We are one day late in publishing this post on the Ember Days of Lent. This year these days are: Wednesday 24th February, Friday 26th February, and Saturday 27th February.
The Church calls for Ember Days four times a year. They are tied to the Liturgical seasons, being: The Feast of St Lucy; Ash Wednesday –Lent; Pentecost and the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross (Roodmas).
Ember days are observed by fasting to the extent that the total sum of food taken for the whole day equals one small meal, taken by one small meal with two smaller meals and no food between meals. Tea, coffee, wine and beer are allowed, (believe it or not).
The Ember days of Wednesday and Saturday are of partial abstinence – that is, a small amount of meat can be taken, but complete abstinence from meat is required on Ember Friday and, indeed, every Friday, both during Lent and generally.
The fasting can have beneficial results physically, but its purpose is spiritual:
To give thanks and praise to God;
• To pray and fast for the conversion of sinners;
• To pray for priests and vocations;
• To petition God to do great things in the coming season;
• To pray for the forgiveness of our own sins and our own conversion.
Ember Friday in Lent
On the Friday in Ember Week the Station was always made in the Church of the Twelve Apostles, situated at the foot of the Quirinal, for the examination of candidates for ordination. Thus were the future priests and deacons put under the protection of the whole Apostolic College. This basilica, one of the oldest in Rome, was built shortly after the time of Constantine by Julius I., on the occasion of the translation of the bodies of the Apostles Philip and James the Less, which rested there. John III made of it a votive monument for the freeing of Rome from the Goths of Totila.
Addressing herself to the public penitents in the first centuries of Christianity, the Church told them by the mouth of Ezechiel that God was ready to forgive them because they repented (Epistle). Like the sick who assembled in the porches of the pond situated on the north of the Temple in Jerusalem they waited at the doors of the church, and on the great day of the Sabbath, which is the Feast of Easter, Jesus cured them, as He healed the paralytic spoken of in the Gospel.
Our souls, washed in the waters of baptism, but since fallen back into sin, must atone for their faults, and Jesus, through the instrumentality of His priests, will pardon them in the holy tribunal of Penance.
The excuse, “I have no man,” will not avail us, for if we remain stricken with the palsy of sin, it is because we do not have recourse to the ministry of priesthood, which is always at our disposal.
Ember Saturday in Lent
The Station for the Saturday of Ember Week is always at the great basilica erected by Constantine and rebuilt by the Popes in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries on the hill of the Vatican on the spot where St. Peter died on the cross and where his body rests. Besides the Gospel is about the Transfiguration of which St. Peter was the chief witness.
It was in this basilica that ordinations took place, preceded, during the night, by twelve lessons of which we have a trace in those occurring in the Mass for to-day. The Introit verse alludes to this nocturnal vigil: “I have cried in the day and in the night before Thee.”
Like the Apostles selected to be present on Mount Thabor, at the manifestation of the divine life of Jesus (Gospel), the new Priests will ascend the steps of the altar to enter into communication with God. It is they who in His name will exhort us to prayer, to patience and to charity. If we abstain during Lent from even the appearance of evil, our souls and our bodies will be preserved unstained for the day of the eternal Pasch, when Christ (Epistle) will allow us to participate in the glory of His Transfiguration for all eternity.
Let us pray to God to fortify us with His blessing so that, during this Lent, we may never depart from His holy will.
“We must prepare for temptation if we want to approach God.” (St. Padre Pio)
Pope Benedict XIV wrote an encyclical on Lent in which he said: “The observance of Lent is the very badge of the Christian warfare. By it, we prove ourselves not to be enemies of the Cross of Christ. By it, we avert the scourges of divine justice. By it, we gain strength against the princes of darkness, for it shields us with heavenly help. Should mankind grow remiss in their observance of Lent, it would be a detriment to God’s glory, a disgrace to the Catholic religion, and a danger to Christian souls. Neither can it be doubted, but that such negligence would become the source of misery to the world, of public calamity, and of private woe.“
“The more a soul is pleasing to God, the more it must be tried.” (St. Padre Pio)
In the Season of Lent especially, we enter into spiritual combat with the devil after the example of Our Lord who was led into the desert by the Spirit to be tempted by the devil. Saint Augustine says that “Christ was tempted by the devil and in the person of Christ, you also were tempted…“
Saint Pio of Pietrelcina recounts that as a young boy he had a vision in which he saw Jesus. Jesus took him into a countryside where two large groups of people were present – the first one consisted of “very handsome men dressed in robes which were as white as snow” and the second one of “very ugly men dressed in black robes (…) who appeared to be more like dark shadows.” Saint Pio was put in the space between the two groups of people and saw a dark giant creature whose forehead was touching the clouds coming toward him. Saint Pio was told by Jesus (who was still near him) to fight the monster. He refused but Jesus’ response was, “You cannot escape this. You must fight. Courage! Go, fight boldly and with confidence. I will be here beside you to help you and I will not allow the creature to defeat you.” Saint Pio entered into battle and won and as the reward for the fight, Jesus put a beautiful crown on his head but then immediately removed it saying, “Another crown, more beautiful than this, will be yours if you learn to fight this creature you have just defeated. He will be back to attack you. Fight bravely and count on my help. Don’t be afraid of being harassed by him nor terrified by his terrible appearance. I will be with you and I will help you every time so that you will be victorious over him.“
“There is joy in the spiritual battles. Learn how to fight and you will be certain of victory.” (St. Padre Pio)
Spiritual combat with the devil is something that cannot be avoided but we must not be discouraged because Christ and Our Blessed Mother are by our side, fighting with us.
CP&S comment: We continue our series on the lives of outstanding holy priests yet to be beatified, who have truly lived their priesthood as ‘Alter Christus’. It is with joy that we have learned (with a h/t to Deacon Nick Donnelly) that the Church has taken the first step towards this recognition with Fr Ignatius Spencer.
On 20th February Pope Francis declared that the nineteenth century Passionist priest, Fr Ignatius Spencer, would be known as the Venerable Ignatius Spencer, a step towards the canonisation of this 19 century relative of Diana, Princess of Wales, and of Sir Winston Churchill. His biographer Fr Gerard Skinner * writes about his extraordinary life.
By the time of George Spencer’s birth on 21st December 1799 at Admiralty House, London (Ignatius becoming his name in latter years), the Spencers were one of the most prominent families in British Society. Having been baptised a member of the Church of England, George Spencer’s earliest years were spent between the family’s great houses of Althorp in Northamptonshire, Spencer House on the edge of Green Park in London and a villa in Wimbledon. He was educated at Eton College before being sent to study with a private tutor, continuing his education at Trinity College, Cambridge.
From an early age Spencer felt called to ministry in the Church of England, finally being ordained as an Anglican priest in 1824. In the parish of the family estate at Althorp he was tireless in his ministering to the spiritual and physical needs of his parishioners. “His great charity to the poor and wandering beggars was unbounded,” wrote a parishioner. “At times he gave them all the money he had, and stripped himself of his clothes to give them to the distressed.”
Having become increasingly restless as to his Christian beliefs Spencer’s quest for truth finally came to a head thanks to his meeting the 21-year-old Ambrose Phillipps de Lisle. On 30 January 1830 Spencer was received into the Catholic Church and was sent to the English College, Rome, for two years of studies, being ordained a priest in May 1832.
Spencer was sent to the mission in West Bromwich, where he lived an ascetic life. A convert of Spencer’s from this time recalled: “His sublime instructions taught me how to pray for the grace of God to guide me to his true Church. He was ever persecuted and nobly overcame his enemies.
“I remember one morning when he was going to visit the poor and sick, he had to pass a boys’ school, at Hill Top. They used to hoot after him low names but, seeing he did not take any notice, they came into the road and threw mud and stones at him: he took no notice. Then they took hold of his coat and ripped it up the back. He did not mind but went on all day as usual, through Oldbury, Tipton Dudley, and Hill Top, visiting his poor people.
“He used to leave home every morning, and fill his pockets with wine and food for the poor sick, and return home about six in the evening, without taking any refreshment all day, though he might have walked twenty miles in the heat of the summer. One winter’s day he gave all his clothes away to the poor, except those that he had on, money was soon given away.”
