Reflection for the 7th Sunday of Easter-Cycle B, 2018

Image result for Jesus praying sending his spirit

FIRST READING            Acts of the Apostles 1:15-17, 20a, 20c-26

Peter stood up in the midst of the brothers—there was a group of about one hundred and twenty persons in the one place–He said, “My brothers, the Scripture had to be fulfilled which the Holy Spirit spoke beforehand through the mouth of David, concerning Judas, who was the guide for those who arrested Jesus.  He was numbered among us and was allotted a share in this ministry.  “For it is written in the Book of Psalms:  May another take his office.  “Therefore, it is necessary that one of the men who accompanied us the whole time the Lord Jesus came and went among us, beginning from the baptism of John until the day on which he was taken up from us, become with us a witness to his resurrection.”  So they proposed two, Judas called Barabbas, who was also known as Justus, and Matthias.  Then they prayed, “You, Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which one of these two you have chosen to take the place in this apostolic ministry from which Judas turned away to go to his own place.”  Then they gave lots to them, and the lot fell upon Matthias, and he was counted with the eleven apostles.

SECOND READING                  1 John 4:11-16

Beloved, if God so loved us, we also must love one another.  No one has ever seen God.  Yet, if we love one another, God remains in us, and his love is brought to perfection in us.  This is how we know that we remain in him and he in us, that he has given us of his Spirit.  Moreover, we have seen and testify that the Father sent his Son as savior of the world.  Whoever acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God remains in him and he in God.  We have come to know and to believe in the love God has for us.  God is love, and whoever remains in love remains in God and God in him.

GOSPEL                John 17:11b-19

Lifting up his eyes to heaven, Jesus prayed saying:  “Holy Father, keep them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one just as we are one.  When I was with them I protected them in your name that you gave me, and I guarded them, and none of them was lost except the son of destruction, in order that the Scripture might be fulfilled.  But now I am coming to you.  I speak this in the world so that they may share my joy completely.  I gave them your word, and the world hated them, because they do not belong to the world any ore than I belong to the world.  I do not ask that you take them out of the world but that you keep them from the evil one.  They do not belong to the world any more than I belong to the world.  Consecrate them in the truth.  Your word is truth.  As you sent me into the world, so I sent them into the world.  And I consecrate myself for them, so that they also may be consecrated in truth.”

My sisters and brothers in the Lord,

The Lord has ascended and now prepares to send the Holy Spirit upon us with power.  We must have hearts that are open to receive this power of the Holy Spirit.  We must have hearts that believe deeply in Jesus Christ and in his Holy Church.  We want to be transformed more completely so that God’s glory may be seen on earth.

The first reading today is from the Acts of the Apostles.  The followers of Jesus are now replacing the Judas who betrayed Jesus.  There is a sense that the group of Twelve Apostles must remain as a group of twelve and so Judas who betrayed Jesus must be replaced.  Later this sense of the group of twelves transforms itself into the bishops of the Church.  Then it is no longer just twelve, but all who share the same burden as the twelve:  that of being shepherds of the various parts of the Church.

The second reading today is from the First Letter of Saint John.  It should not surprise us at all that this section of the First Letter of Saint John is about loving one another.  Saint John tells us:  “If we love one another, God remains in us, and his love is brought to perfection in us.”  If we love one another….  That is the constant theme:  love one another.  How do we know that we love one another?  We know that we love one another because He has given us His Spirit.  This is why we await the great celebration of Pentecost.  We want to celebrate once more that Jesus has given us His Spirit and in that Spirit we have the power to love one another.

Today’s Gospel is from Saint John.  Saint John tells us today:  “May they be one just as we are one.”  That is so strong that we can hardly believe it.  The Father and the Son are ONE.  Jesus wants us to be one with one another.  It sounds so wonderful, but when we look at other people, we are never sure that we want to be one with them.  Our human reality pushes up against divinity and often we choose our human reality instead of choosing divinity!

Only the Spirit of God can transform us and truly make us one.  Only when we choose to live in the Spirit can we choose to live in truth.  Only be asking the Spirit to be in our lives and to guide our lives can we truly be followers of the Lord Jesus.  We want to live in truth and we can only do that when we call on the Spirit to transform us totally in this life.  Come, Holy Spirit!

Your brother in the Lord,

Abbot Philip

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Irish ‘Obstetrician of the Year’ strongly defends the pro-life Eighth Amendment

From LifeSiteNews: 

Dublin, Ireland, May 9, 2018

An honored Irish OB/GYN has defended the endangered Eighth Amendment, saying it has never threatened the life and health of pregnant Irish women.

Mr Trevor Hayes, the consultant named Ireland’s “Obstetrician of the Year” by Maternity & Infant magazine in 2009 and 2013, spoke earlier this month at a Dublin press conference called by the pro-Eighth Amendment “Love Both Project”

In Ireland, as in the United Kingdom, a specialist uses “Mr” and not “Dr” as a courtesy title.

The veteran of a 20-year career in medicine, Hayes attacked the false narrative that the Eighth Amendment endangers Irish women:

“In my many years of medical practice, I have never been prevented by the Eighth Amendment from doing everything necessary to fully care for women and to fully protect them in my practice,” he said.

“Any suggestion that Irish doctors cannot intervene to protect women is deliberately misinforming the Irish public and creating unnecessary fears,” Hayes continued. “I’ve never gambled with the lives of my patients. I’ve never lost a mother. The Eighth Amendment has never prevented me from doing my job to the best of my ability.”

Hayes said professional guidelines for obstetricians are very clear that they may “intervene” to protect the life of a mother. Doctors do not even have to wait until the threat to life is imminent. Meanwhile, he is “concerned” about the untruths being reported about the state of mother’s health services in Ireland.

“I am very concerned that recent weeks have seen significant and untrue public statements about the practice of maternal healthcare in this country,” he said. “No doctor doing their job properly would wait until there is an immediate and critical threat to a pregnant woman’s life before acting to protect the woman, the Eighth Amendment does not stop me from doing my job. Never has and never will.”

The veteran consultant stated that if the Eighth Amendment were to be abolished, 99 percent of the ensuing abortions would not be done to preserve the mother’s life.

“If repeal were to happen, 99 percent of abortions would take place for any reason at all or on supposed mental health grounds. That’s the reality based on what has happened in other countries, but you wouldn’t think it based on how the present debate is being conducted,” he said.

The Eighth Amendment to the Irish Constitution guarantees the right to life of the unborn child. After years of criticism by the UN for Ireland’s pro-life stand, the Irish government is holding a national referendum vote on May in an attempt to abolish the Eighth Amendment.

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A Profitable Week – Part One

I recently suffered a major health crisis which scared the bejeepers out of me. My colleagues rallied round and I was soon on the mend. My physical ill-health mirrored my spiritual ill-being. To be honest, I was in a bit of an overall mess, but I then found myself with a whole week of free time to spare. This is how I spent it.

With my wife’s blessing I drove to London to stay with a friend from schooldays. He is now a parish priest, and he has a little apartment in his presbytery in which I shacked up for the duration. Suddenly, I was in the continuous company of both a wise and lovable pastor, and also the Blessed Sacrament.

My spiritual health immediately began to improve. I first made a good Confession, and then received Holy Communion at the Friday evening Mass.

My host then fed me with a rake of seafood pasta-he’s an excellent cook too. After my illness and the long drive, I was exhausted and went to bed early to sleep like one of the just. Remarkably, I had no bad dreams that night, at all.

The next morning, after Mass, I headed up into town to join the “March for Life”, which first assembled near Holborn and then proceeded through Covent Garden, Trafalgar Square, and Whitehall, before reassembling at Parliament Square. It is hard to gauge numbers but estimates of 1200-4000 were later bandied about. What is certain is that central London was choked up by the passing of our ruly joyful mob for about three quarters of an hour.

I took some video shots on my phone but also listened to and watched the reactions of people in the street. They were mostly genuinely interested, but I did hear some naysayers speaking with coarse and nasty voices.

“How dare they bring little children on a political demonstration like this….”

“…As if there weren’t enough bloody people on the planet already…”

(Those are the most printable comments at least).

