Failing to preach Humanae Vitae has destroyed marriages and endangered children

By Rick Fitzgibbons on Life Site News


In the Church’s ministry to Catholic families, marriages, and children, a major goal should be protection from the severe trauma of divorce, as well as assisting those traumatized by divorce. The divorce plague has afflicted millions of loyal Catholic spouses and innocent children worldwide and, unfortunately, continues to do so.

St. John Paul has given the Church an outstanding guide for assisting Catholic families, including those who are divorced, remarried and not reconciled to the Church, in The Role of the Christian Family in the Modern World. This Apostolic Exhortation was the fruit of the gathered reflections from Bishops of the month-long Synod of Bishops on the Family in 1980.

A major issue raised by Cardinal Kasper for the Synod on the Family and supported by other Synod Fathers is ministry to divorced Catholics who have remarried such that they can receive the Eucharist without further reconciliation with the Church.

St. John Paul in The Role of the Christian Family in the Modern World, n.84. has offered the Church and her pastors a great deal of insight and wisdom in assisting such families.

He wrote, “Together with the Synod, I earnestly call upon pastors and the whole community of the faithful to help the divorced, and with solicitous care to make sure that they do not consider themselves as separated from the Church, for as baptized persons they can, and indeed must, share in her life. They should be encouraged to listen to the word of God, to attend the Sacrifice of the Mass, to persevere in prayer, to contribute to works of charity and community efforts in favor of justice, to bring up their children in Christian faith, to cultivate the spirit and practice of penance and thus implore, day by day, God’s grace.”

St. John Paul II has criticized to the ideas of Cardinal Kasper to waive the 2,000-year moral teaching of the Lord and his Church. He wrote, “The Church reaffirms her practice, which is based on Sacred Scripture, of not admitting to Eucharistic communion divorced persons who have remarried. They are unable to be admitted thereto from the fact that their state and condition of life objectively contradict that union of love between Christ and the Church which is signified and effected by the Eucharist. Besides this, there is another special pastoral reason: if these people were admitted to the Eucharist, the faithful would be led into error and confusion regarding the Church’s teaching about the indissolubility of marriage.”

He offered additional wisdom for such families and their children. These couples should, “undertake a way of life that is no longer in contradiction to the indissolubility of marriage. This means, in practice, that when, for serious reasons, such as for example the children’s upbringing, a man and a woman cannot satisfy the obligation to separate, the take on themselves the duty to live in complete continence, that is, abstinence from acts proper to married couples.”

This teaching from one of the most important documents in the Church on the Catholic Family by St. John Paul II demonstrates that the Church seeks to serve, love, and want the best for divorced and remarried couples not yet reconciled with the Church and their children. Contrary to the recent statement of Pope Francis, the Church does not, “… keep them (the parents) far from the community life (of the church) as if they were excommunicated.”( [1] Full text here)

It is difficult to understand why the Holy Father failed to cite in his recent statement the outstanding, merciful contribution to assist these families from St. John Paul II.

One of most challenging and painful aspects of my clinical work as a psychiatrist over the past forty years has been that of attempting to help youth, young adults and loyal spouses who have been severely traumatized by divorce. Psychological science has documented the life-long damage from divorce, particularly to young males who demonstrate difficulties in giving themselves successfully in school and in work.

The Holy Father’s additional criticism of the Church and her priests of causing harm for these youth by “additional weight beyond what the children in this situation have to bear” is completely unclear and inconsistent with my 40 years’ clinical experience with such families. Youth in such families are regularly welcomed into the life of parishes and participate in the sacramental life and numerous activities for youth if encouraged to do so by their parents. Unfortunately, divorce seriously harms the spiritual life and practice of faith of the children of divorce, which Elizabeth Marquadt has described in her book, Between Two Worlds: The Inner Lives of Children of Divorce. This psychological damage to trust and subsequent anger are what keep youth away from the Church.

Dr. Norval Glenn, the late distinguished family scholar from the University of Texas wrote in the introduction to Marquadt’s book, “The proportion of emotionally troubled adults is around three times as great among those whose parents divorced as among those from intact families. No amount of success in adulthood can compensate for an unhappy childhood or erase the memory of the pain and confusion of the divided world of the child of divorce.”

The major cause of harm to Catholic youth and loyal spouses in divorced families has been the failure to teach the truth of Humanae Vitae to Catholics over the past 45 years. Contraceptive use increases marital mistrust, anxiety, anger, selfishness, and conflicts in communicating. Contraception is a way of saying to a spouse, via the language of the body, that, “I will withhold the total gift of myself to you and not trust you with our fertility.” As both personal anecdotes and statistics bear out, this momentous decision – contrary to rosy predictions of greater marital happiness when contraception was first legalized – has undermined the foundation for giving and receiving love from one’s spouse.

The growth in marriage from “me” to “we”, which St. John Paul II describes as an aspect of betrothed love in Love and Responsibility is also dependent upon trusting the Lord with every aspect of one’s marriage. In using contraceptives, the couple is unconsciously communicating to the Lord, “We do not trust you with our fertility.”

A clear and scientifically irrefutable relationship exists between the use of contraceptives, the epidemic of narcissism, and the plague of divorce, with its life-long damage to millions upon millions of young children, young adults, loyal spouses, and Catholic families worldwide.

The refusal to proclaim the saving-truth contained in Humanae Vitae to Catholic youth and marriages and to address the psychological and sociological science related to the damage done by the divorce-epidemic need to be addressed in October’s Ordinary Synod on the Family. Divorce prevention can and should occur. Children, youth, loyal spouses, and the Faith will be protected if the truth is finally communicated to Catholic families.

A clear and scientifically irrefutable relationship exists between the use of contraceptives, the epidemic of narcissism, and the plague of divorce, with its life-long damage to millions upon millions of young children, young adults, loyal spouses, and Catholic families worldwide.

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Muslim to be Vice Director for Bavarian Oberammergau Play

This, I confess is a little strange. Perhaps I am missing something, but what can a Muslim, denying the divinity of Christ, as Muslims do, add to something that has inspired Christians the world over for centuries?.

An Oberammergau for Nathan the Wise?
Edit: Lessing’s Play, “Nathan the Wise”, is a bit of syncretistic fantasizing where a Jewish wise man attempts to bridge the gap between Judaism, Christianity and Islam with the help of “wise” Saladin and a helpful Templar. The play sounds a lot like the mediocre film, “Kingdom of Heaven” by Ridley Scott.

Oberammergau Play in 1900

(Munich) At a time when the religious arbitrariness that somehow rhymes with all sorts of isms and ultimately especially with agnosticism and atheism, a Muslim can also be director of the Oberammergau Passion Play. At least second director. For now. That the passion plays depict the crucial five days in the earthly life of Jesus Christ with his saving work for humanity, which a Muslim does not believe, it does not matter. Because if the new director of Oberammergau, the Turk Kenan Abdullah Karaca, does not bring faith, he brings professionalism, and that after all is what matters. Especially since it’s more about culture, theater and entertainment than religion.

Artful reasons for the replacement are not lacking. Strengthening internationality is only one. Players are supposed to be from Oberammergau, which goes back to an old injunction, only locals, and finally, Karaca is a native of Oberammergau, so a local. That a native only recently in Bavaria that has a Turkish passport would then still require explanation, but on “such topics” it is indeed better “not to talk too much.” And after all, Wulff and Merkel have said that Islam “belongs to Germany.”

Whoever is a Bavarian and Christian, is for us to decide

And anyway “No way”, say the majority of the city council of Oberammergau. Where would we be then: Who is a resident and who is a Christian, is for us to decide. And we say that the Turk and Muslim Karaca is a Bavarian and a Christian … or at least a half … or maybe three-quarters, or … Aba Sakradi and übahaupt was ma wäidofffa, which means: now and ever we are open-minded. Promise of 1633 or not, since 1990, we have indeed had a Weiberleid (women) under 35 in the play and even Lutherans (Protestants). And just now, Hamma, who is also a Muslim. If that isn’t modern.

One can safely assume that Christian Stückl, since 1990, the first director, appointed Karaca precisely because he is Muslim. Abdullah Kenan Karaca has studied directing anyhow and is “proud” of his appointment. Stückl knows him from the Munich Volkstheater. According to the unwritten laws of the culture industry, one has to make a name for themselves, no matter what the cost. Provocations have cult status – at least somehow to stay on cult theme, when thus something quite different is meant. Not all have seen it that way in the council. The vote went from 13 to 5 votes, but “enlightened reason” has triumphed.

Gotthold Ephraim Lessing knew already 236 years ago

That’s right, Gotthold is pleased with the appointment. Gotthold Ephraim Lessing indeed already knew 236 years ago, that all religions are equal, in other words these at best are not to be spoken of except insofar as they serve the state to maintain law and order.

