The Pope Is The Problem

Comment:  We have already produced a lot for our readers to absorb today, but nonetheless, the following report on the meeting of the US Catholic Bishops in Baltimore from The American Conservative yesterday – with some later important updates – is really a must-read for all anxious Catholics under this increasingly bizarre Pontificate.

By ROD DREHER * November 12, 2018.


Stunning news from the US Catholic bishops’ meeting in Baltimore:

The bishops of America’s 196 Catholic dioceses and archdioceses gathered in Baltimore on Monday morning, meeting for the first time since sexual abuse scandals rocked the church in the summer. They planned to vote on measures to tackle the crisis and prevent further crimes.

In the opening minutes of their meeting, the bishops heard a surprising report: Pope Francis had asked them not to vote on any of their proposals.

The pope does not want U.S. bishops to act to address bishops’ accountability on sexual abuse until he leads a worldwide meeting in February of church leaders, the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, told the gathered bishops as the meeting opened Monday morning.

“At the insistence of the Holy See, we will not be voting on the two action items,” DiNardo said. He said he was “disappointed” by the pope’s directive.

Anne Barrett Doyle, co-director of, called the last-minute order from the Vatican “truly incredible.”

“What we see here is the Vatican again trying to suppress even modest progress by the U.S. bishops,” said Doyle, whose group compiles data on clergy abuse in the church. “We’re seeing where the problem lies, which is with the Vatican. The outcome of this meeting, at best, was going to be tepid and ineffectual, but now it’s actually going to be completely without substance.”

Read the whole thing to see what the papal nuncio told the bishops this morning. Jaw-dropping.

Any illusions that Francis was part of the solution to this crisis should now be dispelled. He is the chief stonewaller. Archbishop Viganò told us so.

As I’ve been writing since visiting Rome earlier this autumn, the atmosphere in the Vatican is one of siege and denial. One has the impression that Francis is like Pius IX, desperately trying to defend the Papal States — except in Francis’s case, he’s trying to defend the Church’s ability to control events — and, let’s be honest, to cover up for priestly buggery and episcopal corruption. It’s as if Uncle Ted were sitting at his right side, Wormtonguing all the livelong day.

What must it feel like to be a faithful Catholic mother and father this morning, knowing that even 16 years after Boston, and mere months after learning that a senior American cardinal was in fact a serial molester, the Holy Father does not take the abuse crisis seriously? For heaven’s sake, the US Catholic Church is facing a federal RICO investigation! And still, the pontiff punts. If you read the nuncio’s quote, you’ll see that the Pope does not intend to give the laity any say in the reform that the Catholic bishops have manifestly been unable to carry out.

From Barbara Tuchman’s The March Of Folly, this passage on how six Renaissance popes provoked the Protestant Reformation:

The folly of the popes was not pursuit of counter-productive policy so much as rejection of any steady or coherent policy either political or religious that would have improved their situation or arrested the rising discontent. Disregard of the movements and sentiments developing around them was a primary folly. They were deaf to disaffection, blind to the alternative ideas it gave rise to, blandly impervious to challenge, unconcerned by the dismay at their misconduct and the rising wrath at their misgovernment, fixed in refusal to change, almost stupidly stubborn in maintaining a corrupt existing system. They could not change it because they were part of it, grew out of it, depended on it.

Plus ça change…

Read David Spotanski’s incredible 2002 letter in light of the Pope’s move today.

UPDATE: A prominent Catholic theologian e-mails:

Can there be any doubt? PF is a liar, a hypocrite, a fraud, radically corrupt, and gravely, gravely wounding the Church of which he is head.

I am beside myself with anger right now. PF is more interested in showing his supposed ‘enemies’ who’s boss than he is in dealing with evil. He is more interested in preserving his image and his friends, than in seeking truth. He is all about himself at this point, completely blinded to the needs of others. He hides his corruption and bankruptcy and pride behind a patina of ‘synodality’ and ‘humility.’

My only hope is that Christ will use him to scourge the Church and bring about its renewal. We must suffer the death-pangs of an ecclesial era that we have allowed to fester for decades. Pope Francis is both a cause and a symptom. He is a disgrace to every victim of abuse and to every person committed to reforming the Church.

Obviously I am not going to reveal the name of this theologian — who, not coincidentally, is a father — but I tell you this: I bet he never, in his wildest dreams, imagined ever writing words like this about a pope. Yet here we are.

UPDATE.2: Here is a link to the text of the papal nuncio’s address. 

Phil Lawler, whose brand-new book about the crisis is a must-read for concerned Catholics, weighs in:


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Apologies Rain Down In Catholic Media On The Pope Crisis – US Bishops And Cardinal Burke In The News

And I say to thee: That thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it”  (Matt.16:18).

Until the (manipulated) election of Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio as Pope Francis I, never before in the history of the Catholic Church has a pope worked against the Church’s doctrines, dogmas and traditions, taken from the sacrosanct Deposit of Faith, given to us by the Son of God made Man. Never before has a pope contradicted the Commandments of Jesus to protect, safeguard and preach the faith to the ends of the earth. Among the Church’s long line of saintly popes – many of whom were martyred in the first centuries – there have been some ‘bad popes’, certainly: greedy popes, worldly popes, even immoral popes, but NEVER before has the Church had a Pope who consistently works against the Church’s Magisterial teachings and traditions…. Until today! We MUST take measures to set a Catholic Restoration rolling before more destruction is allowed to take place.



There has been an avalanche of apologies of sorts from Catholic prelates and media of late .
Those that criticized traditional Catholics and defended Pope Francis heterodoxy and hereticsl poaitions for years and have done about faces 
Monsignor Charles Pope took to the air on EWTN this past Thurs evening and echoed the sentiments that this Pontificate is one in which families need to protect themselves from Apologies Rain Down – = The Francis Effect: A beautiful apology to traditional Catholics” – On Rorate Caeli

Raymond Arroyo began reinforcing same one year ago.  Dr Marshal Taylor theologian & journalist  with a huge following,  hundreds of thousands to his Catholic internet show , was questioned on his behavior & position from 2013 to 2017 ‘ dito’ formal apology to traditional and conservative Catholics all over the world.

Michael Voris, Saint Michael’s media – CMTV, summer 2018 an about face on the Pope but no apologies for all the people he previously  denounced for forming a faithful resistance movement against Pope Francis and subsequently joined.– Church Militant Statement on the Pope – YouTube National Catholic Register is another but at least an apology there and an acknowledgement that the Pope is clearly teaching error and should be resisted . Phil Lawlor and his Catholic Culture apostolate , a complete apology in 2018 asking forgiveness and seeking to restore his Catholic credibility and so many other Catholic news concerns, theologians, and Priests that followed suit…including from the pulpit. “Be not afraid”  (of the Truth)

It also appears that liberal to moderate John Allen ( Crux ) is about to fold and reverse any day now as many are saying

I urge everyone to watch a newly released talk on you tube that came out of the Catholic Identity Conference – Diane Montagna of Life Site News on the Youth Synod , one of the most talented female Catholic journalists and speakers in the field,  ranks up there w Elizabeth Yore,  Hillary White , and  Christine Niles
Its about 75 minutes but pure inside facts SYNOD on YOUTH: A Rome Journalist Reports -Catholic Identity Conference – Diane Montagna LifeSite News- YouTube Video via Remnant News

The American TFP , while each county’s TFP is autonomous & international alliances are loose, in  2018 saw the American Society join the Brazilian, Chilean, and other South American TFPs calling out our Pope and calling for a Faithful Catholic resistance  movement and a book launching:

A Church in crisis needs well informed members who fight back, with respect!

Think of the millions of loyal Catholics who are confused. Many feel guilty about voicing their disapproval of the Pope’s actions. Yet still the doubts remain.

They worry that things are changing so rapidly and wonder what the future holds.

They ask: Is chaos taking over in the Church of God? How can the contradictions between what is now being said be reconciled with what the Church has always taught? Can we fight back? How? Do you know people like this? Are you one of them? Pope Francis’s “Paradigm Shift” can be your guide through the issues that are troubling the Church and Her loyal children. You can understand the forces that are ripping the Church apart.

You can fight back if you understand the means that the Church has put at your disposal. You can encourage dismayed friends and family members. Anyone who loves the Church can help to defend Her.

Holy Mother Church needs your prayers, but she also needs your intelligent action. She needs you to understand events and explain them to others.

 These are the issues:

Holy Communion for those living in sin

Amoris Laetitia

Acceptance of same-sex “marriage”


Islam and immigration

Retreat from Humanae Vitae

Indifferentism and relativism

Before you can explain the issues, you need to know about them.

Before you can fight back, you need to know the right way to do it.

It’s all in the book, Pope Francis’s “Paradigm Shift”: Continuity or Rupture in the Mission of the Church

Pope Francis’s “Paradigm Shift”: Continuity or Rupture in the Mission of the Church? An Assessment of His Pontificate’s First Five Years

In summary we are surrounded by it  It’s in the Papacy , the Bishops of the US Episcopate and many others in the hierarchy- It’s a growing international apostasy and it is ok for faithful Catholics to say ‘I made a mistake’. I was late to see what the modernist infiltration is doing &  I’m sorry , I want to remain a loyal Catholic while doing everything I can to protect my family from them until the restoration takes back the hierarchy.

US Catholic Bishops Fund Pro-Abort Socialists in Indiana – The Lepanto Institute Catholics in the pews of novus ordo diocesan Churches continue to fund , abortion , homosexuality, and socialism

Special FSSP Masses, Adoration, Confessions in Baltimore during USCCB Meeting (Nov 12-15) On Novus Motus Liturgicus

Faithful Protest Outside Vatican Nunciature, “Give Us Cardinal Burke” – On

Cardinal Burke: “God’s Law is Higher Than Pontifical Secret” – On EP

Cardinal Burke on Vigano: To Ignore Him is Negligence – On The Remnant Newspaper –

By Professor Roberto de Mattei: Rebuilding Christian society by living and professing one’s vocation in the Church.

Youth Really Longs for a Call to Heroism From the Church

Evidence The Consecation Of Russia Was Never Done

We Must Love War! – On Fatima Center

The 100th anniversary of the end of “the war to end all wars,” let us remember – the Catholic way – those who lost their lives in battle, by praying for them.