At Parliament Square we were treated to a counter demonstration of perhaps 50 shrill and silly young women with unnaturally coloured hair (mostly) chanting vicious nonsense anti-life slogans. We easily overwhelmed them with our goodwill and non-combativeness. Our spirit was just too strong. Staring agape at them, I remarked to the guy next to me that there seemed to be more children on our side than theirs. It made him laugh.

Then there were some speeches to be made, but I had to retire from the melee as I was fatigued and dehydrated by the burning sunshine, and had also promised to meet my youngest son in Oxford for a burger and some shandy. Train and car got me there eventually.

To be continued…

WordPress won’t let me upload my video so here is a link to the short movie:

https://drive.google.com/open?id=1thFmt3X6HzbqNGOU8hJpWIXtZ7Q09v3R

 

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Cardinal Eijk: Pope Francis Needed to Give Clarity on Intercommunion

Although this important letter from Cardinal Eijk recently appeared on CP&S within a longer piece by Fr Z, here it is again for greater prominence:

From the National Catholic Register:

COMMENTARY: Failure to give German bishops proper directives, based on the clear doctrine and practice of the Church, points to a drift towards apostasy from the truth.

The German bishops’ conference voted by a large majority in favor of directives which entail that a Protestant married to a Catholic may receive the Eucharist after meeting a number of conditions: he must have carried out an examination of conscience with a priest or with another person with pastoral responsibilities; he must have affirmed the faith of the Catholic Church, as well as having wished to put an end to “serious spiritual distress” and to have a “desire to satisfy a longing for the Eucharist.”

Seven members of the German bishops’ conference voted against these directives and sought the opinion of some dicasteries of the Roman Curia. The consequence was that a delegation from the German bishops’ conference spoke in Rome with a delegation from the Roman Curia, including the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

The response of the Holy Father, given through the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to the delegation of the German Conference, that the Conference should discuss the drafts again and try to achieve a unanimous result, if possible, is completely incomprehensible. The Church’s doctrine and practice regarding the administration of the Sacrament of the Eucharist to Protestants is perfectly clear. The Code of Canon Law says about this:

“If the danger of death is present or if, in the judgment of the diocesan bishop or conference of bishops, some other grave necessity urges it, Catholic ministers administer these same sacraments licitly also to other Christians not having full communion with the Catholic Church, who cannot approach a minister of their own community and who seek such on their own accord, provided that they manifest Catholic faith in respect to these sacraments and are properly disposed.” C.I.C./1983, can. 844 § 4 (cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) no. 1400).

This therefore applies only to emergencies, especially where there is a risk of death.

Intercommunion is, in principle, only possible with Orthodox Christians, because the Eastern Churches, although not in full communion with the Catholic Church, have true sacraments and above all, by virtue of their apostolic succession, a valid priesthood and a valid Eucharist (CCC no 1400, C.I.C./1983 can. 844, § 3). Their faith in the priesthood, in the Eucharist and also in the Sacrament of Penance is equal to that of the Catholic Church.

However, Protestants do not share faith in the priesthood and the Eucharist. Most German Protestants are Lutheran. Lutherans believe in consubstantiation, which implies the conviction that, in addition to the Body or Blood of Christ, bread and wine are also present when someone receives them. If someone receives the bread and wine without believing this, the Body and Blood of Christ are not really present. Outside this moment of receiving them, there remains only the bread and wine and the body and blood of Christ are not present.

Obviously, the Lutheran doctrine of consubstantiation differs essentially from the Catholic doctrine of transubstantiation, which implies the faith that what is received under the figures of bread and wine, even if administered to someone who does not believe in transubstantiation and even outside the moment of administration, remains the Body or Blood of Christ and that it is no longer the substances of bread and wine.

Because of these essential differences, communion should not be administered to a Protestant, even if married to a Catholic, because the Protestant does not live in full communion with the Catholic Church and, therefore, does not explicitly share faith in her Eucharist. The differences between faith in consubstantiation and that of transubstantiation are so great that one must really demand that someone who wishes to receive Communion explicitly and formally enters into full communion with the Catholic Church (except in case of danger of death) and in this way explicitly confirms his acceptance of the faith of the Catholic Church, including the Eucharist. A private examination of conscience with a priest or with another person with pastoral responsibilities does not give sufficient guarantees that the person involved really accepts the faith of the Church. By accepting it [the Eucharist], the person can, however, do only one thing: enter into full communion with the Catholic Church.

The draft directives of the German bishops’ conference suggest there are only a few cases of Protestants, married to Catholics, who would like to receive Communion by making use of these directives. However, experience shows that in practice these numbers will generally increase. Protestants who are married to Catholics and see other Protestants married to Catholics receiving Communion will think they can do the same. And in the end even Protestants unmarried to Catholics will want to receive it. The general experience with this type of adjustment is that the criteria are quickly extended.

Now the Holy Father has informed the delegation of the German episcopal conference that it must discuss again the draft proposals for a pastoral document on, among other things, administering Communion, and try to find unanimity. Unanimity about what? Assuming that all members of the German bishops’ conference, after having discussed them again, unanimously decide that Communion can be administered to Protestants married to a Catholic (something that will not happen), will this — while being contrary to what the Code of Canon Law and the Catechism of the Catholic Church say in this regard — become the new practice in the Catholic Church in Germany? The practice of the Catholic Church, based on her faith, is not determined and does not change statistically when a majority of an episcopal conference votes in favor of it, not even if unanimously.

What the Code of Canon Law and the Catechism of the Catholic Church say should have been the reaction of the Holy Father, who is, as the Successor of Saint Peter “the perpetual and visible principle and foundation of unity of both the bishops and of the faithful” (Lumen Gentium no. 23). The Holy Father should have given the delegation of the German episcopal conference clear directives, based on the clear doctrine and practice of the Church. He should have also responded on this basis to the Lutheran woman who asked him on November 15, 2015 if she could receive Communion with her Catholic spouse, saying that this is not acceptable instead of suggesting she could receive Communion on the basis of her being baptized, and in accordance with her conscience. By failing to create clarity, great confusion is created among the faithful and the unity of the Church is endangered. This is also the case with cardinals who publicly propose to bless homosexual relationships, something which is diametrically opposed to the doctrine of the Church, founded on Sacred Scripture, that marriage, according to the order of creation, exists only between a man and a woman.

Observing that the bishops and, above all, the Successor of Peter fail to maintain and transmit faithfully and in unity the deposit of faith contained in Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture, I cannot help but think of Article 675 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

“The Church’s ultimate trial

Before Christ’s second coming the Church must pass through a final trial that will shake the faith of many believers. The persecution that accompanies her pilgrimage on earth will unveil the ‘mystery of iniquity’ in the form of a religious deception offering men an apparent solution to their problems at the price of apostasy from the truth.”

+Willem Jacobus Cardinal Eijk

Archbishop of Utrecht, Netherlands

Utrecht, 5 May 2018

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German Bishop: Pope Francis Has Clearly Hinted Support for Intercommunion Proposal

By Edward Pentin at the Nactional Catholic Register:
MAY. 10, 2018

Archbishop Stefan Hesse of Hamburg, Germany. (IlSismografo)

A German bishop has said he believes Pope Francis has given a clear nod of approval to the German episcopal conference’s controversial proposal which would allow some Protestant spouses to receive Holy Communion.

Archbishop Stefan Hesse of Hamburg told a plenary meeting of the Central Committee of German Catholics (ZdK), the largest group of lay Catholics in Germany, that the Pope has given “a clear Richtungswink” on the issue. A Richtungswink is a German expression that means “hint about a direction.”

Archbishop Hesse also said at the Tuesday meeting that, in his view, the Pope had made it clear that the bishops’ conference could decide on this question exactly as they had already done, and by the majority vote that was already achieved. The archbishop’s comments were reported in Katholisch.de, the news portal controlled by the German bishops’ conference.

Three-quarters of German bishops voted in February in support of the draft proposal to allow Holy Communion for some Protestant spouses of mixed marriages. The bishops want the proposal published as a “pastoral handout,” but seven German bishops have opposed it, principally arguing that it touches on “the faith and unity of the Church” and so should not be “subject to a vote.”

