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Anthony Esolen of The Catholic Thing wrote an article called Stamp Your Feet which gives a synopsis of what the conversation has been like between Cardinal Mueller, head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), and the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR). 

CDF: “Sisters, do you believe and affirm that Jesus Christ is the eternal Son of the Father, begotten and not made, the second Person of the Holy Trinity?”

LCWR: “Why are you asking us that question? What gives you the authority to ask it?”

CDF: “Again, Sisters, do you believe and affirm that Jesus Christ is the eternal Son of the Father, incarnate by the Holy Ghost in the womb of the Virgin Mary?”

LCWR: “You have no right to pick on us simply because we’re women. You arrogant misogynists!  We believe that hierarchical structures must be dismantled!”

CDF: “Sisters, you seem to argue that you are ‘beyond Jesus.’ Do you in fact believe that man may be saved in the name of Jesus alone? That Christ alone reveals the Father to man, and man to himself?”

LCWR: “Why are you using sexist language? We are offended by your pronouns.”

CDF: “Do you believe that Jesus Christ is the eternal Son of the Father?”

LCWR: “We have advanced degrees in theology. We have received awards from our friends – we mean, from prestigious theological societies. Why are you suggesting that we are incompetent? Is it because we’re women?”
    More

Theology degrees are worthless IMO if people dissent from Church teaching.  If the nuns have a problem with apostolic succession and the authority that comes with it then they obviously need a refresher course on Catholicism, obedience, and doctrine versus prudential judgment.  These LCWR nuns need to grow up and answer the Cardinal’s questions.

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An interview with Cardinal Dolan on “Meet The Press” aired this morning on NBC.  He was asked for thoughts on the University of Missouri football player Michael Sam who had come out as gay recently.  Cardinal Dolan responded “good for him” and “bravo.”  Cardinal Dolan said the Bible says not to judge.  That isn’t necessarily correct.  There is one place in the Bible that says not to judge but you have to take into account the context in which this was said.  We are not to use do not judge broadly so as to attribute it to circumstances it does not apply.  Here are a couple of scripture passages:

John 7: 24 “Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.”

Leviticus 19: 15 “You shall do no injustice in judgment; you shall not be partial to the poor or defer to the great, but in righteousness shall you judge your neighbor.”

As you can see the two scripture passages above DO NOT condemn judging others.

In response New Catholic at the blog Rorate Caeli wrote this: 

OK, then. Naturally, the Cardinal did not have to say anything at all regarding a specific individual, even if asked. But silence and discretion are one thing, explicitly refusing moral discernment is another, and raising such refusal to the status of “good” and “bravo” is quite noteworthy for a Prince of the Church, because it is in itself a moral judgment, a positive moral judgment.
It is quite easy to see that no moral debate in which the Catholic Church takes part, of any kind and on any level, can ever anymore advance even one inch if the parameters become simply an isolated reading of “not judging” – and much less if “not judging” is elevated to the positive judgment of “good” and “bravo.” Politicians quote a pontiff when casting immoral votes, and what can the Church say, from now on, on any legal matter (that presupposes a moral order)? It can always be used to stop any social debate. What can poor pastors and vicars say regarding any sin, even personally to a parishioner, when the isolated presentation of “no sense of judgment” becomes normative? Or even regarding, for instance, an inclination that our judgmental Catechism of the Catholic Church defines as “objectively disordered” (regardless of the practice or not of the “intrinsically disordered” acts attached to it)?

And if you do not like this post, who are you to judge us?…

[Op-ed update: Cardinal Dolan, in this age, it is keeping the faith that deserves a “Bravo”.]

Bravo New Catholic!  Politicians and laity sure do know how to twist and pervert the words of authority figures in the Church in order to support agendas that are contrary to the faith.  Going by his words it seems that Cardinal Dolan is talking as if he believes the Catechism is wrong when it says homosexual relations are “intrinsically  disordered.”  Yes, we are called to love every human being.  But it is wrong to cheer on a sexual orientation which the Church condemns as “objectively disordered.”  Loving everyone does not mean approving of everything they do.  

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This may surprise the media that twisted the Pope’s so-called controversial remarks in an interview which came out yesterday.  Pope Francis has unequivocally condemned abortion. 

From LifeSiteNews: 

In a meeting with Catholic gynaecologists this morning Pope Francis strongly condemned abortion as a manifestation of a “throwaway culture.”

“Every unborn child, though unjustly condemned to be aborted, has the face of the Lord, who even before his birth, and then as soon as he was born, experienced the rejection of the world,” the pope said.

