My Catholic Source.com News & Opinion Page (3/10 Archive)
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Despite being taken to task over recent "sloppy reporting", the NY Times' attempt to implicate Pope Benedict in abuse scandals was ratcheted up a level with a recent op-ed column titled "Should There Be an Inquisition for the Pope?" The article was filled with offensive comments, such as ...
* "It doesn't seem right that the Catholic Church is spending Holy Week practicing the unholy art of spin."
* "The church gave up its credibility for Lent. Holy Thursday and Good Friday are now becoming Cover-Up Thursday and Blame-Others Friday."
* "This week of special confessions and penance services is unfolding as the pope resists pressure from Catholics around the globe for his own confession and penance about the cascade of child s*xual abuse cases that were ignored, even by a German diocese and Vatican office he ran. If church fund-raising and contributions dry up, Benedict's P.R. handlers may yet have to stage a photo-op where he steps out of the priest's side of the confessional and enters the side where the rest of his fallible flock goes. Or maybe 30-second spots defending the pope with Benedict's voice intoning at the end: 'I am infallible, and I approve this message.'"
The paper's "sloppy reporting" of late has been criticized in various quarters, including by the presiding judge in the case of Fr. Murphy, who said he was never contacted by the paper regarding their coverage of the matter. As Damian Thompson remarked, "It's pretty clear now that The New York Times has scr*wed up its coverage of Pope Benedict XVI and the child abuse scandals. In fact, I doubt it could have done a worse job if it had brought back Jayson Blair to report the story." Mr. Thompson also said that while he "[doesn't] normally wish unemployment on fellow journalists - even snooty and snarling PC ones from the Big Apple - but if the paper folded tomorrow I reckon I could contain my grief. Couldn't you?" Comment: I think we could also contain ours.
NBC has apologized for and corrected an error appearing on the MSNBC website in which an article's headline claimed that the Pope had personally engaged in misconduct with boys. Despite the story's offensive headline to the contrary (exact details not to be repeated here), the article was not about the Pope. Even if we presume the error was truly accidental, isn't it nevertheless troubling that such a shocking headline could have escaped notice of editors and other staff members of this "leader in breaking news"? Quite a confidence-builder, no?
A couple legal challenges to watch...
* The Archdiocese of Baltimore has filed suit over the city of Baltimore's ordinance requiring pro-life pregnancy centers to post notices on their doors stating that they do not offer or refer for abortions or contraceptives. Archbishop O'Brien stated that the ordinance is "a clear violation of these centers' constitutional rights to free speech and their free exercise of religion" and he said that he has "never heard of a private institution, groups being told that they must advertise what they don't do under financial penalty. I think it's discriminatory." Note that there are no similar regulations requiring pro-abort pregnancy centers to post notices stating that they don't provide abstinence education or adoption services.
* Alleged abuse victims in Kentucky are seeking to have Pope Benedict deposed, claiming negligence on the part of the Vatican. According to an AP account, "Vatican lawyers plan to argue that the pope has immunity as head of state, that American bishops who oversaw abusive priests weren't employees of the Vatican, and that a 1962 document is not the 'smoking gun' that provides proof of a cover-up." Various parties have also argued that there is nothing in Church documents that precludes Church authorities from involving law enforcement officials when abuse allegations are made. The attorney for the alleged victims - who is reportedly seeking class-action status for the case - has stated that "This case is the only case that has been ever been filed against the Vatican which has as its sole objective to hold the Vatican accountable for all the priest s*x abuse ever committed in this country." Observers have speculated on possible consequences of requiring leaders of other sovereign nations to testify in the U.S. (for example, that another nation may require the President of the U.S. to testify under foreign laws).
The following are some highlights from a recent Catholic Anchor article penned by the former Judicial Vicar for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, Fr. Thomas Brundage, who presided over the canonical criminal case of Father Lawrence Murphy. The case was recently highlighted in the NY Times in an apparent attempt to implicate Pope Benedict in wrongdoing.
* "[M]y name and comments in the matter of the Father Murphy case have been liberally and often inaccurately quoted in the New York Times and in more than 100 other newspapers and on-line periodicals... I have found that the reporting on this issue has been inaccurate and poor in terms of the facts"
* "The fact that I presided over this trial and have never once been contacted by any news organization for comment speaks for itself."
* "Pope Benedict XVI has done more than any other pope or bishop in history to rid the Catholic Church of the scourge of child s*xual abuse and provide for those who have been injured"
* He said quotes attributed to him in the media "were not written by me and do not resemble my handwriting"
* "[T]he fact is that on the day that Father Murphy died, he was still the defendant in a church criminal trial. No one seems to be aware of this. Had I been asked to abate this trial, I most certainly would have insisted that an appeal be made to the supreme court of the church, or Pope John Paul II if necessary. That process would have taken months if not longer."
* Fr. Brundage indicated that after competency shifted from the Roman Rota to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (then headed by Cardinal Ratzinger) cases which formerly "could languish for years" were now "handled expeditiously, fairly, and with due regard to the rights of all the parties involved." He says he has "no doubt that this was the work of then Cardinal Ratzinger."
He also claimed that...
* Fr. Murphy was "defensive and threatening"
* "The Catholic Church is probably the safest place for children at this point in history."
* "Few actions can distort a child's life more than s*xual abuse. It is a form of emotional and spiritual homicide and it starts a trajectory toward a skewed sense of s*xuality. When committed by a person in authority, it creates a distrust of almost anyone, anywhere." He also notes that this "disease" may turn victims to perpetrators ("I realized that this disease is virulent and was easily transmitted to others")
* "As a volunteer prison chaplain in Alaska, I have found a corollary between those who have been incarcerated for child s*xual abuse and the priests who have committed such grievous actions. They tend to be very smart and manipulative. They tend to be well liked and charming. They tend to have one aim in life - to satisfy their hunger. Most are highly narcissistic and do not see the harm that they have caused. They view the children they have abused not as people but as objects. They rarely show remorse and moreover, sometimes portray themselves as the victims. They are, in short, dangerous people and should never be trusted again. Most will recommit their crimes if given a chance."
The following are some updates concerning the recent abuse scandals...
* Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi noted that media attacks of late "have without doubt caused damage", but said that "the authority of the Pope and the commitment of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith against [abuse] of minors will come out of this not weakened but strengthened"
* Archbishop of Westminster Vincent Nichols recently told the BBC that "The Pope won't resign. Frankly there's no strong reason for him to do so", and said that "In fact it's the other way around - he is the one above all else who has tackled these things."
* According to Cardinal Schönborn, Pope Benedict (while still Cardinal Ratzinger) had attempted to persuade Pope John Paul II to "mount a full investigation" into abuse allegations involving a Vienna cardinal, but "opponents in the Vatican" convinced Pope John Paul II not to proceed. The accused cardinal later "went into exile". According to Cardinal Schönborn, "To accuse [Pope Benedict] of being someone who covers things up - having known the Pope for many years - I can say that is certainly not true"
* NY Archbishop Timothy Dolan spoke of Pope Benedict's ongoing 'passion' during his Palm Sunday Mass, claiming that, "The dramatic progress that the Catholic Church in the United States has made...could never have happened without the insistence and support of the very man now being daily crowned with thorns by groundless innuendo." He also said that "No one has been more vigorous in cleansing the church of the effects of this sickening sin than the man we now call Pope Benedict XVI."
