My Catholic Source.com ™ News & Opinion Page (2/10 Archive)
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USCCB President Cardinal Francis E. George recently addressed an "historic gathering" at BYU on the need to "stand together" in the defense of religious freedom. While it is certainly praiseworthy to defend innocent human life and marriage between a man and a woman, one might be forgiven for finding some of his remarks rather troubling. For example, if "true religious freedom" means the right to "influence the public square", how can one ignore the fact that his comments - taken to their logical end - advocate that non-Catholic religions influence laws regarding any number of sinful, immoral actions for which their adherents feel are "rights"? Particularly with regard to Mormons, does he not realize that 'full religious freedom' for them would include polygamy? It is certain that Mormons would practice polygamy today had it not been for laws curbing their "religious freedom". Such restrictions are actually a good thing, are they not? Presumably even the Cardinal would not push for their 'religious freedom' in this matter.
And when the Cardinal says that "government should never stand between its citizens and almighty God", he seems to gloss over the fact that just about every false religion probably believes they are following God's will - even if they are manifestly acting in opposition to it. Clearly, to put a justifiable obstacle between a person and his false conception of God can be the right thing to do - e.g. outlawing polygamy (even if someone thinks God desires it); stopping someone from murdering (even if they think God 'wants' them to kill); etc.
Furthermore, blanket calls for 'religious freedom' with reference to a country's laws seem to ignore the fact that laws based on falsities are not just. Rather, to be just, laws must be based on actual truth. To encourage false religions to exert influence on laws can be a dangerous road to travel. It is only when society's laws are founded upon the teachings of the one religion founded by Jesus Christ - Catholicism - will there be true religious freedom. To argue otherwise is shortsighted.
"Truth has its rights - or, rather, it is truth alone that has the right to claim liberty." (Gueranger)
"[I]t is contrary to reason that error and truth should have equal rights." (Pope Leo XIII, "Libertas Praestantissimum", 1888 A.D.)
"[F]reedom negates and destroys itself, and becomes a factor leading to the destruction of others, when it no longer recognizes and respects its essential link with the truth." (Pope John Paul II)
"[W]hen freedom is detached from objective truth it becomes impossible to establish personal rights on a firm rational basis; and the ground is laid for society to be at the mercy of the unrestrained will of individuals or the oppressive totalitarianism of public authority." (Pope John Paul II)
Related: Truth / Error (Reflections)
According to a CNA report, the beatification process for Pope John Paul II is "practically finished". The report quotes the late pope's long-time personal secretary, Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, who spoke at a conference in Colombia. The Polish Cardinal dismissed critics of the speedy beatification process claiming that "one cannot say it has been done poorly." The rapid pace of the process has drawn criticism from some lay Catholics and reportedly concerned at least one Cardinal.
A non-Catholic judge in Australia has been sharply rebuked by Catholics after he called for the Catholic Church to end the "cruel, cruel" practice of priestly celibacy. The ignorant judge implied that celibacy may be a factor in clerical abuse and claimed it must be "agonizing" for priests to be celibate. Even an opponent of priestly celibacy admitted that there have been "so many studies that show it's not the vow of celibacy that prompts a man to abuse a child."
"Holy virginity and that perfect chastity which is consecrated to the service of God is without doubt among the most precious treasures which the Founder of the Church has left in heritage to the society which He established." (Pope Pius XII, "Sacra Virginitas", 1954 A.D.)
"Now, however, We want you to rally to combat the abominable conspiracy against clerical celibacy. This conspiracy spreads daily and is promoted by profligate philosophers, some even from the clerical order. They have forgotten their person and office, and have been carried away by the enticements of pleasure. They have even dared to make repeated public demands to the princes for the abolition of that most holy discipline. But it is disgusting to dwell on these evil attempts at length. Rather, We ask that you strive with all your might to justify and to defend the law of clerical celibacy as prescribed by the sacred canons, against which the arrows of the lascivious are directed from every side." (Pope Gregory XVI, "Mirari Vos", 1832 A.D.)
Related: Why Priestly Celibacy? [Note: This article includes refutation of the argument that celibacy has led to the abuse scandals]
The following are some highlights from the 2010 edition of the "Annuario Pontificio" (Pontifical Yearbook)...
* Eight new episcopal sees and one territorial prelature were erected in 2009
* There were 169 new bishops appointed in 2009
* "The number of Catholics in the world increased from around 1,147 million in 2007 to 1,166 million in 2007, an increase of nineteen million faithful which corresponds to a growth of 1.7 percent"
* The number of priests increased over the last nine years from 405,178 in 2000 to 409,166 in 2008
* The number of female religious dropped (markedly) from 801,185 in 2000 to 739,067 in 2008
* Globally there was slight growth in the number of candidates to the priesthood (from 115,919 in 2007 to 117,024 in 2008). There was a decline of 4.3 percent in Europe, "while the situation in America remained unchanged"
Source: Vatican Information Service
After much criticism, the director of the Catholic Information Center in downtown Washington has cancelled a planned book signing featuring Cokie Roberts. The director, an Opus Dei priest, claimed they were "unaware" that the "notorious dissenter" held views contrary to Church teachings ("We were unaware that some of the positions held by Ms. Cokie Roberts are inimical to the Catholic Faith and the support of our Holy Father that we hold very dear at the Catholic Information Center"). He also claimed to be "grateful" to those who expressed concern over the planned event and offered apologies "to all who may have been troubled by the scheduling of this event and the confusion it may have occasioned."
