A Priest Reveals the Dramatic Last Words of Cardinal Caffarra

By Antonio Socci (translation by Matthew Mangiaracina)

In recent years, many Catholics have looked to Cardinal Caffarra as one of the few lights in the present darkness.

A priest confided to me that in the past few days, he went to tell the Cardinal of his distress over the disasters that he endures in the Church every day, mentioning some incidents to him.

The cardinal burst into tears, saying:

The Lord will not abandon His Church. There were twelve apostles, so the Lord will start again with a few. Imagine the suffering of Saint Athanasius, who was left alone to defend the truth for the love of Christ, of the Church and of men. We must have faith, hope and fortitude.”

The priest confided in me: “The cardinal was very sorrowful, but he conveyed to me so much courage and love for the Church.”

Caffarra’s reference to St. Athanasius refers to the darkest moment in Church history, when the Arian heretics took control of the Church in the fourth century.

Almost alone, Bishop Athanasius’ voice rose to the defense of Catholic truth. He was excommunicated by the pope and suffered exile four times.

But shortly thereafter, the Church returned to true faith and subsequently canonized Athanasius by proclaiming him Father and Doctor of the Church.

The priest that spoke with the cardinals repeated that he was very sorrowful. One might perhaps think that he died of a broken heart. Certainly in the secrecy of prayer, he had offered God his life for this poor, lost Christianity.

He was certain that in the world and in the Church, the Lord will win in the end. Thus, in recent years, he was found to be the protagonist of a powerful defense of the Catholic Faith and of the sacraments in the face of Pope Bergoglio’s Amoris Laetitia.

In this testimony, he was comforted by the prophetic words which he had received years ago from Sister Lucia of Fatima in a letter in which she wrote to him that “the final battle between God and Satan will be about marriage and the family”.

This story – in addition to revealing to everyone his wisdom, his faith, and his courage – also shed light on his deep humanity.

I have a personal memory of this. It was August 15, 2010, the feast of the Assumption. My daughter Catherine had just awoken from a coma and was admitted to the “House of Awakenings” in the Bolognese hills.

To our surprise, that day, we saw Cardinal Carlo Caffarra, Archbishop of Bologna, arrive in the intense heat, in his own humble and simple way.

He had come to see Catherine, whose plight he had followed, (we were in indirect contact) and he stayed with us the entire day.

He was dressed like a simple priest. He also went to greet everyone who was sick, as well as their relatives. A true man of God.

Up until then, I knew him as a very robust theologian, friend and collaborator of John Paul II and Benedict XVI who appreciated him so much.

But that day – in that place of pain and hope – I found him to be a true father. His humanity and his paternal wisdom struck me, and I found them all again in his last mission for the Church.

(Originally published at AntonioSocci.com. Reprinted from 1Peter5)

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Church of the “Nice Guy”

From my friends over at Les Femmes, a terrific article refuting the “Nice Guy” approach to Catholicism  advanced by effeminate clergy and idiotic feminist types” – La Salette Journey

The Church will – through the power of the Holy Spirit

The City of God has a problem, a big problem. Many of those charged with protecting and defending the city have gone over to the enemy. Some are active members of the treasonous conspiracy, but others commit treason by their silence and capitulation. They are the “nice guys” who want to be liked and admired. They don’t want anyone rocking the boat by insisting on unpleasant truths and they fear epithets like “rigid” and “medieval.” And so they say and do nothing when the active conspirators within and the enemy without take their jackhammers and wrecking balls to the foundations of the holy city.

In a recent article at The Catholic Thing, Deacon James Toner discussed The Nice Guy Syndrome and raised some provocative points:

Nice guys are sincere….. Nice guys are tolerant…. Nice guys are “authentic”….That there can be sincere rapists, tolerant drug dealers, or authentic terrorists; that abortionists can be pleasant people; that those planning a political paradise marked by eugenics and euthanasia can simultaneously be loving grandparents – all these things testify to what Hannah Arendt famously called the “banality of evil.”….
Nice guys…have done, and can do, great evil because of apathy, because of unwillingness to seek the truth and then to do it. Truth obliges. Knowing the truth requires us to act in that truth – to “do” the truth. (James 1:22, CCC 898) If being a “nice guy” means that we must be wishy-washy or apathetic about knowing and serving truth, then we must be as disagreeable, as dyspeptic, as possible….

Smiling nice guys are legion: we find them in parliaments and in pulpits, in chancelleries and in colleges, in the public square and in religious synods….
… if I do not trouble myself about the truth – about its certainty in Christ – then I need not concern myself about doing the truth, about testifying to that truth by what I say and do, and thus risk alienating those very people who see me as a “nice guy.”[i]

This article will focus, not on the “nice guys” of the world who lack the advantage of the fullness of the faith; rather it will look at those within the City of God with the responsibility to teach: the men in Roman collars with multiple letters after their names, the Catholic educators and writers willing to purge the truth from their institutions and works, and the laity in the pew who pick and choose their beliefs in accordance with their pet sins. Not all these “nice guys” are merely silent about the truth. Some actively seek the approval of the world by vigorously defending what’s popular and politically correct. They may even uphold certain teachings of the faith when it is easy and costs nothing. Their silence, however, is deafening when it comes to hard truths that make them targets of criticism and ridicule. These are the “nice guys” committing treason against the City and her ruler, Jesus Christ.

The word treason derives from the Latin “traditionem” meaning to hand over, deliver, or surrender and from the Old French verb “trair” meaning to betray. Under old English law, high treason involved a subject’s betraying his sovereign (in our case Christ Himself) or the state (the City of God). Petit treason involved a subject’s offense against a fellow subject. Today, “nice guys” commit both of these treasons. They violate the two great commandments to love God and neighbor. They undermine the faith and weaken the ability of the City of God to carry out its proper role of bringing the entire world to the service of Christ the King. They also undermine the faith of Catholics.
Let us examine several common spheres of silence that reflect the failure of “nice guys” to defend the faith and rob the Church of her evangelical mission to proclaim the truth and spread it to the ends of the earth: silence in the pulpit about moral evils common among the flock, silence from the hierarchy about syncretism, the belief that all religions are essentially the same and all can lead to salvation, and failure of the laity to defend the faith in the marketplace.

First of all, consider the silence of the clergy to teach the faith clearly and boldly. This problem plagued the Church from its very beginning and often arises from human respect. Peter himself fell victim when he stopped eating with the Gentile converts in order to please the Jewish converts.[ii] St. Paul called him to account and, when the first council met in Jerusalem, the Church spoke clearly about the limited obligations of the Gentiles to follow Mosaic Law. But it took a very UN-silent St. Paul to chastise the pope himself. How many clergy fall into the same trap as the English bishops who chose silence to please a king and avoid martyrdom? And the clergy today do it with much less cause, since they will hardly be executed for making a handful of parishioners angry. The bishop may lose some big contributors, of course, which seems to be an important consideration with nice guys in the chancery.

There are several particularly pernicious areas of silence for which our teaching shepherds are culpable. Humanae Vitae, the encyclical condemning contraception, remains unproclaimed after fifty years. The silence in most dioceses and parishes is deafening. Most clerics never challenge the sins of the flesh common to their flocks: abortion, contraception, pornography, immodesty, etc. Have you ever heard a sermon on the seven deadly sins or the four last things? Hell and damnation are very real, but those words are seldom heard. Instead, the Sunday homily, the major opportunity each week for the clergy to teach doctrine and morality to their parishioners, often has little more substance than a bowl of jello. How many clergy will have to answer to Christ, because they abandoned their flocks to spiritual ignorance?