After representatives of both parties met in Rome last week with Vatican officials, including Archbishop Luis Ladaria, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Pope handed the matter back to the German bishops, asking them to find, “in a spirit of ecclesial communion, a unanimous result, if possible.”

Cardinal Gerhard Müller, Archbishop Ladaria’s predecessor, called the statement “very poor” as it contained “no answer to the central, essential question.” It is not possible, he stressed, to be in “sacramental communion without ecclesial communion.”

Cardinal Willem Eijk, the Archbishop of Utrecht, Holland, said the statement was “completely incomprehensible” as the Church’s doctrine and practice is “perfectly clear.” By failing to create clarity, “great confusion is created among the faithful and the unity of the Church is endangered,” he said, adding that he was reminded of Article 675 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which warns of a “religious deception” that offers man “an apparent solution” at the “price of apostasy from the truth.”

Archbishop Hesse’s comments are being seen by many as an inevitable response from the heterodox wing of the German Church, after the Pope decided not to rule against the proposal.

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Ascension Thursday

This meditation on the Feast of the Ascension is adapted from the Sermons (73-74) by Pope Saint Leo the Great:

During the time between the Lord’s Resurrection and Ascension, God had one aim in view: To teach and impress upon both the eyes and hearts of His own people that the Lord Jesus Christ was as truly risen, as He was truly born, suffered, and died. Hence the most blessed Apostles and all the disciples, who had been both bewildered at His death on the cross and slow in believing His Resurrection, were so strengthened by the clarity of the truth that when the Lord entered the heights of heaven, not only were they affected with no sadness, but were filled with great joy. Truly great and unspeakable was their cause for joy, when human nature went up above the dignity of all heavenly creatures, to pass above the angels’ ranks and to rise beyond the archangels’ heights. The exaltation of our nature reached no limit until, received to sit with the Eternal Father, it was set on the throne to share His glory, to whose nature our nature was united in the Son.

Since then Christ’s Ascension is our uplifting, and the hope of the Body is raised up to the same place where the glory of the Head has gone before, let us exult with joy and delight in the loyal giving of thanks. Today, not only are we confirmed as possessors of paradise, but in Christ we have penetrated the heights of heaven, and have gained still greater things through Christ’s unspeakable grace than we had lost through the devil’s malice. Our enemy drove us from the happiness of our first home, but the Son of God has made us members of Himself and placed us at the right hand of the Father.

As therefore at the Easter commemoration, the Lord’s Resurrection was the cause of our rejoicing; so the subject of our present gladness is His Ascension, as we commemorate that day on which our humble nature was raised in Christ above all the host of heaven, over all the ranks of angels, beyond the height of all powers, to sit with God the Father. In this way, God’s grace becomes more wondrous, since, though Jesus was removed from our sight, faith did not fail, hope did not waver, love did not grow cold. Rather, by His absence, our faith grows stronger. How should godliness spring up in our hearts, or how should a man be justified by faith, if our salvation rested on things that lie beneath our eyes?

Thomas doubted the Resurrection until he had tested by sight and touch the traces of His Passion in His very Flesh. But our Lord said to him, “because you have seen Me, you have believed: blessed are they who have not seen and yet have believed.” This is our blessedness, and we gain this blessing because Jesus has been removed from us. When He had fulfilled all things concerning the Gospel preaching and the mysteries of the New Testament, our Lord Jesus Christ, on the fortieth day after the Resurrection, in the presence of the disciples, was raised into heaven, and ended His presence with us in the body, to abide at the Father’s right hand until the times the Father has fore-ordained for multiplying the sons of the Church are accomplished, and He comes to judge the living and the dead in the same flesh in which He ascended. What was till then the visible presence of our Redeemer was changed into a sacramental presence; to make faith more excellent and stronger, sight gave way to faith.

This faith, increased by the Lord’s Ascension and established by the gift of the Holy Ghost, was not terrified by bonds, imprisonments, banishments, hunger, fire, attacks by wild beasts, refined torments of cruel persecutors. For this faith throughout the world men, women, beardless boys, even tender maids, fought to the shedding of their blood. This faith cast out spirits, drove off sicknesses, raised the dead. The blessed apostles themselves also, after being confirmed by so many miracles and instructed by so many discourses,
had yet been panic-stricken by the horrors of the Lord’s Passion and had not accepted the truth of His Resurrection without hesitation. But they made such progress after the Lord’s Ascension that everything which had previously filled them with fear was turned into joy.

By His Ascension, the Son of Man and Son of God attained a more excellent and holier fame, when He betook Himself back to the glory of the Father’s Majesty, and in an ineffable manner began to be nearer to the Father in respect of His Godhead, after having become farther away in respect of His manhood. A better instructed faith then began to understand the Son’s equality with the Father without the necessity of handling the corporeal substance of Christ, whereby He is less than the Father.

Hence comes that which the Lord said after His Resurrection, when Mary Magdalene, representing the Church, hastened to approach and touch Him: “Touch Me not, for I have not yet ascended to My Father.” That is to say, I would not have you come to Me as to a mere human body, nor yet recognize Me by fleshly perceptions: I put you off for higher things, I prepare greater things for you: when I have ascended to My Father, then you shall handle Me more perfectly and truly, for you shall grasp what you can not touch and believe what you can not see. When Jesus ascended from us to a great distance, at the same time He came yet nearer to us.

And so, dearly-beloved, let us rejoice with spiritual joy, and let us with gladness pay God worthy thanks. Let us not set our minds on things on the earth, but raise our hearts’ eyes unimpeded to those heights where Christ is, seated at the right hand of the Father. For fleshly pleasures wage war for the devil, whose delight it is to fetter souls that strive after things above, with the enticements of corruptible good things, and to draw them away from the place from which he himself has been banished. Against Satan’s plots every believer must keep careful watch that he may crush his foe at the point where the attack is made.

And there is no more powerful weapon against the devil’s wiles than kindly mercy and bounteous charity, by which every sin is either escaped or vanquished. This lofty power is not attained until that which is opposed to it has been overthrown. What is so hostile to mercy and works of charity as greed, which is the root of all evils? Unless that vice is destroyed by lack of nourishment, it will grow in the heart as an evil weed taking root, until the heart springs up with the thorns and briars of vices rather than the seed of true goodness. Let us then, dearly-beloved, resist this pestilence of evil and follow after charity, without which no virtue can flourish, that by this path of love whereby Christ came down to us, we too may rise up to Him, to Whom with God the Father and the Spirit be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

(Source: Patheos)

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Sacrileges Against the Blessed Sacrament all started with Communion in the Hand!

Sacrileges Against the Blessed Sacrament all started with Communion in the Hand

This has long been witnessed by faithful clergy and laity in the Church, ever since the practice of receiving Holy Communion in the hand and while standing became the norm in most Novus Ordo parishes.

The True Story of Communion in the Hand Revealed

When the Mass is celebrated with greater devotion and attention to detail, ad orientum, and where Holy Communion is received by the congregation kneeling (if possible) and on the tongue, the Faith flourishes. A flourishing Faith brings much good fruit. It really is not rocket science.

God Bless Poland!

 

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‘What the hell was the Vatican thinking?’

From LifeSiteNews:

May 8, 2018

Liberal commentator Piers Morgan has once again broken ideological ranks, this time penning a column expressing his disgust over how “a bunch of flesh-flashing celebrities” disrespected Catholicism with their sacreligious costumes at the Met Gala.

“I’m a Catholic,” Morgan wrote for the Daily Mail. “Not the most devout you’ll ever meet, I’ll admit. But I was brought up a Catholic – I even received not entirely successful spiritual guidance from nuns as a teenager! – and I still consider myself to be a Catholic. I know many people don’t believe in any God or religion, let alone Catholicism, and I respect that. All I ask in return is for my beliefs not to be rudely disrespected.”

And the Met Gala costumes did just that, he wrote. Such costumes included sexualizations of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Rihanna dressed as a glitzy female pope, and a Victoria’s Secret model in a modified cardinal’s cassock with a slit up the side.

