Shrove Tuesday, Feast of the Holy Face of Jesus

From Catholic Insight:

On April 17th, 1958, His Holiness Pope Pius XII approved the observance of a Feast of the Holy Face of Jesus on Shrove Tuesday (Tuesday before Ash Wednesday).

When on April 17th, 1958, Venerable Pope Pius XII granted that the Feast of the Holy Face of Jesus be observed on Shrove Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday, he fulfilled the desire of Our Lord that His sorrowful Holy Face be contemplated in reparation for our sins. The history and tradition of venerating His Holy Face began on the day of His crucifixion and continues through the centuries with the help of holy men and women chosen by  Our Lord and Our Blessed Mother to propagate this devotion.

The bloodied, bruised, disfigured face of Jesus was imprinted on a veil as St. Veronica comforted Christ by wiping His face on the road to Calvary. The original veil is kept at St. Peter’s Basilica and is displayed every Passion Sunday. The image of the face on the Shroud of Turin provides another opportunity of veneration of the Holy Face.

Throughout the centuries, holy men and women have been chosen by Our Lord to spread this devotion. St. Augustine, St. Bernard, St. Gertrude the Great, and St. Mechtilde were the first to encourage the devotion.

Our Lord promised St. Gertrude: “All those who meditate frequently on the vision of My Divine Face, attracted by the desires of love, shall receive within them, through My Humanity, a bright ray of My Divinity, which shall enlighten their inmost souls so that they shall reflect the light of My countenance in a special manner throughout eternity.”

Sister Mary of St. Peter was a young Carmelite nun in Tours, France. In the 1840s she received a series of revelations from Our Lord. Through her, He wished to spread a powerful devotion to His Holy Face in reparation for the outrages of Communism, atheism, cursing, and the profanation of Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation. He revealed to her that each time a blasphemy is committed His Sacred Heart is wounded by a poison arrow. Our Lord gave to Sister Mary of St. Peter the Golden Arrow Prayer in reparation for the sins of blasphemy. He promised that priests who propagated this work of reparation would be defended by Him before His Father in Heaven. He also gave her eight promises for all those who honour His Holy Face.

At the age of thirty-three, Sister Mary died a painful death from tuberculosis and an ulcerated throat. After her death, Leo Dupont, a lawyer of Tours and a friend of Sister Mary, continued to spread the devotion. A replica picture of the Holy Face touched to the true relic of the veil of Veronica hung in his home, a votive candle constantly burning beside it. People came to pray before the image and many miraculous healings were attributed to it.

Pope Leo XIII established the Archconfraternity to the Holy Face in 1885. So great was his belief in the urgency of this devotion that he established it immediately for the whole world. Among the members of the Archconfraternity of Reparation to the Holy Face at Tours, France was the family of St. Therese of Lisieux.

St. Therese had a great love for the Holy Face of Jesus. She was taught by her older sister, Pauline “that the disfigured face of the Saviour must encourage her to live in humility, to remain well hidden, and to become progressively the ‘enclosed garden’ in which the Lord could take delight, a ‘little Veronica’ who would console Him.” On the day she received the habit,  10 January 1889, she began signing her name as Sister Therese of the Child Jesus and of the Holy Face. As she lay dying in August 1897, a picture of the Holy Face was hung in the infirmary so that she could contemplate it.

At the investigation into the cause for her canonization, one of her novices, Sister Marie of the Trinity, testified: “Sister Therese of the Child Jesus had a special devotion to the Holy Face of Jesus. She saw in it the reflection of the humiliations and sufferings Jesus underwent during his Passion. The sight of that divine Face awakened in her soul a passionate desire to be like Him which she constantly spoke about to me. She was proud to bear its name.”

Our Lord and Our Blessed Mother began appearing to Blessed Maria Pierina de Micheli from the age of seven on her First Communion Day in 1898. Called to be a religious Sister, she entered the Order of the Daughters of the Immaculate Conception in 1913. Jesus would often appear to her with a bloodied sorrowful face. On the First Friday of Lent, 1936, He said to her: “I wish that my face, which reflects the intimate sorrow of my soul, and the suffering and love of my Heart, be forever honoured. He who contemplates me consoles me.”

In 1938, He appeared to her with a disfigured face and said: “Do you see how I suffer? Yet, very few understand me. Those who say they love me are very ungrateful. I have given my heart as the sensible object of my great love to  men and I give My Face as the sensible object of  my sorrow for all the sins of men. I wish that it be venerated by a special feast on Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday. I wish that the feast be preceded by a novena in which the faithful make reparation with me, joining together and sharing in my sorrow.”

On 17 April 1958, Venerable Pope Pius XII approved the observance of the Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus. Our Lord made the following promises to those who honour His Holy Face:

  1. All those who honor My Face in a spirit of reparation will by so doing perform the office of the pious Veronica. According to the care they take in making reparation to My Face, disfigured by blasphemers, so will I take care of their souls which have been disfigured by sin. My Face is the seal of the Divinity, which has the virtue of reproducing in souls the image of God.
  2. Those who by words, prayers or writing defend My cause in this Work of Reparation I will defend before My Father, and will give them My Kingdom.
  3. By offering My Face to My Eternal Father, nothing will be refused, and the conversion of many sinners will be obtained.
  4. By My Holy Face, they will work wonders, appease the anger of God, and draw down mercy on sinners.
  5. As in a kingdom they can procure all that is desired with a coin stamped with the King’s effigy, so in the Kingdom of Heaven they will obtain all they desire with the precious coin of My Holy Face.
  6. Those who on earth contemplate the wounds of My Face shall in Heaven behold it radiant with glory.
  7. They will receive in their souls a bright and constant irradiation of My Divinity, that by their likeness to My Face they shall shine with particular splendor in Heaven.
  8. I will defend them, I will preserve them and I assure them of Final Perseverance.

Golden Arrow Prayer

May the most holy, most sacred, most adorable,  most incomprehensible and unutterable name of God be always praised, blessed, loved, adored, and glorified, in Heaven, on earth, and under the earth, by all the creatures of God, and by the Sacred Heart of Our Lord Jesus Christ in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar. Amen.

Prayer of St. Therese of the Child Jesus and of the Holy Face to the Holy Face of Jesus

O Jesus, who, in Thy cruel Passion didst become the “reproach of men and the Man of Sorrows,” I worship Thy divine Face. Once it shone with the beauty and sweetness of the Divinity; but now, for my sake, it is become as “the face of a leper.” Yet, in that disfigured Countenance, I recognize Thy infinite love, and I am consumed with the desire of making Thee loved by all mankind. The tears that flowed so abundantly from Thy Eyes are to me as precious pearls that I delight to gather, that with their worth I may ransom the souls of poor sinners. O Jesus, whose Face is the sole beauty that ravishes my heart, I may not see here below the sweetness of Thy glance, nor feel the ineffable tenderness of Thy kiss, I bow to Thy Will—but I pray Thee to imprint in me Thy divine likeness, and I implore Thee so to inflame me with Thy love, that it may quickly consume me, and that I may soon reach the vision of Thy glorious Face in heaven. Amen.

Canticle to the Holy Face
(by St. Therese of Lisieux)

Jesus! Thy dear and holy Face
Is the bright star that guides my way;
Thy gentle glance, so full of grace,
Is my true heaven on earth,  today.
My love finds out the holy charm
Of Thy dear eyes with tear-drops wet;
Through mine own tears I smile at Thee,
And in Thy griefs my pains forget.

Oh! I would gladly live unknown,
Thus to console Thy aching heart.
Thy veiled beauty, it is shown
To those who live from earth apart.
Fain would I fly to Thee alone!

Thy Face it is my fatherland;
It is the sunshine of my days;
My realm of love, my sunlit land,
Where through the hours I sing Thy praise;
It is the lily of the vale,
Whose mystic perfume, freely given,
Brings comfort, when I faint and fail,
And makes me taste the peace of heaven.

Thy face, in its unearthly grace,
Is like the divinest myrrh to me,
That on my heart I gladly place;
It is my lyre of melody;
My rest—my comfort—is Thy Face.
My only wealth, Lord! is thy Face;
Naught ask I more than this from Thee;
Hidden in the secret of Thy Face,
The more I shall resemble Thee!
Leave on me the divine impress
Of Thy sweet, patient Face of love,
And soon I shall become a saint,
And draw men’s hearts to Thee above.

