Friday, 30 December 2016

Amoris Laetitia: Chapters 4 to 7

Chapter 4 in Pope Francis's plan is the first of two chapters on love. This first chapter is entitled LOVE IN MARRIAGE as an essential ingredient in marriage. The Pope quotes St Paul's 1st Corinthians 13: 4-7:

“Love is patient,
love is kind;
love is not jealous or boastful;
it is not arrogant or rude.
Love does not insist on its own way,
it is not irritable or resentful;
it does not rejoice at wrong,
but rejoices in the right.
Love bears all things,
believes all things,
hopes all things,
endures all things”

He then discusses each of the above sentences. This is certainly good stuff and worth studying. It might have helped if the headings always corresponded to St Paul's words. Thus “Love is kind” is discussed under a heading Love is at the service of others which is not quite the same thing. It is not immediately obvious that he has moved on to the second sentence. “Love does not insist on its own way” becomes Love is generous. This may be nitpicking on my part but I think it would have added clarity to what is otherwise a very useful passage.

The next part of this chapter is headed GROWING IN CONJUGAL LOVE. This tends to be more theological in content. It insists on the indissolubility of marriage and being open to procreation. Love, friendship and joy are all discussed. Guidance is given to young people contemplating marriage. As I have said all of this is excellent although there is the odd hiccup such as “Marital love is not defended primarily by presenting indissolubility as a duty, or by repeating doctrine, but by helping it to grow ever stronger under the impulse of grace.” This is more typical of the kind of remark which worries myself and others. Of course the word 'primarily' is vital but nonetheless is not indissolubility a duty and is not doctrine essential at times and should not the faithful be taught about the doctrine? One would assume that most couples prior to marriage would see indissolubility or faithfulness to death as a wonderful thing and if there is any hesitation as to that then serious questions should arise.

Pope Francis deals with passion and sexuality with many references to the teachings of St John Paul II. There is a section on celibacy and virginity and finally on growing old together.

Chapter Five is entitled LOVE MADE FRUITFUL starting with a quotation from St John Paul II's Familiaris Consortio. Pope Francis insists on the acceptance of all children whether wanted or not. Again quoting JPII this does not mean unlimited procreation but taking a responsible attitude. However there is no mention at this point of how that responsibility can be exercised.
Pope Francis emphasises the child's need of a maternal presence. “I certainly value feminism, but one that does not demand uniformity or negate motherhood. “ And he insists on the importance of the father's role as well. He deplores the absence of fathers particularly in the Western world. He discusses those couples who are unable to have children and encourages adoption. However he quotes from the Relatio Synodi again:

In the light of those situations where a child is desired at any cost, as a right for one’s self-fulfilment, adoption and foster care, correctly understood, manifest an important aspect of parenting and the raising of children.

I wonder whether this passage from the Relatio Synodi is not a bit careless. The delegates at the Synod were working under great pressure to correct a text presented by the Synod's secretariat which contained many serious lapses. Should a child be desired at any cost? Should it be seen as a right for one's own self-fulfilment? Surely this is turning the child into an object or accessory. Unfortunately due to the terrible scourge of abortion there are few babies available for adoption and 'a baby at any cost' feeds the immoral IVF industry and the trafficking of children between countries and continents that Pope Francis goes on to deplore. Sadly such couples should perhaps accept the situation that there are no babies to adopt.

Pope Francis goes on to emphasise the importance of the family being outgoing and evangelising. Honouring fathers and mothers and thus looking after the elderly are mentioned. He criticizes cultural discontinuity which is a bit odd coming from someone who wants to abolish many traditions.

Chapter Six is entitled SOME PASTORAL PERSPECTIVES. This has a lot of generalities about improving training of the clergy as regards marriage, preparing engaged couples for marriage and it relies very heavily on what was said in the Relatio Synodi. The details of how this should be implemented is left to the local Churches but various suggestions are made.

Although Humanae Vitae is mentioned I am not sure there is not a certain sleight of hand in its presentation or rather a lack of emphasis on what it says. In respect of couples making a decision on family planning there is a long quote from Gaudium et Spes:

“[The couple] will make decisions by common counsel and effort. Let them thoughtfully take into account both their own welfare and that of their children, those already born and those which the future may bring. For this accounting they need to reckon with both the material and the spiritual conditions of the times as well as of their state in life. Finally, they should consult the interests of the family group, of temporal society and of the Church herself. The parents themselves and no one else should ultimately make this judgment in the sight of God”.