Speaking to the International Federation of Catholic Medical Associations, Pope Francis spoke of a paradox in medicine today. “On the one hand we see progress in the field of medicine, thanks to the work of scientists who passionately and unreservedly dedicate themselves to the search for new cures,” he said. “On the other hand, however, we also encounter the risk that doctors lose sight of their identity in the service of life.”

“While new rights are attributed to or indeed almost presumed by the individual, life is not always protected as the primary value and the primordial right of every human being,” said the Pope. “The ultimate aim of medicine remains the defence and promotion of life.”

The pope told the doctors, “Your being Catholic entails greater responsibility: first of all to yourself, in the effort to be consistent with the Christian vocation, and then to contemporary culture, to help recognize the transcendent dimension in human life, the imprint of the creative work of God, from the very first moment of conception. This is a commitment to the new evangelization that often requires going against the tide, paying a personal price. The Lord counts on you to spread the ‘Gospel of life.'”

As he has in the past, Francis condemned a “throwaway culture” that would eliminate the weak and vulnerable in society. “Our response to this mentality is a ‘yes’ to life, decisive and without hesitation. ‘The first right of the human person is his life. He has other goods and some are precious, but this one is fundamental – the condition for all the others’”.

 

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Did you know that the Pope had made a “surprising change”, even a “Radical Change” on gays and abortion?  According to Newsmax he did.poperadical That’s not how The New York Times characterized his words.  According to the Times, “Pope Says Church Is ‘Obsessed’ With Gays, Abortion and Birth Control”.  The Detroit Free Press carried that meme: “The pope, in a published interview, said the Catholic church had become ‘obsessed’ with gay marriage, contraception and abortion “.  Fox 31 reports that “Pope Francis said the church has the right to express its opinions but not to ‘interfere spiritually’ in the lives of gays and lesbians,”

Did you get that?  Don’t miss that point.  The Church is obsessed with gays and needs to lighten up.  It can “express its opinions”, but it has to stop “interfering” with them “spiritually”.  Because of course that is all the Church has been doing.  It hasn’t had anything to say about people engaging in anal and oral sex acts with others of the same sex and demanding that the rest of society endorse such acts as fertile and possibly procreative by calling such relationships marriages.  No, it has been “interfering” with their spirituality, though how the Church has been doing that remains unclear.  Has the Church been lecturing them all this time about their unacceptably gay way that they pray the rosary, make the sign of the cross, take the Eucharist on the hand rather than on the tongue, and so on?  I haven’t seen anything like that, but apparently, somehow, the Church needs to refrain from “interfering” with people’s spirituality.  Somehow spirituality is now None of the Church’s Business.  It can just “express opinions”  Ok?  Are we clear now? Good, let’s go on.  Apparently, the pope believes that the Church’s moral teaching about refraining from murdering unborn infants and tearing them out of the womb in tiny bloody pieces as well as those doctrines reserving morally approved sexual intercourse for marriage and reserving marriage for potentially procreative pairs, i.e., men and women, is a bunch of “small-minded rules” that the Church must “shake off”.  At least that’s how it was reported at abc.net.

Back to Newmax.  What, according to Newsmax, does the Pope think will happen to the Church if it does not “find the new balance” between not offending anyone ever by telling them the hard truths they might need to hear and, well, not offending anyone ever by telling them the hard truths they might need to hear?  According to Newsmax, the “Pope Warns Church Must Find Balance or Fall ‘Like House of Cards'”. If the Church doesn’t stop offending gays by telling them that two individuals of the same sex are by nature unable to make a baby together and thus their sexual union cannot be blessed as a marriage, then the Church will “fall like a house of cards”.

In an [sic] remarkable change from his predecessor Benedict, who said homosexuality was an intrinsic disorder, Francis said that when homosexuals told him they were always condemned by the Church and felt “socially wounded”, he told them “the Church does not want to do this”.

So that is a “remarkable” change, according to Newsmax (is that the same as a “surprising” one or a “radical” one, I wonder?).  Because of course that is what Benedict did, in fact, “want” to do and “want” the Church to “want” to do, right?  Wound gays “socially”?  Of course!   And now, big big change, there is a new pope and now the Church no longer WANTS to wound homosexuals socially (whatever that means).

