Pius XII: “Disturbances, riots and revolts are organized and fomented” by Atheism, when Religion is taken away.

“That which seems to Us not only the greatest evil but the root of all evil is this: often the lie is substituted for the truth, and is then used as an instrument of dispute. On the part of not a few religion is passed by as a thing of no importance, and elsewhere absolutely prohibited in family and social life as a remnant of ancient superstitions; public and private atheism is exalted in such a way that God and His law are being abolished, and morals no longer have any foundation. The Press also too often vulgarly reviles religious feeling, while it does not hesitate to spread the most shameful obscenities, agitating and with incalculable harm leading into vice tender childhood and betrayed youth.
By means of false promises a people is deceived and provoked to hatred, rivalry and rebellion, especially when the hereditary faith, the only relief in this earthly exile, is successfully torn from its heart. Disturbances, riots and revolts are organized and fomented in continuing series, which prepare for the ruin of the economy and cause irreparable harm to the common good.
We must above all deplore with overwhelming sadness that in not a few nations the rights of God, Church and human nature itself are outraged and trampled upon. Sacred ministers, even those invested with high dignities, are either driven from their proper Sees, exiled and imprisoned, or impeded in a manner preventing them from exercising their ministry. …
Since these innumerable evils spring, as We have said, from one source only, the repudiation of God and contempt for His law, it is necessary, Venerable Brethren, to offer to God fervent prayers and recall all to those principles whence alone can come enlightenment for minds, peace and concord for souls and well ordered justice between the various social classes.
As you know, once religion is taken away there cannot be a well ordered, well regulated society.


Pius XII
Anni Sacri (On a Programme for Combatting Atheistic Propaganda)
March 12, 1950
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The Vision of Hell at Fatima, 13th July 1917

On July 13, 1917, Our Lady of the Rosary made, as she had promised, her third visit to the Cova da Iria.

It was in the torrid month of July, the month of the Precious Blood of Jesus, one hundred and three years ago today, that Our Lady of Fatima visited the little shepherds for the third time. The immense importance of this visit cannot be overestimated, for at this time, the Blessed Virgin revealed her Message for the world. We take the following account from “The Whole Truth About Fatima, Volume I”, by Frère Michel de la Sainte Trinité. This volume is available to download free from www.archive.org.

At the Cova da Iria on July 13, 1917, a crowd estimated at between one and two thousand were gathered. Lúcia, Francisco and Jacinta knelt before the scrubby little holm oak where Our Lady appeared. In her account, Lúcia relates that in answer to her question, “What does Your Grace want of me?”, Our Lady replied,

“I want you to come here on the 13th of next month, and to continue praying the Rosary every day in honour of Our Lady of the Rosary, in order to obtain peace for the world and the end of the war, because only She can help you.”

When Lúcia asked her to perform a miracle so that all would believe, Our Lady responded,

“Continue to come here every month. In October, I will tell you who I am and what I want, and I will perform a miracle for all to see and believe.”

Our Lady continued,

“Sacrifice yourselves for sinners, and say many times, especially when you make some sacrifice: ‘O Jesus, it is for love of You, for the conversion of sinners, and in reparation for the sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary’ “.

From Lúcia’s account,

“As Our Lady spoke these last words, She opened Her hands once more, as She had done during the two previous months. The rays of light seemed to penetrate the earth, and we saw as it were a sea of fire. Plunged in this fire were demons and souls in human form, like transparent burning embers, all blackened or burnished bronze, floating about in the conflagration, now raised into the air by the flames that issued from within themselves together with great clouds of smoke, now falling back on every side like sparks in huge fires, without weight or equilibrium, amid shrieks and groans of pain and despair, which horrified us and made us tremble with fear. (It must have been this sight which caused me to cry out, as people say they heard me.) The demons could be distinguished by their terrifying and repellent likeness to frightful and unknown animals, black and transparent like burning coals.”

Here, in her Third Memoir, Sister Lúcia added: “This vision only lasted a moment, thanks to our good Mother in Heaven who, in the first apparition, had promised to take us to Heaven. Were it not for that, I believe we would have died out of fright and fear.”

Terrified and as if to plead for succour, we looked up at Our Lady, who said to us, so kindly and so sadly:

“You have seen hell, where the souls of poor sinners go. To save them, God wishes to establish in the world devotion to My Immaculate Heart.”

“If what I say to you is done, many souls will be saved and there will be peace. The war is going to end, but if people do not cease offending God, a worse one will break out during the reign of Pius XI.

“When you see a night illumined by an unknown light, know that this is the great sign given you by God that He is about to punish the world for its crimes, by means of war, famine and persecutions against the Church and the Holy Father.

“To prevent this, I shall come to ask for the consecration of Russia to My Immaculate Heart, and the Communion of Reparation on the First Saturdays.

“If My requests are heeded, Russia will be converted and there will be peace; if not, she will spread her errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions against the Church. The good will be martyred, the Holy Father will have much to suffer, various nations will be annihilated.

“In the end, My Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to Me, and she will be converted, and a certain period of peace will be granted to the world.

“In Portugal, the dogma of the Faith will always be preserved, etc. [This marks the third part of the secret, not yet not revealed] Do not tell this to anybody. Francisco, yes, you may tell him.

“When you say the Rosary, say after each mystery: ‘O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fire of hell. Lead all souls to Heaven, especially those who are most in need.’ “

While this was going on, Ti Marto relates, the crowd was so silent that you could have heard a pin drop. And, like Maria Carreira and some other witnesses, Mr. Marto, who was very near the seers, perceived an unintelligible murmur: “then I began to hear a sound, a little buzzing rather like a mosquito in an empty bottle. But I couldn’t hear any words!” This mysterious murmur was heard by only a few witnesses.

However, two other unusual phenomena were noticed by a much greater number: The luminosity of the sky noticeably decreased, as during an eclipse, the whole time the ecstasy of the children lasted. At the same time, the temperature, which was very hot, went down noticeably, and the tint of the light was modified. The atmosphere became yellow as gold.

In addition, a whitish cloud, rather pleasant to look at, formed around the seers. Here is the testimony of Mr. Marto:

“I saw what looked like a little greyish cloud resting on the oak tree, and the sun’s heat lessened and there was a delicious fresh breeze. It hardly seemed like the height of summer.”


In the cycle of apparitions, this one on July 13 is a watershed moment. The previous apparitions, including the Angel’s visits, prepared for this one and this apparition is essential for understanding the subsequent ones. For it was on this day, as Lúcia relates, that “Our Lady deigned to reveal to us the Secret”.

So true is this that the message of July 13 appears to us very clearly divided into two parts:

  • First, there are the words which were divulged immediately,
  • Second, the long text of the secret which the seers carefully kept hidden. However, what is important is that the two parts of the message are very closely connected.

The great novelty of this apparition, the decisive word which would attract innumerable crowds to the Cova da Iria for the last three months, is the announcement of a great miracle.

Lúcia requested of Our Lady, ” … tell us who You are, and to work a miracle so that all may believe that You are appearing to us.” Although the request of Lúcia reminds us of Bernadette’s request at Lourdes, the response of Our Lady is very different: At Lourdes, when Bernadette followed the advice of Father Peyramale and asked Her to make the rosebush in the grotto bloom, Our Lady was content to smile. In this case, and here is the decisive, prodigious event, She accedes to the request: “Continue to come each month. In October, I will say who I am and what I want, and I will work a miracle so that all may believe.”

Thus She announced three months in advance the place, day and hour of the promised great miracle. It was a clear promise, without any condition or the least ambiguity. On August 19 and September 13, Our Lady repeated it in the same terms. Never before had Heaven shown such condescension to the demands of men, to guarantee for them with certitude the truth of a message. Already, by this solid link between the prophecy and the miracle, the event of Fatima is unheard of, incomparable.

Our Lady made this announcement of the miracle “so that all will believe”, immediately before revealing to the three seers Her great prophetic secret. This was to make them understand, in all clarity, that the miracle would guarantee the divine origin of the secret, as well as the fulfillment of this prophetic secret. Thus the great miracle of October 13 was closely associated, by the Blessed Virgin Herself, not only with the whole of Her message, but especially with the prophetic secret of July 13.

It was when Our Lady opened Her hands again as in the two previous months, that the children had the vision of hell. This month, no doubt the Blessed Virgin remained in this attitude while She revealed the secret. And the supernatural light which they received then was not limited to the vision of hell. Once again, as on May 13 and June 13, they enjoyed a sort of vision of God as Lúcia reports:

Francisco seemed to be the one on whom the vision of hell made the least impression, though it did indeed have quite a considerable effect on him. What made the most powerful impression on him and what wholly absorbed him was God, the Most Holy Trinity, perceived in that light which penetrated our inmost souls.

Afterwards Francisco said: ‘We were on fire in that light which is God, and yet we were not burnt! What is God?… We could never put it into words. Yes, that is something indeed which we could never express! But what a pity it is that He is so sad! If only I could console Him!’

This great sorrow of Our Lord, which reveals to us His Heart, outraged by our sins, and as it were overwhelmed by the chastisements which these sins justly draw down upon us, profoundly marked the soul of Francisco during the first three apparitions. He never forgot it, and his whole ideal would be to pray and sacrifice himself to ‘console God’.