So, in the secret of Thy Face,
Oh! hide me, hide me, Jesus blest!
There let me find its hidden grace,
Its holy fires, and, in heaven’s rest,
Its rapturous kiss, in Thy embrace!

Sources

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French Bishop Proclaims 70th Miraculous Healing in Lourdes

The anniversary of Our Lady’s first apparition to Saint Bernadette at Lourdes in 1858 fell on a Sunday this year and so its commemoration is transferred to today, Monday, February 12th.

A Roman Catholic nun, disabled for almost 40 years, recovers after a pilgrimage to the Marian sanctuary of Lourdes.

The French bishop Jacques Benoit-Gonnin of the Beauvais diocese declared the healing of a Roman Catholic nun, Bernardette Moriau (79), miraculous. She was disabled for almost 40 years of her life. The bishop said the nun’s “sudden, instantaneous, complete and durable change” alerted him to a possible miracle. The Lourdes medical committee said the changes were unexplainable “in the current state of our scientific knowledge,” he added.

Sister Moriau had four operations on her spinal column between 1968 and 1975 and was declared fully disabled in 1980. One foot was permanently twisted, requiring her to wear a brace and use a wheelchair. She took what she said were significant doses of morphine for pain.

In a video published at the diocese website, [in French] Sister Moriau declared that as she returned home after a pilgrimage to Lourdes, she heard a voice telling her to remove her leg braces. Immediately after that, she was able to walk on her own again. She said she immediately did away with all her aids, from braces to morphine — and took a 5 kilometre hike a few days later.

She underwent extensive studies and tests by the International Medical Committee of Lourdes. The bishop has the last word on whether to approve a reported cure as a miracle. This has now been officially proclaimed the 70th miraculous recovery attributed to divine intervention in Lourdes.

Today, the Church commemorates the Immaculate Virgin Mary who appeared to Saint Bernadette Soubirous at Lourdes, France, 18 times between February 11 and July 16, 1858. The memorial of Mary under the title of “Our Lady of Lourdes” was extended to the Universal Church by Pope Saint Pius X in 1907.

The apparition of Our Lady at Lourdes is one of the most celebrated events in the Catholic Church in the 19th century. In fact, the popularity of this devotion contributed to a renewal of the Catholic Faith in France and the shrine at Lourdes remains one of the most popular destinations for pilgrims in the world.

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By Jim Dunning:

The Miracle Cures of Lourdes

Strange as it may seem, out of 7000 cases recorded over the past 150 years by the Medical Bureau of Lourdes, only 67 [at the time of original post] have been officially recognised as miraculous by the Church. This is undoubtedly because of the strict criteria applied to all the cases put forward. Nevertheless, Lourdes is besieged year after year by thousands of pilgrims, many of whom are seeking spiritual rather than physical relief. […]

Why are so few cures accepted by the Church as miraculous? The reason is that the requirements set out by the International Medical Committee of Lourdes for the validation of a miracle cure are extremely strict. The illness in question must be serious and the cure sudden and complete. There must be no need for convalescence. Another requirement is that no regular medication has been given since this would give rise to the possibility that the cure resulted from the treatment. Ironically, once a person is completely cured, it is no longer possible for tests to be carried out to verify the existence of the illness!

There is, of course, previous documentation to be considered with a view to establishing the medical history. And an assessment of the patient’s personality will help to eliminate false claims, genuine illusion or hysteria. A judgement is then made as to whether the cure is beyond the usual medical prognosis for the particular illness. When all these steps have been followed, a decision will be reached to either take no action or to undertake further examination, or to record the event as an “unexpected cure” for subsequent validation. The Bishop of the patient’s diocese, together with a doctor assigned by that Bishop, will then be advised of the result of the preliminary examination.

At Stage Two of the process, professional experts on the Committee compare the medical documents from before the alleged cure with those issued afterwards to ensure that there has been a definite change from a precisely diagnosed illness to a recovered state of health. What was earlier labelled an “unexpected cure” can then be designated a “confirmed cure”. According to the findings, each case is filed under the heading: ‘no further action’, or is validated under the heading: ‘supported and confirmed’.

The Third Stage sees the official recognition by the whole Committee of the exceptional nature of the cure in the light of the present state of scientific knowledge. The cure must not have a medical explanation; indeed, it must be seen to have occurred contrary to all medical predictions. The Bishop of Tarbes & Lourdes then forwards the complete file to the Bishop of the cured person’s diocese. That Bishop will then ‘canonically’ recognise the cure as miraculous on behalf of the Church.

It is clear that those cases which succeed in being officially recognised as miraculous have undergone a rigorous screening. There seems little doubt that many of the non-recognised cures are also genuine, in spite of their having failed to clear every obstacle in the prudently strict path to canonical recognition. That the Church is cautious in declaring a cure is understandable, even commendable.

St Bernadette Soubirous

An examination of the accepted cures associated with Lourdes is interesting. Most have taken place at Lourdes itself, but some have occurred elsewhere, either through prayer to Our Lady of Lourdes or through application of water originating from the Grotto.

Not surprisingly, the first cures were recorded soon after the start of the apparitions in February, 1858. The first was that of a local married woman named Catharine Latapie who had a paralysed right hand caused by a fallen tree. On 1st March, 1858, less than three weeks after the first apparition, this 38-year old mother made an early morning visit to the Grotto and bathed her arm in the small pool fed by the spring first unearthed by Bernadette. Immediately her fingers were cured and she returned home to give birth the same day to her third child. Twenty-four years later that child became a priest. […]

Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for us!

(For further examples of miraculous cures through Our Lady’s intercession at Lourdes, read on at MYSTICS OF THE CHURCH.)

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Benedict XVI’s final magisterium

Yesterday marked the fifth anniversary of the resignation of Benedict XVI from the Papal Chair. Andrea Gagliarducci on MONDAY VATICAN takes a look back at that historical moment in the Church.

The fifth anniversary of the historic renunciation of Benedict XVI was anticipated by a letter written by the now Pope emeritus to an Italian newspaper. The Pope emeritus described himself as “in a pilgrimage to Home”, a wonderful metaphor to describe the last path of his earthly life.

Five years after, it is worth looking back at the Final magisterium of Benedict XVI, that is, to his words and speeches in those last two weeks that preceded the sede vacante. It was a series of last public words that, in fact, best epitomize the situation of the current Church.

All of those words were overshadowed by the emotion and the lack of clarity of that time: it was a historical moment, lived with the Pope and on the Pope’s side. Rather than listening, we were looking for answers to questions, and those questions were left unanswered. Or, in the end, they got a response, but it was not accepted. Because, as the principle of the Ockham’s razor say, the simpler response is the most correct one. But, as human nature has it, the correct response is never fully accepted.

Benedict XVI thinks that the history of the Church meets eschatological requirements: everything has a sense, including the Church itself. To Benedict XVI, the Church is a living body, as it was to Romano Guardini, one of his favorite theologians.

Continue reading...

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For a look of greater depth into what was really going on behind Vatican doors, see Vox Cantoris’ post HERE

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Reflection for the 6th Sunday of Ordinary Time

Image result for Healing of leper

FIRST READING Leviticus 13:1-2, 44-46

The Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “If someone has on his skin a scab or pustule or blotch which appears to be the sore of leprosy, he shall be brought to Aaron, the priest, or to one of the priests among his descendants. If the man is leprous and unclean, the priest shall declare him unclean by reason of the sore on his head. “The one who bears the sore of leprosy shall keep his garments rent and his head bare, and shall muffle his beard; he shall cry out, ‘Unclean, unclean!’ As long as the sore is on him he shall declare himself unclean, since he is in fact unclean. He shall dwell apart, making his abode outside the camp.”

SECOND READING 1 Corinthians 10:31—11:1

Brothers and sisters, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God. Avoid giving offense, whether to the Jews or Greeks or the church of God, just as I try to please everyone in every way, not seeking my own benefit but that of the many, that they may be saved. Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.

GOSPEL Mark 1:40-45

A leper came to Jesus and kneeling down begged him and said, “If you wish, you can make me clean.” Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand, touched him, and said to him, “I do will it. Be made clean.” The leprosy left him immediately, and he was made clean. Then, warning him sternly, he dismissed him at once. He said to him, “See that you tell no one anything, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer for your cleansing what Moses prescribed; that will be proof for them.” The man went away and began to publicize the whole matter. He spread the report abroad so that it was impossible for Jesus to enter a town openly. He remained outside in deserted places, and people kept coming to him from everywhere.

My Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

Leprosy! Even today the very word “leprosy” has a harsh and intimidating sound to it. Today we have a treatment for leprosy but nevertheless there are about 200,000 new cases a year—although that number is slowly declining. But in the time of Leviticus and in the time of Jesus Christ, there was no known treatment. Because the causes of the disease were not know, the person was exiled from “healthy” human society. No one would want to be a leper, cut off from one’s own family and friends and spurned by everyone because of fear of contagion.

In the Scriptures, leprosy becomes a symbol of sin. We can even speak of the “leprosy of sin.” We can understand this also because sin is seen but why people sin is not so clear. There is something broken in our human nature and, as Saint Paul says, we sin even when we try not to sin.

The first reading today is from the Book of Leviticus, which is one of the early books of Hebrew Scripture, one of the early books of our Christian Bible. Chapters 12 to 15 deal with various illnesses and why some illnesses require the person to live apart, primarily in order not to infect others. We can well imagine, however, that if a person were able to hid some kind of infection, they would do so in order to avoid expulsion from the community.

The second reading is from the First Letter to the Corinthians. The strong teaching in this small except is that we should try to avoid giving offense to others and should try to please everyone. That is a tall order but we can understand that Christians are called to love everyone and to serve everyone and to put one’s own needs behind the needs of others. This could sound like a commandment just to be nice. Instead Saint Paul thinks of it as a way to bring salvation to others. We are all missionaries and must think about how we can draw others to Christ Jesus.

The Gospel from Mark today brings us back to leprosy. The leper in today’s Gospel wants to be cured. His faith that Jesus can cure him is so strong that Jesus tells him: “Be made clean.” And the leprosy leaves him. Even though Jesus asks the leper to be silent about this cure, the leper cannot keep his mouth shut. The leper proclaims to everyone that he has been cured by Jesus.

Sin is seen in the early Church as a form of moral leprosy. We are invited by Jesus to become clean in baptism. The early Church had a huge struggle to come to understand how anyone baptized could return to sin. But sin is like leprosy and returns over and over until there is a completely cure. The cure for spiritual leprosy is faith in Jesus Christ.

Today on this Sixth Sunday of Ordinary Time, we can ask ourselves: Do I really want to be free of sin? Am I willing to call out to the Lord and ask the Lord to heal me? Am I willing to proclaim the glory of God?

Your brother in the Lord,

Abbot Philip

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The Devil and the Priesthood

“A priest goes to Heaven or a priest goes to Hell with a thousand people behind” – (St John Vianney).

The “smoke of Satan” that entered the Catholic Church at the time of the Second Vatican Council had as its main aim the corruption of the clergy. The Devil is no fool. He knows that if he can achieve the enslavement of just one single priest to his desires, he will be able to “drag innumerous souls to Hell” with him.

The grave Apostasy and falling away from the Faith of countless souls in the years following the Second Vatican Council and its “opening to the world” (and with the subsequent changing of the transcendental God-centred holy Tridentine Mass for a pale and inferior Mass more centered on the community) reveals the success the Devil has had so far. Modernism had taken a firm root and millions were falling for its errors.

In 1884 Pope Leo XIII had been given a prophetic vision of what was to befall the Church in the coming century; in abject horror he witnessed how Satan boasted to God that if given 75 to 100 years of freedom he could destroy the Catholic Church. The evil ideology of atheistic Communism that had already begun seeping into the world was the Devil’s first tool used to affect this destruction. The second, and linked to the first, was the infiltration of this ideology into the holy Catholic priesthood.

An article in Christian Order magazine (November 2000) recounts how Bella Dodd (who served as legal counsel to the Communist Party in the United States until her conversion to Catholicism) and her associate, Douglas Hyde, revealed the plan for communist subversion of the Church:

Ex-Communist and celebrated convert Douglas Hyde revealed long ago that in the 1930s the Communist leadership issued a worldwide directive about infiltrating the Catholic Church. While in the early 1950s, Mrs. Bella Dodd was also providing detailed explanations of the Communist subversion of the Church. Speaking as a former high ranking official of the American Communist Party, Mrs. Dodd said: “In the 1930s we put eleven hundred men into the priesthood in order to destroy the Church from within.” The idea was for these men to be ordained and progress to positions of influence and authority as Monsignors and Bishops. A dozen years before Vatican II she stated that: “Right now they are in the highest places in the Church” — where they were working to bring about change in order to weaken the Church’s effectiveness against Communism. She also said that these changes would be so drastic that “you will not recognise the Catholic Church.”

Dodd gave voluminous testimony on communist infiltration of Church and state before the House UnAmerican Activities Committee in the 1950s. In a lecture at Fordham University during that time, Dodd unveiled what would seem to be an uncanny prophecy of future chaos in the Church. The lecture was attended by a monk whose account of the talk is presented in Christian Order:

I listened to that woman for four hours and she had my hair standing on end. Everything she said has been fulfilled to the letter. You would think she was the world’s greatest prophet, but she was no prophet. She was merely exposing the step-by-step battle plan of Communist subversion of the Catholic Church. She explained that of all the world’s religions, the Catholic Church was the only one feared by the Communists, for it was its only effective opponent. The whole idea was to destroy, not the institution of the Church, but rather the Faith of the people, and even use the institution of the Church, if possible, to destroy the Faith through the promotion of a pseudo-religion: something that resembled Catholicism but was not the real thing. Once the Faith was destroyed, she explained that there would be a guilt complex introduced into the Church…. to label the ‘Church of the past’ as being oppressive, authoritarian, full of prejudices, arrogant in claiming to be the sole possessor of truth, and responsible for the divisions of religious bodies throughout the centuries. This would be necessary in order to shame Church leaders into an ‘openness to the world,’ and to a more flexible attitude toward all religions and philosophies. The Communists would then exploit this openness in order to undermine the Church. (Source)

This attempt to destroy the Church could not possibly have worked without first corrupting the shepherds of souls. For this reason all Catholics have a godly duty to love and pray unceasingly for our priests.

An essential part of the message of Fatima is the warning of the spreading of the “errors” of Communism and its primordial desire to corrupt the holy priesthood that has dedicated itself to God and the Church for the salvation of souls. Sister Lucia spoke of this to Father Agustin Fuentes:

“Father, the devil is in the mood for engaging in a decisive battle against the Blessed Virgin. And the devil knows what it is that most offends God and which in a short space of time will gain for him the greatest number of souls. Thus, the devil does everything to overcome souls consecrated to God, because in this way, the devil will succeed in leaving souls of the faithful abandoned by their leaders, thereby the more easily will he seize them.

That which afflicts the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Heart of Jesus is the fall of religious and priestly souls. The devil knows that religious and priests who fall away from their beautiful vocation drag innumerable souls to Hell … The devil wishes to take possession of consecrated souls. He tries to corrupt them in order to lull to sleep the souls of laypeople and thereby lead them to final impenitence.” (Sister Lucia of Fatima to Father Agustin Fuentes, December, 1957)

In one of her approved visions St Hildegard recounts:

“As man became flesh and blood at the very instant that God formed him from the slime of the earth and breathed into him the breath of life, so the same power of God, at the words of the priest, changes the offering of bread, wine and water upon the altar into the true Flesh and true Blood of Christ, my Spouse; which, however, on account of the blindness occasioned by Adam’s fall, man cannot see with his corporal eyes. The wounds of my Spouse remain fresh and open, as long as those of sinful man are not closed. They are outraged by those priests who, instead of preserving me pure and serving me in holiness, seek with insatiable avidity to heap up riches and benefice on benefice. They tear my vesture by their infidelity to the law, to the Gospel, to the priesthood. They stain my mantle by their neglect of the precepts laid down for them, instead of fulfilling them joyfully and perfectly by continence like unto the beauty of the emerald, […]

The false priests deceive themselves; they crave the honour attached to their functions while dreading the trouble. But it is impossible for them to have one without the other, since to no one who has not laboured will wages be given. When God’s grace touches a man, it urges him to labour for the reward. God now punishes man by raining evils upon him.”

The gist of the above vision appears to substantiate Sister Lucia’s contention that Satan is especially targeting priests to corrupt them and by that corruption, dragging countless numbers of Catholics to Hell. In scripture, very often, sins of impurity of the flesh are linked with sins of impurity in belief and worship.