So what happened this morning when I was faced with these headlines?  Did I quiver in fear that the pope might have become a heretic and thus we might have a heretic pope?  Hardly.  My wife Teresa and I are both far too savvy to be taken in by this garbage.  This is how I  found out about these stories: my wife was at the computer, checking her email and reading the latest headlines.  She announced, “Newsmax has really gotten what the pope said wrong.”  My response was along the lines of “What else is new?”  It’s not just Newsmax.  Every single time any pope opens his mouth to give an interview to anyone in the media about anything whatsoever, everyone in the media carries it and they all get it dead wrong.  They never distort anyone so egregiously and so consistently as they do to a sitting pope, and it is not just the secular media.  Much of the Catholic media, too!   His Holiness gave this latest interview to America, a Catholic publication, and they carried every word of it, making it easy to look at his words in context and confirm that, yes, for the hundredth time, they all got it 180 degrees wrong.  That’s because people in the media no longer simply report the news.  They make it. They no longer consider themselves reporters in the literal sense.  They are now social engineers, molding public opinion toward favored political ends.  They do not want to report what the pope is saying, they want to make the pope say what they want him to say, and they will cherry pick quotes of words and small phrases and use them very differently than the pope did.  They always do this.

Time for the Reality Check.

Q: Did the Pope change the Church’s teaching that abortion, homosexual sex acts, and so-called gay marriage are to be condemned as sins?

A: NO.   The Church’s teaching remains the same.  Sin is sin.  When the pope was asked about homosexuality, he changed the subject from the sin to the sinner, emphasizing that it is wrong to condemn the person.  Big difference.

Q: Did the Pope say that the Church has been interfering with the spiritual lives of gays and lesbians and needs to stop doing that?

A;  No no no no no no!

Here is what the pope actually said, verbatim:

In Buenos Aires I used to receive letters from homosexual persons who are ‘socially wounded’ because they tell me that they feel like the church has always condemned them. But the church does not want to do this. During the return flight from Rio de Janeiro I said that if a homosexual person is of good will and is in search of God, I am no one to judge. By saying this, I said what the catechism says. Religion has the right to express its opinion in the service of the people, but God in creation has set us free: it is not possible to interfere spiritually in the life of a person.

A person once asked me, in a provocative manner, if I approved of homosexuality. I replied with another question: ‘Tell me: when God looks at a gay person, does he endorse the existence of this person with love, or reject and condemn this person?’ We must always consider the person. Here we enter into the mystery of the human being. In life, God accompanies persons, and we must accompany them, starting from their situation. It is necessary to accompany them with mercy. When that happens, the Holy Spirit inspires the priest to say the right thing.

This is also the great benefit of confession as a sacrament: evaluating case by case and discerning what is the best thing to do for a person who seeks God and grace. The confessional is not a torture chamber, but the place in which the Lord’s mercy motivates us to do better. I also consider the situation of a woman with a failed marriage in her past and who also had an abortion. Then this woman remarries, and she is now happy and has five children. That abortion in her past weighs heavily on her conscience and she sincerely regrets it. She would like to move forward in her Christian life. What is the confessor to do?

We cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods. This is not possible. I have not spoken much about these things, and I was reprimanded for that. But when we speak about these issues, we have to talk about them in a context. The teaching of the church, for that matter, is clear and I am a son of the church, but it is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time.

The dogmatic and moral teachings of the church are not all equivalent. The church’s pastoral ministry cannot be obsessed with the transmission of a disjointed multitude of doctrines to be imposed insistently. Proclamation in a missionary style focuses on the essentials, on the necessary things: this is also what fascinates and attracts more, what makes the heart burn, as it did for the disciples at Emmaus. We have to find a new balance; otherwise even the moral edifice of the church is likely to fall like a house of cards, losing the freshness and fragrance of the Gospel. The proposal of the Gospel must be more simple, profound, radiant. It is from this proposition that the moral consequences then flow.

I say this also thinking about the preaching and content of our preaching. A beautiful homily, a genuine sermon must begin with the first proclamation, with the proclamation of salvation. There is nothing more solid, deep and sure than this proclamation. Then you have to do catechesis. Then you can draw even a moral consequence. But the proclamation of the saving love of God comes before moral and religious imperatives. Today sometimes it seems that the opposite order is prevailing. The homily is the touchstone to measure the pastor’s proximity and ability to meet his people, because those who preach must recognize the heart of their community and must be able to see where the desire for God is lively and ardent. The message of the Gospel, therefore, is not to be reduced to some aspects that, although relevant, on their own do not show the heart of the message of Jesus Christ.

.

Note that when the pope refrained from condemning the “homosexual person of good will” he was, as he said, merely quoting the Catechism.  That is the very same Catechism that Benedict was quoting when he said that homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.

Here is the relevant passage from the Catechism:

2357 Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity,141 tradition has always declared that “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.”142 They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.

2358 The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God’s will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.

2359 Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection.

What does this mean?  It means that when Pope Francis refers to the sincere homosexual of good will searching for God, the one His Holiness does not feel qualified to condemn, he is referring to a man who is seeking, in the teeth of his homosexual tendencies which are for him, “a trial” and the cross he has to bear, living out, to the best of his ability and with the grace of God, a vocation of chastity.   That means he is not, as rule, actively seeking, but rather doing his best to avoid, engaging homosexual acts which are by their very nature disordered.   But you won’t hear that from the media, will you?  Ever?