* Members of a victims' rights group arrested after their recent demonstration outside St. Peter's Square and held for "a couple of hours" said they have "spent more time in an Italian jail this week than the late Fr. Lawrence Murphy did in his entire life". Fr. Murphy was accused of abusing as many as 200 deaf boys in the U.S. Recent media articles have attempted to vilify Pope Benedict in this deplorable case.
* Pope Benedict XVI spoke of "courage that doesn't let us be intimidated by the chatter of dominant opinions" at Mass on Palm Sunday. Some have taken his comments as a signal that he "won't be intimidated" by the recent wave of media attacks vilifying him.
* The attempted assassin of Pope John Paul II, recently released from prison & thought to be of 'questionable mental health', has reportedly said that he wants the Holy Father to resign, "not be arrested" - as some Turkish papers are calling for. The gunman recently indicated his desire to visit Fatima again this year when the Holy Father will be there.
Related: Scandal in the Church (apologetics)
The nation's largest abortion provider, Planned Parenthood, has thanked liberal religious sisters for their support of the recently passed healthcare legislation. The president of PP called the sisters' support "critical" and praised that the sisters "most importantly broke with the bishops and the Vatican to announce their support for [the abortion-expanding] health care reform." ["Let every person be subordinate to the higher authorities, for there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been established by God. Therefore, whoever resists authority opposes what God has appointed, and those who oppose it will bring judgment upon themselves." (Rom. 13:1-2)]
"Thou shalt shall not kill." (Ex. 20:13)
"Among all the crimes which can be committed against life, procured abortion has characteristics making it particularly serious and deplorable." (Pope John Paul II)
"[T]his horrible crime [of abortion]...will eventually draw down divine punishment on our nation." (Catholic Bishops of Iowa)
In light of recent 'relentless' attacks against the Holy Father, and the onslaught of secular media articles brandishing headlines such as the following...
* "Catholic S*x Scandal Raises Question: How Do You Remove a Pope?" [U.S. World & News Report]
* "Can a pope resign from office?" [BBC News]
* "The Bad Shepherd" [Newsweek]
...it seems opportune to remind Catholics to pray hard for the Pope.
Note: Some prayers for the Pope can be found here
In the wake of recent articles attempting to vilify Pope Benedict in abuse scandals, various parties have come to the Holy Father's defense. For example...
* Damian Thompson speaks of a "hit job" and says "[Cardinal] Ratzinger was part of the solution, not the problem". Mr. Thompson also indicated that he smells something "fishy" about the NY Times story concerning the Wisconsin priest, Fr. Lawrence Murphy. He states: "Murphy? Guilty as hell. Various bishops? Likewise. But the fact that in 1996 Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger may have approved the decision not to pursue complex canonical procedures against Murphy on the grounds that the guy was dying anyway doesn't strike me as much of a smoking gun. I do, however, get the very strong feeling that the Pope's enemies, including his enemies in the Church, are trying desperately hard to discover serious complicity on his part in a child abuse case. Because that would be just so convenient, wouldn't it?"
* Archbishop Vincent Nichols said: "What of the role of Pope Benedict? When he was in charge of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith he led important changes made in church law: the inclusion in canon law of internet offences against children, the extension of child abuse offences to include the [abuse] of all under 18, the case by case waiving of the statue of limitation and the establishment of a fast-track dismissal from the clerical state for offenders. He is not an idle observer. His actions speak as well as his words."
* Catholic League president Bill Donohue said: "I am taking advantage of every TV opportunity to set the record straight. The pope is a great man, and the Catholic League is proud to stand by him."
The Legion of Christ, founded by the disgraced Father Marcial Maciel has issued an apology "to all those who have been affected, wounded, or scandalized by the reprehensible actions of our founder." Reuters coverage notes that the statement is "believed to be unprecedented in the history of a Catholic religious order, [in that] the Legion disowned its founder: 'We accept that, given the gravity of his faults, we cannot take his person as a model of Christian or priestly life.'"
The statement also asked forgiveness from accusers who were previously not believed: "We ask all those who accused him in the past to forgive us, those whom we did not believe or were incapable of giving a hearing to, since at the time we could not imagine that such behavior took place." The statement says they had "thought and hoped that the accusations brought against our founder were false and unfounded, since they conflicted with our experience of him personally and his work."
The statement also...
* Said that any who cooperated in the founder's misdeeds would be held responsible: "If it turns out that anyone culpably cooperated in his misdeeds we will act according to the principles of Christian justice and charity, holding these people responsible for their actions."
* Asked for forgiveness from others: "We also ask our families, friends and benefactors to forgive us, and all other people of good will who have felt that their trust has been wounded."
* Spoke of reparation: "In addition, as members of the Mystical Body of Christ we feel the need to expiate his sins and the scandal they caused, making reparation with a Christian spirit. We ask all the members of our religious family to intensify their prayer and sacrifice."
* Expressed appreciation for the recent Apostolic Visitation (the statement indicated that the Legion will "embrace with filial obedience whatever indications and recommendations the Holy Father gives us as a result of the apostolic visitation, and we are committed to putting them into practice")
The statement also included the puzzling comment (emphasis added) that "For his own mysterious reasons, God chose Fr Maciel as an instrument to found the Legion of Christ and Regnum Christi", and it thanked God "for the good he did" - although the statement admitted that "given the gravity of his faults, we cannot take his person as a model of Christian or priestly life." Commentary: Forgive one for having difficulty wrapping one's mind around the idea that God CHOSE the vow-breaking, fornicating, child abuser - who lived a 'double life', fathered children, and abused minor seminarians - to found a religious congregation bearing Christ's name. Does it not seem more reasonable to believe that He rather allowed Fr. Maciel to found it rather than actively chose the disgraced priest to found it?
For those who cite the 'precedent' of Judas, one may counter that the death of the Divine Victim was certainly in God's mysterious plan for the salvation of mankind - whereas serial child abuse & fornication are assuredly not. Besides, even if Judas had founded a religious congregation before his death, who on earth would "thank him for all the good he did" if he never publicly repented of his dreadful past deed? Surely even Judas did some good before he betrayed Christ - yet who praises that in light of what came afterwards?
Scripture repeatedly refers to Judas as a betrayer or traitor...
Mt 10:4: "Judas Iscariot who betrayed him."
Mk. 3:19: "and Judas Iscariot who betrayed him."
Jn. 18:5: "Judas his betrayer was also with them."
Mt. 10:4: "...and Judas Iscariot who betrayed him."
Lk. 6:16 "...and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor."
Nowhere is Judas thanked for his past good works or spoken of positively. Quite the contrary, Jesus himself warns that...
Mt. 26:24: "The Son of Man indeed goes, as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed. It would be better for that man if he had never been born."
Furthermore, Judas' ministry (providentially?) came to an end after his betrayal - he did not continue on for years afterwards.
