I spoke to Author Mary Lou Rosen about her book: The Three Things Divorced Catholics Need to Know< at the 2018 Catholic Marketing Network Trade Show in Lancaster PA

You can buy her book here

Update: Code got corrupted but I wasn’t home to spot its, It was part of a bigger blog problem that is now fixed so I’m reposting it today


The 2018 Catholic Marketing Network Interview Bloglist (so far)

Continue reading “Voices of CMN 2018 Mary Lou Rosen Author The Three Things Divorced Catholics Need to Know”

I speak to Fr. Bill McCarthy Author of God Bless America and his friend David Tittle Musicians for Life and the 2018 Catholic Marketing Network Trade Show in Lancaster PA

You can get his book here.


Aug 19th Voices of CMN 2018 Fr. Bill McCarthy Author: God Bless America

Aug 18th Voices of CMN 2018 Fr. Chris Alar Author: After Suicide

Aug 17th Voices of CMN 2018 Dr Hellen Hoffner Author Catholic Traditions and Treasures

Aug 16th Voices of CMN 2018 Chris Faddis Author: It is well Life in the Storm

Aug 15th Voices of CMN 2018 Bud McFarlane and Ginny Mooney on the Messiah mini series

Aug 14th Voices of CMN 2018 Virginia Pillars Author Broken Brain Fortified Faith

Aug 13th Voices of CMN 2018 David Tittle Musicians for Life new CD “It’s a Life”

Aug 12th Voices of CMN 2018 Novena for Our Nation Starting Aug 15th & Rosary Coast to Coast Oct 7th

Aug 11th Voices at the 2018 CMN Moria Noonan Co-Author: Spiritual Deceptions

Aug 10th Voices of CMN 2018 Lesliea Wahl Author: An Unexpected Role

Aug 9th Voices of CMN 2018 Gerard Hasenhuetti Compassionate Capitalism The Intersection of Economic Growth and Social Justice

Aug 8th
Voices at CMN 2018 Ruth Apollonia Author of Annabelle of Anchony

Voices at CMN 2018 Kimberly Cook My Hand in Yours Yours in Mine Catholic Authors

Aug 6th Voices at CMN 2018 August Turak Author: Brother John: A Monk, a Pilgrim and the Purpose of Life

Aug 5th Voices at CMN 2018 Fr. Edward Looney Author A Heart Like Mary’s

Aug 4th: Karina Fabian of the Catholic Writers Guild or A Preview of Blogging Attractions


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I speak to Fr. Chris Alar about his new book After Suicide at the 2018 Catholic Marketing Network event in Lancaster PA.

His book is due for release later this year but you can find out more here.


Aug 18th Voices of CMN 2018 Fr. Chris Alar Author: After Suicide

Aug 17th Voices of CMN 2018 Dr Hellen Hoffner Author Catholic Traditions and Treasures

Aug 16th Voices of CMN 2018 Chris Faddis Author: It is well Life in the Storm

Aug 15th Voices of CMN 2018 Bud McFarlane and Ginny Mooney on the Messiah mini series

Aug 14th Voices of CMN 2018 Virginia Pillars Author Broken Brain Fortified Faith

Aug 13th Voices of CMN 2018 David Tittle Musicians for Life new CD “It’s a Life”

Aug 12th Voices of CMN 2018 Novena for Our Nation Starting Aug 15th & Rosary Coast to Coast Oct 7th

Aug 11th Voices at the 2018 CMN Moria Noonan Co-Author: Spiritual Deceptions

Aug 10th Voices of CMN 2018 Lesliea Wahl Author: An Unexpected Role

Aug 9th Voices of CMN 2018 Gerard Hasenhuetti Compassionate Capitalism The Intersection of Economic Growth and Social Justice

Aug 8th
Voices at CMN 2018 Ruth Apollonia Author of Annabelle of Anchony

Voices at CMN 2018 Kimberly Cook My Hand in Yours Yours in Mine Catholic Authors

Aug 6th Voices at CMN 2018 August Turak Author: Brother John: A Monk, a Pilgrim and the Purpose of Life

Aug 5th Voices at CMN 2018 Fr. Edward Looney Author A Heart Like Mary’s

Aug 4th: Karina Fabian of the Catholic Writers Guild or A Preview of Blogging Attractions


My pay for this comes from the voluntary contributions of readers.  If you think this work is worth your while and wish to support it and my writers please subscribe to the site below.


