Traditional Catholicism and the Charismatic Movement


There is a world of difference between a solemn Tridentine Mass and a charismatic mass.  Many of my friends are charismatic and may not like what I am writing.  Let us put our emotions aside and look at this honestly.  I believe in contemplative catholicism.  That means a deep mystical union with God interiorly when God initiates this loving union.  In this faith experience there may be no feelings what so ever.  As St. John of the Cross describes it “Nada or Nothing”.  St. Theresa of Avila also talks about contemplation as a gift of an interior experience of God.  We can only prepare our souls for this gift by emptying out their lives of all that displeases God (sin) and emptying of self in silence.

When I was young in Aptos California where I was raised, some of my friends were charismatics.  They invited me to come to the “Life in the Spirit” seminar.  At this time I was a cafeteria catholic.  I went faithfully to the 12 week series.  At the end they prayed over me to receive the gift of tongues (Glossolaly).  Nothing happened and I was told to start babbling.  That would help it begin. In those days I was a real people pleaser so I tried but nothing happened.  In preparation for the last day of the seminar we were told to go to confession which helped me think of sin as being sin.  Going to the prayer group was helpful in that I belonged to a group of people who were trying to be holy.    I also began reading the Bible again.

But what bothered me was that in the prayer group with the singing and fellowship my emotions would be fed and God was an emotional experience.  But then all week long I would also feel like God was not around because I did not experience Him emotionally.  When people prayed in tongues it scared me at times.  But you were told that that was a gift from God.  Also one of my very good friends in the group had cancer and they prayed for her.  Then they said it was gone, thanks to prayer.  She later died of cancer.  When you are young you think a lot and wonder why they were so sure she was cured.

People in the charismatic movement are wonderful people looking for God and trying to please Him.  They are very involved in helping at their parishes.  They study the Bible and pray.  But there are great dangers in this movement.  Mother Angelica came out of the charismatic movement.  Look at all the good she has done.  She is one of my heroes.  But you notice how Mother Angelica over time has become more and more conservative in her habit and her way of having the Holy Mass celebrated on EWTN with latin and solemnly.  I deeply believe if Mother Angelica had not had the stroke, she would be promoting only the Tridentine mass now.  My dream is to start a traditional catholic TV station with just the Tridentine mass and traditional programs.  Please pray for this to happen some day.

First I want to say that the charismatic movement was never part of the Catholic faith before 1967.  The gift of tongues as explained in the Bible was a unique gift for the beginning of conversion only in places where many languages were spoken.  Look this up in the Catholic Encyclopedia at New Advent under Gift of Tongues and see what it says.  A few saints had this gift like St. Francis Xavier and St. Vincent Ferrer.

It all began with Pentecostal Protestants in 1901.  Some put it a little earlier.  Then in 1967 at the catholic university of Duquesne, a protestant minister prayed over some catholic young men and teachers and some receive what they called the gifts of the Holy spirit.  From there it spread all over the catholic world.  I remember well how many good catholics became protestant at this time, and mostly pentecostal.  If you do not believe me ask your friends from the 70’s or do google research on this whole issue.

I am not trying to put down charismatic catholics.  I am trying to say that this is a protestant movement in the catholic church.  Again there are good charismatic people doing good things.  The protestant churches are full people studying the Bible and doing good things.  But that is not catholic.

I want to compare a charismatic mass with the Holy Latin Mass.  I have done many charismatic masses, I know what I am talking about.  In the charismatic healing mass you have a band with a choir up front and many times in the sanctuary.  The music is very emotional and everyone participates in the singing with their hands lifted up in praise and clapping.  Many times they pray over people to get well or so that they will fall down and be slain in the spirit.  I once was pushed and pushed so hard to fall over.  I resisted a long time than just to get them to stop I went down.  Again pleasing people rather than God.

The Tridentine mass is reverent and the music is celestial.  People sing the entrance hymn and Credo and Pater Noster but it is not the same kind of emotional experience.  Yes you feel God’s presence in the schola and the soul lifting organ music, but it is on a more intellectual level.  The “active participation” is on a more internal level.  So most catholics do not like the Tridentine mass because it is not an emotional experience with everyone singing along with the band, holding hands and clapping.  There is nothing wrong with emotional experiences, but the Sacrifice on Calvary is not the place for an emotional high.  That should be in the hall with music and prayer.  But I do not believe in the laying on of hands by lay people and exorcisms by lay people and prophesying the future or talking in tongues.

Many people have converted and become better people because of their experience in the charismatic movement.  But many people have converted and changed their moral lives by being involved in the Jehovah’s Witnesses too.

We need basic contemplative experiences that the saints talk about.  It is Catholic.

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Ven. Archbishop Sheen’s Prophetic warning of 50 years ago: Mary and the Moslems; The Significance of Fatima

As Posted On

(The following was written in 1952 and reprinted in the October 2001 Mindszenty Report.)

The Power of Islam
by Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen

Misunderstanding the notion of the Trinity, Mohammed made Christ a prophet, announcing Him just as to Christians Isaiah and John the Baptist are prophets announcing Christ.


The Christian European West barely escaped destruction at the hands of the Moslems. At one point they were stopped near Tours and at another point, later on in time, outside the gates of Vienna. The Church throughout northern Africa ws practically destroyed by Moslem power, and at the present hour, the Moslems are beginning to rise again. If Moslemism is a heresy, as Hilaire Belloc believes it to be, it is the only heresy that has never declined. Others have had a moment of vigor, then gone into doctrinal decay at the death of the leader, and finally evaporated in a vague social movement. Moslemism, on the contrary, has only had its first phase. There was never a time in which it declined, either in numbers, or in the devotion of its followers.

The missionary effort of the Church toward this group has been at least on the surface, a failure, for the Moslems are so far almost unconvertible. The reason is that for a follower of Mohammed to become a Christian is much like a Christian becoming a Jew. The Moslems believe that they have the final and definitive revelation of God to the world and that Christ was only a prophet announcing Mohammed, the last of Gods real prophets.

At the present time, the hatred of the Moslem countries against the West is becoming a hatred against Christianity itself. Although the statesmen have not yet taken it into account, there is still grave danger that the temporal power of Islam may return and, with it, the menace that it may shake off a West which has ceased to be Christian, and affirm itself as a great anti-Christian world power. Moslem writers say, When the locust swarms darken countries, they bear on their wings these Arabic words: We are Gods host, each of us has ninety-nine eggs, and if we had a hundred, we should lay waste the world, with all that is in it.

The problem is, how shall we prevent the hatching of the hundredth egg? It is our firm belief that the fears some entertain concerning the Moslems are not to be realized, but that Moslemism, instead, will eventually be converted to Christianity – and in a way that even some of our missionaries never suspect. It is our belief that this will happen not through the direct teachings of Christianity, but through a summoning of the Moslems to a veneration of the Mother of God. This is the line of argument:

Mary, Mother of God
The Koran, which is the Bible of the Moslems, has many passages concerning the Blessed Virgin. First of all, the Koran believes in her Immaculate Conception, and also, in her Virgin Birth. The third chapter of the Koran places the history of Marys family in a genealogy which goes back through Abraham, Noah, and Adam. When one compares the Korans description of the birth of Mary with the apocryphal Gospel of the birth of Mary, one is tempted to believe tht Mohammed very much depended upon the latter. Both books describe the old age and the definite sterility of the mother of Mary. When, however, she conceives, the mother of Mary is made to say in the Koran: O Lord, I vow and I consecrate to you what is already within me. Accept it from me.

When Mary is born, the mother says: And I consecrate her with all of her posterity under thy protection, O Lord, against Satan! The Koran passes over Joseph in the life of Mary, but the Moslem tradition knows his name and has some familiarity with him. In this tradition, Joseph is made to speak to Mary, who is a virgin. As he inquired how she conceived Jesus without a father, Mary answered: Do you not know that God, when He created the wheat had no need of seed, and that God by His power made the trees grow without the help of rain? All that God had to do was to say, So be it, and it was done. The Koran has also verses on the Annunciation, Visitation, and Nativity. Angels are pictured as accompanying the Blessed Mother and saying: Oh Mary, God has chosen you and purified you, and elected you above all the women of the earth.

In the nineteenth chapter of the Koran there are 41 verses on Jesus and Mary. There is such a strong defense of the virginity of Mary here that the Koran, in the fourth book, attributed the condemnation of the Jews to their monstrous calumny against the Virgin Mary.

The Significance of Fatima

Mary, then, is for the Moslems the true Sayyida, or Lady. The only possible serious rival to her in their creed would be Fatima, the daughter of Mohammed himself. But after the death of Fatima, Mohammed wrote: Thou shalt be the most blessed of all the women in Paradise, after Mary. In a variant of the text, Fatima is made to say, I surpass all the women, except Mary.