We should be especially aware of the damage of silence in this anniversary year of Fatima since Our Lady told the three shepherd children that sins of the flesh send most sinners to hell. And certainly the sin of our day is lust. Contraception, pornography, and immodesty give free reign to fornication, adultery, and the perversion of the marriage bed. Contraception often leads to abortion since many couples cite contraceptive failure as the reason they kill their children. According to a 2011 U.K. study by the largest abortion provider in the country, two thirds of women choosing abortion were using contraception when they conceived.[iii] When I was sidewalk counseling, several abortion-minded women told me it wasn’t their fault since they conceived while using birth control. Hence, in their minds, abortion was justified.

And yet the silence about the immorality of these evils continues….

Read the rest, plus Footnotes, THERE.

 

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How Pope John Paul II once saved a fallen priest from despair, homelessness and alcoholism

Our Lady of Clergy 01I have come to dread interviews with Popes.  I have from the beginning of the interviews decades ago.  I generally read them anyway because, well, I have to, don’t I.

The recent book interview / conversation with Dominique Wolton released in French, however, has a tidbit that I find moving and precious.  My friend Sam Gregg of Acton Institute tweeted it out (HERE).  The tweet includes an image of text of an anecdote about how Pope St. John Paul II reclaimed and saved a fallen priest from despair, homelessness and alcoholism.

Here is my translation of what Pope Francis said:

On the Piazza Risorgimento [a square bordering the walls of Vatican City], there was a homeless Polish homeless man, often drunk.  In his drunkenness he told the story that he had been a fellow seminarian and in the priesthood with John Paul II, and that afterwards he had left the priesthood. No one believed him. Someone reported this to John Paul II. And he said, “So ask him what his name is.” And it was true!  “Get him to come.” [The man] was given a shower and was presented to the Pope. The Pope received him: “So how are you?!”, and he embraced him. He had, in short, abandoned the priesthood and had left with a woman. “But how are you?”  And then, at a certain moment, John Paul II regarded at him. “My confessor was supposed to come today, but he did not come. Hear my confession.” “But how can I do that?” [the man responded].  “Yes, yes, I’m giving you the faculty.”  And he got down on his knees and and made his confession.  And later [the priest] ended up as chaplain of a hospital, doing good for the sick.  An act of proximity and humility.

This is a powerful story.

It occurs to me that this story might in itself be a signal of grace for some priest who may be struggling right now.  The arrival of this story in front your eyes could be a game changer.

I believe that Mary, Queen of the Clergy and Mother of Priests, truly watches over her sons.  She provides for them even in the extreme moments.

Once upon a time, when I was heading into Rome on the train at zero-dark-hundred accompanied by a friend – in fact The Great Roman™ of legend and fame – who was going to serve my daily Mass in San Pietro, there was a commotion at the station platform after we pulled in.  A man had thrown himself in front of the train.  It was pretty awful.  I crawled down off the platform and gave him, still twitching, extreme unction (I always carry an oil stock) and the Apostolic Benediction.  (There were two other priests of the diocese who just stood there, so I went into action.)

The next day the bishop called me in and asked me to tell him what I had done.  When I had finished, he told me that the man on the track was a fallen away priest, a Salesian, who finally succumbed to despair.

Mary provided a priest and the sacrament for him in his last moment.  She cares.

Fathers, you never know who or what might come your way.  Be ready.  There are times when you have to take initiative.  That moment – staring you in the face – might be pivotal, in a dramatic way.

And so I post this anecdote and end…

Mary, Queen of the Clergy, pray for us.  Pray for our priests and religious.  Obtain for us many more.

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Reflection for the 23rd Sunday of Ordinary Time

from: The Benedictine Abbey of Christ in the Desert. (with kind permission of the Abbot.)

Image result for If your brother sins against you

FIRST READING  Ezekiel 33:7-9

Thus says the Lord:  You, son of man, I have appointed watchman for the house of Israel; when you hear me say anything, you shall warn them for me.  If I tell the wicked, “O wicked one, you shall surely die,” and you do not speak out to dissuade the wicked from his way, the wicked shall die for his guilt, but I will hold you responsible for his death.  But if you warn the wicked, trying to turn him from his way, and he refuses to turn from his way, he shall die for his guilt, but you shall save yourself.

SECOND READING        Romans 13:8-10

Brothers and sisters:  Owe nothing to anyone, except to love one another; for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.  The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery; you shall not kill; you shall not steal; you shall not covet,” and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this saying, namely, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”  Love does no evil to the neighbor; hence, love is the fulfillment of the law.

GOSPEL       Matthew 18:15-20

Jesus said to his disciples:  “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone.  If he listens to you, you have won over your brother.  If he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, so that ‘every fact may be established on the testimony of two or three witnesses.’  If he refuses to listen to them, tell the church.  If he refuses to listen even to the church, then treat him as you would a Gentile or a tax collector.  Amen, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.  Again, amen, I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything for which they are to pray, it shall be granted to them by my heavenly Father.  For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”

My sisters and brothers in Christ,

One of the most difficult things in life is correcting another person.  Yes, there are people who seem always to be correcting others—but that type of person rarely has any lasting success.  What the Lord God wants from us is to find ways to draw others to HIM, the Lord God, by the way of correction.  That is a divine task.

The first reading today is from the Prophet Ezekiel.  He was told by the Lord to correct others—and he did not want to do it.  God told him bluntly:  if you do not tell others their faults, then you are responsible for their deaths.  This is really strong language—and yet so needed today.  None of us wants to tell others their faults or that what they are doing is against what God asks us to do!  For instance, if we are speaking to a young couple that is living together and not married in the Church—who wants to say that out loud?  And there are so many situations like that in the area of sexual morality.  Our Church teaches clearly that sexual activity between two people is only moral when that activity is between a man and a woman who are married in the Church.  Clearly our culture and even many of us Catholics are not comfortable saying that out loud today.

But it is not only sexual morality that is a challenge today.  We have challenges in the way we treat immigrants, challenges in the way that businesses make profits, challenges in the ways in which we discuss differences in politics and differences in religion; challenges in our desires for money and power, and in so many areas of our lives.  We have developed, however, a “live and let live” morality by which we can avoid any conflicts but also avoid talking about what is right and what is wrong.

Our second reading today is from the Letter to the Romans.  In this letter today we hear that love is the fulfillment of the law.  Yet today we often think of love as simply feeling good about one another.  Love is lived today very much as a “live and let live” kind of way.  Hardly anyone of us would think of a Prophet saying difficult things as a loving person.  Even modern prophets can say harsh and difficult things, but we rarely think of them as “loving.”  Instead, we are careful to think of them as prophet and not as people of love.

The readings today are so clear in this teaching:  if you do not correct those in error, you cannot be loving them.  Parents often correct their small children almost automatically and know that it is a loving thing to do.  Once a child gets older, parents have to make a choice to correct their children, especially when they know that the child will not accept correction easily.  And when we are in the presence of adults, we often tell ourselves that it is not our duty to correct anyone!

So we come to today’s Gospel from Saint Matthew.  The passage we have today is all about how to deal with a neighbor who has wronged us.  But we can also look at this from the other side where we are the one wronging someone else.  It works both ways.  The challenge is:  how to bring about reconciliation with a deep awareness of the truth of the situation.  All of us must learn that we offend others at times, that we misjudge others at times, that we take advantage of others at times.  If we can come to recognize our own brokenness and lack of love towards others, then we will find it much easier to deal with the brokenness and lack of love in others.

So our first challenge today is to accept that we are broken and need correction.  Only within that context can we see God’s love.  Then in God’s love we might be able to speak the truth to our own culture and to others in our lives.

