Cardinal Schönborn hosts LGBT prayer service in Cathedral

By Lisa Bourne at LifeSiteNews:

VIENNA, Austria, December 14, 2017

Viennese Cardinal Christoph Schönborn co-hosted a homosexual-themed prayer service in his cathedral earlier this month for World Aids Day. The event in St. Stephen’s Cathedral included speeches given by a world-famous ‘drag queen’ and a homosexual activist from the pulpit within the sanctuary.

Homosexual-themed banners were hung on the walls and spread on the floor in the cathedral for the event. Eerie purple lighting illuminated the Cathedral’s columns.

The event was co-hosted by Gerry Keszler, a homosexual activist and organizer of Vienna’s “Life Ball,” one of the most significant pro-homosexual charity events in Europe. Cardinal Schönborn received Keszler at the Cathedral’s entrance for the non-denominational service.

In his opening comments, Schönborn acknowledged Keszler along with “all those who are responsible for the Life Ball,” an AIDS fundraiser.

During a prayer for people who have died of AIDS, Schönborn inferred that “all” may “find a home” with God and that the dead were “not lost forever.”

The musical accompaniment for the event was provided by the Vienna Chamber Orchestra and the Vienna Philharmonic Choir performing Mozart’s Requiem.

The diocese said it was a memorial service to “commemorate the 36 million dead and to set a signal against prejudice.”

Cardinal Schönborn said in his sermon that God did not come to condemn but to save, asking “what does this mean for us? Not to judge, not to exclude, not to bring (people) into line.

After the cardinal’s sermon Austrian transvestite Thomas Neuwirth, who performs under the pseudonym “Conchita Wurst,” spoke, citing “persecution of those who live their identity in a way that is different from that of the majority,” along with “exclusion and discrimination.”

Neuwirth invited those in attendance to come forward and put a piece of incense into a bowl and offer a personal intercession.

The transvestite rose to fame after winning the Eurovision song contest in 2014. Schönborn at the time expressed delight to Austria’s Catholic Press Agency (Katholische Presseagentur Österreich) at Neuwirth’s win of the contest as “Conchita Wurst.”

The drag queen’s stage name is reportedly intended to show disrespect for the Blessed Mother. “Conchita” is a derivative of the Spanish first name Concepcion, used mostly in Latin American countries to honor the Immaculate Conception and the Virgin Mary. And while “Wurst” is the German word for “sausage,” it is also used by German speakers to signal indifference, that something does not matter to you.

In his closing comments for the service, Keszler said that it does not matter who we love or believe in, with Schönborn thanking Keszler for his remarks.

A video of the full event can be found HERE.

The recent service with Keszler and “Conchita Wurst” wasn’t the first homosexual presentation associated with Vienna’s cathedral.

In 2008 the Dommuseum, the art gallery attached to the Catholic cathedral, ran an exhibition of works by a self-avowed Marxist atheist, titled “Religion, Flesh and Power,” that included depictions of explicit homosexual sex acts in “religious” themed art. Among the works was a rendering of the Last Supper with Christ and His Apostles portrayed as homosexuals engaged in an orgy.

The cathedral has also been the site of a Valentine’s Day blessing that includes homosexual couples.

Last fall the cathedral profiled a homosexual couple and their adopted son as an alternative form of family in a bulletin devoted to Amoris Laetitia.

During the 2015 Ordinary Synod on the Family Cardinal Schönborn said the Church should embrace the “positives elements” of gay unions.

In 2012 Schönborn overruled an Austrian’s pastor’s decision to bar an open homosexual from sitting on his parish council.

CP&S comment: Could it be that Pope Francis, who lauded Cardinal Schönborn as the authoritative interpreter of Amoris Laetitia, also approves of his interpretation of Catholic moral teaching on homosexuality? Where is the fraternal correction from other members of the hierarchy? In the remaining days of Advent let us pray fervently for the Cardinal and for all those in the Church who seem to have lost their way.


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The Inn and the Stable: an Advent meditation by Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen

Detail of Am Abend vor Christi Geburt [On the Evening of Christ’s birth], Michael Rieser, 1869

Every artist has the feeling of being at home in his studio, every patriot at home in his own country, and every man at home in his house. One should therefore expect that the Creator would be at home in His own creation, and that God would be at home in the world He had made. And yet the most startling fact of human history is that when God came to earth, He was homeless at home. “He came unto His own, and His own received Him not.” (1 John 1:11) Ere yet the great portals of the flesh swung open, Mary and Joseph sought in vain for a place where might be born the One to whom the heavens and earth belonged. And so, when human history shall have written its last word in the scrolls of time, the saddest line of all will be “There was no room in the inn.” (2 Luke 2:7)

There was room in the inn for those who bore on their breasts the screaming eagles of Rome; there was room for the daughters of the rich merchants of the East; there was room for all clothed in fine purple and soft garments; there was room for everyone — except the foster-father and the mother of the One who was to bring redemption to the world.

And so, away from the inn and out to the stable they had to go, to a crude cave into which shepherds drove their flocks in storms. In that little haven, with manger beasts as companions, and at a central point between the three great civilizations of Memphis, Athens, and Rome, something happened — the only thing in the world that ever happened and mattered. That which happened was nothing less than Heaven being found on the earth as the cry of a God cried out in the cry of a Child.

A startling paradox indeed: When God came to earth, there was no room in the inn, but there was room in the stable. What lesson is hidden behind the inn and the stable?

What is an inn, but the gathering-place of public opinion, the focal point of the world’s moods, the residence of the worldly, the rallying place of the fashionable and those who count in the management of the world’s affairs? What is a stable, but the place of outcasts, the refuge of beasts, and the shelter of the valueless, and therefore the symbol of those who in the eyes of public opinion do not count, and hence may be ignored as of no great value or moment? Anyone in the world would have expected to have found Divinity in an inn, but no one would have expected to have found it in a stable. Divinity, therefore, is always where you least expect to find it.

If, in those days, the stars of the heavens by some magic touch had folded themselves together as silver words and announced the birth of the Expected of the Nations, where would the world have gone in search of Him?

The world would have searched for the Babe in some palace by the Tiber, or in some gilded house of Athens, or in some inn of a great city where gathered the rich, the mighty, and the powerful ones of earth. They would not have been the least surprised to have found the newborn King of kings stretched out on a cradle of gold and surrounded by kings and philosophers paying to Him their tribute and obeisance.

But they would have been surprised to have discovered Him in a manger, laid on coarse straw and warmed by the breath of oxen, as if in atonement for the coldness of the hearts of men. No one would have expected that the One whose fingers could stop the turning of Arcturus would be smaller than the head of an ox; that He who could hurl the ball of fire into the heavens would one day be warmed by the breath of beasts; that He who could make a canopy of stars would be shielded from a stormy sky by the roof of a stable; or that He who made the earth as His future home would be homeless at home. No one would have expected to find Divinity in such a condition; but that is because Divinity is always where you least expect to find it.


This article is an excerpt from God’s World and Our Place in It by Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen.

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Benedict XVI on the Dialogue of Religions

In my view, Benedict XVI provides much-needed clarity about inter-religious dialogue and its goals. In an earlier article on The Catholic Thing, I wrote of Joseph Ratzinger’s view of the dialogue of the religions. Here, I turn to consider Benedict’s view of inter-religious dialogue in his 2012 Christmas address.

Although he was committed to dialogical relations among the religions, Benedict explicitly excludes religious relativism, indifferentism, and syncretism from his understanding. He, accordingly, sees this relation as a truth-seeking enterprise rather than just about “learning to accept the [religious] other in his otherness and the otherness of his thinking,” as he puts it. Furthermore, following St. John Paul II (in his 1990 encyclicalRedemptoris missio), he rejects the supplanting of evangelization with inter-religious dialogue, and, therefore, prioritizes the call of Jesus (John 1:39) – “Come and see!” – of proclamation and evangelization.

According to Benedict, a dialogical relation among the religions is multi-dimensional. First, it is about learning to co-exist, about being together, that is, about peace and justice, “shared responsibility for society, for the state, for humanity.” To achieve that end, Benedict affirms the necessity of a dialogue among the religions. Second, although a hermeneutic of justice and peace is a guiding principle of this dialogical relation, says Benedict, it “is bound to pass beyond the purely pragmatic to an ethical quest for the values that come before everything.” He adds, “In this way what began as a purely practical dialogue becomes a quest for the right way to live as a human being.”

For Benedict, the starting point of the dialogue has two generally accepted rules for interreligious dialogue so that we “learn to accept the other in his otherness and the otherness of his thinking.” The first is that: “Dialogue does not aim at conversion, but at understanding. In this respect it differs from evangelization, from mission; accordingly, both parties to the dialogue remain consciously within their identity, which the dialogue does not place in question either for themselves or for the other.” Specifically, he means that at this point no explicit attention is given to answering the question: “Why am I a Christian, and not a Buddhist, Hindu, Moslem, Jew, and so forth?”

In other words, as Benedict puts it, the justification and truth of “fundamental [religious] choices themselves are not under discussion.” To rise to that level of discussion, which we must, would involve what Paul Griffiths calls the “necessity of inter-religious apologetics” (see the “NOIA” principle in an Apology for Apologetics: A Study in the Logic of Interreligious Dialogue).