Others recalled how Spencer “visited the sick constantly” and, should someone come to his church whom he did not recognise “he would find them out at their own houses”, the writer reflecting: “I believe that he brought many that way into the Church.”
In 1838 Spencer initiated a campaign of prayer for the conversion of England, a theme that he was to preach passionately about for the rest of his life and a mission that Pope Leo XIII was to recall over thirty years after Spencer’s death. He encouraged Anglicans, such as Newman (in 1840), to join in the prayer campaign, seeking unity in the truth of Christ. Spencer is considered by many as the pioneer of ecumenical prayer. Most of all, he sought to enlist the prayers of the Irish for England, touring around Ireland preaching of the value of the prayers of a people that felt persecuted for their oppressors.
Another distinctive aspect of Spencer’s spirituality was thanksgiving: “He always came and went rejoicing and thanking God and trying to make others do so too,” wrote one friend. Throughout his many letters of spiritual direction and amongst his brother priests, this was clearly a note of Spencer’s spirituality that grew ever stronger as his life progressed.
In 1839 Spencer was sent to become a member of staff at Oscott College, his bishop hoping that those in Spencer’s charge would imbue his missionary zeal. It was noted at this time that: “Though it cost him much, he always obeyed, and used to pray that Heaven would direct his superiors, whose direction he never refused to obey. . . he never wished for anything but the will of God, and waited patiently for its accomplishment.”
Early during his time in Rome Spencer had met Blessed Dominic Barberi. The two had become friends and Spencer had assisted in bringing the Passionists to England. Spencer finally found his ultimate spiritual home by joining the Passionists on 21st December 1846, his 47th birthday. As he began his novitiate at Aston Hall, Stone, he took the name of Ignatius of St Paul, being professed at the hands of Blessed Dominic Barberi on January 1848. During his novitiate he fell so gravely ill of fever, due to his work amongst the sick Irish people in the workhouse at Stone, that he was allowed to make his religious profession provisionally, as he was thought to have been in danger of death.
For the final sixteen years of his life, Spencer dedicated himself to the Passionists’ great work of giving missions rooted in hours of meditation upon the Passion of Christ and vigils of prayer in the early hours of the morning. In order to be able to visit more towns he developed a system of giving “Little Missions” – visits to a parish of just three days during which he not infrequently was to be found in the confessional for up to twelve hours each day.
He gave missions throughout England, Ireland and Scotland whilst also being given various roles or responsibility within his congregation. While continuing to encourage prayers for the unity of the Church, Spencer spoke often of the necessity of the sanctification of the laity, knowing that this would be a great witness of the faith of the Church. He was instrumental in introducing the SVP to Britain. During the last years of his life Spencer assisted in the foundation of the congregation now known as the Sisters of the Cross and Passion.
Spencer died suddenly on 1st October 1864 and was buried in St Anne’s, Sutton, Merseyside. In a biography published within two years of Spencer’s death, the author, a confrere of Spencer, asserted: “All reverenced [Spencer] as a saint, and every day of his religious life increased the estimation in which he was held by his own brethren.” The biographer continued by pointing out that the particular value of this statement lies precisely in the fact that “it is the private life of most men which lowers them in the eyes of those who have the opportunity of observing them. He Christianised everything; and did so with such grace.”
* Fr Gerard Skinner is a priest of the diocese of Westminster and the author of Father Ignatius Spencer: English Noble and Christian Saint (Gracewing).
Expert on ISIS Shares His Thoughts on Upcoming Papal Trip to Iraq | EWTN News Nightly
On Pope Francis’ agenda to Iraq, he will meet with the top Shiite Muslim leader. Pope Francis’ upcoming trip to Iraq is a historic trip, as it it the first time a pope has ever visited the country.
A key point to his trip will be inter-religious meetings with some Muslim leaders. Rome Correspondent, Colm Flynn sat down with a French professor and expert on ISIS, Alexandre De Valle, to get his thoughts on the upcoming papal trip. Flynn asks the professor whether he believes the historic trip will have a real positive impact. De Valle explains that only if it goes a certain way, saying: “inside the Muslim world… a Muslim leader would never apologize for persecuted Christians.” Flynn asks De Valle whether the pope and the Vatican need to take a harder line, and De Valle continues by saying yes but “expressed with sweetness, with Catholic charity.”
When asked whether the pope taking a harder line would cause further division, the expert on ISIS said he did not believe that would be the case, “If you are not smart and not diplomatic, you will say please stop persecuting our brothers, of course it’s a shock. But if you say [it] in a clever way: we like you, we are friends, but it’s a pity that I observe that my brothers are persecuted, like a victim,” that should not offend anyone. He ends his interview by stating where he sees things going between the two major religions.
CP&S comment: It is a shame the Rome correspondent, Colin Flynn, cut the interview short at the exact moment Alexandre Del Valle was about to describe in greater detail the ongoing atrocities our persecuted Christian brothers in the Middle East are suffering. Did Flynn think it would be politically incorrect?
In the Blessed Virgin Mary’s feelings towards Jesus, a double aspect must be taken into account. That is, all that they implied affectionately, towards the divine Son, either as her only Son, or as Son of God and Redeemer.
In the first aspect, her most tender heart tended to hold her beloved Jesus close to her; in the second, she offered Him for our Redemption. These are two contrary sentiments, in a tragic and very painful opposition, because of the great tenderness of her maternal embrace for the divine Son and because of the heartbreaking tearing of the Cross on which she was going to offer Him for us.
It is important to observe that Mary’s heart had an admirable conformity to the greatness of her Son and that the two opposing sentiments were in perfect harmony in her, summed up in the offering of Jesus, immensely painful and loving; painful because it was heartbreaking for her maternal heart and loving because she made it to God for his glory and our redemption.
To these two aspects of the Divine Maternity and to the corresponding opposite sentiments of Mary, correspond reciprocally, in the heart of Jesus, the intimate union with the Virgin Mother and the dependence on her as Son, and the perfect union with the Heavenly Father as Son of God and Envoy for the salvation of the world.
The first is expressed in the summary of His entire hidden life: “He was subject to them” (Luke 2:51); the second in His exclamation at the moment of the finding in the temple: “Didn’t You know that I must be about my Father’s business?” (Luke 2:49). For the first love He would never have wanted to leave her, for the second He wanted to distance Himself from her until the His death on the Cross.
And He harmonized in a supreme way the two unions and the two loves, the joy of the desired presence and the torment of the desired salvific distance, by calling the Virgin Mother to Calvary, close to Him, at the extreme moment of His immolation.
It should be noted that the Virgin was the most precious creature for Jesus, and in order to understand this, we must remember all of Jesus’ boundless love for His Mother; that Mother that He himself, as God, had prepared for Himself by making her the masterpiece of Creation, the supreme triumph of His grace, the fruit par excellence of His merits and sorrows, in short, the immaculate and sublime creature, in front of whom the preciousness and beauty of all others are as if extinguished.
The distance from Mary was therefore for Jesus the supreme pain, just as, conversely, for Mary it was that of Jesus, immeasurably greater than any other distance that can be thought of from any other creature or earthly thing.
It is understood, therefore, that when we speak of “estrangement”, we should not think of a disappearance of affection, but of mortification, that is to say, a renunciation of one’s inclination, as an expression of supreme love.
In this way we learn from Mary how to bear such painful distancing from our loved ones and turn it into an act of love.
Archbishop Arthur Roche, the Secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship, who has been sidelining now retired Cardinal Sarah, has launched an attack on the Traditional Latin Mass (TLM).
UnaVoceScotland.org (February 21) published the English translation of a February 19, 2020 essay written by Roche which was forwarded to all bishops.
The essay makes the unlikely claim that the New Mass is an “authentic development” of the Roman Rite, and calls its implementation an “ecclesiastical duty”.
Roche further claims that the Novus Ordo contains “more sacrificial vocabulary than was the case in the 1570 Missal” while the TLM needed to be stripped of alleged “repetitions” and “accretions.”
He believes that the introduction of the Novus Ordo was necessary due to the reception of the “theological content” of Vatican II which was aware of “a world that had changed.” However, Vatican II was only a pastoral council, and the “world that had changed” had greater need than ever of a liturgical ‘sense of the sacred’.
