with all the doctrines of the Church, from the Incarnation of the Eternal Word, his Cross and Resurrection, the presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament, etc. You name it, it is mystery and not a problem to be solved, unlike a daily crossword puzzle. It’s all more complex than that. We do not know how mysteries of the faith take place, but that they exist and are professed as matters of faith that we adhere to and boldly proclaim by our words and deeds.

As “children of the resurrection,” in the phrase of Jesus, we believe we will exist for all eternity with our earthly identity and personality somehow still present. The same for those who have gone before us in faith, all of our loved ones and ancestors of old.

In the resurrected life and state of being, we will show all our bonds of love and faith in our resurrected body, however that may look. The bonds between us will be closer and more intimate than anything we enjoyed on earth. This fact we believe along with all its unresolved mystery. In the words of Jesus, “God is not the God of the dead but of the living.” What awaits us is the possibility of being fully and truly alive, for “all are alive for Christ” (both quotes from Gospel According to Saint Luke, chapter 20, verse 38).

In the Christian heritage, belief in the eventual resurrection of the body should provide the needed momentum to keep doing good works in this life, which we carry out at this time with our physical bodies here and now.

That being said, it also needs to be pointed out that our belief in resurrected life is not blind adherence to mysterious doctrinal facts. What we are to possess is confidence in a Person, our Lord Jesus Christ, who said, “I am the resurrection and the life” (Gospel According to Saint John, chapter 11, verse 25). It is Christ to whom we go and from who we receive our life.

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Pachamama: New to the Vatican But No Stranger to the UN

UNEP Pachamama Course

By Edward Pentin:

The United Nations Environment Programme published a children’s textbook in 2002 interestingly entitled Pachamama — a course on why the world’s environment is being degraded and an assessment of “how our Mother Earth is doing today.”

The UNEP says in the book that “Pachamama” means not just ‘Mother Earth’ in Inca culture but also “living in total harmony with the Earth and not from the Earth. It suggests a lifestyle in harmony with nature.”

During the Amazon Synod last month, what the Holy Father called “Pachamama” statues regularly appeared in churches, ceremonies and the synod hall. Pictures of indigenous people bowing down before them in the Vatican Gardens and in a church nearby led many faithful to see them as idols, leading Austrian Catholic Alexander Tschugguel to seize four of them and throw them into the Tiber.

The UNEP’s Pachamama course appears benign by contrast but its first of 7 modules is about “population growth,” teaching children that populations grow “more slowly” if each set of parents “only has one child.”

Activity 4 is about “Traditional or Indigenous Attitudes” and gives examples of “attitudes of ancient or contemporary indigenous cultures towards Mother Earth.”

It also predictably argues for “sustainable development” and goes on to teach about such subjects as “measuring pollution,” “government action,” and “understanding biodiversity.”

In its children’s book, the UNEP doesn’t describe the Pachamama as an idol of course — instead it seems to have just borrowed the word for the course’s title which consists of contributions from young people, authors and artists.

But the connection with the “Pachamama” and the UNEP shows that its appearance at the synod did not happen by chance, and is, in its own way, another indication of the ever-increasing “inculturation” of the UN and the global environmental movement into the very marrow of the Vatican.

***

As an addendum, Melinda Gates, a liberal Catholic whose Gates Foundation promotes among its projects similar globalist values diametrically opposed to Church teaching, privately met the Pope on Wednesday, according to a reliable source. The Vatican and the Gates Foundation were asked twice if they could confirm the meeting but neither responded.

 

See here what Fr Z has to say about this

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