Still, he says, “the search for an answer to a specific question becomes a process in which, through listening to the other, both sides can obtain purification and enrichment. In the process, this search can also mean taking common steps towards the one truth, even if the fundamental choices remain unaltered. If both sides set out from a hermeneutic of justice and peace, the fundamental difference will not disappear, but a deeper closeness will emerge nevertheless.”

Benedict accepts these rules that guide interreligious dialogue, but he thinks them too “superficial” (his word) because they exclude the question of truth as well as evangelization. A dialogical relation operates in the realm of pre-evangelization because it “does not aim at conversion, but at better mutual understanding.” “But all the same,” Benedict adds, “the search for knowledge and understanding always has to involve drawing closer to the truth.” Otherwise, merely accepting fundamental differences, in short, one’s religious identity, says Benedict, “effectively blocks the path to truth.” The fundamental religious choices would consequently appear arbitrary, as having nothing to do with rationality and the truth about reality.

Hence, Benedict affirms a second principle, that “Both sides in this piece-by-piece approach to truth are therefore on the path that leads forward and towards greater commonality, brought about by the oneness of the truth.” One might add to the above-formulated rules the realist presuppositions of a theory of knowledge: truth exists, and we can know it and be justified in our claims to know.

Furthermore, given the necessity of inter-religious apologetics, this also presupposes two precepts of would-be knowers, namely, knowing the truth, and avoiding error. Moreover, summarizing his Christian theory of knowledge as it pertains to the truth-seeker, Benedict concludes, “Christ, who is the truth, has taken us by the hand, and we know that his hand is holding us securely on the path of our quest for knowledge. Being inwardly held by the hand of Christ makes us free and keeps us safe: free – because if we are held by him, we can enter openly and fearlessly into any dialogue; safe – because he does not let go of us, unless we cut ourselves off from him. At one with him, we stand in the light of truth.”

Finally, this process of searching for the truth eventually brings us in our dialogical relation to evangelizing a truth-seeker, and turning him from his truth-twisting ways. This seeker is “listening and following behind Jesus, which is not yet discipleship, but rather a holy curiosity, a movement of seeking.” Then, adds Benedict, “Jesus turns round, approaches them and asks: ‘What do you seek?’ They respond with a further question, which demonstrates the openness of their expectation, their readiness to take new steps.”

In short, this process is “effective in situations where man is listening in readiness for God to draw near, where man is inwardly searching and thus on the way towards the Lord. . . .As he walks with Jesus, he is led to the place where Jesus lives, to the community of the Church, which is his body. That means entering into the journeying community of catechumens, a community of both learning and living, in which our eyes are opened as we walk.”

Benedict XVI’s theology of inter-religious dialogue, therefore, does not stop at the necessary recognition of the other, but also encourages the dialogical relation to remain on the path of seeking and finding the truth in Christ and His Church.

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LifeSite interviews mysterious author of ‘The Dictator Pope’

From LifeSiteNews

ROME, December 12, 2017

“The popular image of Pope Francis is one of the most extraordinary deceptions of the present time,” Marcantonio Colonna, author of The Dictator Pope, has said in a new interview with LifeSiteNews.

The explosive new book, which first appeared in Italian and then in English on December 4, has provoked praise and consternation and drawn considerable attention, particularly in Catholic media.

The author assumes the pseudonym of a real historical figure named Marcantonio Colonna. Born in 1535, Colonna was an Italian aristocrat who served as a Viceroy of Sicily and is best remembered for his service as admiral of the papal fleet in the Battle of Lepanto.

About the author’s true identity, we are only told in the brief biographical note accompanying the book that he is “a graduate of Oxford University and has extensive experience of historical and other research. He has been living in Rome since the beginning of Pope Francis’s pontificate, and his book is the fruit of close contacts with many of those working in the Vatican, including the leading Cardinals and other figures mentioned in the narrative.”

In an email exchange with Marcantonio Colonna, we discussed why he wrote The Dictator Pope, what he hopes the book will achieve, and the most surprising discovery he made in his research.

LifeSite: Why did you write ‘The Dictator Pope’?

Colonna: The popular image of Pope Francis is one of the most extraordinary deceptions of the present time, and contrasts totally with the reality of Bergoglio’s character as it was known in Argentina before his election and is known in the Vatican today. My aim was to let the cat out of the bag and to set out, in a series of studies of policies followed over the past five years, the true nature of Francis’s pontificate.

What do you hope the book will achieve?

I don’t know whether my book could have the effect of encouraging cardinals and other churchmen to tell Francis, “The game’s up.” Perhaps not. But what I principally had in mind was trying to avoid a similar mistake being made again in the next Conclave. My aim was to expose the myth of the supposedly liberal Pope who was elected in 2013 and to urge the cardinals at the next Conclave to avoid electing an unknown figure who turns out to be quite different from what he had been thought.

If your main concern is to see that a similar mistake not be made at the next Conclave, why did you not simply send a report privately to the cardinals. Why go public? Some readers may wonder if the book might do more harm than good, by fostering division and ill will toward Pope Francis among the faithful.

The notion that the College of Cardinals as a whole would read a 60,000-word book sent to them privately is wholly unrealistic. Moreover, the book needs to have the credibility that comes from having been made public and recognized as true by those who know the Vatican. And the cardinals do not make their choice in a vacuum. When they vote in the next Conclave, it needs to be in a context in which the whole Church has recognized the imposture that has been practiced upon it and realizes that we need a Pope who is primarily a man of God and not a politician.

What did you find most interesting, surprising, or shocking in your research?

In fact my book is mainly based on a long series of articles which have already exposed many aspects of Francis’s pontificate, but the world’s media have preferred to take no notice of them. A personal contribution of mine has been to transmit to the rest of the world the estimate of Bergoglio that had long been held in Argentina. In researching Bergoglio’s past, one of the most significant pieces of evidence I came across was the report written by his religious superior [Father Peter Hans Kolvenbach] in 1991 when it was proposed to make Bergoglio a bishop. The Jesuit General wrote that Bergoglio was not suitable for such an appointment, that he was a man of devious character, lacking psychological balance, and had been a divisive figure as Provincial of the Jesuits in Argentina. The existence of this report has long been known, and I received the account of it from a priest who read the document himself at the time.

What’s your overall view of Pope Francis in light of what you discovered?

My view of Pope Francis is mainly formed from researching his Argentinian background. He emerges as a flawed character, who is capable of impressing people profoundly and forming warm friendships, but who, as one of his priest friends remarked, “manipulates people through the affections.” This characteristic has enabled him to establish a skillful ascendancy over his subordinates in Rome, as he had done previously in Buenos Aires. Bergoglio is also very much the product of the peculiar political culture of Argentina, formed by the populist dictator Juan Perón, of whom Bergoglio was a follower from his early years, and whom he very much resembles in his style of government.

How does this compare with pontificates of the past?

Francis’s pontificate is absolutely unique in modern times, and can only be compared to a few disastrous pontificates of the past, when the cardinals manifestly made a mistake in their selection. This is bound to happen from time to time, but we have to go back a long way for any earlier precedent, and it’s not surprising that people will find it difficult to believe that such a total mistake could have been made.

Even some who have praised the book for its thorough research call it tendentious. How do you defend these claims?

My book can only be called tendentious in the sense that it makes a case; but it makes it on the basis of a vast array of facts, which are fairly presented. By contrast, the current public image of Pope Francis is a PR exercise which bears no relation to reality.

The book is well researched and heavily footnoted, but not where you speak of allegations that the Vatican made financial contributions to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. Why did you include these allegations in the book?

This accusation was made to me unambiguously by a contact in the Vatican, whose identity I have to protect. However, the allegation is quite well known to journalists. With this and other scandals I mention, my desire was to encourage further investigation by researchers who are better qualified than I am to delve into financial matters.

The Vatican is reportedly seeking your true identity. Why did you use a pseudonym? And are you afraid of reprisals?

Sadly, what emerges in the book is Pope Francis’ tendency to vindictiveness. The present-day Curia lives in a state of fear that any criticism of the Pope will lead to dismissal, as it did in the case of three officials of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith who were summarily dismissed by Francis without explanation. Those who wish to tell the truth are therefore compelled to anonymity, to protect not only themselves but those around them.

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Pope Francis Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother

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Pro-life leaders from 13 countries accuse Pope Francis of failing to uphold Church teaching

This, my friends, is deeply troubling. Do we have a Pope who refuses to uphold Catholic teaching? Or worse; one who teaches heresy? If that is so, the repercussions of this are, and will be, of enormous, unimaginable damage to the Church.

by Staff Reporter of the CATHOLIC HERALD 

Pope Francis speaks during a weekly general audience at the Paul VI audience hall (Getty Images)

One signatory accused the Pope and other members of the hierarchy of spreading errors

Leaders of pro-life organisations from across the world have signed a letter accusing Church leaders, including Pope Francis, of undermining their movement through ambiguous statements and actions contrary to Catholic teaching.

The letter says that over the past 50 years the pro-life movement has “relied in a particular way on the immutable teaching of the Catholic Church, which affirms the moral law with the greatest clarity.”

