Our Lady of La Salette



It was 1846 and France was suffering social and political upheaval. Catholic churches had been abandoned and the Sacraments neglected. But away from the cities, in a high meadow along the French Alps, two cattle herders reverently knelt before the Blessed Virgin Mary. Eleven-year-old Maxim Giraud and fourteen-year-old Melanie Mathieu, employed separately by local farmers, met to graze livestock at a pasture in the small village La Salette. This particular Saturday afternoon, as the cattle grazed nearby, the two children shared bread and cheese alongside a ravine and then fell asleep. When they awoke Melanie noticed a light near the ravine and she called out to Maxim. Both beheld a luminous sphere, radiating like the sun, curiously unfolding before their eyes. gradually they made out a woman seated with her face in her hands, weeping. She slowly arose and crossed her arms on her breast, her head some what inclined. The children were drawn immediately to the lady’s tears that adorned her face like perfectly cut diamonds glimmering the in the sun’s rays. Her dynamic features were framed delicately in a white-satin headdress, on which rested a crown of roses, a bouquet in all shades of reds and pinks. A crucifix with pincers on one end and a hammer on the opposite end hung over her satin shawl, which was lined with more roses. The Madonna wore a long ivory dress embroidered in precious pearls and a yellow apron tied neatly to her waist. Wearing pearl slippers that peeked out from underneath her satin robe, she sheltered herself atop a bouquet of roses. “Come to me, my children,” she tenderly addressed the two who stood afar, motionless. “Be not afraid. I am here to tell you something of the greatest importance.” As soon as they were in touching distance of her, she began to speak with the urgency of an ending world: “If my people will not obey, I shall be compelled to loose my Son’s arm. It is so heavy, so pressing that I can no longer restrain it.” She told the children that her Son was especially concerned that people were not keeping holy the Sabbath, and that religion had lost its place in their country. “You will make this known to all my people,” she repeated to them.

This they did, through five years of exhaustive interrogation by the Bishop of La Salette, who had commissioned several committees to research the apparition. As the children repeated their story time and time again in perfect consistency, people could not help but be convinced that the Blessed Virgin had appeared to the two. Churches began to to fill throughout the neighboring countryside and the Catholic faith resumed its former respect. A little more than five years after the apparition the Church officially approved of it and thirty years after that the basilica erected in the name of Our Lady of La Salette was completed.

Maxim and Melanie were not canonized, but throughout the rest of their lives they served as witnesses to Our Lady’s message.


Of all the Marian apparitions of the last two centuries, La Salette is not the best known although it must certainly be the most unique, not only for the “secrets” Our Lady told the two shepherd children, but because of the complexity involved in the series of Vatican interventions. The entire extract of the message to the children was not published until 1879, although Our Lady told Melanie that it could be publicized in 1858. Melanie published her part of the “secret” in Lecce Italy with the approval of the diocesan Bishop. The date of the original publication was Nov. 15 of that year. The apparition had occurred on September 19, 1846, the eve of the Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows, which was at that time being celebrated on the 20th of September, not the 15th the permanent day of the Feast. Here are excerpts from Melanie Calvat’s part: “The priests, ministers of my Son, the priests, by their wicked lives, by their irreverence and their impiety in the celebration of the holy mysteries, by their love of money, their love of honors and pleasures, the priests have become cesspools of impurity. Yes, the priests are asking for vengeance, and vengeance is hanging over their heads. Woe to the priests and to those dedicated to God who by their unfaithfulness and their wicked lives are crucifying my son again! The sins of those dedicated to God cry out towards Heaven and call for vengeance, and now vengeance is at their door, for there is no one left to beg mercy and forgiveness for the people. There are no more generous souls, there is no one left worthy of offering a stainless sacrifice to the Eternal God for the sake of the world. “God will strike in an unprecedented way. Woe to the inhabitants of the earth! God will exhaust His wrath upon them, and no one will be able to escape so many afflictions together. The chiefs, the leaders of the people of God have neglected prayer and penance, and the devil has bedimmed their intelligence. They have become wandering stars which the old devil will drag along with his tail to make them perish. God will allow the old serpent to cause divisions among those who reign in every society and in every family. Physical and moral agonies will be suffered. God will abandon mankind to itself and will send punishments which will follow one after the other for more than thirty-five years. “The society of men is on the eve of the most terrible scourges and of gravest events. Mankind must expect to be ruled with an iron rod and to drink from the chalice of the wrath of God. May the curate of my Son, Pope Pius IX, never leave Rome again after 1859; may he, however, be steadfast and noble, may he fight with the weapons of faith and love. I will be at his side. May he be on his guard against Napoleon: he is two-faced, and when he wishes to make himself Pope as well as Emperor, God will soon draw back from him. He is the master-mind who, always wanting to ascend further, will fall on the sword he wished to use to force his people to be raised up. “Italy will be punished for her ambition in wanting to shake off the yoke of the Lord of Lords. And so she will be left to fight a war; blood will flow on all sides. Churches will be locked up or desecrated. Priests and religious orders will be hunted down, and made to die a cruel death. Several will abandon the faith, and a great number of priests and members of religious orders will break away from the true religion; among these people there will even be bishops. “May the Pope guard against the performers of miracles. For the time has come when the most astonishing wonders will take place on the earth and in the air. “In the year 1864, Lucifer together with a large number of demons will be unloosed from Hell; they will put an end to faith little by little, even in those dedicated to God. They will blind them in such a way, that, unless they are blessed with a special grace, these people will take on the spirit of these angels of Hell; several religious institutions will lose all faith and will lose many souls. “Evil books will be abundant on earth and the spirits of darkness will spread everywhere a universal slackening in all that concerns the service of God. They will have great power over nature: there will be churches built to serve these spirits. People will be transported from one place to another by these evil spirits, even priests, for they will not have been guided by the good spirit of the Gospel, which is a spirit of humility, charity and zeal for the glory of God. On occasions, the dead and the righteous will be brought back to life. [That is to say that these dead will take on the form of righteous souls which had lived on earth, in order to lead men further astray; these so-called resurrected dead, who will be nothing but the devil in this form, will preach another gospel contrary to that of the true Christ Jesus, denying the existence of Heaven; that is also to say, the souls of the damned. All these souls will appear as if fixed to their bodies]. “. . . The Vicar of my Son will suffer a great deal, because for a while the Church will yield to large persecution, a time of darkness, and the Church will witness a frightful crisis. The true faith of the Lord having been forgotten, each individual will want to be on his own and be superior to people of the same identity. They will abolish civil rights as well as ecclesiastical, all order and all justice would be trampled underfoot and only homicides, hate, jealousy, lies and dissension would be seen without love for country or family. “The Holy Father will suffer a great deal. I will be with him until the end and receive his sacrifice. “All the civil governments will have one and the same plan, which will be to abolish and do away with every religious principle, to make way for materialism, atheism, spiritualism and vice of all kinds. In the year 1865, there will be desecration of holy places. In convents, the . . . devil will make himself like the king of all hearts. May those in charge of religious communities be on their guard against the people they must receive, for the devil will resort to all this evil tricks to introduce sinners in to religious orders, for disorder and the love of carnal pleasures will be spread all over the earth. “. . . France, Italy, Spain and England will be at war. Blood will flow in the streets. Frenchman will fight Frenchman, Italian will fight Italian. A general war will follow which will be appalling. For a time, God will cease to remember France and Italy because the Gospel of Jesus Christ has been forgotten. The wicked will make use of all their evil ways. Men will kill each other, massacre each other even in their homes. At the first blow of His thundering sword, the mountains and all nature will tremble in terror, for the disorders and crimes of men have pierced the vault of the heavens. Paris will burn and Marseilles will be engulfed. Several cities will be shaken down and swallowed up by earthquakes. People will believe that all is lost. Nothing will be seen but murder, nothing will be heard but the clash of arms and blasphemy. “The righteous will suffer greatly. Their prayers, their penances and their tears will rise up to Heaven and all of God’s people will beg for forgiveness and mercy and will plead for my help and intercession. And then Jesus Christ, in an act of His justice and His great mercy will command His angels to have all His enemies put to death. Suddenly, the persecutors of the Church of Jesus Christ and all those given over to sin will perish and the earth will become desert-like. And then peace will be made, and man will be reconciled with God. Jesus Christ will be served, worshipped, and glorified. Charity will flourish everywhere. The new kings will be the right arm of the holy Church, which will be strong, humble, pious, poor but fervent in the imitation of the virtues of Jesus Christ. The Gospel will be preached everywhere and mankind will make great progress in its faith, for there will be unity among the workers of Jesus Christ and man will live in fear of God. “This peace among men will be short-lived. Twenty-five years of plentiful harvests will make them forget that the sins of men are the cause of all the troubles on this earth. A forerunner of the Antichrist, with his troops gathered from several nations, will fight against the true Christ, the only Savior of the world. He will shed much blood and will want to annihilate the worship of God to make himself be looked upon as a God. “The earth will be struck by calamities of all kinds (in addition to plague and famine which will be widespread). There will be a series of wars until the last war, which will then be fought by the ten kings of the Antichrist, all of whom will have one and the same plan and will be the only rulers of the world. Before this comes to pass, there will be a kind of false peace in the world. People will think of nothing but amusement. The wicked will give themselves over to all kinds of sin. But the children of the holy Church, the children of my faith, my true followers, they will grow in their love for God and in all the virtues most precious to me. Blessed are the souls humbly guided by the Holy Spirit! I shall fight at their side until they reach a fullness of years. “Nature is asking for vengeance because of man, and she trembles with dread at what must happen to the earth stained with crime. Tremble, earth, and you who proclaim yourselves as serving Jesus Christ and who, on the inside, only adore yourselves, tremble, for God will hand you over to His enemy because the holy places are in the state of corruption . . . It will be during this time that the Antichrist will be born of a Hebrew nun, a false virgin who will communicate with the old serpent, the master of impurity, his father will be B. At birth, he will spew out blasphemy; he will have teeth, in a word, he will be the devil incarnate. He will scream horribly, he will perform wonders, he will feed on nothing but impurity. He will have brothers who, although not devils incarnate like him, will be children of evil. At the age of twelve, they will draw attention upon themselves by the gallant victories they will have won; soon they will each lead armies, aided by the legions of Hell. “The seasons will be altered, the earth will produce nothing but bad fruit, the stars will lose their regular motion, the moon will only reflect a faint reddish glow. Water and fire will give the earth’s globe convulsions and terrible earthquakes which will swallow up mountains, cities…. Rome will lose the faith and become the seat of the Antichrist. “The demons of the air together with the Antichrist will perform great wonders on earth and in the atmosphere, and men will become more and more perverted. God will take care of his faithful servants and men of good will. The Gospel will be preached everywhere, and all peoples of all nations will get to know the truth. “I make an urgent appeal to the earth. I call on the true disciples of the living God who reigns in Heaven; I call on the true followers of Christ made man, the only true Savior of men; I call on my children, the true faithful, those who have given themselves to me so that I may lead them to my divine Son . . .  Finally, I call on the apostles of the Last Days, the faithful disciples of Jesus Christ who have lived in scorn for the world and for themselves, in poverty and in humility, in union with God, in suffering unknown to the world. It is time they came out and filled the world with light. Go and reveal yourselves to be my cherished children. I am at your side and within you, provided that your faith is the light which shines upon you in these unhappy days. May your zeal make you famished for the glory and the honor of Jesus Christ. Fight, children of light, you, the few who can see. For now is the time of all times, the end of all ends. “The Church will be in eclipse, the world will be in dismay. But now Enoch and Eli will come, filled with the spirit of God. They will preach with the might of god, and men of good will believe in God, and many souls will be comforted. They will make great steps forward through the virtue of the Holy Spirit and will condemn the devilish lapses of the Antichrist. Woe to the inhabitants of the earth! There will be bloody wars and famines, plagues and infectious diseases. It will rain with a fearful hail of animals. There will be thunderstorms which will shake cities, earthquakes which will swallow up countries. Voices will be heard in the air. Men will beat their heads against walls, call for their death, an on another side death will be their torment. Blood will flow on all sides. Who will be the victor if God does not shorten the length of the test? All the blood, the tears and the prayers of the righteous, God will relent. Enoch and Eli will be put to death. Pagan Rome will disappear. The fire of Heaven will fall and consume three cities. All the universe will be struck with terror and many will let themselves be led astray because they have not worshipped the true Christ who lives among them. It is time; the sun is darkening; only faith will survive. “…Now is the time; the abyss is opening. Here is the king of kings of darkness, here is the Beast with his subjects, calling himself the Savior of the world. He will rise proudly into the air to go to Heaven. He will be smothered by the breath of the Archangel Saint Michael. He will fall, and the earth, which will have been in a continuous series of evolutions for three days, will open up its fiery bowels; and he will have plunged for eternity with all his followers into the everlasting chasms of Hell. And then water and fire will purge the earth and consume all the works of men’s pride and all will be renewed. God will be served and glorified.”

