From a Migratory Invasion to Civil War

By Roberto de Mattei: (translation by Francesca Romana)

By now even the most reluctant are beginning to open their eyes. An organized plan exists to destabilize Europe through migratory invasion. This project hails from the distant past. In my book from the nineties, 1900-2000 Two dreams follow one another: the construction, the destruction. (Fiducia, Rome 1990), I described this plan through the words of some of its disciples, such as Umberto Eco the writer and Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini.

Eco wrote: “In Europe today we are not faced with a phenomenon of immigration. We are faced with a migratory phenomenon […] and like all of the great migrations it will have as its final outcome an ethnic readjustment in the lands of destination, an inexorable change in customs, unstoppable interbreeding which will statistically change the skin, hair and eye colour of populations.” Cardinal Martini, on his part, considered “a prophetic choice” necessary: in order to understand that “the migratory process in act from the increasingly poor South towards the increasingly rich North is a great ethical and civil opportunity for renewal, to reverse the course of decadent consumerism in act in Western Europe.

From this perspective of “creative destruction”, I made the comment, “it would not be the immigrants that needed to integrate into European civilization, but the contrary; Europe would need to ‘dis-integrate’ and regenerate thanks to the ethnic groups which occupy it […]. It is the dream of creative disorder, of a shake-up similar to the one which gave new life to the West at the time of the Barbarian Invasions to generate the poly-cultural society of the future”.

The plan was, and remains, that of destroying the National States and their Christian roots, not in order to build a Super-state, but to create a non-State, a horrid void, in which all that has the semblance of the true, the good and the just is swallowed up in an abyss of chaos. Post-modernity is this: not a plan of “construction”, as had been the pseudo-civilization born of humanism and the Enlightenment and which afterwards resulted in the totalitarianisms of the 20th century, but a new and different utopia: the deconstruction and tribalisation of Europe.

The aim of the revolutionary process which has been attacking our civilisation for many centuries, is Nihilism; “armed nothingness” according to an appropriate expression by Monsignor Jean-Joseph Gaume (1802-1879).

The years have passed and the utopia of chaos has turned into the nightmare we are now living. The plan of Europe’s disintegration, described by Alberto Carosa and Giudo Vignelli (in their documented study The Silent Invasion. “Immigration”: resource or conspiracy? (Rome 2002) has become an epoch-changing phenomenon. Those who denounced this plan were called “prophets of doom”. Today we hear that we are dealing with an unstoppable process, which must be “governed”, but cannot be restrained. The same was said in the 70s and 80s of last century about Communism, until the fall of the Berlin Wall showed that nothing is irreversible in history, except perhaps the blindness of the “useful idiots”.

Among these useful idiots surely to be numbered are the Mayors of New York, Paris, and London: Bill de Blasio, Anne Hidalgo and Sadiq Khan. On September 20th for the occasion of the General Assembly at the United Nations, in a letter published in the New York Times entitled Our immigrants, our strength, they launched an appeal “to take decisive measures in guaranteeing aid and safe refuge to refugees fleeing conflicts and immigrants fleeing poverty”.

The hundreds of thousands of immigrants who are landing on our coasts are fleeing neither conflicts nor poverty. They are young and in excellent health, well-groomed, with no signs of wounds or malnutrition, as happen to those who come from war or hunger-zones. The coordinator of anti-terrorism in the European Union, Gilles de Kerchove, when speaking to the European Parliament on September 26th, denounced a massive infiltration of ISIS among these immigrants. Yet, even if the terrorists were a scant minority among them, all the illegal-immigrants that are landing in Europe are bringers of an incompatible culture to the Christian and Western one.

The migrants do not want to integrate into Europe, but want to dominate it, if not with arms, through the wombs of their women and ours. Wherever these groups of young Islamic males settle, the European women get pregnant, new “mixed” families are formed – subject to the law of the Koran – and the new families ask the Government for mosques and economic subsidies. This transpires with the support of mayors, prefectures and Catholic parishes.

The reaction of the population is inevitable and in the countries with the highest rate of immigration, like France and Germany, it is becoming explosive. “We are on the verge of a civil war” declared Patrick Calvar, Head of the DGSI, the General Direction of French Internal Security, before a parliamentary commission (Le Figaro, June 22nd 2016). The German government, for its part, drafted a “plan for civil defence” of 69 pages, in which the population is invited to stock up on food and water and “prepare in an appropriate way for an event that could threaten our existence” (Reuters, August 21st 2016)

Who is responsible for this situation? We need to look for them on many levels. There is naturally the ‘68er-post-Communist ruling class who have taken over the reins of European politics; there are the intellectuals who have elaborated deformed theories in the field of physics, biology, sociology and politics; and there are the lobbies, the masonries, the powerful financiers, who at times act in darkness, at times in broad daylight.

It is well-known, for example, the role of the financier George Soros and his international foundation Open Society. Following a hacker attack, more than 2,500 emails were stolen from the American-Hungarian magnate’s server and diffused on the Internet through the DC Leaks portal. From the private correspondence taken from Soros, his financing of subversive activities in all fields has emerged, from the LGTB agenda to the pro-immigration movements. In a series of articles on The Remnant and drawing on these documents, Elizabeth Yore has shown Soros’ support, direct and indirect, also for Pope Francis and some of his closest collaborators, like Cardinal Oscar Andres Rodríguez Maradiaga and Monsignor Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo.

Between George Soros and Pope Francis a strategic objective convergence has appeared. The politics of hospitality, presented as the “ religion of bridges” opposed to the “religion of walls”, has become the leitmotif of Francis’ papacy, to such an extent that some are asking if his election was favoured specifically with the aim of offering the authors of the migratory invasion the moral “endorsement” they needed. What is certain is that today the confusion in the Church and in society are advancing hand in hand. The political chaos is preparing [the way] for a civil war, the religious chaos is opening the road to schisms, which are a type of religious civil war.

Nevertheless, the Holy Spirit, Whom the cardinals in conclave are not always in conformity with, never ceases to operate and nourish the sensus fidei today of those who oppose the demolition plans to destroy the Church and society. Divine Providence will never abandon them.

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In a Time of Desolation, A Calling for New Beguines?

By Hilary White at OnePeterFive:

fig-6aWhat if there were a place for women to go who love the Lord, who felt drawn to a life of prayer and intimate union with Him, who desired a life devoted to poverty, chastity and obedience but who, for any number of reasons, could not pursue traditional religious life?

What if there were a house of … let’s say “dedicated” ladies who devoted themselves to a quiet, orderly life of prayer and good works, who voluntarily took upon themselves the task of praying for others, praying for the Church and the world, of living a life of fraternal charity in community, of engaging in mental prayer, and attending daily Mass and reciting the Divine Office in their traditional forms?

What if such a … group … were open to receiving guests for spiritual retreats in a secluded country setting where there is opportunity for spiritual direction and fresh air and outdoor work? Do you think there might be some interest?

I come back again to my thoughts on “Lost Vocations.” What if there were a whole demographic cohort of women who were the right age at decidedly the wrong time, while the religious life as it had been known, was being torn down to its roots? What if they have been turned away because they have health issues? Or because they are too old for formation? Or – and here’s the really sticky one – if they have come to realize they cannot concede any part of the Faith to fit into the New Paradigm of the Novusordoist compromise (even in its “conservative” guise) and go along with the Pope Francis-rebellion against Christ?

What do you do if you think you have a vocation to religious life and all the world is busy groaning to find itself Bergoglian?

It seems a strange time, doesn’t it, to be thinking about starting something? At a moment when in the Church and the world, all Hell seems literally to be loosed. But that is thinking the thoughts of time, and of this world. God tends to have some funny timing, and from the point of view of the supernatural realities, what better time could there possibly be to dedicate one’s self to a life of intense prayer and union with the suffering Christ, than when His Holy Church is being scourged and crowned with thorns and denied by those who profess to love her?

A friend wrote today on Facebook that “a demand” is being made “for people to obey something that is patently morally wrong and against Revelation and Tradition.

It’s a bind – because where is Peter, there is the Church – and for people to choose to leave because of an unworthy successor…?”

As Father David Nix wrote a few weeks back, in a turn of phrase that struck me to my core: the Church is being crucified; will you leave her?

Obviously no. Never. One does not leave the Church; one holds fast to what one knows is true. If one is turned away from the religious life for refusing to stop calling out and denouncing the evil that has infiltrated us and finally almost conquered the Church; if one is kicked out of one’s monastery, one’s rectory, one’s college, one’s religious order, one’s diocese for refusing to go along… one takes it on the chin and keeps praying. One never leaves any of those things voluntarily; one waits to be kicked out. And until that happens, one continues to preach and teach the One True Faith. To denounce the deception and cunning lies and errors. God provides a roof when the need arises.

OK, but everyone wants to know: what, right now, can we do?

I spent 15 years as an “activist,” and increasingly understood through all that time that it was the wrong way. The Francis revolution shows us that this is not a battle over laws or medical ethics. It is a war for souls. One does not fight a war for souls by circulating petitions or organizing rallies.

In the long history of the Church’s many crises, God has shown us how He expects us to answer attacks on the Faith. And, in case we had failed to get the message, Our Lady has come to spell it out plainly: Prayer. Penance. Sacrifice. The spiritual war must be fought with spiritual weapons. The complete “metanoia” – the turning of one’s self back to the Lord, the turning away from the world, the flesh and the devil; the renunciation of self; the stripping away of faults; the single-minded pursuit of holiness.

Read on here

and here

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Part one of thirteen. A classic series from 1969.

Read about it here

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Appeal to our brothers and sisters in the Philippines


In this month of the Holy Rosary we would like to run an article on the image of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary of Manila, whose national Shrine is to be found in the great Dominican church in Quezon City in Metropolitan Manila. Let us look at the image above; it is our Lord Himself ‘giving’ us the Rosary.

Could we ask of you, our brothers and sisters, for a translation into English of the Tagalog prayer song, Salamat Maria, specially composed for the centenary in October 2007 of the Canonical Coronation by St Pope Pius X of the image of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary in the Dominican church? Our language expert residing somewhere in the south of France appears to have gone suddenly on sabbatical, so we rely humbly on you so that we may present a full article in English for the benefit of  CP&S readers around the world.

Please refer to our recent post, Our Lady of the Rosary,  for the text of the prayer in Tagalog if needed, though I doubt you would need it. Please post your translation in the comments section below. It will be gratefully acknowledged.

My  prayers for your happiness there in the beautiful islands of the Philippines, the islands loved by Our Lady. I  wave to you, our neighbours, from Malaysia across the South China Sea and the Sulu Sea.

