Christ stilling the waves

The Trumpeteer

  • The Age of Kali

    THE AGE OF KALI

    Corruption is in the world through lust says the Apostle Peter (2Pet. 1:4); lust for wealth, lust for power, lust for fame, lust for knowledge, and above all, the lust of sexual desire, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes (1 Jn. 2:16).

    We live in the age of Kali, when sexual sin abounds. Modesty, Chastity, Virginity, and Purity have all but been banished from the western world. Immodesty, sensuality, nudity, and promiscuity are in the ascendant; bikinis, bare legs, bare arms, bare mid-rifts, bosoms and cleavages, low tops, tight trousers, short skirts, and tattoos give ample witness to the new paganism. One doesn’t need strip clubs, and peepshows, and porn mags, and adult films, because sensuality pervades the culture; in the media, in the schools and universities, in the work-place, on the streets, in parks, on beaches. And this easily wanders into our thoughts, and dreams, without us consciously desiring it, giving the Devil his opportunity.

    Sex is widely promoted by the media, and schools too have their compulsory “sex education”. “Sex is the mysticism of a materialist society” as Muggeridge acutely observed. We must all ensure that we have “good sex” and very importantly “healthy sex”, and lots of sex, even apparently well into our 70’s (Octogenarian sex anyone?). Because without a fully developed sex life we can’t be properly integrated human beings. So it goes.

    But this is an illusion. For the age of Kali is the age of illusion. She performs the dance of death, which brings destruction and chaos. She is the dark one who wears her necklace and belt of shrunken severed heads. The problem with sexual desire outside its proper God-given context of marriage and the procreation of children is that it is essentially selfish; it is only, at the end of the day, about self-gratification, and all too easily unleashes the darker side of human nature (Alas the Marquis de Sade was an honest man.)

    It is precisely because of the breakdown of the Christian moral order that the “permissive society” has come about. The Christian clergy are, by and large, indifferent to this. Indeed, through their cowardice they have contributed considerably to its success. And so there abounds fornication, marital breakdown and divorce, pornography and erotica, homosexualism, transgenderism (a form of transvestitism), contraception, abortion, “in vitro fertilization”, paedophilia and rape. This is the dismal reality of the “permissive society”, the illusion of sexual freedom. And if people are currently ending up in prison for under-age sex and paedophilia, know for certain that one day in the not too distant future it’ll be perfectly legal and totally acceptable. Already the LGBT are hard at work lobbying for “man-boy” love. Hey, sex is good for children, don’t you know, as long as it’s with “a responsible caring adult”. I tell you it’s coming our way. Yet do Christians take a stand when the LGBT are invited into Church schools, Catholic and Anglican? Do they make any meaningful challenge to the sexualisation of children through “sex education classes”? In a word, No! Courage and moral conviction are at an all-time low. The record of bishops here is just as abysmal as the record of bishops in Nazi Germany, both Catholic and Protestant, when faced with the moral challenge. Generally, silence and acquiescence. Apart from their role as bureaucrats (their primary concern) they are effectively useless. “Put not your trust in princes….for there is no help in them (p.145: v 2)

    The flesh lusts against the Spirit, says St. Paul (Gal 5:17), and both are contrary to each other. The lusts and desires of the flesh, and the fulfilling thereof, make us children of wrath (Eph. 2: 3). Two laws are at war within us, says the Apostle; the law of God and the law of sin. Only God’s grace through the Crucified One can deliver us from the law of sin; and the Virgin Mary’s prayers. For it is the Age of Mary, when those who would fight for purity must seek refuge with, and fight with Mary.

    The Devil is the original “cross-dresser”, He is Kali, the Dark One, who leads souls to their doom, as she performs her naked, or near naked dance, which is the dance of death.

    Sensuality and selfish desire will become more and more demonic, and will wreak awful havoc in human life, riding tandem with the industrial genocide of babies in the womb, “abortion”. People will become increasingly dehumanized through “sex, drugs, rock’n’roll” and media pulp, thereby releasing a veritable tsunami of supernatural evil. The world will be infested with demons, and all forms of sin against God and human life will characterize society and will be tolerated and practiced as being the most normal thing in the world, stimulating the vilest passions and unleashing a barrage of crime never before experienced. The holy estate of marriage will virtually cease to exist. For this is precisely the Devil’s aim: the destruction of marriage and the family through fornication, divorce, homosexualism, contraception, IVF and abortion. The State will take over all aspects of life, from the “production” and indoctrination of children, to the definition of morality and truth, to the euthanasing of the old, the sick, and the “non-productive”. Aided by a Devil pleasing feminist movement, the LGBT, a cultural Neo-Marxism, and a degenerate Christianity, the State will replace the family and will set itself up in the place of God. Fornication, which embraces all forms of sexual sin, will lead, as it always has done, to idolatry.

    The world has heard the Gospel and refused it. It has returned to its own vomit, the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire (2Pet. 2: 22). The Christian churches in the West have lost or are losing the faith once delivered to the saints (Jude 3). They are the Church of Laodicea in St. John’ vision (Rev 3: 14-22): spiritually blind, bankrupt, naked, and lukewarm. They will be spat out of Christ’s mouth unless they repent, return to zeal and “buy white garments” (rediscover their purity). The recent decision by the Church of Scotland to endorse sodomite and lesbian clergy reveals the desperate state of things. Other churches, including the Roman Church, are going or have gone the same way. The phallus has replaced the Cross, the flesh has triumphed over the spirit. Soon enough, the Abomination of Desolation, the ultimate blasphemy, will be set up in the midst of so-called Christian congregations who, knowingly or unknowingly, will engage in explicit worship of Satan; all in the name of “dialogue”, or “aggiornamento”, or “diversity” or “pluralism” or “development of doctrine”, or “ a new anthropology” (The Roman Catholic Bishop of Northampton’s recent nonsense) and other such slogans. Indeed, the age of Kali is the age of illusion.

    What can true Christians do against all this? 1) Hold fast to the Holy Scriptures as the infallible Word of God. 2) Pray the Psalms and the Rosary daily. 3) Fast regularly and live simply. 4) Stop watching T.V. (I don’t say films, because some films are good, but be discriminating!). 5) Take responsibility for their own faith, instead of relying on the clergy. 6)“Be sober, be vigilant, because the Devil prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for whom he may devour” (1Peter 5: v.8). And above all 7) “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world…..For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world” (1 Jn 2: 15-16)

    “Whosoever is a friend of the world is the enemy of God” (James 4: v.4)

    Damon Jonah Kelly

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  • The Majesty of The Trinity and The Dire State of The Church

    I think that it is very easy, too easy to become despondent in these terrible times. We look to the World and see that madness and badness prevail. If sixty years ago we were told that people would be having sex changes (a pure delusion anyway as the chromosones do not change!), and there would be homoexual marriages and people would be marrying animals (There is at least one occasion where this happened when an Israeli woman married her pet dolphin.) and scientists would want to put all the intelligence of a person onto a machine and, so to speak, put the person’s intellect and soul into a machine, or robot we would be utterly disbelieving at such maniacal rubbish. Then we now know of these vast concentration camps in the U.S., which are being prepared for various groups of untrainable people, who appear to be Christians, and other undesirables.

    Added to all this Dr. Anca-Maria Cernea in her very fine talk, given at the Rome Life Forum on May 7th , convincingly points out that the Western World has been devastated by Cultural Marxism for some time now, and the main proponent for this has been the notorious Frankfurt School. Dr. Cerea has this to say about the Frankfurt School:

    The Frankfurt School started in Frankfurt, Germany, but later metastasized to the U.S.A. It I also known a the “Critical School”, or “Critical Theory”, and it leads directly from Lenin to the present “gay rights” and to “gender ideologies, from Georg Lukacs, through Wilhelm Reich, Herbert Marcuse and many others, to…Judith Butler’ gender ideology.

    The authors of the Frankfurt School concentrate their effort on the destruction of Western culture – by just criticizing, “unmasking”, discrediting, deconstructing every piece of it, but without proposing any explicit utopian in replacement; they just respond to the call of their founder, Georg Lukacs: “Who will save us from Western Civilization?”

    As Lukcacs was Jew, I suppose his hatred was directed not only against the Christian West but against his own Jewish heritage, from which of course Christianity sprang. Though I think Dr. Cernea, in her article, has not taken into account Russia’s conversion, which she does not seem to believe has begun, the core of her talk is utterly correct. One cannot thank her enough for it.

    Terrible indeed, though the times are, God is in charge of his Church and ultimately all will be for his greater glory. Again and again we must reflect on one great truth, which I go on about relentlessly; God did not have to create us. The Trinity is perfect in itself. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are blissfully happy with each other, if one can use such terminology. However, the Trinity, in a mighty outpouring of love, decided to create the angelic hosts, the Universe, and then finally Man. The Trinity intended Man to share in the glory of God, and when Man sinned sent the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, Jesus Christ to save Man, and share his glory with all the redeemed.

    Christ is THE HEAD OF THE CHURCH. Unfortunately, with the best of intentions, Pius IX by declaring the Infallibility of the Papacy a dogma inaugurated what is being described by some as papolatry. This was bound to happen. So we must always remind ourselves that we are part of the mystical body of Christ, The Church, and that Christ’s very blood flows through our veins, which is true because we receive Christ’s Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity in Communion. That is why it is of the greatest importance that one day all Christians who are not Catholic, Orthodox, or belonging to the Oriental Churches, may receive Communion. Unity will come about, I believe, through the direct action of God. I cannot see it happening through endless meetings and commissions. Certainly the recent lunacy in the Catholic Church would only lead to false unity.

    The Trinity dwells in each baptized Christian, through baptism, and this is a stupendous truth that is rarely taught. There is endless rubbish taught about the Holy Spirit, which seems in the Charismatic way of things, simply to do with healing, as if the main task of the Spirit to sanctify is of little importance, and where Christ is there simply to make life nice for us. It is time that we read the Gospels and see what Christ demands, namely that we take up our Cross and follow him to Calvary.

    The Glory of the Trinity, should be before our eyes daily, for this is the highest truth of our Faith. Nowhere does one have a better glimpse of The Trinity than in the Gospel of John from Chapter 14 to 17. There one will begin to understand the depths and the heights of this the most supreme truth of all.

    Our Lady is the Mirror of the Trinity, and in these troubled times let us take on the message of Fatima and remember that one of Lucia’s great visions was of the Trinity, and the Fatima prayer to the Trinity is of great importance in these times. Here it is:

    Prayer to the Most Holy Trinity

    "Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, I offer You the most precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, present in all the tabernacles of the world, in reparation for the outrages, sacrileges and indifference with which He Himself is offended. And, through the infinite merits of His most Sacred Heart, and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I beg of You the conversion of poor sinners."

    *This prayer was taught by an Angel named the Angel of Peace to the children at Fatima. The Angel knelt down beside them and made them repeat three times as quoted above, both before and after he/she gave the Sacred Host and Precious Blood of Christ to them. The Angel said, "Take and drink the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, horribly outraged by ungrateful people! Make reparation for their crimes and console your God." (Ibid., pp.64-65)

    And to give us more hope in these truly tragic times here is an article by Father Brian Harrison who recently wrote it for that excellent website OnePeterfive :

    Alice von Hildebrand sheds New Light on Fatima

    Introductory commentary by Fr. Brian W. Harrison, O.S.

    Owing to a lack of clarity and specificity in Chapter 8 of Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation, Amoris Laetitia(AL), mutually contradictory views are circulating as to what it means for Catholics living publicly in objectively sinful relationships. Has the present Holy Father broken with his predecessors, who never permitted any of these folks to receive Holy Communion? Some say Yes, some say No. The distinguished German Catholic philosopher Robert Spaemann, a friend of Pope Benedict XVI, has not hesitated to affirm in a recent interview that with the promulgation of AL, “chaos [has been] raised to a principle by the stroke of a pen”, and that “the consequences are already foreseeable: uncertainty and confusion, from the bishops’ conferences to the small parishes in the middle of nowhere.”

    This critical situation invites further reflection on the message of Our Lady of Fatima, as we begin this Friday (May 13, 2016), the 100th year since her first appearance to the Portuguese shepherd children. Back in 1980 the one surviving visionary, Sister Lucy, wrote an important letter to Monsignor (now Cardinal) Carlo Caffarra. After Pope John Paul asked him to begin a new Pontifical Institute for studies on marriage and the family, Caffarra wrote to Sister Lucy, simply requesting her prayers for this venture. He has recently made known his surprise at receiving “a very long letter with her signature. . . . In it we find written: ‘The final battle between the Lord and the reign of Satan will be about marriage and the family. Don’t be afraid, because anyone who works for the sanctity of marriage and the family will always be contended and opposed in every way, for this is the decisive issue.’ And then she concluded: ‘however, Our Lady has already crushed its head.’”

    This reassurance is encouraging, because fifteen years after Sister Lucia wrote that letter, Cardinal Luigi Ciappi (1909-1996), personal theological adviser to five popes, made a stunning disclosure about that part of the Fatima secret that the Vatican has never released (and which is evidently referenced by the enigmatic word “etc.” in the published part of Our Lady’s message). His Eminence, one of the few persons who had seen the complete secret, wrote in a 1995 letter to Professor Baumgartner of Salzburg: “In the Third Secret it is predicted, among other things, that the great apostasy in the Church will begin at the top.”

    Such a shocking prophecy would explain why Sister Lucy herself confessed to being traumatized by it, why Pope John XXIII decided not to publish it on schedule in 1960, and why Cardinal Alfredo Ottaviani of the Holy Office, in answer to a reporter’s question, stated acidly that the Third Secret had been relegated “to the bottom of the Vatican archives – and that’s where it deserves to stay!” (A priest who as a young man was living in Rome in 1960 has told me he distinctly recalls reading these words of the cardinal in a newspaper report.) As the Church’s top doctrinal watchdog, Ottaviani might well have judged that such an appalling message might unsettle the faith of many Catholics in the See of Peter, the ‘Rock’ on whom Christ built his Church.

    The foregoing observations should help to set in their context the following testimony from Dr. Alice von Hildebrand, whom I have been privileged to know for about twenty years. It provides clear corroboration of what Cardinal Ciappi said about the secret, but was made known to her and her late husband, the renowned philosopher Dietrich von Hildebrand, a full thirty years before Ciappi wrote his letter to the Austrian professor. In a private email at the beginning of May Dr. von Hildebrand told me about this 1965 conversation in Florence. I asked her whether she would allow this to be made known to a wider audience, and after consulting with her spiritual director, she replied that he had given her permission to do so. (Msgr. Mario Boehm, whose testimony she records here, was a leading member of the editorial staff of the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano during the 1930s and 1940s, when the editor-in-chief was Count Giuseppe Dalla Torre. Boehm retained high-level contacts in Rome after his retirement.)

    Dr. von Hildebrand added that it would be good for this account to be accompanied here by that of another similar conversation she and her husband had in the 1960s with the former communist agent Bella Dodd. I personally find these testimonies linked to the Fatima message deeply consoling at this time of increasing confusion and profoundly disturbing change emanating from the highest levels of Church authority. For they indicate that Heaven has not only foreseen this great crisis, but has forewarned us, in order to reassure Catholics that, whatever may happen in the immediate future, Christ is still the unassailable Head of his Church, and that the Immaculate Heart of his most holy Mother, Queen of the Holy Rosary, who to Satan is as “terrible as an army set in battle array”, will triumph in the end.

    Dr. von Hildebrand, in her 90s, now finds some difficulty in writing by computer, so I have slightly edited her original email for greater clarity. She has approved the following version and graciously given her permission for it to be posted on the OnePeterFive website:

    (email to Fr. Brian Harrison dated May 6, 2016):

    Dear Father,

    I think the following two conversations, which I recall very well from the 1960s, are of particular interest now, in these deeply troubled times half a century later. For they apparently corroborate Cardinal Ciappi’s testimony that part of Our Lady’s Fatima secret was the shocking prediction that the great apostasy in the Church would begin “at the top.”

    The first conversation was In June 1965. We were in Florence in the house where my husband was born, and where I spent my first sabbatical. My husband invited a priest named Msgr. Mario Boehm, whom he had met in Rome shortly after his conversion, and who had been one of the top editors of L’Osservatore Romano for many years. The topic of Fatima came up. My husband raised the question, “Why was the third secret of Fatima not revealed?” For the Holy Virgin had said it should be shared with the faithful in 1960.

    Don Mario: It was not revealed because of its content. My husband: What was so fearful about it? Msgr. Boehm (as a well-trained Italian) did not say that he had read it, but intimated that the content was fearful: “infiltration of the Church to the very top”. It shattered us but confirmed my husband’s fear that the way Vatican II was interpreted was going to expose the Church to terrible dangers. Alas, this fear was well founded.

    The second conversation is one with Bella Dodd that I have already spoken about on previous occasions. We met her in the Fall of 1965 and she visited us here at New Rochelle, NY, where I still live, either in 1966 or 1967. She had been an ardent communist from her student days at Hunter College – a hotbed of communism. (That is why I was systematically persecuted there, as recounted in my book, Memoirs of a Happy Failure.) Bella had sown the seeds of this diabolical philosophy at Hunter, but converted in 1952 under the guidance of Archbishop Fulton Sheen. Let me repeat the conversation between her and my husband:

    DvH: I fear the Church has been infiltrated.

    Bella: You fear it, dear Professor; I know it! When I was an ardent communist I was working in close contact with four cardinals in the Vatican working for us; and they are still very active today.