Passion plays represent the suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ with a Muslim as (vice) director, that’s the arbitrary relativism and especially the perfect expression of a politically invoked “welcoming culture”. Everything as usual. The message seems pretty clear.

“Soon in deepest Bavaria a determined young Turk will participate in the fortunes of a deeply religious, Christian tradition: for the first time in 380 years, a Muslim will be part of the management team of the Oberammergau Passion Play. Salam Aleikum under wooden cross,” exulted numerous media, in this case the Austrian Broadcasting Corporation, (the Austrians are still related to the Bavarians.)

Public criticism? “But the issue is too sensitive”

The ORF also provided further illumination: “There are public criticisms of Oberammergau, but the issue is too sensitive.” What can be sensitive: The Passion Play, or the fact that Karaca is a Muslim and foreigner? Anyway, the recent Oberammergau decision has a lot to do with modern prohibitions on thinking, which increasingly take hold in the freest country and the freest society on German soil.

The texts of the Passion Play are still being “touched up”. The text of the 42nd edition in 2020 is going to be “revised.” Who knows, maybe the Christian Passion Drama will even end with Lessing’s idea drama of Nathan the Wise.

Text: Martha Weinzl
Image: Wikicommons
Trans: Tancred
Link to Katholisches….

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Bishop wants Little Nellie exhumed

By Eoin English, Irish Examiner Reporter

The Bishop of Cork and Ross has called for the exhumation of the remains of Little Nellie — the “unofficial patron saint” of Cork — from a cemetery on lands controlled by receivers to allow people to pray at her grave.

John Buckley also suggested that in the interim, approaches be made to the bank which appointed the receivers to manage the now derelict Good Shepherd Convent on Sunday’s Well with a view to facilitating public access to her grave.

“As devotion grows to Little Nellie, we should ensure that maybe her remains are exhumed again, and placed in a more public place, where people could come and pray to her.”

He makes his comments in a new three-part radio documentary, produced and presented by John Greene, as part of his Where the Road Takes Me series on C103….

Read the original article here

CP&S also published an article in 2010 about Little Nellie

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Somebody Else’s Dream

A haunting examination of dementia, despair and dying by the incomparable Tony Banks. Vocals are by Kim Beacon (RIP).

This song was a favourite of my late teenage years, though I have only recently realised its power.

Too good to last, how those four words ring in my ears.
A voice from the past has been heard again,
Whether its real or not, I can’t say I care
But my memory’s going and my mind is losing it’s grip.
I’m walking on thinning ice.
Soon I shall be taken down, drowned in blind ignorance.
It’s hard to bear but harder still
To tell the one I care for,

Please to say love is here today, but it’s going away, going away.

How can I fight a fire that comes from inside myself
That threatens a total end.
So much to lose when I still had so much to learn.
Its hard to bear but harder still
To tell the one I care for.

Please to say love is here today, but it’s going away, going away.

Millions of people won’t know what I mean,
None can appreciate somebody else’s dream.
Thousands of reasons for staying alive
Explode into fragments,
Dissolve into nothing.
As I prepare for the oncoming night.

Already I feel a creeping coldness chilling my bones,
Dulling my sight and mind.
Soon there shall be only sand where once water flowed.
Nature dies and is reborn, but I shan’t weather this coming storm.
Not for me to die with children around my bed
After a happy life,
Though rain will fall and the sun won’t change in its course.
It’s hard to bear but harder still
To tell the one I care for,

Please to say love is here today, but it’s going away, going away.

Millions of people won’t know what I mean,
None can appreciate somebody else’s dream.
Thousands of reasons for staying alive
Explode into fragments,
Dissolve into nothing.
As I prepare for the oncoming night.

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APOSTASY – How Suppression of Truth about God led to Depravity and Supression of Truth about Marriage and Family

From Rorate Caeli

Don Pietro Leone, a priest who celebrates the Traditional Mass exclusively in an Italian diocese, and who has sent so many gifts to Rorate readers, including his booklet on the destruction of the Roman Rite and his essay on Modernism, has a new Summer reading gift for our readers — a long essay on Apostasy.

It is a booklet on Apostasy, and on how abandonment of the truth about God has led to all other evils in the Church and in Society. We strongly suggest you read, print out, send to friends, and spread it around as widely as possible, as it helps explain so much, including how a minority of perverted activists has been trying to alter the very words of Christ on the truth on marriage.

Is there hope? Read the essay to find out!

                                                                   ********** holyrood                                                                   APOSTASY

a special essay by Father Pietro Leone for Rorate Caeli

Watchman, what of the Night? (Is. 21.11)

In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen

Here in Italy the summer has reached its height: the sun beats down on the city and on the countryside by day, and by night the elderly sit outside and watch the people passing by.

To the eyes of the Faith, by contrast, the whole of mankind is plunged in the most profound darkness, for both the Church and the World are in the throes of the gravest and most profound crisis in the history of their existence. The crisis is one of Apostasy, not so much in the formal sense of the explicit rejection of the Catholic Faith, but rather in the general sense of the falling away from God.

To help us understand the nature of this apostasy we shall make a brief meditation on the first chapter of the Epistle to the Romans (vv. 17-32), in which St. Paul refers to this same phenomenon in his own epoch. Holy Scripture is widely applicable to the events of human history: we shall see how the passage in question may usefully be applied to the circumstances of our contemporary world.

The elements which we propose to consider in this essay are the following: I) The suppression of the Truth about God; II) The refusal to honour God; III) Foolishness; IV) Idolatry; V) Depravity.


I The Suppression of the Truth about God

St. Paul writes (v.18) of ‘those men that detain the truth about God in injustice’. ‘Detain’ (detinere in the Latin, catechein in the Greek) signifies the suppression of that which moves the agent to the good; ‘in injustice’ signifies that this suppression is in opposition to the order that God has established; ‘the truth’, as the context shows and as we proceed to explain, is both the supernatural knowledge of God, namely the Faith, and the natural knowledge of God which is acquired by the use of reason.

The Truth about God which is suppressed in the contemporary world belongs, like the Truth of which St. Paul treats, both to the supernatural and the natural orders.

A. The Suppression of the Supernatural Truth about God


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Conditions for Receiving Holy Communion – an audio homily by Fr Matthias (FFI)

Communion of the Apostles - Justus Ghent

Communion of the Apostles – Justus Ghent

“I AM the living bread which came down from heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, they shall live for ever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world. The Jews therefore contended among themselves, saying, How is he able to give us his flesh to eat? Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Unless ye eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, ye shall have no life in you. Whosoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. As the living Father has sent me, and I live by the Father, so he that eats me, he shall also live by me. This is the bread which came down from heaven; not as your fathers ate manna and are dead; he that eats of this bread shall live eternally” (John 51-58).

These sublimely beautiful and uplifting words were those of the Gospel for the 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time. Words that thrill and terrify us at the same time. Who would not wish to partake of this “living bread which came down from Heaven”? Who would not wish to “abide” close to the Heart of Jesus, and one day “live eternally” with Him in Heaven?

Although flawed and unworthy in our own eyes of such a great gift of heavenly grace, the Church gives us sure guidelines like these laid out by Msgr. Charles Pope here and here, that can help prepare our souls for the right conditions for reception of the Holy Sacrament – this “living bread”, the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

communion-distributionAt the start of the 19th century, the conditions placed upon receiving Holy Communion were overly rigid and almost impossible to regularly meet. This wasn’t according to the desires of the Church though, and Father Matthias quotes from the Council of Trent to show this, but due to the widespread influence of a Calvinistic stress on the depravity of man. However, Saint Pope Pius X clarified and defined what the needed conditions to receive the Eucharist frequently were, and encouraged frequent, even daily, Communion.  Fr Matthias gives us these conditions from the sainted pope, stressing the need for preparation and thanksgiving, and closes with a quote from St. Therese, whose influence lead Pius X to promote frequent communion, about how to make a good preparation and thanksgiving for communion. (This holy Pope also brought down the age of children by five or six years, so that those as young as seven, still in their early innocence, who had received proper formation, could likewise participate of the Sacred Body of Christ).

Please listen to Fr Matthias’ audio homily below:

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From Sword of Peter:


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A hero dies: The 98th anniversary of the death of Fr Doyle


“Greater love than this no man hath, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). In this moving article, Pat Kenny relates the culmination of Fr Willie’s Doyle’s life of sacrifice for souls. A life lived in joy amidst suffering – fruit of his burning love for Christ and his desire to imitate his Saviour. Fr Willie is a hero indeed, who has inspired millions to seek a closer union with God, Our Blessed Lady, and the Holy Catholic Church.

Originally posted on Remembering Fr William Doyle SJ:

Fr William Doyle SJ 3 March 1873 - 16 August 1917 Fr William Doyle SJ 3 March 1873 – 16 August 1917

My Martyrdom for Mary’s Sake.