SOURCES CITED: APPARITION OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN AT LA SALETTE, the Shepherdess of La Salette with Imprimatur and reprinted by the Association of the Children of Our Lady of La Salette, Beaupre, France; SECRETS OF LA SALETTE by the 101 Foundation, New Jersey; A SCIENTIST RESEARCHES MARY, Prof. Courtenay Bartholomew, M.D., 101 Foundation; SISTER MARY OF THE CROSS, Fr. Paul Gouin, 101 Foundation; MARY, Caroline Ebertshauser Et Al;

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Disco Inferno

This is what happens when you shower people with inflammable particulates in the presence of a source of ignition.

Pray for the victims.

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Our Lady of Perpetual Help


Mother of Perpetual Help, Woman of Eternal Hope, your wordless gaze tells us so much about you. Knowing eyes look upon us with tender love. The slight bend of your head reveals such maternal concern. While your left hand supports the Child, your right hand is ready to receive us, too. Just as He feels the beating of your heart, so you encourage us to lead a life of hope and holiness. Just as His sandal will fall on your lap, through your intercession may God pick us up as we stumble and fall. Never let us be parted from you and your son, Jesus. Lady of love, you invite us to place our hand where His fingers touch yours — near a heart of endless hope — so that we may be united often in prayer here on earth and joined forever with you in heaven. Amen.

Mother of Perpetual Help, your very name inspires confidence. We come before your holy picture in praise and thanksgiving to God seeking your intercession with Jesus, your son for all the needs of our lives today. We celebrate your holy motherhood as we proclaim Jesus Christ our Lord and Redeemer.

You answered when called to be mother of our Lord. Obtain for us the grace to be alive to our baptismal call and especially to embrace the gospel of life and to respect all life on earth.

You wondered as your Son grew in wisdom, knowledge and grace. Intercede for us so that we may welcome the Word of God in our lives and be bearers of the good news to everyone.

You delighted as your Son healed the sick. Intercede for our sick that they may receive good health and that they in their turn may be healers to others.

You enjoyed peace as your Son comforted the afflicted. Intercede for all who suffer so that they may know that we carry their burdens with them and in this way we keep the law of Christ.

You rejoiced as your Son forgave sins. Obtain for us the forgiveness of our sins and lead us to unbind others and set them free.

You suffered at the wounds your Son endured for our salvation. Help us to bind up the broken hearted and to give hope to the down trodden.

You exulted in your Son’s resurrection. Obtain for us the grace to persevere in His way all the days of our life and be granted a place in heaven.

You are the first of all the disciples and saints. We trust in your motherly love and care. Obtain for us all the graces we need to fulfill God’s plan each day in our lives. Amen.


