Pewsitter News Pewsitter News en-us Thu, 27 Apr 2017 05:03:51 GMT Thu, 27 Apr 2017 05:03:51 GMT none <![CDATA[ St. Francis and Pope Francis: Not in Agreement on Ecumenical Dialogue ]]>
St. Francis and Pope Francis: Not in Agreement on Ecumenical Dialogue

By Andrew Parrish

April 25th, 2017

With the Pope’s visit to Egypt looming large in the headlines, the UK Catholic Tablet has today published an article by Christopher Lamb comparing this trip to another, previous Francis’ visit to the Middle East. As documented in the Life of St. Francis, St. Francis of Assisi – the Pope’s namesake – undertook a journey to the court of the Sultan of Jerusalem, the most powerful Muslim leader of the time. Unfortunately the author of this piece subscribes to a fairly common misconception – that this early meeting between Catholicism and Islam represents a primitive example of the “ecumenical dialogue” approach which is common today. The text of the Life, however, indicates that this was not the sort of dialogue of which modern proponents would approve, and the differences in approach between St. Francis and Pope Francis are worthy of note.

With regards to the Pope’s intentions, Mr. Lamb says, “The main focus of Francis’ short trip will be dialogue and diplomacy, a moment where a global Christian leader travels to the cradle of civilisation and a city known as “the mother of the world.” More than anything he says, the Pope’s presence and appeals for peace in such an important Islamic country will provide a powerful counter-narrative to the idea that religions are the cause of violence or that Islam and Christianity are involved in a clash of civilisations.”

The Pope has indeed frequently rejected attempts to identify religion as a cause of terrorism, saying that arms dealers, poverty, and inequality are more likely culprits. In his video message to the people of Egypt, which was released today, the Pope also rejects the idea that Islam and Christianity are in any way fundamentally in conflict, declaring members of the two faiths to share a common identity as “children of Abraham,” and his own aim to be “reconciliation with Muslims”. However, the Tablet‘s portrayal of St. Francis is not similarly accurate.

“During the sweltering heat of an Egyptian summer,” Lamb says, “a pair of humble friars wearing rough robes and walking on bare feet ignored the scoffing of knights on a fifth crusade to the Holy Land to cross to the Muslim forces and appeal for peace. One of the friars was St Francis of Assisi, the famous founder of the Franciscan order, and his meeting with Islamic leader Sultan Al-Kamil of Egypt has gone down in history as a powerfully [sic] moment of Christian/Muslim relationships.” Unfortunately, this description of the official history omits the most crucial details, and it is only just that it be corrected.

St. Francis made two trips to the Middle East, according to his medieval biographers: the first to Morocco via Spain, and the second to Syria. The reason for his travel was not to “appeal for peace”; somewhat to the contrary, St. Francis so strongly hoped that the Muslims would murder him for proclaiming the Gospel to them that, as St. Bonaventure writes, “…the thought of dying for Christ meant more to him than any merit he might earn by the practice of virtue… he took the road towards Morocco with the intention of preaching the Gospel of Christ to the sultan... his desire bore him along so swiftly that even though he was physically weak he used to leave his companion behind and hurry ahead.” (Major Life of St. Francis, Chapter IX)

Prevented by an illness from realizing this plan, St. Francis’ desire for martyrdom remained so strong that he undertook a second trip to Syria several years later, while a Crusade was ongoing. He successfully navigated a battlefield with a Franciscan brother, as Mr. Lamb correctly states, and made his way into the presence of the Sultan, the Muslim forces’ commander. As St. Bonaventure recounts, “[Francis] proclaimed the triune God and Jesus Christ, the Savior of all, with such steadfastness, with such courage and spirit, that it was clear the promise of the Gospel had been fulfilled in him”; Bonaventure continues: “When the sultan saw his enthusiasm and courage, he listened to him willingly and pressed him to stay with him. Francis, however, was inspired by God to reply, "If you are willing to become converts to Christ, you and your people, I shall be only too glad to stay with you for love of him. But if you are afraid to abandon the law of Mahomet for Christ’s sake, then light a big fire and I will go into it with your priests. That will show you which faith is more sure and more holy." (Major Life, Chapter IX) The sultan refuses this repeated entreaty for a conclusive test, and Francis, stymied, eventually leaves in peace and returns home.

While there is always room for discussion about the most effective way for Catholics to interact with the faithful of other religions, this discussion cannot be carried on effectively if the facts are obscured. The purpose of interacting with those of other faiths is to convince them to convert to Catholicism, a point which Francis did not forget. Contemporary apologists would be well advised, perhaps, to remember the fiery and uncompromisingly dogmatic spirit of the saint of peace, a man willing to undergo diplomatic awkwardness, torture, and even death for the sake of a clear and unapologetic Faith.


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Wed, 26 Apr 2017 00:00:00 GMT
<![CDATA[ Poll: Will the Lay Conference on Amoris Laetitia Affect the Controversy? ]]>
Poll: Will the Lay Conference on Amoris Laetitia Affect the Controversy?

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Wed, 19 Apr 2017 00:00:00 GMT
<![CDATA[ Cardinal Burke on Jesuit General’s “Tape Recorder” Remarks: “A serious mistake that needs correction” ]]>
Cardinal Burke on Jesuit General’s “Tape Recorder” Remarks: “A serious mistake that needs correction”

By Andrew Parrish

April 11th, 2017

(ROME / InfoVaticana) – Speaking in his apartment yesterday with the Spanish Catholic news site InfoVaticana, Cardinal Burke has given a wide-ranging and frank interview, offering his opinion on a host of controversial current topics. One of the issues he tackles is the recent and highly disputed interview given by the new Jesuit General, Fr. Arturo Sosa, in which Fr. Sosa questioned the historical accuracy of the Gospels and particularly Jesus’ words on divorce in the Mosaic Law.

“At that time, no one had a recorder to take down his words,” Fr. Sosa now-infamously said. “So then, there would have to be a lot of reflection on what Jesus really said…What is known is that the words of Jesus must be contextualized, they are expressed in a language, in a specific setting, they are addressed to someone in particular... That is not relativism, but attests that the word is relative, the Gospel is written by human beings, it is accepted by the Church which is made up of human persons.”

With these words in mind, the InfoVaticana reporter asked Cd. Burke his opinion.

“This is completely wrong,” Burke said. “In fact, I find it incredible that he could make these kind of statements. They also need to be corrected. It is unreasonable to think that words in the Gospels, which are words that, after centuries of studies, have been understood to be the direct words of Our Lord, are now not the words of Our Lord because they were not tape recorded. I can’t understand it.” In response to further questions about the gravity of these remarks, he declared, “It is a serious mistake that needs to be corrected… I would say [by] the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, the Pope’s organ for safeguarding the truth of the faith and morals.”

The full interview can be read here. Donald Trump, the “Alt Right”, the Maltese scandal, the Pope and the dubia, Guam, and Vatileaks are among the other subjects that the Cardinal addresses.

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Tue, 11 Apr 2017 00:00:00 GMT
<![CDATA[ New Study Links Shroud of Oviedo, Turin; Reveals Spear Wound ]]>
New Study Links Shroud of Oviedo, Turin;
Reveals Spear Wound

By Andrew Parrish

April 2nd, 2017

(MURCIA, Spain) – A new scientific study conducted by researchers at the Catholic University of Murcia in Spain has confirmed that the Shroud of Turin and the Shroud of Oviedo were wrapped around the same person, following up on previously unpublished medical and forensic research. Furthermore, the study has identified a spear wound made in the corpse, which according to the study’s authors “agrees with what is reflected in the Gospel of Saint John.”

The study, led by forensic medical researcher Dr. Alfonso Sánchez Hermosilla, took up the lead of previous research from the same university which had identified a pollen grain on the Oviedo Shroud. This grain, upon examination, was confirmed to belong to the plant Helichrysum Sp., material from which had previously been discovered on the Shroud of Turin. While developing this line of investigation, the research team made an exciting new discovery: the existence of a previously unknown spear incision.

“The bloodstains … have always been there, but no one had studied them,” said Sánchez Hermosilla. “Previously they had been attributed to marks caused by flogging wounds.” The wound was determined to have been made after death, while the corpse was in a standing position, passing between two ribs near the spine in an upwards direction. The forensic team were further able to declare that the wound had been made by “someone with experience,” because the blade had not scored the rib bones in its passing. A Roman soldier tasked to execution detail would plausibly have had this skill.

This story translated from the original Spanish by Pewsitter with the aid of Google Translate. To read the full story, click here.

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Sun, 02 Apr 2017 00:00:00 GMT
<![CDATA[ Bombshell from Vatican: Benedict and Francis "in complete disagreement", "never talk to one another" ]]>
Bombshell from Vatican: Benedict and Francis "in complete disagreement", "never talk to one another"

By Andrew Parrish

(ROME) – Speaking at a March 16th conference in Limburg, Germany, the long-time Vatican correspondent Andreas Englisch has delivered an explosive allegation: In contradiction of public appearances, Pope Francis and Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI “are in complete disagreement” and “never speak to one another.” The Pope Emeritus has apparently stated that he only appears in public “at the explicit request of Pope Francis.” What is shown on these occasions, Englisch continues, is “only the pretense of friendship.”

No official transcript of the press conference is yet available, but Giuseppe Nardi, another well-known Vaticanist who was in attendance, says that Englisch continued his statements by describing Pope Francis as a “strong personality” who “gets what he wants,” and that he has little in common with Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI but “uses him when necessary for the optics.” Englisch concluded his dramatic remarks with a remarkable statement: that, in addition to the pressure put upon the Pope Emeritus to resign, “different ecclesiastical forces” are putting pressure on Ratzinger in a different direction: “to return.”  

Translated from the German with the aid of Google Translate. 

For the full text of Nardi's report, reprinted from, click here

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Thu, 23 Mar 2017 00:00:00 GMT
<![CDATA[ Vatican Op-Ed Attacks Critics: Pope Has Last Word on Amoris Laetitia ]]>
Vatican Op-Ed Attacks Critics: Pope Has Last Word on Amoris Laetitia

By Andrew Parrish

Pewsitter publishes the following editorial, which appeared in the March 17th Edition of L’Osservatore Romano under the title of “The Last Word”.  This is a rough translation from the original Italian.

(ROME – Fr. Salvador Pie-Ninot) – In confrontation with the Apostolic Exhortation, Amoris Laetitia, which collects the reflections of the 2014-2015 Synods on the Family, some critical public voices have been raised in the form of “dissent,” and therefore it can be important to reflect theologically on this sensitive issue. For guidance we turn to the document published by the Congregation for the Defense of the Faith, Donum Veritatis, On the Ecclesial Vocation of the Theologian, published in 1990 by Cardinal Ratzinger; Ratzinger discusses “the problem of dissent” in the chapter of that name (nn. 32-41).

Recall, to better frame the whole issue, the type of Magisterium involved in the Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia, which is ordinary and not definitive. As defined in Donum Veritatis, such an exercise seeks to propose: “a teaching which leads to a better understanding of revelation in matters of faith and morals, and the moral directives resulting from this teaching ... [that] although it is not guaranteed by the charism of infallibility, is not devoid of divine assistance and [a] call for the adherence of the faithful" (n. 17).

Notice how this precise description is realized in Amoris Laetitia; therefore "the desire for genuine consent to this teaching of the Magisterium on the subject in itself is not beyond reform, it must be the rule," keeping in mind that involves "prudential judgments", although Ratzinger noted carefully that this does not mean that "it does not enjoy divine assistance in the integral exercise of its mission" (Donum veritatis, n. 24; see also the article by this writer on the magisterium of Amoris Laetitia in L’Osservatore Romano of August 24, 2016). It should also be noted that Amoris Laetitia (no. 3) recognizes a plurality in practice, since there are "different ways and consequences" because "in the Church is required a unity of doctrine and practice, but this does not mean that there are not different ways to interpret some aspects of doctrine or some of the consequences that follow from it. This will happen until the Spirit will bring us to all truth (cfr. John, 16, 13)."

It is in this context that some formulations appear - that perhaps may have sparked some criticism because of their unusualness - such as the decisive principle in Amoris Laetitia of "gradualness in the exercise of prudential free acts in people who are not in a position to understand, appreciate or fully practice the objective requirements of the law" (n. 295). In its approach to ''prudential exercise" the encyclical reminds us of Donum Veritatis, speaking of the interventions of the ordinary, not decisive, magisterium, says they are "prudential policy" and involving “prudential judgments" (No. 24). It is therefore this principle that is decisive in making possible a practical result that had already been expressed in the final report of the 2015 synod, in the key number 85.

Well, because this result is the fruit of a prudent decision that does not lead to a plurality of practices, of a relativistic or purely subjective type, [which are] the result of "wrong messages" (Amoris Laetitia, n. 300), there is an urgent need for a "pastoral discernment" that will pass through a dual attitude (cfr. n. 312): first the faithful living in "complex situations" must approach with confidence the representatives of the Church - pastors or lay people, prepared by keeping in mind [that] “what they propose are the faithful ideal of the full Gospel and the doctrine of the Church"  (n. 308); secondly, these representatives of the Church are called, not to legitimize everything, but to understand the situation and to "get into the heart of the drama of the people and [...] understand their point of view, to help them live better and to recognize their place in the Church" following "The way [...] of Jesus: of mercy and integration" (n. 296). It will then be just this kind of pastoral discernment that seeks to "discern the will of God" (Romans 12:2), to allow advisors to "avoid the serious risk of wrong messages, such as the idea that a priest can grant quick "exceptions", or that there are people who can get sacramental privileges in exchange for favors" (n. 300).

It should however be noted that this practical application and plurality should not become - as it seems to have been for some, definitely in good faith – turned into an opportunity to express a certain "dissent" in the form of public criticism, the objective of which would lead them to decline [the formulation] that "the consequences or effects of a rule need not always be the same" (n. 300). Amoris Laetitia, however, in order to understand delicate situations [such as being divorced and living with a new partner], brings the aforementioned decisive principle, which does not involve a "gradualness of the law" but a "gradual exercise of prudential free acts" (n. 295). [Using this principle of gradual exercise of free prudential action it confirms] the need for a "truly formed conscience" (n. 295), which, to avoid falling into subjectivism, must be "accompanied by a responsible and serious discernment of the shepherd" (n. 303).

In this context, and with reference to possible "dissent" in the form of public criticism to the Magisterium, Donum Veritatis recalled that "Dissent is generally defended by various arguments, two of which have a more fundamental character. The first is the order of hermeneutics: the documents of the magisterium would be nothing more than a reflection of a questionable theology [...]. In opposition to and in competition with the authentic magisterium is thus a kind of "parallel magisterium" of theologians [...]. (The theologian) has hermeneutical rules, which include the principle that the teaching of the magisterium - with divine assistance - is beyond argument [...] [and] which he serves" (n. 34). In fact, it is clear that "the Magisterial interventions serve to guarantee the Church's unity in the truth of the Lord. They help to "abide in the truth" in the face of the arbitrary character of changeable opinions and are an expression of obedience to the Word of God" (n. 35).

In this respect it is stressed that "the right conscience of the Catholic theologian presumes not only faith in the Word of God whose riches he must explore, but also love for the Church from whom he receives his mission, and respect for her divinely assisted Magisterium [...]. If you separate from the shepherds who watch over and keep the apostolic tradition alive, it is the bond with Christ which is irreparably compromised" (n. 38). In this area of ​​reflection, it is also important to bear in mind the precise theological distinction between the contribution proper to the magisterium and that proper to theology, already announced by Saint Augustine: "what I understand, therefore, I owe to reason; what I believe, to authority" (De utilitate credendi, 9).

In fact, it is understood that the contribution of theology from this perspective is the scientific value of its thinking and the scientific arguments on which it relies. On the other hand, the contribution of the Magisterium is not based on scientific arguments - although it can use them secondarily - but on the value of the testimony of faith that [supports it], because the ultimate reason for the faith is not argumentation but “the authority of the same God who reveals, who can neither deceive nor be deceived" (Vatican I, Dei filius, ch. 3). Keep in mind that for the Catholic faith the comparison between the magisterium, in this case the Pope, and a dissenting theological interpretation, is not a simple conflict between two opinions, as the magisterium of the Pope is not a theological opinion [as such], but comes from a testimony of faith as the "authorized interpretation of the Word of God" (cf.. Dei verbum, n. 10) by the person who, as the successor of Peter, has the primary ministry of "confirming his brothers” (cfr. Luke, 22, 32; Dei filius; Lumen Gentium, n. 25).

Finally, on the specific characteristics of papal primacy, with regard to the magisterium, it is appropriate to recall, as stated by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in the document on primacy (1998), signed by Cardinal Ratzinger: "…That only the pope - or the Pope with the ecumenical Council - has, as the successor of Peter, the authority and the competence to say the last word on the ways to exercise their ministry in the universal Church" (n. 13). Therefore, [the Pope] does not compete with others, even if they are motivated by good faith; the last word [belongs to] the primatial ministry in the Church entrusted to Peter's successor. Here, then, is the fundamental attitude inherent in this Magisterium of Pope Francis, demonstrated beautifully in Amoris Laetitia and that we Catholics must welcome: to practice and witness with the best and most living spirit of ecclesial communion.

Translated from the original Italian with the aid of Google Translate. The original printed article can be found here, on page 7, under the title, L’ultima parola.

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Sat, 18 Mar 2017 00:00:00 GMT
<![CDATA[ Poll: Should the Pope Extend Ordination to the Vires Probati? ]]>
Poll: Should the Pope Extend Ordination to the Vires Probati?

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Thu, 16 Mar 2017 00:00:00 GMT
<![CDATA[ Cardinal Calls for Magisterial Document on Gender to Combat Forces Pushing Gender Theory ]]>
Cardinal Calls for Magisterial Document on Gender to Combat Forces Pushing Gender Theory

By Andrew Parrish

(AciStampa) UTRECHT – Yesterday, Cardinal Willem Jacobus Eijk, Archbishop of Utrecht, said in an interview that a magisterial document on gender theory was “urgent.” The Archbishop confirms a previous statement, made in November, in which he expressed his opinion that such a document would be useful to the Church.

“I would not necessarily say it takes an encyclical,” the Archbishop told AciStampa. “It could also be a different type of document, such as an instruction from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. However, it is important that there be an authoritative document of the Church on this theory.”  

“Gender theory” is an academic exploration which posits that a person’s “gender” or “gender identity”, the sex they consider themselves to be, is more or less entirely separated from their “sex”, the physical sexual identity their body possesses. The right of any individual who feels a disconnect between these two to act in society according to their internal “identity” is being pursued across the West as a civil rights issue. The underlying psychological disorder, known as “gender dysphoria,” is no longer considered a pathology.

The Church cannot accept gender theory, as Eijk explains, because she must deny the Cartesian dualism of metaphysics upon which it is based: “Gender theory is based on a dualist anthropology, which limits the human person to human consciousness, the center, in the brain, of rational activity, the autonomous choices and typically human social skills. Gender theory sees the body as something secondary, something extrinsic to human nature, which does not participate in the dignity of the person as such, as an intrinsic value of the person.” This is, he declares, “clearly opposed to the vision of the Catholic Church.”

As other columnists have noted recently, Abp. Eijk points out the danger of such dehumanization of the body, which gives rise not only to movements of personal redefinition like transgenderism, but also to abortion and euthanasia and similar forms of violence. At present, Eijk says, “international organizations put a lot of pressure on nations to introduce this theory, especially in education.” The recent creation of the post of “LGBT czar” at the United Nations is a good example of the force being applied at present.

Gender theory, as an instrumentalized ideology of the state, has made much more progress in the European Union than in the United States. Eijk’s call comes as the Supreme Court of the United States, in a surprise ruling, has refused to grant a hearing to the case of Gavin Grimm, the now-infamous “bathroom case.” Over the last few months in Europe, however, as we at Pewsitter have reported, the persecution of those who oppose the LGBT lobby has risen to Orwellian levels. The Spanish government has created an anonymous informant system to turn in anyone who is not sufficiently compassionate to the authorities. Bus station and television advertisements relentlessly indoctrinate citizens. This week a BBC commentator is facing public outrage over her denial that a transgendered male can really be a woman.

Archbishop Eijk ends his interview with a plea for Catholic news agencies and media outlets to broadcast the truth. While the Magisterium has addressed questions related to gender many times in the past, including by Pope Francis (Laudato Si 151), the teaching authority of the Church has been overshadowed by scandal and negativity. He declares that the Church has a duty to maintain her media presence and advertise her mission and teachings: “We must also think of those who are spiritually poor, because they have never heard the truth. Every man in this world has the right to feel, to hear the gospel.”

Quotations from AciStampa translated with the aid of Google Translate.