But the following vital caveat is not quoted:

But in their manner of acting, spouses should be aware that they cannot proceed arbitrarily, but must always be governed according to a conscience dutifully conformed to the divine law itself, and should be submissive toward the Church's teaching office, which authentically interprets that law in the light of the Gospel. That divine law reveals and protects the integral meaning of conjugal love, and impels it toward a truly human fulfillment.

A sentence reinforced at some length in the following paragraph 51 of Gaudium et Spes. This reminds me of the selective quoting from Familiaris Consortio where the sentence about denying communion to the divorced and remarried was cut out.

Many people reading this will conclude after reading the selective quote from Gaudium et Spes that they should enter into a consequencialist computation of the supposed future benefits and disadvantages whilst giving a nod to the 'interests … of the Church herself' (many will be puzzled as to what those interests are rather than her teaching) and then make up their own minds. It is curious that the question of conscience seems to be uniquely brought up when it comes to considering Humanae Vitae and not at other times.

Consider this scenario: “Okay we are quite happy to have more children but we really cannot afford the extra cost. But then there is granny who is stinking rich and rather mean with it. Supposing we could quietly accelerate her demise and our inheritance without being detected. We could examine the points mentioned in the quoted paragraph and as a matter of conscience come to the conclusion that murder was justified. What do you think Father?”.

More recently – October 2016 – Pope Francis praised Father Bernard Haring. According to Professor Roberto Mattei, Haring was responsible for keeping any mention of the Church's teaching on contraception out of Gaudium et Spes. And reading the above quote am I wrong in seeing the fingerprints of Haring? Subsequently Haring was a major critic of Humanae Vitae. Is this an opening gambit by Pope Francis to undermine Humanae Vitae which will inevitably lead to approval of abortion – no doubt only after a great deal of discernment and as a matter of conscience? In November 2016 we have read of Monica Cirinna, an Italian Senator and extreme abortion advocate, saying she believes Pope Francis is going in the right direction after hearing that any priest can absolve abortion.

This Chapter Six is extremely long at nearly 100 pages covering all sorts of pastoral advice on marriage. One wonders how many people will actually read it. At one point it does deal with the harm done to children by divorce – a concern notably absent from the final document of the Synod.

If that was not enough there is then Chapter Seven TOWARDS A BETTER EDUCATION OF CHILDREN. Pope Francis comes up again with his strange mantra: “Time is greater than space” and suggests that it is more important to know where your children are existentially rather than physically – some parents might cavil at that. Obviously the education of children is a subject on which there are differing views and whether others more expert than myself would accept his views I do not know. They seem pretty run of the mill and acceptable to me if not actually banal. It is noticeable that in the first fourteen pages there is nothing I could see about religious education but we do get onto sex education. Others have commented that there is no mention of the parents being the prime educators in such matters. Indeed there has been very heavy criticism of a recent booklet on sex education issued by the Vatican. I have only glanced at it and do not feel qualified to comment but I was struck by its somewhat coarse vulgarity. I did wonder quite what message was supposed to be conveyed by a picture of two toads mating! Is this the new and more appropriate language that the Synod fathers thought to be needed in introducing children and adolescents to the topic of sexuality?

But then Passing on the Faith does get treated 20 pages into this chapter. But it only gets four pages which may be a relief to those who have waded through these two Chapters but it is surprising. Or may be not – is there not a tendency to dwell on worldly rather than spiritual matters in this whole document? Is this life more important than the next?

And that leads us to the explosive Chapter Eight which I will deal with in a final part of my commentary.

Friday, 9 December 2016

Remembering the Feast of St. Juan Diego

Juan Diego was a simple aboriginal American who had converted to Catholicism.  On December 9th, 1591, Juan Diego saw an apparition of the Virgin Mary, who asked that a church be built on that hill. Juan Diego conveyed the message to the bishop, who wanted proof for his incredible apparition story.  Juan Diego returned to the sight and bought back a tilma of out of season roses as proof.  

When the peasant revealed what was in his tilma, the bishop and the entourage dropped to their knees as the simple garment had a portrait of a mestizo Blessed Virgin Mary, replete with symbolic Aztec hermanuetics.

Within a decade, nearly the entire Mexico people converted to the faith.  And the humble tilma, which should have only lasted for 25 years has lasted for over 400 years.

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Some of a Jack Chick Obituary-- Adios to One Crazy Chick

Jack T. Chick died at the age of 92 in Glendale, California.  Chick was infamous for publishing fundamentalist Christian tracts in the form of comic books for six decades and distributed over 750 million copies and has been translated into over 100 languages.


Chick's personal paranoia carried over into his funny paper tracts. While he railed against rock and roll, homosexuality and witchcraft, Chick saved most of his spite for Catholicism.  If one were to believe Chick. Catholicism was created by Satan, that Popes take their marching orders from the devil.  Chick blamed the Jesuits for starting the American Civil War (and that the "men in black" backed the Confederacy) as well as the Ku Klux Klan (which hated Catholics).

In addition, Chick claimed that the Catholic Church supposedly started Nazism, Communism, Islam, Masonry, Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormons and the New Age movement. Chick pinned the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy on the Vatican as well as the Holocaust. Continuing in this craziness, Chick surmised that the Vatican runs the United Nations and global finances and the Illuminati..  Amongst the biggest whoppers was that the Vatican has a super computer that tracks the names of every Protestant in the world.

Naturally, in the end times Chick proclaimed that the Antichrist would be the last Pope. It must have really freaked Chick out that Pope Francis is from the Society of Jesus (i.e. a Jesuit). No surprise that Catholic anti-defamation groups chronicled Chick tracts for over three decades.


One of Jack Chick's early successes was an early 1960s tract of a playboy who dies and is forced to watch all of his life's foibles on a big screen before the pearly gates of Heaven. Perhaps during this Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy, Chick's imagined screening of "This Was Your Life" at the Pearl Gates Cinescreen won't be taken as "The Nightmare World of Jack Chick" but will be viewed as a Comedy of Manners.


SEE MORE at DC-LausDeo.US 

Friday, 14 October 2016

Archbishop Chaput Comments on Wikileaks Catholic Bashing and the 2016 Election

[Originally published at DC-LausDeo.US]

Wikileaks has released some batches of John Podesta's emails which reveal that Hillary Clinton confidants have some scathing views of Catholics.  Some had suggested that there should be a "Catholic Spring" to overthrow "a middle ages dictatorship" and impose a democratic cult which honors gender equality (and presumably progressive approaches to hot button social issues).  Other emails mocked how conservative Catholics were pseudo-intellectuals who spouted sophisticated sounding nonsense.

Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput responded to these scathing critques stemming from the highest echelons of Hillary Clinton's 2016 Presidential campaign.
Archbishop Chaput responds to Wikileaks Podesta emails mocking Catholics and commenting on the 2016 Election

It is quite  a clever turn of phrase of Archbishop Chaput to quip:"In a nation where 'choice' is now the unofficial state religion, the menu for dinner is remarkably small." Chaput pithily impeaches America's obsession with choice (abortion), reflects on dangers to America's tradition of religious liberty while lamenting the paucity of choices to be elected Commander-in-Chief.

Not withstanding the sardonic style of the riposte, Archbishop Chaput has consistently eviscerated both major party Presidential candidates, as seen from his recent speech at Notre Dame University.

We love to label in order to create intellectual order in our minds.  But terms like liberal and conservative do not translate well into Church politics.  Archbishop Chaput can be considered a conservative in Church circles, as he is cautiously embracing implementation of the New Mercy contained in Pope Francis' Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia.  However, it would be mistaken to automatically assume that Chaput is a political conservative or would ever vote for Donald Trump.

It is a pity that Archbishop Chaput was passed over to be named a Cardinal  by Pope Francis' recent announcement for the November 19th consistory.  Philadelphia, like the large Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles, is traditionally blessed with a Cardinal.  Pope Francis, however, chose three "red hats" which went to Dallas, Indianapolis and to Archbishop Blase Cupich from the longstanding Cardinal seat of Chicago.

Friday, 16 September 2016

Bishop Athanasius Schneider Events in the Northeast USA - October 2016

All Masses are Traditional Latin Masses unless otherwise indicated.

Tuesday, 18 October 2016, 6:00 PM
Pontifical Low Mass, Dinner & Conference, St. Titus Church
Aliquippa, PA  (For photos and a brief report, see here.)

Wednesday, 19 October 2016, 2:00 PM (Note time change.)
Lecture, St. Vincent de Paul Church
Berkeley Springs, WV

Thursday, 20 October 2016, 6:00 PM
Lecture, Cosmos Club
Washington, DC

Friday, 21 October 2016, 7:00 PM (Feast Day of Blessed Karl of Austria)
Solemn Pontifical Mass & Reception, St. Mary Mother of God Church
Washington, DC

Saturday, 22 October 2016, 8:30 AM
Pontifical Low Mass & Morning of Recollection, St. Thomas Apostle Church
Washington, DC

Sunday, 23 October 2016, 10:30 AM
Solemn Pontifical Mass & Conference, Mater Ecclesiae Church
Berlin, NJ

Monday, 24 October 2016, 6:00 PM
Solemn Pontifical Mass, Church of the Holy Innocents
Manhattan, NY

Tuesday, 25 October 2016, 6:00 PM
Pontifical Low Mass & Conference, Church of the Holy Innocents
Manhattan, NY

Thursday, 27 October 2016, 9:30 AM (Note time change.)
Solemn Pontifical Mass, St. Peter Church
Steubenville, OH (7:00 PM evening lecture, St. Peter Church.)

These Masses and conferences are coordinated by the Emperor Karl League of Prayer with the support and cooperation of the following Traditional Knights of Columbus councils and organizations:

Regina Coeli Council 423, Manhattan, NY
Potomac Council 433, Washington, DC
Woodlawn Council 2161, Aliquippa, PA
Agnus Dei Council 12361, Manhattan, NY
Mater Ecclesiae Council 12833, Berlin, NJ
The Paulus Institute for the Propagation of Sacred Liturgy
The American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family, and Property (TFP)
PLMC, Inc.
Una Voce Steubenville

Knights of Columbus Latin Mass

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Roodmas Reflections Through the Prism of Merciful Love

The Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross (also known as Roodmas) is a solemnity which celebrates three distinct historical events: the finding of the True Cross by St. Helena, the retrieval of the sacred relic by Emperor Heraclius in 629 from the Persians and the ineffable powers of the instrument of Christ's redemptive sacrifice and our salvation. 

The Holy Cross is exalted like Moses lifted up the Bronze Serpent in Exodus and those who looked upon it lived. Jesus willingly sacrificed Himself so that we all may enjoy eternal life. 

In the early 20th Century, Sister Maria Teresa Desandais was blessed with mystical experiences about Jesus' Merciful Love. She wrote about these experiences under the pseudonym  "Sulamitis PM".  In 1912, Sr. Desandais, who had no training in painting, was inspired to create the picture "Merciful Love" which depicted Christ crucified looking towards heaven with a host in the background with the initials JHS.  Rays of light emanating from the Sacred Heart of  Jesus illuminate a  Bible laying at the foot of the cross turned to the passage "Love one another as I have loved you" alongside a crown.  That is an incredible amount of symbolic meaning suffused in one scene, particularly for an amateur painter. 

Sister Maria Teresa Desandais on Merciful Love

This message of Merciful Love was widespread in France and Spain after the First World War. To bolster devotion to Merciful Love, Sr. Desandais sent two of her paintings to Spain.  The painting sent to Juana Lacasa effectively became a place of pilgrimage. The other painting was installed at the Royal Basilica of Our Lady of Atocha in Madrid where Sister Maria Teresa's order was attached.

 It is quite conceivable that the message of Merciful Love of Jesus with the exhortation to be servants who love one another may well have influenced Pope Francis for the Year of Divine Mercy.

Part of Sister Maria Teresa's revelations was an offering to Merciful Love:

Holy Father, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I offer to you Jesus, your beloved Son, and I offer myself in Him and through Him, and with Him for all your intentions, and on behalf of all creatures.

A Bit on Robert Royal's Analysis of a "Bizarre Papal Move"

Robert Royal on Pope Francis Bizarre Papal Move on Sacramental Marriage

Robert Royal, the editor of The Catholic Thing, published a scathing critique of Pope Francis' "Bizarre Papal Move" regarding sacramental marriage, particularly the circumstance around the question of receipt of communion by divorced and remarried Catholics.

It is troubling to see how there seems to have been a Kabuki show of holding two Extraordinary Synods on the Family, in which a clear majority of Bishops reaffirmed the traditional teaching, yet that formal process seems to have mooted by unclear footnotes in the Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia and papal private letters.


Wednesday, 31 August 2016

A Bit of Cardinal Burke Disputing Contemporary Religious Relativism

Cardinal Raymond Burke Challenges Contemporary Religious Relativism on Islam

During a press availability to promote Hope for the World: Unite All Things in Christ (2016),  his new book length interview with French journalist Guillaume d'Alancon, Cardinal Raymond Burke opined that it was highly questionable if Christians and Muslims worship the same God and that Islam is a religion of peace.

Cardinal Burke is an American bishop whose pedigree carries a tremendous amount of credibility. Burke was the Archbishop of St. Louis who was called to be the prefect of the Apostolic Signatura (the Vatican's highest court) and is now the Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta.


Friday, 19 August 2016

Amoris Laetitia: From Divorce to the Death Penalty

When writing my first piece on Amoris Laetitia I said it would be the subject of controversy. Since then the controversy has developed with very heavyweight criticisms from theologians and others – people who are expert in these matters. It has therefore seemed somewhat otiose for myself as a layman to add anything to this chorus of criticism when I have no training in theology etc.

However, I still wish to express my views as an ordinary layman with nearly 80 years experience of being a Catholic and actual experience of the matter under discussion. Even if nobody else is interested in my views at least setting them out forces me to consider this very important document carefully. So I carry on!

After the controversial paragraph 3, Pope Francis continues with some introductory remarks saying that the opening chapter would be inspired by the Scriptures, that he would then deal with the actual situation of families – the reality – and then on to recall essential aspects of the Church's teaching on marriage, two chapters on love and then highlighting some pastoral approaches with a chapter on raising children. Finally, he will offer an invitation to mercy and pastoral discernment of irregular situations (which he says will be challenging) and a discussion of family spirituality.

Chapter one is therefore on marriage in the light of the scriptures. This is inspiring writing covering the teaching on marriage in both the Old and New Testaments. The one notable omission is that although he refers, in paragraph 19, to Christ's teaching in St Matthew Chapter 19 verses 3 to 9 as a dispute about divorce he does NOT say what Christ actually said about divorce. Indeed, there is no mention of the indissolubility of marriage or any reference to the relevant commandments in the Ten Commandments. Sexual fidelity and adultery do not get a mention.

Pope Francis then goes on to what the Bible says about work – he mentions unemployment (para 25) and what he calls social degeneration of which he sees environmental issues as an example – indeed - the sole example he gives (para 26). He finishes the chapter insisting on tenderness in the marriage.

The second chapter is about the experiences and challenges of families. It owes much to the Final Relatio of the Synod. Sometimes it is more than a bit obscure. At the end of paragraph 32, there is a reference to 'social structures' which I think means the wider or extended family but that is merely a guess. Indeed, presumably something has been lost in translation in para 33: more and more people are choosing to live alone or simply to spend time together without cohabiting. I am not at all clear to what he is referring; hermits, monks and nuns would seem to fit this description but perhaps that is not what is meant. One has to guess what is meant by the concluding sentence in para 33: We can also point to a praiseworthy concern for justice; but if misunderstood, this can turn citizens into clients interested solely in the provision of services.

The meaning of 'way station' in para 34 is not obvious. The rest of the chapter sets out the multiple problems that affect marriage in the modern world. Pope Francis describes it as a brief overview but this chapter does have 28 paragraphs over 24 pages and as one difficulty is mentioned after another the effect is somewhat mind-numbing. The biblical account of marriage in chapter one indeed becomes rather remote from the harsh picture of reality presented in this chapter two.

At para 36 Pope Francis writes:

36. We also need to be humble and realistic, acknowledging that at times the way we present our Christian beliefs and treat other people has helped contribute to today’s problematic situation. We need a healthy dose of self-criticism. Then too, we often present marriage in such a way that its unitive meaning, its call to grow in love and its ideal of mutual assistance are overshadowed by an almost exclusive insistence on the duty of procreation. Nor have we always provided solid guidance to young married couples, understanding their timetables, their way of thinking and their concrete concerns. At times we have also proposed a far too abstract and almost artificial theological ideal of marriage, far removed from the concrete situations and practical possibilities of real families. This excessive idealization, especially when we have failed to inspire trust in God’s grace, has not helped to make marriage more desirable and attractive, but quite the opposite.

Where is there an almost exclusive insistence on the duty of procreation? I have never heard that. Often to-day marriage can be romanticised so that it is regarded as just about loving someone and the idea of having children hardly features. It is surely right for the Church to remind couples that in the normal way of things children are born especially in this age when birth control is incessantly promoted. You may fall in love with someone and think that you would like to spend the rest of your life with them but should you not stop to question whether this particular person is the one you want to parent your children? As to this almost artificial theological ideal of marriage, far removed from the concrete situations and practical possibilities of real families just what is he referring to? As to inspiring trust in God's grace some have said that the document fails to do just that; but we can come back to that later.

Paragraph 38 says we have often been on the defensive, wasting pastoral energy on denouncing a decadent world without being proactive in proposing ways of finding true happiness.Well you could have fooled me but the absence of denunciations of a decadent world by the clergy is surely one of the most striking features of today's Church. Many clergy inside and outside the Catholic Church seem to be more preoccupied as to whether they can indulge in buggery. Just think of the depraved programme on Channel 4 where people view and discuss each others genitals. Has any clerical voice been raised about that?

In describing the various ills that undermine marriage there is no mention of the facilitating of easy divorce. Indeed, divorce is hardly mentioned; there is no mention of the terrible suffering that results; the innocent party who sees their life's dream in ruins and faces a very uncertain and difficult future.

Above all there is no mention of how children of the first marriage suffer; suffering and instability that can be passed down through generations. Both at the Synod and in this document concern is expressed for the children of a second marriage even to the point of justifying a second adulterous marriage but at the same time ignoring the children of the first marriage. I find this narrative both astounding and worrying. I wonder whether the doctrine of the indissolubility of marriage is not being undermined.

Chapter three is entitled “LOOKING TO JESUS: THE VOCATION OF THE FAMILY” and the first sentence reads:

In and among families, the Gospel message should always resound; the core of that message, the kerygma, is what is “most beautiful, most excellent, most appealing and at the same time most necessary”.

The word 'kerygma' is meaningless to the vast majority of the laity and its use is a turn-off and pretentious. Why not say 'preaching'? However, the chapter does set out the teaching of the Church as related by the fathers at the Synod. Indissolubility does gets a mention. However it is described as a gift rather than a yoke. Does not Jesus speak of a yoke elsewhere? And will not some not claim that they do not have the gift?

Para 63 is particularly important quoting from the Synod:

'Jesus, who reconciled all things in himself, restored marriage and the family to their original form (cf. Mt 10:1-12). Marriage and the family have been redeemed by Christ (cf. Eph 5:21-32) and restored in the image of the Holy Trinity, the mystery from which all true love flows. The spousal covenant, originating in creation and revealed in the history of salvation, takes on its full meaning in Christ and his Church. Through his Church, Christ bestows on marriage and the family the grace necessary to bear witness to the love of God and to live the life of communion.'

This chapter is a good exposition of the Church's teaching on marriage. But is this teaching not the almost artificial theological ideal of marriage, far removed from the concrete situations and practical possibilities of real families which Pope Francis decries above? Does he think it an ideal not possible of attainment? I suspect the answer is that somebody else drafted most of this chapter although one can detect a few wobbles towards the end which bear the imprint of Pope Francis.

Familiaris Consortio does get a mention but not the crucial point about communion for the divorced and remarried. It does repeatedly mention the requirement of openness to life. Did not Pope Francis think this was insistence on the duty of procreation? Evidently not or he did not spot it!

One point that has concerned many people is that the final sentence of para 83 says:

Similarly, the Church not only feels the urgency to assert the right to a natural death, without aggressive treatment and euthanasia”, but likewise “firmly rejects the death penalty”. 

This last point about the death penalty is a quote from the Relatio Synodi of 2015 – the concluding document of the Synod on the Family. It is para 64 which refers to para 2258 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC). In fact the CCC does NOT say that but rather:

'God alone is the Lord of life from its beginning until its end: no one can under any circumstance claim for himself the right directly to destroy an innocent human being.'

Was this misquotation carelessness or deliberate on the part of those writing up the Relatio Synodi? It is plain wrong and cannot be taken as a new teaching that the death penalty is wrong in all circumstances. The Synod fathers were undoubtedly thinking of the wrongness of euthanasia at that point and it seems very odd that they should have introduced such a statement at that point out of context. Indeed, the 40 theologians who have appealed to the Cardinals to ask for clarification of Amoris Laetitia have classified this statement as heretical and pernicious. They point to the correct teaching in CCC 2267. This statement in Amoris Laetitia “ the Church … firmly rejects the death penalty” is certainly not an ambiguous statement.

It has been reported in America the National Catholic Review that Pope Francis has set up a commission on the subject as they say the Pope is for condemning the death penalty in all circumstances. However, there is a great deal of difference between advocating its abolition in developed countries where it is obviously not necessary and saying it is wrong even in the most extreme circumstances. I suspect this is just another muddying of the waters.

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Feast of Blessed Titus Brandsma

Upon this the Feast of Blessed Titus Brandsma, I wish all readers of this blog, all contributers to this blog, all Catholic journalists, bloggers, commentators and those using the the media and the new media to spread the fragrance of the Gospel a very happy Feast. Blessed Titus is a patron of Catholic journalists. The love of Blessed Titus for Jesus Christ and His Church was sealed with his blood at the concentration camp in Dachau. 

As DC Calamity has posted already, it would not be fitting to overlook on this blog the immense sacrifice - the ultimate sacrifice that took place yesterday, in events unprecedented for Europe - if increasingly common for other parts of the world - of another priest, a Frenchman named Fr Jacques Hamel, who, like Blessed Titus, sealed his love and service to Christ and His Church with his blood. 

May Fr Jacques join Blessed Titus to intercede for Europe and for France from his place in Heaven, for the Church, for Europe and the World, that all may come to know the love, mercy and peace that comes from Jesus Christ, our Saviour and our God. May the Sacred Heart of Jesus welcome those who, living and believing in error, spread hatred, fear and terror into the hearts of mankind.

Remembering a Modern Martyr of Normandy

Two terrorists aligned with ISIS took hostages during a morning Mass in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray in Normandy France.  The Muslim terrorists forced Fr. Jacques Hamel to kneel at the altar and then they slit the throat of the 84 year old curate as they reportedly videotaped the brutality.

Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi. S.J., lamented the martyrdom of Fr. Hamel, noting: “We are particularly stricken because this horrible violence occurred in a church — a sacred place in which the love of God is proclaimed — with the barbaric killing of a priest." 

Thursday, 21 July 2016

Catholic Identity Conference 2016

9-11 September 2016

Weirton, West Viginia

Registration Info.

For the fourth consecutive year, this three-day conference will be held in Weirton, West Virginia.  As in past years, the speakers will represent a broad spectrum of traditional Catholic viewpoints with the stated aim being to highlight areas of agreement, without glossing over differences, and to encourage communication and rapport between traditional Catholic individuals and groups.  No attempt is made to silence or marginalize.  If one holds fast to traditional Catholic doctrine, and worships in a traditional Catholic manner, or would like to learn more about traditional Catholic doctrine and worship, they are welcome to attend and participate.

The featured speakers represent a range of organizations and expertise, and include both clergy and laity.  There are priests from the two largest traditional religious orders along with Catholic journalists, a historian, lawyer, broadcaster, and a representative from a Catholic youth organization.  The setting is intimate and affords participants with ample opportunity to meet the speakers and engage them in conversation.  There will be daily Traditional Latin Masses.

(Updated) Featured speakers for 2016 include:

For additional information and to register, visit the Catholic Identity Conference website.

For a brief summary of the talks and to order the CD's, visit here.
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