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How Can A Demon Driven Out, Return With Seven More?

Bhousey Monsignor Charles Pope

The Gospel for Friday of this week (27th Week of the Year) features the puzzling parable about the cast-out demon who returns with seven others. What is most puzzling, is that finding the house (soul) “swept and clean” brings further trouble. One would think that a house that is swept and clean would be a good thing!

For reference, here is the parable:

When the unclean spirit has gone out of a man, he roams through waterless places in search of rest; and finding none, he says, “I will return to my house which I left.” And when he has come to it, he finds the place swept and clean. Then he goes and takes seven other spirits more evil than himself, and they enter in and dwell there; and the last state of that man becomes worse that the first (Lk 11:24-25).

How can we understand this parable? As is often the case, recourse to both the subtleties of the Greek text and the context can help us.

1. The Greek Text

A puzzling aspect of examining the Greek text is that what some Greek texts describe with three adjectives, almost every English translation renders with only two. Why is this? Because some of the Greek manuscripts lack the third word, which translates as “empty.”

While I can read the Greek text of the New Testament with relative ease, I am not an expert in ancient Greek or in the relative value of differing Greek manuscripts. The translation as either “swept and clean” or “swept and ordered” is almost universal among English renderings of this text. (See HERE for an example.)

I happen to believe that the inclusion of the word “empty” is essential, because otherwise something very important is left out. Let’s look at the description of the “house” (soul) to which the demon returns:

καὶ ἐλθὸν εὑρίσκει σχολάζοντα, σεσαρωμένον καὶ κεκοσμημένον.
Kai elthon heuriskei scholazonta, sesarōmenon kai kekosmēmenon.
And having come, it finds (it) empty, swept, and put in order (ornate).

The fact that the house (soul) is empty is the chief problem. Empty things need filling. Sadly, if good things do not fill empty spaces, then evil things do. This seems to be at the heart of the Lord’s warning.

A second issue is the translation of the word “kekosmēmenon.” Does “ordered,” or “put in order” really capture what the word is trying to convey? Most of us hear the word “order” and think of either systematic or moral order.

However, the Greek lexicon defines the root of kekosmēmenon, kosméō, as “to beautify, having the right arrangement (sequence) by ordering; to adorn, make compellingly attractive, very appealing (inviting, awesomely gorgeous).” Kosméō is also the root of the English word “cosmetics,” which are things that adorn or “order” the face.

Thus, the “order” described in this passage is more an order related to beauty. Hence the translation “ornate” may better capture what is meant by this word than either “clean” or “orderly.” So as we read this parable, we should consider that the description of the house as “swept and clean” may lack the subtlety of the Greek words. And while we should be wary of etymological fallacy, the original root meaning (kosméō = cosmetic = ornate, rather than merely “ordered”) ought not be wholly forgotten!

With these in mind, let’s consider the richer possibility that the Lord describes the “house” (an image for the soul) in three ways:

This is the key description that some ancient manuscripts omit. And yet it is the main problem. An empty house is a vulnerable house. An empty house, devoid of human presence, can no longer repel threats or repair damage that make it vulnerable. But more significantly from the standpoint of grace, an empty house, devoid of the presence of God, is a vacuum ready to be filled with demons and with every form of human sin, pride, and confusion.

Empty buildings are vulnerable, open to attack by termites, extreme weather, mold, and rodents. Just as an uncultivated field goes to weed, so an unattended house slides into decline and decay. So, too, goes the empty human soul, a soul devoid of the presence of God, of gratitude to Him, and of openness to His satisfying presence.

Yes, here is the spiritual lesson: let the Lord and the good things of the Kingdom of God fill every void, every empty space! Emptiness is too easily filled with evil things.

Consider a man who gives up alcohol for Lent. He does well by ending a lawful pleasure and making greater room for God. But what if God, or something of God, does not fill the space? Usually something of the devil, or something of the flesh, will fill it. Perhaps he will think, “I am approved because I, by my own power, have given this up.” But sadly, pride fills the empty space rather than God. The man’s new state is worse than before he gave up the lawful pleasure!

It is good if a person has, by God’s grace, been able to sweep sin from his life. But praise be to the Lord, not to the man or woman! Otherwise this is an open door for pride. Perhaps the sinner who succeeds in a Lenten observance will say, “Look what I have done! I am approved and am better than others who are less committed!” In this way grace is snatched by Satan. The house (soul), swept and in good order, must also be filled with humble gratitude to God. Thus the Lord warns of a house that is “swept,” but empty of humility and gratitude.

While some translate this as “ordered,” it would seem that, given the context, ornate would be a better rendering. Hence we are warned to beware of vanity and also of esteeming beauty more than charity. The warning is for those who, though they appreciate beauty, become smug and disdainful of all others who do not share their aesthetic preferences.

Thus a connoisseur of fine wine may scoff at people who enjoy wine sold in a box (“cow”) or who like White Zinfandel. And God forbid that they prefer beer! In this way, an appreciation for the finer things (like wine) becomes pride and leads to the last state of the man being worse than the first.

Beauty and the appreciation of it has its place, but if it cancels charity, the last state of the man is worse than the first.

One may appreciate the beauty of the Latin Mass, but if love for the aesthetic causes one to scorn a priest who forgets to bow at the Gloria Patri or who wears gothic vestments instead of the preferred Roman fiddlebacks, then the love of beauty (a good thing) destroys charity (a better thing).

Read the rest here

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Lightning strikes dome of St Peter’s Basilica on Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary

From Aleteia:

Another “bolt out of the blue” hits St. Peter’s on a Catholic feast celebrating a humble prayer and an historic battle!


Rome shook this morning as a massive lightning bolt hit the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica. The strike came on the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, a celebration with origins not only in a humble prayer, but also in an historic battle.

The bolt hit the dome of St. Peter’s at approximately 9:20 am, as a strong rainstorm passed through Rome. Vatican police confirmed the strike. No damage was reported.

Those close to the Vatican, from Swiss guards to local shop owners, felt the shock.

“I was in the shower and heard what sounded like a loud thunder clap which lasted a few seconds and seemed to shake everything. I knew it was storming but it sounded more like an earthquake than a thunderstorm,” a resident close to St. Peter’s told Aleteia.

A local Italian coffee-bar owner added: “Everything shook. I could feel it in my lungs. It was as though the air was suspended for a moment.”

This morning’s strike recalls the “bolt out of the blue” that hit St. Peter’s on February 11, 2013 — the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes — just hours after Pope Benedict XVI shocked the Vatican with his announcement to resign the papal office.

Lightning strikes St Peter's dome at the Vatican on February 11, 2013. AFP PHOTO / FILIPPO MONTEFORTE / AFP PHOTO / FILIPPO MONTEFORTE
Lightning strikes St Peter’s dome at the Vatican on February 11, 2013. AFP PHOTO / FILIPPO MONTEFORTE

Today’s strike also comes on a Marian feast: Our Lady of the Rosary.

Our Lady of the Rosary
Our Lady of the Rosary

Originally called Our Lady of Victory, the feast was instituted by Pope St. Pius V to honor the Blessed Virgin Mary for the Christian victory over the Turks at the Battle of Lepanto.

The Battle of Lepanto
The Battle of Lepanto

Fr. Steve Grunow, of Bishop Robert Barron’s “Word on Fire,” describes the origins of the feast in this way:

On October 7th, 1571 a fleet of ships assembled by the combined forces of Naples, Sardinia, Venice, the Papacy, Genoa, Savoy and the Knights Hospitallers fought an intense battle with the fleet of the Ottoman Empire. The battle took place in the Gulf of Patras located in western Greece.  Though outnumbered by the Ottoman forces, the so-called “Holy League” possessed of superior firepower would win the day. This victory would severely curtail attempts by the Ottoman Empire to control the Mediterranean, causing a seismic shift in international relations from East to West. In some respects, and I do not want this claim to be overstated, the world that we know came into being with this victory. This event is known to history as the “Battle of Lepanto.”

Pope Pius V, whose treasury bankrolled part of this military endeavor, ordered the churches of Rome opened for prayer day and night, encouraging the faithful to petition the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary through the recitation of the Rosary. When word reached the Pope Pius of the victory of the Holy League, he added a new feast day to the Roman Liturgical Calendar. October 7th would henceforth be the feast of Our Lady of Victory. Pope Pius’ successor, Gregory XIII would change the name of this day to the feast of the Holy Rosary.

Biographers also report that as the Battle of Lepanto ended, Pope St. Pius V rose and went to a window, where he stood gazing toward the East. Then, turning around, he exclaimed “The Christian fleet is victorious!” and shed tears of thanksgiving.

Fresco of the Dominican Pope, St Pius V, praying the Rosary during the Battle of Lepanto
Fresco of the Dominican Pope, St Pius V, praying the Rosary during the Battle of Lepanto

May today’s “bolt from out of the blue” encourage the Church’s children, in this month dedicated to Mary, to take up the humble yet powerful weapon of the Rosary, as the Barque of Peter continues to battle on the waves of history.

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Dies Domini – Keeping the Lord’s Day Holy


From Torch of the Faith

Going to Church Every Sunday

During one of the early morning Masses at Domus Sanctae Marthae, Pope Francis spoke about people who have the ”face of a saint, but inside suffer from an osteoporosis of corruption… people who seem perfect on the outside, going to Church every Sunday and making big charitable donations.”

Whilst this does highlight a potential danger for all Catholics, it is easy enough to see how these words might be taken by sincere Catholics as yet another of his negative depictions of their best efforts. Again, it is not hard to see how these words could be used as grist for the mill of the Church’s enemies.

After all, it is not as if we live in an age when the Sabbath is so honoured in the wider culture that its upkeep could become merely conventional on any large scale.

In much of the Western hemisphere, the churches continue to empty out, just as the art galleries, department stores and supermarkets continue to fill up on the Sabbath.

The Bare Minimum

In these secularized times, it is true that faithful Catholics might be tempted to pridefully look down their noses at those who do not honour the Sabbath. We must always remember our own dependence on grace; for by the grace of God go we.

Perhaps Pope Francis’ words might provide him, and all of us too, with an opportunity to reflect on the fact that the person who goes to Holy Mass on a Sunday is not so much being perfect, as merely doing the bare minimum that is required by the Third Commandment of God’s Holy Law.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches: ”The Sunday Eucharist is the foundation and confirmation of all Christian practice. For this reason the faithful are obliged to participate in the Eucharist on the days of obligation, unless excused for a serious reason (for example, illness, the care of infants) or dispensed by their own pastor. Those who deliberately fail in this obligation commit a grave sin.”