Your brother in the Lord,

Abbot Philip

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Motu proprio “Magnum Principium”—a translation

This should have been posted prior to Father Hugh’s previous post. My apologies.

Dominus mihi adjutor

Herewith my hasty and rough translation of the pope’s new motu proprio, Magnum Principium. Comments to follow in due course.


The great principle, confirmed by the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, according to which liturgical prayer, as adapted to their comprehension, should be understood by the people, required the grave duty be entrusted to the Bishops for introducing the vernacular into the liturgy, and to prepare and approve the [vernacular] versions of liturgical books.

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Magnum Principium: Why the Fuss?

Dominus mihi adjutor

Not unreasonable, some people in social media are at a loss as to why there is such a fuss about the change to canon law, and so liturgical law, in the pope’s just-released motu proprio, Magnum Principium. After all, it is just a change to an obscure canon, #838, that 99% of Catholics have never heard of, let alone read. Surely allowing bishops’ conferences to choose their own translations of liturgical books is sensible, and no big deal?

Well, yes and no. It should not be a big deal, all things being equal. However, in the current context of post-conciliar liturgical reform it is a retrograde step that presages strife and turmoil.

As with any change to Church law, one must ask: Why the change? Why now? At whose behest is it made? What is its endgame, as it were? In other words, what is the context?

The remote…

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Moto proprio “Magnum Principium”

Another divisive move by our beloved Holy Father. This will set Bishop against Bishop and will lead to different liturgy in different countries. Can our Holy Mother Church ever call itself ‘Universal’ again?

Dominus mihi adjutor

It has dropped. Not in L”Osservatore Romano as expected, but on the Vatican website. As yet it is only in Latin and Italian, so it will take some time for those slow in those languages (like me) to read it properly.

Attached herewith is the Latin text and the interpretive notes from the Congregation for Divine Worship.

This may seem to be a matter of small details. But as we know, the devil is so often in the details.

Pax.

Screen Shot 2017-09-09 at 11.28.11

**Click here for the motu proprio in Latin

**Click here for the official guidance notes in English

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Catholics debate: what Rees-Mogg got right and wrong

Jacob Rees-Mogg’s valiant public defence of Catholic principles on the early morning TV show, despite the relentless bullying tactics of the interviewers, has given rise to an unprecedented reaction from the general public. Leaving aside the many angry, negative responses from the self-righteous PC crowd, the Staff Reporter at the CATHOLIC HERALD has given a summary of some of the positive but nuanced opinions from Catholic clergy and authors.

Jacob Rees-Mogg outside Parliament (Getty)

Catholics praised the MP’s witness – but some wondered if his reasoning could have been better

Since Jacob Rees-Mogg’s interview on Good Morning Britain two days ago, many Catholics have acclaimed his courage in standing up for the unborn and refusing to endorse same-sex marriage. But there have been some criticisms of his performance too. Here are a few highlights from the discussion.

Bishop Philip Egan praised Rees-Mogg’s “wonderful witness”, while Bishop Mark Davies admired Rees-Mogg for “fearlessly” standing by “those Christian convictions on which our society was built.”

Spectator editor Fraser Nelson recalled in his Telegraph column that when he was younger, “I’d be told about various Catholics in high places – as if their example showed that young Catholics can aim high. It never occurred to me that we couldn’t: this kind of discrimination died out a long time ago. But I’m not sure what a young Christian (or Muslim) listening to the Rees-Mogg furore would think about their prospects now. Might religion seriously damage your career or social standing?”

Blogger Mark Lambert argued that the Conservative MP had shown Catholics how to engage with society. “Rees-Mogg is unapologetic and shows great strength and intelligence in defending his beliefs. This is surely what we want to see in our politicians? He brilliantly explains the dichotomy between the law of the land and the teaching of the Church. He is taking the ideological battle out into the culture, not appeasing or accommodating, as so many try – and fail – to do.”

The interview, said Fr Ed Tomlinson, “was embarrassing; it was men against boys in terms of intellectual understanding.” Rees-Mogg’s careful reasoning put the interviewers’ “groupthink” to shame. Nevertheless, “The demonisation of Christianity we witness should alarm us all. For history teaches dehumanisation of any minority is a step on the road to persecution. So thank God for the courage of Jacob Rees-Mogg who, unlike [Tim] Farron, refuses to apologise for his faith.”

At the Catholic Herald, Fr Alexander Lucie-Smith wondered if Rees-Mogg’s interview might actually help him politically. “Jacob Rees-Mogg can with conviction present himself as an alternative to the socially liberal Toryism of people like [Justine] Greening. In this he has one huge advantage: he is intelligent, sincere and coherent.”

But some Catholics were concerned by the way Rees-Mogg expressed himself. Joseph Shaw, while giving Rees-Mogg his support, was concerned that Rees-Mogg implied opposition to abortion and same-sex marriage were purely matters of faith, rather than reasonable positions even non-Christians should hold. The MP’s appeal to his religion “plays right into the hands” of those who claim Catholic teaching is unreasoning bigotry which should be driven from the public square.

Moreover, said Shaw, Rees-Mogg implied that abortion and marriage were different issues, because marriage is a more private matter. Shaw objected: “The implication that we can let homosexual couples who wish to ‘marry’ get on with it, whereas we can’t let abortionists and their clients get on with abortion, suggests that marriage is not a public institution with implications for other married couples, children, and society as a whole.” In a follow-up post, Shaw offered some suggestions about how to answer the difficult questions.

At Premier Christianity, the Catholic writer Peter D Williams shared some of Shaw’s concerns. While praising Rees-Mogg’s “firm confidence and gentle compassion”, Williams pointed out that some of his answers could have been improved. On gay sex, for instance, Rees-Mogg would only say “that Catholic teaching says we should not judge anyone. This isn’t a good interpretation of the pericope adulterae – which is not about not judging people and actions, but not doing so in hypocrisy – let alone a defence of the Christian doctrine.”

The canon lawyer Ed Condon observed that Rees-Mogg could have added nuance to his answer about marriage. Although non-Christian marriages aren’t sacramental, Condon told the Catholic Herald, they are “no less indissoluble, no less real, no less truly and wholly marriage.”

Indissoluble marriage between a man and a woman is not a uniquely Catholic institution, Condon said, but something common to all mankind: it comes under what Roman jurists called the “ius gentium”, or “law of all peoples”. This is traditionally held to be “the law which natural reason establishes in all people.”

Nevertheless, Rees-Mogg’s interview was “heartening”, said Condon. “As he was shamelessly badgered by the presenters, who clearly wanted a soundbite of him “opposing” or “condemning” gay people, he refused to concede them a negative verb.” Perhaps the best thing Rees-Mogg did “was to demonstrate that it is possible to have one’s beliefs held up to incredulous scrutiny and yet remain unfailingly polite, positive, and uncompromising. In that, he’s an example to all sides.”

See also the article at That The Bones You Have Crushed May Thrill

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The Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Don’t you know it is our Lady’s feast, and Mary had her mantle spread over us to save us from all harm?” – Father Willie Doyle, SJ (1873-1917).

History

The earliest document commemorating this feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary comes from a hymn written in the sixth century. The feast may have originated somewhere in Syria or Palestine in the beginning of the sixth century, when after the Council of Ephesus, the cult of the Mother of God was greatly intensified, especially in Syria.

The first liturgical commemoration is connected with the sixth century dedication of the Basilica Sanctae Mariae ubi nata est, now called the Church of St. Anne in Jerusalem. The original church built, in the fifth century, was a Marian basilica erected on the spot known as the shepherd’s pool and thought to have been the home of Mary’s parents. In the seventh century, the feast was celebrated by the Byzantines as the feast of the Birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Since the story of Mary’s Nativity is known only from apocryphal sources, the Latin Church was slower in adopting this festival. At Rome the Feast began to be kept toward the end of the 7th century, brought there by Eastern monks.

