“The priest is not a priest for himself, he is a priest for you.”

108 Years Ago, This Priest’s Murder at Mass Shocked the U.S.

BY KATHY SCHIFFER 

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When you read a headline about priests being murdered at Mass, who comes to mind? Almost certainly, you think of Fr. Jacques Hamel, who died last month at the hands of Muslim terrorists during Mass in the small French town of Saint Etienne-du-Rouvray, in Normandy.

If your mind stretches beyond the horror of Fr. Hamel’s death, his throat slashed by ISIS sympathizers, then you probably think next of Blessed Oscar Romero, Archbishop of San Salvador. Archbishop Romero was assassinated while celebrating Mass in the chapel of the Hospital of Divine Providence on March 24, 1980. Just one day before his death, Romero had called on Salvadoran soldiers, as Christians, to stop aiding the government’s repression and violation of basic human rights, and to instead obey the laws of God. For that, he was shot while praying at the altar.

The priest I have in mind, though, is not Father Hamel, not Archbishop Romero, but a humble Franciscan priest who served as pastor of St. Elizabeth’s in Denver, Colorado in 1907-1908.

Fr. Leo Heinrichs was born in Germany but fled persecution under Otto von Bismarck’s Kulturkampf, arriving in the United States in the 1880s. With his fellow seminarians, he settled at St. Bonaventure’s Friary in Paterson, New Jersey. He professed his final vows on December 8, 1890, and was ordained to the priesthood in July 1891.

Fr. Heinrichs served at several parishes in New York and New Jersey before being assigned to St. Elizabeth’s in Denver in 1907. During his tenure at St. Bonaventure Friary in Paterson, New Jersey, a smallpox epidemic broke out; and Fr. Heinrichs spent many hours to the sick and dying at a nearby “pest house,” the name given to hospitals where persons afflicted with communicable diseases were isolated from the general public.

At St. Elizabeth’s, just a week before his death, Fr. Heinrichs spoke at a meeting of the Young Ladies’ Sodality. “If I had my choice of a place where I would die,” he said, “I would choose to die at the feet of the Blessed Virgin.”

A week later—on February 23, 1908—that’s just what happened. Fr. Heinrichs usually celebrated Mass at 8:00 a.m., but on that day he had a meeting and so he switched with Fr. Wulstan Workman and celebrated the early (6:00 a.m.) Mass instead. Seated in the third row was an unemployed shoemaker, a recent immigrant by the name of Giuseppe Alia. Alia was a deeply troubled anarchist, and for some reason he had a special hatred for priests.

At Holy Communion, Alia lined up with the other congregants to receive the Eucharist, and he knelt at the Communion rail. He received the consecrated Host, but then spat it out into his hand and flung it at Fr. Heinrich’s face. As the Host dropped to the floor, Alia drew his revolver and aimed at the startled priest, shooting him through the heart.

As he fell, before losing consciousness, Fr. Heinrichs prayed, “My Lord and my God.” He attempted to pick up the Hosts which had fallen from the ciborium in his hands, and then died on the step of Our Lady’s altar.

Giuseppe Alia was captured by a conductor for the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad, who happened to be present at the Mass, and was arrested by an off-duty Denver police officer. Later, at the jail, Alia is reported to have explained his actions: “I went over there,” he said,

“…because I have a grudge against all priests in general. They are all against the workingman. I went to the Communion rail because I could get a better shot. I did not care whether he was a German priest or any other kind of priest. They are all in the same class. … I shot him, and my only regret is that I could not shoot the whole bunch of priests in the Church.”

Alia was tried, convicted, and sentenced to death by hanging. He never expressed remorse; his final words, as he was hanged in the Colorado State Penitentiary, were “Death to the priests!”

*******

From the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops comes this prayer for priests:

Gracious and loving God, we thank you for the gift of our priests.
Through them, we experience your presence in the sacraments.

Help our priests to be strong in their vocation.
Set their souls on fire with love for your people.

Grant them the wisdom, understanding, and strength they need to follow in the footsteps of Jesus.
Inspire them with the vision of your Kingdom.

Give them the words they need to spread the Gospel.
Allow them to experience joy in their ministry.

Help them to become instruments of your divine grace.

We ask this through Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns as our Eternal Priest.

Amen.

*******

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Comment: The Priest acts In Persona Christi. Through the sacrament of Holy Orders he once received, he is graced with the ability to administer the holy sacraments to the people. Above all, it is he alone who brings the vital ‘food of our souls’, the life-giving ‘Body of Christ’, to the faithful through the sublime act of transubstantiation at the moment of Consecration. To keep our priests always free from fear and temptations they are in great need of our prayers.

From earliest days the priest has been consistently attacked both spiritually and physically by the devil and all the many enemies of Christ. Countless priests have been martyred at the altar of God when celebrating Holy Mass. From the days of the great pre-Constantine Christian persecutions, through the spread of the missionaries to foreign and often hostile lands, to the Protestant Revolt and the cruel Penal Laws in Great Britain and Ireland (like St. Thomas a Becket previously in 1170), at the hands of the French Revolutionists, the red fury that swept through Spain during the Spanish Civil War, and the Nazi Fascists in WWII, to the violent Muslim invasions over the centuries to the atheistic Communist genocidal purges, the Priest has spilt his blood in imitation of His Sovereign Lord and King at the altar, offering the Memorial of Christ’s Supreme Sacrifice.

In our own day there are many priests in Iraq, Syria, Nigeria, China and other parts of the world who are daily risking their lives to bring the sacraments to their flocks. The fate of many of these courageous and holy men is often unknown to the world, but not unknown to God, Who will impart to them their due reward.

The priest is our ‘bridge’ from this life to the next. Through the Sacraments of initiation, he brings Christ’s love, peace, forgiveness and offer of eternal happiness. He guides the lost soul back on the right path, comforts the afflicted and evangelises the ignorant. The priest who celebrates the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass with humble reverence and great devotion, drawing his hands and prayer together with the congregations’ heavenwards like a cloud of incense (Ps. 141:2) pours down immense grace upon his people. He becomes the greatest of earthly treasures.

But as I once heard an exceptionally holy priest once admit: “There is no greater joy on earth than to be a priest for Christ; but it is at the same time a path strewn with thorns”. And he added: “It can be no other way”. I have never forgotten those words.

St John Vianney, patron saint of priests, reminds us:

“Without the priest, the passion and death of our Lord would be of no avail. It is the priest who continues the work of redemption here on earth…What use would be a house filled with gold, were there no one to open its door? The priest holds the key to the treasures of heaven: it is he who opens the door: he is the steward of the good Lord; the administrator of His goods…The priest is not a priest for himself, he is a priest for you.

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Norcia Close to Epicenter of Devastating Earthquake in Central Italy

By EDWARD PENTIN on National Catholic Register

Rescue efforts taking place in Amatrice. The town's mayor has said half the town "isn't there anymore."

Rescue efforts taking place in Amatrice. The town’s mayor has said half the town “isn’t there anymore.”

Like many in Rome, I was awoken at around 3.30 this morning as the top floor apartment I was staying in gently swayed from an earthquake tremor for about 30 seconds, setting off car alarms. A slightly gentler aftershock followed about half an hour later.