Going to Sunday Mass is a bit like breathing: you go because you want to go, but also because you have to go to stay alive spiritually. And that aspect of having to go keeps one’s love for God in the realm of the objective, more than just in the emotions or the feelings.


In his book This is the Faith, the great Canon Francis J. Ripley wrote of honouring the Sabbath: ”We are to keep the Sunday holy by hearing Mass and resting from servile works… One who merely goes to Mass and forgets about God for the rest of the day can scarcely be said to keep the Sunday holy, although he may avoid mortal sin. So it is that the Church urges all to attend the other services which she provides for them, such as Rosary, Vespers, Instruction, Benediction, and also to devote some time to pious or religious reading or other exercises for the sanctification of the soul.”

Of course, in these post-modern times, one would be lucky to find such extra services in many parishes today. In our Archdiocese, it would be hard enough to find even a Sunday evening Mass in many parishes.

Some years ago, we were on a coastal walk with a Catholic priest one Sunday afternoon. Upon passing a local Catholic parish, I asked if we might stop off there to say a prayer. I was rather taken aback when the priest, seemingly surprised by my request, replied quickly that the building would certainly be closed ”because it is Sunday!”

At least the Traditional communities who offer only the Traditional Latin Mass also continue to offer liturgies like Sunday Vespers to the laity in their surrounding areas.

Building a ”Culture” of Sunday

A Post-Modern Scene: Without the holiness of Sunday at the heart of the week, and without the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass at the heart of the Sabbath, the Church is eclipsed and the wider culture begins to reflect the ensuing emptiness.

A Post-Modern Scene: Without the holiness of Sunday at the heart of the week, and without the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass at the heart of the Sabbath, the Church is eclipsed and the wider culture begins to reflect the ensuing emptiness.

It is essential that Catholics develop a ”culture” of Sunday in their families through Holy Mass, Rosary, spiritual reading, a family meal, shared relaxation and the visiting of relatives, or of other orthodox Catholics.

We also think that the setting aside of ”Sunday-best” clothes for attendance at Church is an important aspect which helps to mark Sunday as a special day for the glory of the Lord.

The Apostolic Letter Dies Domini – Keeping the Lord’s Day Holy reminds us: ”Since Sunday is the weekly Easter, recalling and making present the day upon which Christ rose from the dead, it is also the day which reveals the meaning of time. It has nothing in common with the cosmic cycles according to which natural religion and human culture tend to impose a structure on time, succumbing perhaps to the myth of eternal return. The Christian Sunday is wholly other! Springing from the Resurrection, it cuts through human time, the months, the years, the centuries, like a directional arrow which points them towards their target: Christ’s Second Coming. Sunday foreshadows the last day, the day of the Parousia, which in a way is already anticipated by Christ’s glory in the event of the Resurrection…

… In fact, everything that will happen until the end of the world will be no more than an extension and unfolding of what happened on the day when the battered body of the Crucified Lord was raised by the power of the Holy Spirit and became in turn the wellspring of the Spirit for all humanity. Christians know that there is no need to wait for another time of salvation, since, however long the world may last, they are already living in the last times. Not only the Church, but the cosmos itself and history are ceaselessly ruled and governed by the glorified Christ. It is this life-force which propels Creation, ”groaning in birth-pangs until now” (Rom 8:22), towards the goal of its full redemption. Mankind can have only a faint intuition of this process, but Christians have the key and the certainty. Keeping Sunday holy is the important witness which they are called to bear, so that every stage of human history will be upheld by hope.

Each of us needs the graces of Sunday in order to live, move and have our being in Christ. May God give us the grace to always Keep the Lord’s Day Holy!

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Bishop calls for rituals to bless adultery and sodomy

modern familyPosted on  on Father Z’s Blog:

What follows should make EVERY CATHOLIC angry.  There is no left or right or anything else in this.  If you are Catholic, this should make you angry.  If you read Patheos, or Rorate, or Aletheia you should be angry and, frankly, alarmed.

A few years ago, this would have been dismissed as science fiction.  Now it is real.

As decentralization continues, could this come to a diocese near you?

This distressing item was in my email this morning.  From Belgium, via “la Revue de presse succincte de l’archevêché de Malines-Bruxelles” bad news: HERE  (my fast translation):

In “De Gazet van Antwerpen” (6/10, p. 8)

Monsignor Bonny, Bishop of Antwerp, wants a ritual for gays and cohabiting in a telling passage from the book “”Puis-je? Merci. Désolé”” (Can I? Thank you. Sorry.) a free dialogue about relationships, marriage and family published by Lannoo and to come out this October 11th. The bishop of Antwerp expresses himself, thinking aloud about new religious rituals. Bonny wrote the book with Roger Burggraeve and Ilse Van Halst. “The question is whether we should include everything in a single model,” says Bonny. [That’s code for changing the definition of matrimony.] “Should we not develop into a diversity of rituals in which we can recognize the relationship between homosexuals from a believing and ecclesial perspective?” [To bless sodomy?]Similarly, the attitude towards divorced persons engaged in a new relationship would necessitate a different approach. Bonny believes that the Church, in some cases, could bless a second relationship. “For a long time, the Orthodox Church practices the confirmation of a new relationship for reasons of mercy[“Say the magic word, win a hundred dollars!”] which enables you as a new couple to rediscover a place in the community. Nevertheless, this new blessing is not repeating or substitute sacramental first marriage. Which was and remains unique. [Safe to say.  What else could any relationship between two people be?]

This is sly.

Granted that this is only a blurb about a book, but you can see in the blurb what is going on.

Consider a couple in which at least one Catholic partner is civilly divorced and remarried without a declaration of nullity.  There are good enough reasons for them to cohabit (e.g., raising children… you know the drill by now).  They say they will commit themselves to live in continence as brother and sister, best of friends, etc.  The Church works with them, as the Church always works with every soul who desires holiness and heaven.  The buzz word is now “accompany”.  It may happen that, being in proximity, a near occasion of sin, they slip and have relations, but they repent, go to confession, and try again.

What the bishop does is blend in with that scenario, the case of a homosexual couple.  Another way of seeing long-term, “committed” homosexual relationships which involve sexual activity is friendship gone terribly astray.  It’s a gross distortion of friendship.  The fact of their same-sex attraction make their cohabitation an occasion of sin.  However, maybe there are reasons for them to live together.  So, they commit themselves to live in continence, as if they were brothers, the best of friends, etc. The Church works with them, as the Church always works with every soul who desires holiness and heaven. The buzz word is now “accompany”.  It may happen that, being in proximity, a near occasion of sin, they slip and have relations, but they repent, go to confession, and try again.

This seems to me that what that bishop is proposing is full, cringing capitulation to the world and baser appetites.  The Church should inspire and help people to move from sin to grace, to conversion, and to support them in the suffering that conversion entails as they do.  The cobbling up of rites which in any way resemble a blessing of an adulterous or actively homosexual relationship is a mockery of matrimony as intended by God.  Such blessings or rites would surely erode the understanding that Catholics have of marriage and would send crossed, confused signals to the world watching the Church, which is in effect the last bastion of moral teaching in a degenerate age.

This takes the Kasperite solution to the next, logical step.

We must be on guard to remain the Catholic Church, and not become the Precious Snowflake Church.

Ed. The push for this continues in the Church in Germany too

See also: Bishop Bonny sent out for united mission



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Our Lady of The Rosary


Mary, in this your month of the Rosary, teach us how to pray it. For behold, Mother of men and of God, somewhere along the dark road of the past decades, we have forgotten how to pray.

Show us, O Mother of Wisdom, the height, the depth, the width, and the endless breadth that is to be found in that prayer called, in the old days, so beautifully, “Our Lady’s Psalter.” Indeed it is your song and your prayer.

For it leads us, O Cause of Our Joy, gently and softly into your joyful mysteries. And then, O Mother of Sorrows, it shows us your poignant Sorrows, the price you paid for our salvation—Co-redemptrix of Christ. Also it leads us to your blinding, breathtaking, glorious mysteries—O Mystical Rose.

We need you, Gate of Heaven, to teach us how to pray. Bend down to our littleness and say the Rosary with us.

In our spiritual childhood, the beads will teach us how to pray with your voice. In our spiritual youth, through you, they will reveal to us how to plunge our minds into the blessed mystery spelled out by each decade.

And in our spiritual maturity, Mediatrix of all Graces, show us your secret ways to the prayer of silence—of contemplation.

Your Psalter—the Rosary—is a school of prayer, and you are the perfect Mistress of it.

Of all the generations, we who live in insecurity and fear, we who bear the almost unendurable heat of a marketplace from which your Son has been almost completely shut out—we truly need to learn how to pray with the Bride of your Son, the Church.

Only through prayer can we begin truly to know him whom we must love and serve, or indeed perish. Only through prayer can we be before his face and get the strength then to do or live before him, witnessing if need be, unto death, to his divinity and to our Christianity.

This century needs Christians who are Christians in faith and deed. On such depends the fate of the world.

You, who are the Gate of Christ, the Way to the Father, our ultimate goal—you, Mary, Mother of Christ—teach us in this your month of the Rosary—to pray it as it should be prayed.

For these ordinary beads, strung on threads, hold within themselves all the mysteries of our holy Faith and all the main ways of prayer.

Mary, Queen of the Rosary, open to us its holy secrets. Let it be our door to the heart of your Son, his Father, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

By the servant of God, Catherine Doherty

Adapted from Carmel, an Irish magazine, October 1956


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Saint Bruno, founder of the Carthusians and patron against diabolic possession

On October 6, we celebrate the feast of St. St. Bruno, the founder of the Carthusian order. He was born at Cologne, Germany around 1030. He studied at the school of the Cathedral of Rheims (France) at an early age. He became Canon of the Cathedral and was made the Rector of the University in 1056. Bruno was one of the most remarkable scholars and teacher of his time: “…a prudent man whose word was rich in meaning.”

Following an attempt at a solitary life of short duration, he entered the region of Grenoble, where the Bishop, the future Saint Hugues, offered him a solitary site in the mountains of his diocese. In June 1084, the Bishop himself led Bruno and six of his companions to the primitive valley of Chartreuse on a wild mountain range on the edge of the French Alps. There they built a hermitage, consisting of a few log cabins opening towards a gallery which allowed them access to the communal areas of the community — church, refectory, and chapter room — without having to suffer too much from intemperate conditions.