While we know for certain that all members of the Apostolic College were chosen directly by Christ - even if the plan was mysterious, we do not have the same certainty regarding the founder of the Legionaries. It seems there is a grave danger here of confusing God's active will with His permissive will.
Some more recent news highlights...
* The national Catholic television network 'CatholicTV' has announced the addition of 3-D programming as well as a special 3-D version of its monthly magazine. They plan to offer 3-D glasses in an upcoming edition of their monthly magazine in order to view the 3-D materials
* The head of the Catholic Health Association, Sister Carol Keehan (recently under fire for endorsing the abortion-expanding healthcare bill opposed by the U.S. bishops and by "every legitimate Catholic pro-life organization"), has been "awarded" one of the 21 pens used by President Obama to sign the aforementioned healthcare bill. Some critics are referring to her presidential pen - "given to those who played a 'key role' in the legislation" - as her "thirty pieces of silver"
* A small pro-life group (reportedly totaling 10 people) recently demonstrated outside the Vatican calling for Nancy Pelosi's excommunication. The group is also asking the Archbishop of Washington, DC to deny Pelosi Holy Communion under Can. 915. [1983 Code of Canon Law, Can. 915: "Those who have been excommunicated or interdicted after the imposition or declaration of the penalty and others obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to holy communion."] The group's leader charged that "Nancy Pelosi has betrayed the Catholic faith, fought to shed innocent blood, and repeatedly voted to take money from Americans to pay for the murder of innocent babies"
* Some additional details regarding the Vatican-SSPX meetings has emerged in a recent interview with the leader of the SSPX. The group's leader called the discussions "serious, almost solemn talks" and said they were "dealing with brilliant minds with whom we should be able to exchange ideas". However, he claimed that "They belong to what we may call the conservative line, in that they advocate the most traditional possible reading of the [Second Vatican] Council. They desire the good of the Church but at the same time wish to save the Council: that is like trying to square the circle." He denied having knowledge of 'leaked rumors' regarding the discussions ("Not to my knowledge, unless you mean certain secondary aspects regarding the general organization of these conversations") and noted that "It is very important that the climate for these discussions be peaceful and calm. We live in a day of constant media coverage and universal democracy where everyone judges everything and gives his opinion about anything. So much is at stake in these questions of theology that it is preferable to let matters proceed in secrecy. When the time comes, if necessary, it will always be possible to publish an account of them." He confirmed that the meetings - which take place "every two or three months" - are held "in a large room of the Palace of the Holy Office" and that they will not result in joint declarations where both parties "agree on common points, but do not resolve the underlying debates", saying that "Joint declarations are out of the question." [Related: Third Vatican-SSPX Meeting]
The following are some recent news highlights...
* According to an AP report, the number of abuse cases involving the Catholic Church in the U.S. is "tapering off", with 2009 seeing the "lowest numbers since data started being collected in 2004". They report that the total cost "for settlements and other costs has risen to more than $2.7 billion, according to estimates" and also indicate that "about one-eighth of the allegations made in 2009 were unsubstantiated or determined to be false by the end of the year"
* A seasoned Vatican journalist has indicated that a new diocese may be formed which includes Medjugorje, the site of alleged Marian apparitions. Reportedly, the decision was "nearly made" in September 2009 but was "put off in part by opposition" from the local bishop - a prelate who has been "vocal in his skepticism" regarding the alleged apparitions. The Vatican recently announced the formation of an international investigative commission concerning the alleged Medjugorje 'phenomena' [Related: Marian Apparitions at Medjugorje: True or False?]
* A rabbi giving a lecture Paris' Notre Dame cathedral was recently "interrupted" by praying members of the SSPX who were upset that the rabbi's lecture was being given there. The traditionalists "loudly" prayed the rosary as "amends for the outrage" of having the rabbi speak at the famous cathedral
* New allegations of abuse are surfacing in Germany which reportedly involve four priests and two nuns in Pope Benedict's native diocese. The allegations primarily date from the 1970's
* A German bishop has come under fire for his sermon which compared the media coverage concerning abuse scandals in the Church to a Nazi propaganda campaign. In his sermon, he claimed that "we are again witnessing a campaign against the church" whose aim "is to undermine the church's credibility." The diocese has claimed that coverage of the sermon was "distorted"
* Pope Benedict is scheduled to preside at Mass on Monday, March 29 to mark the 5th anniversary of the death of Pope John Paul II, which occurred on April 2, 2005
* The Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano has come to the defense of Pope Benedict against attacks from the modernist Fr. Hans Küng. The controversial liberal theologian had penned an offensive article which criticized priestly celibacy and claimed that the Holy Father is "the man who has been for decades the main person responsible for the hiding of these abuses on a worldwide level." The Vatican newspaper's rebuttal indicated that "the facts didn't take place as Küng and certain press have recounted them." [Related: Why Priestly Celibacy?]
According to the Rorate Caeli blog, the third Vatican-SSPX meeting took place on Saturday, March 20, with "the customary discretion." Like the earlier Vatican-SSPX meetings, details of the most recent meeting are scarce. The March meeting was the second one in 2010.
In a recent conference at the Pontifical Lateran University, a Dutch Archbishop noted that there is a "lack of spiritual content" in some priests because they "put their social work before their spiritual life". He said it is necessary for priests to "take care as much as possible of their relationship with Christ, priest, teacher and pastor."
Brief updates on scandals in Ireland & Brazil...
> Pope Benedict's letter concerning the Irish abuse scandal is expected to be released on Saturday
> Cardinal Sean Brady apologized to "anyone who has been hurt by any failure on my part" and said that "I am ashamed that I have not always upheld the values that I profess and believe in." He has been criticized for failing to notify authorities regarding a meeting he attended where two alleged victims signed a confidentiality clause. The alleged victims were compensated by the archdiocese without an admission of liability
> A television station in Brazil aired a video, filmed via hidden camera, that reportedly portrayed an elderly priest having a 'homosexual encounter' with a 19 year old. This priest - and two others - were suspended for "alleged homosexual activities with boys and young men". Early media reports indicated that the priests were bishops, but this has been denied. Brazil is "home to the world's largest Catholic population"
Related: Scandal in the Church (apologetics)
In case you missed it, the lesbians 'raising' children who were denied re-admission to a Catholic school in Colorado have decided to 'tell their story' (or "clear up some misconceptions"). Their account of the situation was covered by a number of media outlets, including a notoriously liberal Catholic paper whose coverage was...well...pitiable.
To hear the 'Catholic' paper tell it, these poor innocent little lesbians - Catholic schooled physicians no less - just want to be like any other 'normal family', but then the big, bad (formerly 'progressive, welcoming') church suddenly did an about-face and decided to punish their children and deny them the Catholic education their 'parents' so dutifully & selflessly sought to provide them. Get out the tissue...the coverage even included mention of how "a long haired dog playfully rolled on the living room carpet" before the interviewer and the poor little "hurt" lesbians who sat "in the living room of their home...walls covered with framed photographs of their five-year-old and three-year-old daughters."
While the liberal Catholic paper seemed ready to make the lesbians into victims/heroes, the 'Catholic' publication notably failed to comment on items such as...