    DvH: Who are they? My nephew Dieter Sattler is a German stationed at the Holy See.

    But Bella, who was under the spiritual guidance of Archbishop Sheen, declined to give him this information.

    The only recourse we have now is prayer, and the firm conviction that the gates of hell shall not prevail. St. Matthew ch. XXIV has warned us.

    In union of ardent prayers.

    I am, dear Father, respectfully yours in Christ,

    Alice von Hildebrand

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  • CLERICAL BLINDNESS, POP STARS’ MADNESS AND THE HEROISM OF THE LEPER KING

    There seems to be a sense that not only is the Pope out of contact with the Catholic Church, as it displays itself in the West these days, but so also this appears to be true of much of the Western Clergy and the Westernized clergy wherever they may be, whether it is in Africa, Asia, or even South America which never quite seems to be the West. The Clergy seem to function as professionals, and whether they be parish priests, or accademics, or missionaries, there seems to be this reliance on secular sages, whose knowledge is perhaps more poisonous than they realize. The great Satanic rebellion carries on a pace. You will find it in retreat centres, and religious psychotherapeutic centres, where Man is at the centre. You will find it in Universities, and Notre Dame in the United States in particular seems especially enslaved to sensual knowledge, and putting on obscene theatrical performances. The well dressed clergyman, often a religious, and the power dressing nun with qualifications as long as your arm are a tired species who cannot inspire anyone, especially the you. I remember, when I had to look after the Catholics on the Scottish island of Mull, talking to a charming South African Italian lady, who hardly darkened the door of the Church I might add, rhapsodizing about her wonderful American Franciscan friends whom, if my memory served me correctly, she met not being aware that they were friars, as they were in ordinary clothes, and who were so charming and normal and entertaining. It is all nonsense. You would have preferred these friars to be half crazed and like St. Francis denouncing the evils of the times.

    The Church today is sitting far, far, too lightly with the world. She should simply leave the United Nations to get on with propagating its filth and start up something of her own. If she wishes to be really radical, she could use the Vatican as a training ground for a new military order determined to bring true justice to the world, and root out all the evil. She must start telling men to be real men, who will defend their families and the rights of Christians. She should insist that men should be given a wage that means that women do not have to go out and work. She should tell women to stop thinking about careers, but think hard about what a vocation mean be it religious, medical, or educational, but not about the evil world of big business and banking. Men should be taught to be strong, chaste, and manly. They too should think hard about God is calling them to.

    Priests should look like priests and return to wearying the cassock. Religious especially religious sisters can wear the veil again, and they cannot complain that it is uncomfortable a) because surely that is penance and a work of saving souls, and b) Moslem women can wear the veil and it causes them no physical harm so why should the sisters complain. Also women can return to wearing a head covering in Church. It has never been rescinded as far as I know. Also and this is the tragedy, how many men and women who have entered religious life in the last 40 or so years have been virgins. In the old days women, who had been sexually immoral found it difficult to find orders to join. In that sense there was a disparity with the men, who did not have such a problem. The question is have women let the side down? In one sense they have, precisely because of the pill, but also men have failed aswell, who since the Fall seem to have taken the serpent’s place and have done more than seduce women in the last 150 years, they have seduced them with knowledge, and the wrong kind of education.

    Turning to the liberal agenda there is always health and education on the lips of every middle class liberal, and in the manifestoes of every politician. However this is very odd, as the best medicine will not be coming from the ordinary health services, or the utterly evil pharmaceutical companies but from herbal medicines, homoeopathy, and the like. The sirens of education and a career have had in not a few instances a de feminizing and terrible sexualizing effect on women. A woman is only so successful if she can take on a man and beat him at his own game. However it is somewhat one way thing. Men cannot join the Girl Guides, but women can become Scouts. There is in the whole feminist agenda a settling of scores, and a spirit of vengeance, and men are the losers, and we men have ourselves partially to blame. God made Adam and Eve to be perfectly complementary, but men have used women and abused them, and the vengeance has been sustained and savage, and then lunacy has come to our aid in the form of the whole “Gay Marriage” and Trans Gender madness. For now no-one will know who they are. And this is what modern education, with its idolizing of science, sociology, psychology, and anthropology has done for us.

    Pol Pot and the Khymer Rouge made everyone into numbers. This of course was nothing new; it had been done in the Concentration Camps and in Maoist China, but there was a terrible logic to the lunacy, but now who are the mothers, and whose children are whose, with women being mothers to other women’s children. This is what comes of education and science. For if science and education are not pursued under the guidance of God, Satanic pride takes hold and a hellish madness sweeps all before it. Tired of obedience to God, the Enlightenment worshipped the Goddess Reason, and now bows down before terrifying effigy of the Satanic Goat, whose insignia are the horns and the phallus. How depressingly contemporary it all is.

    And so people bow down before talentless pop stars, whose only talent very often seems to be sexual girations on stage, and being photographed in trashy and immoral magazines. The bridge between these tragic contenders for a place in hell is psychology, which meets up on the other side with so many contemporary religious who are almost as obsessed with sex as the poor pop stars. The river over which this bridge of madness straddles that sweeps like Catherine of Siena’s river under the true bridge, namely Christ, is celebrity a new name for vainglory. Everyone wants their gifts acknowledged be they pop stars, religious or priests, of humility there is little. When you see priests, and religious trying to be pop stars, you cringe with embarrassment, and want to tell them that the young will not be taken in.

    The Pope for all his common touch is out of touch with the young. I do not see them warming to him as they did to John Paul II, and Benedict. What they young want is heroes. They want Arthur, though they should want Alfred, and they want the camaraderie of the knights of the Round Table, they want knights in shining white army, and if every woman is honest she would love the true devotion of a truly Christian knight. The Tristan’s and the Lancelot’s of this world pale before a Parsifa,l a Lohengrin, or a Galahad. However all of these heroes are eclipsed by the real hero, that great King of Jerusalem, the legendary Leper King Baldwin IV, whose courage was dauntless, whose integrity was matchless, and whose people crowned him when he was only 15, not because he was young and they could control him, but because they loved him and would die with him and for him.

    Nothing could be more inspiring and more moving than reading about how Baldwin with Prince Reginald, with only 500 knights, and a few thousand infantry, managed through brilliant tactics, to defeat the great Saladin and his far superior army of 30,000 at the battle of Mont Guiscard in 1177. And note that Baldwin’s leprosy was by then quite advanced. In 1182 Baldwin won another extraordinary victory, but let us hear about this from the author Joseph Cummins:

    In July of 1182, Saladin was poised once again to invade Jerusalem. He began by laying siege to a castle in southern Galilee. Baldwin went to intercept him and a battle ensued on July 15, near the town of Le Forbelet. It was a chaotic, bitter fight in a sun so hot that many died of sunstroke. No-one knows how many troops Saladin had, but the Christians, with seven hundred knights, were outnumbered once again. Nonetheless, they managed to rout Saladin’s forces and send them back across the Jordan. Baldwin was present on the field, despite his illness and the fierce heat, directing troops. He then set off on a remarkable foray, riding three hundred kilometres to attack the Muslim fortress of al-Habis Jaldak, successfully laying siege to it, and forcing its inhabitants to surrender.

    All the while, Baldwin was seen not only as the unifying force in his kingdom, but as an almost Christlike figure, one who by his suffering had earned the right to lead his people. Yet it was apparent that, possibly due to the strain of this latest campaign, the king’s illness worsened, as William of Tyre recorded:

    The leprosy…became much worse than usual. He had lost his sight and the extremities of his body became completely diseased and damaged, so that he was unable to use his hands or feet [Yet] although hi body was weak and powerless, he was strong in spirit, and made superhuman effort to disguise his illness and shoulder the burdens of kingship (Joseph Cummins; History’s Great Untold Stories Obscure Event of Lasting Importance,Murdoch Books Pty Limited 2006; p.229)

    And so we look on at a crumbling, grey and depressingly clerical church, and oddly far more clerical than before Vatican II, because now bishops, and even the Pope sport briefcases, and they look like drab business men, and yet do we not hunger to have that bravery such as was shown by this wonderful King, who dies at 24, loved by his people. Why? Because in the medieval mind at this period the two most lecherous groups among humanity were considered to be lepers and kings in that order of gravity, and here was a leper king who was chaste and who was phenomenally brave.

    In Western Civilization built on Christian foundations we see her peoples drowning in sex, and a Church that seems unable to champion chastity. Here then is a chaste warrior, who half a century later will find his spiritual and kingly successor in the greatest of all Christian kings, St. Louis of France. Democracies, plutocracies, oligarchies, republics, and city states do not produce such men as these. Christ’s kingship must be seen again in heroes like Baldwin and Louis. The Pope seems quite at a loss, a man out of his depth, seemingly aware only of the liberal left wing 20th century, whose only real claim to greatness is its technology, its spirit of rebellion in every facet of life, and its comfort. None of these things produce heroes, except thankfully and exultantly martyrs who oppose such evils. The glory of the 20th century is her Christian martyrs, but do I hear their feats lauded from the pulpits. No! all I hear is the social Gospel, and the call to love one’s neighbour, laudable but not enough. The reason why St. Elizabeth of Hungary, St. Vincent de Paul, St. Joseph Benedict Cottolengo, Don Bosco, and Mother Teresa created such charitable institutions was, not because they had a policy for stamping out poverty throughout the World, but because they loved God, and saw him in the suffering and responded to him in those who suffered, the ill, the poor, the Galley slaves and the orphans, widows, and prisoner.

    Terrible Familiarity has indeed bred contempt and mor, for it seems to have cast a pall over clerical relationships so that courtesy flees and bonhomie creates an atmosphere of anxiety. If the bishop is on Christian name terms with his priests, and they with him, will he be able to control them. “Discretion is the Better part of valour”, but there is no discretion and precious little valour in the world or the Church today. Vainglory abounds and “My needs” and “my gifts” must take first place, and so Satan’s pride has seduced his witting and unwitting acolytes, and his terrifying charm and empty promises have enslaved them.

    And so we leave these foolish pop stars, and film stars, and mindless celebrities trying to cross the bridge of psychology who then find themselves bumping into priests and religious and the educated lay Catholic, and the social activist Catholic, and the “anything goes” Catholic. Irritated, both sides begin to jostle each other, and then push and shove each other, and then become angry, until hatred raw and vicious breaks out, and a terrible bloody fight begins. The bridge, not one of the sturdiest, for modern psychology is anything but sturdy, begins to heave under the strain, and shudder, and crack, and then in one giant roar collapses and the huge fighting rabble falls into the river of death, madness and despair. May God indeed show us mercy in this year of Mercy, where there seems to be little mercy, but much revenge, cruelty and depravity hidden under the revolting guise of “caring” and “political correctness”. It is then time to turn to that greatest devotion of the 20th and 21st centuries, The Divine Mercy, and as Jesus asked us through his messenger of Divine Mercy, St. Faustina devotion to his Mercy is immensely powerful;

    At three o’clock, implore My mercy, especially for sinners; and, if only for a brief moment, immerse yourself in My Passion, particularly in My abandonment at the moment of agony. This is the hour of great mercy for the whole world. I will allow you to enter into My mortal sorrow. In this hour, I will refuse nothing to the soul that makes a request of Me in virtue of My Passion. (St. Faustina’s diary no.1320)

    Let us pray that Mercy descends in great torrents upon the Church on this The Great Feast of Pentecost, so that the almost lifeless body, which is our Beloved Church will resurrect and once again become resplendent with Beauty, Truth and Charity, and may true unity with our great Sister Church, the Orthodox Church soon be realized in a storm of glory that will truly convert the world to Christ.

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  • The Crisis of the Faith in the Church today

    Yet another excellent article by Bihop Athanasius Schneider. If you think we are publishing a lot of his writing and interviews it is because 'he is worth it'! In this article he collects together quotes which are well worth pondering over.

    Bishop Athanasius Schneider: The crisis of the Faith in the Church today

    May 9, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) --

    The doctrines of rationalism, naturalism, anthropocentrism shape the frame of mind of the world today. Since the French Revolution they have conquered almost all sectors of public life and have invaded in progressive stages large areas of the Church’s life. At the beginning of the 21st century, we are witnessing an apostasy in the civil society, which resembles a direct and quasi-apocalyptic revolt against God Himself and against the divinely established order of the natural law.

    In former times crises of faith, even when they had an almost universal reach, were nevertheless limited to a specific truth of faith (as for example Arianism in the 4th century). In times of enormous moral offences the sin was not justified theoretically, under the pretext of may be “pastoral” reasons or under the pretext of the mercy or tenderness of God, as one can hear often in our days. In those times, one had known that sin was sin and one has called a spade a spade. In our days, however, the dogmatic, moral and liturgical relativism reached unprecedented proportions inside the Church. In such times some ground-breaking and clear words of the Supreme Magisterium from modern times (19th and 20th centuries) reveal themselves being truly prophetic. In a situation, which is marked by obfuscation and in which the faithful receive not rarely an insipid spiritual nourishment on behalf of a culture of arbitrariness, such words of the Magisterium of our modern times have the effect of a healthy strong country bread and of a fresh sigh of relief. Indeed, they contain the true spirit of the Gospel and of the Apostles, and fill our mind and our soul with a heavenly unction and gives us a supernatural certainty and firmness.

    Extracts from the First Vatican Council (Constitutio dogmatica, Dei Filius de fide catholica, cap. 4)

    The immutability of the Catholic faith

    “There came into being and spread far and wide throughout the world the doctrine of rationalism or naturalism,—utterly opposed to the Christian religion, since this is of supernatural origin,—which spares no effort to bring it about that Christ, who alone is our lord and savior, is shut out from the minds of people and the moral life of nations. Thus they would establish what they call the rule of simple reason or nature. The abandonment and rejection of the Christian religion, and the denial of God and his Christ, has plunged the minds of many into the abyss of pantheism, materialism and atheism, and the consequence is that they strive to destroy rational nature itself, to deny any criterion of what is right and just, and to overthrow the very foundations of human society.

    “With this impiety spreading in every direction, it has come about, alas, that many even among the children of the Catholic Church have strayed from the path of genuine piety, and as the truth was gradually diluted in them, their Catholic sensibility was weakened. Led away by diverse and strange teachings (Hebr. 13: 9) and confusing nature and grace, human knowledge and divine faith, they are found to distort the genuine sense of the dogmas which Holy mother Church holds and teaches, and to endanger the integrity and genuineness of the faith.

    The obedience of faith

    “Since human beings are totally dependent on God as their Creator and Lord, and created reason is completely subject to uncreated truth, we are obliged to yield to God the revealer full submission of intellect and will by faith. This faith, which is the beginning of human salvation, the Catholic Church professes to be a supernatural virtue, by means of which, with the grace of God inspiring and assisting us, we believe to be true what He has revealed, not because we perceive its intrinsic truth by the natural light of reason, but because of the authority of God himself, who makes the revelation and can neither deceive nor be deceived.

    “Consequently, the situation of those, who by the heavenly gift of faith have embraced the Catholic truth, is by no means the same as that of those who, led by human opinions, follow a false religion; for those who have accepted the faith under the guidance of the Church can never have any just cause for changing this faith or for calling it into question.

    “Hence, all faithful Christians are forbidden to defend as the legitimate conclusions of science those opinions, which are known to be contrary to the doctrine of faith, particularly if they have been condemned by the Church; and furthermore they are absolutely bound to hold them to be errors which wear the deceptive appearance of truth.

    “For the doctrine of the faith which God has revealed, is put forward not as some philosophical discovery capable of being perfected by human intelligence, but as a divine deposit committed to the spouse of Christ to be faithfully protected and infallibly promulgated. Hence, too, that meaning of the sacred dogmas is ever to be maintained, which has once been declared by Holy Mother Church, and there must never be any abandonment of this sense under the pretext or in the name of a more profound understanding. May understanding, knowledge and wisdom increase as ages and centuries roll along, and greatly and vigorously flourish, in each and all, in the individual and the whole Church: but this only in its own proper kind, that is to say, in the same doctrine, the same sense, and the same understanding (cf. Vincentius Lerinensis, Commonitorium, 28).

    “In the performance of our supreme pastoral office, we beseech for the love of Jesus Christ and we command, by the authority of him who is also our God and savior, all faithful Christians, especially those in authority or who have the duty of teaching, that they contribute their zeal and labor to the warding off and elimination of these errors from the Church and to the spreading of the light of the pure faith.” (Constitutio dogmatica, Dei Filius de fide catholica, cap. 4)

    Extracts from Pope St Pius X (Encyclical E supremi apostolatus, 1903)

    War is now, almost everywhere, stirred up and fomented against God

    “To eliminate all vain delusions, We say with emphasis that We do not wish to be, and with the Divine assistance never shall be aught before human society but the Minister of God, of whose authority We are the depositary. The interests of God shall be Our interest, and for these We are resolved to spend all Our strength and Our very life. A sacrilegious war is now, almost everywhere, stirred up and fomented against God. For in truth, ‘The nations have raged and the peoples imagined vain things’ (Ps. 2: 1.) against their Creator, so frequent is the cry of the enemies of God: ‘Depart from us’ (Job. 21: 14). And as might be expected we find extinguished among the majority of men all respect for the Eternal God, and no regard paid in the manifestations of public and private life to the Supreme Will – nay, every effort and every artifice is used to destroy utterly the memory and the knowledge of God.