After six years of a pleasant solitary life, Bruno was called by Pope Urban II to the service of the Holy See. As a personal adviser to the Pope (a former student), Bruno felt uncomfortable in the Pontifical Court. He lived in Rome for only a short time. With the Pope’s blessing, he founded a new hermitage in the forests of Calabria, in the south of Italy. There he died on October 6, 1101. Commentaries on the Psalms and the Epistles of Paul are attributed to him.

St. Bruno was never formally beatified or canonized. However, he became both when Pope Clement X extended his feast to the universal Church in 1674.

The Order founded by Bruno — the Carthusians — is one of the strictest in the Church. Carthusians follow the Rule of St. Benedict, but accord it a most austere interpretation; there is perpetual silence and complete abstinence from flesh meat (only bread, legumes, and water are taken for nourishment). Bruno sought to revive the ancient eremitical way of life. His Order enjoys the distinction of never becoming unfaithful to the spirit of its founder, never needing a reform.

He had a great reputation as a protector against diabolic possession and is the patron against possession. He was known for his great devotion to prayer, mortification, and to the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Saint Quote

“Rejoice, my dearest brothers, because you are blessed and because of the bountiful hand of God’s grace upon you. Rejoice, because you have escaped the various dangers and shipwrecks of the stormy world. Rejoice because you have reached the quiet and safe anchorage of a secret harbor. Many wish to come into this port, and many make great efforts to do so, yet do not achieve it. Indeed many, after reaching it, have been thrust out, since it was not granted them from above. By your work you show what you love and what you know. When you observe true obedience with prudence and enthusiasm, it is clear that you wisely pick the most delightful and nourishing fruit of divine Scripture.”
~from a letter by Saint Bruno to the Carthusians

Prayer (Taken from the 1962 Missal and the 1974 Breviary)

May we be helped by the intercession of St. Bruno, Thy Confessor, O Lord, we beseech Thee, so that we who by our evil deeds have grievously offended Thy Majesty, may by his merits and prayers obtain forgiveness of our sins. Through our Lord….

Lord God, you called Saint Bruno to serve you in a life of solitude. Amidst this world’s changes help us, by his prayers, to set our hearts always on you. Through our Lord…

(source: CatholicFire)

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Diocese of Rome’s guidelines for ‘Amoris laetitia’. Wherein Fr. Z rants, offers solution.

0-holy-communionAt the end I offer a solution.  But be patient and read.

Sandro Magister provided an English translation of key parts of the Italian document issued by the Vicar of Rome, Card. Vallini (who runs the Diocese of Rome while the Pope popes), outlining how to implement the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Amoris laetitia.  Italian original HERE

Here are the paragraphs that concern the most controversial aspect of Amoris laetitia, that is, whether Communion can be given to those who are civilly divorced and remarried without any declaration of nullity of previous marriages, that is to say are, objectively, living in an adulterous relationship and who have not yet chosen the “brother and sister” path.   My emphases and comments.

“The text of the apostolic exhortation does not go further, but footnote 351 states: ‘In certain cases, this can include the help of the sacraments.’ The pope uses the conditional, so he is not saying that they must be admitted to the sacraments, although he does not exclude this in some cases and under some conditions [the underlining is in the text of the presentation – editor’s note]. Pope Francis develops the previous magisterium in the line of the hermeneutic of continuity and of exploration, and not in discontinuity and rupture[!] He affirms that we must travel the ‘via caritatis’ of welcoming penitents, listening to them attentively, showing them the maternal face of the Church, inviting them to follow the path of Jesus, helping them to mature the right intention of opening themselves to the Gospel, and we must do this while paying attention to the circumstances of individual persons, to their consciences, without compromising the truth and prudence that will help to find the right way.

“It is most important to establish with all these persons and couples a ‘good pastoral relationship.’ That is to say, we must welcome them warmly, invite them to open themselves to participate in some way in ecclesial life, in family groups, in carrying out some service, e.g. charitable or liturgical (choir, prayer of the faithful, offertory procession). [So, people who are in objectively irregular situations, apparent to other people, can have liturgical roles?  And note that “e.g.”.  The one’s mentioned are not the only ones, it seems.  How about distributing Communion?] In order to develop these processes it is more valuable than ever that there be the active presence of pastoral worker couples, and this will also be of great benefit to the climate of the community. These persons – the pope says – “need to feel not as excommunicated members of the Church, but instead as living members, able to live and grow in the Church” (AL, 299).  [Sincere question: Will making them feel so confortable also remove their incentive to rectify their situation?  But if they can’t/won’t rectify their situation… we admit them to Communion?]

“This is not necessarily a matter of arriving at the sacraments, but of orienting them to live forms of integration in ecclesial life. [NB: Even though they are in an irregular situation, they are still obliged to attend Holy Mass on Sundays, etc.  They are also obliged to confess their sins once a year. However, if they will not say with sincerity that they intend to amend their lives, they can’t be absolved.  And though Father can be fooled, God cannot be fooled.] But when the concrete circumstances of a couple make it feasible, meaning when their journey of faith has been long, sincere, and progressive, it is proposed that they live in continence; [NB: HERE IT IS…] if this decision is difficult to practice for the stability of the couple, [that is, living as brother and sister in continence] ‘Amoris Laetitia’ does not rule out the possibility of accessing penance and the Eucharist. This means a certain openness, as in the case in which there is the moral certainty that the first marriage was null but there are not the proofs to demonstrate this in a judicial setting[I’ve never worked in a tribunal… but how do you arrive at a moral certainty without proofs of some kind?] but not however in the case in which, for example, their condition is shown off as if it were part of the Christian ideal, etc. [That last part… “ma non invece nel caso in cui, ad esempio, viene ostentata la propria condizione come se facesse parte dell’ideale cristiano, ecc.”  Ummm… I think that word salad means something like they have to avoid the appearance that this set up (objective adulterers) is somehow in keeping with Christian morals.  This is, I think, the Kasperite “tolerated but not accepted”.  Their situation (adultery) is not “part of the Christian ideal”.  Adulterers receiving Communion is “not part of the Christian ideal”.   But we are going to give them Communion anyway.]

VI) “How are we to understand this openness? Certainly not in the sense of an indiscriminate access to the sacraments, as sometimes happens[Indeed it does!  And it is going to continue to happen, probably more than ever now because they will claim the cover of Amoris laetitia.  Am I wrong?] but of a discernment that would distinguish adequately case by case. Who can decide? From the tenor of the text and from the ‘mens’ of its Author it does not seem to me that there could be any solution other than that of the internal forum. In fact, the internal forum is the favorable way for opening the heart to the most intimate confidences, and if a relationship of trust has been established over time with a confessor or with a spiritual guide, it is possible to begin and develop with him an itinerary of long, patient conversion, made of small steps and of progressive verifications.  [Sincere question: If Fr. Spike works with Bill and Sue and they together decide that they can receive Communion, and if they do this in the internal forum, then how is Fr. Spike supposed to explain to people who know Bill and Sue why they can receive Communion?  How to avoid scandal?  I have an idea about this.  See below.]

“So it can be none other than the confessor, at a certain point, in his conscience, after much reflection and prayer, who must assume the responsibility before God and the penitent and ask that the access take place in a discreet manner. In these cases there is no interruption of the journey of discernment (AL, 303; ‘dynamic discernment’) for the sake of reaching new stages toward the full Christian ideal.”  [So the ultimate goal is either separation of the couple or living in continence and… AND… avoiding scandal.  Don’t forget the issue of scandal in this.]

The document bobs and weaves, but, from what I can tell, it says, yes, Communion can be given to them.  That is, Communion can be given to people who are, at the time of Communion, more than likely not in the state of grace.  Right? Isn’t that what is being said?

Let’s review:

it is proposed that they live in continence; if this decision is difficult to practice for the stability of the couple, ‘Amoris Laetitia’ does not rule out the possibility of accessing penance and the Eucharist.

That “this decision is difficult to practice” means that the couple who are not married are still having adulterous sexual relations.  That “for the stability of the couple” must mean that without sexual relations they are not a “couple”, and that it is, for one reason or another, important that they (who aren’t married) stay together and have sex together. No?

However…. If they have entered into a process with a priest who as helped them to see what their situation is according to the teaching of Christ and His Church, then they know that what they are doing is wrong.  They know that they have committed a mortal sin.  They know that are not properly disposed to receive.  Wouldn’t that be part of what the priest must help them to understand?

But… they can receive anyway?  Am I missing something?

Let’s say that Amoris laetitia is being properly interpreted here.  Let’s say that the Pope really did intend this.  This is, after all, the Pope’s diocese, right?  This must be what this Pope really wants.  This must really show the mens of Pope Francis.

How do we work with this?

We get the whole bit about “graduality”.  We get the whole thing about “for the sake of reaching the full Christian ideal”.   We also can imagine that the situation being described is going to be relatively rare.

I cannot see anyway around this. It must be either one way or the other.  It is either 1) that they say that they will not live in continence as brother and sister, or 2) they say that they will try to live in continence as brother and sister.  If they say they won’t, and they don’t, they cannot be admitted to Communion. They must not approach to receive Communion.  That would be a mortal sin and a sacrilege.  If, on the other hand, they say that they will try, really try, if they confess their sins and really intend to live in continence, they probably can be admitted to Communion – remoto scandalo – provided that scandal is avoided.

Fr. Z’s Solution:

If, in those rare circumstances when such a couple might be able to receive Communion, why not give them Holy Communion outside of Mass in the rectory?  That would avoid scandal.  Right?

Think about it.  If reception of Communion is so important to them because they a) really understand what the Eucharist is… WHO the Eucharist is and b) the reflect on the Four Last Things and c) they are on this “journey” and living in continence, etc., then they should be willing to attend Mass according to their obligation (like everyone else) but not receive during Mass so that they will avoid even a small risk of giving scandal.  If they have charity toward their neighbors, they would want to avoid scandal and putting the priest in a tough spot.  Right?

They should be thrilled to receive Communion but out of sight, in the rectory, away from public view.   Right?

But it must be asked: What is it that they really want?  Is it the Eucharist?

What does reception of Communion mean to them?  Is the moment of Communion fully about reception of the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of the Son of God, the Second Person of the Trinity, Savior and King of Fearful Majesty?  Or is Communion about being with other people, sharing a moment together, being part of the group, being affirmed as they are?

What does Communion mean?

Is reception of Holy Communion now about something other than getting to heaven?