A retired Anglican 'bishop'*, Paul Richardson, has been received into the Catholic Church. The new convert said it was "like coming home".
[* Reminder: Anglican 'clergy' are not true priests - their orders have been ruled invalid by the Church: "Wherefore, strictly adhering, in this matter, to the decrees of the pontiffs, our predecessors, and confirming them most fully, and, as it were, renewing them by our authority, of our own initiative and certain knowledge, we pronounce and declare that ordinations carried out according to the Anglican rite have been, and are, absolutely null and utterly void." (Pope Leo XIII, "Apostolicae Curae", 1896 A.D., emphasis added)]
CNA is reporting on a new study which reveals that children adopted by homosexuals may suffer from "diverse trauma and behavioral disorders that can even lead to suicidal tendencies or attempts." The findings, presented at a symposium in Mexico, also suggest that those adopted by homosexuals "show a greater level of stress than that which is already generated by their status as orphans or children abandoned by their biological parents." The president of the Mexican group that organized the symposium said, "according to international experience, based on various studies and research, the conclusion is that in matters of adoption, the rights of the children, not those of the parents, are what should prevail."
"You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; such a thing is an abomination." (Lev. 18:22)
To the bewilderment of many Catholics, Pope Benedict is scheduled to visit a Lutheran 'church' on March 14 where he will give a homily along with a Lutheran 'pastor'. Commentary: Permit one to simply close with a wise mother's (surprised) reaction to this planned event: "Why is he doing that?"
"After a first and second warning, break off contact with a heretic, realizing that such a person is perverted and sinful and stands self-condemned." (St. Paul, Ti. 3:10-11)
"The toleration of heretics is more injurious than the devastation of the provinces by the barbarians." (Pope St. Gelasius I, 5th century A.D.)
"No one shall pray in common with heretics and schismatics." (Council of Laodicea, 365 A.D.)
Some recent statistics that may be of interest...
* Number of episcopally approved (every Sunday) TLM's according to various blogs: U.S.-289; France-156; Italy-73; Germany-49; U.K.-37; Brazil-42; Switzerland-21; Canada-23; Australia-17; Poland-15.
* Double good news: A Protestant group has released new figures indicating that Catholic Church membership is up while membership in Protestant sects has declined. They claim the Catholic Church has enjoyed a 1.49% growth rate in the past year and stands at 68.1 million members.
A liberal Catholic newspaper has published an interview with Mother Mary Clare Millea who is overseeing the Apostolic Visitation of U.S. female religious. Some highlights appear below...
* "Phase three" (on-site visits) will begin one week after Easter and will continue through the fall of 2010. Most of those chosen for visits ("probably, roughly a hundred") should receive a letter at least a couple months before the visitation. Mother Millea indicated that both 'progressive' and traditional communities will be visited.
* "Phase four", the last phase, is the preparation of detailed reports on all "units" ("meaning congregations as well as their individual provinces") of female religious in the U.S. as well as a final report at the end. It appears that this phase will be completed sometime after June 2011. The reports will be sent to the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life.
* Asked about non-compliance with the questionnaire, Mother Millea indicated that they now have "a response from virtually every congregation in the country", but also said that "Were all of those one hundred percent compliant in answering every question? No. But we have excellent data on most congregations."
* Mother Millea responded to the possibility that some of the sisters would "go non-canonical" (apparently workshops have been offered for those who are considering cutting ties with the Church) saying, "...for a group of persons who are involved in a certain institution to say it's no longer officially aligned with the Catholic church, that's certainly a possibility." She also said, "We'll have to wait and see what choices people make, but I know it's being talked about and models are being proposed"
* Asked if there was a "good news story to tell" at the end of the day, she indicated that there was, but not without "enormous problems". She also said, "We would certainly be idealistic to think that we're going to return to the numbers that we had, but religious life as such, from what I see, is going to continue."
News of the visitation was generally welcomed by traditional communities but not by 'progressive' communities. It is well known that many "modern" sisters have been rebellious & unorthodox for years, calling into question - or openly protesting - various teachings of the Church, as well as practicing & promoting witchcraft and harmful New Age practices.
Related: Cardinal Rodé speaks to Vatican Radio about reasons for Apostolic Visitation (11/09) | More from those docile religious sisters (8/09) | Catholic Humor? (8/09) | LCWR annual meeting is true to form (8/09) | Rebellious women religious (7/09)
Reuters is reporting that "top Catholic scholars" have written a private letter to Pope Benedict requesting that he "slow down" the canonization process for Pope Pius XII. The letter is apparently signed by 18 "greatly troubled" scholars who fear for Catholic-Jewish relations if the late Pope is canonized.
A couple updates regarding Anglican conversions...
* An Anglican 'bishop' (1) finds some Catholic prelates "unsympathetic" regarding the Pope's efforts to bring Anglicans into the Catholic Church, according to his "leaked" letters. Shamefully, the letters reveal that some Catholic prelates apparently think heretical Anglicans "are best off doing what they are presently doing." The Catholic prelates are also reportedly resisting the Pope's provisions to bring Anglicans into the Church. (Note: Click here for information on the necessity of being Catholic for salvation)
* A group of Anglicans in Australia ("Forward in Faith Australia") has voted to enter the Catholic Church under the special provisions recently issued by Pope Benedict XVI.
