Sunday Readings and Reflections

Sunday, February 21 
First Sunday of Lent 

Roman Ordinary calendar

St. Peter Damian

Book of Genesis 9,8-15.

God said to Noah and to his sons with him : 
“See, I am now establishing my covenant with you and your descendants after you 
and with every living creature that was with you: all the birds, and the various tame and wild animals that were with you and came out of the ark. 
I will establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all bodily creatures be destroyed by the waters of a flood; there shall not be another flood to devastate the earth.” 
God added: “This is the sign that I am giving for all ages to come, of the covenant between me and you and every living creature with you: 
I set my bow in the clouds to serve as a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. 
When I bring clouds over the earth, and the bow appears in the clouds, 
I will recall the covenant I have made between me and you and all living beings, so that the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all mortal beings.” 

Psalms 25(24),4bc-5ab.6-7bc.8-9.

Your ways, O LORD, make known to me; 
teach me your paths, 
guide me in your truth and teach me, 
for you are God my savior. 

Remember that your compassion, O LORD, 
and your love are from of old. 
In your kindness remember me, 
because of your goodness, O LORD. 

Good and upright is the LORD; 
thus he shows sinners the way. 
He guides the humble to justice, 
he teaches the humble his way.   

First Letter of Peter 3,18-22.

Beloved: Christ suffered for sins once, the righteous for the sake of the unrighteous, that he might lead you to God. Put to death in the flesh, he was brought to life in the Spirit. 
In it he also went to preach to the spirits in prison, 
who had once been disobedient while God patiently waited in the days of Noah during the building of the ark, in which a few persons, eight in all, were saved through water. 
This prefigured baptism, which saves you now. It is not a removal of dirt from the body but an appeal to God for a clear conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 
who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers subject to him. 

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Mark 1,12-15.

The Spirit drove Jesus out into the desert, 
and he remained in the desert for forty days, tempted by Satan. He was among wild beasts, and the angels ministered to him. 
After John had been arrested, Jesus came to Galilee proclaiming the gospel of God: 
“This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.” 

Origen (c.185-253) 
priest and theologian 
Commentary on the Song of Songs, III, 27-33 ; SC 376

“This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand”

Mortal life is full of obstacles to stumble over, covered with the snares of deception (…) And because the enemy had spread out these snares everywhere and caught practically everyone in them, it was necessary that someone stronger should appear to master and break them and thus destroy the path of those who were following them. For this reason, before coming to unite himself with the Church as his bride, our Savior was also tempted by the devil. (…) In this way he taught the Church that it is not by luxuriousness and pleasure but through many trials and temptations she must come to Christ.

Indeed, there was no one else who could have overcome these snares. «For all have sinned», as it is written (Rm 3,23)… Our Lord and Savior, Jesus, is the only one who «committed no sin» (1Pt 2,22). But the Father «made him to be sin for our sake» (2Cor 5,21) so that «in the likeness of sinful flesh and for the sake of sin, he condemned sin» (Rm 8,3). Thus Jesus walked into these snares but was not himself entangled in them. More, when he had broken and destroyed them, he heartened the Church to the extent that, from now on, she would dare to crush obstacles underfoot, climb over the snares and say, in all happiness: «Our soul, like a bird, has escaped from the snare of the fowlers. The snare has been broken and we have been saved» (Ps 124[123],7).

However, he himself underwent death, yet voluntarily and not, as we do, bound by sin. For he is the only one to have been «free among the dead» (Ps 87,6 LXX). And because he was free among the dead he conquered «the one who had the power of death» (Heb 2,14) and «took prisoners captive» from him (Eph 4,8), those who were held in death. It was not just that he himself was raised from the dead but, at the same time, he «brought to life those who were captives in death and seated them with him in the heavens» (Eph 2,5f.); «ascending on high, he took prisoners captive» (Eph 4,8).

TLM readings for the first Sunday of Lent (Mass Invocabit me (violet))

Epistle (II Corinthians 6 : 1 – 10)

Fratres: Exhortámur vos, ne in vácuum grátiam Dei recipiátis. Alt enim: Témpore accépto exaudívi, te et in die salútis adjúvi te. Ecce nunc tempus acceptbile, ecce nunc dies salútis. Némini dantes ullam offensiónem, ut non vituperétur ministérium nos- trum: sed in ómnibus exhibeámus nos metípsos sicut Dei minístros, in multa patiéntia, in tribulatiónibus, in necessitátibus, in angústiis, in plagis, in carcéribus, in seditiónibus, in labóribus, in vigíliis, in jejúniis, in castitáte, in sciéntia, in longanimitáte, in suavitáte, in Spíritu Sancto, in caritáte non ficta, in verbo veritátis, in virtúte Dei, per arma justítiæ a dextris et a sinístris: per glóriam et ignobilitátem: per infámiam et bonam famam: ut seductóres et veráces: sicut qui ignóti et cógniti: quasi moriéntes, et ecce vívimus: ut castigáti et non mortificáti: quasi tristes, semper autem gaudéntes: sicut egéntes, multos autem locupletántes: tamquam nihil habéntes et ómnia possidéntes.

Brethren: We exhort you that you receive not the grace of God in vain. For He saith: In an accepted time have I heard thee, and in the day of salvation have I helped thee. Behold, now is the acceptable time, behold now is the day of salvation. Giving no offense to any man, that our ministry be not blamed: but in all things let us exhibit ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in tribulation, in necessities, in distresses, in stripes, in prisons, in seditions, in labors, in watchings, in fastings, in chastity, in knowledge, in long-suffering, in sweetness, in the Holy Ghost, in charity unfeigned, in the word of truth, in the power of God: by the armor of justice on the right hand and on the left: by honor and dishonor, by evil report and good report: as deceivers and yet true, as known and yet unknown: as dying, and behold we live: as chastised and not killed: as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing: as needy, yet enriching many: as having nothing and possessing all things.

Gradual (Psalm 90 : 11, 12)

Ángelis suis Deus mandávit de te, ut custódiant te in ómnibus viis tuis. ℣. In mánibus portábunt te, ne umquam offéndas ad lápidem pedem tuum.

God has given His Angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. In their hands they shall bear thee up, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.

Tract (Psalm 90:1–7,11–16)

Qui hábitat in adjutório Altíssimi, in protectióne Dei cœli commorábitur. ℣. Dicet Dómino: Suscéptor meus es tu et refúgium meum: Deus meus, sperábo in eum. ℣. Quóniam ipse liberávit me de láqueo venántium, et a verbo áspero. Scápulis suit obumbrábit tibi, et sub pennis ejus sperábis. Scuto circumdabit te véritas ejus: non timébis a timóre noctúrno. ℣. A sagítta volánte per diem, a negótio perambulánte in ténebris, a ruína et dæmónio meridiáno. ℣. Cadent a látere tuo mille, et decem míllia a dextris tuis: tibi autem non appropinquábit. ℣. Quóniam Ángelis suis mandávit de te, ut custódiant te in ómnibus viis tuis. ℣. In mánibus portábunt te, ne umquam offéndas ad lápidem pedem tuum. ℣. Super áspidem et basilíscum ambulábis, et conculcábis leónem et dracónem. ℣. Quóniam in me sperávit, liber- ábo eum: prótegam eum, quóniam cognóvit nomen me- um. ℣. Invocábit me, et ego exáudiam eum: cum ipso sum in tribulatióne. ℣. Erípiam eum et glorificábo eum: longitúdine diérum adimplébo eum, et osténdam illi salutáre meum.

He that dwelleth in the aid of the Most High, shall abide under the protection of the God of heaven. He shall say to the Lord: Thou art my protector and my refuge: my God, in Him will I trust. For He hath delivered me from the snare of the hunters, and from the sharp word. He will overshadow thee with His shoulders, and under His wings thou shalt trust. His truth shall compass thee with a shield: thou shalt not be afraid of the terror of the night. Of the arrow that flieth in the day, of the business that walketh about in the dark, of invasion or of the noonday devil. A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand: but it shall not come nigh to thee. For He hath given His Angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. In their hands they shall bear thee up, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone. Thou shalt walk upon the asp and the basilisk, and thou shalt trample under foot the lion and the dragon. Because he hoped in Me I will deliver him: I will protect him, because he hath known My Name. He shall cry to Me, and I will hear him: I am with him in tribulation. I will deliver him, and I will glorify him: I will fill him with length of days, and I will show him My salvation.

Gospel (Matthew 4 : 1 – 11)

In illo témpore: Ductus est Jesus in desértum a Spíritu, ut tentarétur a diábolo. Et cum jejunásset quadragínta diébus et quadragínta nóctibus, póstea esúriit. Et accédens tentátor, dixit ei: Si Fílius Dei es, dic ut lápides isti panes fiant. Qui respóndens dixit: Scriptum est: Non in solo pane vivit homo, sed in omni verbo, quod procédit de ore Dei. Tunc assúmpsit eum diábolus in sanctam civitátem, et státuit eum supra pinnáculum templi, et dixit ei: Si Fílius Dei es, mitte te deórsum. Scriptum est enim: Quia Ángelis suis mandávit de te, et in mánibus tollent te, ne forte offéndas ad lápidem pedem tuum. Alt illi Jesus: Rursum scriptum est: Non tentábis Dóminum Deum tuum. Iterum assúmpsit eum diábolus in montem excélsum valde et osténdit ei ómnia regna mundi et glóriam eórum, et dixit ei: Hæc ómnia tibi dabo si cadens adoráberis me. Tunc dicit ei Jesus: Vade, Sátana: scriptum est enim: Dóminum Deum tuum ador- ábis, et illi soli sérvies. Tunc relíquit eum diábolus: et ecce Angeli accessérunt et minis- trábant ei.

At that time Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert, to be tempted by the Devil. And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterwards He was hungry. And the tempter coming said to Him: If Thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. Who answered and said: It is written: Not in bread alone doth man live, but in every word that proceedeth from the mouth of God. Then the Devil took Him up into the holy city and set Him upon the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him: If Thou be the son of God, cast Thyself down. For it is written: That He hath given His Angels charge over Thee, and in their hands shall they bear Thee up, lest perhaps Thou dash Thy foot against a stone. Jesus said to him: It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. Again the Devil took Him up into a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them, and said to Him: All these will I give Thee, if falling down Thou wilt adore me. Then Jesus saith to him: Begone, Satan! for it is written: The Lord Thy God shalt thou adore, and Him only shalt thou serve. Then the Devil left Him. And behold Angels came, and ministered to Him.