This brings us to our second point: namely, why the Blessed Mother, in the 20th century, should have revealed herself in the significant little village of Fatima, so that to all future generations she would be known as Our Lady of Fatima. Since nothing ever happens out of Heaven except with a finesse of all details, I believe that the Blessed Virgin chose to be known as Our Lady of Fatima as a pledge and a sign of hope to the Moslem people, and as an assurance that they, who show her so much respect, will one day accept her divine Son too. Evidence to support these views is found in the historical fact that the Moslems occupied Portugal for centuries. At the time when they were finally driven out, the last Moslem chief had a beautiful daughter by the name of Fatima. A Catholic boy fell in love with her, and for him she not only stayed behind when the Moslems left, but even embraced the Faith. The young husband was so much in love with her that he changed the name of the town where he live to Fatima. Thus, the very place where our Lady appeared in 1917 bears a historical connection to Fatima, the daughter of Mohammed.

The final evidence of the relationship of Fatima to the Moslems is the enthusiastic reception which the Moslems in Africa and India and elsewhere gave to the Pilgrim statue of Our Lady of Fatima, as mentioned earlier. Moslems attended the church services in honor of our Lady, they allowed religious processions and even prayers before their mosques; and in Mozambique the Moslems who were unconverted, began to be Christian as soon as the statue of Our Lady of Fatima was erected.

A Missionary Strategy
Missionaries in the future will, more and more, see that their apostolate among the Moslems will be successful in the measure that they preach Our Lady of Fatima. Mary is the advent of Christ, bringing Christ to the people before Christ Himself is born. In an apologetic endeavor, it is always best to start with that which people already accept. Because the Moslems have a devotion to Mary, our missionaries should be satisfied merely to expand and to develop that devotion, with the full realization that Our Blessed Lady will carry the Moslems the rest of the way to her divine Son. She is forever a traitor, in the sense that she will not accept any devotion for herself, but will always bring anyone who is devoted to her to her divine Son. As those who lose devotion to her lose belief in the divinity of Christ, so those who intensify devotion to her gradually acquire that belief.

Many of our great missionaries in Africa have already broken down the bitter hatred and prejudices of the Moslems against the Christians through their acts of charity, their schools and hospitals. It now remains to use another approach, namely, that of taking the 41st chapter of the Koran and showing them that it was taken out of the Gospel of Luke, that Mary could not be, even in their own eyes, the most blessed of all the women of Heaven if she had not also borne the Savior of the world. If Judith and Esther of the Old Testament were pre-figures of Mary, then it may very well be that Fatima herself was a post-figure of Mary! The Moslems should be prepared to acknowledge that, if Fatima must give way in honor to the Blessed Mother, it is because she is different from all the other mothers of the world and that without Christ she would be nothing.

(This article courtesy of The Mindzenty Report, published by the Cardinal Mindzenty Foundation.)

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Pope Francis stirs debate on Lutheran spouses of Catholics receiving Communion


From the Catholic Herald online:

The Pope tells Lutheran woman to ‘talk to the Lord’ in discerning whether or not to participate in Communion

Pope Francis has suggested a Lutheran spouse of a Catholic should “talk to the Lord” in discerning whether or not to receive Holy Communion with her husband.

Francis made the remark during a Q&A at a visit to Rome’s Evangelical Lutheran church on Sunday.

During the visit he presented the church’s pastor with the same chalice he had given the Archbishops of Washington, New York and Philadelphia while in the United States.

The Pope was asked whether a Lutheran and Catholic married couple might “finally participate together in Communion”. The questioner referred to “the hurt we’ve felt together due to [our] difference of faith”.

Francis said it was “not my competence” to give permission to do this, and admitted: “I ask myself and don’t know how to respond – what you’re asking me, I ask myself the [same] question.”

The Pope then stressed the role of personal discernment rather than repeating Church teaching that Protestant spouses can only receive Holy Communion if they do not “have recourse for the sacrament” at their own church.

He said: “There are questions that only if one is sincere with oneself and the little theological light one has, must be responded to on one’s own.”

The Pope referred to a bishop, Bishop Jerónimo Podestá, who “went a little wrong – 48 years old, he married, [and then had] two children”. Francis suggested that the bishop had been helped in his moral journey by accompanying his family to Mass.

Rocco Palmo, on his blog Whispers in the Loggia, said the Pope’s remarks “quite possibly show his hand on his intended course” on his post-synod document.

A proposal to allow Anglican spouses of Catholics to receive Holy Communion had been included in the Instrumentum Laboris of the synod.

Archbishop Bernard Longley of Birmingham, co-chairman of the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC), set up to further unity, said the idea did not meet the demands of the Code of Canon Law or the Ecumenical Directory.

He said: “Such a proposal would tend to establish a category of Christians not in full communion with the Catholic Church yet distinguished from other Christians by a ‘right’ to receive Holy Communion at a Catholic Mass on any occasion. Nor can I imagine that the usual and recurring demands of a hectic family life could be regarded as constituting a long-term situation where a person would ‘be unable to have recourse for the sacrament desired to a minister of his or her own Church or ecclesial community’.”

Tony Blair was famously criticised by Cardinal Basil Hume after he presented himself repeatedly for Communion while attending Mass with his wife, Cherie, and their children, before he became a Catholic.

The full text of the Pope’s remarks are available at Whispers in the Loggia.

Here’s what Father Z has to say

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Warnings The West Refused To Heed


[N.B. This cartoon depicting the suicidal death of France, could equally well reflect any other European country sold into ‘Political Correctness’.]

“Our sufferings today are the prelude of those you, Europeans and Western Christians, will also suffer in the near future. Please, try to understand us. Your liberal and democratic principles are worth nothing here. You must consider again our reality in the Middle East, because you are welcoming in your countries an ever growing number of Muslims. Also you are in danger. You must take strong and courageous decisions, even at the cost of contradicting your principles. You think all men are equal, but that is not true: Islam does not say that all men are equal. Your values are not their values. If you do not understand this soon enough, you will become the victims of the enemy you have welcomed in your home.” –
(Chaldean Archbishop of Mosul, Amel Nona)



“Show me just want Mohammed brought that was new and there you will find things only bad and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.”(Pope Benedict XVI, quoting Byzantine Emperor Manuel II Palaiologos in 2006 at Regensburg in Germany.)


“We shall almost certainly have to reckon with Islam in the near future. Perhaps, if we lose our Faith, it will rise. For after this subjugation of the Islamic culture by the nominally Christian had already been achieved, the political conquerors of that culture began to notice two disquieting features about it. The first was that its spiritual foundation proved immovable; the second that its area of occupation did not recede, but on the contrary slowly expanded.[…]

In my own youth the decaying power of Islam (for it was still decaying) in the Near East was a strong menace to the peace of Europe. Those old people of whom I speak had grandparents in whose times Islam was still able to menace the West. The Turks besieged Vienna and nearly took it, less than a century before the American Declaration of Independence. Islam was then our superior, especially in military art. There is no reason why its recent inferiority in mechanical construction, whether military or civilian, should continue indefinitely. Even a slight accession of material power would make the further control of Islam by an alien culture difficult. A little more and there will cease that which our time has taken for granted, the physical domination of Islam by the disintegrated Christendom we know.” (Hilaire Belloc, the great 20th century Catholic historian and poet, warning in 1929 that Islam would make a return to the world stage!)


“As we have seen, Muhammed had neither supernatural miracles nor natural motives of reason to persuade those of his sect. As he lacked in everything, he took to bestial and barbaric means, which is the force of arms. Thus he introduced and promulgated his message with robberies, murders, and bloodshedding, destroying those who did not want to receive it, and with the same means his ministers conserve this today, until God placates his anger and destroys this pestilence from the earth.[…]

(Muhammad) can also be figured for the dragon in the same Apocalypse which says that the dragon swept up a third of the stars and hurled down a third to earth. Although this line is more appropriately understood concerning the Antichrist, Mohammed was his precursor – the prophet of Satan, father of the sons of haughtiness. […]

Even if all the things contained in his law were fables in philosophy and errors in theology, even for those who do not possess the light of reason, the very manners (Islam) teaches are from a school of vicious bestialities. (Muhammad) did not prove his new sect with any motive, having neither supernatural miracles nor natural reasons, but solely the force of arms, violence, fictions, lies, and carnal license. It remains an impious, blasphemous, vicious cult, an innovention of the devil, and the direct way into the fires of hell. It does not even merit the name of being called a religion.” (St. Juan de Ribera (d.1611), Archbishop of Valencia, missionary to Spanish Muslims, and organizer of the Muslim expulsions of 1609 from Spain.)


Bishop Tadeusz Pieronek:

Bishop Tadeusz Pieronek: “The EU is Aiming
to Islamicize Europe”

From The Eponymous Flower on 12th November!! (i.e. before the massacre in Paris)

Confidant of John Paul II: “We Are in the Midst of an Islamic Invasion”

[…] These are the words of Msgr. Tadeusz Pieronek, Emeritus Auxiliary Bishop of Sosnoviec and former Secretary General of the Polish Episcopal Conference.

“I do not make policy. But I think of the recent elections in my country. The Liberal Party, which was in the government, had pushed too far to the left, followed EU directives without contradiction that today often do not coincide with the Christian values ​​and the Catholic tradition of our country. As Poles we have to pay attention to our peculiarities and our identity.
As European citizens, we have not only the possibility, but – I would say – even the duty, to peacefully rebel against this Europe, which is currently managed by different standards than those that we want and that are contrary to Christian values.
An EU that is very attentive to the interests of financial oligarchies, but pays little attention to those among the real poor. This does not take into account the European Christian values.
In addition, they have succeeded to Islamicize the continent piece by piece. We are in the midst of an Islamic invasion.