Darling Mother Mary, in preparation for the glorious martyrdom which I feel assured thou art going to obtain for me, I, thy most unworthy child, on this the first day of thy month, solemnly commence my life of slow martyrdom by earnest hard work and constant self-denial. With my blood I promise thee to keep this resolution, do thou, sweet Mother, assist me and obtain for me the one favour I wish and long for: To die a Jesuit Martyr.

May 1st, 1893.

May God’s will, not mine, be done! Amen.

These words were written in Fr Doyle’s private diary. He kept his part of the bargain – the remaining 24 years of his life were literally a slow martyrdom of “earnest hard work and constant self-denial”. As might be expected, Mary kept her part of the…

View original 881 more words

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Lectio Divina, Solemnity of the Assumption, Aug. 15

Bread of Heaven, Born From the Virgin Mary Taken to Heaven

By Archbishop Francesco Follo

Rv 11,19a; 12, 1-6a.10ab; Ps 44; 1 Cor 15, 20-27a; Lk 1: 39-56 XX Sunday in Ordinary Time – Year B – August 16, 2015
Foreword. The Solemnity of the Assumption [1] on August 15, 2015, falls on a Saturday, therefore it is immediately followed by the 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time. This Sunday’s Gospel proposes a passage in which the bread symbolizes not only the word of Jesus to be accepted by faith, but the sacrament of the Eucharist (Jn 6: 51-58). These are two solemnities that are centered on Mary into Heaven and Christ the Bearer of Heaven.  For this reason I think that it is useful to present them together.
ASSUMPTION1) Mary, Ark of the Covenant – Eucharistic woman. I think that the Solemnity of the Assumption is the most important of the feasts of Our Lady, because the Church celebrates the mystery of our resurrection that in the person of Mary has already happened. Today’s feast shows us that Mary, the Virgin Mother, is the one who has lived her life entirely in Christ. The tradition, especially the one from the East, doesn’t talk about the death of Mary but about her “Dormition” that is, she does not end her life but fulfills it so that God “takes her to heaven.” With the celebration of the Virgin taken into heaven, the liturgy teaches us that the Mother of God is the human person that in heaven shares the fullness of glory and enjoy the happiness of God.
At the same time, the liturgy calls us to become “arks “of the living God who is always with us, and “dwellings “of the presence of God where men can meet him, thus living in communion with Him and knowing the reality of heaven. Today’s solemnity is a festival of joy, because love has won. Life has won. Love has been proved to be stronger than death. God possesses the true strength and his strength is goodness and love. The body of the Virgin Mary could not know the corruption of the grave because it had carried the Author of Life. Looking at that body, transfigured by the glory of God, we can guess the fate of our body. Death is not the last word on life.  Death – the mystery of the Assumption of the Virgin assures us – is the passage to Life toward Love
The assumption is also our feast because it celebrates what we will be, what in us is yet to come but that certainly will come. It is therefore a joyous celebration of hope for all of us because in the Assumption we contemplate the fact that life does not end in nothing, but in God’s heart. This Heart is the destination toward which we go when we tie our lives to that of Jesus. Following Christ as did the Virgin Mary, we will be forever with Him in God because in God “there is room for mankind.” It is also true that in the human being there is room for God (Pope Francis). No one more than Mary made room for God so much so that one of the names by which we pray her is the “Ark of the Covenant.” Mary is the living Ark of the Covenant. Already St. John of Damascus (676-749) referring to this mystery, said in a homily “Today the One and Holy Virgin is led to the heavenly temple … Today the sacred ark animated by the Living God, [the ark] that led her unborn Maker, rests in the temple of the Lord, not built by human hands “(Homily II on the Dormition, 2, PG 96, 723), and continued” It was necessary that she who had hosted in her womb the Logos (Word) of God, took up residence in the tabernacles of his Son … It was necessary that the Bride that the Father had chosen lived in the bridal chamber of heaven “(ibid., 14, PG 96, 742).
Mary, the first tabernacle of the real presence of God in the world, is the new Ark of the Covenant in front of which the heart is filled with joy, the same joy that made John the Baptist leap in Elizabeth’s womb when Mary came to visit his mother in a small village Ain Karim, a few kilometers from Jerusalem. Mary, the Mother of God, teaches us not to keep for ourselves this Presence of heaven, but to offer it bringing the light of goodness into the darkness that is in the world. The Bread of Heaven shared between brothers and sisters is food for our exodus of love towards heaven.
2) Mary, Woman of the Eucharist. With the Assumption we celebrate the Mother of Christ, entering the heavenly Jerusalem to meet the face of the Father and the Son. The journey that she has started going to her cousin Elizabeth ends in heaven. For the record I must say that, in the journey of life, Mary never broke away from her son.  At the beginning, after having given birth in Bethlehem, she fled with the baby Jesus to Egypt. Back at home in Nazareth she took him as a teenager to Jerusalem. In Nazareth for thirty years she contributed to his becoming an adult. Then she followed him when he left the village of Galilee to preach in the towns and cities of Israel. Finally she accompanied him to the cross, “suffering with her Son and associating herself with maternal heart to his sacrifice” (Lumen Gentium 58).
Being faithfully under the Cross, Mary is fully joined to the offering sacrifice of her Son. This way she lived, “a sort of early Eucharist, one might say a spiritual communion of desire and of oblation, that had its fulfillment in the union with the Son in his passion” (Ecclesia de Eucharistia, 56).
The gospel of this 20th Sunday of Ordinary Time, in which Christ speaks of himself as living bread is well commented by the Gregorian antiphon believed and sung by the Church: “Ave Verum Corpus, natum de Maria Virgine” (Hail, true Body, born of the Virgin Mary –  XIV century) indicating the essential relationship of the Mother of Jesus in the Eucharist. No doubt the reference to Mary is the guarantor of the true belief in the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. For example, when Berenger (+1088) proposed a symbolic interpretation of the Eucharist emptying the realism of the body of Christ, the Roman Council of 1079 ordered him to endorse the fact that the bread and wine after the consecration are “the true body of Christ that is born from the Virgin “(DS 700). This underlines the role of the Mother who is the source of the true humanity of the Son. Mary reminds us that the Word made flesh in her womb is the same bread of life offered as food to the faithful. She performs the valuable function of linking the Eucharist with the mystery of the Incarnation.
St. Bernard of Clairvaux gave voice to the gratitude toward the Mother of Jesus of the faithful receiving the Eucharist saying “Here I ask you to consider how much we owe to the Blessed Mother of God and how we have to give thanks to her after we give thanks to God. That body of Christ that the most blessed Virgin generated, held in her lap with love, wrapped in swaddling clothes and fed with maternal care, that same and certainly not another, now we receive on the holy altar, and his blood we draw in the Sacrament of our redemption “(Sermo 2 de Natali Domini). Following the example of Mary, the consecrated Virgins in the world are also Eucharistic women who cultivate in themselves in a special way the two attitudes essential to live the Eucharist: that of love and that of the offering. These women teach us to identify ourselves with the feelings of Mary when she participated in the Mass and took communion.  These feelings have been well expressed by St. John Paul II “The body given up for us and made present under sacramental signs was the same body which she had conceived in her womb! For Mary, receiving the Eucharist must have somehow meant welcoming once more into her womb that heart which had beat in unison with hers and reliving what she had experienced at the foot of the Cross. “(Ecclesia de Eucharistia, 56).
Like Mary the consecrated virgins participate in the celebration of the Eucharist with the joy that comes from faith (Acts 8,8.39; 13,48.52; 16,34) and that she had experienced and expressed in the Magnificat (Luke 1,46- 47), and  the simplicity of heart which is characteristic of the poor of Yahweh and  of the people who live the Gospel. These consecrated women show us to have understood how it is unavoidable to give oneself to Christ that in the Eucharist gives himself and his love. This love aims to eternity and the life that Jesus communicates, making himself as bread, is eternal life. This real life is not just for the afterlife but already now restores dignity to man’s earthly days and to his work in search of reconciliation with the times of celebration and of family and commitment to overcome the uncertainty of the temporariness. –
Patristic Reading – John Chrysostome. Homily XLVII.Jn 6,53-54
“Jesus therefore said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of Man, and drink His blood, ye have not eternal life in yourselves. Whoso eateth My flesh, and drinketh My blood, hath life in himself.” 4701 [1.] When we converse of spiritual things, let there be nothing secular in our souls, nothing earthy, let all such thoughts retire, and be banished, and let us3 be entirely given up to the hearing the divine oracles only. For if at the arrival of a king4 all confusion is driven away, much more when the Spirit speaketh with us do we need5 great stillness, great awe. And worthy of awe is that which is said to-day. How it is so, hear. “Verily I say unto you, Except a man eat My flesh, and drink My blood, he hath not eternal life in him.” Since the Jews had before asserted that this was impossible, He showeth not only that it is not impossible, but that it is absolutely necessary. Wherefore He addeth, “He that eateth My flesh and drinketh My blood, hath eternal life.” “And I will raise him up at the last day.” For since He had said, “He that eateth of this bread shall not die for ever” (Jn 6,50, not verbally quoted), and it was likely that this would stand in their way, (just as they before said, “Abraham , and the prophets are dead; and how sayest Thou, that he shall not taste of death?”—c. 8,52, not verbally quoted). He bringeth forward the Resurrection to solve the question, and to show that (the man who eateth) shall not die at the last.6 He continually handleth the subject of the Mysteries, showing the necessity of the action, and that it must by all means be done. Jn 6,55. “For My flesh is true7 meat, and My blood is true drink.” What is that He saith?8 He either desireth to declare that this is the true meat which saveth the soul, or to assure them concerning what had been said, that they might not suppose the words to be a mere enigma or parable, but might know that it is by all means needful to eat the Body. Then He saith, Jn 6,56. “He that eateth My flesh, dwelleth in Me.” This He said, showing that such an one is blended with9 Him. Now what follows seems unconnected, unless we enquire into the sense; for, saith some one, after saying, “He that eateth My flesh, dwelleth in Me,” what kind of a consequence is it to add, Jn 6,57. “As the living Father hath sent Me, and I live by the Father”? Yet the words harmonize perfectly. For since He continually spake of “eternal life,” to prove this point He introduceth the expression, “dwelleth in Me”; for “if he dwelleth in Me, and I live, it is plain that he will live also.” Then He saith, “As the living Father hath sent Me.” This is an expression of comparison and resemblance, and its meaning is of this kind, “I live in like manner as the Father liveth.” And that thou mayest not deem Him unbegotten, He immediately subjoineth, “by the Father,” not by this to show that He needeth, in order to live, any power working in Him, 10 for He said before, to remove such a suspicion, “As the Father hath life in Himself, so hath He given to the Son also to have life in Himself”; now if He needeth the working of another, it will be found that either the Father hath not given Him so to have it, and so the assertion is false, or if He hath so given it, then He will need no other one to support Him. What then means the, “By the Father”? He here merely hinteth at the cause, and what He saith is of this kind: “As the Father liveth, so I live, and he that eateth Me shall live by Me.” And the “life” of which He speaketh is not life merely, but the excellent 11 life; for that He spake not simply of life, but of that glorious and ineffable life, is clear from this. For all men “live,” even unbelievers, and uninitiated, who eat not of that flesh. Seest thou that the words relate not to this life, but to that other? And what He saith is of this kind: “He that eateth My flesh, when he dieth shall not perish nor suffer punishment”; He spake not of the general resurrection, (for all alike rise again,) but concerning the special, the glorious Resurrection, that which hath a reward. Jn 6,58. “This is that bread which came down from heaven; not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead; he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever.” Continually doth He handle the same point, so as to imprint it on the understanding of the hearers, (for the teaching on these points was a kind of final teaching,) and to confirm the doctrine of the Resurrection and of eternal life. Wherefore He mentioneth the Resurrection since He promiseth eternal life, showing that that life is not now, but after the Resurrection. 12 “And whence,” saith some one, “are these things clear?” From the Scriptures; to them He everywhere referreth the Jews, bidding them learn these things from them. And by saying, “Which giveth life to the world,” He inciteth them to jealousy, that from very vexation that others should enjoy the gift, they may not stay without. And continually He remindeth them of the manna, showing the difference, (between it and His bread,) and guiding them to the faith; for if He was able 13 to support their life for forty years without harvest, or corn, or other things in course; 14 much more now will He be able to do so, as having come for greater ends. Moreover, if those things were but types, and yet men collected what came down without sweat or labor; much more shall this be the case, where the difference is great both in the never dying, and in the enjoying the true life. And rightly hath He spoken often of “life,” since this is desired by men, and nothing is so pleasing to them as not to die. Since even under the old Covenant, this was the promise, length of life and many days, but now it is not length merely, but life having no end. He desireth at the same time to show, that He now revoketh the punishment caused by sin, annulling that sentence which condemneth to death, and bringing in not life merely, but life eternal, contrariwise to the former things. 15