However, the signatories say that in recent years that teaching has increasingly been replaced by “ambiguity, and even by doctrines directly contrary to the teaching of Christ and the precepts of the natural law”.

The letter then lists the concerns of several documents and letters to Pope Francis over the past couple of years, including the Filial Appeal in September 2015, the ‘Dubia’, the Filial Correction earlier this year, and Fr Thomas Weinandy’s letter last month.

On top of these, the signatories accuse the Pope of statements and actions which “contradict the Church’s teaching on the intrinsic evil of contraceptive acts”, “contradict the Church’s teaching on the nature of marriage and the intrinsic evil of sexual acts outside the union of marriage”.

Continue reading…

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The Medjugorje Controversy Continues

Pilgrims pray near a statue of the Virgin Mary in Medjugorje (Getty Images)

Four days ago ALETEIA published this report:

Official pilgrimages to Medjugorje are being authorized, confirms Pope Francis’ envoy

Archbishop Henryk Hoser tells Aleteia that it still falls to the pope to make final decision on commission’s report about veracity of reported apparitions.

“The devotion of Medjugorje is allowed. It’s not prohibited, and need not be done in secret,” confirmed Archbishop Henryk Hoser of Warsaw-Praga, Poland, now some months after being sent to Medjugorje by Pope Francis to evaluate not the veracity of the apparitions, but the state of the pastoral care being provided to the millions of pilgrims who flock to the site every year.

Formerly, pilgrimages to the site were not to be organized by official Church groups, though the faithful could make them privately or through other organizations. Now, the stance on officially-organized pilgrimages will open.

“My mission is precisely to analyze the pastoral situation and propose improvements,” the archbishop told Aleteia, about his assignment at the shrine in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which has attracted tens of millions of people since Marian apparitions reportedly began there in 1981.

“Today, dioceses and other institutions can organize official pilgrimages. It’s no longer a problem,” explained the archbishop, speaking to us from his residence in a Warsaw neighborhood. “Pope Francis recently asked an Albanian cardinal to give his blessing to the faithful present in Medjugorje,” he added.

Continue reading…

Thousands are converted at Medjugorje – but the local diocese is highly sceptical (CNS)

Today on the CATHOLIC HERALD we are informed that Archbishop Hoser, the Papal envoy backtracks on Medjugorje comments

Archbishop Henryk Hoser said official pilgrimages may visit the site, but may not venerate the apparitions

… In an interview with Il Giornale Archbishop Hoser now says the situation is slightly more complex.

“It is true what I said, although perhaps it was a little exaggerated in tone,” the archbishop said. “But it is absolutely authentic that pilgrimages of prayer can be organized in Medjugorje without any problem, provided they are spiritual and do not concern the apparitions of Our Lady to the seers.”

He also clarified that while bishops are free to organise pilgrimages to the site simply to pray to Our Lady, there is no authorisation to pray for the apparitions.

“The problem of the visionaries is not yet solved,” he said.

CP&S comment – If finally the apparitions are deemed to be a hoax, as many people believe, we wonder how this permission for pilgrims to visit a phoney site where Our Lady did not, after all, appear, may damage the faith of believers.  

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For the Record: Franciscan Friars & Sisters of the Immaculate status update — Bergoglio’s destruction nearly complete


For so many years now we have both broke and chronicled the news of Pope Bergoglio’s destruction of the Franciscans of the Immaculate — both the Friars (FFI) and the Sisters (FSI). So much has happened, often in the shadows, and has gone unreported.

Below are simple bullet points of what we’ve been told recently. They come from multiple sources both inside and outside the order. But all must be recorded for history, so we post it today. We do this, as we have for years, while facing both harassment and threats for doing so. It is worth noting that about half of the FFIs who called for the original visitation are no longer in the order. Like the Imperial Prosecutor accusing St. Bernadette, they now know they were wrong, and are hopefully repenting. Please see our notes below, as well as an educated prediction of what comes next for the order.

The original commissioner, the late Fr. Fidenzio Volpi, meeting Pope Francis the day the FFI seminary was shuttered.

The FSI (Sisters) were assigned a commissioner (Noris Adriana Calzavara of the Suore Rosarie di Udine) and two co-commissioners by a decree of the Congregation for Religious. Since the Congregation did not have its decree approved in forma specifica by the Pope, it was open to be challenged in the Signatura. The challenge resulted first in a reduction of the powers of the commissioners. It looked as though a further challenge would lead to the decree being be overturned altogether early this year.

However, before it was overturned, the Congregation went to Pope Francis and got his personal approval for a fresh assignment of the same commissioner. This was obviously very demoralizing for the sisters, who thought they were about to regain their autonomy.

The FSI have been ordered by their commissioner not to accept postulants for three years. The Sisters, which we are told numbered around 500 before these attacks, now amount to half of that.

The FSI are closing their House in New Bedford, Massachusetts, which ends their North American Mission as there will be not a single convent left in the United States.

The FFI (Friars) were forced to close and end their Australian Mission earlier in the year. We hear the Sisters may leave as well, but do not have solid enough reporting on this to say it’s 100%. But we feel compelled to report it if there’s any chance of exposure and pressure stopping the move.

About that same time of the Austrian Mission ending, Archbishop Ramon Cabrera Argüelles of Lipa, was “resigned” from his episcopacy. He was guilty of having approved a public association of the faithful made up of ex-FFIs, but since that’s not a crime, he was accused of — and apparently framed for — something unrelated.

In late January/early February, the FFI commissioners spoke of having the General Chapter of the Institute this past September. The Chapter would approve the new constitutions and elect the new Minister General, and the Congregation’s approval of this would end the period under a commissioner. Multiple sources tell us the principal targets of the reform appear to be the Marian Vow and poverty in common (i.e., the rule that not only individual members, but also the Institute as a legal person, are not capable of having property).

The Marian Vow has, in the view of many Friars, been eliminated in the new formula of profession promulgated with “dubious legality” and used in the professions in Italy in September of last year. The Friars did not vow to live in total consecration to the Immaculate (which comports three juridical obligations defined in their present constitutions), but vowed total availability to go to the missions in view of their consecration (which is the third of those obligations).

It was surprising to those who asked for a commissioner that the issue of the traditional Latin Mass has disappeared and been replaced by other changes they did not desire. Some sort of prohibition in this sense might be included, but it is clearly not the main interest of the commissioners.

The General Chapter has obviously not been held. It is reasonable to think that this is because it would not achieve the desired end (the gutting of the constitutions), although no reason has been announced.

The number of Friars interested in eliminating the Marian Vow could probably be counted on one hand, and perhaps on one finger. Therefore it is necessary (1) to significantly stack the deck in terms of voting members of the chapter, or (2) to convince those voting that the Marian Vow has not been eliminated, but merely clarified, or (3) to find Friars willing to vote for constitutions they don’t like but are willing to accept for secondary motives (exaggerated respect for the Holy See, fear of suppression, etc.)

Another possible (and likely) reason why the General Chapter has not taken place is that the commissioners have still not succeeded in getting control of the goods the Institute uses. These goods belong to non-profits, which are controlled by laymen, so that the Institute does not have effective ownership of anything. At the beginning of February, when the Congregation and the commissioners thought they could hold the chapter is September, Fr. Stefano M. Manelli was ordered to hand over ownership of the goods to the Institute, but he simply replied he has no legal power to do so.

While we can say the Sisters have been halved to 250 with some confidence, we cannot report on the current number of Friars, although we know of many who have left the order to another, or left for the world. We know of seminarians — some who were ready to be ordained to various positions the day after the seminary was closed! — who lost their vocations. There used to be a yearbook listing all of of the friaries and Friars, but the commissioners no longer publish them. They don’t even distribute a list of addresses and phone numbers for the friaries.

The Sisters’ future is linked with that of the Friars. Since their legislation is similar, if the Friars approve the new constitutions, the Sisters will be expected to pass similar constitutions.

FINAL NOTE: Our best, educated prediction for how this plays out is that the Friars refuse to approve the new constitutions. Most of them know what it would mean to approve them. And even some of the Friars who started this mess over their hatred for the TLM didn’t want the vows touched. And the Sisters will eventually refuse as well. When the commissioners and Francis finally decide there is no viable path forward for new constitutions, they will suppress the order in its entirety.

While shocking, it shouldn’t be. The Bergoglian Destruction has been going on now for nearly five years. Heretical prelates and priests and failing orders thrive under this Pontificate — those who adhere to Christ’s Word and the Tradition of the Church are persecuted.

At least we have Advent, Christ is coming!

Ave Maria!

Watch this video of Franciscans of the Immaculate Seminary the day it was shuttered by Commissioner Volpi and Pope Francis 

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Reflection for the 2nd Sunday of Advent

from: The Benedictine Abbey of Christ in the Desert


Image result for 2nd sunday in advent 2017



FIRST READING Isaiah 40:1-5, 9-11

Comfort, give comfort to my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her that her service is at an end, her guilt is expiated; indeed, she has received from the hand of the Lord double for all her sins. A voice cries out: In the desert prepare the way of the Lord! Make straight in the wasteland a highway for our God! Every valley shall be filled in, every mountain and hill shall be made low; the rugged land shall be made a plain, the rough country, a broad valley. Then the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all people shall see it together; for the mouth of the Lord has spoken. Go up on to a high mountain, Zion, herald of glad tidings; cry out at the top of your voice, Jerusalem, herald of good news! Fear not to cry out and say to the cities of Judah: Here is your God! Here comes with power the Lord God, who rules by his strong arm; here is his reward with him, his recompense before him. Like a shepherd he feeds his flock; in his arms he gathers the lambs, carrying them in his bosom, and leading the ewes with care.