    “Such, in truth, is the audacity and the wrath employed everywhere in persecuting religion, in combating the dogmas of the faith, in brazen effort to uproot and destroy all relations between man and the Divinity! While, on the other hand, and this according to the same apostle (cf. 2 Thess. 2: 3) is the distinguishing mark of Antichrist, man has with infinite temerity put himself in the place of God, raising himself above all that is called God; in such wise that although he cannot utterly extinguish in himself all knowledge of God, he has contemned God’s majesty and, as it were, made of the universe a temple wherein he himself is to be adored. ‘He sits in the temple of God, showing himself as if he were God’ (2 Thess. 2: 2).

    “We shall never, however much we exert ourselves, succeed in calling men back to the majesty and empire of God, except by means of Jesus Christ. ‘No one,’ the Apostle admonishes us, ‘can lay other foundation than that which has been laid, which is Jesus Christ’ (1 Cor. 3: 2). It is Christ alone … true God and true man: without whom nobody can know God with the knowledge for salvation, ‘neither does anyone know the Father but the Son, and he to whom it shall please the Son to reveal Him’ (Math. 11: 27). Hence, it follows that to restore all things in Christ and to lead men back to submission to God is one and the same aim. To this, then, it behoves Us to devote Our care – to lead back mankind under the dominion of Christ. When We say to God We do not mean to that inert being heedless of all things human which the dream of materialists has imagined, but to the true and living God, one in nature, triple in person, Creator of the world, most wise Ordainer of all things, Lawgiver most just, who punishes the wicked and has reward in store for virtue.

    “The duty that has been imposed alike upon Us and upon all bishops consists in bringing back to the discipline of the Church human society. But, if our desire to obtain this is to be fulfilled, we must use every means and exert all our energy to bring about the utter disappearance of the enormous and detestable wickedness, so characteristic of our time – the substitution of man for God. This done, it remains to restore to their ancient place of honor the most holy laws and counsels of the Gospel; to proclaim aloud the truths taught by the Church, and her teachings on the sanctity of marriage, on the education and discipline of youth. We will use all our industry to attain it.

    “An insufficient and defective religious instruction has as the result for a great many the loss of the faith. For it is not true that the progress of knowledge extinguishes the faith; rather is it ignorance, and the more ignorance in the doctrine of faith prevails, the greater is the havoc wrought by incredulity. And this is why Christ commanded the Apostles: ‘Going forth teach all nations’ (Math. 28: 19).

    “The times we live demands action – but action which consists entirely in observing with fidelity and zeal the divine laws and the precepts of the Church, in the frank and open profession of religion, in the exercise of every kind of charitable works, without regard to self-interest or worldly advantage. Such luminous examples given by the great army of soldiers of Christ will be of much greater avail in moving and drawing men than words and sublime dissertations. … Oh! when in every city and village the law of the Lord is faithfully observed, when respect is shown for sacred things, when the Sacraments are frequented in the right disposition, and the ordinances of Christian life fulfilled, – it will also contribute largely to temporal welfare and the advantage of human society. It will be clear to all that the Church, such as it was instituted by Christ, must enjoy full and entire liberty and independence from all foreign dominion; and We, in demanding that same liberty, are defending not only the sacred rights of religion, but are also consulting the common weal and the safety of nations. For it continues to be true that ‘piety is useful for all things’ (1 Tim. 4: 8) – when this is strong and flourishing ‘the people will’ truly ‘sit in the fullness of peace’ (Is.32: 18).” (Encyclical E supremi apostolatus from October 4, 1903; numbers 4-5;8-9;12;14)

    Extracts from Pope Pius XII (Encyclical Summi pontificatus, 1939)

    The dethronement of Christ

    “At the head of the road which leads to the spiritual and moral bankruptcy of the present day stand the nefarious efforts of not a few to dethrone Christ; the abandonment of the law of truth which He proclaimed and of the law of love which is the life breath of His Kingdom.

    “In the recognition of the royal prerogatives of Christ and in the return of individuals and of society to the law of His truth and of His love lies the only way to salvation.”

    The denial of the moral law destroys the unity of Europe

    “The present age by adding new errors to the doctrinal aberrations of the past, has pushed these to extremes, which lead inevitably to a drift towards chaos. Before all else, it is certain that the radical and ultimate cause of the evils which We deplore in modern society is the denial and rejection of a universal norm of morality as well for individual and social life as for international relations; We mean the disregard, so common nowadays, and the forgetfulness of the natural law itself, which has its foundation in God, When God is hated, every basis of morality is undermined; the voice of conscience is stilled or at any rate grows very faint, that voice which teaches even to the illiterate and to uncivilized tribes what is good and what is bad, what lawful, what forbidden, and makes men feel themselves responsible for their actions to a Supreme Judge.

    “The denial of the fundamentals of morality had its origin, in Europe, in the abandonment of that Christian teaching of which the Chair of Peter is the depository and exponent. That teaching had once given spiritual cohesion to a Europe which, educated, ennobled and civilized by the Cross, had reached such a degree of civil progress as to become the teacher of other peoples, of other continents. But, cut off from the infallible teaching authority of the Church, not a few separated brethren have gone so far as to overthrow the central dogma of Christianity, the Divinity of the Savior, and have hastened thereby the progress of spiritual decay.”

    The exclusion of God from the public life

    “The Holy Gospel narrates that when Jesus was crucified ‘there was darkness over the whole earth’ (Math. 27: 45); a terrifying symbol of what happened and what still happens spiritually wherever incredulity, blind and proud of itself, has succeeded in excluding Christ from modern life, especially from public life, and has undermined faith in God as well as faith in Christ. The consequence is that the moral values by which in other times public and private conduct was gauged have fallen into disuse; and the much vaunted civilization of society, which has made ever more rapid progress, withdrawing man, the family and the State from the beneficent and regenerating effects of the idea of God and the teaching of the Church, has caused to reappear, in regions in which for many centuries shone the splendors of Christian civilization, in a manner ever clearer, ever more distinct, ever more distressing, the signs of a corrupt and corrupting paganism: ‘There was darkness when they crucified Jesus’ (cf. Math. 27: 45).

    “Many perhaps, while abandoning the teaching of Christ, were not fully conscious of being led astray by a mirage of glittering phrases, which proclaimed such estrangement as an escape from the slavery in which they were before held; nor did they then foresee the bitter consequences of bartering the truth that sets free, for error which enslaves. They did not realize that, in renouncing the infinitely wise and paternal laws of God, and the unifying and elevating doctrines of Christ’s love, they were resigning themselves to the whim of a poor, fickle human wisdom; they spoke of progress, when they were going back; of being raised, when they groveled; of arriving at man’s estate, when they stooped to servility. They did not perceive the inability of all human effort to replace the law of Christ by anything equal to it; ‘they became vain in their thoughts’ (Rom. 1: 21).

    “With the weakening of faith in God and in Jesus Christ, and the darkening in men’s minds of the light of moral principles, there disappeared the indispensable foundation of the stability and quiet of that internal and external, private and public order, which alone can support and safeguard the prosperity of States.

    “The ‘Catholic Church, the City of God, whose King is Truth, whose law love and whose measure eternity’ (Saint Augustine, Ep. 138 Ad Marcellinum, 3, 17), preaching fearlessly the whole truth of Christ and toiling as the love of Christ, demands with the zeal of a mother, stands as a blessed vision of peace above the storm of error and passion awaiting the moment when the all-powerful Hand of Christ the King shall quiet the tempest and banish the spirits of discord which have provoked it.

    “Do you, too, pray, you whose courageous profession of the Faith entails today hard, painful and not rarely, heroic sacrifices; pray you, suffering and agonizing members of the Church, when Jesus comes to console and to heal your pains, and do not forget with the aid of a true spirit of mortification and worthy practice of penance to make your prayers more acceptable in the eyes of Him, that He in His mercy may shorten the days of trial and that thus the word of the Psalmist may be verified: ‘Then they cried to the Lord in their affliction: and he delivered them out of their distresses’ (Ps. 106: 13).

    “And you, white legions of children who are so loved and dear to Jesus, when you receive in Holy Communion the Bread of Life, raise up your simple and innocent prayers and unite them with those of the Universal Church. The heart of Jesus, Who loves you, does not resist your suppliant innocence. Pray every one, pray uninterruptedly: ‘Pray without ceasing’ (1 Thess. 5: 17)”. (Encyclical Summi pontificatus from October 20, 1939; numbers 21-22; 28-32; 110; 113-114)

    A great bishop of our days, the Venerable Servant of God Archbishop Fulton Sheen, made some very striking affirmations which confirm perfectly the prophetic voice of the Supreme Magisterium already in the 19th century (Pius IX and First Vatican Council) and of the first half of the 20thcentury (Pius X and Pius XII).

    Extracts from Archbishop Fulton Sheen

    “The Antichrist will not be so called; otherwise he would have no followers. He will not wear red tights, nor vomit Sulphur, nor carry a trident nor wave an arrowed tail as Mephistopheles in Faust. This masquerade has helped the Devil convince men that he does not exist. When no man recognizes, the more power he exercises. God has defined Himself as ‘I am Who am,’ and the Devil as ‘I am who am not.’ Nowhere in Sacred Scripture do we find warrant for the popular myth of the Devil as a buffoon who is dressed like the first ‘red.’ Rather is he described as an angel fallen from heaven, as ‘the Prince of this world,’ whose business it is to tell us that there is no other world. His logic is simple: if there is no heaven there is no hell; if there is no hell, then there is no sin; if there is no sin, then there is no judge, and if there is no judgment then evil is good and good is evil. But above all these descriptions, Our Lord tells us that he will be so much like Himself that he would deceive even the elect–and certainly no devil ever seen in picture books could deceive even the elect. How will he come in this new age to win followers to his religion? The pre-Communist Russian belief is that he will come disguised as the Great Humanitarian; he will talk peace, prosperity and plenty not as means to lead us to God, but as ends in themselves. . . The third temptation in which Satan asked Christ to adore him and all the kingdoms of the world would be His, will become the temptation to have a new religion without a Cross, a liturgy without a world to come, a religion to destroy a religion, or a politics which is a religion–one that renders unto Caesar even the things that are God’s. In the midst of all his seeming love for humanity and his glib talk of freedom and equality, he will have one great secret, which he will tell to no one: he will not believe in God. Because his religion will be brotherhood without the fatherhood of God, he will deceive even the elect. He will set up a counter-church, which will be the ape of the Church, because he, the Devil, is the ape of God. It will have all the notes and characteristics of the Church, but in reverse and emptied of its divine content. It will be a mystical body of the Antichrist that will in all externals resemble the mystical body of Christ.” (Communism and the Conscience of the West).

    “If I were not a Catholic, and were looking for the true Church in the world today, I would look for the one Church which did not get along well with the world; in other words, I would look for the Church which the world hates. My reason for doing this would be, that if Christ is in any one of the churches of the world today, He must still be hated as He was when He was on earth in the flesh. If you would find Christ today, then find the Church that does not get along with the world. Look for the Church that is hated by the world, as Christ was hated by the world. Look for the Church, which the world rejects because it claims it is infallible, as Pilate rejected Christ because he called Himself the Truth. If the Church is unpopular with the spirit of the world, then it is unworldly, and if it is unworldly, it is other-worldly. Since it is other-worldly, it is infinitely loved and infinitely hated as was Christ Himself.” (Preface, Radio Replies)

    “The world may disagree with the Church, but the world knows very definitely with what it is disagreeing. In the future as in the past, the Church will be intolerant about the sanctity of marriage, for what God has joined together no man shall put asunder; she will be intolerant about her creed, and be ready to die for it, for she fears not those who kill the body, but rather those who have the power to cast body and soul into hell.” (Moods and Truths)

    “Tolerance applies to the erring, intolerance to the error … Architects are as intolerant about sand as foundations for skyscrapers as doctors are intolerant about germs in the laboratory. Tolerance does not apply to truth or principles. About these things we must be intolerant, and for this kind of intolerance, so much needed to rouse us from sentimental gush, I make a plea. Intolerance of this kind is the foundation of all stability.” (Old Errors and New Labels)

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  • The Crisis of the Faith in the Church today

    Yet another excellent article by Bihop Athanasius Schneider. If you think we are publishing a lot of his writing and interviews it is because 'he is worth it'! In this article he collects together quotes which are well worth pondering over.

    Bishop Athanasius Schneider: The crisis of the Faith in the Church today

    May 9, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) --

    The doctrines of rationalism, naturalism, anthropocentrism shape the frame of mind of the world today. Since the French Revolution they have conquered almost all sectors of public life and have invaded in progressive stages large areas of the Church’s life. At the beginning of the 21st century, we are witnessing an apostasy in the civil society, which resembles a direct and quasi-apocalyptic revolt against God Himself and against the divinely established order of the natural law.

    In former times crises of faith, even when they had an almost universal reach, were nevertheless limited to a specific truth of faith (as for example Arianism in the 4th century). In times of enormous moral offences the sin was not justified theoretically, under the pretext of may be “pastoral” reasons or under the pretext of the mercy or tenderness of God, as one can hear often in our days. In those times, one had known that sin was sin and one has called a spade a spade. In our days, however, the dogmatic, moral and liturgical relativism reached unprecedented proportions inside the Church. In such times some ground-breaking and clear words of the Supreme Magisterium from modern times (19th and 20th centuries) reveal themselves being truly prophetic. In a situation, which is marked by obfuscation and in which the faithful receive not rarely an insipid spiritual nourishment on behalf of a culture of arbitrariness, such words of the Magisterium of our modern times have the effect of a healthy strong country bread and of a fresh sigh of relief. Indeed, they contain the true spirit of the Gospel and of the Apostles, and fill our mind and our soul with a heavenly unction and gives us a supernatural certainty and firmness.

    Extracts from the First Vatican Council (Constitutio dogmatica, Dei Filius de fide catholica, cap. 4)

    The immutability of the Catholic faith

    “There came into being and spread far and wide throughout the world the doctrine of rationalism or naturalism,—utterly opposed to the Christian religion, since this is of supernatural origin,—which spares no effort to bring it about that Christ, who alone is our lord and savior, is shut out from the minds of people and the moral life of nations. Thus they would establish what they call the rule of simple reason or nature. The abandonment and rejection of the Christian religion, and the denial of God and his Christ, has plunged the minds of many into the abyss of pantheism, materialism and atheism, and the consequence is that they strive to destroy rational nature itself, to deny any criterion of what is right and just, and to overthrow the very foundations of human society.

    “With this impiety spreading in every direction, it has come about, alas, that many even among the children of the Catholic Church have strayed from the path of genuine piety, and as the truth was gradually diluted in them, their Catholic sensibility was weakened. Led away by diverse and strange teachings (Hebr. 13: 9) and confusing nature and grace, human knowledge and divine faith, they are found to distort the genuine sense of the dogmas which Holy mother Church holds and teaches, and to endanger the integrity and genuineness of the faith.

    The obedience of faith

    “Since human beings are totally dependent on God as their Creator and Lord, and created reason is completely subject to uncreated truth, we are obliged to yield to God the revealer full submission of intellect and will by faith. This faith, which is the beginning of human salvation, the Catholic Church professes to be a supernatural virtue, by means of which, with the grace of God inspiring and assisting us, we believe to be true what He has revealed, not because we perceive its intrinsic truth by the natural light of reason, but because of the authority of God himself, who makes the revelation and can neither deceive nor be deceived.

    “Consequently, the situation of those, who by the heavenly gift of faith have embraced the Catholic truth, is by no means the same as that of those who, led by human opinions, follow a false religion; for those who have accepted the faith under the guidance of the Church can never have any just cause for changing this faith or for calling it into question.

    “Hence, all faithful Christians are forbidden to defend as the legitimate conclusions of science those opinions, which are known to be contrary to the doctrine of faith, particularly if they have been condemned by the Church; and furthermore they are absolutely bound to hold them to be errors which wear the deceptive appearance of truth.

    “For the doctrine of the faith which God has revealed, is put forward not as some philosophical discovery capable of being perfected by human intelligence, but as a divine deposit committed to the spouse of Christ to be faithfully protected and infallibly promulgated. Hence, too, that meaning of the sacred dogmas is ever to be maintained, which has once been declared by Holy Mother Church, and there must never be any abandonment of this sense under the pretext or in the name of a more profound understanding. May understanding, knowledge and wisdom increase as ages and centuries roll along, and greatly and vigorously flourish, in each and all, in the individual and the whole Church: but this only in its own proper kind, that is to say, in the same doctrine, the same sense, and the same understanding (cf. Vincentius Lerinensis, Commonitorium, 28).

    “In the performance of our supreme pastoral office, we beseech for the love of Jesus Christ and we command, by the authority of him who is also our God and savior, all faithful Christians, especially those in authority or who have the duty of teaching, that they contribute their zeal and labor to the warding off and elimination of these errors from the Church and to the spreading of the light of the pure faith.” (Constitutio dogmatica, Dei Filius de fide catholica, cap. 4)

    Extracts from Pope St Pius X (Encyclical E supremi apostolatus, 1903)

    War is now, almost everywhere, stirred up and fomented against God

    “To eliminate all vain delusions, We say with emphasis that We do not wish to be, and with the Divine assistance never shall be aught before human society but the Minister of God, of whose authority We are the depositary. The interests of God shall be Our interest, and for these We are resolved to spend all Our strength and Our very life. A sacrilegious war is now, almost everywhere, stirred up and fomented against God. For in truth, ‘The nations have raged and the peoples imagined vain things’ (Ps. 2: 1.) against their Creator, so frequent is the cry of the enemies of God: ‘Depart from us’ (Job. 21: 14). And as might be expected we find extinguished among the majority of men all respect for the Eternal God, and no regard paid in the manifestations of public and private life to the Supreme Will – nay, every effort and every artifice is used to destroy utterly the memory and the knowledge of God.