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Babies were aborted alive, placed in fridge to harvest cell lines used in some vaccines: researcher

‘These babies were literally placed into the fridge alive and then stored between one and 24 hours until they could be dismembered.’

February 19, 2021, LifeSiteNews:

Cell lines derived from aborted babies used in the production or testing of various vaccines, including a number of COVID vaccines, most likely came from babies who were aborted alive, and according to the general practice as outlined in medical literature, may have been placed in a fridge while still living where they awaited dismemberment before having their organs harvested, a researcher has found. 

Biologist Pamela Acker, who has a master’s degree in Biology from the Catholic University of America and who recently authored a book titled Vaccination: A Catholic Perspective, related what the literature says about how babies were aborted to obtain cell lines used in a number of vaccines.

“A number of these abortions that were done in that way were termed ‘abdominal hysterectomies’ in the medical literature. So in some cases, the women were actually being sterilized in the process as well,” she said. 

“They had to maintain a sterile environment because you don’t want any contamination of the tissue with any kind of foreign agents, any bacteria, or viruses, or anything like that. The babies were — and, in some cases, the uterus as well — removed from the woman and, without even puncturing the amniotic sac, placed directly into the refrigerator where it was kept for no more than 24 hours.”

“So these babies were literally placed into the fridge alive and then stored between one and 24 hours until they could be dismembered, basically. And this is right there in the scientific literature,” she said.

Acker made these comments during her Feb. 19 presentation at an online conference hosted by LifeSiteNews titled “Unmasking COVID-19: Vaccines, Mandates, and Global Health.”

Moral conflict

Acker spent about nine months in a lab a decade ago working on a project to develop an HIV vaccine with a grant provided by The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. It was when her team decided to use HEK-293 cells for the project that she began to question her involvement. 

“At this point, most people have heard of these (cell lines) because they are connected with the COVID vaccines, but at that time I hadn’t. So I asked (my colleague) what ‘HEK’ stands for, and she told me, ‘Human Embryonic Kidney,”’ Acker said in an interview last month with LifeSite Editor-in-chief John-Henry Westen.

Acker said that it was after reading Dr. Alvin Wong’s paper titled “The Ethics of HEK 293” that appeared in the 2006 autumn issue of The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly that she was able to arrive at some moral clarity on the issue.

Wong, an oncologist and senior consultant at Singapore’s National University Cancer Institute who has an interest in bioethics, wrote in his paper that due to evidence that the cells were “obtained from the embryo of a willfully induced abortion,” there is “a moral duty on the part of any researcher to discontinue using this cell line.”

“That moral duty should be particularly clear to Catholic researchers and institutions. Even if it may be extremely difficult to stop or modify the experiments in progress, an immediate cessation of the use of the cell line is the correct and just action to take,” Wong added.

Acker said that when she “expressed my concerns to my primary investigator, it ended up being the end of my career in his lab.”

The baby girl behind HEK-293

Acker explained to Westen during her January 12 interview the meaning behind the letters and numbers HEK 293, the cell line developed by Dr. Frank Graham in the Netherlands in 1973.

“HEK stands for Human Embryonic Kidney. But 293 stands for the 293rd experiment that this particular researcher did to develop the cell lines.”

The kidney was taken from a “completely normal” preborn girl aborted in 1972 who, according to Alex van der Eb, the doctor leading the team to develop the cell line, had “nothing wrong” with her.

Acker said at the time to Westen that there were likely more abortions behind the final development of the cell line since “for 293 experiments you need far more than one abortion.”

“We’re talking probably 100s of abortions,” she said at that time.

Graham, however, recently told Ian Jackson, who was conducting research in the HEK-293 cell line, that only one fetus was involved. 

“On my arrival at the University of Leiden in the Netherlands I kept lab books in which I numbered my experiments in the order in which I carried them out starting in 1970. None of these experiments used human embryo kidney cells (HEK) until very late in my studies in Leiden (1973) when I carried out 2 (two!) experiments that utilized kidney cells from 1 (one!) human fetus.” 

“Since abortion was illegal in the Netherlands at that time except to save the life of the mother I have always assumed that that fetus resulted from a therapeutic abortion. However, the kidney cells I used had been prepared and frozen away before I even arrived in Leiden. Consequently, I do not have first hand knowledge of the circumstances relating to that single abortion. The second of the two experiments I carried out with these HEK cells was experiment 293 and resulted in the cell line of the same name. The bottom line is that the 293 cell line resulted from cells obtained from a single fetus,” Graham told Jackson, who forwarded the doctor’s statement to LifeSite.

Acker told LifeSite for this report that Graham’s statement is “misleading at best.” 

“Dr. Plotkin tried to say something similar, that the cell lines involved in the creation of vaccines only came from two abortions. But that ignores the other 74 babies that were a part of the research he was doing. It’s published in the literature that other HEK and HER (human embryonic retina) cell lines are attributed to Frank Graham. So his research definitely involved more than one abortion.”  

“When a cell line is developed, it is usually produced using a sample of tissue from a single individual unless it’s a hybrid cell line. So on the one hand, it is technically correct to say that the cell line was developed using one aborted baby. However, this is not an accurate representation of how many lives were actually sacrificed in the whole process of developing an aborted fetal cell line,” she continued. 

“If Graham wasn’t just working on fetal cell lines during his time at the University of Leiden, it may not have been hundreds of abortions,” she added, “but we would need to see his notebooks to know.”

Acker pointed out that there is every indication that the cells were derived from an “electively aborted” baby. 

“In particular, the fact that the cells were stored in the freezer lends further credence to the conclusion that HEK-293 was derived from an electively aborted fetus,” she said.

“The success and longevity of HEK-293 suggests that the specimen was remarkably well-suited for culturing, and anyone who has studied cell theory should know that you cannot derive a living cell culture from tissue that is already dead.  Because of the biological impossibility of creating a live cell line from dead tissue, and the practical and biological implausibility of obtaining live tissue from a spontaneously miscarried fetus, it is far more likely that the baby from whom HEK-293 was derived was electively aborted and alive at the time of tissue extraction,” she added.

Acker quoted Dr. C. Ward Kischer, an embryologist and emeritus professor of anatomy from the University of Arizona College of Medicine, who stated the following regarding the cells obtained for aborted fetal cell lines: “In order to sustain 95% of the cells, the live tissue would need to be preserved within 5 minutes of the abortion […] within an hour the cells would continue to deteriorate, rendering the specimen useless.”

Acker said that if the baby used in the production of HEK-293 “had already been dead (through a natural miscarriage), the tissue would certainly have been of no use to Mr. Graham in making a cell line after it had been stored in a freezer.”

She speculated that the tissue from the baby used for the production of HEK-293 was likely procured by the surgical method of whole-fetus extraction, often referred to as a C-section abortion, which can include the removal of the uterus along with the living baby still inside.

Acker quoted a 1952 study from Dr. Thomas Weller and Dr. John Enders (among others), who were awarded the Nobel Prize in 1954 for their polio research involving growing cultures in various types of tissue, where they explained how “human embryonic tissues” were obtained for their experiments.

“This material was employed in most of the experiments. It was obtained under sterile precautions at the time of abdominal hysterotomy for therapeutic indications. Embryos of between 12 and 18 weeks’ gestation have been utilized. Rarely tissues were obtained from stillborn fetuses, or from premature infants at autopsy … In the experiments on prolonged propagation of virus, three sorts of embryonic materials were used: elements of skin, connective tissue, and muscle; intestinal tissue; brain tissue,” the researchers stated.

“Embryonic tissues were prepared in the following manner. Whenever possible the embryo was removed from the amniotic sac under sterile precautions, transferred to a sterile towel and kept at 5 C until dissected,” (bold added) they added.

Acker then quoted from Dr. Gonzalo Herranz, Professor of Histology and General Embryology at the University of Navarra, Spain, who described how abortions must be done to obtain uncontaminated fetal material in Italian scientist Pietro Croce’s book Vivisection or Science? first published in English in 1991.

“To obtain embryo cells, embryos from spontaneous abortions cannot be used, nor can those obtained by means of abortions performed via the vagina: in both cases, the embryo will be contaminated by micro-organisms,” wrote Herranz.

“The correct way consists in having recourse to Caesarian section or to the removal of the uterus. Only in this way can bacteriological sterility be guaranteed. In either case, then, to obtain embryo cells for culture, a programmed abortion must be adopted, choosing the age of the embryo and dissecting it while still alive to remove tissues to be placed in culture media,” (bold added) he added.

Commented Acker: “Because of the necessity of maintaining a sterile culture of tissue for developing a cell line, it seems reasonable to conclude that there would — at minimum — had to have been some pre-arrangement to obtain sterile, unmacerated tissue from the fetus used for HEK-293.  The easiest and surest way to do this is by the surgical method of whole-fetus extraction.”

Acker’s findings relate to the findings of U.S. pro-life investigator David Daleiden, who performed an undercover investigation of Planned Parenthood’s involvement in the illegal harvesting and trafficking of aborted baby body parts. Daleiden, who began to release videos of his sting operation in 2015, uncovered that biotech companies in the United States harvested numerous organs, including “live beating” hearts from aborted babies for research (see herehere, and here).

Multiple abortions behind various aborted fetal cell lines 

Acker told LifeSite for this report that the formation of other cell lines derived from aborted babies and used for research purposes and in the development of numerous vaccines involved hundreds of abortions.

“Many aborted fetal cell lines and all the aborted fetal cell lines used in currently licensed vaccines are the culmination of a series of experiments that include multiple abortions,” she said. Acker listed the following examples:

  • The WI-38 cell line (used in MMR and shingles vaccines) came from the 32nd aborted baby that was used in a series of experiments. Other cell lines that came out of the Wistar Institute include WI-26 (from the 20th aborted baby) and WI-44 cell (from the 38th aborted baby).
  • The MRC-5 line (used in hepatitis A, measles, and shingles vaccines) required five abortions to develop.
  • WALVAX2, the most recent aborted fetal cell line, came from the ninth aborted baby in a series.
  • RA273, which is the virus used in the rubella vaccine, originated in the 27thbaby that was aborted in search of the virus. Mothers who were infected with the rubella virus during pregnancy were actively encouraged to aborttheir children. Forty more elective abortions for rubella virus were performed after this, though RA273 was the strain that ended up in the final vaccine preparation.

Acker said that the use of aborted fetal cell lines in medical research, at any level, “fuels a growing acceptance of using aborted babies in other types of medical research.”

“This problem is irrespective of the original number of abortions performed to obtain a cell line, and will only be exacerbated by the acceptance of HEK-293-derived COVID vaccines,” she added.

