Pope or Anti-Pope: Does it really matter?

CP&S Comment We acknowledge that the content of this article might disturb some of our readers. Yet in the possibility we enjoy today through the internet to hear the justifiable opinions of all our brothers in Christ, and in the wake of the highly disputed recent articles from the Remnant on the burning concerns Catholics are voicing under the current papacy, we decided it was admissible to republish it here.

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By Louie Verrechio on aka Catholic

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Shortly after Archbishop Gänswein explained the intentions of Benedict XVI with respect to “expanding” the Petrine ministry so as to endow it with a “collegial and synodal dimension,” I expressed my opinion:

Bearing in mind what the Catholic Church has always believed, taught and practiced, I cannot help but conclude that the resignation tendered on 11 February 2013 was invalid.

Defective intentions, however, are not the only reasons one may reasonably question the validity of Benedict’s unprecedented act.

For instance, in September of last year, I provided a detailed overview of the Vatican Bank scandal (worth revisiting, in this writer’s opinion), the timeline of which strongly suggests that among the possible threats leveled against Benedict by the wolves in order to coerce his resignation were financial ones.

Since then, Benedict has raised numerous red flags that further suggest that his hand may well have been forced. He even recently admitted that the reasons he gave for departing office in 2013 simply were not true.

Then there is the role played by the so-called “St. Gallen Mafia” – a group of cardinals that conspired to oppose Benedict XVI in order to press for the advent of a more progressive papacy; one with none other than Jorge Mario Bergoglio at its head.

All of this adds up to ample reason for anyone just this side of ambivalent to ponder, and openly so, whether or not the See of Rome was truly vacant as conclave 2013 met. If it was not, then the “Buona Sera” that was delivered from the loggia of St. Peter’s on 13 March of that year came from the lips of an anti-pope.

While I remain open to being convinced otherwise, my initial thoughts on the matter haven’t changed; on the contrary, in fact.

What you make of this mess is entirely up to you. I certainly don’t expect everyone to draw the same conclusions that I have drawn. Nor do I expect others in Catholic media to likewise dissect emerging details in an effort to discern the truth; much less do I imagine that all are even capable of doing so.

I do, however, expect everyone worthy of the name Catholic to recognize, and to treat, this situation as a matter of the utmost import and urgency.

When the Gänswein story broke back in May, I wrote:

Francis is, as we have known for some time now, a blasphemous heretic that we must not allow to draw us, or anyone else if we can help it, into error and death. On this note, even though Archbishop Gänswein’s conference is a “game changer” indeed, nothing has changed. Keep this in mind as you go about deciding for yourself what to make of this unprecedented mess.

Get that?

We cannot allow Francis to mislead us or the people we love, obviously, but we cannot stop there; rather, we must also make it our business to discern, as best we are able, exactly how our Holy Mother is being attacked.

Working out one’s salvation necessarily includes an animating concern for the condition of the Church Militant of which we are members. The two simply go together.

Apparently, not all Catholic commentators agree.

With this in mind, any number of readers have asked me to comment on a contrary approach that is born of a false dichotomy; one that alleviates all concerned of any responsibility to inquire further into the matter of Benedict’s resignation, the conclave that followed, and the actual status of the madman that most of the world considers pope.

Specifically, there are those who would have you believe that one must choose between either laboring for one’s salvation or concerning oneself with whether or not the purveyor of error and death known as Francis is truly the Roman Pontiff – as if the validity of his alleged pontificate doesn’t really matter to those of us presently living under this scourge.

This is rather like telling someone to focus on being a good son or daughter while paying no mind to whether or not the man sleeping with Mom is truly Dad or just a convincing imposter, who, by the way, also happens to be publicly humiliating her on a near daily basis and abusing her in various other ways far too numerous to number.

After all, you’re just the adult child. Mom will figure things out eventually!

The idea is absurd. Even so, let’s consider some of the arguments being floated to this end:

– A future pope will have to sort this mess out for us; we are unable.

The Church is mired in an unprecedented crisis that has been festering for more than five decades now.

In such an environment as this, it is entirely unreasonable – irresponsible even – to simply sit back and wait for a new conclave to elect an intrepid defender of the Faith who will right the ship and set the record straight. I mean, let’s face it, folks – the papabile talent pool is no more than ankle deep at this point.

Rest assured, Our Lord is not asking us to set aside our intelligence and ability to reason in this matter; on the contrary, we need to make use of these God-given gifts all the more in the absence of true shepherds.

Remember what we are talking about here:

The Petrine Office was instituted by Our Blessed Lord as the “permanent principle” and “visible foundation” by which “the whole multitude of believers should be held together in the unity of faith and communion.” (see Vatican Council I, First Dogmatic Constitution on the Church of Christ, Session V, Article 4)

The stakes could hardly be any higher!

As such, no true soldier for Christ can be content to hold his peace when there is reasonable cause to suspect that a usurper may have ascended to the Chair of St. Peter; much less can he behave as if the quest for sanctity somehow requires as much. At best, this would be an exercise in faux docility; or worse, a dereliction of Christian duty.

– Even if it is possible to reasonably conclude that Francis is most likely an anti-pope, having done so won’t serve as any real remedy to the crisis, nor will it provide any meaningful degree of peace.

Not long ago, a well-known “conservative” Catholic apologist who is presently doddering about in retirement accused me of being motivated in this matter simply because I find Francis so deplorable.

Francis is deplorable, alright, but even if he bore more resemblance to Pope St. Pius X than he does to Martin Luther (difficult to imagine, I know, but humor me here), the gravity of the situation wouldn’t be diminished one iota.

In other words, whether Francis is a blazing heretic or a future saint is entirely irrelevant to the specific matter of Benedict’s resignation and the validity of conclave 2013.

[…]

No one in their right mind imagines that evidence of a Bergoglian anti-papacy will provide relief from the bitter reality of modern day Catholic life. The mystery surrounding Benedict’s so-called resignation is just one more component of a much deeper crisis; albeit an entirely unique one of incalculable gravity.

With all of that having been said, we must acknowledge that a certain amount of peace does in fact come from knowing the truth, which, after all, is not just a collection of facts, but rather the Person of Christ who said, “The truth will set you free.”

– Until we are informed by someone in authority, we can’t really know with certainty one way or the other whether or not the resignation was valid, or if Francis is an anti-pope, and so on. So, why even bother to inquire into the matter?

Do you really want to confine your inquiry into only those matters about which absolute certainty is attainable?

Before you answer, consider the Third Secret of Fatima, you know… the part that is still hidden; the part that those in authority have been lying about with impunity for many years; the part you likely will never see with your own eyes; i.e., the part about which you will likely never attain infallible certainty.

Now you can answer.

I didn’t think so.

– So what if we can reasonably conclude that Francis is an anti-pope? We can’t do anything about it.

Look, there are plenty of troubles besetting the Church in our day that we cannot fix; e.g., there is nothing we can do to overturn Vatican Council II, nothing we can do to rid the sacred hierarchy of homosexuals, nothing we can do to abrogate the Novus Ordo, etc.

And yet no dependable Catholic commentator would ever suggest that openly and publicly pondering such atrocities is a waste of time and energy; much less a distraction from the call to sanctity.

The pursuit of truth doesn’t always lead to resolution, but it’s never a pointless endeavor.

– Francis hasn’t attempted to use the Petrine Office to define doctrine and to bind us to error, so it matters not in the short term if his papacy is valid.

OK, so what exactly has he done?

He has only managed to set forth blasphemy and heresy in what appears to be an authentic papal instrument; thus ensuring the universal practice of blatant Eucharistic sacrilege while undermining the Lord’s very own words concerning the indissolubility of marriage – and all of this under the guise of papal approval.

One may have also noticed that His Humbleness has issued no less than sixteen documents motu proprio – more than Benedict XVI did over a period of nearly eight years; among them, directives altering the annulment process as well as the process for removing bishops from office.

He has also leveraged the power of the Petrine Office to decimate a flourishing religious order, the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate, and this for the high crime of exhibiting “Lefebvrist tendencies” (otherwise known as Catholic tendencies).

He has likewise given the appearance of papal approval for oral contraception and condom use in the face of a bogus medical scare likely created by population control advocates.

He even lent the prestige of the papacy to a United Nations Sustainable Development program that calls on member states to “ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health.”

These actions effect the entire Church; indeed, the entire world!

And somehow it matters not in the short run whether they come from the Vicar of Christ or just some costumed imposter?

For some, it’s very tempting to act as if this is true, and on a certain level, I get it.

It’s “fight or flight.”

In the face of this unprecedented attack on the Petrine ministry, the “visible foundation” of the Church, some Catholic commentators will flee, and it must be said that flight has its rewards. Others will dig in and fight, which is always carried out at a cost.

I choose the latter.

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Dr. Josef Seifert: The Pope must revoke parts of Amoris Laetitia

Speaking to Gloria.tv the Austrian philosopher Josef Seifert stated that different statements in Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation Amoris laetitia are “objectively heretical”. Seifert makes clear that he does not believe that Pope Francis is heretical, “I think he made certain statements which are heretical.“

Francis writes in Amoris Laetitia: “No one can be condemned for ever, because that is not the logic of the Gospel!“ According to Seifert this claim can hardly be interpreted in any other way than as a denial of hell. Seifert adds: “But Christ himself warns in the Gospel of the reality of hell.”

Furthermore Seifert criticizes Francis’ claim that in certain circumstances adultery can be allowed and can even be considered as God’s will. A partner in a second illegitimate relationship should – according to Francis – not refuse sexual intercourse if the other partner would otherwise seek a third illegitimate relationship in order to attain sex. Seifert points out that this statement contradicts however the dogmas of the council of Trent and other solemn Church teachings.

He thanks Bishop Athanasius Schneider who asked Pope Francis in a letter for clarifications regarding Amoris Laetitia. Seifert goes one step further: He solicits Francis to revoke certain statements made in this document.

IMPORTANT UPDATE:

Please do not miss this most recent news report from Gloria TV that refers to the Liber issued by The Remnant and Catholic Family News that we published here last week.

In this essay Dr Seifert outlines some of his concerns with the exhortation, Amoris Laetitia.

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On Allowing the Unworthy Reception of the Eucharist

Yet another concerned Catholic author brings up some good arguments against permitting concessions that weaken Catholic doctrine on the reception of the Holy Eucharist by those in “irregular” situations. 

BY JULIA MELONI

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Dostoyevsky’s Grand Inquisitor accused Christ of insufficiently loving the “weak, ever sinful and ignoble race of man.” Christ, he declared, cared only for those “great and strong” souls who would freely obey him for the sake of the bread of Heaven.

So the Grand Inquisitor would “care for the weak too”—the “millions” who are too “sinful and rebellious” to follow Christ’s law out of love for the Eucharist. He would leave Christ’s “proud” followers and go “back to the humble, for the happiness of the humble.”

He would, in a mercy exceeding Christ’s, “allow them even sin.”

Today, instead of being accused of cold exclusionism, Christ is supposed to have exonerated himself by mercifully permitting what he once called serious sin. Discussing the recent papal letter lauding Eucharistic access for certain divorced and remarried persons who aren’t celibate, Ross Douthat notes the effective division between an unchanged magisterial rule and a parallel “Francis position” that could ultimately “signal approval to any stable relationship.”

The Argentine bishops praised by Pope Francis say it’s “possible to propose” continence to the remarried but some need the Eucharist first to “continue maturing and growing.” It’s as if the “proud” and “strong” are still allowed their elite spiritual athletics, while the “humble” are finally nourished by their formerly frigid, derelict Mother Church.

Many have strongly lamented the Pope’s letter and its ramifications for orthodoxy and unity and reiterated the legitimacy and necessity of opposing its “permission” for grave sins.

“The Eucharist, of course, is the greatest treasure that Christ gave the Church; it must be safeguarded, and we cannot say that adultery is not a mortal sin or it’s not a public offense against God’s order,” said Fr. Gerald Murray.

And now we increasingly wonder: will this updated, more “merciful” Christ rest while he can still be accused of restricting his Sacrament of Love? Robert Royal senses, with trepidation, a “new vision of the Eucharist,” a looming confirmation of reports that Pope Francis wants to extend the Eucharist to all, Catholic or not.

The Grand Inquisitor claimed that a flock divided by Christ’s stern moral commands could “come together again” through “permission” to sin and universal bread. Such bread, he said, would fulfill humanity’s “everlasting craving” for comfortable “common worship.”

He said that men would cry out against Christ: “Feed men, and then ask of them virtue!”

He spoke of earthly bread before virtue—but what if, in the name of mercy, we feed the masses heavenly bread instead?

We’ve been warned before that, if we don’t enforce the canons on worthy reception of the Eucharist, we’ll proliferate grave sins of sacrilege and betray a “deterioration in the Church’s belief in the Real Presence” and Hell. We’ll subvert true oneness; we’ll risk the same stark moral divisions present at the Last Supper.

We’ve been warned that if Eucharistic access becomes a “matter of justice”—if we insist that Christ’s “real intention” is to remove all stigmas and impediments—the Church becomes a mere “promoter of group solidarity and social action,” a trite “dispenser of personal comfort and consolation.”

The Grand Inquisitor would let men trade the “anxiety and terrible agony” of free choice for an “answer” they’d readily “believe” about “the most painful secrets of their conscience.” They’d become “happy babes,” he boasted, with their great “permission” to sin.

So, if today’s priest can “answer” that there’s a “permission slip” for serious sin because of a prospective assessment of ignorance, is he forming upright consciences or just “happy babes”?

Ah, but the unfeeling Christ, the Grand Inquisitor cried, respected man too much, asking “far too much from him.” St. Augustine was for a great time in what we now call an “irregular situation”—or, perhaps, a “real marriage,” cohabitating faithfully with the mother of his son. Today, it is said, we finally grasp that the Church’s “romantic” ideal of marriage is probably akin to an imaginary Platonic Form, that the “heroism” of celibacy is not for “the average Christian” in irregular situations, and that sexual relations in illicit unions may be necessary for the “good” of children.

But poor Augustine of Hippo couldn’t benefit from postmodernity’s superior knowledge of “subjective” states and “concrete” situations.

Instead of being mercifully, inclusively fed with the Eucharist as he was accompanied to an ethereal moral ideal, Augustine had to subsist largely on the tears of his mother, St. Monica. Though profuse, those prayerful tears were probably just so many proud Pharisaical stones “hurled” in judgment against his “difficult” case and “wounded” family.