It was ominously similar to the earthquake that struck L’Aquila in 2009 which resulted in 309 people losing their lives and which we also felt in the Eternal City.

As then, I knew that Rome would escape largely unscathed, but places close to the epicenter would not be so fortunate. Little did I know that the quake struck very close to Norcia, the birthplace of St. Benedict. I had only left the town the day before.

So far, the magnitude 6.2 earthquake has left 38 people in the region dead and 150 missing according to news reports. Many of the victims were in Accumoli and Amatrice — towns which have been devastated by the quake and which are only 20-30 miles from Norcia.

Pope Francis shelved his prepared general audience catechesis today and instead led pilgrims in praying the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary for the victims.

“On hearing the news of the earthquake that has struck central Italy and which has devastated many areas and left many wounded, I cannot fail to express my heartfelt sorrow and spiritual closeness to all those present in the zones afflicted,” the Pope said Aug. 24. He offered his condolences to all who have lost loved ones, and his expressed his spiritual closeness to those who are “anxious and afraid.”

Norcia has become particularly well known in recent years because of the American Benedictine monks who re-founded the monastery there in 2000. In a statement posted on their Facebook page, the monks assured the public they were OK but highlighted the many injured, especially in the small mountain villages.

“Please pray for them,” they said. “We monks will do what we can to contribute here on the ground, but we’ll need your spiritual support in a special way during this period.”

They added: “We, as many others in Norcia and surrounding areas, suffered a lot of damage to our buildings and especially to our basilica. It will take some time to assess the extent of the damage, but it is very sad to see the many beautiful restorations we’ve made to St. Benedict’s birthplace reduced, in a moment, to disrepair.” The monks have most recently been restoring some of the side chapels of the basilica.

To the question of what can the public to do help, they wrote: “Please, pray for us, for those who have lost their lives, who have lost someone they love, who have lost their homes and livelihoods. We will need your help, as always but now in a special way, to start the project of rebuilding. Please consider making a gift to help us get started.”

I hope to return to Norcia soon and will give an update on the latest from there.

Update 3.23 p.m.:

The Vatican has said that “as a concrete sign of the Holy Father’s closeness to those affected by the earthquake, a team of six members of Vatican City’s Firefighting Corps left this morning for Amatrice.” It added that the team will work in accordance with Italy’s Civil Protection in the search and rescue of victims.


Naturally, this tragic news has also been taken up by all other media networks. For further reports please see here, here, and here.

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Still In Love With His Priesthood After 25 Years

This profoundly sincere and moving video is the testimony of Father Anthony Mary, a priest of the Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer, the traditional ‘Transalpine Redemptorists’ based on Papa Stronsay (in the northern Scottish islands  of the Orkneys) on his silver jubilee in the Holy Priesthood. The Transalpine Redemptorists also have an apostolate in Christ Church, New Zealand, where Fr Anthony is currently based.

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Pope Francis: withdraw the Vatican’s flawed new sex-ed curriculum (Sign the petition)

CP&S first blogged about this here.

Sign the petition over at LifeSiteNews

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Note: This petition is sponsored by the American Life League

Background

International life-and-family leaders who have defended Catholic teaching on marriage, sexuality, and life for decades have called the Vatican’s newly released sex-ed program for teens “thoroughly immoral,” “entirely inappropriate,” and “quite tragic.”

“I find it monstrous that an official arm of the Church would not only create a sexual education program for teens but one that bypasses parents as the primary educator of their children,” said Dr. Thomas Ward, Founder and President of the National Association of Catholic Families as well as a Corresponding Member of the Pontifical Academy for Life.

The program, titled “The Meeting Point: Course of Affective Sexual Education for Young People,” was released in July by the Pontifical Council for the Family to be presented to young people at World Youth Day in Poland.

While the new Vatican program has many positive qualities, its defects cannot be underestimated. These include:

  • Handing the sexual formation of children over to educators while leaving parents out of the equation.
  • Failing to name and condemn sexual behaviors, such as fornication, prostitution, adultery, contracepted-sex, homosexual activity, and masturbation, as objectively sinful actions that destroy charity in the heart and turn one away from God.
  • Failing to warn youths about the possibility of eternal separation from God (damnation) for committing grave sexual sins. Hell is not mentioned once.
  • Failing to distinguish between mortal and venial sin.
  • Failing to speak about the 6th and 9th commandment, or any other commandment.
  • Failing to teach about the sacrament of confession as a way of restoring relationship with God after committing grave sin.
  • Not mentioning a healthy sense of shame when it comes to the body and sexuality.
  • Teaching boys and girls together in the same class.
  • Having boys and girls share together in class their understanding of phrasessuch as: “What does the word sex suggest to you?”
  • Asking a mixed class to “point out where sexuality is located in boys and girls.”
  • Speaking about the “process of arousal.”
  • Using sexually explicit and suggestive images in activity workbooks (herehere, and here).
  • Recommending various sexually explicit movies as springboards for discussion (see below for links).
  • Failing to speak about abortion as gravely wrong, but only that it causes “strong psychological damage.”
  • Confusing youths by using phrases such as “sexual relationship” to indicate not the sexual act, but a relationship focused on the whole person.
  • Speaking of “heterosexuality” as something to be “discover[ed].”
  • Using gay icon Elton John (while not mentioning his activism) as an example of a gifted and famous person.
  • Endorsing the “dating” paradigm as a step towards marriage.
  • Not stressing celibacy as the supreme form of self-giving that constitutes the very meaning of human sexuality.
  • Failing to mention Christ’s teaching on marriage.
  • Treating sexuality as a separate subject instead of as something integrated into the doctrinal and moral teachings of the Church.

Tell the Vatican to retract this deeply flawed new sex-ed curriculum. Sign the petition.

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Subsidiarity

This is about the American political system, but I can’t argue with any of the points made, and am sure the principle applies to all nation’s politics.

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The Queenship and the Immaculate Heart of Mary

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Today, August 22nd, is the feast of The Immaculate Heart of Mary in the traditional calendar and the Queenship of Mary in the new calendar. Both calendars mark the feast of the Divine Maternity on 11th October. In the traditional calendar Our Lady’s Queenship is also observed on that day.

On the 11th of October 1954, Pope Pius XII established the feast of the Queenship of Mary and invited the Faithful throughout the world to renew their consecration to Her. The feast was subsequently moved to the 22nd of August.

In his encyclical Ad Coeli Reginam, Pope Pius XII wrote:

“The purpose of the Feast is that all may recognize more clearly and venerate more devoutly the merciful and motherly sovereignty of Her who bore God in Her womb.”

 

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 Solemn Act of Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Queen and Mother

Most Holy Virgin Mary, tender Mother of men, to fulfill the desires of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the request of the Vicar of Your Son on earth, we consecrate ourselves and our families to your Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart, O Queen of the Most Holy Rosary, and we recommend to You, all the people of our country and all the world.

Please accept our consecration, dearest Mother, and use us as You wish to accomplish Your designs in the world.

O Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, Queen of the Most Holy Rosary, and Queen of the World, rule over us, together with the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ, Our King. Save us from the spreading flood of modern paganism; kindle in our hearts and homes the love of purity, the practice of a virtuous life, an ardent zeal for souls, and a desire to pray the Rosary more faithfully.