‘New pro-life movement’

Kazakhstan Bishop Athanasius Schneider, during his presentation at today’s vaccine conference, called for the formation of a “new pro-life movement” that refuses to have anything to do with medicines or vaccines derived in one way or another from aborted babies.

Schneider said that until now, the pro-life movement has been “very meritorious” in raising a united voice against abortion. “But I think there now comes a new time, a new phase, a new period of all pro-life movements to protest, clearly and unambiguously, against abortion-tainted medicines, against the abuse of the body parts of the unborn.”

While the Catholic Church’s 2020 guidelines permit Catholics to receive abortion-tainted vaccines, the Bishop said that Christians cannot “simply resign” themselves to the fact that the production of various medicines is tied to the slaughter of preborn babies who are utilized for their body parts.

“The voice of the unborn children’s blood is crying to God from the abortion tainted vaccines, from the abortion tainted medicines,” he said. “This voice is crying all over the world, and we have to awaken.”

“No one who is really deeply concerned about the defense of life and the moral law can be silent or can be quiet and can resign to this situation,” he added.

See also: vaccine-expert-answers-critics-exposes-horrific-nature-of-abortion-tainted-vaccine-research

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The Spirituality of St. Jacinta of Fatima

CP&S Comment. Today is the feast of the little Fatima visionary,Jacinta Marto, who died on this day in a Lisbon hospital in 1920, a month before her tenth birthday. She was an enchanting, lively and intelligent child, but most of all she was a warrior of faithfulness to Catholic teaching. Her ardent witness to penance and mortification for sinners coming from such a young child is quite outstanding. She is a powerful example for us all to follow, and especially for Catholic parents to hold up to their own children. No child is too young to become a Saint.

Jacinta of Fatima, shortly after the vision of Hell

Jacinta Marto was born in the village of Aljustrel near Fatima in Portugal on March 11, 1910, to parents Manuel Pedro “Ti” Marto and Olympia de Jesus. She was only 6 years old when the Angel of Peace appeared, and just seven when Our Lady appeared in 1917. Jacinta is the youngest non-martyr ever to be beatified by the Church. In the course of almost four years until her death on February 20, 1920, she made giant strides in the spiritual life. God, through Mary, gave her many graces and she responded with an unwavering faith and ardent love.

Jacinta was naturally very affectionate; her father called her the sweetest of their nine children. She was also very capricious and somewhat self-willed. She loved games, but was easily offended and would go into a corner to pout. The children called this “tethering the donkey.” She could only be coaxed back if she could name the game herself. After the apparitions she retained her affectionate nature, but became more serious. Whatever she did, she did with her whole heart, so after the apparitions she accepted wholeheartedly the message of Our Lady.

Jacinta’s affection during the time of Mary’s appearances was directed into new channels, deepening her love for our Lord, His Mother, for the Church, for the Holy Father and for sinners. It was as though the light that came from Our Lady’s hands in the first and second apparitions, which reflected on all three children, gave Jacinta a deep insight into the meaning of God and eternity. The terrible vision of hell caused her great distress and she asked Lucia, “Why doesn’t Our Blessed Lady show hell to sinners? If they could see it they would never commit any more sins.” Jacinta’s affection during the time of Mary’s appearances was directed into new channels, deepening her love for our Lord, His Mother, for the Church, for the Holy Father and for sinners. It was as though the light that came from Our Lady’s hands in the first and second apparitions, which reflected on all three children, gave Jacinta a deep insight into the meaning of God and eternity. The terrible vision of hell caused her great distress and she asked Lucia, “Why doesn’t Our Blessed Lady show hell to sinners? If they could see it they would never commit any more sins.” She had a deep trust in Mary’s advice to pray very much and make sacrifices for sinners, “for many go to hell because there are none to sacrifice themselves and pray for them.”

The spirituality of Jacinta may be said to rest on a three-fold basis: 1) Devotion to the Holy Trinity, expressed in the prayer to the Trinity taught to the children by the Angel. 2) A deep devotion to Mary, especially to her Immaculate Heart, due to special graces given her by Our Lady. 3) Devotion to the Eucharist or “the hidden Jesus.”

Jacinta made her First Communion some time before her final illness. During her illness, she told Lucia, “I love Our Lord and Our Lady and I never get tired telling them that I love them. When I do that it seems I have a fire in my heart, but it does not burn me.”

As her illness progressed and she was too weak to attend daily Mass, she told Lucia, “It doesn’t matter. I want to go to make up for those sinners who will not go even on Sundays. Do you know, Lucia, our dear Lord is so sad and Our Lady told us He is already too greatly offended and we must not offend him anymore, but nobody listens and they just go on committing the same sins.”

Near the time of Francisco’s death, Our Lady appeared and asked her if she wanted to come to heaven then, too, or stay on earth longer to suffer for the conversion of sinners. Jacinta said she wanted to stay and suffer. Our Lady then told her that she would die alone in the hospital in Lisbon, but not to worry because she would come and take her to heaven.

Just before leaving for the hospital, she told Lucia, “It will not be long now before I go to heaven. You will remain here to make known that God wishes to establish in the world devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Tell everybody that God grants us graces through the Immaculate Heart of Mary; that people are to ask her for them; and that the Heart of Jesus wants the Immaculate Heart of Mary to be venerated at his side. Tell them also to pray to the Immaculate Heart of Mary for peace, since God has entrusted it to her.”

Jacinta suffered tremendously while at the hospital from frequent fevers, from an abscess on her side, pneumonia, and tuberculosis. Hardest of all was that she suffered alone, without family or friends. During her stay there, she confided in Mother Godinho, who cared for her, several things of great importance that Our Lady had told her:

  • “More souls go to hell because of sins of impurity more than any other.”
  • “War is a punishment from God for sins.”
  • “Certain fashions are going to be introduced that will offend Our Lord very greatly and those who serve God should not follow them.”
  • “Many marriages are not good, they are not pleasing to our Lord and are not of God.”
  • “Priests must be very pure and concentrate on their mission to the Church and souls, and be obedient to the Pope and their Superiors.”
  • “My dear mother, run away from riches. Cherish silence and holy poverty. Always be charitable, even with those who are unkind. Never criticize others and avoid those who do.”

Jacinta never tired of encouraging others to love Our Lord and His Mother, as well as to pray for the Holy Father and make sacrifices for sinners. During her Beatification on May 13, 2000, Pope St. John Paul II publicly thanked her for her prayers and sacrifices.

Little Jacinta died alone in Lisbon on the night of Feb. 20, 1920. Just before Our Lady came to take her to heaven, she appeared to Jacinta and told her that her sufferings and sacrifices saved many souls. When her grave was exhumed so that her body could be moved to the parish cemetery of St. Anthony in Fatima, her face was found to be incorrupt and she exhibited a sweet smell like bouquets of flowers. Today she is laid to rest next to Lucia’s grave, with St. Francisco’s grave on the opposite side chapel in the Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary at the Shrine of Fatima in Portugal. She, along with Francisco, was canonized by Pope Francis on May 13, 2017.

This article first appeared in Fatima: 100 Years of Grace – Special Commemorative Issue of Soul Magazine . It has been updated since the canonization of St. Jacinta.

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Stations of the Cross – by St Alphonsus Liguori

The fullness of Catholicism is so beautiful and life giving. The Catholic Church is the channel of grace for the world. The Stations of the Cross, also known as the Way of the Cross (in Latin, Via Crucis) is a beautiful Catholic meditation to honour the passion of Christ and deepen our devotion to Our Loving Saviour who suffered such unimaginable agony in His Passion and Death to redeem sinful Mankind. Recalling these 14 stations of the Cross reminds us of the passionate love Jesus has for each one of us.

The video draws upon the meditation of St Alphonsus Liguori. The Stations of the Cross is a wonderful lenten reflection, especially on Fridays.

  • The First Station: Pilate Condemns Jesus to Death.
  • The Second Station: Jesus Accepts His Cross.
  • The Third Station: Jesus Falls the First Time
  • The Fourth Station: Jesus Meets His Afflicted Mother
  • The Fifth Station: Simon Helps Jesus Carry the Cross
  • The Sixth Station: Veronica Offers Her Veil to Jesus
  • The Seventh Station: Jesus Falls the Second Time
  • The Eighth Station: Jesus Speaks to the Women
  • The Ninth Station: Jesus Falls the Third Time
  • The Tenth Station: Jesus Is Stripped of His Garments
  • The Eleventh Station: Jesus Is Nailed to the Cross
  • The Twelfth Station: Jesus Dies Upon the Cross
  • The Thirteenth Station: Jesus Is Taken Down from the Cross
  • The Fourteenth Station: Jesus Is Placed in the Sepulcher
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A Little Lenten Reminder


No matter what happens in Rome, with our most unfortunate Pope. No matter what the gods of the so-called New World Order have in store for us. Christ crucified is all that really matters for the forty days of Lent.

When we come upon the graves of the dead, we must remember that we’ll soon be joining them, that nobody gets out of here alive, that even those of us in the best of health will be gone fifty years from now–maybe a few more, maybe a few less. That is the designated home for all the living–death.  There the rich man and the poor man will be stretched out on a common bed and both will be content with only a small patch of earth.  No distinction will be made there between the nobleman and the commoner, and the weak will no longer be stomped upon by the more powerful.  

There the miser will no longer benefit from his money, nor will the clever profit from his cunning. There the prim will become the food of worms, and the dandy will give off an offensive odor.  And those who have placed themselves on pedestals will be brought low and the praise that the proud were accustomed to will no longer be theirs.  Take notice how all mortals tend toward nothing and how all flesh, made corrupt by sin, returns to its original source.

Therefore, strive so to live and through the sprit to mortify your flesh, that when your body turns into dust your soul will be judged worthy to rest in blessed peace. If you live your life in labor and sorrow on a Good Friday, you will have a restful Holy Saturday and then a most joyful Easter Sunday, the day of the resurrection of the just.

The more austerely you live in the world, so much more tranquil will be your repose in the grave. The more firmly you cling to the Cross, so much more assurance you have of reaching Christ.  The more bitterly you deplore your sins, so much less will remain to be purged by the avenging flames.  What does the priest say to us on Ash Wednesday: “Remember, man, that thou are dust and unto dust thou shalt return.” In a few years, a few months, a few days—you will return to dust. We all will. It’s just a matter of time—and how we use the time we’re given. 

So lament during this time of grace, when the doors of mercy are open, and when God, in whom there is abundant redemption, accepts your repentance. Mourn also the wretched condition of the world and the incredible indifference of men.  Only a few are found today to be true followers of the Crucified, and many permit their original spiritual fervor to grow cold.