Birth of Mary

On Our Lady’s birthday the Church celebrates the first dawning of redemption with the appearance in the world of the Saviour’s mother, Mary. The Blessed Virgin occupies a unique place in the history of salvation, and she has the highest mission ever commended to any creature. We rejoice that the Mother of God is our Mother, too. Let us often call upon the Blessed Virgin as “Cause of our joy”, one of the most beautiful titles in her litany.

“Impart to your servants, we pray, O Lord,
the gift of heavenly grace,
that the feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin
may bring deeper peace
to those for whom the birth of her Son
was the dawning of salvation.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
Amen.” (Collect Prayer)

Customs 

The winegrowers in France called this feast “Our Lady of the Grape Harvest”. The best grapes are brought to the local church to be blessed and then some bunches are attached to the hands of the statue of Mary. A festive meal that includes the new grapes is part of this day.

In Goa, the feast of Mary’s Nativity, called the “Monti Fest”, is a major family celebration, serving as a thanksgiving festival blessing the harvest of new crops, and observed with a festive lunch centered on the blessed grain of the harvest. In Mangalore it is the feast of Mary’s Nativity, called the “Monthi Fest”. On this day every Mangalorean eats pulses and vegetables. The priest blesses a branch of grain which is added to food. Before the feast on 8 September there are nine days of novena followed by the throwing of flowers on baby Mary’s statue.

In 1730, devotion to Mary in her first infancy among the Franciscan nuns in Lovere, Italy, where a wax statue of the Santissima Maria Bambina was venerated and later brought to Milan under the care of Sisters of Charity. In Southern France, the devotion penetrated into the bride gift wedding custom of Globe de Marièe, where the baby Mary is placed on the cushion, representing children and fertility as one of the ideal wishes of a newlywed bride.

In the Alps section of Austria this day is “Drive-Down Day” during which the cattle and sheep are led from their summer pastures in the slopes and brought to their winter quarters in the valleys. This was usually a large caravan, with all the finery, decorations, and festivity. In some parts of Austria, milk from this day and all the leftover food are given to the poor in honour of Our Lady’s Nativity.

A similar devotion showcasing the toddler stage of Mary began to develop, mainly in former Spanish territories such as Mexico, Guatemala and the Philippines, where the La Niña Maria is portrayed as a prepubescent girl.

In the 19th century Mexico, the Conceptionists nun Sister Magdalena endorsed a devotion to the virgin infant, using the Cabeza or head of a cherubim angel from a damaged monstrance to create a Santo image. The pious devotion was later sanctioned by Pope Gregory XVI who granted indulgences to the beliefs of Marian apparition. Ten years later, another Marian visionary, Rosario Arrevillaga, began a religious order devoted to the same Marian title called the Order of the Slaves of the Immaculate Child.

Pope Benedict XV recognised the Marian image in Senglea, Malta under the title of Maria Bambina honouring the nativity of the Virgin Mary, granting the decree of its canonical coronation on 1 May 1920, subsequently crowned by Archbishop Mauro Caruana on 4 September 1921. The image which once adorned a Catholic galleon was shipwrecked in 1618 near the Dalmatian islands and was rescued to the present town, which also celebrates its feast on September 8.

In the Philippines, pious Roman Catholic faithful adapted the same devotion by maintaining the devotion to the toddler Virgin Mary, dressing her in pastel colours and crowning her with a floral tiara to emphasise her virginity and innocence, as opposed to the traditional diadem often reserved to adult images of saints. Similar to Hispanic traditions, candies and cakes are popularly offered in the Virgin’s honour, emphasizing her honorific title as La Dulce Maria or the Sweet Mary.

Though unrelated, certain places with Marian devotion juxtapose the Feast of Mary’s birthdate with their own respective localised images such as Cobre in Cuba, (Our Lady of Charity), Pampanga in the Philippines (Our Lady of Remedies), and Velankanni in India (Our Lady of Good Health).

PRAYER FOR THE NATIVITY OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY

O Virgin Immaculate, thou who by a singular privilege of grace wast preserved from Original Sin, look in pity upon our separated brethren, who are nevertheless thy children, and call them back to the cenre of unity. Not a few of them, although separated from the Church, have kept a certain veneration for thee; and do thou, generous as thou art, reward them for it, by obtaining for them the grace of conversion.

Thou wast conqueror of the infernal serpent from the first instant of thy existence; renew even now, for it is now more necessary than ever before, thine ancient triumphs; glorify thy Divine Son, bring back to Him the sheep that have strayed from the one fold and place them once more under the guidance of the universal Shepherd who holds the place of thy Son on earth; let it be thy glory, O Virgin who destroyest all heresies, to restore unity and peace once more to all the Christian people.

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The Sick Man of the West

An outstanding article that sheds plenty of light on the root causes of the growing hedonistic attitudes of the West. It should also give answers to some of our commenters’ questions of late.

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William Borst on CATHOLIC JOURNAL

One of Alfred Hitchcock’s best pictures was his 1953 film I Confess, the dramatic story of a parish priest accused of a murder. The plot was complicated by the fact that the real murderer confesses his heinous crime to a priest in the confessional. The scales of justice weight the priest’s life against the sanctity of the Seal of Confession. Hitchcock treats the priest’s conundrum with artistic style and grace that respected both the priest’s right to life and Church doctrine.

While the Hitchcock film was a box office success, American culture has so changed in 50 years that a cynical public would swiftly reject its priestly sympathies. Thoughts of confessing one’s sins or the Seal of Confession are foreign concepts to a secular society that does not accept sin or sinners. Hollywood’s traditional portrayal of the priesthood has all but disappeared from the big screen. The heavenly smiles of Barry Fitzgerald and Bing Crosby as parish priests have relinquished the spotlight to the sodden alcoholic and the child-molesting pervert.

Human beings will always need to unburden themselves from the pangs of conscience. Sins create guilt and guilt seeks a healing confession. Those who find the confessional repugnant now look for inner peace in other venues. Some bare their souls to the local bartender. Others choose the unfettered freedom of the psychiatrist’s couch over the solemn privacy of the confessional. In this modern confessional, validation and approval substitute for penance and forgiveness.

The Psychiatrist encourages the sinner to focus, not on the evil or harm of the patient’s behavior but on the subconscious causes and nurture issues that have prompted his actions. Psychiatry has inverted the natural cause of things so that patients think of themselves, more as victims rather than active agents of bad or evil behavior.

In his book, Peace of Soul, Bishop Fulton J. Sheen maintains that every sin seeks its release. If a sin does not come out in confession, it will manifest it in many other ways, often with harmful personal and social consequences. An unrepentant society is one which has lost its anchor in a cultural sea of death and despair.

The Catholic Church has always preached the dangers of falling into the spiritual traps, known as the Seven Deadly Sins. These sins, pride, covertness, lust, envy, anger, sloth and gluttony, are the linear descendants of original sin, which left man seriously flawed and susceptible to their deadly influences. A society that has rejected any notion of sin based on Revelation and has been weaned on moral relativism, tolerance, and non-judgmentalism is seriously unable to recognize the abject evil that spiritual vices produce.

Due to popular indifference, the Seven Deadly Sins have been relegated to the dusty archives where medieval notions are shelved. Instead of providing material for an examination of conscience, they have been reduced to advertisement fodder, such as in a recent commercial for a wireless company that makes an EnV phone.