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I speak to Fr. Edward Looney Author of A Heart Like Mary’s at the 2018 Catholic Marketing Network Tradeshow in Lancaster PA

Fr. Looney spoke on the first day of the Catholic Marketing Network Trade show.

You can buy his book here.

Posts of Interviews from the 2018 Catholic Marketing Network

Aug 5th Voices at CMN 2018 Fr. Edward Looney Author A Heart Like Mary’s

Aug 4th: Karina Fabian of the Catholic Writers Guild or A Preview of Blogging Attractions


My pay for this comes from the voluntary contributions of readers.  If you think this work is worth your while and wish to support it and my writers please subscribe to the site below.


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Or buying my book Hail Mary the Perfect Protestant (and Catholic) Prayer

Either way it’s most appreciated.

Son of man, speak thus to your countrymen: When I bring the sword against a country, and the people of this country select one of their number to be their watchman, and the watchman, seeing the sword coming against the country, blows the trumpet to warn the people, anyone hearing but not heeding the warning of the trumpet and therefore slain by the sword that comes against him, shall be responsible for his own death. He heard the trumpet blast yet refused to take warning; he is responsible for his own death, for had he taken warning he would have escaped with his life.

But if the watchman sees the sword coming and fails to blow the warning trumpet, so that the sword comes and takes anyone, I will hold the watchman responsible for that person’s death, even though that person is taken because of his own sin.

Ezekiel 33:2-6

There was a scholar of the law who stood up to test him and said, “Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus said to him, “What is written in the law? How do you read it?”

He said in reply, “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” He replied to him, “You have answered correctly; do this and you will live.” But because he wished to justify himself, he said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

Luke 10:25-29

One of the favorite phrases that Fr. Joe, my pastor at St. Bernard’s Parish at St. Camillus church likes to use is “Seeing oneself in the light of truth.”
Seeing things in the light of truth allows one self to avoid problems, repent from sin and help others in bad situations. This can be a very unpleasant because seeing oneself in the light of truth means recognizing and acknowledging one sins and flaws that exist and once they are acknowledged one has to make the difficult decision to fix what’s wrong with us and improve or ignore it and regress.

As hard as this can be what is even harder is when this is applied to others, this can lead to conflict and in a secular society that celebrates excess and sin to speak up against either is to risk the wrath of a sometimes violent but always self righteous crowd which vigorously defends any sin or obsession because to recognize these problems in others might require us to look at our own lives in that same light.

Speak about the dangers of obesity? You’re fat slaming!

Speak about the dangers of promiscuity? You’re slut slaming!

Declare the reality of male and female? You’re Transphobic!

Speak about the reality of what marriage is or that a child does best with a father and mother? You’re Homophobic!

State that excessive alcohol is a bad idea on campus? You’re judgmental!

Speak aloud that abortion is the killing of a human being? You’re anti-woman!

Say that the best way to avoid poverty and disease is to wait till marriage to have children? You’re puritanical!

All of these things are truths that have been understood for millennia yet today’s society, particular the media and entertainment industry not only reject these things but in states when their allies have political power have pushed for laws to take punitive actions against those who would dare to speak these truths aloud? Why, because to even acknowledge these truths is to see oneself in the light of truth and that above all other things must not be done.

And that brings us to Rick Genest, also known as Zombie Boy.

I had not heard of him, but apparently he thought that tattooing his entire body so he would look like a skeleton was a great a idea.

Now this is objectively insane and in a sane age family friends and loved ones might have said aloud and even a Tattoo artist when asked to do this to him might have said: “That’s nuts I ain’t doing that, you need help man.” And thus acknowledging the problem aloud they would have either encouraged him to seek a psychologist to help him to taken action to move the state to do so.

However this is not a sane age and the Entertainment/Hollywood/Media crowd absolutely loved it, they accepted him and gave him entrée to their world, which in the Media/Entertainment/Hollywood secular culture is the greatest honor that can be bestowed on an ordinary person next to victim-hood.

But alas objective reality exists and the reality is this person was dealing with serious personal demons and no amount of fetting by the right people could change this so one year shy of Christ’s age at his crucifixion, Rick Genest took his own life.