Let meditating on Jesus Christ and him crucified be your daily prayer. Keep Jesus always before your eyes and keep ever near the foot of his Cross.  Whether in life or in death, enter the tomb with Jesus so that when Christ, who is your life, shall appear again, you will rise with him in glory.   Amen

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Vatican City State issues decree suggesting those who refuse COVID vaccine may lose their jobs

Featured Image

By Jeanne Smits, Paris correspondent


The Vatican City State – the Holy See’s independent city state – recently issued a decree that includes COVID-19 vaccination among the measures its authorities can use in order to fight the current “public health emergency.” While the decree does not explicitly make taking a COVID-19 vaccine mandatory in the Vatican and attached territories, it does suggest that people employed by the Holy See or the Roman Curia could lose their job if they fail to take the jab.

The decree, available here (in Italian only) on the Vatican City State website, does not mention COVID-19 but any “public health emergency” defined, quoting the World Heath Organization’s 2001 text, as “an event or imminent threat of a disease or health condition, caused by bioterrorism, epidemic or pandemic disease, or new and highly fatal infectious agent or biological toxin, epidemic or pandemic disease that poses a substantial risk to a significant number of human resources or results in injury or permanent or long-term disability.”

In the decree’s introduction detailing the motives for its publication, vaccination receives specific and even prioritized attention.

Considering that:

– providing a health response, taking the actions immediately necessary to respond to the pandemic, while also keeping in mind its long-term effects, is important so that a global and regenerative “healing” can take place,

– it is deemed that to undergo vaccination constitutes “the taking of a responsible decision, given that the refusal of the vaccine may also constitute a risk to others” and “that such a refusal could seriously increase risks to public health,”

– there is an urgent need to issue these provisions with the force of law, pursuant to Article 7, paragraph 2, of the Fundamental Law of the State of Vatican City, of November 26, 2000. Vatican City State of November 26, 2000;

The following has been promulgated… 

This language clearly indicates that refusing the vaccine would imperil public health and that therefore the law is required to make sure that doesn’t happen. However, the decree appears to balk at calling the vaccine itself compulsory as such, insofar as its refusal is not explicitly listed among the acts that can entail an administrative fine. Fines from 25 Euros ($30) may be issued for the improper wearing of protective equipment such as masks, and fines of up to 1,500 Euros ($1,815) may be issued for failure to observe a mandated quarantine.

The decree’s seven pages mention the various measures that can and must be taken “to ensure the health and well-being of the work community while respecting the dignity, rights and fundamental freedoms of each of its members,” “according to the principle of necessity, taking into consideration the actual risk to public health and following the criteria of timeliness, appropriateness and proportionality.” These measures concern “citizens, residents in the State, (…) personnel serving in the Governorate of the Vatican City State and in the various bodies of the Roman Curia and of the Institutions linked to it.”

According to the decree, these measures include: 

·      the restriction of movement and assembly of people

·      physical distancing, isolation and quarantine

·      the adoption of special hygiene rules

·      protocols for the use of personal protective equipment (PPE

·      therapeutic protocols

·      vaccination protocols

Articles 5 and 6 of the Decree mainly regard the vaccine. Here below are their texts in full, as translated and highlighted by LifeSiteNews:

Article 5

(Biological agents)

§1. In the presence of situations of declared public health emergency, in addition to what is provided for in Article 19 of the Technical Regulations for the implementation of Law No. LIV on the protection of safety and health of workers in the workplace, the competent administration, in accordance with the opinion of the Directorate of Health and Hygiene, takes all necessary measures aimed at reducing the risk of exposure to biological agents and infection by them, including the provision and administration of vaccines scientifically considered adequate to reduce the impact of the spread and transmission of infection.

§2 The Superior Authority, in agreement with the Directorate of Health and Hygiene, in the event of a public health emergency declared in accordance with Article 12 of the International Health Regulations (2005), having assessed the risk of exposure to the biological agent and transmission of contagion, in the performance of work activities involving public service tasks, relations with third parties or posing a risk to the safety of the working community, may deem it necessary to implement a prophylaxis entailing the administration of a vaccine in order to protect the health of citizens, residents, workers and the work community.

Article 6

(Measures regarding workers)

§1. With due regard to what is provided for in §2 of Art. 5, the Administration may assign, for the period of the above-mentioned risk, the worker who, for proven reasons of health cannot undergo the administration of the vaccine, to other tasks, equivalent or, if not available, lower, guaranteeing the economic treatment corresponding to the tasks of origin.

§2 The measures referred to in §2 of Art. 5 are tantamount to preventive, periodic and ex officio health checks, which are the responsibility of the Directorate of Health and Hygiene. Therefore, the worker who without proven health reasons refuses to undergo them is subject to the provisions of art. 6 of the Rules for the Protection of Human Dignity and Fundamental Rights to be observed regarding health checks in view of the recruitment of personnel and during the employment relationship, and Rules for the protection of employees suffering from particular serious diseases or in particular psychophysical conditions of November 18, 2011.”

Article 6, §1 is interesting. In saying that a worker who refuses the vaccine for “proven reasons of health” may be reassigned to a task in which he or she will not pose a risk to the health of others. But the text also implies that workers who refuse the vaccine without “proven reasons of health” and who are in a position to pose a risk to other “citizens, residents, workers and the work community” may not receive another task and payment. In other words, they would lose their job and income.

The task of intervening in the case of non-compliance with the public health measures imposed by the “Superior Authority” of the Vatican City State is assigned by the decree to its Gendarmerie Corps that can surveil and impose fines on non-compliant workers and residents.

The decree concludes with the words:

The original of the present decree, bearing the seal of the State, shall be deposited in the Archives of the Laws of the State of Vatican City and the corresponding text shall be published, in addition to the Supplement to the Acta Apostolicae Sedis, by being posted in the courtyard of San Damaso, on the doors of the offices of the Governorate and in the post offices of the State, instructing everyone concerned to observe it and to have it observed.

Vatican City, February eighth, two thousand and twenty-one.

(signed) Giuseppe Card. Bertello

Cardinal Bertello is the governor of the Vatican City State, having held the position since 2011.

Administrative fines are listed in an Annex to the decree. Vaccination is not mentioned: the fines apply to the transgression of rules regarding “prohibition of assembly”, obligation to use protective equipment and to use it “correctly,” “social distancing measures,” “fiduciary seclusion or quarantine,” “behavioral requirements” (the “rules of conduct in public places or places open to the public established by the measures issued by the competent authority”) and restrictions to circulation and movements (“violation of the limitations of circulation and displacements within the State, and in entry and exit to the same.”) 

These two last situations could theoretically bring a vaccine obligation into play. Getting the jab could, for example, could be construed as a “behavioral requirement.” time will tell whether that will be the case. As to restrictions to circulation and movements, these could also be interpreted as applying to Vatican residents who refuse a COVID-19 vaccine insofar as refusing to be vaccinated is presented by the decree itself as a potential hazard to public health.

All of this must be read in the light of two facts. The first is that, in the present sanitary emergency, over 99.95 percent of the population survives and most COVID-19 victims who actually die of the disease are very ill or very old and have a very short life expectancy. Second, the Vatican is using and distributing the Pfizer mRNA shot that was developed using cell lines derived from voluntary, late-term abortions.

And now the Vatican has become one of the first states to impose these vaccines on its own workers, under more or less veiled threats and with no mention of freedom and informed consent.

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Cardinal Burke: we must confront lies

Cardinal Burke: “Those who care for the truth are labeled as rigid and as traditionalists because they oppose the prevailing agenda of confusion.”

Confusion in the Church often borders on error

The best term to describe the current state of the Church is confusion, which has its origin in the lack of respect for the truth. Each of us, according to his vocation in life and his particular gifts, has the obligation to dispel confusion and to manifest the light that comes only from Christ. There is confusion about the very nature of the Church and its relationship with the world. Only with baptism does one become a child of God and it is not true that God wants a plurality of religions.

The best term to describe the current state of the Church is confusion; confusion that often borders on error. The confusion is not limited to one or another doctrine or discipline or aspect of the life of the Church: it concerns the very identity of the Church.

Confusion has its origin in the failure to respect the truth, either in the denial of the truth or in the pretense of not knowing the truth or in the failure to declare the truth that is known. In his confrontation with the Scribes and Pharisees on the occasion of the Feast of Tabernacles, Our Lord spoke clearly of those who promote confusion, refusing to recognize the truth and to speak the truth. The confusion is the work of the Evil One, as Our Lord himself taught, when he said these words to the scribes and Pharisees: “Why don’t you understand my language? Because you cannot listen to my words, you who have the devil as your father, and you want to fulfill your father’s wishes. He was a murderer from the beginning and did not persevere in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks of his own, because he is a liar and the father of lies. To me, instead, you don’t believe, because I tell the truth ». (Jn 8, 43-45).

The culture of lying and the confusion it generates has nothing to do with Christ and His Bride, the Church. Remember the admonition of Our Lord in the Sermon on the Mount: “Let your speech be yes, yes; no, no; more comes from the evil one “(Mt 5:37).

Why is it important for us to reflect on the current state of the Church, marked as it is by so much confusion? Each of us, as a living member of the Mystical Body of Christ, is called to fight the good fight against evil and the Evil One, and to keep the race of good, the race of God, with Christ. Each of us, according to his vocation in life and his particular gifts, has the obligation to dispel confusion and to manifest the light that comes only from Christ who is alive for us in the living Tradition of the Church.

It should come as no surprise that, in the current state of the Church, those who care for the truth, who are faithful to Tradition, are labeled as rigid and as traditionalists because they oppose the prevailing agenda of confusion. They are portrayed by the authors of the culture of lies and confusion as poor and deficient, sick in need of treatment.

Actually, we only want one thingthat is, to be able to declare, like St. Paul at the end of his earthly days: «As for me, my blood is about to be shed in libation and the time has come to untangle the sails. I have fought the good fight, I have finished my race, I have kept the faith. Now I have only the crown of justice that the Lord, just judge, will deliver to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all those who await its manifestation with love “(2 Tim 4: 6-8).

It is out of love for our Lord and his living presence with us in the Church that we fight for the truth and for the light it always brings into our life.

In addition to the duty to combat lies and confusion in our daily life, as living members of the Body of Christ, we have a duty to make our concerns for the Church known to our pastors – the Roman Pontiff, the bishops and priests who are the principal collaborators of the bishops in the care of God’s flock….