I keep turning this over and over in my head, asking:  If they really get the Eucharist, the full implications of receiving as Paul describes in 1 Cor 11:27 (“Therefore whosoever shall eat this bread, or drink the chalice of the Lord unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and of the blood of the Lord.”), if they really get the Four Last Things, then … would they really want to put at risk their eternal salvation?

If they have been working with a sound priest who helps them to understand what mortal sin is, what matrimony is according to the Church’s teachings, would they really want to receive Communion in their irregular state?

Let’s say that they get all these things.  Let’s say they decided to live in continence because its the right thing to do, because of their love of the Lord and out of their desire for graces of Communion in the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of their Savior.  Let’s grant this scenario is possible.  Fine.  There may be times when they fail in their determination to live in continence and they have sexual relations.  They go to confession and start over.  Fine.  That’s what we all do when we sin in any way.  We go to confession with a firm purpose of amendment and start over with God’s help.  They might be living in a very near occasion of sin, but perhaps there are legitimate reasons for that, such as the care of children, etc.  Okay.


The issue of scandal is still going to loom over this.

My solution might be the way to go: Communion in private, outside of public Mass, away from observing eyes.

QUAERITUR: We must ask of ourselves as a Church a hard question. Has reception of Holy Communion come to be about something other than getting to heaven?

PS: As I have written before, faithful priests will continue to do what they do, and faithless priests will continue to do what they do.  The divide between them will grow greater and unity between parishes and dioceses will diminish.

Further reading: and onepeterfive


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by Bishop Robert Barron    October 04, 2016

Recently, while working at my computer in Santa Barbara, I encountered a confounding problem and decided to call Brandon Vogt, who is not only the excellent content director at Word on Fire, but also a trained engineer and tech whiz. After trying in vain to talk me through the problem, Brandon said, “Look, let me just take over your screen.” And with that, he pressed some buttons in Atlanta, where he was attending a conference, and then commenced to move my cursor around the screen, click on all the right settings, and resolve the difficulty.

Though I had seen him do this before, I was, once again, impressed by this long-distance maneuver. Displaying my utter lack of scientific expertise, I asked, “Now Brandon, is this being done through the phone lines or is outer space involved?” I’m sure he was suppressing a laugh, but he patiently explained that when we send data over the Internet, the data is broken down into invisible electromagnetic waves, which are then passed through miles and miles of cables, telephone lines, and sometimes satellites. What’s remarkable, he explained, is how the same cables and satellites handle information from billions of computers, phones, and other devices simultaneously.

At this point in the conversation, Brandon remarked, “You know, I’ve often thought it analogous to the communion of saints.” “You’ll have to unpack that for me,” I said. “Well,” he replied, “people always seem puzzled that the saints in heaven can hear and answer millions of prayers without being omnipotent; but yet, something similar is happening all the time through our technology. Each second we send and receive an unfathomable amount of data through our cables and satellites, yet they handle it. The relatively small number of intercessions we pray each day pales in comparison.” “Ah,” I said, “wouldn’t that make for an interesting column!” So at Brandon’s prompting, here is a little reflection on prayer and the communio sanctorum.

One of the forms of Catholic prayer is an invocation of those in the heavenly realm. Every time we say the Hail Mary, for instance, we are confident that Mary, the Queen of Heaven, hears that prayer and engages us. Every time we call upon one of the saints, we are convinced that he or she takes in what we say and can, in point of fact, respond to us with information or inspiration. Indeed, we believe that our prayer can prompt the saints to act on our behalf, effecting real change in the world. I realize how counter-intuitive this can all seem to most moderns. In our more “realistic” moments, we feel that the dead are just gone, that they can’t possibly hear us. Or maybe we think that, if they still exist, they are far away, infinitely removed from the things of this world. And how, we wonder, could the Blessed Mother possibly “hear” every single Hail Mary that goes up to her every day from across the globe? Isn’t all of this just wishful thinking, so much pre-scientific mumbo-jumbo?

Well, remember Brandon’s insight. A machine of our contrivance is capable of receiving and transmitting extraordinary amounts of information simultaneously to and from numberless locales. How much more thoroughly and powerfully, therefore, can an intelligence at a higher pitch of reality, in a qualitatively different dimensional system, receive and transmit information? The faith of the Church is that those who are in the heavenly realm participate more intensely in the infinite intelligence of God, that intelligence which embraces all of space and all of time. Can a saint, therefore, receive and send a staggering amount of information? Why not? But can a saint exert a causal influence on the physical dimension? Can they actually do something for us? We mustn’t think of the spiritual as simply “other” than the material, as though the two could never interact. Rather, the spiritual contains the physical in the measure that it subsists at an elevated, more ontologically complete, level of existence. Representing the medieval consensus, Thomas Aquinas said that the soul is in the body “not as contained by it, but as containing it.” Instead of being a “ghost in the machine,” as many modern philosophers speculated, the soul, on Aquinas’s reading, is inclusive of the body. It can move matter, for it is greater than matter. And so the saints, from their heavenly place, can indeed influence, impact, and shape the material world.

Perhaps a last point of comparison would be in order. The satellites that facilitate so much of our world’s communication are entirely out of sight. We don’t, in the ordinary sense of the term, interact with them at all as we do with other persons and objects. And yet, from their celestial abode, they massively affect and aid us. In one of the prefaces for saints in the Roman Missal, we find this language: “From their place in heaven, they (the saints) guide us still.” We don’t deal with the denizens of heaven as we do with those of earth, but yet they listen to us, speak to us, and influence us constantly.

So next time you receive some instruction on your GPS or make a call on your iPhone, think of the communion of saints.

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Saint Francis of Assisi

Francis of Assisi in prayer

Saint Francis of Assisi in prayer

By Deacon Keith Fournier

CHESAPEAKE, VA (Catholic Online)

It is often our friends who really know us. Their testimony opens up the deeper meaning of our lives for others. So it was with Francis, the little poor man of Assisi. His friend was named Bonaventure. And his testimony opens up the deeper meaning of the holy life and death of this poor man of Assisi.

The Major Legend written by St. Bonaventure is not a biography, at least in the strictest sense. It does not follow a chronological order of the life of Francis. St. Bonaventure writes of the little poor man of Assisi from firsthand experience,as his friend.

There is so much to write about in this marvelous account of the life of one of my own personal heroes, the saint whose witness led me back to the Church, Francis of Assisi. However, I will focus on one aspect of Bonaventure’s tribute to Francis. In the beginning of Chapter Eleven of his eyewitness account of his friend’s life, he speaks of Francis’ love for the Bible, the Sacred Scripture:

“Unflagging zeal for prayer with a continuing exercise of virtue had led the man of God to such serenity of mind that although he had no expertise in Sacred Scripture through learning, his intellect, nevertheless enlightened by the splendor of eternal light, probed the depths of scripture with remarkable incisiveness.”

“For his genius, pure and unstained, penetrated hidden mysteries, and where the knowledge of teachers stands outside, the passion of the lover entered. Whenever he read the Sacred Books, and something struck his mind, he imprinted it tenaciously on his memory because he did not grasp in vain what his attentive mind heard for he would mull over it with affection and constant devotion.”

Francis loved and lived the Bible, the Sacred Scriptures. He was a man in a dynamic relationship with the Living Word, Jesus Christ. Through an intimate communion of prayer – and the continual prayerful reading of the Scriptures – Francis thus became a living letter of Christ for others. (2 Cor. 3: 1-3) He calls us to do the same. Francis was an “evangelical” Catholic, in love with the “evangel”, the Greek word for Good News, Jesus Christ. Are we?

The Catechism of the Catholic Church reminds us that “Christianity is the religion of the “Word” of God, not a written and mute word, but incarnate and living. If the Scriptures are not to remain a dead letter, Christ, the eternal Word of the living God, must, through the Holy Spirit, open (our) minds to understand the Scriptures. (CCC# 108) This was the lived experience of Francis of Assisi –  and it can become ours as well.

Bonaventure’s account of his friend, mentor and spiritual father weaves a captivating picture of a poor, little man from Assisi who fully lived the life of grace and was completely conformed to Jesus Christ. It sets that life before the reader as an example to follow, imbibe and imitate – a life of penance, conversion, renunciation, self emptying, transforming and redemptive love.

These themes are developed by Bonaventure, a theologian of the highest order, in beautifully inspiring writing which invites the reader into his or her own encounter with the source of Francis’ profound spirituality, Jesus Christ.

Bonaventure presents a Francis conformed and configured to crucified love over time through an ever deepening, dynamic relationship of living faith which manifested the timeless kingdom in the heart of the world. This pattern of Francis’ life is to be imitated, embraced and appropriated in every human life. The life of the little poor man is a light from heaven meant to illuminate our own lives and guide us into the fire of God’s love.

Living faith, like the faith demonstrated in Francis, mediates the mystery of God’s loving plan for others. It can also open our spiritual eyes to behold God’s design in the Book of Creation, the Book of Scripture. Bonaventure writes of Francis:

“Aroused by everything to divine love, he rejoiced in all the works of the Lord’s hands and through their delightful display he rose into their life-giving reason and cause. In beautiful things he contuited Beauty itself and through the footprints impressed in things he followed his beloved everywhere, out of them all making a ladder through which he could climb up to lay hold of him who is utterly desirable”.

Bonaventure offers a lesson book by telling the story of Francis in this way. It leads the reader to the One whom Francis loved, served, imitated and became. At the center of it all we find the Crucified Christ, the Word made flesh, Love Incarnate, stretched out on the wooden altar, which is the ladder of ascent and descent. This crucified Christ is the Center of the Universe and brings about its recapitulation as He is poured out in kenosis, the Greek word for being emptied out.

Philippians 2: 1-12 records an early, perhaps even pre-Pauline hymn that is central to the entire framework of the Major Legend because it reveals the “kenosis”, the self emptying of the Second Person of the Trinity and is the very core of the response Francis made to the continual invitation he received from Jesus:

“Have among yourselves the same attitude that is also yours in Christ Jesus, Who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God something to be grasped. Rather, he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness; and found human in appearance, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross.

Because of this, God greatly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

Jesus is the living Word sent from the Father with an ongoing mission to bring all men and women – and the entire cosmos – back to the Father. He is the One through whom the world was first created and in whom it is now being re-created. This pattern of emanation and return, this recapitulation of all things in Christ, is prominent in Patristic literature, the writing of the early fathers of the undivided Christian Church.

It is also the foundation for the theology developed by Bonaventure in the Major Legend. Most importantly, it is embodied in the little Poor man who Bonaventure wants the world to see through reading the Major Legend. He compiled the Major Legend to show the world Francis, whose life is a path to follow to nuptial union with Jesus and the fullness of Trinitarian communion.