Likely under the influence of this fundamentalist who believed in “absolute truth,” this Promethean Pelagian who felt “superior” by observing “certain rules” and “inspecting” others, the unaccompanied Augustine melodramatically castigated himself for delaying repentance. He wept because he “ran wild in the shadowy jungle of erotic adventures,” yet no one “imposed restraint on [his] disorder” by exhorting marriage. He wept because he “postponed ‘from day to day’ finding life” in God even as he “did not postpone” daily “dying” within himself through sin.

He wept because, while others were doing austere penance for their unchaste sins, he feebly prayed, “Grant me chastity and continence, but not yet.” He wept because he had been “afraid” that God would “too rapidly heal” him of a lust that he “preferred to satisfy rather than suppress.”

He wept especially because, as a “eunuch” for God, he could have been “happier finding fulfillment” in divine “embraces.”

Today we deduce that our all-merciful God darkens the sinner’s intellect so that mortal sins become little “venial sins” that hardly hinder Eucharistic union. But angsty Augustine groaned that, with his grossly confused and abused freedom, with his love for “self-destruction,” he was a guilty, miserable prodigal son:

I traveled much further away from you into more and more sterile things productive of unhappiness, proud in my self-pity, incapable of rest in my exhaustion… I exceeded all the bounds set by your law, and did not escape your chastisement—indeed, no mortal can do so. For you were always with me, mercifully punishing me, touching with a bitter taste all my illicit pleasures…

You beat me with heavy punishments, but not the equivalent of my guilt; O my God, my great mercy, my refuge from the terrible dangers in which I was wandering.

Such superfluous soul-drama and sin talk and fear—when Augustine could have reposed, danger-free, in patient accompaniment and tender Eucharistic nourishment! The Grand Inquisitor, in his excessive mercy, would have short-circuited such terrible confessional drama.

Thus poor Augustine, many would say, was never properly catechized on the mercy of God. Oh, yes, he spoke incessantly of God’s mercy with the most poetic, Psalmic cries. “You had pity on [my heart] when it was at the bottom of the abyss.” “I attribute to your grace and mercy that you have melted my sins away like ice.”

But, against today’s great permission to persist in the intent to sin, Augustine the eventual Pelagian—oh, irony!—took the faith “so seriously,” observed it so “rigidly,” that he exchanged joyful “freedom” for gloomy “mourning.”

He taught: “After sin, hope for mercy; before sin, fear justice.” “Woe to him who hopes, so that he may sin: ‘Woe to that perverse hope.’” “He who offends God hoping to be pardoned is a derider, and not a penitent.”

In his new life of sanctity, Augustine preached and practiced the deepest penance. According to his Vita:

[Augustine in his final illness] ordered the four psalms of David that deal with penance to be copied out. From his sick-bed he could see these sheets of paper every day, hanging on his walls, and would read them, crying constantly and deeply. And, lest his attention be distracted from this in any way, almost ten days before his death, he asked … that none should come in to see him…

Augustine’s former mistress had long ago adopted penitential continence, “vowing that she would never go with another man.”

“I swear,” the Grand Inquisitor cried to Christ, “man is weaker and baser by nature than Thou hast believed him! … Respecting him less, Thou wouldst have asked less of him. That would have been more like love.”

As God of old once vindicated Job, Christ could have pointed to the weeping Augustine and his former mistress and every hidden, anonymous Augustine among us who forswears sin out of love for Christ crucified and his Most Holy Eucharist.

And this new Augustine, in turn, would have pointed to the Cross and defended Christ against the accusation that he coldly demands too much from man. Augustine would have cried, with St. John Vianney, that “sin is the executioner of the good God, and the assassin of the soul.” As the Grand Inquisitor scoffed that renouncing sin is for the “proud” and “strong” alone, Augustine would have wept with the Curé of Ars because the Cross “is what it cost my Savior to repair the injury my sins have done to God.”

Then, trembling that so loving a Savior could be threatened with sins of sacrilege, he would have pointed to the Sacrament of Love and preached, with the saintly priest:

If we understood the value of Holy Communion, we should avoid the least faults… We should keep our souls always pure in the eyes of God… Neither can you offend the good God tomorrow [when you receive Holy Communion]; your soul will be all embalmed with the precious Blood of Our Lord.

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Our Lady of Walsingham

 

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Prayer to Our Lady of Walsingham

O Mary, recall the solemn moment
when Jesus, your divine Son,
dying on the cross
confided us to your maternal care.

You are our Mother;
we desire ever to remain your devout children.

Let us therefore feel the effects
of your powerful intercession with Jesus Christ.

Make your name again glorious in this place,
once renowned throughout our land
by your visits, favours and many miracles.

 

Pray, O Holy Mother of God,

for the conversion of England,
restoration of the sick,
consolation for the afflicted,
repentance of sinners,
peace to the departed.

O Blessed Mary, Mother of God,
Our Lady of Walsingham,
intercede for us. Amen

 

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With Burning Concern: We Accuse Pope Francis (Part 3)

Written by  The Remnant and Catholic Family News

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Pope Francis holds a private meeting with a longtime friend from Argentina and his boyfriend inside the Vatican Embassy on September 23, 2015. 
The two laymen have been in a same-sex relationship for 19 years.

PART III
A “Pastoral Practice” at War with Doctrine

You have approved as the only correct interpretation of Amoris a moral calculus that would in practice undermine the whole moral order, not just the norms of sexual morality you obviously seek to subvert. For the application of virtually any moral norm can be deemed “unfeasible” by a talismanic invocation of “complex circumstances” to be “discerned” by a priest or bishop in “pastoral practice” while the norm is piously defended as unchanged and unchangeable as a “general rule.”

The nebulous criterion of “limitations that diminish responsibility and culpability” could be applied to all manner of habitual mortal sin, including cohabitation—which you have already likened to “true marriage”—“homosexual unions”—whose legalization you have refused to oppose—and contraception, which, incredibly, you have declared is morally permissible in order to prevent the transmission of disease, which the Vatican later confirmed is in fact your view.

Thus the Church would “in certain cases” contradict in practice what she teaches in principle regarding morality, meaning that the moral principle is practically overthrown. In the midst of the synodal sham, but without mentioning you, Cardinal Robert Sarah rightly condemned such a specious disjunction between moral precepts and their “pastoral application”: “The idea that would consist in placing the Magisterium in a nice box by detaching it from pastoral practice—which could evolve according to the circumstances, fads, and passions—is a form of heresy, a dangerous schizophrenic pathology.”

Yet, as you would have it, based on “discernment” by local priests or ordinaries, certain people living in an objective condition of adultery can be deemed subjectively inculpable and admitted to Holy Communion without any commitment to an amendment of life even though they know the Church teaches that their relationship is adulterous. In a recent interview the renowned Austrian philosopher Josef Seifert, a friend of Pope John Paul II and one of the many critics of Amoris whose private entreaties for correction or retraction of the document you have ignored, has publicly noted the moral and pastoral absurdity of what you now explicitly approve:

How should that be applied? Should the priest say to one adulterer: “You are a good adulterer. You are in the state of grace. You are a very pious person, so you get my absolution without changing your life and you can go to Holy Communion.” And in comes another, and he [the priest] says: “Oh, you are a real adulterer. You must first confess. You must revoke your life. You must change your life and then you can go to Communion.”

I mean, how should that work?…. How can a priest be a judge of the soul [and] say that one is a real sinner and the other is only an innocent, good man? I mean that seems completely impossible. Only a priest who would have a kind of Padre Pio vision of souls could possibly say that, and he [Padre Pio] wouldn’t say that….

With your praise and approval, the bishops of Buenos Aires even suggest that children will be harmed if their divorced and “remarried” parents are not permitted to continue engaging in sexual relations outside of marriage while they profane the Blessed Sacrament. One casuitical defender of your departure from sound teaching surmises that this means adultery is only a venial sin if one partner in adultery is under “duress” to continue engaging in adulterous sexual relations because the other partner threatens to leave the children unless he is given sexual satisfaction. According to that moral logic, any mortal sin, including abortion, would be rendered venial merely by one party’s threat to end an adulterous relationship if the sin is not committed.

Even worse, if that were possible, the bishops of Buenos Aires, relying solely on your novelties, dare to suggest that people who continue habitually to engage in adulterous sexual relations will grow in grace while sacrilegiously receiving Holy Communion.

You have thus contrived no mere “change of discipline” but rather a radical change of underlying moral doctrine that would effectively institutionalize a form of situation ethics in the Church, reducing universally binding, objective moral precepts to mere general rules from which there would be innumerable subjective “exceptions” based on “complex circumstances” and “limitations” that would supposedly reduce habitual mortal sins to venial sins or even mere faults posing no impediment to Holy Communion.

But God Incarnate admitted of no such “exceptions” when He decreed by His divine authority: “Every one that putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery: and he that marrieth her that is put away from her husband, committeth adultery (Lk 16:18).”   Every one.

Moreover, as the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith under John Paul II declared in rejecting the “Kasper proposal” that has clearly been your proposal all along: “This norm [excluding public adulterers from the sacraments] is not at all a punishment or a discrimination against the divorced and remarried, but rather expresses an objective situation that of itself renders impossible the reception of Holy Communion.”

That is, the Church can never permit those living in adultery to be treated as if their immoral unions were valid marriages, even if the partners in adultery implausibly claim subjective inculpability while knowingly living in violation of the Church’s infallible teaching. For the resulting scandal would erode and ultimately ruin the faith of the people in both the indissolubility of marriage and the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. With your full approval, however, the bishops of Buenos Aires have rejected John Paul II’s admonition in Familiaris consortio that “if these people were admitted to the Eucharist, the faithful would be led into error and confusion regarding the Church’s teaching about the indissolubility of marriage.”

At this very moment in Church history, therefore, you are leading the faithful “into error and confusion regarding the Church’s teaching about the indissolubility of marriage.” Indeed, so determined are you to impose your errant will upon the Church that in Amoris (n. 303) you dared to suggest that God Himself condones the continued sexual relations of the divorced and “remarried” if they can do no better in their “complex” circumstances:

Yet conscience can do more than recognize that a given situation does not correspond objectively to the overall demands of the Gospel. It can also recognize with sincerity and honesty what for now is the most generous response which can be given to God, and come to see with a certain moral security that it is what God himself is asking amid the concrete complexity of one’s limits, while yet not fully the objective ideal.

In explicitly approving Holy Communion for select public adulterers in your letter to Buenos Aires you also undermine the ability of more conservative bishops to maintain the Church’s traditional teaching. How can bishops in AmericaCanada and Poland, for example, continue to insist on the Church’s bimillenial discipline, intrinsically connected to revealed truth, when you have dispensed with it in Buenos Aires on the authority of your “apostolic exhortation”? On what ground will they stand against a swarm of objections now that you have removed the ground of Tradition from beneath their feet?

In sum, after years of artful ambiguity regarding the standing of public adulterers with respect to Confession and Holy Communion, you now just as artfully declare the purported overthrow of the Church’s doctrine and practice of the Church by employing a “confidential” letter you must have known would be leaked, sent in response to a document from Buenos Aires you may well have solicited as part of the process you have been guiding since the sham “Synod on the Family” was announced.

As the Catholic intellectual and author Antonio Socci has written: “It is the first time in the history of the Church that a Pope has placed his signature on an overturning of the moral law.” No previous Pope has ever perpetrated such an outrage.

“Exceptions” to the Moral Law Cannot be Confined

Curiously enough, however, your novel moral calculus does not seem to apply to the other sins you constantly condemn while carefully observing the bounds of political correctness. Nowhere, for example, do you indicate that “complex circumstances” or “limitations that diminish responsibility and culpability” would excuse the Mafiosi you have rhetorically “excommunicated” en masse and warned of Hell, the rich you condemn as “bloodsuckers” or even the observant Catholics you ludicrously accuse of “the sin of divination” and “the sin of idolatry” because they will not accept “the surprises of God”—meaning your novelties.

Your entire pontificate seems to have centered on declaring an amnesty for sins of the flesh only, the very sins that, as Our Lady of Fatima warned, send more souls to hell than any other. But what makes you think the moral genie you have let out of the bottle, which you call the “God of surprises,” can be confined only to those moral precepts you deem overly rigid in application? To create exceptions to one exceptionless moral precept is effectively to undo them all. Your novelty attacks the foundations of the Faith and threatens to topple the Church’s entire moral edifice “like a house of cards”—the very outcome you accused observant Catholics of promoting on account of their supposed “rigorism” and attachment to “small-minded rules.”

But you are heedless of such obvious consequences. When asked about your approach to opposition from “ultra-conservatives,” meaning orthodox bishops and cardinals, you replied with the insouciant arrogance that is a hallmark of your governance of the Church: “They do their job and I do mine. I want a Church that is open, understanding, that accompanies wounded families. They say no to everythingI go ahead, without looking over my shoulder.”

In an astonishing display of haughty contempt for the Church of which you were elected head, you have dared to say: “the Church herself sometimes follows a hard line, she falls into the temptation of following a hard line, into the temptation of stressing only the moral rules, many people are excluded.”

Never before has a Pope declared that he will personally remedy the Church’s lack of openness and understanding and her “temptation” to take a “hard line” on morality so as to “exclude” people. Such alarmingly hubristic pronouncements give rise to the distinct impression that your unexpected election represents an almost apocalyptic development.

Ignoring All Entreaties, You Forge Ahead with Your “Revolution”

As you have gone about your work of destruction, you have ignored every private entreaty addressed to you, including innumerable requests that you affirm that Amoris Laetitia does not depart from prior teaching, as well as a document prepared by a group of Catholic scholars who identified heretical and erroneous propositions in Amoris and pleaded with you to condemn and withdraw them. It is evident you have no intention of accepting fraternal correction from anyone, not even the cardinals who have requested that you “clarify” the conformity of your teaching with the infallible Magisterium.

On the contrary, the more alarmed the faithful become, the more boldly you act. Continuing your programmatic loosening in practice of the Church’s moral teaching concerning sexuality, you have authorized the Pontifical Council for the Family to publish the first classroom “sex education” program ever promulgated by the Holy See. One of the associations of lay faithful that has risen to defend the Faith in the face of the hierarchy’s general silence before your onslaught of dissolvent novelties has published a summary of this horrific curriculum, which blatantly violates the Church’s constant teaching against any form of explicit classroom “sex-education”:

• Handing the sexual formation of children over to educators while leaving parents out of the equation.

• Failing to name and condemn sexual behaviors, such as fornication, prostitution, adultery, contracepted-sex, homosexual activity, and masturbation, as objectively sinful actions that destroy charity in the heart and turn one away from God.