    “Such, in truth, is the audacity and the wrath employed everywhere in persecuting religion, in combating the dogmas of the faith, in brazen effort to uproot and destroy all relations between man and the Divinity! While, on the other hand, and this according to the same apostle (cf. 2 Thess. 2: 3) is the distinguishing mark of Antichrist, man has with infinite temerity put himself in the place of God, raising himself above all that is called God; in such wise that although he cannot utterly extinguish in himself all knowledge of God, he has contemned God’s majesty and, as it were, made of the universe a temple wherein he himself is to be adored. ‘He sits in the temple of God, showing himself as if he were God’ (2 Thess. 2: 2).

    “We shall never, however much we exert ourselves, succeed in calling men back to the majesty and empire of God, except by means of Jesus Christ. ‘No one,’ the Apostle admonishes us, ‘can lay other foundation than that which has been laid, which is Jesus Christ’ (1 Cor. 3: 2). It is Christ alone … true God and true man: without whom nobody can know God with the knowledge for salvation, ‘neither does anyone know the Father but the Son, and he to whom it shall please the Son to reveal Him’ (Math. 11: 27). Hence, it follows that to restore all things in Christ and to lead men back to submission to God is one and the same aim. To this, then, it behoves Us to devote Our care – to lead back mankind under the dominion of Christ. When We say to God We do not mean to that inert being heedless of all things human which the dream of materialists has imagined, but to the true and living God, one in nature, triple in person, Creator of the world, most wise Ordainer of all things, Lawgiver most just, who punishes the wicked and has reward in store for virtue.

    “The duty that has been imposed alike upon Us and upon all bishops consists in bringing back to the discipline of the Church human society. But, if our desire to obtain this is to be fulfilled, we must use every means and exert all our energy to bring about the utter disappearance of the enormous and detestable wickedness, so characteristic of our time – the substitution of man for God. This done, it remains to restore to their ancient place of honor the most holy laws and counsels of the Gospel; to proclaim aloud the truths taught by the Church, and her teachings on the sanctity of marriage, on the education and discipline of youth. We will use all our industry to attain it.

    “An insufficient and defective religious instruction has as the result for a great many the loss of the faith. For it is not true that the progress of knowledge extinguishes the faith; rather is it ignorance, and the more ignorance in the doctrine of faith prevails, the greater is the havoc wrought by incredulity. And this is why Christ commanded the Apostles: ‘Going forth teach all nations’ (Math. 28: 19).

    “The times we live demands action – but action which consists entirely in observing with fidelity and zeal the divine laws and the precepts of the Church, in the frank and open profession of religion, in the exercise of every kind of charitable works, without regard to self-interest or worldly advantage. Such luminous examples given by the great army of soldiers of Christ will be of much greater avail in moving and drawing men than words and sublime dissertations. … Oh! when in every city and village the law of the Lord is faithfully observed, when respect is shown for sacred things, when the Sacraments are frequented in the right disposition, and the ordinances of Christian life fulfilled, – it will also contribute largely to temporal welfare and the advantage of human society. It will be clear to all that the Church, such as it was instituted by Christ, must enjoy full and entire liberty and independence from all foreign dominion; and We, in demanding that same liberty, are defending not only the sacred rights of religion, but are also consulting the common weal and the safety of nations. For it continues to be true that ‘piety is useful for all things’ (1 Tim. 4: 8) – when this is strong and flourishing ‘the people will’ truly ‘sit in the fullness of peace’ (Is.32: 18).” (Encyclical E supremi apostolatus from October 4, 1903; numbers 4-5;8-9;12;14)

    Extracts from Pope Pius XII (Encyclical Summi pontificatus, 1939)

    The dethronement of Christ

    “At the head of the road which leads to the spiritual and moral bankruptcy of the present day stand the nefarious efforts of not a few to dethrone Christ; the abandonment of the law of truth which He proclaimed and of the law of love which is the life breath of His Kingdom.

    “In the recognition of the royal prerogatives of Christ and in the return of individuals and of society to the law of His truth and of His love lies the only way to salvation.”

    The denial of the moral law destroys the unity of Europe

    “The present age by adding new errors to the doctrinal aberrations of the past, has pushed these to extremes, which lead inevitably to a drift towards chaos. Before all else, it is certain that the radical and ultimate cause of the evils which We deplore in modern society is the denial and rejection of a universal norm of morality as well for individual and social life as for international relations; We mean the disregard, so common nowadays, and the forgetfulness of the natural law itself, which has its foundation in God, When God is hated, every basis of morality is undermined; the voice of conscience is stilled or at any rate grows very faint, that voice which teaches even to the illiterate and to uncivilized tribes what is good and what is bad, what lawful, what forbidden, and makes men feel themselves responsible for their actions to a Supreme Judge.

    “The denial of the fundamentals of morality had its origin, in Europe, in the abandonment of that Christian teaching of which the Chair of Peter is the depository and exponent. That teaching had once given spiritual cohesion to a Europe which, educated, ennobled and civilized by the Cross, had reached such a degree of civil progress as to become the teacher of other peoples, of other continents. But, cut off from the infallible teaching authority of the Church, not a few separated brethren have gone so far as to overthrow the central dogma of Christianity, the Divinity of the Savior, and have hastened thereby the progress of spiritual decay.”

    The exclusion of God from the public life

    “The Holy Gospel narrates that when Jesus was crucified ‘there was darkness over the whole earth’ (Math. 27: 45); a terrifying symbol of what happened and what still happens spiritually wherever incredulity, blind and proud of itself, has succeeded in excluding Christ from modern life, especially from public life, and has undermined faith in God as well as faith in Christ. The consequence is that the moral values by which in other times public and private conduct was gauged have fallen into disuse; and the much vaunted civilization of society, which has made ever more rapid progress, withdrawing man, the family and the State from the beneficent and regenerating effects of the idea of God and the teaching of the Church, has caused to reappear, in regions in which for many centuries shone the splendors of Christian civilization, in a manner ever clearer, ever more distinct, ever more distressing, the signs of a corrupt and corrupting paganism: ‘There was darkness when they crucified Jesus’ (cf. Math. 27: 45).

    “Many perhaps, while abandoning the teaching of Christ, were not fully conscious of being led astray by a mirage of glittering phrases, which proclaimed such estrangement as an escape from the slavery in which they were before held; nor did they then foresee the bitter consequences of bartering the truth that sets free, for error which enslaves. They did not realize that, in renouncing the infinitely wise and paternal laws of God, and the unifying and elevating doctrines of Christ’s love, they were resigning themselves to the whim of a poor, fickle human wisdom; they spoke of progress, when they were going back; of being raised, when they groveled; of arriving at man’s estate, when they stooped to servility. They did not perceive the inability of all human effort to replace the law of Christ by anything equal to it; ‘they became vain in their thoughts’ (Rom. 1: 21).

    “With the weakening of faith in God and in Jesus Christ, and the darkening in men’s minds of the light of moral principles, there disappeared the indispensable foundation of the stability and quiet of that internal and external, private and public order, which alone can support and safeguard the prosperity of States.

    “The ‘Catholic Church, the City of God, whose King is Truth, whose law love and whose measure eternity’ (Saint Augustine, Ep. 138 Ad Marcellinum, 3, 17), preaching fearlessly the whole truth of Christ and toiling as the love of Christ, demands with the zeal of a mother, stands as a blessed vision of peace above the storm of error and passion awaiting the moment when the all-powerful Hand of Christ the King shall quiet the tempest and banish the spirits of discord which have provoked it.

    “Do you, too, pray, you whose courageous profession of the Faith entails today hard, painful and not rarely, heroic sacrifices; pray you, suffering and agonizing members of the Church, when Jesus comes to console and to heal your pains, and do not forget with the aid of a true spirit of mortification and worthy practice of penance to make your prayers more acceptable in the eyes of Him, that He in His mercy may shorten the days of trial and that thus the word of the Psalmist may be verified: ‘Then they cried to the Lord in their affliction: and he delivered them out of their distresses’ (Ps. 106: 13).

    “And you, white legions of children who are so loved and dear to Jesus, when you receive in Holy Communion the Bread of Life, raise up your simple and innocent prayers and unite them with those of the Universal Church. The heart of Jesus, Who loves you, does not resist your suppliant innocence. Pray every one, pray uninterruptedly: ‘Pray without ceasing’ (1 Thess. 5: 17)”. (Encyclical Summi pontificatus from October 20, 1939; numbers 21-22; 28-32; 110; 113-114)

    A great bishop of our days, the Venerable Servant of God Archbishop Fulton Sheen, made some very striking affirmations which confirm perfectly the prophetic voice of the Supreme Magisterium already in the 19th century (Pius IX and First Vatican Council) and of the first half of the 20thcentury (Pius X and Pius XII).

    Extracts from Archbishop Fulton Sheen

    “The Antichrist will not be so called; otherwise he would have no followers. He will not wear red tights, nor vomit Sulphur, nor carry a trident nor wave an arrowed tail as Mephistopheles in Faust. This masquerade has helped the Devil convince men that he does not exist. When no man recognizes, the more power he exercises. God has defined Himself as ‘I am Who am,’ and the Devil as ‘I am who am not.’ Nowhere in Sacred Scripture do we find warrant for the popular myth of the Devil as a buffoon who is dressed like the first ‘red.’ Rather is he described as an angel fallen from heaven, as ‘the Prince of this world,’ whose business it is to tell us that there is no other world. His logic is simple: if there is no heaven there is no hell; if there is no hell, then there is no sin; if there is no sin, then there is no judge, and if there is no judgment then evil is good and good is evil. But above all these descriptions, Our Lord tells us that he will be so much like Himself that he would deceive even the elect–and certainly no devil ever seen in picture books could deceive even the elect. How will he come in this new age to win followers to his religion? The pre-Communist Russian belief is that he will come disguised as the Great Humanitarian; he will talk peace, prosperity and plenty not as means to lead us to God, but as ends in themselves. . . The third temptation in which Satan asked Christ to adore him and all the kingdoms of the world would be His, will become the temptation to have a new religion without a Cross, a liturgy without a world to come, a religion to destroy a religion, or a politics which is a religion–one that renders unto Caesar even the things that are God’s. In the midst of all his seeming love for humanity and his glib talk of freedom and equality, he will have one great secret, which he will tell to no one: he will not believe in God. Because his religion will be brotherhood without the fatherhood of God, he will deceive even the elect. He will set up a counter-church, which will be the ape of the Church, because he, the Devil, is the ape of God. It will have all the notes and characteristics of the Church, but in reverse and emptied of its divine content. It will be a mystical body of the Antichrist that will in all externals resemble the mystical body of Christ.” (Communism and the Conscience of the West).

    “If I were not a Catholic, and were looking for the true Church in the world today, I would look for the one Church which did not get along well with the world; in other words, I would look for the Church which the world hates. My reason for doing this would be, that if Christ is in any one of the churches of the world today, He must still be hated as He was when He was on earth in the flesh. If you would find Christ today, then find the Church that does not get along with the world. Look for the Church that is hated by the world, as Christ was hated by the world. Look for the Church, which the world rejects because it claims it is infallible, as Pilate rejected Christ because he called Himself the Truth. If the Church is unpopular with the spirit of the world, then it is unworldly, and if it is unworldly, it is other-worldly. Since it is other-worldly, it is infinitely loved and infinitely hated as was Christ Himself.” (Preface, Radio Replies)

    “The world may disagree with the Church, but the world knows very definitely with what it is disagreeing. In the future as in the past, the Church will be intolerant about the sanctity of marriage, for what God has joined together no man shall put asunder; she will be intolerant about her creed, and be ready to die for it, for she fears not those who kill the body, but rather those who have the power to cast body and soul into hell.” (Moods and Truths)

    “Tolerance applies to the erring, intolerance to the error … Architects are as intolerant about sand as foundations for skyscrapers as doctors are intolerant about germs in the laboratory. Tolerance does not apply to truth or principles. About these things we must be intolerant, and for this kind of intolerance, so much needed to rouse us from sentimental gush, I make a plea. Intolerance of this kind is the foundation of all stability.” (Old Errors and New Labels)

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  • The Great Tragedy of A Collapsing Church

    I do not believe that, in the history of the Church we have had a Pope quite as strange as Pope Francis, and even odder, a Pope who is in the process of apparently dismantling the Church. I am sure that he thinks he is simply renovating it, restoring it or, given his schoolmasterly tendency, simply reforming it. He is a like some blinkered German professor utterly carried away with an idea, which everyone is saying, won’t work, and no matter what the cost, he will take no advice, because he is right, and he will continue to the bitter end, and I fear it will be truly bitter. Now if what is happening at present in the Church were an Ealing Comedy of the late 40’or early 50’s, or the Thin Man series with Myrna Loy and Dick Powell in the 30’s, or nearer the mark, Frank Capra’s film version of “You can’t take it with You” it might have a certain charm, but the tragedy being played out before our eyes is one of high ranking clergy indulging in duplicity, craftiness and goodness knows what else, under the bizarrely benign view of the Pope

    Given the extraordinary behaviour of some Cardinals, bishops, and priests at the 2014 Extraordinary Synod on the Family, which resulted in Cardinal Pell slamming his fist on the table and demanding that the rights of the Synod Fathers be heard, which the steering committee headed by Cardinal Baldisseri were riding rough shod over, the Pope’s behaviour was even more extraordinary when he wanted to keep those texts in the final document of the 2014 Synod, which the Fathers had voted against. This is a typically Jesuit way of doing things; a heavy hand and absolute and unquestioning obedience on behalf of the subject. (This recalls the rather strange tale of Fr. Roger Charles, an English Jesuit who was forbidden, by the General of the Jesuits, to publish his book on the Jesuits’s failure, in recent times, to keep their Fourth vow of obedience to the Pope. Nothing could be as strange or ironical as this!)

    In a very disturbing article for OnePeterFive, Maike Hickson reports something so mad that one is left reeling. I will quote the section which is about Hans Kung.

    Therefore, it is important to report on the second important event of the last week: the encouragement of the progressivist, Father Hans Küng, who was removed in 1979 from his teaching position as a Catholic theologian under Pope John Paul II for his heterodox teaching. For now, it seems, his hour in the spotlight has at last come. As the National Catholic Reporter first reported, Hans Küng has now received a personal letter from Pope Francis in which he is encouraged to discuss – and thereby effectively to question – the Dogma of Papal Infallibility itself! This story has now been reported also by the official Vatican website in German, on Radio Vatikan, as well as by the official website of the Swiss bishops. The pope’s encouragement comes in response to an open letter to the Holy Father written by Küng in March of 2016. In it, he requested an open discussion of this settled dogma. He also explained rather explicitly why he wanted to question this Dogma: namely, because Papal Infallibility is now is a barrier that makes impossible the further reforms of the Church in many other fields. Küng wrote:

    The themes [of reform that came up in recent times]were: agreements among the different confessions; mutual acceptance of the offices and of the celebrations of the Last Supper; questions of divorce of marriage and of the ordination of women; concerning forced celibacy [sic]and the catastrophic lack of priests; and, finally, and especially, concerning the leadership of the Catholic Church.

    This proposed agenda for further reforms shows that the essential parts of the Catholic Faith are already under attack by the notably heterodox Swiss theologian. And now, it seems, he continues his assault with the support of the Vicar of Christ, who has been put in his office for the express purpose of defending the irreformable Deposit of Faith!

    I can only conclude from this that at best Pope Francis never really agreed with John Paul II, and worse did not like him. As Hans Kung was so unpleasant about John Paul II, and Benedict XVI, when he was Cardinal Ratzinger, then one can only presume that Pope Francis feels the same way as Hans Kung. Why should we be interested in the musings of an heretical Octogenerian revolutionary like Kung. In fact why we should we be interested in any of these Octogenerian revolutionaries, Cardinals Daneels, Kasper, and Murphy O’Connor to name but a few? They are yesterday’s men though they know it not. Admittedly you have younger Cardinals who are following their lead like Cardinals Schonborn and Nichols, but do any of these men really understand or love the Church?

    Also if the Pope accepts Hans Kung’s plans for the Church and the Papacy, and Pope Francis decides that he is not infallible, then surely he has taken the carpet from underneath his feet, and his successors’ for that matter. When one denies something that has been held with at times exaggerated enthusiasm as a Cardinal Manning and other ultramontanists then the reaction will be every bit as dreadful, when the Tridentine Mass went out and the the New Mass came in. All Hell will indeed be let loose. The Papacy above all, precisely because of its great claims to supernatural sovereignty, has to exercise the greatest, prudence, and discretion. Benedict XVI was a model in this regard. Pope Francis is rather like a man who has won the lottery, and its “spend, spend, spend.” There must be some Catherine of Siena waiting in the wings to help this man, who has so many wonderful qualities, but is, as far as I can see, getting dreadfully carried away, and losing all sense of proportion and proportion is what we so desperately need at present.