Centenary of the Great War

The Kaiser and the Cardinal — Catholic Family News

Kaiser Wilhelm II –On The Dead Emperors’ Society

The Errors Of Russia Will Spread

November 12 – Four years in Stalin’s concentration camp – Blessed Hryhorij Lakota-On Nobility and Analogous Traditional Elites

St. Martin of Tours – Old All Hallows


Source: Traditional Catholics Emerge

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Why Is So Little Being Said about SIN?

Remember man that thou art dust,
and unto dust thou must return.

So much has been reported and written about the crimes of the sexual abuse scandal and cover-up by the hierarchy and clergy of the Catholic Church. But precious little has been said by anyone about the sinfulness of it all. Think about this for a moment, please…..Why is this so? Questions:

Have the clergy succumbed to a new form of antinomianism? (In Christianity, an antinomian is one who takes the principle of salvation by faith and divine grace to the point of asserting that the saved are not bound to follow the moral law contained in the Ten Commandments, especially the First, Sixth and Eighth?)

Are the concerns for property, assets, public appearance/perception, climbing and their very hides, of greater importance than Truth, Faith, Catholic morality, the Commandments, the Gospels?
Have they resolved to remedy the scandal through exclusively secular means such as the use of Public Relations spokespersons and Lawyers?

Have they forgotten about the need for humility, honesty, repentance, the Sacrament of Penance?

In terms of Justice, have they not been more concerned about legal liability and defense strategies rather than compassion and care for their many victims? Do they think that tons of cash can heal broken hearts, dashed faith and scarred souls? And what about the harm done to the faithful Catholic in the pews? What about the damage that has and continues to be done to their faith?

Jesus said, “Those who live by the sword, die by the sword”. By lawyering up, have the hierarchy not opened the door to intervention of an exclusively secular nature by the FBI and state attorneys general?

But what about the most important dimension of it all…the Religious dimension? If one steps back and looks at everything that has been said and written about the whole ugly mess that is the sexual abuse scandal, one will NEVER see anything said about mortal sin. Have we forgotten that the use of child/post-pubescent pornography and the sexual abuse of our young by clergymen is not only the sinful breaking of the promise of celibacy, but also, the conscious and deliberate violation of the First, Sixth and Eighth Commandments….a MORTAL SIN THAT COULD LEAD TO ETERNAL PUNISHMENT WHICH IS FAR WORSE THAN A PUNITIVE FINANCIAL SETTLEMENT OR JAIL TIME??? DO THEY NOT BELIEVE IN THE EXISTENCE OF HELL?

How many bishops, like Pontius
Pilate, ask “Truth! What is truth?”

Perhaps it’s time that the bishops put away their financial Guard Dogs (lawyers), and instead, re-read the Gospels, the Commandments, the teaching of the great Saints, especially St. Thomas More…and humbly confess their mortal sins, beg for forgiveness from God and His holy people, step down from their earthy thrones, and spend the rest of their days repenting in “sackcloth and ashes” until which time they face their Judge Who alone can read the contents of the heart…

FYI:: Commandments 1, 6, 8

“I am the Lord thy God, thou shalt not have any strange gods before Me.”

This commandment forbids idolatry, the worship of false gods and goddesses, and it excludes polytheism, the belief in many gods, insisting instead on monotheism, the belief in one God. This commandment forbids making golden calves, building temples to Isis, and worshipping statues of Caesar, for example.
“Thou shalt not commit adultery.”

The sixth and ninth commandments honor human sexuality.

These commandments forbid the actual, physical act of having immoral sexual activity, specifically adultery, which is sex with someone else’s spouse or a spouse cheating on their partner. These commandments also includes fornication, which is sex between unmarried people, prostitution, pornography, homosexual activity, masturbation, group sex, rape, incest, pedophilia, bestiality, and necrophilia.

“Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.”

The Eighth Commandment condemns lying. Because God is regarded as the author of all truth, the Church believes that humans are obligated to honor the truth. The most obvious way to fulfill this commandment is not to lie — intentionally deceive another by speaking a falsehood. So a good Catholic is who you want to buy a used car from. (From Catholicism for Dummies)


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The Eleventh Day of the Eleventh Month at the Eleventh Hour: 100 Years Since the End of WW1

Douaumont Ossuary and Cemetery of WW1 – Crosses facing the battlefield

By Father George W. Rutler 

Pier 54 on the Hudson River is a short walk from our church. On display are pictures of the Titanic and the Lusitania, which is not encouraging for public relations. The Titanic was supposed to berth there, but instead the Carpathia arrived with surviving passengers. Seven years before, my grandmother had sailed on the Carpathia.

The sinking of the Lusitania by a German U-boat brought the United States into the Great War. Film footage shows passengers arriving at Pier 54 to embark on May 1, 1915. Of the 1,962 passengers and crew on the Lusitania’s manifest, 1,198 died. Toscanini had planned to be on board, but took an earlier ship after bad reviews of his performance of Carmen. Jerome Kern missed the ship when his alarm clock failed—otherwise, we’d not have “Ol’ Man River” and “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes.” The dancer Isadora Duncan cancelled her ticket to save money, and the actress Ellen Terry backed off because of war jitters.

One casualty of the Lusitania sinking was Father Basil Maturin, Catholic chaplain at Oxford University, returning from a lecture tour. He spurned a lifeboat and gave away his life jacket. That was reminiscent of Monsignor John Chadwick, later pastor of the Church of Saint Agnes here in Manhattan, who barely survived the sinking of the Maine which incited the Spanish-American War. The monsignor was hailed as a hero by the sailors he saved.

If his chauffeur had not taken a wrong turn on the streets of Sarajevo in 1914, Archduke Franz Ferdinand might not have been assassinated, and the domino effect of national alliances would have not brought on the collapse of empires. At the Somme, more than one million troops were killed or wounded, and the war’s total casualties were 37.5 million dead or wounded. One year after the war, there was only one man between the ages of 18 and 30 for every 15 women. Each town and school in Britain has memorials to those lost. Both of my own grandmother’s brothers were killed in Ypres, and that was considered the norm. The United States lost 116,000 men with over 200,000 wounded. Europe has never really recovered. Military strategists were not prepared for modernized combat, and it has been said that the armies were lions led by donkeys. In a macabre way, the chief winners of that cultural suicide were Lenin and Hitler.

Today is the one-hundredth anniversary of the Armistice signaled by a bugle at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of the year. The poet Siegfried Sassoon, decorated for bravery, was latterly put in a psychiatric ward for begging an end to the killing. He became a Catholic and is buried near the grave of Monsignor Ronald Knox whom he admired. In tribute to one of his fallen comrades, he wrote:

I know that he is lost among the stars,
And may return no more but in the light… “of the Son reflected on them” (ABYSSUM)


Let us remember to pray for the repose of all souls, especially those who are long dead and forgotten, that they may have eternal rest and be freed from any torments in Purgatory.

Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord; And let perpetual light shine upon them. May they rest in peace. Amen

O Lord, who art ever merciful and bounteous with Thy gifts, look down upon the suffering souls in Purgatory. Remember not their offences and negligences, but be mindful of Thy loving mercy, which is from all eternity. Cleanse them of their sins and fulfill their ardent desires that they may be made worthy to behold Thee face to face in Thy glory. May they soon be united with Thee and hear those blessed words which will call them to their heavenly home: “Come, blessed of My Father, take possession of the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.”


Somme Battlefields: sunset at Courcelette

This moving poem below was allegedly written at the return of soldiers from the First Workd War after the signing of the Armistice:

Everyone Sang

Everyone suddenly burst out singing;
And I was filled with such delight
As prisoned birds must find in freedom,
Winging wildly across the white
Orchards and dark-green fields; on – on – and out of sight.
Everyone’s voice was suddenly lifted;
And beauty came like the setting sun:
My heart was shaken with tears; and horror
Drifted away … O, but Everyone
Was a bird; and the song was wordless; the singing will never be done.
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Reflection for the 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time – Cycle B

Image result for the widow's mite

FIRST READING                 1 Kings 17:10-16

In those days, Elijah the prophet went to Zarephath.  As he arrived at the entrance of the city, a widow was gathering sticks there; he called out to her, “Please bring me a small cupful of water to drink.”  She left to get it, and he called out after her, “Please bring along a bit of bread.”  She answered, “As the LORD, your God, lives, I have nothing baked; there is only a handful of flour in my jar and a little oil in my jug.  Just now I was collecting a couple of sticks, to go in and prepare something for myself and my son; when we have eaten it, we shall die.”  Elijah said to her, “Do not be afraid.  Go and do as you propose.  But first make me a little cake and bring it to me.  Then you can prepare something for yourself and your son.  For the LORD, the God of Israel, says, ‘The jar of flour shall not go empty, nor the jug of oil run dry, until the day when the LORD sends rain upon the earth.’”  She left and did as Elijah had said.  She was able to eat for a year, and he and her son as well; the jar of flour did not go empty, nor the jug of oil run dry, as the LORD had foretold through Elijah.

SECOND READING                        Hebrews 9:24-28

Christ did not enter into a sanctuary made by hands, a copy of the true one, but heaven itself, that he might now appear before God on our behalf.  Not that he might offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters each year into the sanctuary with blood that is not his own; if that were so, he would have had to suffer repeatedly from the foundation of the world.  But now once for all he has appeared at the end of the ages to take away sin by his sacrifice.  Just as it is appointed that human beings die once, and after this the judgment, so also Christ, offered once to take away the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to take away sin but to bring salvation to those who eagerly await him.

GOSPEL                     Mark 12:38-44

In the course of his teaching Jesus said to the crowds, “Beware of the scribes, who like to go around in long robes and accept greetings in the marketplaces, seats of honor in synagogues, and places of honor at banquets.  They devour the houses of widows and, as a pretext recite lengthy prayers.  They will receive a very severe condemnation.”  He sat down opposite the treasury and observed how the crowd put money into the treasury.  Many rich people put in large sums.  A poor widow also came and put in two small coins worth a few cents.  Calling his disciples to himself, he said to them, “Amen, I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the other contributors to the treasury.  For they have all contributed from their surplus wealth, but she, from her poverty, has contributed all she had, her whole livelihood.”