Francis teaches us, through the Book of his own life, that all men and women are called and made capable by grace to return back to the Father through the Son, by the Spirit,moving from image into likeness. In addition, that like him we bring the cosmos along as microcosm and mediator.

The Crucified Christ is embraced by Francis with a self emptying love which is so passionate and consuming that he becomes the One whom he desires. Jesus is manifested in and through Francis. Through grace he also experiences transformed human desires and cultivates the spiritualized senses of the hierarchic man. As his response to God’s invitations unfolds, Francis ultimately offered Himself with and in Christ for the sake of world. This is the fullness of the meaning of crucified and cruciform love.

The Major Legend challenges the reader to view the life of Francis as the vocation of every man and every woman who responds to the invitation of Jesus. Using words as symbols, the Seraphic Doctor shows Francis, a word walking, as a model for all of us who bear the name Christian.

Francis thus becomes a word from THE WORD, Jesus. Bonaventure was a friend and a disciple of Francis. When he looked at Francis he saw Jesus Christ. Bonaventure, like his friend Francis, was also a mystic. To him the Spirit of Francis is the Spirit of Jesus and witness to Jesus is the Spirit of Prophecy. (Revelations 19:10)

Reference to the imagery of the Book of Revelations is laced throughout the Major Legend. It was written in an age when that book and other biblical books of the apocalyptic genre were of great interest and were being used, in various ways, to interpret the times.

The full flourishing of the work of grace in Francis is the stigmata, a Divine seal imprinted in his body. The Cross revealed in the life and stigmata of Francis is the Cross of Jesus Christ, which is the ladder between heaven and earth and the altar of sacrifice upon which we are all invited to die. As the Seraphic Doctor, Bonaventure, wrote in the prologue of the Major Legend:

“The grace of God has appeared in these last days in his servant Francis to all who are truly humble and lovers of holy poverty, who, while venerating in him God’s superabundant mercy, learn by his example to reject whole heartedly ungodliness and worldly passions, to live in conformity with Christ and to thirst after blessed hope with unflagging desire.”

With these words, which incorporate St Paul’s letter to Titus 2:11, Bonaventure begins the Major Legend and lays out the challenges to the reader to follow in the footsteps of the little poor man of Assisi by walking with him up the mountain of Calvary and finding the path to transfiguration.

The Major Legend was completed by Bonaventure after his own experience on the mountain of LaVerna, the place where Francis received the wounds of Christ, the stigmata. This is the place where Bonaventure writes, “that angelic man who descended from the mountain (LaVerna) carrying with him an image of the crucified not handmade on tablets of stone or wood, but inscribed in the members of his flesh by the finger of the Living God”

The full revelation of this kind of realized eschatology in Francis became most clear to Bonaventure on La Verna. This experience, where Francis was stigmatized, was the Mount of Transfiguration in the life and ministry of Francis. There he became joined to the Transfigured Christ, who was crucified in and for love.

LaVerna is what theologians call a hermeneutic, a lens through which Francis’ life and meaning comes together for Bonaventure. The stigmata given on that Mountain is the seal confirming in the flesh of Francis the fullness of grace that was present in his life. Francis was a sign, a human sacramental of sorts, and the exemplar of evangelical perfection.

He was, by grace, transformed into Jesus the Word, thus becoming what I call a word walking. This transfiguration thus also becomes a lens through which the life, spiritual progression, holiness and ministry of Francis comes into sharp focus for Bonaventure. He has his own experience on that same mountain and is never the same.

This unique connection between the Mountain of Golgotha and the Mountain of Transfiguration is unique to Francis – and unique to the theology developed by Bonaventure. Certainly, the Mount of Transfiguration is the central place in Eastern Christian Theology with the Eastern emphasis on deification as a way to articulate the work of transforming grace. The Incarnation is viewed in the East as including the entire Christ event from conception to Ascension.

Yet, there is little or no reference to a connection between these two mountains in Eastern Christian sources. Only in the Christological anthropology developed in the work of St. Nicholas Kavasalis, a fourteenth century Byzantine layman and mystic, could we even find a hint of this kind of connection:

“It was when he mounted the cross and died and rose again that human freedom was won, that human form and beauty were created.” This is a place for further research on the synergies between Eastern and Western mystical and spiritual theology – and their meeting in Bonaventure’s theology. I hope to be able to do it.

On this Memorial of St. Francis, St. Bonaventure’s Major Legend introduces us to Francis through the Eyes of a Friend and Eye Witness.

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Full text: Pope Francis’ In-flight Press Conference from Azerbaijan

(Pope Francis speaks to journalists aboard the papal plane during the flight from Baku to Rome, Oct. 2, 2016. Credit: Alan Holdren/CNA)

Aboard the papal plane, Oct 2, 2016 / 06:08 pm (CNA/EWTN News).

During his flight from Baku, Azerbaijan to Rome on Sunday, Pope Francis gave a press conference to the journalists aboard the the papal plane. He reflected on his trip to Georgia and Azerbaijan, marriage and divorce as well as homosexuality and gender identity.

He also addressed the next consistory of cardinals, the Nobel Peace Prize, and St. John Paul II.

Please find below the full text of the press conference, translated by Catholic News Agency:

Pope Francis: Good evening and thank you very much for your work and your help. It’s true, it was a short trip, three days, but you have had a lot of work. I am at your disposition and I thank you very much for the work, and ask what you would like.

Greg Burke, Holy See press officer: Thank you, Holy Father. The first question goes to Georgia, the television presenter Ketevan Kardava.

Ketevan Kardava, Georgian Public Broadcaster: Thank you very much. Thank you, Holy Father, for your first trip to Georgia. For me it was very important to cover this visit and to follow your visit in my country. All of us citizens of Georgia are touched by your speech, and especially your photo with the Georgian Patriarch was shared thousands and thousands of times on social media. It was an encouraging visit for our very small Catholic community. After your meeting with the Georgian Patriarch, do you see grounds for future cooperation and constructive dialogue between you and the Orthodox about the doctrine we have? You told us that we have much in common, that what unites us is more than what divides. Thank you very much, I await for your answer.

Pope Francis: I had two surprises in Georgia.

One, Georgia: I’ve never imagined so much culture, so much faith, so much Christianity…It is a believing people and an ancient Christian culture! A people of so many martyrs. I discovered something that I didn’t know: the breadth of the Georgian faith.

The second surprise was the patriarch: he is a man of God. This man has moved me. I many times have found that I left with the heart and moved and full of the sensitivity of having found a man of God, truly a man of God.

And on the things that unite us and separate us, I say: don’t make us discuss things of doctrine, leave this to the theologians. They know better than we do. They discuss, and if they are good, they are good, they have good will, the theologians on one side and the other, (but) what must the people do? Pray for each other, this is important: prayer.

And second: do things together. Are there poor? We work together with the poor. There is this and that problem: we can do it together, we do together. Are there migrants? We do things together … we do good things for others, together. This we can do and this is the path of ecumenism. Not only the way of doctrine, this is the last, it comes in last. But we begin to walk together.

And with good will we can do this, you MUST do it.

Today ecumenism is to be done by walking together, praying for each other, and that theologians continue to talk to each other, to study each other … I do not know … but Georgia is wonderful, it is a land I didn’t expect, a Christian nation, but in the marrow, eh!

Tassilo Forchheimer, ARD/BR-Radio: Holy Father, after speaking with all those who can change Azerbaijan’s terrible history, what needs to happen between Armenia and Azerbaijan, what needs to happen for the arrival of a lasting peace that safeguards human rights? What are the problems and what role might His Holiness have in this?

Pope Francis: I have twice, in two discourses, spoken about this. In the last, I spoke of the role of religions in helping with this. I believe that the one way is dialogue, a sincere dialogue without things held under the table. Sincere and face to face. A sincere negotiation.

And if you cannot arrive at this, but have the courage to go to an international tribunal, go to The Hague, for example, and submit to an international judgement. I do not see another path!

The other way is war, and war always destroys; with war all is lost. And Christians also pray, pray for peace, because these hearts … this path of dialogue, of negotiation or of going to an international tribunal, but they can’t have problems like this.

Think that the three Caucasus nations have problems: Georgia also has a problem with Russia, I don’t know much, but it’s greater … but it has a problem that can grow, it’s an unknown. And Armenia is a nation with open borders, it has problems with Azerbaijan and should go to an international tribunal if dialogue and negotiation is a no-go. There is no other path. And prayer, prayer for peace.

Maria Elena Ribezzo, La Presse: Your Holiness, good evening. Yesterday you spoke of a ‘world war’ going on against marriage and in this war you used very strong words against divorce, you said it dirties the image of God, while in previous months during the synod there was talk of a welcome towards divorced persons. I wanted to know if these approaches are reconciled and how.

Pope Francis: Yes. Everything is contained, everything that I said yesterday, using other words — because yesterday I spoke off-the-cuff and with a bit of emotion — may be found in Amoris laetitia, everything!

When we speak of marriage as the union of a man and a woman — as God made them — as the image of God, it is man and woman. The image of God is not a man. It is a man with a woman. Together. Who are one flesh when they join in marriage. This is the truth.

It is true that in this culture conflicts and many problems are not well managed, and there are even philosophies of “today I do this” [get married],  when I get tired (of it) I will make another, (marriage), then I will make a third, then I will make a fourth.”

And this is that ‘world war’ that you are alluding to against marriage.We must be careful not to allow these ideas to enter into us. But before anything else: marriage is the image of God, a man and a woman becoming one flesh. When you destroy this, you “make dirty” or disfigure the image of God.

Then, Amoris laetitia speaks about how to deal with these cases, how to treat the wounded families, and this is where mercy comes into play.

There is a beautiful prayer of the Church that we prayed last week. It said this: “God, who so marvelously has created the world and even more marvelously has recreated it, that is, with redemption and with mercy.

The wounded marriage, couples who are wounded: there mercy enters in. The principle is that, but human weaknesses exist, sins exist, and always the last word is not spoken by weakness, the last word is never spoken by sin.

Mercy has the last word.

I like to tell —  I do not know if I told you, because I repeat it so much — that in the Church of St. Mary Magdalen in Vezelay (France), there is a beautiful capital, but it is more or less from the 13th century. The medievals  used the sculptures of their cathedrals for catechesis. On one side of the capital there is Judas, hanged, with his tongue out, and eyes (bulging) out, and on the other side of the capital there is Jesus, the Good Shepherd, who takes (Judas) and carries him with him.