    It is of great important to realize that what we are witnessing is a re-run of Vatican II. At the beginning of the Council Cardinals Ottaviani and Siri and the orthodox prelates were caricatured as reactionaries. Cardinal Suenens led the supposedly new dynamic Church, but I should say Enlightened because He, Yves Congar, and Kung saw themselves as French revolutionaries, and it was these men along with the sadly very flawed but lovable Helder Camara, who led the progressive wing of the Church, and who won the day (I remember when I was a liberal Catholic, and only just 20 years of age going in 1972 to hear Helder Camara talk in London. I really did think he was a saint, but to say he was a maverick is an understatement. When he was ordained as a young man, he was a fervent Nazi, and after the war he was ardently pro-Communist, and then insanity seems to have set in. Francesca Romana in an article in April 2015 in Rorate Coeli leaves one aghast with the following: “The restless Archbishop also asked loudly for the sacerdotal ordination of women. Addressing a group of bishops during the Second Vatican Council, he asked with insistence: “Tell me, please, if you can find any effectively decisive argument that impedes the admission of women to the priesthood, or is it [just] a male prejudice?”

    And it didn’t matter that the Second Vatican Council subsequently precluded this possibility. According to Camara. “We must go further than the conciliar texts where it is in our competence to interpret them”. Yet, the yearning didn’t stop there. In a conference held in the presence of the Council Fathers in 1965, he stated: “I believe that man will artificially create life, and will arrive at the resurrection of the dead and (…) will achieve miraculous results of reinvigoration in male patients through the grafting of monkey’s genital glands.”) One is left either crying or laughing at such unbelievable insanity, surely a gift for comics, but this was the man who was the supreme net worker during the Council. I do wonder sometimes if many of the higher clergy lose all sense of humour, when the mitre is placed on their heads. So with people like Kung and Camara one can see why Ottaviani, Siri, and the tragic Marcel Lefebvre were so concerned. So in many ways a new Church was forged, God willing it was not the false Church foreseen by Blessed Anna Catherine Emmerich.

    Today we see in Cardinal Muller another Ottaviani, and in Cardinal Burke another Siri, and they like their forebears are honourable, good and holy men, but they have no battle plan, for the left is always revolutionary and wanting change, and it knows how to organize, and it does it brilliantyl. These Cardinals, Archbishops and their entourage want to forge a Church according to their designs, taste and dictates, and it is a great shame that there is no Catherine of Siena to call them to order, no Hildegard of Bingen, to rebuke, and no Bridget of Sweden to thunder. We need strong women who will call the men, and the feminists to order, if they do not then most of the Church will wither away into heresy, and the Church will be very small indeed!

    The Fathers of the Church interestingly see the descendants of Cain as suffering under his curse. They live farther away from Eden, which could still be seen in those early days. The descendants of Seth are under a blessing and live close to Paradise, and it is they whom the majority of the Fathers see as being “The Sons of God.” What leads to the downfall of the descendants of Seth is that the men of this race lust after the daughters of Cain, and then the daughters of Seth become wanton and lust after the sons of Cain, and the result of all this is The Universal Deluge.

    And so yet again we find ourselves moving towards unbelievable catastrophe, and we are being led into it by Cardinals, bishops, religious, and that terrifying specimen, the modern liberal laywoman theologian, who sadly, walking in the footsteps of Eve, is hungry for knowledge, usually the wrong type of knowledge, and as with all the liberal endeavours its principle actors are charming, urbane, utterly reasonable, incredibly persuasive, and totally and disastrously wrong.

    We must pray for the Pope, who may or may not know what he is doing. As Peter failed and denied his Lord, there is no reason that Pope Francis will be immune from doing the same. He is after all in a grand tradition, and some of the disastrous popes have, in many ways, been admirable men like Urban VI, and Paul IV, but they have blundered their way during their time of office; they are after all only human. Let us pray that the Pope listens to wise and holy people for if he does not then truly we will find ourselves acting in drama so terrifying and awe inspiring that we will need all the courage that we can muster.

    However moving away from the contemporary crisis in the Church, let us cast our eyes to the Mount of Olives all those centuries ago, and with Our Lady, the Apostles, and all the disciples, which includes those wonderful women disciples, hear Christ’s majestic words reverberate down the ages. Let us feel the strength of his glorious Divinity fill us with his Divine Grace, and let us do all we can to come to the aid of the Church, our Mother who suffers so much from the infidelity of so many of her children, and let us exercise that great virtue of Hope, in which we are in such grave need, in these perilous and truly terrifying times.

    “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the end of the earth.” And when he had said this, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold two men stood by them in white robes, and said “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.” (Acts 1: vv.7-11)

    Since the Ascension Jesus, as Christ and Lord, God and Man is everywhere in this World and throughout the Universe. He is King of All Creation, and he is omnipotent. He has everything in hand, despite appearances to the contrary, and he will laugh his enemies to scorn, so pray that we will be among his friends.

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  • Global Insanity and The Wisdom of Bishop Athanasius Schneider

    We are living in times, not of global warming but, as far as I can see, global insanity. This insanity is, for the most part affecting the West, and by the West, I mean Western culture be it in Western Europe, North and South America, Australasia, or in certain parts of Africa and Asia. It is all those parts of the World that have been infected by the Enlightenment, and the Enlightenment’s most important goal, which is the perfecting of Man by philosophical, educational, and economic means. This gave birth to Darwinian evolution, Marxism, and Freudian psychology. These three weapons have unleashed the most terrible damage possible, name the destruction of scriptural truth.

    What has happened to Scripture over the last nearly 200 years has been so serious that it cannot be underestimated. It is no longer seen as The Word of God, but as an historical document. What has been jettisoned, especially with the opening chapters of Genesis has been the literal meaning of the text. This secret weapon of the Devil has wreaked the most horrifying spiritual carnage in the Catholic Church.

    The Bible is no longer seen as something living, the very words of God to Man, but as something to be studied. The Western World has become an observer of God, a commentator on him. It is Man who has become a sophisticated, an almost sneering analyst of the Divine.

    For some time now, The Catholic Church has been firstly taken in by pseudoscience, modern psychology, and modern Democracy. As Democracy originated in a slave society, namely Athenian Society, it is highly questionable whether it is the preferred form of government. The Church seems to be cowed by so much of Western Culture, or is she simply mesmerized by it? Precisely because there is now an uncertainty with regard to the literal meaning of Scripture and a ridiculous reverence for modern scripture scholarship by so many in the Church, including Popes; the Church has lost her compass. The great bark of Peter is heading towards the reefs of modern thought, which are no more than passing fashions but, if believed, are deadly to the souls of millions.

    Just when the Church needs a Leo the Great, a Gregory the Great, a Hilderband or an Innocent III at the helm, she finds herself guided by an uncertain pilot. Pope Francis, who on one level, is forceful and decisive, on another is not. That the Holy Father had forgotten footnote 351, is truly extraordinary, and makes him sound like so many politicians trying to get out of a tight squeeze. I think that we should look at the quotes relating to what might become one of the most famous footnotes in history:

    Frank Rocca (Wall Street Journal): Thanks, Holy Father. I see that the questions on immigration that I had thought to ask you have been asked and answered by you very well. If you permit me, I’d like to ask you another question about an event of recent days, which was your apostolic exhortation. As you well know, there has been much discussion about on one of the many, I know that we’ve focused on this a lot…there has been much discussion after the publication. Some sustain that nothing has changed with respect to the discipline that regulates access to the sacraments for the divorced and remarried, that the Law, the pastoral praxis and obviously the doctrine remain the same. Others sustain that much has changed and that there are new openings and possibilities. For a Catholic who wants to know: are there new, concrete possibilities that didn’t exist before the publication of the exhortation or not?

    "Pope Francis: I can say yes, period. But it would be an answer that is too small. I recommend that you read the presentation of Cardinal Schonborn, who is a great theologian. He was the secretary for the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, and he knows the doctrine of the faith well. In that presentation, your question will find an answer.

    Jean-Marie Guenois (Le Figaro): I had the same question, but it’s a complementary question because you wrote this famous ‘Amoris Laetitia’ on the problems of the divorced and remarried (footnote 351). Why put something so important in a little note? Did you foresee the opposition or did you mean to say that this point isn’t that important?

    Pope Francis: One of the recent popes, speaking of the Council, said that there were two councils: the Second Vatican Council in the Basilica of St. Peter, and the other, the council of the media. When I convoked the first synod, the great concern of the majority of the media was communion for the divorced and remarried, and, since I am not a saint, this bothered me, and then made me sad. Because, thinking of those media who said, this, this and that, do you not realize that that is not the important problem? Don’t you realize that instead the family throughout the world is in crisis? Don’t we realize that the falling birth rate in Europe is enough to make one cry? And the family is the basis of society. Do you not realize that the youth don’t want to marry? Don’t you realize that the fall of the birth rate in Europe is to cry about? Don’t you realize that the lack of work or the little work (available) means that a mother has to get two jobs and the children grow up alone? These are the big problems. I don’t remember the footnote, but for sure if it’s something general in a footnote it’s because I spoke about it, I think, in ‘Evangelii Gaudium.’

    Thanks a lot, I feel calm with you. Now, they will give you something to eat!"

    I leave you dear reader not only to reflect on this startling part of the Pope’s interview from the Island of Lesbos, the irony of which seems lost on most people and turn to that great bishop, Athanasius, who like his namesake speaks truth in the following critique, which comes to us via Voice of the Family, which did such sterling work at the 2014 Extraordinary Synod on the Family.

    Official English translation of Bishop Schneider’s reflection on Amoris Laetitia

    Amoris Laetitia , Athanasius Schneider , Catholic , Pope Francis

    Voice of the Family, with the kind permission of His Excellency Bishop Athanasius Schneider, is delighted to share with our readers his approved translation of his reflection on Pope Francis’s Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia.

    “Amoris laetitia”: a need for clarification in order to avoid a general confusion

    The paradox of the contradictory interpretations of “Amoris laetitia”

    The recently published Apostolic Exhortation “Amoris laetitia” (AL), which contains a plethora of spiritual and pastoral riches with regard to life within marriage and the Christian family in our times, has unfortunately, within a very short time, led to very contradictory interpretations even among the episcopate.

    There are bishops and priests who publicly and openly declare that AL represents a very clear opening-up to communion for the divorced and remarried, without requiring them to practice continence. In their opinion, it is this aspect of sacramental practice, which, according to them, is now to undergo a significant change that gives AL its truly revolutionary character. Interpreting AL with reference to irregular couples, a president of a Bishops’ Conference has stated, in a text published on the website of the same Bishops’ Conference: “This is a disposition of mercy, an openness of heart and of spirit that needs no law, awaits no guideline, nor bides on prompting. It can and should happen immediately”.

    This opinion was further confirmed by the recent declarations of Father Antonio Spadaro S.J., after the Synod of Bishops in 2015, that the Synod had established the “foundations” for the access of divorced and remarried couples to communion by “opening a door” that had still been closed during the previous Synod in 2014. Now, as Father Spadaro alleges in his commentary on AL, his prediction has been confirmed. There are rumours that Father Spadaro was a member of the editorial group behind AL.

    The way to abusive interpretations appears to have been paved by Cardinal Christoph Schönborn himself, who said, during the official presentation of AL in Rome, with regard to irregular unions, that: “My great joy as a result of this document resides in the fact that it coherently overcomes that artificial, superficial, clear division between ‘regular’ and ‘irregular'”. Such a statement suggests that there is no clear difference between a valid, sacramental marriage and an irregular union, between venial and mortal sin.

    On the other hand, there are bishops who claim that AL ought to be read in the light of the perennial magisterium of the Church and that AL does not permit access to communion for divorced and remarried couples, not even in exceptional cases. This statement is fundamentally correct and desirable. In fact, the content of every Magisterial text must, as a rule, be in its content consistent with the former teachings of the Magisterium of the Church, without any break.

    It is no secret, however, that divorced and remarried couples are admitted to Holy Communion in a number of churches, without their being required to practice continence. It must be admitted that certain statements in AL could be used to justify an abusive practice that has already been going on for some time in various places and circumstances in the life of the Church.

    Certain statements of AL are objectively vulnerable to misinterpretations

    Our Holy Father, Pope Francis, has invited us all to make a contribution to reflection and dialogue on the sensitive issues surrounding marriage and the family. “The thinking of pastors and theologians, if faithful to the Church, honest, realistic and creative, will help us to achieve greater clarity” (AL, 2).

    If we analyze certain statements of AL with intellectual honesty within their proper context, we find ourselves faced with difficulties when trying to interpret them in accordance with the traditional doctrine of the Church. This is due to the absence of the concrete and explicit affirmation of the doctrine and constant practice of the Church, founded on the Word of God and reiterated by Pope John Paul II, who said, “However the Church reaffirms her practice, which is based upon Sacred Scripture, of not admitting to Eucharistic Communion divorced persons who have remarried. They are unable to be admitted thereto from the fact that their state and condition of life objectively contradict that union of love between Christ and the Church which is signified and effected by the Eucharist. Besides this, there is another special pastoral reason: if these people were admitted to the Eucharist, the faithful would be led into error and confusion regarding the Church’s teaching about the indissolubility of marriage. Reconciliation in the sacrament of Penance which would open the way to the Eucharist, can only be granted to those who … are sincerely ready to undertake a way of life that is no longer in contradiction to the indissolubility of marriage. This means, in practice, that … they take on themselves the duty to live in complete continence, that is, by abstinence from the acts proper to married couples” (Familiaris Consortio, 84).

    Pope Francis had not established “a new general norm of Canon Law, applicable to all cases” (AL n. 300). He says, however, in note 336: “This is also the case with regard to sacramental discipline, since discernment can recognize that in a particular situation no grave fault exists”. Obviously referring to the divorced and remarried, the Pope says in AL, no. 305 that, “because of forms of conditioning and mitigating factors, it is possible that in an objective situation of sin – which may not be subjectively culpable, or fully such – a person can be living in God’s grace, can love and can also grow in the life of grace and charity, while receiving the Church’s help to this end.” In note 351, the Pope clarifies his statement by saying that “in some cases, this may include the help of the sacraments”.

    In the same chapter VIII of AL, n. 298, the Pope speaks of the divorced involved in “a second union consolidated over time, with new children, proven fidelity, generous self giving, Christian commitment, a consciousness of its irregularity and of the great difficulty of going back without feeling in conscience that one would fall into new sins. The Church acknowledges situations “where, for serious reasons, such as the children’s upbringing, a man and woman cannot satisfy the obligation to separate””. In note 329, the Pope cites the document Gaudium et Spes of the Second Vatican Council; unfortunately, he does so in an incorrect fashion, because in the passage in question, the council refers only to valid Christian marriage. The application of this statement to divorced persons may cause the impression that a valid marriage is to be equated to the union of divorced persons, if not in theory, then in practice.

    The admission of divorced and remarried persons to Holy Communion and its consequences

    Unfortunately, AL contains no verbal quotes of the principles underlying the moral teaching of the Church in the form in which they are formulated in no. 84 of the Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris Consortio and in the encyclical Veritatis Splendor of Pope John Paul II, particularly on the following topics of paramount importance: “fundamental choice” (Veritatis splendor, nos. 67-68), “mortal and venial sin” (ibid., n. 69-70), “proportionalism, consequentialism” (ibid., no. 75), “martyrdom and universal and unchanging moral norms” (ibid., no. 91 et seq.). However, a verbal quote from Familiaris Consortio n. 84 and of some of the most significant affirmations in Veritatis splendor would render AL unassailable by heterodox interpretations. General allusions to moral principles and to the doctrine of the Church are certainly insufficient in a controversial matter that is both sensitive and of fundamental importance.

    Representatives of the clergy and even of the Episcopate are already affirming that according to the spirit of Chapter VIII of AL, the possibility that in exceptional cases, the divorced and remarried may be admitted to Holy Communion without being required to live in perfect continence cannot be excluded.

    If we accept such an interpretation of the wording and spirit of AL, we must, if we want to be intellectually honest and respect the law of non-contradiction, also accept the following logical conclusions:

    • The sixth Divine Commandment, which prohibits any sexual act that does not take place within a valid marriage, would no longer be universally valid, but would admit exceptions. In the present case, this would mean that the divorced could practice the conjugal act and even be encouraged to do so to help them maintain “mutual fidelity”, cf. AL, 298. There could therefore be “fidelity” in a lifestyle that directly contradicts the express will of God. However, to encourage and legitimize acts that are and will always be, as such, contrary to the will of God, would mean to contradict Divine Revelation.

    • The words of Christ himself: “What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder” (Mt 19:6) would no longer apply always and to all spouses, without exception.

    • It would be possible, in a special case, to receive the sacrament of Penance and Holy Communion while intending to continue one’s direct violations of God’s commandments: “Thou shalt not commit adultery” (Ex 20, 14) and “What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder” (Mt 19, 6; Gen 2, 24).

    • The observance of these commandments and of the word of God would, in such a case, be a matter of theory rather than of practice, and would, therefore, lead the divorced and remarried into “deceiving themselves” (James 1:22). It would, therefore, be possible to believe perfectly in the divine nature of the sixth Commandment and in the indissolubility of marriage without however acting accordingly.

    • The divine word of Christ: “Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her; and if a wife divorces her husband and marries another man, she commits adultery” (Mark 10, 12) would no longer be universally valid, but would be subject to exceptions.

    • A permanent, deliberate and free violation of God’s sixth Commandment and of the sacredness and indissolubility of true and valid marriage (in the case of divorced and remarried couples) would no longer be always a grave sin, that is to say, a direct opposition to the will of God.

    • There could be cases of serious, permanent deliberate and free violation of one of the other commandments of God (e.g. in the case of a lifestyle of financial corruption) in which the person concerned could be granted access to the sacraments due to mitigating circumstances, without such access being made contingent upon a sincere resolution henceforth to abstain from such acts of sin and scandal.