... ]]> Thu, 09 Mar 2017 00:00:00 GMT <![CDATA[ Open Letter to Cardinal Mueller regarding Martin Luther ]]>
Open Letter to Cardinal Mueller
Regarding Martin Luther

It is indisputable that in recent times the historical figure of Martin Luther has undergone a remarkable rehabilitation. Once excommunicated, Luther has been recommended to the faithful as a “witness to the Gospel.” His statue has been photographed in the Vatican, a commemorative Reformation postage stamp has been issued by the Vatican, and the Holy Father himself has praised Martin Luther’s personal journey and the Protestant Reformation which he began.

However, the excommunication of Luther has not been lifted; he is still considered to be a formal heretic, and his theological opinions are in contradiction with the truth which the Catholic Church possesses. Luther rejected the authority of the Papacy, the forgiveness of sins through Confession, and the doctrine of transubstantiation, among many others. He did not recant these opinions, and neither did the church that he founded. In what way can it be possible for Catholics to receive the Eucharist in communion with the members of Luther’s church, when Luther repudiated the priestly authority by which the Eucharist is confected?

This poll was conducted on our site, Founded in 2006, Pewsitter is one of the oldest and largest Catholic news aggregators on the Internet. We gather and review thousands of stories weekly from national and international Catholic sources, and publish hundreds on our portal to keep our readership informed.The Holy Father, as we have seen in the arrangement for the upcoming 2018 Synod, welcomes the perspectives of the lay faithful. We therefore conducted a survey of our readership, asking whether they believe it possible for an excommunicated heretic to be a witness of the Gospel; we received almost 1000 responses.  Of the 949 respondents, 95% or 910 do not believe it to be possible. Our methodology does not allow individuals to vote multiple times, and therefore the results can be considered a fair sample. The results are attached.

Clearly the results of our poll reveal that a large percentage of Catholics are confused about the contradiction of Luther’s status as an excommunicated heretic and his simultaneous rehabilitation as a “Witness to Hope.” Given this situation it would seem prudent, if not a necessity, that an explanation be provided by the Holy See as to how these two contradictory positions can be held at the same time.  Moreover, it is our understanding that the pronouncements from the Council of Trent are infallible on these matters concerning Luther. If so, the Church’s position cannot be rescinded or reversed.

The Church’s contradictory positions on Luther, we fear, are damaging its moral authority: scandalizing faithful Catholics, and confusing other people of goodwill. Clarity is needed on this issue. We respectfully request that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith provides an explanation that resolves this apparent contradiction.

We would be pleased to publish your response, in hopes that it would further the education of our readers - and their understanding of this issue.



James Todd


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Tue, 07 Mar 2017 00:00:00 GMT
<![CDATA[ What's Going On in the Vatican? A Timeline ]]>
What's Going On in the Vatican? A Timeline

By Andrew Parrish

The Vatican appears to be coming to a boil these days: the pace of strange and alarming announcements from Rome has increased ever since the release of Amoris Laetitia in April of last year. It is easy to lose sight of the overall trend of a news story as individual headlines are released; Pewsitter is releasing the below report, which is a timeline of most directly Vatican-related events since April 2016, in the belief that it clearly demonstrates the unusual nature of these continuing developments. This timeline will be periodically updated with new material.

We encourage other journalists to use this timeline as a resource and encourage the submission of any announcements we may have missed in the comments box below or via email.


April 2016: Amoris Laetitia, “The Joy of Love,” an apostolic exhortation on marriage and family life, is released.


July 12th, 2016: In a Motu Proprio statement, the Vatican financial accountability office is stripped of much of its power of oversight. The move is criticized as counterproductive in the ongoing effort to reform Vatican finances.

July 28th, 2016: In his remarks to those gathered for World Youth Day in Krakow, Poland, the Pope called on Poland to “open its borders to refugees” and declared that “religion has nothing to do with war.”


September 5th, 2016: An Argentinian blogger leaks the contents of a private letter sent by the Pope to the bishops of Buenos Aires, in which Pope Francis approves their take on Amoris Laetitia’s already-controversial Chapter 8: “There is no other interpretation.” The Buenos Aires bishops have approved communion for the divorced and remarried. The Vatican later confirms that this document is legitimate.

September 19th, 2016: The four cardinals privately send their “dubia” statement to the Pope.


October 4th, 2016: During trip to Republic of Georgia, Pope says it is a “very grave sin against ecumenism” for Catholics to try and convert the Orthodox.

October 6th, 2016: Theme for the 2018 Synod announced: Young people, faith and vocational discernment.

October 19th, 2016: Pope calls proselytism “poison” in meeting with Lutheran visitors. “It is not licit that you convince them of your faith,” he declares.

October 24th, 2016: Pope Francis praises the German theologian Bernhard Haering, a prominent dissenter from Humanae Vitae, saying that he found a way to “help moral theology to flourish again.”

October 25th, 2016: Pope is photographed in the Vatican with a chocolate statue of Martin Luther, while receiving an ecumenical delegation from Sweden. In this meeting, the Pope claims that “lukewarmness” is when Catholics “are keen to defend Christianity in the West on the one hand but on the other are averse to refugees and other religions.”

October 27th, 2016: Pope opens the JPII Institute for Studies on Marriage and the Family academic year himself, after announcing that Cardinal Sarah would not give the opening speech as planned.

October 31st, 2016: Pope Francis arrives in Malmo, Sweden, and “heaps praise” on Luther and the Reformation.

On this day the joint declaration is published, which says we must “cast off historical disagreements” and “transform our memory of the past.” Lutheran-Catholic intercommunion is explicitly declared to be the goal of dialogue.


November 2nd, 2016: On return flight from Sweden, Pope gives interview declaring that John Paul II had “the final word” on ordination of women.

In the same interview, the Pope takes a moderate position on immigration, saying that countries need to be “prudent” and avoid the danger of ethnic ghettos.

November , 2016: High-level, anonymous Vatican source alleges that Pope is “boiling with rage” over the public opposition to Amoris Laetitia.

November 10th, 2016: The Pope holds a private meeting with Cardinal Burke, the Vatican patron of the Sovereign Order of Malta, in which, it is later revealed, the Pope is “deeply disturbed” by Burke’s account of contraceptive distribution with the Order’s participation. The Pope orders Burke to “clean Freemasonry out of the Order.”

November 14th, 2016: The four cardinals, Burke, Brandmuller, Meisner, and Caffarra, release publicly their letter of September 19th, asking five yes/no questions about moral ambiguities raised in Amoris Laetitia’s wording, a letter which becomes known as “the dubia” or “the dubia statement.” The letter calls on either the Pope or Cardinal Mueller, head of the CDF, to respond publicly. The cardinals had previously received an acknowledgement of their letter but no answer from the Pope.

November 15th, 2016: Cardinal Burke gives interview with Edward Pentin in which he declares the possibility of a “formal act of correction” of the Pope if the letter is not formally answered.

November 18th, 2016: In interview with the Italian newspaper Avvenire, Pope criticizes the “legalism” of the four cardinals who have written a letter asking for clarification of Amoris Laetitia. In the meantime, Archbishop Chaput of Philadelphia has published guidelines declaring that the divorced and remarried cannot receive the Eucharist, and Cardinal-designate Farrell has publicly criticized these guidelines.

November 18th, 2016: Pope dismisses the entire staff of the Pontifical Academy for Life. Republished statutes for the organization indicate that the members will no longer be required to sign a declaration of their pro-life beliefs.

November 23rd, 2016: Cardinal Burke and Cardinal Pell officially removed from Congregation for Divine Worship.


December 1st, 2016: The Pope writes a letter to Cardinal Burke, in which he reiterates his concerns about the Order of Malta and Cardinal Burke’s duty to see to the “spiritual health” of the order.

December 6th, 2016: Albrecht Freiherr von Boeselager, grand chancellor of the Sovereign Order of the Knights of Malta, is ordered to resign his office at a meeting in which the Order’s head, Fra’ Matthew Festing, accused him of supervising the distribution of contraceptives in Malaysia. Von Boeselager refuses to step down at the meeting, breaking his vow of obedience.

December 7th, 2016: Pope Francis, in a widely publicized interview with a Belgian Catholic newspaper, alleges that media which spread misinformation are guilty of coprophagia, a psychological term for those who are sexually aroused by the act of eating excrement.

December 12th, 2016: According to inside Vatican sources, von Boeselager approaches Cardinal Parolin in the Vatican, and tells him that, according to Burke, the Pope had ordered von Boeselager to be fired. Cardinal Parolin writes a letter on this date to Fra’ Festing in the Pope’s name, saying that the Holy Father requests “dialogue” to resolve “methods and means contrary to the moral law.” Fra’ Festing requests a meeting with Cardinal Parolin; Parolin asks to institute a Vatican investigative committee and Festing refuses, citing the international sovereignty of the Order.

December 13th, 2016: In an internal announcement, von Boeselager is suspended of all his duties in the Order of Malta.

December 14th, 2016: Cardinal Walter Kasper, one of the Pope’s closest advisors, considers intercommunion with mixed-marriage Lutherans to be “inevitable.

December 15th, 2016: Cardinal Parolin appoints von Boeselager’s brother to the board of the IOR, the “Vatican bank.”

December 16th, 2016: Co-founder of LifeSiteNews releases an editorial stating: “The climate of fear at the Vatican is very real”. This corroborates December reports from anonymous sources of Edward Pentin, Marco Tosatti, Steve Skojec, etc.

December 19th, 2016: In an interview with LifeSiteNews, Cardinal Burke, considered the “spokesman” of the four cardinals, claims there is a timeline for the “formal correction” of Pope Francis and that this will take place some time in January, 2017 (around the Feast of the Epiphany).

December 22nd, 2016: Pope gives customary Christmas address to the Roman Curia on reform, which has been the topic for three years running, and blasts “resistance” which hides behind “self-justification” and takes refuge in “tradition.”

December 22nd, 2016: An independent watchdog, the Lepanto Institute, releases compiled reports indicating that Malteser International, while under von Boeselager’s direct supervision, distributed more than 300,000 condoms in Malaysia as well as oral contraceptives, and was widely recognized by other NGOs for this accomplishment.

December 22nd, 2016: A letter to the Order of Malta, and Burke, indicates that the Pope has appointed a commission to investigate the removal of von Boeselager. The Pope’s instructions in his Dec. 1st letter are to be suspended.

Preliminary investigation into the five members of the committee, Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, Fr. Gianfranco Ghirlanda, Jacques de Liedekerke, Marc Odendall, and Marwan Sehnaoui, reveals that all five are known allies of von Boeselager and the “German wing” of the Order of Malta. Furthermore, Odendall, Sehnaoui and Archbishop Tomasi are, with Boeselager, connected to a mysterious donation from a French resident deposited in a Swiss bank account, worth at least $118 million. Cardinal Parolin is understood to have been aware of the bequest since at least March 2014.

December 23rd, 2016: Von Boeselager publishes a statement in which he declares his suspension violated the procedures of the Order, that no valid grounds existed for his suspension, and that Fra’ Festing’s attitude was “authoritarian.”

December 26th, 2016: Pope orders Cardinal Mueller to dismiss three priests at the CDF for unspecified reasons. In the leaked letter making this declaration, he states: “I am the pope and I do not need to give reasons… they have to go.”


January 3rd, 2017: Von Boeselager’s replacement, Fra’ John Chritien, writes a letter to the Knights of the Order telling them they cannot collaborate with the papal commission because its existence is a violation of the order’s sovereignty.

January 4th, 2017: Archbishop Tomasi, of the Malta investigative committee, responds to the previous day’s announcement and says that the question “is not the sovereignty of the order, but the reasonable claim of questionable procedures and lack of proven valid cause for the action taken,” echoing the statement of von Boeselager himself.

January 5th, 2017: A document is published by the Vatican Pontifical Council for Christian Unity and the World Council of Churches, commanding Catholics to “recognize Luther as a witness to the Gospel.”

January 10th, 2017: Knights of Malta again publicly defend their right to dismiss von Boeselager, for breaking his vow of obedience to Festing.

January 10th, 2017: In daily homily, Pope criticizes “doctors of the law” as incoherent, hypocritical, clericalist, and lacking in real authority.

January 12th, 2017: The Vatican invites notorious abortion extremist Paul Ehrlich, author of debunked 1970s book The Population Bomb, to Vatican conference on “Biological Extinction.”

January 17th, 2017: The Holy See issues a second statement in response, declaring its “faith” in the commission the Pope has appointed.

January 19th, 2017: Pope declares that it was “Luther’s intention to renew the Church, not divide her.”

January 20th, 2017: Pope declares that “every country has the right to defend its borders.”

January 20th, 2017: Pope, in morning homily, criticizes “lazy,” “egotistical,” “constantly condemning,” “parked Christians.”

January 21st, 2017: Pope gives an address to the Roman Rota in which he declares it is “urgent practically to implement that which was discussed in Familiaris Consortio.” The Holy Father calls for parishes to develop programs to help newlyweds grow in faith and remain attached to parish life.

January 24th, 2017: The Pope calls Festing to the Vatican to hold a secret meeting of which no one can know. In this meeting, the Pope tells Festing to write his resignation letter on the spot, and to explicitly declare in the letter that Cardinal Burke had asked for von Boeselager to be dismissed.

January 24th, 2017: Fra’ Festing resigns his position as Grand Master of the Maltese Order.

January 25th, 2017: Cardinal Parolin writes in a letter to the Maltese Order that the Pope has declared all of Fra’ Festing’s actions “null and void” since the Dec. 6th meeting where von Boeselager’s resignation was demanded. Parolin further announces that the Pope will appoint a “personal delegate” to the Order, with “powers that will be defined.” These actions are in violation of the legal sovereignty of the Order.

January 25th, 2017: Pope declares that ecumenism must look to the future, not “fixate” on the past.

January 25th, 2017: Archbishop Scicluna of Malta, infamous for the Communion guidelines he coauthored, declares in a homily that “anyone looking to discover what Jesus wants” should “look to the Pope. Not the previous Pope, not the one before that. This Pope.” He has previously stated that in his guidelines “we are following the Pope’s directives.”

January 26th, 2017: Pope orders review of Liturgiam Authenticam. The text of the current Latin-English Mass translation is alleged by certain bishops to be too “rigid” and “excessively centralized”, according to America Magazine.

January 27th, 2017: The Pope gives a lengthy homily at Santa Marta in which he states that those who focus too much on “obeying the commandments, all of them” commit the sin of “cowardliness”, and are unable to “take risks” and “move forward.”

January 28th, 2017: The Pope, according to a press release of the Knights of Malta, writes a letter to them “stressing their sovereignty.”

January 28th, 2017: The Council of the Knights of Malta votes to accept Festing’s resignation and the Pope’s declaration of nullity.

January 30th, 2017: The Pope, at the Angelus, says “voracious consumerism kills the soul.”

January 30th, 2017: The Pope meets with Heinrich Bedford-Strohm, the chair of the Council of Protestant Churches in Germany and with Cardinal Marx. In this meeting Bedford-Strohm expresses the importance of a common communion for interfaith couples.

January 31st, 2017: Cardinal Baldisseri, secretary of the Synod of Bishops, confirms that the female diaconate will not be discussed at the 2018 Synod on vocations.


February 1st, 2017: Pope calls on local Catholic churches to “mobilize” and fight climate change.

February 1st, 2017: Cardinal Mueller, head of the CDF, declares that Communion for the divorced and remarried is “against God’s law.” The Maltese bishops’ bombshell statement that Communion is open to anyone who “feels at peace with God” was released twenty days prior. On this same day, the German council of bishops approves communion for the divorced and remarried.

February 2nd, 2017: The Pope calls on religious not to be “professionals of the sacred.”

February 2nd, 2017: Bishop Sorondo, chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, defends the invitation of Paul Ehrlich by saying that the Vatican is interested in his scientific reputation and not his private opinions: “What matters is the conclusions we will draw.”

February 4th, 2017: Posters appear overnight in Rome naming a group of incidents, including the Maltese case, and asking, “Where is your mercy?” A picture of the Pope is included. The Vatican police, as well as the Roman police, open an investigation into this incident.

February 4th, 2017: The Pope names Archbishop Becciu of the Secretariat of State as his delegate to the Order of Malta.

February 7th, 2017: The Vatican hosts its Summit on Organ Trafficking and Transplant Tourism over two days, inviting the Chinese “organ czar” Huang Jiefu to speak despite ongoing and credible allegations that the Chinese government harvests organs from executed prisoners, and possibly others.

February 8th, 2017: A stunning editorial in La Civita Cattolica opines that ordination of women may be possible in the future. The paper is approved by the Vatican before publication and Fr. Antonio Spadaro, the Pope’s closest confidante, is the editor in chief.

February 8th, 2017: A 51-page booklet is published by Cardinal Coccopalmerio, purporting to explain definitively the meaning of Amoris Laetitia’s Chapter 8. Reviews of the book indicate that it defends an extremely permissive interpretation of the document.

February 9th, 2017: Pope meets with staff of La Civita Cattolica and praises their work, urging them to be “restless” and “stay out on the open sea.” Fr. Gioncarlo Pani, deputy editor and author of the women’s ordination piece, is present. No mention of the question is made.

February 12th, 2017: The Vatican announces its police force is investigating a satirical front page of the L’Osservatore Romano with the headline “Pope Answers the Dubia.” The satirical newsletter was widely circulated in the Vatican via email.

February 13th, 2017: Council of Cardinals issue statement declaring their total support for the Pope. Vatican sends email blast dedicated solely to this announcement.

February 14th, 2017: Cardinal Coccopalmerio, President of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, the Vatican’s “legal theory” body, declares that a “desire to change” is enough for the valid reception of Communion.

February 14th, 2017: Cardinal Coccopalmerio fails to attend his own press conference for his booklet on Amoris Laetitia, which is generally understood to represent a chance for an official Vatican “answer” to the dubia statement. He states via social media that he had another engagement he had forgotten about. At the conference, the head of the Vatican publishing house says that the booklet is “not an answer” and the “still open debate is encouraged.”

February 15th, 2017: Cardinal Burke sent to Guam to supervise Vatican trial of Archbishop Apuron, involved in a clergy abuse scandal.

February 17th, 2017: Cardinal Mueller, head of the CDF, states that bishops cannot give “contradictory interpretations” of Amoris Laetitia.

February 17th, 2017: Pope releases a letter dated February 10th to the Meeting of Popular Movements in California, in which he says, among other things, that we must “defend Sister Mother Earth”, that “the ecological crisis is real… time is running out. We must act now”, “Muslim terrorism does not exist”, and that global capitalism is “gangrenous”.

February 18th, 2017: Speaking to the press about the “highly unusual” public vote of confidence in the Pope, Cardinal Marx says that the support for the Pope is “substantial.”

February 20th, 2017: Cardinal Mueller, head of the CDF, releases a new book on the Papacy. He declares that not even a pope is able to alter the “substance of a sacrament,” marriage being used as the example.

February 21st, 2017: Cd. Coccopalmerio announces that there is “no doctrinal confusion” over Amoris Laetitia in an interview with Crux. He also states that gay couples still cannot receive Communion.

February 21st, 2017: Pope declares it a “moral duty” to “welcome, protect, promote, and integrate” refugees. The opposition to this duty is “rooted chiefly in self-centeredness” and encouraged by “populist demagoguery.”

February 22nd, 2017: Parolin, Secretariat of State, announces that the Vatican will be using “systematic surveillance” to monitor misuse of the Pope’s image and the official Vatican symbols, “so that his message may reach the faithful intact.”

February 22nd, 2017: The Pope, in his daily remarks, says that “When human pride explodes, it destroys and exploits nature. Think of water.”

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Fri, 24 Feb 2017 00:00:00 GMT
<![CDATA[ Poll: Is Amoris Laetitia Harming the Church? ]]>
Poll: Is Amoris Laetitia Harming the Church?

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Wed, 22 Feb 2017 00:00:00 GMT
<![CDATA[ Open Letter to the USCCB on Immigration ]]>
An Open Letter to the USCCB on Immigration

By James Todd

To the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops:

Founded in 2007, Pewsitter is one of the oldest and largest Catholic news sites on the Internet. We gather and republish thousands of stories weekly from national and international Catholic sources, to keep our readership informed. One of the issues we have been closely following in recent weeks is that of the immigration executive order put in place by President Trump, and the subsequent response of Catholic bishops worldwide.

The official USCCB statement on the refugee order reads, in part, as follows:

We strongly disagree with the Executive Order's halting refugee admissions. We believe that now more than ever, welcoming newcomers and refugees is an act of love and hope.

"The United States has long provided leadership in resettling refugees. We believe in assisting all those who are vulnerable and fleeing persecution, regardless of their religion. This includes Christians, as well as Yazidis and Shia Muslims from Syria, Rohingyas from Burma, and other religious minorities. However, we need to protect all our brothers and sisters of all faiths, including Muslims, who have lost family, home, and country. They are children of God and are entitled to be treated with human dignity. We believe that by helping to resettle the most vulnerable, we are living out our Christian faith as Jesus has challenged us to do."