Roche criticises a solely “clerical vision” of the liturgy, in which the “clergy alone” are active and the faithful “passive” and where the “priest alone” celebrates. This reflects nicely the Novus Ordo reality, e.g. funerals and weddings, were the priest talks to himself because the audience doesn’t even know the most basic liturgical responses.
CP&S comment – Archbishop Roche would do well to reflect on the words of Pope Benedict XVI at the time of the publication of his Motu Proprio, Summorum Pontificum:
What earlier generations held as sacred, remains sacred and great for us too, and it cannot be all of a sudden entirely forbidden or even considered harmful. It behooves all of us to preserve the riches which have developed in the Church’s faith and prayer, and to give them their proper place.
With regard to the perceived need for ‘active’ participation at Mass, here too Bishop Roche might benefit from Pope Benedict’s teaching:
If you go back to Sacrosanctum Concilium, the word used is not “active,” but instead “actuosa.” This word encompasses both external action and internal action. Pope Benedict XVI asserts that “actuosa” is properly understood as a participation of one’s being, to be engaged on all levels. For Catholics, this means that we are to pray the Sacred Liturgy with our heart and mind first and secondarily with our bodies and voices. In essence, it is a humble admission that the real work of the Sacred Liturgy is the work of God upon my soul, to which I respond with faith and devotion. This demands that I actually do less at the Holy Mass so that God can do more by the power of His grace. This disposition of receptivity and an openness to the Lord’s work calls for a spirit of adoration and a quieting of the soul, which the Holy Mass allows for, if we took advantage of key moments in the Sacred Liturgy where it is provided. For example: silence before the Holy Mass; a letting go of the world and entering into the heavenly liturgy at the Collect (the opening prayer), which calls for a moment of silence; adoring the Lord at the elevation of the sacred species or at the words, “Behold the Lamb of God;” foregoing music at times after Holy Communion to commune inwardly with the Lord; and time for silent prayer and worship before the closing prayer. In essence, the real work of the Holy Mass takes place at a deeper level in our soul, where the Lord invites us to share in His divine life. Pope Benedict XVI believes that if this deeper level is neglected because of an emphasis upon “activa” in the Mass at the expense of “actuosa” then we will be bored at the Holy Mass and spiritually famished. Sadly, we will hear over and over again, “I am not getting anything out of the Mass,” and, unfortunately, there will be truth in this sad refrain.
Of abuses in celebrating the Novus Ordo Mass, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, later Pope Benedict XVI, said:
“In the place of liturgy as the fruit of development came fabricated liturgy. We abandoned the organic, living process of growth and development over the centuries and replaced it – as in a manufacturing process – with a fabrication, a banal on-the-spot product.”
On January 18th we published THIS post for the pre-Vatican II feast of Saint Peter’s Chair at Rome. Today, February 22nd, Fr George Roth (FI) from Radio Immaculata, gives us this stirring homily in plain-speaking truthful language for the feast of St Peter’s Chair at Antioch.
Joseph Maria Bonnemain, who Pope Francis picked on Monday for the Diocese of Chur, Switzerland against the wishes of the local ecclesial leadership, declared on Wednesday that he won’t have his own episcopal coat of arms. “For me, Christ’s sign of the cross is sufficient,” he explained, thus breaking a tradition of the Church.
When Pope Francis announced on Monday that Bonnemain was to be the next bishop of the traditionally conservative Diocese of Chur, he at the same time accepted the retirement of Bishop Marian Eleganti, auxiliary bishop of that same diocese and a well-known defender of the Church’s traditions and moral teachings. Eleganti had, in accordance with canon law, sent his offer of retirement to Rome in 2019.
As LifeSiteNews reported in November of last year, Pope Francis had proposed three candidates for the new bishop in Chur, all of whom then had been rejected by the conservative-leaning cathedral chapter of Chur, which was in itself a historic event. But this rejection of the three candidates left it up to the Pope to choose a new bishop.
The 72-year-old Bonnemain is an Opus Dei priest (ordained in 1978) and, while he initially had worked in the 1990s under the conservative former Bishop of Chur, Wolfgang Haas, he has since turned toward a more progressivist attitude, inclined to collaborate with the very secularist Swiss public. His own secularist leanings can be seen in a Facebook post he made in September 2015, where he depicts himself, similar to that of a fashion model, in a tight Calvin Klein shirt, receiving praises for his beauty. Bonnemain also posted numerous photos from his vacation trips depictingnude male statues and other sensuous situations.
In 2017, Bonnemain published a document about Pope Francis’s post-synodal exhortation Amoris Laetitia concerning marriage and the family, in which he fully endorsed the change of the Church’s handling of cases of “remarried” divorcees. He positively and extensively quoted the guidelines of the bishops of Buenos Aires which state that some couples in irregular situations might, after a period of discernment have access to the sacraments, to include Holy Communion. Speaking about Amoris Laetitia – which he calls “revolutionary” – Bonnemain stated that it is not anymore about “admission or non-admission [to the sacraments] on the part of the Church’s authorities, but, rather, about a serious decision on the part of the concerned faithful themselves.” Canon 915, he continued, is not anymore “applicable to the remarried divorcees.” That canon bans those Catholics from the reception of Holy Communion who persevere “in manifest grave sin.” Catholics who live in a second “marriage” after a divorce live objectively in a grave state of sin, the sin of adultery.
Pope Francis’s decision to choose Bonnemain for the Diocese of Chur will therefore undermine the traditionally conservative diocese. The previous bishop, Vitus Huonder, was known for his strong stance against abortion and Communion for “remarried” divorcees. In February 2017, he issued guidelines on marriage, reaffirming the Church’s continuous teaching against Communion for divorced and “remarried” couples. Huonder had also reiteratedHumanae Vitae’s rejection of contraceptives. Since Huonder’s retirement a year and a half ago, the diocese was left without a bishop; there are many forces in liberal Switzerland who wish for a liberalizing new bishop who would be less “controversial” and more adapting to the zeitgeist.
Now the Swiss progressives are rejoicing about Pope Francis’s decision. Raphael Rauch, one commentator on Kath.ch, the official news website of the Swiss Bishops’ Conference, called Monsignor Bonnemain a “superman,” expecting from him to start the “Golden Twenties” (a reference to the 20s of the 20thcentury, in which many moral laxities were introduced in the West) in the diocese.
“Those priests who had been against Bonnemain,” he expounded, “should now immediately resign – or be silent forever.” The tone is getting harsh in Chur, so much so that Kath.ch also published today a quote from Thomas Binotto, a Swiss journalist who called upon Bonnemain to completely rebuild the diocesan leadership. Kath.ch’s article is entitled: “Thomas Binotto: Bonnemain has to let go of [vicar general] Grichting, Fuchs, and [press speaker] Gracia.” These names are the closest collaborators of the former and retired Bishop Vitus Huonder. Binotto also called upon Bonnemain to “call competent women into leadership positions.”
LifeSite reached out to a well-informed source of the Diocese of Chur, asking him for comment. While wishing to remain anonymous, he stated:
You have to pay attention to the question which circles, and what kind of people in the Church and in the media, are delighted with a bishop, and which people are concerned. Their relations with him are very often not authentic, insofar as they are based only on the extent to which he serves their own interests. As soon as this is no longer the case, the love, the enthusiasm, and the support are also over. At this point, true and false worship are separated. Therefore, the word of the Lord applies: “Woe to you when all men praise you, for in the same way their fathers did it to the false prophets. To you who listen to me, I say: Love your enemies; do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you; pray for those who mistreat you.” (Lk 6:26-28) Today, mistreatment takes place by way of the media.
VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis on Saturday accepted the resignation of Cardinal Robert Sarah as prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.
Cardinal Sarah, who turned 75 in June 2020, was the most senior African prelate at the Vatican, appointed head of the liturgy department by Pope Francis in November 2014.
He had previously served as the president of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum and as secretary of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples.
The Guinean cardinal has written a trilogy of books read widely throughout the Catholic world: God or Nothing (2015), The Power of Silence (2016), and The Day Is Now Far Spent (2019).