More about this devotion

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Supreme Court Decision On Marriage “A Tragic Error” Says President Of Catholic Bishops’ Conference

From the USCCB

June 26, 2015
WASHINGTON—The U.S. Supreme Court decision, June 26, interpreting the U.S. Constitution to require all states to license and recognize same-sex “marriage” “is a tragic error that harms the common good and most vulnerable among us,” said Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).

The full statement follows:

Regardless of what a narrow majority of the Supreme Court may declare at this moment in history, the nature of the human person and marriage remains unchanged and unchangeable. Just as Roe v. Wade did not settle the question of abortion over forty years ago, Obergefell v. Hodges does not settle the question of marriage today. Neither decision is rooted in the truth, and as a result, both will eventually fail. Today the Court is wrong again. It is profoundly immoral and unjust for the government to declare that two people of the same sex can constitute a marriage.

The unique meaning of marriage as the union of one man and one woman is inscribed in our bodies as male and female. The protection of this meaning is a critical dimension of the “integral ecology” that Pope Francis has called us to promote. Mandating marriage redefinition across the country is a tragic error that harms the common good and most vulnerable among us, especially children. The law has a duty to support every child’s basic right to be raised, where possible, by his or her married mother and father in a stable home.

Jesus Christ, with great love, taught unambiguously that from the beginning marriage is the lifelong union of one man and one woman. As Catholic bishops, we follow our Lord and will continue to teach and to act according to this truth.

I encourage Catholics to move forward with faith, hope, and love: faith in the unchanging truth about marriage, rooted in the immutable nature of the human person and confirmed by divine revelation; hope that these truths will once again prevail in our society, not only by their logic, but by their great beauty and manifest service to the common good; and love for all our neighbors, even those who hate us or would punish us for our faith and moral convictions.

Lastly, I call upon all people of good will to join us in proclaiming the goodness, truth, and beauty of marriage as rightly understood for millennia, and I ask all in positions of power and authority to respect the God-given freedom to seek, live by, and bear witness to the truth.

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Passionately Loving the World – (Excerpts from a homily by St Josemaría Escriva)

ImageProxy-1.mvcSaint Josemaría Escriva (1902-1975), whose feast day we celebrate today, 26th June, was born in Barbastro, Spain, one of six children of devout Catholic parents. As a teenager he discovered his vocation to the priesthood when he saw the bare footprints of a monk in the snow. This caused him to question what God might be calling him to do. He spent most of his life studying and teaching in universities, earning a doctorate in civil law and theology. Saint Josemaria Escriva’s lasting impact lies in the foundation of Opus Dei (“The Work of God”) – an organisation of laypeople and priests dedicated to the universal call of holiness and that ordinary, daily life is a path to sanctity. Today Opus Dei has over 80,000 members worldwide.

St. Josemaría’s message for us is that God wants all of us to become saints, and for most Catholics this will not involve leaving one’s state in life; it will not involve leaving the world. Married or single, layman or religious, working in a professional occupation or as a homemaker, no state in life is an obstacle to attaining sanctification of life,  but instead they become the very means of achieving this goal. Precisely by learning to find God through our spouses, in family life, and in our daily work we can become saints. Moreover, these ordinary aspects of daily life become the occasions of apostolate, of helping those we encounter day in and day out to draw closer to God. We won’t be able to do this, however, without frequent recourse to the Sacraments, Holy Mass and Confession, and setting aside some time for daily prayer. These practices, that St. Josemaría recommends so strongly, facilitate an ongoing dialogue with God in the midst of the most mundane human activities. St. Josemaría saw the call of ordinary Christians as a call to become contemplatives in the middle of the world, in the street, or just wherever we find ourselves.


Excerpts from a homily by St Josemaría Escriva, “Passionately Loving the World”

“The sacramental Sacrifice of the Body and Blood of our Lord, that Mystery of Faith which links all the mysteries of Christianity [is], therefore, the most sacred and transcendent act which man, with the grace of God, can carry out in this life. To communicate with the Body and Blood of our Lord is, in a certain sense, like loosening the bonds of Earth and time, in order to be already with God in Heaven, where Christ Himself will wipe the tears from our eyes and where there will be no more death, nor mourning, nor cries of distress, because the old world will have passed away (cf Apoc 21:4).

This profound and consoling truth, which theologians call the eschatological significance of the Eucharist could, however, be misunderstood. And indeed it has been, whenever men have tried to present the Christian way of life as something exclusively ‘spiritual’, proper to pure, extraordinary people, who remain aloof from the contemptible things of this world or at most, tolerate them as something necessarily attached to the spirit, while we live on this earth.

When things are seen in this way, churches become the setting par excellence of the Christian life. And being a Christian means going to church, taking part in sacred ceremonies, being taken up with ecclesiastical matters, in a kind of segregated world, which is considered to be the ante-chamber of Heaven, while the ordinary world follows its own separate path. The doctrine of Christianity and the life of grace would, in this case, brush past the turbulent march of human history, without ever really meeting it. […]

[E]veryday life is the true setting for your lives as Christians. Your ordinary contact with God takes place where your fellow men, your yearnings, your work and your affections are. There you have your daily encounter with Christ. It is in the midst of the most material things of the Earth that we must sanctify ourselves, serving God and all mankind.

I have taught this constantly using words from holy Scripture. The world is not evil, because it has come from God’s hands, because it is His creation, because ‘Yahweh looked upon it and saw that it was good’ (cf Gen 1:7 ff). We ourselves, mankind, make it evil and ugly with our sins and infidelities. Have no doubt: any kind of evasion of the honest realities of daily life is for you, men and women of the world, something opposed to the will of God.

On the contrary, you must understand now, more clearly, that God is calling you to serve Him in and from the ordinary, material and secular activities of human life. He waits for us every day, in the laboratory, in the operating theatre, in the army barracks, in the university chair, in the factory, in the workshop, in the fields, in the home and in all the immense panorama of work. Understand this well: there is something holy, something divine, hidden in the most ordinary situations, and it is up to each one of you to discover it.

I often said to the university students and workers who were with me in the thirties that they had to know how to ‘materialise’ their spiritual life. I wanted to keep them from the temptation, so common then and now, of living a kind of double life. On one side, an interior life, a life of relation with God; and on the other, a separate and distinct professional, social and family life, full of small earthly realities.

No! We cannot lead a double life. We cannot be like schizophrenics, if we want to be Christians. There is just one life, made of flesh and spirit. And it is this life which has to become, in both soul and body, holy and filled with God. We discover the invisible God in the most visible and material things.

There is no other way. Either we learn to find our Lord in ordinary, everyday life, or else we shall never find Him. That is why I can tell you that our age needs to give back to matter and to the most trivial occurrences and situations their noble and original meaning. It needs to restore them to the service of the Kingdom of God, to spiritualise them, turning them into a means and an occasion for a continuous meeting with Jesus Christ.

Authentic Christianity, which professes the resurrection of all flesh, has always quite logically opposed ‘dis-incarnation’, without fear of being judged materialistic. We can, therefore, rightfully speak of a ‘Christian materialism’, which is boldly opposed to that materialism [of the world] which is blind to the spirit.

What are the Sacraments, which early Christians described as the foot-prints of the Incarnate Word, if not the clearest manifestation of this way which God has chosen in order to sanctify us and to lead us to heaven? Don’t you see that each Sacrament is the Love of God, with all its creative and redemptive power, giving itself to us by way of material means? […]

It is understandable that the Apostle should write: ‘All things are yours, you are Christ’s and Christ is God’s’ (1 Cor 3:22-23). We have here an ascending movement which the Holy Spirit, infused in our hearts, wants to call forth from this world, upwards from the Earth to the glory of the Lord. And to make it clear that in that movement everything is included, even what seems most commonplace, St. Paul also wrote: ‘in eating, in drinking, do everything as for God’s glory’ (cf 1 Cor 10:32).

This doctrine of holy Scripture, as you know, is to be found in the very nucleus of the spirit of Opus Dei. It leads you to do your work perfectly, to love God and mankind by putting love in the little things of everyday life, and discovering that divine something which is hidden in small details. The lines of a Castilian poet are especially appropriate here: ‘Write slowly and with a careful hand, for doing things well is more important than doing them.’