Let’s go through what His Holiness said line by line, because I think that nothing less than that will suffice to overcome the distortions of his meaning.

“In Buenos Aires I used to receive letters from homosexual persons who are ‘socially wounded’ because they tell me that they feel like the church has always condemned them. But the church does not want to do this. During the return flight from Rio de Janeiro I said that if a homosexual person is of good will and is in search of God, I am no one to judge. By saying this, I said what the catechism says.”

I just dealt with that above.  No radical change here.  No change whatsoever, remarkable or otherwise, from Benedict.

“Religion has the right to express its opinion in the service of the people, but God in creation has set us free: it is not possible to interfere spiritually in the life of a person.”

Religion?  I thought he was talking about the Church, right?  That’s what the media said!  Well, now you know different.  He was talking about religion in general.

But he was saying that religion should stop interfering, right?   NO, and if by “interfering” you mean, telling sinners that they are sinning, that he affirmed as a right of religion.  No, the “interference” he was talking about he declared, not undesirable but impossible.  It  simply does not happen because it is metaphysically impossible.  Man’s nature makes it impossible.  Man is free.  Therefore he cannot be interfered with in that way.  Not should not.  CAN NOT.   What Pope Francis said had nothing whatsoever to do with what the Church should and shouldn’t say about gays or abortion or anything else, and when the Church expresses Her teachings in this regard, that is NOT interference.  EVER.   Not according to Pope Francis, anyway.

“A person once asked me, in a provocative manner, if I approved of homosexuality. I replied with another question: “‘

In other words, he did what Our Lord often did: change the subject of the question.  Get to the heart of the matter that the questioner is really talking about.  The heart of the matter is that while same sex acts are sinful, homosexuals are persons, children of God, not to be condemned or shunned by the Church or society in general.

“Tell me: when God looks at a gay person, does he endorse the existence of this person with love, or reject and condemn this person?’ We must always consider the person. Here we enter into the mystery of the human being. In life, God accompanies persons, and we must accompany them, starting from their situation. It is necessary to accompany them with mercy. When that happens, the Holy Spirit inspires the priest to say the right thing.”

There.  God loves gays.  God loves child molesters, within and outside the clergy.   God loves murderers, rapists, thieves, whores and degenerate gamblers.  God loves ordinary hard working people who don’t bother reading the news.  God loves exasperated Catholic bloggers.  God loves misquoted Bishops of Rome.  All of the above are sinners.  God love sinners.  That doesn’t mean sin is OK.  If the Church condemns an act as a sin, that is not done with the intention of hurting sinners, but helping them.  Get that.  Grow up.

“This is also the great benefit of confession as a sacrament: evaluating case by case and discerning what is the best thing to do for a person who seeks God and grace. The confessional is not a torture chamber, but the place in which the Lord’s mercy motivates us to do better. I also consider the situation of a woman with a failed marriage in her past and who also had an abortion. Then this woman remarries, and she is now happy and has five children. That abortion in her past weighs heavily on her conscience and she sincerely regrets it. She would like to move forward in her Christian life. What is the confessor to do?

“We cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods. This is not possible. I have not spoken much about these things, and I was reprimanded for that. But when we speak about these issues, we have to talk about them in a context. The teaching of the church, for that matter, is clear and I am a son of the church, but it is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time.”

There.  When he said that the Church “cannot” insist only in issues related to abortion gay marriage and contraception, he was NOT saying that the Church DOES THIS AND NEEDS TO STOP!  He was saying that the Church does not do this because it CAN’T!   He was saying that in the real world, where the rubber meets the road, when a sinner goes to confession, many sins can be intertwined into one sinful life, and thus they cannot be adequately dealt with in isolation.  There are not isolated in the lives of the sinners involved, so they have to be dealt with in the context of an actual human being’s sinful life, not just in the abstract as politically charged individual issues.

But try to find the media reports with the headline, “Pope recommends that gays and women who have had abortion go to confession”.  Go ahead.  I dare you.

“The dogmatic and moral teachings of the church are not all equivalent.”  True.  And it is liberals in the Church who consistently get that wrong, conflating abortion with capital punishment (which is not an intrinsic evil) and with the social doctrine of the Church such as the preferential option for the poor (before over-emphasizing the latter and forgetting about the former entirely).

The church’s pastoral ministry cannot be obsessed with the transmission of a disjointed multitude of doctrines to be imposed insistently. Proclamation in a missionary style focuses on the essentials, on the necessary things: this is also what fascinates and attracts more, what makes the heart burn, as it did for the disciples at Emmaus. We have to find a new balance; otherwise even the moral edifice of the church is likely to fall like a house of cards, losing the freshness and fragrance of the Gospel.

The “moral edifice” not the Church itself, is in danger.  I agree.   A great deal of danger, but not from people who insist that the Church’s teaching on these matters will never change.  The danger is from the media, with its single-minded obsession with these matters, and the Church must not let the media set the tone.

The proposal of the Gospel must be more simple, profound, radiant. It is from this proposition that the moral consequences then flow.

“I say this also thinking about the preaching and content of our preaching. A beautiful homily, a genuine sermon must begin with the first proclamation, with the proclamation of salvation. There is nothing more solid, deep and sure than this proclamation. Then you have to do catechesis. Then you can draw even a moral consequence. But the proclamation of the saving love of God comes before moral and religious imperatives. Today sometimes it seems that the opposite order is prevailing. The homily is the touchstone to measure the pastor’s proximity and ability to meet his people, because those who preach must recognize the heart of their community and must be able to see where the desire for God is lively and ardent. The message of the Gospel, therefore, is not to be reduced to some aspects that, although relevant, on their own do not show the heart of the message of Jesus Christ.”

If the opposite is prevailing, it is not from the Church.   If anything, priests are far too timid to focus ENOUGH on these issues, let alone obsess on them.  Again, the danger is from outside the Church, the barbarians at the gates, if they are allowed to set the term of the discussion.

Q: What about when the Pope called the Church’s teaching about abortion, contraception and gays “small-minded”?

A: He did not

Again, here is the relevant passage that is being savagely misquoted:

““The church sometimes has locked itself up in small things, in small-minded rules. The most important thing is the first proclamation: Jesus Christ has saved you. And the ministers of the church must be ministers of mercy above all. The confessor, for example, is always in danger of being either too much of a rigorist or too lax. Neither is merciful, because neither of them really takes responsibility for the person. The rigorist washes his hands so that he leaves it to the commandment. The loose minister washes his hands by simply saying, ‘This is not a sin’ or something like that. In pastoral ministry we must accompany people, and we must heal their wounds.”

Where is the mention of abortion?  Birth control?  Homosexuality?   It is not there.  So why do they think that he was referring to those teachings as “small-minded rules”?  Because that is what the media thinks, and, for them, that is more important than what Francis actually thinks.

But try to find the media headline that says, “Francis warns priests not to be ‘too lax’ and not to say that ‘This is not a sin'”, as this is just as bad as being ‘too rigorist'”.   Go ahead.  I dare you.   And if they have to relate everything he says to abortion and gays, why could’t he be talking about those sins when he warned against priests being too lax to call sins sinful?

And what was the real money line that everyone missed?  In this annoyed bloggers less than fully humble opinion, it was the folliowing sentence:  “The teaching of the church, for that matter, is clear and I am a son of the church, but it is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time.”

The Church’s teachings are clear.  Francis is a son of the Church.  He affirms them.  He has not changed them.  He does not want to change them.  He WILL NOT EVER CHANGE THEM!  But we don’t have to talk about them all the time!  Who is Francis saying this to?  THE MEDIA!  It is the media, not the Church, that is OBSESSED with these issues!!  Every single time a pope is interviewed he is asked about them.  Every time!  That’s an obsession.  Every time the idiotic talking heads in the media talk about the pope, and every time they bring up what we can expect from future popes, they talk about these issues.  Every time!  EVERY DAMNED TIME!   And they are so demented, so barking mad, that they think that the Church will change these teachings, all that needs to happen is the next pope has to come out and say that abortion is fine, anal sex between two men and oral sex between two  women is honky dory and we can all relax and just celebrate such relationships as socially approved marriages as long as everyone is having a great time (except the unborn babies being slaughtered, but, hey, there is no need to count them — they don’t vote or contribute to political parties and or candidates).

And it is here that I, also a loyal son of the Church and a loyal subject of His Holiness, publically express my regret that he gives such interviews.  It strikes me as inexcusably naive for him to talk the way he does when he gives such interviews, and the same was true of his immediate predecessor.  Even when he is sitting across from a sincere person and not a shark, the Pope needs to realize that the sharks are listening.  The sharks are watching.  The sharks are circling, and no matter which way he swims they will close in for the bite.  When they do, it is the Church that bleeds.

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I was shocked to read about the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI as I read through my emails on Monday morning.  To be honest at first I thought it was a hoax or something when I saw the headline on one of the blogs I frequent. But then soon enough I came to learn that it was true.

For most of the day I was ambivalent as to whether I would classify the Pope’s resignation as humble or not. In fact it was kind of hard for me to grasp why Pope Benedict would be resigning now when Pope John Paul II didn’t resign when his Parkinson’s Disease got really bad.  As I started reading the various commentaries on news sites/blogs I found this explanation by Damian Thompson very helpful:

Yes, the controversies surrounding child abuse have darkened his reign; my own feeling is that he has had to shoulder the burden of scandals that should have broken many years before he became pope, and also that his personal culpability as the Vatican’s doctrinal watchdog during that period should not be exaggerated. John Paul II rather than Benedict XVI can be accused of turning a blind eye to certain abominations, not least to those of the Mexican child abuser the late Fr Marcel Maciel, whom Benedict sent into disgraced exile as soon as he became Pope. One reason Maciel was not dealt with in time was that John Paul II was too ill and, let us be honest, mentally enfeebled to confront Maciel’s crimes. Ratzinger has been determined from the beginning not to allow the same situation to overtake him. {I do encourage you to read his entire piece here}

After reading that I came to the conclusion that Pope Benedict’s stepping down due to his failing health is indeed an act of humility, a sign of a humble man.

It’s not often that lightning strikes St. Peter’s Basilica. And the same day the Pope announced his resignation. A sign of the Holy Spirit?

13_02_11_lightning_St_Peters
H/T Father Z

Pat Buchanan article A Godly Man in an Ungodly Age takes a look at the Pope’s resignation in light of Christianity’s decline in the West over the past few centuries.

Spero news article highlights Seven good reasons to admire Pope Benedict XVI.

Let us pray for Pope Benedict and his health, for Holy Mother Church, and for the papal conclave when the College of  Cardinals meet to elect a new Pope.

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Catholic Charities must follow the Magisterium in totality.  We have seen the secularization in our society creep into certain Catholic charities and thus conflict with Church teachings, such as abortion and contraception.  Pope Benedict XVI has released an apostolic letter  which outlines the duty for Catholic charities to follow Church teachings while spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Pope Benedict also called on the bishops to improve their supervision of Catholic charities, to ensure that Catholic  organizations work is consistent with Church teachings.

Pope Benedict observed that it is the duty of the diocesan bishops and parish priests to safeguard that, in charitable service, the faithful “are not led into error or misunderstanding.”

According to Father Shenan Boquet, president of Human Life International, there has been a dramatic increase in charitable services to the poor becoming integrated with practices that are inconsistent with Church teaching.
“Emergency shelter somehow requires legalized abortion, food comes with condoms and incredible pressure to reduce birth rates, economic assistance requires adoption of a radical sexual and political agenda,” said Boquet. “More and more the message to the poor and suffering from the secular development industry is ‘we’ll help you, but you need to stop having children now and leave your traditions behind.’”

“The Church’s charitable activity at all levels must avoid the risk of becoming just another form of organized social assistance,” the pope wrote. He instructed that bishops and priests “are to prevent publicity being given through parish or diocesan structures to initiatives which, while presenting themselves as charitable, proposes choices or methods at odds with the Church’s teaching.” In addition, the pope wrote that church leaders must see to it that “the norms of the Church’s universal and particular law are respected, as well as the intentions of the faithful who made donations or bequests for these specific purposes.”

The pope explicitly identified the organization, Caritas Internationalis, the umbrella group that represents hundreds of Catholic charitable groups around the world. The U.S. members of Caritas are Catholic Charities U.S.A. and Catholic Relief Services.

In 2009, LifeSiteNews uncovered evidence that groups promoting legalized abortion and artificial contraceptives were being funded through grants from the Canadian Catholic Organisation for Development and Peace. Since that time, the Vatican has been forced to intervene directly on at least two occasions in Caritas activities.
Stephen Mosher, president of Population Research Institute, said that the pope’s directive “is a welcome corrective to the corrosive secularization of many Catholic agencies around the world, including Catholic Relief Services in the U.S. African and Latin American bishops have been complaining for years about so-called ‘Catholic charities’ that are, in fact, neither authentically Catholic nor truly charitable.”

Cardinal Robert Sarah, head of the Pontifical Council that oversees the Church’s charities, had earlier warned of a “silent apostasy” within Catholic charities when he informed Caritas:
Today, dear friends, the tragedy of modern mankind is not lacking clothing and housing. The most tragic hunger and the most terrible anguish is not lack of food. It’s much more about the absence of God and the lack of true love, the love that was revealed to us on the Cross.

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Ever since I’ve had my hysterectomy due to my having severe endometriosis I have been struggling emotionally especially because of the fact Kevin and I have no children.  During the week I decided it was time for me to meet with a priest so Thursday I did just that.  Talking to him helped so much.  He had just visited Medjugorje and he gave me a medal from there.  That’s totally awesome!!! He also told me a bit about a woman called Anne A Lay Apostle who claims that she heard locutions or messages from Mary and Jesus. Her messages are still under investigation by the Congregation for Doctrine of the Faith and now we are waiting to hear their judgment as to their authenticity.  In the meantime Anne’s bishop has authorized her to publish her locutions.  Dr. Miravalle from Franciscan University of Steubenville has also written a letter in support of Anne’s locutions.  Father said that our bishop had reviewed Anne’s messages and didn’t find anything to be contrary to the Faith so he’s okay with the laity reading her messages.  The priest I met with gave me one of Anne’s books with some of her messages.  This is the one he read to me:

This is from her booklet Heaven Speaks to Young Adults

My Loving Smile is in Your Soul — Jesus

My dear young apostle, as a follower of Jesus Christ the Returning King, you are entitled to joy.  I am returning to your world, and in this initial phase of My return I am returning through you. You should be joyful. If you are not joyful, you are spending too much time on worldly thinking.  Think in terms of heaven and you will feel joy.  Should a soul who is surrounded by angels be dismayed? Should a soul who walks in the constant presence of Jesus Christ be sad and fearful? My loving smile is in your soul.  I hold only good wishes for you.  There are many here in heaven who struggled with your very same struggles.  They overcame the world and so will you.  If you think it is too difficult then you are trying to do too much at once.  Sit peacefully now, in this moment, and allow Me to calm you.  I send My strength into your soul.  I send you great trust in Me and in My presence.  I am with you right now, watching you carefully, giving you exactly what you need to convert your heart to Mine.  Stay in this moment and you will be fine.  When you are anxious, you must see you are either in yesterday or in tomorrow.  I have given you what you need for now.  Tomorrow, you shall have what you need for tomorrow.  Each moment is being seen to by heaven.  I am not in yesterday, dear soul, because I am with you and you are in today.  I am not in tomorrow, dear soul, because I am with you and you are not there yet.  When you get there, I assure you, I will be with you, regardless of how difficult that day may be.  I do not leave My friends when troubles come.  Rather I give more graces.  Many of the young people in the world are feeling constant anxiety.  This does not come from Me.  This does not come from following Me.  Often it is a lack of love and security.  But, My dear apostles, I am the only true security.  Rely on Me and you find that your anxiety begins to diminish.  Soon it will disappear because I will take it away.  Ask Me for this.  And then trust Me.  Many great saints spent their lives working on trust.  You will get better and better at trusting Me through practice. And your fears will get smaller and smaller.  I can promise you this because it has always been this way.  Those who live in unity with Me are at peace.  The world cannot touch them because their sights are set on the next world, their true home, which is heaven.

Whether or not Anne’s locutions are found to be authentic or approved by the Vatican I found this message very comforting.  I believe there have been a number of saints who heard locutions or saw visions of the Blessed Virgin Mary or Jesus that were first met with skepticism and disapproved at first by the Pope at that time.  But these saints continued to believe and eventually their messages were approved by the various Popes.  I’m not sure which of the saints I read that this had happened to but it was at least a few.  So even if Anne’s messages aren’t approved by the Vatican it doesn’t necessarily mean that they didn’t come from Mary and Jesus.  We pray each day and receive messages of our own from God so I see her messages as being no different with respect to authenticity of faith.  God Bless.  

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Here is the transcript of Bishop Paprocki’s important message.

From News Advent:

My dear brothers and sisters in Christ:

Much attention was given at the Democratic National Convention held recently in Charlotte, N.C., to the fact that all references to God had been purged from the draft version of the party platform. After outcries of protest from outside as well as within the Democratic Party, the sentence with the same reference to God used in 2008 was restored to read, “We need a government that stands up for the hopes, values and interests of working people, and gives everyone willing to work hard the chance to make the most of their God-given potential.”
Before anyone relaxes and concludes that all is well now that the Democratic Party Platform contains a single passing reference to God, the way that this was done should give us pause. Convention chairman Antonio Villaraigosa had to call for the voice vote three times because each time the sound level for the “ayes” and the “nays” sounded about even, far short of the two-thirds necessary according to convention rules to amend the platform. That did not stop the convention chairman from declaring, “The ayes have it!”
What is troubling about that is the blatant disregard for the rules and for the apparent wishes of about half the delegates. The reference to God is back in the platform apparently because President Obama wanted it back in. That may be fine for now, but if a future president wants references to God taken out, apparently that can be done regardless of the wishes of the delegates if that is what The Leader wants. That does not bode well for democracy in the Democratic Party.
Even more troubling is that this whole discussion about God in the platform is a distraction from more disturbing matters that have been included in the platform. In 1992 Presidential candidate Bill Clinton famously said that abortion should be “safe, legal and rare.” That was the party’s official position until 2008. Apparently “rare” is so last century that it had to be dropped, because now the Democratic Party Platform says that abortion should be “safe and legal.” Moreover the Democratic Party Platform supports the right to abortion “regardless of the ability to pay.” Well, there are only three ways for that to happen: either taxpayers will be required to fund abortion, or insurance companies will be required to pay for them (as they are now required to pay for contraception), or hospitals will be forced to perform them for free.
Moreover, the Democratic Party Platform also supports same-sex marriage, recognizes that “gay rights are human rights,” and calls for the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act, the federal law signed by President Clinton in 1996 that defined marriage as the legal union of one man and one woman.
Now, why am I mentioning these matters in the Democratic Party Platform? There are many positive and beneficial planks in the Democratic Party Platform, but I am pointing out those that explicitly endorse intrinsic evils. My job is not to tell you for whom you should vote. But I do have a duty to speak out on moral issues. I would be abdicating this duty if I remained silent out of fear of sounding “political” and didn’t say anything about the morality of these issues. People of faith object to these platform positions that promote serious sins. I know that the Democratic Party’s official “unequivocal” support for abortion is deeply troubling to pro-life Democrats.
So what about the Republicans? I have read the Republican Party Platform and there is nothing in it that supports or promotes an intrinsic evil or a serious sin. The Republican Party Platform does say that courts “should have the option of imposing the death penalty in capital murder cases.” But the Catechism of the Catholic Church says (in paragraph 2267), “Assuming that the guilty party’s identity and responsibility have been fully determined, the traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude recourse to the death penalty, if this is the only possible way of effectively defending human lives against the unjust aggressor. If, however, non-lethal means are sufficient to defend and protect people’s safety from the aggressor, authority will limit itself to such means, as these are more in keeping with the concrete conditions of the common good and more in conformity to the dignity of the human person. Today, in fact, as a consequence of the possibilities which the state has for effectively preventing crime, by rendering one who has committed an offense incapable of doing harm — without definitely taking away from him the possibility of redeeming himself — the cases in which the execution of the offender is an absolute necessity are very rare, if not practically nonexistent.”
One might argue for different methods in the platform to address the needs of the poor, to feed the hungry and to solve the challenges of immigration, but these are prudential judgments about the most effective means of achieving morally desirable ends, not intrinsic evils.
Certainly there are “pro-choice” Republicans who support abortion rights and “Log Cabin Republicans” who promote same-sex marriage, and they are equally as wrong as their Democratic counterparts. But these positions do not have the official support of their party.
Again, I am not telling you which party or which candidates to vote for or against, but I am saying that you need to think and pray very carefully about your vote, because a vote for a candidate who promotes actions or behaviors that are intrinsically evil and gravely sinful makes you morally complicit and places the eternal salvation of your own soul in serious jeopardy.
I pray that God will give you the wisdom and guidance to make the morally right choices.
May God give us this grace. Amen.

 

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In an email I just received splendid news that the Vatican has ruled in favor of  Fr. Frank Pavone.  YEA!!!!

The whole contentious turf war between the bishop and Fr. Frank was bizarre.  Thank goodness this bone of contention between two faithful Catholic leaders has come to a close.

From the email:

At last, the good news we’ve been waiting for has arrived!

Just recently, the Vatican’s Congregation for the Clergy upheld Fr. Frank’s position that he was never suspended from priestly ministry.

Here is the public statement we just released to the media…

We are happy to announce that the Vatican has upheld Father Frank Pavone’s appeal and has declared that Father Pavone is not now nor has ever been suspended. Father Pavone remains a priest in good standing all over the world.

We were confident all along that a just decision would be made by the Vatican’s Congregation for the Clergy. While we fully agree that Bishop Zurek has rightful authority over the priests of his diocese, we also see the urgent need for Father Pavone to be allowed to conduct his priestly ministry outside the diocese of Amarillo for the good of the pro-life movement.

We’re very excited to share this good news with you.

It means we can now give even more attention and energy to all the ongoing, vital pro-life programs we have on our docket right now.

I’m talking about…

• Our lawsuit against ObamaCare and the “abortion mandate”
• Our fight for Religious Liberty in the face of the Government’s anti-Catholic persecution
• Our Voter Education efforts in advance of the November elections
• Our priestly visits to parishes around the country
• Our highly-popular programs on EWTN TV and Radio
• And more!

 

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