Two of the Catholic Church’s most renowned priests of recent times, St John Vianney and St Padre Pio, whose untiring and devoted work for souls converted innumerable men from lives of sin or lukewarmness to lives of holiness, were under constant attack from the wrath of the Devil. Many witnesses recalled how they were not only attacked verbally in the foulest language, but even physically abused, dragged from their beds at night and beaten. They never wavered in their “labours” and their love and trust in God, for neither priest nor layman will ever be tested beyond their ability to resist:

No temptation has taken you but such as is common to man, but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above what ye are able but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it“ – (1 Corinthians 10:13).

Many victim souls, like St Thérèse of Lisieux, of enclosed religious orders, offer the whole of their lives for priests, and in doing so they too are helping to save countless souls from Hell. But we can do the same: in whatever vocation we have chosen to follow, and from wherever we may be living, we can pray and make daily little sacrifices for our priests, that they should remain holy, pure, steadfast and strong in their faith.

Mary, Queen of the clergy, pray for priests.

Prayer for Priests

O my beloved Jesus,
I bring Thee the poverty of Thy priests, that Thou wouldst enrich them.
I bring Thee the emptiness of Thy priests, that Thou wouldst fill them.
I bring Thee the coldness of Thy priests, that Thou wouldst warm them.

I bring Thee the loneliness of Thy priests, that Thou wouldst embrace them.
I bring Thee the sorrows of Thy priests, that Thou wouldst console them.
I bring Thee the illnesses of Thy priests, that Thou wouldst heal them.

I bring Thee the impurities of Thy priests, that Thou wouldst wash them clean.
I bring Thee the nakedness of Thy priests, that Thou wouldst clothe them.
I bring Thee the silence of Thy priests, that Thou wouldst speak to them.

I bring Thee the brokenness of Thy priests, that Thou wouldst repair them.
I bring Thee the infirmities of Thy priests, that Thou wouldst heal them.
I bring Thee the nothingness of Thy priests that Thou wouldst be their all.

I bring Thee the darkness of Thy priests, that Thou wouldst illuminate them,
I bring Thee the bitterness of Thy priests,
that Thou wouldst give them to taste of Thy sweetness.
I bring Thee the struggles of Thy priests, that Thou wouldst be victorious in them.

I give Thee the blindness of Thy priests that Thou wouldst give them clear vision.
I bring Thee the weariness of Thy priests that Thou wouldst be their rest.
I bring Thee the thirst of Thy priests that Thou wouldst quench it.

I bring Thee the fears of Thy priests that Thou wouldst give them confidence.
I give thee Thee the doubts of Thy priests that Thou wouldst strengthen their faith.
I bring Thee the despondency of Thy priests that Thou wouldst infuse them with hope.

I bring Thee the sadness of Thy priests that Thou wouldst be their joy.
I bring Thee all Thy priests, especially those in their last agony, those who are locked in spiritual combat, and those being tempted to sin against faith and against hope.
I bring Thee the death of Thy priests that Thou wouldst be their life eternal.
I bring Thee all those priest of Thine for whom Thy presence in the Most Holy Sacrament has become a matter of indifference, of routine, and of neglect.

Beloved Lord Jesus, have mercy on those priests of Thine whose minds have grown dark, whose hearts have grown cold, and who have succumbed to the enticements of the world, the weariness of the flesh, and the deceits of the devil. Deliver them all, O Jesus, for they are Thine, and Thou wilt not deny Thine own. (Source of Prayer, VULTUS CHRISTI)

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De Mattei: The spirit of resistance and love for the Church

From Rorate Caeli: 
Roberto de Mattei
Corrispondenza Romana
February 7, 2018

 

As the fifth anniversary of Pope Francis’ election draws near, we hear repeatedly that we are facing a dramatic and absolutely unprecedented ‘page’ in the history of the Church. This is only partly true. The Church has always experienced tragic times which have seen the laceration of the Mystical Body since its very beginnings on Calvary right up to the present day.


The younger generations don’t know and the older generations have forgotten how terrible the years that followed the Second Vatican Council were, of which the present age is the result. Forty years ago while the 1968 revolt was erupting, a group of cardinals and bishops, who were protagonists at the Council, sought to impose a radical change on the Catholic doctrine of marriage. The attempt was frustrated by way of Paul VI’s encyclical Humanae Vitae of July 25th 1968 which reaffirmed the prohibition of artificial contraception, restoring strength and hope to a disorientated flock. However Paul VI of Humanae Vitae, was also the one who caused a deep rupture with Catholic Tradition in 1969 by imposing the new rite of the Mass which is at the origins of all contemporary liturgical devastations.

On November 18th 1973, the same Pope promoted Ostpolitik, by assumimg the grave responsibility of removing Cardinal József Mindszenty (1892-1975) from his office as Archbishop of Esztergom, Primate of Hungary – and champion of Catholic opposition to Communism.  Pope Montini had hoped for the attainment of a historical compromise in Italy, based in the agreement between the Secretary of the Christian Democrats, Aldo Moro and the Secretary of the Communist Party Enrico Berlinguer. The operation was abruptly interrupted by the kidnapping and killing of Moro in 1978, after which Pope Montini himself died the following August 6th. Also this 40th anniversary falls this year.
During those years of betrayal and blood, courageous voices spoke out which we of necessity recall, not only for the record, but because they help us to orient ourselves in the darkness of the present time. We remember two, prior to the explosion of the so-called “Lefebvre Case”, the French Archbishop Monsignor Athanasius Schneider highlighted in a recent interview on his “prophetic mission during an extraordinary dark time of general crisis in the Church.”
The first voice belongs to a French Dominican priest, Father Roger Calmel, who right from the very beginning in 1969 had rejected Paul VI’s Novus Ordo and in June 1971 wrote in the magazine Itinéraires:
 
“Our Christian resistance of priests and laity [is] very painful resistance as it forces us to say no to the Pope himself about the modernist manifestation of the Catholic Mass; our respectful but unshakeable resistance is dictated by the principle of total fidelity to the living Church of all time; or, in other words, from the principle of living fidelity to the development of the Church. Never have we thought of holding back, or even less of impeding, what some, with very ambiguous words, for that matter, call “progress” in the Church; we’d call it rather the homogenous growth in doctrinal and liturgical matters, in continuation with Tradition, in sight of the “consummatio sanctorum”. (…)
As Our Lord has revealed to us in parables, and as St. Paul teaches us in his Epistles, we believe that the Church, over the course of the centuries, grows and develops in harmony through a thousand adversities, until the glorious return of Jesus Himself, Her Spouse and Our Lord. Since we are convinced that over the course of centuries a growth of the Church is occurring, and since we are resolute in becoming part of this mysterious and uninterrupted movement as honestly as possible, as far as it is up to us, we reject this supposed progress which refers to Vatican II and which in reality is mortal deviation.” Going back to St. Vincent of Lerin’s  classical distinction, the more we desire good growth – a splendid “profectus” – even more do we reject, uncompromisingly, a ruinous “pennutatio” and any radical and shameful alteration whatsoever; radical, since it comes from modernism and denies every faith; shameful, since the denial of the modernist sort is shifty and hidden.”
 
The second voice is that of a Brazilian thinker and man of action, Plinio Correa de Oliveira, author of a leaflet of resistance to the Vatican  Ostpolitik, which appeared  on April 10th 1974 under the name of Tradition, Family and Property, with the title Vatican Politics of Distension towards Communist Governments. For TFP: not to intervene or resist?
Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira explained: “To resist means that we would advise Catholics to continue fighting against the Communist doctrine through all legitimate means, in defense of Country and Christian civilization under threat.”: and he added “The lines of this declaration would not be sufficient to contain the list of all the Fathers of the Church, Doctors, moralists and canon lawyers – many of whom have been beatified or canonized – who sustain the legitimacy of resistance. A resistance which is not separation, nor revolt, nor acrimony, nor irreverence. On the contrary it is fidelity, union, love and submission. “Resistance” is the word we have chosen on purpose, as it has been used by St. Paul himself to describe his stance. Since the first Pope, St. Peter, had taken disciplinary measures to retain practices in the Catholic Faith which survived the ancient Synagogue, St. Paul saw in this a grave risk of doctrinal confusion and harm for the faithful. So he rose up and “resisted” St. Peter “to his face” who did not see an act of rebellion in this energetic and inspired action by the Apostle to the Gentiles, but [an act] of union and fraternal love. Furthermore,  knowing well where he was infallible and where he wasn’t, he yielded to St Paul’s arguments. The saints are model Catholics. In the sense that St. Paul resisted, our position is resistance. In this, our conscience finds peace”.
 