And if we look closely, the face of Jesus, the lips of Jesus, are sad on the one hand, but with a small smile of understanding on the other. These people had come to understand what mercy is! With Judas!

And for this reason, in Amoris laetitia marriage is spoken of, the foundation of marriage is spoken of, as it is … but then come the problems. How to prepare oneself for marriage, how to bring up the children…

And then, in Chapter Eight, when the problems come, how you solve them.You solve them using four criteria: welcome wounded families, accompany, discern each case and integrate it, make it again.

This would be the way to collaborate in this “second creation,” in this wonderful “re-creation” that the Lord has accomplished through redemption. Do you understand now?

Yes, if you take just one side, it doesn’t work!

Amoris laetitia — this is what I want to say — everyone goes to the 8th chapter. No, no. You have to read from the beginning to the end. And what is the center? Well… each one can decide. For me the center, the core of Amoris laetitia is Chapter IV, which remains valid for all of life. But you have to read it all and re-read it all and discuss it all. It’s all a single whole. There is sin, there is rupture, but there is also mercy, redemption, healing. Have I made myself clear on this?

Josh McElwee, National Catholic Reporter: Thank you, Holy Father. In that same speech yesterday in Georgia, you spoke, as in so many other countries, about gender theory, saying that it is a great enemy and a threat against marriage. But, I would like to ask you, what would you say to someone who has struggled with their sexuality for years and feels that there is truly a problem of biology, that his aspect doesn’t correspond to what he or she feels is their sexual identity. You, as a pastor and minister, how would you accompany these people?

Pope Francis: First of all: in my life as a priest and bishop, even as Pope, I have accompanied people with homosexual tendencies, I have also met homosexual persons, accompanied them, brought them closer to the Lord, as an apostle, and I have never abandoned them.

People must be accompanied as Jesus accompanies them, when a person who has this condition arrives before Jesus, Jesus surely doesn’t tell them “go away because you are homosexual.”

What I said concerns that wickedness which today is done in the indoctrination of gender theory. A French father told me that he was speaking with his children at the table, he and his wife were Catholics, “rosewater Catholics,” real Catholics! And he asked his 10-year-old son: “What do you want to be when you grow up?” — “A girl.” The father realized that in the school books they were teaching him gender theory. And this is against the natural things.

One thing is that a person has this tendency, this condition and there are those who even change their sex, but it’s another thing to teach this in schools in order to change the mentality. This is what I call ideological colonization.

Last year I received a letter from a Spaniard who told me his story as a child, a young man, he was a girl, a girl who suffered so much because he felt he felt like a boy, but was physically a girl. He told his mother and the mom…(the girl) was around 22 years old said that she would like to do the surgical intervention and all of those things. And the mother said not to do it while she was still alive. She was elderly and she died soon after. She had the surgery and an employee of a ministry in the city of Spain went to the bishop, who accompanied (this person) a lot. Good bishop. I spent time accompanying this man.

Then (the man) got married, he changed his civil identity, got married and wrote me a letter saying that for him it would be a consolation to come with his wife, he who was she, but him! I received them: they were happy and in the neighborhood where he lived there was an elderly priest in his 80s, an elderly pastor who left the parish and helped the sisters in the parish. And there was the new (priest). When the new one he would yell from the sidewalk: ‘you’ll go to hell!’ When (the new priest) came across the old one, he would say: ‘How long has it been since you confessed? Come, come, let’s to so that I can confess you and you can receive communion.’ Understood?

Life is life and things must be taken as they come. Sin is sin. And tendencies or hormonal imbalances have many problems and we must be careful not to say “It’s all the same, let’s go party.” No, this no. But each case, receive it, accompany it, study it, discern it and integrate it. This is what Jesus would do today!

Please don’t say: “The Pope sanctifies transgenders.” Please, eh! Because I see the covers of the papers.

Is there any doubt as to what I said? I want to be clear! It’s a moral problem. It’s a human problem. And it must be resolved in whatever way is best, always with the mercy of God, with the truth, as we said in the case of marriage, by reading all of Amoris Laetitia, but always with openness, always with an open heart. And don’t forget that column carving in Vézelay — it’s very beautiful, eh! Very beautiful.

Gianni Cardinale, Avvenire: Two questions, one public and one personal. The personal one, tied to my name: When will you make new cardinals and to what criteria are you aspiring in choosing? And the second, public one, as an Italian: when will you go to meet the earthquake victims and what will be the characteristics of this trip?

Pope Francis: For the second, there are three possible dates that have been proposed. Two are countable and I don’t remember them well but the third I remember well, the first Sunday of Advent. I’ve said that when I return I’ll choose the date. There are three. I need to choose. And I’ll do it privately, alone, as a priest, as a bishop, as Pope, but alone, that’s how I want to do it. I would like to feel, to be close to the people. But I still don’t know how.

About the cardinals. The criteria will be the same as the other two consistories, a little bit of everywhere as the Church is everywhere in the world. Yes, perhaps I am still studying the names…maybe there will be three from one continent and two from another… or one from another part, and another from another. One from one country. But it’s unknown. The list is long but there are only 13 spots. We need to think about how to balance it out. But I’d like to show the universality of the Church in the cardinals’ college, not just the, let’s say, European center. A little bit of everywhere. The 5 continents, if we can.

Cardinale: Is there already a date?

Pope Francis: No, we don’t know. I need to study the list and the date. Then, it could be at the end of the year or the beginning of next year. At the end of the year, there is the problem of the Holy Year, but that can be resolved. Or, it could be at the beginning of next year. But, it will be soon.

Aura Vistas Miguel, Radio Renascenca: Holy Father, good evening. My question is about your schedule for trips outside of Italy, in 3 parts. You said in recent days to Argentinians that your agenda is very full and you even spoke of Africa and Asia. I would like to know which countries. There’s also a colleague her from Colombia who awaits you there, naturally, and I’m from Portugal and there we await you. About Portugal, when will it be, the 12th and 13th, Lisbon and Fatima?

Pope Francis: It’s sure that up until today that I’ll be going to Portugal and I’ll go only to Fatima. Up to today. Because there’s a problem. This Holy Year, the ad limina visits have been suspended. Next year, I have to do this year’s ad limina visits and next year’s. There’s little space for trips.

But I’ll go to Portugal. And India and Bangladesh, almost for certain. In Africa, the place still isn’t sure. Everything depends both on the weather, in which month because if it’s in Northwest Africa it’s one thing, if it’s in the Southeast, it’s another. And it also depends on the political situation, the wars there. But there are possibilities. Think about Africa.

In America, I said that when the peace process comes out, I would like to go. When everything is locked in. When the plebiscite wins. When everything is absolutely certain, when they can’t turn back. That is, when the whole world nationally and internationally are all in agreement that they won’t make recourse. If it’s like that, I could go. But if the thing is unstable, no.

Everything depends on what the people say. The people are sovereign. We’re more used to looking at the democratic forms than the sovereignty of the people and both need to go together. For example, a habit has come about in some continents where when he finishes the second term, whoever is in government tries to change the constitution to get a third. This is overestimating of the so-called “democracy” against the sovereignty of the people, which is in the constitution. Everything depends on that.

The peace process will be resolved today in part with the voice of the people, which is sovereign. Whatever the people say, I think should be done.

Vistas Miguel: And Fatima will be the 12?

Pope Francis: Until now the 13. But it could be, I don’t know…

Jean-Marie Guenois, Le Figaro: Thank you, Holy Father. A question about the trips, why didn’t you speak in your answer about China? Why are the reasons why you, as Pope, cannot have a ticket for Beijing? Is it a reason internal to the Church in China? Is it an issue between the Church in China and the Chinese government? Or, is the reason an issue between the Vatican and the Chinese government? And, if you allow me, I would like to pose a recent question, because some hours ago Mons. Lebrun, the archbishop of Rouen, announced that you have authorized the commencement of the process of beatification of Fr. Hamel, skipping the regular waiting period of five years. Why this decision? Thanks.

Pope Francis: On the latter, I’ve spoken with Cardinal Amato and we will carry out the studies and he will give the final news. But, the intention is to go on this line, to make the necessary research and to see if there are the motives to do it.

Guenois: He announced that the process has opened.

Pope Francis: No, witness must be sought to open the process. Not losing the witnesses is really important, because the fresh witnesses are those who have seen the people. After a little bit of time, some die, some lose their memory … In Latin, you say “ne perdeat provationem.”

On China, you know the story of China and the Church. The patriotic Church, the underground Church, but we’re working and we’re in good relations. We’re studying and speaking. There are working commissions. I’m an optimist. Now, I believe the Vatican Museums made an exposition in China. The Chinese will make another in the Vatican. There are so many professors that go to attend school in the Chinese universities. So many sisters, so many priests that can work well there.   But the relations between the Vatican and China has to be fixed once and we’re speaking about this slowly but slow things always go well. Fast things don’t go well. The Chinese nation has my highest esteem. The day before yesterday, for example, there was a congress – two days, I believe – in the academy of sciences on Laudato Si. And there was a Chinese delegation from the president there too. And the Chinese president sent me a gift. They are good relations.

Guenois: But still no trip?

Pope Francis: I would like to but I don’t think so yet.

Juan Vicente Boo, ABC: Thank you, Holy Father. In the Spanish language group we have seen that the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize will be announced Oct. 7. There are more than 300 nominations. An example: the people of Lesbos for what they have done in favor of the refugees or the white helmets of Syria, these volunteers who pull people out of the rubble after bombings – they have pulled 60,000 people out at the price of 130 of their own lives…or even President Santos of Colombia and the commander of the FARC, Timochenko, who signed the peace accord…and many others. Now the question: who is your preferred candidate and which are the people or organizations who merit (the award) due to the work they do?

Pope Francis: There are a lot of people who live to make war, to sell arms, to kill…there are many…but there are also many people who work for peace…many, many, many. I wouldn’t know which. To choose among so many people who today work for peace is very difficult. You mentioned some groups and there are more. But it seems there is always a restlessness in giving the peace prize. I with that also on an international level, leaving the Nobel Peace Prize aside, there would be a remembrance, a recognition, a declaration on the children, the disabled, the minors who have died under the bombs. I believe that is a sin, it’s a sin against Jesus Christ, but humanity needs to say something about the victims of war. For those who make peace, Jesus has said they are blessed in the beatitudes, the workers of peace. But the victims of war: we must say something and become aware. That they throw the children in a hospital and then a bomb and they die, 30-40 in a school…and this is a tragedy of our days. Thank you.

