Amy Kaine: You don’t have to be a hero, not for me.
Wil Kaine: I’m not not trying to be a hero. If you think I like this, you’re crazy.

High Noon 1952

Father Karras: I think it might be helpful if I gave you some background on the different personalities Regan has manifested. So far, I’d say there seem to be three. She’s convinced…
Father Merrin: There is only one.

The Exorcist 1973

Looking at the fallout from both the Vigano letter and the PA grand jury report that preceded it that amazingly has suddenly become a back burner issue it seems to be that everyone has lost sight of what’s going on here.

If you go to the media and the net all of this has become about competing narratives within the church depending on your political or religious view.

For the left/media it’s become all about protecting a liberal pope who they see as the key to remaking the church in their image for the right it’s exactly the opposite.

I’m not going to debate the merits of Pope Francis, here, but I want to point out something, the idea that the Pope was covering up for a group of serial predators and may have been involved in some financial irregularities so outrageous that it caused a wave of resignations at the Papal foundation, is a not a cause for celebration because of political advantage.  That any Pope might do such a thing is as much a cause for shame and embarrassment as the idea of princes of the church repeatedly covering for priests and bishops who have made a mockery of their vows.

Furthermore this isn’t the first church scandal we’ve seen and it isn’t the last.  Since the days of Susanna was accused of adultery when she refused the advances of two Elder Judges (Daniel Chapter 13)  and Simon the Magician tried to buy the gifts of the Holy Spirit for gain (Acts Chapter 8) there have been those who tied to use the gifts of the spirit and church to satisfy their lusts and power, but in the end the Church endures.

There should be one primary focus for any faithful Catholic in this crisis and any Catholic Priest, Bishop or Cardinal faithful to his vows:  What is the best path for the salvation of souls?

As lay people, we can do this best by prayer and the sacraments and acts consistent with paying for the sins of ourselves and the church and I’ll be the first to admit this is a goal that to my embarrassment I’ve fallen short of on a regular basis.

As faithful members of the clergy this can best be done by carrying themselves consistent with their vows, fearlessly proclaiming the truths of the faith, and addressing the sins of the church directly and fearlessly with both truth and acts of reparation.

For those who have disgraced the church this can best be done repentance, confession and contrition for the sins of cowardice in covering up the sins of the church and giving up those who have committed civil crimes to civil authorities.

I submit and suggest we, the church and souls would be better served by remember that our opponents online are not the enemy.  The real enemy is Satan and the would like nothing better than us ignoring the real fight rather than  concentrating on what we can do and can control in terms of saving souls.

This is spiritual warfare and the sooner we understand that and act accordingly the sooner we will win.

Yesterday I wrote that silence wasn’t an option for Pope Francis given the very public written charges by Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, that ope Francis not only knew about what Archbishop Theodore McCarrick’s had done, but actually repealed the sanctions on him by Pope Benedict and elevated him to a position of power and influence over the US church within the Vatican until the general public found out what had been going on.

Boy was I wrong:

 

“Read the statement carefully yourselves and make your own judgment.”

“I am not going to say a word about this.”

“I believe that the statement speaks for itself, and you all have sufficient journalistic ability to draw conclusions.”

“It is an act of trust. When a little time goes by, and you have drawn conclusions, perhaps I will speak about it, but I would like your professional maturity to do this work. It will do you all good, really.“

 

I forget that this is the same Pope who has ignored the Cardinals Dubia on Amoris Laetitia for over 700 days and counting.

This silence is perplexing to some faithful Catholics like old friend Elizabeth Scalia:

Others like Father Z think what the Pope is doing is pretty obvious:

 

In my cynicism – please forgive me for being a little cynical right now? – what the Pope said is along the lines of:

“You, the press, have been on my side till now. If you think about it for a while, you should still be on my side. If you weigh the alternatives you will remember that I am your guy.”

This is not a happy man. But that’s not much of a conclusion. Listen to, however, what he is trying to say.

Here is what I think he said, without saying it.

The Pope is calling on the press to do the necessary work to make this go away.