[(1) Reminder: Anglican 'clergy' are not true priests - their orders have been ruled invalid by the Church: "Wherefore, strictly adhering, in this matter, to the decrees of the pontiffs, our predecessors, and confirming them most fully, and, as it were, renewing them by our authority, of our own initiative and certain knowledge, we pronounce and declare that ordinations carried out according to the Anglican rite have been, and are, absolutely null and utterly void." (Pope Leo XIII, "Apostolicae Curae", 1896 A.D., emphasis added)]
In a doctrinal note reprinted in L'Osservatore Romano, the Italian Cardinal Carlo Caffarra has spoken out against Catholics who support homosexual 'marriage'. The note said that "It's impossible to consider oneself a Catholic if that person in one way or another recognizes same-sex marriage as a right" and noted that "It's impossible for the Catholic faith and support for putting homosexual unions on equal footing with marriage to coexist in one's conscience - the two contradict each other." The Cardinal confirmed that it is a "gravely immoral act" for a Catholic lawmaker to introduce a measure or vote for legislation that supports homosexual 'marriage'.
Since new homosexual 'marriage' laws will soon take effect in the nation's capital, Washington's archdiocese has been forced to end its foster-care program in that area. The archdiocese has no choice but to end the program since it would be gravely wrong for the Church to participate in a moral evil. Unfortunately, however, another provider has been found who will place the poor children in perverted homosexual homes.
Related story: 'The End of Freedom in America'
According to Vatican Radio, the 1 millionth reservation to view the Shroud of Turin was made last weekend. The Shroud will be displayed at the Turin Cathedral in Italy from April 10th - May 23rd.
The following 'quotable quote' is from Pope Benedict's address to members of the Pontifical Academy for Life...
"[H]istory has shown how dangerous and damaging a state can be when it proceeds to make laws that touch the person and society, while itself claiming to be the source and principle of ethics."
It has been announced that the Vatican will digitize some of its WWII archives and will make the material available online, free of charge. It is said that the documents will "render service to the historic truth." Jews have been calling for release of WWII era documents to examine Pope Pius XII's actions during the Jewish holocaust.
A Vatican theologian has warned that the "display of the mortal remains of saints and the cult of relics are part of our tradition. However we nowadays run the risk of crossing the boundary from popular devotion to superstition." He warned of a temptation to "compensate for empty churches with a boom in religious happenings, substituting miracle-performing sensationalism for authentic faith"
In yet another scandalous piece in L'Osservatore Romano, the Vatican newspaper has put together a "semiserious guide on the road to good music" - a "top ten list of 'classic' rock music" ("a musical genre which has been described by the Pope has the work of the Devil"). Offensive items on the list include the Beatles' 'Revolver' ("perhaps their most drugs-influenced, psychedelic album from 1966") and U2's 'Achtung Baby' (containing the phrase "I'd break bread and wine if there was a church I could receive in"). Seems the Vatican's semi-official newspaper is still seriously in need of something...like maybe some good ol' fashioned Catholicism.
The Rorate Caeli blog is reporting that Cardinal Vingt-Trois, president of the French Bishops' Conference, is seeking condemnations against the "demanders" of the Motu Proprio, Summorum Pontificum. He claims the MP has given ammunition to the "integrists" against the bishops in France. Comment: Is it not telling that the Cardinal has chosen to fight this (settled!) issue given the dire situation of the Catholic Church in France? (earlier story here)
Do some of today's mainstream Catholic news agencies downplay bad news? If nothing else, some of their headlines appear far too upbeat.
Two recent examples:
(1) A Catholic News Agency article bears the headline: "Millennial Catholics' interest in religious education a good sign, survey suggests"
However, a more evaluative reading of the article reveals that... [Note: Commentary below added by us]
* About 15% - more than 1 in 10! - of "self-described Catholic Millennials" apparently do not even believe in God ["But without faith it is impossible to please him, for anyone who approaches God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him." (Heb.11:6)]
* About 75% of surveyed Catholics fail to attend Mass "at least once a month" ["It is a mortal sin not to hear Mass on a Sunday or a holyday of obligation unless we are excused for a serious reason." (Baltimore Catechism); Third Commandment: "Remember to keep holy the Lord's Day"] Therefore, objectively speaking, 3/4 or more of these Catholics are - apparently - regularly in a state of mortal sin. ["Faith teaches that the pains of Hell are eternal, and it also warns us that one single (unrepented) mortal sin suffices to condemn a soul forever because of the infinite malice by which it offends an infinite God." (St. Anthony Mary Claret)]
* More than 50% of these (seriously deluded!) 'Catholic Millennials' approve of people practicing more than one religion - which necessarily means they think it is acceptable for people to practice at least one false religion, since the Catholic religion alone is true. ["[H]e scatters and gathers not who gathers not with the Church and with Jesus Christ, and all who fight not jointly with him and with the Church are in very truth contending against God." (Pope Leo XIII, "Sapientiae Christianae", 1890 A.D.)] Note: For more on religious indifferentism, click here
* More than 80% of the misguided young 'Catholics' surveyed think morals are "relative" ["Whoever says, 'I know him,' but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him." (1 Jn. 2:4); "We belong to God, and anyone who knows God listens to us, while anyone who does not belong to God refuses to hear us. This is how we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of deceit." (1 Jn. 4:6)]
* About 50% of 'Millennial Catholics' believe "people should have different business and personal ethical standards" ["Further, it is unlawful to follow one line of conduct in private life and another in public, respecting privately the authority of the Church, but publicly rejecting it; for this would amount to joining together good and evil, and to putting man in conflict with himself; whereas he ought always to be consistent, and never in the least point nor in any condition of life to swerve from Christian virtue." (Pope Leo XIII, "Immortale Dei", 1885)]
* A mere 18% of Catholics surveyed considered being "spiritual" or being "close to God" a long-term life goal - an even lower percentage than non-Catholics! [Remember that the very purpose of life on earth is to "to know Him, to love Him, and to serve Him in this world, and to be happy with Him forever in the next." (Baltimore Catechism)]
* Around 40% of 'Catholic Millennials' fail to oppose the murder of the unborn in the womb, even though abortion is a grave sin ["Those who give drugs causing abortions are murderers themselves, as well as those who receive the poison which kills the fetus." (St. Basil the Great, Doctor of the Church, c. 369 A.D.)]