From Rorate Caeli

St. John Bosco preached the truth about the “impostor” Mohamed and his false religion

To the Catholics who babble ecumenical nonsense, saying that the Koran is “a book of peace,” here is what a great Saint has to say about it. If you feel you know better than he, God help you:


“It would take too long to tell you all the stories about this famous impostor (…) Mohamed’s religion consists of a monstrous mixture of Judaism, Paganism and Christianity. Mohamed propagated his religion, not through miracles or persuasive words, but through the force of arms. [It is] a religion that favors every sort of licentiousness and which, in a short time, allowed Mohamed to become the leader of a troop of brigands. Along with them he raided the countries of the East and conquered the people, not by introducing the Truth, not by miracles or prophecy; but for one reason only: to raise his sword over the heads of the conquered shouting: believe or die.” (St. John Bosco)


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Lectio Divina: 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B

                  The End and the Beginning



Paris, November 15, 2015 ( Archbishop Francesco Follo

Roman Rite

Dn 12, 1-3; Ps 16; Heb 10: 11-14. 18; Mk 13.24 – 32


The Lord is near, at the gates.

The passage of Jesus’ speech proposed by the Liturgy of today has a language that experts call “apocalyptic”. This adjective comes from the noun “apocalypse”, which literally means revelation. However, in common speech the term has lost its original meaning of “revelation” and, especially out a religious context, indicates everything from great calamity to a succession of disastrous events. This has happened because it is a language rich in strong and often disturbing images, that are intended to elicit a listening respectful and attentive because tinged with fear.

In fact, in today’s Gospel Jesus says, “The sun and moon will be darkened and the stars will fall, and the powers that are in heaven shall be shaken. Then shall they see the Son of Man coming in the clouds with great power and glory. He (Jesus, the Son of Man) will send his angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the earth to the ends of the sky”(Mk 13: 24-26).

With the apocalyptic (literally revealing) words of verses 24 and 25 of the thirteen chapter of Mark’s Gospel, Christ tells us that the world and the humanity that lives in it are fragile. In those days, the sun will be darkened, the moon will not give light any more, and the stars will fall from the sky. But in verses 26 and 27, Jesus infers that if there is a dying world, there is a new world too born for him and in him. We are not going to the end, to nowhere, but we are preparing for the final encounter with Christ, who is the final purpose of life and the fulfillment of the world. Implicitly, we think that we are going to end badly because we are afraid, and do not count our days because after them there is only the end. On the contrary, in this story, fundamental to the Christian faith, the end of history, the whole history, and the end of our personal story are presented as the encounter with the Lord. The purpose of the whole history is the encounter with Him and all creation is on the way to this meeting. The whole human history, our own and that of the Universe, are nothing else than a going forward further and further until the glory of the Son will shine in the world. We are children. What will be at the end is our glory; then shall they see the Son of man coming with great power and glory. The sense of history is the revelation of the Son of Man, and in him of every person, in the full power of the life and the very glory of God.

The Messiah does not wish only to tell the end of the world, but to reveal the meaning of history. He tells us that the end of the world is not the destruction of everything, but the encounter of all of us with the Son of Man. He is the Lord who forgives, the Bridegroom who loves us, the Lord of the Sabbath. He is the one who puts himself in our hands and gives us everything, even his life for us. The end of the world is not like the arrival of a thief that robs us, but the encounter with the Bridegroom who gives us everything, because on the cross of Jesus the old world is already over – the sun was obscured – and the new one was born.

Like every human being, Christians know that one day the sun will go out, but they also know that God’s light will shine forever. The end of the world is not the destruction of everything, but the meeting of all of us with the Son of Man, the Redeemer of humanity and of the world. He is the Lord who forgives. He is the one, whom is placed in our hands and gives us everything, even his life for us. In short, the end of the world is not a theft who steals everything. It is the encounter with the Bridegroom who gives us everything. It is not that we go to nowhere into space. Revelation in the last two chapters presents the meeting just like that of the bride with the groom. The Church is the bride who awaits the arrival of the Bridegroom. We should not be afraid of meeting the Love that comes for us.

Not when, but how.

The Church continues to proclaim, especially at the end of the liturgical year, the fact of this meeting of love that has to be lived in expectation. Giving weight to the words of Christ “As though that day or hour no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but the Father” (Mk 13: 32), the liturgy reminds us that we are faithfully called to be always waiting for him who came centuries ago and that will come at the end of time. He also comes today and every day in our lives. For this reason a hymn of the Breviary makes us sing “Night, darkness and fog flee: light enters, Christ the Lord is coming. The Sun of justice transfigures and lightens the waiting universe”Office of Lauds, Wednesday of the second week).

In fact, in this transfiguration of the world our heart is enlarged so that Heaven will find more space and so that to have a keener attention (in the most literal sense of the term attention as of constant tension toward the Lord). He comes always but often the meeting does not take place because we live a life superficial on a spiritual level. Earthly things attract us so much so to make the soul unavailable for this wonderful meeting. Only rarely do we find ourselves in the right spiritual condition to perceive this “coming” of God. What should we do? Certainly the Lord will not change, because He always manifests himself, but our soul should change so to always live expectation and hope.

The question then is not so much on “when” (because God comes to us in every moment) but about “how”. Today I dare to propose how to answer to the question “How to await the final coming of the Kingdom?”

There are two possible attitudes, that of fear and that of hope.

If we stop at the drama of certain images of today’s Gospel, it would seem that fear should prevail. But Christ adds: “Learn from the fig tree: When its branch becomes tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that ” summer is near” (Mk 13: 28). If, on the one hand there is the description of destruction, on the other hand there is the promise of a tender and new life, symbolized by the image of the fig tree whose new leaves teach that the death of winter is defeated and the life of summer is about to flourish and bear fruit in life.

Fear and hope alternate always in human life, even in that of the believer, to form an ambiguous and unresolved situation.

Human hope is to wait for something but no human being can have the future.

Jewish hope was to await for the coming of the Messiah.

Christian hope makes already present the kingdom of God within us. It already implies the presence of God in our hearts and God’s presence in us makes us capable of eternal life. “Through hope we are already in heaven, even if our hearts are still afraid” (Divo Barsotti).

To defeat this fear we can go back to the many passages in the Bible where there is an invitation not to be afraid, not to fear. For example, let’s think of Peter walking on waters to meet Jesus. At a certain point he gave in to the fear of the wind and waves and started sinking. Then he found the outstretched hand on him that raised him up, forgave him and gave him new strength.

All this encourages us to have hope and not fear, trust and not despair.

One way to experience this important “how”, this hope, is the one of the Consecrated Virgins in the world. These women are committed to live their virginity because in this way they await for Christ with full hope. In love with Christ like “wives” who have not seen the bridegroom for a long time, they wait for him every day not only with hope, but also with anxiety and passion. Every day they pray to see Him return and to meet Him forever. These women live virginity with complete dedication because virginity keeps the soul awake and tense to Christ. They engage in frequent prayer, made in silence, to keep a watchful heart. Doing so, they show us how our whole person should reach out to the Lord, who comes to us, gives himself to us and revives us.

Patristic Reading: Saint Augustin of Hyppo

Sermon XLVII. [XCVII. Ben.]

On the words of the gospel, Mk 13,32 “But of that day or that hour knoweth no one, not even the angels in Heaven, neither the son, but the Father.

1). The advice, Brethren, which ye have just heard Scripture give, when it tells us to watch for the last day, every one should think of as concerning his own last day; lest haply when ye judge or think the last day of the world to be far distant, ye slumber with respect to your own last day. Ye have heard what Jesus said concerning the last day of this world, “That neither the Angels of heaven, nor the Son knew it, but the Father.”1 Where indeed there is a great difficulty, lest understanding this in a carnal way, we think that the Father knoweth anything which the Son knoweth not. For indeed when He said, “the Father knoweth it;” He said this because in the Father the Son also knoweth it. For what is there in a day which was not made by the Word, by whom the day was made? Let no one then search out for the last Day, when it is to be; but let us watch all by our good lives, lest the last day of any one of us find us unprepared, and such as anyone shall depart hence on his last day, such he be found in the last day of the world. Nothing will then assist thee which thou shalt not have done here. His own works will succour, or his own works will overwhelm every one.