If you think this is complicated for Francis’ liberal allies in the Church Just Imagine what all of this is like for the MSM & the left.

Granted the MSM was lucky in terms of timing.  Last weekend they could focus on the Death of Senator John McCain and the Cohen deal are huge stories in the US so it gives them time to figure out what to do before they report on the absolutely biggest story everywhere else in the world.

Now normally for the MSM this is a no brainer, any scandal within the Catholic Church is a cause for celebration to them. The chance to go after the Catholic Church that dares still speak against Abortion, Gay Marriage, Transgenderism et/al, the sacraments of the left has always been welcome. Furthermore given the media’s previous success completely excluding the fact that the church scandals have overwhelmingly involved Gay Clergy preying on young boys, one would think that there would be no hesitancy to jump right in

But Francis involvement and the charges against him directly complicates the matter. He is THEIR Pope, the Pope who they were counting on to change church doctrine on all of these issues, to take the focus off of abortion, to suggest that some mortal sins like Sodomy, aren’t all that mortal, and to remake the church in their image through his pronouncements, his encyclicals and most of all through appointments of Bishops and Cardinals in line with those goals.

To report on this all puts all that in jeopardy and now even worse with the Pope asking them to report on it while not denying the revelation that McCarrick had a big hand in Francis’ appointment of key Cardinals in the US,  who by an odd coincidence are all are seemingly sympathetic with the media’s goals and agenda, makes touching this incredibility dangerous for a press that has been lionizing Francis from day one.  If this goes the wrong way for them it could lead to the replacement of liberal Cardinals and Bishops with fellows who might think something like this:

“It is time to be honest that the problems are both and they are more. To fall into the trap of parsing problems according to what society might find acceptable or unacceptable is ignoring the fact that the Church has never held any of it to be acceptable — neither the abuse of children, nor any use of one’s sexuality outside of the marital relationship, nor the sin of sodomy, nor the entering of clerics into intimate sexual relationships at all, nor the abuse and coercion by those with authority,” he wrote.

Bishop Morlino said that McCarrick was guilty of abusing power “for the sake of homosexual gratification.”

“It is time to admit that there is a homosexual subculture within the hierarchy of the Catholic Church that is wreaking great devastation in the vineyard of the Lord. The Church’s teaching is clear that the homosexual inclination is not in itself sinful, but it is intrinsically disordered in a way that renders any man stably afflicted by it unfit to be a priest,” he added.

He wrote to seminarians of his diocese that they should immediately notify him of any sexual abuse, coercion or sexual immorality they might experience or witness in their seminaries.

“I will address it swiftly and vigorously. I will not stand for this in my diocese or anywhere I send men for formation,” he wrote, adding that he expects seminaries to address sexual immorality directly.

To the priests of Madison, the bishop explained his expectation that each one “live out your priesthood as a holy priest, a hardworking priest, and a pure and happy priest — as Christ himself is calling you to do. And by extension, live a chaste and celibate life so that you can completely give your life to Christ, the Church and the people whom he has called you to serve. God will give you the graces to do so.”

He likewise called priests to notify him of abuse or sexual immorality they might become aware of.

That’s Bishop Moreno of Madison Wisconsin and the last thing that the media want to do is empower someone like him, a Bishop faithful to the doctrines of the church as they are vs how they want them to be.

How with the MSM react?  Well if it looked for one moment like Pope Francis was going to clean house  the left/media would have turned on him faster than the liberal black community turned on Ben Carson but now that he’s basically thrown the story out there while at the same time refusing to deny it is like asking them to pass a camel thorough the eye of a needle.

Bottom line the MSM/Left will do all they can to preserve their goal of a changed liberal church that redefines sin to their specifications and will even work with those in the church seeking that goal.  I don’t see how they reach that goal by reporting on this story so I suspect they will do all they can to ignore it in the hopes of preserving Francis as their agent of change.  If however it becomes clear that Francis is no longer capable of delivering then I suspect they will pivot and come full bore on Francis and the Church as if he was Benedict or St. John Paul II.