Many sins are inherently evil. The leaders of the French Revolution, such as Jean Jacques Rousseau and the Philosophes, rebelled against the idea of evil. Since then Liberalism has dedicated itself to explaining away the idea of evil by attributing the apparent evils of life to the abnormalities in an individual’s upbringing or environment.

No individual did more to take sinners out of the confessional and put them on the couch than Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) the Father of Psychoanalysis. He believed that each personality was divided into the ego, id, and superego. Most babies start out on a purely subconscious level or the id. The ego or the rational side of the human personality develops from the id, enabling the child to negotiate realistically with the world around him. The superego or conscience evolves as the child learns the moral values of his society, often creating an interior conflict between values and desires. The ego mediates the selfish needs of the id and idealistic demands of the superego.

The adoption of an uncritical superego is dependent upon the child resolving the Oedipus Complex. This is the collection of unconscious wishes involving sexual desires, of a male child for his mother. The keys to understanding Freud’s twisted impact on American culture reside within this idea. He used the Oedipus Complex to justify his own aberrant sexual actions and impulses that emerged from his hostility toward his father Jacob and his strong affection for his mother Amalia. In his 40s he was plagued with several phobias and an obsession with dying. In 1896, not only did Freud’s father die but he also kicked his cocaine habit and begin an incestuous relationship with his sister-in-law, Minna Bernays.

According to E. Michael Jones’ 1993 book Degenerate Moderns, Freud made a complicated religion-sexual system that will not only provide explanation but the fulfillment of all his deeply held desires as well to appease his troubled conscience. He spent his life militating against the universal standards of sexual morality that would have condemned his illicit behavior. His Oedipus Complex exonerated him from his desire for Minna because his violation of nature’s oldest taboo had put him above nature, sin, and God as well. His psychological theory paved the way toward a universal pathology because he believed that even normal people are only borderline neurotics.

Not all of the turmoil that began in the 1960s can be laid at Freud’s doorstep. The main culprit in this destructive social transformation has been the Frankfurt School of Social Research, which paired Karl Marx with Freudian psychology. Cal State University psychology professor Kevin MacDonald has produced the best analysis of its parasitical relationship with American Society in his essay The Frankfurt School of Social Research and the Origin of the Therapeutic State, which appeared in the Spring 2006 edition of The Occidental Quarterly.

The Frankfurt School originated as the Institute of Social Research in the University of Frankfurt in Germany in the 1920s. Jewish millionaire Felix Weil, who was a noted patron of the left, founded the Institute. By the 1930s the University of Frankfurt had become a bastion of leftist thinking. With the election of Adolph Hitler in 1933 the Institute was branded a Communist organization and many of its members fled Germany for the United States. In America its leading proponents Theodor Adorno, Max Horkheimer, and Herbert Marcuse developed a culture of critique that would undermine the West in the manner theorized by Sardinian Communist Antonio Gramsci.

To the Marxists, the West was a citadel of oppression and domination that had to be destroyed. MacDonald concentrated on their plan to subvert the Western institutions, such as the family, religion, culture, and patriotism that stabilized American society. They planned a Balkanized model of a multi-cultural society where minority groups and their interests had a priori moral value, while cohesive groups are viewed as pathological and subject to radical criticism.

In his Escape from Freedom, cultural Marxist Erich Fromm argued that people sought refuge in fascist movements because they were afraid of the responsibilities of freedom and choice. The religions and racial solidarity of the majority frustrated this public will. The same rules never applied to minorities who were always considered above and beyond the need for rules and regulations.

Herbert Marcuse was another notable member of the Frankfurt School who spent many years teaching in the United States. In his Eros and Civilization, written in 1974, he promoted Freud’s theory that Western culture produces pathology because it represses sexual urges. This results in perpetual unfreedom and suffering.

No American institution better represented this unfreedom than the family. Igor Shafarevich identified the family as the central target of the cultural Marxist in his 1975 essay, Socialism in our Past and Future. The Marxists took advantage of the fact that the traditional family rests on sexual restraint and the nurturing of children. The Frankfurt School realized that anything that disrupted family harmony worked in their favor.

Both Max Horkheimer and Theodor Adorno put the traditional family under the microscope of their Critical Theory. In his Eclipse of Reason, Horkheimer contended that all modern ills, including Nazism, collectivism, mental illness, and criminality are due to the oppressive nature of family life. Their goal was to deconstruct the family until its strength and vitality had evaporated. The linchpin to family stability was the father. Weaken the mother and the sons will turn into bad husbands and fathers. Devalue fatherhood and the family will likely tumble.

Taking a leaf from Rousseau’s Emile, Horkheimer reasoned that from birth a child naturally resents the domineering aspects of civilization, especially from submitting to the autocratic will of the father. Constant parental discipline took its toll over the course of a child’s life. The child who did not rebel against the father’s tyranny was mentally ill. Those who valued high moral standards, long-term marriages, and practiced chastity, were all considered mentally ill. Obedient children become conformists, who will march to the drumbeat of demagogues such as Adolph Hitler. The Catholic Church had the same negative affect on a spiritual level, using fear and intimidation for control.

Adorno went even further in his book, The Authoritarian Personality. The book promoted the idea that Westerners who identified with family, nation, or race suffered from a psychiatric disorder. The psychological traits instilled by an autocratic father, according to Adorno, invariably lead to anti-Semitism, racism, and homophobia, the great pathologies of the 21st century. Many of the pathologies of the 1960s counterculture revolution found their expression in Adorno’s book, including parental rebellion, illicit sexual behavior and scorn for upward social mobility, Christianity and patriotism.

The disciples of the Frankfurt School dedicated their energies to weeding out the loyal remnants to the traditional institutions of family, nation, and religion, so as to create the vacuum for a Marxist state. In their ideal world the United States would become a therapeutic state a national infirmary of souls. The Marxist rhetoric of the Frankfurt School had established its beachhead after the war in the public school system through the writings of John Dewey and his progressive education. With the exclusion of religious-based instruction from the public schools, millions of children lost their best defense against the moral intrusion of government and civil organizations like HEW, Planned Parenthood, and the ACLU.

According to Marxist rhetoric, all murders, rapists, prostitutes and thieves were sick or just misunderstood. The jargon of the psychiatrist’s office had replaced that of the criminal code. The liberal principles of the French Revolution have melded with the Freudian subconscious, to create a non-judgmental and tolerant public whose first impulse was to ascribe, even the most heinous crime, to the agent’s poor upbringing, alienation from his peers and inability to communicate his darkest fears. The criminal is in a word, sick, in need of, not revenge-oriented punishment, but therapeutic counseling. To them criminality and immorality were maladjustments to be cured by education.

In just over a generation, America went from a nation of individual families to a multicultural tribe of conflicting groups. The solidarity of the group had replaced the natural family. The country was now a loosely assorted mosaic of warring lobby groups and cultural identity partisans.

All personal problems were transformed into psychological problems, to be treated with counseling and/or pharmaceuticals. Before the country had realized what had happened, it was a Prozac Nation, whose first impulse was not the confessional but the medicine cabinet for the alleviation of its feelings of guilt and Angst. Librium, Ritalin, and Prozac became the drugs of choice, devastating the American family as it vainly tried to keeping up with the Joneses in material, social and academic success.

Venerable Fulton J. Sheen

The modern society that has emerged from the 50 years of Marxist influence in American schools and in many churches is antithetical to the basic tenets of Christianity. In an August issue of Chronicles Magazine, French professor Claude Polin describes this state of mankind as living in a state of unhappiness and wretchness. He emphasizes that it is not God’s fault but man’s. These serious social problems are the result of the original sin that the modern world denies. It was not God who made man unhappy but his sinfulness. This is in perfect accord with Bishop Sheen’s Peace of Soul.