“A lot of the imagery was highly sexualised, which you might think not just inappropriate for a religious theme but also incredibly offensive to the many victims of sex abuse in the Catholic Church,” Morgan pointed out.

He wrote that Madonna “looked preposterous” and performed Like a Prayer at the after-party.

“When it first came out, Madonna enjoyed enraging Catholics by making a video featuring burning crosses, statues crying blood and her seducing a black Jesus,” he commented. “What a nice touch to have this blasphemous old crone returning in all her unedifying glory to insult us all over again.”

“Next year’s Met Gala is going to have an ‘Islam’ theme,” Morgan wrote sarcastically. “Yes, guests in 2019 will be encouraged to wear skimpy, provocative dresses that ‘celebrate’ the Prophet Mohammad, Islamic clothing including hijabs and burqas, and the Koran. I can also reveal that the 2020 Met Gala will have a ‘Jewish’ theme. Yes, a bunch of celebrities and models will be posing for the world’s paparazzi dressed in all manner of Jewish attire and regalia, including dressing up as Rabbis and wearing kippahs.”

“Oh, wait,” he wrote. “Those celebrities who took part in this offensive fiasco need to ask themselves one question: ‘Would I have gone dressed as a Muslim or a Jew if I were not Muslim or Jewish?’ If the obvious answer is ‘No, of course not’ then they should all be ashamed of themselves.”

Morgan seems to have picked up on the ongoing crisis in the Catholic Church, too. The Vatican loaned some of its sacred vestments to the Heavenly Bodies show – which are being displayed in the same exhibit as a rosary-covered bondage mask.

“Apparently – staggeringly – the Vatican gave permission for the Gala to be ‘Catholic-themed’ because it has already provided a variety of clothes and other items for an accompanying exhibition at the Met,” he observed. “To which my response is: what the hell was the Vatican thinking?”

More on this outrage

Edible rosaries and crosses

Fr James Martin tweets

Images of the perversion

Call for Reparation

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All sorts of weird breaks out

As I have been traveling, I have not been following a lot of news, ecclesial or secular.   Today, however, some stories invaded and I paid attention.

I have really limited time at the moment, so I will give you the stories.  There is a connection between them.

This will delight certain Jesuits…

«Ok agli atti omosessuali». In Belgio è Chiesa arcobaleno

A Belgian Cardinal – a disciple of Danneels – says that homosexual acts are okay. He says he didn’t think that before (surrrrrre he didn’t…) but he does now. Ain’t he enlightened?

Vescovo austriaco con casula trasparente in plastica

An Austrian bishop with a transparent plastic chasuble. That’s just plain weird. A special kind of creepy weird. He also wants the ordination of women.

«Il Papa non può ammettere l’intercomunione»

The German bishops are going to the zoo about intercommunion. Some bishops went to Rome for a clarification.  I suppressed a chuckle when I read that.  Rome basically punted… which itself was an answer and not a good one.

How not good an answer was it?

Cardinal Eijk of Utrecht explains the situation…. God bless him!

Cardinal Eijk: Pope Francis Needed to Give Clarity on Intercommunion

Here it is… read this carefully. The above shows that things are flying apart with increasing speed and force. Read Card. Eijk.

COMMENTARY: Failure to give German bishops proper directives, based on the clear doctrine and practice of the Church, points to a drift towards apostasy from the truth.

Cardinal Willem Jacobus Eijk

The German bishops’ conference voted by a large majority in favor of directives which entail that a Protestant married to a Catholic may receive the Eucharist after meeting a number of conditions: he must have carried out an examination of conscience with a priest or with another person with pastoral responsibilities; he must have affirmed the faith of the Catholic Church, as well as having wished to put an end to “serious spiritual distress” and to have a “desire to satisfy a longing for the Eucharist.”

Seven members of the German bishops’ conference voted against these directives and sought the opinion of some dicasteries of the Roman Curia. The consequence was that a delegation from the German bishops’ conference spoke in Rome with a delegation from the Roman Curia, including the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

The response of the Holy Father, given through the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to the delegation of the German Conference, that the Conference should discuss the drafts again and try to achieve a unanimous result, if possible, is completely incomprehensible. The Church’s doctrine and practice regarding the administration of the Sacrament of the Eucharist to Protestants is perfectly clear. The Code of Canon Law says about this:

“If the danger of death is present or if, in the judgment of the diocesan bishop or conference of bishops, some other grave necessity urges it, Catholic ministers administer these same sacraments licitly also to other Christians not having full communion with the Catholic Church, who cannot approach a minister of their own community and who seek such on their own accord, provided that they manifest Catholic faith in respect to these sacraments and are properly disposed.” C.I.C./1983, can. 844 § 4 (cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) no. 1400).

This therefore applies only to emergencies, especially where there is a risk of death.

Intercommunion is, in principle, only possible with Orthodox Christians, because the Eastern Churches, although not in full communion with the Catholic Church, have true sacraments and above all, by virtue of their apostolic succession, a valid priesthood and a valid Eucharist (CCC no 1400, C.I.C./1983 can. 844, § 3). Their faith in the priesthood, in the Eucharist and also in the Sacrament of Penance is equal to that of the Catholic Church. [Well… okay.  This could be tweaked but it is sound.]

However, Protestants do not share faith in the priesthood and the Eucharist. Most German Protestants are Lutheran. Lutherans believe in consubstantiation, which implies the conviction that, in addition to the Body or Blood of Christ, bread and wine are also present when someone receives them. If someone receives the bread and wine without believing this, the Body and Blood of Christ are not really present. Outside this moment of receiving them, there remains only the bread and wine and the body and blood of Christ are not present.

Obviously, the Lutheran doctrine of consubstantiation differs essentially from the Catholic doctrine of transubstantiation, which implies the faith that what is received under the figures of bread and wine, even if administered to someone who does not believe in transubstantiation and even outside the moment of administration, remains the Body or Blood of Christ and that it is no longer the substances of bread and wine.

Because of these essential differences, communion should not be administered to a Protestant, even if married to a Catholic, because the Protestant does not live in full communion with the Catholic Church and, therefore, does not explicitly share faith in her Eucharist. The differences between faith in consubstantiation and that of transubstantiation are so great that one must really demand that someone who wishes to receive Communion explicitly and formally enters into full communion with the Catholic Church (except in case of danger of death) and in this way explicitly confirms his acceptance of the faith of the Catholic Church, including the Eucharist. A private examination of conscience with a priest or with another person with pastoral responsibilities does not give sufficient guarantees that the person involved really accepts the faith of the Church. [Sound familiar?] By accepting it [the Eucharist], the person can, however, do only one thing: enter into full communion with the Catholic Church.  [And we could talk about what they think about “priesthood” and Mass as “Sacrifice”, but we are already at “NO!” with the previous.]

The draft directives of the German bishops’ conference suggest there are only a few cases of Protestants, married to Catholics, who would like to receive Communion by making use of these directives. However, experience shows that in practice these numbers will generally increase. Protestants who are married to Catholics and see other Protestants married to Catholics receiving Communion will think they can do the same. And in the end even Protestants unmarried to Catholics will want to receive it. The general experience with this type of adjustment is that the criteria are quickly extended.

Now the Holy Father has informed the delegation of the German episcopal conference that it must discuss again the draft proposals for a pastoral document on, among other things, administering Communion, and try to find unanimity. Unanimity about what? Assuming that all members of the German bishops’ conference, after having discussed them again, unanimously decide that Communion can be administered to Protestants married to a Catholic (something that will not happen), will this — while being contrary to what the Code of Canon Law and the Catechism of the Catholic Church say in this regard — become the new practice in the Catholic Church in Germany? The practice of the Catholic Church, based on her faith, is not determined and does not change statistically when a majority of an episcopal conference votes in favor of it, not even if unanimously.  [For God so loved the world that He did not send a conference.   I once was chatting with then-Card. Ratzinger about German theology.  With a twinkle he related how relieved he was that Peter stopped in Rome and didn’t go to Germany to establish a Church.  “Imagine,” he said, “the mistakes that could have been made and the efficiency with which we would have made them.”]