"Today, more than 65 million people around the world are forcibly displaced from their homes. Given this extraordinary level of suffering, the U.S. Catholic Bishops will redouble their support for, and efforts to protect, all who flee persecution and violence, as just one part of the perennial and global work of the Church in this area of concern."

A second, joint statement issued by Cardinal DiNardo, USCCB President, and Archbishop Gomez, USCCB Vice President, reads, in part, as follows:

The bond between Christians and Muslims is founded on the unbreakable strength of charity and justice. The Second Vatican Council in Nostra Aetate urged us to sincerely work toward a mutual understanding that would "promote together for the benefit of all mankind social justice and moral welfare, as well as peace and freedom." The Church will not waver in her defense of our sisters and brothers of all faiths who suffer at the hands of merciless persecutors.

We must screen vigilantly for infiltrators who would do us harm, but we must always be equally vigilant in our welcome of friends.

The Lord Jesus fled the tyranny of Herod, was falsely accused and then deserted by his friends. He had nowhere to lay His head (Lk. 9:58). Welcoming the stranger and those in flight is not one option among many in the Christian life. It is the very form of Christianity itself.  Our actions must remind people of Jesus. The actions of our government must remind people of basic humanity. Where our brothers and sisters suffer rejection and abandonment we will lift our voice on their behalf. We will welcome them and receive them. They are Jesus and the Church will not turn away from Him.

The understanding of the world, both Catholic and non-Catholic, has been that these statements condemn limitations put on immigration, and further, they are considered to be in support of the statements of many other bishops worldwide, who have spoken much more strongly against the measure. Simultaneously, we have seen a number of pieces citing various Church sources in support of an apparently contrary position on the question of a country’s right to limit immigration. These include, for instance, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the Summa Theologica of St. Thomas Aquinas, and even recent remarks of the Pope. These examples are attached for review. The authority of these sources seems equally indisputable, and worthy of the laity’s obedience.

Recently, we polled our readership to discover whether they support the temporary restriction of immigration that Trump has imposed. Surprisingly, we discovered that around 94% of our respondents were in favor of the measure.

Since many of the laity clearly disagree with the bishops on this matter, it would seem necessary, for the purposes of instruction, that the bishops explain in clear, precise language why they condemn the President’s executive order, keeping in mind the sources that we have attached.

Here are several questions we would pose to help clarify the situation:

  1. Does the leader of a country have the right to prudentially limit immigration to that country?

  2. If so, is it not Mr. Trump’s duty as President of the United States to make a prudential judgment as to what is an appropriate restriction? If, as Cardinal DiNardo and Archbishop Gomez have specifically noted, we must “screen vigilantly for infiltrators who would do us harm”, what about his order is problematic, and upon what moral reasoning?
  1. It has just been publicized that the Archdiocese of San Francisco is organizing parish teams to “stop and fight deportations” and observe during ICE raids. The U.S. Office of Immigration and Customs Enforcement is responsible for enforcing immigration law against individuals who have broken that law and entered the country illegally. Is the Archdiocese of San Francisco encouraging disrespect or even violation of a country’s legal code? If so, is the immigration law which is to be broken unjust, and are there no other ways to address its injustice? 

  2. Another frequently condemned item is the building of a wall on the southern border. An explanation of why such a wall is immoral would be helpful. The doors of our churches have locks, some of them have fences around them, and even part of the Vatican has walls. Jesus spoke of thieves coming in the night, and of the owner who would have taken precautions against housebreaking. Is the building of any wall on the border of any country morally wrong, or merely prudentially ill-advised?

  3. During the latter part of the 19th century and early part of the 20th century, millions of immigrants came to the United States via Ellis Island. At this time, American immigration restrictions were very tight: immigrants were subjected to health inspections, questions about their beliefs, and their job prospects; some went before a board to answer more detailed questions, while others were held in detention, or quarantine. Would the bishops disagree with imposing such requirements on today’s immigrants?

The episcopacy represents the leadership of the Church, and any statement made by a bishop on such an important question ought to be received with respect. The laity, in this particular case, has not understood the moral reasoning behind the position taken by the episcopacy, as evidenced by the disagreement which we have documented in our survey.

A response to this disagreement, as expressed in our questions above, would be invaluable in aiding the faithful to gain a better understanding of the Bishops’ position on this issue.

We welcome your response to this letter and our queries and would be pleased to publish your response on our site, in hopes that it would further the education of our readers - and their understanding of this issue.




James Todd

Sources referenced in the above letter

Catechism of the Catholic Church, article 2241: Political authorities, for the sake of the common good for which they are responsible, may make the exercise of the right to immigrate subject to various juridical conditions, especially with regard to the immigrants' duties toward their country of adoption. Immigrants are obliged to respect with gratitude the material and spiritual heritage of the country that receives them, to obey its laws and to assist in carrying civic burdens.

Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, Book I-II, Question 105, Article 3:

Thirdly, when any foreigners wished to be admitted entirely to their fellowship and mode of worship. With regard to these a certain order was observed. For they were not at once admitted to citizenship: just as it was law with some nations that no one was deemed a citizen except after two or three generations, as the Philosopher says (Polit. iii, 1).

The reason for this was that if foreigners were allowed to meddle with the affairs of a nation as soon as they settled down in its midst, many dangers might occur, since the foreigners not yet having the common good firmly at heart might attempt something hurtful to the people.

Pope Francis, November 1st, 2016

“So what do I think of those who close their borders? …I think that in theory no one should close their heart to a refugee, but those who govern must also exercise prudence. They should be very open to receiving them, but they should also calculate how they will be able to settle them, because a refugee must not only be welcomed, but also integrated…And if a country is only able to integrate 20, let’s say, then it should only accept that many. If another is able to do more, let it do more… I don’t believe that Sweden is, if it diminishes its capacity to welcome, may it do it for egoism because it has lost that capacity. If there is something of the sort, it’s for the latter that I said: that so many today look to Sweden because they know how to welcome, but there isn’t the necessary time to sort out everyone...

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Tue, 14 Feb 2017 00:00:00 GMT
<![CDATA[ Fr. Rutler's Weekly Reflection, Feb. 5: On Immigration ]]>
Weekly Reflection, Feb. 5: On Immigration

By Fr. George Rutler

February 5, 2017

by Fr. George W. Rutler

In the margin of a public speaker’s manuscript was the notation: “Weak point. Shout.” Such is the rhetoric of those who place emotion over logic and make policy through gangs rather than parliaments. In Athens 2,400 years ago, Aristophanes described the demagogue as having “a screeching, horrible voice, a perverse, cross-grained nature and the language of the marketplace.” That marketplace today includes the biased media and the universities that have become daycare centers.

The recent action of our government’s executive branch to protect our borders and enforce national security is based on Constitutional obligations (Art. 1 sec 10 and Art. 4 sec 4). It is a practical protection of the tranquility of order explained by Saint Augustine when he saw the tranquillitas ordinis of Roman civilization threatened. Saint Thomas Aquinas sanctioned border control (S. Th. I-II, Q. 105, Art. 3). No mobs shouted in the marketplace two years ago when the Terrorist Travel Prevention Act restricted visa waivers for Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Libya and Yemen. The present ban continues that, and only for a stipulated ninety days, save for Syria. There is no “Muslim ban” as should be obvious from the fact that the restrictions do not apply to other countries with Muslim majorities, such as Egypt, Indonesia, Pakistan, Malaysia, Bangladesh and Turkey.

These are facts ignored by demagogues who speak of tears running down the face of the Statue of Liberty. At issue is not immigration, but illegal immigration. It is certainly manipulative of reason to justify uncontrolled immigration by citing previous generations of immigrants to our shores, all of whom went through the legal process, mostly in the halls of Ellis Island. And it is close to blasphemy to invoke the Holy Family as antinomian refugees, for they went to Bethlehem in obedience to a civil decree requiring tax registration, and they violated no statutes when they sought protection in Egypt. Then there was Saint Paul, who worked within the legal system, and invoked his Roman citizenship through privileges granted to his native Tarsus in 66 B.C. (Acts 16:35-38; 22:25-29; 25:11-12) He followed ordered procedure, probably with the status of civis Romanus non optimo jure—a legal citizen, but not allowed to act as a magistrate.

It is obvious that the indignant demonstrators against the new Executive Orders are funded in no little part by wealthy interests who would provoke agitation. These same people have not shown any concern about the neglected Christians seeking refuge from persecution in the Middle East. In 2016 there was a 675% increase in the number of Syrian refugees over the previous year, but while 10% of the Syrian population is Christian, only one-half of one percent of the Syrian Christians were granted asylum. It is thankworthy that our changed government now wants to redress that. The logic of that policy must not be shouted down by those who screech rather than reason.




Father Rutler’s book, The Stories of Hymns – The History Behind 100 of Christianity’s Greatest Hymns, is available through Sophia Institute Press (Paperback or eBook) and Amazon (Paperback or Kindle). 



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Wed, 08 Feb 2017 00:00:00 GMT
<![CDATA[ Poll: Do You Agree With The Pope On Luther? ]]>
Poll: Do You Agree With The Pope On Luther?

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Tue, 07 Feb 2017 00:00:00 GMT
<![CDATA[ The fake cleanup of the IOR: no one touches the “dirty thirty” ]]>
The fake cleanup of the IOR: no one touches the “dirty thirty”

By Andrew Parrish

February 2nd, 2017

(Serena Sartini / Infovaticana) ROME – The Institute for the Works of Religion (IOR): a name synonymous with intrigues, cardinals’ power games, and shady business deals. From the era of Cardinal Marcinkus, the “banker of God”, to this day, the so-called “Vatican Bank” has been awash in scandal, financial and otherwise. To name only a few: the collapse of the Banco Ambrosiano, the ongoing Italian investigation into Benedict-era senior officials and the sentencing of Monsignor Nunzio Scarano for money laundering. With Pope Francis, have things changed? Have the long-awaited cleanup operation and transparency arrived? The auditing of accounts? Has the alignment with international accounting standards been completed?

The Errors of Francis

With the election of Francis, many expected a revolution in Vatican finances to arrive at last. But the real turning point for the IOR came in the final years of Benedict XVI’s pontificate. Some say, rightly, that the resignation of the Pope Emeritus was decided in part because so many things, too many perhaps, were not so clear and clean within the Institute, despite his efforts. And the revolution of Bergoglio has, in its turn, not arrived.

Things remained murky and turbulent, even after the new Pope transferred the Vatican finances dossier to the Australian Cardinal George Pell. This move would soon prove to be a misstep; Pell wanted to concentrate control of all Vatican finances in his own hands, supporting not only the so-called “Maltese lobby” but also the lobby of the Knights of Columbus, two powerful and wealthy financial entities.

Another move considered a mistake by most observers was to appoint the lawyer Rene Brulhart to the presidency of the Financial Intelligence Authority (AIF), the Vatican’s corruption and laundering watchdog. The Swiss lawyer came to the position despite accusations of malfeasance by the Governing Council of the very organization he was nevertheless made president of. Replacing Brulhart as director was Tommaso Di Ruzza, son of the former governor of the Bank of Italy. Both were soon strongly criticized, with exorbitant salaries out of line with the austerity directives being promoted by Francis. Brulhart made 420,000 euro per year, and his subordinate Di Ruzza a figure around 240,000.

Luxury and Child Abuse

Within a year Bergoglio would reconsider his decision, and move to sharply scale back the power of Cardinal Pell. In July of 2016, he promulgated a Motu Proprio which closed the controversy over the management and administration of the Holy See’s property, establishing a clear separation of powers: the Secretary of Economy, and then Cd. Pell, would oversee but not directly manage the Vatican’s assets. There were many reasons for this halt to the original expansion of Cd. Pell’s powers: the child abuse charges which followed the Cardinal from Australia, though they have now been settled, cast a dim light on an organization desperately trying to shed scandal. More pertinently, muckraker Antonio Fittipaldi revealed dismaying details of Cardinal Pell’s financial habits in the “Avarice” volume of his “Vatileaks II” releases: abnormal business travel charges, 47,000 euro on furniture, 4,600 euro on a sink. These revelations were too much for Pope Francis.

The (Gentle) Cleanup by Auditors

One of the most critical details in the IOR cleanup project is the control of accounts. In the last five years, the Institute has closed 4,935 of them. At this time, there are still 14,801 accounts open. The policy sorting through these accounts was instituted by Benedict and continued by Francis: no anonymous accounts, no accounts made payable to fake names, no preferential treatment of the children and grandchildren of cardinals, strict records of transactions, strict procedures for suspicious transactions, and narrower provisions for the use of cash.

“But,” as Vatican sources have revealed to InfoVaticana, “there are thirty accounts that really matter – and until they are touched, there is no cleanup.” The sources have also mentioned “black money”, tax havens, and accounts linked to American intelligence agencies. Obviously Francis is not able to rearrange a complicated dossier when the “cleaners” themselves are the beneficiaries of vague bookkeeping.

The Real Turning Point Was Ratzinger

Many attribute the beginning of the cleanliness and transparency operation in the IOR to Francis. However, the real turning point was Joseph Ratzinger, thanks to the Dec. 30th, 2010 Motu Proprio which established the AIF and instituted the registration of suspicious transactions and customers in the IOR. This work is begun in April of 2011, but for the Secretary of State, headed by Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, it went too fast: they risked losing control of the situation. The sacred rooms trembled, Bertone hit the brakes, the AIF did not work in the way he wanted. The clash between IOR leaders and Cd. Bertone culminated in May 2012 with the expulsion of the IOR’s president, Ettore Gotti Tedeschi. Afterwards, the AIF lost its independence, and was taken under the supervision of the State Secretariat, losing the autonomy which was the sole purpose of its creation. Benedict XVI announced his resignation on the 11th of February, 2013; four days later, the Commission of Cardinals of the IOR appointed the German banker Ernst von Freyburg (Ed. note – member of the Order of Malta’s German wing) as IOR president. A few months after taking office, the new pope entrusts the management of finances to Cardinal Pell. Before the natural expiration of his term, von Freyburg is shown the door, and replaced with Jean-Baptiste de Franssu. This was the first victory of the Australian cardinal; soon after, however, his descent begins.

There are so many questions that are still unanswered about this period. Why was Gotti Tedeschi driven out by Bertone? Was it perhaps because he had repeatedly stopped the Cardinal from investing in the San Raffaele hospital project (Ed. note - tied to Qatar, a major terrorist financier), or because Bertone wanted the OK of the IOR for other strange banking? Why was von Freyburg shown the door before the end of his term? But above all, why was the AIF – created to oversee the operations of the IOR and to clean up its accounts – put under the umbra of the Vatican Secretary of State?

Dark Spots

The Moneyval inspectors arrived for the first time in the Vatican in 2011, and underlined the “important steps achieved in a short time” by the hard work of the AIF. With regards to Bertone’s foot on the brake, the experts from the Council of Europe speak of “backtracking” – but say it very diplomatically, trying to keep open the collaboration with Vatican bank officials. The first official act of Moneyval is the July 4th, 2012 Assessment Report, consisting of forty recommendations on money laundering and nine on anti-terrorism made by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). Of the sixteen key recommendations, nine were positive and seven negative. Among the critical points were those related to international cooperation and an inadequate communications system; one point on the identification of customers, and the lack of procedures for reporting suspicious transactions; a note on the lack of adequate rules for the seizure of suspect goods and for cross-border transfers. These are important areas in the fight against money laundering and financial support of terrorism, still unexplored and unreformed.

This is still, therefore, the path that the Vatican Bank must take to align with international standards. It remains to be seen in 2018, when the Moneyval inspectors will be called upon to evaluate the concrete facts of the Vatican legal system’s efficiency, whether they will settle for the pure window dressing currently implemented by AIF president Brulhart and IOR president De Franssu.

A rough translation from the original Italian with the aid of Google Translate.

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Thu, 02 Feb 2017 00:00:00 GMT
<![CDATA[ Immigration Poll: Who do you support, President Trump or the US Bishops? ]]>
Immigration Poll: Who do you support, President Trump or the US Bishops?

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Tue, 31 Jan 2017 00:00:00 GMT
<![CDATA[ On The Maltese Guidelines' Troubling Similarity to 1930 Lambeth Decision ]]>
On Maltese Guidelines' Troubling Similarity to Lambeth Decision

By Andrew Parrish


One thing about the Maltese bishops’ document on Amoris Laetitia that does not seem, as yet, to have been sufficiently emphasized by anyone is the similarity of its argument to that put forward in the infamous Lambeth Decision of 1930 on contraception. In fact, the two statements, in justifying themselves, use almost identical phrases:

               Our role is patiently to help them to form and enlighten their own conscience, in order that they themselves may be able to make an honest decision before God and act according to the greatest good possible (see AL 37).

               [If]… a separated or divorced person who is living in a new relationship manages, with an informed and enlightened conscience, to acknowledge and believe that he or she are at peace with God, he or she cannot be precluded from participating in the sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist (see AL, notes 336 and 351).

– From the Maltese Bishops’ Document, pages 3 and 7 respectively.

               The bishops answer: “Each couple” must reach their own decision, keeping in view “the spiritual ends for which marriage is ordained” and with “the most careful and conscientious thought, and, if perplexed in mind, after taking competent advice, both medical and spiritual.”

- From the Report of the Anglican Bishops on Lambeth, 1930. The Living Church vol. 117, p. 12.

 (with thanks to Dan Hitchens of The Catholic Herald; emphasis added)


The very fact that the same seemingly innocuous statements are used in Malta which led, in Lambeth, to what is now a total, irretrievable, unmitigated catastrophe, should in and of itself be cause for concern. Advising faithful Anglicans that their own consciences should serve as guides caused, in the span of a mere forty or fifty years, the total acceptance of sexual anything, the implosion of the Anglican succession with the distinction between “tainted” (having ordained women) and “non-tainted” bishops, ordination of homosexual clergy of both genders, near-complete desertion by the laity, and the now-famous unwillingness of Anglican clergy to make a definitive moral pronouncement on anything. Speaking merely empirically, “follow your conscience” is not an idea with a historical record of success.

But there are more arguments than the merely empirical. The great Anglican C.S. Lewis was well aware of the problems that contraception would cause. It was he who formulated, I think, the best answer as to why exactly an over-emphasis on individual conscience is supremely dangerous:

…No one could guess how familiar, and in a sense, how congenial to your soul these [evil] things were, how much of a piece with all the rest: down there, in the dreaming inner warmth, they struck no such discordant note, were not nearly so odd and detachable from the rest of you, as they seem when they are turned into words. – The Problem of Pain, p. 53.

For the great majority of people, “conscience” is easily confused with their own impulse or desire, especially when they are encouraged to look inward, not outward, in order to hear it. There is a certain specific way, as Lewis perfectly encapsulated, in which evil continually excuses itself; in which what we do, just because it is we who do it, doesn’t ever really seem as bad as it is. The continual warping tendency of our sinful, selfish nature confuses our conscience – the evil in our hearts actively fights to put us to sleep, to obscure our grasp of the truth.

When people only rely on their own “interior forum” for moral guidance, it is incredibly easy for them to talk themselves into believing that the right thing to do is what they really wanted to do anyway. This is, of course, even more pressingly true when people are in very painful situations where doing the right thing is hard and tragic – such as being in an illicit second marriage. How easy it will be, in the Communion line in the Malta cathedral, now that no external input is required, to sweat for a few minutes, look at the priest, and decide that one is feeling peace with God after all!

Fallen humans need reality checks to stay off the easy and otherwise inevitable road to Hell. This is what priests, and the whole Church, are for. In many cases, the only purpose and perceived effect of a “well-formed conscience” is to cling desperately to an external and absolute moral truth, against the raging desires of the individual. This is St. Thomas Aquinas’ “synderesis” conception of the conscience: not part of the person himself, but a window into heaven, into the sometimes difficult morality of God.

Such knowledge of one’s own propensity to evil requires self-awareness. This awareness is one of the first things experience teaches to anyone who makes a sincere and intelligent effort to be good. Given a presumption of good faith, it is surprising and sad that the Churchmen defending the “individualist” interpretation of Amoris Laetitia do not seem to know the fundamentals of the moral battle: that we like to sin with our own moral approval, that it is therefore easy for us to talk ourselves into sin, and that in hard cases the voice of conscience is not one of the little appealing voices of our heart but the voice of an external authority, commanding us to do our duty.




... ]]>
Mon, 30 Jan 2017 00:00:00 GMT
<![CDATA[ A Dubia for Luther? ]]>
A Dubia for Luther?

By Andrew Parrish

Is A Dubia Needed for the Luther Question?

Of the two great public controversies presently rocking the Church, one is unquestionably the Amoris Laetitia scandal, and the other is arguably the ongoing effort to salvage Martin Luther. The consistent praise emanating from the Vatican, even in the face of scholars’ reminders about the historical truth, has confused many. It seems, rather than encouraging the ecumenical progress that is its alleged goal, to be furthering a type of indifferent syncretism instead.