2. And how have we in the Psalm sung unto the Lord, “Lord, have mercy on me, for man hath trodden me down”? He is called a man who lives after the manner of men. For it is said to them who live after God, “Ye are gods, and ye are all the children of the Most High.”3 But to the reprobate, who were called to be the sons of God, and who wished rather to be men, that is, to live after the manner of men, he says, “But ye shall die like men, and fall as one of the princes.”4 For that man is mortal, ought to avail for his instruction, not for boasting. Whereupon does a worm that is to die on the morrow boast himself? I speak to your love, Brethren; proud mortals ought to be made blush by the devil. For he, though proud, is yet immortal; he is a spirit, though a malignant one. The last day is kept in store for him at the end as his punishment; nevertheless he is not subject to the death to which we are subject. But man heard the sentence, “Thou shalt surely die.”5 Let him make a good use of his punishment. What is that I have said, “Let him make a good use of his punishment”? Let him not by that from which he received his punishment fall into pride; let him acknowledge that he is mortal, and let it break down his elation. Let him hear it said to him, “Why is earth and ashes proud?”6 Even if the devil is proud, he is not “earth and ashes.” Therefore was it said, “But ye shall die like men, and shall fall as one of the princes.”7 Ye do not consider that ye are mortals, and ye are proud as the devil. Let man then make a good use of his punishment, Brethren; let him make a good use of his evil, that he may make advancement to his good. Who does not know, that the necessity of our dying is a punishment; and the more grievous, that we know not when? The punishment is certain, the hour uncertain; and of that punishment alone are we certain in the ordinary course of human affairs.

3. All else of ours, both good and evil, is uncertain; death alone is certain. What is this that I say? A child is conceived, perhaps it will be born, perhaps it will be an untimely birth. So it is uncertain: Perhaps he will grow up, perhaps he will not grow up; perhaps he will grow old, perhaps he will not grow old; perhaps he will be rich, perhaps poor; perhaps he will be distinguished, perhaps abased; perhaps he will have children, perhaps he will not; perhaps he will marry, perhaps not; and so on, whatever else among good things you may name. Now look too at the evils of life: Perhaps he will have sickness, perhaps he will have not; perhaps he will be stung by a serpent, perhaps not; perhaps she will be devoured by a wild beast, perhaps he will not. And so look at all evils; everywhere is there a “perhaps it will be,” and “perhaps it will not.” But canst thou say, “Perhaps he will die,” and “perhaps he will not die”? As when medical men examine an illness, and ascertain that it is fatal, they make this announcement; “He will die, he will not get over this.” So from the moment of a man’s birth, it may be said, “He will not get over this.” When he is born he begins to be ailing. When he dies, he ends indeed this ailment: but he knows not whether he does not fall into a worse. The rich man in the Gospel had ended his voluptuous ailment, he came to a tormenting one. But the poor man ended his ailment, and arrived at perfect health.9 But he made choice in this life of what he was to have hereafter; and what he reaped there, he sowed here. Therefore while we live we ought to watch, and to make choice of that which we may possess in the world to come.

4. Let us not love the world. It overwhelms its lovers, it conducts them to no good. We must rather labour in it that it seduce us not, than fear lest it should fall. Lo, the world falleth; the Christian standeth firm; because Christ doth not fall. For wherefore saith the Lord, “Rejoice, for that I have overcome the world”? We might answer Him if we pleased, “‘Rejoice,’ yes do Thou rejoice. If Thou ‘hast overcome,’ do thou rejoice. Why should we?” Why doth He say to us, “Rejoice;” but because it is for us that He hath overcome, for us hath fought? For wherein fought He? In that He took man’s nature upon Him. Take away His birth of a virgin, take away that He emptied Himself, “taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men, and found in fashion as a man;”11 take away this, and where is the combat, where the contest? Where the trial? Where the victory, which no battle has preceded? “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. All things were made by Him, and without Him was nothing made.”12 Could the Jews have crucified this Word? Could those impious men have mocked this Word? Could this Word have been buffeted? Could this Word have been crowned with thorns? But that He might suffer all this, “the Word was made flesh;”13 and after He had suffered all this, by rising again He “overcame.” So then He hath “overcome” for us, to whom He hath shown the assurance of His resurrection. Thou sayest then to God, “Have mercy upon the, O Lord, for man hath trodden me down.”14 Do not “tread down” thyself, and man will not overcome thee. For, lo, some powerful man alarms thee. By what does he alarm thee? “I will spoil thee, will condemn, will torture, will kill thee.” And thou criest, “Have mercy upon me, O Lord, for man hath trodden me down.” If thou say the truth, and mark thyself well, one dead “treads thee down,” because thou art afraid of the threats of a man; and man “treads thee down,” because thou wouldest not be afraid, unless thou wert a man. What is the remedy then? O man, cleave to God, by whom thou wast made a man; cleave fast to Him, put thy affiance in Him, call upon Him, let Him be thy strength. Say to Him, “In Thee, O Lord, is my strength.” And then thou shalt sing at the threatening of men; and what thou shalt sing hereafter, the Lord Himself telleth thee, “I will hope in God, I will not fear what man can do unto me.”15

1 (Mc 13,32

2 (Ps 55,2 Sept. (lvi. 1, English version).

3 (Ps 82,6).

4 (Ps 82,7

5 (Gn 2,17

6 (Si 10,9

7 (Ps 82,7

8 Vid. Serm. xxvii (lxxvii. Ben). 14 (x)..

9 (Lc 16,22

10 (Jn 16,33

11 (Ph 2,7

12 (Jn 1,1 Jn 1,3

13 (Jn 1,14

14 (Ps 55,2 Sept. (lvi. 1, English version)).

15 (Ps 56,11

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Islamic State (IS) strikes at ‘Eldest Daughter of the Church’ (France)

Newspaper front pages talk of "war in central Paris", horror and carnage

Newspaper front pages talk of “war in central Paris”, horror and carnage

Breaking news: on this significant date (November 13) for the followers of Islam, the authorship of last night’s brutal, murderous attacks in Paris has been officially confirmed what we already knew – it was perpetrated by members of IS (or ISIS/ISIL). With calls of ‘Allahu Akbar’ (God is great) Islamic terrorists planted bombs and cowardly machine gunned down hundreds of innocent Parisians outside a football stadium, in various restaurants, in the street and in a theatre where young people were enjoying a concert.

The whole world has been left in shock by this barbaric act of despicable evil.

But is it really such a surprise? Islamic fundamentalists have been filling our airwaves announcing their hatred of the West and threatening our people for a long time now. Besides, this is only the latest in a long list of savage attacks on Western targets after we have seen a growing radicalisation of Islamists within our frontiers for decades. Some of these European-educated jihadists took part in the US terrorist attacks of 9/11. Before 9/11 there have been many others against America and its allies. Their ongoing genocide against Christians in the Middle East and other parts of Asia and countries in Africa is common knowledge. Now ISIS are stepping up their murderous jihad in the heart of post-Christian Europe.

After unheeding the countless warnings of the coming clash of civilisations in Europe we have been exposing ourselves to over recent decades, we are starting to see our worst fears unfold before our eyes. Will firm measures to conbat this situation finally be enforced, both in practical military ways, and also in a more psychological questioning way; i.e., why have we become so vulnerable to such evil ideologies as militant Islam?  Is it not about time we realise that we are digging our own grave if we sit back after ‘patching up’ the latest atrocious attacks and do nothing more about the threat Islam presents, while continuing to allow the hordes of uncontrolled Muslim migrants pour into our countries where (they have admitted themselves) they have hopes to one day take over?

At the same time perhaps we should take a longer, deeper look into why we have permitted ourselves to have become so defenceless.*

Pray for the victims of this atrocity and their families.

And wake up Europe! Before it becomes too late.

*(H/T to Michael Kenny for this link.)


From the BBC:

Paris has suffered a night of deadly attacks, described by President Francois Hollande as “unprecedented”.
Shootings, bomb blasts and a hostage siege have left at least 128 people dead and some 180 wounded. At least 80* are in critical condition.
Six places were targeted, almost simultaneously.
France has declared a state of emergency, imposed border controls and deployed 1,500 extra troops.
This is what we know so far.

*(This figure is now being quoted as 99 in a ‘critical’ or ‘very grave’ condition.)


From the Catholic Herald:

‘We are shocked by this new manifestation of maddening, terrorist violence and hatred,’ says Vatican press office

The Vatican has condemned terrorist attacks that claimed the lives of at least 120 people in Paris last night.

In a statement, the Holy See Press Office said: “Here in the Vatican we are following the terrible news from Paris. We are shocked by this new manifestation of maddening, terrorist violence and hatred which we condemn in the most radical way together with the Pope and all those who love peace. We pray for the victims and the wounded, and for all the French people.

“This is an attack on peace for all humanity, and it requires a decisive, supportive response on the part of all of us as we counter the spread the homicidal hatred in all of its forms.”

In a telephone interview with the Italian channel TV2000, Pope Francis said he was shaken by the “inhuman” attacks.

“I am close to the people of France, to the families of the victims, and I am praying for all of them,” he said, according to Vatican Radio. “I am moved and I am saddened. I do not understand, these things hard to understand.”

He added: “There is no religious or human justification for it.”

Cardinal André Vingt-Trois, the Archbishop of Paris, has announced that he will celebrate Mass in Notre Dame Cathedral on Sunday evening for the victims, their families and the whole of France.

The bells of Notre Dame will ring out 15 minutes before the Mass begins.

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Novena to Christ the King

This novena is in preparation for the Feast of Christ the King which this year falls on November 22nd. The Feast of Christ the King is a moveable feast. It is celebrated on the last Sunday of the liturgical year, the Sunday before the start of Advent.