Tattooed Lady Gaga muse Zombie Boy, 32, ‘killed himself by jumping from the 4th floor balcony’ of his Montreal apartment building
Rick Genest, 32, is believed to have jumped from a balcony on Wednesday
Cops say he jumped from the 4th floor, but his family believes it was an accident
Genest known as Zombie Boy for bone and organ tattoos inked all over his body

Naturally Ms. Gaga tweeted a glowing tribute

She had originally put out a tweet blaming the culture of silence about mental illness but deleted said tweet. You can read it here but walked it back.

Rod Dreher critique of the original tweet was different than the family’s

What strikes me as so odd about Lady Gaga’s tweet is the idea that “the culture” led Zombie Boy to kill himself. The man turned his entire body into an advertisement for his own mental illness. What would Lady Gaga have “the culture” do? Is this the fault of “the culture,” or of this man?

Or is it the fault not of the culture, but of a culture — such as elite pop culture, including the high fashion world in which Zombie Boy moved and modeled — that sees plain evidence of a man’s suffering and internal disorder, made manifest in his body, and refuses to regard that as a sign of mental illness?

Think of it: Rick Genest had his skin permanently altered so that he would resemble a skeleton. This turned out to be his ticket to partying with the elites. And we’re shocked that he killed himself?

The Phantom soapbox is more blunt:

When a handsome man has every inch of his body covered in -painful- tattooing, furthermore depicting images of rot and death, it is a sign that he’s having a problem. This man had a biohazard emblem a foot tall on his chest and a skull tattooed on his face, that’s not something a healthy, well-adjusted person does. They get “Mom” on a shoulder, or a tribal arm band. Maybe a heart on their butt or something.

Yes, I’m actually saying that his body art was a manifestation of a dangerous illness. Which killed him by the way, making it a -fatal- illness.
Again, I’m not sitting in harsh judgement on the individuals involved in that art. They didn’t make him that way, it isn’t their fault. But, the bald facts are: fatal mental illness.

My harsh judgement is reserved for the people screaming at their computers right now because I dared mention excessive tattoos and mental illness in the same sentence. Radical body modification is strongly correlated with suicide, and y’all need to pull your heads out of your asses. There’s some guy out there getting surgical modifications to make him look like a Ken doll. He’s got a problem, which might very well kill him.

It isn’t cosplay, people.

The bottom line is this. Rick Genest was a mentally ill man and rather than seeing this in the light of truth and work to get him help, which would have involved time and effort and carrying a cross, in other words actually show love for him, those in a position to show that love of neighbor or to be the watchman sounding the alarm, decided to keep silent either to avoid the time and effort involved in helping him or out of fear of being thought judgmental.

And of course the media/hollywood/entertainment society celebrated and encouraged him because how could they judge his excesses as extreme without judging their own.  His excesses complemented and confirmed their own.

Or put simply to see Rick Genest in the light of truth, just might have involved seeing themselves in that same light and given that choice, better a dead Zombie Boy who can be remembered as an icon than a live Rick Genest who can be acknowledged as a child of God who needs help.

We need to pray for Rick Genest, yes he was a suicide but I suggest you listen to my interview with Fr. Chris Alar from yesterday’s Your Prayer Intentions radio show, but most of all pray for the courage to not only see ourselves in the light of truth but to have the courage to speak the truth in love to others even if it means risking pain and rebuke. Truth and love are powerful things, they can change a live and maybe even save it.

Make no Mistake Rick Genest is one of the millions of casualties of the culture war, and there are tens of millions of others who can still be saved if we have the courage to try.

I have a few things to say about the Cardinal McCarrick case that Catholics should take to heart

Christ is still Christ, the Church is still the Church and the Doctrines are Still the Doctrines:

Nothing McCarrick has done changes the truth of God, Christ, scripture of the Church. In the 2000 year history of the church there have been countless number of Deacons, Priests, Bishops, Cardinals and even the occasional Pope who have not acted in accordance with the teachings of Christ and the doctrines of the church and in the future you can be sure that there will be plenty more but while the names and the times may change God and Christ and the salvation that is offered by Christ through the church endures or as Jesus told Peter, The Gates of Hell will not stand against it.”