* Close to 40% of Catholics surveyed find (gravely immoral!) embryonic stem cell research to be "morally acceptable"
* 'Catholic Millennials' were "less likely than their peers to say drug use is morally wrong"
* About 25% of the young Catholics surveyed said divorce was "morally acceptable" ["Everyone who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery, and the one who marries a woman divorced from her husband commits adultery." (Our Lord Jesus Christ, Lk. 16:18)]
* Almost 40% of 'Catholic Millennials' surveyed find fornication acceptable ["Do you not know that the unjust will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators nor idolaters nor adulterers nor boy prostitutes nor practicing homosexuals nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor robbers will inherit the kingdom of God." (1 Cor. 6:9-10, emphasis added)]
* More than 35% of surveyed young 'Catholics' find homosexual relations - a serious sin that "cries out to heaven for vengeance" - morally acceptable and around 25% support homosexual 'marriage' ["Do you not know that the unjust will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators nor idolaters nor adulterers nor boy prostitutes nor practicing homosexuals nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor robbers will inherit the kingdom of God." (1 Cor. 6:9-10, emphasis added); "Likewise, Sodom, Gomorrah, and the surrounding towns, which, in the same manner as they, indulged in sexual promiscuity and practiced unnatural vice, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire." (Jude 1:7]
The minute "crumbs" of good news in the
survey - really just items that Catholics should be able to take for granted
- seriously pale in comparison with the apparently terrible spiritual state
of young Catholics. The real, actual crisis of faith and morals existing
among young Catholics today (the subject of much of the article) and the
resulting consequences are surely the most newsworthy elements in the piece
- not a mere "interest" in religious education. So why settle on that as the
(2) A recent Catholic News Service article headline proclaims: "Study: Catholics at Catholic colleges less likely to stray from church"
The article, however, reports that... [Note: Commentary below added by us]
* "[M]any Catholic students at Catholic and public colleges disagree with church teaching" ["He requires the assent of the mind to all truths without exception. It was thus the duty of all who heard Jesus Christ, if they wished for eternal salvation, not merely to accept His doctrine as a whole, but to assent with their entire mind to all and every point of it, since it is unlawful to withhold faith from God even in regard to one single point." (Pope Leo XIII, "Satis Cognitum", 1896 A.D.); "If any one does not profess, in accordance with the holy Fathers, properly and truthfully all that has been handed down and taught publicly to the holy, Catholic, and apostolic Church of God, both by the same holy Fathers and the five approved universal councils, to the last detail in word and intention: let him be condemned." (Lateran Council, 649 A.D.)]
* Over 40% of 'Catholic' students at Catholic colleges apparently believe abortion - the murder of the unborn in the womb - should be legal. The article also notes that a "majority of Catholic students leave college disagreeing that abortion should be legal but they number fewer than those who entered with that opinion" - So much for a Catholic education! ["Abortion and euthanasia are thus crimes which no human law can claim to legitimize." (Pope John Paul II)]
* About 2/3 of Catholics attending Catholic colleges support homosexual 'marriage' ["You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; such a thing is an abomination." (Lev. 18:22)]
* Close to 15% of those attending Catholic colleges apparently indicated that their "religiousness" became weaker in college
* Mass attendance among almost 1/3 of Catholics at Catholic colleges declined during college years
As if the headline wasn't rose-colored enough, the article quotes the president of the ACCU as follows: "Disturbing as these figures are, they should not be a surprise and should not be interpreted as a specific outcome of students' attendance at a Catholic college or university"
Translation: The emperor has clothes. Really he does.
[Note: To the article's credit, however, it does quote the president of the Cardinal Newman Society as follows: "[If ACCU officials think] it is a happy fact that Catholics lose their faith somewhat slower at Catholic colleges than elsewhere, then they fail to appreciate the concerns of faithful Catholic families."]