• Failing to warn youths about the possibility of eternal separation from God (damnation) for committing grave sexual sins. Hell is not mentioned once.

• Failing to distinguish between mortal and venial sin.

• Failing to speak about the 6th and 9th commandments, or any other commandment.

• Failing to teach about the sacrament of confession as a way of restoring relationship with God after committing grave sin.

• Not mentioning a healthy sense of shame when it comes to the body and sexuality.

• Teaching boys and girls together in the same class.

• Having boys and girls share together in class their understanding of phrases such as: “What does the word sex suggest to you?”

• Asking a mixed class to “point out where sexuality is located in boys and girls.”

• Speaking about the “process of arousal.”

• Using sexually explicit and suggestive images in activity workbooks (herehere, and here).

• Recommending various sexually explicit movies as springboards for discussion….

• Failing to speak about abortion as gravely wrong, but only that it causes “strong psychological damage.”

• Confusing youths by using phrases such as “sexual relationship” to indicate not the sexual act, but a relationship focused on the whole person.

• Speaking of “heterosexuality” as something to be “discover[ed].”

• Using [a “gay” celebrity] as an example of a gifted and famous person.

• Endorsing the “dating” paradigm as a step towards marriage.

• Not stressing celibacy as the supreme form of self-giving that constitutes the very meaning of human sexuality.

• Failing to mention Christ’s teaching on marriage.

The same association observes that the curriculum “violates norms previously promulgated by the very same pontifical council.” Another lay association protests that it “makes frequent use of sexually explicit and morally objectionable images, fails to clearly identify and explain Catholic doctrine from elemental sources including the Ten Commandments and the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and compromises the innocence and integrity of young people under the rightful care of their parents.” Lay leaders in the Catholic family movement have rightly denounced it as “thoroughly immoral,” “entirely inappropriate,” and “quite tragic.” As one of them declared: “Parents must not be under any illusion: the pontificate of Pope Francis marks the surrender of the Vatican authorities to the worldwide sexual revolution and directly threatens their own children.”

But this radical departure from prior teaching and practice is only in keeping with the novelties of Amoris, which proclaims “the need for sex education” in “educational institutions” while completely ignoring the Church’s traditional teaching that parents, not teachers in classrooms, have the primary responsibility to provide any necessary instruction to their children in this most sensitive area, taking care not to “descend to details” but rather to “employ those remedies which produce the double effect of opening the door to the virtue of purity and closing the door upon vice.”

Your “revolution” is hardly confined to matters sexual, however. You have also recently convened a commission, including six women, to “study” the matter of women “deacons,” which was already studied by a Vatican commission in 2002. That commission concluded that the diaconate belongs to the ordained clerical state along with the priesthood and the episcopacy and that so-called “deaconesses” in the early Church were not ordained ministers but only ecclesial helpers with no more authority than nuns, who performed limited services for women, but certainly not baptisms or marriages. The “deaconettes” you seem to contemplate would thus be nothing more than women masquerading in clerical garb, as women cannot possibly receive any degree of the Sacrament of Holy Orders.

As you continue to undermine respect for the utter seriousness and supernatural character of sacramental marriage it seems you are preparing to undermine further an already drastically diminished respect for the male priesthood. What is next? Perhaps a “relaxation” of the apostolic tradition of clerical celibacy, which you have already declared is “on my agenda.”

And now, as your “revolution” continues to accelerate, you prepare to depart for Sweden in October, where you will participate in a joint “prayer service” with a married Lutheran “bishop,” head of the pro-abortion, pro-“gay marriage” Lutheran World Federation, to “commemorate” the so-called Reformation launched by Martin Luther.

It is inconceivable that a Roman Pontiff would dignify the memory of this maniac, the most destructive heretic in the history of the Church, who shattered the unity of Christendom and opened the way to endless violence and bloodshed and the collapse of morals throughout Europe. As Luther infamously declared: “If I succeed in doing away with the Mass, then I shall believe I have completely conquered the Pope. If the sacrilegious and cursed custom of the Mass is overthrown, then the whole will fall.” It is supremely ironic that the arch-heretic you intend to honor with your presence uttered those words in a letter to Henry VIII, who led all of England into schism because the Pope would not accommodate his desire for divorce and “remarriage,” including access to the sacraments.

We Must Oppose You

At this point in your tumultuous tenure as “Bishop of Rome” it is beyond reasonable dispute that your presence on the Chair of Peter represents a clear and present danger to the Church. In view of that danger, we must ask:

Are you not in the least troubled by the scandal and confusion your words and deeds have caused concerning the salvific mission of the Church and her teaching on faith and morals, particularly in the area of marriage, family and sexuality?

Does it never occur to you that the world’s endless applause for “the Francis revolution” is precisely the ill omen of which Our Lord gave warning?: “Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for in the same manner did their fathers to the false prophets (Lk 6:26).”

Have you no sense of alarm about the divisions you have provoked within the Church, with some bishops departing from the teaching of your predecessors on the divorced and “remarried,” solely on your purported authority, while others attempt to maintain the bimillenial doctrine and practice you have labored without ceasing to overthrow?

Do you think nothing of the numberless sacrilegious communions that will result from your authorization of Holy Communion for objective public adulterers and others in “irregular situations,” which you had already permitted en masse as Archbishop of Buenos Aires?

Do you even recognize that reception of Holy Communion by people living in adultery is a profanation, a direct offense against “the Body of the Lord (1 Cor. 11:29)” worthy of damnation as well as a public scandal that threatens the faith of others, as both Benedict XVI and John Paul II insisted in line with all their predecessors?

Do you really think you have the power to decree “merciful” exceptions in “certain cases” to divinely revealed moral precepts in order to suit your personal notion of “inclusion,” your evidently benign view of divorce and cohabitation and your false notion of what you call “pastoral charity” in your letter to the bishops of Buenos Aires? As if it were uncharitable to require adulterers and fornicators to cease their immoral sexual relations before partaking of the Blessed Sacrament!

Have you no respect for the contrary teaching of all the Popes who preceded you?

Finally, have you no fear of the Lord and His judgment, which you constantly minimize or deny in your sermons and spontaneous remarks, even declaring—exactly contrary to the Creed—that “the Good Shepherd… seeks not to judge but to love”?

We must agree with the assessment of the aforementioned Catholic journalist concerning your insane pursuit of Holy Communion for people in immoral sexual relationships: “This whole affair is bizarre. No other word will do.” Beyond this, however, your entire bizarre pontificate has given rise to a situation the Church has never seen before: an occupant of the Chair of Peter whose remarks, pronouncements and decisions are blows to the Church’s integrity against which the faithful must constantly guard themselves. As the same writer concludes: “I say this in sorrow, but I’m afraid that the rest of this papacy is now going to be rent by bands of dissenters, charges of papal heresy, threats of – and perhaps outright – schism. Lord, have mercy.”

Yet almost the entire hierarchy either suffers in silence or exultantly celebrates this debacle. But so it was during the great Arian crisis of the 4th century, when, as Cardinal Newman famously observed:

[T]he body of the episcopate was unfaithful to its commission, while the body of the laity was faithful to its baptism; [and] at one time the Pope, at other times the patriarchal, metropolitan, and other great sees, at other times general councils, said what they should not have said, or did what obscured and compromised revealed truth; while, on the other hand, it was the Christian people who, under Providence, were the ecclesiastical strength of Athanasius, Hilary, Eusebius of Vercellae, and other great solitary confessors, who would have failed without them.

If we are to be faithful to our baptism and our Confirmation oath, we members of the laity, unworthy sinners though we are, cannot remain silent or passive in the face of your depredations. We are compelled by the dictates of conscience to accuse you publicly before our fellow Catholics as demanded by revealed truth, the divine and natural law, and the ecclesial common good. To recall the teaching of Saint Thomas cited above, there is no exception for the Pope to the principle of natural justice that subjects may rebuke their superior, even publicly, when there is “imminent danger of scandal concerning faith.” Quite the contrary, reason itself demonstrates that, more than any other prelate, the Pope must be corrected, even by his subjects, should he “stray from the straight path.”

We know that the Church is no mere human institution and that its indefectibility is assured by the promises of Christ. Popes come and go, and the Church will survive even this pontificate. But we also know that God deigns to work through human instruments and that, over and above the essentials of prayer and penance, He expects from the members of the Church Militant, both clergy and laity, a militant defense of faith and morals against threats from any source—be it even a Pope, as Church history has demonstrated more than once.

For the love of God and the Blessed Virgin, Mother of the Church, whom you profess to revere, we call upon you to recant your errors and undo the immense harm you have caused to the Church, to souls, and to the cause of the Gospel lest you follow the example of Pope Honorius, an aider and abettor of heresy anathematized by an ecumenical council and his own successor, and thus bring down upon yourself “the wrath of Almighty God and of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul.”

But if you will not relent in the pursuit of your vainglorious “vision” of a more “merciful” and evangelical Church than the one founded by Christ, whose doctrine and discipline you seek to bend to your will, let the cardinals who regret the mistake of electing you honor their blood oaths and at least issue a public demand that you change course or relinquish the office they so improvidently entrusted to you.

Meanwhile, we are duty bound to oppose your errors according to our own station in the Church and to exhort our fellow Catholics to join in that opposition, using every legitimate means at our disposal to mitigate the harm you seem determined to inflict upon the Mystical Body of Christ. All other recourses having failed, no other way is open to us.

May God have mercy on us, His Holy Church, and on you as its earthly head.

Mary, Help of Christians, Pray for Us!

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Sancte Pio, Ora pro nobis!

St. Padre Pio — His Wisdom in 25 Quotations

St. Padre Pio

St. Pio of  Pietrelcina was a humble friar whose holiness and patient suffering won many souls for Christ. Pope Benedict XVI said he “‘prolonged’ the work of Christ: announcing the Gospel, remitting sins and healing the sick in body and spirit”. Here are twenty-five quotations from this much beloved saint illustrating his wisdom, humanity and deep spiritual insight.

In the uproar of the passions and of reverses of fortune, we are upheld by the comforting hope of God’s inexhaustible mercy. 

***

Jesus is with you even when you don’t feel His presence. He is never so close to you as He is during your spiritual battles. He is always there, close to you, encouraging you to fight your battle courageously. He is there to ward off the enemy’s blows so that you may not be hurt.

***

God leaves you in that darkness for his glory; here is a great opportunity for your spiritual progress. 

***

The storms that are raging around you will turn out to be for God’s glory, your own merit, and the good of many souls.

***

Happiness is only found in heaven.

***

The greater your sufferings, the greater God’s love for you.

***

Be certain that the more the attacks of the devil increase, that much closer is God to your soul.

***

You complain because the same trials are constantly returning. But look here, what have you to fear? Are you afraid of the divine craftsman who wants to perfect His masterpiece in this way? Would you like to come from the hands of such a magnificent Artist as a mere sketch and no more?

***

Bless the Lord for your suffering and accept to drink the chalice of Gethsemane.

***

If we earnestly endeavor to love Jesus, this alone will drive all fear from our hearts and soul will find that instead of walking in the Lord’s paths, it is flying.

***

Suffering born in a Christian way is the condition that God, the author of all grace and of all the gifts that lead to salvation, has established for granting us glory.

***

How unbearable is pain when suffered far from the Cross, but how sweet and bearable it becomes when it is offered close to the Cross of Jesus!

***

Remember that we cannot triumph in battle if not through prayer; the choice is yours.

***

You say you are anxious about the future, but don’t you know that the Lord is with you always and that our enemy has no power over one who has resolved to belong entirely to Jesus?

***

When we suffer, Jesus is closer to us.

***

When you feel despised, imitate the kingfisher, who builds its nest on the masts of ships. That is to say, raise yourself up above the earth, elevate yourselves with your mind and heart to God, who is the only one who can console you and give you strength to withstand the trial in a holy way.

***

Faith guides even us and we follow its sure light on the way which conducts us to God and His homeland.

***

Fear nothing. On the contrary, consider yourself very fortunate to have been made worthy to participate in the sufferings of the Man-God.

***

The best consolation is that which comes from prayer.

***

I want to be only a poor friar who prays – if God sees blemishes even in the angels, can you imagine what He sees in me!

***

Always humble yourself lovingly before God and man, because God speaks to those who are truly humble of heart, and enriches them with His gifts.

***

In order to attract us, the Lord grants us many graces that we believe can easily obtain Heaven for us. We do not know, however, that in order to grow, we need hard bread: the cross, humiliation, trials and denials.

***

Every Holy Mass, heard with devotion, produces in our souls marvelous effects, abundant spiritual and material graces which we, ourselves, do not know… It is easier for the earth to exist without the sun than without the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass!

***

It would be easier for the world to survive without the sun than to do so without the Holy Mass.

***

Our Lord sometimes makes you feel the weight of the cross. This weight seems unbearable but you carry it because in His love and mercy, the Lord helps you and gives you strength.

(bigcatholics.com)

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With Burning Concern: We accuse Pope Francis (Part 2)

Pope Francis and Grand Mu 012
Pope Francis Prays with Grand Mufti Yaran

PART II

An Absurd Whitewash of Islam

Assuming the role of a Koranic exegete in order to exculpate Mohammed’s cult from its unbroken historic connection to the conquest and brutal persecution of Christians, you declare: “Faced with disconcerting episodes of violent fundamentalism, our respect for true followers of Islam should lead us to avoid hateful generalizations, for authentic Islam and the proper reading of the Koran are opposed to every form of violence.” [Evangelii gaudium, 253]

You ignore the entire history of Islam’s war against Christianity, continuing to this day, as well as the present-day barbaric legal codes and persecution of Christians in the world’s Islamic republics, including Afghanistan, Iran, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritania, Nigeria, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, United Arab Emirates and Yemen. These are regimes of oppression intrinsic to Sharia law, which Muslims believe Allah has ordained for the whole world, and which they attempt to establish wherever they become a significant percentage of the population. As you would have it, however, Muslim republics all lack an “authentic” understanding of the Koran!

You even attempt to minimize outright Islamic terrorism in the Middle East, Africa and the very heart of Europe by daring to posit a moral equivalence between Muslim fanatics waging jihad—as they have since Islam first emerged—and imaginary “fundamentalism” on the part of the observant Catholics you never cease publicly condemning and insulting. During one of the rambling in-flight press conferences in which you have so often embarrassed the Church and undermined Catholic doctrine, you uttered this infamous opinion, typical of your absurd insistence that the religion founded by God Incarnate and the perennially violent cult founded by the degenerate Mohammed are on equal moral footing:

I don’t like to speak of Islamic violence, because every day, when I browse the newspapers, I see violence, here in Italy … this one who has murdered his girlfriend, another who has murdered the mother-in-law … and these are baptized Catholics! There are violent Catholics! If I speak of Islamic violence, I must speak of Catholic violence ... I believe that in pretty much every religion there is always a small group of fundamentalists. Fundamentalists. We have them. When fundamentalism comes to kill, it can kill with the language—the Apostle James says this, not me—and even with a knife, no? I do not believe it is right to identify Islam with violence.