This will come as a great shock to this Pope who like the late Senator John McCain assumed the left and media loved him, but the truth is both cases is their love was conditional on either of them being useful to destroy their enemies and in the end a Catholic Church with the moral authority to confront the culture of death and degradation that the media/left promotes is the biggest enemy they have and if Francis can’t co-op that enemy then his usefulness is at an end so attacking the church , which frankly they’re more comfortable doing anyways will be a pretty good 2nd best for them.

The LORD sent Nathan to David, and when he came to him, he said: “Judge this case for me! In a certain town there were two men, one rich, the other poor.
The rich man had flocks and herds in great numbers. But the poor man had nothing at all except one little ewe lamb that he had bought. He nourished her, and she grew up with him and his children. She shared the little food he had and drank from his cup and slept in his bosom. She was like a daughter to him.

Now, the rich man received a visitor, but he would not take from his own flocks and herds to prepare a meal for the wayfarer who had come to him. Instead he took the poor man’s ewe lamb and made a meal of it for his visitor.”

David grew very angry with that man and said to Nathan: “As the LORD lives, the man who has done this merits death! He shall restore the ewe lamb fourfold because he has done this and has had no pity.”

Then Nathan said to David: “You are the man!

2 Samuel 12:1-7a

Claudius: Let all the poisons that lurk in the mud hatch out.

I Claudius 1976

If you thought the News concerning the cover up on abuse in the Catholic Church couldn’t get worse for Pope Francis and the church you were wrong.

In an extraordinary 11-page written testament, a former apostolic nuncio to the United States has accused several senior prelates of complicity in covering up Archbishop Theodore McCarrick’s allegations of sexual abuse, and has claimed that Pope Francis knew about sanctions imposed on then-Cardinal McCarrick by Pope Benedict XVI but chose to repeal them.

Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, 77, who served as apostolic nuncio in Washington D.C. from 2011 to 2016, said that in the late 2000s, Benedict had “imposed on Cardinal McCarrick sanctions similar to those now imposed on him by Pope Francis” and that Viganò personally told Pope Francis about those sanctions in 2013.

It seems that McCarrick’s activities were not only known for a while…

He drew on an indictment memorandum, communicated by Archbishop Sambi to Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, then Secretary of State, in which an abusive priest had made claims against McCarrick of “such gravity and vileness” including “depraved acts” and “sacrilegious celebration of the Eucharist.”

…but while Benedict, despite delays orchestrated by two different Vatican Secretaries of States Pope acted to sanction him Pope Francis despite being informed of McCarrick’s activities:

At a private meeting a few days later, Archbishop Viganò said the Pope asked him “‘What is Cardinal McCarrick like?’” to which the archbishop replied: “He corrupted generations of seminarians and priests and Pope Benedict ordered him to withdraw to a life of prayer and penance.”

not only lifted the sanctions but…

McCarrick had “become the kingmaker for appointments in the Curia and the United States, and the most listened to advisor in the Vatican for relations with the Obama administration.”

Viganò claimed that the appointments of Cardinal Cupich to Chicago and Cardinal Joseph Tobin to Newark “were orchestrated by McCarrick,” among others. He said neither of the names was presented by the nunciature, whose job is traditionally to present a list of names, or terna, to the Congregation for Bishops. He also added that Bishop Robert McElroy’s appointment to San Diego was orchestrated “from above” rather than through the nuncio.

Why has Archbishop Vigano chosen to speak now?

I had always believed and hoped that the hierarchy of the Church could find within itself the spiritual resources and strength to tell the whole truth, to amend and to renew itself. That is why, even though I had repeatedly been asked to do so, I always avoided making statements to the media, even when it would have been my right to do so, in order to defend myself against the calumnies published about me, even by high-ranking prelates of the Roman Curia. But now that the corruption has reached the very top of the Church’s hierarchy, my conscience dictates that I reveal those truths regarding the heart-breaking case of the Archbishop Emeritus of Washington, D.C., Theodore McCarrick, which I came to know in the course of the duties entrusted to me by St. John Paul II, as Delegate for Pontifical Representations, from 1998 to 2009, and by Pope Benedict XVI, as Apostolic Nuncio to the United States of America, from October 19, 2011 until end of May 2016.