Cardinal Sarah said in a Tweet Feb. 20 that Pope Francis had accepted his resignation after his 75th birthday:
“I am in the hands of God. The only rock is Christ. We will meet very soon in Rome and elsewhere,” he wrote on Twitter.
Aujourd’hui, le pape a accepté la renonciation de ma charge de Préfet de la Congrégation pour le Culte Divin après mon soixante-quinzième anniversaire. Je suis entre les mains de Dieu. Le seul roc, c’est le Christ. Nous nous retrouverons très vite à Rome et ailleurs. +RS
During his tenure at the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, Cardinal Sarah built a reputation for outspoken commentary on the Church and the world.
In 2016, he encouraged priests to celebrate Mass facing east, prompting a Vatican spokesman to say that his words had been “misinterpreted.”
During the first Synod on the Family in 2014, Cardinal Sarah opposed what he said were efforts by the media “to push the Church [to change] her doctrine” on homosexual unions.
At the 2015 family synod he said threats to the institution of marriage and the family claiming “what Nazi fascism and communism were in the 20th century, Western homosexual and abortion ideologies and Islamic fanaticism are today.”
Cardinal Sarah was also at the center of a controversy over the presentation of a book, From the Depths of Our Hearts, as a co-authored work by himself and Pope emeritus Benedict XVI in January 2020.
The book, subtitled “Priesthood, Celibacy, and the Crisis of the Catholic Church,” elicited conflicting statements on the extent of the pope emeritus’s involvement in the project.
Cardinal Sarah defended himself in statements on Twitter, saying Jan. 17, 2020 he met with Benedict and “there is no misunderstanding between us.”
The book contains a chapter credited to Pope Benedict, a chapter credited to Sarah, and an introduction and conclusion, which have been attributed to the two men jointly.
Cardinal Sarah was considered papabile, or a candidate for the papacy, in the 2013 conclave which elected Pope Francis.
Born in 1945 in French Guinea, Sarah was ordained a priest in 1969 for the Diocese of Conakry, after periods of study in Ivory Coast, Guinea, France, Senegal, Rome, and Jerusalem.
Sarah was appointed archbishop of Conakry in 1979, at the age of 34, a position he held until 2001, including during the dictatorship of Ahmed Sékou Touré.
Cardinal Sarah has been praised for his resistance to Sékou Touré’s Marxist dictatorship, and for maintaining the unity of the Church as an independent institution as Catholic clergy and laity were persecuted.
In 2001, Pope John Paul II brought Cardinal Sarah to the Vatican when he named him secretary of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples.
He was appointed president of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum in October 2010, and one month later he was elevated to cardinal.
Cardinal Sarah was named prefect of the Divine Worship congregation in 2014.
During the coronavirus pandemic in April 2020, Cardinal Sarah said in an interview with the French magazine Valeurs actuelles that the sick and dying cannot be denied the sacramental assistance of a priest.
He said: “Priests must do everything they can to remain close to the faithful. They must do everything in their power to assist the dying, without complicating the task of the caretakers and the civil authorities.”
“But no one,” he continued, “has the right to deprive a sick or dying person of the spiritual assistance of a priest. It is an absolute and inalienable right.”
In May last year, Cardinal Sarah insisted he was wrongly included as a signatory on a controversial open letter arguing that forces could exploit the pandemic in order to usher in a one-world government.
God said to Noah and to his sons with him : “See, I am now establishing my covenant with you and your descendants after you and with every living creature that was with you: all the birds, and the various tame and wild animals that were with you and came out of the ark. I will establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all bodily creatures be destroyed by the waters of a flood; there shall not be another flood to devastate the earth.” God added: “This is the sign that I am giving for all ages to come, of the covenant between me and you and every living creature with you: I set my bow in the clouds to serve as a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. When I bring clouds over the earth, and the bow appears in the clouds, I will recall the covenant I have made between me and you and all living beings, so that the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all mortal beings.”
Your ways, O LORD, make known to me; teach me your paths, guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my savior.
Remember that your compassion, O LORD, and your love are from of old. In your kindness remember me, because of your goodness, O LORD.
Good and upright is the LORD; thus he shows sinners the way. He guides the humble to justice, he teaches the humble his way.
First Letter of Peter3,18-22.
Beloved: Christ suffered for sins once, the righteous for the sake of the unrighteous, that he might lead you to God. Put to death in the flesh, he was brought to life in the Spirit. In it he also went to preach to the spirits in prison, who had once been disobedient while God patiently waited in the days of Noah during the building of the ark, in which a few persons, eight in all, were saved through water. This prefigured baptism, which saves you now. It is not a removal of dirt from the body but an appeal to God for a clear conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers subject to him.
Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Mark1,12-15.
The Spirit drove Jesus out into the desert, and he remained in the desert for forty days, tempted by Satan. He was among wild beasts, and the angels ministered to him. After John had been arrested, Jesus came to Galilee proclaiming the gospel of God: “This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.”
Origen (c.185-253) priest and theologian Commentary on the Song of Songs, III, 27-33 ; SC 376
“This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand”
Mortal life is full of obstacles to stumble over, covered with the snares of deception (…) And because the enemy had spread out these snares everywhere and caught practically everyone in them, it was necessary that someone stronger should appear to master and break them and thus destroy the path of those who were following them. For this reason, before coming to unite himself with the Church as his bride, our Savior was also tempted by the devil. (…) In this way he taught the Church that it is not by luxuriousness and pleasure but through many trials and temptations she must come to Christ.
Indeed, there was no one else who could have overcome these snares. «For all have sinned», as it is written (Rm 3,23)… Our Lord and Savior, Jesus, is the only one who «committed no sin» (1Pt 2,22). But the Father «made him to be sin for our sake» (2Cor 5,21) so that «in the likeness of sinful flesh and for the sake of sin, he condemned sin» (Rm 8,3). Thus Jesus walked into these snares but was not himself entangled in them. More, when he had broken and destroyed them, he heartened the Church to the extent that, from now on, she would dare to crush obstacles underfoot, climb over the snares and say, in all happiness: «Our soul, like a bird, has escaped from the snare of the fowlers. The snare has been broken and we have been saved» (Ps 124,7).
However, he himself underwent death, yet voluntarily and not, as we do, bound by sin. For he is the only one to have been «free among the dead» (Ps 87,6 LXX). And because he was free among the dead he conquered «the one who had the power of death» (Heb 2,14) and «took prisoners captive» from him (Eph 4,8), those who were held in death. It was not just that he himself was raised from the dead but, at the same time, he «brought to life those who were captives in death and seated them with him in the heavens» (Eph 2,5f.); «ascending on high, he took prisoners captive» (Eph 4,8).
Fratres: Exhortámur vos, ne in vácuum grátiam Dei recipiátis. Alt enim: Témpore accépto exaudívi, te et in die salútis adjúvi te. Ecce nunc tempus acceptbile, ecce nunc dies salútis. Némini dantes ullam offensiónem, ut non vituperétur ministérium nos- trum: sed in ómnibus exhibeámus nos metípsos sicut Dei minístros, in multa patiéntia, in tribulatiónibus, in necessitátibus, in angústiis, in plagis, in carcéribus, in seditiónibus, in labóribus, in vigíliis, in jejúniis, in castitáte, in sciéntia, in longanimitáte, in suavitáte, in Spíritu Sancto, in caritáte non ficta, in verbo veritátis, in virtúte Dei, per arma justítiæ a dextris et a sinístris: per glóriam et ignobilitátem: per infámiam et bonam famam: ut seductóres et veráces: sicut qui ignóti et cógniti: quasi moriéntes, et ecce vívimus: ut castigáti et non mortificáti: quasi tristes, semper autem gaudéntes: sicut egéntes, multos autem locupletántes: tamquam nihil habéntes et ómnia possidéntes.