We come with confidence to You, O Throne of Grace and Mother of Fair Love. Inflame us with the same Divine Fire which has inflamed Your own Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. Make our hearts and homes Your shrine, and through us, make the Heart of Jesus, together with your rule, triumph in every heart and home.

Amen.

–Venerable Pope Pius XII

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The ‘Eucharistic Heart’ of Pope St Pius X.

Pope Pius X (Giuseppe Melchiorre Sarto) - Supreme Pontiff, 1903-1914

Pope Pius X (Giuseppe Melchiorre Sarto) – Supreme Pontiff, 1903-1914

Today is the feast day of one of the greatest Popes of the modern era, Pope St Pius X, whose eleven year Papacy was lived at the onset of turbulent and changing times. His great personal sanctity in daily life was the guide and inspiration of all his ecclesiastic undertakings, first as a young priest, then as Bishop (first of Mantua and later as Patriarch of of Venice), and finally as Supreme Pontiff.

When as a young priest he had been chosen by the Bishop to fill a vacancy as canon of the Cathedral, along with his duties at the cathedral, Monsignor Sarto now looked after other priests and the seminary as spiritual director. He threw all his energies into his new assignments, showing particular zeal in the formation of new priests. He was constantly heard stating: “The priest is a man obliged to hard work: ‘priest’ and ‘hard work’ are synonyms”, living out this dictate himself, even to the point of exhaustion.

Before applying rules of holiness to others, he put them into practice in himself with his ardent devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary and his abiding trust in Her intercession under the specific title of ‘Our Lady of Confidence’; this he later defined as his motto in his encyclical, Ad Diem Illum Laetissimum, expressing his desire, through Mary, to renew all things in Christ. Pius X believed that there was no surer or more direct road than by the Virgin Mary to achieve this goal.

In Italy at the end of the nineteenth century, the anti-Catholic forces were mobilising to eradicate any influence of the Church on society. This persecution could be seen within the confines of the Church as well, with many modernists taking important posts in Catholic universities and seminaries, promoting many errors of the day, including secularism, liberalism and relativism, while asserting that Church teaching must conform itself to the present era. (Sound familiar? Yet how greatly things have deteriorated since those days!) The newly appointed Bishop Sarto of Mantua confronted these modernists head-on, boldly affirming the perennial teaching of Holy Mother Church amid the partisans of what he would famously call “the synthesis of all heresies.” Bishop Sarto first went about the task of uniting the clergy to fight these pernicious errors with a letter to the pastors of his diocese, enjoining his fellow ‘apostles’ that: “A priest’s life is a continual warfare against evil, which cannot fail to raise up powerful enemies. In order that they may not prevail against us, let us be united in charity amongst ourselves; thus we shall be invincible and strong as a rock.”

Later, he directly addressed the people of his diocese with powerful words that summarised the programme he would spend the rest of his life carrying out:

“We must fight the capital crime of our day, which is the substitution of man for God; we must illumine with the Ten Commandments, with the evangelical counsels, and with the institutions of the Church all the problems that the Church and the Gospels have so clearly and triumphantly resolved; in education, in family life, in private ownership, in rights and duties, we must restore Christian equilibrium among the difficult conditions of society; we must pacify the earth and inherit heaven: This is the mission that I must carry out among you, restoring all things to the reign of God, of Jesus Christ, and His Vicar on earth, the Pope.”

Bishop Sarto’s defence of Catholic principles earned him the respect even of the liberals and anti-clericals of his day. Catholics lionised him for his support of defending the rights of the Church. It came as no surprise that after the sudden passing of the Patriarch of Venice, Pope Leo XIII nominated Bishop Sarto for the post. Bishop Sarto, now elevated to cardinal, had to wait sixteen months before being allowed to enter the city and take his rightful place as the city’s patriarch.

At Venice, the anticlerical faction had seized power. The masonic lodges arranged blasphemous demonstrations in the city streets, openly mocking the Real Presence and other Catholic doctrines. To counteract these brazen attacks, Cardinal Sarto organised a Eucharistic Congress of Reparation for the week beginning August 8, 1897, that consisted of a series of grand processions, powerful sermons, and sublime liturgies. The Congress closed with an outstanding Eucharistic Exhibition at the Church of San Rocco. At the closing procession, Cardinal Sarto gave the solemn Eucharistic Benediction before throngs of faithful gathered at the banks of the Venetian lagoon.

This awe-inspiring culmination of the week of festivities honouring our Eucharistic Lord had repercussions throughout Italy and abroad. No one could doubt the future Pope’s incomparable devotion to the Blessed Sacrament and his unshakeable faith in the power of the well-executed ceremonials of the Holy Catholic Church to evangelise. Above all his other notable qualities, this event paved the way for Cardinal Sarto’s elevation to the papal throne as Pius X, the 256th Successor of Saint Peter, on 4th August, 1903.

The numerous good fruits of Pope Pius X’s eleven year Papacy are well known. He wasted no time in fulfilling his sworn promise to Instaurare Omnia in Christo (to restore all things in Christ) with his first encyclical titled E Supremi Apostolatus that unequivocally stated his position: “We champion the authority of God. His authority and Commandments should be recognised, deferred to and respected.” With his uncompromising confidence in the Queen of Heaven, he reminds us:

“The Virgin will never cease to help us in our trials, and to carry on the battle fought by her since her conception, so that every day we may repeat: ‘Today she again crushed the head of the serpent’.”

Pope Pius X soon had to openly engage in a battle against the Church’s external enemies such as the anti-Catholic government of France that had confiscated all Church property in the country. In his encyclical Vehementer, he manifested his resistance. But his next fight moved to the battle inside the Church, where modernists whom he had continually fought still spread their errors. The decree Lamentabili was his opening salvo, explicitly condemning sixty-five erroneous doctrines, followed by the encyclical Pascendi Diminici Gregis which represented a devastating blow to these dissenters.

Perhaps one of the saintly Pope’s most well-known zealous moves to build up the Church as a remedy for the many evils threatening the world, was his encouragement of a more frequent reception of Holy Communion, and the lowering of the age for children from thirteen to seven to make their First Holy Communion. He affirmed:

“Children have need of Him that they may be formed in habits of virtue; youth have need of Him that they may obtain mastery over their passions; maidens have need of Him that they may preserve their innocence untarnished; all men and women have need of Him that they may advance in virtue and carry out faithfully the duties of their state in life; there are none who can afford to neglect this great source of spiritual strength, none who can do without Him.”

(It is reported that the saintly life of the tiny Irish girl, Little Nellie of Holy God, was the sign from Heaven that Pope Pius asked for to go ahead with this decree.)

So much more could be told about this outstanding Pope, who even during his life, the faithful from many lands attested to miracles worked through his intercession. However, many witnessed his deep sadness of heart at the impending war he foresaw by many years, and was unable to avert. His humility, courage, passionate love of God and the Blessed Virgin, together with his unstinting devotion to duty, leaves us a legacy our poor afflicted world is still enjoying today amidst its assaults on all sides from the wages of sin.