My sisters and brothers in Christ,

Jesus expects us to trust Him completely.  Many of us are not quite so sure that we can trust Him, even though we want to trust Him.  The widow in the first reading shows us how a person can trust completely, even to the point of giving up the little one has for another person.  The Gospel of Mark today repeats that message with the story of the poor widow who gave all she had, trusting in the Lord.  The challenge today:  Will I trust?  Will I give up what I have because I trust in the Lord?

The first reading is from the First Book of Kings and gives us stories about the Prophet Elijah.  Elijah is a wonderful person in the Old Testament.  Elijah trusts so completely that he always does what God asks of him, even when it puts his own life in danger.  Elijah can complain to God because Elijah has such a close relationship with God and thus shares everything with God.  This is part of the challenge for us today:  trust and become close!  When God does not give us what we think we need, we are free to tell God that we still need what we are asking for.  We must have confidence will always give us what we truly need.

The second reading today is from the Letter to the Hebrews.  The author continues to compare Jesus Christ to the High Priest of the Jewish faith.  The author always wants us to know that there is more in the world of the sacred than just the High Priest.  Jesus is a new expression of what it means to be a High Priest. You and I are invited to be priests also, sharing in the High Priesthood of Jesus Christ.  We need to embrace our human condition and bring all that is truly human to the Lord.  We are invited to share in Christ and with Christ.

The Gospel of Mark brings us back to the theme of giving all that we have to the Lord.  Perhaps many of us are more practical and give to the Lord what we may have in excess of what we need.  The Lord wants more!  The Lord wants all that we have and all that we are.  The Lord invites us and waits for us.  Many of us are fearful that if we give all, we shall have nothing left.  Think again of the widow in the first reading.  She had practically nothing and was preparing to share the little she had with her son—and then die.  The Prophet comes and asks her to give to him the small amount she had.  This is the kind of experience that we may have.  We seem to lack everything that we need in this life and especially we may lack the means to obtain what we believe we need.  Then God asks us to give up even the little we have.

Can we do that?  Are we able to trust so much in God that we will give up even what we believe is necessary?  God is asking us?  What will we reply?

Your brother in the Lord,

Abbot Philip

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Why Catholic Teaching Is ‘Increasingly Embarrassing’ to Church Leaders (Part 1)

From: National Catholic Register (

In the first of this two-part interview, philosophy professor Thomas Pink explains why forgetting that we live in a fallen, unconverted world of largely unbaptized people has led many Church leaders to falsely believe the Church can peacefully dialogue with it.

Over recent decades, some Church leaders have become ever more reticent in standing up for Catholic teaching, especially when it comes to morality.

Rarely do these prelates defend the unborn from the pulpit, condemn the intrinsic evil of artificial contraception, or speak out against same-sex “marriage” — topics guaranteed to bring them into conflict with the modern world.

This can be seen at the current Youth Synod in Rome where the Church’s moral teaching was hardly mentioned, except in the sense of avoiding moralism.

Instead, attention is generally drawn to safe moral social justice issues such as combating poverty, migration, climate change, and promoting the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

According to Professor Thomas Pink, a philosophy lecturer at King’s College London, this is due to a failure of the contemporary Catholic Church to recognize inevitable spiritual conflict when dealing with a largely non-baptized, secular world.

Pink believes that although Church dialogue with the fallen world is obligatory, “you shouldn’t expect to live at peace” with it “unless and until it is converted.”

This truth has been largely forgotten by Church leaders, he argues, which has inevitably led to the Church’s teaching becoming “increasingly embarrassing” to many bishops and senior clergy, consequently leading to changes in “official theology” that are inconsistent with or even contradict magisterial teaching.

In this recent interview with the Register in Rome, Professor Pink explains how and why this situation came about, and what can be done to recover “a realistic expectation of conflict, without being disturbed by it.”


Professor Pink, let’s start with your view of dialogue with the non-baptized: what is your main thesis in this regard, and why is it of concern to you that the Church is trying to dialogue with the non-baptized? 

Image result for professor thomas pink

There’s nothing wrong with dialogue and indeed it’s an inevitable part of human life; that you constantly try and find areas of agreement to enable you to cooperate where cooperation is required for normal human life to go on. No one wants conflict, and certainly not for its own sake. But dialogue isn’t always possible without some degree of conflict where fundamental values are at stake. Conflict, of course, needn’t be violent. It can be spiritual. A very, very important aspect of Christian faith is that we are in a state of spiritual conflict, not with other human beings as human beings, with whom we are to be in a relationship of love. We are in a spiritual conflict with the fallen side of human nature, in our own selves as well as other people. Behind that, of course, is an absolutely uncompromising spiritual conflict with the Devil.


How does this relate to the present situation in the Church?

One of the problems about the present state of the Church — and I think it’s deeply involved in the current crisis around [Pope Francis’ post-synodal apostolic exhortation on the family] Amoris Laetitia — is that the Church has become afraid of admitting the necessity for spiritual conflict, particularly in the public sphere. This goes back to the last council, the Second Vatican Council. I’m not going to suggest in any way that there’s anything problematic in the strict magisterial teaching of the Second Vatican Council. I’m not claiming that there is, and I’ve spent a lot of time investigating one particular declaration: Dignitatis Humanae, the declaration on religious liberty, which a lot of people on the traditionalist side of the Church have claimed is in conflict with past magisterial Church teaching.

Dignitatis Humanae does not address the authority of the Church, or what the state might do when acting as an agent of the Church, so there’s no clash with previous magisterial teaching.

The problem is not with Vatican II’s magisterial teaching, but with an underlying official theology.


What do you mean by official theology?

The Church may issue magisterial teaching, which invokes the Church’s authority and an obligation on the faithful to believe on the basis of that authority. But the Church at an official level may also make statements that though official are not themselves magisterial teaching. They are statements that are official – made by officeholders in their public role – but they simply explain what the magisterial teaching means, or what the Church’s policies and practices are, without those statements of themselves imposing any obligation on our part to believe them.


Is this a modern distinction?

Official theology is nothing new, it’s always existed in the Church, and indeed it has got to exist. The Church has got to be able to explain herself at an official level without having to turn every such explanation into fixed magisterial teaching.

Official theology often changes over time, and not in a constant direction. The to-ing and fro-ing over unbaptised children [the doctrine on limbo] shows that the official theology of one time can contradict the official theology of another time. And if past official theology of the Church can be mistaken, so too can modern official theology.

You can even get modern official theology that contradicts historic magisterial teaching. If this happens, we definitely do have a problem — and then it is the historic magisterial teaching we have to believe, not the more modern official theology.


So would you say that those supporting a radical interpretation of Amoris Laetitia are right in a sense because doctrine evolves? 

If you’re talking about doctrinal development, you’re talking about magisterial teaching — doctrine proper, not mere official theology.   And magisterial teaching does not develop by denying earlier magisterial teaching — that would be doctrinal self-contradiction, not development.

Amoris Laetitia seems to have been written to avoid clear and unambiguous contradiction of earlier magisterial teaching. But it has come with a lot of official theology, often from the highest level in the Church, that claims to explain the content of Amoris Laetitia — and that explains it in a way that clearly does contradict previous magisterial teaching. That’s very problematic. It looks as though we do have to reject that explanatory official theology as erroneous.


How can the problem of error in official theology be resolved? 

Well I think you’ve got to go back to look at the roots of the official theology. You’re not going to solve this by hopping up and down and saying the Pope’s a heretic, because that’s not going to change any minds. What you’ve got to do is to go back and look at what might have caused the situation, and that involves looking at how the official theology works and what its roots are. And then, since we are not under any direct obligation to believe it, actually criticize that official theology intellectually to see whether it makes sense in its own terms and whether it works.

To understand how the present crisis over Amoris Laetitia has arisen, I think we’ve got to go back to the Second Vatican Council and look at something like Dignitatis Humanae and examine not simply its strict magisterial teaching, but the official theology behind it. That is where the roots of the present crisis lie — not just in the current pontificate, but in that official theology underlying the last Council.

Fundamental is a general vision — that the Church can live at peace with an unconverted world. Jacques Maritain was a very influential philosopher and theologian who helped inspire Dignitatis Humanae, and he applied this vision to the political. The Church, he thought, can live at peace and harmony with a state that is religiously neutral and so unconverted.

I think that’s false. The 19th century popes were very clear on this. They say the state must be Christian, and indeed Catholic. The state must unite with the Church in a single Christian community, enjoying the life of grace at the political level, and not just the level of the private life of citizens — otherwise Church and state will be in deep conflict.


Why is that? 

Well, we live in a fallen world. … The Fall has not only denied us heaven, it has also denied us the fullness of nature. The Fall has denied us the ability to lead a fully natural human life, even on this earth, because it has disturbed our reason. … It’s damaged our ability to understand and live according to the natural law, which is the law of reason governing human nature.

Which is why, in a fallen world, while people don’t completely lose morality and the natural law, they very often misunderstand particular applications of it. So they get funny ideas about how gladiatorial shows are fine or about how it’s all right to expose infants at death, to look at the pagan world, or in our world now, about how you can marry someone of the same sex. Or, about how it is all right, or even obligatory, to put people out of their misery through euthanasia.

So what grace does is two things. It elevates us to take us to heaven. It elevates us above what human nature is naturally capable of. But it also heals. It repairs the damage done to human nature and enables us, amongst other things, to understand the content of the natural law, in its fullness, and live according to it, provided we actually receive grace. To receive grace, ordinarily, we need baptism, and we need to live in accordance with the teaching of the Church by receiving the sacraments, going to confession, and repenting of sins that disturb our friendship with God and lose us grace.


So what you would say then, is: dialogue is okay with the fallen world, but only if you’re bringing them to baptism, bringing them to conversion.

You can dialogue with the fallen world — indeed, you’ve got to. But you shouldn’t expect to live at peace with the fallen world — unless and until it is converted.


So yes to dialogue — but with the ultimate goal of baptism.

Well, you cannot expect spiritual peace with people without their baptism and conversion.