Recite One Our Father, One Hail Mary and One Glory Be per day followed by the Novena Prayer:

284_christ-the-kingO Lord our God, You alone are the Most Holy King and Ruler of all nations.
We pray to You, Lord, in the great expectation of receiving from You, O Divine King, mercy, peace, justice and all good things.
Protect, O Lord our King, our families and the land of our birth.
Guard us we pray Most Faithful One.
Protect us from our enemies and from Your Just Judgment.
Forgive us, O Sovereign King, our sins against you.
Jesus, You are a King of Mercy.
We have deserved Your Just Judgment.
Have mercy on us, Lord, and forgive us.
We trust in Your Great Mercy.
O most awe-inspiring King, we bow before You and pray:
May Your Reign, Your Kingdom, be recognized on earth. Amen.

(source EWTN)


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Against Birth-Control – a thought for the day from Ven. Fulton Sheen

Following on from Hilary White’s recent article exposing the real causes for most of today’s problems taking us back to the errors of the Sexual Revololution, this short insightful meditation from Ven. Fulton Sheen seems timely. Easy birth control (with the discovery of ‘The Pill’) was the catalyst that triggered off the Sexual Revolution. 


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Pharisees and Sadducees of Our Time

By Roberto de Mattei on Rorate Caeli

The Sandhedrin at the time of Jesus was the Council of Sadducees and Pharisees

The Sandhedrin at the time of Jesus was the Council of
Sadducees and Pharisees

Criticizing the “Pharisees” is recurrent in Pope Francis’ words. In numerous discourses, between 2013 and 2015, he has spoken of “the sickness of the Pharisees” (7th November 2013), “who rebuke Jesus for not respecting the Sabbath” (1st April 2014), of “the temptation of self-sufficiency and of clericalism, that codification of the faith in rules and regulations, as the scribes, the Pharisees, the doctors of the law did at the time of Jesus” (September 19th 2014). In the Angelus of August 30th 2015 he said that just as it was for the Pharisees it is “dangerous too for us to consider ourselves acceptable, or even worse, better than others simply for observing the rules, customs, even though we do not love our neighbor, we are hard of heart, we are arrogant and proud.” On November 8th 2015, he contrasted the behavior of the Scribes and Pharisees based on “exclusion” and Jesus’ behavior based on “inclusion”.

The reference to the Pharisees is evident, ultimately, in the Pope’s concluding discourse last October 24th, at the end of the XIV Ordinary Synod on the Family. In effect, who are the “closed hearts, which frequently hide even behind the Church’s teachings or good intentions, in order to sit in the chair of Moses and judge, sometimes with superiority and superficiality, difficult cases and wounded families” if not “the Pharisees who were making religion […] a [never-ending] chain of commandments”? (June 26th 2014). A Pharisee seems to be anyone who defends, with stubborn pride, the existence of commandments, laws and the absolute, mandatory rules of the Church.

Yet, who were the Pharisees exactly? When Jesus began His preaching, the Jewish world was divided in various currents, which the Gospels mention, and also historians like Flavio Giuseppe (37-100 A.D.) in his works Jewish Antiquity and The Jewish War. The main sects were the Pharisees and the Sadducees. The Pharisees observed the religious prescriptions in great detail, but had lost the spirit of Truth. They were proud men, who falsified the prophecies relating to the Messiah and interpreted the Divine law according to their own opinions. The Sadducees taught even graver errors, by placing in doubt the immortality of the soul and rejecting most of the Sacred Books. Both disputed the power of the Sanhedrin, which was lead by the Sadducees at the time Jesus was condemned.

The Sadducees are mentioned only once in Mark and three times in Matthew, while the Pharisees appear repeatedly in the Gospels of Mark and Matthew. In Chapter 23 of St. Matthew, there is in particular, an open accusation against them: “Woe to you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites; because you tithe mint […] and have left the weightier things of the law; judgment, and mercy, and faith. These things you ought to have done, and not to leave those undone.”

In commenting this passage from Matthew, St. Thomas explains that the Pharisees were not reprimanded by the Lord for the payment of tithes “but only for the fact that they disregarded more important precepts, those of the spiritual order. However about the practice per se, He seems to commend them by saying “These things ought to be done” (Haec oportuit facere), under the law, as Chrysostom adds” (Summa Theologica, II-IIae, q. 87 ad 3).
St. Augustine, regarding the Pharisee St. Luke describes (18, 10-14), says that he is condemned, not for his works, but for having boasted of his presumed sanctity (Letter 121, 1,3). Again St. Augustine, in the Letter to Casulano, explains that the Pharisee was not condemned for his fasting (Luke, 18, 11), but “because he exalted himself, puffed up with pride, over the Publican” (Letter 36, 3, 7). In fact, “fasting twice a week is devoid of merit for a person like the Pharisee, whereas it is a religious act for a humbly faithful or faithfully humble person, even if the Gospel does not speak of condemnation for the Pharisee, but rather justification for the Publican” (Letter 36, 4, 7).

We have the most synthetic definition of the Pharisees from St. Bonaventure: “Pharisaeus significat illos qui propter opera exteriora se reputant bonos; et ideo non habent lacrymas compunctionis” (De S. Maria Magdalena Sermon I, in Opera omnia, Ad Claras Aquas, Firenze 2001 vol. IX, col. 556b). “Pharisees are those who consider themselves good because of their exterior works and hence they have no tears of compunction.”

Jesus condemned the Pharisees because He knew their hearts: they were sinners but considered themselves saints. The Lord wanted to teach His disciples that the fulfilling of exterior good works was not enough; what makes an act good is not only its object, but its intention. Nonetheless, if it’s true that good works are not enough when the good intention is not there, it is also true that a good intention is not enough, if there are no good works. The party of the Pharisees which Gamaliel, Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea belonged to (Jewish Antiquity, 20.9.1)and St. Paul himself (Acts 23, 6) was better than the Sadducee party, precisely because, in spite of their hypocrisy, they respected the laws, whereas the Sadducees, who numbered in their ranks the High Priests Annas and Caiaphas (Jewish Antiquity, 18.35.95), looked down on them. The Pharisees were proud conservatives, the Sadducees were unbelieving progressives, but both were united in rejecting the Divine mission of Jesus (Matthew, 3, 7-10).

Who are the Pharisees and Sadducees of our time? We can say it in all certainty. They are those who, before, during and after the Synod tried to (and will try to) modify the practice of the Church, and, through practice, Her doctrine on marriage and the family.

Jesus proclaimed the indissolubility of marriage, basing it on the restoration of the natural law the Jews had departed from, and He reinforced it by elevating the marriage bond to [the level of] a Sacrament. The Pharisees and the Sadducees rejected this teaching, denying the Divine words of Jesus, to which they substituted their own opinion. They falsely referred to Moses, just like the innovators of our times refer to a supposed tradition of the first centuries, falsifying history and the doctrine of the Church.

For this a valiant Bishop, defender of the orthodox faith, Monsignor Athanasius Schneider speaks of a “Neo-Mosaic practice” which re-emerges: “The new disciples of Moses and the new Pharisees during the last two Assemblies of the Synod (2014 and 2015) masked their practical denial of the indissolubility of marriage and of a suspension of the Sixth Commandment on a case-by-case basis under the guise of the concept of mercy, using expressions such as: “way of discernment,” “accompaniment”, “orientations of the bishop,” “dialogue with the priest,” “forum internum,” “a more fuller integration into the life of the Church,” a possible suppression of imputability regarding the cohabitation in irregular unions (cf. Final Report, nn. 84-86).” (The Final Report, nn. 84-86).

The Sadducees are the innovators that state openly the abandonment of the doctrine and practice of the Church; the Pharisees are those that proclaim the indissolubility of marriage with their lips, but deny it hypocritically in facts, proposing the “case by case” transgression of the moral law. The true followers of Jesus Christ belong neither to the neo-Pharisees party nor to the neo-Sadducee party, both modernists, but belong instead to the School of St. John the Baptist, who preached in the spiritual wastelands of his time. The Baptist, when he stigmatized the Pharisees and Sadducees as a “race of vipers” (Matthew 2, 7) and when he admonished Herod Antipas for his adultery, was not hard of heart, but was moved by love for God and souls. The hypocrites and the hard of heart were Herod’s advisors who claimed to reconcile his condition as an impenitent sinner with the teaching of the Scripture. Herod killed The Baptist to suffocate the voice of truth, yet the voice of the Precursor still resounds after twenty centuries.

Those who defend good doctrine, do not follow the example of the Pharisees and Sadducees, but the example of St. John the Baptist and Our Lord.

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Fr Antonio Spadaro: Synod ‘laid foundations’ for access to the Sacraments

pope_and_fr_spadoraThe editor of an influential Jesuit periodical whose content is allegedly vetted by Pope Francis has penned an important new article on last month’s Ordinary Synod on the Family in which he controversially claims the meeting “laid the foundations” for civilly remarried divorcees to be admitted to the sacraments.

Jesuit Father Antonio Spadaro, editor of La Civiltà Cattolica which is screened by the Secretariat of State, said paragraphs 84-86 of the synod’s final report relating to pastoral care for remarried-divorcees underline the importance of pastoral “discernment” on a case-by-case basis, “without putting any limits on integration, as appeared in the past.”