SECOND READING 2 Peter 3:8-14

Do not ignore this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years and a thousand years like one day. The Lord does not delay his promise, as some regard “delay,” but he is patient with you, not wishing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a mighty roar and the elements will be dissolved by fire, and the earth and everything done on it will be found out. Since everything is to be dissolved in this way, what sort of persons ought you to be, conducting yourselves in holiness and devotion, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved in flames and the elements melted by fire. But according to his promise we await new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. Therefore, beloved, since you await these things, be eager to be found without spot or blemish before him, at peace.

GOSPEL Mark 1:1-8

The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ the Son of God. As it is written in Isaiah the prophet: Behold, I am sending my messenger ahead of you; he will prepare your way. A voice of one crying out in the desert: “Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths.” John the Baptist appeared in the desert proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. People of the whole Judean countryside and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem were going out to him and were being baptized by him in the Jordan River as they acknowledged their sins. John was clothed in camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist. He fed on locusts and wild honey. And this is what he proclaimed: “One mightier than I is coming after me. I am not worthy to stoop and loosen the thongs of his sandals. I have baptized you with water; he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”

My Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

Advent pulls our hearts to the Lord! Advent is a time to begin anew. Advent is a time to be still and listen again to the Word of the Lord. All of this is to say that we must prepare the way of the Lord in our lives and in our hearts.

The first reading today is from the Prophet Isaiah. We have to understand this word as originally aimed at the Jewish people who had been taken out of their own land and were living in a foreign land without must capacity to celebrate their own faith. These people longed to return to their own land and to rebuild the temple of the Lord. As in any community, we can be sure that not everyone wanted to return because they knew that returning would be even worse hardship than staying where they were.

This is a parallel to our own lives today. We are in exile from the Lord because of our sins and the sins of our ancestors. Not everyone today wants to turn to the Lord because the Lord makes demands on our lives. The words of the Prophet Isaiah can be addressed to us if we long to live according to the Word of the Lord and recognize that we cannot do that without the grace and mercy of God in our lives.

If we have tried to be faithful and find ourselves failing over and over, then surely the words of Isaiah speak to us! Comfort, give comfort to my people! Every valley shall be filled in, every mountain and hill shall be made low; the rugged land shall be made a plain, the rough country, a broad valley. Then the glory of the Lord shall be revealed.

When we are using our energies to seek the Lord, these words of Isaiah can bring tears to our eyes and open our hearts so much more to the presence of the Living God, who is seeking us.

The Second Letter of Saint Peter, from which is taken the second reading today, repeats this lesson to us: “The Lord does not delay his promise, as some regard “delay,” but he is patient with you, not wishing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” It is God Himself who wants to give us comfort but can only do so insofar as our hearts are open and waiting for Him. It is God who invites us to be patient and who reminds us: “Beloved, since you await these things, be eager to be found without spot or blemish before him, at peace.”

Advent is a time to stir up our desire for God, to stir up our hope in the Lord, to deepen our awareness of His love for us.

The Gospel of Mark today gives us the account of John the Baptist, a man seeking the Lord with all his strength. Mark recognizes that John the Baptist is the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecy that speaks of the one who will go before the Lord to prepare His way. John himself speaks this way in the today’s passage. And John is so completely humbled by his task that he sees himself even unworthy to untie the thongs of the sandals of the Lord who comes.

Everything in and about John the Baptist points to the One Who Is To Come, the Savior, the Messiah.

May our lives become so focused on God and His ways in our lives that we become like John the Baptist: our lives only giving witness to the love and mercy of God and drawing others to that love and mercy.

Your brother in the Lord,

Abbot Philip

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On Advent and Longing For Heaven

Advent is here, one of my favourite seasons.

Continuing to find endless treasures in the prayer of the Traditional Mass, I treat here the liturgical motif of inconsolate desire and its answer in Christ.

The Impossible Desire of the Human Heart

I say impossible because of the truly infinite nature of this desire, this nameless want that resides in every human heart: we are ever plagued by some sense of privation. We long for something – we know not what.

Even the Suburbanite Have-Everything knows this profound longing; he may not lay awake at night to pose philosophical questions to the stars, but he will always flee that gnawing experience of boredom… a phenomenon that seems to occur more frequently among those with greater means to forestall it! How is it then, that among apparently endless material distractions, we can yet grow weary of even good things? Is it not because our desire is impossible?

All things are wearisome;
more than one can express;
the eye is not satisfied with seeing,
or the ear filled with hearing…
I saw all the deeds that are done under the sun;
and see, all is vanity and a striving after wind.
(Eccl 1:8, 41)

Our longing is endless. What are we looking for?

The Christian dispensation has ever understood this endless longing as a signpost, one that has in fact been planted in man’s soul on purpose, orienting us toward and compelling us to seek out the one, transcendent Answer that suffices.

This Answer has been given, once and for all, in Christ Jesus; and during Advent perhaps more than any other time of the year, the Church gives voice to this timeless, impossible longing of the human heart, with a note of growing intensity up until Christmas. She alone sees, knows, and grants access to this Answer for all.

“I am my Beloved’s and my Beloved is mine.” (Song 6:3)

“Amorous of Heavenly Things”

In the traditional liturgies of Advent one finds the plaintive cry of the Bride, smitten with longing for her Bridegroom (just count the occurrences of the Latin verb excita [“excite, stir up, arouse”] in these days) – and although perfectly united to Him in her essence and rejoicing fully with Him in her heavenly dimension, still the earthly Church traverses the ages laden with that burden of the “not-yet,” this vale of tears, this present battleground of the Church Militant until her Lord returns.

Veni, Emmanuel.

Saint John of the Cross, the great Carmelite priest-mystic and Doctor of the Church, rendered this sense profoundly in his Spiritual Canticle, a poetic masterpiece of contemplative prayer wherein the Christian soul sings to her Lord:

“Reveal Thy presence / and may the vision of Thy beauty be my death; / for the sickness of love / is not cured / except by Thy very presence and image.”

In this wounded state, the soul is driven still further to view earthly realities as distractions and detestable obstacles to that union desired so ardently:

“Ah, who has the power to heal me? / Now wholly surrender Thyself! / Do not send me / any more messengers; / they cannot tell me what I must hear.”

“Do not send me any more messengers!” Here, John echoes St. Paul’s great “longing to be dissolved and be with Christ… count[ing] all things as loss compared to the excellent knowledge of Jesus Christ my Lord; for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and consider them but dung, that I may gain Christ” (Phil 1:23, 3:8).

Now, a given Catholic layman may not experience such transports of desire for the Lord in his workaday life – or perhaps not to the same degree as described by the Saints, “touched” as they were by such otherwordly splendour… but ought he? The Catholic spiritual tradition has long regarded desire for Christ to be a marker of the interior life and growth in prayer – we should bear about an awareness of our exile, matching it with a true longing for heaven: “Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness” (Mt 5:6), for nought but His kingdom, His justice (cf. Mt 6:33).

Pope Benedict XVI recalled this principle in his encyclical Spe Salvi (2007):

Saint Augustine… defines prayer as an exercise of desire. Man was created for greatness – for God Himself; he was created to be filled by God. But his heart is too small for the greatness to which it is destined. It must be stretched. ‘By delaying [His gift], God strengthens our desire; through desire He enlarges our soul and by expanding it he increases its capacity [for receiving Him].’” (N. 33)

It is precisely these sentiments which the Catholic Mass (especially during Advent) is ordained to form in the innermost soul of every worshipper, that he might make his own such inward longing for Christ as a motive force that it extends to colour his entire life – even (or especially) his suffering and failures. The prayer of the Mass is uniquely suited to forming the faithful after such a pattern, for it is the Church’s own sentiment, and she entreats God precisely that this transcendent longing be shaped in the hearts of His redeemed, that it become their preoccupation. If we mark no advance in this area of our own spiritual life, perhaps it is because Our Lord and His righteousness have not yet become the centre of our affections, above all in that privileged locus of divine encounter, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.*

Here, then, is the very work of Christ our Head, impressing His divine pattern upon the hearts and minds of the faithful who constitute His Body. A beautiful explanation of this divine patterning effected in right worship can be found in Pope Pius XII’s Mediator Dei (1947), meriting a lengthy quotation:

“All the elements of the liturgy, then, would have us reproduce in our hearts the likeness of the divine Redeemer through the mystery of the Cross… Let us all enter into closest union with Christ and strive to lose ourselves, as it were, in His most holy soul and so be united to Him that we may have a share in those acts with which He adores the Blessed Trinity with a homage that is most acceptable, and by which He offers to the eternal Father supreme praise and thanks…

“…Hence, the liturgical year, devotedly fostered and accompanied by the Church, is not a cold and lifeless representation of the events of the past, or a simple and bare record of a former age. It is rather Christ Himself who is ever living in His Church. Here He continues that journey of immense mercy which He lovingly began in His mortal life, going about doing good, with the design of bringing men to know His mysteries and in a way live by them. These mysteries are ever present and active, not in a vague and uncertain way as some modern writers hold, but in the way that Catholic doctrine teaches us. According to the Doctors of the Church, they are shining examples of Christian perfection, as well as sources of divine grace, due to the merit and prayers of Christ; they still influence us because each mystery brings its own special grace for our salvation. Moreover, our holy Mother the Church, while proposing for our contemplation the mysteries of our Redeemer, asks in her prayers for those gifts which would give her children the greatest possible share in the spirit of these mysteries through the merits of Christ. By means of His inspiration and help and through the cooperation of our wills we can receive from Him living vitality as branches do from the tree and members from the head; thus slowly and labouriously we can transform ourselves ‘unto the measure of the age of the fullness of Christ.’”