You need to baptize out of love for these people, as people who are not baptized may not be saved. I say ‘may not be saved’ because the Church has always left room for God to work outside the visible sacraments. … Read Pius XII in Mystici Corporis. He makes it very clear. While people may be saved outside the visible structures of the Church, until they join those visible structures through conversion they face many obstacles to salvation.

So life within the visible Church is required to repair the damage done by the Fall to take us to heaven. If people aren’t in that position, you dialogue with them, but you also try and baptize them, both for their own good and fully realizing that if they remain unconverted, you will face spiritual conflict. That doesn’t remove the relationship of love you have towards them, but it involves being ready for constant confrontation with what they believe.


Do you think that this unwillingness to confront an unconverted world is what’s weakening the Church? 

I think that’s right. And I think the reason why the Church is not currently as willing spiritually to confront the unconverted world is she once was, is that current official theology thinks the Church doesn’t need to. The official theology thinks that harmony between Church and world is available without the world’s conversion. That, as I say, was deeply part of [Jacques] Maritain’s political theology. But as the case of the state shows, it’s clearly not true because, as we’ve seen, as soon as you have political secularization, you immediately get Church-state conflict involving the state abandoning important elements of the natural law. It’s happening continuously, so you get a conflict on laws concerning abortion, marriage, euthanasia, a whole range of issues on an ever-widening front, and there seems no stop to it.

If Maritain had been right, this wouldn’t have happened. Political secularization would have allowed for continued harmony between Church and an unconverted, religiously neutral state within a shared framework of allegiance to natural law. But there has been no such harmony, and natural law has been a point of division not unity. The 19th century popes were entirely accurate in what they predicted. Pius IX says in Quanta Cura that where the authority of Jesus Christ is removed from the political community, then natural justice and right will be lost.


Do we therefore need to perhaps go back to that, to that way of teaching?

Certainly, that way of teaching. You aren’t going to get a Catholic state, but at least what you will get within the Church is a realistic expectation of conflict, without being disturbed by it. Because the problem is when you get conflict, and you think you should have harmony, and you misunderstand why you’re not getting harmony, then things can go wrong.

So, the Church meets conflict with an unconverted world — just because the world is unconverted. But official theology no longer accepts the inevitability of this conflict. Official theology now thinks that harmony should still be possible even when the world isn’t converted.

That same official theology is then liable to think that since the problem cannot simply be with the world’s lack of conversion, the problem must in some way lie with the Church. Official theology will try to remove the conflict — but from the Church’s side. What official theology will especially try to do is to remove the Church’s magisterial teaching as a source of conflict.

The official theology will often deny that there has been any change in magisterial teaching. That’s because many bishops and theologians are still fairly reluctant to contradict past magisterial teaching, at least openly — though reluctance here is alas no longer universal.

The change will be presented initially not as a change in the teaching, but in its pastoral application. The aim of the change: to blunt or remove the conflict-causing differences between how Catholics are called to live and how the unconverted world wants people to live.

(See Part II of this interview here).

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Conversion of British Soldier After Witnessing Catholic Mass on WW1 Battlefield

In two days time we shall be marking the moment in 1918 when the terrible fighting that cost the lives of millions in World War 1 came to an end. Amidst the most unimaginable suffering of trench warfare during WW1 men clung to their faith in God through the help of outstanding Catholic chaplains on both sides of the conflict. They gave heroic witness as they risked their own safety to bring comfort and the sacraments to the men of their afflicted regiments… and even beyond


Recognition for a Much-Neglected English Catholic Artist

Unlike Waugh, Greene, and Tolkien, David Jones is not a name cited by many Catholics interested in the Catholic literary renaissance of the twentieth century. It is a pity. Not only because of Jones’s literary and artistic triumphs of the middle part of that century but also because this multi-talented polymath was a devout Catholic convert who understood his art in the light of the Incarnation and wrote about art as if it was a sacrament.

David Jones: Engraver, Soldier, Painter, Poet by Thomas Dilworth is the recently published and definitive biography of Jones. It will spark renewed interest in the various aspects of the Londoner’s creativity.

David Jones was born in 1895 in London to a Cockney mother and a Welsh father. London and Wales were to play central roles in his formation: emotionally, culturally, and intellectually. An ordinary Edwardian childhood ended abruptly, as it did for so many, with the onset of the First World War. Just 18 years old, Jones enlisted in the London Welsh Battalion of the Royal Welch Fusiliers. He was to serve 117 weeks on the Western Front—longer than any other British writer. His wartime experiences haunted him for the rest of his life. Dilworth records that even in 1971 Jones was still saying that his experiences, especially those on the Somme in 1916, were so terrible that “my mind can’t be rid of it.” Dilworth traces Jones’s subsequent phobias developed in later years back to the horrors of the trenches.

Something else happened on the Somme though that, arguably, had a more profound impact upon Jones’s life than anything prior or subsequent to it. That experience was being present for the first time at Holy Mass.

Off duty one wet Sunday, Fusilier Jones wandered along the frontline looking for firewood. He came upon a byre where he thought he might find some wood. Putting his eye to a crack in the paling he spied two candles and a man dressed in liturgical vestments facing a stack of ammunition boxes covered in a white cloth. Half a dozen men knelt around this figure. Unexpectedly, the tinkling of a bell broke the silence, followed by Latin words, gently spoken. Jones was to express “marvel” at such a thing, which he realized was a Catholic Mass, taking place so close to the front line.

Jones had been brought up in a Christian home. His mother was Anglican, his father Non-Conformist. Jones had, therefore, an excellent knowledge of Scripture from an early age—Dilworth reckons as good if not better than any major twentieth-century writer. Nevertheless, by the time Jones “saw” the Mass for the first time, he was already being drawn intellectually and aesthetically to Catholicism. This moment of unlooked-for “sacramentality” impressed Jones deeply. He was never to forget it. In fact, his later ideas about art as “sacrament” were to be a constant lodestar.

After the war, Jones returned to London where he enrolled at the Westminster Art School. Soon after, he began to attend Mass at nearby Westminster Cathedral. There he greatly admired the recently erected Stations of the Cross created by the sculptor and artist, Eric Gill. The priest who was later to receive Jones into the Church in 1921 was Fr. John O’Connor. This priest had been instrumental in G.K Chesterton’s conversion, as well as the real-life model for Chesterton’s fictional detective, Father Brown. It was Fr. O’Connor who suggested that Jones meet his friend, Gill.

On becoming Catholic, Jones went to live at the artists’ colony founded by Gill. This semi-monastic community known as the Guild of St Joseph and St Dominic was situated at Ditchling in Sussex. While there, Jones was initiated into various arts including engraving and painting. In addition, he was exposed to Catholicism as a way of life.


Unlike many artists, and poets in particular, Jones was recognized in his lifetime receiving various awards and a State pension for his services to Literature. Unusually as well, his poetic contemporaries lionized him. Eliot was a great admirer calling Jones’s In Parenthesis(1937) “a work of genius”; W.H. Auden thought Jones’s long Eucharistic poem The Anathemata (1952) the “finest long poem written in English this century.” Such acclaim changed Jones not one jot. He continued to paint, to write, to draw, and to pray.

Throughout his life, Jones was quietly devout. Dilworth’s biography marks his regular going to Holy Mass on Sundays, and to Confession, of his well-thumbed prayer book and Missal, and his love for the Latin liturgy. Jones lamented the liturgical changes of the post-Vatican II era, missing the musical forms and silences of the “old Mass.” In fact, Jones was one of the signatories of what became known informally as ‘The Agatha Christie Indult’—the 1971 permission to continue saying the Tridentine Mass in England—so-called because it is said Pope Paul VI immediately granted the request upon spying the famous crime writer’s name upon it.

In David Jones: Engraver, Soldier, Painter, Poet Dilworth succeeds in weaving the private life of David Jones, the man, and the public life of Jones, the artist, into one recognizable and readable whole. Dilworth’s view of Jones is a sympathetic one. He is, however, not blind to the man’s foibles and eccentricities. On the subject of Jones’s Catholicism, Dilworth paints for the reader a warts and all portrait. Jones is a sinner as well as devout, a believer if one who struggled from time to time to make sense of his faith, but one who, in the end—he died in 1974—never lost that sense of mysterious wonder he glimpsed first upon a battlefield as Holy Mass was taking place.


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Rome Pressures Publisher to Restrict Book on Whistleblower Viganò

by Juliana Freitag  •

On Aldo Maria Valli’s new book ‘The Viganò case — the dossier which unveiled the Church’s greatest internal scandal’

An Italian author has just published a volume detailing the work of whistleblower Abp. Carlo Maria Viganò — but Church officials have pressured the publishing company to restrict future editions so as to protect Pope Francis’ image and reputation.

At the end of October, renowned Vatican expert Aldo Maria Valli announced the release of his latest book, Il caso Viganò — Il dossier che ha svelato il più grande scandalo all’interno della Chiesa (“The Viganò case — the dossier which unveiled the Church’s greatest internal scandal”). The book is a compilation of all of Valli’s articles about the astounding testimonies of former Apostolic Nuncio to the United States and titular archbishop of Ulpiana Abp. Viganò. Our faith is in danger, and it’s our duty to stand up for doctrine and Catholic thought.Tweet

From Viganò’s first statement alleging Pope Francis covered up for ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, to Valli’s account of his private meetings with the former nuncio, the book is an attempt to document these turbulent events, as described by Viganò, for posterity. The book’s introduction is a revised version of the commentary Valli exclusively offered to Church Militant laying bare his reasons to enter this battle for truth. (The only important text missing is Viganò’s third testimony, made public on October 19, also through Valli’s blog — one day before the book’s official release.)

Valli is one among several Italian journalists personally contacted by Viganò to help publish his letters, along with Marco Tosatti and print newspaper La Verità. Valli remains in contact with the archbishop and has many times presented Viganò’s commentary about his personal struggle to help expose a corrupt power system in the Church hierarchy.

Church Militant reached out to Valli to ask him about the significance of putting down in a book his experience with Viganò and his attempts to blow the whistle on clerical corruption.