Noting that the report says such discernment would be guided by a priest in the “internal forum” (in the confessional), Father Spadaro said that “concerning access to the sacraments, the ordinary synod has therefore effectively laid the foundations, opening a door” that had been “closed” at the “previous synod”.

He added that “one may rightly speak of a new step” because last year the issue failed to attain a two-thirds majority of synod fathers. The issue would therefore normally have been rejected had Pope Francis not insisted the issue be carried over into last month’s meeting.

Father Spadaro’s comments, first brought to wider public attention in an article by the Italian Vaticanist Sandro Magister, run contrary to many assurances from other synod fathers who stressed that no door had been opened at the synod to holy Communion for remarried divorcees as the sacraments aren’t in any way mentioned in the relevant paragraphs.

But the Jesuit priest, noting that some synod fathers saw the door as “closed”, said others saw it as “open” or “open for different reasons” on the general grounds of “an essential pastoral attitude.” Furthermore, he argued, the Pope himself used the image of the door in his homily at the opening Mass of the Synod, urging the Church to “be a ‘field hospital’ with doors wide open to whoever knocks in search of help and support.”

Elsewhere in the article, Father Spadaro discussed the controversial issue of synodality, saying that a pastoral solution that is “good for New Zealand is not so for Lithuania, an approach valid in Germany is not so for Guinea.”

Quoting Pope Francis, he said that “beyond the dogmatic questions” fully defined in the Church’s magisterium, what can seem normal for one bishop on a particular continent can “appear strange, almost a scandal” to another, and “that which is considered the violation of a right in one society can be an obvious and inviolable principle in another; that which for some is freedom of conscience, for others can be only confusion.”

Critics of this model of synodality say it would lead the Church towards a quasi-Anglican structure in which the magisterium would be interpreted differently depending on local pastoral situations. Father Spadaro views the Pope’s approach as understanding Catholicism as the “universality of the Church” that is neither “depersonalized” nor in “uniformity.”

The Jesuit also said the “key to the work of the synod” and an “important element to understanding the process the Pope has started” is to look at two quotes from Francis that he gave at the beginning and at the end of the synod.

For the first, he quoted the Pope in his opening address to the synod: that the Church should be one that “questions herself with regard to her fidelity to the deposit of faith, which does not represent for the Church a museum to view, nor even something merely to safeguard, but is a living source from which the Church shall drink, to satisfy the thirst of, and illuminate, the deposit of life.”

For the second, he quoted the Pope’s homily at his daily Mass in the Casa Santa Martha on Oct. 23, in which Francis said: “Times are changing and we Christians must change continually. We must change whilst remaining fixed to our faith in Jesus Christ, fixed to the truth of the Gospel but we must adapt our attitude continuously according to the signs of the times.”

As well as every edition of La Civiltà Cattolica passing the scrutiny of the Secretariat of State and, during this pontificate, apparently Pope Francis himself, Father Spadaro is also one of the Holy Father’s closest advisers. This has lead Magister and others to conclude that he essentially speaks for Francis and is therefore giving clues as to the probable contents of the Holy Father’s concluding document on the Synod on the Family, expected to appear in a few months.

See also Edward Pentin’s latest post entitled Pope Francis on Keys to Authentic Christian Humanism

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My parents lived as ‘brother and sister’ for 25 years so they could receive Communion

By Pete Baklinski at LifeSiteNews:

PINE BEACH, New Jersey, November 9, 2015

While a movement of outspoken cardinals and bishops have suggested that it is not only “unrealistic” for couples in irregular situations to abstain from sex, but requires a “heroism [that] is not for the average Christian,” living as brother and sister is exactly what Peter and Anne Stravinskas decided to do so that they could align their lives by God’s standards and be able to receive Jesus in Holy Communion.

Fr. Peter Stravinskas with his parents, Peter and Anne, on the day he became a cleric in 1972.

Fr. Peter Stravinskas with his parents, Peter and Anne, on the day he became a cleric in 1972.

The couple’s only child, Father Peter Stravinskas, told LifeSiteNews in an exclusive interview the story of his parents’ decision. Fr. Stravinskas, founder of the Priestly Society of the Venerable John Henry Cardinal Newman, the Newman House Press, and The Catholic Response, is a respected scholar, author, and apologist.

It was in the 1940s when the Catholic marriage of Fr. Stravinskas’ dad, also named Peter, hit rocky ground and fell apart. Peter’s wife had abandoned him. Even though Peter was a common laborer and largely a self-taught man, he knew the Catholic faith well enough from his love of reading the great Catholic thinkers G.K. Chesterton and John-Henry Newman to understand that marrying again would distance him from God and the Church.

He knew Christ’s words from the Gospel of Luke which stated, “Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery.” He also knew the sixth commandment given to Moses by God on Mount Sinai which stated, “You shall not commit adultery.”

Despite this, Peter went ahead and civilly married Anne, a fallen-away Catholic. When Peter Jr. came along in 1950, the couple decided that he would attend Catholic school.

First Holy Communion day. The family started attending Mass on Sunday after Peter Jr. returned home from school and told his parents the lesson he learned about hell. Newark, May, 1958.

First Holy Communion day. The family started attending Mass on Sunday after Peter Jr. returned home from school and told his parents the lesson he learned about hell. Newark, May, 1958.

It was during the boy’s second grade preparation for receiving the sacraments of First Confession and Holy Communion that the parents’ faith life received an unexpected jump start. Fr. Stravinskas related it this way:

“I came home from school one day and said, ‘Mom, I love you very much.’

“I love you too,” she replied.

“Mom, when I die I want to go to heaven!”

“Of course, we all do,” she said.

“Well, we’ve got a problem. If I die and go to heaven, and you and Daddy aren’t there, will it be heaven?”

“Well, why wouldn’t Daddy and I be there?”

“Because Sister Rita Gertrude said today in class that people who don’t go to Mass on Sunday go to hell when they die.”

Fr. Stravinskas said his mom immediately ended the conversation by telling him to go and have his milk and cookies.

Later that evening when the boy’s father returned home from work, Peter Jr. was sent to his room while his parents discussed the conversation held earlier. But Peter well-remembers the words he heard while listening near the door:

“We have a problem with the kid,” the mom said.

“What’s that?” asked the dad.

“That crazy nun from school is causing us trouble,” she said. “She told Peter today that we are going to go to hell because we don’t go to mass on Sunday.”

“Well, what did you expect her to say?”

“When I go to school tomorrow to help with the volunteer work, I’m going to tell her to mind her own business and stay out of our house.”

“Well, you can do that,” he replied. “I don’t know how much good it’s going to do.”

As Peter listened quietly behind the door, he remembers a brief moment passing by before his dad added: “I think there’s probably a simpler solution. I think it would be easier for us to start going to Mass on Sunday then it would be for us to convince Sister that we are not going to go to hell.”

The following Sunday the entire Stravinskas family attended Mass for the first time.

It now began to gnaw on Anne that when the time came during the Mass for people to receive Holy Communion, she was unable to participate. While she experienced a longing for Jesus, she knew that her sexual activity with a man who, in the eyes of the Church, was married to another woman made her unworthy to receive Jesus into her soul.

Fr. Stravinskas remembers his mother once saying: “I don’t know why I go to Mass at all if I can’t receive Holy Communion.”

The couple eventually brought this difficulty to their parish priest. He told them that one way to proceed would be to petition Church authorities in Rome to examine the first union to determine whether or not a real marriage was contracted. If the marriage was determined to be invalid, then Peter and Anne would be free to marry and thereby conform their relationship to the standards set by God and followed by the Church. It would then follow that both would be able to receive Holy Communion.

But the priest also told them the annulment process was not only lengthy, but costly.

The faithful priest then presented the couple with a much simpler solution.

“He said the easiest solution for them to participate fully in the Catholic faith would be to forgo relations and live as brother and sister,” related Fr. Stravinskas.

“And, from that time on, that’s what they did,” he said.

It wasn’t until his high school years while discussing with his Dad the Catholic teaching on marriage that Fr. Stravinskas learned the truth about his parents’ decision.

“And my father said to me, ‘Well, yes, irregular situations do happen. But, to be faithful to Christ, your mother and I have lived as brother and sister for 10 years now.’”

“And they lived that way throughout the rest of their marriage,” said Fr. Stravinskas. Peter passed away in 1983 at the age of 71. Anne lived until 87, passing away in 2005.

‘Trojan horse’

Fr. Stravinskas called the language of “integration” in the final report of the Synod on the Family — recently concluded in Rome — a “Trojan horse” designed to attack at its very heart Jesus’ teaching on the indissolubility of marriage.

“If it’s true that a person remains bound to their spouse, even if the marriage fails, that means that any subsequent sexual activity the person engages in is the sin of adultery. That’s what Jesus says in the Gospels,” he said.

People who disagree with this teaching have an argument with God, not with the Church, he said.

“When people say to me they don’t accept the Church’s teaching on divorce and remarriage, I say to them, ‘Let’s make your statement more precise: What you’re really saying is that you don’t accept the teaching of the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity on this issue.’ If they are willing to say that, then I will tell them that I’ll quickly get out of their way before the lightning strikes.”