As we have been recently reminded: Martin Luther was, among other things, a legendarily bad-tempered and foul-mouthed man, a man who could never admit that he was in the wrong, a violent anti-Semite, self-appointed Biblical editor, a public denier of the authority of the Catholic Church, a renegade priest who abandoned Holy Orders in order to marry, and a preacher whose most famous statement was “Sin boldly”. It is hard to see, even in charity, what sort of Gospel he could possibly be a witness to.

"Be a sinner and sin boldly, but believe and rejoice in Christ even more boldly... No sin will separate us from the Christ, even though we commit fornication and murder a thousand times a day." (From Luther’s letter to Philip Melanchthon, August 1, 1521, LW Vol. 48, pp. 281-282)

Recently Pope Francis has stated that Luther was a “witness to the Gospel”. What, indeed, is a “witness to the gospel?” The Gospel is the revelatory disclosure of Jesus Christ as the Son of God, and God Himself, a figure who by this position holds the ultimate moral authority and possesses the truth upon which the destiny of humanity is dependent. A witness to the Gospel is someone who testifies, by words and actions, to the truth of this revelation. The Catholic Church claims that part of this revelation of Christ, God, is the founding of that Catholic Church as the sole legitimate heir to the moral authority of the same God. How can someone who denies the authority given by the Gospel be a witness to that Gospel?

This is only the latest of many recent efforts to renovate Luther’s reputation. Consider the Jesuit retreat, starring Luther and Ignatius; Cd. Koch’s claim that Luther has already been “rehabilitated” by three popes; Pope Francis’ comments on the subject in Sweden; the infamous “chocolate Luther” at the Vatican; the Pontifical Council affirming Luther’s new exemplary status; and the decision by the Vatican Post Office to issue a commemorative Luther stamp. This recent treatment of Luther by the Church, culminating with the Pope’s recent statement, can be described as adulation, not excommunication.  

Any faithful Catholic viewing this rehabilitation of Luther, in the face of the still-standing ban, is left to wonder. In the absence of a clear explanation, Luther’s treatment is scandalous and confusing – just like that other scandalous and confusing matter taking up so much headline space lately. Perhaps a dubia statement needs to be submitted to the Pope on this matter as well. As a first question, we would offer the following:

How can an excommunicated heretic be a Witness to the Gospel?


... ]]>
Thu, 26 Jan 2017 00:00:00 GMT
<![CDATA[ Cardinal Caffarra on Amoris Laetitia: "Only the blind can deny that there is great confusion in the Church" ]]>

Cardinal Caffarra on Amoris Laetitia:
"Only the blind can deny that
There is great confusion in the Church"

By Andrew Parrish

ROME (Matthew Matzuzzi / Il Foglio) – The archbishop emeritus of Bologna and one of the four cardinal signers of the "dubia" statement, Cardinal Caffara, commented today on the continuing Amoris Laetitia controversy in an interview with the Italian Il Foglio.

"A Church with little attention to doctrine is not a more pastoral Church, just a more ignorant Church," he declares, as part one of a two-pronged argument against the direction which seems to have been taken by the senior Vatican hierarchy. Despite his firm stance, the Cardinal is at particular pains to refute the idea that the four cardinals are deliberately acting to divide the Church.

"The division among pastors is the cause of the letter that we sent to Francis. Not its effect," he says. Not only a cardinal, but a noted moral theologian and a former colleague of Pope St. John Paul II, he declares that "there is for us cardinals the grave duty of advising the Pope in governing the Church. It is a duty and duties are obligations." In this Cd. Caffara upholds the explicit statement of the dubia document, and echoes the public position of both Cd. Burke and Cd. Brandmuller.

"Only the blind can deny that there is great confusion in the Church," he notes, explaining that "to put together a pastoral practice which is not founded and rooted in doctrine means to anchor pastoral practice on arbitrariness." With reference to this point, Caffara addresses arguments such as that of Cd. Christoph Schonborn, who claims that allowing access to Communion for the divorced and remarried is an example of "evolution of doctrine".

"There is no evolution, where there is no contradiction," he boldly asserts. The problem "is to see if the famous paragraphs 300-305 of Amoris Laetitia, and the famous footnote #351, are or are not in contradiction with the previous magisterium of the Popes who have faced the same issue. According to many bishops, it is in contradiction. According to many other bishops, it is not a contradiction but a development. And that’s why we asked for a response from the Pope."

The crux of the dispute is explained by the Cardinal as follows:

"Can the minister of the Eucharist (usually a priest) give the Eucharist to a person living as husband and wife with a woman or man who is not his wife or her husband, and who does not intend to live in continence? There are only two answers: Yes or No. No one calls into question that Familiaris Consortio, Sacramentum Caritatis, the Code of Canon Law and the Catechism of the Catholic Church respond to the above question: No. This No is valid while the faithful does not propose to abandon the status of cohabitation. Does Amoris Laetitia teach that, given certain specific circumstances and while undertaking a journey, the faithful may approach the Eucharist without commitment to continence? There are bishops who have the impression that this is so. As a simple matter of logic, then [the document] should also teach that adultery is not in and of itself evil. It is not relevant to plead ignorance or a mistake about the indissolubility of marriage, facts which are unfortunately widespread. These things have an interpretive value, not one of policy. They should be used as methods to discern the eligibility of actions already completed, but they cannot be the principle for actions which have yet to be taken. The priest has the duty to enlighten the ignorant and correct the errant."

The other fundamental point of the dubia presented to the Pope, which is the theoretical basis of the more immediate problem explained above by the Cardinal, concerns the question of the existence of intrinsically evil acts. This problem, the Cardinal holds, has beenclearly answered in the encyclical Veritatis Splendor.

"One of the fundamental teachings of the document," said the Cardinal, "is that there are acts which, for themselves and in themselves, regardless of the circumstances in which they are made and the proposed scope of the agent, can be classified as dishonest. He adds that denying this fact can lead to denying the logic of martyrdom (cf. Nn. 90-94). Not only would there be no reason to die for faith if the circumstances made apostasy blameless, but the underlying spirit, in which it is better to suffer anything than execute a particular act, is rendered senseless. This therefore raises the question, just as controversial in Amoris Laetitia, of conscience.

As the Cardinal demonstrates: "There is a passage of Amoris Laetitia, at No. 303, which is not clear; it seems – I repeat: it seems – to admit the possibility that there is a true judgment of conscience (not invincible from error; this has always been accepted by the Church) in contradiction with what the Church teaches with regards to the deposit of divine Revelation. It seems. And so we put the question to the Pope." Finally, Cardinal Caffara adds a sobering warning: "Do not ever say to someone: ‘Always follow your conscience’, without always and immediately adding: ‘Love and seek the truth about the good.’ They would put the weapon most destructive of his humanity into his hands."  

This is a rough translation of excerpts of the original article.

... ]]>
Sat, 14 Jan 2017 00:00:00 GMT
<![CDATA[ Is Pope Francis aware of the gravity of the dubia situation? ]]>
Is Pope Francis aware of the gravity of the dubia situation?

By Andrew Parrish

ROME ( – The painful tension of doubt grows stronger with each day that Pope Francis refuses to answer the questions posed by the “Four Cardinals” regarding His Holiness’ statement on marriage, Amoris Laetitia. The doubt itself has metastasized dramatically since the “dubia” letter’s release two months ago. As Church hierarchy continues to publicly declare allegiance with one or the other side, giving strength to the impression of a fractured Church, the unnecessary viciousness of Papal confidants’ rebukes to the Four, strange rumors of a Pope “boiling with rage,” a “police-state Vatican atmosphere,” and Francis apparently declaring he will “go down in history as the divider of the Church,” have all led to rapidly increasing fear and concern in this bizarre and twisting story. Most puzzling of all, to those desperately trying to preserve the benefit of the doubt, is the Pope’s continued silence. It is thus worth asking, with’s Giuseppe Nardi, whether Pope Francis really understands the gravity of the situation.

Undeterred by what appear to be punitive measures from the Vatican, Cardinal Burke has pressed forward with his public presentation of the case against the Pope. He has stated that he is acting only for the benefit of the Church, and indeed, the good of the Holy Father himself. To protect the Church and the Holy Father from the dangers of doctrinal error, now evident in (for example) the San Diego interpretation of AL, Burke and his colleagues will publish a formal act of correction of the Pope, as early as January 6, 2017, the feast of the Epiphany. Such a formal act will declare definitively that, if the Pope were to hold a heretical theological position on Eucharistic reception, he would be wrong to do so and that such can never be the teaching of the Church. Burke has recently reemphasized that the statement is not declaring the Pope to be a heretic, nor does Burke himself claim to believe that the Pope is a heretic.

Faced with this situation, the Vatican’s decidedly odd reaction has been sporadic sniping from “close confidants” of the Pope, through interviews, press conferences, and of all things, Twitter. With the exception of Greek Bishop Papamanolis‘ letter, which blasted the four Cardinals as “heretics”, the approach has been to ignore or downplay the severity of the dubia itself, the gravity of the theological problem, and the looming threat of correction.

Now, however, as Nardi notes, someone in the Papal circle is finally taking notice. Andrea Tornielli has written a piece for Vatican Insider in which he directly addresses Cd. Brandmüller’s “camera caritatis” remarks of this week. The article fails to maintain the official tone of dismissal, demonstrating the Vatican's full knowledge of the crisis. Nardi points out that the attack is twofold: first, Tornielli attempts to drive a wedge between Burke and the other cardinals, and second, he attempts to downplay the “punishment” itself. Neither attempt is sustained by the facts, of which both sides are now fully aware.

Tornielli claims that Brandmüller’s “private, fraternal correction” remarks somehow undermine Burke’s statements. But, Brandmüller notes, Burke has not contradicted this idea. Even if Burke "expressed his own opinion in complete independence," Brandmüller’s statements are as firm and uncompromising as Burke’s – indeed, more so. It was Cardinal Brandmüller who said seven days ago that “anyone who considers continued adultery and reception of Communion to be compatible is a heretic and pursues schism.” Stronger words could not be uttered. The wedge attack thus breaks apart – the four Cardinals stand together in their grasp of the problem's gravity.

Tornielli does not make much of an effort to pursue the other prong of his argument. By describing Cardinal Burke’s remarks on the correction as an “ultimatum,” he implicitly acknowledges the gravity of the ongoing impasse. According to what we now know of current Papal politics, this means that the Pope does as well. Tornielli attempts to argue that there is no justification by precedent for an act of fraternal correction; in the very statement he is critiquing, Cd. Burke mentions several, including arguably the primary example, Paul’s public correction of Peter in the Acts of the Apostles. Thus the second half of the argument falls flat as well.

The weakness, indirectness, and irrelevance of the Vatican’s responses to the dubia statement have proven to all but the most charitable that Pope Francis knows what he is trying to do with Amoris Laetitia. Now, the Vatican’s response to the impending formal act of correction indicates that the Pope is fully aware of the blow to his plans that such an act would represent. Above all, his alleged statement that ‘he may divide the Church’ would demonstrate his awareness. In the absence of a positive statement from the Holy Father, divination of the true state of affairs in Rome can only proceed by such negative deductions.

The choice of this strange and unpleasant path has driven the Holy Father into a corner. By verbally abusing those who have opposed him, and permitting his aides and friends to conduct similar abuse, he has escalated the gravity of the crisis, removed any ‘middle-ground’ possibilities, and sharpened the conflict over the theological question. Further obscure hints in the last few weeks have indicated that Pope Francis has considered the possibility of stepping down, in order to escape the self-imposed trap; no official statement has come forth. It seems, therefore, that the confrontation in January has been made inevitable. It is a sad situation. May God help all parties in the dispute, and bring good out of the result.

Giuseppe Nardi’s original article (in German) can be read here.

... ]]>
Fri, 30 Dec 2016 00:00:00 GMT
<![CDATA[ Poll: Is Christmas Still Under Attack? ]]>
Poll: Is Christmas Still Under Attack?

... ]]>
Thu, 15 Dec 2016 00:00:00 GMT
<![CDATA[ Archbishop of Santiago Ordains Gay Couple ]]>
Archbishop of Santiago ordains two homosexuals to priesthood, knowing they were a couple

By Andrew Parrish

SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA, Spain – A new low for the Catholic Church in Spain has been reached with the ordination of a homosexual couple to the priesthood by Archbishop Julian Barrio of Santiago de Compostela. These men, part of an ordination class of six, are not only active homosexuals but are in a public relationship with each other. According to the original story by InfoVaticana, the parishioners of Santiago were presented with their ongoing relationship in some form of “coming out” ceremony. Their ordination has caused consternation among the faithful congregation and clergy at this major center of European Catholicism.

The setting of the Cathedral of Santiago for this travesty is the source of tremendous irony. Santiago is the destination of the Camino of St. James, a path walked by Catholic pilgrims from all over Europe for centuries in penance for their sins. It is a path for those who acknowledge their sinfulness before God, and strive to become more like Him through the discipline of their bodies. St. James himself, whose bones lie under the Cathedral, was the first Apostle to die for the faith, a man who refused to give up orthodoxy even to death. Now two men who are not qualified to receive Holy Orders, and are in open defiance of the authority they have claimed to submit to, have been enlisted into the Church’s service in this place of penance, obedience and sanctity.

The Archbishop cannot claim to have been unaware either of the status of the two or of the Church’s clear teaching on this question. Even Pope Francis, whose moderate tone on homosexuality is widely known, has just expressly approved the new Vatican document on seminary formation, which explicitly reiterates that homosexuals cannot be ordained as priests. Regarding the men themselves (whose identities are undisclosed), InfoVaticana further reports that one of the Archbishop’s vicars had visited the house in which the two men are cohabiting, only a few days before the ordination. This, and the fact that they had publicly declared their orientation and relationship to the local community, indicate that the Archbishop was well aware of what he presided over. The incident has not passed over quietly and is rumored to have already reached the ears of the Vatican Congregation for the Clergy, who may cause the early retirement of Archbishop Barrio from the Archdiocese of Compostela.

This is only the latest in a long series of LGBT-related incidents which have come out of Spain in the past few months. The Spanish public climate is currently dominated by the LGBT cause, with programs of indoctrination at school widely implemented and draconian hate speech laws recently established. In the face of this violent, militant movement, the Church in Spain has been repeatedly rocked by homosexual scandals even as it tries to put up some resistance. The bishop of Saragossa, Manuel Urena, was relieved of his post in 2014 for a scandal involving a deacon.

Barrio himself was involved in another 2014 scandal, a tabloid affair in which an electrician stole the priceless Book of St. James from the Cathedral and hid it at his house. At trial, the worker revealed the existence of a series of notebooks which contained anecdotes of widespread and institutionalized sexual abuse in the Archdiocese, recounted to him by local seminarians and priests. This stunning revelation, also documented by InfoVaticana, was entered into court evidence and subsequently dropped into obscurity. No further investigation appears to have taken place. At the time, InfoVaticana alleged that such incidents were part of the reason why the bishops of Spain had not taken any stance on the LGBT censorship law - still under consideration at the time - when it seemed clearly their duty to oppose it, not only from the standpoint of sexual morality but also from that of religious freedom.

What can justly be inferred from these incidents, and this latest in particular, is that the Spanish Church has a problem confronting homosexuality as required by the teachings of Catholicism. It remains to be seen what the consequences of ordaining both members of a homosexual couple to the priesthood will be – for the Archbishop, for the complicit clergy in the diocese, for the new priests themselves, and for the innocent Catholics among whom these two have been set loose. 

... ]]>
Wed, 14 Dec 2016 00:00:00 GMT
<![CDATA[ No Church or Priest Necessary for France's Civil Baptisms ]]>
No Church or Priest Necessary for France's Civil Baptisms

By Andrew Parrish

Dec. 12, 2016

(C. Doody / BBC) – No church, priest, Bible, or water, presided over only by “Marianne,” the female symbol of the French Republic: this is the way civil baptisms are performed in France, in a rite which dates back more than 200 years and traces its origin to the humanistic Revolution. Its practice is now on the rise, seen as a way to affirm the humanist values of the French Republic at a time when they are perceived to be under threat.

Rachid and Emmanuelle Bensaci are two parents who decided to baptize their daughter, Tessa, in the Republican rite. The solemn ceremony took place on the 9th of October, in the town hall of Cormot-le-Grand, near Dijon in Central France. The mayor, Marc Denizot, wearing the tricolor band of the French Republic, presided over the ceremony. Tessa was baptized and sponsored by Julie and Valerie, the godmothers and friends of the parents. This symbolized the reception of the one-month-old into the republican community of France. The civil baptism or sponsorship is on the rise in many of the mayorships of the country.

“For us, civil or republican baptism corresponds to our convictions and commitments as French citizens and citizens of the world,” Rachid told BBC World. “We believe in the universal values of the French Republic in relation to religion; I and my wife are personally agnostic. Baptism fits our humanistic and republican values. . . It’s very official, but has no legal character. It is for love, brotherhood and friendship that we entrust our child to our friends,” he said.

His wife Emmanuelle added, “For me it is a way to have the advantages of religious patronage, that is, that a child should be the protégé of people other than his parents, but in a secular way. It is important that our child should have protectors who are not her parents.”
The rite with which such lay baptisms are celebrated does not have an obligatory norm. In most cases, the mayor officiates, and in most cases it is attended by relatives and close friends of the child’s parents. So it was for Tessa Bensaci.

“You can call it a kind of party,” says Rachid. “The mayor prepares a room where - as, for example, in weddings – you must have the image of Marianne, the symbol of the republic. They deliver some documents to sign, even if they have no legal value.”

“The mayor explained why we were there and then gave the floor to the godfathers or godmothers, who give a speech with much love and friendship, profound sentiments about how they will accompany our son: it is a moral commitment. Then, the mayor says a few words and at the end, with the consent of the parents, he declares the godparents and they sign the documents,” he added.

The origin of this rite – whose formula has been evolving – must be sought in the aftermath of the French Revolution of the late 18th century. According to the most widespread version of the story, the National Assembly, headed by Robespierre, adopted a law instituting the practice of civil patronage on June 8th, 1794. By the same account, it was Robespierre himself who celebrated the first baptisms of this type in Paris.

“There has not always been the same story about this baptism. The terminology and the story of its origin vary . . . and, as far as I know, it does not exist in other countries,” says the ethnologist Rachel Guidoni, who notes the almost mythical character of the origin story of civil baptism.

“The original significance is that, after the French Revolution, they wanted to reintroduce rites, especially rites of initiation, but without the religious content they had had previously. They wanted to create secular, republican rites – and with reference to rites of initiation, in the Catholic tradition, that is baptism,” she adds in conversation with BBC World.

In addition to this character as “rite of passage”, the civil baptism is also used as a tool by groups which support undocumented migrants, to make the living conditions of such people visible.

“It is a way of pressuring the prefect into regularizing the situation of the person being sponsored,” suggests Emmanuelle. “Papers are not automatically granted, but [sponsorship] can have an impact when their dossier is reviewed, though it does not always happen,” Rachid adds.

More than 200 years after French revolutionary fervor has faded, and virtually forgotten for decades, the civil baptism is gaining adherents once more. At the moment, a draft law is under consideration that will introduce formalization of the civil rite. There is no official count of how many republican baptisms are performed annually in France, but a recent article published by the newspaper Le Monde provides some clues. In Lyons, 181 ceremonies were held in 2015. In Nantes, there were 135, an increase of 15% from 2014. In Paris, where 13 of 20 district councils offer this service, there were 325 civil baptisms.

For Rachid, republican baptism is an act vindicating equality in the fact of the identity conflicts which, in his view, are alive in France.

“For us this is a possible response to cultural, religious or other discrimination. In my case, I am of Maghreb origin, of the Arab culture, a Muslim and a Berber. My wife is from a Christian culture. We have decided that our son should have the lay values of the republic, and that is a complete response to the current problem,” he said. “The republican baptism was born in the French Revolution to confirm that, beyond the Church, and within the framework of the separation of Church and State, the republic can have moral values; that morality is not the unique heritage of religion.”

Translated from the original Spanish with the aid of Google Translate. 

... ]]>
Tue, 13 Dec 2016 00:00:00 GMT
<![CDATA[ No Church or Priest Necessary for France's Civil Baptisms ]]>
No Church or Priest Necessary for France's Civil Baptisms

By Andrew Parrish

Dec. 12, 2016

(C. Doody / BBC) – No church, priest, Bible, or water, presided over only by “Marianne,” the female symbol of the French Republic: this is the way civil baptisms are performed in France, in a rite which dates back more than 200 years and traces its origin to the humanistic Revolution. Its practice is now on the rise, seen as a way to affirm the humanist values of the French Republic at a time when they are perceived to be under threat.

Rachid and Emmanuelle Bensaci are two parents who decided to baptize their daughter, Tessa, in the Republican rite. The solemn ceremony took place on the 9th of October, in the town hall of Cormot-le-Grand, near Dijon in Central France. The mayor, Marc Denizot, wearing the tricolor band of the French Republic, presided over the ceremony. Tessa was baptized and sponsored by Julie and Valerie, the godmothers and friends of the parents. This symbolized the reception of the one-month-old into the republican community of France. The civil baptism or sponsorship is on the rise in many of the mayorships of the country.