It defies belief that a Roman Pontiff would declare that random crimes of violence committed by Catholics, and their mere words, are morally equivalent to radical Islam’s worldwide campaign of terrorist acts, mass murder, torture, enslavement and rape in the name of Allah. It seems you are quicker to defend Mohammed’s ridiculous and deadly cult against just opposition than you are the one true Church against her innumerable false accusers. Far from your mind is the Church’s perennial view of Islam expressed by Pope Pius XI in his Act of Consecration of the Human Race to the Sacred Heart: “Be Thou King of all those who are still involved in the darkness of idolatry or of Islamism, and refuse not to draw them into the light and kingdom of God.”

A Reformist “Dream,” Backed by an Iron Fist

All in all, you appear to be afflicted by a reformist mania that knows no bounds beyond your “dream” of the way the Church should be. As you declared in your unprecedented personal papal manifesto, Evangelii gaudium (nn. 27, 49):

I dream of a “missionary option”, that is, a missionary impulse capable of transforming everything, so that the Church’s customs, ways of doing things, times and schedules, language and structures can be suitably channeled for the evangelization of today’s world rather than for her self-preservation….

More than by fear of going astray, my hope is that we will be moved by the fear of remaining shut up within structures which give us a false sense of security, within rules which make us harsh judges, within habits which make us feel safe, while at our door people are starving and Jesus does not tire of saying to us: “Give them something to eat” (Mk 6:37).

Incredibly enough, you profess that the immemorial “structures” and “rules” of the Holy Catholic Church were cruelly inflicting spiritual starvation and death before your arrival from Buenos Aires, and that now you wish to change literally everything in the Church in order to make her merciful. How are the faithful to see this as anything but the sign of a frightening megalomania? You even declare that evangelization, as you understand it, must not be limited by fear over the Church’s “self-preservation”—as if the two things were somehow opposed!

Your gauzy dream of reforming everything is accompanied by an iron fist that smashes any attempt to restore the vineyard already devastated by a half-century of reckless “reforms.” For as you revealed in your manifesto (Evangelii gaudium, 94), you are filled with contempt for tradition-minded Catholics, whom you rashly accuse of “self-absorbed Promethean neopelagianism” and of “feel[ing] superior to others because they observe certain rules or remain intransigently faithful to a particular Catholic style from the past.”

You even ridicule a “supposed soundness of doctrine or discipline” because, according to you, it “leads instead to a narcissistic and authoritarian elitism, whereby instead of evangelizing, one analyzes and classifies others…” But it is you who are constantly classifying and analyzing others with an endless stream of pejoratives, caricatures, insults and condemnations of observant Catholics you deem insufficiently responsive to the “God of surprises” you introduced during the Synod.

Hence your brutal destruction of the thriving Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate on account of a “definitely traditionalist drift.” This was followed by your decree that henceforth any attempt to erect a new diocesan institute for consecrated life (for example, to accommodate displaced members of the Friars) will be null and void absent prior “consultation” with the Holy See (i.e., de facto permission that can and will be withheld indefinitely). You thus dramatically diminish the perennial autonomy of bishops in their own dioceses even as you preach a new age of “collegiality” and “synodality.”

Targeting cloistered convents, you have further decreed measures to compel the surrender of their local autonomy to federations governed by ecclesial bureaucrats, the routine breaking of the cloister for external “formation,” the mandated intrusion of laity into the cloister for Eucharistic adoration, the outrageous disqualification of conventual voting majorities if they are “elderly,” and a universal requirement of nine years of “formation” before final vows, which is certain to stifle new vocations and ensure the extinction of many of the remaining cloisters.

God help us!

A Relentless Drive to Accommodate Sexual Immorality in the Church

But nothing exceeds the arrogance and audacity with which you have relentlessly pursued the imposition upon the Church universal of the same evil practice you authorized as Archbishop of Buenos Aires: the sacrilegious administration of the Blessed Sacrament to people living in adulterous “second marriages” or cohabiting without even the benefit of a civil ceremony.

From almost the moment of your election you have promoted the “Kasper proposal”rejected repeatedly by the Vatican under John Paul II. Cardinal Walter Kasper, an arch-liberal even among the liberal German hierarchy, had long argued for the admission of divorced and “remarried” persons to Holy Communion in “certain cases” according to a bogus “penitential path” that would admit them to the Sacrament while they continue their adulterous sexual relations. Kasper belonged to the “St. Gallen group” that lobbied for your election, and thereafter you royally rewarded his persistence in error, with the press happily dubbing him “the Pope’s theologian.”

You began preparing the way for your destructive innovation by a resort to what can only be called demagogic sloganeering. As your manifesto (Evangelii gaudium, 47) declared in November of 2013: “The Eucharist, although it is the fullness of sacramental life, is not a prize for the perfect but a powerful medicine and nourishment for the weak. These convictions have pastoral consequences that we are called to consider with prudence and boldness. Frequently, we act as arbiters of grace rather than its facilitators.”

This blatant appeal to emotion caricatures the worthy reception of the Blessed Sacrament in a state of grace as “a prize for the perfect” while seditiously insinuating that the Church has for too long deprived “the weak” of Eucharistic “nourishment.” Hence your equally demagogic accusation that the Church’s sacred ministers have acted cruelly as “arbiters of grace rather than its facilitators” by denying Holy Communion to “the weak” as opposed to “the perfect,” and that you must remedy this injustice with “boldness.”

But, of course, the Holy Eucharist is not “nourishment” or “medicine” for the obviation of mortal sin. Quite to the contrary, its knowing reception in that state is a profanation deadly to the soul and thus cause for damnation: “Therefore whosoever shall eat this bread, or drink the chalice of the Lord unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and of the blood of the Lord. But let a man prove himself: and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of the chalice. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh judgment to himself, not discerning the body of the Lord (1 Cor. 11:27-29).”

As any properly catechized child knows, Confession is the medicine by which mortal sin is remedied, whereas the Eucharist (aided by regular recourse to Confession) is spiritual nourishment for maintaining and increasing the state of grace following absolution so that one does not fall into mortal sin again but rather grows in communion with God. But it appears that the very concept of mortal sin is absent from the corpus of your formal documents, addresses, remarks and pronouncements.

Leaving no doubt of your plan, only a few months later, at the “extraordinary consistory on the family,” you arranged events so that none other than Cardinal Kasper was the only formal speaker. During his two-hour address on February 20, 2014—which you wished to be kept secret but was leaked to the Italian press as a “secret” and “exclusive” document—Kasper presented his insane proposal to admit certain public adulterers to Holy Communion while alluding directly to your slogan:  “the sacraments are not a prize for those who behave well or for an elite, excluding those who are most in need [EG 47].” You have not since wavered in your determination to institutionalize in the Church the grave abuse of the Eucharist you permitted in Buenos Aires.

In this regard it seems you have little regard for sacramental marriage as an objective fact as opposed to what people subjectively feel about the status of immoral relationships the Church can never recognize as matrimony. In remarks which alone will discredit your bizarre pontificate until the end of time, you declared that “the great majority of our sacramental marriages are null” whereas certain people cohabiting without marriage can have “a true marriage” because of their “fidelity.” Are these remarks perhaps a reflection of your divorced and “remarried” sister and cohabiting nephew?

This opinion, which a renowned canonist rightly called “preposterous”, provoked worldwide protest on the part of the faithful. In an effort to minimize the scandal, the Vatican’s “official transcript” altered your words from “great majority of our sacramental marriages” to “a part of our sacramental marriages” but left intact your disgraceful approbation of immoral cohabitation as “true marriage.”

Nor do you seem concerned about the sacrilege involved in public adulterers and cohabiters receiving the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ in the Holy Eucharist. As you told the woman in Argentina to whom you gave “permission” on the telephone to receive Communion while living in adultery with a divorced man: “A little bread and wine does no harm.” You have never denied the woman’s account, and it would only be consistent with your refusal to kneel at the Consecration or before the exposed Blessed Sacrament even though you have no difficulty kneeling to kiss the feet of Muslims during your grotesque parody of the traditional Holy Thursday mandatum, which you have abandoned. It would also comport with your remarks to a Lutheran woman, in the Lutheran church you attended on a Sunday, that the dogma of transubstantiation is a mere “interpretation,” that “life is bigger than explanations and interpretations,” and that she should “talk to the Lord” about whether to receive Communion in a Catholic Church—which she later did following your evident encouragement.

In line with your scant regard for sacramental marriage is your precipitous and secretive “reform” of the annulment process, which you foisted upon the Church without consulting any of the competent Vatican dicasteries. Your Motu Proprio Mitis IudexDominus Iesuserects the framework for a veritable worldwide annulment mill with a “fast-track” procedure and nebulous new grounds for expedited annulment proceedings. As the head of your clandestinely contrived reform later explained, your express intention is to promote among the bishops “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…”

Thus does “the Bishop of Rome” demand from his fellow bishops a vast increase in the number of annulments! A distinguished Catholic journalist later reported on the emergence of a seven-page dossier in which curial officials “juridically ‘picked apart’ the Pope’s motu proprio… accuse the Holy Father of giving up an important dogma, and assert that he has introduced de facto ‘Catholic divorce.’” These officials deplored what this journalist describes as “an ecclesialized ‘Führerprinzip,’ ruling from the top down, by decree and without any consultation or any checks.” The same officials fear that “the motu proprio will lead to a flood of annulments and that from now on, couples would be able to simply exit their Catholic marriage without a problem.” They are “‘beside themselves’ and feel obligated to ‘speak up’…”

But you are nothing if not consistent in pursuing your aims. Early in your pontificate, during one of the in-flight press conferencesat which you have first revealed your plans, you stated: “The Orthodox follow the theology of economy, as they call it, and they give a second chance of marriage [sic], they allow it. I believe that this problem must be studied.” For you, the lack of any “second chance of marriage” in the Catholic Church is a problem to be studied. You have clearly spent the past three-and-a-half years contriving to impose on the Church something approximating the Orthodox practice.

A distinguished canonist who is a consultant to the Apostolic Signatura has warned that as result of your reckless disregard of the reality of sacramental marriage:

a crisis (in the Greek sense of that word) over marriage is unfolding in the Church, and it is a crisis that will, I suggest, come to a head over matrimonial discipline and law…. I think the marriage crisis that he [Francis] is occasioning is going to come down to whether Church teaching on marriage, which everyone professes to honor, will be concretely and effectively protected in Church law, or, whether the canonical categories treating marriage doctrine become so distorted (or simply disregarded) as essentially to abandon marriage and married life to the realm of personal opinion and individual conscience.


Amoris Laetitia
: The Real Motive for the Sham Synod

That crisis reached its peak following the conclusion of your disastrous “Synod on the Family.” Although you manipulated this event from beginning to end to obtain the result you desired—Holy Communion for public adulterers in “certain cases”—it fell short of your expectations because of opposition from the conservative Synod Fathers you demagogically denounced as having “closed hearts which frequently hide even behind the Church’s teachings or good intentions, in order to sit in the chair of Moses and judge, sometimes with superiority and superficiality, difficult cases and wounded families.”

In a brutal abuse of rhetoric, you likened your orthodox episcopal opponents to the Pharisees, who practiced divorce and “remarriage” according to the Mosaic dispensation. These were the very bishops who defended the teaching of Christ against the Pharisees—and your own designs! Indeed, you seem intent on reviving a Pharisaical acceptance of divorce by way of a “neo-Mosaic practice.” A renowned Catholic journalist known for his moderate approach to analysis of Church affairs protested your reprehensible behavior: “For a pope to criticize those who remain faithful to that tradition, and characterize them as somehow unmerciful and as aligning themselves with hard-hearted Pharisees against the merciful Jesus is bizarre.”

In the end, the “synodal journey” you extolled was revealed as nothing but a sham concealing the foregone conclusion of your appalling “Apostolic Exhortation,” Amoris Laetitia. Therein your ghostwriters, principally in Chapter Eight, employ artful ambiguity to open wide the door to Holy Communion for public adulterers by reducing the natural law forbidding adultery to a “general rule” to which there can be exceptions for people who “have great difficulty in understanding ‘its inherent values’” or are living “in a concrete situation which does not allow him or her to act differently… (¶¶ 2, 301, 304)” Amoris is a transparent attempt to smuggle a mitigated form of situation ethics into matters of sexual morality, as if the error could be thus confined.

Your evident obsession with legitimating Holy Communion for public adulterers has led you to defy the constant moral teaching and intrinsically related sacramental discipline of the Church, affirmed by both of your immediate predecessors. That discipline is based on the teaching of Our Lord Himself on the indissolubility of marriage as well as the teaching of Saint Paul on the divine punishment due to the unworthy reception of Holy Communion. To quote John Paul II in this regard:

However, the Church reaffirms her practice, which is based upon Sacred Scripture, of not admitting to Eucharistic Communion divorced persons who have remarried. They are unable to be admitted thereto from the fact that their state and condition of life objectively contradict that union of love between Christ and the Church which is signified and effected by the Eucharist. Besides this, there is another special pastoral reason: if these people were admitted to the Eucharist, the faithful would be led into error and confusion regarding the Church’s teaching about the indissolubility of marriage.

Reconciliation in the sacrament of Penance which would open the way to the Eucharist, can only be granted to those who, repenting of having broken the sign of the Covenant and of fidelity to Christ, are sincerely ready to undertake a way of life that is no longer in contradiction to the indissolubility of marriage. This means, in practice, that when, for serious reasons, such as for example the children’s upbringing, a man and a woman cannot satisfy the obligation to separate, they “take on themselves the duty to live in complete continence, that is, by abstinence from the acts proper to married couples.” [Familiaris consortio, n. 84]

You have ignored the worldwide pleas of priests, theologians and moral philosophers, Catholic associations and journalists, and even a few courageous prelates among an otherwise silent hierarchy, to retract or “clarify” the tendentious ambiguities and outright errors of Amoris, particularly in Chapter Eight.