The apparition of July 13 also marks the high point of the revelation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, the center and very heart of the whole message. The three apparitions of the Angel, followed by those of Our Lady on May 13 and June 13, had prepared this revelation which the great secret expresses in all its fullness. But it is a remarkable fact that in the last three apparitions there is no more mention of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. This great design of divine mercy for the salvation of the world would not be unveiled until later…

That is why, on July 13, Our Lady solemnly announced that She would come back. She kept Her promise and returned on December 10, 1925 at Pontevedra, to manifest once again Her Heart pierced with thorns, and to request the practice of the communion of reparation on the five First Saturdays of the month. And She came back again, on June 13, 1929, at Tuy, to ask for the consecration of Russia to Her Immaculate Heart.

Russia? On July 13, Lúcia did not yet know what this word meant. Yet she always affirmed having heard the word Russia. Similarly, she is sure of having heard ‘no reinado de Pio XI’. ‘We did not know if it was a Pope or a king’, she confided to Father Jongen in 1946, ‘but the most Holy Virgin spoke of Pius XI.’ As for the announcement of ‘a night illumined by an unknown light’, it was fulfilled to the letter during the night of January 25-26, 1938.

  1. Let us point out here, since it is important for critical purposes, what perfect harmony there is between the two parts of the message, that which was divulged immediately (Fatima I), and that which remained secret a long time (Fatima II). The convergence of themes, which marks the profound unity of the same message pronounced by the Blessed Virgin the same day, is striking.

Frère Michel de la Sainte Trinité :

The secret of the secret is that God wills to give us everything through the mediation of the Blessed Virgin, in response to our devotion to Her Immaculate Heart, not only spiritual goods but even temporal peace, and this for the whole world. Has anyone noticed that one of the words of Our Lady, faithfully reported by Lúcia to her parish priest the next day, has the same vigour, the same exclusivity? ‘Continue to pray the Rosary every day… to obtain peace for the world and the end of the war, for only She can help you.’ It is equivalent to saying: there is no salvation for us except from Jesus  through the Blessed Virgin; this was already the essential core of the secret of Fatima which was disclosed as early as July, 1917.

Note if you will that Our Lady of the Rosary communicated her message with a brief but penetrating vision. Throughout sacred history, these mental pictures are such important means of teaching.

Pray the Rosary and confound satan and all who serve him!

Remember – Our Lady needs us to obey:  First Saturdays of Reparation, daily rosary, at least 5 mysteries, wear her brown scapular and live your Total Consecration to her Immaculate Heart, offering daily duties in reparation and for the conversion of poor sinners.

[Source: Return to Fatima]

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Did you see anything about these two events on the news?

Damage to the roof of the historic San Gabriel Mission is seen after it caught fire overnight.
(Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)

From Les Femmes – The Truth:

On Saturday morning an FSSP parish in Florida (Queen of Peace in Ocala) was attacked by a man who ran his minivan into the building and then set it on fire while worshipers prepared for morning Mass. In California, Mission St. Gabriel was gutted by a four-alarm fire that’s under investigation.

Did you see anything about these two events on the national news?

Imagine if a mosque or a meeting of Black Lives Matter was the target. We’d be hearing about it non-stop! “A hate crime!”

But, no…. ho-hum. Hey, nobody was hurt. It’s just Catholic churches and they all need to be knocked down anyway with those statues of the white Jesus inside. Yup…they all have to go, all the California missions and the statues of Junipero Serra, a champion of the native Americans on the West Coast.

The lies told about St. Junipero Serra are legion. The man who played such a huge role in developing California was noted for being a kind and loving father. In fact, recognizing that violence was possible, he begged for clemency for the Indians and left a written request that if he were killed his murderers should be pardoned. He walked to Mexico at one point to meet with government officials interceding for policies to help the natives.

Many people today are so ignorant of history, they swallow any slander against those who built civilization. Liberal hypocrites, advocates of murdering the innocent, wax eloquent over the sins and faults of our ancestors. They are the icons for the liberal church of anything goes.

It’s time for these folks to learn a little history.

Our kids gave me a subscription to Audible for my birthday in March. I’m listening to Thomas Woods How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization. How appropriate for the day when the Church is under such assault!

In this time of neo-barbarism, the know nothings once again roam freely with their anti-Catholic bigotry, burning churches and knocking down statues of saints. Reality probably will make no difference to these thugs, but we need to promote it anyway. Truth needs to be told.

But in order to defend the truth we first need to know it ourselves. And the truth is that the Catholic Church built and defended western civilization, a fact acknowledged by agnostic historian Will Durant when he wrote this about the “dark” ages:

“The basic cause of cultural retrogression was not Christianity but barbarism; not religion but war. The human inundations ruined or impoverished cities, monasteries, libraries, schools, and made impossible the life of the scholar or the scientist. Perhaps the destruction would have been worse had not the Church maintained some measure of order in a crumbling civilization.”1 (A Light in the Darkness, Chapter 2 of Woods Book  Page 9; Will Durant book, The Age of Faith, see quote here.)

Study history! But make sure the historians you read are truth tellers who do everything they can to purge their personal biases.

Oh…and don’t believe all the hype about the “dark ages.” That’s when the seeds of the university system, hospitals, libraries, scientific study, architecture, astronomy, etc. were all planted BY THE CATHOLIC CHURCH. Many monks and priests were scientific pioneers in astronomy, genetics, medicine, etc. Can you see one of today’s architects designing and building a cathedral? Don’t act like an ignorant know-nothing! Seek the truth. Study history. Thomas Woods book is a good place to start!

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Sunday readings and reflections

Book of Isaiah 55: 10-11

Thus says the LORD: Just as from the heavens the rain and snow come down and do not return there till they have watered the earth, making it fertile and fruitful, giving seed to the one who sows and bread to the one who eats, 
So shall my word be that goes forth from my mouth; It shall not return to me void, but shall do my will, achieving the end for which I sent it. 

Psalms 65(64): 10,11,12-13,14

You have visited the land and watered it; 
greatly have you enriched it. 
God’s watercourses are filled; 
You have prepared the grain. 

Thus have you prepared the land: 
drenching its furrows, breaking up its clods, 
softening it with showers, 
blessing its yield. 

You have crowned the year with your bounty, 
and your paths overflow with a rich harvest; 
the untilled meadows overflow with it, 
and rejoicing clothes the hills. 

The pastures are clothed with flocks, 
the valleys blanketed with grain; 
they cheer and sing for joy. 

Letter to the Romans 8: 18-23

Brothers and sisters: I consider that the sufferings of this present time are as nothing compared with the glory to be revealed for us. 
For creation awaits with eager expectation the revelation of the children of God; 
for creation was made subject to futility, not of its own accord but because of the one who subjected it, in hope 
that creation itself would be set free from slavery to corruption and share in the glorious freedom of the children of God. 
We know that all creation is groaning in labor pains even until now; 
and not only that, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, we also groan within ourselves as we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies. 

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Matthew 13: 1-23

On that day, Jesus went out of the house and sat down by the sea. 
Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat down, and the whole crowd stood along the shore. 
And he spoke to them at length in parables, saying: “A sower went out to sow. 
And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path, and birds came and ate it up. 
Some fell on rocky ground, where it had little soil. It sprang up at once because the soil was not deep, 
and when the sun rose it was scorched, and it withered for lack of roots. 
Some seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it. 
But some seed fell on rich soil, and produced fruit, a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold. 
Whoever has ears ought to hear.” 
The disciples approached him and said, “Why do you speak to them in parables?” 
He said to them in reply, “Because knowledge of the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven has been granted to you, but to them it has not been granted. 
To anyone who has, more will be given and he will grow rich; from anyone who has not, even what he has will be taken away. 
This is why I speak to them in parables, because ‘they look but do not see and hear but do not listen or understand.'” 
Isaiah’s prophecy is fulfilled in them, which says: ‘You shall indeed hear but not understand you shall indeed look but never see. 
Gross is the heart of this people, they will hardly hear with their ears, they have closed their eyes, lest they see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart and be converted, and I heal them.’ 
But blessed are your eyes, because they see, and your ears, because they hear. 
Amen, I say to you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it”. 
Hear then the parable of the sower. 
The seed sown on the path is the one who hears the word of the kingdom without understanding it, and the evil one comes and steals away what was sown in his heart. 
The seed sown on rocky ground is the one who hears the word and receives it at once with joy. 
But he has no root and lasts only for a time. When some tribulation or persecution comes because of the word, he immediately falls away. 
The seed sown among thorns is the one who hears the word, but then worldly anxiety and the lure of riches choke the word and it bears no fruit. 
But the seed sown on rich soil is the one who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and yields a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold.” 

Reflection by Pope Benedict XVI

God Attract Us With the Goodness of His Incarnate Son

“Jesus addresses the multitude with the famous parable of the sower. “In some way this is an ‘autobiographical’ episode”, he said, “because it reflects Jesus’ own experience as a preacher. He identifies Himself with the sower who, while spreading the good seed of God’s Word, becomes aware of the differing effects it produces depending on the way it is accepted. There are those who listen superficially but fail to welcome it; those who accept it immediately but have no constancy and lose everything; those who are overwhelmed by the cares and lures of the world, and those who receive and absorb it like good soil, for them the Word brings forth abundant fruit.

“Yet this Gospel narrative also highlights the ‘method’ of Jesus’ preaching; in other words, His use of parables”, the Holy Father added. “His disciples ask Him: ‘why do you speak to them in parables?’ Jesus replies by distinguishing between the disciples and the crowds: to the former, who have already chosen to follow Him, He can speak openly of the Kingdom of God, but to others He has to use parables in order to simulate a decision, a conversion of heart. This is because parables, by their nature, require an effort of interpretation, they appeal to our intelligence but also to our freedom.