“For us, civil or republican baptism corresponds to our convictions and commitments as French citizens and citizens of the world,” Rachid told BBC World. “We believe in the universal values of the French Republic in relation to religion; I and my wife are personally agnostic. Baptism fits our humanistic and republican values. . . It’s very official, but has no legal character. It is for love, brotherhood and friendship that we entrust our child to our friends,” he said.

His wife Emmanuelle added, “For me it is a way to have the advantages of religious patronage, that is, that a child should be the protégé of people other than his parents, but in a secular way. It is important that our child should have protectors who are not her parents.”
The rite with which such lay baptisms are celebrated does not have an obligatory norm. In most cases, the mayor officiates, and in most cases it is attended by relatives and close friends of the child’s parents. So it was for Tessa Bensaci.

“You can call it a kind of party,” says Rachid. “The mayor prepares a room where - as, for example, in weddings – you must have the image of Marianne, the symbol of the republic. They deliver some documents to sign, even if they have no legal value.”

“The mayor explained why we were there and then gave the floor to the godfathers or godmothers, who give a speech with much love and friendship, profound sentiments about how they will accompany our son: it is a moral commitment. Then, the mayor says a few words and at the end, with the consent of the parents, he declares the godparents and they sign the documents,” he added.

The origin of this rite – whose formula has been evolving – must be sought in the aftermath of the French Revolution of the late 18th century. According to the most widespread version of the story, the National Assembly, headed by Robespierre, adopted a law instituting the practice of civil patronage on June 8th, 1794. By the same account, it was Robespierre himself who celebrated the first baptisms of this type in Paris.

“There has not always been the same story about this baptism. The terminology and the story of its origin vary . . . and, as far as I know, it does not exist in other countries,” says the ethnologist Rachel Guidoni, who notes the almost mythical character of the origin story of civil baptism.

“The original significance is that, after the French Revolution, they wanted to reintroduce rites, especially rites of initiation, but without the religious content they had had previously. They wanted to create secular, republican rites – and with reference to rites of initiation, in the Catholic tradition, that is baptism,” she adds in conversation with BBC World.
In addition to this character as “rite of passage”, the civil baptism is also used as a tool by groups which support undocumented migrants, to make the living conditions of such people visible.

“It is a way of pressuring the prefect into regularizing the situation of the person being sponsored,” suggests Emmanuelle. “Papers are not automatically granted, but [sponsorship] can have an impact when their dossier is reviewed, though it does not always happen,” Rachid adds.

More than 200 years after French revolutionary fervor has faded, and virtually forgotten for decades, the civil baptism is gaining adherents once more. At the moment, a draft law is under consideration that will introduce formalization of the civil rite. There is no official count of how many republican baptisms are performed annually in France, but a recent article published by the newspaper Le Monde provides some clues. In Lyons, 181 ceremonies were held in 2015. In Nantes, there were 135, an increase of 15% from 2014. In Paris, where 13 of 20 district councils offer this service, there were 325 civil baptisms.

For Rachid, republican baptism is an act vindicating equality in the fact of the identity conflicts which, in his view, are alive in France.

“For us this is a possible response to cultural, religious or other discrimination. In my case, I am of Maghreb origin, of the Arab culture, a Muslim and a Berber. My wife is from a Christian culture. We have decided that our son should have the lay values of the republic, and that is a complete response to the current problem,” he said. “The republican baptism was born in the French Revolution to confirm that, beyond the Church, and within the framework of the separation of Church and State, the republic can have moral values; that morality is not the unique heritage of religion.”

... ]]>
Tue, 13 Dec 2016 00:00:00 GMT
<![CDATA[ Poll: What is your opinion of President Elect Trump's cabinet picks to date? ]]>
Poll: What is your opinion of President Elect Trump's cabinet picks to date?

... ]]>
Thu, 08 Dec 2016 00:00:00 GMT
<![CDATA[ Meeting held in Rome to discuss Amoris Laetitia: Schneider, Burke, Brandmüller in attendance ]]>
Meeting held in Rome to discuss Amoris Laetitia: Schneider, Burke, Brandmüller in attendance

By Andrew Parrish

December 12, 2016

ROME (Jeanne Smits) – As the heart of Rome vibrated on Monday evening, prelates and scholars gathered in a room at the foot of the Basilica of Saint Balbine, a few steps from the Baths of Caracalla. Convened at the invitation of the Lepanto Institute, the private meeting centered around Bishop Athanasius Schneider, who has made headlines recently with his outspoken support of the “dubia” published in hopes of clarifying the Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia. Two of the Cardinals who authored that statement were present: Cardinal Burke and Cardinal Brandmüller; and the theme of the meeting was precisely that question. It is a theme which has agitated the Church, in which the supreme authority on earth, the Vicar of Christ, has refused to make clear crucial points concerning the morality of marriage, access to the Eucharist, sin and intrinsically evil acts, and the existence of an immutable truth.

The meeting was by invitation only, given the crowd that was expected - and the crowd that was actually present - but it was not clandestine. In the Catholic Church, there is no place for conspiracies; everything is said openly, in “transparency” and loyalty, as Professor Roberto de Mattei, host of the gathering, rightly reminded us. Journalists were invited to attend and “cover” the event: in particular Sandro Magister, who brought the four cardinals’ letter to the pope to the world’s attention.

Monsignor Schneider’s keynote address, on fidelity to the tradition of the Church and its moral teaching, was important in many ways. We will return to it in due course, but what we must say at the outset is that the event on Monday was precisely that – an event. What is newsworthy is the existence of a meeting that attracted cardinals, bishops, priests, seminarians, religious in large numbers, and lay people alike, all anxious to defend the immutable truth of Christ, specifically His words on marriage.

Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke and Cardinal Walter Brandmüller, these prelates, these princes of the Church, who do not feel permitted to withdraw from the perils of exposing Amoris Laetitia’s ambiguities, held the places of honor. Let us clearly state: It is impossible to deny that these ambiguities are dangerous, as evidenced by several bishops’ and conferences’ interpretations openly considering access to Communion for the divorced and remarried, while their original matrimonial bond is valid, not declared null, and without requiring that they live in continence.

Many priests were present: priests in cassocks, the old and the young – especially the young! Sixty or eighty priests, coming as neighbors or from afar, anxious above all to find authorities expressing the Catholic truth, but also the assurance of not being alone. Times are “tumultuous”, as Cardinal Burke said in his remarks following Archbp. Schneider’s lecture; It is a time when it is good to find oneself in a community, fortified and encouraged by the perseverance and strength of one’s fellow men. This was the state of mind, for example, of Bishop Andreas Laun of Salzburg, whom the French know well from his participation in the Parisian Marches for Life.

I saw Dutch priests coming from far away in every sense of the word: from a country in religious agony, where fidelity to the Magisterium is rare and two churches close every week. “How many opened mosques?” I asked. “Two a week.” There was a deliberate displacement. Just like that priest from Ireland.

How do we leave such an event? Moved, grateful, fortified. In any case, this was how I lived it: with the certainty that our Lord, beyond the vicissitudes, supports and preserves His spouse, the Church, despite all her tribulations. The vibrant Credo, sung by the audience to close the meeting, summarized this in a more than symbolic way.

Translated from the original French with the aid of Google Translate.

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Wed, 07 Dec 2016 00:00:00 GMT
<![CDATA[ Advent: Week II - Fr. George Rutler ]]> Advent: Week II

By Fr. George Rutler


   It was a privilege years ago to know the English theologian Alec Vidler, a colorful and even eccentric character whose long beard amused the Queen when he was her chaplain and whose religious views irritated many. He was a good friend of C.S. Lewis and, especially, Malcolm Muggeridge who agreed to disagree with him. Although his interpretation of some of the Scriptures could be vague, he was impatient with superficial religiosity. After a lecture tour in the United States, his impression of churches there was that most preaching boiled down to friendly clergymen saying, “Might I suggest that you try to be good.”

   In this he echoed the Reformed Church theologian Helmut Richard Niebuhr, whose understanding of doctrine was loose, but who disdained the superficiality of those who reduced the Gospel to a set of guidelines for social progress.  He summed up that sort of vacuous theology in his 1937 book, The Kingdom of God in America: “A God without wrath brought men without sin into a kingdom without judgment through the ministrations of a Christ without a cross.”

   That is not the Christ that Michelangelo painted in the Sistine Chapel after the trauma of the Sack of Rome. Christ the Judge is shown in the Second Coming separating the saved from the damned. Mercy and Judgment are in his hands, one raised and one lowered, rather like the civil icon of Daniel Chester French’s statue of Lincoln with one hand in calm repose and the other clenched.

   A Kingdom without Judgment is a madhouse, for the inability to make right judgments is the very definition of insanity. Christ loves his brethren too much to pretend that there is neither right nor wrong. As Advent prepares for the celebration of Christ’s birth into time and space, it preaches about Death, Judgment, Heaven and Hell. One is free to ignore those “Last Things,” but that would be to share the perpetual adolescence of people who erase Advent from their minds as they put up Christmas trees and try to celebrate weeks ahead of the solemn declaration of the Incarnation.

   The Second Sunday of Advent is about Christ as Judge of the World. He is the surest cure for moral madness. “He is before all things, and by him all things are held together” (Colossians 1:17). By way of corollary, without him all things fall apart: civilizations as well as souls. Societies then do crazy things, just as souls misuse the intellect to lie and the free will to choose evil.

   To be a saint means in fact to be sane. And to be sane is to be able to pray as we do in Advent: “Give us the grace, Lord, to be ever on the watch for Christ your Son. When he comes and knocks at our door, let him find us alert in prayer, joyfully proclaiming his glory.”

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Mon, 05 Dec 2016 00:00:00 GMT
<![CDATA[ Poll: Should Pope Francis respond to the Dubia submitted by the four cardinals? ]]>

Poll: Should Pope Francis Respond to the
'Dubia' submitted by the four cardinals?


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Thu, 01 Dec 2016 00:00:00 GMT
<![CDATA[ Trans-ability: The Final Frontier? ]]>
Trans-ability: The Final Frontier?

By Andrew Parrish

As the “long march” rolls on through society, many have been astonished by the ever-increasing pace and complexity of new changes in morality, language and social order. First the revolution of “free love” swept all before it. Then came the turn of the homosexuals. Now that they have won public acceptance, the so-called “transgendered” have in turn taken up the fight. Pewsitter has covered some of the societal consequences of the LGBT+ movement in recent weeks, and examined how this movement’s cry for tolerance turns out to hide nothing other than a new totalitarian order.

The latest front in the war is what is being called “trans-ability”: “the desire or the need for a person identified as able-bodied by other people to transform his or her body to obtain a physical impairment,” according to academic Alexandre Baril of Dalhousie University. Those who are trans-abled believe that they wrongly inhabit a properly functioning body, and that they will feel more comfortable with themselves if they remove an eye, a leg, both legs, their genitalia, and so forth. The number of people worldwide who have been discovered to suffer from this problem is currently less than one hundred, according to expert Clive Baldwin, with the majority living in Switzerland or Germany.

Toronto’s National Post first broke this story in June of last year, covering the story of “One Hand Jason,” a Canadian man who had practiced for months on butcher shop meat, taught himself emergency medicine, and finally lopped off his own arm with a power tool in an apparent accident, all to satisfy his nagging feeling that he should not have it. According to the original story, many of the people who suffer from this desire also stage “accidents” to relieve themselves of the psychic burden – and part of their body. Transability was added to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V) in 2013 in the “emerging” section, and classified as “body integrity identity disorder”.

It is not surprising that the disabled community, who have no choice but to live with impairments, are disgruntled by this movement; it is surprising, however, that the transgender community also initially reacted by distancing itself from the transabled. “They tend to see transabled people as dishonest people, people who try to steal resources from the community, people who would be disrespectful by denying or fetishizing or romanticizing disability reality,” Baril says. According to the National Post piece, he “believes the transgender community distances itself because it has worked very hard to de-pathologize what’s known as ‘gender dysphoria,’ and sought its removal from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.”

After this initial reaction, the academic community began to draw the parallels between transgenderism and ‘transableism’ – perhaps bowing to the necessity of the obvious. Both groups seek surgery, feel “trapped in the wrong body,” discover their unhappiness at a young age, do not feel whole, and feel that their external appearance does not match their “identity.” As this paper in the Disability Studies Quarterly notes, the problem is the Hippocratic Oath, which prevents surgeons from operating on patients to make their bodies function less well – the hateful idea that some bodies function better than others.

Such rewritings of fundamental concepts in the institutions of society are destructive to those institutions, as recent history proves. The overriding of the framework of civil society in favor of individuals’ “rights” has already destroyed the profession of psychology, demonstrated in the striking of homosexuality from the DSM-III in 1973. Now, with assisted suicide and the calls of the trans-abled for “deconstructive” surgery, the profession of medicine is next in line to be formally rendered meaningless. “Activist judges” have muddied and lost the central concept of common law, which is that such law is based on the universally accessible truth of human nature; without such a foundation common law has become nothing more than an additional metric of current public opinion.

The few pieces of rubble left standing from the institution of marriage (and its core, human sexuality) are being carefully kicked apart. Group marriages are practically a settled question, as recent Ontario legislation has redefined marriage as a contract-based civil association of up to four individuals. Pedophilia, which is perhaps the last true taboo remaining in Western society, is abhorred based on the lack of legal consent of the minor party. Efforts to convince the public that minors do have the power to consent, based on their well-documented sexual activity, are already underway. Pedophiles are represented by advocacy organizations in most major Western countries, and there is no philosophical reason they will not succeed.

There are no limits left in Western society, and here is the reason why. Setting aside its repressiveness, the liberation movement, without a grounding conception of human nature and based on the principle that any desire has its corresponding oppression and right, has no clearly defined point of closure. The chief desire it serves also has no limits; this desire is not lust, but rather imagination.

Human imagination has always sought to freely mold what is real to its desires, a power that has worked great good in history – but which is now entirely unchained from any limitation by modern philosophy. Aided by modern technology, that unlimited imagination claims more real physical power than ever before. However, the imagination’s desires are first suggested by parts of the personality of which individuals are themselves unaware. What has really been legitimized as the rightful victor over social order is the subconscious, and the sub- and pre-rational impulses that it demands a voice for. The desire to be someone of a different gender, and the desire to be someone of a different bodily structure, are both confusions, powerful subconscious wounds which ought to be healed and integrated, not exacerbated and given real power. As the trans-abled movement demonstrates, the last remaining institution for the movement to march through is the mental hospital.

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Thu, 01 Dec 2016 00:00:00 GMT
<![CDATA[ Catholic Charities Resettled Muslim Who Waged Jihad at Ohio State Univ ]]> Tue, 29 Nov 2016 00:00:00 GMT <![CDATA[ Gender Ideology Is 'Perverse, Totalitarian And Lie-Based Social Re-Engineering' ]]>
Gender Ideology Is 'Perverse, Totalitarian And Lie-Based Social Re-Engineering'

By Andrew Parrish

MADRID, Spain (Carmelo Lopez-Arias) – Feuding with reality and science, gender ideology uses coercion to prevail, as have all totalitarian ideologies, with tactics such as school intimidation, the intrusion into private relations and the persecution of dissidents (see here for Pewsitter's previous piece on the Spanish LGBT 'Gestapo' law).

Wrapped in positive verbiage (fight against violence, discrimination, intolerance), one of the strengths that allow this movement its progress is society's failure to identify it as a fanatical and invasive ideology. The other strength is its negotiation with business, engaging the public budget for the benefit of its promoters and beneficiaries.

A book has just been published to clarify both points: 'When we were forbidden to be women … and persecuted you as men', written by Alice V. Rubio, philologist and phys. ed. teacher in a public school for twenty years. She has written a well-documented and very solid volume that delivers what its subtitle promises: To understand how gender ideology affects us. As she explains, the book is the result both of reflection and of her personal teaching experience.

When did you first hear about this ideology?

Actually, the first thing that I encountered was an irrational and insubstantial interpretation of facts that denoted absolute ignorance of basic notions of anthropology and biology. It happened in the meetings of physical education teachers, during the implementation of the School Championships of the Community of Madrid. It was generally stated that girls' enthusiasm and behavior towards sports were not the same as for boys.

And that surprised them?

I was not surprised at all because I knew the ultimate causes, but it caused them surprise and outrage and attributed it to the inculcated stereotypes, the social roles and the opposition of the parents, who didn't want their daughters to do 'boys'' sports in allegiance to such roles.

The postulates of gender…

There was no talk of gender ideology but the outrage was provoked by the evidence that men and women were still very different, that is, that the desired gender equality had not occurred.

And is sport the most logical place to start imposing it?

The fact that this came from physical education teachers, who daily note the differences between the sexes in behaviors, tastes, interests and abilities especially alarmed me. And although I knew the various causes of these differences, I began to study the social roles in the homes, the imposition of toys, the cause of the choice of forms of exercise and sports, the progressive abandonment of physical activity, as the development of these girls advanced, and their reasons…

With what conclusions?

Nothing that I concluded had to do with the causes advanced by gender ideologues and their followers.

Why did you decide to put that study into a book?

Because I realized that many people did not know the deep reasons for the differences in behaviors, tastes, desires, interests, abilities and perceptions between men and women, and because, as I was collecting data, I began to draw the outline of a perverse social reengineering, totalitarian and based on lies. And it had to be told.

What is natural in the field of games or sports?

One of the objectives of gender totalitarianism is that they play compulsorily together, same in the same things, as they develop the laws of equality. But it is clear that boys and girls play differently, even though in childhood the enormous differences in all the areas that will become evident during sexual development have not yet been clearly determined.

What happens when such children grow up?

In institutions the natural tendency is to establish groups with same-sex peers, who have the same perceptions, tastes and interests, and it is difficult to get mixed groups for certain activities in physical education. As sexual maturation progresses, differences in behavior and in the appearance of leisure and sport become greater, simply because nature determines the behavior of both sexes of the species with respect to their prototypal behavior, suitable to their biological function of species survival: defense of offspring in men with more daring, aggressive and competitive behaviors, and successful embryo development and preservation of their own life in the female, with more cautious and sedentary behaviors.

And these are not just social and cultural roles in which they are educated?

These behaviors are not imposed, but arise from each of the cells of a biologically successful species in the dichotomy of sexes and functions for the survival of that species. And naturally, as this is innate behavior, the struggle for the equalization of men and women is endless and continually demands funds and efforts to eradicate nature.

You argue that feminism ruins femininity…

Feminism was based on the idea of the relationship between the sexes as a struggle between oppressor, male, and oppressed, female, as Engels put it. And oppression is actually the dichotomy of reproductive functions: motherhood is the reason that the female biological role ends up affecting her social role. The woman must get rid of the biological-social role to be the hegemonic sex, must replace it, imitating the man. She must behave like a man, and therefore all the feminine conditioning and characteristics are undesirable. Also on the sexual and reproductive plane: her behavior in sex should not be selective but masculinized and motherhood should not be a barrier to her new position outside her biology. And in the end, all this supposes that she must renounce herself, that she must stop being a woman with all her conditioning and characteristics to stop being oppressed.

Feminism forbids us to be women

Is there a relationship between feminism and increased marital ruptures?
Of course there is a relationship; feminism subverts all biological organization and its ideological corpus of victimhood against an oppressive man by nature makes heterosexual relationships difficult and causes resentment. It is not possible to have a stable relationship with someone whom you consider an oppressor, who only wants to enslave you and deceive you.

And the so-called gender violence?

The subject of gender violence is the legal and punitive materialization of this concept of relations between the sexes. It implies the denial that there are violent women, that there are other victims, that not all men are aggressors … and that the man attacks, mistreats or kills his female partner simply for being a woman, while reality shows us that there are many other reasons: abuse, alcohol, madness, mental illness, economic interests…

Do you deny that there is an essentially 'macho' factor in that kind of violence?

Violence against women solely because they are women and the man feels superior is exceptional in egalitarian countries, but it is applied as the only cause of such violence. And this does increase the ratio of such violent acts … and criminalizes the man, guilty genes.

Is there a link between feminism and homosexuality and gender ideology?

Yes, there is a clear link between gender ideology and the feminist and homosexual lobbies: denial of biology.

You mean the defeminization you mentioned earlier?

The woman has to be like the man and live her sexuality in the same way. Obviously when selling this, you are deceived, so you have to find solutions to that maternity that will come to you by the biology of sexual relations: contraceptives, abortion, and abortifacients or anti-implantatory medicines are the baggage that come with that deception, that we are the same. And all the deterioration of our health that we pay to believe the lie that we can ignore biology, and create ourselves a sexuality and some roles just by wanting it.

And in the case of homosexuality?