What’s really damning about all of this is that these accusations have been made publicly, on the record, and in writing, and it comes right after Fr. James Martin complained in Dublin that gays in the church were getting a raw deal.

The pushback on the Archbishop from the “Catholics for mortal sin” lobby is already starting but it remains to be seen what if anything the Vatican in general and or Pope Francis in particular will do. In my opinion silence is not an option.  If the Archbishop is lying, which would seem unlikely given the public nature of making such charges public and in writing, the Pope needs to unequivocally state so because a lie that big needs to be called out.

If however  what this Archbishop says is true then my past description of Francis as a “mediocre” Pope is likely a tad generous to say the least and he needs to come clean.  My advice to the Pope and the Church is pretty simple: Do whatever is most conducive to the salvation of souls and consistent with the truth no matter what the consequences of such a path is.

How will the Church, particularly the Church in the US deal with this? Well given that US Bishops are so afraid of dealing with public reaction to Ephesians 5:21-24 that they made those verses optional in last Sunday’s scheduled 2nd reading I don’t have a lot of confidence that the Church in the US will tackle this head on.

What will Pope Francis and the church in Rome actually do? I haven’t a clue, but in the end he is the Pope until he’s not and while I don’t know what God’s game plan is I have faith that the Holy Spirit knows what he’s doing.

As for the rest of us, the duties and responsibilities of a faithful and prayerful Catholic are no different than they were a week or a month ago, nor has the path to heaven so the best advice I can give is this: If you are a devout prayerful & faithful keep it up, the church needs you more than ever and if your not, become one and remember the warnings I gave earlier on the subject not only still stand but are even more in play than before.

Jesus Christ: Let your ‘Yes’ mean ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No’ mean ‘No.’ Anything more is from the evil one.

Matthew 5:37

Every now and then I see a tweet in my timeline about the death penalty.

Now I’ve always been indifferent to and have had respect for both sides on the issue.  Unlike abortion you are dealing with a person who has committed a grave crime and in places like the US has given an incredible amount of appeals before sentence is carried out, however if a state wishes to go thorough the expense of holding a person for what can be up to 80 years and people are willing to take the risk that said person will harm others (and people harm others in prison every day) that’s their call too.

As a moral issue my thought is always for the soul. For some people decades in prison can provide time to repent and consider their relationship with God while it might embitter others, contrariwise the knowledge of impending death can bring a person to make peace with God out of fear for their soul while it might have the opposite effect on others.

Anyways the when the subject has come up I’ve always turned to scripture and argued if the Death Penalty is forbidden nobody told Peter:

A man named Ananias, however, with his wife Sapphira, sold a piece of property. He retained for himself, with his wife’s knowledge, some of the purchase price, took the remainder, and put it at the feet of the apostles. But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart so that you lied to the holy Spirit and retained part of the price of the land?

While it remained unsold, did it not remain yours? And when it was sold, was it not still under your control? Why did you contrive this deed? You have lied not to human beings, but to God.” When Ananias heard these words, he fell down and breathed his last, and great fear came upon all who heard of it.

The young men came and wrapped him up, then carried him out and buried him. After an interval of about three hours, his wife came in, unaware of what had happened. Peter said to her, “Tell me, did you sell the land for this amount?” She answered, “Yes, for that amount.”

Then Peter said to her, “Why did you agree to test the Spirit of the Lord? Listen, the footsteps of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out.” At once, she fell down at his feet and breathed her last. When the young men entered they found her dead, so they carried her out and buried her beside her husband. And great fear came upon the whole church and upon all who heard of these things.

Acts 5:1-11

So when someone has come to me saying the death penalty is immoral I”ve always pointed to this New Testament passage and noted one of the first thing does in the Christian community is a death sentence passed by Peter and carried out by God for telling a lie.