…In the final analysis the true ‘Parable’ of God is Jesus Himself … Who, in human form, both hides and reveals divinity. Thus, God does not force us to believe in Him; rather, He draws us to Him with the truth and goodness of His incarnate Son. Love, in fact, always respects freedom”.


TLM readings for the sixth Sunday after Pentecost:

EPISTLE Romans 6: 3-11

Brethren, all we who are baptized in Christ Jesus are baptized in His death. For we are buried together with Him by baptism unto death; that as Christ is risen from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we also may walk in the newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of His death, we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection. Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with Him, that the body of sin may be destroyed, and that we may serve sin no longer. For he that is dead is justified from sin. Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall live also together with Christ. Knowing that Christ, rising again from the dead, dieth now no more, death shall no more have dominion over Him. For in that He died to sin, He died once; but in that He liveth, He liveth unto God. So do you also reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

GRADUAL Psalms 89: 13, 1

Return, O Lord, a little: and be entreated in favor of Thy servants. Lord, Thou hast been our refuge from generation to generation. Alleluia, alleluia. (Ps. 30: 2, 3) In Thee, O Lord, I have hoped, let me never be confounded: deliver me in Thy justice, and release me: bow down Thine ear to me, make haste to deliver me. Alleluia.

GOSPEL Mark 8: 1-9

At that time, when there was a great multitude with Jesus, and they had nothing to eat, calling His disciples together, He saith to them: I have compassion on the multitude, for behold they have now been with Me three days, and have nothing to eat and if I shall send them away fasting to their home, they will faint in the way: for some of them came from afar off. And His disciples answered Him: From whence can any one fill them here with bread in the wilderness? And he asked them: How many loaves have ye? Who said: Seven. And He commanded the people to sit down on the ground. And taking the seven loaves, giving thanks, He broke and gave to His disciples to set before the people. And they had a few little fishes, and He blessed them, and commanded them to be set before them. And they did eat, and were filled: and they took up that which was left of the fragments, seven baskets: and they that had eaten, were about four thousand: and He sent them away.

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Cardinal Napier: BLM is subversive

Featured Image
Cardinal Napier Patrick Craine / LifeSiteNews

From LifeSiteNews:

South African Cardinal Wilfrid Fox Napier strongly criticized the Black Lives Matter movement for its “dismantling” of civilizations and cultures. 

Napier, himself a black man and archbishop of Durban on the South African coast, tweeted that a “ brief study of the founding statement of ‘Black Lives Matter’ indicates the movement is being hijacked by the interests & parties committed to dismantling the very values, structure & institutions which have over the centuries undergird the best civilisations & cultures!”

After his original tweet on July 4, Napier followed up on the Black Lives Matter movement two days later. He said, “Another crucial test of the authenticity of the Black Lives Matter movement will be its stance vis a vis Planned Parenthood and the Abortion Industry!”

Napier added, “The same test applies when assessing the sincerity of those who voice thunderous condemnation against Domestic Violence, (erroneously called “Gender based Violence) as opposed to the absolute silence concerning Violence inflicted upon Babies in their mother’s womb!”

As pointed out by Illinois Right to Life, abortion center Planned Parenthood is actually a danger to the black community. Not only was Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger a racist. The organization also targets minority communities. Among the black community, the abortion giant is the leading cause of death.

“According to the U.S. Center for Disease Control, there have been over 15.5 million abortions performed on African Americans,” Illinois Right to Life said. “These 15.5 million Black lives lost to abortion outnumber the deaths of Black people due to AIDS, violent crimes, accidents, cancer, and heart disease combined.”

US Bishop Joseph Strickland of Tyler, Texas, also criticized the movement. Bishop Strickland talked about the platform of the Black Lives Matter movement, which contains several positions Catholics can in no way support. Linking to the movement’s website, he tweeted, “Please educate yourself on this!”

He then pointed out that Black Lives Matter’s statement of belief mentions two points “that are contrary to FAITH…#1 opposing the nuclear family (where is dad?) and #2 opposing God’s plan for sex as a union of male & female.”

“This agenda is DANGEROUS!” Strickland emphatically concluded.

Black Lives Matter, according to its own website, wants to “disrupt the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure requirement by supporting each other as extended families and ‘villages’ that collectively care for one another, especially our children, to the degree that mothers, parents, and children are comfortable.”

The term “villages” likely refers to Hillary Clinton’s book “It Takes a Village,” the title of which was based on the African proverb, “It takes a village to raise a child.” Clinton argued for society’s shared responsibility for successfully raising a child. Catholic Senator Rick Santorum eventually wrote a rebuttal, titled, “It Takes a Family.”

In addition to wanting to “disrupt” the traditional family, Black Lives Matter fosters “a queer‐affirming network. When we gather, we do so with the intention of freeing ourselves from the tight grip of heteronormative thinking, or rather, the belief that all in the world are heterosexual (unless s/he or they disclose otherwise).”

The website’s section on “What We Believe” mentions transgenderism in several other places. “We make space for transgender brothers and sisters to participate and lead,” the movement stresses. “We are self-reflexive and do the work required to dismantle cisgender privilege and uplift Black trans folk, especially Black trans women who continue to be disproportionately impacted by trans-antagonistic violence.”

The term “cisgender” simply means that a person does not buy into gender ideology, but science, instead. In other words, a “cisgender” woman is a biological woman, and a “cisgender” man is a biological man.

The Black Lives Matter movement claims that liberation movements for black people “in this country have created room, space, and leadership mostly for Black heterosexual, cisgender men — leaving women, queer and transgender people, and others either out of the movement or in the background to move the work forward with little or no recognition.”

Alicia Garza, one of the founders, openly admits to being a homosexual. She claims her “leadership and work challenge the misconception that only cisgender Black men encounter police and state violence.” Accordingly, in order to “truly understand how devastating and widespread this type of violence is in Black America, we must view this epidemic through a lens of race, gender, sexual orientation, and gender identity.”

Not all Church leaders are as critical of the Black Lives Matter movement as Cardinal Napier and Bishop Strickland. 

Bishop George Leo Thomas of the diocese of Las Vegas had released a pastoral letter on June 10, arguing that the Church “holds that all life is sacred, from the moment of conception until natural death. Under the banner of Catholic Social Teaching, we say with resounding voices, ‘Yes! Black Lives Matter!’”

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George Cardinal Pell: My Catholic Faith sustained me during my Time in Prison

From First Things:

There is a lot of goodness in prisons. At times, I am sure, prisons may be hell on earth. I was fortunate to be kept safe and treated well. I was impressed by the professionalism of the warders, the faith of the prisoners, and the existence of a moral sense even in the darkest places.

I was in solitary confinement for thirteen months, ten at the Melbourne Assessment Prison and three at Barwon Prison. In Melbourne the prison uniform was a green tracksuit, but in Barwon I was issued the bright red colors of a cardinal. I had been convicted in December 2018 of historical sexual offenses against children, despite my innocence, and despite the incoherence of the Crown Prosecutor’s case against me. ­Eventually (in April of this year) the High Court of Australia was to quash my convictions in a unanimous ­ruling. In the meantime, I began to serve my sentence of six years.

In Melbourne, I lived in Cell 11, Unit 8, on the fifth floor. My cell was seven or eight meters long and about two meters wide, just enough for my bed, which had a firm base, a not-too-thick mattress, and two blankets. On the left as you entered were low shelves with a kettle, television, and eating space. Across the narrow aisle was a basin with hot and cold water and a shower recess with good hot water. Unlike in many posh hotels, an efficient reading lamp was in the wall above the bed. Since both my knees had been replaced a couple of months before entering prison, I used a walking stick initially and was given a higher hospital chair, which was a blessing. Health regulations require each prisoner to have an hour outside each day, and so I was allowed to take two half-hours in Melbourne. Nowhere in Unit 8 was there clear glass, so I could recognize day from night, but not much more, from my cell. I never saw the eleven other prisoners.

I certainly heard them. Unit 8 had twelve small cells along one external wall, with the “noisy” prisoners at one end. I celled in the “Toorak” end, named for a rich Melbourne suburb, exactly the same as the noisy end but generally without bangers and shouters, without the anguished and angry, who were often destroyed by drugs, especially crystal meth. I used to marvel at how long they could bang their fists, but a warder explained that they kicked with their feet like horses. Some flooded their cells or fouled them. Once in a while the dog squad was called, or someone had to be gassed. On my first night I thought I heard a woman crying; another prisoner was calling for his mother.

I was in isolation for my own protection, as those convicted of the sexual abuse of children, especially clergy, are vulnerable to physical attacks and abuse in prison. I was threatened in this manner only once, when I was in one of two adjacent exercise areas separated by a high wall, with an opening at head height. As I walked around the perimeter, someone spat at me through the fly wire of the open aperture and began condemning me. It was a total surprise, so I returned furious to the window to confront my assailant and rebuke him. He bolted from the front line out of my sight but continued to condemn me, as a “black spider” and other less-than-complimentary terms. After my initial rebuke, I remained silent, though I complained afterward that I would not go out to exercise if this fellow was to be next door. A day or so later, the unit supervisor told me that the young offender had been shifted, because he had done “something worse” to another prisoner.

On a few other occasions during the long lockdown from 4:30 in the evening to 7:15 in the morning, I was denounced and abused by other prisoners in Unit 8. One evening, I overheard a fierce argument over my guilt. A defender announced he was prepared to back the man who had been publicly supported by two prime ministers. Opinion as to my innocence or guilt was divided among the prisoners, as in most sectors of Australian society, although the media with some splendid exceptions was bitterly hostile. One correspondent who had spent decades in prison wrote that I was the first convicted priest he had heard of who had any support among the prisoners. And I received only kindness and friendship from my three fellow prisoners in Unit 3 at Barwon. Most of the warders in both prisons recognized I was innocent.