Brethren: We exhort you that you receive not the grace of God in vain. For He saith: In an accepted time have I heard thee, and in the day of salvation have I helped thee. Behold, now is the acceptable time, behold now is the day of salvation. Giving no offense to any man, that our ministry be not blamed: but in all things let us exhibit ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in tribulation, in necessities, in distresses, in stripes, in prisons, in seditions, in labors, in watchings, in fastings, in chastity, in knowledge, in long-suffering, in sweetness, in the Holy Ghost, in charity unfeigned, in the word of truth, in the power of God: by the armor of justice on the right hand and on the left: by honor and dishonor, by evil report and good report: as deceivers and yet true, as known and yet unknown: as dying, and behold we live: as chastised and not killed: as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing: as needy, yet enriching many: as having nothing and possessing all things.
Gradual (Psalm 90 : 11, 12)
Ángelis suis Deus mandávit de te, ut custódiant te in ómnibus viis tuis. ℣. In mánibus portábunt te, ne umquam offéndas ad lápidem pedem tuum.
God has given His Angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. In their hands they shall bear thee up, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.
Tract (Psalm 90:1–7,11–16)
Qui hábitat in adjutório Altíssimi, in protectióne Dei cœli commorábitur. ℣. Dicet Dómino: Suscéptor meus es tu et refúgium meum: Deus meus, sperábo in eum. ℣. Quóniam ipse liberávit me de láqueo venántium, et a verbo áspero. Scápulis suit obumbrábit tibi, et sub pennis ejus sperábis. Scuto circumdabit te véritas ejus: non timébis a timóre noctúrno. ℣. A sagítta volánte per diem, a negótio perambulánte in ténebris, a ruína et dæmónio meridiáno. ℣. Cadent a látere tuo mille, et decem míllia a dextris tuis: tibi autem non appropinquábit. ℣. Quóniam Ángelis suis mandávit de te, ut custódiant te in ómnibus viis tuis. ℣. In mánibus portábunt te, ne umquam offéndas ad lápidem pedem tuum. ℣. Super áspidem et basilíscum ambulábis, et conculcábis leónem et dracónem. ℣. Quóniam in me sperávit, liber- ábo eum: prótegam eum, quóniam cognóvit nomen me- um. ℣. Invocábit me, et ego exáudiam eum: cum ipso sum in tribulatióne. ℣. Erípiam eum et glorificábo eum: longitúdine diérum adimplébo eum, et osténdam illi salutáre meum.
He that dwelleth in the aid of the Most High, shall abide under the protection of the God of heaven. He shall say to the Lord: Thou art my protector and my refuge: my God, in Him will I trust. For He hath delivered me from the snare of the hunters, and from the sharp word. He will overshadow thee with His shoulders, and under His wings thou shalt trust. His truth shall compass thee with a shield: thou shalt not be afraid of the terror of the night. Of the arrow that flieth in the day, of the business that walketh about in the dark, of invasion or of the noonday devil. A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand: but it shall not come nigh to thee. For He hath given His Angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. In their hands they shall bear thee up, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone. Thou shalt walk upon the asp and the basilisk, and thou shalt trample under foot the lion and the dragon. Because he hoped in Me I will deliver him: I will protect him, because he hath known My Name. He shall cry to Me, and I will hear him: I am with him in tribulation. I will deliver him, and I will glorify him: I will fill him with length of days, and I will show him My salvation.
Gospel (Matthew 4 : 1 – 11)
In illo témpore: Ductus est Jesus in desértum a Spíritu, ut tentarétur a diábolo. Et cum jejunásset quadragínta diébus et quadragínta nóctibus, póstea esúriit. Et accédens tentátor, dixit ei: Si Fílius Dei es, dic ut lápides isti panes fiant. Qui respóndens dixit: Scriptum est: Non in solo pane vivit homo, sed in omni verbo, quod procédit de ore Dei. Tunc assúmpsit eum diábolus in sanctam civitátem, et státuit eum supra pinnáculum templi, et dixit ei: Si Fílius Dei es, mitte te deórsum. Scriptum est enim: Quia Ángelis suis mandávit de te, et in mánibus tollent te, ne forte offéndas ad lápidem pedem tuum. Alt illi Jesus: Rursum scriptum est: Non tentábis Dóminum Deum tuum. Iterum assúmpsit eum diábolus in montem excélsum valde et osténdit ei ómnia regna mundi et glóriam eórum, et dixit ei: Hæc ómnia tibi dabo si cadens adoráberis me. Tunc dicit ei Jesus: Vade, Sátana: scriptum est enim: Dóminum Deum tuum ador- ábis, et illi soli sérvies. Tunc relíquit eum diábolus: et ecce Angeli accessérunt et minis- trábant ei.
At that time Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert, to be tempted by the Devil. And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterwards He was hungry. And the tempter coming said to Him: If Thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. Who answered and said: It is written: Not in bread alone doth man live, but in every word that proceedeth from the mouth of God. Then the Devil took Him up into the holy city and set Him upon the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him: If Thou be the son of God, cast Thyself down. For it is written: That He hath given His Angels charge over Thee, and in their hands shall they bear Thee up, lest perhaps Thou dash Thy foot against a stone. Jesus said to him: It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. Again the Devil took Him up into a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them, and said to Him: All these will I give Thee, if falling down Thou wilt adore me. Then Jesus saith to him: Begone, Satan! for it is written: The Lord Thy God shalt thou adore, and Him only shalt thou serve. Then the Devil left Him. And behold Angels came, and ministered to Him.
Cell lines derived from aborted babies used in the production or testing of various vaccines, including a number of COVID vaccines, most likely came from babies who were aborted alive, and according to the general practice as outlined in medical literature, may have been placed in a fridge while still living where they awaited dismemberment before having their organs harvested, a researcher has found.
Biologist Pamela Acker, who has a master’s degree in Biology from the Catholic University of America and who recently authored a book titled Vaccination: A Catholic Perspective, related what the literature says about how babies were aborted to obtain cell lines used in a number of vaccines.
“A number of these abortions that were done in that way were termed ‘abdominal hysterectomies’ in the medical literature. So in some cases, the women were actually being sterilized in the process as well,” she said.
“They had to maintain a sterile environment because you don’t want any contamination of the tissue with any kind of foreign agents, any bacteria, or viruses, or anything like that. The babies were — and, in some cases, the uterus as well — removed from the woman and, without even puncturing the amniotic sac, placed directly into the refrigerator where it was kept for no more than 24 hours.”
“So these babies were literally placed into the fridge alive and then stored between one and 24 hours until they could be dismembered, basically. And this is right there in the scientific literature,” she said.
Acker spent about nine months in a lab a decade ago working on a project to develop an HIV vaccine with a grant provided by The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. It was when her team decided to use HEK-293 cells for the project that she began to question her involvement.
“At this point, most people have heard of these (cell lines) because they are connected with the COVID vaccines, but at that time I hadn’t. So I asked (my colleague) what ‘HEK’ stands for, and she told me, ‘Human Embryonic Kidney,”’ Acker said in an interview last month with LifeSite Editor-in-chief John-Henry Westen.
Acker said that it was after reading Dr. Alvin Wong’s paper titled “The Ethics of HEK 293” that appeared in the 2006 autumn issue of The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly that she was able to arrive at some moral clarity on the issue.
Wong, an oncologist and senior consultant at Singapore’s National University Cancer Institute who has an interest in bioethics, wrote in his paper that due to evidence that the cells were “obtained from the embryo of a willfully induced abortion,” there is “a moral duty on the part of any researcher to discontinue using this cell line.”
“That moral duty should be particularly clear to Catholic researchers and institutions. Even if it may be extremely difficult to stop or modify the experiments in progress, an immediate cessation of the use of the cell line is the correct and just action to take,” Wong added.
Acker said that when she “expressed my concerns to my primary investigator, it ended up being the end of my career in his lab.”
The baby girl behind HEK-293
Acker explained to Westen during her January 12 interview the meaning behind the letters and numbers HEK 293, the cell line developed by Dr. Frank Graham in the Netherlands in 1973.
“HEK stands for Human Embryonic Kidney. But 293 stands for the 293rd experiment that this particular researcher did to develop the cell lines.”
The kidney was taken from a “completely normal” preborn girl aborted in 1972 who, according to Alex van der Eb, the doctor leading the team to develop the cell line, had “nothing wrong” with her.
Acker said at the time to Westen that there were likely more abortions behind the final development of the cell line since “for 293 experiments you need far more than one abortion.”