“This teaching on divorce and remarriage is not within the power of the Church to change. It comes from God himself. The Church took this doctrine so seriously that she was willing to give up the entire Church in England in the 1530s because of her belief in the indissolubility of marriage,” he said.

Fr. Stravinskas explained why it is gravely wrong for Catholics who are divorced and remarried to present themselves for Holy Communion.

“It’s the sin of sacrilege. The sin of sacrilege is unworthily approaching the holiest of Sacraments. St. Paul is very clear on that in his Epistle to the Corinthians. He said a person must examine himself first, and if he is not in the proper disposition, he must not receive the body and blood of the Lord. If he does — and here is the penalty — he eats and drinks condemnation to himself. It’s the gravest of sins,” he said.

First Holy Communion day. The family started attending Mass on Sunday after Peter Jr. returned home from school and told his parents the lesson he learned about hell. Newark, May, 1958.

He also took issue with some Synod fathers’ misuse of the Emmaus story found in the Gospel of Luke in citing it as a model for “accompanying” those in irregular situations to a full participation in the sacraments.

“The first thing about ‘accompaniment’ is that it’s really a spiritual work of mercy, namely to admonish sinners, to warn them about the nature of their sin. If we look how Jesus accompanies the two disciples on the Road to Emmaus, first of all, he calls them ‘foolish’ for having closed minds. He then accompanies them on the road and opens up for them the scriptures and sets their hearts on fire for the truth which they contain.”

“That’s the kind of pastoral accompaniment the Church needs to give to people in irregular situations. And not just them, but anyone living in any kind of sin,” he said.

Fr. Stravinskas said his parents’ testimony to the possibility of living in an irregular situation while being faithful to the teachings of Jesus is pertinent to the Church today.

“When we have Cardinals like Kasper and Marx saying that abstaining from sexual relations is ‘unrealistic’ and a ‘heroism’ that lay people can’t live, that’s not only ridiculous and even obnoxious, but it flies in the face of the Universal Call to Holiness so beautifully expressed by Vatican II.”

“It’s a position that dishonors my parents and thousands of other couples like them who have decided to put their confidence to carry forward in the grace of God. Ourfaith teaches us that God gives everyone the grace to avoid sin. People do live this,” he said.

He said that priests need to begin using their own example of living full happy lives while abstaining from sex as an example to encourage people to be faithful to God’s plan for marriage and sexuality as expressed in the Church’s teaching.

“Using their own witness of celibacy, priests can tell young people that it is possible to wait until marriage. He’s not asking them to do anything that he isn’t doing himself. Likewise, he can encourage people with same-sex attraction to refrain from acting out. Again, he can tell couples living faithfully the Church’s teaching against contraception but struggling with periodic continence that the Church is only asking them to abstain for a period of time, while the priest has abstained his entire life.”

“There are all kinds of situations where people cannot, for prolonged period of time or even permanently, have sexual relations. We have to be able to give them an example, even if it’s only on a natural level, that this is possible.”

“As Saint Paul once said, ‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,’” he said.

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Why this Muslim admires the Catholic Church | Strange Notions website

Grand Mufti of the Lebanese Republic, Sheikh Mohammad Rashid Qabbani, visited Cardinal Beshara Boutros al-Rai, Patriarch of Antioch of the Maronites, in Bkirki in December 2012.

The admirational Muslim in this instance is not the Sheikh, but Tamer Nashef, an Israeli Muslim researcher and writer with postgraduate degrees in English literature from the University of Haifa.

First, allow me to start this short article with what might be deemed a startling confession: I am not a Catholic, nor am I even a Christian. In fact, I am a secular Muslim and an avid reader of philosophy and history with an unswerving commitment to the unmitigated truth no matter where it is even, nay especially, if it runs counter to commonly held beliefs… I have spent the last few years researching the history of Christianity, especially the Catholic Church in the Middle Ages, and was shocked to discover that almost everything we had been taught about Catholicism was erroneous and apparently affected by anti-Catholic bias … I feel utmost respect for the work of Catholic monks and monasteries in the Middle Ages. Their intellectual activities are one of the brightest chapters in the history of the Catholic Church.

Mr Tamer recites quite a long list of reasons for his admiration here in his article on Strange Notions, a website that CP&S has long linked to in the site’s sidebar. Mr Tamer is of course not alone in expressing such views.

He concludes his article:

I have not written this essay to whitewash Catholic history. Nor am I claiming that the Catholic Church has been nothing but infallible or that its record has been immaculate. My aim was to express admiration for the prodigious achievements that Catholicism and the Catholic Church deserve credit for—credit that is not often given to it due to deep-seated bias and firmly established myths.

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Peace In Jesus

In light of the recent improper commentary from some towards other contributors on recent CP&S articles, this holy advice from St Padre Pio of Pietrelcina should hopefully help calm troubled waters and restore our peace in God. 

padrepio3 “Peace is the simplicity of spirit, the serenity of conscience, the tranquility of the soul and the bond of love. Peace is order, it is the harmony in each one of us, it is a continual joy that is born of witnessing a clear conscience. It is the holy joy of a heart wherein God reigns. Peace is the way to perfection or, even better, in peace dwells perfection.

And the Devil, who knows all this very well, does everything possible to cause us to lose our peace. The soul needs to be saddened but only by one thing: an offense against God. But even on this point one must be very prudent. One must certainly regret one’s failures, but with a peaceful sorrow and always trusting in Divine Mercy. One must be aware of certain reproaches and remorse against oneself which most of the time come from our enemy who wants to disturb our peace in God.

If such reproaches and remorse humble us and make us quick to do the right thing, without taking away our confidence in God, we may be assured that they come from God. However, if they confuse us and make us fearful, distrustful, lazy, or slow to do the right thing, we may be sure that they come from the Devil and we should consequently push them aside, finding our refuge and confidence in God.”


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Dig Up the Bar: A Word on Pro-Life Feminism

Written by Hilary White (and  first published in the Remnant Magazine)

50f69bbeaf4c316098eabbd8a56bef4e_L“I spent a long time in the pro-life movement, and I met a lot of good people who have given their lives to the struggle against abortion. But among them, I have met very few who understood how their own acceptance of the new mores of the Sexual Revolution have affected them and the movement.” . . . Hilary White

In front of the entrances of many Italian churches, including St. Peter’s Basilica, visitors will find a sign that asks them to remember that the building they are entering is not a museum, not a tourist attraction, but a holy place.

At St. Peter’s the long, serpentine queue is punctuated along its length by signs showing stick figures wearing shorts, short skirts and sleeveless t-shirts covered with a big red slashed circle. Italian churches expect a base-line level of modesty and respect from visitors, even if they are expected to know nothing about the Faith for which they are built.

And the message gets through. By the time the long stream of tourists have made it around the edges of St. Peter’s Piazza to the metal detectors in the colonnade, the Vatican gendarmes rarely have to offer the women in tank-tops one of those rather horrible disposable shawl-things to go over their shoulders. Indeed, one of the most bustling street trades around the Vatican for illegal Bangladeshi immigrants is in cheap silk shawls with which it is common to see American women rather shamefacedly and awkwardly draping themselves.

I say “shamefacedly” because until they have been confronted with the unacceptability of their attire for a church, it seems never to have occurred to them. The expression on the faces of some of the young American ladies when handed these cheap little cover-up things at the Basilica of Mary Major, can be priceless: “You want me to … to wear this?”

The disgust and angry contempt is only too evident when they come out the doors after their stroll around the Basilica and dump the offending object into the bin provided. It is clear that on some level at least they know they have just been rebuked by a whole country, by Italy, and by the Catholic Church: “Your ‘normal’ is too scandalous for this church. Clean up your act.” It is easy to imagine that the shock comes from the fact that this was the first time in their lives they’ve heard a word about it.

It’s a funny thing about Italy, but even when the culture has almost entirely forgotten its catechism lessons, the rule of modestly covering up inside churches remains deeply engrained. In the town where I live in Umbria, the church on the piazza is very famous and attracts huge crowds of visitors throughout the year. Tour groups troop into the ancient marble church on rotation, often chattering out loud during the monks’ Offices, oblivious to the stern looks they get. The Italian habit of treating the Basilica of San Benedetto, and the chanting of the Divine Office, as some kind of Disneyfied theme park ride, marching up to the altar rail to gawk and snap photos, is one that the monks themselves mostly take in stride, however much it may annoy the rest of us.

But in the year I have lived here, I have yet to see any of these worthy ladies in the state of scandalous undress that appears to be the norm for tourists from Anglo nations. All through this ferociously hot summer they have swarmed in, loud and disruptive as ever but not one with bared shoulders, shorts or skirts above the knee.

Most of the tourists are middle aged, of the generation that mostly abandoned any similitude of practice of or adherence to the Catholic religion, but none of them would dream of entering a church, even in the sweltering Italian summer, without carrying a scarf in her bag to toss over her shoulders. Hanging about the church steps after Mass one day, one of the monks remarked, “We don’t really worry about that much with the Italians. They still know.”