Isn't it about time these Catholic news agencies stopped donning rose colored glasses when affixing headlines to such stories? These misleading headlines don't help anyone, but only serve to mask the truth. To correct these very real, serious problems among Catholics today requires that they be confronted openly, followed by proper education. News agencies should also call on those in authority to consider what has brought about this crisis and what can be done to fix it, not simply pretend the crisis doesn't exist.
Remember: These statistics relate to real people who have real souls to save. Grave errors in such important matters will have serious consequences for their adherents - both on earth and possibly for all eternally. "Since it is in the very nature of man to follow the guide of reason to his actions, if his intellect sins at all, his will soon follows; and thus it happens that false opinions, whose seat is in the understanding, influence human actions and pervert them." (Pope Leo XIII)
Ignorance in matters of religion is not a light matter - it can lead to the eternal loss of souls. As Pope Benedict XIV stated: "We declare that a great number of those who are condemned to eternal punishment suffer that everlasting calamity because of ignorance of those mysteries of faith which must be known and believed in order to be numbered among the elect."
The situation among Catholic youths today - a true crisis - does not warrant overly upbeat headlines, but rather calls for (1) better religious instruction, and (2) increased fear of the Lord. It does not well-serve Catholics to put a positive spin on this disaster.
"[F]or it is one of the most painful and grievous sights to see so many souls, redeemed by the blood of Christ, snatched from salvation by the whirlwind of an age of error, precipitated into the abyss of eternal death." (Pope Leo XIII, "Supremi Apostolatus Officio", 1883)
"Already the fields cultivated by our Lord are everywhere turning into a wilderness abounding in ignorance of the Faith, in error and vice, as though blown upon by some hideous pest. And to add to the anguish of this thought, so far from putting a check on such insolent and destructive depravity, or imposing the punishment deserved, they who can and should correct matters seem in many cases, by their indifference or open connivance, to increase the spirit of evil." (Pope Leo XIII, "Magnae Dei Matris", 1892)
"The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; prudent are all who live by it." (Ps. 111:10)
"What can there be that is worse than hell? Yet nothing is more profitable than the fear of it! For the fear of hell gains for us the crown of the kingdom" (St. John Chrysostom, Doctor of the Church)
To the delight of many, the process of selecting a new Archbishop of Los Angeles has begun. The archdiocese - which has been under the control of the controversial "progressive" (notoriously liberal) Cardinal Mahony for nearly 25 years - has issued a memo containing a prayer asking for divine assistance in the selection of the Cardinal's successor. The prayer reads as follows:
"Lord, God, you are our eternal shepherd and guide. In your mercy, grant to the Archdiocese of Los Angeles a shepherd who will walk in your ways and whose watchful care will bring us your blessing. In your love for us, give us the joy of receiving a shepherd who will be an example of goodness to your people and who will fill our hearts and minds with the truth of the gospel. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen."
The Archdiocese of Los Angeles - the nation's largest diocese - desperately needs a good, holy, orthodox leader. Please pray hard!
According to a CNA report, the Catholic Church "manages 26 percent of health care facilities in the world", including "117,000 health care facilities, including hospitals, clinics, [and] orphanages." The statistics were obtained from a press release from the Pontifical Council for Pastoral Assistance to Health Care Workers on the occasion of the council's 25th anniversary.
LifeSiteNews.com has reported on "a bizarre personal encounter" between an attorney and Fr. Jenkins regarding the ND 88. The site recounts a conversation between the two:
"When I said to you, Fr. Jenkins, that these defendants believe that, like [the civil rights leader] Dr. King, they did nothing wrong but were marching for civil rights and social justice for all Americans, born and unborn, you responded, 'But Dr. King served time in jail.'"
Could this mean the self-avowed "pro-life" Fr. Jenkins actually wants jail time for the peaceful pro-life protesters?
Related: Threats to Life: Abortion
The following are some recent news highlights...
* Pope Benedict has announced that a guidebook is being developed to assist couples in preparing for marriage.
* USCCB at it again: The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is reportedly sponsoring an event which includes speakers who have been called "prominent anti-Catholic bigots". Speakers include a homosexual activist (related story here) and a priest "forced to resign by the Vatican" over his publishing of articles which question Church teachings.
* Ecumeniacs at it again: Cardinal Kasper has "floated the idea" of an "ecumenical catechism" that would be "written in consultation" with non-Catholics. Anyone doubt the work would conveniently exclude the terms "papal infallibility", "heretic", "schism", and "no salvation outside the Church"? Save us, O Lord!
* An immensely popular daytime television program which has "greatly harmed morality in the U.S." through its airing of scandalous, raunchy, and otherwise offensive content will apparently feature Dominican sisters on an upcoming show. The Oprah Winfrey Show is scheduled to feature the habit-weaning sisters on 2/9/10. The sisters hope the program will "further understanding of religious life."
* A "self-proclaimed anti-Catholic bigot" who is a member of the President's Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships has come under fire for his insulting & inaccurate comments about Pope Benedict XVI. Harry Knox has charged the Holy Father with "hurting people in the name of Jesus" over the Pope's opposition to (gravely immoral) c*ntraceptives. News accounts indicate that a coalition of Catholic leaders has sent an open letter to President Obama demanding that Knox be fired.