I assure you, my sons and daughters, that when a Christian carries out with love the most insignificant everyday action, that action overflows with the transcendence of God. That is why I have told you repeatedly, and hammered away once and again on the idea that the Christian vocation consists of making heroic verse out of the prose of each day. Heaven and Earth seem to merge, my sons and daughters, on the horizon. But where they really meet is in your hearts, when you sanctify your everyday lives.

The complete homily can be read here.

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Is Hell empty? (Discussion with Dr. Ralph Martin)

Is Hell empty? Theologian Dr. Ralph Martin discusses this and other interesting current topics with Raymond Arroyo. The interview took place on 28th May 2015, but the issues touched upon are as immediately relevant today as they were nearly a month ago.

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No Compromise!

St.-Thomas-Pray-for-UsSir Thomas More would not compromise on two tenets of the Catholic faith: the primacy of the papacy and the dignity of marriage. When imprisoned before his martyrdom, he would write and pray. The following are just a few quotes from his writings, particularly from a book called “A Dialogue of Comfort against Tribulation”.

“Now those without patience can have no reward for their pain, but when pain is patiently taken for God’s sake, and the sufferer’s will is conformed to God’s pleasure, God regards the sufferer in proportion to the pain. But never have I found any place in Scripture where Our Lord promised a wealthy person, even if that person did thank God for his gifts, any reward in heaven for having taken his ease and pleasure here. (“We do not go to heaven in featherbeds”)…in Scripture much commends tribulation as a more profitable circumstance than wealth and prosperity.

We shall consider tribulation a gracious gift from God, a gift that He specially gives His special friends…if God does not send it, people need to seek out and put upon themselves by penance, a thing that helps purge our past sins; a think that preserves us from sins that we would otherwise commit; a thing that causes us to attach less importance to the world; a thing that incites us to draw closer to God; a thing that greatly diminishes our pains in purgatory; a thing that greatly increases our final reward in Heaven…if we reflect on these things and remember them well, we shall not murmur or complain in a time of tribulation. Instead we shall first of all take our pain patiently and see it as something of worth. And then we shall realise that God has sent if for our own good and so be moved to thank God for it. As a consequence, our grace shall increase and God shall give us the comfort of realising that He is, in the midst of our trouble, always close.

I find, then, that one great part of the terror of the nights is the fault of faintheartedness: that fearful and feeble disposition, that is, which causes some people to be afraid where there is no need to be afraid. The fault of faintheartedness first causes people in tribulation to become impatient. The fault of faintheartedness, or a timed spirit, also often prevents people from doing many good things which, if they acquired a strong spirit by trusting in God’s help, they would be well able to do. The devil, however not only puts them in a state of cowardice but also makes them take it as humility to think themselves unfit for or incapable of many a good thing that God has given them the opportunity and has made them well suited to do. Such folks need to lift up their hearts and call upon God. All this fear comes by scheming of the devil.”

St. Thomas More, pray for us! Help us to never compromise on the Truths of the faith, no matter the cost.

[Compiled by the Franciscan Fathers of the Immaculate]

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The Naming of John the Baptist

Naming of John (the Baptist) - Fra Angelico

Naming of John (the Baptist) – Fra Angelico

Taken from New Advent

“The birth of the Precursor was announced in a most striking manner. Zachary and Elizabeth, as we learn from St. Luke, “were both just before God, walking in all the commandments and justifications of the Lord without blame; and they had no son, for that Elizabeth was barren” (1:6-7). Long they had prayed that their union might be blessed with offspring; but, now that “they were both advanced in years”, the reproach of barrenness bore heavily upon them. “And it came to pass, when he executed the priestly function in the order of his course before God, according to the custom of the priestly office, it was his lot to offer incense, going into the temple of the Lord. And all the multitude of the people was praying without, at the hour of incense. And there appeared to him an angel of the Lord, standing on the right side of the altar of incense. And Zachary seeing him, was troubled, and fear fell upon him. But the angel said to him: Fear not, Zachary, for thy prayer is heard; and they wife Elizabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John: and thou shalt have joy and gladness, and many shall rejoice in his nativity. For he shall be great before the Lord; and shall drink no wine nor strong drink: and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother’s womb. And he shall convert many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God. And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias; that he may turn the hearts of the fathers unto the children, and the incredulous to the wisdom of the just, to prepare unto the Lord a perfect people” (1:8-17). As Zachary was slow in believing this startling prediction, the angel, making himself known to him, announced that, in punishment of his incredulity, he should be stricken with dumbness until the promise was fulfilled. “And it came to pass, after the days of his office were accomplished, he departed to his own house. And after those days, Elizabeth his wife conceived, and hid herself five months” (1:23-24).

Now during the sixth month, the Annunciation had taken place, and, as Mary had heard from the angel the fact of her cousin’s conceiving, she went “with haste” to congratulate her. “And it came to pass, that when Elizabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the infant” — filled, like the mother, with the Holy Ghost — “leaped for joy in her womb”, as if to acknowledge the presence of his Lord. Then was accomplished the prophetic utterance of the angel that the child should “be filled with the Holy Ghost even from his mother’s womb”. Now as the presence of any sin whatever is incompatible with the indwelling of the Holy Ghost in the soul, it follows that at this moment John was cleansed from the stain of original sin. When “Elizabeth’s full time of being delivered was come. . .she brought forth a son” (1:57); and “on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child, and they called him by his father’s name Zachary. And his mother answering, said: Not so, but he shall be called John. And they said to her: There is none of thy kindred that is called by this name. And they made sign to his father, how he would have him called. And demanding a writing table, he wrote, saying: John is his name. And they all wondered” (1:59-63). They were not aware that no better name could be applied (John, Hebrew; Jehohanan, i.e. “Jahweh hath mercy”) to him who, as his father prophesied, was to “go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways; to give knowledge of salvation to his people, unto remission of their sins: through the bowels of the mercy of our God” (1:76-78). Moreover, all these events, to wit, a child born to an aged couple, Zachary’s sudden dumbness, his equally sudden recovery of speech, his astounding utterance, might justly strike with wonderment the assembled neighbours; these could hardly help asking: “What an one, think ye, shall this child be?” For the hand of the Lord was with him. (1:66).”


My commentary

St. John the Baptist became the “forerunner” of Our Blessed Lord; the chosen one to prepare the people to be predisposed to recognise that the ancient prophesies announcing a Messiah was to be born among them, was now, at this very moment, coming to fruition! What a thrill must have run over these oppressed people (who were later to become the first Christians) listening to the Baptist announce this breathtaking news: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah when he said, “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord; make his paths straight’”” (Matt.3 2-3).

John went out, baptising and preaching, preparing the way for the Lord’s “kingdom” to arrive, with truly staggering success. His powerful personality so filled with the fire of the Holy Spirit made a great impact and thousands (even priest and some Pharisees) rallied to hear him and follow his commands. But John made it clear from the start that, “After me comes he who is mightier than I, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. I have baptised you with water, but he will baptise you with the Holy Spirit” (Mark 1 7-8). To allay any lingering confusion among his devotees, and to confirm that he was merely God’s instrument, he announces: “A person cannot receive even one thing unless it is given him from heaven. You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, ‘I am not the Christ, but I have been sent before him.’ The one who has the bride is the bridegroom. The friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore this joy of mine is now complete. He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3 27-30).

It can only be a hypothesis to wonder what difficulties Our Blessed Lord might have encountered at the start of his public life, had the Baptist not already predisposed the people to His coming. Certainly some of the Apostles, namely Peter and his brother Andrew, James and John, were first of all followers of John the Baptist before Jesus called them to His side. What joy must have filled their hearts to find their wildest dreams come true!