In fact, it’s a funny thing about Italy as a whole, that the sexual revolution has mainly failed to produce the kind of moral chaos that has so characterized the life of the Anglo, Germanic and other western nations. Why this might be is anyone’s guess, but Italy has a comparatively low rate of out-of-wedlock pregnancies, and consequently a comparatively low rate of abortion. The rate had risen from about 6.5% in 1990 to about 17% by 2007, which seems like a lot until you see that in Germany for the same period the numbers were 15.1% to 32%. Britain’s percentage of unwed motherhood rose from 11.5% in 1980 to 43.7 by 2006.

This is not to say that things are peachy in Italy. Far from it. The Italian birth rate is unsustainable and marriage has all but dropped off the radar for most young people, even though they mostly come from intact families. Whatever is wrong with Italian society, however, the general western frenzy of all-in promiscuity is, in the main, absent here.

While it may be true that Italian priests don’t often preach against sexual promiscuity or the evils of the Sexual Revolution, the absence of the topic seems to be predicated on the assumption that the congregation already knows. The moral bar in Italy is still sitting at least at knee height, and there are always the nonnas watching.

With the general dissolution of the family, and often vast physical distances from the grandmothers, it seems that the moral bar in North American and British Catholic churches is so low we have actually dug a trench and buried it. When was the last time you, a Tradition-minded Catholic who probably attends at least a very conservative Novus Ordo parish, heard a priest condemn as evil, as sinful, as harmful, as morally abhorrent, sexual activity outside marriage? A few times perhaps? In traditionalist parishes perhaps at least a few times a year?

Now, how often have we heard our priests joining the general chorus of support for “single mothers, who have, thank God, received the support and care necessary to help her make a decision for life.” [Cue mandatory applause.] That is, we praise a woman as “courageous” and “countercultural” for not being willing to have her inconvenient child killed. That, ladies and gentlemen, is where the moral bar sits in the Church now: buried and long since out of sight.

I spent a long time in the pro-life movement, and I met a lot of good people who have given their lives to the struggle against abortion. But among them, I have met very, very few who understood how their own acceptance, whether reluctant or not, of the new mores of the Sexual Revolution have affected them and the movement: the standards of dress and behaviour, the resignation to an expectation of sexual activity before marriage, that is so ubiquitous in our Anglo countries that we hardly even notice it. Most pro-life people simply never stop to consider how the entire package is connected together to produce a culture in which abortion is more or less accepted along with teen sex.

Why have we gone 50 years with abortion? Seriously, think about it. Why have these Christian nations – it is not often remembered that when abortion was legalised in Canada the country was about 50% Catholic – simply shrugged and accepted abortion as an unshakable social reality? Is it possible because the logic is too demanding? Has the realization dawned that the only way to stop abortion is to roll back all the other glorious gains of the entire social revolution of the 20th century?

One of the first things I observed in my working life in the pro-life movement was that the older generation, my mother’s age, wanted to cherry pick abortion, to separate it out from the rest of Modernia’s New Paradigm, and excise it carefully like a tumor that had just inexplicably grown from nowhere, preserving all the rest of Modernia intact and untouched. By the late 1990s many of these people who had started the pro-life movement in the 70s, behaved as though they were beaten. There was an aura of depressed and surly resignation among them. They knew that their work had not worked, and abortion rates simply continued to rise, with more and more legal concessions being made throughout the western world.

These were the same people who in the 60s and 70s had helped to usher in the New Paradigm in all its many facets. They were the young women who had abandoned children at home to take jobs. Who took advantage of the new No Fault Divorce laws and were working through their second or third “marriages”. They were the supporters of government day care benefits and “equal pay for equal work” and the whole roster of social upheaval that gave us the contemporary situation. For that generation, they entered the pro-life movement as a fight to get a single law repealed. Once this was accomplished, they figured they could all get back to enjoying the beneficent effects of Modernia. Abortion was just a weird anomaly in an otherwise glorious new world.

During a conversation I had with one of them in Prince Edward Island, one of the last places in the western world where abortion is still illegal, I had to explain that it was Feminism that had ushered in the abortion culture she was fighting. She looked at me dumbfounded, as though I had said the Care Bears were really abortionists. It had never in her decades of work crossed her mind that abortion was not a strange, disconnected legal aberration that had fallen on the world for no apparent reason. The notion that it was connected in any way with the “progression” and “modernization” of society, the “emancipation” of women and the advance of “equality,” sounded to her like sheer insanity. And this was someone who went to Mass every week, and always had.

While I was involved in the movement, I saw the explosion of what I have called the “Wailing Women” strategy, in which women who have had abortions stand in front of the microphones at marches and rallies and declare themselves to be the deeply wounded victims of abortion. This weepy strategy came out of the warm friendly non-confrontational end of the pro-life movement, the ones who were tired of being screamed at and called fascists by large bare-breasted women with rings in their tattooed noses.

The Wailing Women were proof that we’re the nice pro-lifers, interested in the needs of the woman and the deep, deep woundedness of her deeply felt feelings. We’re not those mean pro-lifers who are always talking about mean stuff like principles and laws. A manifestation, in other words, of Stockholm Syndrome; pro-lifers turning dhimmi before their feminist superiors.

During the reign of Pope John Paul II, while the pro-life movement – or at least the March for Life in Washington – was somewhat more socially acceptable in Catholic circles, the Wailing Women strategy flowed out of the pro-life movement and into the general life of the dioceses and parishes. They have indeed been a gift to the bishops, even more valuable in its way than Bernardin’s Seamless Garment. Not only can they weave together their (very mild) opposition to abortion with their (VERY LOUD) opposition to immigration restrictions and border controls, now they can do it while standing at the back of the stage at the March for Life and looking deeply, deeply concerned while the poor, poor women wail into the microphone.

And it was eagerly taken up by priests who also didn’t like to be shouted at and called fascists, though more usually by the other members of the diocesan councils. Women who have abortions are now victims, competing for a spot on the Church’s Victim Hierarchy ladder, and as such, could of course never be held accountable for their own actions or decisions. It was eagerly accepted as a nice spoonful of warm, friendly and deeply, deeply caring sugar, for the nasty, bitter medicine of being forced to be (very, very quietly) against abortion.

Since the Wailing Women have appeared we have seen nearly all of the pro-life work and propaganda of the mainstream Novusordoist Catholic Church consumed by this sweet, sticky pudding of a strategy. It’s all about the women, you see. The poor, poor, suffering women who were obviously forced into having abortions, naturally mostly by wicked socioeconomic pressure, that the bishops are only too eager to talk about. What they need is more opportunities! Which the government has to give them! (And no one has to talk about the bitter medicine ever again. Win!)

But what is the actual medicine? Is it even enough to talk about how abortion is a bad thing? When Pope Francis was first elected, and we Traddie reporters were sitting around the table in Roberto’s drinking our disbelief away, we started getting emails and text messages of the new pope’s previous assertions that abortion is a bad thing. See? Everything’s going to be fine! He’s pro-life, just like us! Squeee!

Mr. Michael Matt, present on the opposite side of the table, was heard to wryly express the misgivings of the rest of us: “I need a little more from a pope than that he thinks it’s bad to kill babies.” The world, to expand the point, needs a little more from the Church than the occasional reiteration that abortion is a bad thing.

Can we please talk about the way we really should be living our lives? Can we hear now and then that the Sexual Revolution has been a culture-destroying catastrophe that has led to millions of destroyed families, ruined lives and damned souls, and by now, billions of deaths.

Can we hear how we would all be happier if modesty were once again just the normal way of living, and not singled out in homilies like it was a peculiar cultural artifact of Fundamentalist Protestants and Amish people?

Can we have some attempt to give young people some idea of how to conduct their daily lives in sexual sanity, with reserve and self-respect and common sense?

Can we please dig up that bar? ■

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Forget the Guy Fawkes propaganda – the English Reformation was a violent catastrophe



Dominic Selwood from The Telegraph wrote on 5th November: 

At this time of year, it is traditional to burn things. Tonight especially people will gather in gardens, parks and fields to apply a match to anything combustible. Highlights of the evening’s conflagrations will include re-enactments of a good deal of religious killing.

There will be Roman Candle fireworks, an allusion to the Emperor Nero dousing Christians in accelerants and burning them alive to light his gardens. The 18-year-old Saint Catherine of Alexandria will make her annual appearance, fizzing around a sparkling wheel in memory of her condemnation to death on a spiked breaking wheel (although, so the story goes, it shattered at her touch so she was beheaded instead). And the pièce de résistance will be the immolation of a life-size Jacobean Yorkshireman, or – in some parts of the country – the Pope.

Bonfire Night: Fireworks and effigies burnt as Guy Fawkes celebratedModern Guys: Vladimir Putin and Alex Salmond are paraded through the streets of Lewes

Anyone visiting from abroad might be forgiven for thinking that they have chosen to spend their early winter holiday in a country with more than a hint of unresolved religious tension. They may well twig — even if most of us do not — that the one thing all these historical characters being symbolically executed have in common is that they are Catholics. And they would have a point. Historically, Guy Fawkes Night was created as an explicit celebration of the death of Catholic England on the pyre of the Protestant Reformation.

So how did it come to this? Why do we revel in ceremonially burning an Englishman every fifth of November?

Read on here and see the surprising result of a vote at the end of the article

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