To close then, let us ponder a few orations from the Traditional Latin Mass, taken from the last Sunday of the old year and the first two Sundays of Advent:

SECRET: Be favourable, O Lord, to our supplications, and accepting the offerings and prayers of Thy people, convert the hearts of all to Thee: that being delivered from earthly loves, we may pass on to heavenly desires. Note the depth of need expressed here: like those knights unequal to the sanctity required for attaining the Grail, we beg that all be converted, that we be delivered (liberáti) from earthly loves (terrénis cupiditátibus), lest we be ensnared by them and fail in valor to pass on to heavenly desires (cæléstia desidéria). We will not make it, otherwise.

INTROIT: To Thee have I lifted up my soul: in Thee, O my God, I put my trust, let me not be ashamed: neither let my enemies laugh at me: for none of them that wait on Thee shall be confounded. Show me, O Lord, Thy ways: and teach me Thy paths. Note the expectant lifting of the soul described by the verb levávi, as in “levitate” – this lifting up is profoundly active, and serious as a trustful child holding his hands up to his parent, begging: “Up! Up!” In the midst of many enemies, we depend utterly upon our loving Father.

COLLECT: Stir up Thy power, we beseech Thee, O Lord, and come: that from the threatening dangers of our sins, by Thy protection we may deserve to be rescued, and be saved by Thy deliverance. Note the compelling entreaty that God stir up (excita) his power and deliver us by His very presence – and not from some general unhappiness, earthly trials, or even sin in general; but from the ever-present danger of our own personal sins, from which we need to be rescued (te liberante salvari), as from a truly deadly peril.

GRADUAL: Out of Sion the loveliness of His beauty: God shall come manifestly. V. Gather ye together His saints to Him, who have set His covenant before sacrifices. The faithful gathered in company will be rewarded with the glimpse of His glory (spécies decóris ejus) shining in the heart of His Church at prayer.

COMMUNION: Arise, O Jerusalem, and stand on high, and behold the joy that cometh to thee from thy God. The Latin surge is compelling: Arise! Likewise in the short, solid verb sta: Stand! Praying this prayer, I cannot help but recall times when I have climbed some height to plant my foot on a rock and look out over a beautiful vista; yet here at Mass, we are invited into the very heights of salvation, to that transfiguring mountaintop of Holy Communion, that we might behold the joy that comes from God, that blessed vision of adoration so longed for by the Magi: “Where is He who is born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East, and are come to worship Him.” (Mt 2:2)

POSTCOMMUNION: Filled with the food of this spiritual nourishment, we suppliantly entreat Thee, O Lord, that through our participation in this Mystery Thou wouldst teach us to despise earthly things and to love the heavenly. The Latin employed here could not be stronger in betokening the very disposition described above by Saints Paul and John of the Cross (in fact, given the antiquity of this oration, John of the Cross would likely have spent every Second Sunday of Advent praying exactly these words after Communion, which is extremely cool). We here beg the Lord (súpplices te, Dómine, deprecámur) that He teach us to despise, to hate, to loathe (despicere) earthly things, the better to be caught up in amáre cæléstia, an earnest and ardent love for the things of heaven.

Amen! So be it!

*NOTE: It is not surprising if many contemporary Catholics experience little of this particular sentiment in their daily affective life, as a significant amount of the formative power for such was lost with the imposition of the Novus Ordo Mass: only 422 of the 1,182 traditional orations were retained, and roughly half of these were (sometimes dramatically) altered. When over 80% of those orations hallowed by centuries of devout use are completely lost or changed overnight, the result must needs be affected by contemporary attitudes and designs – it will not yield the same formative environment for the soul and its affections.


It bothered Cardinals Bacci and Ottaviani (the former Prefect of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith!) enough to write urgently to Pope Paul VI, just prior to the promulgation of the New Mass:

“…The Novus Ordo represents, both as a whole and in its details, a striking departure from the Catholic theology of the Mass as it was formulated in Session XXII of the Council of Trent. The ‘canons’ of the rite definitively fixed at that time provided an insurmountable barrier to any heresy directed against the integrity of the Mystery… [But] it is evident that the Novus Ordo has no intention of presenting the Faith as taught by the Council of Trent, to which, nonetheless, the Catholic conscience is bound forever… To abandon a liturgical tradition which for four centuries was both the sign and the pledge of unity of worship and to replace it with another which cannot but be a sign of division by virtue of the countless liberties implicitly authorized, and which teems with insinuations or manifest errors against the integrity of the Catholic religion is, we feel in conscience bound to proclaim, an incalculable error.”

(Taken from the “Ottaviani Intervention” accessible here)

(Source: adapted and shortened)

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Pope Francis: ‘Our Father’ is poorly translated

In a video series for Italian television network TV2000, Pope Francis said that “lead us not into temptation” is a poorly translated line of the Our Father.

“This is not a good translation,” the Pope said in the video, published Dec. 6. “I am the one who falls, it’s not (God) who pushes me toward temptation to see how I fall. A father doesn’t do this, a father helps us to get up right away.”

He noted that this line was recently re-translated in the French version of the prayer to read “do not let me fall into temptation.”

The Latin version of the prayer, the authoritative version in the Catholic Church, reads “ne nos inducas in tentationem.”

The Pope said that the one who leads people into temptation “is Satan; that is the work of Satan.” He said that the essence of that line in the prayer is like telling God: “when Satan leads me into temptation, please, give me your hand. Give me your hand.”

Just as Jesus gave Peter his hand to help him out of the water when he began to sink, the prayer also asks God to “give me your hand so that I don’t drown,” Pope Francis said.

The Pope made his comments in the seventh part of the “Our Father” television series being aired by Italian television network TV2000.

Filmed in collaboration with the Vatican’s Secretariat for Communications, the series consists of nine question-and-answer sessions with Pope Francis and Fr. Marco Pozza, a theologian and a prison chaplain in the northern Italian city of Padua.

In each of the sessions, Fr. Pozza asks the Pope about a different line in the Our Father prayer, and the Pope offers his insights. A preview of the series was presented at the Vatican’s Film Library by Msgr. Dario Edoardo Vigano, head of the Secretariat for Communications.

The show also led to the publication of a book titled “Our Father,” which was released by the Vatican Publishing House and Italian publisher Rizzoli Nov. 23, and is based on Pozza’s conversations with the Pope in the video series.

Each of the first eight episodes of the series begin with an excerpt from conversation between the Pope and Pozza, which is followed by a second conversation between Pozza and another guest. The final episode will consist of the priest’s entire conversation with Pope Francis.

In his question to Pope Francis on the line “lead us not into temptation,” Pozza noted that many people have asked him how God can lead someone into temptation, and questioned what the phrase actually intends to say.

The question is one of the reasons the French bishops decided to make a request for a new translation of the Our Father that they believe conveys the meaning more clearly.

According to the French episcopal conference, the decision to make the change was accepted by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments in June 2013.

The new translation, released Dec. 3 to mark the first day of Advent and the beginning of the new liturgical year, now reads “ne nous laisse pas entrer en tentation,” meaning, “do not let us fall into temptation,” versus the former “ne nous soumets pas à la tentation,” or “lead us not into temptation.”

The Pope’s remarks do not change the translations of liturgical texts. Such a change would begin with a resolution by an episcopal conference in English-speaking countries.

In a previous episode of the “Our Father” series, Pope Francis said “it takes courage” to recite the prayer, because it means calling on someone else and truly believing that “God is the Father who accompanies me, forgives me, gives me bread, is attentive to everything I ask, and dresses me better than wildflowers.”

“To believe is a great risk,” and means daring to make the leap of faith, he said. Because of this, “praying together is so beautiful: because we help each other to dare.”

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Feast of the Immaculate Conception

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Mary’s Immaculate Conception

by Father William G. Most

In teaching that Mary was conceived immaculate, the Catholic Church teaches that from the very moment of her conception, the Blessed Virgin Mary was free from all stain of original sin. This simply means that from the beginning, she was in a state of grace, sharing in God’s own life, and that she was free from the sinful inclinations which have beset human nature after the fall.

History of the Doctrine

There are two passages in Scripture which point us to this truth. We look first at Genesis 3.15, in which we see the parallel between Mary and Eve of which the early Church Fathers already spoke: “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed: he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.” The Jews saw this passage as referring to the struggle between Christ and Satan, and so the Church see in “the woman” a prophetic foreshadowing of the Virgin Mary (Vatican II, Lumen gentium, # 55).