* The importance of a Catholic school maintaining its Catholic identity - and its duty to do so
* Homosexual actions are mortal sins which, if unrepented, lead persons to hell [St. Paul, 1 Cor. 6:9-10: "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." (emphasis added)]
* A homosexual action is one of only four sins that "cry out to heaven for vengeance"
* These poor children were conceived out of wedlock (presumably neither of the lesbians has a male spouse*) [* Not to imply that two women could be 'spouses']
* These children are being denied the necessary influence of good fathers and are being forced to live in a perverted home
* The women are scandalizing other Catholics (and non-Catholics) by their actions
* The lesbians are forcing children to live in an immoral environment which is not in accordance with Catholic teachings
* The negative impact of the 'two mommy' family upon their own children (so-to-speak) and the other children at the school
* The fact that it is these women's freely chosen actions that are the root cause of the problem - not the Church's reaction to their actions
* The fact that although Jesus reached out to sinners, he DID expect them to stop sinning upon becoming his followers. Scripture specifically tells us to rebuke sinners and even says, "We instruct you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, to shun any brother who conducts himself in a disorderly way and not according to the tradition they received from us." (St. Paul, 2 Thes. 3:6)
* The lesbians' relationship is, undeniably, a perversion of nature itself (those who fail to reject such a relationship as a perversion are deluded!), despite their claim that "all seemed quite natural"
* Their dishonest claim that they have "really tried to live up to that commitment" of raising the children in the Catholic faith when their (perverted) home life is testimony to their rejection of the Catholic faith, regardless of whether or not they go to Mass on Sunday. If they were REALLY trying to raising the children according to Catholic principles they would not be living as lesbians. Yet they pretend that they are doing their part and that it is the "Catholic church [that] is now not fulfilling its part of the promise to provide all the support it can in the raising of the children as Catholics" - even claiming the church "is sort of undermining our attempts". Sorry, ladies, you make it impossible for the church to support raising the children in the Catholic faith since you undermine the Church's teachings by obstinately continuing to live in defiance of the those teachings. You can't have it both ways.
* The ridiculous insinuation that the Church should automatically presume two lesbians living together and sharing legal 'joint custody' of children are living as celibates. It is made even more ridiculous by other comments appearing in the article, such as the statement that "they never hid the fact that they are a lesbian couple" and the comment of one of the lesbians that "We never show any affection for each other in church. We are very private." Yea right, they are celibate.
* The fallacy of the "everyone's a sinner" argument. Yea, we are all sinners, but there is a difference between continual, unrepented, blatant rejection of Church teachings and the occasional moral failings that we all commit from time to time. Furthermore, unlike others' circumstances they attempt to equate their situation with, the lesbians' home is inherently a scandalous, manifest perversion of nature. In other cases, there is no inherent perversion and there may be no manifest scandal (e.g. divorce & 'remarriage' that is not public knowledge). While unrepented adultery (e.g. divorce & 'remarriage') is a sin that precludes one from heaven if left unrepented, it is not listed as one of the sins that cry out to heaven for vengeance - like a certain homosexual act is. While both situations are mortally sinful, adultery does not go against nature itself, nor is it necessarily manifest.
* Supporters of the 'two mommy' family being in dire need of correction (remember that defending sin is itself sinful)
* Whether or not the lesbians really are trying to make the children "political footballs" (which they deny) has no bearing on the matter at hand
* The fact that CCD classes (which - to the lesbians' confusion - will still be made available to the children) are significantly different from regular schooling, particularly because there is greater interaction among students in a full-time school environment than there is in limited CCD classes
* The lesbians have something to repent of, whereas the school does not (other than the allegation that it allowed the enrollment even knowing about the unrepentant lesbian 'parents')
* The irony that the lesbians were supposedly "shocked when a local priest suggested they raise their children as Episcopalians" - apparently they realize it's not okay to teach religious error, but still maintain that it is acceptable to live their lives contrary to the truth
* Despite the lesbians' claim, the school is not getting "such a black eye" over their decision. If anything, good Catholic families may esteem the school even more over their willingness to maintain their Catholic identity
* The lesbians claim that they "take pride in the fact that their children like to repeat bible stories they learn in school" and "encourage these stories" - does this really hold true for all of scripture (including St. Jude 1:7: "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.")?
* The contradiction between the portrayal of the (oh, so sensitive) lesbians who had "tears in their eyes" over the children's recitation of the Hail Mary, but who yet apparently have no sadness at all over the abominations they regularly choose to commit...offenses which offend God? [Lev. 18:22: "You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; such a thing is an abomination."]
* The fact that all children are affected by their parents' actions - both for good and for bad. It is dishonest to say otherwise. It is not the Church's fault that children raised in a perverted, sinful environment must suffer for it - it is the caregivers' freely made choices that bring harm to the children. If the lesbians in this case don't want the children to suffer, they have the ability to change the situation. They just (apparently) do not have the will to do so. The Church, on the other hand, has no power over them. It is all in their hands. It is their decision.
The Catholic paper's coverage also (offensively) uses the names Mary and Martha to refer to the lesbians who did not want their identities revealed to the general public. The paper further indicated that some sympathizers in the parish have been 'comforting' the poor, victimized lesbians in their 'plight' by sharing information about their own sins. Well golly, we're all sinners... maybe the Church should just forget about sin altogether!
And continuing the wishful thinking, one of the poor little victimized lesbians said that "We just wanted to be a normal family." Well, they may want it, but that's never going to be the case. Hello...Biology 101... "He created them male and female" (Gen. 5:2). Two women can't make a baby together! I may want to be a frog (I don't really), but wishful thinking is no more likely to make that occur than wishful thinking will make a homosexual "family" truly be "normal". You may find some bleeding-heart supporters siding with the homosexuals, but God can never accept such a 'family' as normal. It is AGAINST His perfect design, against nature itself, to have a family headed by two 'romantically involved mommies'. Wishful thinking will not change these facts.
The lesbians nevertheless continue in their delusion with their press release that indicates that they "will continue to raise our children with strong Catholic values and hold faith that through our actions, we are doing our part to create a more loving, inclusive world." Reality check ladies: Raising children in a perverted homosexual environment is not raising them with "strong Catholic values" - quite the contrary. Stop pretending you want a Catholic education for these children when your actions betray the Catholic faith. Don't pretend you are victims when you are the ones causing the situation. If you want a Catholic education for those children, it's quite easy: Desist from your sins and repent. Once you remove yourself from this perverted living arrangement, the Church will surely welcome all of you with open arms. Then the children can get a solid Catholic education - both from yourself and from the school. So, if you really want a Catholic education for those children, prove it by your actions.
Related: Catholic Education Begins at Home
(The not-very inclusive) St. Paul on another immoral matter: "It is widely reported that there is immorality among you, and immorality of a kind not found even among pagans - a man living with his father's wife. And you are inflated with pride. Should you not rather have been sorrowful? The one who did this deed should be expelled from your midst. I, for my part, although absent in body but present in spirit, have already, as if present, pronounced judgment on the one who has committed this deed, in the name of (our) Lord Jesus: when you have gathered together and I am with you in spirit with the power of the Lord Jesus, you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of his flesh, so that his spirit may be saved on the day of the Lord. Your boasting is not appropriate. Do you not know that a little yeast leavens all the dough?" (1 Cor. 5:1-6)
[Reminder: While we must hate sin, we must simultaneously love the sinner. Do not inflict or wish harm on homosexuals.]