A Grave Moral Error Now Explicitly Approved 

And now, moving beyond a devious use of ambiguity, you have authorized explicitly behind the scenes what you have condoned ambiguously in public. The scheme was brought to light with the leaking of your “confidential” letter to the bishops of the pastoral region of Buenos Aires—where, as Archbishop, you had already authorized mass sacrilege in the villas (slums).

In this letter you praise the bishops’ document on “Basic Criteria for the Application of Chapter Eight of Amoris Laetitia”—as if there were some duty to “apply” the document so as to produce a change in the Church’s bimillennial sacramental discipline. You write: “The document is very good and completely explains the meaning of chapter VIII of Amoris Laetitia. There are no other interpretations.” Is it a coincidence that this document comes from the very archdiocese where, as Archbishop, you had long since authorized the admission of public adulterers and cohabiters to Holy Communion?

What was only clearly implied before is now made explicit, and those who insisted Amoris changes nothing have been made to look like fools. The document you now praise as the only correct interpretation of Amoris radically undermines the doctrine and practice of the Church your predecessors defended. In the first place, it reduces to an “option” the moral imperative that divorced and “remarried” couples “live in complete continence, that is, by abstinence from the acts proper to married couples.” According to the bishops of Buenos Aires—with your approval—it is merely “possible to propose that they make the effort of living in continence. Amoris Laetitia does not ignore the difficulties of this option.

As the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith declareddefinitively only 18 years ago during the reign of the very Pope you canonized: “if the prior marriage of two divorced and remarried members of the faithful was valid, under no circumstances can their new union be considered lawful and therefore reception of the sacraments is intrinsically impossible. The conscience of the individual is bound to this norm without exception.”  This is the constant teaching of the Catholic Church for two millennia.

Moreover, no parish priest or even a bishop has the power to honor in the so-called “internal forum” the claim of one living in adultery that his “conscience” tells him that his sacramental marriage was really invalid because, as the CDF further admonished, “marriage has a fundamental public ecclesial character and the axiom applies that nemo iudex in propria causa (no one is judge in his own case), marital cases must be resolved in the external forum. If divorced and remarried members of the faithful believe that their prior marriage was invalid, they are thereby obligated to appeal to the competent marriage tribunal so that the question will be examined objectively and under all available juridical possibilities.”

Having reduced an exceptionless moral norm rooted in divine revelation to an option, the bishops of Buenos Aires, citing Amorisas their only authority in 2,000 years of Church teaching, next declare: “In other, more complex circumstances, and when it is not possible to obtain a declaration of nullity, the aforementioned option may not, in fact, be feasible.” A universal moral norm is thus relegated to the category of a mere guideline to be disregarded if a local priest deems it “unfeasible” in certain undefined “complex circumstances.” What exactly are these “complex circumstances” and what does “complexity” have to do with exceptionless moral norms founded on revelation?

Finally, the bishops reach the disastrous conclusion you have contrived to impose upon the Church from the beginning of the “synodal journey”:

Nonetheless, it is equally possible to undertake a journey of discernment. If one arrives at the recognition that, in a particular case, there are limitations that diminish responsibility and culpability (cf. 301-302), particularly when a person judges that he would fall into a subsequent fault by damaging the children of the new union, Amoris Laetitia opens up the possibility of access to the sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist (cf. notes 336 and 351). These in turn dispose the person to continue maturing and growing with the aid of grace.

With your praise and approbation, the bishops of Buenos Aires declare for the first time in Church history that an ill-defined class of people living in adultery may be absolved and receive Holy Communion while remaining in that state. The consequences are catastrophic.


Please Pray for the Holy Father

 

(part 3 to follow)

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With Burning Concern: We Accuse Pope Francis

Written by The Remnant and Catholic Family News:

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In preparation for this year’s planned commemoration of the Protestant Revolt, Pope Francis prays with the Rev Jens-Martin Kruse in a Lutheran church

September 19, 2016
Feast of Saint Januarius in the Month of Our Lady of Sorrows

Your Holiness:
The following narrative, written in our desperation as lowly members of the laity, is what we must call an accusation concerning your pontificate, which has been a calamity for the Church in proportion to which it delights the powers of this world. The culminating event that impelled us to take this step was the revelation of your “confidential” letter to the bishops of Buenos Aires authorizing them, solely on the basis of your own views as expressed in Amoris Laetitia, to admit certain public adulterers in “second marriages” to the sacraments of Confession and Holy Communion without any firm purpose of amending their lives by ceasing their adulterous sexual relations.

You have thus defied the very words of Our Lord Himself condemning divorce and “remarriage” as adultery per sewithout exception, the admonition of Saint Paul on the divine penalty for unworthy reception of the Blessed Sacrament, the teaching of your two immediate predecessors in line with the bimillenial moral doctrine and Eucharistic discipline of the Church rooted in divine revelation, the Code of Canon Law and all of Tradition.

You have already provoked a fracturing of the Church’s universal discipline, with some bishops maintaining it despite Amoris Laetitia while others, including those in Buenos Aires, are announcing a change based solely on the authority of your scandalous “apostolic exhortation.” Nothing like this has ever happened in the history of the Church.

Yet, almost without exception, the conservative members of the hierarchy observe a politic silence while the liberals exult publicly over their triumph thanks to you. Almost no one in the hierarchy stands in opposition to your reckless disregard of sound doctrine and practice, even though many murmur privately against your depredations. Thus, as it was during the Arian crisis, it falls to the laity to defend the Faith in the midst of a near-universal defection from duty on the part of the hierarchs.

Of course we are nothing in the scheme of things, and yet as baptized lay members of the Mystical Body we are endowed with the God-given right and the correlative duty, enshrined in Church law (cf. CIC can. 212), to communicate with you and with our fellow Catholics concerning the acute crisis your governance of the Church has provoked amidst an already chronic state of ecclesial crisis following the Second Vatican Council.

Private entreaties having proven utterly useless, as we note below, we have published this document to discharge our burden of conscience in the face of the grave harm you have inflicted, and threaten to inflict, upon souls and the ecclesial commonwealth, and to exhort our fellow Catholics to stand in principled opposition to your continuing abuse of the papal office, particularly where it concerns the Church’s infallible teaching against adultery and profanation of the Holy Eucharist.

In making the decision to publish this document we were guided by the teaching of the Angelic Doctor on a matter of natural justice in the Church:

It must be observed, however, that if the faith were endangered, a subject ought to rebuke his prelate even publicly. Hence Paul, who was Peter’s subject, rebuked him in public, on account of the imminent danger of scandal concerning faith, and, as the gloss of Augustine says on Galatians 2:11, “Peter gave an example to superiors, that if at any time they should happen to stray from the straight path, they should not disdain to be reproved by their subjects.” [Summa Theologiae, II-II, Q. 33, Art 4]

We have been guided as well by the teaching of Saint Robert Bellarmine, Doctor of the Church, regarding licit resistance to a wayward Roman Pontiff:

Therefore, just as it would be lawful to resist a Pontiff invading a body, so it is lawful to resist him invading souls or disturbing a state, and much more if he should endeavor to destroy the Church. I say, it is lawful to resist him, by not doing what he commands, and by blocking him, lest he should carry out his will… [De Controversiis on the Roman Pontiff, Bk. 2, Ch. 29].

Catholics the world over, and not just “traditionalists,” are convinced that the situation Bellarmine envisioned hypothetically is today a reality. That conviction is the motive for this document.

May God be the judge of the rectitude of our intentions.

Christopher A. Ferrara
Lead Columnist, The Remnant

Michael J. Matt
Editor, The Remnant

John Vennari
Editor, Catholic Family News


LIBER OF ACCUSATION 

By the grace of God and the law of the Church, a complaint against Francis, Roman Pontiff, on account of danger to the Faith and grave harm to souls and the common good of the Holy Catholic Church.


What Sort of Humility Is This?

On the night of your election, speaking from the balcony of Saint Peter’s Basilica, you declared: “the duty of the Conclave was to give a bishop to Rome.” Even though the crowd before you consisted of people from around the world, members of the Church universal, you expressed thanks only “for the welcome that has come from the diocesan community of Rome.” You also expressed the hope that “this journey of the Church that we begin today” would be “fruitful for the evangelization of this beautiful city.” You asked the faithful present in the Saint Peter’s Square to pray, not for the Pope, but “for their Bishop” and you said that the next day you would “go to pray the Madonna, that she may protect Rome.”

Your strange remarks on that historic occasion began with the banal exclamation “Brothers and sisters, good evening” and ended with an equally banal intention: “Good night and sleep well!” Not once during the first address did you refer to yourself as Pope or make any reference to the supreme dignity of the office to which you had been elected: that of the Vicar of Christ, whose divine commission is to teach, govern and sanctify the Church universal and lead her mission to make disciples of all nations.

Almost from the moment of your election there began a kind of endless public relations campaign whose theme is your singular humility among the Popes, a simple “Bishop of Rome” in contrast to the supposed monarchical pretensions of your predecessors and their elaborate vestments and red shoes, which you shunned. You gave early indications of a radical decentralization of papal authority in favor of a “synodal Church” taking its example from the Orthodox view of “the meaning of episcopal collegiality and their experience of synodality.” The exultant mass media immediately hailed “the Francis revolution.”

Yet this ostentatious display of humility has been accompanied by an abuse of the power of the papal office without precedent in the history of the Church. Over the past three-and-a-half years you have incessantly promoted your own opinions and desires without the least regard for the teaching of your predecessors, the bimillenial traditions of the Church, or the immense scandals you have caused. On innumerable occasions you have shocked and confused the faithful and delighted the Church’s enemies with heterodox and even nonsensical statements, while heaping insult after insult upon observant Catholics, whom you continually deride as latter-day Pharisees and “rigorists.” Your personal comportment has often descended to acts of crowd-pleasing buffoonery.

You have consistently ignored the salutary admonition of your immediate predecessor, who resigned the papacy under mysterious circumstances eight years after having asked the bishops assembled before him at the beginning of his pontificate to “Pray for me, that I may not flee for fear of the wolves.” To quote your predecessor in his first homily as Pope:

The Pope is not an absolute monarch whose thoughts and desires are law. On the contrary: the Pope’s ministry is a guarantee of obedience to Christ and to his Word. He must not proclaim his own ideasbut rather constantly bind himself and the Church to obedience to God’s Word, in the face of every attempt to adapt it or water it down, and every form of opportunism.


A Selective Meddling in Politics, Always Politically Correct

Throughout your tenure as “Bishop of Rome” you have shown scant regard for the limitations of papal authority and competence. You have meddled in political affairs such as immigration policy, penal law, the environment, restoring diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba (while ignoring the plight of Catholics under the Castro dictatorship) and even opposing the Scottish independence movement. Yet you refuse to oppose secularist governments when they defy the divine and natural law by such measures as legalizing “homosexual unions,” a matter of divine and natural law on which a Pope can and must intervene.

In fact, your many condemnations of social evils—all of them politically safe targets—are continually belied by your own actions, which compromise the Church’s witness against the manifold errors of modernity:

Contrary to the constant teaching of the Church based on Revelation, you demand worldwide total abolition of the death penalty, no matter how grave the crime, and even the abolition of life sentences, yet you have never called for the abolition of legalized abortion, which the Church has constantly condemned as the mass murder of innocents.

You declare that the simple faithful are sinning gravely if they fail to recycle their household waste and turn off unnecessary lighting, even as you expend millions of dollars on vulgar mass events surrounding your person in various countries, to which you travel with large entourages in charter jets that emit vast quantities of carbon emissions into the atmosphere.

You demand open borders for Muslim “refugees” in Europe, who are predominantly military-age males, while you live behind the walls of a Vatican city-state that strictly excludes non-residents—walls built by Leo IV to prevent a second Muslim sack of Rome.

You speak incessantly of the poor and the “peripheries” of society but you ally yourself with the wealthy and corrupt German hierarchy and pro-abortion, pro-contraception, pro-homosexual celebrities and potentates of globalism.

You deride greedy corporate profit-seeking and “the economy that kills” while you honor with private audiences and receive lavish donations from the world’s wealthiest technocrats and corporate heads, even allowing Porsche to rent the Sistine Chapel for a “magnificent concert… arranged exclusively for the participants,” who paid some $6,000 each for a Roman tour—the first time a Pope has allowed this sacred space to be used for a corporate event.

You demand an end to “inequality” as you embrace communist and socialist dictators who live in luxury while the masses suffer under their yokes.

You condemn an American candidate for the presidency as “not Christian” because he seeks to prevent illegal immigration, but you say nothing against the atheist dictators you embrace, who have committed mass murder, persecute the Church and imprison Christians in police states.

In promoting your personal opinions on politics and public policy as if they were Catholic doctrine, you have not hesitated to abuse even the dignity of a papal encyclical by employing it to endorse debatable and even demonstrably fraudulent scientific claims regarding “climate change,” the “carbon cycle,” “carbon dioxide pollution” and “acidification of the oceans.” The same document also demands that the faithful respond to a supposed “ecological crisis” by supporting secular programs of environmentalism, such as the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations, which you have praised even though they call for “universal access to sexual and reproductive health,” meaning contraception and abortion.


A Rampant Indifferentism

While hardly a pioneer respecting the destructive post-conciliar novelties of “ecumenism” and “interreligious dialogue,” you have promoted to a degree not seen even during the worst years of the post-conciliar crisis a specific religious indifferentism that practically dispenses with the mission of the Church as the ark of salvation.

Respecting the Protestants, you declare that they are all members of the same “Church of Christ” as Catholics, regardless of what they believe, and that doctrinal differences between Catholics and Protestants are comparatively trivial matters to be worked out by agreement of theologians. You simply ignore the theological and moral decrepitude of the Vatican’s Protestant “partners” in “ecumenical dialogue”—so-called churches that reject fundamental dogmas of the one true religion established by Christ in the Catholic Church, including the primacy of Peter, a sacrificial priesthood limited to men, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and the existence of seven sacraments. These same man-made religions have totally collapsed morally, approving divorce, contraception, abortion and even the abomination of “homosexual unions” founded on the habitual practice of sodomy. It is a mockery of the Gospel, and contrary to reason itself, to declare that those who profess these grievous errors belong to the same Church as faithful Catholics.