If there is to be complete enmity between the woman and the serpent, then she never should have been in any way subject to him even briefly. This implies an Immaculate conception.

We can also reason from the text of Lk 1:28, in which the angel calls her “full of grace”. If we can validate the translation–we can, and will do so, shortly–then in this verse we can see even more strongly the complete enmity with the serpent–for God’s grace is complete opposed to Satan’s reign. But if Mary was “full of grace,” it seems that she must have been conceived immaculate.

We turn to the early Fathers of the Church. First, many, not all of them, make sweeping statements about her holiness. That could imply an Immaculate Conception. Secondly, very many of them speak of her as the New Eve. They could have reasoned: the first Eve had an immaculate start in life–no sin was yet committed. So the New Eve, who was to share in undoing the harm of original sin, should have also an immaculate start. However, none of the Fathers actually followed this line of reasoning. (A few Fathers even tried to find sins she had committed, e.g. St. John Chrysostom, Homilies on John 21. PG 59. 130ff).

During the middle ages, authors such as St. Bernard of Clairvaux and St. Thomas Aquinas denied the doctrine. At this time, the data from Scripture and the Fathers was still not clear. In addition, the understanding of original sin was not as clear as it should have been–it was often thought of as having a positive element, instead of merely being an original lack of the grace to which God calls us. This positive element was thought to be transmitted from parents to children through the marital act (which was itself thought to be somehow sinful, though pardoned by God), and so it was hard to see how there could be an immaculate conception. This conception had been found in some, though by no means all, of the Fathers. Now of course we know it to be false. Finally, it was not generally seen at this time how an Immaculate conception of Mary would not take away from the universality of redemption through Christ.

After a while, however, the theological tide began to turn, and the objections which had long obscured the content of divine revelation began to be overcome. This was due especially to the work of the Franciscan, Venerable John Duns Scotus. He showed that for God to preserve Mary from original sin was a greater redemption than to allow her to fall into it and then rescue her. Scotus wrote (cited from J. B. Carol, Mariology I, 368): “Either God was able to do this, and did not will to do it, or He willed to preserve her, and was unable to do so. If able to and yet unwilling to perform this for her, God was miserly towards her. And if He willed to do it but was unable to accomplish it, He was weak, for no one who is able to honor his mother would fail to do so.”

We also note again that behind most of the objections was the rather positive notion of original sin. If we jump ahead several centuries to the clearer understanding of original sin we have now, we can remove this objection. Pope John Paul II epressed this understanding in a General Audience on Oct 1, 1986: “In context it is evident that original sin in Adam’s descendants has not the character of personal guilt. It is the privation of sanctifying grace in a nature which, through the fall of the first parents, has been diverted from its supernatural end. It is a ‘sin of nature’ only analogically comparable to ‘personal sin'”. In other words: It is only the lack, or privation, of that which God wanted us to have, which we should have inherited from our first parents.”

Now back to our history. After that this change in theological tide had gone far towards removing objections, the Popes began to make statements of varying clarity. Sixtus IV in 1477 (DS 1400) praised the liturgical celebration of the Immaculate Conception. The same Pope added further support in 1483 (DS 1425-26), condemning those who said it was sinful to preach and believe the Immaculate Conception. The Council of Trent explicitly declared in its decree on original sin (DS 1516): “… it is not its intention to include in this decree … the blessed and Immaculate Virgin Mary, Mother of God. Rather, the Constitutions of Sixtus [IV] of happy memory are to be observed.”

After Trent, the attacks on the Immaculate Conception were greatly moderated. Then Pope St. Pius V, in 1567 (DS 1973) condemned the error of Baius who said Our Lady was subject to original sin. And in 1568 the same Pope put the feast of the Immaculate Conception on the calendar of the Roman breviary. Alexander VII in 1661 explained the doctrine much as Pius IX did later: DB 1100. Pope Clement XI in 1708 made December 8 a holyday of obligation. Further, the Sixth Provincial Council of Baltimore in the U. S. in 1846 declared Mary Immaculate to be Patroness of the United States, and Pius IX on Feb. 7, 1847 confirmed this dedication.

The result was that about a century and a half before the definition of 1854, the whole Church believed the Immaculate Conception. Finally, in Ineffabilis Deus, in 1854, Pius IX defined this doctrine and added that Mary was conceived immaculate by anticipation of the merits of Christ. This is not strange, for to the eye of God, all time is present.

Now the Church continues to elucidate the scriptural basis of the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception. Pius XII, in Fulgens corona, 1953 wrote: “… the foundation of this doctrine is seen in the very Sacred Scripture itself, in which God … after the wretched fall of Adam, addressed the … serpent in these words… ‘I will put enmity….’ But if at any time, the Blessed Virgin Mary, defiled in her conception with the hereditary stain of sin, had been devoid of divine grace, then at least, even though for a very brief moment of time, there would not have been that eternal enmity between her and the serpent … but instead there would have been a certain subjection.”

Preventive redemption

We have said that Mary needed redemption, although she was never subject to original sin. Nor did she have an “obligation” to contract it, as some have foolishly said: there can be no obligation to any sin. We can merely say she would have been in original sin in the sense just explained, i.e. , she would have been born without grace, were it not for the preventive redemption. The word “preventive” means anticipatory: the grace she received at her conception was given in anticipation (Latin praevenire) of Christ’s merits, which earned that grace.

The nature of Mary’s grace at the Immaculate Conception

In Lk 1:28 the archangel hails her as, “full of grace”. Most versions today do not use that rendering, but greatly weaken it. Yet it is the correct translation as we can see from the Magisterium (Pius XII, Fulgens Corona, AAS 45, 579, and constant use of the Church) and also from philology.

For the Greek word in the Gospel is kecharitomene. It is a perfect passive participle of the verb charitoo. A perfect passive participle is very strong. In addition, charitoo belongs to a group of verbs ending in omicron omega. They have in common that they mean to put a person or thing into the state indicated by the root. Thus leukos means white, so leukoo means to make white. Then charitoo should mean to put into charis. That word charis can mean either favor or grace. But if we translate by favor, we must keep firmly in mind that favor must not mean merely that God, as it were, sits there and smiles at someone, without giving anything. That would be Pelagian: salvation possible without grace. So for certain, God does give something, and that something is grace, are share in His own life. So charitoo means to put into grace. But then too, kecharitomene is used in place of the name “Mary”. This is like our English usage in which we say, for example, someone is Mr. Tennis. That means he is the ultimate in tennis. So then kecharitomene should mean “Miss Grace”, the ultimate in grace. Hence we could reason that fullness of grace implies an Immaculate Conception.

Overflowing grace: Pius IX, in the document, Ineffabilis Deus, defining the Immaculate Conception in 1854 wrote: “He [God] attended her with such great love, more than all other creatures, that in her alone He took singular pleasure. Wherefore He so wonderfully filled her, more than all angelic spirits and all the Saints, with an abundance of all heavenly gifts taken from the treasury of the divinity, that she, always free from absolutely every stain of sin, and completely beautiful and perfect, presented such a fullness of innocence and holiness that none greater under God can be thought of, and no one but God can comprehend it.”

What about the words of Jesus in Lk 11:27-28 (cf. Mt. 12:46-50 and Mk 3:35)? A woman in the crowd exclaimed: “Blessed is the womb that bore you….” He replied: “Rather blessed are they who hear the word of God and keep it.”

The dignity of being Mother of God is a quasi infinite dignity, as we just saw from the words of Pius XI. Yet here, our Lord is teaching us that the holiness coming from hearing the word of God and keeping it is something greater still. Her holiness must indeed be great–so great that “none greater under God can be thought of, and no one but God can comprehend it.”

Even though Mary was full of grace at the start of her life, yet she could still grow, for, as it were, her capacity for grace could increase.

In general, a soul will grow in proportion to these things: (1) The greater the dignity of the person, the greater the merit In her case, the dignity of Mother of God is the highest possible for a creature. (2) The greater the work, the greater the merit: her cooperation in the redemption was the greatest work possible to a creature. (3) The greater the love, the greater the merit. Love of God means the attachment of our will to His. Her will adhered supremely, with no obstacle at all, so that even ordinary household duties, which she saw as the will of the Father for her, were supremely valuable.

Excerpted and adapted from Theology 523: Our Lady in Doctrine and Devotion, by Father William G. Most.
Copyright (c) 1994 William G. Most.

This electronic text (c) Copyright EWTN 1996. All rights reserved.


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Pope Francis: The Vicar of Allah?

A startling question! But read this article  from the Fatima Centre to find out why it is being asked.

Pope Francis made headlines recently for his championing of the Rohingya. For those who are unfamiliar with the term, it is one that Muslim refugees from Myanmar use to designate themselves. The term is rejected by the Buddhists of Myanmar, as it suggests that the Muslims are native to their country, a claim they deny, insisting that they are intruders from neighboring Bangladesh.