Perhaps the words from the discourse of Pope Pius XII at the canonisation ceremony of St Pius X on 29th May, 1954, would be a good reminder and final tribute to this holy man of God:

“As a humble parish priest, as bishop, as the Supreme Pontiff, he believed that the sanctity to which God called destined him was that of a priest. What sanctity is more pleasing to God in a priest of the New Law than that which belongs to a representative of the Eternal High Priest, Jesus Christ, Who left to His Church in the holy Mass the perennial memorial, the perpetual renovation of the Sacrifice of the Cross, until He shall come for the last judgment; and Who with this Sacrament of the Blessed Eucharist has given Himself as the food of our souls: “He that eateth this bread shall live forever.”

A priest above all in the Eucharistic ministry: this is the most faithful portrait of St. Pius X. To serve the mystery of the Blessed Eucharist as a priest, and to fulfill the command of Our Saviour “Do this in memory of me” (Luke 22:19), was his way. From the day of his sacred ordination until his death as Pope, he knew no other possible way to reach such an heroic love of God, and to make a such generous return to that Redeemer of the world, Who by means of the Eucharist “poured out the riches of His divine Love for men” (Council of Trent, Session 13, chapter 2). One of the most significant proofs of his priestly sensibility was his ardent concern for the renewal of the dignity of worship, and his concern to overcome the prejudices of an erroneous practice, by resolutely promoting the frequent, and even daily, Communion of the faithful at the table of the Lord, without hesitation, leading children thereto, lifting them up, as it were, in his own arms, and offering them to the embrace of God hidden on the altars. From this, sprang up a new springtime of the Eucharistic life of the Bride of Christ.

In the profound vision which he had of the Church as a society, Pius X recognised in the Eucharist the power to nourish substantially its interior life, and to raise it high above all other human associations. Only the Eucharist, in which God gives Himself to man, can lay the foundations of a social life worthy of its members, cemented by love more than by authority, rich in its works and aimed at the perfection of individuals: a life, that is, “hidden with Christ in God.”

A providential example for today’s world, where earthly society is becoming more and more a mystery to itself, and anxiously searches for a way give itself a soul! Let it look, then, for its model at the Church, gathered around its altars. There in the sacrament of the Eucharist mankind truly discovers and recognises its past, present, and future as a unity in Christ. Conscious of, and strong in his solidarity with Christ and his fellow men, each member of either Society, the earthly and the supernatural one, will be able to draw from the altar an interior life of personal dignity and personal worth, such as today is almost lost through insistence on technology and by excessive organisation of the whole of existence, of work and even leisure. Only in the Church, the holy Pontiff seems to repeat, and though Her, in the Eucharist which is ‘‘life hidden with Christ in God,” is to be found the secret and source of the renewal of society’s life.”

Sancte Pie Decime, ora pro nobis!

 

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Re-shuffle at Pontifical Academy for Life, JPII Institute

By Claire Chretien, LifeSiteNews:

VATICAN CITY, August 18, 2016

pontifical-academy-for-lifeA Vatican prelate known for his support of loosening the Church’s approach toward Holy Communion for those living unrepentantly in objectively sinful situations has been appointed to head the Pontifical Academy for Life and the Pontifical Pope John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family.

Italian Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, 71, is the current president of the Pontifical Council for the Family, but will now become president of Pontifical Academy for Life. The Pontifical Council for the Family and the Pontifical Council for the Laity will shut down in September; the work previously under their auspices will fall under a new Dicastery for the Laity, Family, and Life, headed by Dallas Bishop Kevin Farrell.

Pope Francis also appointed Paglia grand chancellor of the Pontifical Pope John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family. The institute is known for defending the Catholic Church’s teachings on marriage in line with its namesake’s prolific writings on the topic. However, many of its scholars were excluded from the two synods on marriage and family despite their theological expertise.

Milanese theologian Monsignor Pierangelo Sequeri, 71, will be the Institute’s new president, replacing current president Monsignor Livio Melina, 64.

In a letter to Paglia on Wednesday, Pope Francis laid out how he hopes Paglia will reshape the institutions he is now tasked with leading.

“In theological study, a pastoral perspective and attention to the wounds of humanity should never be missing,” Pope Francis wrote. He called for the Pontifical John Paul II Institute and the Pontifical Academy for Life to undergo “a renewal and further development” in order for them to focus “ever more clearly on the horizon of mercy.”

“As President of the Pontifical Academy for Life, I urge you to deal with the new challenges concerning the value of life,” the pope tells Paglia. “I refer to the various aspects concerning the care of the dignity of the human person in the various ages of existence, mutual respect between genders and generations, the defense of the dignity of every single human being, the promotion of quality of human life that integrates the material and spiritual values, in view of an authentic ‘human ecology’, which helps to restore the original balance of creation between the human person and the whole universe.”

Paglia has mixed history, will run historically orthodox institutions

Paglia has spoken out in defense of the Church’s teaching on marriage and human sexuality, calling the defense of family something that transcends the left-right political divide and lamenting that “for the first time in history” the union of marriage, family, and life “is being torn apart.”

“We are going towards a ‘de-familied’ society and therefore [a] weaker and less solid” one, he said in 2014.

However, as head of the Pontifical Council for the Family, Paglia oversaw the publication of a book embracing the “Kasper proposal” to admit to Holy Communion those living in what the Church considers an active state of adultery. In 2015, he seemingly praised the pro-homosexual television show Modern Family as sparking a dialogue about “the family” and invited same-sex couples to the World Meeting of Families.

Most recently, the Pontifical Council for the Family under his leadership has come under criticism for promulgating a sex-ed program for youth that includes explicit sexual imagery, leaves aside the Church’s teaching on sin, and envisions being taught outside the bosom of the family. Critics warn that the program violates norms previously promulgated by the very same pontifical council.

During his time as President of the Institute, Melina defended the Church’s perennial teaching that remarried divorcees who are not living as “brother and sister” are not to be admitted to Holy Communion. He also wrote that the controversial exhortation Amoris Laetitia, which Pope Francis published after the two synods on the family, “does not change the Church’s discipline,” which is “based on doctrinal grounds.”

“It must be said with clarity: also after Amoris Laetitia it continues to be the case that admitting to communion the divorced and ‘remarried,’ (apart from the situations foreseen by Familiaris Consortio 84 and Sacramentum Caritatis 29) goes against the Church’s discipline,” Melina wrote. “To teach that it is possible to admit the divorced and ‘remarried’ to communion (apart from these criteria), goes against the Church’s Magisterium.”

Cardinal Carlo Caffarra, who helped Pope St. John Paul II write his exhortation Familiaris Consortio, also helped found the Institute. Familiaris Consortio definitively answered the question of whether the divorced and “remarried” may be admitted to Holy Communion. Pope St. John Paul II wrote:

… the Church reaffirms her practice, which is based upon Sacred Scripture, of not admitting to Eucharistic Communion divorced persons who have remarried. They are unable to be admitted thereto from the fact that their state and condition of life objectively contradict that union of love between Christ and the Church which is signified and effected by the Eucharist. Besides this, there is another special pastoral reason: if these people were admitted to the Eucharist, the faithful would be led into error and confusion regarding the Church’s teaching about the indissolubility of marriage.

Earlier this year, Caffarra told the Catholic faithful not to listen to priests, bishops, or cardinals if they espouse opinions about marriage that are out of line with the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Caffarra also said that if he had the opportunity to speak with Pope Francis about the ambiguity of Amoris Laetitia, he would ask for clarification on whether the Church’s traditional teaching that certain actions are always gravely sinful is “still believed to be true.”