“Archbishop Viganò’s memorial, however one decides to judge it, constitutes a historical fact in the life of the Catholic Church,” Valli said. “For the first time an archbishop of such high rank, a diplomat at the service of the Holy See, has come out with revelations on the moral corruption in the hierarchy.”

“Church historians will have to study these events that we see today as simple news,” he continued. “Therefore I think that the collection of articles I’ve dedicated to this affair might become useful.”

“I hope the reader can pick up on my suffering,” he added. “As Abp. Viganò himself did, I’ve also decided to come out in the open after much reflection and prayer. Our faith is in danger, and it’s our duty to stand up for doctrine and Catholic thought.” About the Vatican’s silence on the affair, Valli said:

I don’t think we’ll have clear-cut answers during this pontificate. Ambiguity is a distinctive trait of the Church these days. I honestly don’t know how this is going to end. I have no elements to predict Viganò’s future, either. But it certainly saddens me very much to see that a man like him, a true servant of the Church, is forced to live in hiding. It’s truly inadmissible, especially in today’s Church, where there’s so much preaching about “dialogue.”

Another of Valli’s observations involved the role of independent Catholic media in reporting facts that destroy the false narratives of a press complicit in covering up sex abuse:

Blogs are acquiring a decisive importance for uncontrolled and unconditioned information. At this point I’d say it’s counterinformation in respect to a certain type of narrative imposed on the public opinion by the major press. As for myself, it’s a very beautiful experience, because through my blog I’ve tightened relationships that give me new connections and new friendships every day. I think it’s significant that when Abp. Viganò decided to make his explosive testimony known, he turned to me and other bloggers. Evidently he saw us as an efficient, reliable and credible means, capable of reaching many people while not subject to any conditioning. Communications-wise, this is a moment of deep, very positive, changes.

Those changes are not being ignored by the Roman Curia. Valli spoke to Church Militant days before the release of the final Youth Synod document, which contains an alarming paragraph hinting at possible censorship of Catholic websites not approved by the Vatican. Paragraph 146 speaks about the creation of “certification systems for Catholic websites, to counter the spread of fake news regarding the Church.” They were put under ‘irresistible pressure from within the Church not to publish anything else that would depict the Pope in a bad light.’Tweet

Last year Church Militant was the target of Jesuit magazine La Civiltà Cattolica (an article reportedly approved by Pope Francis himself), the only Catholic publication whose contents are reviewed by the Vatican’s Secretariat of State, Cdl. Pietro ParolinIt’s also paramount to note that one of the first accomplishments of the much-riticized Vatican media reform was the “Lettergate” scandal, where the prefect of the Dicastery for Communication, “simple-priest-turned-czar” Msgr. Dario Edoardo Viganò, had to resign for doctoring a letter from Benedict XVI supposedly commending the theology of Pope Francis.

And the quasi-totalitarian measures don’t stop there: Recently Church Militant learned that Fede & Cultura, the publishing house for Valli’s Il Caso Viganò, was compelled to restrict further editions of the book. It was the first time Valli had worked with Fede & Cultura, whom he called “courageous” for their publishing choices. Fede & Cultura confirmed with Church Militant that they were put under “irresistible pressure from within the Church not to publish anything else that would depict the Pope in a bad light.” Perhaps Pope Francis’ next surprise motu proprio will announce the reform of the Index librorum prohibitorum (the “List of Prohibited Books”).

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You have abandoned me in Purgatory!

From the writings of Don Giuseppe Tomaselli (1902-1989).

In this life of moral wretchedness, to justify our weaknesses, we say: my passions are so strong that I can’t always resist them! Anyway, after sinning I rush back to Confession! Others say: I don’t commit serious sins! I fail constantly in certain small things, which are unavoidable! There are those instead who sin more than I do and much more gravely! When someone dies we are wont to exclaim:

What a holy person! He did so much good! For sure he went to Heaven! On headstones the most illusory and flattering inscriptions present the dear departed as models of noble virtue.

We are simply what we are before God.  

Man judges from a human viewpoint and frequently falls into error. The judgements of God are perfectly exact and we need to ponder on their rigor, in order to live as holy life as possible and to come to the aid of those who have left this valley of tears, where they are paying in Purgatory for the wretched acts committed on this earth.

The Yearning!
An almost eighty year old lady died on February 3rd 1944. My mother. I was able to gaze on her dead body in the Cemetery Chapel before the burial. As a Priest I thought to myself: You, woman, as far as I can judge, did not even once transgress gravely one of God’s commandments! And in my mind I went over her life. 
In reality my mother was a great model and to a large extent I owe my priestly vocation to her. Every day she went to Mass, even in her old age – with the crown of her children. Her Holy Communion was daily. She never omitted the Rosary. She was so charitable that she even lost an eye while acting with exquisite charity towards a poor woman. She was so united to the will of God, that she asked me when my father’s dead body lay at home: What can I say to Jesus right now to please Him? 
– Lord may Your will be done!
On her death-bed she received the Last Rites with great faith. A few hours before expiring, suffering intensely, she repeated: O Jesus, I’d like to ask you to lessen my sufferings. But I don’t want to go against Your will; may Your will be done! This is the way the woman who brought me into the world died.
Basing myself on the concept of Divine Justice, paying little attention to the praises that acquaintances and Priests might make, I intensified the  prayers for her soul: a great number of Masses, abundant charity, and, wherever I preached I exhorted the faithful to offer their Communions, prayers and good works for her soul.  
And then the Lord allowed my mother to appear to me.  I  examined this phenomenon, discussing it with good Theologians and the conclusion was: It was a real apparition! 
My mother had been dead for two years.  She suddenly appeared in my room, in human form. She was very sad. 
– You abandoned me in Purgatory!
 – How long were you in Purgatory?
 – I’m still here!  My soul is surrounded by darkness and I can’t see the Light – which is God!  I’m on the threshold of Heaven, near eternal bliss, and I’m yearning with the desire to enter, but I can’t! I’ve said so many times: If my children knew of my terrible torment – ah! How they would come to my aid!
-Why didn’t you come before to tell us?
-It was not in my power.
-So you haven’t seen the Lord yet?
As soon as I expired, I saw God, but not all of His Light.
-What can we do to free you immediately?
-I need only one Mass. The Lord allowed me to come and ask you for it. 
-As soon as you are in Heaven, come and tell us!
-If the Lord allows it! What Light – what splendor!  Saying this the vision vanished.
Two Masses were celebrated and one day later she reappeared, saying: I am in Heaven! 
After what I have reported, I say to myself: An exemplary Christian life, a great amount of prayers for her soul  – and two and a half years in Purgatory! So much for the judgments of men! 
[Extract from   “I nostri morti – La casa di tutti”,  [ Our  Dead – Everyone’s Home] by Don Giuseppe Tomaselli].


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Good Bishops must stay in their Diocese says Vatican

Only For Him: Bishop Schneider Must Stay Eleven Months A Year at Home

Nope, it’s not a bad joke, however much it might sound like one! GloriaTV reports that:

The Vatican has asked Auxiliary Bishop Athanasius Schneider not to leave Astana archdiocese for more than 30 days a year, Schneider told Schneider claimed that this is neither a prohibition nor a muzzle.

Allegedly, Schneider was asked to follow Canon 410, one of the many elastic clauses in Canon Law, which obliges an auxiliary bishop to reside in the diocese except if he is fulfilling “some duty outside the diocese” or for his one month vacation.

Since Schneider is not travelling for vacation but for religious duties like mass celebration, confirmations, and preaching, the one month limit contradicts Canon Law. Further, there is no information that Canon 410 has been enforced except for Schneider although there are multiple leftwing airport bishops.

Astana Archdiocese has 17 priests and 55,000 Catholics, so this mini-archdiocese does not need an auxiliary bishop.

In other words, all those liberal bishops (and priests – James Martin SJ anyone?) spouting their pro-gay, politically correct banalities can go wherever they want, whilst enjoying manifest praise and even promotion from Pope Francis, through his mouthpiece, Cdl. Parolin. On the other hand, the courageous bishops (and priests) loyal to the teaching and traditions of the Church are gagged, stalled and demoted at every turn.

The axe has been put to Cardinal Raymond Burke’s movements too, and his strong public witness to the truth. What are the progressive, Masonic, lavender mafia infiltrators so scared of? That they are losing support among the faithful? That the laity is beginning to see through their shenanigans? That the voice of the good holy bishops, despite the many trials they are suffering under this Pontificate to dutifully fulfill their roles as ordained alter Christus, is drowning out their false preaching? One thing seems sure: they deem the faithful bishops a threat to their own success. GloriaTV also reports:

No Dialogue: Bishops “Should Not” Invite Cardinal Burke

The nuncio in Washington D.C. told the American bishops not to invite people like Cardinal Raymond Burke for talks, and when Burke’s presence cannot be avoided, they should not take part in such events, Marco Tossati reported on November 6.

The order was given only orally. Responsible for this is the Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin.

When Cardinal Burke appears anywhere in the world, he attracts many faithful, while liberal prelates garner only interest from oligarch journalists.

These unjustiable measures to restrict and silence the voices of our good and true shepherds are no more than further proof – as if we even needed any – that the “smoke of Satan” has become a raging fire inside the Church.

But the fire will die out eventually; one day it will be extinguished. We are seeing many signs of a growing resistance to this takeover of our beloved Church by Her enemies.

Only hellfire lasts forever.


See also Father Z’s post on this news: Holy See repression of a certain kind of bishop with a certain kind of message

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The vision at Knock and the Holy Souls in Purgatory

By Father Seán Connolly at The Catholic World Report:

During the month of November, we are called to increase our devotion to praying for the Holy Souls in Purgatory. To bolster our efforts, we would do well to consider the little known but very important link that exists between this devotion and the Mother of Gods apparition at Knock, Ireland.

On the rainy evening of August 21, 1879, the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared before the gable wall of the parish church in the little hamlet of Knock. She appeared with St. Joseph to her right and St. John the Evangelist to her left. Beside them was an altar on which stood a cross and a lamb being adored by angels. The apparition lasted for a full two hours. Though it was raining, the ground beneath the vision was dry. A light was emanating from the heavenly figures that was witnessed by a farmer about half a mile away from the scene. Upwards of 30 villagers beheld the sight, and prayed the Rosary together. Oddly, the most famous figure associated with the Knock apparition was not among the witnesses to the heavenly vision. This was the parish priest, Archdeacon Bartholomew Cavanagh.