That’s what I was doing yesterday when a leftist started giving a speech on the subject on twitter talking about the death penalty, I had been busy all day and had no idea that he knew something I didn’t: that when I went to bed the previous evening the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which I link to at this blog said this:

2267 The traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude, presupposing full ascertainment of the identity and responsibility of the offender, recourse to the death penalty, when this is the only practicable way to defend the lives of human beings effectively against the aggressor.
“If, instead, bloodless means are sufficient to defend against the aggressor and to protect the safety of persons, public authority should limit itself to such means, because they better correspond to the concrete conditions of the common good and are more in conformity to the dignity of the human person.
“Today, in fact, given the means at the State’s disposal to effectively repress crime by rendering inoffensive the one who has committed it, without depriving him definitively of the possibility of redeeming himself, cases of absolute necessity for suppression of the offender ‘today … are very rare, if not practically non-existent.'[John Paul II, Evangelium vitae 56.]

But at the time I was answering his tweets it was changed to this:

2267. Recourse to the death penalty on the part of legitimate authority, following a fair trial, was long considered an appropriate response to the gravity of certain crimes and an acceptable, albeit extreme, means of safeguarding the common good.

Today, however, there is an increasing awareness that the dignity of the person is not lost even after the commission of very serious crimes. In addition, a new understanding has emerged of the significance of penal sanctions imposed by the state. Lastly, more effective systems of detention have been developed, which ensure the due protection of citizens but, at the same time, do not definitively deprive the guilty of the possibility of redemption. 

Consequently, the Church teaches, in the light of the Gospel, that “the death penalty is inadmissible because it is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person”,[1] and she works with determination for its abolition worldwide.

_______________________

[1] Francis, Address to Participants in the Meeting organized by the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization, 11 October 2017: L’Osservatore Romano, 13 October 2017, 5.

While I don’t question the authority of the Pope to change the language of the Catechism the idea of a Pope overnight announcing a change of doctrine as old as the church, while biblical:

Jesus said to him in reply, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father.

And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church,  and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.

I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

is something of a shock to say the least.  The question before the floor is has he done the former or the latter?

Fr. Z took a look at the language involved:

Note well that word: “inadmissible”.  The Italian says: “inammissibile”.  The French says: “une mesure inhumaine”.  The German says: “unzulässig”.  The rest of the languages are along this line.  French is not.  We don’t know what the official text is.  However, we can be pretty sure that it won’t go farther than “inadmissible”.

It does not and will not say in Latin that the death penalty is “intrinsically evil”.

Back in October 2017, Francis talked about changing the Catechism.  At that time he said that the death penalty is “per se contrary to the Gospel” and it was “dictated by a mentality more legalistic than Christian.” Hence, the death penalty is “inadmissible.”

How do we square that with innumerable sources which affirm that the Church has always taught, from Apostles times through the Pontificate of John Paul II in Evangelium vitae, that the death penalty – though highly cautiously – admissible?

Christ Himself upholds Pilate’s authority to kill Him (John 19:11).  St. Augustine, writing to the prefect of Africa Macedonius, begged for clemency for a man condemned to death, but he upheld the rights of the state (epp. 152-155).   St. Thomas Aquinas, though his teaching is not coterminous with the Church’s, taught in the Summa Theologiae and in the Summa Contra Gentiles in support of the death penalty.  Thomas’s arguments are subtle and in no way “dictated by a mentality more legalistic than Christian.”  Neither did John Paul’s.  Numerous examples are found between Christ and modern pontificates.

The student of theology and Joe Bagofdonuts in the pew will want to know how this change to the Church’s teaching is an “authentic development of doctrine” when it seems to fly in the face of the pretty much universally accepted explanation of development of doctrine described by Bl. John Henry Newman: Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine. 

Or to put it another way, Pope Francis did not say:  “Capital punishment is a sin” which would be a clear and unambiguous statement, and would also contradict a bunch of Popes who had the same authority as he does now which is why in my opinion he didn’t say it.  He uses the weasel word “inadmissible”.