Further reading: fatimaperspectives.com

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Saint John Eudes, Priest, Missionary and Founder

1439818499729August 19th, the Church celebrates the Optional Memorial of Saint John Eudes, (1601-1680) the French priest and missionary who founded the Congregation of Jesus and Mary and the Order of Our Lady of Charity. He was born in the village of Ri, in Normandy, France, the son of peasant farmers Isaac and Martha Eudes. At 14, he entered the Jesuit college at Caen. Despite his parents’ hopes that he marry, Eudes joined the Congregation of the Oratory of France in 1623. Two years later, he was ordained to the priesthood.

 

During this time, he studied the Christocentric spiritual thought of Cardinal de Bérulle whose desire was “restoring the priestly order to its full splendor”. To that end, Eudes became an apostolic missionary, preaching over 100 parish missions, throughout Normandy, Ile-de-France, Burgundy and Brittany. His gifts as a preacher and confessor won him great renown. The founder of the Sulpicians, Father Jean-Jacques Olier called him, “the prodigy of his age”.

His parish mission work brought to his attention the plight of women seeking to better their life circumstances. Some were simply destitute, many more were prostitutes, most had been abused and abandoned. To care for the spiritual and material needs of such women, Eudes founded the Sisters of Our Lady of Charity of the Refuge. Pope Alexander VII approved the congregation in 1666.

Eudes’ concern with the spiritual formation of the clergy compelled him to act. On March 25, 1643, he founded a congregation dedicated to the spiritual and doctrinal instruction of priests and seminarians, known as the Congregation of Jesus and Mary (the Eudists). The congregation established seminaries at Caen, Evreux, and Rennes. More seminaries were added as the Eudists grew in number.

He is best known for extolling Christ as the source of holiness and Mary as the model of the Christian life in his writings. His devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary led Pope Pius XI to name him the father of the liturgical cult of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary. The Office of Readings has this excerpt from a treatise by St. John Eudes on the admirable Heart of Jesus:

“You belong to the Son of God, but more than that, you ought to be in him as the members are in the head. All that is in you must be incorporated into him. You must receive life from him and be ruled by him. There will be no true life for you except in him, for he is the one source of true life. Apart from him you will find only death and destruction. Let him be the only source of your movements, of the actions and the strength of your life. He must be both the source and the purpose of your life, so that you may fulfil these words: None of us lives as his own master and none of us dies as his own master. While we live, we are responsible to the Lord, and when we die, we die as his servants. Both in life and death we are the Lord’s. That is why Christ died and came to life again, that he might be Lord of both the dead and the living.”

John Eudes’ spiritual works of note include: The Ideal Confessor, The Apostolic Preacher, the Mass for the Sacred Heart, The Devotion to the Adorable Heart of Jesus and The Admirable Heart of the Most Holy Mother of God, which he completed a month before his death. He died on August 19, 1680. He was beatified by Pope Saint Pius X in 1909 and canonized by Pope Pius XI on May 31, 1925.

O God, who wonderfully chose the Priest Saint John Eudes to proclaim the unfathomable riches of Christ, grant us, by his example and teachings, that, growing in knowledge of you, we may live faithfully by the light of the Gospel. Amen.

(source: bigccatholics.com)

 

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The Crystal Set: Part Two

The tuned circuit: 

The three pronged thing at the top is the antenna (see here). The curly -wurly thing is the coil. The two opposed bars with the oblique arrow are the capacitor. The symbol at the bottom represents (the electrical connection to Mother) Earth, the place all electrons go when their work is done.

Radio signals are transmitted by alternating currents which flow in and out of the transmitting antenna. These currents produce electromagnetic waves which propagate far and wide, diminishing in power with distance. The waves reach the receiving antenna and induce an alternating current in it which is fed to the tuned circuit pictured above. The antenna receives all manner of waves of different frequencies. It is a bit promiscuous like that;)

The coil tends to resist high frequency alternating currents but allows to pass through the lower frequency currents. Capacitors pass high frequency alternating currents and resist those of lower frequency. A wonderful thing occurs when a coil and capacitor are simultaneously fed in parallel a mixture of alternating currents of various frequencies: All frequencies but one pass through the tuned circuit to earth and are lost. The tuned frequency is magnified in the same way that a crystal goblet or bell resonates when sung to at the right pitch. This magnified signal can then be decoded-see Part Three.

To adjust the tuned frequency, you can adjust the value of either the coil or the capacitor, (or both). The tuning knob on most radio sets adjusts the capacitor.

A variable capacitor-old style.

Coils are a bit Trad because they hate change. Capacitors are a bit Rad because they love change. To hear God’s broadcast in real time, one has to be both Trad and Rad simultaneously and tune and balance both tendencies until His Signal comes through loud and clear. I posit that a good Catholic possesses both tendencies but can vary them as required to hear the Holy Spirit addressing the age.

Yes, you’ve guessed it, I am a both-and person, not an either-or one.

 

 

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In Appointing Bishops, the Pope Leans Toward Beijing

He is preparing, that is, to grant the communist authorities the privilege of selecting candidates. And he is exiling to an island in the Pacific the highest ranking Chinese archbishop in the curia, contrary to the agreement. But in China, Cardinal Zen has already taken the lead in the rebellion 

by Sandro Magister

ROME, August 14, 2016

In China, among the one hundred and nine Catholic bishops there are eight who have been consecrated at the behest of the communist authorities and who have never received the pope’s approval, thereby incurring excommunication, a couple of them with children and lovers.

But for none other than these eight, by the end of this summer or at the latest before the end of the jubilee Francis is ready to perform a spectacular gesture: a pardon.

Francis missed another stunning gesture by just a hair’s breadth last September 26, during his journey to Cuba and the United States.

That day, his touchdown in New York on his way to Philadelphia coincided with the landing of Chinese president Xi Jinping, who was expected at the United Nations. Everything had been calculated for the two to cross paths “accidentally” at the airport and exchange a greeting. Xi was aware of this ardent desire of the pope, but in the end he let it drop and the meeting did not take place.

From that moment on, however, the secret contacts between the Vatican and Beijing underwent an acceleration. In October and then in January a delegation of six representatives of the Holy See went to the Chinese capital. And in April of this year, the two sides set up a joint working group that now seems to have come to an understanding over a point that the Vatican takes very seriously: the appointment of bishops.

Since it has been in power, in fact, the Chinese communist party has wanted to equip itself with a submissive Church separate from Rome, with bishops of its own appointment ordained without the pope’s approval, beholden to a Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association that Benedict XVI called “irreconcilable” with Catholic doctrine.

A Church of the regime, therefore, on the verge of schism with its eight excommunicated bishops, contrasted with an “underground” Church with about thirty bishops earnestly faithful to the pope, which however pays all the costs of clandestinity – oppression, surveillance, arrest, abduction.

And in the middle the vast gray zone of the remaining dozens of bishops who were ordained illegitimately but then were more or less reconciled with Rome, or were ordained with the parallel recognition of Rome and Beijing but must still remain under the iron control of the communist authorities.

