Farewell with request for prayers

Farewell Father, our prayers are with you.


This is my final blog as the doctors and the respiratory team have advised that I do not have much time left to live due to the fact of being in the end stages of COPD as well as cancer of the lung.
I am hopeful that I shall be admitted to Our Lady’s Hospice in Dublin in the next few days. A friend shall drive me and accompany me on the boat from Holyhead.

The hospice was founded in the 19th century by the Irish Sisters of Charity. It is very Catholic and has daily Mass. It does not yet have internet, hence this will be my last blog.
As I say farewell I ask you to pray for me and for all who are preparing to meet God.

May Almighty God bless you and yours.

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Feast of Saint Simon and Saint Jude, Apostles

Saints Simon the Zealot and Jude (Thaddeus)


October 28th is the feast of Saint Simon the Zealot and Saint Jude Thaddeus, two of the twelve Apostles named by Jesus. They share a common feast day because, according to later tradition, they ministered in Persia and there, received the crown of martyrdom on the same day in c. 65 AD. In Matthew and Mark, Simon is referred to as the Cananean. Luke calls him the Zealot, perhaps due to his zeal in upholding the Law, or perhaps he was a member of the radical Jewish sect so named. This designation helped to distinguish him from fellow Apostle, Simon Peter. After Christs’ Ascension and the Council of Jerusalem, Simon preached the Gospel in Egypt, Carthage, Spain and possibly Britain, before going to Jerusalem. There, he joined Jude on missionary journeys to Syria, Mesopotamia and Persia. Popular piety attests that he was sawed in half and devoured by lions. Simon is most often depicted in art with a saw, the instrument of his martyrdom.

Saint Jude or Judas, also called Thaddeus or Lebbeus, wrote the New Testament Epistle that bears his name. Scripture identifies him as “the brother of James,” and it is generally believed that this is Saint James the Less. It is probable that Jude was a childhood companion of Jesus as it is widely held that Jude was the nephew of the Blessed Mother and a cousin of Christ. In the Gospel of John, at the Last Supper, Jude asks Jesus why he does not manifest himself to the whole world. Jesus replies: [to Jude and to us) “Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words; yet the word you hear is not mine but that of the Father who sent me.”

The Apostle known as the patron of impossible causes, ordered demons out of pagan temples and once miraculously healed a pagan king by showing him an image of Christ and proclaiming the Name of Jesus over him. St. Jude, together with St. Simon, is credited with converting the Persian King Varardach and his court to the Faith. Several accounts contend that Jude was crucified as an example to perspective converts, but most hold to the tradition that he was beaten and beheaded. He is frequently depicted holding the face of Christ and a club, the means of his martyrdom. In some depictions, a flame extends from his forehead, symbolizing the power and action of the Holy Spirit.

O God, through the work of the Apostles You have spoken your Word of love, your Son, into our world’s deafness. Open our ears to hear; open our hearts to heed; open our will to obey, that we may proclaim the Good News with our lives. Almighty Father, graciously grant, through the intercession of Saints Simon and Jude, that the Church may constantly grow by increase of the peoples who believe in You. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

From bigccatholics.com

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Providence And Predestination

by Msgr. Charles Pope.blog2-25

Today, let’s wade into the waters of a difficult, mysterious subject. Predestination, and in a wider sense, God’s providence, raises a lot of conundrums in our mind, bound as we are by time and the limits of human language.

Many people ask questions about God’s providence that are rooted in faulty premises, either about time or causality. For example, the following questions are often asked:

If God predestines someone for Heaven or Hell, doesn’t this merely reduce us to a fate we cannot control?

Why exhort people to make good choices or to pray if we are all simply acting out a script for our life, written by God long before we were ever made?

There are three important distinctions to make.

Distinction 1: God does not predestine anyone for Hell.

The stated desire or purpose of God is that all come to know Him through faith and thus are saved: God our Savior … desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth (1 Tim 2:4). While it is true that Scripture speaks of predestining us for Heaven (e.g., Eph 1:5; Rom 8:29), this is not the same as saying that we are locked into a fate. St. Thomas Aquinas said, “Thus, as men are ordained to eternal life through the providence of God, it likewise is part of that providence to permit some to fall away from that end” (Summa Theologica I, 23, art. 3). And thus while we are ordained or ordered for Heaven, God, who made us free, permits that those who freely reject Him and His Kingdom will be lost.

Distinction 2: Knowing is not the same as willing.

The second question above fails to distinguish between God knowing something and God willing it (and thereby causing it). Even we mortals can know something before it happens, but our knowing it does not cause it. Suppose you were on a hillside and saw two trains on opposite sides of a blind curve, heading for each other on the same track. You know what will happen, but your knowing it does not cause it to happen.

God can know things that will happen without willing or forcing them to happen. God knowing “ahead of time” that some will go to Hell and others will go to Heaven does not mean that He wills it. For God says,

Say to them, “As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live. Turn! Turn from your evil ways! Why will you die, people of Israel?” (Ez 33:11)

God wants all to be saved but foresees that some will be lost. Why does God exhort Ezekiel to tell the Israelites to turn from their sinful ways? What good will it do? After all, God already knows who will and will not be saved.

Distinction 3: Primary causes do not eliminate secondary causes.

God wants all to be saved but foresees that some will be lost. In the previous passage, why does God exhort Ezekiel to tell the Israelites to turn from their sinful ways? What good will it do? After all, God already knows who will and will not be saved.

The answer leads us to a distinction between primary and secondary causes.

God is the primary cause of all things, of all reality. Whatever effect things like people, animals, and trees have on one another, God is still the primary cause of those effects, because God is creating and sustaining them all. Thus for them to act and to cause other effects, God must first create, equip, and empower them to exist at all. Because God must “first” do this, He is the primary cause of every effect.

Read the rest here.

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Christian girls in Iraq credit Virgin Mary with their survival

Seven young women in Kirkuk, Iraq, credit the Virgin Mary for their safety after spending a harrowing eight hours hidden underneath beds while Islamic State group fighters used their room as a hideout during an assault on the city.

imageKIRKUK, Iraq – Seven young women in Kirkuk credit the Virgin Mary for their safety after spending a harrowing eight hours hidden underneath beds while Islamic State group fighters used their room as a hideout during an assault on the city.
“The Virgin Mary was with them,” Father Roni Momika told CNA Oct. 23.
The priest, who ministers in refugee camps of Ankawa, Erbil in northern Iraq, was in cell phone contact with two of the girls while they hid under the beds. They gave him a play-by-play account of what was happening.
Seven women, university students in Kirkuk, found themselves threatened by the Islamic State group’s assault on the city Friday, Oct. 21.
“ISIS entered the house of our students, the girls,” the priest reported.
When they heard the militants coming, the women quickly darted under four beds in one of the rooms, where they remained undiscovered for eight hours as ISIS fighters used the room as a refuge to eat, pray and hide from Iraqi Army forces.
“I was speaking with them all the time,” Momika said, noting how there was “a strong girl” who told him “Father, I will continue speaking with you and tell you all our news and what ISIS is saying.”
For the duration of their time there, the militants not only ate and prayed, but used the beds to care for two of their fighters who were wounded.
“On one bed there is a lot of blood,” the priest said.
He shared with CNA some photos taken of the room after the soldiers left. He explained that “when ISIS was attacked by our army (the Iraqi Army) there were two people from ISIS injured, and ISIS put them here on these beds…and under the beds were the girls.”
Momika said he was in constant contact with the girls, telling them not to forget their faith, and to “pray to the Virgin Mary, she will come to help you.”
In what both the priest and the girls view as a miracle, “ISIS didn’t see them,” Momika said. One of the girls told him later that “when ISIS entered our room, they didn’t see us (and) we feel that the Virgin Mary closed their eyes from seeing us.”