Given that opinion, you have actively discouraged Protestant conversions, including one “Bishop” Tony Palmer, who belonged to a breakaway Anglican sect that purports to ordain women. As Palmer recounted, when he mentioned “coming home to the Catholic Church” you gave this appalling reply: “No one is coming home. You are journeying towards us and we are journeying towards you and we will meet in the middle.” The middle of what? Palmer died in a motorcycle accident shortly thereafter. At your insistence, however, the man whose conversion you deliberately impeded was buried as a Catholic bishop—a mockery that was contrary to the infallible teaching of your predecessor that “ordinations carried out according to the Anglican rite have been, and are, absolutely null and utterly void.” [Leo XIII, Apostolicae curae (1896), DZ 3315]

As to other religions in general, you have adopted as a virtual program the very error condemned by Pope Pius XI only 34 years before Vatican II: “that false opinion which considers all religions to be more or less good and praiseworthy, since they all in different ways manifest and signify that sense which is inborn in us all, and by which we are led to God and to the obedient acknowledgment of His rule.” You have been utterly heedless of Pius XI’s admonition “that one who supports those who hold these theories and attempt to realize them, is altogether abandoning the divinely revealed religion.” In that regard, you have suggested that even atheists can be saved merely by doing good, thus eliciting delighted praise from the media.

It seems that in your view Rahner’s heretical thesis of the “anonymous Christian,” embracing virtually all of humanity and implying universal salvation, has definitively replaced the teaching of Our Lord to the contrary: “He that believes and is baptized shall be saved; and he that disbelieves shall be condemned (Mk 16:16).”


Please Pray for Pope Francis

(parts 2 and 3 to follow)

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Communist Infiltration of the Catholic Church

In a recent post reporting on the sad news of the death of the  Roman diocesan exorcist, Father Gabriele Amorth, we read Father had once stated in an interview that “legions of demons have taken up residence in the Vatican”. In this following article, first published on ‘A Catholic Life‘,  David Martin, looks more closely into some of the causes and ways this diabolical infiltration has taken place.

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Lay Eucharistic Ministry Born of Communist Infiltration – By David Martin

On June 29, 1972, on the occasion of the ninth anniversary of his coronation, Pope Paul VI declared to the world, “From some fissure the smoke of Satan entered into the temple of God.”

The pope was referencing the diabolical forces that had infiltrated the Church through the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965).

Now a key objective of Vatican II was the empowerment of the laity, in keeping with its theme of “active participation of the faithful.” With the Council came the new definition of priesthood as The people of God. It saw the whole Church as one hierarchy or priesthood, but in different ranks, with the ordained ministerial priesthood being only one rank of this priesthood. What was proposed was the fallacy that we are all priests of one hierarchy.

“The common priesthood of the faithful and the ministerial priesthood are nonetheless ordered one to another; each in its own proper way shares in the one priesthood of Christ.” (Lumen Gentium 10)

It is a well known and documented fact that the agents of Communism began entering our Catholic seminaries as far back as the 30s for the purpose of destroying the Church from within. Over a thousand such agents had infiltrated the seminaries prior to 1940. The testimonies of ex-communists like Bella Dodd and Manning Johnson who had testified before the House Un-American Activities Committee more than confirm that these agents of the sickle and hammer had been building their forces against the Church with the intention of breaking in and indoctrinating the faithful with anti-church principles.

Their plan was to first absorb Catholic philosophy and teaching in the seminaries so as to give them inside access to masterfully communicate and pull the Catholic hierarchy away from their traditional roots, so that they in turn would embrace revolutionary ideas and become pawns of ecclesial subversion. The Leninist “clenched fist” ideal would now be applied in a spiritual way where the “empowerment of the laity” would be a means of overthrowing the Church’s monarchical structure, so that a new sense of democracy and religious liberty would take precedence over the established rule of religion issuing from the Seat of Peter.

Hence we have the modern-day role of lay Eucharistic ministers that are supposedly empowered to perform the priestly function of giving Communion. Eucharistic ministers indeed have been empowered, but their empowerment is from the dark forces. What we’re seeing today is Marxism in full swing. The insidious efforts of communists to infiltrate the Church are now manifest through this and other like practices, e.g. women lectors, lay liturgists.

It was a well orchestrated plan to undermine the priesthood so that spiritual revolution would later ensue under the pretext of a “renewal.”

Bella Dodd said in the early 50s: “In the 1930s we put eleven-hundred men into the priesthood in order to destroy the Church from within.” Twelve years before Vatican II, she said, “Right now they are in the highest places in the Church.” She predicted that the changes they would implement would be so drastic that “you will not recognize the Catholic Church.”

Dodd explained that of all the world’s religions, the Catholic Church was the only one feared by communists. Her work as a communist was to give the Church a complex about its heritage by labeling “the Church of the past as being oppressive, authoritarian, full of prejudices, arrogant in claiming to be the sole possessor of truth, and responsible for the divisions of religious bodies throughout the centuries.”

The focal point of attack would be the Holy Eucharist, as we read in the memoirs of communist agent AA 1025, whose briefcase was discovered after being killed in an auto accident in the mid-sixties. “To weaken more the notion of ‘Real presence’ of Christ, all decorum will have to be set aside. No more costly embroidered vestments, no more music called sacred, especially no more Gregorian Chant, but a music in jazz style, no more sign of the Cross, no more genuflections, but only dignified stern attitudes. Moreover, the faithful will have to break themselves from the habit of kneeling, and this will be absolutely forbidden when receiving Communion…. Very soon, the Host will be laid in the hand in order that all notion of the Sacred be erased.”

Again AA 1025 says, “In the Mass, the words ‘Real Presence’ and ‘Transubstantiation’ must be deleted. We shall speak of ‘Meal’ and ‘Eucharist’ instead. We shall destroy the Offertory and play down the Consecration and, at the same time, we shall stress the part played by the people. In the Mass, as it is today, the priest turns his back to the people and fills a sacrificial function which is intolerable. He appears to offer his Mass to the great Crucifix hanging over the ornate altar. We shall pull down the Crucifix, substitute a table for the altar, and turn it around so that the priest may assume a presidential function. The priest will speak to the people much more than before. In this manner the Mass will gradually cease to be regarded as an act of adoration to God, and will become a gathering and an act of human brotherhood.”

The foregoing coincides with leaked plans of the Masonic P2 Lodge in Italy that were issued just before Vatican II. Consider this excerpt from their 34 guidelines that were made effective March 1962.

“Get women and laity to give Communion, say that this is the Age of the Laity. Start giving Communion in the hand like the Protestants, instead of on the tongue, say that Christ did it this way. Collect some for Satan Masses.”

Can we understand now why the Church today has been virtually overthrown by the post-conciliar revolution? Vatican II opened its doors and invited these agents of Satan to sit in on the Council and participate in the drafting of its documents. Or hadn’t it occurred to us why the 1964 Vatican II Instruction Inter Oecumenici commanded that the traditional prayer to St. Michael at the end of Mass be “suppressed?” (Article 48) Obviously the old devil didn’t want the faithful praying against him.

The same document states: “The main altar should preferably be freestanding, to permit walking around it and celebration facing the people.” (Article 91) This coincides with the memoirs of the above mentioned agent who said, “We shall stress the part played by the people” and who complained that “the priest turns his back to the people and fills a sacrificial function which is intolerable.”

There is no arguing that the faithful are called to have “active participation” in Christ, but this participation will consist in silent meditation on the Passion and contemplation on the Sacred Mysteries, not in assuming priestly functions or engaging in liturgical busy-body activity. We are called to sanctify our souls and to work out our salvation “with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12), which means we must respect Christ’s monarchical authority and not attempt to assume functions which we are not authorized to perform.

If the Catholic hierarchy would simply follow rules and regulations and keep with the Church’s 2000-year tradition of having only consecrated priests administer Communion, their household wouldn’t be in such a shambles today. If heresy and apostasy now abound, it’s because the hierarchy has lost confidence in the rule of tradition, fulfilling St. Paul’s prophecy: “There shall be a time, when they will not endure sound doctrine; but… will heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears.” (2 Timothy 4:3)

If priests would dump their modernist inventions and let down their nets the traditional way, they would again bring up a marvelous catch for Christ, but if they continue on their present path of change and “renewal,” they will continue laboring all night in the dark as they have since the Council.

If the church today is largely ignorant of the physical and supernatural presence of Christ in his sanctuary, it is because of these socialist lay-empowerment movements through which the Eucharist has been profaned. The Eucharist is the very heart of the Mystical Body around which the entire Church must revolve, therefore the members of Christ are dead members if they will not adore His True Body in the manner commanded by Christ, namely, by receiving on the tongue and from a priest only.

It was not without reason that St. Basil declared Communion in the hand to be “a great fault.” St. Thomas Aquinas taught: “Because out of reverence towards this Sacrament, nothing touches it, but what is consecrated; hence the corporal and the chalice are consecrated, and likewise the priest’s hands, for touching this Sacrament.” (Summa Theologica)

The Council of Trent reaffirmed the Church’s continuous teaching forbidding lay people from administering Communion.

“It must be taught, then, that to priests alone has been given power to consecrate and administer to the faithful, the Holy Eucharist. That this has been the unvarying practice of the Church… as having proceeded from Apostolic tradition, is to be religiously retained.” – The Catechism of the Council of Trent

St. Paul warns that “whosoever shall eat this bread, or drink the chalice of the Lord unworthily, shall be guilty of the Body and of the Blood of the Lord… For he that eats and drinks unworthily, eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Body of the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 11: 27,29)

Hence it would be better never to receive Communion than to go up everyday in cafeteria fashion and receive from people who are not empowered to administer the Body of Christ. Though it has become a widely accepted “common-law” practice today, the use of Eucharistic ministers at Mass is illicit in that it radically breaks with the Church’s 2000-year tradition.

The argument that Pope John Paul II sanctioned the use of Eucharistic ministers holds no water, since he was very much against this practice. The following is from his Redemptionis Sacramentum, issued March 25, 2004.

“If there is usually present a sufficient number of sacred ministers [priests] for the distribution of Holy Communion, extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion may not be appointed. Indeed, in such circumstances, those who may have already been appointed to this ministry should not exercise it. The practice of those Priests is reprobated who, even though present at the celebration, abstain from distributing Communion and hand this function over to laypersons.” (Article 157)

How is it that most Catholic parishes today are embroiled in this lay ministry program in spite of this and other like prohibitions? It’s because the tumor of communism continues to spread its cancerous errors throughout the Church. The ugly hand of communism has truly reached in to desecrate the Holy Eucharist.

Let us pray that the pope will finally consecrate Russia to the Blessed Virgin, so that the red tumor can be eradicated and health can be restored to Christ’s Mystical Body

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The Calling of Saint Matthew

Levi, the tax collector who becomes St. Matthew, looks up from his table in the customs house—the Gospels tell the story—when Jesus signals him. That simple summons and the astonished response to it are dramatized in “The Calling of Matthew,” one of a trio of paintings by Michelangelo Merisi, called Caravaggio after his native town. He did them for Rome’s “French” Church, San Luigi dei Francesi, close to the Piazza Navona, circa 1600. Walk to the Contarelli Chapel, the fifth on the left, put some euros in the light box, and prepare for your own astonishment.

Rome is a city of baroque splendor, of spectacular, soaring contrasts in its buildings and sculptures. Appropriately, it also houses the largest number of Caravaggio’s pictures in the world. Of these, “The Calling of Matthew” initiates, and calls us to, the master’s complex, dramatic, final phase.

Caravaggio came to Rome, a young man, in 1592. He died in 1610. His life, like his work, was tumultuous, controversial. Through ambition and patronage he made his way into Rome’s thriving Counter-Reformation art scene. Sacked in 1527, the city was in the process of a glorious rebuilding program. San Luigi, begun in 1518, was consecrated only in 1589. Most important, the pope had declared 1600 a Holy Year; the city expected visitors en masse. Cardinal del Monte, Caravaggio’s patron, for whom he’d previously painted mostly secular pictures of androgynous boys, got him a commission for his first major religious work. It was also going to be his largest to date.

On the chapel’s left-hand side, “The Calling” faces “The Martyrdom of St. Matthew” across from it. Each measures 127 inches by 130 inches. Between them, over the altar, hangs the smaller “The Inspiration of St. Matthew” depicting the evangelist at his desk, with an angel above his shoulder. This is the only picture of the three you can see head on. A railing across the chapel’s entrance permits a crosswise view of the larger ones, but because this is a church, not a museum, you take what you can get. And as early as 1672 Gian Pietro Bellori, in his “Lives of the Artists,” complained of the chapel’s bad light. To see Caravaggio’s brushwork up close, head to the Borghese Gallery. But do not neglect any of his church pictures.

“The Calling” dramatizes an interruption, an invitation or, more accurately, a command. Levi is “called” to a new life when he least expects it. From left to right, Caravaggio’s pictures depict that life: Matthew summoned, Matthew writing, Matthew murdered. The story ends in the violence of “The Martyrdom.” “The Calling” is really a freeze-frame. Jesus catches Matthew off-guard, in the midst of four companions. He looks up as Jesus, his face illuminated but his body otherwise in shadow, extends his right arm in an action deliberately evoking God’s to Adam on the Sistine Ceiling. In front of Jesus, slightly bending over and turning away from us, Peter repeats the gesture. The conversion has begun, although only Jesus seems to know it.

Caravaggio accepted new artistic challenges in this commission. In addition to sheer size, the painting has more people in it than he had ever put into a single work. Space is also a challenge. The composition has a skewed balance: The Evangelist-to-be is not at its midpoint. Instead, Matthew sits to one side, huddling with his buddies. Jesus and Peter stand on the right. The central figures are two plumed boys, types we associate with Caravaggio’s early secular pictures. Like the other money counters, they are dressed in a cavalier modern style. Jesus and Peter, calling Levi to a new life, paradoxically wear traditional biblical garb. The surly, handsomest youth, bent over the table at the far left, looks uninterested in anything but his money. So does the older, bespectacled figure above him.

Matthew points to himself with his left hand. It’s an awkward gesture (except for a left-handed person) but is justified aesthetically because it extends from Jesus’s dexterous command. Incredulous, Matthew seems to say, “Who, me?” The two youngest boys neither accept nor ignore the summons. We register all these characters as both individuals and parts of groupings.

Figuring how to place and dramatize seven individual people was one of the painter’s problems. Lighting them was another. Caravaggio has begun here to master what became one of his celebrated hallmarks, the use of chiaroscuro (light and shadow) for both theatrical and formal effects.

Coming from the picture’s right side, a clear light illuminates Jesus’ face; it then moves to the left, shining on Matthew and the elegant lad looking toward it. A window radiates a soft haze through the room. But the most powerful light seems to come, appropriately and mysteriously, from outside the picture’s frame, above and to the right of the window. Matthew’s eyes, like the boy’s, gaze in momentary wonder. The other figures are obscured by either darkness or their posture. They are in the picture but they are out of the story, especially the two at the far left.