To alleviate the human condition God sent His only Son to redeem the world and raise man back to its original status before the fall. Jesus not only opened the Gates of Heaven but also provided man with the grace and a plan for his salvation. Christ’s revolutionary outlook on life truly changed the way people had lived at that time. Jesus taught a revolution of the soul, which offered to throw out the old wineskin of the Mosaic Law and replace it with the new wineskin of agape.

To facilitate and perpetuate this revolution, Christ chose his successors on earth and established his Church on the Rock of St. Peter. The Church brought love and forgiveness where there had been none. It emphasized modesty and humility where people were lustful and proud and urged people to do good works and love their enemies. Men are unhappy because they have ignored the Church’s moral teachings on sin and become so attached to their temporal lives, as Polin suggests, beyond all reason that they have lost sight of the true meaning of life.

God could have made men so that they would never fall into sin but then there would not have been free will. All man has to do is avoid the sinful ailments that threaten to induce the nation into a coma of lust, greed, laziness and anger that will destroy him from within. This is not only good advice, it is also a prescription for happiness. Once the soul has completed its inner revolution, it will be immune to the material entrapments of the world, the flesh, and the devil. When this has been accomplished, all the Frankfurtian prescriptions of the modern world cannot infect the soul with a victomology that brings only emotional immaturity, spiritual death, and national suicide. Unfortunately the pendulum seems to be moving farther to the left.

 

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Dubia signer Cardinal Caffarra dies awaiting Pope’s clarification

 

By Pete Baklinski at LifeSiteNews:

Cardinal Carlo Caffarra, one of the four cardinals who sent Pope Francis the dubia asking for clarity on Amoris Laetitia, died at 79, the Vatican confirmed.

He is the second dubia cardinal to die in the last two months. German Cardinal Joachim Meisner died peacefully in his sleep in July, holding his breviary and preparing to offer Mass.

The two remaining dubia signers are Cardinals Raymond Burke, 69, and Walter Brandmuller, 88.

Cardinal Caffarra, former archbishop of Bologna, was tasked by Saint Pope John Paul II more than three decades ago with founding an institute to study marriage and the family. He has been a respected leader in reinvigorating the life and family movement within the Church.

Along with a doctorate in canon law, he was a specialist in moral theology. In his early priesthood he was a professor of moral theology to seminarians, giving special attention to the Church’s doctrine on marriage and the ethics of procreation. He later taught medical ethics in Rome.

He was nominated an expert at the Synod of Bishops on Matrimony and the Family in 1980, and the following year, was appointed by John Paul II to as founder and president of the John Paul II Pontifical Institute for Studies on Marriage and the Family. From 1983-88 he held the position of Consultor of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

The cardinal served as a member of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, the Pontifical Council for the Family, and the Pontifical Academy for Life.

In 2008, Caffarra gave an interview in which he spoke about a letter he had received from the last Fatima seer, Sister Lucia dos Santos, concerning the final battle between God and Satan. When the cardinal wrote to Sister Lucia 36 years ago asking for her prayers as he began the process of founding the institute, he never expected a reply. Instead, the seer responded with a message of profound significance.

Caffarra explained:

In [her letter] we find written: ‘The final battle between the Lord and the reign of Satan will be about marriage and the family. Don’t be afraid,’ she added, ‘because anyone who operates for the sanctity of marriage and the family will always be contended and opposed in every way, because this is the decisive issue.’ And then she concluded: ‘However, Our Lady has already crushed its head.’

In a 2010 doctrinal note issued in his Archdiocese of Bologna, he wrote that any Catholic who approves of same-sex “marriage” can no longer be considered Catholic.

He called the Pope’s exhortation Amoris Laetitia “objectively unclear,” noting how fellow bishops have conflicting interpretations of what it means.

Caffarra has been clear that where confusion arises in interpreting papal texts, one has to refer to the continuity of the Magisterium of the past as the principle guiding light. “In matters of Doctrine and Morals, the Magisterium cannot contradict itself,” he stated.

Last year, the cardinal contributed to a book released by Ignatius Press titled Eleven Cardinals Speak that defended Catholic teaching on marriage and sexuality.

In May, the cardinal gave what might now be considered his battle plan for how the Church must engage in what he called the “final battle” between God and Satan.

Caffarra said in his presentation at the Rome Life Form on May 19 that there are two forces opposing one another in the battle. One is the “wounded Heart of the Crucified-Risen One” who calls all men to himself. The other is the “power of Satan, who does not want to be ousted from his kingdom.”

He said that Satan, in pushing the lies of abortion and homosexuality, is attempting to destroy the two most important pillars of creation, the “human person” created in the image of God and the “conjugal union” between a man and woman.

“The axiological elevation of abortion to a subjective right is the demolition of the first pillar. The ennoblement of a homosexual relationship, when equated to marriage, is the destruction of the second pillar,” Caffarra said.

Satan’s ultimate goal is to “build an actual anti-creation,” an “alternative creation,” where God and every sign of his beauty and goodness have been erased.

“This is the ultimate and terrible challenge which Satan is hurling at God,” the cardinal said.

To be a faithful follower of Christ in these times means to “testify…openly and publicly” to the truth of God’s creation with regard to the dignity of the human person and marriage.

“Someone who does not testify in this way is like a soldier who flees at the decisive moment in a battle. We are no longer witnesses, but deserters, if we do not speak openly and publicly,” he said.

In June, the Cardinal made public on behalf of the other dubia signers a letter to Pope Francis in which he unsuccessfully asked him for a private audience to discuss what he called the “confusion and disorientation” within the Church after the publication of Amoris Laetitia.

In the letter, the Cardinal laments the great division in the Church on basic morality as a result of the pope’s exhortation.

“And so it is happening — how painful it is to see this! — that what is sin in Poland is good in Germany, that what is prohibited in the archdiocese of Philadelphia is permitted in Malta,” he wrote on behalf of all four.

He wrote that the four were still hoping that the Pope would “resolve uncertainties and to bring clarity on some points” of Amoris Laetitia as outlined in the dubia they delivered to the Pope and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith last September.

Cardinal Raymond Burke outlined last month what the formal correction of Pope Francis would look like if the Pope continued to not respond to the five dubia.

“It seems to me that the essence of the correction is quite simple,” Burke explained to The Wanderer.

“On the one hand, one sets forth the clear teaching of the Church; on the other hand, what is actually being taught by the Roman Pontiff is stated. If there is a contradiction, the Roman Pontiff is called to conform his own teaching in obedience to Christ and the Magisterium of the Church,” he said.

“The question is asked, ‘How would this be done?’ It is done very simply by a formal declaration to which the Holy Father would be obliged to respond. Cardinals Brandmüller, Caffarra, Meisner, and I used an ancient institution in the Church of proposing dubia to the Pope,” the Cardinal continued.

“This was done in a very respectful way and not in any way to be aggressive, in order to give him the occasion to set forth the Church’s unchanging teaching. Pope Francis has chosen not to respond to the five dubia, so it is now necessary simply to state what the Church teaches about marriage, the family, acts that are intrinsically evil, and so forth. These are the points that are not clear in the current teachings of the Roman Pontiff; therefore, this situation must be corrected. The correction would then direct itself principally to those doctrinal points,” he added.

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Jacob Rees-Mogg grilled on his Catholic moral beliefs

God bless Jacob Rees-Mogg!

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The seal of confession: What it is and why it should be protected.

The seal of confession is among a priest’s chief weapons in thwarting Satan’s plot.

The late Cardinal Francis George of Chicago once called the encounters that take place within the sacrament of Penance “the most important conversations on the planet.” He was right. The most important conversations in our world don’t happen in boardrooms or courtrooms. They are not in the oval office or in the chambers of parliament. They transpire in the confessional.