* Msgr. Michel Schooyans, professor emeritus of the Catholic University of Louvain, has published an essay which discusses "true and bogus compassion in acts and standpoints observable in the world today." He charged the Vatican newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano, and the President of the Pontifical Academy for Life (a organization that is said to be expressing "fear for its future") with "pseudo-compassion" over their response to the recent scandal involving a nine-year old Brazilian girl who had an abortion. He noted that, "Pseudo-compassion, frequently invoked in favor of the perpetrators of acts which are inherently wrong, such as abortion, hence leads to scandal; it invites others into grave sin". He also warned that "'pseudo-compassion' leads to heresy and division."
* An Anglican "Archbishop"* has created a stir by his remarks concerning the Pope's provisions designed to make it easier for Anglicans to enter the Catholic Church. The Anglican "prelate"* said: "If people genuinely realize that they want to be Roman Catholic, they should convert properly, and go through catechesis and be made proper Catholics" and noted that "...if I was really, genuinely wanting to convert, I wouldn't go into an ordinariate. I would actually go into catechesis and become a truly converted Roman Catholic and be accepted." [* Reminder: Anglican 'clergy' are not true priests - their orders have been ruled invalid by the Church: "Wherefore, strictly adhering, in this matter, to the decrees of the pontiffs, our predecessors, and confirming them most fully, and, as it were, renewing them by our authority, of our own initiative and certain knowledge, we pronounce and declare that ordinations carried out according to the Anglican rite have been, and are, absolutely null and utterly void." (Pope Leo XIII, "Apostolicae Curae", 1896 A.D., emphasis added)]
USCCB President Cardinal Francis George has reminded that a dissenting group's support of gay 'marriage' is not authentic Church teaching. He reiterated that "No one should be misled by the claim that New Ways Ministry provides an authentic interpretation of Catholic teaching and an authentic Catholic pastoral practice" and noted that "Like other groups that claim to be Catholic but deny central aspects of church teaching, New Ways Ministry has no approval or recognition from the Catholic Church and...cannot speak on behalf of the Catholic faithful"
Related: Listing of Possible Dissenters
Faithful Catholics have two more companies to add to their boycott list, namely Hasbro and Toys R Us. The reason? It has been discovered that the large toymaker recently created a new 'game' targeted at young girls. But it's not just any 'game' - it's a occultic Ouija board dressed up in pink. Apparently the satanic 'toy' has been sold by the large toy retailer Toys R Us since 2008. The retailer also sells a "glow-in-the dark Ouija board marketed to children 8-14 years old." A boycott of both companies has been launched. Warning to parents (and all persons!): Exorcists strongly condemn such 'games' and warn that they may provide an opening to evil spirits - with terrible consequences. Stay far away from these deadly 'games'!
"Be sober and vigilant. Your opponent the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion looking for (someone) to devour." (St. Peter, 1 Pt. 5:8)
An Irish newspaper is reporting that "As the countdown begins to the forthcoming Vatican meeting between Pope Benedict, senior Curia figures and the Irish bishops, Vatican insiders have suggested the Holy See has been alarmed by recent signs of internecine strife within the Irish hierarchy." The paper claims that the Holy See "has been confused and alarmed by apparent factional in-fighting among the hierarchy" and claims that Pope Benedict's forthcoming pastoral letter to the Irish may be held off until after the meeting.
An "interesting tidbit" from a recent CNA article regarding Cardinal Francis George's new book...
"In the second treatise highlighted by the Vatican paper, 'The Crisis of Liberal Catholicism,' Cardinal George provides a definition of theologically, not politically, 'liberal' Catholicism. He talks about the 'creative' attempt of 'liberal Catholics' to live in the contemporary culture, albeit 'running the risk of progressively permitting the values of the culture to take priority over those of the Gospel' and thereby becoming 'insipid.'"
Cardinal Franc Rodé, the Prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, recently told Vatican Radio that his office has found "a certain ignorance, a certain lack of liturgical knowledge and training in young men and women religious." His dicastery is preparing a new document to promote "proper liturgical formation of religious."
The Thomas More Law Center has filed a lawsuit to challenge the constitutionality of new federal 'hate crimes' legislation. The lawyer in charge of the case says the law "creates a special class of persons who are 'more equal than others' based on nothing more than deviant, sexual behavior." It is believed that the legislation may harm religious freedom by intimidating persons from expressing biblical condemnations of homosexual acts.
A Chicago priest has filed suit for defamation and malicious prosecution against a former altar boy, his attorneys, and an abuse victims' group which pursued abuse allegations against him. The abuse allegations were investigated and dismissed by the Department of Child and Family Services. The priest is seeking over $500K in damages.
The traditional Latin Mass community in New Haven will begin celebrating its 25th anniversary of the return of the ancient Mass on Sunday, February 7, 2010. The festivities are said to include a "series of public functions" marking the quarter-century anniversary of the return of the TLM to New Haven.
Related: Latin Mass & Catholic Tradition
In response to abuse allegations involving the "prestigious Jesuit-run Canisius College and spreading to other parts of Germany and beyond", a German Jesuit leader, Fr. Stefan Dartmann, recently apologized "that those responsible at the time did not investigate and react as they should have done". Fr. Dartmann also said he was "ashamed" over the handling of abuse allegations involving two former teachers who left the order in the 1980's. It is alleged that the two former Jesuits at the center of the scandal "repeatedly and systematically abused students in the 1970s and 80s." One of the perpetrators reportedly sent a letter of apology to "some" of his victims. The recently uncovered abuse allegations in this still-unfolding scandal have "shocked and angered" Germany.