The lighting affects the work in a supplementary way. In the Contarini Chapel the picture hangs under a real window whose light, depending on the time of day, does to the painting exactly what Caravaggio’s light does within it. Even at the awkward angle from which we view the picture, we read it from left to right, as we do the sequence of the three paintings, but we also read from right to left, from the source of illumination above to its objects below. The drama entails a move between darkness and light, flesh and spirit, an old life and a new one.

Jesus understands that he has accomplished his mission. Although a little hard to see, his bare feet turn away from the table and from his newest convert. He knows that it is time to go. Matthew’s vocation has only just begun.
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Sts. Andrew Kim, Paul Chong and Companions

In 1984 St John Paul II canonised Sts. Andrew and Paul and 101 other martyrs of Korea in Seoul and set their memorial on this day, 20th September. Included also among them were some priests of the Paris Society of the Foreign Missions (MEP).

Catholicism was first planted in Korea by Catholic lay Confucian scholars in the 17th ccntury who brought Catholic literature in Chinese from China. Chinese language in Korea was akin to Latin in Europe – it was the language of literature and scholarship. This was quite something as we know it was generally missionary clerics that spread the faith through the world at that time. But I feel that Korea was not the first society in which laymen first brought the Faith. There must have been many priestless places throughout the world in all of Catholic history where lay Catholics first lived and moved, only later to be sent priests and bishops.

St Andrew Kim (on our left in the picture above) was the first Korean Catholic priest and received his priestly training in Macau and the Philippines. After a little more than one year after his ordination in Shanghai in 1845 he was beheaded after tortures in Korea in 1846 at the ripe old age of 25. His last words were said to be:

This is my last hour of life, listen to me attentively: if I have held communication with foreigners, it has been for my religion and for my God. It is for Him that I die. My immortal life is on the point of beginning. Become Christians if you wish to be happy after death, because God has eternal chastisements in store for those who have refused to know Him.

St Paul Chong (on our right) was the son of Catholic parents, who were also martyred as were his brother, sister and uncle. After tortures he was paraded tied to a cross in a cart and finally beheaded in 1839 at around the young age of 45, just a little before his ordination was due.

I am always a little reserved thinking of the Korean martyrs. Their lot was most appalling and gruesome. I am not sure too many of us could endure what they accepted for their Lord. God our Father sends the necessary graces. How else to explain their extraordinary courage?

Catholics form about 10 percent of the population of Korea now. It has been a growing Church drenched in the blood of its numerous great martyrs. The Korean saints are all martyrs. Glorious St Andrew Kim, St Paul Chong and all holy martyr saints of Korea, pray for us that we may remain as faithful as you.

A little Korean video showing us about a film on the life of St Andrew Kim, gone to his eternal reward at age 25. It likens St Andrew’s short life to our Lord’s ascent of Calvary. It starts with St Andrew’s ordination in Shanghai.

 

 

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19 Sept – NAPLES: The blood of St Januarius liquefied!

Il cardinale Crescenzio Sepe durante la celebrazione in occasione della festa di San Gennaro a Napoli, 19 settembre 2015. ANSA / CIRO FUSCO

Il cardinale Crescenzio Sepe durante la celebrazione in occasione della festa di San Gennaro a Napoli, 19 settembre 2015. ANSA / CIRO FUSCO

According to ANSA the miracle was repeated today: the preserved blood of the 4th c. martyr St. Januarius (San Gennaro) liquified.  Good thing for Naples!

Here is something that I wrote for the UK’s best Catholic weekly, the Catholic Herald:

The feast of the bishop martyr St Januarius (d c 305), known in Italian as San Gennaro, is celebrated this week.  He is the patron saint of Naples where the faithful venerate vials of his dried blood which regularly liquefies on three days a year: 19 September (the saint’s feast), 16 December (anniversary of the 1631 eruption of the volcano Vesuvius which looms over the Bay of Naples), and the 1st Sunday of May (the day of the translation or moving of the saint’s relics to Naples).

16_09_19_Gennaro_02The liquefaction of San Gennaro’s blood is taken seriously by the people of the area. When it fails to change state, bad things tend to happen, such as famine, disease and earthquakes, for example, the terrible quake of 1980 which killed almost 3000 people and injured thousands more.  Hence, on these special liquefying days, throngs jam the Cathedral. The Cardinal Archbishop displays the reliquary with the larger of the two ampoules and slowly oscillates it.  When it changes, he announces “The miracle has happened”, thus launching the corybantic assemblage into that great hymn of praise the Te Deum.

Scientists can’t explain this phenomenon.  One inexplicable detail is that the weight and volume of the blood isn’t always the same after the blood solidifies again.  Sometimes the weight increases and the volume decreases, and vice versa.  Sometimes the liquid bubbles or foams becomes bright red.  At other times it is duller and rather viscous.  And it seems truly to be blood. In 1902 it was examined. The spectral lines produced by the light that passed through it had the characteristics of hemoglobin.  In any event, this miraculous transformation has been observed consistently since it was first noticed during a procession in 1389.  That’s a solid track record.

Speaking of miracles, if we do not believe in miracles, we do not ask for them.  While we accept God’s will and schedule in all things, if we do not ask for miracles they will not be granted.

We are not alone. The Church Militant (us) and the Church Triumphant (saints and angels) are closely knit, interwoven in charity. In this vale of tears we must intercede for each other.  We must believe in and ask for the intercession of saints.  No one is too small to be an occasion of grace for others.

How often do you invoke the help of the saints and holy angels?

Here is a video of the event this year.  Sorry about the hideous metrosexual ad that you have to endure first.  Blech blech blech.

http://video.corrieredelmezzogiorno.corriere.it/video-embed/3863af26-7e50-11e6-91d4-c42004070ba6

UPDATE:

Check out the entry on St. Januarius by my friend Greg DiPippo at NLM.  Very cool stuff there.

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Adieu Padre Amorth

From Dr Robert Moynihan’s journal, Friday, 16th September 2016 :

padre-gabriele-amorth-um-dos-maiores-exorcistas-italianos-1474109040255_300x420

“I, afraid of that beast? It is he who should be afraid of me: I work in the name of the Lord of the world. He is just the monkey of God.”

Father Gabriele Amorth, the famous Italian exorcist who was the exorcist for the diocese of Rome for the last 30 years, since 1986, referring to the devil. Father Amorth died today in Rome at the age of 91.

Stefano Maria Paci: Father Amorth, Satanism is increasingly widespread. The new exorcism ritual makes it difficult to do exorcisms. Exorcists are prevented from attending an audience with the Pope in St. Peter’s Square. Tell me honestly: what is happening?
Father Gabriele Amorth: The smoke of Satan enters everywhere. Everywhere! Maybe we were excluded from the papal audience because they were afraid  so many exorcists would be able to chase out the legions of demons that have taken up residence in the Vatican.
Paci: You’re kidding, right?
Amorth: It may seem a joke, but I think it is no joke. I have no doubt that the devil tempts especially the leaders of the Church, as he tempts all leaders…
Paci: Are you saying that here, as in any war, Satan wants to conquer the opposing generals?
Amorth: It is a winning strategy. One always tries to implement it. Especially when the defenses of one’s opponents are weak. Satan also tries. But thankfully there is the Holy Spirit who governs the Church: ‘The gates of hell shall not prevail.’ Despite the defections. And despite the betrayals. Which should cause us no surprise. The first traitor was one of the apostles closest to Jesus, Judas Iscariot. But despite this, the Church continues on her way. She is held up by the Holy Spirit and therefore all the efforts of Satan can have only partial results. Of course, the devil can win some battles. Even important ones. But never the war.”
—from a 2001 interview between Italian journalist Stefano Maria Paci and Father Gabriele Amorth, published in the June 2001 issue of 30 Giorgi magazine.

=============

In September 2006, 10 years ago, I received several letters from readers asking me if the new, post-Vatican II ritual of exorcism was as valid and effective as the old, pre-Vatican II ritual. I replied that I knew little about the matter, but would try to talk about the issue with Father Gabriele Amorth, the exorcist of the city of Rome since 1986. Two of these readers flew to Rome to accompany me for the conversation.

We drove over to a section of Rome near the via Cristoforo Colombo and parked the car. As we walked up to the address, located on a city block filled with residential apartment buildings, the music to the song “YMCA” was blasting out over the street from one of the open windows.

Father Amorth greeted us warmly and ushered us into his office, which had the appearance of a kitchen, with a sink and stove at one end of the room.

But, since he did not know who we were, having never met us before, he asked if we would agree to answer three questions, and then to allow him to pray over us, one by one, before we began our interview. We agreed.

I was the first to sit down on a chair at the end of the room.

He moved his stole so that half of it was over my neck and shoulder while half remained over his neck and shoulder. Then he asked me the questions.

“Do you attend Sunday Mass regularly, every Sunday?” he asked. “Do you pray the Rosary? Do you go regularly to confession?”

After I gave him my answers, he began to pray over me, reciting a series of prayers, while I sat there. After a time, my eyes slowly closed. He then tapped on my head and then, with his fingers, raised my eyelids to look deeply into my eyes. I still remember the intensity of his gaze, just a few inches from my face. Then he continued to pray and at a certain moment, he finished, and said to me: “I declare you free of any evil spirits.”

He asked the same questions and prayed the same prayers over my two companions, each of whom heard him say the same final words, declaring them free of evil spirits.

Only then did we begin a long conversation about the Church today, about his work as an exorcist, and related matters, that continued for almost two hours.

I asked him how the new rite compares to the old rite, and whether concerns about the new rite are legitimate.

He said the new rite is legitimate, but that its prayers are less precise and powerful against the devil than the prayers of the old rite, so he prefers to do exorcisms in the old rite, and does so.

He also said that whe he and one other exorcist went to the Vatican to try to gain a hearing for their concerns about the revisions in the rite, only one cardinal came to their assistance: Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who defended their continued use of the old rite.

Though now he has passed away, I would like to express thanks to him for the hospitality he showed to me that day, and for the prayers that he prayed over us.

=====================

Gabriele Amorth was born in Modena, in northern Italy, on May 1, 1925. He died today in Rome at the age of 91.

He was a Catholic partisan soldier at the end of the Second World War, and active after the war in Catholic Action, the youth movement of the Christian Democratic Party

He was ordained a priest in 1954 at the age of 29. An excellent writer, he published many articles in Italy’s leading Catholic magazine, Famiglia Cristiana.
Passionate about Mariology, he became the editor of the Catholic monthly magazine Madre di Dio (“Mother of God”). He was a member of the Pontifical International Marian Academy.

In 1986, the Pope’s cardinal vicar for the diocese of Rome, Cardinal Ugo Poletti, named Amorth the exorcist for the diocese.

He was a student of Father Candido Amantini, who for many years was the exorcist at the Scala Santa (the Holy Stairs) in Rome (the stairs believed to be those which Christ walked up to his trial before Pontius Pilate in Jerusalem, brought to Rome by St. Helena in the early 4th century, in about the year 326 A.D.). Today, many pilgrims go to those steps and walk up them on their knees, praying.

In various interviews, Amorth said he had carried out more than 50,000 exorcisms over the years, some taking him just a few minutes, others taking many hours of prayer.

Amorth also said that he had only been faced with about 100 cases of real demonic possession in all those tens of thousands of cases.

Most of the cases, he said, were either “disturbances” caused by the devil, or simple mental illnesses.

In an interview with Stefano Maria Paci of 30 Giorni in 2001, Amorth sharply criticized the post-Vatican II revision of the rite of exorcism.

“The old Ritual should have been amended, not entirely redone,” Amorthsaid. “There were prayers used for 12 centuries. Before canceling prayers so old which for centuries had proven effective, we should hesitate. But instead, no. All of us exorcists, using the prayers of the new interim Ritual, have experienced that they are totally ineffective… The new Book of Blessings has painstakingly removed any reference to the fact that the Lord must protect us from Satan, that the angels protect us from the assaults of the devil. They removed all the prayers that there were for the blessing of homes and schools. Everything should be blessed and protected, but today the protection from the devil does not exist anymore. There are no more defenses or even prayers against him. Jesus himself taught us a prayer of liberation, in the Our Father: ‘Deliver us from the Evil One. Deliver us from Satan.’ In Italian it has been translated incorrectly, and today we say: ‘Deliver us from evil.’ We speak of a generic evil, which we do not know the origin of, but the evil which our Lord Jesus Christ taught us to fight is a concrete person: Satan.”

Amorth tells Paci that the “greatest victory” of the devil is to persuade us that he does not exist.

In another interview (link), Amorth once said that he believed the consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, as requested by Our Lady of Fatima in her apparitions to Sister Lucy, had not been done fully.

“The Consecration has not yet been made,” he said. “I was there on March 25 (1984) in St. Peter’s Square, I was in the front row, practically within touching distance of the Holy Father. John Paul II wanted to consecrate Russia, but his entourage did not, fearing that the Orthodox would be antagonized, and they almost thwarted him. Therefore, when His Holiness consecrated the world on his knees, he added a sentence, not included in the distributed version, that instead said to consecrate “especially those nations of which you yourself have asked for their consecration.” So, indirectly, this included Russia. However, a specific consecration has not yet been made. You can always do it. Indeed, it will certainly be done…”
Amorth died today in Rome after several days in the hospital of Santa Lucia.

May he rest in peace, and may eternal light shine upon him.

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15 Cloisters Dissolved: What Remains of the Order of the Franciscans of the Immaculate?

It has been a long time since any further news of developments within the situation of the once flourishing Order of the Franciscans of the Immaculate have come to light. Now Katholisches has produced this report (translated by Tancred) published on The Eponymous Flower. The tragedy continues.

What Remains of the Franciscans of the Immaculat

What Remains of the Franciscans of the Immaculate

(Rome) How far has the destruction of the Order of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate progressed? This is the updating of a chapter that is like a dark shadow on the pontificate of Pope Francis.

In 1969 two Fathers Minor, Stefano Maria Manelli and Gabriele Maria Pellettieri, asked the Father General of the Order, after a thorough study of Fontes Franciscani, to be allowed to start a “new experience of Franciscan life” back to its original rigor. In 1970 an abandoned monastery of the Order was made available to them where they gathered more men over time, and with the establishment of a female branch, women also joined. In 1990, the Community was canonically recognized as a separate order.

The Peculiarity of the Young Order

The Order represented an anomaly of Catholic orders until July 2013. While the old religious orders steeped in tradition suffer decline and waste away, the young Franciscan Order saw a veritable blooming of vocations.