The bishop of Shanghai, Thaddeus Ma Daqin, ordained in 2007 with the twofold approval of the pope and the government, has been under house arrest for four years for the simple offense of having resigned from the Patriotic Association. Two months ago he retracted, but he is still deprived of his liberty. The eighty-five-year-old Joseph Zen Zekiun (in the photo), who has more freedom of speech in Hong Kong, has called “inevitable” the suspicion that this retraction was also desired by the Vatican, just to reach an agreement at any price.

That an agreement has already been reached was confirmed in recent days by Zen’s successor in the diocese of Hong Kong, Cardinal John Tong, with an open letter released in Chinese, English, and Italian that bears all the marks of wanting to prepare the faithful to make the best of a bad lot:

> Card. Tong: Communion of the Church in China with the Universal Church

Because the solution at which Tong hints is one of those against which Cardinal Zen has already raised covering fire to the point of threatening conscientious objection:

> Card. Zen: My concerns over China-Holy See dialogue and repercussions on Chinese Church

The example that is brought up most often is that of Vietnam, where the candidate for bishop is proposed by the Vatican but the government can veto him, and then on to other candidates until the government approves one of them.

But for China, the solution of which Cardinal Tong appears to have knowledge sees the roles reversed. The candidate will be selected and proposed to the Vatican by the Chinese episcopal conference. Only that this conference is a creature of the communist party, completely at the beck and call the regime, devoid of “underground” bishops and with one of the excommunicated eight as its president.

“Let us dare to believe that Pope Francis will accept nothing that could endanger the communion of the Church in China with the universal Church,” Tong wrote.

But the pope’s pardon of the eight illegitimate bishops will certainly not suffice to reassure him, Zen, and most Chinese Catholics.

Read the rest of the article here

Some background information

 

Pope Benedict’s prayer for the Church in China

ladyofsheshanVirgin Most Holy, Mother of the Incarnate Word and our Mother,
venerated in the Shrine of Sheshan under the title “Help of Christians”,
the entire Church in China looks to you with devout affection.
We come before you today to implore your protection.
Look upon the People of God and, with a mother’s care, guide them
along the paths of truth and love, so that they may always be
a leaven of harmonious coexistence among all citizens.

When you obediently said “yes” in the house of Nazareth,
you allowed God’s eternal Son to take flesh in your virginal womb
and thus to begin in history the work of our redemption.
You willingly and generously cooperated in that work,
allowing the sword of pain to pierce your soul,
until the supreme hour of the Cross, when you kept watch on Calvary,
standing beside your Son, who died that we might live.

From that moment, you became, in a new way,
the Mother of all those who receive your Son Jesus in faith
and choose to follow in his footsteps by taking up his Cross.
Mother of hope, in the darkness of Holy Saturday you journeyed
with unfailing trust towards the dawn of Easter.
Grant that your children may discern at all times,
even those that are darkest, the signs of God’s loving presence.

Our Lady of Sheshan, sustain all those in China,
who, amid their daily trials, continue to believe, to hope, to love.
May they never be afraid to speak of Jesus to the world,
and of the world to Jesus.
In the statue overlooking the Shrine you lift your Son on high,
offering him to the world with open arms in a gesture of love.
Help Catholics always to be credible witnesses to this love,
ever clinging to the rock of Peter on which the Church is built.
Mother of China and all Asia, pray for us, now and for ever. Amen!

 

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Must Catholics Believe that Islam Is Peaceful?

By William Kirkpatrick on CRISIS MAGAZINE

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The Apostles’ Creed (updated version):

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Holy Catholic Church, the communion of Saints, the forgiveness of sins, and the peaceful nature of Islam. Amen.

Or, anyway, that’s how it ought to read according to Monsignor Stuart Swetland, President of Donnelly College in Kansas City. No, Msgr. Swetland didn’t actually propose a revision to the Apostles’ Creed, but he does seem to be saying that Catholics have a religious obligation to affirm that Islam is a religion of peace.

In a long statement following up on a radio debate with Robert Spencer on Relevant Radio’s Drew Mariani Show, Swetland, according to Spencer, “contends that the statements of recent Popes to the effect that Islam is a religion of peace fall into the category of teachings to which Catholics must give ‘religious assent.’”

Swetland writes: “My main purpose in having a discussion with Robert Spencer, a Catholic, on a Catholic radio network was to show clearly that his positions on Islam were at odds with Catholic teaching.” He goes on to give a sample of magisterial teachings on Islam, starting with Nostra Aetate and including statements and exhortations from Paul VI, John Paul II, Benedict XVI, and Francis. He then observes:

Robert Spencer’s positions seem to be at odds with the magisterial teachings on what authentic Islam is and what Catholics are called to do about it (accept immigrants, avoid hateful generalizations, show esteem and respect, etc.). At least in the area of morals, Robert seems to be a dissenter from the papal magisterium.

And Fr. Swetland is a dissenter from common sense. The pages of history, the daily news, and Islam’s sacred texts all attest to the fact that Islam is not a religion of peace. Or, to quote the Ayatollah Khomeini, “Those who know nothing of Islam pretend that Islam counsels against war. Those are witless.” Khomeini was an Ayatollah Usma, a “Grand Sign of God”—an honor bestowed only on the most learned religious leaders. My guess is that the Ayatollah knew a lot more about Islam than Msgr. Swetland does.

I’m not saying that Swetland is “witless.” In fact, he seems to be an intelligent man. He has an undergraduate degree in physics, was a Rhodes Scholar, and studied philosophy and economics at Oxford. Still, high IQ and common sense don’t always go together. As George Orwell noted, “some ideas are so stupid that only intellectuals believe them.”

In the radio debate and in an article responding to his statement, Robert Spencer does a fine job of dismantling Swetland’s arguments. For one thing, says Spencer, affirmations about the nature of Islam should not be a matter of Catholic faith and morals. In other words, it’s a serious overreach to contend that the “wrong” opinion on the nature of Islam or on the advisability of mass Muslim immigration may constitute dissent from Church teaching. In saying that it does, Swetland has just created a whole new class of Catholic dissenters—one that probably numbers in the tens of millions. Spencer also observes that what previous popes had to say about Islam contradicts what current popes have said. Which Roman Pontiff must Catholics agree with: “Pope Francis, who declared that ‘authentic Islam and the proper reading of the Koran are opposed to every form of violence,’ or Pope Callixtus III, who in 1455 vowed to ‘exalt the true Faith, and to extirpate the diabolical sect of the reprobate and faithless Mahomet in the East’?”

The linchpin of Swetland’s case is Nostra Aetate’s brief statement about the “Moslems.” But as Spencer, and I, and others have pointed out, there are numerous problems with Nostra Aetate. One question that arises is whether Nostra Aetate was ever intended to be a dogmatic statement. That’s more of a question for Church historians to debate, but let’s just say for now that the question is debatable. What is less debatable is that the section of Nostra Aetate that deals with the “Moslems” is highly problematic, highly selective, and poorly thought out. For instance, the document states (I’m using Swetland’s translation) that Muslims “venerate Jesus,” but to anyone familiar with the Muslim Jesus, it’s not at all clear that it’s the same Jesus. For one thing, the Muslim Jesus makes his appearance in the Koran for no other purpose than to refute everything that Jesus of Nazareth says about himself. Nostra Aetate goes on to say that “they [Muslims] await the day of judgment and the reward of God following the resurrection of the dead.” What the document fails to say is that on the day of judgment, according to Islamic teaching, all non-Muslims will be cast into hell. As to the “reward of God”? Well, let’s just say that it’s not the same reward that Catholics await. Here’s a typical description from the Koran:

As for the righteous, they shall surely triumph. Theirs shall be gardens and vineyards, and high-bosomed maidens for companions (78: 31-34).