And so Jehohanan, (John), whose name signifies “Jahweh hath mercy”, the greatest of all the prophets, whose birth we celebrate today, announces to the first followers (and to us too) God’s fathomless Mercy, Love and Forgiveness for whomsoever has ears to hear.

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Presentation of the Instrumentum Laboris of the Synod

From the Official Vatican Network, News.Va:

Vatican City, 23 June 2015 (VIS) – This morning in the Holy See Press Office a press conference was held to present the Instrumentum Laboris of the 14th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on the theme, “The vocation and mission of the family in the Church and contemporary world” (4-25 October 2015). The speakers were: Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, general secretary of the Synod of Bishops; Cardinal Peter Erdo, archbishop of Esztergom-Budapest, Hungary, general rapporteur of the 14th General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops; and Archbishop Bruno Forte of Chieti-Vasto, Italy, special secretary of the 14th General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops.

The Instrumentum Laboris, explained Cardinal Baldisseri, is divided into three parts following the structure of the Relatio Synodi, demonstrating the close link between the Third Extraordinary Assembly of the Synod of Bishops in October 2014, dedicated to “The pastoral challenges of the family in the context of evangelisation”, and the upcoming Ordinary General Assembly. The first part, entitled “Listening to the challenges of the family”, relates most directly to last year’s Synod, while the second, “Discernment of the family vocation”, and third, “The mission of the family today”, introduce the theme of the next one.

The cardinal highlighted certain novelties in the first part, which refer principally to the anthropological-cultural, socio-economic and ecological contexts, “now happily enlightened by the new Encyclical letter Laudato si’”. The challenges, he explained, are “poverty and social exclusion, old age, widowhood, bereavement in the family, disability, migration, the role of women, emotional life and education in sexuality, and bioethics”.

In the second part, “Discernment of the family vocation”, the Relatio Synodi is enriched with an extension of the themes regarding natural marriage and sacramental fullness, indissolubility as a gift and a duty, family life, union and fruitfulness, the missionary dimension, faith, prayer, catechesis, the intimate bond between Church and family, the young and fear of marriage, and mercy.

The third part, devoted to “The mission of the family today”, begins with a broad-ranging reflection on the family and evangelisation, and explores in depth a number of other issues such as the family as subject of pastoral ministry, nuptial liturgy, renewed language and missionary openness.

The general secretary of the Synod of Bishops noted that it makes reference to “the family and ecclesial accompaniment, the streamlining of procedures for causes for annulment, the integration of faithful in irregular situations, the eventual introduction of a penitential route, the pastoral problems regarding mixed marriages and disparities of worship, as well as questions related to responsible procreation, reduction of births, adoption and fostering, respect for life from conception to natural end, and education of future generations.

“The reference to the economic hardship experienced by many families, who run the risk of being subject to usury, is very relevant”, he added, “as is the socio-political commitment of Christians in favour of the family, also in the international context. In this regard, it would be useful to re-propose the Charter for the Rights of the Family, linked to the Universal Declaration of the Rights of Man”.

Cardinal Baldisseri illustrated the work of the Secretariat of the Synod Council between one assembly and another, which began in November 2014 with the presentation of the “Lineamenta”, composed of the Relatio Synodi and a series of 46 questions relating to the reception and deepening of this Synod document. The “Lineamenta” was sent to the synods of the sui iuris Oriental Catholic Churches, to the Episcopal Conferences, to the dicasteries of the Roman Curia and others, with an invitation to respond by 15 April 2015. The Secretariat General received 99 answers from the competent bodies, along with 359 observations sent freely from dioceses, parishes, ecclesial associations, grass-roots groups of faithful, civil movements and organisations, etc. The inter-synodal period has thus been shown to be “a valuable opportunity for listening to what the Spirit says to the Church in the plurality of her components”.

Finally, with regard to the methodology of the upcoming General Assembly, it was mentioned that it is Ordinary and not Extraordinary like the previous one and, in accordance with the suggestions of the members of the Synod, “it will continue with the project of the development of the Synod taking a dynamic approach more suited to our times”.

The Synod fathers reiterated the need to avoid a “long series of individual interventions, as has happened in previous Synod assemblies, to ensure that they are better distributed in the time available and not presented one after another. The importance of the Circuli Minores was noted, as was the need to maintain the principle of thematic order. Thus, the three weeks of the Synod will be divided in correspondence with the three parts of the Instrumentum Laboris. The first week will be devoted to the first part of the document, the second to the discernment of the family vocation, and the third to the mission of the family today. “At the end of the third week, time will be set aside for the preparation of the final text of the document, which will be presented to the Assembly for the final modifications, to be inserted into the text before its final approval. The method will ensure the opportunity to intervene on the part of all those entitled to do so, including at the end of the day, and will enable more time to be assigned to the Circuli Minores. It is expected that a final document will be produced and consigned to the Holy Father”.

With regard to information during the Synod Assembly, the cardinal mentioned the Holy Father’s affirmation that “the Synod is a space in which the Holy Spirit can act, not parliament. The Synod Fathers are invited to express themselves with parrhesia. They will be free to communicate with the media at their discretion and with responsibility”.

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Laudato Si Meme

CILHtizWEAEGCHuFrom Twitter, again.


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EXCLUSIVE Cardinal Walter Kasper Interview with Raymond Arroyo

Earlier in June, and with the October 2015 ‘Synod on the Family’ looming ever nearer,  EWTN’s Raymond Arroyo interviewed Cardinal Walter Kasper (German theologian and former head of the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity) about his controversial views made evident at the preliminary Synod last October of granting Communion to divorced and remarried Catholics, and his role in shaping those discussions, not only at the Synod, but internationally as well.

We thank our friend and regular commenter, MICHAEL KENNY, for alerting us to these videos. As he quite rightly states: “The amount of back-tracking, special pleading and…to be honest, outright lies seen here [to Raymond’s penetrating questions] is, frankly, incredible. He says things like ‘I have always been a servant of the Church’ or ‘this, no, I had nothing to do with this’ with a straight-face! Thankfully there is some very wise analysis from a canon lawyer after each part, showing up what Kasper says against his actions. The positive side of the interviews is that you can feel Kasper is starting to understand that he has gone way too far, and that he may have played his hand too soon – the tide is turning against him, and he is trying to cover his tracks.”

Published on Jun 5, 2015
Part ONE of an EXCLUSIVE interview with WALTER CARDINAL KASPER. ROBERT ROYAL, president of the Faith and Reason Institute, and FR. GERALD MURRAY, canon lawyer and pastor of the Church of the Holy Family in New York City join us with reaction to our interview with Cardinal Kasper.

Published on Jun 12, 2015
Part TWO of an EXCLUSIVE interview with CARDINAL KASPER on his role in shaping the agenda at the Synod for the Family, what he expects to be discussed there this October, and his feelings toward those Cardinals who criticized his “proposal” to give Communion to some divorced and remarried Catholics. Plus, FR. GERALD MURRAY again, with reaction and analysis of the interview.

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No air conditioning in heaven

From the blog, All Passing Things 

I'm guessing the phone was charged through wind turbines

I’m guessing the phone was charged through wind turbines

It took me a couple of days to find the time to get through it all, but I finally finished reading Pope Francis’s encyclical Laudato Si. It is admirable for one thing, the persistence of a man intent on shutting out the sounds, images and statistics related to the people that he represents being murdered with the most depraved barbarity throughout the world. Focusing instead on such evil acts as air conditioning….and stuff.

As Catholics, those who are being strung up nooses in Arab streets, nailed to crosses and stoned like St. Stephen, deserve better than to hear their Holy Father devote 200 pages…200 pages to a bunch of daffodils rather than to their souls and to their mortal selves. The lost children of Western Catholicism deserve a Pope who implores them to forgive the clergy for the crimes of the past and return to the Church in all her majesty. Even the murderers of ISIS, the degenerates who abort children and the slaves to the body who support state sanctioned same-sex ‘marriage’ need a Pope who will put the possibility of them changing their ways and entering heaven first.