Momika explained that the seven girls were among more than 100 refugees taking university classes in Kirkuk after being driven out of their hometowns by the Islamic State group in 2014.
Many of the girls come from Mosul and other cities nearby such as Bartella, Alqosh and Telskuf, he said. All of them had studied at the University of Mosul before the invasion.
Although their families are living inside the refugee camps in Erbil, the girls, in addition to a number of boys, wanted to continue their studies, but were unable to attend university classes in Erbil.
They then enrolled at the University of Kirkuk. Since traveling back and forth everyday was dangerous, they stayed in houses the Church had been renting in the city, returning to Erbil on the weekends.
Momika said he is happy that all of the students escaped unharmed. Two of his fellow priests, Father George Jahola and another named Father Petros, who was ordained with him Aug. 5, traveled to Kirkuk Saturday to pick the girls up and bring them back to Erbil.
He also spoke about the liberation of his hometown, Qaraqosh. The town was formerly regarded as the Christian capital of Iraq before the invasion in 2014 forced 120,000 people to evacuate in one night. Most of its residents are now living in refugee camps in Erbil.
On Saturday Iraqi and Kurdish forces entered Qaraqosh, which sits about 20 miles from Mosul. Although the town is said to be largely empty, Islamic State militants have destroyed much of the city. They left landmines strewn along the road to Mosul.
Momika said that Iraqi soldiers have raised the Iraqi flag in Qaraqosh, replacing that of the Islamic State.
“Qaraqosh is liberated,” he said. He cautioned that there are still dangers, like Islamic State group fighters who are hiding throughout the city still.
He passed on a report that Islamic State fighters “made a big, deep hole” in the ground, climbed into it and “bombed themselves” as the Iraqi and Kurdish armies advanced.
The priest, who was still a seminarian when he himself was forced to flee the city, said he finds it hard to talk about what happened to Qaraqosh, “because we saw some photos, and they made us feel sad.”
“There are a lot of places destroyed, and ISIS burned our church and ISIS broke all our crosses that were above the churches,” he said. A very important church in the region had been destroyed.
“It’s difficult for us because it’s our history. It’s a big church in the Middle East, in Qaraqosh,” he said, explaining that the sight is similar for the neighboring town of Bartella. That Christian village was recently liberated by the Iraqi Army.
“Yesterday the priests, they entered the church in Bartella and they saw everything was dark, because ISIS burned everything,” he said.
He voiced hope that there would be no sight of Islamic State militants in Qaraqosh as the city is secured over the next few days. He had a request: “pray for us.”


And then came their liberation!

Iraqi Christian fighters raise the cross on the churches of Bartella after its liberation from ISIS

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Four World-Shattering Anniversaries Coming Next Year










By Roberto de Mattei

Two anniversaries overlap each other in 2017: the 100 years of the Fatima apparitions, occurring between May 13th and October 13th 1917, and the 500 years of Luther’s revolt, beginning in Wittenberg, Germany, October 31st 1517. However, there are two other much less discussed anniversaries which also fall next year: the 300 years of the official foundation of Freemasonry (London, June 24th 1717) and the 100 years of the Russian Revolution of October 26th 1917 (the Julian calendar in use in the Russian Empire: November 8th according to the Gregorian calendar). Yet, between the Protestant Revolution and the Communist Revolution through to the French Revolution, the daughter of Freemasonry, there runs an indissoluble red thread which Pius XII, in his famous discourse Nel contemplare of October 12th 1952, summed up in three historic phrases, corresponding to Protestantism, the Age of Enlightenment and Marxist atheism: Christ – yes, Church – no. God – yes, Christ – no. Finally the impious cry: God is dead; in fact: God has never been”.

The anarchic yearnings of Communism were already implicitly present in the first Protestant negations – observed Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira:

“Whether from the point of view of Luther’s explicit formation, all of the tendencies, all of the mind-set, all of the imponderable elements of the Lutheran explosion, carried already in itself, in a very authentic and full way, even if implicit, the spirit of Voltaire and Robespierre, Marx and Lenin” (Revolution and Counter-Revolution, Sugarco, Milan, 2009, pp.61-62).

imageIn this respect, the errors the Soviet Russia spread, starting from 1917, were a chain of ideological aberrations from Marx and Lenin which went back to the first Protestant heresiarchs. The 1517 Lutheran Revolution can therefore be considered one of the most nefarious events in the history of humanity, on par with the Masonic revolution in 1789, and the Communist one in 1917. Further, the message of Fatima, which foresaw the spreading of Communist errors throughout the world, contains implicitly the rejection of the errors of Protestantism and the French Revolution.

The start of the centenary of the Fatima apparitions on October 13th 2016 was buried under a blanket of silence. That same day, Pope Francis received in the Paul VI Audience Hall, a thousand Lutheran “pilgrims” and in the Vatican a statue of Martin Luther was honoured, as appears in the images Antonio Socci published on his Facebook page. Next October 31st, moreover, Pope Francis will go to Lund in Sweden, where he will take part in a joint Catholic-Lutheran ceremony commemorating the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. As can be read in the communiqué drawn up by the World Lutheran Federation and the Papal Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity, the aim of the event is “to express the gifts of the Reform and ask forgiveness for the division perpetuated by Christians of the two traditions.”

The Valdese theologian and pastor, Paolo Ricca, involved for decades in ecumenical dialogue, voiced his satisfaction “seeing as it is the first time a Pope commemorates the Reform. This, in my opinion, constitutes a step forward with regard to the important aims that have been achieved with the Second Vatican Council, which – by including in its texts and so giving value to some fundamental principles and themes of the Reform – marked a decisive turning point in the relationships between Catholics and Protestants. By taking part in the commemoration, as the highest representative of the Catholic Church is prepared to do, means, in my view, to consider the Reform as a positive event in the history of the Church which also did some good for Catholicism. The participation at the commemoration is a gesture of great relevance also because the Pope is going to Lund, to the home of the Lutherans; as if he were one of the family. My impression is, in a way I wouldn’t know how to define, that he also feels part of that portion of Christianity born of the Reform.”