While in Myanmar, the Pope avoided use of the term, but readily adopted it once he had crossed into Bangladesh to meet the Rohingya of the refugee camps. For this supposed act of courage, the Pope was lauded for his shunning of diplomacy in favor of plain-speaking and justice. Apparently, it did not occur to the adulatory media that courage in this matter was only possible while the Pope was in Myanmar, where he carefully avoided its use. He was in no danger among the Rohingya.

Wearing a Yankees’ cap at Fenway Park requires courage. Wearing one at Yankee stadium makes you one of the gang.

While aboard his jet during his return trip to Rome, the Pope, as is his habit, addressed the international press corps that travels with him, chronicling his acts of courage. He explained he did not use the word Rohingya in public addresses in Myanmar because, “They already knew what I thought.” The “they” he is referring to are presumably the political and religious leaders of Myanmar, whom the Pope supposes are so familiar with his views that he need not spell them out. But, as St. Thomas More reminded the court that tried him, the maxim of the law is “Tacet consentire” — silence implies consent.

In any event, once among the Rohingya and safely out of Myanmar, the Pope was bold enough to break his silence and pronounce the term. The Pope told the press corps, “I wept. I tried to do it in a way that couldn’t be seen.” Not to presume too much, but we might suggest to the Holy Father that to keep his weeping secret, it would be best not to announce it to the media. Reporters are terribly indiscreet and very likely to, well, report.

The Pope said he wept over the suffering of the Rohingya, whom he credits as being the blameless victims of persecution, based on their self-declaration and anecdotal accounts. In an astounding act of presumption, the Pope then appropriated the right to speak in the name of their alleged persecutors:

In the name of all those who have persecuted you, who have harmed you, in the face of the world’s indifference, I ask for your forgiveness.”

Did the Buddhists of Myanmar commission the Pope to speak for them? Did they admit wrongdoing and confess their guilt and express a desire to seek forgiveness through the agency of the Pope? If not, why should Francis speak in their name? Indeed, why should he presume to speak in anyone else’s name unless he has permission to do so?

But the Pope not only takes upon himself the unwarranted ambassadorial role of speaking for the alleged miscreants of Myanmar, he goes on to apologize in the name of the whole world. Whatever may be happening along the borders of Bangladesh and Myanmar apparently imposes a moral obligation on the rest of mankind, an obligation we have failed to meet by our “indifference.” The Pope, then, believes it incumbent upon him to acknowledge our failure to the Rohingya and ask that they forgive us.

We might express some skepticism about the probable success of the Pope’s plea, as Muslims have not been notable for their readiness to forgive those who slight them or their religion. Mohammed was not known for his willingness to turn the other cheek, and “Live and let live” is not an attitude that informs the spirit of the Koran.

As for our supposedly sinful “indifference,” just what are we — the world — morally compelled to do, in the Pope’s estimation? We are not eyewitnesses to what is taking place. We cannot tell which stories are true, which are fabricated, whose claims are legally or historically justified and who initiated violence in particular instances. In short, the “world” — you and I — are in the dark about what is going on in this part of the world. And we are under no obligation to become informed.

Are we obliged to patrol the streets of our own cities, righting wrongs, like a superhero? The idea is absurd. How much more absurd is the notion that we must be engaged in conflicts in distant lands, deciding whose claim to justice is the more credible? And even should we become so engaged, what precisely does the Pope propose that we do? Mount crusades for Rohingya Rights?

A moment’s reflection on this Theater of the Absurd that the Pope scripted in his most recent and entirely unnecessary papal trip should make plain to anyone with common sense that nothing the Pope said or did has any connection to the governance of the Catholic Church and the safeguarding of its doctrine, which is the Pope’s designated job.

Why Myanmar and Bangladesh? The Catholic populations in these countries is marginal (about 1 percent in Myanmar; about 0.2 percent in Bangladesh). This dispute is between Muslims and Buddhists, neither of which acknowledge the authority of the Roman Pontiff in any area of life. Why should the Pope travel to the far reaches of the non-Christian world to insert himself in a regional dispute where he exercises neither jurisdiction nor acknowledged moral authority?

Both Buddhists and Muslims reject Christ and the claims of the Catholic Church. Indeed, for Muslims, the Pope is an infidel, leader of the Dar-Al-Harb – the world of war that must be conquered for allah. But the Pope has steadfastly refused to acknowledge the incompatibility of Islam and Christianity and is ever intent on showing compassion for Muslims. If only Francis were as eager to show compassion for members of his own persecuted Church in Muslim nations, or even Europeans maimed and killed in Paris and London to the cry of “allahu akbar!”

But the plight of the Rohingya draws the Pope halfway around the world, where he weeps and apologizes for all of us for the sufferings of a group of Muslim refugees to whom we have supposedly shown a sinful “indifference.” When will the Pope weep for us? When will he weep for Catholics who have been victims of doctrinal confusion and contradiction? When will he cry over the destruction of our liturgy? When will he tear his robes and lament the hideous perversion of his own clergy and the criminal coverups of his own bishops? When will he turn a tearful eye to Europe, bereft of Faith, its culture in tatters, Muslim rape gangs roaming the streets of its cities, mosques replacing churches, the bells of the Angelus being drowned out by the cry of “allahu akbar,” calling ever-multiplying numbers of Muslims to prayer – in Rome, in Paris, in Berlin, in Madrid, in Brussels, in London?

We need no apologies from the Pope in the name of supposed oppressors of the Rohingya. We are not edified by his hidden tears, later broadcast to the media, that he shed in Bangladesh. We need no empty words of condemnation or “sorrow” about the atrocities that have become a regular feature of modern life.

How wonderful it would be if useless words were no longer spoken by the Pope. How wonderful it would be if the Pope were to say: “I know little about climate change or environmental science or international economics. I cannot intervene and decide who is right and wrong in the many armed conflicts that perpetually erupt around the world, nor is it my duty to do so. I have no advice to give Buddhists or Muslims except this: turn to Christ and His Church. In our doctrine is truth. In our Lord is peace. In our worship is love. Come inside. Be with us and be saved.”

If the Pope were to do this, how many souls might be drawn to the Church? If the Pope were to use his power for the purpose intended by Our Lord, to strengthen his brothers and sisters in the Faith, the crisis in the Church would end. The Holy Father is the most powerful person on God’s Earth, but only as the Vicar of Christ, not as the vicar of the environment, or the vicar of economic equality, or the vicar of immigration, or, Heaven help us, the vicar of allah!

If the Pope really wants peace, for the Rohingya as well as for the rest of us, he has it in his power to bring it about: He can consecrate Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, along with his bishops. Were he to do this, there would be an end to much weeping, both public and private.

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Growing Faith in 2017: Two Hopeful Stories in a Troubled Year

From:  OnePeterFive


It’s been a rough year for the Catholic Church, with traditional Catholic teaching under constant attack, so I want to share some positive things I experienced in 2017. I traveled to two different places outside the United States that have been working to restore the traditional Latin Mass.

In April of 2017, I was privileged to go to Mexico for the Fraternity of Saint Peter (FSSP) spring mission trip. It is an up and coming mission based in Guadalajara, run by Fr. Daniel Heenan and a couple of the local families. The mission was twelve days long, and I think it changed a lot of people’s lives for the better. It definitely did mine.

The people of Mexico are open to the traditional Latin Mass, although for the most part, they aren’t even aware of it. This was the mission’s goal: to let people know about the Mass and bring people over to it.

We went door to door in a small town called Juchipila. We invited people, Catholics and non-Catholics alike, to experience the allure and beauty of the Latin Mass. Every night, we had a Solemn High Mass, and it felt so good to see the angry anti-Catholics with whom we just argued for hours sitting in the front pew with tears in their eyes. Most of these people were at one point or another Catholic, and many had left the church because of Vatican II.

Many Catholics in Mexico no longer go to Mass, yet they still pray the daily rosary and walk in the Good Friday processions. We would knock on their doors, and they would see that we were the “misioneros.” They would gladly invite us into their homes, whether they were rich or poor, and we would talk to each other. One particular man I remember told me he lived through the Cristero War, and he recalled always wanting to be a Cristero even at his young age. This man also told me he remembers the old rite of the Mass, but in this town and in this day and age, they hadn’t had a priest who would say it in a long time. I personally invited him to attend that night’s Solemn High Mass, and he was there, praying the responses in Latin and everything!

Another example of our work was when we knocked on a door and were greeted by people who called themselves Satanists. Our group spent hours arguing and debating with them, but the stubbornness of these individuals was beginning to wear on us. They wouldn’t go to church. However, when we challenged them one last time to go to Mass that night, just to prove that what we were saying was wrong, they eventually consented. We saw them at Mass.

It was beautiful to see all these people, who just hours before were denying Jesus and the Eucharist, coming again and again to these Masses. The day I arrived, we missionaries attended the first Mass. However, by the end of our stay, the church was full to capacity, and I had to stand outside.

It was amazing how most of the Mexican people had never actually lost their belief in the One True Church. If I brought back anything from this experience, it’s that the Catholic Church is a flame in your heart that you cannot extinguish. You may be able to hide or cover the flame, but you will never ever extinguish it.