The Numbers are still minuscule Context

the Roman Catholic Church is a huge worldwide church with over 415,348 priests, over 40,000 deacons over 5,000 Bishops and over 200 Cardinals . Given those numbers the McCarrick’s of the world might continually grab the headlines but the priests and religious by the hundreds of thousands who are tarred by him will continue their work feeding, clothing, educating, sheltering and otherwise tending to the spiritual and physical needs of the people they serve with the rest of the world taking little or no notice.

What gay scandal?

The McCarrick scandal has one thing in common with the previous scandals involving the church and minors. It is primarily a gay scandal. One of the great tricks of the media was to turn a scandal that was primarily a Gay scandal ( 78% of the abuse involved homosexual acts, men abusing boys.) into a “church” scandal with homosexuality completely ignored. For the “Catholic’s for Mortal Sin” lobby within the church this separation of Homosexuality from this scandal has been vital as they continue to attempt to redefine sin rather than combat it. It is important to call them out on it.

The “why should I bother” trap

There are several traps for souls that are an offshoot of a scandal like McCarrick’s. One is what it does to marginal Catholics or Catholics struggling with the faith. It goes like this: “Why should I bother trying to avoid sin when you have Cardinals and Bishops doing things like this? This is the devil hoping to nail you as collateral damage and is one of the worst parts of a scandal like this. The reality is McCarrick is no different that a crooked Senator or a crooked governor or a crooked Police Captain. When Rod Blagojevich was nailed for corruption did that mean that the laws of Illinois didn’t apply to the citizens there? When Richard Nixon resigned due to Watergate did this mean federal law shouldn’t apply to others? To decide you don’t have to worry about sin because of McCarrick’s sins is exactly what the Devil is looking for from you and like a man who speeds thinking he can get away with it because a cop he knows of does, is in for a rude awakening.

The Pride / Francis Trap for Conservative Churchmen

There are two more sin traps that the McCarrick case produce. The targets of these traps are the formed and conservative Catholics. The first is the sin of pride. The sins of a liberal Cardinal does not make our own sins any less dangerous, if we point to McCarrick and his enablers and talk about our own “righteousness” then we are doing the Devil’s work for him. Remember pride is the first of the deadly sins and if we use the McCarrick case to distract ourselves from our own sins and actions we are making a huge and damning mistake. Likewise it’s worth noting that McCarrick has been a Cardinal since 2000 a bishop since 1977 and a priest since 1958. It is therefore a stretch to lay all of the inaction in this case on the current Pope. This case is a cause for lamentation not a weapon to beat the Pope over the head. There is a fine line between critique of the church done in love and leading an attack on the church which is the work of the Devil. If you’re the least bit unsure of where that line is, the best thing to do is step away from it and pray.

Two different Scandals/sins:

It’s important to remember that there are two or three different sins involved with McCarrick. McCarrick and those like him are committing two sins unnatural sins of the flesh and the breaking of ecclesiastical vows. They are both scandals because he is a high churchman. Meanwhile there is the institutional sin of those around him which is different than his, but is the same sin that was common in the Church during the various scandals of the 2000’s. The sins of cowardice and pride. It is that unwillingness to confront the sins of those like McCarrick that has been the meat and potatoes of all these scandals. At best their feared the “Why should I bother trap” already mentioned at worst they feared a drop in respect and funds. Both of these are cowardice and pride. If proper ecclesiastical authorities were willing to come down on him hard right at the start then it would have been the story of an individual priest booted out and would have set a very visible example. That unwillingness to take the hit when it was small both here and in previous scandals is the church’s real sin.

The Hardest lesson of them all

Of all the things that must and should be said about McCarrick’s sexual sins and the sins of cowardice of the churchmen who refused to call him out, these is the one that people least want to hear.

McCarick’s sin and the sins of those who covered for him, like any other sins are completely paid for by the sacrifice of Christ and if sincerely confessed and with proper contrition are subject to the same absolution and forgivness that Christ offers to each and every sinner.

This can be a tough one to remember but it’s also Christianity 101. Christ didn’t just die for our little sins or our big ones, he died for everybody’s sins, especially for the REALLY big ones. If McCarrick and those around him sincerely repent, confess their sins and seek absolution Christ will give it.

Now it must be stressed that this forgiveness is of the eternal consequences of their actions. That doesn’t mean he or any of those involved are absolved of the temporal punishments either legal if laws were broken or ecclesiastical penalties such as laizication that might be applies. It simply that their eternal souls might be kept out of the grasp of the Devil and that’s a good thing because ANY soul kept out of his hands is a victory worth celebrating.