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These conversations effect the salvation of the human race. In these meetings the power of the Blood of Jesus transforms contrite sinners into saints. Because something of infinite worth occurs in confession, it requires a unique level of protection. This is what the Church calls the seal of confession.
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In the early Church, the sacrament of Reconciliation was administered communally; grave sinners would confess their sins publicly and take on necessary acts of satisfaction in order eventually — sometimes after months or years of penance — to be reconciled to God and His Church.

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As the Church grew, Her ecclesial rites developed. While public penance continued, confession of particular sins would often take place in private. In the 4th century, St. Ambrose was praised for his role as a discreet minister of mercy with these words:
“Of the transgressions, however, which the penitent confessed, he spoke to no one but God, with whom he interceded, leaving a beautiful example to future priests, that they should be intercessors before God rather than accusers before men.”
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A century later, Pope St. Leo the Great famously condemned the practice of reading out the lists of sins committed by those taking on public penance. The Church’s saints understood that the sins spoken to God in the privacy of confession must be sealed by supernatural secrecy.
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Towards the end of the 6th century, St. Columban and his fellow missionary monks popularized the practice of private penance. As private confession became the norm across Christendom, the privileged secrecy of sacramental conversations became formalized. By the start of the second Christian millennium, the Church’s law set forth grave consequences for priests who would reveal the sins of penitents to others.
In 1215, the Fourth Lateran Council taught:
“For whoever shall dare to reveal a sin disclosed to him in the tribunal of penance we decree that he shall be not only deposed from the priestly office but that he shall also be sent into the confinement of a monastery to do perpetual penance.”
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Some 800 years later, the Church still assiduously protects the seal, punishing any priest that would break it with excommunication. These grave consequences flow from the supreme importance of the sacrament of Confession.
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And who grants it such importance? The Lord Jesus Himself, who came to seek and save those who are lost (Luke 19:10).  He came to the lost sheep of the house of Israel (Mt 15:34), and his mission is to those sick with the deadly illness of sin (Mk 2:17). The sacrament of Confession continues this merciful mission.
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As another Christ, the priest is privileged to sit in on the most important conversations in the world. He receives the grace to be an instrument of the power of Christ’s cross to heal every wound that sin inflicts. He mediates the encounter between the Prodigal Father and His wayward children.

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But while these sacramental realities are monumental, the truth of the matter is that sin itself is rather boring! Confessors remember the saints much more than the sinners, because sin is far less interesting than sanctity! It is my experience, and that of many priests, that more often than not we cannot remember the particular sins confessed by individual penitents. Even if we do, they remain enclosed in our priestly hearts, not out of shock or desire to condemn, but in the joyful knowledge that God has brought his son or daughter back to the life of grace.

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Read more:10 Tips from priests for a better Confession

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As a priest, I often hear that people do not like the sacrament of Confession because they fear telling someone their sins. This universal human experience of shame is one of the strongest tools of the devil’s blackmail. Having caught us in sin, the enemy uses shame over what we have done to prevent us from confessing and being reconciled with our loving Father.
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The seal of confession is among a priest’s chief weapons in thwarting Satan’s plot, because it guarantees to the contrite Christian that his sins—no matter how big or small—will never leave the safety of God’s merciful tribunal.
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The sacrament of Penance is one of the great gifts of the Trinity to the pilgrim people of God. It is the permanent institution of Christ’s mercy in the world. And it is a divinely instituted safe-space where fear and condemnation have no place, but hope and forgiveness reign. We should pray that this sacrament and her seal is respected and preserved by those within and without the communion of the Church.
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A Communist Pope? An interview with author George Neumayr

Communism denies the existence of a soul, and its adherents normally punish those that would say otherwise.
The brutal brainchild of Karl Marx, the Communist Manifesto, promised utopia on Earth. All one needed to do was overturn society and throw off the ruling class through violent revolution. The road to paradise was red, built on a new social order built by destroying traditional beliefs, social structures, property ownership, and governance.”
Jim Liao, Epoch Times, January 2017

Estimated victims of Communist Ideology in the 20th Century:
>90 million souls killed.
>100 million souls imprisoned and in many cases tortured.

Comment: Despite all the facts which prove beyond any shred of doubt that communism is a brutal, vicious anti-Christian ideology which has imprisoned and tortured tens of millions and killed tens of millions more in ice-cold blood, we have a Pope who is ‘comfortable’ with communism and has said: “The communists think like Christians”.

I rest my case.”

(This is a comment made on the LifeSiteNews post).

Maike Hickson

EDITOR’S NOTE: The opinions expressed in the following conversation are those of the book’s author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of LifeSiteNews.

September 1, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — Journalist Maike Hickson conducted an interview with author George Neumayr on his new book, The Political Pope. Neumayr offers insights into communist influences on Pope Francis.

Maike Hickson: Throughout your book, you make references to Pope Francis’ relationship with communism or with certain communists in particular. Could you describe for us in general his attitude toward communism?

George Neumayr: He tends to speak of communism in benign terms. He told the Italian press that he wasn’t “offended” if people call him a communist since he has “met many Marxists in my life who are good people.” Another time he said, “I must say that communists have stolen our flag,” because “the flag of the poor is Christian.” Past popes, who recognized the power of communism to enslave the poor, would have found such comments very puzzling.

MH: You write in your book that Pope Francis is sympathetic and supportive of the “radical political agenda of the global left” and you call him an “ecclesiastical equivalent of Barack Obama.” What are specific topics that Pope Francis is promoting that remind you of a worldview which is sympathetic with communist ideas?

GN: Hardline leftists used to say that they dreamed of a world without popes. But now they gush about Pope Francis. The radical academic Cornel West summed up the reason why: “I love who he is, in terms of what he says, and the impact of his words on progressive forces around the world.”

In other words, Pope Francis has turned the Vatican into a bully pulpit for the left’s favorite causes, including: open borders, gun control, climate-change activism, the abolition of the death penalty and lifetime imprisonment, and the socialism of central planners.

This is why the 1960s radical Tom Hayden said his election “was more miraculous, if you will, than the rise of Barack Obama.”

MH: Which prominent communists has Pope Francis publicly praised during his pontificate? Could you give us names and their backgrounds?

GN: As I describe in the book, he rolled out the red carpet for Raul Castro, which flabbergasted Cubans who have suffered under the heel of his communist thuggery. Castro was so thrilled by the pope’s support and his tributes to government-run economies that he declared, “If you continue talking like this … I will return to the Catholic Church. I am not joking. I may convert again to Catholicism, even though I am a communist.”

MH: Who of his closest advisers has a socialist worldview?

GN: They all lean in that direction, but one of the loudest socialists around him is the Honduran Cardinal whom he elevated to secretary of his council of cardinals – Cardinal Óscar Rodríguez Maradiaga.

It came out through the WikiLeaks disclosures that Maradiaga has been working with George Soros operatives to promote socialism in the Church.

Pope Francis used the strident socialist Leonardo Boff, a disgraced liberation theologian from Brazil who left the priesthood, as an adviser when drafting his environmentalist encyclical Laudato Si. Boff says Francis asked to see his plans for the promotion of world government through the UN.

MH: As you write in your book, Pope Francis, when visiting Cuba, celebrated a Holy Mass “in the shadow of Che Guevara.” Could you explain this scene and its symbolism?

GN: Saying a Mass in the shadow of a mass murderer like Guevera was a propaganda gift to the brothers Castro. Cuban dissidents were appalled by the scene, with even some liberals expressing unease.