Its peculiarity was that the founders did not turn to liberal openings after the Council, but returned to the rigor of the Franciscan ideal. The sensibility which unfolded there led to a return to the traditional rite under Pope Benedict XVI. The Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate were thus the only new rite order, which moved to the traditional form of the Roman Rite and the rigor of its life, attracted many young people, while other orders starved.

The particularity which defined this Order as community of the old rite, is that it did not belong to the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, but the Roman Congregation for Religious, which is otherwise only concerned with the new rite.

The two founders of the Order: Fr. Stefano Maria Manelli (left) and P. Gabriele Maria Pellettieri

The two founders of the Order: Fr. Stefano Maria Manelli (left) and P. Gabriele Maria Pellettieri

Another peculiarity distinguished the young, blossoming order from the Ecclesia Dei– communities. Besides the charism of the order, the Franciscan ideal of Marian devotion, love for tradition and the traditional rite, there was a missionary zeal.

While the Ecclesia Dei communities are enclosed in garden preserves, where in some dioceses they are tolerated more than accepted, the Franciscans of the Immaculate had the freedom of new rite communities to openly develop their apostolates freely and to be especially active in mission.

With its turn to the old rite, the first difficulties began with the diocesan bishops. Of the three known friaries established in German-speaking countries, only Kitzbühel (Archdiocese of Salzburg) established in 2002, was successful. The two other, more recent attempts (diocese of Bolzano-Brixen, and Linz Diocese) were rejected.

The Reversal Upon the Election of Pope Francis

The young religious order enjoyed papal benevolence under Benedict XVI., which suddenly changed under Francis. In July 2013, just four months after his election, the Religious Congregation completely overturned the order’s leadership with papal approval. The Order was placed under provisional administration. The Commissar, Capuchin Father, Fidenzio Volpi, who was no friend of the traditional rite, began a veritable destruction. Father Volpi, who died in June 2015, was replaced by the Salesian and canon lawyer, Sabino Ardito. The destruction of the Order has continued nevertheless, unabated.

Reasons for radical intervention in the blossoming religious were still not known. Behind closed doors the Commissioner and the head of the religious congregation confirmed that which observers had suspected from the start: The reason was the aforementioned feature of the Order. A new rite order, which had moved to the traditional rite, attracted numerous vocations of young people and aroused growing attention from other new rite orders, which began to be interested in this “success story”, could not be.

The decree by which the provisional government was established, only contained a detailed determination. But it revealed the thrust of the action: Despite anything to the contrary that had been issued by Benedict XVI. with the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum, it was determined that no priest of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate be allowed to celebrate the traditional rite any longer. Anyone who wished to celebrate the old rite had to make a private application, which had to be approved by the Commissioner. More contempt for the traditional rite could not be demonstrated.

Under Pope Benedict XVI. it had not been possible for hostile forces to take action against the order. With the election of Pope Francis, who commented disparagingly in June 2013 about traditional circles, the situation had changed in one fell swoop.
Because of his power, Pope Francis prevented that the leadership of the order could turn to the Apostolic Signatura against the actions of the Congregation of Religious. The order had no legal recourse. It had to endure.

No Benevolent Father

Since the beginning of the act of dismemberment, 14 monasteries were dissolved by the commissioners. Currently, even the dissolution of the monastery of Florence is being prepared, which was a center of the order before the provisional administration. It will be the 15th Monastery closure since the beginning of the provisional administration. The commissioners have proven to be employed against the order not as benevolent fathers, as Cardinal De Paolis was, whom Benedict XVI. placed at the top of the Legion of Christ in 2010 when the order had fallen into a spiral by uncovering of the double life of its founder.

The commissioners of the Franciscans of the Immaculate were employed, rather more like liquidators. Three and a half years after his establishment at the Legion of Christ, Cardinal De Paolis ended his administration with the election new leadership for the order. There is no end of the apostolic administration for Franciscans of the Immaculate. The poignant question now arises, what will then be left of the former order?

Alfonso Bruno and His Campaign

With the death of the first Commissioner, at least, the influence of Father Alfonso Bruno seems to have declined. Alfonso Bruno was the Media Representative of the order’s earlier leadership. He is considered the real brains behind the rebellion against the founders and the charism of the order. Officially, he does not seem to be among the five brothers, who had turned to the Congregation of Religious with a letter to complain against the exclusive use of the traditional rite in the order. In the concern for pastoral care, the order had actually remained biritual. Yet the letter was the incentive to intervene by the Congregation of Religious.

Commissioner Volpi appointed Alfonso Bruno Secretary General and was influenced by him. Otherwise, the Commissioner had made false claims against Founder Stefano Maria Manelli, for he was convicted of defamation in a state court judgment. The execution of punishment was kept from him only by his unexpected death. The new Commissioner, Ardito, did not make the same mistake obviously. While Volpi was the sole Commissioner, Father Ardito has employed a Jesuit and Capuchin as assistants besides. He thus has dispensed with a General Secretary and sent Alfonso Bruno in September 2015 to be the head of a religious house in Messina, Sicily. However, he is set to continue his campaign against the former Superior General, Father Manelli, who was deposed in 2013. He is, according to rumors, behind a blog which is called “The Truth about the Provisional Administration of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate” and is only overflowing with malicious articles.

Abolition of the Fourth Marian Vow

Meanwhile, the first vows were conducted without the typical consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary in Brazil and the Philippines. It was replaced by a simple expression of willingness to go on mission. The consecration to Mary is a fourth vow a characteristic of the order. In addition to the three evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity and obedience, which is common to all religious communities, the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate make a fourth Marian vow which precedes the others.

The abolition of the consecration to Mary is the second concrete imposition upon the charism of the order. “It raises the question: Was this consecration the problem? And if not: Why do you force upon the order such a change of its original charism,” wrote Libertà e Persona.

The canon lawyer continues to debate whether the Decree of the Congregation of Religious of July 2013 is at all lawful or not. Opinions vary. The same applies to specific interventions such as the abolition of Consecration to Mary. Some canonists think that such an intervention could be resolved legally only by the General Chapter of the order. Again, opinions differ. Since Pope Francis forbade the courts to hear the discussions of the canonists, whatever conclusions they reach, for now, have no actual impact.

Forbidden Reestablishment

Since the provisional administration, numerous brothers have wanted to leave the Order. They want to maintain the lifestyle to which they have committed themselves through their vows. The planned start-up of an old rite order was banned by the Congregation of Religious. It’s another indication that it is opposed to tradition and the traditional rite. Commissioner Volpi threatened the bishops not to allow Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate, leaving their order. At the same time he presented accused those “entrusted” to him, of wanting to overthrow Pope Francis.

The brothers want to remain faithful to their consecration to Mary, the full devotion to the Immaculate. Its abolition represents a serious encroachment on the identity of the order. It is a cause of uncertainty and anger that there is no recognizable connection between the abolition and the introduction of the provisional administration.

According to credible sources this intervention is to be extended to the female branch and thus also to the Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate to place them in a moral dilemma, who have vowed loyalty to a particular charism that has been accepted and confirmed by Pope John Paul II in 1998. The media always finds new horror stories to publish about the Order. Comparable hate campaigns had appeared in the German language are endured by the Opus Dei, the Engelwerk that Auerbacher SSND and also includes The Work. Monastery walls seem to inspire outlandish fantasies not only for journalists.

With the cloister in Florence, 15 convents have been closed. The provisional administration is leaving a veritable trail of destruction.

60 brothers have officially asked to be released from their vows to leave the order. Since Rome fears the establishment of a new order, the applications are not being accepted. The majority of them have been blocked for almost three years. As this path has proved a dead end, more brothers have given up an application.

Papal Centralism

With a Rescript ex audientia from April 4, 2016, which was made public only last May 11th, Pope Francis has revoked the previously self-evident right in church history of the right of diocesan bishops to recognize new religious communities. On June 1st received the approval by the Holy See. With the Rescript, Francis noted that the establishment of an order by a diocesan bishop without the consent of Rome is null and void.

The centralization ordained by Francis is the exact opposite of the other “decentralization” represented by him for the Church is as it carried out concerning the nullity of marriage, where the diocesan Bishop alone can decide today, or aiming for the admission of remarried divorcees to Communion.

Bishops close to Francis confirm, as the progressive magazine Il Regno reports, that although much of collegiality and synodality is talk, that the concentration of power in the hands of the Pope had never been so great in Church history.

Libertà e Persona presented the question in this context: “Is a federation of the Congregation for Religious preparing a common formation for all religious orders with their different charisms? Is a leveling of all charisms into a sort of syncretism of religious life what is desired? “

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US presidential election offers the worst choice in 50 years, says archbishop

Archbishop Charles J Chaput of Philadelphia said neither candidate inspired him (CNS photo/Bob Roller)

Archbishop Charles J Chaput of Philadelphia said neither candidate inspired him (CNS photo/Bob Roller)

by Catholic News Service
posted Friday, 16 Sep 2016

Archbishop Charles Chaput said the two major candidates were ‘deeply flawed’ in a lecture at the University of Notre Dame

In his 50 years of voting in US elections, Philadelphia Archbishop Charles J Chaput has said he has never seen the two major parties offer “two such deeply flawed” presidential nominees “at the same time”.

Without naming the nominees – Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton – the archbishop said he presumed they “intend well and have a reasonable level of personal decency behind their public images, but I also believe that each candidate is very bad news for our country, though in different ways.

“One candidate, in the view of a lot of people, is a belligerent demagogue with an impulse control problem,” he said in a speech at the University of Notre Dame. “And the other, also in the view of a lot of people, is a criminal liar, uniquely rich in stale ideas and bad priorities.”

Archbishop Chaput delivered the 2016 Tocqueville lecture on religious liberty, sponsored by the school’s Tocqueville Program for Inquiry Into Religion and Public Life.

His wide-ranging talk also addressed the moral threats facing society, the necessity of strong families, and the controversy surrounding Notre Dame and its awarding of the Laetare Medal to Vice President Joe Biden.

Though faced with flawed presidential candidates, he said, Catholics and other Christians do not have “the luxury of cynicism”, because if they “leave the public square, other people with much worse intentions won’t.”

Many “honest public officials” are currently serving our country well, and both parties have “good candidates for other public offices,” he added, offering other reasons not to be cynical.

Christians “have a duty to leave the world better than we found it,” the archbishop said. “One of the ways we do that, however imperfectly, is through politics.”

“Elections do matter,” he said, emphasising that the next president will likely appoint several Supreme Court justices. One seat is vacant, with the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, and the oldest of the current justices are Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 83, and Anthony Kennedy, 80.

The next president will “make vital foreign policy decisions, and shape the huge federal administrative machinery in ways over which Congress has little control,” Archbishop Chaput said.

Instead of whining or wringing our hands over the current state of politics and the feeling citizens have no say in “the big mechanical Golem we call Washington,” Archbishop Chaput said, the situation demands “we be different people” and change the country by changing ourselves.

The nation’s future depends on strengthening traditional family life and Church life, the archbishop said, and rejecting secular society’s mores of casual sex, adultery and divorce, abortion, selfishness, instant gratification and sexual confusion.

The future, he said, “belongs to people who believe in something beyond themselves, and who live and sacrifice accordingly. It belongs to people who think and hope inter-generationally.”

In his 46 years as a priest and hearing countless confessions, he has observed a “huge spike in people – both men and women – confessing promiscuity, infidelity, sexual violence and sexual confusion as an ordinary part of life, and the massive role of pornography in wrecking marriages, families and even the vocations of clergy and religious.”

Along with that, he said, has been the “media nonsense about the innocence of casual sex and the ‘happy’ children of friendly divorces.” The result “is a dysfunctional culture of frustrated and wounded people increasingly incapable of permanent commitments, self-sacrifice and sustained intimacy, and unwilling to face the reality of their own problems.”

He said that “weak and selfish individuals make weak and selfish marriages” that in turn make “broken families,” which “continue and spread the cycle of dysfunction” by “creating more and more wounded individuals.”

“The family is where children discover how to be human … how to respect and love other people,” he said, adding that “social costs rise” when “healthy marriages and families decline.”

While single parents deserve praise for the “heroic job” they do, he said, “only a mother and father can provide the intimacy of maternal and paternal love.”

“Only a mother and father can offer the unique kind of human love rooted in flesh and blood; the kind that comes from mutual submission and self-giving; the kind that comes from the complementarity of sexual difference,” he said.

Parents aren’t perfect, he said, and too often modern American life “encourages them to fail.” He also acknowledged many pressures on families come from outside the home, like unemployment, low pay, crime, poor housing, chronic illness and bad schools.

Strong families and churches “stand between the individual and the state,” Archbishop Chaput said.

“They protect the autonomy of the individual by hemming in the power of government, resisting its tendency to claim the entirety of life. But they also pull us out of ourselves and teach us to engage generously with others.”

In the US “marriage, family and traditional religion all seem to be failing and … support for democracy itself has dropped,” he said. None of that has happened overnight, he said.

The current situation, he said, has been fuelled “by a collection of lies” over the issue of abortion.

“No issue has made us more dishonest and less free as believers and as a nation than abortion,” he explained. “People uncomfortable with the abortion issue argue, quite properly, that Catholic teaching is bigger than just one issue. Other urgent issues also need our attention. Being pro-birth is not the same as being pro-life. And being truly ‘pro-life’ doesn’t end with defending the unborn child.”

He said: “In every abortion, an innocent life always dies. This is why no equivalence can ever exist between the intentional killing involved in abortion, infanticide and euthanasia on the one hand, and issues like homelessness, the death penalty and anti-poverty policy on the other.”

Archbishop Chaput noted the criticism Notre Dame received for awarding its Laetare Medal to Biden, a Catholic who supports keeping abortion legal. Former House Speaker John Boehner, a pro-life Catholic, also was a recipient.

The men were honoured for their public service, the university said at the time.

“For the nation’s leading Catholic university to honour a Catholic public official (Biden) who supports abortion rights and then goes on to conduct a same-sex civil marriage ceremony just weeks later, is – to put it kindly – a contradiction of Notre Dame’s identity. It’s a baffling error of judgment,” the archbishop said.

Notre Dame “really is still deeply Catholic,” he added, which is what the Catholic Church needs and what is necessary to create people who can change the country.

The church needs “a university that radiates the glory of God in age that no longer knows what it means to be human,” he said. “What the people of God need now is a university that fuses the joy of Francis with the brilliance of Benedict and the courage, fidelity and humanity of the great John Paul.” (Source)

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