The antipathy among prisoners toward the perpetrators of juvenile sexual abuse is universal in the English-­speaking world—an interesting example of the natural law emerging through darkness. All of us are tempted to despise those we define as worse than ourselves. Even murderers share in the disdain toward those who violate the young. However ironic, this disdain is not all bad, as it expresses a belief in the existence of right and wrong, good and evil, which often surfaces in jails in surprising ways.

On many mornings in Unit 8, I could hear the Muslim prayer chants. On other mornings, the Muslims were a little slack and did not chant, though perhaps they prayed silently. Language in prison was coarse and repetitive, but I seldom heard cursing or blaspheming. The prisoner I consulted thought this fact was a sign of belief, rather than a token of God’s absence. I suspect the Muslim prisoners, for their part, do not tolerate blasphemy.

Prisoners from many jails wrote to me, some of them regularly. One was the man who had set up the altar when I celebrated the final Christmas Mass at Pentridge Prison in 1996, before it closed. Another announced simply that he was lost and in the dark. Could I suggest a book? I recommended that he read Luke’s Gospel and start with John’s First Epistle. Another was a man of deep faith and a devotee of Padre Pio of Pietrelcina. He had a dream that I would be released. It proved to be premature. Another told me that it was the consensus among the career criminals that I was innocent and had been “stitched up”—adding that it was odd that criminals could recognize the truth, but not judges.

Like that of most priests, my work had brought me into contact with a wide variety of people, so I was not too surprised by the prisoners. The warders were a surprise and a pleasant one. Some were friendly, one or two inclined to be hostile, but all were professional. If they had been resolutely silent, as the guards were for months when Cardinal Thuận was in solitary confinement in Vietnam, life would have been much harder. Sister Mary O’Shannassy, the senior Catholic chaplain in Melbourne with twenty-five years of experience, who does a fine job—one man convicted of murder told me he was a bit scared of her!—acknowledged that Unit 8 is well-staffed and well-run. After I lost my appeal to the Victorian Supreme Court, I considered not appealing to the Australian High Court, reasoning that if the judges were simply going to close ranks, I need not cooperate in an expensive charade. The boss of the prison in Melbourne, a bigger man than I and a straight shooter, urged me to persevere. I was encouraged and remain grateful to him.

On the morning of April 7, national television relayed the announcement of my verdict from the High Court. I watched in my cell on Channel 7 as a surprised young reporter informed Australia of my acquittal and became still more perplexed by the unanimity of the seven justices. The three other prisoners in my unit congratulated me, and soon I was released into a world locked down for the coronavirus. My journey was bizarre. Two press helicopters followed me from Barwon to the Carmelite Convent in Melbourne, and the next day, two press cars accompanied me all 880 kilometers to Sydney.

For many, time in prison is an opportunity to ponder and confront basic truths. Prison life removed any excuse that I was too busy to pray, and my regular schedule of prayer sustained me. From the first night, I always had a breviary (even if it was out of season), and I received Holy Communion each week. On five occasions I attended Mass, though I was unable to celebrate it, a fact I particularly lamented at Christmas and Easter.

My Catholic faith sustained me, especially the understanding that my suffering need not be pointless but could be united with Christ Our Lord’s. I never felt abandoned, knowing that the Lord was with me—even as I didn’t understand what he was doing for most of the thirteen months. For many years, I had told the suffering and disturbed that the Son of God, too, had trials on this earth, and now I myself was consoled by this fact. So, I prayed for friends and foes, for my supporters and my family, for the victims of sexual abuse, and for my fellow prisoners and the warders. 

George Cardinal Pell is prefect emeritus of the Vatican Secretariat for the Economy.

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Notre Dame: Cathedral’s spire will be restored to 19th Century design

Notre Dame spire on fire in April 2019
The cathedral caught fire in April 2019

From the BBC News website:

The spire of Notre Dame cathedral, which was destroyed in a fire last April, will be restored according to the original Gothic design.

French President Emmanuel Macron announced the decision, putting an end to speculation that the spire would be rebuilt in a modern style.

Mr Macron had previously hinted he was in favour of a “contemporary gesture”.

However he has said he wants the restoration to be completed by 2024, when Paris is hosting the Olympics.

The Elysée said Mr Macron’s main concern was “not delaying the reconstruction and making it complicated – things had to be cleared up quickly”.

It added that the process of designing a modern spire, with an international competition for architects, could have caused unnecessary delays.

“The president trusts the experts and approved the main outlines of the project presented by the chief architect which plans to reconstruct the spire identically,” the Elysée said.

The announcement followed a meeting of France’s national heritage and architecture commission (CNPA).

When the 13th century roof of the Paris cathedral caught fire during restoration works in April 2019 it sparked a vast outpouring of emotion, as well as donations from across the world. 

Within two days about €900m ($1bn; £805m) had been raised for the cathedral’s restoration.

The cathedral’s first spire was built in the 13th Century, but due to extensive damage it was removed in the late 18th Century. Its replacement, designed by architect Eugène Viollet-le-Duc, was built in the mid-19th Century.

Notre Dame Cathedral with a rooftop pool
One architects’ firm drew up plans for a rooftop pool on the cathedral

Since last year’s fire, discussion over how to restore the spire has been tense. 

Jean-Louis Georgelin, the army general put in charge of the reconstruction effort, wanted a modern alternative. This idea appeared briefly to have President Macron’s backing, when he said he would be in favour of a “contemporary gesture”.

This sparked a wave of unconventional proposals from architects around the world – including one design with a rooftop pool, and another with a giant park and greenhouse on the roof.

But the cathedral’s chief architect Philippe Villeneuve spoke out strongly in favour of a faithful restoration to the previous, 19th Century design.

In one particularly heated exchange last November, Gen Georgelin told Mr Villeneuve to “shut his mouth” – causing audible gasps in a meeting of the National Assembly’s cultural affairs committee.

See also: https://www.churchmilitant.com/news/article/court-declares-hagia-sophia-a-mosque

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‘Heart Speaks to Heart’: Benedict XVI Sends Message for His Brother’s Funeral Mass

Pope Benedict XVI prays with his brother, Msgr. Georg Ratzinger, in his private chapel at the Vatican. (Vatican Media)

Courtney Mares/CNA:

ROME, Italy — Pope emeritus Benedict XVI watched his brother’s funeral via livestream on Wednesday as his secretary Archbishop Georg Gänswein read the pope emeritus’ message of remembrance at the Mass in Germany.

“When I said goodbye to him in the morning on Monday, June 22, we knew it would be his farewell to this world forever. But we also knew that the benevolent God, who gave us this togetherness in this world, will also rule in the other world and will give us a new togetherness there,” Pope Benedict XVI wrote in the message read aloud at the funeral on July 8.

“May God reward you richly, Georg, for everything you have achieved, for what you have suffered, and for what you have given to me,” the pope emeritus wrote.

Msgr. Georg Ratzinger died in Bavaria at the age of 96 on July 1. While the pope emeritus was unable to attend Ratzinger’s funeral in Regensburg, Pope emertius Benedict XVI expressed gratitude for the time he spent with his older brother during his trip to Bavaria less than two weeks before his death.

“I would like to thank you for being with him again in the last days of his life. He didn’t ask for a visit from me. But I felt that it was the hour to go to him again. I am deeply grateful for this inner sign that the Lord has given me,” Pope Benedict XVI wrote in the letter addressed to Bishop Rudolf Voderholzer, who officiated his brother’s funeral Mass. 

Pope Benedict XVI remembered his brother as a man of musical talent, humor, and piety. 

“Above all he was a man of God. Even though he did not put his piety on display, it was the actual centre of his life, even more so than his sobriety and honesty,” he said.

Msgr. Ratzinger was born in Bavaria on January 15, 1924, the first son of Joseph and Maria Ratzinger. He showed an early talent for music, learning to play the violin and the church organ as a child. 

He was ordained to the priesthood alongside his younger brother, the future pope, in 1951. The eldest Ratzinger son went on to serve as the choir master of the Regensburger Domspatzen, the cathedral choir of Regensburg, from 1964 to 1994.

“My brother received and understood the priesthood call as a musical call,” Pope Benedict XVI said.

“When he finally was appointed to the position of Cathedral Choirmaster in Regensburg, it was both a moment of joy and of pain for him, as our mother had passed away almost at the same time as Cathedral Choirmaster Schrems had. Had our mother still been alive, he would not have accepted the call to be the position of choirmaster in Regensburg. This role — though bought at the price of a great deal of suffering — more and more became a joyful role for him,” he wrote.

In his homily at the funeral, Bishop Rudolf Voderholzer recalled moments from Georg Ratzinger’s life from his experience in the war to his vocation as a priest and work as a church musician. The bishop emphasized his legacy with a view to the important role of church music in evangelization.

Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Nikola Eterović and Cardinal Gerhard Müller were present at the funeral Mass at Regensburg Cathedral.

Pope Benedict XVI said that he received letters and emails from many countries upon the death of his brother. They “wrote to me in a way that touched my heart,” he said. “Each one should have a personal answer. Unfortunately I lack the time and strength to do so.”