The Papacy is making headlines, but never before has the Pope been so impotent and irrelevant whilst appearing under the guise of being at the very heart of society’s ills and fortunes. When we think of Pope Benedict XVI driving the politically correct brigade insane with his condemnation of Islam at Regensburg or Pope Leo XIII staring Freemasonry straight in the face with several confrontational and much needed encyclicals, we think of a Pope who actually got the world thinking, reflecting on its allegiance to forces which were opposed to the will of God. This encyclical does none of that.

Luadato Si speaks about the world, about God, in exactly the same tone of voice as do the atheists, agnostics and apathetic. The secular term Judaeo-Christian is used. Earth is referred to as ‘mother’ and ‘sister’. The sun is our ‘brother’ , as is the river. Wild associations are made, human trafficking can only be stopped by addressing climate change.

The Pope has approached a spiritual problem, greed ensuring the systematic manipulation and destruction of ecological environments beyond that which is necessary to production and survival, from the guise of a humanist viewpoint. God and the collective souls of humanity which he created and entrusted the world unto are no longer in possession of dominion over the lesser species, but we are all one beating pile of lettuce or cabbage or mice, equally blissful in our ignorance of anything other than the fact that we exist, and feed and move. Francis has failed, intentionally it seems, to affirm that the biggest obstacle to unfettered capitalism and economically justified abuse of the environment is the dignity of man as a result of him having been afforded a soul by God.

There are those who will point to elements of orthodoxy, the mentioning of Blessed Charles de Foucauld and St. Thomas Aquinas (though no mention of a Pope before John XXIII). But, Pope Francis does not mention these because he wants to convert the eco-extremists of the secular world to the Catholic faith. Rather, Francis wants to say to those who are Catholic, let us focus instead on vague and unreasonable demands on the individual that in reality can only be achieved by the governments of China, India and the USA, due to their high volume of population and industry. Francis is even explicit in saying that the Catholic faith does not provide the impetus to save the earth from its human inhabitants, rather we need to adapt some semi-pagan pseudo religious ‘spirituality’.

“I would like to offer Christians a few suggestions for an ecological spirituality grounded in the convictions of our faith, since the teachings of the Gospel have direct consequences for our way of thinking, feeling and living. More than in ideas or concepts as such, I am interested in how such a spirituality can motivate us to a more passionate concern for the protection of our world. A commitment this lofty cannot be sustained by doctrine alone, without a spirituality capable of inspiring us, without an “interior impulse which encourages, motivates, nourishes and gives meaning to our individual and communal activity”.

When the history of this awful epoch in the Church is written, we’ll remember that when the blood of the martyrs began to spill, the Pope was more concerned with the blood of the animals. He quoted Muslims, used the term Judaeo-Christian and rather than talk about crimes against humanity for their own sake, equated them with abusing the environment, as though that was the standard by which such things as murder, human trafficking and abortion should be judged.

While Benedict called for a reform of the United Nations in Caritas in veritate, due to its unmitigated and undemocratic spread of ideologies related to the richest nations (namely, abortion) Francis here chillingly calls for a true world political authority. Imagine that, the solution to a singular mentality aimed at self-service is to have a singular authority.

Obama is a big fan of the encyclical...surely that can only be a good sign?

Obama is a big fan of the encyclical…surely that can only be a good sign?

For the record, to pick three of the holy figures mentioned in the encyclical as models of thoughtfulness to the environment.

Therese_von_Lisieux  St. Therese de Lisieux was 24 years old when she died a painful death to tuberculosis and other ailments, during which the great saint suffered much agony and despair before finally triumphing in faith.


St. Francis of Assisi walked through fire to prove his faith and died with the wounds of stigmata afflicting his mortal body.

charles de foucauld

Blessed Charles de Foucauld died in the African desert, after a life devoted to helping the poor and misplaced. He was brutally murdered on his own by a gang of aggressive proto-Islamist Muslims.

That is why we commemorate them. If Francis wants to create people who treat the world around them with its due care and honour, he should focus first on saving souls and creating saints. The secular humanist approach is bound not only to fail, but to offer a serious dent in the Church’s quest for respectability of a sort that seems to be afforded only to the Dali Lama. As Bishop of Rome, Francis wants to assume a role not unlike the Archbishop of Canterbury, where the erstwhile friend of the environment occasionally makes headlines for lambasting the vague notion of ‘consumerism’ without attacking its cause.

Yes, the environment needs to be taken care of. Yes, we need [to take measures to avoid] the extinction and the abhorrent mistreatment of animals. But if Francis is only concerned with the body and not the soul, as he appears to be, he will never cure these ills. Man must be taught to love God before he can love himself, he must be taught to love himself before he can love the world around him.

Perhaps the Pope’s intentions were pure, but by very nature of his choice to write about this rather than the fact that the Church has lost half of its adherents the world over, he has seriously undermined any good that he could have done with it.

In contrast to this tragicomedy, here are the brilliant words of Pope Leo XIII, simple and true, from the encyclical Rerum Novarum. Brief as they are, they remind us that we should not despair, certainly not over things like air conditioning.

“God has not created us for the perishable and transitory things of earth, but for things heavenly and everlasting; He has given us this world as a place of exile, and not as our abiding place.”

As the Pope’s beloved St. Therese informed us, the world is thy ship and not thy home.


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Two Final Prayers of St Thomas More

These beautiful prayers were written by St Thomas More (whose feast day we celebrated yesterday, 22nd June) while he was being held prisoner in the Tower of London.

Sir Thomas More, by Hans Holbein the Younger, 1527

Sir Thomas More,
by Hans Holbein the Younger, 1527

“Give me the grace, Good Lord:

To set the world at naught. To set the mind firmly on You and not to hang upon the words of men’s mouths.

To be content to be solitary. Not to long for worldly pleasures. Little by little utterly to cast off the world and rid my mind of all its business.

Not to long to hear of earthly things, but that the hearing of worldly fancies may be displeasing to me.

Gladly to be thinking of God, piteously to call for His help. To lean into the comfort of God. Busily to labour to love Him.

To know my own vileness and wretchedness. To humble myself under the mighty hand of God. To bewail my sins and, for the purging of them, patiently to suffer adversity.

Gladly to bear my purgatory here. To be joyful in tribulations. To walk the narrow way that leads to life.

To have the last thing[s] in remembrance. To have ever before my eyes my death that is ever at hand. To make death no stranger to me. To foresee and consider the everlasting fire of Hell. To pray for pardon before the judge comes.

To have continually in mind the passion that Christ suffered for me. For His benefits unceasingly to give Him thanks.

To buy the time again that I have lost. To abstain from vain conversations. To shun foolish mirth and gladness. To cut off unnecessary recreations.

Of worldly substance, friends, liberty, life and all, to set the loss at naught, for the winning of Christ.

To think my worst enemies my best friends, for the brethren of Joseph could never have done him so much good with their love and favour as they did him with their malice and hatred.

These minds are more to be desired of every man than all the treasures of all the princes and kings, Christian and heathen, were it gathered and laid together all in one heap.



“O GLORIOUS BLESSED TRINITY, Whose justice hath [reduced] unto perpetual pain, many proud rebellious angels, whom Thy goodness had created to be partakers of Thine eternal glory. [By] Thy tender mercy, plant in my heart such meekness, so that I may by Thy grace follow the motion of my good angel, and so resist the proud suggestions of those spiteful spirits that fell; so I may through the merits of Thy bitter passion, be partaker of Thy bliss, with those holy spirits that stood, and now confirmed by Thy grace, in glory shall stand forever. Amen”

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Duties Of Traditional Catholic Fathers – 2


Continuation of how to be a holy good Catholic father and husband.