“Resistance” is not a purely verbal declaration of faith but an act of love towards the Church, which leads to practical consequences. Those who resist are separated from the one who has caused the division in the Church, they criticize him openly, they correct him.  In 2017, along these lines they expressed themselves with the Correctio filialis to Pope Francis and the leaflet of the pro-life movement appeared with the title: “Faithful to true doctrine, not to pastors who are in error.” 
 
Today, along these same lines lies Cardinal Zen’s stance of no compromise in regard to Pope Francis’ new Ostpolitik towards Communist China.  To those who object, and that it is necessary “to try to find common ground to bridge the decades-old division between the Vatican and China”, Cardinal Zen replies: “But can there ever be anything in “common” with a totalitarian regime? Either you surrender or accept persecution, but remain faithful to yourself (can you imagine an agreement between St. Joseph and Herod?)”. To those who ask him whether he is convinced that the Vatican is selling out the Catholic Church in China, he says: “Decidedly, yes.  If they are going in the direction that is obvious in everything they have done in recent months and years.
 
On April 7th a conference has been called, which many are still ignoring, but which ought to have as its object the present crisis in the Church. The participation of some cardinals and bishops, and above all Cardinal Zen, would give maximum importance to this conference. We must pray that from the meeting a voice will be raised, full of love for the Church and firm resistance to all the theological, moral and liturgical deviations of the present pontificate, without being under the illusion that the solution is that of insinuating the invalidity of Benedict XVI’s abdication or Pope Francis’ election. Taking refuge in the canonical problem, means avoiding debate of the doctrinal problem, which is at the roots of the crisis we are experiencing.
 
Translation: Contributor,  Francesca Romana
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Rosary on the Coast of the British Isles for Faith, Life and Peace!

This is a day of Pilgrimage and Prayer for the re-flourishing of our Faith, for the grace to build a culture of Life and for true Peace to reign in the hearts of all peoples and nations. Recently the faithful of Poland and Ireland have responded to what they sense as a movement of the Holy Spirit to gather around the coasts of their nations and pray to Jesus, the Divine Mercy, for a renewal of faith and respect for human life through the powerful intercession of Our Lady of the Rosary. Having witnessed this, a number of the lay faithful in the British Isles – England, Scotland, Wales and their isles – have felt the same inspiration and urge to respond. They are hoping for us to have our own national Rosary on the Coast for Faith, Life and Peace in the British Isles and are calling their brothers and sisters to such a day of Prayer and Pilgrimage on Sunday 29th April at 3pm, 2018, fifth Sunday of Easter.

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Litany to the Bishop Martyrs for the Bishops of the Church Militant

The Enemy of the soul, the Devil, is a real, personal, fallen angelic being.  He and all the powers of hell, fallen angels of every grade in the hierarchy, hate you.  They work tirelessly to move you away from God so that His glory and our joy will not be increased by your entrance into heaven.

 

You are hated by hell just because you, an image of God, are alive.
You are hated even more because you are baptized.
You are hated even more because you are confirmed.
You are hated even more because you are married, and parents.
You are hated even more because you are in the state of grace.
You are hated even more because you are a professed religious.
Even more than religious, hell hates priests.
Even more than priests, the Enemy hates bishops.

Leading up to His Passion, the Lord quoted Zechariah 13: “I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be dispersed.”

Bring down the father of a family the family will suffer.  Bring down fatherhood in a society and look what is happening.  Sr. Lucy of Fatima warned that the Devils great battle in the end will be against the family.  Bring down an officer, and the unit suffers.  Bring down a priest, and the congregation suffers.

Bring down a bishop….  horrors untold result.

There are six Litanies officially approved by the Church for public use.

There is the

  • Litany of Saints, used at the Easter Vigil and during ordinations, Rogation days, exorcisms, etc.
  • Litany of Loreto, the Marian Litany, often recited after the Rosary
  • Litany of the Holy Name of Jesus
  • Litany of the Sacred Heart of Jesus
  • Litany of the Most Precious Blood
  • Litany of St. Joseph

There are other litanies, which have been written by great figures for strictly private use. For example the well-known Litany of Humility which is attributed to Card. Merry del Val, from the time of Pope St. Pius X.

I was contacted by Fr. Thomas Hosington, who posted at his site the

Litany to the Bishop Martyrs for the Bishops of the Church Militant

Here it is.   He has offered to everyone.

This Litany to the Bishop Martyrs for the Bishops of the Church Militantis for PRIVATE USE only.  It has not been authorized by the Church for use in the Sacred Liturgy.  If you believe there is a value to praying this Litany, please share it with others.  You can download a Word file with the Litany HERE.

Litany to the Bishop Martyrs
for the Bishops of the Church Militant

Lord, have mercy.     Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.     Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.     Lord, have mercy.
Christ, hear us.     Christ, graciously hear us.

God the Father of heaven,     have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world,     have mercy on us.
God the Holy Spirit,     have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, one God,     have mercy on us.

Our Lady, Queen of Martyrs,     pray for them.
Our Lady, Queen of Popes,     pray for them.
Our Lady, Queen of Bishops,     pray for them.

Pope Saint Fabian,     pray for them.
Pope Saint Martin I,     pray for them.
Pope Saint John I,     pray for them.
Pope Saint Sixtus II,     pray for them.
Pope Saint Pontian,     pray for them.
Pope Saint Cornelius,     pray for them.
Pope Saint Callistus I,     pray for them.
Pope Saint Clement I,     pray for them.

Saint Blaise,     pray for them.
Saint Polycarp,     pray for them.
Saint Stanislaus,     pray for them.
Saint Adalbert,     pray for them.
Saint Boniface,     pray for them.
Saint John Fisher,     pray for them.
Saint Irenaeus,     pray for them.
Saint Apollinaris,     pray for them.
Saint Cyprian,     pray for them.
Saint Januarius,     pray for them.
Saint Ignatius of Antioch,     pray for them.
Saint Josaphat,     pray for them.
Saint Thomas Becket,     pray for them.

Lamb of God, Who takes away the sins of the world, spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who takes away the sins of the world,
graciously hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who takes away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.

Pray for us, all you Shepherds who have laid down your lives for the sheep, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray.

O God our Providential Father, look upon the Bishops of your Church on earth in union with the Supreme Pontiff, and increase in them the virtue of fortitude.  Through the intercession of those Holy Shepherds who have already spilt their blood in witness of the Gospel, grant, if your shepherds be struck or struck down, that the sheep may not scatter, but that they may be one, in faith and in the Truth, Who is Jesus Christ our Lord, Who lives and reigns with You, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever.  Amen.

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Pope Pius IX Proclaims the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception

Today is the commemoration of Blessed Pope Pius IX, (13th May 1792 – 7th February 1878), born Giovanni Maria Mastai-Ferretti, who was Pope from 16th June 1846 to his death on 7th February 1878. He was the longest-reigning elected Pope in the history of the Catholic Church, serving for over 31 years.

On December 8, 1854, having spent all of his holy life – his boyhood, his priesthood, as bishop, cardinal and Pope – at the feet of the Mother of God, the most Blessed Virgin Mary, and having deeply considered also, in his exile at Gaeta, the earnest petitions of Catholics all over the world in its behalf, Pope Pius IX defined ex cathedra, in the glorious Basilica of Saint Peter’s before one hundred and seventy bishops and innumerable pilgrims come literally from the ends of the earth, the divine dogma of Our Lady’s Immaculate Conception. The voice of the Sovereign Pontiff broke and tears filled his eyes as he paused before uttering the infallible words:

“We declare, pronounce and define that the doctrine which holds that the Blessed Virgin Mary, at the first instant of her conception, by a singular privilege and grace of the Omnipotent God, in virtue of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Saviour of mankind, was preserved immaculate from all stain of original sin, has been revealed by God, and therefore should firmly and constantly be believed by all the faithful….”

As the Holy Father finished speaking, the cannon of the Castle of Sant’ Angelo boomed and the bells of the basilicas and churches of Rome long rang out the glorious news, which ushered in the Age of Mary – the last age of the world. The Catholic faithful rejoiced, and grace flooded their souls as they prayed the prayer Our Lady herself had given twenty years before to Catherine Laboure, “O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.”

 

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A Breaking Point in the Papacy?

from: One Peter Five

At the beginning of 2018, Steve Skojec predicted that this year would mark “the beginning of the end” of Pope Francis’ power. It is now becoming increasingly clear that this pontificate might be facing several distinct points of fracture. Francis’ international standing is being undermined. There are at least five areas where the pope has become vulnerable: the Cardinal Marx scandal; the Bishop Barros abuse case; the Chinese crisis; the controversy concerning the upcoming World Meeting of Families in Ireland; and the growing resistance to Amoris Laetitia.