According to Ricca, the main contribution offered by Pope Francis is “his effort to reinvent the papacy, that is, the search for a new and different way of understanding and living the ministry of the Bishop of Rome. This search – presuming my interpretation somewhat hits the mark – might take us a long way, since the papacy – because of the way it has been understood and lived over the last 1000 years – is one of the great obstacles to Christian Unity. It seems to me Pope Francis is moving towards a model of the papacy different to the traditional one, with respect to which the other Christian Churches might take on new positions. If it were so, this theme might be completely reconsidered in ecumenical circles.”

The fact that this interview was published on October 9th by Vatican Insider, considered a semi-official Vatican site, makes one think that this interpretation of the Lund trip as well as the papal intentions, have been authorized and are agreeable to Pope Francis.

During his audience with the Lutherans on October 13th, Pope Bergoglio also said that proselytism, is “the strongest poison” against ecumenism. “The greatest reformers are the saints – he added – and the Church is always in need of reform”. These words contain simultaneously, as is frequent in his discourses, a truth and a deception. The truth is that the saints, from St Gregory VII to St. Pius X, have [indeed] been the greatest reformers. The deception consists in insinuating that the pseudo-reformers, like Luther, are to be considered saints. The statement that proselytism or the missionary spirit, is “the strongest poison against ecumenism” must, instead, be reversed: ecumenism, as it is understood today, is the greatest poison against the Church’s missionary spirit. The Saints have always been moved by this spirit, beginning with the Jesuits who landed in Brazil, the Congo and the Indies in the XVI century, while their confreres Diego Lainez, Alfonso Salmeron and Peter Canisio, at the Council of Trent, fought against the errors of Lutheranism and Calvinism.

Yet, according to Pope Francis those outside the Church do not have to be converted. At the audience on October 13th, in an off-the-cuff response to questions from some young people, he said: “I like good Lutherans a lot, Lutherans who truly follow the faith of Jesus Christ. On the contrary, I don’t like lukewarm Catholics and lukewarm Lutherans.” With another deformation in language, Pope Bergoglio calls “good Lutherans” those Protestants who do not follow the faith of Jesus Christ, but its deformation and “lukewarm Catholics” those fervent sons and daughters of the Church who reject the equalizing of the truth of the Catholic religion with the error of Lutheranism.

All of this brings us to the question: what will happen in Lund on October 31st? We know that the commemoration will include a joint celebration based on the Liturgical Catholic-Lutheran guide, Common Prayer, elaborated from the document From Conflict to Communion. The Common Catholic-Lutheran Commemoration of the Reformation in 2017, drawn-up by the Catholic-Lutheran Commission for the unity of Christians. There are those who rightly fear an “intercommunion” between Catholic and Lutherans, which would be sacrilegious, since the Lutherans do not believe in Transubstantiation. Above all, that it will be said Luther was not a heresiarch, but a reformer unjustly persecuted and that the Church has to recuperate the “gifts of the Reform”. Those who persist in considering the condemnation of Luther proper and think his followers heretics and schismatics, must be harshly criticised and excluded from the Church of Pope Francis. But then again, what Church does Jorge Mario Begoglio belong to?

Translation: Rorate Caeli Contributor, Francesca Romana


CP&S Comment:  We share the profound concerns of most Catholics for this “celebration” of the Protestant revolt under its founder, the heresiarch, Martin Luther, by none other than the current Pope! There are priests and laity who are beginning to ask themselves whether such constant attacks on Church Tradition by Pope Francis might not be an indication that he could be “a false prophet“.

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A statue of Luther in the Vatican and a new papal definition of ‘lukewarm’

By John-Henry Westen, October 25, 2016, LifeSiteNews

pope_francis_luther3_810_500_55_s_c1Pope Francis will travel to Lund, Sweden, next week to assist in the launch of a yearlong commemoration of the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s nailing of his 95 theses to the door of the castle church of Wittenberg on October 31, 1517.

In a lead-up event at the Vatican on October 13, the Pope received a group of 1,000 Lutherans and Catholics from Germany in the Vatican’s Paul VI hall and addressed them from the stage where a statue of Luther was erected. The sight came as a shock to many Catholics because Luther was excommunicated and his theses rejected by Pope Leo X in 1520. The split he caused in Christianity remains as one of the most damaging in the Church’s 2,000-year history.

At the meeting, Francis reinforced his admonition from earlier this month against converting people. Weeks after saying it is a “very grave sin against ecumenism” for Catholics to try to convert Orthodox Christians, Pope Francis told the pilgrims “it is not licit” to “convince [non-Christians] of your faith.” In that meeting, the pope also offered a novel definition of “lukewarm,” which according to Pope Francis is when Christians “are keen to defend Christianity in the West on the one hand but on the other are averse to refugees and other religions.”

The word ‘lukewarm’ has significant meaning to Christians because of the words of Christ revealed in St. John’s Revelation (3:15-16): “I know your works; I know that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either cold or hot. But because you are lukewarm, neither hot nor cold, I will vomit you out of my mouth.” The common interpretation of the verses was to condemn the practice of picking and choosing among the Christ’s teachings rather than holding to all of them. As the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops says, “Half-hearted commitment to the faith is nauseating to Christ.”

In answer to a question about what he likes about the Lutheran Church, the pope said, “I really like good Lutherans, Lutherans who really practice their faith in Jesus Christ. What I don’t like are lukewarm Catholics and lukewarm Lutherans.” Italian daily La Stampa’s Vatican Insider quotes the pope as saying it’s a “contradiction” when Christians “are keen to defend Christianity in the West on the one hand but on the other are averse to refugees and other religions.”

The Pope’s application of Christ’s strong condemnation to those who would be averse to other religions is perhaps a warning to those who would object to his coming praise for Luther scheduled for October 31. Swedish Catholic professor Clemens Cavallin points out in an essay on the upcoming celebration with Pope Francis in Lund that the common prayer service to be used has a very positive view of Luther.

“The text,” he says, “paints a picture of Luther as a religious hero who found the way to a more true form of Catholicism.” Cavallin notes that in the liturgical guide, the Common Prayer, a section called Thanksgiving, is intended to express, “our mutual joy for the gifts received and rediscovered in various ways through the renewal and impulses of the Reformation. After the prayer of thanksgiving, the whole assembly joins in singing thanks for and praise of God’s work.”

“The ecumenical journey enables Lutherans and Catholics to appreciate together Martin Luther’s insight into and spiritual experience of the gospel of the righteousness of God, which is also God’s mercy,” the text says.

The section concludes with the following prayer of gratitude:

Thanks be to you, O God, for the many guiding theological and spiritual insights that we have all received through the Reformation. Thanks be to you for the good transformations and reforms that were set in motion by the Reformation or by struggling with its challenges. Thanks be to you for the proclamation of the gospel that occurred during the Reformation and that since then has strengthened countless people to live lives of faith in Jesus Christ. Amen.

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Is Facebook listening to your Confession?

Is Facebook listening to your Confession?

By Diane Montagna

VATICAN CITY — As our smartphones become smarter and social media expands, so does the risk that your privacy will be increasingly breached.

In light of this, how much of a danger is it to bring your smartphone into the confessional? And what precautions can priest and penitent take?

“All phones have a microphone, and Facebook and many other phone apps require access to the microphone and camera,” said Fr. George Hajj, parish priest at St. Anthony of Padua Maronite Church in the United States. “Therefore we don’t know what technology, and in whose interest it is in, to spy and overhear what is being said in the confessional.”

For Father Andrew Pinsent, Research Director at Oxford’s Ian Ramsey Centre for Science and Religion, surveillance through modern technology has become so thorough that it makes Orwell’s Big Brother fears look almost quaint, like “something from the dinosaur era.” It therefore demands “extra vigilance” to ensure “proper privacy in regard to the sacraments, when matters of salvation are at stake.”

Fr. Pinsent covers cameras “that can be turned on electronically” to prevent snoopers (FBI director James Comey recently advised people to do the same thing). He also has other concerns such as built-in microphones on computers as well as mobile devices (as does Mark Zuckerberg), and the general profiling that comes with browsing. He calls e-assistants like Siri and Amazon’s Echo “simply insane from a privacy perspective.”

The problem is magnified all the more, he adds, since “a staggering variety of low-cost spyware for sale” exists which allows anyone, government or individual, to “glean information” if they are determined to do so.

Yet more and more priests are taking their phones into the confessional, because they find the portability and ease of a smartphone more practical for praying the Divine Office than carrying a hardbound book. Similarly, penitents sometimes prefer to use a phone app to make an examination of conscience before their confession, and often they bring that app with them into the confessional, to easily reference their sins.

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Cardinal Kasper: Can the ‘remarried’ now receive communion? ‘Yes. Period.’


By Jan Bentz, October 24, 2016 , LifeSiteNews

maxresdefaultIn a recent publication of the German journal Stimmen der Zeit (Journal for Christian Culture), Cardinal Walter Kasper published an article calling Amoris Laetitia a “paradigm shift” in the Church’s teaching.

Amoris Laetitia: Break or Beginning” is the title of a recent scientific article by Kasper in which he analyzes the post-synodal exhortation and provides his opinion on the right hermeneutic in reading it.

In the first part called “Discussion regarding the binding character,” Kasper critiques Cardinal Raymond Burke for his statement that post-synodal documents by the Pope are not necessarily binding. Instead, Kasper states, “This position is refuted by the formal character of an Apostolic Exhortation as well as its content.”

According to Kasper – and indeed he is right, as evidenced by the post-synodal discussions concerning the document – critiques of Amoris Laetitia boil down to the question of “remarried” divorced Catholics receiving Communion.

As Kasper points out, the question is addressed by two different camps: One opinion is held by “conservatives,” some of whom (including German philosopher Robert Spaemann) see Amoris Laetitia as a break from the tradition of the Church, whereas others (including Cardinal Gerhard Müller) say the publication does not change the position of the Church.

Another (held by Italian theologian Rocco Buttiglione) says the doctrine of the Church is developed further but not on the line of Pope John Paul II. Yet others acknowledge a “careful development” that is paired with a lack of “concrete guidelines.” The last position among the “conservatives” is Norbert Lüdecke (Canon Law, Bonn, Germany) who says it is up to the individual conscience of the remarried divorced person to decide if he or she may receive Communion or not.

Kasper goes on to cite Buttiglione that Cardinal Christoph Schönborn presents the “decisive interpretation.” This citation refers back to a publication in  L’Osservatore Romano. The same position is taken by Fr. Antonio Spadaro, SJ in La Civiltà Cattolica, among whom Kasper wants to count himself.

Kasper critiques the “alleged confusion” as having been caused by a “third party” who has “alienated themselves from the sense of faith and life of the people of God.” He continues to say that “behind the pastoral tone of the document lies a well thought-out theological position.”

The Cardinal praises the “realistic, open, and relaxed way of dealing with sexuality and eroticism” in Amoris Laetitia that does not seek to “indoctrinate or moralize.” “With a grain of salt, one can say that Amoris Laetitia distances itself from a primarily negative Augustinian view of sexuality and turns toward an affirming Thomistic view on creation.” Kasper repeats his opinion that the moral ideal is an “optimum,” yet is unreachable by many. “Oftentimes, we have to choose the lesser evil,” he states, “in the living life there is no black and white but only different nuances and shadings.”

Amoris Laetitia does not change an iota of the teaching of the Church, yet it changes everything.” The text provides ground for believing – so says Kasper – that the Pope, and with him the Church, moves away from a “legal morality” and toward the “virtue morality” of Thomas Aquinas.

Afterward, the Cardinal presents his own complex interpretation of Thomistic teachings concerning virtue and moral law in concrete situations. He bases his opinion on prudence as the “application of a norm in a concrete situation.” “Prudence does not give foundation to the norm, it presupposes it,” Kasper writes. He draws the conclusion that the “norm” is not applicative mechanically in every situation, but prudence is needed as fits the case.

With reference to Familiaris Consortio (No. 84), Kasper states that “remarried” divorcees are not anymore punished with excommunication but instead are “invited to participate as living members of Church life.”

Instead of choosing the path of John Paul II and Benedict XVI (“who had adhered to John Paul II’s decision”) to not allow “remarried” divorced Catholics to receive Communion and instead to insist that they practice abstinence in their sexual relations, Pope Francis “goes a step further, by putting the problem in a process of an embracing pastoral [approach] of gradual integration.”

Amoris Laetitia envisages which forms of exclusion from ecclesiastical, liturgical, pastoral, educational, and institutional services can be overcome,” Kasper explains. He posits that when John Paul II gave permission for remarried divorced to receive Communion – if they lived as brother and sister – this was “in fact a concession.” The Cardinal reasons this by saying, “Abstinence belongs to the most intimate sphere and does not abolish the objective contradiction of the ongoing bond of marriage of the first sacramental marriage and the second civil marriage.”

Kasper further denies the magisterial content of the provision: “This provision obviously does not have the same weight than the general norm; anyhow it is not a final binding magisterial statement.” In Kasper’s eyes, John Paul II’s request opens up a “playground” between the “dogmatic principle” and the “pastoral consequence,” which Amoris Laetitia tries to widen.

Another argument Kasper tries to use to justify allowing “remarried” divorcees to receive Communion is the distinction between “objective mortal sin” and “subjective culpability.” He insists that Pope Francis “emphasizes the subjective aspects without ignoring the objective elements.” Kasper also alludes to the fact that sometimes people are not able to be convinced of an “objective norm” because it seems to them to be “as insurmountably estranged from world and reality.”

“The conscience of many people is oftentimes blind and deaf to that which is presented to them as Divine Law. That is not a justification of their error, yet an understanding and mercifulness with the erroneous person.”

Therefore, Kasper states that “Amoris Laetitia lays the groundwork for a changed pastoral praxis in a reasoned individual case.” Yet he also says the “Papal document does not draw clear practical conclusions from these premises.” According to Kasper, the Pope leaves the question open, and the very fact of leaving it open is “in itself a magisterial decision of great consequence.”

Kasper explains that the direction of Pope Francis is clear: “One does not need to focus on footnotes. Much more important is that the gradual integration, which is the key topic in question, is directed essentially towards admittance to the Eucharist as full-form of the participation of the life of the Church.”

Kasper quotes Francis’ statement from an in-flight press conference on April 16 wherein he responded to the question if in some cases remarried divorced can receive Communion with the poignant words: “Yes. Period.” This answer is not found in Amoris Laetitia but ‘corresponds to the general ductus.’”

According to Kasper, this statement is in full accordance with Canon Law (915 CIC/1983) because it does not negate that “obstinacy to remain in mortal sin” can supposedly be judged in individual cases, and in some cases be excluded. It is even up for discussion whether an objective mortal sin is present in the given case.

He adds that the cause of scandal is not necessarily having a person who lives in a second civil marriage receive Communion. Rather, in such a situation, “not the admission but the denial of the sacraments is creating scandal.”

Update: Here’s Fr Z’s take on this

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Instruction of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on Burial and Cremation


Waverley Cemetery at dusk

Waverley Cemetery at dusk

Instruction Ad resurgendum cum Christo regarding the burial of the deceased and the conservation of the ashes in the case of cremation:

1. To rise with Christ, we must die with Christ: we must “be away from the body and at home with the Lord” (2 Cor 5:8). With the Instruction Piam et Constantem of 5 July 1963, the then Holy Office established that “all necessary measures must be taken to preserve the practice of reverently burying the faithful departed”, adding however that cremation is not “opposed per se to the Christian religion” and that no longer should the sacraments and funeral rites be denied to those who have asked that they be cremated, under the condition that this choice has not been made through “a denial of Christian dogmas, the animosity of a secret society, or hatred of the Catholic religion and the Church”.[1] Later this change in ecclesiastical discipline was incorporated into the Code of Canon Law (1983) and the Code of Canons of Oriental Churches (1990).

During the intervening years, the practice of cremation has notably increased in many countries, but simultaneously new ideas contrary to the Church’s faith have also become widespread. Having consulted the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts and numerous Episcopal Conferences and Synods of Bishops of the Oriental Churches, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has deemed opportune the publication of a new Instruction, with the intention of underlining the doctrinal and pastoral reasons for the preference of the burial of the remains of the faithful and to set out norms pertaining to the conservation of ashes in the case of cremation.

2. The resurrection of Jesus is the culminating truth of the Christian faith, preached as an essential part of the Paschal Mystery from the very beginnings of Christianity: “For I handed on to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures; that he was buried; that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures; that he appeared to Cephas, then to the Twelve” (1 Cor 15:3-5).

Through his death and resurrection, Christ freed us from sin and gave us access to a new life, “so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life” (Rm 6:4). Furthermore, the risen Christ is the principle and source of our future resurrection: “Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep […] For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive” (1 Cor 15:20-22).

It is true that Christ will raise us up on the last day; but it is also true that, in a certain way, we have already risen with Christ. In Baptism, actually, we are immersed in the death and resurrection of Christ and sacramentally assimilated to him: “You were buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead” (Col2:12). United with Christ by Baptism, we already truly participate in the life of the risen Christ (cf. Eph 2:6).

Because of Christ, Christian death has a positive meaning. The Christian vision of death receives privileged expression in the liturgy of the Church: “Indeed for your faithful, Lord, life is changed not ended, and, when this earthly dwelling turns to dust, an eternal dwelling is made ready for them in heaven”.[2] By death the soul is separated from the body, but in the resurrection God will give incorruptible life to our body, transformed by reunion with our soul. In our own day also, the Church is called to proclaim her faith in the resurrection: “The confidence of Christians is the resurrection of the dead; believing this we live”.[3]

3. Following the most ancient Christian tradition, the Church insistently recommends that the bodies of the deceased be buried in cemeteries or other sacred places.[4]

In memory of the death, burial and resurrection of the Lord, the mystery that illumines the Christian meaning of death,[5] burial is above all the most fitting way to express faith and hope in the resurrection of the body.[6]

The Church who, as Mother, has accompanied the Christian during his earthly pilgrimage, offers to the Father, in Christ, the child of her grace, and she commits to the earth, in hope, the seed of the body that will rise in glory.[7]

By burying the bodies of the faithful, the Church confirms her faith in the resurrection of the body,[8] and intends to show the great dignity of the human body as an integral part of the human person whose body forms part of their identity.[9] She cannot, therefore, condone attitudes or permit rites that involve erroneous ideas about death, such as considering death as the definitive annihilation of the person, or the moment of fusion with Mother Nature or the universe, or as a stage in the cycle of regeneration, or as the definitive liberation from the “prison” of the body.

Furthermore, burial in a cemetery or another sacred place adequately corresponds to the piety and respect owed to the bodies of the faithful departed who through Baptism have become temples of the Holy Spirit and in which “as instruments and vessels the Spirit has carried out so many good works”.[10]

Tobias, the just, was praised for the merits he acquired in the sight of God for having buried the dead,[11] and the Church considers the burial of dead one of the corporal works of mercy.[12]

Finally, the burial of the faithful departed in cemeteries or other sacred places encourages family members and the whole Christian community to pray for and remember the dead, while at the same time fostering the veneration of martyrs and saints.

Through the practice of burying the dead in cemeteries, in churches or their environs, Christian tradition has upheld the relationship between the living and the dead and has opposed any tendency to minimize, or relegate to the purely private sphere, the event of death and the meaning it has for Christians.

4. In circumstances when cremation is chosen because of sanitary, economic or social considerations, this choice must never violate the explicitly-stated or the reasonably inferable wishes of the deceased faithful. The Church raises no doctrinal objections to this practice, since cremation of the deceased’s body does not affect his or her soul, nor does it prevent God, in his omnipotence, from raising up the deceased body to new life. Thus cremation, in and of itself, objectively negates neither the Christian doctrine of the soul’s immortality nor that of the resurrection of the body.[13]

The Church continues to prefer the practice of burying the bodies of the deceased, because this shows a greater esteem towards the deceased. Nevertheless, cremation is not prohibited, “unless it was chosen for reasons contrary to Christian doctrine”.[14]

In the absence of motives contrary to Christian doctrine, the Church, after the celebration of the funeral rite, accompanies the choice of cremation, providing the relevant liturgical and pastoral directives, and taking particular care to avoid every form of scandal or the appearance of religious indifferentism.

5. When, for legitimate motives, cremation of the body has been chosen, the ashes of the faithful must be laid to rest in a sacred place, that is, in a cemetery or, in certain cases, in a church or an area, which has been set aside for this purpose, and so dedicated by the competent ecclesial authority.

From the earliest times, Christians have desired that the faithful departed become the objects of the Christian community’s prayers and remembrance. Their tombs have become places of prayer, remembrance and reflection. The faithful departed remain part of the Church who believes “in the communion of all the faithful of Christ, those who are pilgrims on earth, the dead who are being purified, and the blessed in heaven, all together forming one Church”.[15]

The reservation of the ashes of the departed in a sacred place ensures that they are not excluded from the prayers and remembrance of their family or the Christian community. It prevents the faithful departed from being forgotten, or their remains from being shown a lack of respect, which eventuality is possible, most especially once the immediately subsequent generation has too passed away. Also it prevents any unfitting or superstitious practices.

6. For the reasons given above, the conservation of the ashes of the departed in a domestic residence is not permitted. Only in grave and exceptional cases dependent on cultural conditions of a localized nature, may the Ordinary, in agreement with the Episcopal Conference or the Synod of Bishops of the Oriental Churches, concede permission for the conservation of the ashes of the departed in a domestic residence. Nonetheless, the ashes may not be divided among various family members and due respect must be maintained regarding the circumstances of such a conservation.

7. In order that every appearance of pantheism, naturalism or nihilism be avoided, it is not permitted to scatter the ashes of the faithful departed in the air, on land, at sea or in some other way, nor may they be preserved in mementos, pieces of jewelry or other objects. These courses of action cannot be legitimized by an appeal to the sanitary, social, or economic motives that may have occasioned the choice of cremation.

8. When the deceased notoriously has requested cremation and the scattering of their ashes for reasons contrary to the Christian faith, a Christian funeral must be denied to that person according to the norms of the law.[16]

The Sovereign Pontiff Francis, in the Audience granted to the undersigned Cardinal Prefect on 18 March 2016, approved the present Instruction, adopted in the Ordinary Session of this Congregation on 2 March 2016, and ordered its publication.

Rome, from the Offices of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, 15 August 2016, the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Gerhard Card. Müller

+ Luis F. Ladaria, S.I.
Titular Archbishop of Thibica

[1] AAS 56 (1964), 822-823.

[2] Roman Missal, Preface I for the Dead.

[3] Tertullian, De Resurrectione carnis, 1,1: CCL 2, 921.

[4] Cf. CIC, can. 1176, § 3, can. 1205; CCEO, can. 876, § 3; can. 868.

[5] Cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1681.

[6] Cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2300.

[7] Cf. 1 Cor 15:42-44; Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1683.

[8] Cf. St. Augustine, De cura pro mortuis gerenda, 3, 5; CSEL 41, 628:

[9] Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et Spes, 14.

[10] St. Augustine, De cura pro mortuis gerenda, 3, 5: CSEL 41, 627.

[11] Cf. Tb 2:9; 12:12.

[12] Cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2300.

[13] Cf. Holy Office, Instruction Piam et costantem, 5 July 1963: AAS 56 (1964) 822.

[14] CIC, can. 1176 § 3; cf. CCEC, can. 876 § 3.

[15]Catechism of the Catholic Church, 962.

[16]CIC, can. 1184; CCEO, can.876, § 3.

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What Will You Do When the Persecution Comes?

By Anthony Esolen on CRISIS MAGAZINE


I know there are plenty of Catholics who are, in one way or another, looking forward to the relentless institutional persecution that is coming our way unless we surrender the One Thing Needful to the secular left, and that is the family-destroying and state-feeding beast called the Sexual Revolution, with its seven heads and ten horns and the harlot squatting atop it. As I see it, these Catholics belong to four groups.

The Persecutor
First are the Persecutors. These people hate the Church, and that is why they remain ostensible members of it. They desire from within to punish the Church for what they perceive to be her sins, which these days have nothing to do with her teachings on the Trinity or the nature of Christ, but with sex—so tawdry are our heresies. O Arius, Arius, would that we had such as you for our enemy! The Persecutor has unbridled contempt for Pope John Paul II, the too-lenient father whom the Persecutor, like a spoiled brat, portrays as a tyrant, and for Benedict XVI, whose broad-ranging and penetrating intellect makes the Persecutor feel puny by comparison.

In all conflicts between the State and the Church, the Persecutor will not only side with the State; he will be glad to lead the charge. He will, to give one recent example from Connecticut, push a bill designed to subject the governance of Catholic parishes to state oversight. He will, to give a current example from New York, attempt to compel Catholic crisis pregnancy centers to refer women to the nearest abortorium. He will be eager to threaten Catholic schools with loss of government funds if they remain Catholic—if, for instance, they think it is not a good idea to sponsor groups committed to Sodom, and let them massage the minds of children. But why do I use the generic masculine pronoun here? She—she will want to compel Catholic interns to assist in abortions, or even to perform one; she will want to compel Catholic parishes to allow their grounds and their halls to be used for the celebration of pseudogamy. Religious freedom? The Persecutor respects neither God nor the conscience of man.

The Quisling
Second, the Quislings. The Quisling does not hate the Church, but he does not love her, either. He is a worldling and craves the approval of the world. He believes in “the future,” and that means he is easy prey for the peddlers of ideological fads: a field mouse against the Great Horned Owl. He is embarrassed by tradition. He is seldom brave enough to express formal heresy, just as he is seldom brave enough to defend the Church with any clarity or confidence. He seems pleasant enough, is perfectly lamb-like when it comes to wining and dining with the powerful, but will turn with a pent-up frustration against the ordinary churchgoer who dares to question his prudence. If he is a bishop, he is secretly happy to close churches and sell off their property, comforting himself with the thought that he is doing what is only necessary in hard times, and blaming the parishioners themselves for failing to bring up their children in the faith—when in point of fact he and the chancery have given them no help at all in doing so, and have usually checked them at every pass.

The Quisling wants the state to bring the Church into “the modern world,” whatever that may be; it depends upon the times and the place. Oh, he does not want the compulsion to be violent, and he can intone pontifically about the sanctity of individual conscience; so long as the individual with the tender conscience keeps it to himself, where it will remain ineffectual and inert, like a seed on concrete. The Quisling, with a sad and knowing shake of his head, pleases himself by meditating upon the many sins of his Holy Mother the Church, and will magnify them, or even invent sins that she never committed, the better to prove to himself how open-minded and pious he is.

The Avenger
Then comes the Avenger. He has tried to live in accord with the Church, and has received mainly contempt from her, or neglect, or persecution. That has curdled him within, and he now hates the Church such as she is more than he loves her as the bride of Christ. He sees that the Church has compromised herself by taking Caesar’s coin, even when Caesar offered it at first with the most innocent of intentions, and so he looks forward to the time when Holy Mother will have to do without that money. It occurs to him that that will kill an untold number of Catholic schools and colleges, but he says that they deserve to die; and he does not clearly consider how many souls will be lost. To him, it is better that there should be no Catholic school at all, than that there should be a school struggling to remain Catholic in a bad time—struggling, and often failing, but struggling for all that.

The Avenger makes conversion more difficult, not less, for people who still wish to believe in Christ but who have bought, usually without much thought, the confusions of our time. The Avenger enjoys rejection, enjoys loss, because that gives him a fine opportunity to meditate upon his courage. Sometimes the Avenger is a traditionalist. Sometimes he is a hater of the traditionalist. Whether he is one or the other, he does not aim his rifle at the terrible enemies of the Church from without: he does not fight the materialist, the sexual revolutionary, the radical secularist, the globalist, the corrupter of children, or the hawker of filth. He aims his rifle at Catholics, and many of them will be good Catholics who disagree with him about strategy. The Avenger will not go forth to war unless he approves the strategy in all its details, which of course will never happen. He prefers to be an armchair general rather than to be a private slogging in the trenches.

The Soldier
Last we have the Soldier. The Soldier complains about his superiors not because they give him bad orders, but because they give him no orders at all. He wants to do battle, and is willing to be led. He knows that war is hell, but that he and the Church have not sought the war. The war and the demons who lead it have sought the Church, to adulterate her or to kill her. The Soldier would prefer peace: he would prefer that his country might return to at least a worldly sanity, and grant the Church the liberty that she is owed and that redounds to the great benefit of the state itself.

The Soldier does not say, “I will fight, but my generals must be perfectly wise.” Generals are never perfectly wise or perfectly anything else. The Soldier does not say, “I will fight, but only if I do not have to share the field with these others,” which others may be traditionalists, the ecumenically minded, Protestants friendly to the Catholic Church, or Catholics who disagree with him on some political point. The Soldier is grateful for his brothers in arms, and if their uniforms are a little different from his, he figures that the Lord of Hosts will sort the matter out in the end.

The Soldier does not make light of the desperate situation. His name is not Pollyanna. But he remembers the words of Jesus: “In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, for I have overcome the world.” The Soldier will not refuse a hearty meal, but he will not grumble if he has to fast. The Soldier is filled with thymos: his eyes narrow and look to the horizon; his nostrils flare and his heart beats with excitement; he sings Rise Up, O Men of God; he craves honor, most of all the honor of the Church; he does not care who calls him a fool. He is immensely attractive and wins the respect even of his enemies. He brings both men and women into the Church without that being his principal aim, because it is sweeter to spend one day in the field with the Soldier than a thousand in the halls of the wealthy, the powerful, the timid, the faithless, and the mad.

May God grant us the grace to be Soldiers—all of us, now. The war is here.

See Father Z’s take on this article and the following comments.

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Ave Maria

Time is running out on us for the Month of the Holy Rosary.

Offered by some of the gents of the young Catholic Australian liturgical singers, Prima Luce. From memory it’s Jacques Arcadelt’s quite ‘umble and merciful Ave Maria, if I’m not mistaken.


A fuller complement of Prima Luce for the Immaculate Mary.


Does Father Z ever say . . . and pray the Rosary?

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The coming Isolation and Desolation

Veil of Veronica

light in the darkness

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. John 1:5

We have entered into a time of chaos and lawlessness.  Hatred and vitriol are everywhere.  Terror is starting to reign.  Everyone is blaming everyone else.  I know we all fear.  People may decide to stay in their homes, and not go out, for fear of the hatred in the world.  But hiding brings isolation.  Isolation brings desolation.  There is nothing the devil wants more than to bring this desolation to your soul.  Many have already begun feeling desolation.  Trapped in sin of wrath, pornography, addiction, adultery and envy.  Now we have added violence to the mix, a quickening of the isolation.   We are fighting powers and principalities.

For our struggle is not with flesh and blood but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil…

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A child’s life saved by a distant memory

by DR JOHN MORRISSEY at the Catholic Herald

‘Her Heart is attuned to the dying’ (Leopold Kupelwieser/Diana Ringo)

Smell memory is very persistent. We can all perhaps remember the smell of our childhood comfort blanket, our mother’s perfume on the saliva moistened hankie that dabbed our chops, the incense at church.

And for doctors like me, smell memory can even save lives.

A few years ago, I was urgently summoned to the “resus” room in A&E at about 6am. (I refer to ITU doctors as “resus monkeys”.) There, a number of junior medics, nurses and I found a puzzling sight. On the ambulance trolley lay an extremely sick two-year-old-boy. His skin was a peculiar chocolatey-purple colour. He was comatose, gasping for breath, and his heart rate was 200 beats per minute – the maximum. His blood pressure was unrecordable. None of us knew what on earth was going on.

His parents stood in the corner of the room looking terrified, but also a bit sheepish. Then the smell hit me. It was the unmistakeable sickly sweet odour of amyl nitrite. This is a medical drug originally used to treat angina and more recently to treat cyanide poisoning. It also is used as a legal high, known as “poppers”.

The child’s clothing reeked of it and so did his breath. I ordered his clothes to be removed and double-bagged for our own safety, and for his body to be washed clean. Amyl nitrite can be absorbed through the skin as well as by inhalation.

I took a sample of blood from the artery in his groin and sent it off for urgent blood gas analysis. I then gave a paralysing drug and passed a tube into his windpipe and ventilated his lungs with 100% oxygen. He remained comatose and critically ill. We might have been too late.

The blood gas result came back: more than 95 per cent of his red blood cell haemoglobin was poisoned by the amyl nitrite and therefore unable to carry oxygen. His blood was racing around his body but failing to deliver life-giving O2. This child was about to die. There was no time to phone a poisons helpline. What could I do?

Read the rest here

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Psalm 53 Sung In Aramaic

 (To the choir-master. The Melody, Mahalat. A maskil. Of David.[1])
1 εἰς τὸ τέλος ὑπὲρ μαελεθ συνέσεως τῷ Δαυιδ 2 εἶπεν ἄφρων ἐν καρδίᾳ αὐτοῦ οὐκ ἔστιν θεός διεφθάρησαν καὶ ἐβδελύχθησαν ἐν ἀνομίαις οὐκ ἔστιν ποιῶν ἀγαθόν 3 ὁ θεὸς ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ διέκυψενἐπὶ τοὺς υἱοὺς τῶν ἀνθρώπων τοῦ ἰδεῖν εἰ ἔστιν συνίων ἢ ἐκζητῶν τὸν θεόν 4 πάντες ἐξέκλιναν ἅμα ἠχρεώθησαν οὐκ ἔστιν ποιῶν ἀγαθόν οὐκ ἔστιν ἕως ἑνός 5 οὐχὶ γνώσονται πάντες οἱ ἐργαζόμενοι τὴν ἀνομίαν οἱ ἔσθοντες τὸν λαόν μου βρώσει ἄρτου τὸν θεὸν οὐκ ἐπεκαλέσαντο 6 ἐκεῖ φοβηθήσονται φόβον οὗ οὐκ ἦν φόβος ὅτι ὁ θεὸς διεσκόρπισεν ὀστᾶ ἀνθρωπαρέσκων κατῃσχύνθησαν ὅτι ὁ θεὸς ἐξουδένωσεν αὐτούς 7 τίς δώσει ἐκ Σιων τὸ σωτήριον τοῦ Ισραηλ ἐν τῷ ἐπιστρέψαι κύριον τὴν αἰχμαλωσίαν τοῦ λαοῦ αὐτοῦ ἀγαλλιάσεται Ιακωβ καὶ εὐφρανθήσεται Ισραηλ 1 There is no God above us, is the fond thought of reckless hearts.2 Warped natures everywhere and hateful lives, there is not an innocent man among them. 3 God looks down from heaven at the race of men, to find one soul that reflects, and goes in search of him; 4 but no, all have missed the mark and rebelled against him; an innocent man is nowhere to be found. 5 What, can they learn nothing, all these traffickers in iniquity, who feed themselves fat on this people of mine, as if it were bread for their eating, 6 and never invoke God’s name? What wonder if fear unmans them, where they have no cause for fear? Where are the foes that hemmed thee round?[2] God has scattered their bones far and wide, forgotten as his enemies must ever be. 7 Oh, may Sion bring deliverance to Israel! Day of gladness for Jacob, day of Israel’s triumph, when God restores the fortunes of his own people.
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Blessed Karl of Austria, Emperor and King: 21st October

Leon Bloy once wrote, “The only real sadness, the only real failure, the only great tragedy in life, is not to become a saint.”

Why? Because to be anything less than holy is to remain unactualised. To be called to life is to be called to sanctity.

All men and women, in every age, wherever we live, whatever status we achieve in life, every single person is born with an immortal soul, created in the Image and Likeness of God. Everyone, without exception therefore, has the potential for sanctity, for holiness, which is, simply stated, the full flowering of our personality.

imageBlessed Karl knew this. In like manner of many holy kings before him, he devoted his life to humble obedience and imitation of the King of Kings, Christ, our Sovereign Lord. He did not allow either riches or honours to stand in his way or blur his vision of where his first duty to God lay. In leading his people during a short reign lived in the turbulent times of World War I, and whilst caring for their needs, their spiritual welfare was his first and foremost preoccupation. He was well-loved by the vast majority of his subjects, and greatly mourned at his early death.


From The Emperor Karl League of Prayer (with a h/t to The Hapsburg Restorationist on ‘The War for Christendom‘)

The Emperor Karl League of Prayer promotes the canonization of Blessed Karl of the House of Austria who, as Emperor Karl I and King Karl IV, reigned in Austria-Hungary from 1916-1918. The League invites new members.

Karl was conscientiously given a Catholic education and supported from childhood by the prayers of a group of people, because the religious sister and stigmatist, Sr. M. Vincentia Fauland, prophesied that he would suffer greatly and be attacked. After Karl’s death this group developed into the Emperor Karl League of Prayers for Peace Among Nations, which introduced his cause for beatification in 1949, and has had ecclesiastic recognition since 1963 as a prayer society. Through his life and dying, Emperor Karl has encouraged and strengthened the faith of many people. Inspired by his spirituality, the Emperor Karl League of Prayers continues to pray today.

Karl of the House of Austria was born on August 17, 1887, at Schloss Persenbeug in Lower Austria. His parents were Archduke Otto and Princess Maria Josepha of Saxony, daughter of the last king of Saxony. Emperor Franz Joseph I was Karl’s great uncle.

From an early age, Karl fostered a great devotion to the Blessed Sacrament and the Sacred Heart of Jesus. He used prayer to guide him in making all important decisions.

The wedding of Zita and Charles, 21 October 1911.

The wedding of Zita and Charles, 21 October 1911.

On October 21, 1911, he married Princess Zita of Bourbon-Parma. During the ten good years of their happy and exemplary marriage, the pair were given eight children. While on his death bed, Karl said to Zita: “I love you unceasingly!”

On June 28, 1914, because of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, Karl became the heir apparent of the throne of Austria-Hungary. In the middle of the First World War, the death of Emperor Franz Joseph on November 21, 1916, made Karl the Emperor of Austria. On December 20, 1916, he was crowned Apostolic King of Hungary.

Karl also saw his duty as a way to follow Christ: by loving his people and being concerned and devoted to improving their lives.

The most sacred obligation of a king – to provide peace – became the primary focus of Karl’s efforts during this horrific war. The only world leader to do so, he support the peace proposals of Pope Benedict XV.

During a most difficult time domestically, he offered extensive assistance to his people and gave example to them by passing social legislation in conformity with Catholic social teachings.

His stance prevented civil war from occurring during the post-war transition of government. Yet still he was banished from his homeland.

At the request of the pope, who feared that communism would overtake Central Europe, Karl attempted to restore his government and return to the throne of Hungary. Two attempts failed because he wanted to avoid civil war at all costs. Karl was then sent into exile on Madeira. He saw his abandonment there as a commission from God, a duty he could not put aside.

Emperor Karl and Empress Zita with their children while in exile.

Emperor Karl and Empress Zita with their children while in exile.

He lived with his family in poverty, in a damp house. There, Karl contracted a fatal illness, which he accepted as a sacrifice to make for the peace and unity of his people. Karl endured his suffering without complaint, forgave everyone who had treated him unjustly, and died on April 1, 1922, with an almost holy countenance. The motto of his life, which he even said on his deathbed, was: “My entire endeavor has always been to clearly recognize the Will of God in all things and to follow it as completely as possible.”

On October 3, 2004, Pope Saint John Paul II beatified Emperor and King Karl.

Beatification Mass of Blessed Karl presided over by Pope Saint John Paul II, 2004. Note the banner of Blessed Karl in the background.

Beatification Mass of Blessed Karl presided over by Pope Saint John Paul II, 2004. Note the banner of Blessed Karl in the background.


THR: “[Below is the] brilliant recounting of an important day for the Imperial-Royal soldiers on the Italian Front, written by author Christopher Reibold. The story itself is based on a true event in Blessed Karl’s life, attested to in the biographies prepared for his beatification.”

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