It is now a commonly accepted pious belief that Heaven favored the parish of Knock with this vision because of the holiness of its priest. Father Cavanagh was known for his deep devotion to the Blessed Virgin and the Holy Souls in Purgatory, for his penances (he wore a hair shirt), and for living very simply. He was told about the vision before the gable wall of his church but chose not to join his parishioners outside. This has sometimes been attributed either to a miscommunication or his doubtfulness. He later said that not witnessing the apparition has been to me a cause of the deepest mortification. But I console myself with the reflection that it was the will of God that the Apparition should be shown to the people, not the priest.Even still, the pious belief in Knock today is that Father Cavanagh was frequently favored with visits from Our Lady in his own little cottage, and so knew well what was occurring but chose to leave the heavenly vision to be for the sole benefit of his flock. Indeed, many other miraculous manifestations surrounding him were reported, but he always requested those who observed them to speak of them to no one.

Father Cavanagh was immensely devoted to the Holy Souls. He always saw this devotion as inseparable from his fervent devotion to the Blessed Virgin Maryas she is the mother of her children, but above all, her suffering children. Mary is the Refuge of Sinners here on earth and she is also the helper of the souls in Purgatory. Some months before the apparition at Knock, Father Cavanagh began a special movement of prayer in his parish for the souls in Purgatory. The poverty of the parishioners of Knock deprived him of the temporal help the payment of stipends for Mass intentions provides most priests. As a result, he decided to use the lack of intentions for Mass at his parish most productively; Father Cavanagh resolved to offer 100 consecutive Masses for the repose of the souls in Purgatory that the Blessed Mother most wanted released into the glory of Heaven. These Mass intentions were especially warranted; the Great Famine struck Ireland between 1845 and 1849 and left a massive loss of life in its wake.

The last waves of the Famine continued up until the time of the astonishing event that took place in Knock in 1879. It was proximately caused by potato blight, and was worsened by the repression imposed by the occupying Protestant English government, resulting in the deaths of one million while another million were forced to emigrate, reducing the island nations population by a quarter. It was in the midst of this struggle and sorrow that Father Cavanagh offered his 100 consecutive Masses for those of the faithful departed Our Lady most wanted delivered from Purgatory. Very shortly after this devotion was completed, the heavenly vision before the gable wall of the church at Knock occurred.

Unlike at Fatima, Our Lady gave no spoken message to the seers of Knock. She did not call for more acts of penance. The people of Ireland had seemingly done enough. In their poverty, hunger, and oppression, the Irish people were living penance. The message of Fatima makes clear that no suffering should ever be wasted. The suffering of the Irish in the 19th century certainly was not. These devout Catholic souls knew well that they must in prayer place themselves in union with Christs own suffering on the Cross. This offering of their sufferings and prayers at Mass for the souls in Purgatory was answered in the vision outside of their parish church. Sometimes a message is too great for words. On that evening in Knock, Heavens greatest saints were out in the rain with the people. This was an unspoken message of love and solidarity with the persevering, faithful Irish in their time of suffering and sorrow. It was a light in the midst of darkness.

In this month of November, how shall we consider the doctrinal truth of Purgatory and our obligation to pray for the holy souls who are there? I offer you an analogy. Years ago any immigrant seeking entry into our country through New York harbor was first detained at Ellis Island for registration. Many came from Ireland, even including one of the visionaries at Knock whose name was Jon Curry. He is now buried at Old St. Patricks Cathedral in lower Manhattan. Before these immigrants on Ellis Island rose the Statue of Liberty and the towers of the New York City skyline, symbols of America as the land of freedom and opportunity. But if any of these immigrants had an illness, they would be detained at Ellis Island in quarantine till the last trace was cleared up. Analogously, Purgatory is a kind of like an Ellis Island off the coast of Heaven.As the immigrants who were detained in quarantine on Ellis Island had to wait until their sicknesses were gone before entering into America, so the souls in Purgatory must wait until all defilement and traces of sin are purified before entering into Heaven. Nothing tainted can enter the holy and dazzling presence of God.

To take the analogy a step further, dont immigrants even in our own day enter into our country all the more quickly and easily if they have a sponsor? Someone who is already an American citizen to speak on their behalf, informing our government that they will be productive members of our society? In a similar way, we members of the Church Militant still on earth have the role of being sponsors for the souls in Purgatory. We can speak on their behalf by praying, offering up our penances, and having Masses offered for them so they might all the more quickly enter into Kingdom of Heaven.

Especially during the month of November, let us follow the example of Father Cavanagh and his parishioners in praying for the Holy Souls in Purgatory. May our prayers and sacrifices made on their behalf bring Gods perpetual light to shine upon them.

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The Underground Catholic Church in China Betrayed by the Vatican

This first post from CNA reports the background to the treacherous China Deal made by the Vatican with the atheist/communist  government of China. Cardinal Zen’s assessment of Pope Francis bad move, in ignoring the repeated warnings against the deal, has placed the Catholics in China at the mercy of a totally oppressive regime. In the second post from ‘Catholic Monitor’ last Saturday, Cdl. Zen steps up his criticism and asks whether Cdl. Parolin is the “puppet master” behind this betrayal of the faithful underground Church in China providing false information to the Pope. In this scenario, with the fate of millions of souls at stake, the Pope should be disobeyed,   

1. Cardinal Zen: The Vatican Is Badly Mishandling China Situation 

HONG KONG -The recent agreement between the Vatican and China is a step toward the “annihilation” of the Catholic Church in China, Cardinal Joseph Zen, former bishop of Hong Kong, wrote in a New York Times op-ed published Wednesday.

Cardinal Zen, who has been openly critical of Vatican’s approach toward China in the past, did not hold back in his assessment of Pope Francis’ new deal and in offering his views on communist governments.

A Sept. 22 agreement between the Holy See and Beijing was intended to normalize the situation of China’s Catholics. The Church in China has been split between the “underground” Church, in full communion with Rome, and the state-run Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association (CPCA), which was not. The Chinese government appointed bishops of the CPCA.

The September agreement was designed to unify those groups by approving a formula through which Pope Francis would approve bishops nominated by Beijing.

But Cardinal Zen’s op-ed said the distinction between the underground Church and the CCPA has not been eradicated.

He said those who attend the “underground” Church worship in secret and are subject to persecution from the government if they are discovered. Amid a religious crackdown in China, Cardinal Zen said that priests of the underground Church have been encouraging their parishioners to skip Mass for their own safety.

Read on


Catholic Monitor

2. Is Cdl.Parolin the Puppet-Master behind the Pope’s Deal to Betray the Chinese Catholics or Does Francis have “No Faith”?

Cardinal Joseph Zen believes that Cardinal Pietro Parolin is the puppet-master behind Pope Francis’s deal to betray the underground Chinese Catholics to the Chinese Communist regime.

On November 2, Vatican expert Marco Tosatti reported that Cardinal Joseph Zen said:

“[T]he ‘Interim Agreement’ signed last September between the Holy See and the Chinese government allow a meeting between the two Churches… It does not make sense… It is a secret agreement of which only three elements are known for the time being. Everything is controlled by Parolin [Secretary of State, ed.], The Pope does not understand anything. Parolin does not tell the whole truth to Pope Francis! Parolin knows the reality of the situation of Chinese Catholics, but does not tell the whole truth to the Pope. He has no faith!… He wants a diplomatic agreement with China.” 

Communist expert Robert Royal on EWTN’s World Over has said that the Chinese government is a totalitarian regime that doesn’t respect truth, religious rights and most of all human life.

It is evil and totally godless.

Human life for them is cheap. People are killed and tortured at the whim of the regime.

Do Parolin and Francis believe that the underground Chinese Catholics are worthless things that they can cause suffering for to play at the so-called game of “diplomacy”?

If the Pope is actively collaborating with Parolin, with full understanding, in the totalitarian Chinese Communist deal, then he “has no faith” as Cardinal Zen said of Parolin. Francis said of the China deal:

“I think of the resistance, the Catholics who have suffered. It’s true. And they will suffer…”

“… I signed the [China deal] agreement,” Pope Francis stated. “I am responsible.”
(Catholic Herald, “Pope Francis takes responsibility for China Deal.” September 26, 2018)

The betrayal of the Chinese Church can thus be called the Francis/Parolin deal.

The Francis/Parolin deal is a abuse of papal power which can be disobeyed in good conscience as shown by the saintly English Bishop Robert Grosseteste.

In 1253, Bishop Grosseteste disobeyed Pope lnnocent IV who ordered that a benefice within his jurisdiction be given to the papal nephew. Benefices were a form of financial exploitation given to prelates who didn’t reside in the diocese and never saw their flock so souls were lost for lack of true shepherding or pastoral care.

Grosseteste said that benefices have only one end: “the salvation of souls.” Exploitative use of benefices was a abuse of papal power so he disobeyed Pope Innocent IV.

Innocent reportedly raged in anger, but his advisors told him to back down because all of Christendom knew Bishop Grosseteste was “one of the most learned men” of the age and a saintly bishop.

The Catholic Encyclopedia said of Grosseteste:

“Bishop of Lincoln and one of the most learned men of the Middle Ages… That he opposed… abuses of the papal administration is certain, but a study of his letters and writings… destroy the myth that he disputed the plena potestas of the popes.” (Catholic Encyclopedia, new, “Robert Grosseteste”)

If a pope could be disobeyed by “one of the most learned men of the Middle Ages” for the loss of souls due to benefices then there is no doubt that the Francis/Parolin betrayal of the Chinese Church to the totalitarian Communist regime which will result in the loss souls must be disobeyed.

Pray, pray very much for our Catholic brethren in China.

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Gomorrah in the 21st Century. The Appeal of a Cardinal and Church Historian

By Sandro Magiester on Settimo Cielo

“The situation is comparable to that of the Church in the 11th and 12th century.” As an authoritative Church historian and as president of the pontifical committee of historical sciences from 1998 to 2009, Cardinal Walter Brandmüller, 89, has no doubt when he sees the present-day Church “shaken to its foundations” on account of the spread of sexual abuse and homosexuality “in an almost epidemic manner among the clergy and even in the hierarchy.”