The above comes from a Feb. 15 edition of the Daily Compass (with emphases added by CP&S)

Cardinal Burke, who led the Diocese of La Crosse, Wisconsin, and the Archdiocese of St. Louis, served as head of the Apostolic Signatura in Rome.

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The Mysteries of Lent

“On Ash Wednesday, the Church calls Lent a Christian warfare.”

We may be sure that a season so sacred as this of Lent is rich in mysteries. The Church has made it a time of recollection and penance, in preparation for the greatest of all her feasts; she would, therefore, bring into it everything that could excite the faith of her children, and encourage them to go through the arduous work of atonement for their sins. During Septuagesima, we had the number “seventy”, which reminds us of those seventy years of captivity in Babylon, after which God’s chosen people, being purified from idolatry, was to return to Jerusalem and celebrate the Pasch. It is the number “forty” that the Church now brings before us: a number, as St. Jerome observes, which denotes punishment and affliction.

Let us remember the forty days and forty nights of the deluge sent by God in His anger, when He repented that He had made man, and destroyed the whole human race with the exception of one family. Let us consider how the Hebrew people, in punishment for their ingratitude, wandered forty years in the desert, before they were permitted to enter the promised land. Let us listen to our God commanding the Prophet Ezechiel to lie forty days on his right side, as a figure of the siege which was to bring destruction on Jerusalem.

The Temptation of Christ in the Desert
There are two persons in the old Testament who represent the two manifestations of God: Moses, who typifies the Law; and Elias, who is the figure of the Prophets. Both of these are permitted to approach God: the first on Sinai, the second on Horeb; but both of them have to prepare for the great favour by an expiatory fast of forty days.

With these mysterious facts before us, we can understand why it is that the Son of God, having become Man for our salvation and wishing to subject Himself to the pain of fasting, chose the number of forty days. The institution of Lent is thus brought before us with everything that can impress the mind with its solemn character, and with its power of appeasing God and purifying our souls. Let us, therefore, look beyond the little world which surrounds us, and see how the whole Christian universe is, at this very time, offering this forty days’ penance as a sacrifice of propitiation to the offended Majesty of God; and let us hope that, as in the case of the Ninivites, He will mercifully accept this year’s offering of our atonement, and pardon us our sins.

The number of our days of Lent is, then, a holy mystery: let us now learn, from the liturgy, in what light the Church views her children during these forty days. She considers them as an immense army, fighting day and night against their spiritual enemies. We remember how, on Ash Wednesday, she calls Lent a Christian warfare. In order that we may have that newness of life, which will make us worthy to sing once more our “Alleluia”, we must conquer our three enemies: the devil, the flesh, and the world. We are fellow combatants with our Jesus, for He, too, submits to the triple temptation, suggested to Him by satan in person. Therefore, we must have on our armour, and watch unceasingly. And whereas it is of the utmost importance that our hearts be spirited and brave, the Church gives us a war-song of heaven’s own making, which can fire even cowards with hope of victory and confidence in God’s help: it is the ninetieth Psalm. She inserts the whole of it in the Mass of the first Sunday of Lent, and every day introduces several of its verses into the ferial Office.

She there tells us to rely on the protection, wherewith our heavenly Father covers us, as with a shield; to hope under the shelter of His wings; to have confidence in Him; for that He will deliver us from the snare of the hunter, who had robbed us of the holy liberty of the children of God; to rely upon the succour of the holy angels, who are our brothers, to whom our Lord hath given charge that they keep us in all our ways, and who, when Jesus permitted satan to tempt Him, were the adoring witnesses of His combat, and approached Him, after His victory, proffering to Him their service and homage. Let us well absorb these sentiments wherewith the Church would have us to be inspired; and, during our six weeks’ campaign, let us often repeat this admirable canticle, which so fully describes what the soldiers of Christ should be and feel in this season of the great spiritual warfare.

But the Church is not satisfied with thus animating us to the contest with our enemies: she would also have our minds engrossed with thoughts of deepest import; and for this end she puts before us three great subjects, which she will gradually enfold to us between this and the great Easter solemnity. Let us be all attention to these soul-stirring and instructive lessons.

And firstly, there is the conspiracy of the Jews against our Redeemer. It will be brought before us in its whole history, from its first formation to its final consummation on the great Friday, when we shall behold the Son of God hanging on the wood of the cross. The infamous workings of the Synagogue will be brought before us so regularly, that we shall be able to follow the plot in all its details. We shall be inflamed with love for the august Victim, whose meekness, wisdom, and dignity bespeak a God. The divine drama, which began in the cave of Bethlehem, is to close on Calvary, we may assist at it, by meditating on the passages of the Gospel read to us by the Church during these days of Lent.

The second of the subjects offered to us, for our instruction, requires that we should remember how the feast of Easter is to be the day of new birth for our catechumens, and how, in the early ages of the Church, Lent was the immediate and solemn preparation given to the candidates for Baptism. The holy liturgy of the present season retains much of the instruction she used to give to the catechumens; and as we listen to her magnificent lessons from both the old and the new Testament, whereby she completed their “initiation”, we ought to think with gratitude of how we were not required to wait years before being made children of God, but were mercifully admitted to Baptism even in our infancy. We shall be led to pray for those new catechumens, who this very year, in far distant countries, are receiving instructions from their zealous missioners, and are looking forward, as did the postulants of the primitive Church, to that grand feast of our Saviour’s victory over death, when they are to be cleansed in the waters of Baptism and receive from the contact a new being-regeneration.

Thirdly, we must remember how, formerly, the public penitents, who had been separated on Ash Wednesday from the assembly of the faithful, were the object of the Church’s maternal solicitude during the whole forty days of Lent, and were to be admitted to reconciliation on Maundy Thursday, if their repentance were such as to merit this public forgiveness. We shall have the admirable course of instructions, which were originally designed for these penitents, and which the liturgy, faithful as it ever is to such traditions, still retains for our sake. As we read these sublime passages of the Scripture, we shall naturally think upon our own sins, and on what easy terms they were pardoned us; whereas, had we lived in other times, we should have probably been put through the ordeal of a public and severe penance. This will excite us to fervour, for we shall remember that, whatever changes the indulgence of the Church may lead her to make in her discipline, the justice of our God is ever the same. We shall find in all this an additional motive for offering to His divine Majesty the sacrifice of a contrite heart and we shall go through our penances with that cheerful eagerness, which the conviction of our deserving much severer ones always brings with it.

In order to keep up the character of mournfulness and austerity which is so well suited to Lent, the Church, for many centuries, admitted very few feasts into this portion of her year, inasmuch as there is always joy where there is even a spiritual feast. In the fourth century, we have the Council of Laodicea forbidding, in its fifty-first canon, the keeping of a feast or commemoration of any saint during Lent, excepting on the Saturdays or Sundays. The Greek Church rigidly maintained this point of lenten discipline; nor was it till many centuries after the Council of Laodicea that she made an exception for March 25, on which day she now keeps the feast of our Lady’s Annunciation.

The Church of Rome maintained this same discipline, at least in principle; but she admitted the feast of the Annunciation at a very early period, and somewhat later, the feast of the apostle St. Mathias, on February 24. During the last few centuries, she has admitted several other feasts into that portion of her general calendar which coincides with Lent; still, she observes a certain restriction, out of respect for the ancient practice.

The reason why the Church of Rome is less severe on this point of excluding the saints’ feasts during Lent, is that the Christians of the west have never looked upon the celebration of a feast as incompatible with fasting; the Greeks, on the contrary, believe that the two are irreconcilable, and as a consequence of this principle, never observe Saturday as a fasting-day, because they always keep it as a solemnity, though they make Holy Saturday an exception, and fast upon it. For the same reason, they do not fast upon the Annunciation.

This strange idea gave rise, in or about the seventh century, to a custom which is peculiar to the Greek Church. It is called the “Mass of the Presanctified”, that is to say, consecrated in a previous Sacrifice. On each Sunday of Lent, the priest consecrates six Hosts, one of which he receives in that Mass; but the remaining five are reserved for a simple Communion, which is made on each of the five following days, without the holy Sacrifice being offered. The Latin Church practices this rite only once in the year, that is, on Good Friday, and this in commemoration of a sublime mystery, which we will explain in its proper place.

This custom of the Greek Church was evidently suggested by the forty-ninth canon of the Council of Laodicea, which forbids the offering of bread for the Sacrifice during Lent, excepting on the Saturdays and Sundays. The Greeks, some centuries later on, concluded from this canon that the celebration of the holy Sacrifice was incompatible with fasting; and we learn from the controversy they had, in the ninth century, with the legate Humbert, that the “Mass of the Presanctified” (which has no other authority to rest on save a canon of the famous Council in “Trullo”, held in 692) was justified by the Greeks on this absurd plea, that the Communion of the Body and Blood of our Lord broke the lenten fast.

The Greeks celebrate this rite in the evening, after Vespers, and the priest alone communicates, as is done now in the Roman liturgy on Good Friday. But for many centuries they have made an exception for the Annunciation; they interrupt the lenten fast on this feast, they celebrate Mass, and the faithful are allowed to receive holy Communion.

The canon of the Council of Laodicea was probably never received in the western Church. If the suspension of the holy Sacrifice during Lent was ever practiced in Rome, it was only on the Thursdays; and even that custom was abandoned in the eighth century, as we learn from Anastasius the Librarian, who tells us that Pope St. Gregory II., desiring to complete the Roman sacramentary, added Masses for the Thursdays of the first five weeks of Lent. It is difficult to assign the reason of this interruption of the Mass on Thursdays in the Roman Church, or of the like custom observed by the Church of Milan on the Fridays of Lent. The explanations we have found in different authors are not satisfactory. As far as Milan is concerned, we are inclined to think that, not satisfied with the mere adoption of the Roman usage of not celebrating Mass on Good Friday, the Ambrosian Church extended the rite to all the Fridays of Lent.

After thus briefly alluding to these details, we must close our present chapter by a few words on the holy rites which are now observed, during Lent, in our western Churches. We have explained several of these in our ‘Septuagesima.’ The suspension of the “Alleluia”; the purple vestments; the laying aside of the deacon’s dalmatic, and the subdeacon’s tunic; the omission of the two joyful canticles “Gloria in excelsis” and “Te Deum”; the substitution of the mournful “Tract” for the Alleluia-verse in the Mass; the “Benedicamus Domino” instead of the “Ite Missa est”; the additional prayer said over the people after the Postcommunions on ferial days; the celebration of the Vesper Office before midday, excepting on the Sundays: all these are familiar to our readers. We have now only to mention, in addition, the genuflections prescribed for the conclusion of all the Hours of the Divine Office on ferias, and the rubric which bids the choir to kneel, on those same days, during the Canon of the Mass.

There were other ceremonies peculiar to the season of Lent, which were observed in the Churches of the west, but which have now, for many centuries, fallen into general disuse; we say general, because they are still partially kept up in some places. Of these rites, the most imposing was that of putting up a large veil between the choir and the altar, so that neither clergy nor people could look upon the holy mysteries celebrated within the sanctuary. This veil-which was called “the Curtain”, and, generally speaking, was of a purple colour-was a symbol of the penance to which the sinner ought to subject himself, in order to merit the sight of that divine Majesty, before whose face he had committed so many outrages. It signified, moreover, the humiliations endured by our Redeemer, who was a stumbling-block to the proud Synagogue. But as a veil that is suddenly drawn aside, these humiliations were to give way, and be changed into the glories of the Resurrection. Among other places where this rite is still observed, we may mention the metropolitan church of Paris, “Notre Dame.”

It was the custom also, in many churches, to veil the crucifix and the statues of the saints as soon as Lent began; in order to excite the faithful to a livelier sense of penance, they were deprived of the consolation which the sight of these holy images always brings to the soul. But this custom, which is still retained in some places, was less general than the more expressive one used in the Roman Church, which we will explain in our next volume-the veiling of the crucifix and statues only in Passiontide.

We learn from the ceremonials of the middle ages that, during Lent, and particularly on the Wednesdays and Fridays, processions used frequently to be made from one church to another. In monasteries, these processions were made in the cloister, and barefooted. This custom was suggested by the practice of Rome, where there is a “Station” for every day of Lent which, for many centuries, began by a procession to the stational church.

Lastly, the Church has always been in the habit of adding to her prayers during the season of Lent. Her discipline was, until recently, that, on ferias, in cathedral and collegiate churches which were not exempted by a custom to the contrary, the following additions were made to the canonical Hours: on Monday, the Office of the Dead; on Wednesday, the Gradual Psalms; and on Friday, the Penitential Psalms. In some churches, during the middle ages, the whole Psalter was added each week of Lent to the usual Office.

[Source: ‘The Liturgical Year’ by Dom Prosper Guéranger]

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“By My Holy Face You Will Work Wonders”

Votive Feast of the Holy Face of Our Lord Jesus Christ Deformed in the Passion:

This Feast is not found in the Missae pro Aliquibus Locis of most editions of the Roman Missal. The Devotion to the Holy Face has its origins in the 12th century, with the relic of the Veil of Veronica kept at St. Peter’s Basilica. The different Masses of the Holy Face used today and throughout history honour this relic which is guarded in the Vatican Basilica. 

The Mass for this Feast appears in a Missal from St. Peter’s Basilica, Rome, dating from the 1500’s. There is also a Votive Mass of the Holy Face in the Holy Land, which formed the 6th Mass of the “Via Crucis.” 

In 1889 Leo XIII approved the Confraternity of the Holy Face. Then, in 1910 St. Pius X through an S.R.C. decree approved a Mass for the Holy Face using the Mass “Humiliavit” (used as the Votive Mass of the Passion for Fridays and Tuesday within Sexagesima) along with three specially composed prayers for the Collect, Secret, and Postcommunion. 

As Fr. Stefano Pedica, O.S.B. writes, “The Mass of the Holy Face of Jesus was permitted by the Holy Pope Pius X, who desired that it might be the same Mass of the Passion, namely the “Missa Humiliavit” with three “appropriate prayers” shedding light upon and determining the liturgical and theological sense of what is proper and due to the Most Sacred Face of the Redeemer…There appears clearly in the prayers the meaning the Holy See desires, about the devotion to the Holy Face. Veronica is not mentioned in them, as in the ancient prayers, nor is there mention of anything which could in the slightest way give cause to critics to oppose that which Holy Mother Church proposes to the faithful, in “lex orandi” and “lex credendi.” The wording taken from the Old and New Testaments, confers a dogmatic rather than historic value to the cult of the Holy Face. The Votive Mass of the Most Holy Face of Jesus has been requested by very many Religious Communities (particularly the Benedictine-Silvestrines) and in various Dioceses throughout the world; showing that the devotion to the Holy Face is always growing and more deeply felt in the souls of the faithful.” 

This feast, being one of reparation, also pairs well with the age old custom of having the Forty Hours Devotion in reparation for Carnival, which ends on this day. 


Sr. Mary of Saint Peter (1816-1848)

Sr. Mary of St. Peter was born in Rennes in Brittany on October 4, 1816. She was rather sickly as child and not at all pious. In fact, she describes herself as stubborn and easily roused to anger. After making her 1st confession at the age of 6 1/2 years, she began to seriously work on overcoming herself and about this same time, her parents instilled into her a devotion to the Most Blessed Virgin. After making her First Communion at the age of 10 1/2 years, she progressed most rapidly in virtue to the amazement of all those who knew her. She received many graces in prayer and began to understand that Our Lord was calling her to consecrate herself to him in religion. With the direction of a wise and holy confessor who tried her in virtue for 5 years and prepared her for the religious life, she finally entered the Carmelite Monastery in Tours, France on November 13.

As a novice, she continued receiving extraordinary favours in prayer. She submitted all of these interior communications of Our Lord to her Superiors and waited upon their consent before she could offer herself completely to Our Lord as He had been asking. Once permission was obtained, Our Lord began revealing to her this great project of establishing the Work of Reparation. There had been a Confraternity established only 18 days prior to that of which Our Lord was revealing to Sr. Mary of St. Peter which had been put under the patronage of St. Louis, King of France. Our Lord told Sr. Mary however, that the devotion He was entrusting to her was to have as its aim not only reparation for blasphemy, but also reparation for the profanation of the Holy Day of the Lord, both enormous sins, arousing the anger of God.

“My name is everywhere blasphemed!…He then made me see that this frightful sin wounds His divine Heart more grievously than all other sins, showing me how by blasphemy the sinner curses Him to His Face, attacks Him publicly, nullifies his redemption, and pronounces his own judgment and condemnation. Our Lord then made me visualize the act of blasphemy as a poisoned arrow continually wounding His divine Heart. After that He revealed to me that He wanted to give me a ‘Golden Arrow’ which would have the power of wounding Him delightfully, and which would also heal those other wounds inflicted by the malice of sinners.” (August 26, 1843)

“I give you My Name to be your light in the darkness and your strength in battle. Satan will do all in his power to crush this Work at its roots. But I assure you that the Holy Name of God will triumph, and it will be the Holy Angels who will gain the victory in the conflict.” (Our Lord to Sr. Mary of St. Peter Nov. 18, 1843)

“Oh, to whom shall I address myself if not to a Carmelite whose very vocation obliges her unceasingly to glorify My Name?” “While this was taking place, I felt my soul entirely lost in God, and simultaneously I was overcome by awe as our Lord made me realize the meaning of the words spoken to Abraham, that if there could be found at least ten just souls, God would spare the guilty cities for the sake of these ten just. It also seemed to me that for the sake of those who would practice Reparation for the sins committed against the majesty of God, His justice would be appeased and He would grant mercy to the guilty.”

“Drawing me strongly to the contemplation of His adorable Face, our Divine Saviour made me see through a ray of light issuing from His august Countenance that the Holy Face which He presented to mankind for their adoration, was indeed the mirror of those unutterable Divine Perfections comprised and contained in the Most Holy Name of God…. I saw that by thus honouring and venerating this Sacred Countenance covered anew with outrages, we could atone for blasphemers who attack the Divinity of which this Holy Face is the figure, the mirror and the expression.”

“…[Our Lord] told me that He was seeking in our convent souls who would heal the wounds inflicted on His Face by pouring over them the wine of compassion and the oil of love, which is Reparation. Then Our Lord promised that if the community embraced this exercise of Reparation, He would give it a kiss of love which would be the pledge of the eternal kiss.”

“Yes, it is through this august Sacrament that Jesus, our Saviour, desires to impart to souls the rare virtue emanating from is most Holy Face, for indeed there in the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar His adorable Face is more dazzling than the sun. He then once more promised me to imprint His Divine likeness upon the souls of those who honour the features of His Face.”

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Divine Sense of Humour?

Maybe it was Divine Intervention, when during the Angelus on 14th February a powerful gust of wind blew a window tapestry up into Pope Francis’ face, just as he said that

“God is the One who contaminates Himself” – perhaps not the best interpretation of the following quote from Scripture:

“[21] Him, who knew no sin, he has made sin for us, that we might be made the justice of God in him.

[2 Cor, 5:21] [21] “Sin for us”: That is, to be a sin offering, a victim for sin.”

Jesus Christ, the Sinless One, could not be contaminated by sin.

He was the bearer of our sins.

Oremus pro Pontifice nostro!

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Lent : Starting off with a Plan

So the pre-Lent time of Septuagésima, Sexagesima and, last Sunday, Quinquagesima, are over, and the forty days of Lent are upon us, starting on Ash Wednesday, a day of fasting and abstinence. Have we thought about how we are going to live this Lenten season in order to profit from this period of purification?

We bring to your attention a wonderful, traditional, five-part Lenten Mission by the holy and learned Fr. Isaac Mary Relyea. While it is not short, it does go by very quickly, and is easy to follow and understand. It’s clear, concise and bold.

Click on each of the five themes of the mission: Prelude to the Mission * On Death * On Judgment * On Hell * On Heaven

Do not let this time to Grow in Holiness Pass You By!!

Because if you don’t have a specific plan for Lent ahead of time, even better a written plan, you’re really not prepared. HERE is a one to start you off.

Christ Himself spent 40 days in solitude, prayer, and fasting

Why do we make Penance?

“Unless you do penance, you shall likewise perish.” (Lk. 13:5)

Because we are sinners, justice requires each of us to make recompense to God for the honor we have denied Him by our sins. Because we have misused our goods, our souls and bodies—as well as those of others—the natural law requires us to strive to restore the order we have disturbed by our sins. Thus, the natural law and the Divine Law bind us in a general way to perform acts of penance. In order to help us fulfill this requirement, Holy Mother Church, knowing our weakness and laziness, binds us under ecclesiastical laws to perform works of penance at certain times.

Penance is also useful to obtain better control over our wounded nature. One may refrain himself from a legitimate satisfaction (food, sleep, entertainment, etc.) in order to oblige the body and the passions to obey the direction of the soul. Doing penance, making sacrifices are part of a needed ascetical practice to reform of our inner disorder, the heritage of the original sin. Practiced with the grace of God and prudence (conferring with one’s confessor), it becomes a great means of salvation.