There are many other omissions in Nostra Aetate. In fact, it seems to have been designed to present only a positive view of Islam. I’m not the only one to have noticed this skewed presentation. In a 2012 essay for L’Osservatore Romano, Pope Benedict writes of a “weakness” in Nostra Aetate. “It speaks of religion solely in a positive way,” he said, “and it disregards the sick and distorted forms of religion.” Sick and distorted? Benedict doesn’t speak explicitly of Islam, but exactly what other religion so readily lends itself to sick and distorted interpretations? The trouble with Nostra Aetate is that it leaves us with a very incomplete picture of Islam. The picture has enough holes to drive a fleet of suicide truck bombs through it.

The main problem with Msgr. Swetland’s statement, however, is its recklessness. Last week in Crisis I wrote that the Church’s handling of the Islamic challenge may prove to be far more scandalous than its handling of the sex abuse crisis. Church authorities are engaged in what amounts to a cover-up of Islam’s aggressive nature, and Msgr. Swetland is a prime example of this ecclesiastical determination to put a positive spin on everything Islamic. But the stakes involved in doing so are extremely high. As I wrote last week, “as the gap widens between what Church officials say about Islam and what ordinary Catholics can see with their own eyes, the credibility of the Church may once again come into question as it did during the sex abuse scandals.”

Spencer makes the same point, albeit a bit more boldly: “if Monsignor Swetland is correct, then Catholics must affirm that Islam is a religion of peace…and the Catholic Church will be requiring that its faithful affirm the truth of what is an obvious and egregious falsehood.” By binding themselves to this falsehood, says Spencer, Catholic leaders will undermine their authority to speak in the name of Christ.

Msgr. Swetland worries that Spencer’s interpretation will drive moderate Muslims into the arms of the radicals. What he should be worried about is that his own (and Pope Francis’) interpretation will drive common-sense Catholics out of the Church. Does he really want to stake the Church’s authority on such a slender reed as a single section of Nostra Aetate and a few scattered papal statements? At a moment in recent history when it’s becoming clear to all but the most obtuse that Islam is not a religion of peace, is this the time for doubling down on a claim that flies in the face of all the evidence? Do Msgr. Swetland and other like-minded clerics want the Church to stand or fall on this fantasy view of Islam?

It can be reasonably argued that Church leaders should maintain a prudent silence about Islam’s aggressive nature lest Christians be killed in retaliation. But that is not the same thing as loudly and deceptively proclaiming that Islam is something that it is not—namely, a peaceful religion not unlike Christianity. Monsignor Swetland says Catholics should “show esteem and respect” for Muslims. But where is the respect for Catholics? In asking Catholics to be submissively content with dangerously misleading views on Islam, Swetland betrays a low level of respect for the intelligence of ordinary Catholics.

When the Apostles’ Creed was first set down in writing, Christians didn’t know anything about Islam. It had yet to be invented. But one thing that early Christians did know is that they were supposed to be on the lookout for false prophets. Nowadays, however, for a certain kind of Christian with a certain kind of mindset, there are no false prophets or false religions. Since they don’t admit of false prophets or wolves in sheep’s clothing, those are the kind of Christians who are most likely to welcome the wolves into the sheepfold.

——–

CP&S Comment: Father Z’s take and commentary on this article and its protagonists adds some depth and interesting ideas on the subject.

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German Bishops Hail Arch-Heretic Luther as “Teacher of the Faith”

CP&S Comment: This may be an enlightening post for those who are unable to distinguish between rational criticism of a Pope’s human errors and omissions in his role as defender of the Deposit of Faith, and a treasonous attack on the person of the Pope, Christ’s appointed Vicar on Earth of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.

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By David Martin on ‘A Catholic Life

The Catholic bishops of Germany are praising Martin Luther, calling him a “Gospel witness and teacher of the Faith” and lamenting that the Church hasn’t given him an “adequate hearing.”

In a report released August 9th by the German Bishops’ Conference, Bishop Gerhard Feige, chairman of the German Bishops’ Ecumenical Commission, says the “history of the Reformation has encountered a changeable reception in the Catholic Church, where its event and protagonists were long seen in a negative, derogatory light.” The report asserts that theological differences have been “re-evaluated,” and that “the Catholic Church may recognize today what was important in the Reformation.”

Are the German bishops daring to question the Church’s denunciation of Martin Luther? Are they accusing the Council of Trent of having been “derogatory” after it rightfully refuted Luther’s errors for the greater liberty of God’s people? If there is one person of history who could be called derogatory, it is Martin Luther. Consider his own words about the Catholic Church:

“We too were formerly stuck in the behind of this hellish whore, the new church of the pope… so that we regret having spent so much time and energy in that vile h***. But God be praised and thanked that he rescued us from the scarlet whore.” (Luther’s Works, Vol. 41, p. 206)

Again Luther says: “I can with good conscience consider the pope a fart-ass and an enemy of God. He cannot consider me an ass, for he knows that I am more learned in the Scriptures than he and all his asses are.” (p. 344) “The papal ass wants to be lord of the church, although he is not a Christian, believes nothing, and can no longer do anything but fart like an ass.” (p. 358)

We seem to forget that Luther was a raving heretic who was driven by the devil to tear the Faith asunder in Europe. His definition of “repentance” was to reject Catholicism, evidenced by his hateful words against the Mass: “It is indeed upon the Mass as on a rock that the whole papal system is built, with its monasteries, its bishoprics, its collegiate churches, its altars, its ministries, its doctrine, i.e., with all its guts. All these cannot fail to crumble once their sacrilegious and abominable Mass falls.” (Martin Luther, Against Henry, King of England, 1522, Werke, Vol. X, p. 220.)

Luther also contributed mightily to the mass murder of 70,000-100,000 peasants during the German Peasant War (1524-1525), which his Reformation helped to spark. Consider the following from Luther: “To kill a peasant is not murder; it is helping to extinguish the conflagration. Therefore let whoever can, smite, slay, and stab them secretly or openly, remembering that nothing can be more poisonous, hurtful or devilish than a rebel…. On the obstinate, hardened, blinded peasants let no one have mercy, but let whoever is able, hew, stab, and slay them like mad dogs.” (Erlangen Edition of Luther’s Works, Vol. 24)

In 1526 Luther justified his killing of the peasants, saying, “I, Martin Luther, have during the rebellion slain all the peasants, for it was I who ordered them to be struck dead.” (Erlangen LW, Vol. 59, p. 284)

Luther furthermore blasphemed Christ, thus revealing his deficit of faith. For instance he said, “Christ committed adultery first of all with the woman at the well… Secondly with Mary Magdalene, and thirdly with the woman taken in adultery.” (Luther’s Works, American Edition, Volume 54, p. 154, Concordia Publishing House)

As for his teaching on salvation and justification, the man was a theological crackpot who called humble contrition “hypocrisy” and who insisted that Jesus died on the cross so that we may sin freely without the fear of eternal punishment. Consider Luther’s own words:

“Be a sinner and sin boldly, but believe and rejoice in Christ even more boldly… No sin will separate us from the Christ, even though we commit fornication and murder a thousand times a day.” (From Luther’s letter to Philip Melanchthon, August 1, 1521, LW Vol. 48, pp. 281-282)

Each one of Luther’s charges against the Catholic Church were irrational and false. For instance he accused the clergy of “selling indulgences” in the confessional, which is not true. When penitents came to confession it was common at that time for priests to administer a penance in the form of having them place money in the Church’s treasury, because funds were needed to complete the Basilica of St. Peters in Rome. We might say a Peter’s pence was being raised, which should have excited praise, but this infuriated Luther because he couldn’t tolerate the idea of funding the “papal pig” and his palace.