What the Code of Canon Law and the Catechism of the Catholic Church say should have been the reaction of the Holy Father, who is, as the Successor of Saint Peter “the perpetual and visible principle and foundation of unity of both the bishops and of the faithful” (Lumen Gentium no. 23). The Holy Father should have given the delegation of the German episcopal conference clear directives, based on the clear doctrine and practice of the Church. He should have also responded on this basis to the Lutheran woman who asked him on November 15, 2015 if she could receive Communion with her Catholic spouse, saying that this is not acceptable instead of suggesting she could receive Communion on the basis of her being baptized, and in accordance with her conscience. By failing to create clarity, great confusion is created among the faithful and the unity of the Church is endangered. This is also the case with cardinals who publicly propose to bless homosexual relationships, something which is diametrically opposed to the doctrine of the Church, founded on Sacred Scripture, that marriage, according to the order of creation, exists only between a man and a woman.

Observing that the bishops and, above all, the Successor of Peter fail to maintain and transmit faithfully and in unity the deposit of faith contained in Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture, I cannot help but think of Article 675 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

“The Church’s ultimate trial

Before Christ’s second coming the Church must pass through a final trial that will shake the faith of many believers. The persecution that accompanies her pilgrimage on earth will unveil the ‘mystery of iniquity’ in the form of a religious deception offering men an apparent solution to their problems at the price of apostasy from the truth.”

+Willem Jacobus Cardinal Eijk

Archbishop of Utrecht, Netherlands

Utrecht, 5 May 2018

Fr. Z kudos.

More good “remedial reading” but in Italian.  This is very good.

In principio era l’azione: il legame tra Amoris Laetitia e l’intercomunione con gli Evangelici

The writer, a good priest, shows the link between the line of thought in Amoris laetitia and the intercommnunion question in Germany and the clear non-answer answer in Rome.

Update: Here Fr Z looks at more weird developments 

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The Traditional Latin Mass; “Rigidity”; Dissolving of the Fraternity of the Holy Apostles in Belgium

Once again Pope Francis has branded young people who want and attend the Traditional Latin Mass as suffering from “rigidity”. How could those who love the holy Mass of the Ages ever be called “rigid”? This may, one day, be considered as one of the most shocking things Pope Francis has ever said. To discover transcendent beauty, holiness in its purest form where “heaven touches earth”, to participate in the “the source and summit of the Christian life” in the traditional form of Mass that nourished countless millions of baptised Catholics down through the ages is (and more than once) being criticised by the pope of the Holy Catholic Church!? It truly does beggar belief.

*****

We are witnessing the scourging of Jesus and His Bride, the Church, during this post conciliar period with the enemies of Tradition running amok even among the highest levels of the hierarchy. Although these progressives have had a limited success in grooming a younger generation into their own Protestant and worldly mindset, their greatest frustration as their time invariably runs out (most are in the 65+ age range) must be in seeing the large and growing love of the younger generations for the holy Traditional Latin Mass, a.k.a., the Extraordinary Form, or Tridentine Mass.

When a group of young Catholics is offered something Traditional, say on the annual Chartres pilgrimage at Pentecost, or events organised by one of the Traditional Priestly Institutes, what they get is, centrally, the liturgy and the sacraments together with true Catholic teaching. The words of the Mass, and maybe parts of the Office, and of traditional devotions like the Rosary and Benediction, which are on offer at these events and places are not ours, they are the Church’s words. The sacraments of the Eucharist and of Confession have power, not from our cleverness, but from Christ. If the Catholic Church has anything to offer, she offers it through the liturgy and the sacraments. We are not going to go wrong in offering people these things, using the forms and the language used by the Church for many centuries.

Let’s not forget what Pope Benedict XVI, referring to the Traditional Latin Mass, said in SUMMORUM PONTIFICUM:

“… it has clearly been demonstrated that young persons too have discovered this liturgical form, felt its attraction and found in it a form of encounter with the Mystery of the Most Holy Eucharist, particularly suited to them.”

But the devil “hates Latin”, sacredness,, the holy Sacrifice of the Mass offered with great reverence, and anything pious that draws souls away from his clutches, so he is determined to work through his minions to destroy the Traditional Latin Mass wherever he finds it.

Nowhere can that be seen more closely than in recent times in Belgium.

Just when many Catholics, including families and growing numbers of young people, were flocking to the newly founded Fraternity of the Holy Apostles (Fraternité des Saints Apôtres) in Belgium disaster struck!

———

Archbishop Leonard ordains Seminarians to the new Fraternity of the Holy Apostles

Priestly Society of the Holy Apostles

A month ago Pope Francis signed a decree dissolving the Fraternity of the Holy Apostles, a traditional order that celebrates the Traditional Latin Mass and was drawing numerous priestly vocations and filling the churches with laity seeking holiness in the Liturgy. It was inspired by the charism of the French priest Michel-Marie Zanotti-Sorkine; by 2013 it had grown to include 23 seminarians, a deacon and six priests, an extraordinary success in a national Church which last year did not have even one new seminarian in the local seminary in the Archdiocese of Brussels. The fraternity was given pastoral care of a parish in the centre of Brussels, Saint Catherine, and their presence signalled a new flowering of faith and activity.

How did this traditional order get started?

Michel Marie Zanotti Sorkine

Archbishop André Léonard called the faithful community to Belgium to help with the spiritual renewal of his archdiocese and gave it the parishes of Sainte-Catherine / Sint-Katelijnekerk, in the centre of Brussels, and Saint-Joseph in the formerly Flemish, now French-speaking Ucclé (Ukkel) in the south of Brussels.

Archbishop Léonard, Archbishop of Mechelen-Brussels since 2010, who was strongly opposed because of his faithfulness inside and outside the Church, had built, with the help of the Priestly Fraternity, a parallel formation of priests outside the diocesan seminary. It is a path other bishops had already tried to take before him.

Archbishop Léonard’s initiative had proved to be a great success. The Society was able to achieve what the progressive diocesan institutions could no longer do: to lead young men to the “beauty of vocation and service as diocesan priests”. The Fraternity is a community of priests from all over the world, but with strong ties to community life, and an answer to the priestly vocations crisis in Western Europe. The parishes entrusted to them flourished in contrast to the neighbouring parishes and were favoured by numerous young people.

So who initiated the cruel and inexplicable destruction of this thriving Catholic order? It is sadly reminiscent of the breaking up of the traditional Franciscans Friars of the Immaculate only a few years ago. (See HERE and HERE.)

Danneel’s retribution

Among the mafioso pope-makers of the current pontificate (i.e., the St Gallen group of progressive clerics) was the notorious Cardinal Godfried Danneels, who was Archbishop of Mechelen-Brussels before Msgr. Léonard. Pope Benedict XVI had made an archenemy of Danneels by choosing Léonard over him as the preferred candidate to be primate of the Church in Belgium. Archbishop Léonard had therefore to face heavy resistance in the liberal archdiocese from the beginning, including physical assault and many humiliations. This massive resistance made the necessary reform of the seminary impossible for the time being, which is why Msgr. Léonard decided to establish a second seminary and to help build up a more soundly Catholic and traditional clergy.

But unfortunately his episcopate was too short. With the resignation of Benedict XVI. and the election of Francis the hour of the long-retired Danneels struck again. Hardly had Léonard reached his 75th birthday when he was retired by Francis. Pope Francis refused Léonard the cardinalatial dignity and instead made his ally Danneels a cardinal, whom Léonard had tried so hard to prevent from damaging the Church any further than he already had done. A double affront to Léonard.

Not only that: Francis raised the new Danneels-compliant archbishop, Jozef De Kesel, immediately to cardinal and later as the primate of Belgium. As a personal friend of the new liberal pope, Danneels was now able to take revenge, and together with De Kesel to systematically eradicate all the good work of Léonard. This, with the collaboration of Pope Francis, has included the reprehensible dissolving of the Fraternity of the Holy Apostles.

There has seldom been a more demonstrative presentiment in this pontificate than in Brussels, of who is in papal favour and who is not, and what that ultimately means.