Children must also be formed religiously, which includes learning to pray and developing the habit of daily prayer, fidelity to and proper use of the Sacraments, sacramentals, devotions, and other means of grace until they are well formed in piety. Trained in this way, they will stand on guard more readily and manfully against the suggestions of indulgence which initiation into worldly and bodily pleasures ceaselessly propose.

joseph1bAs for the subject matter itself, the instruction ought to include the diversity of the sexes, its origin from God and its dignity, the beginning of life in plants and animals, the organs of reproduction (obviously done with somecare), the functions of maternity and paternity, the grave reasons that demand sexual morality be observed, respect for women, the great sinfulness and harm of self-abuse, the meaning of puberty in both sexes, the possibility of healthfulness of continence and self-control, the moral dangers of the world and the social diseases to be guarded against.

Clearly not all of these concepts can be imparted at one time, for young children would not understand or there would be scandal of little ones. Moreover, while fiction and exaggeration should be avoided, a strictly scientific and technical instruction is not necessary or generally advisable either. It is clear also that parents, and especially mothers, are naturally suited for the delicate task of early guardians of chastity, though the later instruction should be supplemented by sound sermons, solid catechism classes, and individual advice given in the confessional.

490px-Saint_Louis_roi_de_France_remettant_la_regence_a_sa_mere_Blanche_de_Castille_par_Joseph-Marie_VienCorrection. – The duty of correction consists in rectifying the child of his defects, in protecting him against  scandal, and in watching over his friendships. The child is full of defects;  his vices grow with age. The main point is to detect them at the start in order to mitigate them and then always to be watchful towards preventing their growth.

In order to be fair, the correction of a child should be calm. The correction that is administered in an outburst of indignation or ill-temper does more harm than good (this point can hardly be stressed too much).

Correction should be reasonable, that is, proportioned to the offense; yet it is better to be more lenient than too severe as that is God’s way of working with us. The vital thing is to show the youthful offender the reason for the correction and punishment of his fault, and the evil of it, in order to train his mind to hate and shun evil and to esteem and love the good. As every experienced parent knows, a child matures well when the love of virtue and the hatred of vice comes from within.

Correction must be kind. Parental love must always be evident in the correction, even the most severe, so that it may bring about the humble and contrite return of the child, and that the delinquent may never lose sight of the love of his father, who is bound by duty to reprimand and punish him for his own good.

Correction should be dignified. The father is a leader. He should respect and inspire respect for the authority of God vested in him. If he should avoid undue severity— which crushes and discourages—he should still more avoid weakness which breeds contempt. Let the father be dignified in his speech, discreet in action (especially when in public places), noble and patient in hoping for reform, and kind in granting forgiveness.

700px-joseph_telling_his_dream_to_his_father A father should protect his children against scandal, which awakens in them the dormant idea of evil; it is the father’s compelling duty to shield his children against its fatal strokes. Children’s natural inquisitiveness, ignorance, weakness, and tendency to copy others out of human respect, all make it easy for them to sin and form bad habits.

As the child’s reason develops, the father should caution him prudently but forcefully against the inevitable scandal awaiting him in the world: prudentlyby instilling in him a horror of evil, denounced first in general, then more in detail according to the strength of the child’s virtue and the extent of the danger; forcefully, by the power of faith, of love and of honor.

Let the father be strict in his prohibition of dangerous books and other forms of media, (smart phones that parents pay for full of temptation to look at pornography), which leave an indelible impression in the memory. Let him be firm in forbidding bad company; the strongest virtue cannot hold its own very long against this deadly peril.

Happy the child whom a firm and kind hand has guided at the first awakening of his passions and sustained in the midst of his early struggles. He will bless eternally the love that saved him by preserving his virtue from a sad and unfortunate catastrophe. This virtue alone is worth more than all the natural and material goods a father could ever bestow upon his children.

The father must also watch with care over the friendships of his offspring. The heart needs friendship. The child who loves especially his father and mother, and later his brothers and sisters, leads a pure and happy life. Father and mother must unite in their efforts to instill and foster in their children the spirit and love of family life. In this way, children will truly be happy in the midst of their family and seek such happiness in their own future families (either as parents or as religious). Fathers must also be on guard against any division the children may perceive between him and his wife. Children are adept at exploiting parental disagreement to their own advantage. This causes much turmoil between spouses and allows the child to develop a spirit of duplicity and selfishness. A father must, therefore, be vigilant to ‘nip in the bud’ such behavior. He should ensure that any disagreements with his wife are dealt with in private (away from the children) and that he and his wife always present a united front, saying in so many words: “Your mother and I are one: what she commands, I command; if you disobey and disrespect her, then you also disobey and disrespect me.”

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50 Years Ago: Dietrich von Hildebrand Confronts Pope Paul VI

First posted by Peter Kwasniewski on Rorate Caeli


The following excerpts are taken from a fascinating 2001 interview with Dr. Alice von Hildebrand (the full text is available here) that is required reading for every Catholic who wants to understand what has happened in the Church since the mid-20th century. I found myself thinking once again about this interview because Alice mentions a private meeting that her husband had with Pope Paul VI on June 21, 1965, 50 years ago this Sunday (right before the very last, October-December session of the Second Vatican Council), which was followed up with a manuscript that really ought to be published someday. Read on…

* * *

TLM: Dr. von Hildebrand, at the time that Pope John XXIII summoned the Second Vatican Council, did you perceive a need for a reform within the Church?

AVH: Most of the insights about this come from my husband. He always said that the members of the Church, due to the effects of original sin and actual sin, are always in need of reform. The Church’s teaching, however, is from God. Not one iota is to be changed or considered in need of reform.

TLM: In terms of the present crisis, when did you first perceive something was terribly wrong?

AVH: It was in February 1965. I was taking a sabbatical year in Florence. My husband was reading a theological journal, and suddenly I heard him burst into tears. I ran to him, fearful that his heart condition had suddenly caused him pain. I asked him if he was all right. He told me that the article that he had been reading had provided him with the certain insight that the devil had entered the Church. Remember, my husband was the first prominent German to speak out publicly against Hitler and the Nazis. His insights were always prescient.


TLM: Did your husband think that the decline in a sense of the supernatural began around that time, and if so, how did he explain it?

AVH: No, he believed that after Pius X’s condemnation of the heresy of Modernism, its proponents merely went underground. He would say that they then took a much more subtle and practical approach. They spread doubt simply by raising questions about the great supernatural interventions throughout salvation history, such as the Virgin Birth and Our Lady’s perpetual virginity, as well as the Resurrection, and the Holy Eucharist. They knew that once faith – the foundation – totters, the liturgy and the moral teachings of the Church would follow suit. My husband entitled one of his books The Devastated Vineyard. After Vatican II, a tornado seemed to have hit the Church. … The aversion to sacrifice and redemption has assisted the secularization of the Church from within. We have been hearing for many years from priests and bishops about the need for the Church to adapt herself to the world. Great popes like St. Pius X said just the opposite: the world must adapt itself to the Church. …

There have been two books published in Italy in recent years that confirm what my husband had been suspecting for some time; namely, that there has been a systematic infiltration of the Church by diabolical enemies for much of this century. My husband was a very sanguine man and optimistic by nature. During the last ten years of his life, however, I witnessed him many times in moments of great sorrow, and frequently repeating, “They have desecrated the Holy Bride of Christ.” He was referring to the “abomination of desolation” of which the prophet Daniel speaks.

TLM: This is a critical admission, Dr. von Hildebrand. Your husband had been called a twentieth-century Doctor of the Church by Pope Pius XII. If he felt so strongly, didn’t he have access to the Vatican to tell Pope Paul VI of his fears?

AVH: But he did! I shall never forget the private audience we had with Paul VI just before the end of the Council. It was on June 21, 1965. As soon as my husband started pleading with him to condemn the heresies that were rampant, the Pope interrupted him with the words, “Lo scriva, lo scriva.” (“Write it down.”) A few moments later, for the second time, my husband drew the gravity of the situation to the Pope’s attention. Same answer. His Holiness received us standing. It was clear that the Pope was feeling very uncomfortable. The audience lasted only a few minutes. Paul VI immediately gave a sign to his secretary, Fr. Capovilla, to bring us rosaries and medals. We then went back to Florence where my husband wrote a long document (unpublished today) that was delivered to Paul VI just the day before the last session of the Council. It was September of 1965. After reading my husband’s document, he [the Pope] said to my husband’s nephew, Dieter Sattler, who had become the German ambassador to the Holy See, that he had read the document carefully, but that “it was a bit harsh.” The reason was obvious: my husband had humbly requested a clear condemnation of heretical statements.