Related: Scandal in the Church (apologetics)
The following are highlights from recent addresses of the Holy Father...
* The Supreme Pontiff reminded that "Charity is the 'greatest' gift, which gives value to all the others... In the end, when we find ourselves face to face with God, all other gifts will fail and all that will be left to last for eternity is love", and also reminded that "charity is the distinctive mark of Christians. It is the synthesis of all their lives, of what they believe and what they do."
* Pope Benedict noted that "Love is God's very essence, it is the meaning of creation and history, it is the light that gives goodness and beauty to the existence of each man and woman. At the same time love is, so to say, the 'style' of God and of believers, it is the behaviour of those who, responding to the love of God, order their lives as a gift of self to God and to neighbour"
* The Holy Father spoke on the saints & charity: "If we think of the saints, we recognise the variety of their spiritual gifts and their human characters. But the life of each one of them is a hymn to charity, a living canticle to the love of God"
* Pope Benedict recently confirmed his "forthcoming Apostolic Visit to Great Britain". He also spoke against dissent, telling the bishops of England and Wales that "In a social milieu that encourages the expression of a variety of opinions on every question that arises, it is important to recognize dissent for what it is, and not to mistake it for a mature contribution to a balanced and wide-ranging debate. It is the truth revealed through Scripture and Tradition and articulated by the Church's Magisterium that sets us free."
* The Holy Father furthermore criticized Britain's proposed Equality Bill that would impose "unjust limitations on the freedom of religious communities to act in accordance with their beliefs", saying that the legislation "[in] some respects...actually violates the natural law". He also noted that "Fidelity to the Gospel in no way restricts the freedom of others - on the contrary, it serves their freedom by offering them the truth." He instructed the bishops to "Continue to insist upon your right to participate in national debate through respectful dialogue with other elements in society. In doing so, you are not only maintaining long-standing British traditions of freedom of expression and honest exchange of opinion, but you are actually giving voice to the convictions of many people who lack the means to express them: when so many of the population claim to be Christian, how could anyone dispute the Gospel's right to be heard?"
* Pope Benedict called for the bishops to be "generous" in implementing his recent provisions to make it easier for Anglicans to enter the Catholic Church, saying that the groups of converts "would be a blessing for the entire Church."
Catholic schools across the U.S. are celebrating Catholic Schools Week from 1/31-2/6/10. The theme for Catholic Schools Week - "which celebrates the role Catholic schools play in providing an education that emphasizes academics, plus spiritual, moral and social values" - this year is "Dividends for Life". Various events are planned at Catholic schools throughout the country in celebration of Catholic Schools Week.
The teenager arrested in connection with a recent shooting of an elderly Ohio woman in the parking lot after Mass has pleaded not guilty. Bond for the suspect - who reportedly already has a criminal record and was out on bond when the murder occurred - has been set at $3 million.
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President of Pontifical Council for the Family speaks on issues affecting the family; Cardinal pointed to U.S. statistics showing that 90% of homeless people, 72% of adolescent suicides, 60% of rapists, and 85% of youth in jail grew up without a father present; Cardinal also noted negative effects of women working outside the home stating that "The self-realization sought by the woman in a job, in a career, in social success has as a cost the renouncement of the marriage and children" [2/27]
German bishops "accept our responsibility and condemn the crimes committed by religious, priests and lay collaborators in our dioceses" and ask for forgiveness; Office has been opened to deal with abuse cases [2/26]
Catholic Church in Brazil suing Hollywood's Columbia Pictures over unauthorized use of images; Blockbuster movie depicts the destruction of Rio's famous statue of Christ, even though permission to use the image was denied [2/25]
(Warning: Grisly topic) Fr. Pavone wants respectful, public burial 'event' for victims of abortion found in freezer of Philadelphia abortion clinic; Priests for Life director notes that "The disrespect that the abortion industry has for the human body is seen not only in the fact that they kill these children, but also in how they treat their bodies after death" [2/25]
Man impersonating Franciscan monk arraigned in San Mateo County on 19 counts of child molestation; Law enforcement officials say suspect "has a history of posing as a Franciscan monk to gain trust within Catholic communities" [2/24]
Code for 'no nude body scans'? Pope Benedict tells staff of aviation associations that "it is important never to lose sight of the fact that respecting the primacy of the person and caring for his needs not only does not make service less effective or penalise economic management, but is an important guarantee of true efficiency and authentic quality" [2/22]
Foundation says cost of divorce per taxpayer in U.K. is over $2K annually; Notes that "It is an unpopular truth that choices have consequences and costs, and that these are not always borne by the choice-maker"; Also notes that there are non-financial costs related to divorce - such as health problems, emotional traumas and education problems, whereas stable marriages are shown to benefit families and society in general [2/22]
Senior member of Pontifical Academy for Life asks USCCB's news agency for correction; Says CNS (a news agency previously charged with "failure to consistently apply reliably Catholic editorial standards") "distorted" comments [2/19]
Terri Schiavo's brother says new study questioning PVS diagnosis is "bittersweet"; Says "It is incumbent upon all of us to ensure that the lives of vulnerable people are not needlessly ended by flawed diagnostic practices, careless legislation or the idea that a person with a disability must prove themselves worthy of life's most ordinary needs: food and water" [2/18]