However, this must not be a motive to lead us to despair, for we have work to do in witnessing to the truth in word, deed and holiness of life. No resistance to the fullness of truth in the Church’s magisterial teachings and a worthy celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass will ever finally succeed. The Holy Spirit will not allow the Gates of Hell to prevail (forever), and Our Lady of Fatima has assured us that “in the end my Immaculate Heart will Triumph” (over evil).

[Sources include excerpts from 1Peter5, The Eponymous Flower and LMS Chairman]

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Reflection for the 6th Sunday of Easter. Cycle B, 2018

Image result for i no longer call you slaves

FIRST READING            Acts of the Apostles 10:25-26, 34-35, 44-48

When Peter entered, Cornelius met him and, falling at his feet, paid him homage.  Peter, however, raised him up, saying, “Get up. I myself am also a human being.”  Then Peter proceeded to speak and said, “In truth, I see that God shows no partiality.  Rather, in every nation whoever fears him and acts uprightly is acceptable to him.”  While Peter was still speaking these things, the Holy Spirit fell upon all who were listening to the word.  The circumcised believers who had accompanied Peter were astounded that the gift of the Holy Spirit should have been poured out on the Gentiles also, for they could hear them speaking in tongues and glorifying God.  Then Peter responded, “Can anyone withhold the water for baptizing these people, who have received the Holy Spirit even as we have?”  He ordered them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.

SECOND READING                  1 John 4:7-10

Beloved, let us love one another, because love is of God; everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God.  Whoever is without love does not know God, for God is love.  In this way the love of God was revealed to us:  God sent his only Son into the world so that we might have life through him.  In this is love:  not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as expiation for our sins.

GOSPEL                John 15:9-17

Jesus said to his disciples:  “As the Father loves me, so I also love you.  Remain in my love.  If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and remain in his love.  “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and your joy might be complete.  This is my commandment: love one another as I love you.  No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.  You are my friends if you do what I command you.  I no longer call you slaves, because a slave does not know what his master is doing.  I have called you friends, because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father.  It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you.  This I command you: love one another.”

My sisters and brothers,

The readings this Sunday are all about love.  We must love one another because Jesus loves us.  We must recognize that anyone who does not love, cannot be of God.  It is not as important that we love God—rather, it is more important that God loves us.  God’s love includes even the Gentiles, the non-Jewish people.  And we can say that God love includes everyone.

The first reading today is from the Acts of the Apostles and gives us the account of how Saint Peter came to accept the non-Jewish people as believers, without requiring them to become Jews.  That fact that the Holy Spirit had come upon the non-Jewish believers convinced the Jewish believers that one could believe in Jesus Christ without being a Jew.

The second reading is from the First Letter of Saint John.  Again, we see how love must include everyone.  Where love is lacking, so also is God lacking.  True loves comes from being in Jesus Christ.  “God sent His Only Son into the world so that we might have life through Him.”  All of our life comes from Jesus and our life must be lived in Jesus.

The Gospel of Saint John today speaks of God’s love for us.  In the same way that the Father loves Jesus, His Son, so also Jesus loves us!  That is incredible.  We often do not think of God’s love for us as in any way being the same love that the Divine Persons have among themselves.  Somehow we often see ourselves as less.  The whole Christian tradition tells us, however, that Jesus became man, human, so that we might share in His Divinity.  What an incredible life we have!  Even when we sin, that life is still within us.  We are created to share in the Divinity of Jesus.

Although nothing is said in today’s readings, we are all aware that to share in Christ is to follow Him by living the way that He lived.  So God gives us a path of life.  Not everything is good and not everything is holy.  There are actions and ways of thinking and ways of speaking that take us away from this incredible gift of Divine Life.

Far too often today, everything is seen as good as long as it makes me happy and feel good.  This is not the way of the Lord Jesus.  Love in the Gospel is not a feeling about another person, but a choice to seek the good of the other person even if I must sacrifice my own good.  This is the way of the Lord Jesus.

We actually have the power to live that way once we recognize God’s love for us and His choice to share His life with us.  Our power, our virtue, our goodness, our capacity to love—all come from the Lord Jesus.  He is risen indeed, alleluia!

Your brother in the Lord,

Abbot Philip

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Thousands take part in London’s March for Life

This is the first time the UK March for Life was held in the UK capital

Thousands of Pro-lifers took to the streets of London today, Saturday 5th May 2018, for the March for Life UK, the first time the march has come to the British capital.

American singer Joy Villa led the march through Trafalgar Square to Parliament Square, where Clare McCullough of the Good Counsel Network addressed the crowd and denounced the decision by Ealing Council to set up a so-called “buffer zone” around an abortion clinic.

A small counter-demonstration greeted the march at Parliament Square, but the event passed without incident.

Bishop John Keenan of Paisley and Bishop John Wilson, an auxiliary of Westminster, also addressed the marchers. Bishop Keenan urged pro-lifers to consider going into public life, but warned they would face significant challenges.

“You have no idea of the galvanising effect your courage will have if you stand up before the British media courageously, even under attack, and be pro-life. You’re setting the seeds of the next generation,” the bishop said.

“We will win this battle by truth, but we will win it even more by courage.”

See HERE for further information on other guest speakers at the 2018 March for Life UK.

Pro-Life Workshops and stands at a Pro-Life Exhibition were also organised for the day.

The UK March for Life takes place each year around the time that that 1967 Abortion Act came into effect. The march started in 2012 as an initiative of a small group of pro-life activists in Birmingham. The annual event grew so much that organisers decided to move it to London for the first time this year.

[SOURCES: the Catholic Herald (includes video of March) and March for Life UK]

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Increasing Worldwide Persecution of Christians

Icon of the martyrdom of St. Stephen

Blessed are ye when they shall revile you, and persecute you, and speak all that is evil against you, untruly, for my sake. Be glad and rejoice, for your reward is very great in heaven. For so they persecuted the prophets that were before you.” (Matthew 5:11-12)

He that shall lose his life for my sake, shall find it.” (Matthew 16:25)

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Some examples of recent Christian persecution: Latest news from AID TO THE CHURCH IN NEED

CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC

Priest witnesses Church attack – at least 19 killed

Father Moses Otii next to bullet holes in Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church, Bangui, Central African Republic

A priest has described seeing at least 19 Christians being killed when gunmen ‘rained down bullets’ on more than 2,000 people gathered for Mass in the Central African Republic.

Father Moses Otii, parish priest of Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church in the country’s capital Bangui, told Catholic charity Aid to Church in Need about 120 parishioners were injured during the violence, which included grenade attacks, on Tuesday (1st May).

“attackers started shooting at the church and throwing hand grenades at the people”
Father Otii said that the attackers “outnumbered the police and the police retreated, then the attackers started shooting at the church and throwing hand grenades at the people.”

He added: “With my own eyes I saw three hand grenades thrown in front of the Church, but thank God in an area without people, and a grenade thrown in among many people gathered in the open air within the church’s compound.

“The grenade was thrown from behind the parish walls into the crowd of people at Mass. It exploded. Normally our Masses are celebrated in the open air since our church cannot contain more than 2,000 people. And we had more than 2,000 people for the Mass. So many people were injured. They started running in all directions. We had people almost everywhere – our rooms, refectory, parish halls, our kitchen, and even in the toilets.”

He added: “Others could not run. For example, a lady had both legs cut off by the grenade, she couldn’t move. It was a commotion with people running and people crying.”

Father Otii was on the altar with 15 concelebrating priests, when he saw the gunmen outside the Church targeting the Christians.

He said: “I saw the attackers waving their arms in what I interpreted as ‘calm down’ gesture just before they started raining bullets at the people gathered at Mass. I heard gunshots during the the prayer of the faithful, just before the offertory.”

The priest added: “Immediately when things calmed down, we got some young people from the parish to help transport the injured to the hospital.”

Father Otii also said: “There are now bullet holes in the walls of the church and parish halls from this attack.”

He added: “Until now no one has claimed responsibility. People saw the attackers come from the direction of PK5 [neighbourhood], which is just close to the parish – the majority of PK5 are Muslim.”