Catholic Charities in Washington D.C. is reportedly taking another step to preserve its Catholic identity by requiring new employees to sign a clause promising that they will not "violate the principles or tenets" of the Catholic Church. This follows their recent decision to discontinue healthcare coverage to new spouses in order to avoid having to provide benefits to homosexual 'spouses' in the wake of 'legalized' homosexual 'marriages' in that area.
A Vatican Information Services update issued on Saturday contained two items dealing with abuse scandals. One was a "Note Issued By Holy See Press Office Director" (N), the other was an interview of Msgr. Charles J. Scicluna, promoter of justice of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith which was published in an Italian newspaper (I). The following are highlights from these two documents...
* "Firstly, the line being taken by the German Episcopal Conference has shown itself to be the right way to face the problem in its various aspects. The declarations of the president of that conference, Archbishop Zollitsch, following his meeting with the Holy Father, recap the strategy laid down in the conference's recent assembly and reiterate its essential operational aspects: recognition of the truth and help for victims, reinforcement of preventative measures and constructive collaboration with the authorities (including the judicial authorities of State) for the common good of society. Archbishop Zollitsch also unequivocally reiterated the opinion of experts according to whom the question of celibacy should in no way be confused with that of paedophilia. The Holy Father has encouraged the line being followed by the German bishops which - even taking account of the specific context of their own county - may be considered as a useful and inspiring model for other episcopal conferences that find themselves facing similar problems." (N)
* "It is absolutely clear that [Church] norms did not seek, and have not favoured, any kind of cover-up of such crimes; quite the contrary, they initiated intense activities to confront, judge and adequately punish the crimes in the context of ecclesiastical legislation. And it must be remembered that all this was planned and set in motion when Cardinal Ratzinger was prefect of the Congregation. The line he followed was always one of rigour and coherence in dealing with even the most difficult situations." (N)
* The current Pope "was completely unconnected with the decisions in the wake of which the abuses took place [in his previous diocese when he was Archbishop]. Rather, it is evident that over recent days some people have sought - with considerable persistence, in Regensburg and Munich - elements that could personally involve the Holy Father in questions of abuse. To any objective observer, it is clear that these efforts have failed." (N)
* "It may be that in the past...some bishops were, in practice, too indulgent towards this sad phenomenon [of abuse by priests]. And I say in practice because, in principle, the condemnation of this kind of crime has always been firm and unequivocal." (I)
* "Secrecy during the investigative phase served to protect the good name of all the people involved; first and foremost, the victims themselves, then the accused priests who have the right - as everyone does - to the presumption of innocence until proven guilty. The Church does not like showcase justice. Norms on sexual abuse have never been understood as a ban on denouncing the crimes to the civil authorities." (I)
* The accusation that the "current Pontiff...when he was prefect of the former Holy Office [was] objectively responsible for a Holy See policy of covering up the facts" is "false and calumnious" (I)
* "Cardinal Ratzinger displayed great wisdom and firmness in handling those cases, also demonstrating great courage in facing some of the most difficult and thorny cases, 'sine acceptione personarum'. Therefore, to accuse the current Pontiff of a cover-up is, I repeat, false and calumnious." (I)
* Number of cases dealt with so far: "Overall in the last nine years (2001-2010) we have considered accusations concerning around three thousand cases of diocesan and religious priests, which refer to crimes committed over the last fifty years", with the majority being homosexual in nature ("about sixty percent of the cases" involved attraction towards adolescents of the same gender). Most of the cases were from the U.S. ("in the years 2003-2004, [U.S. cases] represented around eighty percent of total cases") (I)
* "It must, in fact, be borne in mind that the overall number of diocesan and religious priests in the world is four hundred thousand, although this statistic does not correspond to the perception that is created when these sad cases occupy the front pages of the newspapers." (I)
* A full trial has taken place in only about 20% of cases, in about 60% of the cases "disciplinary provisions have been issued", in other cases, priests have been dismissed from the clerical state (I)
* "In some English-speaking countries, but also in France, if bishops become aware of crimes committed by their priests outside the sacramental seal of Confession, they are obliged to report them to the judicial authorities. This is an onerous duty because the bishops are forced to make a gesture comparable to that of a father denouncing his own son. Nonetheless, our guidance in these cases is to respect the law." (I)
* When bishops do not have the legal obligation to report abuse "we do not force bishops to denounce their own priests, but encourage them to contact the victims and invite them to denounce the priests by whom they have been abused." (I)
* Regarding the statute of limitation of 10 years which was introduced in 2001: "Practice has shown that the limit of ten years is not enough in this kind of case, in which it would be better to return to the earlier system of 'delicta graviora' not being subject to the statue of limitations." Pope John Paul II granted the dicastery the power to revoke the statute of limitations on a "case by case following a reasoned request from individual bishops. And this revocation is normally granted." (I)
According to Archbishop Nikola Eterovic, Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops, homilies should generally not exceed eight minutes, "the average amount of time for a listener to concentrate". The prelate also advised clergy to work from an outline to maintain eye contact and keep up on current issues.
Pope Benedict has met with Archbishop Robert Zollitsch of Germany. According to press accounts, the Holy Father "expressed dismay" over the "mounting reports of abuse" but was "very satisfied" with steps taken to address the scandal in that country. The Archbishop also asked abuse victims for forgiveness. In a related story, reports are surfacing that Cardinal Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI) "unwittingly approved housing" for a priest who was accused of abuse in his former diocese in the 1980's. According to one account, Cardinal Ratzinger "let the priest, known only as H, stay at a vicarage in Munich for 'therapy'" but "was not made aware of H's alleged abuse history". Although the diocese admitted it was a mistake to allow the priest to return to pastoral work, it said the decision was not made by Pope Benedict, but was rather made by a lower ranking official who took "full responsibility" for it. The official also indicated that Cardinal Ratzinger did not know of his decision. The priest in question, who was ultimately suspended by the diocese, received an 18-month suspended prison sentence.
Be warned, those with an agenda are finding recent abuse scandals a fresh new opportunity to push for married priests and as well a chance to advance feminist ideals. Faithful Catholics should be prepared to counter their arguments. The following resources may be of assistance... (Click link to view)
A deacon in Gloucestershire has apologized for the wording of his comments that "marriage is between Adam and Eve - not Adam and Steve" after homosexuals & their sympathizers complained. Comment: How about an apology for apologizing for speaking the truth?
The newspaper of the Italian Bishops' Conference has condemned the plan to install vending machines which sell c*ndoms at a high school in Rome. The school will promote fornication by installing six such machines on campus.
"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) [Note: This, of course, refers to sin that remains unrepented]
The following 'quotable quote' is from a recent pro-life address of Archbishop Chaput...
"If you and I as citizens don't do the shaping [of the laws in this country], then somebody else will," he said. "That's the nature of a democracy."