If Luther had all the classic markings of a Freemason, it was precisely because he was an honorary member of the Rosicrucian Freemasons, which would explain why he rejected six books of the Bible and why he spearheaded his heinous revolt against Christ which led half of Europe away from the Christian Faith.

Had it not occurred to the German bishops that Luther was possessed by Satan? Certainly he was Lucifer’s pawn, tearing and breaking, and ripping the Church to pieces, because he disagreed with Christ. It was for reason that Pope Leo X dubbed Luther “the wild boar loose in the vineyard.” He was the classic hypocrite and Pharisee, constantly “justifying” himself and accusing everyone of what he himself was guilty of. What could be said of the worst pagans and infidels of history would especially apply to Luther: he had no “faith” or “grace.”

The Catholic Church committed no fault in its response to the so-called Reformation five centuries ago, which means there must be no apologies made. The papal condemnation of Luther in 1521 was truly the work of the Holy Spirit, and remains binding upon the faithful to this day. Any attempts to exonerate or “reevaluate” Martin Luther incurs the guilt of serious sin. Shall we exonerate Hitler too?

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Saint Alphonsus on the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

assumpti

Taken from”The Glories of Mary” by Saint Alphonsus Liguori:

MARY dies; but how does she die? She dies entirely detached from any affection for created things, and dies consumed with that divine love with which her most holy heart was always and entirely inflamed. Oh holy mother, thou hast already left the earth; do not forget us, miserable pilgrims, who remain in this valley of tears struggling against so many enemies, who desire to see us lost in hell. Ah, by the merits of thy precious death, obtain for us detachment from earthly things, pardon of our sins, love to God, and holy perseverance; and, when the hour of our death shall arrive, assist us from heaven with thy prayers, and obtain for us to come and kiss thy feet in paradise.

Mary dies, and her most pure body is carried by the holy apostles, and placed in the sepulchre, and is guarded by angels for three days, after which it is transported to paradise but her beautiful soul entered, as soon as she expired, the kingdom of the blessed, accompanied by innumerable angels and by her Son himself. Having entered heaven, she humbly presents herself to God, adores him, and, with unbounded love, thanks him for all the graces which she has received from him. God embraces her, blesses her, and constitutes her queen of the universe, exalting her above all the angels and saints. Now, if the human mind, as the apostle says, cannot arrive at the comprehension of the great glory that God is preparing in heaven for his servants who have loved him on this earth, what must be the glory that he gave to this his most holy mother, who on earth has loved him more than all the saints and angels, and has loved him with all her power ! So that Mary alone, when she entered heaven, could say to God: Oh my Lord, if I have not loved thee on earth as thou dost merit, at least I have loved thee as much as I could.

Let us rejoice with Mary in the glory with which her God has enriched her; and let us also rejoice for ourselves, for Mary, at the same time was made queen of the world, and appointed our advocate. She is so merciful an advocate, that she consents to defend all sinners who recommend themselves to her; and she is so powerful with our Judge that she gains all the causes which she defends. Oh our queen and advocate, in thy hand is our salvation; if thou dost pray for us, we shall be saved. Say to thy Son that thou dost wish us with thee in paradise. He denies thee nothing that thou dost ask. Oh our life, our sweetness, and our hope ! Mary, pray to Jesus for us.

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Olympic Gold for Catholic Homeschooler

By Michael Matt, editor of The Remnant:

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Simone Arianne Biles was born March 14, 1997. The other night she became the 2016 Olympic individual all-around champion. But this little dynamo is no stranger to winning. She is a three-time world all-around champion, three-time world floor champion, two-time world balance beam champion, four-time US national all-around champion, and a member of the gold medal-winning American teams at the 2014, the 2015 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships and the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

More importantly from our perspective, Simone Biles is a Roman Catholic home-schooler who might have been a victim of abortion had her birth mother been someone other than Shannon Biles who suffered from drug and alcohol addiction but, rather than aborting her baby, gave Simone up for adoption.

The story is like something out of a feel-good movie, with little Simone—rather than ending up in a dumpster or sucked into a vacuum or having her head stabbed by an abortion doctor—getting a chance to live, and then going on to become the first woman in history to win three consecutive world all-around titles and, by the way, the most decorated American female gymnast in World Championships history, with a total of fourteen medals, ten of them gold.

Why? Because she was taken in by a loving and generous family who believed in her, challenged her, and showed her how to love Christ and keep her Catholic faith — all of which was only possible because Simone’s birth mother cared more for the sanctity of the life of her child than her own “reproductive rights as a woman.”

In 2003 Simone’s grandparents took the child and her sister, Adria, out of foster care, in order to give them a loving home and a chance to thrive despite all they’d been through. Simone’s grandfather is a retired air traffic controller while her grandmother is the former co-owner of a chain of nursing homes, and a woman obviously blessed with great compassion.

Simone Biles spent all her secondary education as a homeschooler and graduated in the summer of 2015. The family is Roman Catholic, and the little gymnast, who is now taking the world by storm, lights a votive candle to St. Sebastian (patron saint of athletes) before all of her meets. She also keeps her rosary with her at all times, and isn’t afraid to proudly admit it.

The 19-year-old told US Weekly that her mother gave her the cherished rosary, and that she keeps it with her at all times, praying before every competition “just in case.”

Some of Simone’s recent tweets are quite telling:

biles tweets

I’m not much of an Olympics guy. I got tired of all the politically correct claptrap that goes along with the games. I’ve discouraged my own children from paying any attention to them, in fact. But I do find it singularly annoying when the “up close and personal” stories that dominate the Olympic headlines are about Muslim athletes or transgenders or whatever, and then a story like this is ignored completely—the most decorated woman gymnast in Rio is an adopted, home-educated, Roman Catholic who prays the rosary and relies on God and His blessed Mother to help make her the best person and athlete she can be.

Kind of a big deal, unless you’re one of the cold chroniclers of Christophobia in the mainstream media—in which case it’s cover-up time.

Whatever. The media will do what they do best. But the story of Simone Biles is a little shaft of light in a big world of darkness.  It’s so encouraging to see that, despite everything, little miracles like this are still happening every day and all over the world.

A drug-addicted alcoholic living in Cleveland had enough goodness left in her soul to do the right thing, even when the whole world was telling her to do the wrong thing. She kept the child, put her up for adoption, and great things happened.

God is good and all is not lost. All glory and honor to Him, and may He bless and keep Shannon Biles for giving a dreary world something good to believe in for a change — a brilliant little gymnast who’s proudly in love with Jesus Christ.

 

 

 

 

 

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