John Jeremiah Sullivan, New York Times Magazine: Holy Father, as you know the United States is nearing the end of a long presidential campaign that has been very ugly and has received much attention in the world. Many American Catholics and people of conscience are struggling with how to choose between two candidates, one of whom diverts from some aspects of the Church’s teaching and the other of whom has made statements vilifying immigrants and religious minorities. How would you counsel the faithful in America and what wisdom would you have them keep in mind next month when the election occurs?

Pope Francis: You pose me a question where you describe a difficult choice, because, according to you, you have difficulty in one and you have difficulty in the other. In electoral campaigns, I never say a word. The people are sovereign. I’ll just say a word: Study the proposals well, pray and choose in conscience. Then, I’ll leave the issue and I speak of a fiction, because I don’t want to speak to this concrete issue. When it happens that in whatever country here are 2, 3, 4 candidates that no one likes, that means that the political life of the nation perhaps is too politicized but perhaps it doesn’t have that much politics. And,one of the jobs of the church, also in the teaching in the (university) faculties, is teaching to have political culture. There are nations, and I’m thinking of Latin America, which are too politicized. But, they don’t have political culture. They are from this party, or this one or this one. Effectively, (they are) without a clear thought on the foundations, the proposals.

Burke: Thank you Holy Father. And now there is Caroline Pigozzi. Here we are…

Caroline Pigozzi, Paris Match: Holiness, good evening. I couldn’t ask this question before. The testimony of the story is more important than the will of a Pope according to you. Let me explain: Pope Wojtyla left in his will that all of his most important documents and many letters would be burned, but were later put into a book. It means that the will of a Pope was perhaps not respected. I want to know what you think. And then, the second question is easier and I would like to know by what miracle you, who extend your hand to so many people every week, still don’t have tendonitis: how do you do it? President Chirac shakes hands, he puts on a band-aid…

Pope Francis: Ah yes? I still don’t have it, I don’t feel tendonitis…and first you say the Pope who sends documents to be burned, letters…but this is the right of every man and every woman, they have the right to do it before their death…

Pigozzi: But Pope Wojtyla wasn’t respected…

Pope Francis: Whoever didn’t respect, whoever is guilty I don’t know. I don’t know the case well. But each person, when someone says, ‘this must be destroyed,’ is because it’s something concrete…but perhaps there is a copy in another area and he didn’t know that and…but it’s the right of each person to make a will as he wishes

Pigozzi: Also the Pope, but he was not respected…

Pope Francis: But many people are respected in their will…

Pigozzi: Yes, but the Pope is more important…

Pope Francis: No, the Pope is a sinner like others…

Burke: The Pope said there is space for another question, but there is no one else on my list and I would like to say that today you have responded to a question: why make these trips to places where there are very few Catholics? We liked (the answer), and we don’t think it’s a waste of your time. We make these short and intense trips, but if you want to make a long relaxing trip we can do it…

Pope Francis: This was asked of me after the first trip, it was in Albania: “Why did you choose to go to Albania for your first European trip, a nation that isn’t in the European Union?” Then, I went to Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, which is not in the European Union. The first nation of the European Union I went to was Greece, the island of Lesbos. It was the first. Why make trip to these countries? But these three are the Caucasus, these three, the three presidents came to the Vatican to invite me, and strongly.

All three have a different religious attitude: the Armenians are proud of – this without offending, eh – proud of the Armenianism. And, they have a history and they are Christians in their great majority, but almost all of them… Apostolic Christians, Catholic Christians and a few Evangelical Christians… few!

Georgia is a Christian nation, totally Christian, but Orthodox. The Catholics are few. But just a bit, but they are Orthodox.

On the other hand, Azerbaijan is a nation which I believe is 96-97 percent Muslim. I don’t know how many inhabitants it has because I said 2 million but I think it’s 20, right? Around 10. Around 10. Around 10 million. The Catholics are 600 at the most, very few. And why go there? For the Catholics, to go out to the periphery of a Catholic community, which is precisely in the periphery, which is small and today at Mass I told them that they reminded me of the peripheral community of Jerusalem closed in the cenacle, awaiting the Holy Spirit, waiting to be able to grow, to go out… it’s small… it’s not persecuted, no! Because in Azerbaijan there is a great religious respect, a great religious liberty…. This is true. I said it today in the speech.

And also these three countries are peripheral countries, like Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina and I’ve told you: reality is understood better and is seen better from the peripheries than from the center. And that’s why I choose there. But this doesn’t take away the possibility of going to some great country like Portugal, France, I don’t know. We’ll see…

Thanks so much for your work and now rest up a bit and have a good dinner… and pray for me!

Burke: Thanks, Holiness.

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Pope Francis calls woman with sex-change operation a ‘man’ and calls partners ‘married’

francis-with-transgenderweb_810_500_55_s_c1From LifeSiteNews, 3rd October 2016:

Despite the Vatican’s assertion that a so-called sex-change surgery does not alter the sex of a person, Pope Francis has nevertheless chosen to refer to a woman who underwent a sex-change operation as a “man,” and also referred to her as having “married” another woman and admitted to receiving them in the Vatican last year.

As with most of his most controversial remarks, the statements came during an in-flight press scrum. On October 2, on his return flight from his papal visit to Georgia and Azerbaijan, the Pope referred to a woman who “felt like a man” but “was physically a young woman.” After a sex-change surgery in her twenties, Pope Francis said, “he got married.”

“He wrote me a letter saying that, for him, it would be a consolation to come [see me] with his wife,” the pope said. “I received them and they were very happy,” Pope Francis added. Clarifying his use of pronouns, the pope said, “He that was her but is he.” (translation by Josh McElwee, the NCR reporter who asked the question)

Pope Francis drew a distinction between his frequent condemnation of teaching ‘gender theory’ to young children in classrooms and welcoming, accompanying, and integrating a person who has “this tendency” and even has “a sex change.”

The meeting of the Pope with the woman with the sex-change surgery and her female partner took place in January 2015 and while it was widely reported in the media with photos, the Vatican refused comment. The woman, now called Diego Neria Lejarraga, said the pope had surprised her by calling her twice out of the blue in December 2014. Neria had written to Francis complaining of rejection from the local parish after she had undergone “gender reassignment.”

Neria said that it was Pope Francis who asked for the meeting, telling her that he would make the arrangement and call her back. Francis welcomed the two into his private suite at Domus Santa Marta to what she said was a “strictly private meeting.”

In her letter to the Pope, Neria had specifically noted that she felt excluded from the Church because of her decision, and that she was now “afraid” to receive Communion. She did not tell the media what the pope said on the matter, only mentioning that he embraced her. However, Pope Francis’ own recollection of the matter deals with Communion.

The Pope spoke of an old retired priest who welcomed Neria and a young new pastor who was harsh. “When the new pastor would see him, he would shout to him from the sidewalk: ‘You will go to Hell.'” Francis said. “But when he’d meet his old priest, he would say to him, ‘How long has it been since you’ve confessed? Come on, confess so you can take Communion.’” (translation by the US Bishops’ Catholic News Service)

In 2000, the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith issued confidential guidance to bishops noting that ‘sex-change’ procedures do not alter a person’s gender. The document instructed bishops never to alter the sex listed in parish baptismal records and said Catholics who have undergone “sex-change” procedures are not eligible to marry because in the eyes of the Church they would be marrying someone of the same sex.
literal translation of the Pope’s full remarks and the question issued by Catholic News Agency follows:

Josh McElwee, National Catholic Reporter: Thank you, Holy Father. In that same speech yesterday in Georgia, you spoke, as in so many other countries about gender theory, saying that it is a great enemy and a threat against marriage. But, I would like to ask you, what would you say to someone who has struggled with their sexuality for years and feels that there is truly a problem of biology, that his aspect doesn’t correspond to what he or she feels is their sexual identity. You, as a pastor and minister, how would you accompany these people?

Pope Francis: First of all: in my life as a priest and bishop, even as Pope, I have accompanied people with homosexual tendencies, I have also met homosexual persons, accompanied them, brought them closer to the Lord, as an apostle, and I have never abandoned them. People must be accompanied as Jesus accompanies them, when a person who has this condition arrives before Jesus, Jesus surely doesn’t tell them ‘go away because you are homosexual.’ What I said is that wickedness which today is done in the indoctrination of gender theory…a French father told me that he was speaking with his children at the table, he and his wife were Catholics, ‘rosewater Catholics,’ but Catholics! And he asked his 10-year-old son: ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’- ‘a girl.’ The father realized that at school they were teaching him gender theory, and this is against the natural things. One thing is that a person has this tendency, this condition and even changes their sex, but it’s another thing to teach this in line in schools in order to change the mentality. This is what I call ideological colonization. Last year I received a letter from a Spaniard who told me his story as a child, a young man, he was a girl, a girl who suffered so much because he felt he felt like a boy, but was physically a girl. He told his mother and the mom…(the girl) was around 22 years old said that she would like to do the surgical intervention and all of those things. And the mother said not to do it while she was still alive. She was elderly and she died soon after. She had the surgery and an employee of a ministry in the city of Spain went to the bishop, who accompanied (this person) a lot. Good bishop. I spent time accompanying this man. Then (the man) got married, he changed his civil identity, got married and wrote me a letter saying that for him it would be a consolation to come with his wife, he who was she, but him! I received them: they were happy and in the neighborhood where he lived there was an elderly priest in his 80s, an elderly pastor who left the parish and helped the sisters in the parish. And there was the new (priest). When the new one he would yell from the sidewalk: ‘you’ll go to hell!’ When he (CNA suggests this refers to the new priest but CNS and NCR suggest it refers to the woman) came across the old one, he would say: ‘How long has it been since you confessed? Come, come, let’s to so that I can confess you and you can receive communion.’ Understood? (emphasis LifeSite)

Life is life and things must be taken as they come. Sin is sin. And tendencies or hormonal imbalances have many problems and we must be careful not to say that everything is the same. Let’s go party. No, that no, but in every case I accept it, I accompany it, I study it, I discern it and I integrate it. This is what Jesus would do today! Please don’t say: ‘the Pope sanctifies transgenders.’ Please, eh! Because I see the covers of the papers. Is there any doubt as to what I said? I want to be clear! It’s moral problem. It’s a human problem and it must be resolved always can be with the mercy of God, with the truth like we spoke about in the case of marriage by reading all of Amoris Laetitia, but always with an open heart. And don’t forget that chapter Vézelay, it’s very beautiful, eh! Very beautiful.

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