“How could it have come to this point?” the cardinal wonders. And his answer is found in an extensive and detailed article published in recent days in the German monthly “Vatican Magazin” directed by Guido Horst:

> Homosexualität und Missbrauch – Der Krise begegnen: Lehren aus der Geschichte

In its complete Italian version:

> Omosessualità e abusi – Affrontare la crisi: le lezioni della storia

Brandmüller refers to the centuries in which the bishoprics and the papacy itself had become such a source of wealth that there was “fighting and haggling over them,” with temporal rulers claiming that they themselves could apportion these offices in the Church.

The effect was that the place of pastors was taken by morally dissolute persons who were attached to the endowment rather than to the care of souls, by no means inclined to lead a chaste and virtuous life.

Not only concubinage, but homosexuality too was increasingly widespread among the clergy, to such an extent that Saint Peter Damian in 1049 delivered to the newly elected pope Leo IX, known as a zealous reformer, his “Liber Antigomorrhianus,” composed in the form of a letter, which in essence was an appeal to save the Church from the “sodomitic filth that insinuates itself like a cancer in the ecclesiastical order, or rather like a bloodthirsty beast rampaging through the flock of Christ.” Sodom and Gomorrah, in the book of Genesis, are the two cities that God destroyed with fire on account of their sins.

But the thing more worthy of note, Brandmüller writes, was that “almost simultaneously a lay movement arose that was aimed not only against the immorality of the clergy but also against the appropriation of ecclesiastical offices by secular powers.”

“What rose up was the vast popular movement called ‘pataria,’ led by members of the Milanese nobility and by some members of the clergy, but supported by the people. In close collaboration with the reformers associated with Saint Peter Damian, and then with Gregory VII, with the bishop Anselm of Lucca, an important canonist who later became Pope Alexander II, and with others still, the ‘patarini’ demanded, even resorting to violence, the implementation of the reform that after Gregory VII took the name ‘Gregorian’: for a celibacy of the clergy lived out faithfully and against the occupation of dioceses by secular powers.”

Subsequently, of course, it disperesed into pauperist and anti-hierarchical movements, on the verge of heresy, and was only partially reintegrated with the Church “thanks to the farseeing pastoral action of Innocence III.” But the “interesting aspect” on which Brandmüller insists is that “that reforming movement broke out almost simultaneously in the uppermost hierarchical circles in Rome and among the vast lay population of Lombardy, in response to a situation considered unbearable.”

So then, what is similar and different in the Church today, with respect to back then?

What is similar, Brandmüller notes, is that then as now the ones expressing the protest and demanding a purification of the Church are above all segments of the Catholic laity, especially in North America, in the footsteps of the “marvelous homage to the important role of the witness of the faithful in matters of doctrine” brought to light in the 19th century by Blessed John Henry Newman.

As then, so now these faithful find beside them a few zealous pastors. But it must be recognized – Brandmüller writes – that the impassioned appeal to the upper hierarchy of the Church and ultimately to the pope to join them in combating the scourge of homosexuality among the clergy and the bishops is not meeting with correspondingly adequate responses, unlike in the 11th and 12th centuries.

Also in the Christological battles of the 4th century – Brandmüller points out – “the episcopacy remained inactive for long stretches.” And if it remains so today, with respect to the spread of homosexuality among sacred ministers, “this could be based on the fact that personal initiative and the awareness of their responsibility as pastors on the part of the individual bishops are made more difficult by the structures and apparatus of the episcopal conferences, with the pretext of collegiality or synodality.”

As for the pope, Brandmüller attributes not only to the current one but also to his predecessors the weakness of not opposing the currents of moral theology according to which “what was forbidden yesterday can be allowed today,” homosexual acts included.

It is true – Brandmüller acknowledges – that the 1993 encyclical “Veritatis Splendor” of John Paul II – “in which the contribution of Joseph Ratzinger has not yet been duly recognized” – reconfirmed “with great clarity the foundations of the Church’s moral teaching.” But this “ran up against widespread rejection from theologians, perhaps because it had been published only when the theological-moral decay was already too far advanced.”

It is also true that “some books on sexual morality were condemned” and “two professors had their teaching licenses revoked, in 1972 and 1986.” “But,” Brandmüller continues, “the truly important heretics, like the Jesuit Josef Fuchs, who from 1954 to 1982 was a professor at the Pontifical Gregorian University, and Bernhard Häring, who taught at the Redemptorist Institute in Rome, as well as the highly influential moral theologian from Bonn, Franz Böckle, or from Tübingen, Alfons Auer, were able to spread without interference, right in front of Rome and the bishops, the seed of error. The attitude of the congregation for the doctrine of the faith in these cases is, in retrospect, simply incomprehensible. It saw the wolf come and stood looking on while it ravaged the fold.”

The risk is that on account of this lack of initiative on the part of the upper hierarchy even the most committed Catholic laity, left on its own, might “no longer recognize the nature of the Church founded on the sacred order and slip, in protesting against the ineptitude of the hierarchy, into an Evangelical-style communitarian Christianity.”

And instead, the more the hierarchy, from the pope down, feel supported by the effective resolve of tthe faithful to renew and revive the Church, the more a true housecleaning can be performed.

Brandmüller concludes:

“It is in the collaboration of the bishops, priests, and faithful, in the power of the Holy Spirit, that the current crisis can and must become the point of departure for the spiritual renewal – and therefore also for the new evangelization – of a post-Christian society.”

Brandmüller is one of the four cardinals who in 2016 submitted to Pope Francis their “dubia” on the changes being made in the doctrine of the Church, without ever receiving a response.

This time will the pope listen and take him seriously into consideration, as Leo IX did with Saint Peter Damian?


(English translation by Matthew Sherry, Ballwin, Missouri, U.S.A.)

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St Gabriel or “Gabriel”? One Was Sent by God; the Other Was Satan

“And therefore also the Holy which shall be born
of thee shall be called the Son of God.” (Luke 1:35)

Appointment of the
Prophet Muhammad
the Angel Gabriel Satan

The Catholic Church teaches that St Gabriel the Archangel was sent by God to the Blessed Mother at the Annunciation. Islam teaches that “Gabriel the Archangel” was sent by God to Muhammad in the Cave at Hira.

Only one of the two angels in the two events was the genuine St Gabriel the Archangel. Only one of the two angels in the two events was sent by God. The genuine St Gabriel the Archangel can be in ONE event only. Most definitely he cannot be in both. Thinking about it, the conundrum becomes clear. God sent St Gabriel once. To one person. How do we know that He didn’t send Gabriel twice? Because God is immutable, and because He is immutable, would He send St Gabriel the Archangel to the Blessed Mother to announce the birth of His Son, Jesus Christ, then change His mind 600 years later, and resend Gabriel to earth to Muhammad as His supreme prophet – the “Messenger of God” – to announce a new religion to supersede Christianity, thereby implying that Christ’s redeeming death on the Cross was no longer needed?

The answer is a resounding NO. God would not and did not rethink His salvation plan and resend Gabriel to Muhammad to declare that he (Muhammad) was to start a new religion because Christianity just was not working out as first designed at the foundation of the world. The angel “Gabriel” who gave the revelations to Muhammad and denied Jesus is the Son of God, is not the same St Gabriel of the bible who said that Jesus is the Son of God. God is immutable. He does not change His mind.

So then, who exactly was the “angel Gabriel” that Muhammad saw? If Muhammad’s “Gabriel” was not the genuine St Gabriel the Archangel, then who was he? The answer can be found in 2 Cor 11:13-15.

Lucifer masquerading as “Gabriel”
appears to Muhammad on Mount Hira

For such false apostles are deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no wonder: for Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great surprise if Satan’s servants (Muhammad) masquerade as servants of righteousness.”

Satan is an angel with angelic powers and therefore can reveal himself to man in various forms. Muhammad’s “Gabriel” was Satan masquerading as the genuine St Gabriel the Archangel. Therefore, Allah, Muhammad’s “Gabriel” and Satan are all three one and the same, a sort of unholy trinity of hate…which means the Allah of Islam is Satan himself.

Satan wants to be worshiped in all his attributes and as we know, the Allah of Islam mirrors ALL the attributes of Satan for the fruits of Islam are hatred, love of killing and death, bloodshed, destruction, cruelty, deceit, stoning, stealing, violence, lying, torture, beheading, murder, constant jihad, subjugation, forced conversion, forced marriages, child brides, the barbaric practice of female genital mutilation, kidnapping, slavery, dhimmitude, and the spread of Islam by brute force. This is Islam –  the religion of peace.

How did this happen? How did Satan manage to blanket the planet with his evil religion then entire inhabitants of earth to emphatically declare that Islam is a religion of peace? In Muhammad Satan found a prideful foolish pawn to manipulate in order to found his (Satan’s) own religion – the pole opposite of Christianity (in which there never will be ecumenical discussion since Islam is supremacist). Islam teaches that “Gabriel” was sent by God to Muhammad so that Muhammad would restore Islam, which Muslims believe was the original unaltered monotheistic faith of Adam, Abraham, Moses and Jesus.

See how cunning the devil is. HIS religion came FIRST. Shrewd. HIS messenger (Muhammad) is therefore the LAST. Sly. And the QURAN descended upon Muhammad as the TRUTH of God. Crafty. Abraham, Moses and Jesus (and Mary) were all Muslims. Treacherous lie. Jesus will return to earth as a Muslim jihadist to kill every Christian, Jew and other non-Muslim in the world. Devious deceit.

How could a Catholic not see thorough these blatant lies? Pope Francis, I am speaking to you. Also Cardinal McCarrick and any other cardinal, bishop, priest, nun, religious, or member of the laity betraying Our Lord. Evangelicals know more than you, especially Joel Richardson who refuted the whitewashed, peaceful Muhammad of politically correct myth and the “Islam is a religion of peace” mantra in his Islamic AntiChrist, published by WND Books, 2008.