Father Albert Baba – killed in attack during Mass at Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church (© Aid to the Church in Need)

Among those killed in Our Lady of Fatima Church was Father Albert Baba, who served in a nearby parish.

Father Otti said: “I knew him well. He was a calm speaker, he was in his 70’s. He was someone joyful. He was lively despite his age.” (Father Albert worked as Justice and Peace co-ordinator in the diocese of Bangui.) “Where there was injustice he went and spoke to people from all walks of life to help them. He would surely want a prayer of peace to be heard after these attacks in our country”.

Reports state that protesters carried the priest’s body through the street of Bangui towards the presidential palace. CAR’s President Faustin Archange Touadera called for three days of nationwide mourning after the attacks.

 

NIGERIA

17 Christians including two priests killed in church

Christians in Nigeria’s Middle-Belt region (© ACN)

Father Joseph Gor, Father Felix Tyolaha and 15 parishioners were killed during a funeral Mass in Mbalom, Benue State by gunmen, with reports that about 30 Fulani militants waited for the faithful to gather at the church before attacking. They also burned down about 50 homes in the area.

Condemning the “rampaging and murderous terrorists”, the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) issued a formal statement, asking: “…how can the federal government stand back while its security agencies deliberately turn a blind eye to the cries and wails of helpless and unarmed citizens who remain sitting ducks in their homes, farms, highway and now, even in their sacred places of worship?”

Writing in bold typeface, the bishops stressed: “…it is time for [Nigeria’s President Mudammadu Buhari] to choose the part of honour and consider stepping aside to save the nation from total collapse.”

“Killing fields and mass graveyard” in Nigeria
Accusing the President of ignoring repeated calls to step up security, the bishops assert: “He should no longer continue to preside over the killing fields and mass graveyard that our country has become.”

Written in the wake of the funeral Mass killings, which took place last Tuesday (24th April), the bishops assert that they have lost confidence in the country’s security apparatus. In their statement, the bishops declare: “Faced with these dark clouds of fear and anxiety, our people are daily being told to defend themselves. But defend themselves with what?”

Father Alexander Yeyock is parish priest of St John’s Catholic Church, Asso village in nearby Kaduna State. His parish was attacked a month ago when two Catholic men were shot dead, an atrocity which took place almost exactly a year after Fulani militants murdered 12 Christians during the Easter Vigil service at his church. Father Yeyock said: “In Asso, farmers go to farms in fear and in groups… Bereaved families have come to terms with the reality that attacks by Fulani herdsmen, [occur] frequently in Asso, but no place is spared. It’s again unfortunate that the perpetrators of these heinous crimes are known by the government of Nigeria, those who sponsor them too, and yet no action is taken.”

Highlighting that Fulani militants receive military training abroad before going on to target Christians, he said: “With the news of the current attacks, Nigerians have argued with the earlier narrative from the federal government who have very often told the world that it was always a clash between the herdsmen and farmers. “It’s now evidently revealing that there is more to it than meets the eye… It is purely a religious jihad in disguise.”

 

PAKISTAN

Latest attacks: Shootings in Christian community in Quetta – Catholic family of four shot dead in Lahore

Archbishop Sebastian Shaw of Lahore, Pakistan (© ACN)

Two Christian men – named as Rashid Khalid and Azhar Iqbal – were killed and at least three others were injured after four attackers on motorbikes started shooting at people near a church in Quetta’s Essa Nagri Christian neighbourhood.

The attack, last Sunday (15th April), came nearly two weeks after a family of four Catholics from Lahore were gunned down outside a relative’s house during an Easter visit to the city.

Daesh (ISIS) wrote: killings “the first episode of genocide against Christians”
The dead – named as Parvaiz, Kamran, Tariq and Fordous – had reportedly just stepped outside to buy ice cream when they were targeted.

According to a missionary group in Pakistan, the attackers left a pamphlet at the scene of the crime describing the killing as “the first episode of genocide against Christians”.

Daesh (ISIS) claimed responsibility for both attacks.

In an interview with Aid to the Church in Need, the Catholic charity for persecuted and other suffering Christians, Archbishop Sebastian Shaw of Lahore said “The faithful in Quetta are deeply concerned and worried. All these sufferings and pain can be overcome by faith. When we are tempted to lose hope, we are reminded that, through your compassion and prayers, you are with us, by our side.”

Quetta’s Christians were also targeted in December when two suicide bombers stormed a packed nativity service held in the city’s Bethel Methodist Church, leaving 11 dead and injuring more than 50 others.

[N.B. Christian Asia Bibi, 53 year old mother of five, continues to languish in a Pakistani jail awaiting her death sentence for the trumped up charge of blasphemy!]

 

MEXICO

21 priests murdered in the last five years – two missing

Father Sergio Omar of the Missionary Society of St Paul the Apostle is also director of the Catholic Multimedia Centre (© ACN)

An impassioned appeal to the Mexican government to stamp out “growing uncontrolled violence” has come from a Catholic priest whose organisation has exposed the country as being the most dangerous place for clergy in the whole of Latin America.

“religious freedom has been… seriously threatened by organised crime”

In an interview with Aid to the Church in Need, the charity for persecuted and other suffering Christians, Father Sergio Omar, director of Mexico’s Catholic Multimedia Centre (CCM), said “we cannot remain silent” about a crisis where “religious freedom has been… seriously threatened by organised crime”.

Father Omar described how the CCM had exposed widespread corruption protecting attackers, saying that “killing a priest…symbolises a demonstration of power by the criminal organisations”.

His words come after Father Juan Garcia, 33, and Father Ruben Diaz, 50, were killed last week in separate attacks in their churches, meaning that at least 21 priests have been murdered in Mexico within the last five years.

Highlighting that many others are suffering besides priests, Father Omar said: “We cannot remain silent as the blood of thousands of Mexicans is shed. This is why we are directing an urgent appeal to the federal government of Mexico, to the authorities of the various states and to the city governments. We want them to guarantee that pastoral care can safely be carried out in regions beset by growing uncontrolled violence.”

Corruption “causes decay in society from top to bottom”. Father Omar said drug cartels had formed alliances with some politicians and judges as well as members of the police and security forces which “causes decay in society from top to bottom”.

Finding Mexico to be the most dangerous country in Latin America for priests, the CCM is tracking attacks by gangs of kidnappers, shootings and bomb attacks against the Church, including Mexico City’s cathedral. Illustrating the use of terror tactics by violent cartels within the country, the Catholic organisation calculates that torture was involved in 80 percent of cases where priests were murdered.

Father Omar’s book ‘Tragedy and Crucible – the Priesthood in Mexico’ details “veritable religious persecution” including the killing of Cardinal Juan Jésus Posadas Ocampo in Guadalajara airport as well as the murder of 47 priests and 15 Church workers between 1990 and 2017. Father Omar’s research outlines the threats and violence used against priests, denouncing drug trafficking as well as corrupt government agencies, members of the police and contract killers. He said: “In 80 percent of the cases, the murderers use a modus operandi that includes everything from defamation to extortion, abduction to torture, kidnapping to murder.”

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These countries mentioned here above are only four out of 50 named by OPEN DOORS as being:

The Top 50 Countries Where It’s Most Dangerous to Follow Jesus

For decades, North Korea has clearly been the world’s worst persecutor of Christians. But now, another nation nearly matches it.

Kim Jung-un’s country hasn’t moved from the No. 1 spot on the list for 16 years in a row. “With more than 50,000 in prison or labor camps, such a ranking is little surprise for the totalitarian regime that controls every aspect of life in the country and forces worship of the Kim family,” Open Doors reported.

But rivaling it this year is Afghanistan, which ranked No. 2 by less than a point. North Korea’s total score was 94 (on a 100-point scale), pushed above Afghanistan’s 93 by a 0.6 difference in their violence rating. In the other five categories measured—private life, family life, community life, national life, and church life—both countries received the worst scores possible.

“Never before have the top two countries been so close in incidents,” Open Doors USA president and CEO David Curry stated. “Both countries are extreme in intolerance and outright persecution of Christians in every area Open Doors monitors.”