TLM: You realize, of course, Doctor, that as soon as you mention this idea of infiltration, there will be those who roll their eyes in exasperation and remark, “Not another conspiracy theory!”

AVH: I can only tell you what I know. It is a matter of public record, for instance, that Bella Dodd, the ex-Communist who reconverted to the Church, openly spoke of the Communist Party’s deliberate infiltration of agents into the seminaries. She told my husband and me that when she was an active party member, she had dealt with no fewer than four cardinals within the Vatican “who were working for us.”

Many a time I have heard Americans say that Europeans “smell conspiracy wherever they go.” But from the beginning, the Evil One has “conspired” against the Church – and has always aimed in particular at destroying the Mass and sapping belief in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. That some people are tempted to blow this undeniable fact out of proportion is no reason for denying its reality. On the other hand, I, European born, am tempted to say that many Americans are naïve; living in a country that has been blessed by peace, and knowing little about history, they are more likely than Europeans (whose history is a tumultuous one) to fall prey to illusions. Rousseau has had an enormous influence in the United States. When Christ said to His apostles at the Last Supper that “one of you will betray Me,” the apostles were stunned. Judas had played his hand so artfully that no one suspected him, for a cunning conspirator knows how to cover his tracks with a show of orthodoxy.

TLM: Do the two books by the Italian priest you mentioned before the interview contain documentation that would provide evidence of this infiltration?

AVH: The two books I mentioned were published in 1998 and 2000 by an Italian priest, Don Luigi Villa of the diocese of Brescia, who at the request of Padre Pio has devoted many years of his life to the investigation of the possible infiltration of both Freemasons and Communists into the Church. My husband and I met Don Villa in the sixties. He claims that he does not make any statement that he cannot substantiate. When Paulo Sesto Beato? (1998) was published, the book was sent to every single Italian bishop. None of them acknowledged receipt; none challenged any of Don Villa’s claims.

In this book, he relates something that no ecclesiastical authority has refuted or asked to be retracted – even though he names particular personalities in regard to the incident. It pertains to the rift between Pope Pius XII and the then Bishop Montini (the future Paul VI) who was his Undersecretary of State. Pius XII, conscious of the threat of Communism, which in the aftermath of World War II was dominating nearly half of Europe, had prohibited the Vatican staff from dealing with Moscow. To his dismay, he was informed one day through the Bishop of Upsala (Sweden) that his strict order had been contravened. The Pope resisted giving credence to this rumor until he was given incontrovertible evidence that Montini had been corresponding with various Soviet agencies. Meanwhile, Pope Pius XII (as had Pius XI) had been sending priests clandestinely into Russia to give comfort to Catholics behind the Iron Curtain. Every one of them had been systematically arrested, tortured, and either executed or sent to the gulag. Eventually a Vatican mole was discovered: Alighiero Tondi, S.J., who was a close advisor to Montini. Tondi was an agent working for Stalin whose mission was to keep Moscow informed about initiatives such as the sending of priests into the Soviet Union.

Add to this Pope Paul’s treatment of Cardinal Mindszenty. Against his will, Mindszenty was ordered by the Vatican to leave Budapest. As most everyone knows, he had escaped the Communists and sought refuge in the American embassy compound. The Pope had given him his solemn promise that he would remain primate of Hungary as long as he lived. When the Cardinal (who had been tortured by the Communists) arrived in Rome, Paul VI embraced him warmly, but then sent him into exile in Vienna. Shortly afterwards, this holy prelate was informed that he had been demoted, and had been replaced by someone more acceptable to the Hungarian Communist government. More puzzling, and tragically sad, is the fact that when Mindszenty died, no Church representative was present at his burial.

Another of Don Villa’s illustrations of infiltration is one related to him by Cardinal Gagnon. Paul VI had asked Gagnon to head an investigation concerning the infiltration of the Church by powerful enemies. Cardinal Gagnon (at that time an Archbishop) accepted this unpleasant task, and compiled a long dossier, rich in worrisome facts. When the work was completed, he requested an audience with Pope Paul in order to deliver personally the manuscript to the Pontiff. This request for a meeting was denied. The Pope sent word that the document should be placed in the offices of the Congregation for the Clergy, specifically in a safe with a double lock. This was done, but the very next day the safe deposit box was broken and the manuscript mysteriously disappeared. The usual policy of the Vatican is to make sure that news of such incidents never sees the light of day. Nevertheless, this theft was reported even in L’Osservatore Romano (perhaps under pressure because it had been reported in the secular press). Cardinal Gagnon, of course, had a copy, and once again asked the Pope for a private audience. Once again his request was denied. He then decided to leave Rome and return to his homeland in Canada. Later, he was called back to Rome by Pope John Paul II and made a cardinal.

TLM: Why did Don Villa write these works singling out Paul VI for criticism?

AVH: Don Villa reluctantly decided to publish the books to which I have alluded. But when several bishops pushed for the beatification of Paul VI, this priest perceived it as a clarion call to print the information he had gathered through the years. In so doing, he was following the guidelines of a Roman Congregation, informing the faithful that it was their duty as members of the Church to relay to the Congregation any information that might militate against the candidate’s qualifications for beatification.

Considering the tumultuous pontificate of Paul VI, and the confusing signals he was giving, e.g.: speaking about the “smoke of Satan that had entered the Church,” yet refusing to condemn heresies officially; his promulgation of Humanae Vitae (the glory of his pontificate), yet his careful avoidance of proclaiming it ex cathedra; delivering his Credo of the People of God in Piazza San Pietro in 1968, and once again failing to declare it binding on all Catholics; disobeying the strict orders of Pius XII to have no contact with Moscow, and appeasing the Hungarian Communist government by reneging on the solemn promise he had made to Cardinal Mindszenty; his treatment of holy Cardinal Slipyj, who had spent seventeen years in a Gulag, only to be made a virtual prisoner in the Vatican by Paul VI; and finally asking Archbishop Gagnon to investigate possible infiltration in the Vatican, only to refuse him an audience when his work was completed – all these speak strongly against the beatification of Paolo VI, dubbed in Rome, “Paolo Sesto, Mesto” (Paul VI, the sad one). …

God alone is the judge of Paul VI. But it cannot be denied that his pontificate was a very complex and tragic one. It was under him that, in the course of fifteen years, more changes were introduced in the Church than in all preceding centuries combined. What is worrisome is that when we read the testimony of ex-Communists like Bella Dodd, and study Freemasonic documents (dating from the nineteenth century, and usually penned by fallen-away priests like Paul Roca), we can see that, to a large extent, their agenda has been carried out: the exodus of priests and nuns after Vatican II, dissenting theologians not censured, feminism, the pressure put on Rome to abolish priestly celibacy, immorality in the clergy, blasphemous liturgies (see the article by David Hart in First Things, April 2001, “The Future of the Papacy”), the radical changes that have been introduced into the sacred liturgy (see Cardinal Ratzinger’s book Milestones, pp. 126 and 148), and a misleading ecumenism. Only a blind person could deny that many of the Enemy’s plans have been perfectly carried out.

One should not forget that the world was shocked at what Hitler did. People like my husband, however, actually read what he had said in Mein Kampf. The plan was there. The world simply chose not to believe it.

But grave as the situation is, no committed Catholic can forget that Christ has promised that He will remain with His Church to the very end of the world. We should meditate on the scene related in the Gospel when the apostles’ boat was battered by a fierce storm. Christ was sleeping! His terrified followers woke Him up: He said one word, and there was a great calm. “O ye of little faith!”


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