“We’re talking probably 100s of abortions,” she said at that time.
Graham, however, recently told Ian Jackson, who was conducting research in the HEK-293 cell line, that only one fetus was involved.
“On my arrival at the University of Leiden in the Netherlands I kept lab books in which I numbered my experiments in the order in which I carried them out starting in 1970. None of these experiments used human embryo kidney cells (HEK) until very late in my studies in Leiden (1973) when I carried out 2 (two!) experiments that utilized kidney cells from 1 (one!) human fetus.”
“Since abortion was illegal in the Netherlands at that time except to save the life of the mother I have always assumed that that fetus resulted from a therapeutic abortion. However, the kidney cells I used had been prepared and frozen away before I even arrived in Leiden. Consequently, I do not have first hand knowledge of the circumstances relating to that single abortion. The second of the two experiments I carried out with these HEK cells was experiment 293 and resulted in the cell line of the same name. The bottom line is that the 293 cell line resulted from cells obtained from a single fetus,” Graham told Jackson, who forwarded the doctor’s statement to LifeSite.
Acker told LifeSite for this report that Graham’s statement is “misleading at best.”
“Dr. Plotkin tried to say something similar, that the cell lines involved in the creation of vaccines only came from two abortions. But that ignores the other 74 babies that were a part of the research he was doing. It’s published in the literature that other HEK and HER (human embryonic retina) cell lines are attributed to Frank Graham. So his research definitely involved more than one abortion.”
“When a cell line is developed, it is usually produced using a sample of tissue from a single individual unless it’s a hybrid cell line. So on the one hand, it is technically correct to say that the cell line was developed using one aborted baby. However, this is not an accurate representation of how many lives were actually sacrificed in the whole process of developing an aborted fetal cell line,” she continued.
“If Graham wasn’t just working on fetal cell lines during his time at the University of Leiden, it may not have been hundreds of abortions,” she added, “but we would need to see his notebooks to know.”
Acker pointed out that there is every indication that the cells were derived from an “electively aborted” baby.
“In particular, the fact that the cells were stored in the freezer lends further credence to the conclusion that HEK-293 was derived from an electively aborted fetus,” she said.
“The success and longevity of HEK-293 suggests that the specimen was remarkably well-suited for culturing, and anyone who has studied cell theory should know that you cannot derive a living cell culture from tissue that is already dead. Because of the biological impossibility of creating a live cell line from dead tissue, and the practical and biological implausibility of obtaining live tissue from a spontaneously miscarried fetus, it is far more likely that the baby from whom HEK-293 was derived was electively aborted and alive at the time of tissue extraction,” she added.
Acker quoted Dr. C. Ward Kischer, an embryologist and emeritus professor of anatomy from the University of Arizona College of Medicine, who stated the following regarding the cells obtained for aborted fetal cell lines: “In order to sustain 95% of the cells, the live tissue would need to be preserved within 5 minutes of the abortion […] within an hour the cells would continue to deteriorate, rendering the specimen useless.”
Acker said that if the baby used in the production of HEK-293 “had already been dead (through a natural miscarriage), the tissue would certainly have been of no use to Mr. Graham in making a cell line after it had been stored in a freezer.”
She speculated that the tissue from the baby used for the production of HEK-293 was likely procured by the surgical method of whole-fetus extraction, often referred to as a C-section abortion, which can include the removal of the uterus along with the living baby still inside.
Acker quoted a 1952 study from Dr. Thomas Weller and Dr. John Enders (among others), who were awarded the Nobel Prize in 1954 for their polio research involving growing cultures in various types of tissue, where they explained how “human embryonic tissues” were obtained for their experiments.
“This material was employed in most of the experiments. It was obtained under sterile precautions at the time of abdominal hysterotomy for therapeutic indications. Embryos of between 12 and 18 weeks’ gestation have been utilized. Rarely tissues were obtained from stillborn fetuses, or from premature infants at autopsy … In the experiments on prolonged propagation of virus, three sorts of embryonic materials were used: elements of skin, connective tissue, and muscle; intestinal tissue; brain tissue,” the researchers stated.
“Embryonic tissues were prepared in the following manner. Whenever possible the embryo was removed from the amniotic sac under sterile precautions, transferred to a sterile towel and kept at 5 C until dissected,” (bold added) they added.
Acker then quoted from Dr. Gonzalo Herranz, Professor of Histology and General Embryology at the University of Navarra, Spain, who described how abortions must be done to obtain uncontaminated fetal material in Italian scientist Pietro Croce’s book Vivisection or Science? first published in English in 1991.
“To obtain embryo cells, embryos from spontaneous abortions cannot be used, nor can those obtained by means of abortions performed via the vagina: in both cases, the embryo will be contaminated by micro-organisms,” wrote Herranz.
“The correct way consists in having recourse to Caesarian section or to the removal of the uterus. Only in this way can bacteriological sterility be guaranteed. In either case, then, to obtain embryo cells for culture, a programmed abortion must be adopted, choosing the age of the embryo and dissecting it while still alive to remove tissues to be placed in culture media,” (bold added) he added.
Commented Acker: “Because of the necessity of maintaining a sterile culture of tissue for developing a cell line, it seems reasonable to conclude that there would — at minimum — had to have been some pre-arrangement to obtain sterile, unmacerated tissue from the fetus used for HEK-293. The easiest and surest way to do this is by the surgical method of whole-fetus extraction.”
Acker’s findings relate to the findings of U.S. pro-life investigator David Daleiden, who performed an undercover investigation of Planned Parenthood’s involvement in the illegal harvesting and trafficking of aborted baby body parts. Daleiden, who began to release videos of his sting operation in 2015, uncovered that biotech companies in the United States harvested numerous organs, including “live beating” hearts from aborted babies for research (see here, here, and here).
Multiple abortions behind various aborted fetal cell lines
Acker told LifeSite for this report that the formation of other cell lines derived from aborted babies and used for research purposes and in the development of numerous vaccines involved hundreds of abortions.
“Many aborted fetal cell lines and all the aborted fetal cell lines used in currently licensed vaccines are the culmination of a series of experiments that include multiple abortions,” she said. Acker listed the following examples:
The WI-38 cell line (used in MMR and shingles vaccines) came from the 32nd aborted baby that was used in a series of experiments. Other cell lines that came out of the Wistar Institute include WI-26 (from the 20th aborted baby) and WI-44 cell (from the 38th aborted baby).
The MRC-5 line (used in hepatitis A, measles, and shingles vaccines) required five abortions to develop.
WALVAX2, the most recent aborted fetal cell line, came from the ninth aborted baby in a series.
RA273, which is the virus used in the rubella vaccine, originated in the 27thbaby that was aborted in search of the virus. Mothers who were infected with the rubella virus during pregnancy were actively encouraged to aborttheir children. Forty more elective abortions for rubella virus were performed after this, though RA273 was the strain that ended up in the final vaccine preparation.
Acker said that the use of aborted fetal cell lines in medical research, at any level, “fuels a growing acceptance of using aborted babies in other types of medical research.”
“This problem is irrespective of the original number of abortions performed to obtain a cell line, and will only be exacerbated by the acceptance of HEK-293-derived COVID vaccines,” she added.
‘New pro-life movement’
Kazakhstan Bishop Athanasius Schneider, during his presentation at today’s vaccine conference, called for the formation of a “new pro-life movement” that refuses to have anything to do with medicines or vaccines derived in one way or another from aborted babies.
Schneider said that until now, the pro-life movement has been “very meritorious” in raising a united voice against abortion. “But I think there now comes a new time, a new phase, a new period of all pro-life movements to protest, clearly and unambiguously, against abortion-tainted medicines, against the abuse of the body parts of the unborn.”
While the Catholic Church’s 2020 guidelines permit Catholics to receive abortion-tainted vaccines, the Bishop said that Christians cannot “simply resign” themselves to the fact that the production of various medicines is tied to the slaughter of preborn babies who are utilized for their body parts.
“The voice of the unborn children’s blood is crying to God from the abortion tainted vaccines, from the abortion tainted medicines,” he said. “This voice is crying all over the world, and we have to awaken.”