* * *

Another interesting experience I had in 2017 was to travel to Italy and help the Monks of Norcia rebuild their Monastery. In August 2016, a earthquake hit central Italy, in the region of Umbria. One of the towns hit was Norcia, the ancient birthplace of the twin saints Benedict and Scholastica. A 6.6-magnitude tremor hit shortly thereafter, causing massive damage to the town and the Benedictine monastery within the walls. The Basilica of St. Benedict was completely destroyed and the town rendered unsafe to inhabit. The traditional order living there was left homeless.

With no place to live, the Benedictine monks decided to move over a mile away in the mountains surrounding Norcia. They lived in tents for a while, going back and forth from the encampment and the town to brew beer. The brewery was not touched by the earthquake and remains intact. I worked in the brewery while I was there, which was a great experience.

The Monks’ life is rooted in the traditional praying of the Divine Office eight times a day. They chant the entire office in Latin and offer the traditional Latin Mass daily. During the day, everyone in the community works on building a new dwelling and chapel. They are truly living up to the order’s motto, “Ora et Labora” (pray and work).

I went and lived with these amazing men for a month and helped them work on their new monastery. My friend and I did some roofing and tiling and worked in the kitchen and the brewery. It was inspiring to be around those holy men. They set an example for the rest of the world and their community, always cheerful in the midst of what our world would call a tragedy. Those young men are the future of the church, always working and praying, rebuilding their community. They have proven that faith can carry you through challenges.

While it’s easy to become despondent from the daily news from Rome, in 2017, I was able to witness firsthand hope for traditional Catholicism in troubled places. I learned that when people are exposed to beauty through the liturgy, they can realize that in darkness there is always a light at the end of the tunnel.

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President Trump Recognizes Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital

President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence (Screenshot of White House video)

( – President Donald Trump on Wednesday announced that the U.S. will recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and has instructed the State Department to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, thereby fulfilling his campaign promise.

“When I came into office, I promised to look at the world’s challenges with open eyes and very fresh thinking. We cannot solve our problems by making the same failed assumptions and repeating the same failed strategies of the past. All challenges demand new approaches,” he said.

“My announcement today marks the beginning of a new approach to conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. In 1995, Congress adopted the Jerusalem Embassy Act, urging the federal government to relocate the American embassy to Jerusalem and recognize that that city and so importantly is Israel’s capital. This act passed Congress by an overwhelming bipartisan majority and was reaffirmed by unanimous vote of the Senate only six months ago,” the president said.

“Yet, for over 20 years, every previous American president has exercised the law’s waiver, refusing to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem or to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital city. Presidents issued these waivers under the belief that delaying the recognition of Jerusalem will advance the cause of peace,” Trump said.

“Some say they lacked courage, but they made their best judgment based on facts as they understood them at the time. Nevertheless, the record is in. After more than two decades of waivers, we are no closer to a lasting peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians,” he said.

“It would be folly to assume that repeating the exact same formula would now produce a different or better result. Therefore, I have determined that it is time to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel,” Trump added. “Acknowledging this as a fact is is a necessary condition for achieving peace.”

The president said that President Harry Truman recognized the state of Israel over 70 years ago. He noted that Jerusalem is “the seat of the modern Israeli government” as well as “the home of the Israeli Parliament, the Knesset, as well as the Israeli Supreme Court.”

“It is the location of the official residence of the prime minister and the president. It is the headquarters of many government ministries,” he said. Furthermore, it is the place where U.S. presidents, secretaries of state and military leaders meet with their Israeli counterparts when visiting Israel as the president did during his trip to the Middle East earlier this year.

“Jerusalem is not just the heart of three great religions, but it is now also the heart of one of the most successful democracies in the world,” the president said. “Over the past seven decades, the Israeli people have built a country where Jews, Muslims, and Christians and people of all faiths are free to live and worship according to their conscience and according to their beliefs.

“Jerusalem is today and must remain a place where Jews pray at the Western wall, where Christians walk the stations of the cross and where Muslims worship at Al Aqsa Mosque. However, through all of these years, presidents representing the United States have declined to officially recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital,” Trump said.

“In fact, we have declined to acknowledge any Israeli capital at all, but today we finally acknowledge the obvious, that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital. This is nothing more or less than a recognition of reality. It is also the right thing to do. It’s something that has to be done,” he said.

“That is why consistent with the Jerusalem Embassy Act, I am also directing the State Department to begin preparation to move the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. This will immediately begin the process of hiring architects, engineers, and planners so that a new embassy when completed will be a magnificent tribute to peace,” Trump said.



THE CATHOLIC HERALD reports on the pope’s displeasure at this move!

Pope Francis urges Trump to respect ‘status quo’ in Jerusalem

The Pope warned against any move to recognise Jerusalem as the Israel capital

Israeli flags fly near the Dome of the Rock (Getty Images)

Pope Francis has stated his “concern” over US president Donald Trump’s expected decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

The Pope said he “cannot keep silent” over the “situation that has arisen in recent days”, and called for respect for the “status quo of the city, in accordance with the relevant resolutions of the United Nations”.

“Jerusalem is a unique city, sacred to Jews, Christians and Muslims, who venerate the Holy Places of their respective religions, and has a special vocation to peace.



VOX CANTORIS (of Lebanese Maronite ancestry himself, and well acquainted with the geographical and political situation of the areagives us this view below:

“But he chose the tribe of Judah, mount Sion which he loved.”

[…]  I believe in the right of the State of Israel to exist within secure and stable borders and in peace. One cannot rewrite history. The Balfour Declaration and the League of Nations and Sykes-Picot accord and later, the United Nations made this a reality. We govern ourselves by Laws, not by the rule of thugs and murderers such as the Black September or the PLO or Al Qaida or ISIS. The Arab nations rejected the UN partition which then gerrymandered around the population of Jewish and the ancient Philistine peoples. Had they accepted it, there would have been a viable nation-state of Palestine on more land today than it could ever hope to achieve now. The map above does not lie. The facts do not lie.

The Arabs continually attacked the “Zionist entity.” Only now, do some see a better way.

Many believe that modern Israel’s creation as a return for the Jewish people on their ancient land is in biblical prophecy. Yet, to believe that, one might claim that to be a Christian Zionist, is a heresy. I don’t know about that.

What I know is this. The land was given by God to the Hebrew nation. The Psalms tell us that he “chose the tribe of Judah, mount Sion which he loved.” Out of Judah came forth our redemption and those people of the Old Covenant have been brought together to a land where one day they will fully come into the New Covenant. If that makes me a Zionist, so be it.

Politically and militarily, both sides in this conflict have committed egregious acts. Yet, it is this tiny piece of land which the Jews have made bloom while the “Arabs,” and the Palestinians are no more Arab than the Lebanese. Assyrians or Egyptians, the real Arabs have for decades and abused these people to keep the focus of their own peoples on the “Zionist entity” rather than their own shortcomings.

If Jerusalem is not the capital city of Israel than what city is? What city could possibly be? God established Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. If one wishes to argue that this modern-state of Israel is not of God, that is a valid debate, but God permitted its creation and out of it, He will bring the full redemption of His Chosen People through His new Israel, the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.

Under the UN partition plan, Jerusalem was to be a UN-administered city. That is of no consequence today. In two wars where Israel was attacked by the Arabs, 1948 and 1967, Jerusalem was captured first in part and then reunited. It was the Arabs that caused Jerusalem to be fully taken by Israel.

To the victor go the spoils.

Let’s be clear. Palestine never existed as a nation-state. After the collapse of the Roman empire, it was a desolate land of a low population under the domination of the Mohammedan conquests. The Ottoman’s dominated most of the region until they lost it after The Great War. The Palestinian claim to Jerusalem as a Capital City is bogus and fraudulent. It never was their capital, they never had a state. Most of what was their region is in what was Transjordan, now, the Kingdom of Jordan. Israel is never going to give up Jerusalem and the continued resistance to the recognition that it is and will always be undivided and Israel’s capital prevents a viable peace agreement. The losers have always been those in the West Bank and Gaza strip but it is not Israel that has done it to them, it is their own filthy masters.

But the leaders of that Church, the new and true Israel have failed. For a thousand years, since the end of the Last Crusade, the Church has left billions of souls to perish in what can at best be described as the greatest Christian heresy, Mohammedanism. They have refused to call the Jewish people home. Five hundred years ago, these betrayers wrote of the Scandinavian countries and have since made no attempt to bring them back from the errors of Lutheranism. Since Vatican II, it has only gotten worse.

In 1980, Joseph Clark became Prime Minister of Canada and made a commitment, never realized, to recognize the reality of Israel’s existence and determined to move Canada’s embassy to the State of Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, he failed. Now, the President of the United States who promised this in the election campaign and has not decided to do it. The Arab world is self-destructing. They eat each other. They have destroyed the most beautiful lands of Chaldea and Assyria, Babylon, Egypt and Mount Lebanon. Arabs in Israel vote, hold passports, have all the civil rights as any Jewish citizen and own land and business.

Today, the Bishop of Rome issued a statement wading into the decision already taken by the President of the United States. It is a blatant and mischievous attempt to insert himself into something that is none of his business. He should spend his time preaching Jesus Christ and Him Crucified and Resurrected and leave the politics for the real politicians. CruxNow calls it a “crisis.” The only crisis is the state of the Catholic Church.



Comments on this topic are welcomed.

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