“I can only thank everyone for taking part in these hours and days — Cardinal Newman’s sentence has come true for me right now: ‘Cor ad cor loquitur’ … heart speaks to heart. “

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A “Francis bishop” in Germany says Church is becoming irrelevant

Heiner Wilmer, bishop of Hildesheim Photo: Moritz Frankenberg/dpa (MaxPPP TagID: dpaphotosthree820003.jpg) [Photo via MaxPPP]

From La Croix International:

Catholics in Germany formally left the Church in record numbers last year. The exact figure was 272,771 – a statistic recently confirmed by the national episcopal conference.

And Bishop Heiner Wilmer, a religious order priest that Pope Francis selected two years ago to lead the northern diocese of Hildersheim, fears there could be a further drop in church attendance due to the coronavirus crisis.

But in a July 1 article in the diocesan paper, the 59-year-old bishop said he feared something worse than this so-called “Corona effect”.

Wilmer is more worried that Church is losing its import. Put bluntly, he says the Church’s relevance in society is diminishing. 

A “Francis bishop” with a broad worldview

Although he’s been bishop for a relatively short time, he has a broad vision and knowledge of the Church beyond the borders of Germany.

He was completing his third year as worldwide superior general of the Dehonians (Priests of the Sacred Heart) when the pope called him to episcopal service. And as bishop, Wilmer has approached his ministry much in the same way and manner as Francis. 

In his recent article, he said phenomena like clerical sexual abuse, Church structures and Church tax are only ostensible causes for the decline of Catholicism. But what’s really at the heart of the matter, he said, is the question of the Church’s relevance.

“We, as a Church, and therefore our interpretation of life, are becoming less important,” he said. 

In today’s societies, the Catholic Church is only one “provider” among many other alternatives that gives meaning to people’s lives, he noted. 

“Power centers” vs. the classical parish

Instead of classical parishes with their claim to exclusivity, the bishop said the Church needs more vibrant “power centers” that radiate presence and charisma.

He said committed lay Christians, rather than priests, should run these centers. They would be found, for example, within universities or house communities. 

“I don’t want to talk down classical parishes, but we need alternatives to the proclamation of the Gospel message,” Bishop Wilmer said.

Believing requires Christians to be physically present. They must learn how to live and proclaim the Gospel message and not flee into cyberspace, he underlined. 

“It is a case of being together, walking through life shoulder to shoulder and sitting opposite one another at the kitchen table, at the workplace, where people are growing old, where they are sick and frail, laughing and weeping together, face to face, and really being present physically,” he insisted.

More than 8,000 Catholics officially left the Church in Hildesheim Diocese in 2019. That’s over 1,000 more than in the previous year. 

The overall number of Catholics in the diocese shrunk from 593,360 in 2018 to 581,460 in 2019. 

Christa Pongratz-Lippitt writes from Vienna where she has spent many years as a reporter and commentator on Church affairs in the German-speaking world.

CP&S Comment: Let us pray for this Bishop and for the crumbling Church in Germany.

See also: https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/survey-finds-30-of-german-catholics-are-considering-leaving-church-73824

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Is Archbishop Viganò on the Brink of Schism? No!

Recently Italian journalist Sandro Magister wrote an accusatory article titled: “Archbishop Viganò on the Brink of Schism,” published at Settimo Cielo on June 29. Not surprisingly, Archbishop Viganò responded to explain that he is NOT in schism with the Catholic Church. More and more we see the terms “schismatic” and “in schism” being thrown at traditional Catholics. Dr. Taylor Marshall explains the controversy and gives his analysis with reference to the Archbishop’s response:

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Antonio Socci: The Mystery of the Sunday Angelus

Pope Francis waves to the faithful at the end of the Angelus prayer from his studio window overlooking St. Peter’s Square, after celebrating a Mass for the Feast of Rome’s Patrons Saints Peter and Paul, at the Vatican, Monday, June 29, 2020. (Credit: Riccardo De Luca/AP.)

What are the true contents of the still secret agreement between the Vatican and the Chinese Communist regime? And why, after two years, is it still hidden? What is there to hide?

The question is ever more pressing, because last Sunday a true detective story unfolded. Immediately following the Sunday Angelus, Vatican journalist Marco Tosatti, on his widely followed blog Stilum Curiae, revealed that in the bulletin distributed to journalists before the Pope’s prayer, there were some important remarks prepared on the crisis of Hong Kong, where the Beijing regime is definitively crushing freedom and autonomy. 

His remarks were to be read immediately after the Angelus prayer, when, just like every Sunday, the Pope speaks about the issues he considers to be the most pressing news. These were the (pre-announced) words that the Pope was supposed to read: 

“Recently, I have followed with particular attention and not without concern the development of the complex situation in Hong Kong, and I wish to show above all my heartfelt closeness to all the inhabitants of that territory. In the current context, the issues addressed are undoubtedly delicate and affect everyone’s life; therefore it is understandable that there is a marked sensitivity in this regard. I hope therefore that all the people involved will know how to face the various problems with a spirit of far-sighted wisdom and authentic dialogue. This requires courage, humility, non-violence, and respect for the dignity and rights of all. I thus express the desire that societal freedom, and especially religious freedom, be expressed in full and true liberty, as indeed various international documents provide for it. I accompany with my constant prayer the entire Catholic community and all people of good will in Hong Kong, so that they can construct a prosperous and harmonious society together.” 

However, Tosatti reveals, shortly before the Pope appeared at the window in St. Peter’s Square, journalists were advised that the section of the prepared remarks about Hong Kong would not be spoken.

And in fact the pope did not read it. 

Thus – since it was a text under embargo – it is officially non-existent. The Vatican has not given any explanation of this singular incident.

The discourse cited above, moreover, is not at all harsh with Beijing. It would have been a significant intervention only because it would have been the first time Bergoglio said something about the drama of Hong Kong. It is well known, in fact, that despite his very marked interventionism on all sorts of political and social questions, the Argentinian Pope has been completely taciturn on the Chinese repression of Hong Kong, just as he has been on all issues concerning human rights and religious freedom in China. When he speaks of China, he always does so in an exclusively positive way, with expressions of great courtesy towards his communist tyrants. 

Tosatti, after reconstructing Sunday’s detective story, then raises all the right questions about it. He asks, “What sort of pressure has Beijing put on the Pope so that he would not speak on world television about the drama of the former British colony, even in the most delicate and peaceful tones possible?” 

And he notes that “this episode sheds even worse light – if that is possible – on the famous secret agreement signed between Beijing and the Holy See, whose consequences are being heavily felt in the lives of many Chinese Catholics, despite the propaganda of Vatican media. It is an agreement that risks constituting one of the most sensational errors in the history of Vatican diplomacy, and also one of the worst decisions of the Pope who wanted it and endorsed it, unlike his predecessors.” 

But the problem does not concern only Chinese Christians. It concerns the entire Church. One must wonder whether the Pope is still free and if the Vatican is now subjected to Beijing, as many fear. It is an unheard of and disturbing situation. Probably the Italian media will be silent about the event, but the case could make an impression in the United States, even on a political level: at the White House. 

Antonio Socci 

Translated by Giuseppe Pellegrino

First published at “Libero” on 7 July 2020 and at Antonio Socci’s website

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Abp Viganò defends his union with Church: ‘I have no desire to separate myself from Mother Church’

Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò

July 6, 2020, LifeSiteNews:

“I have no desire to separate myself from Mother Church, for the exaltation of which I daily renew the offering of my life,” stated Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò regarding accusations that he was “on the brink of schism” over his comments regarding the Catholic Church in relation to the 1962-65 Vatican II council.

In a new post today that was first published by Sandro Magister in Italian and Marco Tosatti in English (read full letter below), Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò responded to an article by Sandro Magister, in which the Italian journalist accused him of demeaning Pope Benedict XVI and for being “on the brink of schism.”

Magister had written, on June 29, a strong rebuke of Archbishop Viganòs recent interventions, in which he strongly criticized some elements of the Second Vatican Council that are ambiguous and that have been the basis of the creation of a “parallel church” that has little in common with the Catholic Church’s Tradition. In his post, Magister claimed that Archbishop Viganò blames Pope Benedict XVI for “having ‘deceived’ the whole Church in that he would have it be believed that the Second Vatican Council was immune to heresies and moreover should be interpreted in perfect continuity with true perennial doctrine.” However, the link provided by Magister leads to a June 9 post by Viganò (here in English) that does not claim that Pope Benedict had “deceived” the whole Church.

Viganò had spoken in his earlier June 9 post about the fact that “attempts to correct the conciliar excesses – invoking the hermeneutic of continuity – have proven unsuccessful,” and then added that “despite all the efforts of the hermeneutic of continuity which shipwrecked miserably at the first confrontation with the reality of the present crisis, it is undeniable that from Vatican II onwards a parallel church was built, superimposed over and diametrically opposed to the true Church of Christ.”

Viganò only used the word “deception” when he admitted that, just as he “honestly and serenely obeyed questionable orders sixty years ago, believing that they represented the loving voice of the Church,” he now recognizes “that I have been deceived.”

Next to this claim about Viganò’s purportedly accusing Pope Benedict XVI, Sandro Magister also claimed in his June 29 article that this Italian prelate is “on the brink of schism.” Further using harsh language, Magister also spoke of “a relentless barrage of denunciations of Church heresies over the last few decades” that Archbishop Viganò purportedly has published in recent weeks.

In his new response to Magister, the Italian prelate wrote that he was aware that someone critical of the Council easily “awakens” the “inquisitorial spirit,” but that nevertheless he considers it appropriate to “raise problems that remain unresolved to date, the foremost of which is the crisis that has afflicted the Church since Vatican II.”