The other way to avoid biology (and here are the homosexual lobbies) is homosexual love: lesbian love does not present these conditions, and homosexuals, feminized and without men's sexual desire, are no longer the dangerous animal that oppresses the woman with motherhood, and whose male behavior feminists both hate and imitate. In fact the vast majority of feminist ideologues are lesbians and they are characterized by unnatural hatred of the male.

Who benefits by the implementation of this 'anti-biological' ideology?

The gender ideology is the doctrinal support of feminism and homosexuality and what makes their respective lobbies rich and powerful. Now, we will see if this is benefiting the individual woman and homosexual. Of course, as a woman, I claim that gender ideology and feminism are currently harmful to the real woman.

Another related point: the 'de-masculinization' of men. Are children being educated today with female patterns or are they required as adults to have female behavior patterns?

The demonization of the masculine and the criminalization of the male are two of the results of this ideological delusion that, surprisingly, some men buy into against their own interests; there have always been collaborators with the enemy.

Why do you use the term 'criminalization'?

They are taught to associate violence and masculinity, and to despise behaviors inherent to masculinity. Special emphasis is placed on the fact that the male is emotional, sensitive, non-competitive … although his testosterone and even his brain shape make this difficult. He is criminalized as 'genetically violent', obviating the fact that his role as protector of his offspring has shaped him for millions of years to be perfect in such a role and that he instinctively respects the weak. If the man had been the 'violent female slaughterer' we now say he is, and did not give his life for the survival of his offspring, we would not be here.

And how to re-masculinize men without appearing to claim the violence attributed to them?

It is necessary to reclaim the qualities of men, to make them feel proud to be one, to know themselves and to understand themselves, and to stop pursuing young people with a false vision of man as a genetic malcontent without a solution, which is what is done in the courses against gender violence: create misunderstanding between the sexes, and accuse and discriminate against men.

'Nature always' avenges 'the violations of natural law.' Is 'gender revenge' also beginning to be avenged?

For the moment, it is with a high degree of unhappiness at the individual level, of all the people who have been deceived, who want to be what they are and not put special effort into fighting against their nature.

For example?

Women who have been led to believe that they are like men and try unsuccessfully to be men; men who find themselves criminalized for being what they are … they forbid us to be women, they persecute you for being men.

As in the title of the book…

And without forgetting the children without examples, alone, insecure, sad and unprotected… They are used as children, because, and this is well reflected in the last chapters, the child, who has never had so many rights, has never been so used, deceived and marketed as now.

And why does the educational world so passively accept gender indoctrination, gender perspective, and other verbiage?

Because people do not know what's behind them. This ideology is sold by positive messages, appeal to irrational emotionalism, mass manipulation techniques in the media… Many people have unknowingly accepted this ideology and the manipulation and deception of the media.

What is it behind them that people do not know?

What must be understood is that there is a lot, a lot of money at stake here and the media are given their share of the cake, as are politicians, lobbies and other groups and individuals who then, regardless of the common good while appealing precisely to that ultimate reason, impose laws and indoctrination.

And insults.

We do not want to be branded as sexists, discriminators, homophobes, LGBTphobes, retrograde, carcasses… and the best way to prove that we are not is to allow (presumably) our minors to be taught not to be.

That's bad?

What happens is that they do not teach that, but other things. The explicit aim of gender laws has nothing to do with the tacit objective. I hope that those who read my book will be vaccinated definitively when they see, in the three chapters on manipulation techniques, the 'cardboard of the set'.

'And they’ve all painted that set!' Why so much unanimity among the parties to impose gender ideology? Is there a world design?

The ideology radiates from the UN and now also from the EU (Reports Lunacek, Noichl, Rodrigues). These agencies propose guidelines for action which are only recommendations but which countries sign.

Who fronts the money and who pays it?

Implementing these policies involves large movements of public funds that, with the excuse of fighting against gender violence, gender inequality, women's lack of protection, discrimination against LGBTI people… are used in pressure groups, clientelistic networks, public campaigns that buy the will of the media… there is unanimity because everyone wants their share of the business.

And whoever resists?

As it is sold in messages of good faith, manipulating emotions with false or biased figures and data, they present themselves to society as egalitarian, non-discriminatory, non-sexist, non-homophobic parties… just the adjectives that apply to those who expose the truth of all this business.

Alice Rubio's book is available here (in Spanish).

Translated from the Spanish with the aid of Google Translate.

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Tue, 22 Nov 2016 00:00:00 GMT
<![CDATA[ Spain: Government Encourages Citizens To Inform On Neighbors, Family Members, That Violate LGBT Privileges Law ]]>
Spain: Government Encourages Citizens To Inform On Neighbors, Family Members That Violate LGBT Privileges Law

By Andrew Parrish

CATALONIA, Spain – The Catalonian government, ruled by the pro-independence coalition Junts pel Si, has run advertisements on TV3, a major network, to encourage citizens to anonymously inform on one another when they violate an LGBT privileges law enacted in 2014.

The law, approved by then-president Artur Mas in 2014, is called the 'Law to Eradicate Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia.' The law is peculiar with respect to the body of Western legal tradition in that it reverses the burden of proof: It is the defendant (in this case, anonymously betrayed via telephone) who must prove his innocence. The accused is considered guilty until innocence is demonstrated.

Article 30 of the law reads as follows: 'Reversing the burden of proof: in accordance with the provisions of the procedural and laws governing administrative procedures, when the plaintiff or a person alleges discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression and provides legitimate grounds for suspicion, it is therefore for the defendant, or the one to whom the discriminatory situation is imputed, to provide an objective and reasonable justification, sufficiently proven, of the measures taken and their proportionality.' The Catalan law of LGBT privileges (model for other similar laws in Spain) can be read here in Spanish.

The TV3 ad asks that people call the 012 phone line and inform on their neighbors or anyone who violates this law. 'It is is up to all to avoid situations of discrimination or violence,' says the host of the announcement, Helena Garcia Melero, adding: 'If you have experienced or detected in your environment that these rights have been violated, call 012.' The announcement is paired with images of same-sex couples holding babies. To raise the question of whether the baby is not entitled to a father and mother, for example, could be denounced as 'discriminatory comments.'

Cases of discrimination can be very varied. For example, Article 26 of the law states, 'The owners of establishments open to the public […] are required to prevent access or expel […] persons who violate others in word or deed on grounds of sexual orientation […] and people that publicly exhibit symbols, clothing or objects that incite violence, discrimination or homophobia, biphobia or transphobia.' With this article in hand, you can call 012 and report that in such a local bar a customer came in with 'a symbol that leads to discrimination' (which could be anything) and report that the bar owner did not expel the client as the law requires. Under Article 30, the bar owner will be guilty until proven innocent. Similarly you can denounce teachers, bosses, employees, etc. … simply by calling 012 and asking that they be investigated.

The CatDialeg news portal has published criticism of this law, noting that 'the accusation is contrary to the rule of law and is typical of a regime like National Socialism or Castro… anyone can use the anonymous pleas and this law for personal revenge, and the accused can hardly defend himself and the law considers him guilty until he proves his innocence. Inciting informers, either by letter or television, is a very dangerous action, which imposes distrust among neighbors.'

As of this writing, more than a hundred institutions have signed a document declaring the law to be unconstitutional and attempting to appeal it to the Catalan legal system.

Translated from the Spanish with the aid of Google Translate. Emphasis reproduced from original.

... ]]>
Thu, 10 Nov 2016 00:00:00 GMT
<![CDATA[ Bishop Athanasius Schneider on Communion for the Divorced and Remarried: 'The Pope must stop this; pray that he will' ]]>
Bishop Athanasius Schneider on Communion for the Divorced and Remarried: 'The Pope must stop this; pray that he will'

By James Todd

BERLIN, New Jersey - Bishop Athanasius Schneider was the guest celebrant of the Traditional Latin Mass at Mater Ecclesiae Parish on Sunday, October 23, 2016. Following the Mass Bishop Schneider gave a 40 minute conference on the topic of the Kingship of Christ. A Q and A period followed his presentation, during which time he answered a wide variety of questions related to the current state of the Church and the world.

Mater Ecclesiae, established in October of 2000, was the first canonically established Mission in the United States, owned by a Diocese and staffed exclusively by diocesan priests. All of its liturgies and sacraments are celebrated exclusively using the Traditional Rites of the Church. It is a flourishing parish with many vocations. Over the past 11 years Mater Ecclesiae has generated 7 vocations to the priesthood and religious life. This is a remarkable achievement from a parish that numbers fewer than 500 families.

Catholic Family News previously reported briefly on Bishop Schneider's comments at Mater Ecclesiae. You can find their coverage here. In addition to this report, Bishop Schneider was asked about Amoris Laetitia during the Question and Answer period. He made some very strong statements about communion for the divorced and remarried that are reproduced here by Pewsitter.  

Q.  Your asked for clarification on Amoris Lataetia, do you expect that clarification will eventually be done?

Bishop Schneider:  The clarification of AL for which I asked in April, unfortunately it gets worse.  Even in the diocese of the Pope in Rome in September, his Vicar General, the Cardinal, presented pastoral guidance for implantation which ultimately allowed the divorced to go to communion.

But what we can do, we can in this situation publicly state and confess our faith in the unchanging truth of marriage.  We know that - of the previous and continuous Magisterium of the church.  And there is a good initiative which I would recommend to you on the Internet, Declaration of Fidelity to the unchanging truth of marriage... Declaration of Fidelity, you can find this on the website  And there you can give you signature and support to this. This is a public statement. We maintain firmly the truths that... , and then 27 statements. And then every statement is documented with quotations of the Magisterium, these are not our statements this is the Magisterium.

And I pray that the Pope may at least, issue a thing to the bishops in view of this very grievous situation of the diocese of Rome and other dioceses they already make norms to officially give communion to adulterers.  It is very, very grievous. Very grave. And I think in the face of this situation, in my opinion, the bishops have to make a public request to the Pope to stop this.

Q.  It seems to me that it is difficult to put the genie back in the bottle…. If communion for divorced and remarried people is allowed, how do you put a stop to it?  Is there anyway besides a miracle that this could happen?

Bishop Schneider:  I have already said about the Declaration of Fidelity to spread this.  And next is to pray that the Pope may stop this, and he MUST stop this.  Or the bishops, because the bishops are the colleagues of the Pope, the collegiality.. the bishops are members of the magisterium.  Only the bishops.  And so in my opinion the bishops have in this very serious situation extraordinary, the duty  to admonish the Pope, reverently but publically, to stop this.  And then to pray that God may intervene.

As a footnote, in addition to his comments on Amoris Laetitia, Bishop Schneider was asked a question about the refugee problem in Europe.  That brief exchange is printed below:

Q. Would you share your thoughts on the future of the European Society if the Muslim population continues to grow and expand.

Bishop Schneider:  Yes, it is very serious.  We are witnessing an invasion.  They are not refugees. No this is an invasion.  It is an islamization of Europe which has been going on for 50 – 60 years.  This is a global political agenda by the powerful of the world, to destroy Europe, culturally and religiously, to destroy Christianity ultimately in Europe.

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Fri, 04 Nov 2016 00:00:00 GMT
<![CDATA[ Scholar: Luther Destroyed Theological Truth, Paved The Way For Secularization ]]>
Scholar: Luther Destroyed Theological Truth And Paved The Way For Secularization

By Andrew Parrish

The commemoration of the fifth anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation this year, and Pope Francis' impending ecumenical visit to Sweden, has reignited interest in the life and work of the ex-Augustinian monk Martin Luther (1483-1546). The details of Luther's life are not widely publicized, but many embarrassing aspects of his character were recorded in detail by his contemporaries. In light of various members of the Catholic hierarchy recently seeming to embrace Martin Luther himself, in word and action, the truth about who Martin Luther was and what he thought of the Church should be an important element of the discussion. Fortunately, The Truth about Luther, just published, has been provided by Lutheran scholar and Italian historian Angela Pellicciari. Pellicciari met with Spanish newspaper Alfa y Omega to discuss this new book; the interview is reproduced here in English.

You say one cannot understand Luther without knowing his historical context…

The history of corruption is always the same. In the fourteenth century, after Avignon and the Schism, the Church needed reform. Italy and Spain had already begun this reform, so Luther's influence does not reach these countries, because the life of the Church was healthy. In Germany it was different; Luther succeeded because he was an unscrupulous person, and because he gave absolute power, both temporal and spiritual, to the princes. For him, Holy Orders is not a sacrament, so priests and bishops should not exist; and if they should not exist, to whom should all their properties go? Luther is clear: the German princes. So they took what was, at that time, a third of the assets and property of the German Catholic Church. And this is justified as God's will, that the German princes took advantage to snatch all the Church's possessions. 

So the German princes used Luther as a tool to gain more money and power?
Yes. The Church has always fought against absolute power. Even to martyrdom; in the Roman Empire thousands of martyrs gave their lives because they refused to give to Caesar what is God's. Luther, however, gave to Caesar what is Caesar's – and what is God's!

The greed for money is, from the beginning, part of the problem that generated Luther. This envy and desire of money was created after the French Revolution and the October Revolution, and even today the revolution of gender ideology. Luther is the first revolutionary of history. He is not a reformer, he is a revolutionary.

You mention in the book that Luther had a problem with his sins, and despairing of God's mercy. Did it all start there?

I deal with historical facts, not psychology, but it is clear that Luther was a disturbed person and a narcissist. For example, he was convinced that he was the true interpreter of Christ, who alone could proclaim the pure Gospel.

In addition, he had a visceral hatred of Jews.

He speaks of them as 'the hateful and bloody Jewish people', and in 'On the Jews and Their Lies' asks for 'hard work imposed on the Jews to earn bread by the sweat of their brow.' It is the precursor of Arbeit macht frei (Work makes you free), the phrase that welcomed Jews in Nazi concentration camps. National Socialism had Luther as a parent. In fact, in the 30 Protestant districts of Germany Hitler had a much more favorable reception than in the Catholic districts. Luther was a man dominated by his hatred of Jews and of the Roman Pope.

But Luther did not convince the people…

The German princes used him for independence from Rome and to gain power and money. Since they were in control, Luther's ideas prevailed in Germany – by force, because when peasants rebelled against the princes to recover their rights and medieval customs, Luther sided with the princes and justified the bloodshed that took the lives of 100,000 farmers.

So what, in Luther, gives rise to a political revolution?

He is not a reformer, he is a revolutionary dominated by hatred. He destroyed the society of his time, too. He established a direct relationship between the individual and God, depriving the person of community. In the interiority of our own consciousness, one can make God say anything that comes to mind. He destroys the theological truth, a truth that ended up leaving the Gnostics, and later the philosophers, first without and later against Revelation. Luther wanted to be free in the way that he wanted. He understood freedom as freedom from Rome, but instead subjected himself to the princes. Spinoza and Locke would take this idea of freedom as a basis to establish an enlightened philosophy solely from reason, independent of theological truth, which later developed into Freemasonry.

Is secularization then the next step?

Definitely. He is the founder of Gnosticism. He gives enormous strength to gnosis. His is the modern concept of freedom. He understood freedom as freedom from Rome; the Enlightenment, of reason; the French Revolution, freedom from God; the communist revolution, freedom from the power of God; and gender ideology, freedom from the body. It is Luther who started this process, destroying community ties.

It is also important to say that the concept of freedom in Luther is, paradoxically, the freedom of a slave. Man does what God requires him to do, or what the devil forces him to do. How can you talk so much about freedom when you are a slave? It is pessimism about man, and conceives of God as a monster.

Do you think there is some element of 'Protestantization' among Catholics today?

Of course, just see how everyone independently interprets the Magisterium of the Church. This is a very serious thing, done by laity, priests, and bishops.


The interview has been translated from the original Spanish with the aid of Google Translate.  The original story in Spanish Catholic website, Religionenlibertad, can be found here.

For those interested in learning more about Martin Luther, an additional, long-standing reference work on the subject is The Facts about Luther, by Msgr. Patrick O'Hare LL.D., published by TAN Books.

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Mon, 31 Oct 2016 00:00:00 GMT
<![CDATA[ Bishop With First-Hand Knowledge of Abortion as a Med Student Explains how a Catholic Should Vote this Year ]]>
Bishop With First-Hand Knowledge of Abortion as a Med Student Explains how a Catholic Should Vote this Year

By Andrew Parrish

DENVER, Colorado – With the American presidential election only 27 days away, Archbishop Samuel Aquila of Denver has written a public letter on the Catholic vote. 'The defense of life and religious freedom must be the key issues for a Christian,' he declares. While this is what should be expected from a Catholic bishop, Aquila additionally revealed in 2013 that he witnessed two abortions as a medical student in 1968,  giving him firsthand experience to back his political opinions. Despite the general unpleasantness of this election cycle, a Catholic can still ascertain how to cast the right vote.

Archbishop Samuel Aquila wrote about his experience as a lapsed Catholic medical student in a 2013 pastoral letter commemorating the 40-year anniversary of Roe vs. Wade. He spent three years working in an emergency room as an orderly in the late 1960s. 'When I began the job, I hadn't thought much about human suffering or about human dignity,' he wrote. One day, however, Aquila walked into a surgical unit and saw the body of an aborted baby lying in a sink, forgotten. 'I remember being stunned,' he said. 'I remember thinking I had to baptize that child.'

The second encounter with abortion that Aquila had, however, was even more distressing. A young woman came into the emergency room requiring operation to repair a failed abortion. The future Archbishop watched as the doctor was forced to remove the parts of a baby from the woman's body. 'I witnessed a tiny human being destroyed by violence. The memory haunts me,' the archbishop concluded. 'I will never forget that I stood witness to acts of unspeakable brutality.'

'I witnessed the death of two small people who never had the chance to take a breath. I can never forget that,' he said. 'And I have never been the same. My conscience awakened to the truth of the dignity of the human being from the moment of conception.  I know, without a doubt, that abortion is a violent act of murder and exploitation. And I know that our responsibility is to work and pray without ceasing for its end.'

With this background, the Archbishop addresses the 2016 presidential election in the following terms. 'Both candidates are very poor, have little credibility and have made comments that have ruffled my feathers,' he begins. 'The American people are fed up with politicians and the ruling class of both parties. This being so, what should Catholics do when we vote in November?'

The Democratic party platform demonstrates a ideological commitment to abortion, which must be opposed, the Archbishop points out. Democrats have declared their intention to repeal the Hyde Amendment, which restricts federal funding of domestic abortions, and the Helms Amendment, which restricts federal funding of abortions overseas. He also points out the connection to religious liberty, using as an example the long-standing battle between the U.S. government and the Little Sisters of the Poor to force the religious order's compliance with the Affordable Care Act's abortion and contraceptive provisions.

In contrast, the Republican Party platform supports the Hyde Amendment and, just this year, has strengthened its defense of life, calling for the suspension of funding for Planned Parenthood, prohibiting abortion by dismemberment and opposing assisted suicide. 'The right to life is the most important and fundamental right because life is necessary for any other right or issue. Other issues can be discussed legitimately among Christians – such as what policies are most effective in care for the poor - but every follower of Christ must oppose at all times the inflicted direct killing of an innocent human being,' the Archbishop states.

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Wed, 12 Oct 2016 00:00:00 GMT
<![CDATA[ Spokesman for Mexico Archdiocese: UN is World's Most Active Promoter of Gay and Gender Ideology ]]>
Spokesman for Mexico Archdiocese:
UN is World's Most Active Promoter of Gay and Gender Ideology

By Andrew Parrish

MEXICO CITY, Mexico - Fr. Hugo Valdemar, spokesman for the Archdiocese of Mexico, sharply criticized the U.N. in a Sunday interview with the internal news service of the Mexican Archdiocese. 'The U.N. is the great promoter of the gay dictatorship and the ideology of gender in the world', he said, declaring it 'perverse', 'without moral authority' and 'an instrument of American colonialism'.

The U.N. lacks any moral authority, according to Fr. Valdemar, in the first place because it is financially involved with the business of sex. 'Behind alleged sexual and reproductive rights', he says, 'the U.N. manages a real network of economic interests that have made human sexuality its main market, regardless of the objectification and moral degradation of the person'. The 'most nauseating' of these businesses is, of course, the abortion industry, which takes advantage of U.N. infrastructure to deliver contraceptives and abortion propaganda to developing nations. With this background, 'it was expected that this corrupt institution would try to condemn the parents of families because currently, along with the Catholic Church, they are the main obstacle to carrying out their plans'.

However, in addition to supporting the sex industry, the U.N.'s partisanship extends to attacks on the Catholic Church and on traditional families. 'The Catholic Church and traditional families have suffered a real media lynching', Fr. Valdemar said. 'Who are the haters? Who are the intolerant?' The U.N. supports the organizations CONAPRED and COPRED, which Fr. Valdemar describes as 'a kind of Gestapo' that '[censor] any idea dissenting of gay culture, which is shamelessly promoted under the banner of tolerance'. This explicit agenda originates with the United States, which in its embassies' gay activism commits 'gross interventions in the sovereignty of a country'. In its support for such aggressiveness, 'the U.N. acts in an outrageously irresponsible and perverse way, making victims of those who have actually been the victimizers'. From all this, Fr. Valdemar states, it is clear that the U.N. is 'at the orders' of the gay and gender 'dictatorship'.