Some recent news highlights...
* Pope Benedict reminds that caring for the poor is the work of individuals motivated by charity and cannot be replaced by the State.
* The Pope's brother has admitted that he slapped boys in the face when he was choirmaster, even though he says it made him feel uncomfortable ("At the start, I also slapped people in the face but I always had a bad conscience about it"). He said that although he physically punished them (administered "clips round the ear" which was "a standard response at the time to failure or misbehaviour"), he felt it never rose to the extent of abuse. He also says he was "happy when in 1980 corporal punishment was banned by law". Although he indicated that he had no knowledge regarding cases of s*xual abuse, he admitted the following regarding allegations of physical abuse: "Pupils told me on concert trips about what went on. But it didn't dawn on me from their stories that I should do something. I was not aware of the extent of these brutal methods" and said "If I had known about the excess of force he was using, I would have said something". He also asked the victims for forgiveness.
* Ridiculous: Female activists in the Philippines recently delivered baskets of c*ndoms to the bishops, "humbly" asking them to "bless the c*ndoms as a conciliatory gesture to unite for reproductive health and women's rights" [Note: For information on the immorality of contraceptives, click here]
* Crazy: The sister who provides free needles to drug abusers (and calls it "common sense") has been awarded by Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York and Bishop Howard Hubbard for her decades of "service" to Catholic Charities. The free needle program, which is at least partially funded by Catholics' donations, has been criticized for providing formal cooperation in evil. "It is never allowed, even for a good intention to do a thing that is bad in itself." (Baltimore Catechism)
* Still more ridiculousness: In all 50 states, 'same-sex couples' can apparently claim "married" status on U.S. Census forms
* Some good news: Catholics in the Netherlands have launched a petition protesting the decision allow open homosexuals to receive Holy Communion. The decision - which violates Canon 915 and fails to protect the Sacred Host - came after homosexual activists engaged in protests. 1983 Code of Canon Law, Can. 915: "Those who have been excommunicated or interdicted after the imposition or declaration of the penalty and others obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to holy communion."
* Almost funny: A Vatican Radio editor who has written a book on President Obama and faith has recently made reference to "the merit of Obama in having brought faith back to the center of the agenda of the Democratic Party". Comment: Faith is "back at the center of the agenda"? Must have missed that memo!
* A member of the Pontifical Academy for Life who signed the recent letter concerning the abortion controversy involving the Academy's President has asked a Vatican spokesman it issue a clarification asserting that the letter was not an official request for their leader's resignation, but was rather a "clarification of important facts and to correct the false impression of unity conveyed to the press on Feb. 12 by our President"
* Archbishop Chaput has offered further justification for the decision to prevent a student being raised by lesbians to reenroll in a Catholic school. He noted that "If parents don't respect the beliefs of the Church, or live in a manner that openly rejects those beliefs, then partnering with those parents becomes very difficult, if not impossible" and affirmed that "The main purpose of Catholic schools is religious; in other words, to form students in Catholic faith, Catholic morality and Catholic social values." He also reminded that "Our schools...exist primarily to serve Catholic families with an education shaped by Catholic faith and moral formation" and said that "If Catholics take their faith seriously, they naturally follow the teachings of the Church in matters of faith and morals; otherwise they take themselves outside the believing community"
Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi lamented the "horrible acts of violence" committed by Muslims against non-Muslims in Nigeria on Sunday morning. Machete-wielding gangs in the area reportedly killed at least 500 people, mostly women, children, and older men. The Archbishop of the Nigerian capital Abuja claimed the violence was not due to religious reasons. Close to 100 people have been arrested.
A preschooler in Denver being 'raised' by two lesbians will not be allowed to re-enroll in a Catholic school next year since, as the Archdiocese notes, those "living in open discord with Catholic teaching in areas of faith and morals unfortunately choose by their actions to disqualify their children from enrollment." Unfortunately, some misguided Catholics have criticized and even protested the decision. Some are reportedly considering pulling their own children out of the school and various teachers are supposedly "disgusted" by the decision.
Hopefully knowledgeably Catholics will be prepared to answer the various illogical, misleading, etc. statements of those who unjustly criticize the diocese's actions (e.g. "they won't have anyone if they only accept children with perfect parents", "we're all created equal", "what would Jesus do?", etc.). Some points for Catholics to keep in mind...
* Defending sin is itself sinful, as is an inappropriate silence (click here for ways of being an accessory to another's sin)
* If the school freely allowed two openly homosexual 'parents' to roam the school grounds they would be fostering scandal and confusing the children they are supposed to educate
* There's obviously a big difference between the occasional moral failings of other parents, which are often private, vs. a public, unrepented in-your-face 24/7/365 homosexual 'two mommy' environment that goes against nature itself as well as being contrary to God's moral laws (remember also that S*domy is one of only four sins that "cry out to heaven for vengeance"). To freely allow such a situation unchallenged on Catholic school grounds would undermine the Church's teachings
* The Catholic school has a DUTY to protect the integrity of its teachings - not just by words, but also by appropriate actions
* Despite one-liners to the contrary, Jesus actually DID exclude some people (click here)
* While it is true that Jesus reached out to sinners, he DID expect them to stop sinning upon becoming his followers
* Homosexual acts are grave sins which exclude people from heaven if they are not repented of (for more details, click here for story 'The End of Freedom in America?')
* While Jesus certainly welcomed children, he had harsh words involving a millstone for those who caused little ones who believe in him to sin
* It is unfair to accuse the Church of punishing the child for the sins of its 'parents'. The Church has an obligation to protect the other children from scandal and to safeguard its own teachings - the Church cannot appear to condone sinful behaviors, nor can it be held responsible for creating the unholy situation involving the two adults. The 'caregivers' (both persons can't possibly be the child's parents) of the child are the party unconcerned about providing the child with a solid Catholic education or they wouldn't force a child to live in such an immoral environment in the first place
* What is the point of a Catholic education at school if one's home life is entirely contradictory to the Catholic faith? It is the 'parents' who are preventing the child from getting a solid Catholic education, not the Church. If they don't believe in the teachings of the Church, why do they make a farce of seeking a Catholic education for the child?
* The situation may cause a heavy burden to be placed on the teachers, the child, and other pupils since they would rightly condemn the gravely sinful arrangement of the innocent child's 'parents' and possibly create even more conflicts in the innocent child's home
* If the Church provides a solid moral foundation for the youngsters, it must necessarily put a child cared for by lesbians in continual conflict with its 'parents' who are living in manifest grave sin. As the Archdiocese states, "To allow children in these circumstances to continue in our school would be a cause of confusion for the student in that what they are being taught in school conflicts with what they experience in the home."
* Other students may not wish to befriend this child since good Catholic parents would rightly want their own children to avoid having much association with an immoral 'two mommy family'
* Preventing the child from reenrolling provides a first-hand lesson to all students and parents about the importance of living out the Church's teachings
* The 'parents' broke the rules by their dishonest enrollment of the child. As the Archdiocese indicates, "Our admission policy states clearly, 'No person shall be admitted as a student in any Catholic school unless that person and his/her parent(s) subscribe to the school's philosophy and agree to abide by the educational policies and regulations of the school and Archdiocese.'"