Penance can also be a prayer, a sacrifice of a legitimate good, given to God as a way to recognize His power, to beg for a grace or to manifest one’s love by imitating and being united to Our Lord’s Passion.

What are the current rules for fasting and abstinence?

Fast and Abstinence required by the Church

Throughout the centuries, the Church has changed the ecclesiastical laws regulating penance, sometimes becoming more strict, sometimes relaxing the discipline.

Only the Church can hold us guilty of mortal sin for failing in this or that specific act of penance.

“Rules for penitential days under present Church law” details the bare minimum of penance which we must accomplish under pain of mortal sin.

However, we certainly offend God by neglecting penance completely over a length of time. Also, one will easily fall into mortal sin who confines penance to only those days and acts required by the current law.

“Guidelines for traditional penitential practices” spells out the strongly recommended practices which were observed until just after the Second Vatican Council.

Rules for penitential days under present Church law

In 1966, Pope Paul VI promulgated a new set of regulations for fasting and abstaining by his apostolic constitution, Paenitemini. These new rules are listed in the 1983 Code of Canon Law, Canons 1249-1253 and all Roman Catholics are bound to strictly observe them.

There are two sets of laws that apply to the Church’s penitential days:

  1. The law of abstinence: this refers to abstaining from meat.
  2. The law of fasting: this refers to the quantity of food taken, thus also refraining from eating between meals.

Who is bound to observe these laws?

  • The law of abstinence binds all Catholics, beginning on the day after their 14th birthday.
  • The law of fasting binds all adults (beginning on their 18th birthday) until the midnight which completes their 59th birthday.

What is forbidden and allowed to be eaten? 

  • The law of abstinence forbids the use of meat. This does not apply to dairy products, eggs, or condiments and shortening made from animal fat.
  • The law of fasting allows only one full meal a day and two smaller meals (snacks). The two smaller meals should not equal the quantity of the main meal (which in the United States is customarily observed as the evening dinner).
  • When fasting, eating between meals is not permitted, but liquids are allowed, including milk and fruit juices.
  • On fast days, fish and all cold-blooded animals may be eaten.


Current Church Minimums

Shortly after the close of the Second Vatican Council, Paul VI issued an apostolic constitution on fasting and abstaining on February 17, 1966, called Paenitemini, whose principles were later incorporated into the 1983 Code of Canon Law. Abstinence from meat which previously began at age 7 was modified to begin at age 14. The 1983 Code of Canon Law also changed the age of fast to begin at 18 – previously it was 21 – and to still conclude at midnight when an individual completes his 59th birthday. 

Abstinence beginning at age 14 and fasting beginning at age 18 are the current minimums. There is no terminating age for the law abstinence – it will continue for the rest of a person’s life. Fasting which begins at age 18 ends when a person completes his 59th year and turns 60 years old.

The Previous Practice

One of the only positive changes to fasting in the past 100 years was the lowering of the age of fasting to 18. If an 18-year-old can sin, he should be able to fast. The lowering of the minimum incorporated this change into law. Unfortunately, the change of abstinence to 14 from 7 is an immense disservice to the souls of children as this small weekly sacrifice teaches children the value of penance and the importance of a communal penance uniting us throughout the Catholic world.

Fasting Requires More Than the Legal Minimum

For those Catholics who wish to more closely follow the ancient customs of the Church, Lent is a time of austere penance undertaken to make reparation to God for sin (our own sins and others), to grow in virtue and good works, and to comfort the heart of our Savior much offended by the barrage of sin and filth increasing by the day. Yet, there are very few Catholics who undertake the true discipline of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving.

How many of us are observing all 40 days as true fast days and not just Ash Wednesday and Good Friday?  Yet our ancestors did.  In fact, it was forbidden to eat meat or any animal products (e.g. eggs, dairy, cheese, butter, etc) through all of Lent.  How many of us are making this kind of intense sacrifice?  How many of us are finding the time this Lent to pray the Rosary every day or go to Daily Mass more often or at least pray the Stations of the Cross each Friday?

While we can talk about the minimums required by Church law or previous laws, we have to remember that these are exactly that – minimums. The Church asks for everyone to perform penance according to their own abilities. While those who were ill (among other reasons) were dispensed from the law of fasting, the sick could still perform other penance or even try to observe fasting if they chose. The same is true for children. Encouraging our children to abstain from meat on all Fridays of the year and all of forty days of Lent is very worthwhile. And encouraging adolescent children in high school to fast is also very meritorious even though it is beyond the mere minimum. We recall that Our Blessed Mother was pleased by the penance offered by the three young children at Fatima who were far below the age of fasting. Yet, they fasted and would eat foods they did not prefer as extra penance. And this was pleasing to our Lady and our Lord. Let us encourage our children to do the same – all for Jesus. This Lent is the ideal time to start.

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Garabandal, Unstoppable Waterfall

We highly recommend this video which is both compelling and most relevant for our times.

By way of introduction here is the content of a letter Saint Padre Pio wrote to the visionaries of Garabandal:

Dear girls,

At nine o’clock this morning the Blessed Virgin Mary told me about you, oh dear girls, about your visions and she told me to say to you:

“Oh blessed girls of San Sebastian de Garabandal, I promise that I will be with you until the end of the centuries, and you will be with me until the end of the world, and then united with me in the glory of paradise.”

Together with this I am sending you a copy of the Holy Rosary of Fatima, which the Blessed Virgin has ordered me to send you. The Blessed Virgin dictated this rosary, and she wants it to be propagated for the salvation of sinners and the preservation of humanity from the terrible punishments, with which the good God is threatening.

I give you a recommendation: pray and make others pray, because the world is on the road to perdition.

They do not believe in you or in your conversations with the white Lady, but they will believe when it is too late.

March 3, 1962

Mater Spei is proud to announce the production of “Garabandal, Unstoppable Waterfall.” This documentary will take us even further into Garabandal’s message of hope and conversion as we marvel at the incredible fruits that have come out of Garabandal ever since the apparitions took place. Garabandal, Uncontainable Cascade has located eyewitnesses of the apparitions of Our Blessed Mother in San Sebastian de Garabandal, Spain and interviewed valuable experts on Marian apparitions in order to delve deeper into both the prophetic dimension of Garabandal as well as the question as to why Garabandal is still awaiting a definitive judgment by Church authorities. Share the “Garabandal, Unstoppable Waterfall” trailer with all your contacts. More information:

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Pope Francis, Biden and “post-institutional” Catholics

by Roberto de Mattei at the Lepanto Foundation

What will be the effects of Joe Biden’s election on the life of the Church?

Biden is the second Catholic President in the history of the United States after John Fitzgerald Kennedy, but as Massimo Faggioli  notes in his recent book Joe Biden e il cattolicesimo negli Stati Uniti (Scholé, Brescia 2021), he finds himself in a reversed situation. Kennedy had the problem of reconciling his religious faith with a country in which the upper-class had always been Protestant and Catholics were considered an external body, tending to be poorly educated and more faithful to the Pope than democratic liberty. Today, on the contrary, Catholics are incorporated into the establishment, from the Government to the Supreme Court and Biden’s problem is that of dealing with the division existing inside the Catholic world, polarized by two political and religious spectrums. This polarization was accentuated after the defeat of Hilary Clinton in 2016, when Pope Francis became the icon of the international left and Donald Trump was forced to present himself as an alternative figure to his papacy.

Now Trump is out of the picture and Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, who gave voice to American Anti-Bergolianism,  is weaker, while Pope Francis’s position has been reinforced and the new President, Biden, no longer has an enemy but an ally. Therefore Francis’s recent declarations are not surprising and though they might herald new condemnations for his internal opponents, they also raise many questions.

In his audience of January 30, 2021, while addressing the members of the Catechetical Office of the Italian Bishop’s Conference, Pope Francis affirmed that the Second Vatican Council “is the magisterium of  the Church. Either you are with the Church and therefore you follow the Council, and if you do not follow the Council or you interpret it in your own way, as you wish, you are not with the Church. We must be demanding and strict on this point. The Council should not be negotiated.”

By these affirmations we have the impression that according to Pope Francis, those who criticize the Second Vatican Council put themselves outside the Church. However, today the criticisms about the Second Vatican Council do not come from an obstinate minority of traditionalists, but from a growing sphere of Catholics, who have recognized the catastrophic consequences of Vatican II. Massimo Faggioli writes in his book that “since the ‘80s and 90s in the U.S.A (and not only) there have been a growing number of Catholics critical about the Second Vatican Council and its apertures”;  “a new generation of  Catholics is reexamining what happened in the Church between the ‘50s and ‘70s  and is reacting against the theology produced by the Second Vatican Council.” (p.64). Is this sphere of thought the contentious objective of Pope Francis?

Furthermore, regarding the traditionalists, a letter from the Ecclesia Dei Commission dated March 25, 2017, signed by Cardinal Gerald Müller, communicated Pope Francis’s decision to grant all the priests of the Fraternity of St. Pius X “ the faculty to administer validly the Sacrament of Penance to the faithful such as to ensure the validity and liceity of the Sacrament,” and authorized local bishops with “the possibility of granting faculties for the celebration of marriages of the faithful who follow the pastoral activity of the Society.” How do we reconcile this benevolence towards the Fraternity of St. Pius X, the religious institute which has more decisively than any other rejected the Second Vatican Council, with declarations in which those who criticize Vatican II are outside the Church?

Moreover, what does “follow Vatican II” mean? Adhering strictly to its documents? Yet these documents are widely disregarded, starting with the indications in liturgical matters from the constitution Sacrosanctum concilium. Other council documents are unclear and are open to opposing interpretations. Does Pope Francis share Pope Benedict’s “hermeneutic of continuity” whereby these documents should be interpreted in coherence with the Tradition of the Church, or should the documents be interpreted according to the “spirit of the Council” as the School of Bologna would like? In this second case should also Benedict XVI’s hermeneutic be considered outside the Church?

In his declaration of January 30, Pope Francis said that opposition to Vatican II made him think of “of a group of bishops who, after Vatican I, left, a group of lay people, to continue the “true doctrine” that was not that of Vatican I: “We are the true Catholics”. Today they ordain women. The strictest attitude, to guard the faith without the Magisterium of the Church, leads you to ruin. Please, no concessions to those who try to present a catechesis that does not agree with the Magisterium of the Church.

Pope Francis’s historical reference is to the so-called “old Catholics” who in 1870, rejected the dogma of papal primacy, were excommunicated and left the Church.  However some ultra-progressive theologians like Andrea Grillo, did not appreciate Pope Francis’s criticism of those dissident Catholics.* Grillo opposes their disobedience with the “obedience” of the German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck who accepted instrumentally the position of Vatican I, to better control the German bishops.