The original interview, in Spanish, can be read here.

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Tue, 11 Oct 2016 00:00:00 GMT
<![CDATA[ New Interview: Cardinal Raymond Burke Says Islam Is A Danger ]]>
New Interview: Cardinal Raymond Burke Says Islam Is A Danger

By Andrew Parrish

The following is a rough translation using Google Translate of an interview of Cardinal Burke which originally appeared in Il Giornale on 10.4.16

An Islam that wants to conquer the world, black flags pointed at Rome, immigration that subverts population majorities, Christians under fire even in the West, no alternative to traditional families, and Vladimir Putin’s conversion are some highlights of Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke’s exclusive interview with the Journal ( watch video ). Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta and member of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, the Cardinal from Wisconsin, born in 1948, is the standard-bearer of the traditional church. He does not ever pronounce a word against Pope Francis, but throughout the interview, navigates out of the chorus of political correctness, beginning the defense of the traditional family with a good offense.

In 2016, are Christians still being persecuted?

'In certain parts of the world, they are persecuted and even expelled from their lands. It happens in countries historically important from the religious point of view, like Iraq, where Abraham arrived, the land of the Chaldeans. But even in the first world countries, for example in my country (the United States, author's note), there is the attempt to deny Christians the right to follow their conscience; to resist abortion, sterilization or other medical practices that bring death (euthanasia, author's note). The problem for Christians is not unique to the Middle East, but also is in the West.'

The European Union itself, in the name of political correctness, often closes its eyes to the threats to Christians. What do you think?

'It is clear that Muslims have as an ultimate goal conquest and power over the world. Islam, through the sharia, their law, will rule the world and allow violence against the infidels, like the Christians. But we find it hard to recognize this reality and to respond by defending the Christian faith.'

Are you saying that we close our eyes?

'Yes, and I think the reasons are many. Many people do not understand what Islam really is. They create these slogans: we all believe in the same God, that we are all united by love and so on. It's not true. Another reason is that Christians have much neglected a fundamental truth: there is only one Savior of the world, Jesus Christ. We must not proselytize, imposing Christianity, but if we believe in Jesus it is our duty to bear witness. I think that this witness is not very strong, even in countries that were called Christian at one time, such as the European nations.'

You have just written a book, 'Hope for the World: To Unite All Things in Christ', which also speaks of Islam.

'Islam is a threat in the sense that the true Muslim Allah must rule the world. Christ in the Gospel said, ‘give to Caesar what is Caesar's’. On the contrary, the Islamic religion which is based on the law of the Qur'an aims to govern all countries where there are Muslims. While they are the minority they cannot insist, but when they become the majority they must apply the Sharia. Today there are enclaves, entire neighborhoods, in Europe where there is in fact a Muslim regime.'

You refer to Molenbeek, the banlieue, neighborhoods in England and the Nordic countries, villages in Bosnia. Do these represent failed attempts at integration?

'It is a failure because it is a state within a state. The problem is that Muslims reach for expansion. The whole history of the Islamic presence in Europe is an attempt to conquer it. We just celebrated, on September 8th, the victory of the Knights of Malta after a three-month siege by the Muslims in 1565. Malta would have been the springboard to Europe.'

On the walls of Sirte, former stronghold of ISIS in Libya, there were many writings of the Islamic State regarding the conquest of Rome.

'It is a real danger. Islam is realized in conquest. And what is the most important conquest in the confrontation with Christians? Rome.'

In Syria and Iraq, are Christians in danger of disappearing?

'Sure. There is a plan to eradicate them. The so-called Christian countries insist on equality of law for all religions, but in certain Muslim nations one cannot even build a church or profess belief in public.'

Must we intervene against the Islamic State militarily?

'We have to stop it with the right means at our disposal. These are criminals of the worst kind.'

Our newspaper has launched a campaign with the support of the readers to report the current Christian tragedy. What do you think?

'I appreciate what the newspaper is doing to publicize the persecution of Christians. The real service of the media is not to repeat the things we like the most, but chasing the truth of the facts. In the United States, most of the time, people never hear a different voice from the pack.'

Is immigration a resource or a danger?

'I've heard several times of Islamists explaining: What we failed to do with weapons in the past, we are doing today with the birth rate and immigration. The population is changing. If this keeps up, in countries like Italy, the majority will be Muslim.'

If that were the case, are we too weak?

'All this happens through Western corruption. There are sufficiently many families. We supinely accept practices that are contrary to the natural law, such as abortion or the so-called marriage between persons of the same sex. It is the proof that we are not strong in faith, and an easy prey for conquest.'

You are American. Is Vladimir Putin, Russian president, a former KGB officer, a threat or the last defender of traditional values?

'I am very satisfied with his defense of life and family, as God began creation with a man and a woman. We cannot deny a person like Putin conversion. It is possible that now he understands what he did not know 30 years ago (in the days of the KGB, author's note).'

The original article can be found here:

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Wed, 05 Oct 2016 00:00:00 GMT
<![CDATA[ Do Muslims Worship The Same God As Catholics ? ]]>
Do Muslims Worship
The Same God As Catholics ?

By Andrew Parrish

With Islam growing as a global presence, in both news headlines of radicals and in immigration of moderates, it is important for Catholics to define their position on Islam not only as citizens of a country but as members of the City of God. The publicized response of the Catholic Church has been mixed; Nostra Aetate's vision of a world in which all religions worship the One God, and seemingly successful efforts at evangelization and dialogue with moderate Muslims, contradict the reality of Islamic terrorism and the more general failure of any evangelization to Muslims. With this background, Cardinal Burke recently declared that it is 'highly questionable' that Catholics and Muslims actually worship the same God.

'If God is love, how can he be the same God that commands of Muslims to slaughter infidels and to establish their rule by violence?' Cardinal Burke asked. 'I don't believe it's true that we're all worshiping the same God. To say that we all believe in love is simply not correct.' Burke called for careful examination of Islamic and Catholic teaching side-by-side in order to clarify the differences muted by religious relativism. Such simplifications that emphasize similarities do not 'respect the truth' about the actual contents of those religions, he declared. 'This is not helpful'.

In this spirit, Pewsitter has undertaken an investigation of some of the major doctrinal differences between Catholicism and Islam. Our expert sources include Dr. Scott Hahn, Professor of Theology and Scripture, Franciscan University of Steubenville, who addresses this question in his talk 'Abba or Allah: The Difference It Makes'; Mr. Robert Spencer, the director of, author of numerous books, and a widely-recognized expert on Islam; and Dr. Mark Christian, director of the Global Faith Institute, an Egyptian convert to Christianity from Islam, and deeply versed in the Quran and Islamic theology. Pewsitter was granted a phone interview with Dr. Christian and corresponded by email with Mr. Spencer; other statements were drawn from recorded interviews, and all are presented below in the format of a hypothetical discussion.

Pewsitter: What are your initial reactions to Cardinal Burke's comments?

Mr. Spencer: Aside from the obvious differences – the Qur'an denies the Trinity, the divinity of Christ, the Incarnation, and the crucifixion – there are other key reasons why Cardinal Burke is right. The Qur'an not only denies that Jesus is the Son of God, but says that [Allah] is exalted beyond having a son, as if having a son is an insult (4:171, 19:35).

Dr. Christian: There is, of course, only one God, the creator of everything. So it's a tricky question. The question is really, what is the right way to reach God – what religion? God revealed to Moses that he is known not by his name but by his nature – YHWH, I Am Who Am. We see in the Judaeo-Christian theology that His nature is as a loving and caring God.

Pewsitter: So although there is only one God, Muslims perhaps do not grasp who He is. However, isn't Allah also known as the Loving, the Forgiving, the Merciful?

Dr. Christian: When you are talking about love, it means different things. There is tough love, there is forgiving and caring love. Mercy is attributed to the Judeo-Christian God, but it is a different kind of mercy – this is key – a mercy killing exists in Islamic theology. The Quran says that it is merciful to put to death those who deserve it (5:72-76). According to sharia law, the list of those who deserve the death penalty is lengthy.

Dr. Hahn: Humans are not created in God's image and likeness in Islam. . . there is no notion that the fulfillment of human life is metaphysical union with that God. Allah doesn't love as a father. Allah is an owner and a master, we are slaves, his pets. (interview with Robert Spencer, 1/18/2013)

Pewsitter: This seems to be a very important point. A relationship of slavery to God exists in modern-day Islam?

Dr. Hahn: This is an important distinction: [the Muslims] deny divine sonship for Jesus, and especially for us. In divine slavery, servitude, therein lies freedom… I think when we recognize the principle of servility as the heart or inner logic of this religion, we see the reason why it affects people the way it does, politically, but also psychologically. (interview with Robert Spencer, 1/18/2013)

Mr. Spencer: It is an insult to the majesty of Allah to say he has a son. This is the cardinal sin of shirk – polytheism, the one unforgivable sin of Islam. In the Quran, after Jesus' death he goes up to heaven and Allah asks him, 'Did you tell your followers to take yourself and Mary as gods alongside me?' And Jesus responds – 'No.'

Pewsitter: So clearly Muslims reject the Trinity, and the sonship of God. But men are also slaves to God in Islam, because we lack the divine image. Can we get a side-by-side overview of this difference between Islam and Christianity?

Dr. Hahn: Abraham, the prophet of the Old Testament, had two sons, Ishmael by his slave Hagar and Isaac by his wife Sarah. The Arab peoples are directly descended from Ishmael. They worship the god of Abraham, in the line of Abraham through Ishmael . . . Ishmael was related to his father through his mother, a slave. Isaac related to him as a son, through his beloved wife.

. . . Muslims serve God like Ishmael, Christians serve God like Isaac, but Isaac was not called upon to obey less than Ishmael. When Abraham was called to sacrifice Isaac, the Bible says that Isaac carried the wood up the mountain for the sacrifical altar. How old must Isaac have been – not 5. At least 17, and so Abraham was 120 - Isaac could have stopped the sacrifice at any time. Isaac's faith is being tested, as well as Abraham's. He is a willing victim. In the Hebrew the episode is known as 'The Binding of Isaac' - Isaac asks to be bound, because he knows that he might struggle.

. . . Jesus goes to Mount Moriah, the same place, and dies at Calvary. Until God the Father sent the Son, father was a metaphor and not an actual name. In the Eucharist Jesus transformed suffering and death into an act of love. The Eucharist will transform our suffering into sacrifice in the same way.

. . . The similarities [between Islam and Catholicism] are great, the dissimilarities are greater. The suffering that God allows is not simply an expression of his wrath. God's wrath is real, but it's a metaphor - it is an expression of his love. . . God's wrath is our experience of his love when in sin. The reason for this world is to prepare us for a far greater one. We're not talking about different paths up the same mountain, we're talking about different mountains. We are ascending into heaven to experience the marriage supper of the Lamb, not each man given seventy virgins. [Because] Islam has no concept of the metaphysical union of man with the God in whose image he was made, for Muslims carnal or material things are the great good of human life, here and in the next world. (Abba or Allah)

Pewsitter: Slaves who are treated well by a master vs. sons who are loved by a Father. And naturally a master wouldn't need to tell his slaves everything.

Mr.Spencer: Allah does not wish all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth; instead, he says he could have guided all men to the truth, but instead will fill hell with men (Quran 32:13). God is light and in him is no darkness at all, but Allah places evil as well as good inside every human heart (Quran 91:7-8). In Judaism God is said to be 'chained' by the covenants He makes with the Jews. In Islam Allah is not bound by anything at all. The Quran also repeatedly says that Allah leads astray those whom he wills, and guides those whom he wills. The idea of God actively deceiving people and leading them astray is utterly foreign to Christianity.

Pewsitter: And how would a Muslim theologian view this?

Mr.Spencer: In Islamic theology, all prophets including Jesus were Muslims, who taught Islam. And then their wicked followers, for reasons of their own personal gain, twisted their teachings to create the false religions of Judaism and Christianity.

Dr. Hahn: Jesus' divine pretenstions are Christian corruptions of the Gospel – Jesus is given a Muslim book by Allah, even as Mohammed is given the Quran, which is corrupted by Christians to create what we call the Gospel. (interview with Robert Spencer, 1/18/2013)

Dr. Christian: As a reference, chapter 5 of the Quran is called 'The Table', and it is all about Christianity and the rejection of Christianity. It is a series of hypothetical conversations in which Jesus denies Christianity in response to questions. ('They are certainly blasphemous who say Allah is the Messiah, the son of Mary . . . who say Allah is the third of three . . . the Messiah, son of Mary, was not but a messenger; [other] messengers have passed on before him.' Quran 5:72-76).

Pewsitter: So clearly this is a major difference between Islam and Catholicism, we might even say the major difference.

Dr. Christian: There is an irreconcilable difference between Islamic and Catholic conceptions of God. Allah is not a nature, it is a name. Yahweh is a nature, not a name. Allah is a judgmental God out there to enslave you; Islam is fighting to establish a kingdom on earth. But in the Bible, the kingdom of God is in heaven. Forgiveness - He sent His Son to save you.  

Pewsitter: With the mention of the kingdom on earth, let's turn to another big question: the 'religion of peace'.

Dr.Christian: The term peace, or love, is missing from Islam. It is blasphemous to say God loves you. Islam is a religion of peace – I have a standing challenge, and I invite you to tell your readers, I will offer anyone 10,000 dollars if they can show me a reference in the Quran to this. The only time to receive peace on earth is in total submission to Allah, as either a Muslim or a submission to the Islamic order and rulers for non-Muslims. Peace in heaven and after life is only offered to faithful Muslims and not to any one else.

Pewsitter: What is the difference, though, between the will of Allah and the will of God? Isn't the submission required the same?

Dr. Christian: Sharia law is very different from the will of a loving and caring God, who commands us to leave heaven and earth better than we found them. Longing to spend eternity in a heaven marked by the presence of Jesus and not a brothel with 72 virgins for each dweller.

Mr. Spencer: There is a martial theology of Islam, and the Quran teaches warfare against non-Muslims and their subjugation. . . They are envisioning peace in a radically different way than we do. Islamic sharia is the perfect model for society, and once it's implemented, there's peace. It is not just submission to God, but also submission to the Islamic order. . . . America was surprised by terrorism on 9/11 because they completely underestimated the power of Islamic preaching, and the appeal of the rule of Islamic law, for ordinary Muslims. [In addition] there is an elaborate campaign of deception carried on by the Muslim Brotherhood, to spread the idea that Islam is a religion of peace in America.

Pewsitter: So part of the 'peace' of Allah is terrorism and warfare against non-Muslims, correct?

Mr. Spencer: The piety of Muslims and the seething cauldron of hatred behind that piety come from the same wellspring – the Quran. . . In the Quran it says that the people of the Book [Christians and Jews] who do not accept Mohammed or the Quran are the most vile of created beings. Muslims explicitly act on passages advocating hatred and warfare to justify their acts of terrorism, and it is radical groups who are making people aware of the existence of these passages.

Pewsitter: How does Mohammed himself factor into this?

Mr. Spencer: Muslims are commanded to obey Mohammed as well as Allah. Mohammed is compared to the other prophets in the Quran . . . he is the excellent example of moral righteousness. The two sources of Islamic teaching are the Quran and what is called the Hadith, a voluminous collection of anecdotes about the life of Mohammed, which are also considered to have ethical force.

Dr. Hahn: We understand from Muslims that Mohammed is an exemplar of righteousness – if he's done it it's all right. . . If people go out and imitate Mohammed in the name of Islam and exercise force, violence, terror . . . there's almost a sense of continuity and consistency. That's hard for us to admit. (interview with Robert Spencer, 1/18/2013)

Mr.Spencer: In the West, with our idea of all religions being fundamentally the same, it is considered outside the realm of possibility that there could be a founder of a religion who said, as Mohammed said, 'I have been victorious through terror'. So many things in Islam go against standard notions of human rights and morality. . . There are these strange lacunae in the Islamic vision of morality – child marriage, temporary marriage, etc., which all stem from actions of Mohammed during his life.

Pewsitter: And why is it so difficult to get this kind of information about Islam's teachings? We understand that the holy books of Islam, the Quran and the Hadith, are only valid in the original Arabic. Are Muslims themselves aware of some of these doctrines?

Mr. Spencer: Many non-Arabian Muslims who do not know Arabic recite the Quran without knowing what it says, because in the mosques all prayers are in Arabic. . . Also there are many unsavory features of Islam that a number of Muslims are not aware of, because they are contained only in the Hadith – huge amounts of text mostly in 9th century Arabic. Furthermore, Islam has a doctrine of deception – don't take unbelievers as your friends and protectors, the Quran says– you can deceive them for the advantage of Islam. So many Muslims who are knowledgeable are not willing to be honest, as harsh as that sounds.

Dr. Christian: There is a saying among imams to resolve apparent contradictions and difficulties in the Quran: 'Allah knows best'. Many Muslims have doubts about Islam but can't resolve them themselves – so they go to the local imam and hear 'Allah knows best'.

Pewsitter: Any final remarks?

Dr. Hahn: The Catechism states that the plan of salvation includes those who acknowledge the Creator, and foremost among these are the Muslims. [However,] I believe that Islam is the single greatest force of the third millenium and the single greatest threat and challenge to Christianity worldwide. God is going to use Islam to provoke Christians into a deeper experience of God as Father. As long as the sons of God do not outserve the slaves of God, Christianity will continue to collapse. (Abba or Allah)

Dr. Christian: I want to say this: I live with Muslims, all my family are Muslims, and I do not have any animosity toward them. I have unconditional love for them all. – but I think Christians have wishful thinking here. Islam explicitly rejects Christianity. It is not helping anyone to try and glue religions together – Christians and Jews bend backwards to accommodate Muslims who are not willing to give up anything. Creating an unholy alliance that will usher-in an Islamic dominance and supremacy.

Mr. Spencer: Every human soul is different, and so it is impossible to generalize about Muslim integration into Western society. However, Islam presents itself as the correction and true embodiment of Judaism and Christianity. Consequently, a knowledgeable and informed Muslim will look with contempt upon Judeo-Christian traditions and societal mores insofar as they differ from Islamic ones. Jesus said 'the time will come when men will kill you and think they are offering service to God'. With the Qu'ran's commands to kill unbelievers (2:191, 4:89, 9:5), that day is upon us.

Additional research on the Quran was  provided by Lee Todd, also of Global Faith Institute. Permission to print these remarks was granted by all participants.

... ]]>
Tue, 04 Oct 2016 00:00:00 GMT
<![CDATA[ EWTN's The World Over panel expresses grave concerns over Amoris Laetitia and the Pope's recent letter to the Argentinian Bishops ]]> EWTN's The World Over panel expresses
Grave concerns over Amoris Laetitia
And the Pope's recent letter to the Argentinian Bishops

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Catholic world is still grappling with Pope Francis' controversial apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia, particularly concerning the sensitive issue of Communion for divorced and remarried couples. The document's language, in section 8, is not clear on whether Communion for those who are divorced or remarried without an annulment is permitted. Many words have been spoken and written in an effort to understand and interpret this ambiguous document.

Recently, however, the controversy has been further inflamed by the appearance of a letter Pope Francis wrote to the bishops of Buenos Aires, Argentina, in response to their implementation document for Amoris Laetitia, which allows for Communion to some couples that have been divorced and remarried. To which, in response, the Pope's letter stated: 'There can be no other interpretation'.

In the September 15th episode of the World Over, Raymond Arroyo discussed the consequences and implications of the Pope’s letter and the Argentian Bishops' implementation document with Fr. Gerald Murray and Robert Royal. Fr. Murray is a canon lawyer for the Archdiocese of New York and Mr. Royal is the editor-in-chief of The Catholic Thing. This duo, termed the Papal Posse by Arroyo, expressed serious reservations about these recent developments. Before we examine their statements, here are the two documents in question.

Argentinian Bishops’ Document

5) When the concrete circumstances of a couple make it feasible, especially when both are Christians with a journey of faith, it is possible to propose that they make the effort of living in continence. Amoris Laetitia does not ignore the difficulties of this option (cf. note 329) and leaves open the possibility of receiving the sacrament of Reconciliation when one fails in this intention (cf. note 364, according to the teaching of Saint John Paul II to Cardinal W. Baum, of 22/03/1996).

6) In other, more complex circumstances, and when it is not possible to obtain a declaration of nullity, the aforementioned option may not, in fact, be feasible. Nonetheless, it is equally possible to undertake a journey of discernment. If one arrives at the recognition that, in a particular case, there are limitations that diminish responsibility and culpability (cf. 301-302), particularly when a person judges that he would fall into a subsequent fault by damaging the children of the new union, Amoris Laetitia opens up the possibility of access to the sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist (cf. notes 336 and 351). These in turn dispose the person to continue maturing and growing with the aid of grace.