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Catholic Voice interview with Bishop Athanasius Schneider

schneiderIn this new interview with Catholic Voice, Bishop Athanasius Schneider comments on the Instrumentum Laboris for the 2015 Synod, warns against trying to find politically correct language and explains the duty of a Catholic bishop when faced with the moral issues of the day. His Excellency also offers examples of saints and spiritual writings to which we can turn for consolation and encouragement in this time of confusion and disorientation in the Church.

Your Excellency, the Instrumentum Laboris  for the 2015 Synod states that there is a “common accord” [c’è un comune accordo] in favour of a “penitential way” for the divorced and remarried ” under the authority of the Bishop, for the faithful (who have been) divorced and remarried civilly, who find themselves in a situation of irreversible cohabitation.”  Is it accurate to suggest there is a “common accord” ?

The affirmation that there is a “common accord” on the “penitential way” is not correct. The only one public document that would permit to determine the effective opinion of the bishops on this topic, is the “Relatio Synodi” of 2014. There it is documented that 40% of the members of the Synod rejected such a “penitential way”. When faced with such a result, one can hardly speak of a “common accord”. Furthermore, there is no specification as to a concrete definition of such a “penitential way”.  

In light of this use of the phrase “c’è un comune accordo” is the credibility of the Instrumentum Laboris threatened? One could even conclude there is an attempt to impose communion for the divorced and remarried at the Synod despite opposition. Do you have any comment on this?

In the light of a careful analysis of the facts, one is left with the suspicion that the authors of the Instrumentum Laboris try to push forward the agenda of a certain clerical pressure group in order to change the Divine law of the non-admission the divorced and remarried to Holy Communion.

Commenting on the Synod, Archbishop Forte has said one of the priorities should be a discussion of allowing those who have divorced and remarried outside the Church to become “godfathers or godmothers, catechists, extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist.” What do you think of this idea?

Firstly, it is necessary to remember the significance of godparents according to the constant teaching and practice of the Church: A sponsor (godfather or godmother) must help the baptized person to lead a Christian life in keeping with baptism and to fulfill faithfully the obligations inherent in it. To be permitted to take on the function of sponsor a person must be a Catholic who leads a life of faith in keeping with the function to be taken on (cf. Canons 872 and 874 § 1, 3). Sponsors and those who take the place of parents are obliged to form the children by word and example in faith and in the practice of Christian life (cf. Canon 774, § 2). When a godfather or a godmother or a catechist conducts a lifestyle that publicly contradicts the Sixth Commandment and the indissolubility of the Christian marriage, then he or she surely cannot be an example of a life of faith. The same is valid for Extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion. The advocacy for the admission of divorced and remarried to the task of godparents and catechists cannot ultimately be for the true spiritual good of the children, but turns out to be an istrumentalization of a specific ideological agenda. This is a dishonesty and a mockery of the institution of godparents and catechists who by means of a public promise took on the task of educators of the faith. In the case of godparents or catechists who are divorced and remarried, their life however, continuously contradicts their words, and so they have to face the admonition of the Holy Spirit through the mouth of the Apostle Saint James: “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves” (James 1: 22).  

Excellency, in the ongoing debate over same sex “marriage” some Catholic groups have become open to the notion of recognizing that same sex pairs can have long term loving relationships thus they conclude that it is possible to recognize same sex civil partnerships. It is evident that even a few bishops support this idea but could this ever be an authentic Catholic position?

This can never be an authentic Catholic position because it contradicts directly the words of God, which says that homosexual acts and the homosexual lifestyle are a grievous offense of the will of God (cf. Gen 18:20; Lev 18:22; 20:13; Is 3:9; Rom 1:26-27; 1 Cor 6:10; 1 Tim 1:10; Jud 7). Committing evil in a long-term and even loving relationship cannot transform the same evil into good. Only true repentance that includes contrition and the firm intention to avoid the evil cancels with the grace of God the evil. It would be absurd to affirm that alcoholism will gain a positive recognition because of the long-term and loving relationship of two persons who established this relationship on the base of their propensity to alcohol. The same absurdity contains the above-mentioned affirmation about same sex unions. 

There also appears to be a push towards a “new language” with some saying that using the phrases “homosexual tendencies” and “intrinsically disordered” should be avoided less offence is caused – what do you make of this drive to use politically correct language?

We have to call things by their real names; otherwise, we will deceive the others and ourselves. To call the things by their names does not mean an intention to create discrimination, provided we speak with respect and pedagogical wisdom. There exist some deficiency symptoms of a bodily or spiritual nature such as fear of heights, claustrophobia, seasickness, shortsightedness etc. No person of common sense will be indignant when we name such phenomena as a deficiency. In fact, the homosexual attraction is in itself a sexual-psychological deficiency symptom, which all civilized human history has considered as a deficiency and called by its name. Under pressure from the new gender ideology, which has its roots in the Marxist ideology, in the 1970s homosexuality was excluded from the International Handbook of Psychological diseases. In such a way, persons who suffer with homosexual attraction were taken hostages of a radical ideology, inasmuch as they are denied the opportunity to receive healing or improvement of their psychologically defective situation. To have a deficiency is not a shame, but it is a fact. Those who effectively encourage deficient persons, in our case persons who are feeling a homosexual attraction, to abuse their deficiency in order to become more deficient and to consequently become addicts, commit a grave injustice towards these persons who need and want to receive help in their spiritual and psychological deficiency.  

Your Excellency, since the legalisation of abortion in Ireland in 2013, Catholic hospitals such as the Mater Misericordiae University Hospital, Dublin, have issued statements indicating that they will comply with the new abortion laws. In these circumstances, what is the duty of an archbishop or bishop in whose jurisdiction these hospitals reside?

The duty of a Catholic bishop in such a case is to deprive the hospital the title “Catholic” and remind his faithful that accomplices of the horrible crime of abortion commit a grave sin and are threatened with excommunication. The punishment of excommunication is a medicinal measure in order to prevent the guilty person from committing further crimes and so to ensure his eternal salvation. This was the method of God Himself (the preaching of judgement and punishment through the Prophets), of Our Lord Jesus Christ (the speech of excommunication in Mt 18: 15-18) and of the Apostles (the excommunication realized by Saint Paul, cf. 1 Cor 5: 4-5) and so it has to be also the method of the Church. When the Church desists of this Divine method, she will be no more faithful to God, she will be no more a real mother who punishes her child in order to save it. On the contrary, such a church will be a false mother who disastrously pampers the child to its damage or a stepmother who is indifferent about the child’s salvation. The following words of excommunication pronounced by Saint Paul and inspired by the Holy Spirit, remain valid for all periods of the Church’s history inclusively for our days: “With the power of our Lord Jesus we deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord” (1 Cor 5: 4-5).

During the same sex “marriage” debate in Ireland, one bishop stated that Catholics could in good conscience vote for this proposal and admonished them not to vote against it out of hate. In addition, many clergy used the media to also encourage voters to redefine marriage. This situation is repeated throughout the western world – what do you think has happened to the clergy in this respect and what should be done to correct matters?

Those clerics who encouraged the faithful to vote for same sex marriage revealed themselves by this same fact as false prophets, as those who pervert the Word of God. They revealed themselves as public liars, to whom are fully applicable these words of Holy Scripture: “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter” (Is 5:20) and: “Your prophets have seen for you false and deceptive visions; they have not exposed your iniquity to restore your fortunes, but have seen for you oracles that are false and misleading” (Lam 2: 14). To such priests and bishops the Apostle Paul without any doubt would say today these words: “Such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ” (2 Cor 11:13). In order to remedy this situation it is firstly necessary that faithful Bishops teach clearly and unambiguously the truth of Christ and correct explicitly the teaching of these false prophets.

Excellency, in a number of interviews you have mentioned attempts to manipulate the proceedings of the 2014 Synod. Many faithful around the world are anxious that attempts are being made to manipulate the 2015 Synod. What can be done to stop such manipulation? What can those not directly involved in the Synod do if evidence emerges of renewed manipulation?

In order to stop such manipulations we must first of all, implore fervently Divine and heavenly intervention, so that the following words of God may be realized in our days during the upcoming Synod: “God frustrates the devices of the crafty, so that their hands achieve no success. He catches the wise in their own craftiness, and the schemes of the wily are brought to a quick end” (Job 5: 12-13). 

Furthermore, we have to expose and defend the Divine truth about marriage and family in written and oral forms, exercising hereby the service of the truth as an important gesture of our love for our neighbour. When there exists sure elements of proof one should try to unmask the machinations of the false prophets inside the Church. Saint Peter, the first Pope, wrote in his second Encyclical Letter the following words, which are applicable to those priests and bishops who teach in our days the goodness of the homosexual lifestyle and the legitimacy of receiving Holy Communion by those who live publicly in an adulterous partnership: “There will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who redeemed them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed. And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.” (2 Peter 2: 1-3).

Your Excellency, during this time of unprecedented confusion and disorientation in the Church are there any saints or spiritual writings to which you turn for consolation and encouragement? Could you share with our readers any sayings or insights that will encourage us?

We have to look on those Saints who shone out as lights in particularly confused periods of the Church History. Among the clergy, I would name Saint Athanasius his sufferings and his writings about the history of the Arians; Saint Gregory VII, who intrepidly defended chastity (against clerical concubinage and sodomy) and liberty (against the interference of the civil power in spiritual affairs) of the Church, the Spouse of Christ; Saint John Fisher, who at the cost of his life was the only one English bishop of his time defended the indissolubility of the marriage and the primacy of the Pope; Saint Pius X who was in his words and his deeds extraordinarily clear and courageous and never bowed to the pressure of political correctness neither inside nor outside the Church. 

Among the laity one can mention particularly: Saint Catherine of Siena, Saint Thomas More, Gabriel Garcia Moreno, the eminently pious and courageous President of Ecuador, who was assassinated in 1875 in “odium fidei” immediately when he came out of the church where he spent one hour in Eucharistic adoration. The servant of God Jerome Lejeune (+ 1994): he was ostracized by the medical, academic and political elite because of his strong position against abortion; he did not receive an increase in salary for nearly 20 years;  his research grants were withdrawn and he was forced to close his laboratory. 

It would be a great spiritual help for us in our days in midst of the persecution from outside the Church and the marginalization from inside the Church to read the biographies and writings of the above-mentioned saints and servants of God and especially the life of the martyrs. I read somewhere once this phrase, which can encourage us: “It is not important what people say about us today, but what they will say about us hundred years after our death”.

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St. Maximilian Kolbe writes about The Immaculate


“My dear little children, when it comes to the Immaculate, we do not think about ‘small parts’ or ‘fractions’ but we rather run a race all together and, by doing so, every increase in love for her in one of us will produce an even greater increase of love in the others. Our heart is so small, so weak: we never offer her the love with which she is worthy, the loves with which she loves us…

An unlimited love for the Immaculate, what does that mean? The Immaculate is so united to God through love that she rises not only above all saints, but also above the angels, the cherubim and seraphim. Therefore an unlimited love towards the Immaculate raises us up to her and joins us to her through love…
What is the Immaculate’s unlimited love? Since she is very close to God, and we are very close to her, consequently, we are very close to God Himself through her. God has give us this white stairway and He wants us to reach Him by climbing it, or rather that she, after having clasped us to her maternal heart, may lead us to Him.

Dear little children in the Immaculate, I wish you to be nourished by her with the milk of her graces, that she may caress and educate you as she did with Jesus, our elder Brother, so that He, the Divine Spouse of the soul, may recognise in us those features He Himself received from His Mother, the Immaculate..

Undoubtedly, our imagination tends to make us picture God the Father, Jesus , and the Immaculate as realities that exist among other devotions, as if they were on the same level. Instead, we should think of them as rings of only one chain, each subordinated to the other as different means to only one purpose: the one God in the Holy Trinity.

The more we belong to the Immaculate, the more confidently and freely we can approach the wounds of our Saviour, the Eucharist, the most holy Heart of Jesus and God the Father.”
St. Maximilian Kolbe


St. Maximilian Kolbe (1894–1941) was born in Poland to a devout Christian family. As a boy he had a vision of the Virgin Mary. She showed him two crowns, one white for virginity and one red for martyrdom, and asked him which he would be willing to accept. He replied that he would accept both. This began his lifelong mission of promoting devotion to the Virgin Mary and the Miraculous Medal. He eventually joined the Franciscans. While studying for the priesthood in Rome, he gathered a group of fellow friars and founded the ‘Militia of the Immaculata’ which became a crusade of Marian consecration. From it came the ‘Knights of the Immaculate’ magazine, which reached a circulation of 750,000, and a radio show, both of which became a source of strengthened faith all over Poland. He established a monastery in Poland which grew to 800, the largest in the world at that time. In 1930 he travelled to the Far East and founded a monastery in Nagasaki, Japan. He returned to Poland in 1936. During World War II, St. Maximilian Kolbe housed over 3,000 Polish refugees at his monastery. He was eventually imprisoned because of his fight for truth through his magazine, and was sent to Auschwitz in 1941. He endured special cruelty because he was a Catholic priest. St. Maximilian ministered to the people in the camp and offered his life in place of a man to be killed by firing squad. After being starved for two weeks and still found alive, he was killed by lethal injection on August 14, 1941. St. Maximilian Kolbe is the patron of families, drug addicts, prisoners, journalists, and the pro-life movement. His feast day is 14th August.

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Cardinal Sarah’s Powerful Letter Available In English!

published 12 August 2015 by Corpus Christi Watershed

406 Robert Cardinal SARAH OBERT CARDINAL SARAH, Prefect of the Congregation for the Divine Worship, published a powerful document on 12 June 2015 in L’Osservatore Romano. The original was in Italian, and numerous translations soon appeared, but not all were of a high quality. 1

For decades, ADOREMUS BULLETIN has provided access to official documents. Recently, they uploaded an English translation by Christopher Ruff. Cardinal Sarah’s statements about ad orientem for the Penitential Rite, Gloria, Orations, and Canon have caused a worldwide sensation! Readers will also want to bookmark Cardinal Sarah’s Top Six Liturgy Quotes.

You can compare Christopher Ruff’s excellent work with the original Italian:

INQUANT’ANNI DOPO la sua promulgazione da parte di Papa Paolo VI, si leggerà, infine, la costituzione del concilio Vaticano II sulla sacra liturgia? La Sacrosanctum concilium non è di fatto un semplice catalogo di “ricette” di riforme, ma una vera e propria magna charta di ogni azione liturgica. Il concilio ecumenico ci dà in essa una magistrale lezione di metodo. In effetti, lungi dall’accontentarsi di un approccio disciplinare ed esteriore alla liturgia, il concilio vuole farci contemplare ciò che è nella sua essenza. La pratica della Chiesa deriva sempre da quello che riceve e contempla nella rivelazione. La pastorale non si può disconnettere dalla dottrina.

IFTY YEARS AFTER its promulgation by Pope Paul VI, will the Second Vatican Council’s Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy finally be read? Sacrosanctum Concilium is not in fact a simple catalogue of “recipes” for reform, but a true and proper Magna Carta for all liturgical action. In that Constitution, the Ecumenical Council gives us a masterful lesson in methodology. Far from contenting itself with a disciplinary and external approach to the liturgy, the Council summons us to contemplate the liturgy in its essence. The Church’s practice always flows from what she receives and contemplates from Revelation. Pastoral practice cannot be divorced from doctrine.

Nella Chiesa «ciò che proviene dall’azione è ordinato alla contemplazione» (cfr. n. 2). La costituzione conciliare ci invita a riscoprire l’origine trinitaria dell’opera liturgica. In effetti, il concilio stabilisce una continuità tra la missione di Cristo Redentore e la missione liturgica della Chiesa. «Come il Cristo fu inviato dal Padre, così anch’egli ha inviato gli apostoli» affinché «mediante il sacrificio e i sacramenti attorno ai quali gravita tutta la vita liturgica» attuino «l’opera di salvezza» (n. 6).

In the Church, “action is directed to contemplation” (cf. n. 2). The conciliar Constitution invites us to rediscover the Trinitarian origin of the work of the liturgy. Indeed, the Council affirms continuity between the mission of Christ the Redeemer and the liturgical mission of the Church. “Just as Christ was sent by the Father, so also he sent the apostles,” so that “by means of sacrifice and sacraments, around which the entire liturgical life revolves” they might “accomplish the work of salvation” (n. 6).

Attuare la liturgia non è dunque altro che attuare l’opera di Cristo. La liturgia è nella sua essenza actio Christi: l’«opera della redenzione umana e della perfetta glorificazione di Dio» (n. 5). È Lui il grande sacerdote, il vero soggetto, il vero attore della liturgia (cfr. n. 7). Se questo principio vitale non viene accolto nella fede, si rischia di fare della liturgia un’opera umana, un’autocelebrazione della comunità.

The liturgy in action is thus none other than the work of Christ in action. The liturgy is in its essence actio Christi: “the work of Christ the Lord in redeeming mankind and giving perfect glory to God” (n. 5). He is the high priest, the true subject, the true protagonist of the liturgy (cf. n. 7). If this vital principle is not embraced in faith, one risks reducing the liturgy to a human action, to the community’s celebration of itself.

Al contrario, l’opera propria della Chiesa consiste nell’entrare nell’azione di Cristo, nell’iscriversi in quell’opera di cui egli ha ricevuto dal Padre la missione. Dunque «ci fu data la pienezza del culto divino», perché «la sua umanità, nell’unità della persona del Verbo, fu strumento della nostra salvezza» (n. 5). La Chiesa, corpo di Cristo, deve quindi divenire a sua volta uno strumento nelle mani del Verbo.

On the contrary, the true work of the Church consists in entering into the action of Christ, participating intimately in the mission he has received from the Father. Thus “the fullness of divine worship was given to us,” because “his humanity, united with the person of the Word, was the instrument of our salvation” (n. 5). The Church, the Body of Christ, must in turn become an instrument in the hands of the Word.

Questo è il significato ultimo del concetto-chiave della costituzione conciliare: la participatio actuosa. Tale partecipazione consiste per la Chiesa nel diventare strumento di Cristo-sacerdote, al fine di partecipare alla sua missione trinitaria. La Chiesa partecipa attivamente all’opera liturgica di Cristo nella misura in cui ne è lo strumento. In tal senso, parlare di “comunità celebrante” non è privo di ambiguità e richiede vera cautela (cfr. Istruzione Redemptoris sacramentum, n. 42). La participatio actuosa non dovrebbe dunque essere intesa come la necessità di fare qualcosa. Su questo punto l’insegnamento del concilio è stato spesso deformato. Si tratta invece di lasciare che Cristo ci prenda e ci associ al suo sacrificio.

This is the ultimate meaning of the key concept of the conciliar Constitution, participatio actuosa. For the Church, this participation consists in becoming an instrument of Christ the Priest, so as to participate in his Trinitarian mission. The Church participates actively in the liturgical work of Christ insofar as she is his instrument. In this sense, language about the “celebrating community” can carry a degree of ambiguity requiring true caution (cf. the Instruction Redemptoris sacramentum, n. 42). Participatio actuosa must not be understood, therefore, as the need to do something. On this point the teaching of the Council has often been distorted. It is a question, rather, of allowing Christ to take hold of us and to associate us with his sacrifice.

La participatio liturgica deve perciò essere intesa come una grazia di Cristo che «associa sempre a sé la Chiesa» (Sacrosanctum concilium, n. 7). È Lui ad avere l’iniziativa e il primato. La Chiesa «l’invoca come suo Signore e per mezzo di lui rende il culto all’eterno Padre» (n. 7).

Liturgical participatio must therefore be understood as a grace from Christ who “always associates the Church with himself” (Sacrosanctum Concilium, 7). It is he who takes the initiative, who has primacy. The Church “calls to her Lord, and through Him offers worship to the Eternal Father” (n. 7).

Il sacerdote deve dunque diventare questo strumento che lascia trasparire Cristo. Come ha da poco ricordato il nostro Papa Francesco, il celebrante non è il presentatore di uno spettacolo, non deve ricercare la simpatia dell’assemblea ponendosi di fronte a essa come il suo interlocutore principale. Entrare nello spirito del concilio significa al contrario cancellarsi, rinunciare a essere il punto focale.

The priest must thus become this instrument that allows Christ to shine through. As our Holy Father Pope Francis recently recalled, the celebrant is not the host of a show, he must not seek the affirmation of the assembly, standing before them as if they were called to enter into dialogue primarily with him. To enter into the spirit of the Council means on the contrary to efface oneself, to renounce the spotlight.

Contrariamente a quanto è stato a volte sostenuto, è del tutto conforme alla costituzione conciliare, è addirittura opportuno che, durante il rito della penitenza, il canto del Gloria, le orazioni e la preghiera eucaristica, tutti, sacerdote e fedeli, si voltino insieme verso Oriente, per esprimere la loro volontà di partecipare all’opera di culto e di redenzione compiuta da Cristo. Questo modo di fare potrebbe opportunamente essere messo in atto nelle cattedrali dove la vita liturgica deve essere esemplare (cfr. n. 41).

Contrary to what has sometimes been maintained, it is in full conformity with the conciliar Constitution—indeed, it is entirely fitting—for everyone, priest and congregation, to turn together to the East during the penitential rite, the singing of the Gloria, the orations and the Eucharistic prayer, in order to express the desire to participate in the work of worship and redemption accomplished by Christ. This practice could well be established in cathedrals, where liturgical life must be exemplary (cf. n. 41).

Ben inteso, ci sono altre parti della messa in cui il sacerdote, agendo in persona Christi Capitis, entra in dialogo nuziale con l’assemblea. Ma questo faccia a faccia non ha altro fine che condurre a un tête-à-tête con Dio che, per mezzo della grazia dello Spirito Santo, diverrà un cuore a cuore. Il concilio propone così altri mezzi per favorire la partecipazione: «le acclamazioni dei fedeli, le risposte, il canto dei salmi, le antifone, i canti, nonché le azioni e i gesti e l’atteggiamento del corpo» (n. 30).

Of course it is understood that there are other parts of the Mass in which the priest, acting in persona Christi Capitis, enters into nuptial dialogue with the assembly. But this face-to-face has no other purpose than to lead to a tete-à- tete with God, which, through the grace of the Holy Spirit, will become a heart-to-heart. The Council thus proposes additional means to favor participation: “acclamations, responses, psalmody, antiphons and songs, as well as…actions, gestures, and bodily attitudes” (§30).

Una lettura troppo rapida, e soprattutto troppo umana, ha portato a concludere che bisognava far sì che i fedeli fossero costantemente occupati. La mentalità occidentale contemporanea, modellata dalla tecnica e affascinata dai media, ha voluto fare della liturgia un’op era di pedagogia efficace e redditizia. In questo spirito, si è cercato di rendere le celebrazioni conviviali. Gli attori liturgici, animati da motivazioni pastorali, cercano a volte di fare opera didattica introducendo nelle celebrazioni elementi profani e spettacolari. Non si vedono forse fiorire testimonianze, messe in scena e applausi? Si crede così di favorire la partecipazione dei fedeli mentre di fatto si riduce la liturgia a un gioco umano.

A hasty and all-too-human reading of the Constitution has led to the conclusion that the faithful must be kept constantly busy. The contemporary Western way of thinking, shaped by technology and dazzled by the media, has wished to turn the liturgy into a lucrative production. In this spirit, many have tried to make the celebrations festive. Prompted by pastoral motives, liturgical ministers sometimes stage celebrations into which elements of worldly entertainment are introduced. Have we not witnessed a proliferation of testimonials, acts, and applause? It is imagined that this will foster the participation of the faithful, when in fact it reduces the liturgy to a human plaything.

«Il silenzio non è una virtù, né il rumore un peccato, è vero», dice Thomas Merton, «ma il tumulto, la confusione e il rumore continui nella società moderna o in certe liturgie eucaristiche africane sono l’espressione dell’atmosfera dei suoi peccati più gravi, della sua empietà, della sua disperazione. Un mondo di propaganda, di argomentazioni infinite, di invettive, di critiche, o semplicemente di chiacchiere, è un mondo nel quale la vita non vale la pena di essere vissuta. La messa diviene un baccano confuso; le preghiere un rumore esteriore o interiore» (Thomas Merton, Le signe de Jonas, Ed. Albin Michel, Paris, 1955, p. 322).

“Silence is not a virtue, noise is not a sin, it is true,” says Thomas Merton, “but the turmoil and confusion and constant noise of modern society [or of some African Eucharistic liturgies] are the expression of the ambiance of its greatest sins—its godlessness, its despair. A world of propaganda, of endless argument, vituperation, criticism, or simply of chatter, is a world without anything to live for…. Mass becomes racket and confusion; prayers—an exterior or interior noise” (Thomas Merton, The Sign of Jonas [San Diego: Harcourt, Inc., 1953, 1981], passim).

Si corre il rischio reale di non lasciare alcun posto a Dio nelle nostre celebrazioni. Incorriamo nella tentazione degli ebrei nel deserto. Essi cercarono di crearsi un culto alla loro misura e alla loro altezza, e non dimentichiamo che finirono prostrati davanti all’idolo del vitello d’oro.

We run the real risk of leaving no room for God in our celebrations, falling into the temptation of the Israelites in the desert. They sought to create a cult of worship limited to their own measure and reach, and let us not forget that they ended up prostrate before the idol of the golden calf.

È tempo di metterci all’ascolto del concilio. La liturgia è «principalmente culto della maestà divina» (n. 33). Ha valore pedagogico nella misura in cui è completamente ordinata alla glorificazione di Dio e al culto divino. La liturgia ci pone realmente alla presenza della trascendenza divina. Partecipazione vera significa rinnovare in noi quello “stupore” che san Giovanni Paolo II teneva in grande considerazione (cfr. Ecclesia de Eucharistia, n. 6). Questo stupore sacro, questo timore gioioso, richiede il nostro silenzio di fronte alla maestà divina. Si dimentica spesso che il silenzio sacro è uno dei mezzi indicati dal concilio per favorire la partecipazione.

The hour has come to listen to the Council. The liturgy is “above all things the worship of the divine majesty” (§33). It can form and teach us only insofar as it is completely ordered to divine worship and the glorification of God. The liturgy truly places us in the presence of divine transcendence. True participation means the renewal in us of that “amazement” that St. John Paul II held in such high regard (cf. Ecclesia de Eucharistia, §6). This sacred amazement, this joyous reverence, requires our silence before the divine majesty. We often forget that sacred silence is one of the means indicated by the Council to foster participation.

Se la liturgia è opera di Cristo, è necessario che il celebrante vi introduca i propri commenti? Ci si deve ricordare che, quando il messale autorizza un intervento, questo non deve diventare un discorso profano e umano, un commento più o meno sottile sull’attualità, o un saluto mondano alle persone presenti, ma una brevissima esortazione a entrare nel mistero (cfr. Presentazione generale del messale romano, n. 50).

If the liturgy is the work of Christ, is it necessary for the celebrant to interject his own comments? We must remember that when the Missal authorizes commentary, this must not become a worldly, human discourse, a more or less subtle pronouncement on current events, or a banal greeting to those present, but rather a very brief exhortation to enter into the mystery (cf. General Introduction of the Roman Missal, §50).

Quanto all’omelia, è essa stessa un atto liturgico che ha le sue proprie regole. La participatio actuosa all’opera di Cristo presuppone che si lasci il mondo profano per entrare nell’«azione sacra per eccellenza» (Sacrosanctum concilium, n. 7). Di fatto, «noi pretendiamo, con una certa arroganza, di restare nell’umano per entrare nel divino» (Robert Sarah, Dieu ou rien, p. 178).

As for the homily, it too is a liturgical act which has its own rules. The participatio actuosa in the work of Christ presupposes that one leaves behind the profane world in order to enter into “sacred action surpassing all others” (Sacrosanctum Concilium, §7). In fact, “we claim somewhat arrogantly to remain in the human sphere so as to enter into the divine” (Robert Sarah, God or Nothing, Ignatius Press, Chapter IV).

In tal senso, è deplorevole che il sacrario delle nostre chiese non sia un luogo strettamente riservato al culto divino, che vi si penetri in abiti profani, che lo spazio sacro non sia chiaramente delimitato dall’architettura. Poiché, come insegna il concilio, Cristo è presente nella sua parola quando questa viene proclamata, è ugualmente deleterio che i lettori non abbiano un abbigliamento appropriato che mostri che non pronunciano parole umane ma una parola divina.

In this sense it is deplorable that the sanctuary in our churches is not strictly reserved for divine worship, that people enter it in worldly garb, that the sacred space is not clearly delineated by the architecture. And since, as the Council teaches, Christ is present in his word when it is proclaimed, it is equally harmful when readers are not dressed in a way that shows they are pronouncing not human words, but the Word of God.

La liturgia è una realtà fondamentalmente mistica e contemplativa, e di conseguenza fuori dalla portata della nostra azione umana; anche la participatio è una grazia di Dio. Pertanto, presuppone da parte nostra un’apertura al mistero celebrato. Così, la costituzione raccomanda la comprensione piena dei riti (cfr. n. 34) e al tempo stesso prescrive «che i fedeli sappiano recitare e cantare insieme, anche in lingua latina, le parti dell’ordinario della messa che spettano ad essi» (n. 54).

The liturgy is a fundamentally mystical and contemplative reality, and thus beyond the reach of our human action; even participatio is a grace from God. It presupposes on our part openness to the mystery being celebrated. For this reason the Constitution encourages full understanding of the rites (cf. §34) and at the same time prescribes that “the faithful…be able to say or to sing together in Latin those parts of the Ordinary of the Mass which pertain to them” (§54).

In effetti, la comprensione dei riti non è opera della ragione umana lasciata a se stessa, che dovrebbe cogliere tutto, capire tutto, padroneggiare tutto. La comprensione dei riti sacri è quella del sensus fidei, che esercita la fede vivente attraverso il simbolo e che conosce per sintonia più che per concetto. Questa comprensione presuppone che ci si avvicini al mistero con umiltà.

In reality, an understanding of the rites is not achieved by human reason left to itself, as if it could grasp everything, understand everything, master everything. An understanding of the sacred rites is the fruit of the sensus fidei, which exercises living faith through symbol and understands more by affinity than by concept. Such understanding presupposes that one draws near to the mystery with humility.

Ma si avrà il coraggio di seguire il concilio fino a questo punto? Una simile lettura, illuminata dalla fede, è però fondamentale per l’evangelizzazione. In effetti, «a coloro che sono fuori essa mostra la Chiesa, come vessillo innalzato di fronte alle nazioni, sotto il quale i figli di Dio dispersi possano raccogliersi» (n. 2).

But will we have the courage to follow the Council all the way to this point? Yet it is only such a reading, illumined by faith, which constitutes the foundation for evangelization. Indeed, “the liturgy… shows forth the Church to those who are outside as a sign lifted up among the nations, under which the scattered children of God may be gathered together” (§2).

Essa deve smettere di essere un luogo di disobbedienza alle prescrizioni della Chiesa. Più specificatamente, non può essere un’o ccasione di lacerazioni tra cristiani. Le letture dialettiche della Sacrosanctum concilium, le ermeneutiche di rottura in un senso o nell’altro, non sono il frutto di uno spirito di fede.

It must cease to be a place of disobedience to the prescriptions of the Church. More specifically, the liturgy cannot be an occasion for divisions among Christians. Dialectical readings of Sacrosanctum Concilium, or the hermeneutics of rupture in one sense or another, are not the fruit of a spirit of faith.

Il concilio non ha voluto rompere con le forme liturgiche ereditate dalla tradizione, anzi ha voluto approfondirle. La costituzione stabilisce che «le nuove forme scaturiscano organicamente, in qualche maniera, da quelle già esistenti» (n. 23). In tal senso, è necessario che quanti celebrano secondo l’usus antiquior lo facciano senza spirito di opposizione, e dunque nello spirito della Sacrosanctum concilium.

The Council did not intend to break from the liturgical forms inherited from tradition – indeed, it desired to deepen them. The Constitution establishes that “any new forms adopted should in some way grow organically from forms already existing” (§23). In this sense, it is necessary that those who celebrate according to the usus antiquior do so without a spirit of opposition, and thus in the spirit of Sacrosanctum Concilium.

Allo stesso modo, sarebbe sbagliato considerare la forma straordinaria del rito romano come derivante da un’altra teologia che non sia la liturgia riformata. Sarebbe anche auspicabile che s’inserisse come allegato di una prossima edizione del messale il rito della penitenza e l’offertorio dell’usus antiquior al fine di sottolineare che le due forme liturgiche s’illuminano a vicenda, in continuità e senza opposizione.

By the same token, it would be a mistake to consider the extraordinary form of the Roman Rite as deriving from a different theology than that of the reformed liturgy. And one could hope that a future edition of the Missal might include the penitential rite and the offertory of the usus antiquior, so as to underscore the fact that the two liturgical forms shed light one upon the other, in continuity and without opposition.

Se vivremo in questo spirito, allora la liturgia smetterà di essere il luogo delle rivalità e delle critiche, per farci infine partecipare attivamente a quella liturgia «che viene celebrata nella santa città di Gerusalemme, verso la quale tendiamo come pellegrini, dove il Cristo siede […] quale ministro del santuario» (n. 8).

12 June 2015

If we live in this spirit, the liturgy will cease to be the locus of rivalries and criticisms, and we will be brought at last to participate actively in that liturgy “which is celebrated in the holy city of Jerusalem toward which we journey as pilgrims, where Christ is sitting at the right hand of God, a minister of the holies and of the true tabernacle” (§8).

12 June 2015

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Vatican For Sale: Very Wealthy Rent the Sistine Chapel, Dine with the Pope and Buy Secret Archives

With philanthropist and homeless advocate Pope Francis in charge, things are really changing inside the walls of the venerable institution, and the Vatican will never be the same again.

Over the last year the Vatican has been involved with countless fund-raising opportunities that have brought in private corporate dollars as well as income from high-profile celebrities and billionaires.

Last year Pope Francis for the very first time allowed the Sistine Chapel to be rented out for a private corporate event, with the proceeds going to his homeless charities. The Vatican would not reveal how much it was paid for the event, but the ultimate visit arranged by Porsche cost over $10,000 per person. The 40 wealthy guests enjoyed a spectacular dinner and concert in the Sistine Chapel, beneath its famed Michelangelo ceiling. The concert was performed by a choir from the historic Accademia di Santa Cecilia in Rome.

Gallery of the Metallic Shelves in the Vatican Archive (Photo courtesy of Vatican Secret Archives and VdH Books/CNS)

It is believed this is the first time that the chapel, which was built by Pope Sixtus IV starting in 1473, has been leased out to a company for a private event. The Pope now wants to use the Vatican’s treasures to good use for the benefit of the poor. Porsche was required to make a sizeable donation for the use of the Sistine Chapel, with the money then passed onto charity.

But as the fundraising event was revealed, the Vatican announced it would limit the number of visitors allowed inside the chapel to just six million per year, fearing that the frescoes were being damaged by the huge swarms of tourists.

Tower of the Winds

While Pope Francis urges the world to care for the poor, he presides over the world’s most valuable collection of treasures. According to Catholic Church historian Michael Walsh, “If sold, the money could lift millions out of destitution. Pope Paul VI, whom Francis has just beatified, was so conscious of this paradox that he sold the papal tiara – the triple-tiered crown used in his coronation – to raise alms for the poor. It was bought by an American cardinal, and there has never been a papal ‘coronation’ since. But not everything is saleable. Certainly not the Sistine Chapel. The next best thing is to allow its use as a money-making enterprise with the profits going to the poor.”

Celebrities and billionaires have always had the opportunity to score private visits to the Vatican museums. Justin Bieber was reported to have offered over $50,000 on an exclusive private tour. Angelina Jolie met Pope Francis during a private audience at the Vatican this year as the Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

Recently Pope Francis startled the old guard by closing portions of the Vatican and welcoming a group of 150 homeless for a VIP private tour including the Pope’s residence in the St. Martha guesthouse. After visiting the Carriage Pavilion, the large group ventured into the Upper Galleries with the Gallery of the Candelabra and the Gallery of Maps – before making a unique visit to the apartment of Pius V and finally the Sistine Chapel itself. They were then treated to a private sit down dinner.

The brainchild of Archbishop Konrad Krajewski, the visit was designed to show the city’s homeless population not just the beauty from outside St. Peter’s Basilica, but also the beauty within, which belongs to everyone, including those who have met misfortune and are living in poverty.

Archbishop Konrad Krajewski, the pope's chief alms-giver, talks to the homeless visitors in the Sistine Chapel. (AP Photo/L'Osservatore Romano)

Now word has come that even the most revered Vatican Secret Archives are for sale to very wealthy buyers. Billionaires now have the opportunity to not only visit the Archives but also purchase a one-of-a-kind high quality copy of a transcript on parchment with a very high price tag (over $100,000 per page). But only an elite group of investors know how to get involved in this opportunity.

As an attempt to showcase the Archives, the Vatican invited a journalist for the very first time to visit the inner sanctum. Belgian publisher Paul Van den Heuvel was handpicked to create a $5,000 photo coffee table book on the Secret Archives, which has now become a catalog of sorts for buyers worldwide. The one caveat is that no documents after 1939 were available to view, which for obvious reasons includes the most scandalous periods of time for the Vatican.

The cardinals’ letter to the future pope Celestine V (photo by Daniele Fregonese)
Scholars have been allowed in the archive since 2003, as long as they knew exactly which documents they will research. But now, elite visitors may have the opportunity to have the ultimate in bragging rights. They will be able to walk through an enormous pair of brass doors, through multiple security checkpoints, up a narrow winding staircase to the 73m Tower of the Winds, which was built by Ottavinao Mascherino in 1578. This is a sacred place where the public is never admitted.

Beyond the Tower of Winds are rooms lined with 50 miles (roughly the length of the Panama Canal), filled with dark wooden shelves. Inside are hundreds of thousands of volumes (some almost two feet thick) filled with antiquated parchment. This is the Vatican secret archive, the most mysterious collection of documents in the world.

One of the largest tomes in the Vatican Secret Archive

Among the historic documents are: Handwritten records of Galileo’s trial before the Inquisition; the 1530 petition from England’s House of Lords asking the Pope to annul Henry VIII’s marriage to Catherine of Aragon; letters from Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis during the U.S. Civil War; the papal bull excommunicating Martin Luther, and letters from Michelangelo including one where he complained about not receiving payment for his work on the Sistine Chapel.

Some of the more controversial, and much argued theories about hidden documents include; documentation of the Jesus bloodline; secular historical proof of Jesus’s existence, with correspondence between Saint Paul and Emperor Nero; secular historical proof via the same correspondence that Jesus did not exist; and contemporary depictions of Jesus (formal portraits of Jesus made by people who actually saw and depicted him in real life).

Weighty books of documents line the shelves of the Vatican Archives

Many historians and scholars have also hinted the Church has hidden the existence of various Biblical relics, either the relics themselves, or reliable documentation as to their whereabouts, including the Ark of the Covenant, the Holy Grail, the True Cross, the truth about the Shroud of Turin, and many others.

Once, Napoleon had the whole of the secret archive transported to Paris. In 1817 it was eventually returned with countless documents missing. Private investors have speculated about what truly is available in the public sector, hidden for decades.

For now, the future of the Vatican is certainly changing forever. Many more opportunities will be unveiled in the coming year with fund raising efforts giving help to a lot of people less fortunate…. thanks to Pope Francis.

Vatican Secret Archives entry lock

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Pro-Choice? Whose Choice? Not My Choice! – (Five Catholic Memes)

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Sixty Second Gospel

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There is so much more to the story than “God Loves You.”

Kristeen N Gillooly

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