* It is the 'parents'' actions, not the Church's that are preventing the child from receiving a Catholic education, as the diocese notes: "Parents living in open discord with Catholic teaching in areas of faith and morals unfortunately choose by their actions to disqualify their children from enrollment." If the 'parents' wanted to, they could immediately stop those actions. The Church, on the other hand, has no control over this matter.
It seems that Catholics in Denver should be thankful that a Catholic school is actually acting . . . well, Catholic. The school's "expect[ing] all families who enroll students to live in accord with Catholic teaching" doesn't seem like too much for a Catholic school to ask, now does it? If children's home life is in direct conflict with Catholic teachings, what is the point of a Catholic education at all? The home itself will undermine the education.
"We should tolerate association with sinners only for the purpose of recalling them to repentance, by every means short of committing sin ourselves. But when every form of solicitude has been applied in their regard, we should avoid those who persist in their evil ways." (St. Basil the Great, Doctor of the Church)
A Baptist leader in Tennessee who originally defended passing out a vile anti-Catholic tract now says he regrets the action. The highly offensive Chick Publications' leaflet, illustrated in comic book format, criticizes the Catholic Church, the Holy Eucharist, and the Pope. A local priest called the publication "hate material" and is worried that it might "incite violence" in his small town. The Baptist leader said he has removed the leaflet and will no longer distribute it, although he says he will continue to hand out other "less offensive" tracts.
Various Catholics outraged by the Irish abuse scandal are up in arms over the request that they help contribute to settlements. Certainly it doesn't seem fair that an innocent Catholic should have to pay for the misdeeds of members of the Church's hierarchy. However, the fact is that the money will have to come from somewhere. Given the vow of poverty taken by many of the individuals involved, it's unlikely that those who committed abuse personally have piles of money lying around to compensate their victims.
While we might hope dioceses have stacks of cash to pay victims, the truth is that much of their assets may be illiquid and those assets they do have may be insufficient to cover the huge damages, not to mention the heavy legal costs. Besides, whatever assets they do have were likely already funded by previous donations from the laity. Furthermore, if the diocesan assets are sold, worthy programs might suffer. So if the laity are unwilling to provide funds for settlements, it seems very likely that worthy programs will be cut or that parishes may be at risk. Even if one's own parish isn't lost, precious other churches and assets of the Church which have been handed down to us from our ancestors may not survive. And once these are lost, we will probably never recover them.
Sometimes it seems that a parish or Catholic school is lost every week... complete with painful consequences for those involved. Chances are those affected by the closures would be willing to donate at least some amount to get their beloved parish or school back. But at that point, it's probably too late. While we may not wish to donate hard earned money for abuse settlements, we could ultimately suffer similar consequences if we categorically refuse to help out. Perhaps if we were left in charge we could find a way to pay off settlements with the least amount of damage (e.g. by selling non-sacred assets which are most removed from parishioners and cutting only unworthy programs), but the reality is that the laity probably won't have much of a say in the final decision regarding the disposal of assets. So, holding one's nose and coughing up some cash might seem like a reasonable "insurance policy" for our beloved parishes If nothing else, it is a work of charity to assist those who have suffered from abuse. There's no guarantee, of course, that such donations will save any given parish, but will a faithful Catholic ever regret that he at least tried to save God's house? An can we not expect that God will reward us for our efforts even if we are not successful?
That's not to say it will be pleasant. Perhaps, therefore, it may be more meritorious.
The Muslims who desecrated the Holy Eucharist in Malaysia will not be prosecuted, according to the attorney general. They had faced a prison term of up to five years for their actions, but the attorney general claimed that "they did not intend to offend anyone" by the desecration. At least one report noted that "The government stance in this case is likely to draw comparisons with its strong defense of Islam, the faith of the majority of Malaysia's 28 million people."
UPDATE: Malaysia's Al Islam magazine has issued an apology for "unintentionally hurt[ing] feelings" over the desecration of the Holy Eucharist by its journalists and said that it is "not the intention of Al Islam to insult the Christian religion nor to desecrate their house of worship".
[3/5, updated 3/6]
With the legal matter still unresolved, one of those arrested for peacefully protesting on the Notre Dame campus last year has died of cancer. Special council for the pro-lifers noted that the ND 88 have had their lives "turned upside down simply for bearing witness to the truth at a Catholic university that all human life is sacred. For almost a year, these men and women have been forced to live lives with this heavy and undue burden hanging over them."
Please pray for the ND88.
The keynote speaker for the National Catholic Educational Association's April convention is a proponent of the grave evils of abortion, embryonic stem-cell research, and homosexual 'marriage', according to reports. The organization, which claims to be "the largest private professional education organization in the world" lists the following mission statement on their site...
"Rooted in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA) is a professional membership organization that provides leadership, direction and service to fulfill the evangelizing, catechizing and teaching mission of the Church."
Some of Cardinal Levada's remarks at the recent consecration of the newly constructed FSSP chapel have drawn criticism from tradition-minded Catholics who question why the Cardinal couldn't just "let 'em have their day". For example, the Cardinal made reference to the (delusive?) claim that "that the two forms of the usage of the Roman Rite, the Extraordinary and the Ordinary Forms, can be mutually enriching to each other" and claimed - contrary to a recent document - that (gulp) "the new prefaces can and should be introduced into the old Missal".
At the consecration of the chapel - a chapel which is designed specifically for the traditional rite - he also...
* referred to a "beautiful preface" in the Missal of Paul VI for the anniversary of a dedication of a church which he claimed "can help to enrich our understanding of the celebration today"
* spoke of the supposed "continuity that we can see" between the TLM and the NO
* made a comparison (i.e. "It is also the same principle that is operative...") between orders celebrating the TLM and soon-to-be former Anglicans who will preserve "some of the richness of their liturgical and spiritual patrimony" (a "patrimony" tied to an act of disobedience against Christ's Church and for which their orders ultimately lost their validity) after converting to the Catholic Church
* unequivocally asserted that Vatican II is the "work of the Holy Spirit"
* referred to "generous steps" in the Motu Proprio (something demanded even by justice itself is now thought to be "generous"?)
Cardinal Levada has been criticized in the past for not permitting even one public celebration of the TLM under "indult" in his former Archdiocese.
The following is a brief overview of some recent scandals in the Church. Definitely not fun reading.
* Reports are circulating about a homosexual "prostitution ring" involving an usher at the Vatican ("a member of an elite group called 'Gentlemen of His Holiness'") as well as a Vatican chorister. At least one seminarian is reportedly also involved.
* A Mexican woman who has come forward regarding her alleged affair with the disgraced founder of the Legionaries of Christ and allegations that she bore two of his children said in a recent interview that she was not aware that he was a priest. The Legionaries' founder allegedly used a different name and "lived a parallel life". Her children were also interviewed and they made abuse accusations against him.
* The abuse scandal in Germany continues to widen. It now includes the choir where Pope Benedict's brother worked for 30 years. The Pope's brother said he did not know about any abuse at the choir.