MH: Could you also describe to us Pope Francis’ reaction when he received, as a gift, from the Bolivian President Morales a crucifix in the form of a hammer and sickle? What kind of message did he send by his reaction?

GN: That grotesque cross had been designed by the late Jesuit, Fr. Luís Espinal, whose memory Pope Francis had honored upon his arrival in Bolivia. Other popes would have rejected such a perversity; Pope Francis accepted it warmly, saying that he “understood” it. He thereby left the impression that he regards one of the most anti-Christian systems ever devised as harmless.

MH: As you write, Pope Francis has had several mentors in his life who were pro-communist. Could you first tell us about Esther Ballestrino and what he later, as archbishop in Buenos Aires, did for her burial?

GN: She was, by his own description, a “fervent communist.” He has described her as one of his chief mentors. “I owe a huge amount to that great woman,” he has said, saying that she “taught me so much about politics.” She introduced him to communist periodicals and literature. When she got into trouble with the authorities, he hid her Marxist tracts in a Jesuit library, according to the author James Carroll (who wrote up the story approvingly).

The reporter John Allen says that when her family asked for her to be buried in a Catholic cemetery, Bergoglio “readily consented” even though he knew she wasn’t a believing Catholic.

MH: Could you tell us more about Pope Francis’ relationship with Leónidas Barletta?

GN: He was a communist filmmaker in Latin America, whose writings a young Jorge Bergoglio devoured. He says that he would rush to get the publication of the communist party in Argentina, Nuestra Palabra y Propósitos, because he was “enchanted” by Barletta’s writings. Bergoglio says they “helped me in my political formation.”

MH: You report that, while in Argentina as a younger priest, then-Father Bergoglio was close to the Jesuit General Superior, Fr. Pedro Arrupe who himself opened up the Jesuit Order to socialist ideas. Could you explain this thesis a little more?

GN: He was a protege of Arrupe, who identified Bergoglio as a rising liberal star in the order. That is why he made him a provincial at the age of 36. Arrupe presided over the order during its most intense period of liberalization and used Bergoglio as a liberal enforcer at the infamous worldwide gathering of Jesuits in 1975 that sealed the order’s socialist and modernist direction.

MH: Pope Francis has been meeting with, and supportive of, the World Meeting of Popular Movements. Could you tell us more about this movement and its political orientation? More specifically, could you tell us about Pope Francis’ participation at such a meeting in Bolivia, together with its socialist President?

GN: It is a collection of radicals and socialists. In 2016, they gathered in Bolivia to celebrate among other things that the papacy had fallen into their hands. Pope Francis shared the platform with Bolivia’s Marxist president, who was wearing a jacket emblazoned with a picture of Che Guevara

Francis used his speech to urge the attendees to keep agitating against the “new colonialism,” which he equated with budget-cutting, free-market-oriented governments. The speech was catnip for the communists in the audience.

Bolivia’s president said after that he “finally” could follow a pope.

MH: In the context of Pope Francis’ possible sympathies with communism, could you tell us more about the canonizations of Archbishop Óscar Romero and Dom Hélder Câmara?

GN: Romero’s canonization movement had stalled under the two previous popes. But under Francis it bolted forward, with the meaning of martyrdom stretched to include politically-motivated assassinations. That is a papal nod to Romero’s status as a fashionable left-wing victim of government brutality. By way of contrast, it is hard to imagine the Vatican fiddling also with the rules for a right-wing bishop whose politics led to his death.

The Camâra canonization movement – he was called the red cardinal for his support for communist guerillas — would have been rejected out of hand by previous popes. But Pope Francis is letting it move forward.

MH: What is the symbolism behind Pope Francis’ personal visit with the widow of Paolo Freire, the author of the book “Pedagogy of the Oppressed”?

GN: That meeting was set up by Cardinal Cláudio Hummes, who had whispered in the pope’s ear upon his election, “Don’t forget the poor,” by which Hummes really meant, don’t forget to push socialism. Freire’s widow said after the meeting that her husband, whose book is regarded as a communist classic in Latin America, had influenced this pope. The pope likes to say that the “meeting is the message,” and his meeting with Freire’s widow lived up to that adage, reinforcing the confidence that a generation of radicals raised on the Pedagogy of the Oppressed has in Francis.

MH: You also discuss in your book Pope Francis’ leniency toward Liberation Theology. Could you describe to us his assessment of this theory and how he deals with its main representatives, such as Gustave Gutiérrez?

GN: Liberation theology, which is an attempt to incorporate socialism into Catholic theology, was marginalized under Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI. Pope Francis has brought it back into the mainstream. Leonardo Boff, one of the most outré liberation theologians, has gloated about how he and many of his renegade confreres have been rehabilitated by Francis.

After Pope Francis honored Gustavo Gutiérrez, one of the founding fathers of liberation theology, L’Osservatore Romano reported that Francis was bringing liberation theology “out of the shadows to which it has been relegated for some years.”

MH: How would you describe Pope Francis’ relationship with Barack Obama and with the U.S. Left in general? Could you tell us more about George Soros and the pope? Are there connections between these two men, and are they sharing some of the same agendas?

GN: Pope Francis is turning the Church into an appendage of the political left. Look at all the pro-abortion pols who describe themselves as Pope Francis Democrats. Look at all the Soros-funded partnerships between the left and this Vatican. Soros practically wrote the script for the pope’s visit to the US, as the WikiLeaks exposure attests.

MH: Do you think that Pope Francis is preparing and willing to work with global elites for the establishment of a World Government?

GN: He is certainly flirting with proposals that would move the world in that direction. He has turned advocates for world government, such as Cardinal Peter Turkson, into key advisers. Laudato Si has a section, ghostwritten by Turkson, that says climate-change regulations should be imposed on countries by a global authority.

MH: How would you assess in this context the pope’s open criticism of Donald Trump before his election as President of the U.S.?

GN: He in effect called Trump a bad Christian – a strange charge given his unwillingness to call pro-abortion Catholic pols bad Christians.

But his comment, as even Jeb Bush acknowledged, ended up helping Trump win. The media call Francis the people’s pontiff, but he is actually the elite’s pontiff. They love his politics but the man on the street is shrugging at it.

MH: You speak in your book about the pope’s visit to the U.S. in 2015. How would you describe the message and the purpose of that visit, and also what he omitted?

GN: In short, he omitted Catholicism. His speeches contained no distinctively Catholic content whatsoever. Had someone swapped out his speeches for those of almost any Democratic senator, no one would have known the difference.

MH: Did Pope Francis, according to your knowledge, ever issue a public critique of communism and of practices of communist countries?

GN: He spares it of any of the sustained critiques he has applied to the free market. Instead of acknowledging socialism’s role in impoverishing countries, he prefers to tweet out such Marxist cliches as “inequality is the root of all evil.”

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Epiphany and Ascension reinstated to former dates

Detail from Ascension of Christ by Giacomo Cavedone (Wikimedia Commons)

 

From the Catholic Herald:

The Holy Days had been moved to the nearest Sundays in 2006.

The Bishops of England and Wales have decided to reinstate two Holy Days of Obligation, a decision confirmed by the Holy See.

With effect from the First Sunday of Advent 2017, the days reinstated are the Epiphany of the Lord on 6 January, (transferred to the adjacent Sunday when it falls on Saturday or Monday), and the Ascension of the Lord, which takes place on the Thursday after the Sixth Sunday of Easter.

The two feasts had been transferred to the nearest Sundays in 2006, along with Corpus Christi. The latter feast remains on a Sunday.

Bishop Philip Egan of Portsmouth said: “I’m delighted to hear that the Holy See has approved the reversion of the Holy Days of the Epiphany and the Ascension to their proper days.”

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