The rising persecution in Afghanistan “is a tragedy considering the efforts being made by the international community to help rebuild Afghanistan are failing to ensure freedom of religion,” stated Curry. “Reports of violence and human rights atrocities from North Korea are pervasive, while the situation faced by Christians in Afghanistan may be underestimated. It is hard for Westerners to imagine a second country could nearly meet the levels of persecution seen in North Korea, but Muslim-majority Afghanistan has reached that level this year.”

Trailing a few spots behind at No. 5, Afghanistan’s neighbor Pakistan recorded the most violence against Christians last year. The country also scored the highest in church attacks, abductions, and forced marriages, according to Open Doors.

What’s the Biggest Threat to the Persecuted Church?

Rounding out the top 10, following North Korea and Afghanistan, are Somalia (No. 3), Sudan (No. 4), Pakistan (No. 5), Eritrea (No. 6), Libya (No. 7), Iraq (No. 8), Yemen (No. 9), and Iran (No. 10).

A modern day Christian martyr

It’s not a coincidence that all of these countries—except North Korea and Eritrea—are predominately Muslim. In fact, “Islamic extremism remains the global, dominant driver of persecution, responsible for initiating oppression and conflict in 35 of the 50 countries on the list,” Open Doors stated.

The Islamist movement is “the part of Islam which embraces a clear political agenda for bringing nations under Muslim domination and shari‘ah law,” according to Open Doors. The movement has three parts: individuals and networks that use violence to advance their political goals; those who reject any system based on non-Islamic law but who aren’t violent; and those who interact with society by voting or campaigning for Islamic law.

“The Islamist movement manifests itself in Muslim-majority countries by trying to radicalize society, and in Muslim-minority countries by radicalizing Muslim communities,” Open Doors stated.

One example: “Every day six women are raped, sexually harassed, or forced into marriage to a Muslim under threat of death due to their Christian faith,” Open Doors reported. This number is likely low, since it includes only reported incidents. It also points to the double persecution—for both their gender and religion—that Christian women face in much of the world.

The majority of the countries on the list saw an overall increase in persecution from 2016 to 2017 (30 of 50). Five of the six countries where persecution increased the most were majority-Muslim, with the notable exception of India, which moved from No. 15 in 2017 to No. 11 in 2018.

(Read the rest of the report HERE)

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World Over – 2018-05-03 – Full Episode with Raymond Arroyo

Don’t miss this important edition of EWTN’s World Over with Raymond Arroyo.

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A Tale of Two Infants

“Such is the realm of medical “ethics” in the New World Order.”

Catholic Family News

God occasionally offers us teachable moments through otherwise routine (and sometimes tragic) natural events that are closely linked in space or time. One such moment was in the late summer of 1997 when, in the course of one week, the celebrated Princess Diana died abruptly in a tragic car accident and, six days later on the other side of the world, the humble Mother Teresa passed away quietly after a lengthy illness. Among other teaching points was the radical difference in the reactions of the world press to the two deaths. While brief and perfunctory respect was offered to the 87-year-old Mother Teresa (after all, she made only a small dent in India’s overwhelming problem of poverty), Diana’s death drove the international media into a months-long frenzy about the details of her accident, the allegedly sordid activities of the royal family, and Diana’s legacy to the British people.

The Prince and the Pauper

We saw another such moment last week, also with British connections. On Monday, April 23, the 35-year-old Prince William (elder son of Princess Diana) and his wife welcomed their third child into the world, giving him the (predictably patrician) name Louis Arthur Charles. The infant boy, who is the sixth great-grandchild of Queen Elizabeth II, is now fifth in line to the British throne. Simultaneously, a months-long drama came to a climax in the British city of Liverpool, where a 23-month old toddler named Alfie Evans was at the center of a legal battle for his very life. On Saturday, April 28, Alfie died, nearly a week after his life support was withdrawn by order of a British court. According to testimony from inside sources, it is quite possible that Alfie’s death was the direct result of four different drugs which were administered by the hospital a few hours before his sudden decline and passing.

Alfie Evans more than 48 hours after he was removed from his ventilator on April 23, 2018.

Little Alfie Evans joins Charlie Gard, who died under similar conditions in 2017 at the age of eleven months, as casualties of British law and medical ethics (or lack thereof), in which the rights of the state now trump those of the parents. Alfie had suffered from a degenerative neurological condition and had been in a Liverpool hospital since December, 2016. When Alfie’s parents had the audacity to disagree with the hospital’s decision to “pull the plug” on their son, a four-month legal battle ensued. In February, a British court ruled in favor of the hospital administrators, agreeing that there was “no hope” for the youngster and permitting the hospital to withdraw life support. Legal appeals by the Evans family were met with denials at three levels, including the European Court of Human Rights, which called their petition “inadmissible.”

Two Irritants

Complicating the situation for British authorities, otherwise in lockstep about the decision to end Alfie’s life, were two irritants. First, Pope Francis made a public plea for Alfie’s life after a personal meeting on April 18 in the Vatican with Alfie’s father, Tom Evans. Secondly, as noted by even the liberal Jesuit America magazine, “the Italian government granted citizenship to Alfie, and Vatican-owned Bambino Gesu hospital in Rome has offered to care for the child. Doctors in the U.K. have not been able to make a definitive diagnosis of the 23-month-old child’s degenerative neurological condition, but they have said keeping him on life-support would be ‘futile.’ Three specialists from Bambino Gesu had flown to Liverpool and examined Alfie. According to the president of Bambino Gesu, ‘a positive outcome would be difficult, but the baby’s suffering can be alleviated.’”

At this point, however, British authorities were not willing to have the Italians come out as heroes by rescuing little Alfie and providing superior care. Thus, two days after the Italian offer, a British Court of Appeal upheld a ruling preventing Alfie from travelling abroad after life support was withdrawn. Thus, the toddler’s fate was sealed – no life support, no travel, and no appeal. Such is the realm of medical “ethics” in the New World Order. After Alfie’s death early Saturday morning, Tom Evans, a Catholic, wrote a magnificent tribute to his beautiful son on Facebook: “My gladiator lay down his shield and gained his wings… absolutely heartbroken.”

Immoral Judge

A brief look at the British judge at the center of the Alfie Evans case is sufficient to see the forces of death hard at work. As noted by the Church Militant website, High Court Justice Anthony Hayden is a pro-gay activist and a member of the Bar Lesbian and Gay Group (BLAGG), a network of gay lawyers in the United Kingdom. “He has repeatedly ruled against Evans’ parents, represented by the pro-life, pro-marriage Christian Legal Centre, which has condemned homosexuality as one of the ‘most significant challenges to God’s pattern for family in today’s society.’” Hayden is also the co-author of a book promoting gay adoption, described as a guide for those “who provide advice and support to same sex families.” In his February 20 ruling that permitted the halting of life support, Hayden noted (apparently with no trace of irony) that young Alfie required “peace, quiet and privacy.”

As with 1997, the press coverage of these two juxtaposed stories is entirely predictable. The British tabloids will continue full of stories on little Louis Arthur Charles in the coming months and years. The British public and royalists around the world will be regaled with details about his favorite foods, his first steps, his first words, etc. Meanwhile, Alfie Evans will be conveniently forgotten except by “Alfie’s Army,” the local activists who supported his cause, and – of course – in the mind of God.

Providential Date of Passing

One last point must be mentioned that may well be part of our teachable moment. Alfie Evans died on the anniversary of St. Gianna Molla’s death. On April 28, 1962, the 39-year-old Italian mother died of expected complications from the birth of her daughter one week earlier. Gianna had refused both an abortion and a hysterectomy for the sake of her Catholic faith and the welfare of her child. Was Alfie’s death on this anniversary perhaps God’s way of reminding us of the preciousness of all vulnerable life in His eyes? Or, in the words of Christ, “Having eyes, see you not? and having ears, hear you not?” (Mark 8:18).

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UPDATE

Fr Armand de Malleray gave this excellent homily on the 4th Sunday after Easter :

On fatherhood, brotherhood and Alfie Evans

It can be seen on video here.

 

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