As Catholics it is our job to pray for this result, in fact we should be praying for everyone involved. It’s what we do



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Monday Pope Francis gave a homily at daily masses whose main points should be taken to heart by every Christian in general and Catholic in particular:

Beware, the Pope warned, of the devil’s seduction.

“The devil is a seducer,” Francis reminded, saying, he “knows what words to tell us” and this is dangerous as “we like to be seduced.”

“He has this ability; this ability to seduce. This is why it is so difficult to understand that he is a loser, because he presents himself with great power, promises you many things, brings you gifts – beautiful, well wrapped – -‘Oh, how nice!’ – but you do not know what’s inside – ‘But, the card outside is beautiful.’ The package seduces us without letting us see what’s inside. He can present his proposals to our vanity, to our curiosity.”

His light, Francis said, is dazzling, but it vanishes.

More importantly he advises not having a dialog with him

Do not converse with the devil

Finally, we must be careful not to dialogue with the devil as Eve did. Jesus does not dialogue in the desert, but rather responds with the Word of God. He hunts the demons, sometimes he asks for his name but does not make a dialogue with them.

And gives first rate advice on what to do when confronted by this enemy:

in the end, go to the mother, like children. When the children are afraid, they go to the mother: ‘Mom, mom … I’m scared!’ When they have dreams … they go to their mothers.

“Go to the Madonna; she guards us. And the Fathers of the Church, especially the Russian mystics, say: in the time of spiritual turmoil, take refuge under the mantle of the great Mother of God. Go to the Mother. May she help us in this fight against the defeated, against the chained dog to win it.”

Pope Francis concluded, urging us always to seek refuge in the Mother of God.

And offers this prayer

As I said when I announced my three days of fasting and prayer for the Church while this pope has been a mediocre one at best one of the best things about him has been his constant reminders that the Devil is real, cunning and needs to be resisted.

I have said on more than one occasion that I think Pope Francis is a mixed bag.  He talks a lot about mercy and the reality of the Devil which is very good but tends to act like a local pastor ignoring that he is the head of the entire church which is very bad.  I think he, like most Popes, has been mediocre.

Since we had a canonized saint as Pope (John Paul II) for over a quarter of a century it’s natural that Francis would pale in comparison but there are real reasons to critique the way this Pope has handled things from China and the underground church to the Dubia which has still remained unanswered after over 550 days.  It is entirely proper to critique these failures, nevertheless he is still the Pope the head of the church until God wills that he is not.

There is always the danger that such a critique progresses to the point of considering the Holy Father our enemy ( which ironically would require us per the non-optional doctrine of the church, to love him and to pray for him) and causes us to embrace that first of the deadly sins, pride which Christ warned us of.

Two people went up to the temple area to pray; one was a Pharisee and the other was a tax collector. The Pharisee took up his position and spoke this prayer to himself, ‘O God, I thank you that I am not like the rest of humanity – greedy, dishonest, adulterous – or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week, and I pay tithes on my whole income.’

But the tax collector stood off at a distance and would not even raise his eyes to heaven but beat his breast and prayed, ‘O God, be merciful to me a sinner.’

I tell you, the latter went home justified, not the former; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”

Luke 18:10-14

And we can we can be sure that if our zeal takes us there our foe the Devil will be at our shoulder trying to tempt us in just that direction.

So what are we to do if we want to do something yet want to avoid crossing the line that our true enemy wants us to?  Fortunately as Catholics there is simple answer.

Prayer and Fasting.

I propose a three-day period of Prayer for the Pope, the Church and ourselves, where we implore God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit to bless, the entire Universal Church on earth.

For these three days I propose the following prayers:

Starting the day with an Our Father in the morning asking God the father to provide for the basic needs of the Church.

At midday A Divine Mercy Chaplet in the Afternoon to implore God mercy for the church through the sacrifice of God the Son.

Ending the Day with the Come Holy Spirit asking the God the Holy Spirit to envelop the entire church with the Spirit of discipleship.

For these three days I further propose a fast of varying degrees depending on one’s circumstances.

Abstaining from meat (full disclosure I already abstain on Wednesdays)

An Ash Wednesday like fast

A complete fast.