Let me rephrase.  If a Pope said”Deliberately Farting in a room full of people is a ‘sin'” he would be laughed out of the Papacy, but if a Pope said “Deliberately farting in a room full of people is ‘inadmissable'” it would be understood as something not done in polite society.

I have had no time to think about this, but Fr. Z has had a day:

 

Let’s pretend for a moment – and it doesn’t take much – that baseball’s designated hitter rule is a matter for the Church’s Magisterium.   If I, Pope Clement XIV The Second, were to drop into the Catechism a paragraph stating that the designated hitter is wrong and inadmissible, that opinion’s presence in the Catechism wouldn’t make that statement true and necessary for belief.

Things in the Catechism don’t become true when they are put into the book.  They are put into the book because they are true.  The fact is, you can argue about the designated hitter forever.

So what happens if something blatantly false is put into the Catechism, such as, “abortion is not intrinsically evil”.  That would be a serious violation of the purpose of the Catechism and it would reveal the insertor as a heretic.  But what about the insertion of something ambiguous?   For example, stick into the CCC that, because of the human dignity of the person, the capital punishment is “inadmissible”.  I suppose we can argue about what “inadmissible” means.  It doesn’t manifestly state that capital punishment is intrinsically evil, as abortion and euthanasia is intrinsically evil.

The Church in the CCC 2271 teaches what she has always taught from the earliest times: abortion is a grave moral evil.  That teaching is in the CCC because the Church has always taught that.

The Church in the CCC 2277 teaches that direct euthanasia is, in English, “morally unacceptable”.  Not too different from “inadmissible”, right.  But it goes on to call it “murder gravely contrary to the dignity of the human person… a murderous act”.

What Pope Francis wrote about capital punishment doesn’t call it intrinsically evil or a murderous act.

But he does say that it is “inadmissible”… “not allowable”.

Is that a hedge?   It is hard to take it as a hedge.

There is going to be a lot of ink spilled about this.

Finally, it seems to me that Pope Francis has emphasized the Church’s outward, pastoral policy which she desires to argue before the state: don’t put people to death.

Having thought about it, I am not entirely convinced that what Pope Francis didn’t attempt to change the Church’s teaching about capital punishment.  At the very least, he made it far murkier than before.

It seems to me that someone could place the new paragraph side by side with the rest of the body of the Church’s teachings on capital punishment and then make a choice to stick with the traditional teaching.

It WAS, in fact, in the Catechism.  And it was there for a reason.

 

I think the real question is this:  Does this mean that we have to look at the Papacy like we do the Supreme Court where instead of the eternal truths of the church taught for the salvation of souls it’s a question of getting the right person in there so they can declare with the stroke of a pen that my moral sin, be it adultery, or theft, or porn, or sodomy, or even denying God and Christ, isn’t really a sin anymore? I hope not because it will encourage those who have been working diligently to overthrow the authority of the church, or those who desire to justify their own sins and will strengthen the argument of those who believe that Francis is an anti-pope and there are more of those people out there than you think.

In other words it’s the perfect recipe for schism

Meanwhile there are plenty of people outside of the church like the fellow on twitter last night who will be using Pope Francis’ words as a cudgel to push their own agenda and to attack the teachings on life, and marriage and all the rest that they don’t like.

Francis might have been trying to emphasize the church’s current pastoral policy but what he has managed to do is create the idea that the church’s eternal teaching are fudgeible if only you get the right person in charge to fudge them. I can’t think of a think of a thing more idiotic that any Pope could do.

There is only one thing worse that the idea that Pope Francis didn’t see this coming, and that’s the idea that he did.

Meanwhile I’ll give the last word to Fr. Z

Meanwhile, we seem to be pushing outrage about McCarrick out of the news cycle.

I sure hope that wasn’t the whole idea.

I am a faithful Catholic for one reason, because it’s true.  My prayers today will be for the Church and the Pope, if you are Catholic I would suggest the same.

If there has been one constant in the last few years it has been the media/left rushing to quote Pope Francis on the subject of migration, on wealth and, out of context, on our duties to our fellow man who happens to be gay.

We have had liberal stalwarts from Nancy Pelosi to Bernie Sanders chime in on listening to the Pope on issues like this.

This week however the Pope had something to say about Abortion:

Abortion is the “white glove” equivalent of the Nazi eugenics programme, Pope Francis has said.

In off-the-cuff remarks to members of an Italian family association reported by the Associated Press, the Pope said he regretted that some couples decided not to have children or opted for pre-natal tests to discover if their unborn child had any physical defects.

“The first proposal in such a case is, ‘Do we get rid of it?’” Francis said. “The murder of children. To have an easy life, they get rid of an innocent.”

The Pope said that in his youth he had been shocked by stories about children in the past being “thrown from the mountain” if they were born with disabilities.

“Today we do the same thing,” he said, according to AP.

“Last century, the whole world was scandalised by what the Nazis did to purify the race. Today, we do the same thing but with white gloves,” Francis said.

And had this to say about marriage and family:

The pope also rejected the concept of nontraditional families not based on heterosexual marriage.

“Today—it hurts to say it—one speaks of ‘diversified’ families: different types of family …but the human family as the image of God, man and woman, is only one. Only one,” the pope said.

Oddly enough thought the Holy Father said these things several days ago and yet I’ve not hear Nancy Pelosi, Bernie Sanders and/or the good folks at CNN & MSNBC to come out and proclaim the necessity to embrace the Holy Father’s teachings on this important moral issues?

One must conclude that as far as the media/left is concerned Francis is not quotable when he states unchanging Catholic doctrine in public in clear, straightforward and un-spinable language.

#unexpectedly

No word if DePaul or Marquette or any other “Catholic” University will be banning him as a potential speaker for exclusionary language.

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.

Merry Christmas, I say, since I stubbornly hold that the Christmas season begins on December 25. Happy New Year as well, keeping in mind that each day begins a new year.

I’m grateful to readers, fellow writers, and DTG himself for this spot on the blog.

To all, I commend these words from Pope Francis, spoken to a group of laypeople in 2015. The words are on my own blog’s home page as an epigraph to that particular project. Even if you and I don’t share a religious faith, I suspect we have in common a commitment to our nation’s political culture. As Pope Francis says, get to it.

Engaging in politics is martyrdom: truly a martyr’s work, because one needs to go the whole day with the ideal of building the common good, always carrying the cross of many failures and carrying the cross of many sins. It’s difficult to do good in a society without getting your hands or your heart a little dirty…Don’t allow this to discourage you. 

…You can’t watch from the balcony! Get involved! Give it your best. If the Lord calls you to this vocation, get to it, engage in politics. 

Cheers and best wishes to all!

Ellen Kolb is a writer and pro-life activist from New Hampshire.  

Support independent journalism by hitting DaTipJar on Da Tech Guy blog. Thank you!

Let your ‘Yes’ mean ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No’ mean ‘No.’ Anything more is from the evil one.

Matthew 5:37

James Hacker: Will you answer a direct question?
Sir Humphrey Appleby: I strongly advise you not to ask a direct question.
James Hacker: Why?
Sir Humphrey Appleby: It might provoke a direct answer.
James Hacker: Never has yet.

Yes Minister: The Moral Dimension 1982

I’ve been too busy with other things to talk about Pope Francis and the formal Filial Correction sent to him, the first such document sent to a pope since 1333.

With profound grief, but moved by fidelity to our Lord Jesus Christ, by love for the Church and for the papacy, and by filial devotion toward yourself, we are compelled to address a correction to Your Holiness on account of the propagation of heresies effected by the apostolic exhortation Amoris laetitia and by other words, deeds and omissions of Your Holiness.