“No one who is really deeply concerned about the defense of life and the moral law can be silent or can be quiet and can resign to this situation,” he added.
CP&S Comment. Today is the feast of the little Fatima visionary,Jacinta Marto, who died on this day in a Lisbon hospital in 1920, a month before her tenthbirthday. She was an enchanting, lively and intelligent child, but most of all she was a warrior of faithfulness to Catholic teaching. Her ardent witness to penance and mortification for sinners coming from such a young child is quite outstanding. She is a powerful example for us all to follow, and especially for Catholic parents to hold up to their own children. No child is too young to become a Saint.
Jacinta Marto was born in the village of Aljustrel near Fatima in Portugal on March 11, 1910, to parents Manuel Pedro “Ti” Marto and Olympia de Jesus. She was only 6 years old when the Angel of Peace appeared, and just seven when Our Lady appeared in 1917. Jacinta is the youngest non-martyr ever to be beatified by the Church. In the course of almost four years until her death on February 20, 1920, she made giant strides in the spiritual life. God, through Mary, gave her many graces and she responded with an unwavering faith and ardent love.
Jacinta was naturally very affectionate; her father called her the sweetest of their nine children. She was also very capricious and somewhat self-willed. She loved games, but was easily offended and would go into a corner to pout. The children called this “tethering the donkey.” She could only be coaxed back if she could name the game herself. After the apparitions she retained her affectionate nature, but became more serious. Whatever she did, she did with her whole heart, so after the apparitions she accepted wholeheartedly the message of Our Lady.
Jacinta’s affection during the time of Mary’s appearances was directed into new channels, deepening her love for our Lord, His Mother, for the Church, for the Holy Father and for sinners. It was as though the light that came from Our Lady’s hands in the first and second apparitions, which reflected on all three children, gave Jacinta a deep insight into the meaning of God and eternity. The terrible vision of hell caused her great distress and she asked Lucia, “Why doesn’t Our Blessed Lady show hell to sinners? If they could see it they would never commit any more sins.” Jacinta’s affection during the time of Mary’s appearances was directed into new channels, deepening her love for our Lord, His Mother, for the Church, for the Holy Father and for sinners. It was as though the light that came from Our Lady’s hands in the first and second apparitions, which reflected on all three children, gave Jacinta a deep insight into the meaning of God and eternity. The terrible vision of hell caused her great distress and she asked Lucia, “Why doesn’t Our Blessed Lady show hell to sinners? If they could see it they would never commit any more sins.” She had a deep trust in Mary’s advice to pray very much and make sacrifices for sinners, “for many go to hell because there are none to sacrifice themselves and pray for them.”
The spirituality of Jacinta may be said to rest on a three-fold basis: 1) Devotion to the Holy Trinity, expressed in the prayer to the Trinity taught to the children by the Angel. 2) A deep devotion to Mary, especially to her Immaculate Heart, due to special graces given her by Our Lady. 3) Devotion to the Eucharist or “the hidden Jesus.”
Jacinta made her First Communion some time before her final illness. During her illness, she told Lucia, “I love Our Lord and Our Lady and I never get tired telling them that I love them. When I do that it seems I have a fire in my heart, but it does not burn me.”
As her illness progressed and she was too weak to attend daily Mass, she told Lucia, “It doesn’t matter. I want to go to make up for those sinners who will not go even on Sundays. Do you know, Lucia, our dear Lord is so sad and Our Lady told us He is already too greatly offended and we must not offend him anymore, but nobody listens and they just go on committing the same sins.”
Near the time of Francisco’s death, Our Lady appeared and asked her if she wanted to come to heaven then, too, or stay on earth longer to suffer for the conversion of sinners. Jacinta said she wanted to stay and suffer. Our Lady then told her that she would die alone in the hospital in Lisbon, but not to worry because she would come and take her to heaven.
Just before leaving for the hospital, she told Lucia, “It will not be long now before I go to heaven. You will remain here to make known that God wishes to establish in the world devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Tell everybody that God grants us graces through the Immaculate Heart of Mary; that people are to ask her for them; and that the Heart of Jesus wants the Immaculate Heart of Mary to be venerated at his side. Tell them also to pray to the Immaculate Heart of Mary for peace, since God has entrusted it to her.”
Jacinta suffered tremendously while at the hospital from frequent fevers, from an abscess on her side, pneumonia, and tuberculosis. Hardest of all was that she suffered alone, without family or friends. During her stay there, she confided in Mother Godinho, who cared for her, several things of great importance that Our Lady had told her:
“More souls go to hell because of sins of impurity more than any other.”
“War is a punishment from God for sins.”
“Certain fashions are going to be introduced that will offend Our Lord very greatly and those who serve God should not follow them.”
“Many marriages are not good, they are not pleasing to our Lord and are not of God.”
“Priests must be very pure and concentrate on their mission to the Church and souls, and be obedient to the Pope and their Superiors.”
“My dear mother, run away from riches. Cherish silence and holy poverty. Always be charitable, even with those who are unkind. Never criticize others and avoid those who do.”
Jacinta never tired of encouraging others to love Our Lord and His Mother, as well as to pray for the Holy Father and make sacrifices for sinners. During her Beatification on May 13, 2000, Pope St. John Paul II publicly thanked her for her prayers and sacrifices.
Little Jacinta died alone in Lisbon on the night of Feb. 20, 1920. Just before Our Lady came to take her to heaven, she appeared to Jacinta and told her that her sufferings and sacrifices saved many souls. When her grave was exhumed so that her body could be moved to the parish cemetery of St. Anthony in Fatima, her face was found to be incorrupt and she exhibited a sweet smell like bouquets of flowers. Today she is laid to rest next to Lucia’s grave, with St. Francisco’s grave on the opposite side chapel in the Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary at the Shrine of Fatima in Portugal. She, along with Francisco, was canonized by Pope Francis on May 13, 2017.
The fullness of Catholicism is so beautiful and life giving. The Catholic Church is the channel of grace for the world. The Stations of the Cross, also known as the Way of the Cross (in Latin, Via Crucis) is a beautiful Catholic meditation to honour the passion of Christ and deepen our devotion to Our Loving Saviour who suffered such unimaginable agony in His Passion and Death to redeem sinful Mankind. Recalling these 14 stations of the Cross reminds us of the passionate love Jesus has for each one of us.
The video draws upon the meditation of St Alphonsus Liguori. The Stations of the Cross is a wonderful lenten reflection, especially on Fridays.
The First Station: Pilate Condemns Jesus to Death.
The Second Station: Jesus Accepts His Cross.
The Third Station: Jesus Falls the First Time
The Fourth Station: Jesus Meets His Afflicted Mother
The Fifth Station: Simon Helps Jesus Carry the Cross
The Sixth Station: Veronica Offers Her Veil to Jesus
The Seventh Station: Jesus Falls the Second Time
The Eighth Station: Jesus Speaks to the Women
The Ninth Station: Jesus Falls the Third Time
The Tenth Station: Jesus Is Stripped of His Garments
The Eleventh Station: Jesus Is Nailed to the Cross
The Twelfth Station: Jesus Dies Upon the Cross
The Thirteenth Station: Jesus Is Taken Down from the Cross
The Fourteenth Station: Jesus Is Placed in the Sepulcher
No matter what happens in Rome, with our most unfortunate Pope. No matter what the gods of the so-called New World Order have in store for us. Christ crucified is all that really matters for the forty days of Lent.
When we come upon the graves of the dead, we must remember that we’ll soon be joining them, that nobody gets out of here alive, that even those of us in the best of health will be gone fifty years from now–maybe a few more, maybe a few less. That is the designated home for all the living–death. There the rich man and the poor man will be stretched out on a common bed and both will be content with only a small patch of earth. No distinction will be made there between the nobleman and the commoner, and the weak will no longer be stomped upon by the more powerful.
There the miser will no longer benefit from his money, nor will the clever profit from his cunning. There the prim will become the food of worms, and the dandy will give off an offensive odor. And those who have placed themselves on pedestals will be brought low and the praise that the proud were accustomed to will no longer be theirs. Take notice how all mortals tend toward nothing and how all flesh, made corrupt by sin, returns to its original source.
Therefore, strive so to live and through the sprit to mortify your flesh, that when your body turns into dust your soul will be judged worthy to rest in blessed peace. If you live your life in labor and sorrow on a Good Friday, you will have a restful Holy Saturday and then a most joyful Easter Sunday, the day of the resurrection of the just.
The more austerely you live in the world, so much more tranquil will be your repose in the grave. The more firmly you cling to the Cross, so much more assurance you have of reaching Christ. The more bitterly you deplore your sins, so much less will remain to be purged by the avenging flames. What does the priest say to us on Ash Wednesday: “Remember, man, that thou are dust and unto dust thou shalt return.” In a few years, a few months, a few days—you will return to dust. We all will. It’s just a matter of time—and how we use the time we’re given.
So lament during this time of grace, when the doors of mercy are open, and when God, in whom there is abundant redemption, accepts your repentance. Mourn also the wretched condition of the world and the incredible indifference of men. Only a few are found today to be true followers of the Crucified, and many permit their original spiritual fervor to grow cold.
Let meditating on Jesus Christ and him crucified be your daily prayer. Keep Jesus always before your eyes and keep ever near the foot of his Cross. Whether in life or in death, enter the tomb with Jesus so that when Christ, who is your life, shall appear again, you will rise with him in glory. Amen
The Vatican City State – the Holy See’s independent city state – recently issued a decree that includes COVID-19 vaccination among the measures its authorities can use in order to fight the current “public health emergency.” While the decree does not explicitly make taking a COVID-19 vaccine mandatory in the Vatican and attached territories, it does suggest that people employed by the Holy See or the Roman Curia could lose their job if they fail to take the jab.
The decree, available here (in Italian only) on the Vatican City State website, does not mention COVID-19 but any “public health emergency” defined, quoting the World Heath Organization’s 2001 text, as “an event or imminent threat of a disease or health condition, caused by bioterrorism, epidemic or pandemic disease, or new and highly fatal infectious agent or biological toxin, epidemic or pandemic disease that poses a substantial risk to a significant number of human resources or results in injury or permanent or long-term disability.”
In the decree’s introduction detailing the motives for its publication, vaccination receives specific and even prioritized attention.
– providing a health response, taking the actions immediately necessary to respond to the pandemic, while also keeping in mind its long-term effects, is important so that a global and regenerative “healing” can take place,
– it is deemed that to undergo vaccination constitutes “the taking of a responsible decision, given that the refusal of the vaccine may also constitute a risk to others” and “that such a refusal could seriously increase risks to public health,”
– there is an urgent need to issue these provisions with the force of law, pursuant to Article 7, paragraph 2, of the Fundamental Law of the State of Vatican City, of November 26, 2000. Vatican City State of November 26, 2000;
The following has been promulgated…
This language clearly indicates that refusing the vaccine would imperil public health and that therefore the law is required to make sure that doesn’t happen. However, the decree appears to balk at calling the vaccine itself compulsory as such, insofar as its refusal is not explicitly listed among the acts that can entail an administrative fine. Fines from 25 Euros ($30) may be issued for the improper wearing of protective equipment such as masks, and fines of up to 1,500 Euros ($1,815) may be issued for failure to observe a mandated quarantine.
The decree’s seven pages mention the various measures that can and must be taken “to ensure the health and well-being of the work community while respecting the dignity, rights and fundamental freedoms of each of its members,” “according to the principle of necessity, taking into consideration the actual risk to public health and following the criteria of timeliness, appropriateness and proportionality.” These measures concern “citizens, residents in the State, (…) personnel serving in the Governorate of the Vatican City State and in the various bodies of the Roman Curia and of the Institutions linked to it.”
According to the decree, these measures include:
· the restriction of movement and assembly of people
· physical distancing, isolation and quarantine
· the adoption of special hygiene rules
· protocols for the use of personal protective equipment (PPE
· therapeutic protocols
· vaccination protocols
Articles 5 and 6 of the Decree mainly regard the vaccine. Here below are their texts in full, as translated and highlighted by LifeSiteNews:
§1. In the presence of situations of declared public health emergency, in addition to what is provided for in Article 19 of the Technical Regulations for the implementation of Law No. LIV on the protection of safety and health of workers in the workplace, the competent administration, in accordance with the opinion of the Directorate of Health and Hygiene, takes all necessary measures aimed at reducing the risk of exposure to biological agents and infection by them, including the provision and administration of vaccines scientifically considered adequate to reduce the impact of the spread and transmission of infection.
§2 The Superior Authority, in agreement with the Directorate of Health and Hygiene, in the event of a public health emergency declared in accordance with Article 12 of the International Health Regulations (2005), having assessed the risk of exposure to the biological agent and transmission of contagion, in the performance of work activities involving public service tasks, relations with third parties or posing a risk to the safety of the working community, may deem it necessary to implement a prophylaxis entailing the administration of a vaccine in order to protect the health of citizens, residents, workers and the work community.
(Measures regarding workers)
§1. With due regard to what is provided for in §2 of Art. 5, the Administration may assign, for the period of the above-mentioned risk, the worker who, for proven reasons of health cannot undergo the administration of the vaccine, to other tasks, equivalent or, if not available, lower, guaranteeing the economic treatment corresponding to the tasks of origin.
§2 The measures referred to in §2 of Art. 5 are tantamount to preventive, periodic and ex officio health checks, which are the responsibility of the Directorate of Health and Hygiene. Therefore, the worker who without proven health reasons refuses to undergo them is subject to the provisions of art. 6 of the Rules for the Protection of Human Dignity and Fundamental Rights to be observed regarding health checks in view of the recruitment of personnel and during the employment relationship, and Rules for the protection of employees suffering from particular serious diseases or in particular psychophysical conditions of November 18, 2011.”
Article 6, §1 is interesting. In saying that a worker who refuses the vaccine for “proven reasons of health” may be reassigned to a task in which he or she will not pose a risk to the health of others. But the text also implies that workers who refuse the vaccine without “proven reasons of health” and who are in a position to pose a risk to other “citizens, residents, workers and the work community” may not receive another task and payment. In other words, they would lose their job and income.
The task of intervening in the case of non-compliance with the public health measures imposed by the “Superior Authority” of the Vatican City State is assigned by the decree to its Gendarmerie Corps that can surveil and impose fines on non-compliant workers and residents.
The decree concludes with the words:
The original of the present decree, bearing the seal of the State, shall be deposited in the Archives of the Laws of the State of Vatican City and the corresponding text shall be published, in addition to the Supplement to the Acta Apostolicae Sedis, by being posted in the courtyard of San Damaso, on the doors of the offices of the Governorate and in the post offices of the State, instructing everyone concerned to observe it and to have it observed.
Vatican City, February eighth, two thousand and twenty-one.
(signed) Giuseppe Card. Bertello
Cardinal Bertello is the governor of the Vatican City State, having held the position since 2011.
Administrative fines are listed in an Annex to the decree. Vaccination is not mentioned: the fines apply to the transgression of rules regarding “prohibition of assembly”, obligation to use protective equipment and to use it “correctly,” “social distancing measures,” “fiduciary seclusion or quarantine,” “behavioral requirements” (the “rules of conduct in public places or places open to the public established by the measures issued by the competent authority”) and restrictions to circulation and movements (“violation of the limitations of circulation and displacements within the State, and in entry and exit to the same.”)
These two last situations could theoretically bring a vaccine obligation into play. Getting the jab could, for example, could be construed as a “behavioral requirement.” time will tell whether that will be the case. As to restrictions to circulation and movements, these could also be interpreted as applying to Vatican residents who refuse a COVID-19 vaccine insofar as refusing to be vaccinated is presented by the decree itself as a potential hazard to public health.
All of this must be read in the light of two facts. The first is that, in the present sanitary emergency, over 99.95 percent of the population survives and most COVID-19 victims who actually die of the disease are very ill or very old and have a very short life expectancy. Second, the Vatican is using and distributing the Pfizer mRNA shot that was developed using cell lines derived from voluntary, late-term abortions.
And now the Vatican has become one of the first states to impose these vaccines on its own workers, under more or less veiled threats and with no mention of freedom and informed consent.