One could choose any of these or to progress from one to the next each day.

I further propose to begin this on May 8th the Feast of Apparition of St. Michael the defender of the church and end May 10th a feast day for Martyrs (Saints Gordian and Epimachus) High Churchmen ( St. Comgall, Abbot St. Cataldus Bishop, St. Antoninus, Archbishop) and ordinary people (St. Isidore) thus representing both the heavenly nature of such a prayer and the earthly span of the church from high to low.

If we want to banish the demons that plague the church and ourselves this is the way to do it, after all this is exactly what Christ suggested :

Then the disciples approached Jesus in private and said, “Why could we not drive it out?” He said to them, “Because of your little faith. Amen, I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you. But this kind does not come out except by prayer and fasting“.

That’s good enough for me.

The Damned being Cast into Hell, Frans Francken 1610

Anyone who gives you a cup of water to drink because you belong to Christ, amen, I say to you, will surely not lose his reward.

“Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe (in me) to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were put around his neck and he were thrown into the sea.

If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter into life maimed than with two hands to go into Gehenna, 10 into the unquenchable fire.

And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter into life crippled than with two feet to be thrown into Gehenna. And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. Better for you to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into Gehenna, where ‘their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.’

Mark 9:41-48

I’ve been thinking long and hard about the Francis “No Hell” business and I think I’ve figured it out what is going on (although I can’t take all the credit for it).

A long time ago I wrote a post about how the internet empowers “crazy uncles”

It’s not so odd that 1% of any population might be off its rocker, the problem is in a country of 300,000,000 that is 3 million people. Even if 1/10 of one percent is crackers that’s 300,000 people. To give you some perspective that’s more troops than we have in Iraq or Afghanistan.

The problem is with the internet and social networking and the like that crazy 1% or 1/10 of one percent is suddenly empowered. Instead of the crazy uncle at the family gathering that you can ignore, suddenly he has 1000 friends that he can text to rebut and counter rebut all night. He is affirmed and empowered and boy is he motivated, because now there are thousands of people telling him he’s been right all along and is MUCH smarter than everyone thought.

300,000-3,000,000 crazy uncles as individuals isn’t a big deal, but get them all writing e-mails or making phone calls and most importantly AFFIRMING themselves and suddenly you have a potent economic and or political force. Suddenly there is a huge market for a book or 10,000 people willing to pay $20 for a DVD. That’s a fair amount of change and a person can make a good living off of it.

In terms of the church a good example of this is one given by Father Z in one of the best posts on the subject of communion and the divorced that I’ve ever read. It begins with this question:

You wrote in a recent post, “Holy Communion for the divorced and remarried (which in 99.99% of cases would be sacrilege).” Can you tell me what scenario would permit your conscience to give communion to the remarried? I can think of a couple, perhaps; curious what you’re thinking, esp. as I teach a marriage class every semester.

He lays out a scenario where a couple illicitly married choose not to separate for the sake of their children but are made to understand their sin and resolve to live as brother and sister such a couple CAN receive communion but would and should avoid doing so during their mass obligation to make sure it didn’t cause scandal and confuse people by making people think the priest is giving them communion in a state of mortal sin, as father puts it

Now I will track back to what I asked about Communion at the top.

What is it that they want?

Communion with its holy effects? Or do they want to be seen receiving Communion?

Do they want the Eucharist or the “white thing” that symbolizes affirmation?

In theory of course said couple could go for communion in public and the priest knowing that they are not in a state of moral sin could give them communion counting on the charity that people should have to presume that both the priest and the couple are acting in good faith.  In his letter to the Corinthians Paul explains how how such a situation, using the example of meat sacrificed to idols, can lead to sin.

Now food will not bring us closer to God. We are no worse off if we do not eat, nor are we better off if we do.  But make sure that this liberty of yours in no way becomes a stumbling block to the weak.  If someone sees you, with your knowledge, reclining at table in the temple of an idol, may not his conscience too, weak as it is, be “built up” to eat the meat sacrificed to idols?  Thus through your knowledge, the weak person is brought to destruction, the brother for whom Christ died.  When you sin in this way against your brothers and wound their consciences, weak as they are, you are sinning against Christ.