    • The permanent and infallible teaching of the Church would no longer be universally valid, particularly the teaching confirmed by Pope John Paul II in Familiaris Consortio, n. 84 and by Pope Benedict XVI in Sacramentum Caritatis, 29, according to which the precondition for admission to the sacraments of the divorced and remarried is perfect continence.

    • The observance of the sixth Commandment of God and of the indissolubility of marriage would become an ideal that is not attainable by all, but only by a kind of elite.

    • The uncompromising words of Christ commanding men to observe the commandments of God always and in all circumstances, and even to take upon themselves considerable suffering in order to do so, in other words, to accept the Cross, would no longer be valid as absolute truth: “And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that youlose one of your members than that your whole body be cast into hell” (Mt 5, 30).

    Admitting couples living in “irregular unions” to Holy Communion and allowing them to practice acts that are reserved for spouses in a valid marriage would be tantamount to the usurpation of a power that does not belong to any human authority, because to do so would be a pretension to correct the Word of God himself.

    The danger of the Church’s collaboration in spreading the “plague of divorce”

    Professing the eternal doctrine of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Church teaches: “The Church, since she is faithful to her Lord, cannot recognize the union of people who are civilly divorced and remarried. “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another, commits adultery against her; and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery” (Mark 10:11-12). The Church manifests an attentive solicitude toward such people and encourages them to a life of faith, prayer, works of charity and the Christian education of their children. However, they cannot receive sacramental absolution, take Holy Communion, or exercise certain ecclesial responsibilities as long as their situation, which objectively contravenes God’s law, persists” (Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, 349)

    Living in an invalid marital union and constantly contradicting the commandment of God and the sacredness and indissolubility of marriage signifies not to live in the truth. To declare that the deliberate, free and habitual practice of sexual acts in an invalid marital union could, in individual cases, no longer constitute a grave sin is not the truth, but a serious lie, and will therefore never bring genuine joy in love. Consequently, to grant permission to such persons to receive Holy Communion would be a bluffing, a hypocrisy and a lie. The Word of God in Scripture is still valid: “He who says ‘I know him’, but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him”(1 John 2: 4).

    The Magisterium of the Church teaches us about the universal validity of the Ten Commandments: “Since they express man’s fundamental duties towards God and towards his neighbor, the Ten Commandments reveal, in their primordial content, grave obligations. They are fundamentally immutable, and they oblige always and everywhere. No one can dispense from them” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2072). Those who claimed that God’s commandments, including the commandment “Thou shalt not commit adultery” admit of exceptions and that, in some cases, people should not be held accountable for the fault of divorce were the Pharisees and, later, the Christian Gnostics of the second and third centuries.

    The following statements of the Magisterium are still valid because they are part of the infallible Magisterium as expressed by the universal and ordinary Magisterium: “The negative precepts of the natural law are universally valid. They oblige each and every individual, always and in every circumstance. It is a matter of prohibitions which forbid a given action semper et pro semper, without exception. … are kinds of behaviour which can never, in any situation, be a proper response. … The Church has always taught that one may never choose kinds of behaviour prohibited by the moral commandments expressed in negative form in the Old and New Testaments. As we have seen, Jesus himself reaffirms that these prohibitions allow no exceptions: “If you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments… You shall not murder, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness” (Mt 19:17-18)” (St. John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Veritatis Splendor, 52).

    The Magisterium of the Church teaches us even more clearly: “A good and pure conscience is enlightened by true faith, for charity proceeds at the same time “from a pure heart and a good conscience and sincere faith” (1 Tim 1: 5; cf. 3: 9; 2 Timothy 1: 3; 1 Peter 3 21; Acts 24, 16)” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1794).

    In the event of a person committing objectively sinful moral acts in full awareness of the sinfulness of such acts, freely and deliberately, and with the intention of repeating such acts in the future, it is impossible to apply the principle of imputability for a fault because of mitigating circumstances. The application of the principle of imputability to such divorced and remarried couples would constitute hypocrisy and a Gnostic sophism. If the Church were to admit such people to Holy Communion even in a single case, it would contradict its own doctrine, give public testimony against the indissolubility of marriage and thus contribute to the spreading of the “plague of divorce” (II Vatican Council, Gaudium et spes, 47).

    In order to avoid such an intolerable and scandalous contradiction, the Church, in its infallible interpretation of the divine truth of moral law and of the indissolubility of marriage, has, for two thousand years, steadfastly observed the practice of admitting to Holy Communion only those divorced who live in perfect continence and “remoto scandalo”, without any exception or exceptional privilege.

    The first pastoral task that the Lord entrusted to His Church was to teaching, the doctrine (cf. Mt 28, 20). The observance of the commandments of God is intrinsically linked to doctrine. For this reason the Church has always rejected any contradiction between doctrine and practical life, referring to such contradictions as “gnostic” or as the heretical Lutheran theory of “simul iustus and peccator”. There should be no contradictions between the faith and the daily life of the children of the Church.

    When dealing with the observance of the express commands of God and the indissolubility of marriage, we cannot speak of opposing theological interpretations. If God says, “thou shalt not commit adultery”, no human authority could say “in some exceptional cases or for a good purpose you can commit adultery”.

    The following assertions of Pope Francis are very important; the Pope speaks about the integration of the divorced and remarried in the life of the Church: “This discernment can never prescind from the Gospel demands of truth and charity, as proposed by the Church. … The following conditions must necessarily be present: humility, discretion and love for the Church and her teaching. … There can be no risk that a specific discernment may lead people to think that the Church maintains a double standard” (AL, 300). These laudable statements in AL, however, remain without concrete specifications on the question of the obligation of the divorced and remarried to separate or at least to live in perfect continence.

    When it is a question of the life or death of the body, no physician would express his opinions in an ambiguous manner. The doctor cannot tell the patient: “You have to decide whether or not to take the medicine in accordance with your conscience, while at the same time respecting the laws of medicine”. Such behaviour on the part of a doctor would very likely be considered irresponsible. And yet, the life of our immortal soul is more important, since it is on the health of the soul that its fate for eternity depends.

    The liberating truth of penance and of the mystery of the Cross

    To say that remarried divorcees are not public sinners in the Church is a pretence of wrong facts. The true condition of all members of the Church militant on earth, moreover, is that of sinners. If the divorced and remarried say that their voluntary and deliberate acts against the sixth commandment of God are not always sinful or, at least, do not constitute major sins, they are deceiving themselves and the truth will not be in them, as St. John says: “If we say,’We have no sin,’ we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he who is faithful and just will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say, ‘We have not sinned,’ we make him a liar, and his word is not in us”(1 John 1: 8-10).

    The acceptance on the part of the divorced and remarried of the truth that they are sinners and even public sinners will not deprive them of their Christian hope. Only the acceptance of reality and truth will enable them to take the path of a fruitful penitence according to the words of Jesus Christ.

    It would be very beneficial to restore the spirit of the early Christians and of the time of the Fathers of the Church, when there was a living solidarity with public sinners on the part of the faithful; however, this solidarity was based on the truth. There was nothing discriminatory in such solidarity; on the contrary, the whole Church participated in the penitential progress of public sinners by prayers of intercession, tears, acts of expiation and acts of charity for their benefit.

    The Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris Consortio teaches that “even those who have strayed from the Lord’s command and are still living in this state (divorced and remarried) may obtain from God the grace of conversion and salvation, if they persevere in prayer, penance and charity “(n. 84).

    During the first centuries, public sinners were integrated into the praying community of the faithful and were instructed to kneel, with arms raised, to implore the intercession of their brothers. Tertullian gives us this moving testimony: “The body cannot rejoice when one of its members is suffering. It must suffer and strive for recovery in its entirety. When you stretch out your hands towards the knees of your brothers, it is Christ that you touch, it is Christ that you implore. Similarly, when they weep over you, it is Christ who sympathizes” (De paenitentia, 10, 5-6). St. Ambrose of Milan found similar words: “The whole church took upon herself the burden of the public sinner, suffering with him through tears, prayers and pain” (De paenitentia 1, 81).

    It is true, of course, that the forms of the penitential discipline of the Church have changed. However, the spirit of this discipline must remain alive in the Church at all times. Today, priests and bishops relying on certain statements of AL are beginning to imply to the divorced and remarried that their condition does not render them public sinners from an objective point of view. They tranquillize them by stating that their sexual relations are not a grave sin. Such an attitude does not correspond to the truth. They are depriving the divorced and remarried of the possibility of a radical conversion to the obedience of God, letting these souls live in an illusion. Such a pastoral approach is very easy, cheap and costs nothing. There are no tears, prayers and intercessory works inspired by brotherly love to be offered for the benefit of the divorced and remarried.

    In admitting the divorced and remarried to Holy Communion, even in exceptional cases, without asking them to stop performing acts contrary to the sixth commandment of God, and also presumptuously declaring that their manner of life is not a serious sin, we take the easy way out by pushing aside the scandal of the cross. Such pastoral care of the divorced and remarried is ephemeral and misleading. To all those who advocate this cheap and easy way out for the divorced and remarried, Jesus is still addressing the words, ‘Get thee behind me, Satan! Thou art an offence unto me because your thoughts are not those of God, but of men!’ What Jesus said to his disciples was that “If anyone would be my disciple, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow me” (Mt 16: 24-25).

    Regarding the pastoral care of divorced and remarried couples, we must rekindle in our day the spirit of following Christ through the truth of the cross and of penance, which alone can bring lasting joy, avoiding ephemeral pleasures that are ultimately misleading. The following words of Pope Gregory the Great are not only truly applicable to our current situation, but also shine a bright light on it: “We must not become too attached to our earthly exile, the conveniences of this life must not make us forget our true homeland lest our spirit become drowsy in the midst of these amenities. For this reason, God combines his gifts with visitations or punishments, to ensure that everything that delights us in this world becomes bitter for us and the soul is filled with the fire that always rekindles in us the desire of heavenly things and enables us to progress. This fire makes us suffer with pleasure, crucifies us gently and fills us with a joyful sadness” (In Hez., 2, 4, 3).

    The spirit of the genuine penitential discipline of the early Church always remained alive in the Church at all times, until today. We have a shining example of it in the Blessed Laura Vicuna del Carmen, born in 1891 in Chile. Sister Azocar, who took care of Laura, recalled: “I remember that the first time I explained the sacrament of marriage, Laura fainted, probably because she understood from my words that her mother was living in mortal sin as long as she remained with that gentleman. During that time in Junín, only one family lived in accordance with God’s will.” Therefore, Laura multiplied her prayers and penances for her mother. She received her first communion on June 2, 1901 with great fervour; she wrote the following resolutions: “1. I want to love and serve you all my life, oh my Jesus; for this, I offer you my soul, my heart and my whole being. – 2. I prefer to die rather than offend you by sin; so I want to distance myself from anything that could separate me from you. – 3. I promise to do my best, even if I have to offer great sacrifices, that you may be ever more known and loved, and to repair the offences inflicted upon you daily by men who do not love you, especially the ones you receive from those who are close to me. – Oh, my God, grant me a life of love, mortification and sacrifice!” But her great joy was clouded by seeing her mother, present at the ceremony, not receiving communion. In 1902, Laura offered her life for her mother who was living with a man in an irregular union in Argentina. Laura multiplied her prayers and sacrifices for the true conversion of her mother. A few hours before she died, she called her mother to her bedside and said to her, “Mother, I am going to die. I have asked Jesus for this and my prayers have been heard. Almost two years ago, I offered my life for the grace of your conversion. Mother, will I not have the joy of seeing you repent before I die?” Her mother, shocked and overwhelmed, made the promise: “Tomorrow morning I will go to the church and I will go to confession.” Laura caught the eye of the priest attending her and said: “Father, my mother has just promised to abandon this man; bear witness to her promise!” Then she added: “Now I can die happy!” With these words, she expired on 22 January 1904 in Junin de los Andes (Argentina), at the age of 13, in the arms of her mother, who rediscovered her faith and put an end to the irregular union in which she had been living.

    The admirable example of the life of the young girl now known as Blessed Laura is a demonstration of the seriousness with which a true Catholic treats the sixth commandment of God and the sacredness and indissolubility of marriage. Our Lord Jesus Christ commanded us to avoid even the appearance of approving an irregular or adulterous union. The Church has always faithfully preserved and transmitted this divine command in its doctrine and practice, without any ambiguity. With the offering of her young life, Blessed Laura certainly did not intend to represent one of several possible different doctrinal or pastoral interpretations. One does not offer one’s life for a possible doctrinal or pastoral interpretation, but for an immutable and universally valid Divine truth. This truth has been demonstrated by a large number of saints who offered their lives, beginning with Saint John the Baptist to the simple faithful today whose name only God knows.

    The need for “Veritatis laetitia”

    Fortunately, there can be no doubt that AL contains theological affirmations, as well as spiritual and pastoral guidelines of great value. However, realistically speaking, it is insufficient to say that AL should be interpreted according to the traditional doctrine and practice of the Church. If an ecclesiastical document – which, in our case, is neither definitive nor infallible – is found to contain elements likely to give rise to interpretations and applications that could have dangerous spiritual consequences, all members of the Church, and especially the bishops, as the fraternal collaborators of the Supreme Pontiff in effective collegiality, have a duty to report this and respectfully request an authentic interpretation.

    In questions concerning Divine Faith, the Divine commandments and the sacredness and indissolubility of marriage, all members of the Church, from the simple faithful to the highest representative of the Magisterium, must join in the effort to keep intact the treasure of faith and practice. In fact, it was the Second Vatican Council that taught: “The entire body of the faithful, anointed as they are by the Holy One (cf. 1 Jn 2: 20.27), cannot err in matters of belief. They manifest this special property by means of the whole peoples’ supernatural discernment in matters of faith when “from the Bishops down to the last of the lay faithful” (St. Augustine, De Praed. Sanct. 14 27), they show universal agreement in matters of faith and morals. That discernment in matters of faith is aroused and sustained by the Spirit of truth. It is exercised under the guidance of the sacred teaching authority, in faithful and respectful obedience to which the people of God accepts that which is not just the word of men but truly the word of God (cf. 1 Thess 2: 13). Through it, the people of God adheres unwaveringly to the faith given once and for all to the saints (cf. Jude 3) penetrates it more deeply with right thinking, and applies it more fully in its life” (Lumen gentium, 12). The Magisterium, for its part, is “not above the Word of God, but serves it, teaching only what has been transmitted” (II Vatican Council, Dei Verbum, 10).

    It was the Second Vatican Council that encouraged all the faithful and especially the bishops to express their concerns and observations without fear, for the good of the Church as a whole. Servility and political correctness have introduced a pernicious evil into the life of the Church. The famous bishop and theologian of the Council of Trent, Melchior Cano O.P., said these memorable words: “Peter does not need our lies or flattery. Those who close their eyes to the facts and indiscriminately defend every decision of the Supreme Pontiff are those who contribute most to undermining the authority of the Holy See. They destroy its foundations instead of strengthening them.”

    Our Lord has taught us clearly what constitutes true love and the true joy of love: “He that has my commandments and keeps them, he it is that loves me” (John 14, 21). When he gave man the sixth commandment and ordered him to observe the indissolubility of marriage, God gave it to all men without exception, not just to an elite. Already in the Old Testament, God said: “This commandment which I have given you today is certainly not beyond your strength and reach” (Deuteronomy 30, 11) and “If you want to, you shall keep the commandments to remain faithful to his will” (Ecclesiasticus 15, 15). And Jesus said to all, “If thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.” Which commandments? And Jesus answered, thou shalt not kill; thou shalt not commit adultery” (Mt 19: 17-18). From the teaching of the apostles, we have received the same doctrine: “For to love God is to keep His commandments. And His commandments do not weigh heavily upon us” (1 John 5: 4).

    There is no true, supernatural and eternal life without keeping the commandments of God: “I command you to observe his commandments. I have set before you life and death. Choose life!” (Deuteronomy 30, 16.19). There is therefore no real life and no real, genuine joy of love without truth. “Love consists in living according to his commandments” (2 John 6). The joy of love is the joy of the truth. The authentically Christian life consists in the life and in the joy of truth: “Learning that my children live in the truth, there is nothing that brings me greater joy” (3 John 4).

    St. Augustine explains the intimate connection between joy and truth: “I ask them all whether they do not prefer the joy of truth to that obtained by lies. And they do not hesitate over this question any more than over the question of happiness. For the happy life is the joy of the truth, we all want the joy of the truth” (Confessions, X, 23).

    The danger of general confusion with regard to the indissolubility of marriage

    For some time already, we have seen, in some places and environments of the life of the Church, the tacit abuse of the admission of divorced and remarried couples to Holy Communion without requiring them to live in perfect continence. The unclear statements in Chapter VIII of AL have given a new dynamism to the declared advocates of the admission of divorced and remarried couples to Holy Communion in special cases.

    We now observe the phenomenon of the abuse beginning to spread even more in practice, since those in favour of it are now feeling justified to some extent. There is also obviously some confusion with respect to the interpretation of the relevant assertions in Chapter VIII of the AL. This confusion is increased by the fact that everyone, both supporters of the admission of the divorced and remarried to Holy Communion and their opponents, are saying that “The doctrine of the Church concerning this issue has not changed”.

    Taking due account of historical and doctrinal differences, our situation shows some parallels and analogies with the general confusion caused by the Arian crisis in the 4th century. At that time, the apostolic and traditional faith in the true divinity of the Son of God was secured by means of the term “consubstantial” (“homoousios”), dogmatically proclaimed by the universal Magisterium of the Council of Nicaea I. The profound crisis of faith, accompanied by an almost universal confusion, was caused mainly by the refusal or avoidance strategies to use and profess the word “consubstantial” (“homoousios”). Instead, the clergy and mainly the episcopate began to propose alternative expressions that were ambiguous and imprecise, such as, for instance, “similar in substance” (“homoiousios”) or simply “similar” (“homoios”). The formula “homoousios” adopted by the universal Magisterium of that time expressed the full and true divinity of the WORD with so much precision that it left no space for equivocal interpretation.

    In the years 357-360, almost the entire episcopate had become Arian or Semi-Arian as a result of the following events: in 357, Pope Liberius signed one of the ambiguous formulations of Sirmium, in which the term “homoousios” was eliminated. Furthermore, the pope, in a scandalous move, excommunicated St. Athanasius. St. Hilary of Poitiers was the only bishop who dared to rebuke Pope Liberius severely for these ambiguous acts. In 359, the parallel synods of the Western episcopate in Rimini and that of the Eastern episcopate in Seuleukia had accepted fully Arian formulas that were even worse than the ambiguous formula signed by Pope Liberius. Describing the confusion of those times, St. Jerome said: “Everyone was surprised to realize that they had become Arians” (“Ingemuit totus orbis, et arianum se esse miratus est”: Adv Lucif, 19).

    Arguably, in our time, confusion is already spreading with regard to the sacramental discipline for divorced and remarried couples. There is therefore a very real basis for the assumption that the confusion may reach truly vast proportions, if one fail to propose and proclaim the following formula of the universal and infallible Magisterium: “Reconciliation in the sacrament of Penance, which would open the way to the Eucharist, can only be granted to those who take on themselves the duty to live in complete continence, that is, by abstinence from the acts proper to married couples” (S. John Paul II, Familiaris Consortio, 84). This formula is unfortunately and incomprehensibly missing in AL. However, the apostolic exhortation inexplicably contains the following statement: “In such situations, many people, knowing and accepting the possibility of living “as brothers and sisters” which the Church offers them, point out that if certain expressions of intimacy are lacking, it often happens that faithfulness is endangered and the good of the children suffers” (AL, 298, n. 329). Such a statement leaves the impression of a contradiction with regard to the perennial teaching of the universal Magisterium, as formulated in the cited passage from Familiaris Consortio 84.

    There is an urgent necessity for the Holy See to confirm and re-proclaim the cited formula of Familiaris Consortio 84, perhaps in the form of an authentic interpretation of AL. This formula may be seen, to some extent, the “homoousios” of our days. The lack of such a formal and explicit confirmation of the formula of Familiaris Consortio 84 from the Apostolic See could contribute to major confusion with regard to sacramental discipline, with the subsequent gradual and inevitable repercussions on doctrinal questions. This would lead to a situation to which it would be possible, in the future, to apply the following statement: “Everyone was surprised to find that divorce had been accepted in practice” (“Ingemuit totus orbis, et divortium in praxi se accepisse miratus est”).

    Confusion in sacramental discipline with regard to divorced and remarried couples, with its inevitable doctrinal implications, would contradict the nature of the Catholic Church, such as it was described by St. Irenaeus in the second century: “The Church, having received this preaching and this faith, although scattered around the world, keeps them carefully as though inhabiting a single house, and she believes in an identical manner, as though she had only one soul and one heart, and she preaches, teaches and transmits in a unanimous voice, as though having only one mouth” (Adversus haereses, I, 10, 2).

    The See of Peter, that is, the sovereign Pontiff, is the guarantor of the unity of the faith and of apostolic sacramental discipline. Considering the confusion regarding sacramental practice in respect of the divorced and remarried, and the many differing interpretations of AL amongst priests and bishops, one may consider justified the call on our beloved Pope Francis, the Vicar of Christ, the “sweet Christ on earth” (St. Catherine of Siena), to order the publication of an authentic interpretation of AL, which must necessarily contain the explicit proclamation of the disciplinary principle of the universal and infallible Magisterium concerning the admission of divorced and remarried couples to the sacraments, according to the formulation in Familiaris Consortio 84.

    In the great Arian confusion of the 4th century, St. Basil the Great made an urgent appeal to the pope of Rome, asking him to give though his word a clear direction, so as finally to ensure unity in the thought of faith and charity (cf.. Ep. 70).

    An authentic interpretation of AL by the Apostolic See would bring to the entire Church (“claritatis laetitia”) the joy in clarity. Such clarity will ensure the joy in love (“amoris laetitia”), a love and a joy that would not be “according to the minds of men, but to the mind of God” (Mt 16, 23). And this is what counts for the joy, the life and the eternal salvation of the divorced and remarried, and of all men.

    + Athanasius Schneider, auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of St Mary in Astana, Kazakhstan

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  • Bishop Athanasius Schneider on Evangelization, Zika, Freemasonry, the Orthodox & More!

    This interview was before the publication of the Pope's recent document. We publish it in full, as it is well worth being read by everyone whether Christian or not.

    Interview with Daniel Blackman in London, UK during March 2016:

    The well-known and much respected auxiliary bishop of Astana, Kazakhstan, Athanasius Schneider, has given a wide-ranging and hard-hitting interview during his week-long tour of England.

    Bishop Schneider spoke exclusively to me, taking on a number of controversial issues, including evangelization in relation to Jews and Muslims, the Pope’s recent comment on the Zika virus and contraception, Freemasonry within the hierarchy, and opening up about why refuses to let fear stop him from teaching all the truths of the Catholic Faith.

    Bishop Schneider’s week-long trip, organised by the founder and editor of Ireland’s Catholic Voice newspaper, Anthony Murphy, included several Holy Masses, clergy retreats and talks at the Shrine of St Augustine in Ramsgate, and the thriving shrines entrusted to the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest in New Brighton, and the Fraternity of St. Peter in Warrington. The bishop also stopped off at the Oxford Oratory.

    The following is a transcript of our interview.

    Daniel Blackman: You’ve been to England several times now. What do you like about coming here, and what’s distinct about the Catholics you meet here?

    Bishop Athanasius Schneider: It is wonderful to meet the young clergy, and laity, including young people, it is encouraging for me, I think they are continuing to hand over the noble traditions of the English Catholics which were known throughout the whole world. They were persecuted, and gave up their lives for the Catholic faith.

    So I think the situation today in the Church with this deep crisis, is met with good Catholic lay people and priests, especially here in England, as in those times of martyrs, confessors, and priests too, it is encouraging that English Catholics are faithful to their noble Catholic heritage.

    DB: Tell me about your prayer life? What devotions are special to you?

    BAS: Since my youth I have had a deep devotion to the holy Eucharist, especially adoration of Eucharist. I do it every day if I can. I consider it indispensable for the life of the Catholic priest. Of course we have the Holy Mass, which is the greatest thing each day, so I prepare very well, and we pray the breviary. Every priest, when possible, has to strive to make adoration every day. To be in the presence of our Eucharistic Lord, to keep with him in this intimate dialogue, it is a need, I like it.

    DB: Within the Church there is a long history of Jewish converts to the Faith – Alphonse Ratisbonne, St Edith stein, WWII Chief Rabbi of Rome Eugenio Zolli, and more recently former Orthodox rabbi Jean-Marie Eli Satbon. Yet a recent document from the Commission for Interreligious Relations with the Jews, says the Church has no formal organised mission to convert the Jews (par 40-49). Is that now true? Is this a correction of previous teaching and practice?

    BAS: This is truly wrong. It contradicts the words of Our Lord who said “Go and teach all people,” he did not say “all people except the Jewish people,” he said all nations, and baptize them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Jesus said that If you don’t believe in me you won’t have life. He told this to the Jews also, and he continues to say this to the Jews of our days. They too need to be obedient to God’s covenant which Jesus instituted. Therefore the apostles preached to the Jews in the synagogue.

    For 2000 years the Church has always prayed for the conversion of the Jews. This is an act of mercy and love. The church invites and encouraged the Jews to come to Christ. There were converts, even saints who were Jewish converts. Alphonse Ratisbonne founded a religious congregation to evangelize the Jewish people. So it is for me ever valid, and no Church document can invalidate this because it contradicts the words of Our Lord, it contradicts the Apostles, and all the unchangeable and permanent words of the Church for over 2000 years.

    DB: This document has come from within the Church, from an official body in the Vatican, how is it possible?

    BAS: This is very sad. This document has no infallible value and has no intention of being infallible, it is not an authentic expression of the Magisterium. There were in the history of the Church some documents of a pastoral character that had a temporal nature and contained errors, and this document contains errors. What is not infallible can be erroneous. I repeat, the Church has always taught only those statements which are taught ex Cathedra or taught by the Universal Magisterium – pope and bishops teaching for a long time, many centuries. The mentioned document however contains a new doctrine, an opinion, a theory.

    DB: The English & Welsh and German bishops’ conferences have called for traditional rite Good Friday prayer for the Jews to be changed, to bring it into line with current inter-religious practice with the Jews. Would this be a good thing? Is there something wrong with the current prayer?

    BAS: I don’t know what they want, but we have to see the truth. It’s against the charity and love against the Jews. When I love them I want them to know and love Jesus that they may be washed and cleansed by the most precious blood of Jesus, and know the most Holy Trinity. Therefore I have to pray for their conversion. I am questioning it, the German and English bishops, they are not the totality of the bishops. There are surely, I know bishops, who do not agree with this. I do not consider this opinion correct, it is invasive. It’s the administrative nomenclature which claims to represent all the bishops of a nation. This method of functioning of the bishops conference is itself very problematic, it is acting against the divine structure of the Church.

    DB: You live in a country that is about 70% Muslim. What is your experience of living in a Muslim majority country? Is there cooperation or conflict? Do Muslims become Catholics?

    BAS: Thanks be to God there is peace and harmony, the people are very tolerant, and there is no hostility. There has not been extremism in the mentality and culture of the people, and the government is very active in supporting inter-religious dialogue. They are very vigilant to avoid, and even expel from the country, those who are extremist.

    The government organises meetings to share common values for society, there is nothing theological about these meetings, but only to make a contribution to improve the social life of the people, which I consider very positive. For example, in this current world-wide gender ideology which is now imposed on a world wide scale with dictatorial methods, thanks be to God, the Muslims share the same view on this issue. Together we condemn the gender agenda, and influences that are against the family.

    DB: Does the Catholic Church have a mission to Muslims?

    BAS: It is also our duty yes, they are redeemed by Christ, and they have to know Christ the same as the Jews do. But of course it is difficult to evangelise the Muslims in Islamic countries. It is very dangerous. But at least we can give, in those countries, our witness and presence. I have experiences of people with a Muslim background who start to seek Christ and ask for the truth, so I have witnessed conversion among my personal contacts. Since we have liberty and freedom, and since we are not yet in Islamic majority countries in Europe, not yet I say, as it can come, but since not yet, we can use and should use the mission to our Islamic neighbours, not proselytism which is not morally correct, but to evangelise.

    DB: Europe has suffered several Islamic terrorist attacks –Paris, serious concerns in Belgium, and also the Middles East, parts of Africa, and Pakistan, among others. Why is this happening?

    BAS: Well I don’t’ know exactly how ISIS arose, but we can see that it would be impossible for ISIS to have so many weapons and arms if they were not financed and supported by someone strong. They are doing business in arms on such a scale that it is not possible without a powerful state who gives, maybe through intermediaries, the finance and weapons they need.

    Another point I would like to make is this – the international community – US, NATO – have enough power to finish off ISIS, and they could have done it in the beginning. They have good, very good, secret services that already knew about the rise of ISIS, but they have done nothing. The EU, NATO, USA, have done nothing, yet they had the knowledge. They did not prevent ISIS. They have enough power, yet they allowed the ISIS terrorist movement.

    DB: Why do you think that might be?

    BAS: I don’t know their intentions, the intentions of the powerful of our world, the Western states. I don’t know why they didn’t prevent it. You can say that indirectly, they supported it. It could be that they have political aims. Through ISIS, they have programmed to bring about the invasion of many Muslim people to Europe, to bring about a destabilization, even in the heart of Europe, not just the Middle East. Such a huge presence of people from another culture, with a more radical view of Islamic religion, will cause conflicts, with time, and tensions with the local population. It is and will cause a general instability and confusion. Maybe someone who is powerful would like to use this instability for a purpose.

    DB: The Church has a long history, over a number of centuries, of denouncing Freemasonry. However, the new code of canon law has removed any reference to masonry, and we no long longer see documents or hear anything from Church leaders about this. It can give the impression Masonry is no longer a danger. The Masonic lodges have also warmly welcomed Pope Francis.

    BAS: Freemasonry is in itself intrinsically not compatible with Christian or Catholic faith, it is intrinsically not compatible, because the nature of freemasonry is anti-Christian. They deny Christ, and they deny the objective truths, they promote relativism, which is contrary to the truth, to the Gospel. So they promote the doctrinal errors of the Masonic philosophy. This is incompatible with Christian and Catholic faith.

    Freemasonry has also an esoteric aspect, which is not Christian. They have rituals and ceremonies which are esoteric, which they openly admit, and such ceremonials are contrary to the faith. Their symbols and rituals demonstrate that they are against the divine truths in the Gospel – these things transmit show that Freemasonry is another religion. I repeat, freemasonry is another religion, it is an anti-Christ religion.

    Even when they do good works, philanthropy and so forth, these dangerous things remain. Their philanthropy is not a justification that we can accept freemasonry, just because of their good philanthropic work. I will never recognise their doctrines and rituals which are against the Divine truths of the Gospel. The Church can never accept this. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith’s 1983 declaration on freemasonry is still valid. According to this Declaration it is a mortal sin to become a freemason – even pope Francis has not changed this law. This teaching is official and still valid.

    DB: Masonic websites and publications regularly speak favorably about Pope Francis. Recently, Why do they welcome Pope Francis?

    BAS: Well, they have to tell us, concretely. It is not a clear sign what they want to do with their affirmations, what their intentions are.

    DB: In 2013 on his return flight from Rio de Janeiro, Pope Francis made reference to a Masonic lobby. Recently, Cardinal Ravasi, in the Italian paper Il Sole 24 Ore, called for new dialogue and shared values with Freemasonry. Has Masonry won in the Church?

    BAS: Of course we know that Freemasonry is one of the most powerful influences at all levels of human society. This is manifest and clear. Theoretically, when one is a supporter, a leader in a very influential anti-Christian organisation, there is the tendency to infiltrate the organisation which is your enemy, it is very logical. So it is logical, over many centuries, that they would have tried and probably succeeded to infiltrate themselves into various levels of the Church – this is clear to me.

    It is difficult to demonstrate concretely, to identify, who is a member. It is very difficult and dangerous, because someone may be accused of being a member, then it is proved the person is not a formally a member. It’s because of the secrecy and esotericism of Freemasonry that makes it very difficult.

    One can assume that a cleric, a priest, bishop, or cardinal, has some connections with the masons by his speech. We hear clerics speaking like Freemasons, clearly, when they open their mouths, they use terms and concepts that are typically masonic. He could be a member, but you have to prove it, but at least when he speaks he has the spirit of the Freemason, maybe he is not a formal member, but some bishops and cardinals speak clearly with a Masonic spirit. I stress this does not mean they are formally members of the Freemasons.

    DB: Pope Francis has just met the Orthodox Patriarch of Russia. What is your view about the meeting? Will it bring about unity with Rome, or lead to a synodal Church which allows Holy Communion for the remarried?

    BAS: Firstly, the meeting itself is a cause for joy, that it took place, because the Orthodox are a strong Church with beautiful and authentic traditions, images, devotion to Our Lady, angels, devout liturgies, Holy Mass celebrating in a beautiful manner, penance, fasting, monastic traditions, they have so many true Catholic values they have kept.

    It seems to me that this meeting was conditioned politically, it was very quickly made, more politically motivated. And, I don’t think that this meeting will have an impact on the Church becoming synodal, or make it easy for the divorced and remarried to receive Holy Communion as they allow in the Orthodox Church.

    I agree with the strong statements of the pope and patriarch on the family, and against gender ideology, and against persecution of the Christians, but what I don’t agree with is the statement on the Uniates, this is an injustice, because the Uniates wanted to be united to the pope in the past, since the Council of Florence in the 15th century. It was very positive with many fruits – saints, martyrs, so we can’t say it was wrong.

    Also, the statement on proselytism, it was an accusation against the Catholic Church. I am living in an orthodox area and the Church does not do proselytism – this statement was unjust. And so I think the Holy See has ceded to the pressure of the patriarch. It seems the Orthodox dictated some points to accept, and this is against truth and against justice, such a dialogue is not a real ecumenical dialogue. Dialogue has to be fraternal, equal on the human level, so all these compromises, which harm truth and justice will not bear fruits for real unity.

    DB: Pope Francis has again given a press interview on the plane back from Cuba. He made a comment on the Zika virus and using contraception. He cited the case of the Congo nuns, and discernment. Fr Lombardi SJ has clarified the pope’s comment. The bishops of the Philippines publicly called for a review of Church teaching in this area. Is this really a debate the Church needs to address, or manoeuvres by people inside and outside the Church who want the teaching on contraception changed?