 

Cardinal Marx and Homosexual Unions

Let us first consider Cardinal Reinhard Marx’ welcoming comments concerning the idea to bless homosexual couples in the Catholic Church. While inviting such steps only for individual parishes, he made it clear that for him, homosexual acts are not any more a sin. This new “Marxist move” has caused much indignation among faithful Catholics in Germany, among them Mathias von Gersdorff.

But Dr. Markus Büning – Catholic theologian and book author –  has also lost his patience after the recent German push on the homosexual front. (Büning had, not long ago, and after an initial support of the four cardinals’ dubia, made a turn and signed the recent Pro-Pope Francis initiative.) Now, Büning has called upon Pope Francis to rectify the chaos caused by Marx. He is astonished that “one of the highest-ranking collaborators in the Church’s senate – Munich’s Archbishop, Cardinal Marx – can proclaim in front of the world a grave moral heresy” while merely proposing such a “liturgical affirmation” on the local level. Büning comments:

It is rather funny that this kind of Catholic “case-by-case logic” would not also apply to those Catholics who now, after these scandalous demands of a bishop, seriously, for sure, consider leaving the Church of the “Church Tax” [“Kirchensteuer”-Kirche]

While he does not propose to exit the Catholic Church, Büning makes it clear that this contradiction shows the “mercilessness of these shepherds.” The German theologian then proceeds to call out to Pope Francis to correct Cardinal Marx:

In my view, it is now clearly up to him who holds the highest teaching office in the Universal Church – the pope. If he is silent with regard to such a demand – supposing that he knows of this bold demand of the C8 [sic] – Cardinal Marx [member of the pope’s council of cardinals] – one necessarily has to conclude that he approves of it. Then also the pope has a problem! […] Did the pope do it [approve of this Marxian approach], he would not fulfill his office and mission to preserve the unity of the Universal Church in questions of Faith and Morals in a credible manner.

The Bishop Barros Scandal

Some similar tones of concern come to us from Guido Horst – Rome Correspondent of the German Catholic newspaper Die Tagespost – who is also known for his usually conciliatory attitude toward Pope Francis. In the wake of the papal trip to Chile, Horst entitled an article with the words: “The Papacy at a Turning Point?” In it, he wrote about the papal visit to Chile and pointed out how this visit seems to have become a pivotal moment for Francis, inasmuch as he has earned much criticism for his demeaning remarks about those victims of sexual abuse who criticized him for protecting Bishop Juan Barros, accused of actively witnessing said abuse and doing nothing about it. Francis, says Horst, appointed Barros, “even though the Vatican Congregation for the Clergy, as well as the Chilean Nuncio, both had already come to the conclusion to ask Barros to resign.” The rumors against Barros as a man who covered up the misdeeds of his spiritual leader, Father Fernando Karadima, never stopped. According to Horst, Barros himself even offered his resignation, but the pope would not accept it.

After the papal remarks in the airplane, where Francis demeaned the victims of abuse, Cardinal Seán O’Malley – the pope’s own top adviser on clergy sexual abuse – criticized the remarks, calling them “a source of great pain for survivors of sexual abuse by clergy.” As Horst comments:

For the first time, it happened that one of the closest collaborators of the pope distanced himself from Francis; and that the pope himself backed off. Many had done the same earlier – the cardinals Joachim Meisner, Carlo Caffarra, Raymond Leo Burke, Walter  Brandmüller, Robert Sarah, Gerhard Müller, or Janis Pujats of Riga. Francis ignored them all, but not the Capuchin O’Malley.

In Horst’s eyes, the pope seemed to have “lost the favor of the media and of the public” in Chile.

These critical words of Horst have been followed now by a much more stunning report from the secular press, namely that, already in 2015, Pope Francis had – against his own claims – received a piercing description of Barros’ involvement in the sexual abuse cases.

The American Catholic journalist Michael Brendan Dougherty writes today at the National Review  that no matter how one looks at the way the letter was handled, it signals a serious problem in papal leadership. And further: “The leaks about the hand-delivery of this letter to the pontiff may be evidence itself that senior churchmen are losing confidence in his pontificate. The barque of Peter sails into choppy waters.”

The China-Vatican Compromise

Additionally, Pope Francis is coming more and more under pressure for giving a friendly hand to the Communist-appointed bishops in China, and then even asking some faithful and suffering true bishops to resign. La Nuova Bussola Quotidiana‘s Riccardo Cascioli from Italy thus entitled one of his recent articles: “The Vatican’s ‘Long March’ Towards Surrender to China.” Scholar Steven Mosher, a Catholic author and expert on Chinese Communism, just effectively repeated this sentiment in an interview with EWTN’s Raymond Arroyo, saying that the Vatican’s negotiations with China are nothing more than “simply negotiating the surrender of the underground Church” to the false church created by the Communists.

Ireland and LGBT

On top of all of these troubling developments, the pope is now being pushed into making a decision about where he stands with regard to the LGBT issue. At the beginning of February, the storybroke that Mary McAleese, the former President of Ireland, had been barred by Cardinal Kevin Farrell – the head of the Dicastery for the Laity, Family, and Life – from speaking at a conference on women that was to take place on Vatican grounds. This act on the part of Cardinal Farrell has now provoked the indignation of the Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin, who claims not to have been consulted prior to this decision. McAleese is a prominent promoter of homosexual “marriage” and other progressivist agendas such as the ordination of women. Archbishop Martin himself is now concerned that his message of “inclusion” for the upcoming August 2018 World Meeting of Families  – see our story on the homosexual imagery and themes in the program for this event here – would be negatively affected by this recent act of “exclusion” on the part of the Vatican. He insisted that this event – which Pope Francis has also been expected to attend – “will be an inclusive event, open to all families and family members.”

In Ireland itself, pro-LGBT groups are so indignant about the recent decision by Cardinal Farrell that they now even advocate a removal of support for the World Meeting of Families and Pope Francis’ planned upcoming visit to Ireland.

This seems to put Pope Francis at odds with both Ireland as a state, as well as with Archbishop Martin as the organizer of the upcoming Catholic event. On the other side, if he were to make a gesture toward them, he would have to make a signal of approving of the LGBT agenda. Only time will show how Pope Francis will resolve this conflict, a conflict where he will have to show where he truly stands in this matter.

The Ongoing Resistance to Amoris Laetitia

Last but not least: Amoris Laetitia does not stop causing serious disruptions in the Catholic Church, so much so that the number increases of those bishops who now have publicly come out to support the initiative of Bishop Athanasius Schneider – and two of his fellow bishops from Kazakhstan – to reject the idea of giving Holy Communion to adulterers. Just yesterday, Bishop emeritus Elmar Fischer, of Austria, added his name to the list of signatories; the other signatories are Bishop emeritus Andreas Laun (Austria), Auxiliary Bishop Marian Eleganti (Switzerland), Cardinal Janis Pujats (Latvia), the former Apostolic Nuntio Carlo Maria Viganò (Italy), Archbishop Luigi Negri (Italy), Bishop emeritus René Gracida (U.S.). Thus, the number of signatories has now increased to ten, with possibly more to come, according to our sources.

It appears that these potential cracks in the pontificate of Francis could lead to a breaking point; one that could potentially stop — or at least weaken — the papal agenda of adapting the Church to the modern world in such a way that the fullness of the Catholic Faith is no longer recognizable. If so, it might bring needed relief to the many souls at stake.

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A Late-Night Counsel to the Bold and the Beautiful

Dominus mihi adjutor

In the past 24 hours a previous post here, Vale Vatican II from last September, has received some attention on two very worthwhile, tradition-minded websites: Liturgy Guy and 1 Peter 5. I am grateful and gratified because these are sites which hold clear views directly expressed but season them with intelligent commentary and coherent argument.

As so often on a wide range of websites, religious or otherwise, the comments’ section—the combox for short—reveals a less attractive side to debate and argument. No doubt most of these commenters are decent people of faith, capable of high emotion in defence of the Church and its faith and worship, and brave enough to stand up and be counted for it. However, some of them, invariably laity, while so bold and beautiful in the profession of their faith, sometimes fall into the trap that the internet lays for us: indiscretion.