Catholic League responds to news analyst who ridiculed Biden for wearing ashes on air [Reminder: A pro-abortion 'Catholic' politician should be denied Holy Communion, not ashes] [2/18]
Ecclesia Dei answers questions about Summorum Pontificum: Priest may schedule TLM on his own accord, TLM may replace regularly scheduled NO, calendar and readings can't be substituted, and (gulp!) lay readers may be allowed to read vernacular translation [Note: On this site, it is necessary to scroll down to view the article] [2/15]
Vatican reportedly "perplexed and unhappy" over postulator's 'tell-all' book on Pope John Paul II that argues for the late pope's canonization; Vatican apparently "snubs" the book; Longtime aide says "It is a surprising and serious thing that it was the postulator who wrote such a book" [2/12]
Catholic writer contemplates 'tea party' movement against USCCB; Says "For American Catholics, the equivalent of centralized federal power is the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). The USCCB, the kind of episcopal conference authorized by Vatican II, has no canonical authority of its own. But its voice is considered authoritative by the media, and it is treated as such by those who applaud its lobbying efforts in Congress and the White House." [2/12]
Canadian priest speaks of Catholic young people "dying of spiritual thirst" and "lethargic Catholics" loosing their resolve to rebuild the Church in Canada which "lies in ruins"; Says God's house must be a priority in our lives and that "now is the time to rebuild the Church" [2/12]
Judge in California's Prop 8 case whose "entire course of conduct in the anti-Prop 8 case has reflected a manifest design to turn the lawsuit into a high-profile, culture-transforming, history-making, Scopes-style show trial" is believed to be homosexual; Legal analyst says the judge should recuse himself and says that his "entire course of conduct has only one sensible explanation: that [Judge] Walker is hell-bent to use the case to advance" homosexual 'marriage' [2/10]
Vatican Secretariat of State issues communiqué disputing involvement in controversy which led to Italian editor's resignation; Communiqué states that "It seems clear from the proliferation of the most incredible assertions and hypotheses - repeated by the media with truly remarkable consonance - that everything rests on unfounded convictions, with the intention of gratuitously and calumniously attributing to the editor of 'Osservatore Romano' an unmotivated, unreasonable and malicious action. This is giving rise to a defamatory campaign against the Holy See, which even involves the Roman Pontiff"; Communiqué also states that the Pope "deplores these unjust and injurious attacks, renews his complete faith in his collaborators, and prays that those who truly have the good of the Church to heart may work with all means to ensure that truth and justice triumph" [2/9]
Irish abuse victims issue letter asking Pope for about $1.37 billion in compensation; Letter to be delivered by members of the Irish hierarchy also asks Pope Benedict to meet with victims in September [2/9]
Pope Benedict reflects on necessity of stable families for the proper development of children; Holy Father says that "The family founded on marriage between a man and a woman is the greatest help that can be given to children" and noted that "a troubled family environment...[is] not without consequences for children" [2/9]
Pope Benedict confirms trip to Scotland, urges opposition to euthanasia legislation; Holy Father says that "A strong Catholic presence in the media, local and national politics, the judiciary, the professions and the universities can only serve to enrich Scotland's national life, as people of faith bear witness to the truth, especially when that truth is called into question" [2/5]
Prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life speaks of crisis in religious life: "The crisis experienced by certain religious communities, especially in Western Europe and North America, reflects the more profound crisis of European and American society. All this has dried up the sources that for centuries have nourished consecrated and missionary life in the church"; He laments that "The secularized culture has penetrated into the minds and hearts of some consecrated persons and some communities, where it is seen as an opening to modernity and a way of approaching the contemporary world"; Cardinal Rode observes that many orders have turned to "foreign vocations" and reminds that "quality of vocations is more important than quantity" [2/5]
Pope Benedict's message for Lent speaks of justice; Holy Father says "Before the justice of the Cross, man may rebel for this reveals how man is not a self-sufficient being, but in need of Another... Conversion to Christ, believing in the Gospel, ultimately means this: to exit the illusion of self-sufficiency in order to discover and accept one's own need - the need of others and God, the need of His forgiveness and His friendship. So we understand how faith is altogether different from a natural, good-feeling, obvious fact: humility is required to accept that I need Another to free me from 'what is mine', to give me gratuitously 'what is His'. This happens especially in the Sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist. Thanks to Christ's action, we may enter into the 'greatest' justice, which is that of love, the justice that recognises itself in every case more a debtor than a creditor, because it has received more than could ever have been expected" [2/4]
Article in Israeli newspaper defends Pope Pius XII; Author says the "campaign against Pope Pius XII is doomed to failure", noting that the late Pope's detractors "cannot sustain their main charges against him - that he was silent, pro-Nazi, and did little or nothing to help the Jews - with evidence" because "the proof that exists shows the contrary"; Author concludes that "Perhaps only in a backward world such as ours would the one man who did more than any other wartime leader to help Jews and other Nazi victims, receive the greatest condemnation" [2/2]
New study says attending a Catholic college "has minimal impact on a Catholic student's practice and embrace of the Catholic faith"; CNS President says "Catholics should be alarmed by the significant declines in Catholic practice and fidelity at many of America's Catholic institutions" [2/2]
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