    BAS: This is part of an agenda, clearly, to change the truths of the Church in morality, in the topic of contraception. It is all a plan, a great pressure, and an agenda in the sphere in contraception. In the Church in our days there is the danger of a practical admittance of divorce and reception of Holy Communion, it is a practical denial of the indissolubility of marriage.

    DB: Are you speaking about the reformed annulment process?

    BAS: Yes, also the reformed process of annulment of marriage, for me, contains a danger of banalisation and superficiality in the process itself; it contains in itself, in the new norms, a danger of an attack against the sanctity and indissolubility of marriage. When you treat a holy thing in a superficial and quick manner, banal manner, it is irresponsible. Theoretically, the new norms are now contrary to the perennial practice of the Church, because in the process there was always the presumption of the validity of the marriage, this was always presumed, because of the defense of the sanctity of the sacrament. The new norms however presume the invalidity of the marriage from the start. This is a dangerous change in mentality.

    It is the spirit of the world attacking, and so too with contraception. The truths of the church are unchangeable and will remain so. Pope Paul VI in Humanae Vitae and Pope John Paul II in Vertatis Splendor and Familaris Consortio have taught that contraception is in itself always intrinsically evil. There are no circumstances and no exceptions that justify an intrinsically evil act. Popes Paul VI and John Paul II confirmed this.

    DB: You speak out a lot on important issues, giving the faithful clear and true Catholic teaching. Aren’t you concerned attacks will come? You seem to be setting yourself up to be a target – bishops can be moved, media attacks are launched, reputations destroyed.

    BAS: I have no fears and no concerns, about possible transfers or attacks, because the sense of my life and all my ambition is the truths of Christ and to be faithful to God, and to be acknowledged by God, not by bishops, mass media, and even not by the pope, but first by my conscience and by my vows I gave to Christ in Baptism and Episcopal consecration, to keep the truth pure and integral, and even to be ready to give my life for it. This is my desire and my aim, I don’t worry what people will say. It is ridiculous to fear human opinion because tomorrow it changes. I have to be concerned with what God thinks. People pass away very quickly, God’s opinion remains, so I am concerned to please God first.

    I am an auxiliary bishop in a diocese, I am happy, and when the pope will transfer me, he shall do this and I shall obey, and I shall carry in every place the desire to defend the truth.

    DB: Charity is the greatest virtue. What acts of charity, spiritual and corporal, are most needed today for Christians to practice?

    BAS: First, in the hierarchy of values, what is most important is what is eternal and immortal, and this is the soul, eternal values, and eternal life. Therefore those acts of charity which aim to transmit the eternal life to my neighbor and transmit to him everlasting values, to help him save his soul, these acts are more necessary. Of course we have at the same time to help immediately a person in need, hungry and so on, to help is very natural, it has to be done. But as Catholics we are not only thinking about giving food and clothes, but we have to give also the light of the Faith, we must not to forget it. This is true, authentic love for neighbor. Love God first, and love your neighbor as you love yourself.

    God asks us to love Him with all our mind, power, heart; He reserved this for himself. Jesus taught us to love others as we love ourselves, and to love others as He loved us. So, we have to love with the love of Christ. He came to us to save our souls, not firstly or only our body, but our souls, and to give us His divine truth. He shed His blood for the salvation of our souls.

    So we have to love each other as Christ loves us. Our main task then, is to love God, prefer God and His truth even in our temporal lives, ready to be martyrs for Christ, and love others as we love ourselves and as Christ loved us – sacrificing ourselves for the good of others.

    DB: Your Excellency, thank you for your time.

    BAS: May God bless you and your noble work for the Catholic Truth. In Jesus and Mary.

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  • The Quality of Mercy does appear to be strained

    In this Year of Mercy, there seem to be a lot of curious misunderstandings. Do people really understand what Mercy is about? It would appear not. It is certainly not about God covering up our sins and forgetting about them, neither is it about Christ effecting our redemption on the Cross and we can now do anything we want, because he has sorted everything out, nor is it about God’s Mercy without reference to sin. It is sin, Original sin that so to speak calls forth God’s mercy and shows God at his most loving, and lovable. Worse still God is made somehow accountable for the suffering in the World. As Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI said in the recently published interview he gave in the Autumn of last year to Father Jacques Servais S.J. last year; I quote;

    For the man of today, compared to those of the time of Luther and to those holding the classical perspective of the Christian faith, things are in a certain sense inverted, or rather, it is no longer man who believes he needs justification before God, but rather he is of the opinion that God is obliged to justify himself because of all the horrible things in the world and in the face of the misery of being human, all of which ultimately depend on Him.

    Many non-Christians take this view and now very many Christians and very many “educated” Catholics would take this view. The problem with this view is that it is a distortion of reality. We have all become like little Kay in Hans Christian Anderson’s Snow Queen. We have got the splinters from the Devil’s mirror, which fell from the skies, and are now lodged in our hearts. We can no longer see clearly. Everything is distorted, confused, and there is much cynicism; the kind of cynicism which almost destroyed Kay.

    The underlying heresy is an interesting one, and I am not sure that many theologians are addressing it. It is the heresy that as the world is such a wonderful place everyone should enjoy it. This of course is a variation on the Jewish misinterpretation of the Messianic age, which we find in the confrontation between Samuel and the people who demand a king, because they want to be like other nations, namely great and powerful. Thi was taken up by Marx whose earthly paradise is the paradise to which the class struggle looks forward to, and underpins the New World Order. However this view fails to take into account one very important fact. The World is not Paradise and, though according to the Fathers of the Church, it still exists it is still closed to the Human Race. Precisely because Adam fell, the world which we inhabit can never be paradise until the coming of the New Heavens and the New Earth. We are redeemed from an eternal banishment from Heaven. This is God’s great Mercy.

    All the Commandments, the Beatitudes and the corporal and spiritual works of mercy are but a pale reflection of the Mercy of Christ’s great sacrifice on the Cross. Now it is essential that we are hard headed in all this and do not stoop to the extreme sentimentality and cruel heartless sensuality of our present Western Civilization.

    God did not need to create us. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are eternally self-sufficient, and infinitely happy. They do not need us, they do not need angels or the created Universe. It is out of God’s infinitely creative love that he created angels and men. Everything is a gift, and totally undeserved, but since the fall of Satan, there has been a doubt that God should somehow be giving first the angels more, and the human beings more. God is always being confronted with an amazing and immense ingratitude, and since the 19th century there has been a determination firstly by German liberal theologians, and then sadly by Catholic liberal theologians to diminish Christ’s Divinity, the Redemption, his love, and finally his Mercy. We must face up to the fact that God owes nothing, and does not need us. It is only when we have fathomed that rather unpleasant piece of information that we can appreciate his Mercy. He comes to redeem the human race who for the most part is not remotely bothered with God’s law or his wishes. Sadly human beings simply want a good time. Few want to worship God in Spirit and Truth. They want, as St. Francis de Sales wisely notes, the consolations of God, and not the God of all consolations. Human beings do not realize that the only way to share in God’s eternal love is to follow in the footsteps of Christ, which are marked with his sacrificial blood. We cannot have his Glory without his Cross, and the way we do that is by mirroring his Mercy, that Mercy which suffered all the abuse and sin of Man throughout time, so that many might be saved for eternal happiness. When we contemplate Christ’s life and Passion, then we can understand what mercy requires, and the one thing that is not required is a comfortable life, and a life devoid of suffering or sacrifice, and it is certainly not about making marriage easy, and family life easy, it is about raising these two primordial forms of life to the heroic dimensions of the Holy Family; now that is mercy.

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  • The Woman taken in Adultery and the Curious Case of Emma Bonino

    Recently the Pope caused great pain to the Pro Life movement in Italy by praising Emma Bonino the Doyenne of Italian Radicalism, Feminism, and abortion, for her work with refugees. He described her as “a forgotten great” of Italian society. This is quite remarkable as no-one could be more radical than Emma Bonino.

    Bonino, who was born in 1948, has all the qualities of a modern Italian Revolutionary. I suppose that if we wish to understand her, we should remember that she was part of a feminist demonstration that took place in Rome on 6th December 1975 and whose slogan was “No longer wives, mothers and daughters! Let’s destroy the family!” Added to this terrible view of the family is her espousal of total libertarianism (This is not the same as Libertarianism in the U.S. which is about being faithful to the American Constitution.). Bonino was a prime instigator if not the prime instigator of the whole abortion movement in Italy and founded with Adele Faccio CISA (Centre for sterilisation and abortion). Amazingly she “personally contributed to performing 10,000 illegal abortions.”

    In 1976 Bonino became a member of the Radical Party whose founder Marco Panella is her hero. She then helped to get Tony Negri, the “ideologue of Red Terrorism” and a criminal, elected to the Italian Parliament whereby he was given immunity from the Law, such are the peculiarities of Italian Political Society. Marco Panella’s whole programme is to promote gay marriage, transgenderim, free love, the legalizing of drugs, the abolition of the armed forces, the dismantling of NATO, and the enforcement of sex education.

    The reader at this point must be asking him or herself what is the Pope doing praising such a woman, but there is worse to come in this strange tale of Emma Bonino’s rise to power. In 1995 Silivio Berlusconi appointed Emma as a European Commissioner to the EU Parliament in Brussels where her behaviour became dangerously eccentric or eccentrically dangerous. She managed to found a parliamentary group which included Le Pen’s National Front Party. Jean Marie Le Pen was nothing if not a very traditional Catholic, unlike his daughter. If this marriage of complete opposites is not enough, then the pinnacle of paradox is reached when we find that Bonino and Panella are staunch supporters of Israel.

    This fog of contradictions begins to be dispelled by the sunlight of Truth, when we realize that for Bonino the ends justifies the means. She will work with anyone if it can promote her cause. She is a true spiritual daughter (If one can use such a term) of her fellow countryman, the disastrous and destructive Machiavelli. The fog is further dispelled when we find out that the Radical Party is funded by George Soros, the U.S. financier, that foe of Christianity who wishes among other things, to decriminalize drugs. This behaviour comes from a man who is a devoted disciple of Karl Popper, and who completely misunderstands him. It is over 40 years since I read Karl Popper’s “The Open Society and its Enemies” but even as a 21 year old student I knew that Popper was against totalitarianism and had no time for Marxism and psychoanalysis which he considered ‘pseudosciences’. As George Soros and David Rockefeller advocate Globalism, which is another form of totalitarianism one can only conclude that George Soros is simply another revolutionary who wants to have a society where drugs render a vast proletariat pliant as in Brave New World. This is hardly freedom.

    Into this vast jungle of financial, sexual, and radical left wing politics the Holy Father sallies forth full of glowing zeal to help the downtrodden, and those suffering from all the problems that spring from poverty. It is as if he is asking all the wrong people for advice. Like his hero Blessed Paul VI he is somewhat a victim of the last person he meets, who often seem to inhabit a left wing world when it comes to the secular domain, and unorthodox in the realm of the religious domain. The Pope is so much a man of the sixties, that he seems unaware that he is in the second decade of the 21st century, and so his views are, very oddly, old fashioned. Unfortunately they are not old fashioned enough. They should be as old fashioned as the Ten Commandments and the Beatitudes, but they are as old fashioned as the 60’s and Vatican II, which in trying to update everything, meant that the Church found herself out of date, much in the way a woman,who buys a new dress which she thinks is the latest fashion, then to her horror finds that it is quite passé. This was at its truest when dealing with psychology. In the 60’s and 70’s, the Church began to be beguiled by Freud, Jung, and Carl Rogers just as people were beginning to doubt the whole Freudian world view. Just when the Church was beginning to look at the World through a Left wing prism in the late 60’s and early 70’s, the Soviet Union was beginning slowly to enter its death throes. In so far as the Church becomes involved with the contemporary zeitgeist, especially when it is anti-Christian or agnostic, she ends up with something that mirrors a marriage between a Christian and a non-believer. The tension can often result in a lessening of faith, and morals.

    The problem then arises for the Holy Father, as far as I can see it, that such people as Emma Bonino, who want to help the poor, are for him people of good faith if somewhat off the rails. The problem with being off the rails is that the train will grind to a halt at best and crash at worst. The Pope soon will find at some point, in the very near future, that not only has he hitched himself to the wrong cart but large parts of the Church along with him. Hard on the heels of this problem is that the Pope comes from the most militaristic Order in the Church, namely the Jesuits. However, whereas the Jesuit Order was utterly devoted to defending the Papacy for much of its history, it has been defending, since the 60’s at the very least, a view of the Church that is fundamentally Modernist, and disastrously dominated by the ghost of Teilhard de Chardin, whose thinking is just plain nonsense, but could take in such a fine man as de Lubac who wrote a book about him.

    Having been educated by the Jesuits, whom I liked very much, you sensed that there was that almost Marxist mode of operating, which is the last thing that Church needs. You saw how the authorities could be very hard on people like the saintly Fr.Cyril Martindale, or the fine Fr. Roger Charles, and what they were like in other lands I do not know. One also gets the impression that the Pope was very much like that as the Provincial of the Jesuit Province of Argentina. It was all based on strict obedience. One also has to ask oneself, that of the over 1000 Communist agents who became priests in the Catholic Church from the 1930’s onwards, how many were Jesuits? It is patently obvious that the Pope, for all his exuberant maverick behaviour, is not as confident in his own judgment as he should be. He relies too heavily on his friends, and looking at them they seem theologically somewhat lacking to put it mildly. St. Francis de Sales said that the best spiritual directors were the dead ones, and I believe the best theologians will also be the dead ones, and like the best wines they need to be the old and mature. I think we can safely say that most of the modern theologians have been too tainted with the views of modern philosophers like Kant, Hegel, and most unfortunately Heidegger.

    The fundamental floor with most contemporary thinking is found in the fascination with Man, and Pope Francis is not the only one to suffer from this problem, even somebody as great as St. John Paul II, because of his philosophical research, seemed to be very taken up with Man. Today the rights of God The Father, Creator of Heaven and Earth, are not taken into account. The World is, in most democratic countries profoundly influenced by a left wing way of looking at things. That is why the present Conservative Government in Britain looks, certainly from the moral point of view, thoroughly left wing and libertarian. Man’s needs must be met at all costs. The problem that dominates modern Man is the Utopian/Marxian idea of an earthly paradise.

    Within the glove of liberalism fits the iron fist of tyranny. This tyranny which begins with Marxism, is in some way connected with Freudian psychology and all its offshoots, which make up modern psychotherapy, and sociology. Following on from that we find Leninism, Maoism, thought control, and even the United Nations, which is a sort of secularized cross between the Papacy and the Holy Roman Empire dominating Western thinking. Then finally we have the EU which really is a secularized form of the Holy Roman Empire and far less effective.

    The laudable desire to feed the World’s poor, to care for the most vulnerable, runs parallel with a Western culture that wants abortion, sterilization, contraception, and which encourages sexual depravity, the destruction of marriage, and euthanasia. To complete this peculiar spectrum we see prisons (This is not the case in the United States I might add.) in some Western Countries, namely in Scandanavia, as being purely reformatory. However rather oddly Teresa May, Britain’s Home Secretary, several years ago, began to turn the British prisons into penitentiaries. As she is a devout Anglican, that seems a most odd thing to do, as the Anglican Church at present is so liberal in everything.

    For the West Man can be perfected by education, health care and enough food. This is very much the theme of the Enlightenment, the French Revolution, the Russian and Chinese revolutions and goodness knows what other revolutions. The problem is that all that came out of these revolutions was persecution of Christianity and Totalitarianism.

    What few can grasp is that the Church is always battling or trying to control the ruling elite that it is dealing with. Pope Francis does not appear to be an historian, which means that he cannot see that the Church is facing are far greater threat than when Hildebrand was defending the Church in the Investiture Crisis. Hildebrand, known also as Gregory VII was determined to wrest the Church from lay control, and succeeded; if there had not already been a Gregory The Great, then Hildebrand would surely merit that title.

    Today, since St. John XXIII’s election as pope, there has been a woeful tendency to think that the Church could trust the apostate Christian, or even more bizarrely the Soviet East. It is rather like Innocent III trusting the goodwill of the Albigensians after they murdered the Papal legate. So too today the mission is not to the pagans and non-believers, but to the rebellious children of either Christian parents, apostate Christian parents, or, who themselves, happen to have turned against God, or the Church. This will be true also of nearly all the Christian Churches of the West. This is admirably summed up in the Pope’s relationship with the atheist maverick co-founder of La Republica, Eugenio Scalfari, who is either quoting or misquoting the Pope. The Pope is trusting the wrong people, and needs do only one thing. He must imitate Christ with the woman taken in adultery:

    When Jesus lifting up himself, said to her: Woman, where are they that accused thee? Hath no man condemned thee? Hath no man condemned thee?

    Who said: No man, Lord. And Jesus said: neither will I condemn thee, God and now sin no more. (John: ch.8 vv. 10 -11)

    The Pope, of course, must be compassionate to his former student and his homosexual lover, to the transgender Diego Neria Lejarraga, and his fiancé (Once again we find ourselves in “ a never, never land” of paradox.) and to others who find themselves in sinful situations, by telling them that they cannot break God’s laws, however much they feel that those laws are wrong. The clay cannot tell the potter what to do, and far too many Christians think they can disagree with God. Obviously they have not comprehended the infinite majesty and justice of God, nor have they understood that to ask for mercy, like the woman who was taken in adultery, they must in some form or fashion admit their sin. If they do not, they do not understand Mercy. God’s Mercy is Christ crucified, and that should bring us weeping to our knees at the foot of the Cross.

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