1 Cor 8:8-12

Now if you are dealing with a small parish, and there is a busybody or a crazy uncle who sees this, the pastor could explain privately to a person scandalized by this that the couple in question are working with him and living as brother and sister (and if they fail confessing with a firm purpose of resolution) and count on that person not to gossip about this couple’s private situation or blast it out on twitter or facebook. Of course if he is unlucky the person might have already blasted this out and suddenly not only is he dealing with his bishop and the local press asking if he’s defying the church but the couple in question suddenly have all of their business out in public making leading them away from sin a complicated matter.

And that brings us to Pope Francis

A priest friend of mine one noted that the weakness of Pope Francis is he forgets that he not just a local pastor dealing with local issues but the Pope of the entire church whose every pronouncement is given scrutiny. This whole business about “There is no Hell” and the Vatican’s weak response to it is a great example of this.

Now Pope Francis might think that this is no big deal, just a conversation with an old man, John Allen describes it

The cardinal said he’d asked Pope Francis the very same question, and here was the pope’s answer: “You know, by now he [Scalfari] is quite old … we have to be gentle with him,” which is consistent with the pope’s repeated pleas to respect and cherish the elderly.

Francis’s Vatican team, sensing the pope’s preferences, may have gotten the message that when it comes to Scalfari, normally the gloves stay on.

Unfortunately he’s not just an old man Scalfari (the elderly atheist/communist journalist) is the founder of a major paper that is read by thousands and while as Allen explains, his reputation for accuracy or the lack thereof might be well known in Italy in general and Vatican circles in particular, Allen again:

It’s also worth remembering that in 2015, when Scalfari quoted Francis as having said that “all the divorced and remarried who ask will be admitted” to Communion, the then-Vatican spokesman, Father Federico Lombardi, added a very telling aside to the official denial.

Those who have “followed the preceding events and work in Italy,” he said, “know the way Scalfari writes and know these things well.”

In other words, the Vatican officials who approve public statements may have thought that it’s all been said before – forgetting, naturally, that the share of humanity that’s followed the preceding events and works in Italy is, in all honesty, staggeringly small.

Alas while Vatican officials, living in their bubble might think that this is no big deal in the age of the internet and of Drudge and a media who would like nothing more than to bring down the church this is gold and while Scalfari might be an old man, don’t think for one moment that that old Communist, Socialist Atheist and Fascist who has spent a lifetime trying to bring down the west and the Christian Culture that made it strong didn’t know what he was doing nor what it would do.

This brings scandal and disrepute to the church that he rejects but it does something even worse

Last night was the day when most new converts are received into the Church, many of them I’m sure doing so in defiance of the opinions of family and friends. How many of them, do you think, might have had second thoughts or even decided against entering into full communion because of this business, particularly the Vatican’s decision not to make a direct unequivocal denial of these statements and affirm the truth of the doctrine of the church?

Pope Francis may think of this as an attempt to reach out to an old atheist near the end of his life in the hope of conversion is mercy and decide that the idea that the Pope has to deny contradicting Saints, Popes, Marian Apparitions and Christ himself is nonsense and if Francis was a local pastor and Scalfari was just some old man near the end of it days he might be right about that.

But in so thinking and doing or in this case again (amoris laetitia) failing to clearly and unambiguously confirm and repeat the Church’s doctrine, unchanged for its two thousand years, he has managed to not only take the focus away from the sacrifice of Christ for humanity during Holy Week but has actually brought the sacrifice of Christ and the Chruch’s understanding of it into question.

This is an own goal, a gift to the enemies of the church on earth and for the enemy of men’s souls in eternity and it’s what comes of thinking like a local pastor instead of the Pope of the Universal Church responsible for the faith of hundreds of millions.

Let us pray that through the grace of God that the Holy Father figures this out.

I speak to Brother Jorchem of St. Benedict Abbey in Still River Massachusetts at the 2018 Catholic Men’s Conference at Assumption College in Worcester MA.

I should point out that the Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and St. Benedict Abbey are two distinct groups both operating in the town of Still River

Previously

March 21st

Voices of the Catholic Men’s Conference 2018 Robert LeBlanc Author of Where will you Plant Your Seed?

March 20th
Voices of the Catholic Men’s Conference 2018 Holy Family Passionist Retreat Center

March 19th

Voices of the 2018 Catholic Men’s Conference: Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary