Thursday, 27 July 2017

Blessed Titus Brandsma, Pray for Us

Today is the Memoria of Blessed Titus Brandsma. May he intercede for the Church and for those who strive to bear witness to Jesus Christ as writers, bloggers and journalists.

As many readers know well, Blessed Titus Brandsma is a patron of journalists. Rorate Caeli recently published the letter that would soon see the intensification of Nazi persecution of the Catholic Church in the Netherlands.

It was a Circular of the Archbishop of Utrecht in the name of the Episcopate to the directors and editors-in-chief of Catholic periodicals, but as Rorate note, it was drafted by Titus Brandsma himself. It is well worth reading for it declares as historical record the public confrontation between the Church in the Netherlands and the Nazi regime, emphasising that, as Rorate record, the refusal of the Episcopate to allow Catholic periodicals to become organs of propaganda either for Communists or for the Nazi regime, since both ideologies run contrary to the Catholic Faith.

We inhabit an age of daily propaganda, in which the barrage of messages dominating the media in the West can rarely be reconciled with the timeless message of the Church, concerning both the reality of human dignity, the foundational principles that underpin formely Christian societies and most especially concerning man's identity, his place in Creation and the relationship with God into which he is called.

It is astonishing, bewildering, in fact, that whole media outlets within the Catholic Church now, often headed by clergy have become little but mouthpieces for the world's propaganda, unable to communicate, perhaps unable even to give assent, to those beautiful Catholic teachings which provide the framework to not only Salvation in Christ, but to any society that wishes to be built on a time-tested understanding of love, the love of God and love of neighbour.

The Catholic Church has entered a time of doubt in Herself and in Her Lord, and many have in truth turned against Her, in favour of the darkness and confusion of the world's dictates, propagated by the masters of our age. The intensification of the battle between light and darkness is visible in the media organs of the Church, as more and more concessions are seen to be granted to those who would advocate that man's happiness and glory resides in something else other than God, and that, in fact, mankind is self-sufficient, and has no real need for the Salvation offered by Christ, amounting to a rejection of the First Commandment and all that flows from it.

The cacophany of voices demanding that the Catholic Church moves with the times rise ever louder and seem to grow in number and these voices are even to be found from Catholic journals and Catholic media organs which should know better. Yet, it is worse than simply this, since we find that the rejection of Christ's teachings for mankind's Salvation is something now echoed among the Successors of the Apostles and this trend is not countered with resistance from Pope Francis. This has served to undermine the propagation of the Catholic Faith, confusion and doubt reigns supreme and more clergy and bishops appear to the Church and to the World as Apostles of doubt.

For the Church, this hour is critical. For the World, also. The Catholic Church has always defended human freedom, but not the freedom of the individual to behave or believe as if God does not exist. The Church has always defended liberty, but never liberty as a concept that gives licence to societies to exclude God from its public squares. The Church has always defended brotherhood as a good that sows concord and understanding among different peoples, but not a brotherhood that can be achieved through the denial of Catholic teachings and a rejection of the Church's Lord and Master.

At this hour, it looks to so many who observe the Catholic Church in the West that within four years, the water that has flowed onto the Barque of St Peter amounts to a second, but deadly baptism for the Church. The waters that have flowed up to the neck and seek the head of the the Body of Christ are those waters of the world that seek to drown the Church Herself, they are currents of thought that find their origin in the values of the Enlightenment, values that begin and find their origin in the Terror, in the murder of priests, nuns, religious, of those who refuse to genuflect to the values of an age that is godless.

Now, whatever issue we face, whatever agenda is espoused by the world, we see that in reality they amount to a rejection of God which can only serve the world's destruction. Identities founded purely in race, purely in sexuality, purely in gender, purely in political thought without reference to the divine will, without recourse to natural law, without giving mankind the hope that is Jesus Christ can never serve man's happiness and only speed the breakdown and destruction of society on both a natural and supernatural level. Tyrannies are formed in this culture. Dictatorships require a rejection of divine truth, they thrive on moral relativism.

This dictatorship now appears to be dominant in the Catholic Church, truth itself is being subverted and undermined. We must implore the aid of Blessed Titus Brandsma to reveal and to resist the dictatorship of relativism that seeks to ensnare God's children in a web of lies and a deceitful tyranny which believes it can itself master and apprehend Truth, under a cunning but empty form of love. This is a battle that Catholic journalists, bloggers and writers have a duty to fight.

May he intercede for us today from his place in Heaven and aid us in our work to resist the dictatorship of relativism both outside and inside the Church.

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Corpus Christi 2017 - St. James Church, Pittsburgh

Corpus Christi 2017, St. James Church, West End Village, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Friday, 2 June 2017

2017 Traditional Ordinations

(Image Source)

Based on published reports and conversations with superiors, the following Traditional Catholic orders will ordain 46 new priests this summer.

The break down is as follows:

Society of Saint Pius X:   23

Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter:   17

Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest:   6

Hear our lowly prayers, Lord, we beseech Thee, and safeguard for ever Thy devoted servants: that no trouble may hinder them from carrying out Thy ministry with willing service.  Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end.  R. Amen.

Knights of Columbus Latin Mass

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Cardinal Burke Calls for Consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary

As reported by LifeSiteNews on 19 May 2017, His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke called for the consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary as requested by Our Lady of Fatima.

While addressing the fourth annual Rome Life Forum, organized by Voice of the Family, Cardinal Burke said:

"In fact, the consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary did not take place, as she requested, and the Communion of Reparation on the First Saturdays did not become the practice of the universal Church." ...

"Let us be invested with the Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and pray daily the Holy Rosary for the conversion of sinners and for peace in the world. Let us center of all our labors upon participation in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the Act of Thanksgiving after each Holy Mass and throughout the day, Eucharistic Adoration, and the daily praying of the Holy Rosary – by which Our Lord, through the intercession of Our Lady, transforms our lives and our world."

"Let us make reparation for the many and grievous offenses against the immeasurable and unceasing love of God for us by practicing the devotion of the First Saturdays and by embracing suffering and sacrifice for love of all our brothers and sisters and especially of those in most need."

"Let us consecrate ourselves to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and work for the consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. ... today, once again, we hear the call of Our Lady of Fatima to consecrate Russia to her Immaculate Heart, in accord with her explicit instruction."

Read the full text of Cardinal Burke's historic call for the consecration of Russia here.

The address given by His Eminence Carlo Cardinal Caffarra at the same Rome Life Forum is an important contribution to this effort and is well worth reading in its entirety.  The full text of Cardinal Caffarra's address can be found here.  The complete texts of the other speakers, including Bishop Athanasius Schneider and Fr. Linus Clovis, can be found here.

Knights of Columbus Latin Mass

Monday, 6 March 2017

Commemoration of the 95th Anniversary of the Death of Blessed Karl of Austria

On Saturday, 1 April 2017, the Knights of Columbus Woodlawn Council 2161 Traditional Latin Mass Guild will host a Mass, luncheon, and conference at St. Titus Church in Aliquippa, Pennsylvania, to commemorate the 95th anniversary of the death of Blessed Karl of Austria.

Blessed Karl died on Saturday, 1 April 1922, the Saturday of the Fourth Week of Lent and the day before Passion Sunday. The 95th anniversary of his death, 1 April 2017, falls on the Saturday of the Fourth Week of Lent and the day before Passion Sunday.

The Mass will be offered by a priest of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest and will feature the Duquesne University Schola Cantorum Gregorianum.

After Mass, there will be a luncheon and conference with a presentation on Blessed Karl's legacy in contemporary Hungary. Additional information, including how to make a reservation for the luncheon and conference, can be viewed here.

St. Titus Church
Aliquippa, Pennsylvania

UPDATE: Photos and a brief report of the Mass & conference can be viewed here.

Knights of Columbus Latin Mass

Friday, 10 February 2017

Some of a Book Review of Churchy by Sarah Condon

Churchy [Mockingbird 2016 180 p.]  is a  non-fictional version of chick lit which shares Sarah Condon’s unvarnished personal vignettes that seeks to lead readers towards retrospective religious reflections. It is published by Mockingbird Ministries, which strives to connect the Christian faith with the realities of everyday life in fresh down-to-earth ways. No one will mistake Sarah Condon’s Churchy musings as mundane faith history.

"St." Flannery O'Connor
Churchy’s subtitle is “The Real Life Adventures of a wife, mom and priest”.   Truth be told, she thinks that the real title ought to have been: “Churchy Prodigal Daughter Who Is the Worst” which packs in a lot of theology, but those leitmotifs were already taken. Clearly, Condon is influenced by Southern Goth, as demonstrated by her reverence to “St.” Flannery O’Connor. This honorific should be no surprise as she attributed sainthood to Whitney Houston in prior Mockingbird articles 

Condon is an Episcopal priest who is married to another Episcopal priest pastoring a  parish in Houston Texas.  Sarah Condon’s ministry has included hospital ministry, in the dreaded “Liver Floor” filled with alcoholic patients in need of organ donations.

Rev. Sarah Condon 
After hearing Sarah speak at a retreat, I was prepared for her irreverent, earthy rhetoric (but the harshest epithets published were “holy shit” and “bullhockey”) to accompany her vivid story telling.  I noted that a couple of the vignettes were reworked into part of her speaking repertoire.  

Since my Roman Catholic tradition neither has many married clergymen (much less priestesses), I was interested in understanding her vocation as well as appreciating the strains of family life with clerical duties.   Honestly, this angle was not clear.  Most of Churchy seemed drawn from the lens of a Churchy mother who was wont to extrapolate theological truths from the quotidian.

Condon’s view on her vocation was not crystal clear. In the introduction, she noted that: 

“Josh [her husband] and I are both Episcopal priests. But most Sundays, you will see me in the pews with my children. On occasion, I stand behind the altar and celebrate communion.”  

As someone who understands sacramentality as a key distinction between the laity and the ordained, it seemed like  anonchalant approach to take a priestly vocation yet to only feel obliged to “stand behind the altar” from time to time. 

Regarding her role as an off hours hospital chaplain, Condon conceded that she often hears the awkward inquiry: “What do you do for a living?”  She modestly asserts that she utters  a ratio 70%-30% stupid to wise things while “bumbling around” hospital wards. This underplays  the vital mission of just being present to  those who may be on the precipice of death. Such companioning in Christ echoes tenants of Ignatian spirituality which Pope Francis has been championing during his papacy.

In the chapter which contains the Cereal Aisle Stranger section, Sarah Condon wrote: 

“And there is the issue of me telling strangers what my husband and I do for a living while standing in front of a row of Fruit Loops.” 

Kind of surreal small talk in the Cereal Section. Yet the way that Sarah described the query as being about what they did for a living rather than refer to their priestly vocations or ministries. That particular turn of phrase niggled at me.

Condon’s later  reflections on her household concluded: 

“Meanwhile, I bring in some income with writing and part-time ministry work, put food in the crock pot, spend an incredible amount of time with my children and talk on the phone to my mom, a lot.”  

Sarah’s description of her role is a dose of honesty mixed in with a good measure of self-deprecating humor. However, it begs a poignant question –Should ordination be deemed just a part time job or a vocation of sacerdotal service to the people of God?  It is certainly unusual for a priest to be married to a priest while raising a family. I again wonder about how there can be sufficient self sacrifice to the needs of the faithful. Can active priests really be part-timers?

SEE MORE at DC-LausDeo.US 

Friday, 3 February 2017

Cardinal Muller's New Interview with Il Timone

A precis of the Interview with commentary:

“Amoris Laetitia? It should be read as a whole, in every case adultery is always a mortal sin and the bishops who confuse things should study the doctrine of the Church. We have to help the sinner to overcome the sin and to be converted”.

Commentary: So starts the article with the Cardinal firmly placing AL to be interpreted in the light of previous teaching.

The journalist asks, “What is doctrine?”

The Cardinal responds that everyone is looking for truth which is why God gave us our intelligence and our will. God is the beginning and end of everything and that is why it is necessary to know what God has revealed through Jesus Christ. As the catechism says, we unite ourselves with God through prayer and the seven sacraments. Knowing God is the first fundamental dimension of the Faith. We need permanent catechesis. Doctrine is therefore the basis of all the life of the Church otherwise the Church will just be a charitable NGO. Doctrine is absolutely necessary for salvation.

The journalists asked whether doctrine in the last ten years has not had a good press. That it is just a series of laws beyond the capability of man, moralising, etc.

The cardinal replies that this arises from the errors of 18th century rationalism. Confining reason to this world but unable to reason about the transcendent as with Kant. Faith is believing in God in the light of the Incarnate Word with the Holy Spirit through the testimony of the Church (Bible, Tradition and Magisterium).

The journalist points out that many in the Church do not accept this and points to the Church scandals … so how do we distinguish between those who are with the Gospel and those who are earthen vessels?

The Cardinals says there will always be scandals in the Church as Jesus foretold (Luke 17,1). There have always been unworthy priests and we must not worry about them – their sacraments are always valid.

“We can not expect to choose a pope, a bishop or a priest out of a kind of catalog as if to satisfy a personal desire.”

Commentary: Is there somebody he does not like? And yet, say the journalists, the Church often wants to appear credible?

Cardinal Muller continues...

"The Church does not lose credibility when any priest falls into sin as we can all fall into sin. It is when he abuses his authority in order to sin that the Church's credibility is damaged."  

Commentary: Is there a subtle hint here about senior clerics promoting doubtful teaching?

Journalist: It is often said that the faithful should identify the Word with Holy Scripture. Is that not a reductive view?

Cardinal: “Certainly. We are not a religion of the Book but of the Word preached by Jesus Christ who did not write the Scriptures.” 

He goes on to say that the Scriptures are the most important testimony of the Word but there is also Tradition. Protestantism has devalued this tradition of the Church – the early fathers, the councils, the sacramental life.

Journalist: “ If that is the case then doctrine is an obstacle to Christian Unity. One only has to think of the seven sacraments.”

The Cardinal says the sacraments are not only a sign of grace but are the source of grace. Scripture is an archival document; faith is not based on this archive but as revealed in the Church.

Journalist: “Then the differences between the Catholic Church and other Christian confessions are not based on rigid apologetics?”

The Cardinal replies that the protestant reform was not just intended as a reform of some moral abuses but went to the fundamental Catholic conception of revelation. How could the Church abandon 1500 years of sacramental life? The Church can always be reformed as to its moral life and any worldliness. With Protestantism the problem is not only the number of the sacraments but something more significant. Ecumenism cannot progress with relativism and indifference to doctrine.

Commentary: This is a rather different vision of ecumenism as regards Lutheranism to what we have seen from Pope Francis,

Journalist: “Another argument to-day is the rapport between doctrine and personal conscience.”

The Cardinal says everyone must follow their conscience but it is a conscience that expresses a rapport, a relationship with God who has given us the commandments to enlighten us. Conscience needs grace to choose the good.

Journalist: “Then there can be no contradiction between doctrine and personal conscience?”

The Cardinal says that is impossible... 

 “For example, one cannot say that there can be circumstances where adultery is not a mortal sin.”

At variance with Amoris Laetitia, Muller says that Catholic doctrine says mortal sin and grace cannot coexist.  Confession deals with that problem.

The journalists say this question is the debate about AL.

The Cardinal says AL must be interpreted in the light of the Church's doctrine. Confession is the answer where there is confession of sins, contrition, firm purpose not to sin again and penance. Without any one of these four elements there is no sacrament. People must be helped but there must be no concessions on this doctrine. He criticises so many Bishops who interpret AL according to their own mode of understanding the teaching of the Pope. The Magisterium of the Pope can only be interpreted by him. It is for the Pope to interpret to the Bishops; not for the Bishops to interpret the Pope.

It just so happens that this is surely what the four Cardinals are calling for with their dubia.

Commentary: Surely this is interesting saying effectively that it is for the Pope alone to interpret AL. Supposing this to be correct the Pope can either interpret it himself or he can ask the CDF to do so and endorse what the CDF says. In fact he has not asked the CDF to interpret AL and Cardinal Muller is only speaking in his personal capacity. However the Pope has endorsed the interpretation of the Buenos Aires Bishops which allows communion for the divorced and remarried in certain circumstances. He has said that is the only possible interpretation. It is to be noted that the BA Bishops claim to rely upon a letter by St John Paul II to say that a firm purpose of amendment is not required in confession. In fact JPII said nothing of the kind in that letter. What he did say was that the knowledge that one will probably sin again does not invalidate a firm purpose of amendment. If however you do not have a firm purpose of amendment then, according to Cardinal Muller, confession is defective in lacking one of the four requirements and therefore there is no sacrament. The implication of this endorsement of the BA Bishops is that we are into heresy.

Cardinal Muller goes on to say we need to study the doctrine on this point in the documents of both Vatican Councils without diminishing the doctrine on the sacraments in those and other Councils including Trent. He quotes the letter to Titus about Bishops being faithful to doctrine (Titus 1,9).

The journalists then ask about the development of doctrine and how it should be understood.

The Cardinal says that development is a movement to better understand the profundity of mystery.

One can reflect on the development of doctrine following the example of Blessed JH Newman and Joseph Ratzinger. We need to understand development in order to defend against evolutionary modernism on the one hand and rigidity on the other. Continuity not breaking with the past. What is dogmatically defined cannot be changed least of all the doctrine of the seven sacraments. He mentions Arianism as not being a development of the dogma of the incarnation but a corruption of the faith. The Church teaches that marriage is an indissoluble union of a man and a wife. Polygamy is not a development! AL wants to help people in irregular unions but not to justify such.

The journalists ask whether the requirement in Familiaris Consortio that the divorced and remarried should refrain from sexual relations is still valid.

Certainly, says the Cardinal. It is not just JPII who has said this but it is part of Christian moral theology and the theology of the sacraments. The confusion on this point relates to the lack of acceptance of Veritatis Splendor and the clear doctrine of intrinsic evil. No authority can change this. Christ has made the doctrine of marriage clear. There is no need to accede to the worldly view that marriage is a purely private affair. No power on earth, no angel, no Pope, no council, no bishop can change this.

The journalists ask how the chaos resulting from the different interpretations of AL can be resolved.

The Cardinal recommends reflecting on the teaching of the Church starting with the Word of God in the Holy Scriptures which is very clear on matrimony. Further one must not enter into casuistry which can easily lead to bad intentions eith the idea that the death of love dissolves a marriage. That is sophistry. The role of the Bishops is not to create confusion but to make things clear. Do not refer to little passages in AL but read it as a whole. It is not AL that has provoked confusion but certain interpretations.

Commentary: Well what about the interpretation which Pope Francis has given it in endorsing the BA Bishops. Austen Ivereigh has said that critics of AL have missed the train. Well certainly Cardinal Muller has missed the train not noticing the interpretation that Pope Francis has given to AL. More important is that the passengers on the train have not noticed that the engine driver is the Earl King. Father, O father!
Disclaimer:  My Italian is rudimentary so I hope I have got it right!

Monday, 23 January 2017

Amoris Laetitia: The Explosive Chapter 8

This is the chapter which above all others has come in for the greatest quantity of comment. It is very important therefore to examine the language of this chapter very closely to try and find out whether there is clear meaning.

Chapter 8 has the title 'ACCOMPANYING, DISCERNING AND INTEGRATING WEAKNESS'. Presumably the original was written in Spanish and there the word translated as 'weakness' is 'fragilidad'. The French, Italian and Portuguese all have words which I would translate as 'fragility' which has a rather different meaning from 'weakness'. One can be fragile but not necessarily weak.

De facto unions

The chapter starts with several quotes from the Relatio Synodi at the end of the first session of the Synod on the Family in 2014 concerning those who are in a less than perfect situation and the need of the Church to turn to them with love. In mentioning these 'less than perfect situations' there is a reference to the 2015 or second session at para 70 which reads:

'And finally, in other countries, de facto unions are becoming more numerous, because of not only the rejection of the values of family and marriage but also, for some, marriage is seen as a luxury due to their state in society. Consequently, in the latter case, the lack of material resources forces couples to live in de facto unions. '

It is difficult to see how such couples are forced to live in de facto unions as if they had no choice. If they are living together what force is preventing them from getting married? It goes unexplained. But AL suggests that it is the cost of a wedding that deters people. There is no mention of the availability of what is called 'safe sex' whereby many believe they can have sex without the responsibility of permanence and procreation. Surely this is a major factor in cohabitation as is the prevalence of divorce which puts many couples off from marrying because they do not want to suffer the pain of divorce themselves and think they can avoid such pain by not entering into a commitment which might lead to procreation.

The Law of Gradualness and Gradualness of the Law

There is then a heading: “Gradualness in pastoral care”. The text deals with merely civil marriage and simple cohabitation and the requirement of pastors to discern these situations. Reference is made to the so-called “law of gradualness” proposed by Saint John Paul II and the footnote refers us to Familiaris Consortio para 34 which was the apostolic exhortation written in November 1981. But it is worth going back to the homily of JPII at the close of the Synod on the role of the Christian Family in the Modern World which he gave on 25th October 1980. The homily does not appear in English on the Vatican website but the Spanish version reads as follows:

'En realidad no se puede aceptar un "proceso de gradualidad", como se dice hoy, si uno no observa la ley divina con ánimo sincero y busca aquellos bienes custodiados y promovidos por la misma ley. Pues la llamada "ley de gradualidad" o camino gradual no puede ser una "gradualidad de la ley", como sí hubiera varios grados o formas de precepto en la ley divina, para los diversos hombres y las distintas situaciones.'

I translate those two sentences as:

'In reality one cannot accept a “process of gradualness”, as it is called to-day, if one does not observe divine law with a sincere heart and seeks those goods guarded and promoted by that same law. Thus the so-called “law of graduality” or gradual path cannot be a “graduality of law” as if there were various degrees or forms of precept in God's law for different individuals and situations”.

Familiaris Consortio written a year later condenses this into one sentence:

'And so what is known as 'the law of gradualness' or step-by-step advance cannot be identified with 'gradualness of the law,' as if there were different degrees or forms of precept in God's law for different individuals and situations.'

What the homily makes clear and is thus implicit in Familiaris Consortio is that the process of gradualness is not acceptable if divine law is not accepted and good is not sought. The condemnation of “graduality of law” reinforces that point. However when we get to Amoris Laetitia we have:

'This is not a “gradualness of law” but rather a gradualness in the prudential exercise of free acts on the part of subjects who are not in a position to understand, appreciate, or fully carry out the objective demands of the law. '

Quite what this “prudential exercise of free acts” actually amounts to or means is not explained. Nor is it is easy to see what is meant by not being able to “fully carry out the objective demands of the law”. However people who do not understand or appreciate divine law are not observing it nor are they seeking the goods as required by JPII in order to make a process of gradualness acceptable.

At this point however all one can conclude is that the situation specified in AL is different from that envisaged by JPII as being suitable for a process of gradualness. Only later will we see the relevance of this. The relevant paragraph 295 in AL finishes with another quote taken out of context from Familiaris Consortio as it is not about the same gradual process.

Mercy and the Discernment of Irregular Situations

The next heading is: The discernment of “irregular” situations. Here the Pope talks about mercy. The problem is what is meant by the word 'mercy'. Is is being kind to someone (misericordia) or is it more specific where a judge shows mercy to a condemned person akin to the mercy the Lord shows to a repentant sinner. The word 'mercy' is used far too freely without giving it a precise meaning in the particular context. Nominalism?

The idea that Christ's mercy, in the sense of forgiveness of sin, is only available with confession of sin and firm purpose of amendment, is not mentioned. We thus get oddly incomplete statements as in 296: “The way of the Church is not to condemn anyone for ever; it is to pour out the balm of God’s mercy on all those who ask for it with a sincere heart… For true charity is always unmerited, unconditional and gratuitous” which incidentally is a quote from one of Pope Francis's own homilies.

Again in 297 we have:

“No one can be condemned for ever, because that is not the logic of the Gospel!”. 

Does that not deny the possibility of eternal damnation?

Archbishop Victor Fernandez

Here we must note that it has been suggested that the whole of this chapter 8 was not written by Pope Francis but by his friend Archbishop Victor Fernandez, President of the Catholic University of Argentina, who some believe had a hand in Laudatio Si and Evangelii Gaudium. Indeed there are passages in AL which have plainly been lifted word for word from the writings of Archbishop Victor Fernandez. For further details see this Crux article.

Certainly, the Archbishop comes across as an advocate of indifferentism much like our own Cardinal Cormac Murphy O'Connor has in his career. Now, it is perfectly legitimate to hope that all will be saved but if you take this to be a certainty people will ask what is the point in following the commandments of Christ if you are going to be saved anyway?

Objective Sin

Paragraph 297 mentions the case of someone who “flaunts an objective sin as if it were part of the Christian ideal, or wants to impose something other than what the Church teaches”. It says they should not teach or preach but may, with the discretion of the Parish Priest, engage in “some social service, prayer meeting or another way.” I think that is dangerous – I have been to too many prayer meetings where instead of expounding the teaching of the Church individuals have been invited and allowed to give witness to very heterodox ideas.

Subjective guilt and a litany of excuses

AL then turns to the divorced and remarried and comes up with the novel idea that if the second 'marriage' has been going on long enough it is somewhat better than a more recent second 'marriage'. A recipe for carry on sinning and it will all come right? Viz 298:

“One thing is a second union consolidated over time, with new children, proven fidelity, generous self giving, Christian commitment, a consciousness of its irregularity and of the great difficulty of going back without feeling in conscience that one would fall into new sins.” 

No explanation is given of what those new sins might be nor how one can speak of true Christian commitment in those circumstances.

The same paragraph 298 continues with a quote from Familiaris Consortio:

'The Church acknowledges situations 'where, for serious reasons, such as the children’s upbringing, a man and woman cannot satisfy the obligation to separate.' 

In the main text it omits to state that St JPII went on to mention the requirement that they must live as brother and sister if they are to have communion. Further in his earlier homily of 25th October 1980, at the end of the Synod on the role of the Christian Family in the Modern World, he mentioned that there must be no scandal. But what is curious is that when referring to Familiaris Consortio in a footnote the following is added:

In such situations, many people, knowing and accepting the possibility of living “as brothers and sisters” which the Church offers them, point out that if certain expressions of intimacy are lacking, “it often happens that faithfulness is endangered and the good of the children suffers” (Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World Gaudium et Spes, 51).'

It is not explained who these 'many people' are who apparently used something out of Gaudium et Spes. It is in fact a misquotation. The correct version is:

'But where the intimacy of married life is broken off, its faithfulness can sometimes be imperilled and its quality of fruitfulness ruined, for then the upbringing of the children and the courage to accept new ones are both endangered.'

More important is that it is taken completely out of context. Gaudium et Spes is not talking about an adulterous 'marriage' but about a true marriage where the intimacy is legitimate. The idea that some speculative harm could flow from ceasing to commit adultery is not a valid reason for continuing to commit adultery. This is consequentialism – judging an action by speculating about the consequences.

The next paragraph, 300, starts as follows:

300. If we consider the immense variety of concrete situations such as those I have mentioned, it is understandable that neither the Synod nor this Exhortation could be expected to provide a new set of general rules, canonical in nature and applicable to all cases.

But why do we need new rules? From here on the theme of AL is that the conditions for adultery to be a mortal sin are not always there and therefore it can be excused or even tolerated. It is merely a subjective issue and a matter for individual conscience. Paragraph 301 brings in St Thomas Aquinas to support that argument but that support is not really there as has been explained by several theologians including Professor Richard Spinello.

The point is that adultery is objectively an intrinsic evil and no amount of argument about the subjective state of the adulterer can alter that. It is not something that can be tolerated whatever the subjective state of the adulterer. If anyone finds that difficult to understand let us substitute for the commandment forbidding adultery the commandment not to kill and take as our example Peter Sutcliffe, the Yorkshire Ripper who killed a series of women. He was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and claimed that God had told him to kill prostitutes – in fact his victims were not all prostitutes. He certainly had a habit of killing women. So how would he have be dealt with in the light of Amoris Laetitia?

Well if he had consulted a priest who follows Amoris Laetitia then the following passage from paragraph 302 might be relevant:

'The Catechism of the Catholic Church clearly mentions these factors: “imputability and responsibility for an action can be diminished or even nullified by ignorance, inadvertence, duress, fear, habit, inordinate attachments, and other psychological or social factors. In another paragraph, the Catechism refers once again to circumstances which mitigate moral responsibility, and mentions at length “affective immaturity, force of acquired habit, conditions of anxiety or other psychological or social factors that lessen or even extenuate moral culpability."'

Take your pick as to which of these could have applied to our serial killer. The difference between JPII's process of gradualness and that of Pope Francis is immediately apparent. And then there is the question of conscience as dealt with in paragraph 303:

'Recognizing the influence of such concrete factors, we can add that individual conscience needs to be better incorporated into the Church’s praxis in certain situations which do not objectively embody our understanding of marriage. Naturally, every effort should be made to encourage the development of an enlightened conscience, formed and guided by the responsible and serious discernment of one’s pastor, and to encourage an ever greater trust in God’s grace. Yet conscience can do more than recognize that a given situation does not correspond objectively to the overall demands of the Gospel. It can also recognize with sincerity and honesty what for now is the most generous response which can be given to God, and come to see with a certain moral security that it is what God himself is asking amid the concrete complexity of one’s limits, while yet not fully the objective ideal.'

Would not the priest have to accept Sutcliffe's claim that he seriously believed as a matter of conscience that God was telling him to kill prostitutes? At this point does the priest accept that in view of this habitual habit, the psychological factors and the man's sincere belief as a matter of conscience means that he is not fully culpable? That the solution can only be approached gradually and he is not going to conform to an ideal immediately? Perhaps he would advise him to make sure that in future his victims really were prostitutes as the most generous response he can make in the circumstances and in the meantime he can go to communion.

It is easy to see how his subjective guilt might not have been all that great but objectively that is irrelevant to the fact that the women have been murdered and are just as dead whatever his subjective guilt. Murder is an intrinsic evil.

If the reader finds the comparison of adultery with serial murder far-fetched think of paedophilia and the way in which many clerics handled that and the enormous damage to the Church that has resulted from not accepting that it is an intrinsic evil but merely some subjective problem for certain priests. If you ignore the objective evil of these actions you end up ignoring the victims. How many souls have been lost to Christ as a result of that episode?

No rules?

Going back to paragraph 300 and the supposed impossibility of making rules to cover all situations is AL trying to make the point that there can be no rules?

Perhaps the idea is that there all sorts of different cases and it is all just too difficult to make general rules – cases cannot be pigeon-holed in some rigid system. What you do is that you discern the particular case so that you can differentiate it from any other and then you can say because it is so different only mercy can be applied and anything goes.

Traditionally pastors, particularly Jesuits, used casuistry to decide the rights or wrongs of a case. But Pope Francis has specifically denounced casuistry when many people would have thought that casuistry was synonymous with discernment. But for Pope Francis casuistry has a result in that having looked at the detail of the case you then decide what principals govern it. His idea of discernment is that having looked at the case you cannot decide what principals apply so you just apply mercy.

Of course all that is utter nonsense. If you look at how court cases are decided no two cases are ever the same and the facts are often novel. Distinctions can always be made between one set of facts and another. It is the job of the judge to see how the existing law applies to particular facts and judge accordingly perhaps highlighting how differences can be distinguished and thereby adding to precedent law. But of course Pope Francis would reject all that – it is just the talk of Doctors of the Law. He may accept that there are general principles such as the teaching of Christ and the Church but applying them goes against 'mercy' and we just end up with a subjective mishmash where anything becomes justifiable and allowed. It is situation ethics taken to an extreme.

Remember paragraph 3 at the very start of AL which says:

3. Since “time is greater than space”, I would make it clear that not all discussions of doctrinal, moral or pastoral issues need to be settled by interventions of the magisterium. Unity of teaching and practice is certainly necessary in the Church, but this does not preclude various ways of interpreting some aspects of that teaching or drawing certain consequences from it. This will always be the case as the Spirit guides us towards the entire truth (cf. Jn 16:13), until he leads us fully into the mystery of Christ and enables us to see all things as he does. Each country or region, moreover, can seek solutions better suited to its culture and sensitive to its traditions and local needs. For “cultures are in fact quite diverse and every general principle… needs to be inculturated,if it is to be respected and applied”.

So, should we be surprised that the ambiguities of Amoris Laetitia get interpreted in one way in Malta and another way in Poland? One wonders what our own dear Conference of Bishops of England and Wales is cooking up. Sadly I can guess. Incidentally a Father Giovanni Scalese has commented on Pope Francis's “time is greater than space” saying that his idea seems to be close to Hegelian historicism i.e. that teachings can change as a result of the zeitgeist of history.

Paragraph 300 finishes with the statement:

'When a responsible and tactful person, who does not presume to put his or her own desires ahead of the common good of the Church, meets with a pastor capable of acknowledging the seriousness of the matter before him, there can be no risk that a specific discernment may lead people to think that the Church maintains a double standard.'

Double standard? Surely a standard that is going to vary from diocese to diocese and country to country.

Or did Christ teach something?

Amoris Laetitia goes on to contradict itself by saying that:

“Priests have the duty to “accompany [the divorced and remarried] in helping them to understand their situation according to the teaching of the Church and the guidelines of the bishop”.

So it accepts there are teachings and guidelines so why would be looking for new rules? Any reader is going to be confused.

The essential point is that to overlook the objective evil of adultery and seemingly to condone it, is inevitably going to cause scandal and that is serious because what it means is that many people will take the line that there is nothing so terrible about adultery, divorce and remarriage and therefore will be tempted into those sins. Amoris Laetitia will be the cause of many marriage breakdowns with all the associated misery for spouses and the damage to the children of the marriages.

Paragraph 305 and the infamous footnote

It gets worse as in paragraph 305 after an irrelevant quote from St Thomas Aquinas it reads:

'It is true that general rules set forth a good which can never be disregarded or neglected, but in their formulation they cannot provide absolutely for all particular situations. At the same time, it must be said that, precisely for that reason, what is part of a practical discernment in particular circumstances cannot be elevated to the level of a rule. That would not only lead to an intolerable casuistry, but would endanger the very values which must be preserved with special care.'

Rules that can never be disregarded? But you can disregard them if you decide they do not apply to a particular situation. And in looking at particular situations you can never decide how a particular rule does or does not apply. This is irrational to a degree. Further into paragraph 305 we have:

'Because of forms of conditioning and mitigating factors, it is possible that in an objective situation of sin – which may not be subjectively culpable, or fully such – a person can be living in God’s grace, can love and can also grow in the life of grace and charity, while receiving the Church’s help to this end.'

It is to that statement that the infamous footnote 351 refers:

'351 In certain cases, this can include the help of the sacraments. Hence, “I want to remind priests that the confessional must not be a torture chamber, but rather an encounter with the Lord’s mercy” (Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium [24 November 2013], 44: AAS 105 [2013], 1038). I would also point out that the Eucharist “is not a prize for the perfect, but a powerful medicine and nourishment for the weak” (ibid., 47: 1039). '

The footnote clearly suggests that communion is to be available to the divorced and remarried. Rocco Buttiglione has attacked the dubia of the four Cardinals and defended AL by quoting this paragraph 305 and claiming that it only applies to those who are not subjectively culpable.

The crucial word is 'may'. Pope Francis is referring to cases which may or may not involve subjective culpability. Rocco Buttiglione gives the example of somebody who is forced into sexual relations and therefore is not culpable any more than any woman is guilty of a mortal sin if she is raped. He correctly points out that in that situation communion is possible. The problem however remains that Amoris Laetitia is also talking of people who may be morally culpable. Buttiglione does not deal with that situation so his whole argument falls to the ground. Further quite how a person is not morally culpable if he continues with adultery after a process of discernment is difficult to imagine except in the most extreme circumstances where there is a lack of consent.

Marriage is just an 'ideal'?

Paragraph 307 starts with the words:

'In order to avoid all misunderstanding, I would point out that in no way must the Church desist from proposing the full ideal of marriage, God’s plan in all its grandeur:'

So Christ's teaching on marriage is reduced to an ideal that not everyone can be expected to adhere to. Some of his disciples were amazed at his teaching thinking it impossible of performance. Are we to follow them?

And the same paragraph goes on to say:

'To show understanding in the face of exceptional situations never implies dimming the light of the fuller ideal, or proposing less than what Jesus offers to the human being.'

What an absurd statement when we have been told that the 'fuller ideal' cannot always be followed. This is ambiguity with knobs on. It follows that it is entirely predictable to find in paragraph 308 the sentence:

'The Gospel itself tells us not to judge or condemn (cf. Mt 7:1; Lk 6:37).'

...while neatly overlooking the fact that Christ was telling us not to judge other people whereas here we are talking about making judgements about irregular situations.

Mercy again

Inevitably this is then linked to the Year of Mercy at paragraph 310. The question that goes unanswered is while God is merciful to the sinner who repents is he equally merciful to those who purposely continue in a sinful situation?

Some Responses to Amoris Laetitia

I have given some links above. One response that came out as early as May 2016 was by Dr Anna Silvas, a Romanian Catholic, Classicist, Semiticist, Patristic scholar. A copy of her concerns can be found here.

She is particularly good on the language of AL pointing our, for example, the complete absence of such words as 'adultery' other than in respect of the woman taken in adultery or the Samaritan woman.

In September 2016 we had the criteria of the Bishops of Buenos Aires which clearly stated that AL gave an opening to communion for the divorced and remarried who found continence too difficult. They referred to another footnote which has a particularly egregious and dishonest reference to a letter from St John Paul II which gives no support whatever to the idea that confession does not require a firm purpose of amendment as claimed by AL. All that JPII said was that the knowledge that one would probably sin again does not invalidate that firm purpose. In fact these criteria were merely a draft which had met criticism from some of the clergy in Buenos Aires but, when Pope Francis gave his absolute indorsement to it, it was no doubt set in concrete.

In October the Diocese of Florence came out with 'AMORIS LAETITIA: FOR ITS INTERPRETATION AND ACTUATION'. It is a curious document in that it is fairly critical of Amoris Laetitia pointing out omissions and ambiguities. But then at one point it clearly states that the divorced and remarried can be admitted to communion without stating under what conditions. No author is credited with this statement and yet at one point it says 'I said...' It strikes me as having been written by someone critical of AL but then revised by another hand so as to comply with the liberal interpretation of AL leading to a thoroughly confused and contradictory document.

Then at the end of October 2016 we had the dubia which asks five questions that can be roughly summarised as follows although it best to read the dubia itself:

  1. Can a divorced and remarried person, sexually active with their new partner be admitted to communion?
  2. Does the church still teach that there are 'absolute moral norms that prohibit intrinsically evil acts and that are binding without exceptions?' This is the point about objective evils discussed above.
  3. Is a person in an habitual state not in accordance with the teaching of the Church in an objective situation of grave habitual sin?
  4. Does the Church still teach “circumstances or intentions can never transform an act intrinsically evil by virtue of its object into an act ‘subjectively’ good or defensible as a choice”?
  5. Does the Church still exclude a creative interpretation of the role of conscience and that emphasizes that conscience can never be authorized to legitimate exceptions to absolute moral norms that prohibit intrinsically evil acts by virtue of their object?

All of these questions relate to the teaching of St John Paul II and whether his teaching still holds. As we all know Pope Francis has refused to answer these questions which surely puts paid to the idea that he is a model of humility. One can only assume that he is trying to alter the doctrine of the Church by stealth; not doing it himself but pointing others in the way; pushing the envelope as all liberals do ensuring that some erroneous teaching cannot be directly attributed to them.

There have been many other responses both in support of Pope Francis and critical of AL. Those in support are very unconvincing – for example that of Austen Ivereigh praising him for following the teachings of President Peron of Argentina is utterly ludicrous.


Early on Pope Francis suggested at a World Youth day that they, the youth, should 'hagan lio' i.e. make a mess. He has certainly managed to do just that. Basically by saying that matters both doctrinal and pastoral can be decided at the level of Bishops' conferences (see AL 3) he has allowed the Church to be split. He allowed the working of the Synod to be manipulated in the most disgraceful way and has finally come out with a signpost to heresy in the form of Amoris Laetitia.

The final chapter 9 is about spirituality in marriage. After the shocks of Chapter 8 it comes over as superfluous even though there is nothing controversial in it requiring comment.

Friday, 30 December 2016

Amoris Laetitia: Chapters 4 to 7

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But the following vital caveat is not quoted:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, 9 December 2016

Remembering the Feast of St. Juan Diego

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

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

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

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

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

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


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

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

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


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


SEE MORE at DC-LausDeo.US 

Friday, 14 October 2016

Archbishop Chaput Comments on Wikileaks Catholic Bashing and the 2016 Election

[Originally published at DC-LausDeo.US]

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

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

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

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

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

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