He furthermore rejects Magister’s claim that he himself was on the “brink” of schism, saying: “I claim the right to say it without thereby making myself guilty of the delict of schism for having attacked the unity of the Church. The unity of the Church is inseparably in Charity and in Truth, and where error reigns or even only worms its way in, there cannot be Charity.”

Archbishop Viganò then assured Magister that, “unlike many bishops, such as those of the German Synodal Path, who have already gone far beyond the brink of schism (…) I have no desire to separate myself from Mother Church, for the exaltation of which I daily renew the offering of my life.”

He goes on to explain that he never accused Pope Benedict of having “deceived” the Church:

“I do not think that I have ever written such a thing about the Holy Father; on the contrary: I said, and I reaffirm, that we were all – or almost all – deceived by those who used the Council as a “container” equipped with its own implicit authority and the authoritativeness of the Fathers who took part in it, while distorting its purpose. And those who fell into this deception did so because, loving the Church and the Papacy, they could not imagine that in the heart of Vatican II a minority of very organized conspirators could use a Council to demolish the Church from within; and that in doing so they could count on the silence and inaction of Authority, if not on its complicity.”

Archbishop Viganò has started to open up this debate about Vatican II at the beginning of June, in response to a June 1 statement by Bishop Athanasius Schneider. The Italian prelate first published a June 9 intervention, adding a June 15 statement about some of the problematic propositions that can be found in Vatican II documents. He then responded to questions by Phil Lawler concerning the history and background of the turbulent Second Vatican Council and the signs that it had indeed been manipulated by a small group of modernists, on June 26.

In a response to LifeSite’s editor-in-chief, Archbishop Viganò clarified his earlier words that he thinks this Council should better be forgotten, by saying that he considers this Council to be valid, but manipulated.

Finally, this new response to Sandro Magister is so far the last statement explaining his own position and critique. Viganò herewith is trying to open up a debate without immediately being silenced as being a “Lefebvrist,” as he wrote to Sandro Magister.


Archbishop Viganò’s full response to Sandro Magister:

3 July 2020

Saint Irenaeus, Bishop and Martyr

Dear Mr. Magister,

Permit me to reply to your article “Archbishop Viganò on the Brink of Schism,” published at Settimo Cielo on June 29 (here).

I am aware that having dared to express an opinion strongly critical of the Council is sufficient to awaken the inquisitorial spirit that in other cases is the object of execration by right-thinking people. Nonetheless, in a respectful dispute between ecclesiastics and competent laity, it does not seem to me to be inappropriate to raise problems that remain unresolved to date, the foremost of which is the crisis that has afflicted the Church since Vatican II and has now reached the point of devastation.

There are those who speak of the misrepresentation of the Council; others who speak of the need to return to reading it in continuity with the Tradition; others of the opportunity to correct any errors contained in it, or to interpret the equivocal points in a Catholic sense. On the opposing side, there is no lack of those who consider Vatican II as a blueprint from which to proceed in the revolution: the changing and transformation of the Church into an entirely new and modern entity, in step with the times. This is part of the normal dynamics of a “dialogue” that is all too often invoked but rarely practiced: those who thus far have expressed dissent about what I have said have never entered into the merit of the argument, limiting themselves to saddling me with epithets that have already been merited by my far more illustrious and venerable brothers in the episcopate. It is curious that, both in the doctrinal as well as the political arena, the progressives claim for themselves a primacy, a state of election, that apodictically places the adversary in a position of ontological inferiority, unworthy of attention or response and simplistically liquidatable as Lefebvrianon the ecclesial front or fascist on the socio-political front. But their lack of arguments does not legitimize them to dictate the rules, nor to decide who has the right to speak, especially when reason, even prior to faith, has demonstrated where the deception is, who the author is, and what the purpose is.

At first it appeared to me that the content of your article was to be considered more an understandable tribute to the Prince, who can be found in the frescoed salons of the Third Loggia or in the stylish offices of the Editor; and yet in reading what you attribute to me I discovered an inaccuracy – let’s call it that – that I hope is the  result of a misunderstanding. I therefore ask you to grant me space to reply at Settimo Cielo.

You state that I have supposedly blamed Benedict XVI “for having ‘deceived’ the whole Church in that he would have it be believed that the Second Vatican Council was immune to heresies and moreover should be interpreted in perfect continuity with true perennial doctrine.” I do not think that I have ever written such a thing about the Holy Father; on the contrary: I said, and I reaffirm, that we were all – or almost all – deceived by those who used the Council as a “container” equipped with its own implicit authority and the authoritativeness of the Fathers who took part in it, while distorting its purpose. And those who fell into this deception did so because, loving the Church and the Papacy, they could not imagine that in the heart of Vatican II a minority of very organized conspirators could use a Council to demolish the Church from within; and that in doing so they could count on the silence and inaction of Authority, if not on its complicity. These are historical facts, of which I permit myself to give a personal interpretation, but one which I think others may share.

I permit myself also to remind you, as if there was any need, that the positions of moderate critical re-reading of the Council in a traditional sense by Benedict XVI are part of a laudable recent past, while in the formidable Seventies the position of then-theologian Joseph Ratzinger was quite different. Authoritative studies stand alongside the same admissions of the Professor of Tubingen confirming the partial repentances of the Emeritus. Nor do I see a “reckless indictment launched by Viganò against Benedict XVI for his ‘failed attempts to correct conciliar excesses by invoking the hermeneutic of continuity,’” since this is an opinion widely shared not only in conservative circles but also and above all among progressives. And it should be said that what the innovators succeeded in obtaining by means of deception, cunning and blackmail was the result of a vision that we have found later applied in the maximum degree in the Bergoglian “magisterium” of Amoris Laetitia. The malicious intention is admitted by Ratzinger himself: “The impression grew steadily that nothing was now stable in the Church, that everything was open to revision. More and more the Council appeared to be like a great Church parliament that could change everything and reshape everything according to its own desires” (cf. J. Ratzinger, Milestones, translation from the German by Erasmo Leiva-Merikakis, Ignatius Press, San Francisco, 1997, p. 132). But even more so by the words of the Dominican Edward Schillebeecks: “We express it diplomatically [now], but after the Council we will draw the implicit conclusions” (De Bazuin, n.16, 1965).

We have confirmed that the intentional ambiguity in the texts had the purpose of keeping opposing and irreconcilable visions together, in the name of an evaluation of utility and to the detriment of revealed Truth. A Truth that, when it is integrally proclaimed, cannot fail to be divisive, just as Our Lord is divisive: “Do you think that I have come to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division” (Lk 12:51).

I do not find anything reprehensible in suggesting that we should forget Vatican II: its proponents knew how to confidently exercise this damnatio memoriae not just with a Council but with everything, even to the point of affirming that theircouncil was the first of the new church, and that beginning with their council the old religion and the old Mass was finished. You will say to me that these are the positions of extremists, and that virtue stands in the middle, that is, among those who consider that Vatican II is only the latest of an uninterrupted series of events in which the Holy Spirit speaks through the mouth of the one and only infallible Magisterium. If so, it should be explained why the conciliar church was given a new liturgy and a new calendar, and consequently a new doctrine – nova lex orandi, nova lex credendi – distancing itself from its own past with disdain.

The mere idea of setting the Council aside causes scandal even in those, like you, who recognize the crisis of recent years, but who persist in not wanting to recognize the causal link between Vatican II and its logical and inevitable effects. You write: “Attention: not the Council interpreted badly, but the Council as such and en bloc.” I ask you then: what would be the correct interpretation of the Council? The one you give or the one given – while they wrote the decrees and declarations – by its very industrious architects? Or perhaps that of the German episcopate? Or that of the theologians who teach in the Pontifical Universities and that we see published in the most popular Catholic periodicals in the world? Or that of Joseph Ratzinger? Or that of Bishop Schneider? Or that of Bergoglio? This would be enough to understand how much damage has been caused by the deliberate adoption of a language that was so murky that it legitimized opposing and contrary interpretations, on the basis of which the famous conciliar springtime then occurred. This is why I do not hesitate to say that that assembly should be forgotten “as such and en bloc,” and I claim the right to say it without thereby making myself guilty of the delict of schism for having attacked the unity of the Church. The unity of the Church is inseparably in Charity and in Truth, and where error reigns or even only worms its way in, there cannot be Charity.

The fairytale of the hermeneutic – even though an authoritative one because of its Author – nevertheless remains an attempt to want to give the dignity of a Council to a true and proper ambush against the Church, so as not to discredit along with it the Popes who wanted, imposed and reproposed that Council. So much so that those same Popes, one after the other, rise to the honors of the altar for having been “popes of the Council.”

Allow me to quote from the article that Doctor Maria Guarini published on June 29 at Chiesa e postconcilio in reaction to your piece at Settimo Cielo, entitled: “Archbishop Viganò is not on the brink of schism: many sins are coming to a head.” She writes: “And it is precisely from here that is born and for this reason risks continuing – without results (thus far, except for the debate triggered by Archbishop Viganò) – the dialogue between deaf people, because the interlocutors use different reality grids: Vatican II, changing the language, has also changed the parameters of approach to reality. And so it happens that we talk about the same thing which, however, is given entirely different meanings. Among other things, the principal characteristic of the present hierarchy is the use of incontestable affirmations, without ever bothering to demonstrate them or with flawed and sophistic demonstrations. But they do not even have need of demonstrations, because the new approach and the new language have subverted everything from the beginning. And the unproven nature of the anomalous ‘pastorality’ without any defined theological principles is precisely what takes away the raw material of the dispute. It is the advance of a shapeless, ever-changing, dissolving fluid in place of the clear, unequivocal, definitive truthful construct: the incandescent perennial firmness of dogma against the sewage and shifting sands of the transient neo-magisterium” (here).