Richardson says: “When attempting to discern the primary spiritual source of Islam, it is essential to see not only the dark nature of the initial seed but even more so its ultimate vision for the future – its fully mature fruit – as the demonic anti-biblical revelations that began in the Cave of Hira find their culmination with the killing of every Jew, Christian, and other non-Muslim in the world.”

The Annunciation
by El Greco 1541-1614

Since Christ founded Christianity in order to populate Heaven, why would the devil not think that he also must have an opposite religion, not only to thwart God’s plan, but also to populate hell?

On a mountain Satan showed all the kingdoms of the world to Christ and said that they would be His if Christ would kneel down and worship him. Christ did not submit, so Satan withdrew until another day when, on another mountain, masquerading as Gabriel, he offered the petrified Muhammad domination of all the kingdoms of the world through Islam if only he (Satan) would be worshiped as Allah. Muhammad, terrorized by “Gabriel”, submitted and in doing so, he became the prophet of Lucifer.

Muhammad’s horrifying encounter stands in stark contrast to the gentle nature of angelic and divine encounters found throughout the Bible where angels almost always begin conversation with man with the comforting phrase, “Do not be afraid,” as the genuine St. Gabriel the Archangel did when speaking to the Blessed Mother at the Annunciation.

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At Fatima Our Lady Reaffirms the Dogma of Purgatory

Purgatory: The Dogma of God’s Mercy and Justice

For the sake of souls living in an age permeated by the modernist heresy, it is not by chance that, at Fatima, Heaven highlighted the Church’s doctrines and dogmas so frequently undermined. Perhaps foremost among these ignored truths is Purgatory, a dogma pertaining to the interior life of the soul and the mercy and the justice of God.

The word purgatory comes from the Latin purgare, which means “to purify” or “to cleanse.” “The word Purgatory is sometimes taken to mean a place, sometimes as an intermediate state between Hell and Heaven,” explains Fr. Schouppe, S.J., author of Purgatory – Explained by the Lives and the Legends of the Saints.

“It is, properly speaking, the condition of souls which, at the moment of death, are in the state of grace, but which have not completely expiated their faults, nor attained the degree of purity necessary to enjoy the Vision of God.” Fr. Schouppe continues, “Purgatory is a transitory state which terminates in a life of everlasting happiness. It is not a trial by which merit may be gained or lost, but a state of atonement and expiation.”

The dogma of Purgatory reinforces the necessity of the three conversions of the interior life, for “it forms one of the principal parts of the work of Jesus Christ, and plays an essential role in the economy of the salvation of man.”

We may think otherwise, but sanctity is not impossible, for Jesus Himself encourages and instructs us, “Be you therefore perfect, as also your Heavenly Father is perfect.” [Matt. 5:48] Neither can we reach spiritual perfection by our own efforts, but “with God, all things are possible.” [Matt 19: 26] For the living, each day of earthly life is “a time of trial, a time of merit for the soul” and at the very moment life ends, the immortal soul remains in the state in which death claimed it.

While we hope that our merits will gain us heaven, we must also remember that what we deem as only trivial faults are not small in God’s eyes. In considering Purgatory, our frail human nature frequently tends to think only of God’s mercy, simultaneously preferring to forget His Justice. Regardless of our personal opinions, God has revealed that His two attributes of Mercy and Justice are never separated.

Like the slightest shadow which must disappear before the sun’s bright light, “no shadow of sin can endure before His Face.”  Souls who depart this life in a state of sanctifying grace are saved and will attain Heaven, but if there is any debt still remaining for absolved sins – any slight lack of perfect charity in love for God or neighbor – then God’s Mercy and Justice allows the saved soul to expiate its sins in Purgatory.

Because the doctrine of Purgatory has been held throughout the ages, the Council of Trent declared: “Since the Catholic Church, instructed by the Holy Ghost has, following the sacred writings and the ancient tradition of the Fathers, taught in sacred councils and very recently in this ecumenical council, that there is a Purgatory, and that the souls there detained are aided by the suffrages of the faithful and chiefly by the Acceptable Sacrifice of the Altar, the Holy Council commands the bishops that they strive diligently to the end that the sound doctrine of Purgatory, transmitted by the Fathers and the sacred councils, be believed and maintained by the faithful of Christ, and be everywhere taught and preached.”

Maria das Nevas and Amelia

In recent times, Our Lady Herself referred to Purgatory when, at the first Fatima apparition in May 1917, She was asked by the child Lucia about the souls of two young village ladies who had recently died.

The Virgin answered that the first girl, Maria das Nevas, who died when about 16 years of age, was in Heaven. But of Amelia, a young woman of 18 years at her death, Our Lady said, “She will be in purgatory until the end of the world.”

The Fate of Two Souls Revealed
The latter disclosure about Amelia’s prolonged period of expiation never fails to shock and trouble those who first hear of it. While mere curiosity should not instigate the inquiry, it appears there is one immediate and common question about this revelation:

What did Amelia do? That is, what forgiven sin(s) committed by a young person (a “teenager” by today’s standards), who lived in a remote village without any modern conveniences or amusements, could lead to a Purgatory of such time and duration?

The only answer upon which we can assuredly rely comes from Sr. Lucia when, years later, she was asked by Fr. Thomas McGlynn, O.P, about certain details regarding Amelia. Sr. Lucia’s charitable, prudent, and brief response was befitting of a Servant of God: “Amelia was eighteen years old, Father, and, after all, for one mortal sin a soul may be in Hell forever.”

“Just” one mortal sin! Was Lucia’s response a delicate hint that it was one mortal sin, obviously repented, for which Amelia would endure a Purgatory incomprehensible to our minds? Did Our Lady make this known to Lucia? If such is the case, it still remains that we do not know the details of Amelia’s solitary mortal sin – but neither do we need to know.

Instead, we should consider the reasons why Our Lady allowed to be made public the state of two souls, one who was already in Heaven (a revelation which many overlook) and one who would be in Purgatory until the end of time.

“What is certain is that Our Lady wanted us to know this for our instruction, and it would be foolish presumption to pretend to dispute the judgments of God,” observes Fatima historian, Frère Michel de la Sainte Trinité. “He alone, Who intimately knows each soul, the abundance of graces He has given to it, the degree of knowledge it had of its fault and the quality of its repentance, is the judge of the gravity of sin.”

Frère Michel also wisely notes that we may rarely think about Maria das Nevas, the young soul of whom Our Lady said so simply, “She is in heaven.” No, we are not inclined to ponder much about Maria, for today we are misled to believe that Heaven is our natural “right.” Perhaps, too, we make light-hearted jokes like, “Well, at least in Purgatory, I’ll be with friends.” Yet the sufferings of Purgatory are not objects of jest, especially because the straight and sure path to Heaven is made known to us: Pick up your cross daily and follow Me.

Should we not first contemplate the teenaged Maria, if only for a few moments, and wonder: How did she fulfill God’s Commandments? What heroic virtues did she practice? Did she endure Purgatory at all – or was her soul taken straight to Heaven? Were inquiries ever made about the details of her life or death? Is there anything really known about this young lady, other than her name and age? Or was her hidden and humble interior life – in which (as it seems) no one showed interest, even when her glorious state in Heaven became known – meant as a lesson in itself?

Since it appears no questions about Maria were ever asked, we have no details. What we do have, however, is Our Lady’s word that Maria is in Heaven, and that is enough to tell us two simple and beautiful things about Maria – “she was a good girl and a good Christian.”

Out of the Depths I Have Cried to Thee, O Lord…
But we do not forget Amelia, who died in the state of grace and is saved, nor should we forget her. It is, after all, our “sacred duty to pray for and make sacrifices on behalf of the Poor Souls in Purgatory.”

We call these souls “poor” because they can do nothing for themselves, relying always on our charity offered on their behalf; we call them “holy” because there is no question that they are among the saved. Cherished by God and assured of their salvation, they can and do intercede for us with their prayers.

However, while the poor souls can pray for us but no longer gain merit for themselves, and since the saints in Heaven pray for them but cannot acquire any indulgences for them, those who languish in Purgatory rely on the charity of the living.

This is the beautiful “secret” regarding Purgatory, as St. John Chrysostom reminds us, “Not by weeping, but by prayer and almsgiving are the dead relieved.” [30] It is only we, the Church Militant, who can obtain many indulgences (plenary and partial) for the faithful departed.

We have three central means at our disposal to offer them relief and deliverance: The Holy Mass, the Holy Rosary, and almsgiving (fasts, penances, and sacrifices). For the benefit of our own souls and those in Purgatory, there exist many other highly indulgenced prayers and practices, including but not limited to:

The Brown Scapular of Mt. Carmel: To those who wear this Scapular with devotion, Our Lady promises, “Whosoever dies wearing this Scapular shall not suffer eternal fire.” Too, a pious kiss given to the Brown Scapular offers 500 days’ indulgence, which we can offer for the Poor Souls.

The Sabbatine (Saturday) Privilege, also granted to those who wear the Brown Scapular: “I, the Mother of Grace, shall descend on the Saturday after their death and whosoever I shall find in Purgatory, I shall free, so that I may lead them unto the holy mountain of life everlasting.”

A Thousand Souls (the Prayer of St. Gertrude), by which Christ revealed He would release 1,000 souls from Purgatory, each time the prayer is offered: “Eternal Father, I offer thee the Most Precious Blood of Thy Divine Son, Jesus, in union with all of the Masses said throughout the world today – for all the holy souls in purgatory, for sinners everywhere, for sinners in the universal Church, for those within my own home and within my own family. Amen.”

Since God’s generosity can never be out-done, He not only allows all of our offerings to help the souls in Purgatory, but He also grants that these same actions “gain us merit, an increase in sanctifying grace, a higher degree of charity, closer union with God, and thus a higher degree of glory in Heaven for all eternity.”

There is much more that Our God has revealed about Purgatory, but what is most important is to follow the charitable advice of the eternal Church, and which is so beautifully summarized by St. Augustine: “Forget not the dead and hasten to pray for them!”


[Source: Written by Marianna Bartold and first published in Catholic Family News (CFN). This (slightly shortened) article is taken from “Purgatory: The Dogma of God’s Mercy and Justice”, published in CFN’s November 2009 issue.]

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