Bismarck’s position, according to Grillo, “indicated a possible shift: that of  reducing all authority in the Church to the Pope. Something that, almost a century later, Vatican II took great care to revise.” “Here then is the point. Obedience to Vatican II –  is the structural  acquisition of its “pastoral nature”. That is to say, a difference between “the substance of tradition” and “the developing of  its position”.  The great season inaugurated by the Second Vatican Council –  which we are just at the beginning of – involves profound rethinking of the “institutional forms” in relationship to “the substance of tradition”. “So we might discover that a few of the elements that led some people 150 years ago “not to accept” Vatican I, today, in the light of Vatican II, may have become common patrimony.

The “rethinking of institutional forms” that Grillo is hoping for, is the same one Faggioli criticizes in his book, denouncing the losing strategy of those he defines as “post-institutional Catholics”. Both Grillo and Faggioli belong to the ranks of the Catholic Left, but Faggioli rejects “the post-institutional option” in American progressivism and hopes that Biden may bring back liberal Catholicism into the institutional riverbed to curb the advance of the conservatives.

“Post-institutionalism”, however, is a dead end not only for the progressives, but also for the conservatives and traditionalists. As long as the critics of the Second Vatican Council respect, in form and substance, the Church’s hierarchy, their condemnation cannot go beyond a mediatic chiding.  For a canonical censure the logical prerequisites are missing, even before those of a juridical nature. It would be a different case with those wanting to assume an extra-institutional position, by inciting open revolt against the ecclesiastic hierarchy. In this case, it would not be difficult to find the pretexts for a condemnation, which, despite being limited canonically to the act of disobedience, on the mediatic level, it would be falsely extended to all the opponents of the Second Vatican Council.

The reason we must respect the institutional dimension of the Church is not political, but supernatural. It is legitimate, on certain occasions, to correct filially the men of the Church, including the Pope, but in the Mystical Body of Christ, the soul cannot be separated from the body; the spiritual element cannot be separated from the juridical aspect, the invisible from the visible. This is the profound but life-giving mystery of the Catholic Church.


Translation: Contributor Francesca Romana

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Sunday Readings and Reflections

Jesus heals a leper

Sunday, February 14 
Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time 

Roman Ordinary calendar

St. Cyril

Book of 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, 
the man is leprous and unclean, and 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.” 

Psalms 32(31),1-2.5.11.

Blessed is he whose fault is taken away, 
whose sin is covered. 
Blessed the man to whom the LORD imputes not guilt, 
in whose spirit there is no guile. 

Then I acknowledged my sin to you, 
my guilt I covered not. 
I said, “I confess my faults to the LORD,” 
and you took away the guilt of my sin. 

Be glad in the LORD and rejoice, you just; 
exult, all you upright of heart. 

First Letter to the Corinthians 10,31-33.11,1.

So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God. 
Avoid giving offense, whether to 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. 

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Mark 1,40-45.

A leper came to him 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. 
Then 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. 

Odes of Solomon (Hebrew Christian text from the beginning of the 2nd century) 

Nos. 21 and 25 (trans. J.H. Charlesworth)

“The man went away and began to publicize the whole matter”

I raised my arms on high 

on account of the grace of the Lord. 

Because he cast off my chains from me, 

and my Helper raised me according to his grace and his salvation. 

And I stripped off darkness, and put on light.

And even I myself acquired members. In them there was no sickness 

or affliction or suffering. 

And abundantly helpful to me was the thought of the Lord, and his incorruptible fellowship. 

And I was lifted up in the light, and I passed before his face. 

And I was constantly near him, while praising and confessing him. 

He caused my heart to overflow, and it was found in my mouth; 

and it sprang forth unto my lips.

Then upon my face increased the exultation of the Lord and his praise.


I was rescued from my chains

and I fled unto you, O my God, 

because you are the right hand of salvation and my Helper. 

You have restrained those who rise up against me, and they did not appear again

because your face was with me, 

which saved me by your grace.

But I was despised and rejected in the eyes of many, 

and I was in their eyes like lead. 

And I acquired strength from you, and help. 

A lamp you set for me both on my right and on my left, 

so that there might not be in me anything that is not light. 

And I was covered with the covering of your spirit 

and I removed from me my garments of skin (Gn 3:21), 

because your right hand raised me, 

and caused sickness to pass from me. 

And I became mighty in your truth,

and holy in your righteousness. 

And all my adversaries were afraid of me

and I became the Lord’s by the name of the Lord.

And I was justified by his kindness,

and his rest is for ever and ever. 


Traditional Latin Mass readings for Quinquagesima Sunday (MASS Esto mihi in Deum (violet))

Healing of the Man Born Blind, painted by El Greco in 1567

EPISTLE 1 Corinthians 13: 1-13

Fratres: Si linguis hóminum loquar et Angelórum, caritátem autem non hábeam, factus sum velut æs sonans, aut cýmbalum tínniens. Et si habúero prophetíam, et nóverim mystéria ómnia, et omnem sciéntiam: et si habúero omnem fidem, ita ut montes tránsferam, caritátem autem non habúero, nihil sum. Et si distribúero in cibos páuperum omnes facultátes meas, et si tradídero corpus meum, ita ut árdeam, caritátem autem non habuero, nihil mihi prodest. Cáritas patiens est, benígna est: Cáritas non æmulátur, non agit pérperam, non inflátur, non est ambitiósa, non quærit quæ sua sunt, non irritátur, non cógitat malum, non gaudet super iniquitáte, congáudet autem veritáti: ómnia suffert, ómnia credit, ómnia sperat, ómnia sústinet. Cáritas numquam éxcidit: sive prophetíæ evacuabúntur, sive linguæ cessábunt, sive sciéntia destruétur. Ex parte enim cognóscimus, et ex parte prophetámus. Cum autem vénerit quod perféctum est, evacuábitur quod ex parte est. Cum essem párvulus, loquébar ut párvulus, sapiébam ut párvulus, cogitábam ut párvulus. Quando autem factus sum vir, evacuávi quæ erant párvuli. Vidémus nunc per spéculum in ænígmate: tunc autem fácie ad fáciem. Nunc cognósco ex parte: tunc autem cognóscam, sicut et cógnitus sum. Nunc autem manent, fides, spes, cáritas, tria hæc: major autem horum est cáritas.

Brethren: If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal. And if I should have prophecy, and should know all mysteries, and all knowledge; and if I should have all faith so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And if I should distribute all my goods to feed the poor, and if I should deliver my body to be burned and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing; Charity envieth not, dealeth not perversely, is not puffed up, is not ambitious, seeketh not her own, is not provoked to anger, thinketh no evil, rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth with the truth: beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity never falleth away; whether prophecies shall be made void, or tongues shall cease, or knowledge shall be destroyed. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, that which is in part shall be done away. When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child. But when I became a man, I put away the things of a child. We see now through a glass in a dark manner; but then face to face. Now I know in part; but then I shall know even as I am known. And now there remain faith, hope, and charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.

GRADUAL Psalms 76: 15, 16

Tu es Deus qui facis mirabília solus: notam fecísti in géntibus virtútem tuam. Liberásti in bráchio tuo pópulum tuum, fílios Israël et Joseph.

Thou art God that alone doest wonders: Thou has made Thy power known among the nations. With Thy arm Thou hast delivered Thy people, the children of Israel and of Joseph.

TRACT Psalms 99: 1, 2

Jubiláte Deo omnis terra: servíte Dómino in lætítia. Intráte in conspéctu ejus in exsultatióne: scitóte, quod Dóminus ipse est Deus. Ipse fecit nos, et non ipsi nos: nos autem pópulus ejus, et oves páscuæ ejus.

Sing joyfully to God, all the earth: serve ye the Lord with gladness. Come in before His presence with exceeding great joy: know ye that the Lord He is God. He made us, and not we ourselves: but we are His people and the sheep of His pasture.

GOSPEL Luke 18: 31-43

In illo témpore: Assúmpsit Jesus duódecim, et ait illis: Ecce, ascéndimus Jerosólymam, et consummabúntur ómnia, quæ scripta sunt per prophétas de Fílio hominis. Tradétur enim Géntibus, et illudétur, et flagellábitur, et conspuétur: et postquam flagelláverint, occídent eum, et tértia die resúrget. Et ipsi nihil horum intellexérunt, et erat verbum istud abscónditum ab eis, et non intelligébant quæ dicebántur. Factum est autem, cum appropinquáret Jéricho, cæcus quidam sedébat secus viam, mendícans. Et cum audíret turbam prætereúntem, interrogábat quid hoc esset. Dixérunt autem ei, quod Jesus Nazarénus transíret. Et clamávit, dicens: Jesu, fili David, miserére mei. Et qui præíbant, increpábant eum, ut tacéret. Ipse vero multo magis clamábat: Fili David, miserére mei. Stans autem Jesus, jussit illum addúci ad se. Et cum appropinquásset, interrogávit illum, dicens: Quid tibi vis fáciam? At ille dixit: Dómine, ut vídeam. Et Jesus dixit illi: Réspice, fides tua te salvum fecit. Et conféstim vidit, et sequebátur illum, magníficans Deum. Et omnis plebs ut vidit, dedit laudem Deo.

At that time Jesus took unto Him the twelve and said to them: Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things shall be accomplished which were written by the Prophets concerning the Son of Man. For He shall be delivered to the Gentiles, and shall be mocked and scourged and spit upon: and after they have scourged Him, they will put Him to death, and the third day He shall rise again. And they understood none of these things, and the word was hid from them, and they understood not the things that were said. Now it came to pass, when He drew nigh to Jericho, that a certain blind man sat by the wayside begging. And when he heard the multitude passing by, he asked what this meant. And they told him that Jesus of Nazareth was passing by. And he cried out, saying: Jesus, son of David, have mercy on me. And they that went before rebuked him, that he should hold his peace. But he cried out much more: Son of David, have mercy on me. And Jesus standing, commanded him to brought unto him. And when he was come near, He asked him, saying: What wilt thou that I do to thee? But he said: Lord, that I may see. And Jesus said to him: Receive thy sight, thy faith hath made thee whole. And immediately he saw and followed Him, glorifying God. And all the people, when they saw it, gave praise to God.

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The Tyranny of Communist China (World Over Live video)

STEVEN MOSHER, Asia expert, president of The Population Research Institute, and author of Bully of Asia discusses the state of US-China relations in the new Biden Administration, and the result of The World Health Organization’s (WHO) investigation of the origin of COVID-19.

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