We are permitted to issue this correction by natural law, by the law of Christ, and by the law of the Church, which three things Your Holiness has been appointed by divine providence to guard. By natural law: for as subjects have by nature a duty to obey their superiors in all lawful things, so they have a right to be governed according to law, and therefore to insist, where need be, that their superiors so govern. By the law of Christ: for His Spirit inspired the apostle Paul to rebuke Peter in public when the latter did not act according to the truth of the gospel (Gal. 2). St Thomas Aquinas notes that this public rebuke from a subject to a superior was licit on account of the imminent danger of scandal concerning the faith (Summa Theologiae 2a 2ae, 33, 4 ad 2), and ‘the gloss of St Augustine’ adds that on this occasion, “Peter gave an example to superiors, that if at any time they should happen to stray from the straight path, they should not disdain to be reproved by their subjects” (ibid.). The law of the Church also constrains us, since it states that “Christ’s faithful . . . have the right, indeed at times the duty, in keeping with their knowledge, competence, and position, to manifest to the sacred pastors their views on matters which concern the good of the Church” (Code of Canon Law 212:2-3; Code of Canons of Oriental Churches 15:3).

Scandal concerning faith and morals has been given to the Church and to the world by the publication of Amoris laetitia and by other acts through which Your Holiness has sufficiently made clear the scope and purpose of this document.

The Document lists seven heretical positions that directly contradict the faith as taught for centuries. and these positions have been propagated via Amoris Laetitia’s

Ironically as I’ve written the vast majority of Amoris Laetitia is pretty good. Paragraph after paragraph contains teaching that a Catholic should take to heart but the infamous footnote included has been used by those on the left in the church have used to drive a bus through doctrine. Much like this exchange from Yes Prime Minister

PM Jim Hacker: I can read between the lines, Some politicians have a feeling for foreign affairs. I could tell that you were warning me that St. George Island might need our help
Luke: Oh Yes, Well No actually, only on one paragraph on page 107!
PM Jim Hacker: It was enough I can take a hint.

Yes Prime Minister A Victory for Democracy 1986

It didn’t matter how much good was in that document, that footnote was used by several Bishops around the world to directly counteract Catholic Doctrine in their areas of communion for the divorced and remarried, doctrine that has been clearly established as long as there has been a church.

Now a year ago a set of Cardinals sent a Dubia asking the Holy Father to clarify this footnote.  The cardinals and the dubia have alternatively been ignored and attacked at the Vatican but most importantly nobody has answered them.

There are many things I like about Pope Francis, his emphasis on Mercy, on Confession and his direct statements about the Devil being real are first rate.  He has also been very explicit on life in all of his encyclicals (something that I keep urging the GOP to bring up every time a Democrat quotes one but I digress).  Furthermore I certainly get the idea of trying to get those in mortal sin back into the Church to aid their salvation as that is the primary job of the church.

It my opinion, however, that his silence on this matter has been a huge mistake.  It is promulgating division in the church and the sooner these questions are directly answered, our yes meaning yes and our no being no, the better for the Church and the people it serves.

It is the job of the Vatican to emulate Christ, by refusing to answer a direct question we have reached this point, that it is instead emulating Sir Humphrey and the civil servants of British comedy.

Two years ago (before we found the reality of Catholic front group” I famously asked Catholic Call to action this question in response to their tweets on Synod 2015.

They declined to answer and I wrote at the time:

Now I’m not a professed catholic organization with a big leadership team, chapters around the nation holding national conferences with a list of keynote speakers and endorsements as famous a Christian an ex-president of the United States but I know this much:

Any christian individual or organization whether Catholic or Protestant should give Catholic Call to Action the widest birth possible because any organization that can’t clearly and without hesitation proclaim: “Jesus Christ is the son of God and died and rose from the dead” yet claims to be “Catholic” can’t be trusted.

I urge the Vatican not to mimic the silence these fellow’s silence in response to a direct question.  It speaks volumes and none of it is good.

My advice to my fellow Catholics, continue to Pray for the Pope and the Church and continue on as you have before, because even at a time like this we should remember that while we have no idea what the Holy Spirit is doing, God does so we must answer this challenge in the words made famous by St. Faustina:

Jesus I trust in you.