7) However, it is necessary to avoid understanding this possibility as an unrestricted access to the sacraments, or as though any situation might justify it. What is proposed is a discernment that adequately distinguishes each case. For example, 'a new union that comes out of a recent divorce' or 'the situation of someone who has repeatedly failed in his family commitments' (298) requires special care. [This applies] as well when there is a sort of defense or flaunting of the particular situation 'as if it were part of the Christian ideal' (297). In these more difficult cases, the pastors must accompany with patience, seeking some way of integration (cf. 297, 299).


Pope Francis' Letter

I received the document from the Buenos Aires Pastoral Region, 'Basic Criteria for the Application of Chapter Eight of Amoris Laetitia.' Thank you very much for sending it to me. I thank you for the work they have done on this: a true example of accompaniment for the priests...and we all know how necessary is this closeness of the bishop with his clergy and the clergy with the bishop. The neighbor 'closest' to the bishop is the priest, and the commandment to love one's neighbor as one's self begins for us, the bishops, precisely with our priests.

The document is very good and completely explains the meaning of chapter VIII of Amoris Laetitia. There are no other interpretations. And I am certain that it will do much good.

May the Lord reward this effort of pastoral charity.


Here are a few excerpts from the panel’s discussion which illustrate the serious reservations and concerns expressed.

Mr. Royal: 'We finally do, I think, have an explicit statement from the Holy Father that there are, maybe very few, but there are some cases where people divorced and remarried, with active sexual lives, what used to be called living in adulterous relationships, that they can receive communion.'

Fr. Murray: 'The Pope has made it absolutely clear, that in his opinion, and in his way of looking at things, there are circumstances that people might find themselves in, that they can continue to live in an adulterous relationship and at the same time receive communion. Now the reason he says that is they have diminished culpability for their adulterous behavior. And frankly, I am not convinced by that argument at all…and there are many theologians, canonists and bishops who have said this is not satisfactory because, as I think is now much clearer…this is a direct contradiction to what St. John Paul the Second said in Familiaris Consortio. So we are basically at loggerheads here. One Pope says you have to live in continence if you are in an invalid marriage, if you want to receive the sacraments – and now Pope Francis is saying that in some circumstances that is not necessary. This is a very unsatisfactory situation to be in.'

Mr. Royal: 'If you read it very strictly it is a very small number of people… but as you know, in modern America and in the modern world more generally everybody thinks he is a special case, and everyone thinks theirs is a hard case and a rationale for why they should be given an exemption, so I think this is going to lead to a lot of mischief...'

Fr. Murray: 'If you are living in an adulterous second marriage, and you approach Holy Communion at Mass, this is a contradiction of what God expects of you. Mitigating circumstances do not give you a get out of jail card, mitigating circumstances is about culpability for sin. Those apply in retrospect, you look back when you are making your examination for confession, what did I do, was anything involved. If you are planning on committing adultery tomorrow and the day after, you can’t claim mitigating circumstances, you have to say the call to conversion applies to me just like it does to everyone else.'

Mr. Royal: 'All along I have said, and I was at both Synods along with Father, we shouldn’t close the door until we are sure of exactly what the Pope means, until we have an explicit statement from him we should presume that he is still in continuity… and I think what he is trying to do is to extend mercy, whether you believe it is a good idea or not…'

Mr. Arroyo: 'And you believe this personal letter written to these bishops constitutes that explicit statement. Yes an explicit statement of some exceptions…'

Mr. Royal: 'And I can’t help but think in fact we are already seeing it…and it’s likely to only get worse, now that this has been stated explicitly.'

Mr. Royal: 'Could we say, on the basis of this, that a gay couple who are committed to one another and faithful to one another…and who have always had same sex attraction, through no fault of their own.. are there mitigating circumstances here?'

Fr. Murray: 'The discipline of the sacraments, that is what is attempting to be changed here and in fact I think it is quite clear that the Pope has given a change, but that in my opinion is going to be a matter that will disappear in the future because it is not grounded in… The purpose of law is to defend the integrity of the sacramental system. I think this does just the opposite, and causes problems.'

If you didn’t catch this episode of The World Over, it is well worth the time to watch the 12-minute segment. You can find it on YouTube.

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Mon, 03 Oct 2016 00:00:00 GMT
<![CDATA[ Saudi Arabia Spends 32 Times The Vatican Budget To Spread Islam ]]>
Saudi Arabia Spends 32 Times
The Vatican Budget To Spread Islam

By Andrew Parrish

PARIS - In his new book, entitled 'Dr. Saudi and Mr. Jihad', Pierre Conesa, French history professor and civil servant, reveals that Saudi Arabia spends the equivalent of 8 billion Euro annually on the propagation and support of Islam, 32 times the annual budget of the Vatican.

The Vatican's annual budget for 2015, in comparison, was 245 million Euro. The single largest budget item for the Vatican is the salaries of its employees in Vatican City, of whom, in 2015, there were 2,880 and for whom the total expenditure was 126.6 million Euro. The Vatican budget report is online in PDF format for the 2015 and 2014 periods.

In his book Prof. Conesa details the relationship between the House of Saud and the family of Al ash-Sheikh. Just as Dr. Jekyll's professional facade shields and funds Mr. Hyde’s activities in R. L. Stevenson’s famous novel, the secular, administrative House of Saud is used by the radical fundamentalist Al ash-Sheikh as a cover and a source of funding. Each time the House of Saud must make a concession to the West, Mr. Conesa says, they must also cede some power to the radical family who stand behind the throne in order to preserve their position.

'The Saudis provided the largest contingent of foreign fighters, 5,000 men, in the war against the Soviets in Afghanistan; 15 of the 19 terrorists of 9/11; 115 of the 611 Guantanamo prisoners', Mr. Conesa said. 'Today the Saudis are abroad with the Islamic State group fighting in Syria and Iraq: 2,500 people. Saudi Arabia also propagated for decades, the most sectarian, misogynist, homophobic, racist, anti-Semitic version of Islam: Wahhabism.'

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Mon, 03 Oct 2016 00:00:00 GMT
<![CDATA[ Only 1% of Catholic Democrats in Congress Pro-Life vs. 94% of Republican Catholics ]]>
Only 1% of Catholic Democrats in Congress Pro-Life vs. 94% of Republican Catholics

By Andrew Parrish

WASHINGTON, D.C. - According to statistics compiled by the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC) 94% of Republican Congressional representatives who identify as Catholic have a pro-life voting record, whereas only 1% of Democratic Catholics in Congress have such a record.

Of the 82 Catholic Republicans in Congress, 77 Republican representatives have voted consistently pro-life (from 68-100%) and 3 have a mixed record (34-67%). 1 has voted consistently pro-abortion (89%), Rep. Richard Hanna of New York. The representatives with mixed records are Sen. Lisa Murkowski (AK) with a 63% pro-life record, Sen. Susan Collins (ME) with 40%, and Rep. John Katko (NY) with 60%.

Of the 86 Catholic Congressional Democrats, the sole representative with a pro-life voting record is Rep. Madeline Bordallo of Guam with 100%. Two have mixed records, Rep. Dan Lipinski (IL) with 63% and Sen. Joe Manchin (WV) with 56%. The remaining 83 Democratic Catholic Congressional representatives have a 66-100% pro-abortion record. These statistics are compiled by the NRLC based on their assessment of whether a given bill before the House is “pro-life” and the subsequent record of Congressional votes. Non-voting delegates from outlying territories are not counted. The current NRLC “scorecards” for House and Senate can be viewed here.

The current political climate in America is a volatile one for the pro-life cause. The ideological division displayed in the NRLC statistics makes passing pro-life legislation a difficult battle, at a time when more than twenty abortion-related bills are currently waiting on a vote in both the House and Senate. The death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia has left the conservative party in the Supreme Court weak, with a number of important pro-life cases under review; and above all, the looming presidential election will have a dramatic effect on pro-lifers’ political efforts, positive or negative.

Monday night saw the first of the presidential debates for the November 2016 election, between Democrat nominee Hillary Clinton and Republican nominee Donald Trump. Clinton has sided definitively with the Democratic Party on abortion, declaring it a “fundamental human right”. Meanwhile, Trump has emerged as a the pro-life candidate, at first confusing voters with the statement “Planned Parenthood does good things” but over the course of the campaign declaring that he would defund Planned Parenthood, that he opposed abortion, and most recently indicating his willingness to overturn Roe vs. Wade. The outcome of the election will have a major effect on the attempts of House and Senate pro-life blocs to push for reform.

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Wed, 28 Sep 2016 00:00:00 GMT
<![CDATA[ Terrorism, Pope Francis and Muslim Immigration ]]> Terrorism, Pope Francis and Muslim Immigration

By John Zmirak
Guest Opinion

Americans are still piecing together their lives after the attacks in New York, New Jersey, and Minnesota. Each week we read of a bloody new jihad incident. Muslim immigrants and their children have been behind most of them, from the 2016 bombing in Brussels to the 2015 slaughter in Paris and the 2014 butchery of journalists at the magazine Charlie Hebdo. It was Muslim immigrants who conducted the wave of public gang-rapes that shocked Germany on New Year’s Eve 2015–16, and dozens of European born Muslims have been apprehended en route to volunteering for the murder squads of ISIS. Counterintelligence expert Lt. Col. Tony Shaffer has estimated that up to 15 percent of Muslim 'refugees' from Syria have links to ISIS. The Pew Report found that one in five U.S. Muslims believe that suicide bombings 'in defense of Islam' can sometimes be justified. Globally, that figure rises to one in four.

Hundreds of thousands of radical Muslims dwell in self-enclosed enclaves across Western Europe. One of four residents of Brussels under age twenty is of 'Islamic origin.' The colonization of Europe has proceeded very quickly, aided and abetted by generous social welfare programs that offer immigrants a comfortable life in Germany or England for the price of showing up. But Pope Francis has repeatedly condemned any attempt to stop the influx of Muslim migrants, in statements that were one-sided and moralistic, far different from the official Church teaching as codified in the Catechism.

Francis’s most sweeping statement on the subject was probably his 2013 speech at Lampedusa, a town in impoverished Sicily that is inundated annually with hundreds of thousands of economic migrants from Africa, outnumbering its citizens. In that speech, he compared economic migrants to Abel and skeptical Westerners to Cain. The pope also compared Europeans (worried, financially strapped, and sometimes physically brutalized by the migrants) to King Herod, who slaughtered the infants of Bethlehem in an effort to murder Jesus.

And German Chancellor Angela Merkel listened. She could have followed international law, under which refugees must be accepted by the 'first safe country' that they reach, which in the case of those fleeing the Syrian civil war, was NATO member Turkey. Instead under Merkel’s leadership Germany followed the advice of the pope, and the dictates of post-Christian, post-Western multiculturalism. With high-minded abandon she accepted more than a million Syrian migrants, forcing much of Europe to follow suit. The results have been an unmitigated catastrophe, as hundreds of thousands of military-age Muslim males have flocked to Western European countries.

Whatever Pope Francis’s inner feelings or personal opinion, the Church has a settled teaching on immigration, which he does not have the authority to alter in off-the-cuff speeches. That teaching is codified in the Catechism:

The more prosperous nations are obliged, to the extent they are able, to welcome the foreigner in search of the security and the means of livelihood which he cannot find in his country of origin. Public authorities should see to it that the natural right is respected that places a guest under the protection of those who receive him.

Political authorities, for the sake of the common good for which they are responsible, may make the exercise of the right to immigrate subject to various juridical conditions, especially with regard to the immigrants’ duties toward their country of adoption. Immigrants are obliged to respect with gratitude the material and spiritual heritage of the country that receives them, to obey its laws and to assist in carrying civic burdens.

Notice that the 'more prosperous nations' are obliged to accept migrants only 'to the extent they are able.' The government can put conditions on the right to immigrate. And the immigrants, too, have obligations to the country that accepts them—including the obligation to obey its laws. Yet imams all across Europe claim that Muslims are only bound by sharia, which they will someday impose on the rest of the population.

When large numbers of Sunni Muslims attempted to colonize much of Europe in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, Christians energetically organized to prevent them from doing so—as students of history will remember from the Battle of Lepanto and the sieges of Vienna. As the Center for Security Policy warns, now the Islamic world is employing a different tactic for expansion. Instead of armies waving banners, it sends 'refugees' waving asylum claims—marching them straight through Turkey into the heart of once-Christian Europe.

Christians are under no obligation to surrender their hard-fought freedom to millions of immigrants who will vote to impose sharia, whose mosques will harbor terrorists, whose apologists will defend honor-killing and female genital mutilation. In fact, to do so is sinful. The Church is not a suicide cult.

John Zmirak is author of The Politically Incorrect Guide to Catholicism.

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Tue, 20 Sep 2016 00:00:00 GMT
<![CDATA[ In New Book, Benedict XVI Responds to Cardinal Marx Criticisms That His Papacy Was Characterized By Excesses ]]>
In New Book, Benedict XVI Responds to Cardinal Marx Criticisms That His Papacy Was Characterized By Excesses

By Andrew Parrish


MUNICH – A new book of interviews with Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI has just been released in Munich. The interviews were conducted by the Pope's biographer, Peter Seewald, and presented by Georg Gänswein, the former Pope's personal secretary. Among other remarks on his papacy, the Pope Emeritus rejects criticism that his papacy was “flamboyant” and “characterized by excesses”. This is a response in particular to Cardinal Reinhard Marx, who accused the Pope of turning the Roman curia into his “court”, shortly before the Papal resignation of 2013. 

The publication of the book has delivered a strong response. Benedict, in interview, comments that he does not know what Cardinal Marx might have been referring to. “I have always lived simply, always, ever since my childhood,” he said. Gänswein took the opportunity of the book's release to defend the Pope further. “One should be careful of making statements or valuations of a situation that one does not know well,” he stated, referring indirectly to Cardinal Marx's remarks. 

Gänswein, continuing this critique, called Cardinal Marx's opinions about the Curia “astonishing”. He revealed the Pope's harsh self-criticism in private, saying that “he continually demythifies himself”. The Pope Emeritus has never shown himself so fully human as in this latest work, “with his great strengths and small weaknesses and infirmities”. Gänswein explicitly rejected the prevalent and lasting image of Benedict XVI as the “Grand Inquisitor” or the “Panzerkardinal”. 

The Pope's secretary also remarked that the resignation of the Pope was paralleled by a youthful episode in the life of Joseph Ratzinger – desertion from the Wehrmacht at the end of World War II. Ratzinger, a forced conscript who opposed Nazism, risked the death penalty in so doing. “This experience of youth is probably a veiled key to understanding his resignation in 2013, when he decided for the second time to quietly go home”, Gänswein said. 

“Last Remarks” (Letzte Gespräche) has been published by Droemer Knaur V.G. of Munich. In the book, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI addresses many of the most controversial issues of his papacy, including his stance on Islam, his relationship with the Jews, SSPX, and other groups, and the background of his resignation. It is available worldwide.


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Wed, 14 Sep 2016 00:00:00 GMT
<![CDATA[ The Sunday Blurb: A Love That Saves ]]>
A Love That Saves

By Lindsey Todd

One of the most frustrating things about today's society is how often people seem to throw around the word "love."

Take, for example, reality TV: "I love him. He makes me feel so happy! He's funny and hot and a great kisser!" Never mind that a) these are the most superficial reasons for "loving" someone in the history of...ever, and b) she's only known the guy for two weeks.

Yet, in today's world, it's totally acceptable to date someone for a month or two, sleep with them, and  promptly begin to build a life around the person -- despite the fact that the couple's odds of actually getting married under such circumstances are slim. And if they do make it to the altar when they base their relationship almost entirely on sex and surface-level attributes...well, is it any wonder that the divorce rate in America has risen to 50 percent?

Half of all marriages ending is a scary statistic. How did we get to this point as a society? What is lacking in relationships today? And how can people find real love?

In order to form solid answers to these questions, we must first begin with clearly defining what authentic love is. "Love" today can mean any number of things, primarily concerning emotions and feelings. While emotions are wonderful and desirable in a relationship, they do not define love. Rather, love can be defined as doing and wanting what is best for the beloved.

As with everything, we must look to Jesus first for the ultimate example of love -- but as society has deemed God (and faith in and of itself) as insignificant and irrelevant, it is difficult to even begin addressing how secular couples today go about building strong relationships. For one thing, how could you claim to really love and know someone if you fail to acknowledge the Person who created them? Unless you're praying with your significant other and for them, it can be easy to forget that the person has been gifted to you -- entrusted to you -- by the Maker of the world, which is a pretty phenomenal idea. Prayer additionally allows for reflection on the relationship, and time to think about what your beloved might need. In this way, prayer is one of the ultimate ways of achieving true love...because prayer means putting the needs of your beloved before your own needs, even if it's only for a few minutes each day. 

One major problem couples typically face in today's society is a significant other or spouse carrying over individual issues into the relationship or marriage. What I mean by this is, many people expect the absolute best from their partner without stopping to focus on and improve their own vices and faults. You cannot expect from another person what you yourself cannot provide. If you expect patience and understanding from your partner when you are hardly ever patient, can you really expect them to rise to a standard that is not reciprocated? Nevertheless, couples date and marry all the time without first putting in the time and effort to work on their own character, which will ultimately affect the relationship going forward. If you expect a generous, humble, and chaste spouse, you must work on the virtues of generosity, humility, and chastity in your personal life.

Another thing that ties into this is when couples date or marry just to avoid loneliness. Essentially, they are not a whole person on their own -- rather, they need someone to "complete" them. A person might hate solitary activities, might be extremely needy after the loss of a parent or friend, or may simply long for physical affection. Rather than turning to Christ to fill these voids in their heart, they instead turn to another human being for the temporary relief that his or her company can bring. When you get right down to it, "loving" someone who fills a void for you isn't really love. In math, two halves may make a whole, but it doesn't work that way in serious relationships. Rather, two whole people are the couple that have the greatest chance of success in a relationship or marriage. The couple must be supportive and loving, but not co-dependent.

If you think about it, when you need someone to constantly rekindle your "flame" (whatever said flame may be), the person providing this light is likely to become burnt out over time. Couples today don't realize this. They instead seek romantic relationships to give their lives meaning, viewing human love as the ultimate Band-Aid for any emotional scars life might've inflicted upon them. This is perhaps the biggest problem with secular relationships: they search for meaning and solace in another human person rather than from Christ, who is the ultimate meaning and the ultimate solace. When a couple marries with this ideology, their marriage is likely to deteriorate in time simply from the pressure of viewing each other as idols. They long to find perfection in the other person or in the relationship because they do not believe in God, who is the ultimate model of perfection.

Finally, one of the biggest hindrances of true love today is the contraceptive mindset. Many people struggle with the notion of this, particularly those who are not religious. They view conservative Catholics as a bunch of "crazies" who don't know how to stop popping out babies (clearly they are misinformed about the fact that the Church does not dictate how many children a family should have, and that natural family planning is statistically more effective than any form of artificial birth control). However, what comes along with contraception is the ideology that your love interest should be available to you any time you desire him or her. There is rarely an understanding of the woman's biological rhythms or respect for her body when a couple is contracepting, therefore a man begins to view her as a means to an end -- however subliminally. Additionally, the couple is failing to cooperate with God in the fullest extent of human love, which is to bring about new life. Must this always be the reason for intimacy in a marriage? No -- but the openness to life must still exist. If it does not, the nature of the relationship becomes "all about me" rather than "all about us." It becomes more selfish, more focused on isolated pleasure than on God's design.

Ultimately, true love can only exist where two individuals are focused on making gifts of themselves to their beloved. Fireworks, butterflies, and stars in your eyes are terrific -- but it is what remains when those sensations diminish that determines lasting love. Love is often a challenge. In its purest form, it is a complete emptying of self to consider what is best for the other person. One of my favorite quotes that sums this up is: "Love is when a man wipes away your tears...even after you left Him hanging on the cross for your sins."

The God of the universe humbled Himself enough to sweat drops of blood, be tied to a pillar half-naked and scourged just short of the point of death, be mocked and ridiculed as He wore a crown of thorns, fall under the weight of an enormous cross not once, but three times, and ultimately die on that cross as the very people He died for continued to ridicule Him and persecute Him.

If this is not self-emptying love, then no love in this world was ever real. Jesus came primarily to redeem us, but also to show us what true love needs to consist of in order to last and bear fruit. True love is sacrifice. It means little deaths unto self each and every day for the good of the beloved. It is enduring hardship and difficulty. It means to suffer with the person during the falls of life.

So the next time you're watching reality TV, and the crazy couple onscreen claims to be "madly in love" on the basis of virtually nothing (save hormones), do yourself a favor and turn off that junk. You know what love is -- love is life-giving, sacrificial, and faithful to the end. Because the One who loved us first has proven this to us.

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Sun, 11 Sep 2016 00:00:00 GMT