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Fr Richard Heilman: “Yes, I Believe President Trump was an Answer to Prayers”

Our country has been in a cultural and spiritual free-fall, led by the ruling class … the elites of our day. Killing babies, redefining marriage, grown men in little girls’ bathrooms, etc., etc. … most of us are punch-drunk by one blow after another to all we have ever held as true and good and beautiful.

Monica Crowley, at the David Horowitz Freedom Center’s 2017 Restoration Weekend (Nov. 16th-19th), gives a stirring speech that identifies all of the forces President Donald Trump has faced and is facing. It’s mind-boggling when one sees it all laid out like this. As Monica lays out so clearly, the seemingly invincible ruling class has met up with a formidable opponent in Donald Trump, and they are scared to death. Could it be that we may be freed from the stranglehold of “Secular Satanism” by way of President Donald Trump?

I am not working for the cause for President Trump’s canonization, but I do believe, through the prayers of hundreds of thousands of people of faith, we may have been delivered a Constantine. Blaise Joseph wrote about this (see HERE). Just imagine if Hillary Clinton won??

Finally, there is no real earthly explanation as to how President Trump is surviving and, in fact, thriving, while every possible force of evil has marshaled together to destroy him. That’s because, in my estimation, earthly explanations have little to do with this.

Here is part of the transcript from Monica Crowley’s speech. The full video is below.

“The swamp is the ruling class and it’s comprised of the elites on all sides of the political spectrum. Why has it always dominated? We sort of take it for granted. Why has it always dominated despite repeated attempts by noble patriots over many years to try to chip away at its monstrous power?

The short answer is that the swamp controls all the levers of power in this country, and they have the capability and the will to destroy anyone and anything that threatens its grip. The swamp is the perfect embodiment of Lord Acton’s warning that power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely. There are so many other adages that we can apply to this epic cesspool of money and power and status and influence all contributing to the supreme human and institutional corruption that we see in Washington, D.C. It’s everywhere and it’s so daunting. It is a tsunami that comes and crushes anybody in its path. It’s elected officials on both sides. It’s the establishment on both sides. Their staffs, the media, federal bureaucracies, special interests, lobbyists, even some in the deep state who are supposed to only be focused on America’s external threats, and even some in law and law enforcement who are only supposed to be interested in applying equal justice under the law. They’ve all become corrupted, and this ruling class has dined out on this rotten status quo for a hell of a long time … until now.

Because finally, finally this country has elected someone not of, by, and for the swamp, someone who owes them nothing and does not fear them: Donald J. Trump … [he] scare[s] the living hell out of the ruling class. Having failed to destroy their nemesis during the campaign, they have now redoubled their efforts to kill his presidency …

First, he beat back 16 professional Republicans, some of whom had over $100 million dollars and then he has to fight a multi-front war on a different level. Think about it this way. Donald Trump had to fend off relentless and brutal attacks from the then President of the United States, the White House, Mrs. Clinton, the Clinton campaign, the Clinton machine, the far left, the Democrat establishment, the Republican establishment, Hollywood, the Academy and the media, whew, and yet, despite that unprecedented assault, he won that war too …

Ratcheting up the pressure on this President in ways we have never seen before, deeply dangerous ways that really imperil this great nation. That is not an overstatement. The ruling class has weaponized political opposition in truly lethal ways. Leaking state secrets, check. Spreading continuous lies, check. Torpedoing his agenda in Congress, check. Infecting the popular culture, check. Poisoning the minds of our youth, check. Undermining confidence in our common values and institutions, check. Overt campaigns questioning the President’s legitimacy and mental fitness, check. Open talk about removing the duly-elected President from office, check. Instigating violence by aligning with and supporting radical violent groups like Antifa, check. And by the way, that’s just George Soros and his minions on an average Wednesday.

This is what this President is up against.”

(Source: ROMAN CATHOLIC MAN)

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The Escalating War Against Orthodox Catholicism

From OnePeterFive:

When it was announced last year that Fr. James Martin, SJ, was being brought in as a “consultor” to the Vatican’s communications team, reactions were predictably on a spectrum ranging from deeply perplexed to blood-vessel bursting outrage. Known for his role as editor-at-large for the far-left Catholic rag America Magazine as well as his boundary-pushing views on the Church and homosexuality, Fr. Martin is the kind of name that gets an instant reaction when brought up in any conversation. And among orthodox Catholics, it’s decidedly not a positive one.

Fr. Martin became the second high-profile Jesuit to join the Vatican’s propaganda arm, joining “papal mouthpiece” and editor of La Civiltà Cattolica (LCC), Fr. Antonio “2 + 2 = 5” Spadaro. Together, the two wayward spiritual sons of St. Ignatius have a media audience of some 60,000 souls baked right in, just based on print circulation. Online, America and LCC are globally ranked #25,181 and #838,795 respectively by Alexa.com. This means America‘s footprint is far larger in the digital age, but LCC’s status as a 150-year-old Jesuit publication with direct oversight from the Vatican’s Secretariat of State gives it a unique prestige.

Still, since he’s joined the team, Fr. Martin’s role seemed fairly subdued. While Fr. Spadaro made a bit of a name for himself going after the pope’s “enemies” online (joined by Fr. Thomas Rosica of Salt & Light TV, papal biographer Austen Ivereigh of Crux, and Villanova “theology” professor Massimo Faggioli), Martin has continued to wage a one-man media war to promote his own books, his own causes, and his own unique vision for a decidedly different Church than any the popes and saints of old would have recognized. And with a gigantic social media audience (174,000 Twitter followers; 561,848 Facebook fans), he has the clout to move opinions.

But he’s been getting a lot of pushback.

Recently, a parish in New Jersey canceled a talk by Fr. James Martin after Catholic group Tradition, Family and Property (TFP) got over 12,000 signatures on a petition to pull the plug.

Fr. Martin was, to say the least, not happy. Not content to simply accept that faithful Catholics didn’t want to hear his heterodox message, he called for a war against those ragged few out there still fighting in defense of the authentic teachings of the Church:

It’s time for bishops, priests and lay leaders finally to stand up to the hate-mongering of online groups with no standing whatsoever in the church, who seek to substitute their spurious authority for legitimate church authority, and who seek to run the church by fear and hatred.

As John Zmirak wrote in response to Martin’s comments at The Stream:

Have you got that? Bishops should step in and condemn lay Catholics who criticize Fr. Martin. Or else they’re complicit in giving in to “hate.” Catholics should face public condemnation by their bishops if they dare to disagree with Martin’s new, Caesar-friendly stance on same-sex sin.

Think of Martin’s position as a special advisor to the Vatican. Of his friendly relations with many bishops. Of his long list of media buddies. (He worked with Martin Scorcese on the movie Silence, and appears on Stephen Colbert’s show.) Don’t be surprised if he finds some takers. He’s doubtless hoping to see compliant bishops condemn groups like TFP. He hopes they’ll ban them from churches, denounce them in Church newspapers, as if they were indeed some kind of hate group.

 

Zmirak also made another important point about the rhetoric Martin uses:

When faithful Catholics speak out against him, he accuses them of “hate speech,” which in some places is borderline illegal. He casts the organizations that criticize his stance as “extremists,” even “alt-right.” He’s trying to smear orthodox Christians with the dung-soaked brush of disgraceful racism.

As someone who has been subject to such accusations myself, I can attest to the fact that these labels are applied without the slightest concern for the truth — or the damage done.

Just days after Fr. Martin’s comments, Joseph Bernstein, Senior Tech Reporter for Buzzfeed, published a piece on Fr. John Zuhlsdorf — known to the Catholic blogosphere as Fr. Z — that was anything but flattering. “Meet the Blogger Priest Firing Red Pills At the Vatican”, reads the headline. “Fr. Z’s critics say he’s an ‘alt-right’ priest. He says they’re snowflakes who should toughen up. His surprising rise to prominence shows that in 2018, even the longest-lasting institution in the Western world isn’t immune to the strains of the social internet.”

Notice the language. “Alt-right priest.” Just the kind of label Zmirak was talking about. And who showed up in the article to comment on Fr. Z? The man himself, Fr. James Martin. Martin had previously had another speech cancelled — this time at Catholic University — in part because of a post Fr. Z had written drawing his reader’s attention to it.

“For me the saddest thing about Father Z’s blog is how cruel it is,” Martin told BuzzFeed News. “It’s astonishing to me that a priest could traffic in such cruelty and hatred.”