I continue to hope that the tone of your article was not dictated by the simple fact that I have dared to reopen the debate about that Council that many – too many – in the ecclesial structure, consider as an unicum in the history of the Church, almost an untouchable idol.

You may be certain that, unlike many bishops, such as those of the German Synodal Path, who have already gone far beyond the brink of schism – promoting and brazenly attempting to impose aberrant ideologies and practices on the universal Church – I have no desire to separate myself from Mother Church, for the exaltation of which I daily renew the offering of my life.

Deus refugium nostrum et virtus,

populum ad Te clamantem propitius respice;

Et intercedente Gloriosa et Immaculata Virgine Dei Genitrice Maria,

cum Beato Ioseph, ejus Sponso,

ac Beatis Apostolis Tuis, Petro et Paulo, et omnibus Sanctis,

quas pro conversione peccatorum,

pro libertate et exaltatione Sanctae Matris Ecclesiae,

preces effundimus, misericors et benignus exaudi.

Receive, dear Sandro, my blessing and greeting, with best wishes for every good thing, in Christ Jesus.

+ Carlo Maria Viganò

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10 Forgotten Facts about Fatima and Why You Should Know Them

While many Fatima devotees know the salient aspects of Our Lady’s message and the various events surrounding the apparitions, certain details or nuances could yet be overlooked. We dare offer here several points for study and reflection in the hope they will help one better appreciate the meaning of the Fatima message:

1.    A seventh apparition

Our Lady appeared six times at Fatima from May, 1917 to October, 1917. However, during the first apparition Our Lady mentioned that she will return to Cova the Iria, the site of the apparition, a seventh time. In her own words Our Lady said,

“I have come here to ask you to come here for six months in succession on the thirteenth day of each month at this same hour. Later I will tell you who I am and what I want. Afterward, I will return here a seventh time.”

Although Fatima specialists differ in their opinions with regard to its interpretation, nothing against Faith prevents a Catholic to hope and confide that this promise would be fulfilled in the near future. Certainly it is a glorious and most singular event a faithful Catholic could eagerly look forward to especially in our confusing and chaotic times. Perhaps, the seventh apparition would usher in the time of peace that St. Louis Grignion de Montfort described as the Reign of Mary and which Our Lady prophesied as the triumph of Her Immaculate Heart.

2.    The Rosary and Purgatory          

Also on the above occasion, Our Lady revealed to the three children that Francisco must say many Rosaries before he will go to Heaven and that a certain Amelia will be in Purgatory until the end of the world.

Here, Our Lady reiterates the salutary practice of praying the most Holy Rosary as a means to save one’s soul and offers it as a guarantee to Francisco’s safe passage to Heaven -certainly an invaluable counsel from the Queen of Heaven and Earth.

She likewise points out the very reality of the existence of Purgatory and even cites a striking example of a poor yet already saved soul who will endure its purifying fires till the end of the world. According to the research done by Father Sebastião Martins dos Reis, Amelia died under circumstances involving dishonor in matters of chastity. Shocking as this fact may had been to  Father Thomas McGlynn, O.P. during his own interview, Sister Lucia recalled that more tragic were those souls who suffered the fires of hell forever because of a single mortal sin!

3.    The difference between the Angel’s and Our Lady’s apparitions

The children’s physical, emotional and psychological experience with the Angel of Portugal and Our Lady were different. In her memoirs, Sister Lucia writes,

“I do not know why, but the fact is that the apparitions of Our Lady had a very different effect on us. There was the same intimate gladness, the same peace and happiness. But instead of physical weariness, we felt a certain expansive liveliness, a sense of glee instead of that annihilation in the Divine Presence, a certain communicative enthusiasm instead of that difficulty in speaking…”

One stark contrast between the angel and Our Lady is their different natures. The former is pure spirit while the latter is flesh and spirit; body and soul. The angel’s superior nature drained much energy from the children which left them in a state of annihilation.

Since the children are of the same nature as Our Lady, one could surmise that this may explain why the children were more at ease with Our Lady. The human nature they shared with Our Lady found a pleasing and lively consonance with her. One could feel assurance and confidence in Lucia’s observation and experience that, indeed, Our Lady was assumed into Heaven in both body and soul – a dogma of the Faith.

4.    The importance of prayer, penance, sacrifices and mortification for the conversion of sinners.

While it is true that the above is the constant and recurring theme of Our Lady’s Fatima message, it behooves Catholics to understand how and why it is so; especially in modern minds where the notion of mortification and penance is watered down or simply brushed aside as archaic or medieval.

The gravity of the moral crisis pervasive in the world requires continued prayers, penances and sacrifices which prompted the three children especially little Francisco and Jacinta to practice them to an extreme and heroic degree. At the height of their innocence, the two younger children understood their necessity and offered themselves admirably as expiatory victims. But Our Lady’s appeal for prayer and penance made to the children also applies to the rest of mankind.

According to Father Fredrick William Faber, D.D. in his book, Growth in Holiness, much is to be gained by us lesser mortals in the practice of mortification for it tames the body and brings the unruly passions under the control of grace and our superior will. It increases the range of our spiritual vision and makes our conscience more sensitive to the discernment of the subtleties that separate not only those between venial and mortal sins but also those between what is faulty and imperfect.

Suffering easily becomes power in the things of God. For isn’t it true that Our Lord redeemed mankind through His bloody sacrifice and immense suffering on Calvary?

Leading mortified lives encourages us to persevere in prayer, gives us strength in resisting temptations, makes us unworldly and frees our heart from earthly vanities and attachments.

5.    The persecutions suffered by the children from family and friends, people and media because of the apparitions 

Lucia, in particular, was most aggrieved by the incredulity of her mother and kin as well as by the withdrawal of their affectionate treatment of her. Her sufferings were much more intensified given her tender age.

Francisco and Jacinta fared better within their family for their parents never held a hostile attitude towards the apparitions. Yet, they weren’t spared from the jokes and wisecracks of neighbors and from the laughter and sneers of by-standers along the road.

The skeptical and secular media of their day were no less forgiving in subjecting them to ridicule and sarcasm. Nationwide, newspapers staged a bitter campaign of hatred and denigration to discredit the apparitions.

Nevertheless, despite all these ill-treatment and vitriolic affronts, the children bore them with admirable patience and charity always mindful of Our Lady’s request to offer their sacrifices for the sake of poor sinners. An edifying example one should emulate in the daily inconveniences one encounters everyday. Here one is reminded of St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus’ little way.

6.    Modifications to the Five First Saturday Devotion to facilitate its practice

The original request of Our Lady asks one to confess and receive Communion on five consecutive first Saturdays; to say five decades of the Rosary; to meditate during 15 minutes on the mysteries of the Rosary for the purpose of making reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary in reparation for the sins of men.

In subsequent private visions and apparitions however, Sister Lucia presented to Our Lord the difficulties that devotees encountered in fulfilling some conditions. With loving condescension and solicitude, Our Lord deigned to relax the rules to make this devotion easy to observe:

  1. Confession may be done on other days other than the First Saturday so long as one receives Our Lord worthily and has the intention of making reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
  2. Even if one forgets to make the intention, it may be done on the next confession, taking advantage of the first occasion to go to confession.
  3. Sister Lucia also clarified that it is not necessary to meditate on ALL mysteries of the Rosary on each First Saturday.  One or several suffice.

With much latitude granted by Our Lord Himself, there is no reason for the faithful to hesitate or delay this pious practice in the spirit of reparation which the Immaculate Heart of Mary urgently asks.

7.    Reasons for the Five First Saturdays Devotion

This may seem academic to some but it would be good to recapitulate here the reasons for they can be forgotten. Devotions have intentions attached to them and knowing them adds merit and weight to the practice.

The five first Saturdays correspond to the five kinds of offenses and blasphemies committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary. They are:

a. Blasphemies against the Immaculate Conception

b. Blasphemies against her virginity

c. Blasphemies against her divine maternity, at the same time the refusal to accept her as the Mother of all men

d. Instilling indifference, scorn and even hatred towards this Immaculate Mother in the hearts of children

e. Direct insults against Her sacred images

8.    A greater miracle denied

Sister Lucia revealed later in her life that the miracle of the sun could have been greater had the children not been abducted by Arthur Oliveira Santos, the cruel and conniving administrator of the Administrative Council of Vila Nova de Ourém. She originally expressed this remarkable detail in the interrogation done by Father Manuel Marques Ferreira on August 21, 1917, two days after the apparition but which she left out in her 1941 report.

Here is a fitting example of a transgression committed against the wishes of Our Lady which she left unpunished. Though no fault of the children, it is lamentably sad to note that the multitudes at Fatima on the afternoon of October 13, 1917 were deprived of a far greater miracle if not for the deception, trickery and malice of civil authorities.

9.    Unknown light or Aurora Borealis?

Sister Lucia considered the extraordinary light that illuminated the skies of Europe on the night of January 25-26, 1938 during the hours of 8:45 p.m. to 1:15 a.m., as “the great sign” – the unknown light that Our Lady predicted that would signal that war was near.

Astronomers and skeptic brush it off as a mere aurora borealis though its character was remarkably unprecedented.

Interestingly enough, the book, The Secrets of Fatima explains:

“This aurora appeared as far south as Galicia, Spain, where Sister Lucy was then cloistered, and she, the only survivor of the three Fatima shepherds, recognized it immediately as the sign. Visible even to Pius XI in Rome, the unprecedented aurora was accompanied by a ‘crackling’ sound, possibly attributable to discharges of atmospheric energy. Indeed, in many areas of Europe, panic broke out; as the populace concluded that the world was on fire and that the End had come.”

The New York Times for January 26, 1938, carried the following:

“London, January 25th, 1938. The Aurora Borealis rarely seen in Southern or Western Europe spread fear in parts of Portugal and lower Austria tonight while thousands of Britons were brought running into the streets in wonderment. The ruddy glow led many to think half the city was ablaze. The Windsor Fire Department was called out thinking that Windsor Castle was afire. The lights were clearly seen in Italy, Spain, and even Gibraltar. The glow bathing snow-clad mountain tops in Austria and Switzerland was a beautiful sight but firemen turned out to chase non-existent fires. Portuguese villagers rushed in fright from their homes fearing the end of the world.”

10.    Jacinta’s last words:

Tempered and molded by extraordinary penance and sacrifice, 10-year-old Jacinta proved to be precocious and prophetic in her vision of things. She had many private apparitions and countless revelations. Such was her supernatural illumination and holy wisdom that Mother Godinho, the directress of the Lisbon orphanage where Jacinta stayed prior to her death in the hospital, could only asked in awe and wonder, “Who taught you all these things?” The following statements uttered by Jacinta showed her depth of soul in face of the moral decay ravishing the world:

  • The sins which cause most souls to go to Hell are the sins of the flesh.
  • To be pure of body is to keep chastity. To be pure in soul is not to commit sins, not look at what one should not see, not to steal, never to lie, always to tell the truth however hard it may be.
  • Fashions that will greatly offend Our Lord will appear. People who serve God should not follow fashions. The Church has no fashions. Our Lord is always the same.
  • Doctors do not have the light to cure the sick because they do not have love of God
  • Priests should only occupy themselves with the affairs of the Church. Priests should be pure, very pure. The disobedience of priests and religious to their superiors and to the Holy Father greatly offends Our Lord.
  • To be a woman religious, it is necessary to be very pure in soul and body.
  • Many marriages are not good; they do not please Our Lord, and they are not of God.
  • Confession is a sacrament of mercy. Therefore, one must approach the confessional with confidence and joy.
  • My godmother, pray much for those who govern! Woe to those who persecute the religion of Our Lord. If the government left the Church in peace and gave freedom to the holy Faith, it would be blessed by God.
  • Wars are nothing but punishments for the sins of the world.
  • Our Lady can no longer hold back the arm of her beloved Son from the world. It is necessary to do penance. If people change their ways, Our Lord will still spare the world; but if they do not, the chastisement will come.


a.    Fatima: A Message More urgent than Ever, Luiz Sergio Solimeo
b.    Our Lady of Fatima: Prophecies of Tragedy and Hope, Augusto A. Borelli
c.    Growth in Holiness, Father William Fredrick Faber, D.D.]


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“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood…”

from Fr George W. Rutler’s ‘Weekly Column’

Stalin, killer of at least 20 million people, said “A single death is a tragedy; a million deaths is a statistic.” In mid-nineteenth-century China, the civil war known as the Taiping Rebellion cost upwards of 30 million lives.

The feast of Saint Augustine Zhao Rong and his 119 companions, on July 9, is a reminder that the persecution of Christian missionaries and native Chinese, begun in the mid-17th century, continues into our time. Augustine had been a soldier assigned as a prison guard for the French missionary bishop, Louis Gabriel Dufresse, whose martyrdom in Chengdu moved Augustine to request baptism, after which he became a priest and was tortured and killed in 1815. Later, in the Boxer Rebellion, 30,000 Christians would be slaughtered.
There are magnificent witnesses in China today, among whose champions is Cardinal Zen, indomitable at the age of eighty-eight. The insouciance with which some timorous Western ecclesiastics have cast a blind eye to the persecution of the Catholics in China, will be remembered as a dark blot on the history of our time.

Mao killed at least 40 million. His “Cultural Revolution,” which executed upwards of 3 million, excited mobs of youths as agents of government repression. Monuments of ancient culture were destroyed. These included nearly 7,000 priceless works of art in the Temple of Confucius alone as part of the frenzied attack on the Four Olds: Old Customs, Old Habits, Old Culture, and Old Ideas.

In our own country, the debutantish radicalism of hysterical youths whose misguided idealism makes a venomous brew when mixed with poor education, is exploited by more sinister strategists. James Madison described such mobs as: “united and actuated by some common impulse of passion, or of interest, adverse to the rights of other citizens, or to the permanent and aggregate interests of the community.”

Young people eager to condemn the immorality of forebears, while exulting in their own undisciplined lives, recently pulled down a statue of Saint Junípero Serra. It evoked the attack on the Franciscan mission in Alta California on November 4, 1775, when 600 native warriors pierced the friar Father Luis Jayme with eighteen arrows as he called to them: “Love God, my children!”

Staff Sergeant David Bellavia, the one Iraqi combatant to receive the Medal of Honor, has said that our universities are turning out “Peter Pan” adolescents who would profit better if they joined the Army where they would be taught how to be men and women.

After the destruction of the statue of Saint Junípero Serra, the wise Archbishop of San Francisco did not engage in polemics. He simply went to the site of the vandalism and said the exorcism prayer of Saint Michael. “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6:12).

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Sunday readings and reflections

Book of Zechariah 9: 9-10

Thus says the LORD: Rejoice heartily, O daughter Zion, shout for joy, O daughter Jerusalem! See, your king shall come to you; a just savior is he, Meek, and riding on an ass, on a colt, the foal of an ass.
He shall banish the chariot from Ephraim, and the horse from Jerusalem; The warrior’s bow shall be banished, and he shall proclaim peace to the nations. His dominion shall be from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth.

Psalms 145(144): 1-2, 8-9, 10-11, 13cd-14

I will extol you, O my God and King,
and I will bless your name forever and ever.
Every day will I bless you,
and I will praise your name forever and ever.

The LORD is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger and of great kindness.
The LORD is good to all
and compassionate toward all his works.

Let all your works give you thanks, O LORD,
and let your faithful ones bless you.
Let them discourse of the glory of your Kingdom
and speak of your might.

The LORD is faithful in all his words
and holy in all his works.
The LORD lifts up all who are falling
and raises up all who are bowed down.

Letter to the Romans 8: 9,11-13

Brothers and sisters: You are not in the flesh; on the contrary, you are in the spirit, if only the Spirit of God dwells in you. Whoever does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.
If the Spirit of the one who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, the one who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also, through his Spirit that dwells in you.
Consequently, brothers, we are not debtors to the flesh, to live according to the flesh.
For if you live according to the flesh, you will die, but if by the spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Matthew 11: 25-30

At that time Jesus exclaimed, “I give praise to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to the childlike.
Yes, Father, such has been your gracious will.
All things have been handed over to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him.”
“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves.
For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.”


Reflection from The Daily Mass:

Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for your selves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.”

This is one of the most loved of all Gospel passages.

A yoke is a curved piece of timber that links two draft animals, one to the other. The Jewish people used the yoke image for the Mosaic Law. Linked to the Law, one traveled right paths.

Jesus takes that image and applies it to himself: “Come to me…Take my yoke upon you…”

Then he says, “My yoke is easy, and my burden light.” And he really means it.

I may have a general impression that to commit myself to be a disciple of the Lord is a fine thing indeed, but it is a long, difficult, burdensome road I have to walk.

But the Lord says something quite different: “You will find rest for yourselves…my yoke is easy, and my burden light.”

It’s my yoke that is heavy, not the Lord’s. We all have our own burdens. It may be my job, family struggles, my terrible self-image, the mess I’m in, the weight of past sins. When I am tied to these burdens, life is a difficult road.

But Jesus knows all about me, and he says, “Come to me…learn from me…I will give you rest.”

And he will.


TLM readings for the fifth Sunday after Pentecost:

Epistle 1 Peter 3: 8-15

Dearly beloved: Be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, being lovers of the brotherhood, merciful, modest, humble, not rendering evil for evil, nor railing for railing, but contrariwise, blessing: for unto this you are called, that you may inherit a blessing. For he that will love life and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile. Let him decline from evil and do good; let him seek after peace, and pursue it: because the eyes of the Lord are upon the just, and His ears unto their prayers, but the countenance of the Lord is against them that do evil things, And who is he that can hurt you, if you be zealous of good? But if also you suffer anything for justice’ sake, blessed are ye. And be not afraid of their fear, and be not troubled: but sanctify the Lord Christ in your hearts.

Gradual Psalms 83: 10, 9

Behold, O God our protector, and look on Thy servants. O Lord God of hosts, give ear to the prayers of Thy servants. Alleluia, alleluia. (Ps. 20: 1) In Thy strength, O Lord, the king shall rejoice; and in Thy salvation he shall rejoice exceedingly. Alleluia.

Gospel Matthew 5: 20-24

At that time Jesus said to His disciples: Except your justice abound more than that of the Scribes and Pharisees, you shall not enter into the kingdom of Heaven. You have heard that it was said to them of old: Thou shalt not kill and whosoever shall kill, shall be in danger of the judgment. But I say to you, that whosoever is angry with his brother, shall be in danger of the judgment and whosoever shall say to his brother: Raca, shall be in danger of the council; and whosoever shall say: Thou fool, shalt be in danger of hell fire. If therefore thou offer thy gift at the altar, and there thou remember that thy brother hath anything against thee, leave there thy offering before the altar, and go first to be reconciled to thy brother; and then coming thou shalt offer thy gift.

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