Fr. Z told BuzzFeed News that it was not his intention to sic the Zedheads — as he affectionately calls his readers — on Martin, and added that though he did not think it was appropriate for Martin to speak, he, too, had been disinvited from similar engagements for his views.

“I don’t whine about it though,” said Fr. Z. “This isn’t bean bag.”

The zinger from Fr. Z might be a cheering moment for Fr. Martin’s critics, but with characterizations like “the sometimes shockingly antagonistic attitude of Fr. Z and his ilk toward the Vatican and liberal culture has invited comparisons to the alt-right”, the overall piece is little more than instant wish-fulfillment for Fr. Martin.

The attack on faithful Catholicism is nothing new, but it seems to have taken on a new and dangerous edge. We’ve seen the culture at both Christendom College and Franciscan University — both seen as seedbeds of authentic Catholicism — come under fire from progressive Catholic bloggers in the past month after alleged mishandling of accusations of sexual misconduct. Voices critical of the current Vatican regime have suffered reprisals, from the retributive actions taken against some academics and priests who have signed the various theological critiques of Amoris Laetitia to the unjust firing of Josef Seifert for publishing articles questioning that same document to the attacks on the dubia cardinals and the Kazakhstani bishops. It seems that suppressing orthodoxy is becoming trendy.  And it isn’t going to stop. I received an inquiry from a “journalist” several days ago about our financial records here at 1P5 — a clear indication that if they can find something to use against us, they will. I can’t imagine we’re alone in that.

Strangely, I think we can take this as a positive sign. It means that while we may be outnumbered, we’re winning — or at least heavily influencing — the war for public perception. Nobody bothers to attack someone who doesn’t pose a threat.

Nevertheless, I ask your prayers for all the men and women who are out there courageously standing up for the truth against unscrupulous opposition. The people looking for ways to discredit their critics don’t let the 8th Commandment get in their way. And as anyone who has ever been dragged through the mud knows, it isn’t a pleasant experience.

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Reflection for the Fifth Sunday in Ordinary time.

 

Image result for healing of Simons mother

 

 

FIRST READING Job 7:1-4, 6-7

Job spoke, saying: Is not man’s life on earth a drudgery? Are not his days those of hirelings? He is a slave who longs for the shade, a hireling who waits for his wages. So I have been assigned months of misery, and troubled nights have been allotted to me. If in bed I say, “When shall I arise?” Then the night drags on; I am filled with restlessness until the dawn. My days are swifter than a weaver’s shuttle; they come to an end without hope. Remember that my life is like the wind; I shall not see happiness again.

SECOND READING 1 Corinthians 9:16-19, 22-23

Brothers and sisters: If I preach the gospel, this is no reason for me to boast, for an obligation has been imposed on me, and woe to me if I do not preach it! If I do so willingly, I have a recompense, but if unwillingly, then I have been entrusted with a stewardship. What then is my recompense? That, when I preach, I offer the gospel free of charge so as not to make full use of my right in the gospel. Although I am free in regard to all, I have made myself a slave to all so as to win over as many as possible. To the weak I became weak, to win over the weak. I have become all things to all, to save at least some. All this I do for the sake of the gospel, so that I too may have a share in it.

GOSPEL Mark 1:29-39

On leaving the synagogue Jesus entered the house of Simon and Andrew with James and John. Simon’s mother-in-law lay sick with a fever. They immediately told him about her. He approached, grasped her hand, and helped her up. Then the fever left her and she waited on them. When it was evening, after sunset, they brought to him all who were ill or possessed by demons. The whole town was gathered at the door. He cured many who were sick with various diseases, and he drove out many demons, not permitting them to speak because they knew him. Rising very early before dawn, he left and went off to a deserted place, where he prayed. Simon and those who were with him pursued him and on finding him said, “Everyone is looking for you.” He told them, “Let us go on to the nearby villages that I may preach there also. For this purpose have I come.” So he went into their synagogues, preaching and driving out demons throughout the whole of Galilee.

My Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

Job asks us today: “Is not man’s life on earth a drudgery?” Yes we know that in the end, Job received so many gifts from God because his faith did not fail. We can contrast the feelings of Job in the first reading today with those of Jesus in the Gospel: “Let us go on to the nearby villages that I may preach there also. For this purpose have I come.” In the First Letter to the Corinthians. Saint Paul tells us of his challenges: “All this I do for the sake of the gospel, so that I too may have a share in it.”

Today in the three readings we are given the inner sense of three different people and their relationship to what the Father has asked of them. We can put them in this order: Job speaks before knowing of the salvation given to us in Christ Jesus. Jesus speaks to us of His inner calling to proclaim the Good News. Saint Paul then tells us how to proclaim that Good News so that all can come to know Jesus.

Most of us probably already know the story of Job. He was a man who believed completely in the Lord and had receive enormous blessings. The devil tries to undo this faith of Job. Eventually all the blessings are removed and sufferings are heaped on Job. While Job questions what is happening, he never doubts nor loses faith.

Are we that strong in faith? Can we trust God even when we question? Do we accept both blessings and sufferings from our Lord?

The second reading, from the First Letter to the Corinthians, is Saint Paul’s account of how he tries to live the Good News. Saint Paul is clear: I must preach the Good News! Here we see Saint Paul not just enduring all of the trials and tribulations, but recognizing that preaching the Good News is required of him because he believes in Jesus.

Does our faith impel us to share our faith with others? Are we able to tell others about our faith in Jesus? Are we willing to suffering because we believe that Jesus is the Lord?

The Gospel today is from Saint Mark. We are still at the beginning of this Gospel. Jesus is just beginning His public ministry. What is truly strong in the Gospel today is that everyone is looking for Jesus and that there is no place for Him to be away from the people. Jesus responds to that by saying: “Let us go on to the nearby villages that I may preach there also. For this purpose have I come.”

The whole purpose of the life of Jesus is to preach the Kingdom, to proclaim the Good News: God loves us and invites us to share His life.

Can you believe that?

Your brother in the Lord,

Abbot Philip

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February – Month of the Holy Family

Month of the Holy Family

Since the 16th century Catholic piety has assigned entire months to special devotions. The month of February has been primarily asociated with the holy Family, probably due to the feast of Our Lord’s presentation at the temple, celebrated on February 2. At the very outset of Christ’s work on earth, God showed the world a family in which, as Pope Leo XIII teaches, “all men might behold a perfect model of domestic life, and of all virtue and holiness.” The harmony, unity, and holiness which characterized this holy Family make it the model for all Christian families.

Prayer:

INVOCATION Jesus, Mary, and Joseph most kind, Bless us now and in death’s agony.

FOR THE PROTECTION OF THE HOLY FAMILY

Grant unto us, Lord Jesus, ever to follow the example of Thy holy Family, that in the hour of our death Thy glorious Virgin Mother together with blessed Joseph may come to meet us and we may be worthily received by Thee into everlasting dwellings: who livest and reignest world without end. Amen. Roman Missal

CONSECRATION TO THE HOLY FAMILY

O Jesus, our most loving Redeemer, who having come to enlighten the world with Thy teaching and example, didst will to pass the greater part of Thy life in humility and subjection to Mary and Joseph in the poor home of Nazareth, thus sanctifying the Family that was to be an example for all Christian families, graciously receive our family as it dedicates and consecrates itself to Thee this day. Do Thou defend us, guard us and establish amongst us Thy holy fear, true peace, and concord in Christian love: in order that, by conforming ourselves to the divine pattern of Thy family, we may be able, all of us without exception, to attain to eternal happiness.

Mary, dear Mother of Jesus and Mother of us, by thy kindly intercession make this our humble offering acceptable in the sight of Jesus, and obtain for us His graces and blessings.

O Saint Joseph, most holy guardian of Jesus and Mary, assist us by thy prayers in all our spiritual and temporal necessities; that so we may be enabled to praise our divine Savior Jesus, together with Mary and thee, for all eternity.

Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory be, three times.

IN HONOR OF THE HOLY FAMILY

O God, heavenly Father, it was part of Thine eternal decree that Thine only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ, the Savior of the human race, should form a holy family with Mary, His blessed mother, and His foster father, Saint Joseph. In Nazareth home life was sanctified, and a perfect example was given to every Christian family. Grant, we beseech Thee, that we may fully comprehend and faithfully imitate the virtues of the Holy Family so that we may be united with them one day in their heavenly glory. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.

(Prayer Source: ‘Prayer Book’, by The Reverend John P. O’Connell, M.A., S.T.D. and Jex Martin, M.A.)

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