* Many Irish Catholics are in an uproar over being asked to contribute for abuse victims' compensation. The scandals have also provided those who hate the Church many opportunities to spew insults, and at least one notorious anti-Catholic has predicted the Church's "downfall"
Related: Scandal in the Church (apologetics)
Members of the "Traditional Anglican Communion" (TAC) in the U.S. will convert to the Catholic Church, according to their press release which states that "the decision was made formally to request the implementation of the provisions of the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum cœtibus in the United States of America by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith."
Those hoping for a white horse over various liturgical practices (e.g. abuses), may be saddened by recent comments of the Pope's "chief liturgist" which indicate that the Holy Father will offer "suggestions" rather than formal papal directives. It was suggested that "the culture of the church should be shaped before implementing legislation", but one might rightly ask: Can't you shape the Church's culture faster with legislation? A good father should set down appropriate rules to provide a proper framework, should he not? Once a child goes outside those bounds, there should be correction not mere "suggestion". Otherwise, who is really in charge?
In fact, recent Church history shows that certain papal directives (e.g. Summorum Pontificum) are already met with resistance. How much more so if the Pope puts forth mere "suggestions"? Did St. Peter or St. Paul offer mere "suggestions", especially in the face of a crisis? No, they offered clear directives, as any good leader should. Otherwise, what is the point of having leadership at all if everyone is ultimately free to do as they wish?
Besides, the corrections themselves are a "no-brainer" - they better serve God and are good for the well-being of the laity. So what if they ruffle the feathers of some liberal bishops or misguided laity? Those who don't like the (long overdue) corrections may be the very same people who caused much of the situation the first place due to their disobedience. Why must the rest of the Church continue suffering due to lack of appropriate formal directives on these matters?
Unfortunately, the papal liturgist also spoke of supposed "mutual enrichment" of the so-called "two forms of the Roman rite" and claimed that both forms now "look upon one another with great serenity." Not sure where he got that idea, but in any event, please don't "enrich" the TLM by the NO! It seems providential that the TLM was protected from such "enrichment" for the last four decades and certainly doesn't need such "enrichment" now, especially by a rite which has resulted in about 70% of Catholics no longer believing in the Real Presence - a main tenet of the Catholic faith, and one with serious consequences...
"For anyone who eats and drinks
without discerning the body, eats and drinks judgment on himself." (St.
Paul, 1 Cor. 11:29)
Catholics in the U.S. will be asked to donate to a "Give Hope to Jesus in Disguise" collection on March 14. Be advised that, according to a CNA report, funds from the collection will be going to the following six programs...
* Catholic Relief Services (CRS)
* CLINIC (Catholic Legal Immigration Service, Inc.)
* The Holy Father's Relief Fund
* The USCCB Department of Justice, Peace and Human Development (JPHD)
* The USCCB Department of Migration and Refugee Services (MRS)
* The USCCB Secretariat of Cultural Diversity in the Church
In a recent speech ("given at the scene of the crime"), Archbishop Charles Chaput criticized former President John F. Kennedy's 1960 campaign speech that "left a lasting mark on American politics" in which the politician spoke of a clear wall of separation between his duties as a Catholic and his public duties. The archbishop said Kennedy's speech was "sincere, compelling, articulate – and wrong." He also noted that Kennedy's remarks "began the project of walling religion away from the process of governance in a new and aggressive way" and said that "Today, half a century later, we're paying for the damage."
"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)
In a "coordinated leak", three reputable journalists have predicted that Pope Benedict will name new cardinals towards the end of November 2010 (around the time of the feast of Christ the King in the Novus Ordo calendar). It is speculated that there will be 19 nominees in order to reach the maximum number of 120 cardinal-electors, taking into account those who will become ineligible to vote by mid-November. Also, given the ages of various cardinals over the next roughly two years, the Whispers in the Loggia blog speculates that "just over half the voters in a hypothetical 2012 or later conclave [could be Pope Benedict's] picks." Thankfully, the list of likely nominees includes the "sure" elevation of Archbishop Raymond Burke.
If only informed, courageous Catholic journalists would call certain people on the misleading one-liners they throw around! A perfect opportunity presents itself in the Netherlands with the uproar that has ensued over a priest's (proper) decision to deny Holy Communion to an open, practicing homosexual. [1983 Code of Canon Law: Can. 915 "Those who have been excommunicated or interdicted after the imposition or declaration of the penalty and others obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to holy communion."] Those who protest the decision may be found flaunting signs containing the deceptive slogan "Jesus excludes no one", yet no article was found that calls protestors on their error. Actually Scripture is quite clear that Jesus does exclude certain persons - notably unrepentant sinners. Furthermore, our Lord personally drove people out of the temple with a whip (Jn. 2:15), called various people hypocrites, devils, serpents, and vipers and told his followers that "If any one comes to me without hating his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple" (see Lk. 14:26). He also says that "whoever does not believe will be condemned" (Mk. 16:16) and explicitly tells his disciples to reject certain persons. Some examples include...
"And as for those who do not welcome you, when you leave that town, shake the dust from your feet in testimony against them." (Our Lord Jesus Christ, Lk. 9:5)
"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." (Ti. 3:10-11)
"We instruct you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, to shun any brother who conducts himself in a disorderly way and not according to the tradition they received from us." (2 Thes. 3:6)
Scripture also tells us that some people will be eternally excluded from His presence. For example...
"Be sure of this, that no immoral or impure or greedy person, that is, an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God." (Eph. 5:5)
"But as for cowards, the unfaithful, the depraved, murderers, the unchaste, sorcerers, idol-worshipers, and deceivers of every sort, their lot is in the burning pool of fire and sulfur, which is the second death." (Rv. 21:8)
"The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will collect out of his kingdom all who cause others to sin and all evildoers. They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth." (Our Lord Jesus Christ, Mt. 13:41-42)
"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)
"Now the works of the flesh are obvious: immorality, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, rivalry, jealousy, outbursts of fury, acts of selfishness, dissensions, factions, occasions of envy, drinking bouts, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God." (Gal. 5:19-21)
"For it is surely just on God's part to repay with afflictions those who are afflicting you, and to grant rest along with us to you who are undergoing afflictions, at the revelation of the Lord Jesus from heaven with his mighty angels, in blazing fire, inflicting punishment on those who do not acknowledge God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. These will pay the penalty of eternal ruin, separated from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his power" (2 Thes. 1:6-9)
And, in fact, Scripture indicates that only a few will be saved (or "not excluded")...
"Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road broad that leads to destruction, and those who enter through it are many. How narrow the gate and constricted the road that leads to life. And those who find it are few." (Our Lord Jesus Christ, Mt. 7:13-15)
The Church's earliest leaders - men who knew Christ personally (including St. Paul who spoke to Christ after His Resurrection) - were not afraid to say things like "Whoever sins belongs to the devil" (St. John, 1 Jn. 3:8) and "Would that those who are upsetting you might also castrate themselves!" (St. Paul, Gal. 5:12) They referred to certain people as "perverse and wicked" (St. Paul, 2 Thes. 3:2) and as Satan's ministers (cf. 2 Cor. 11:13-15) - they certainly were not mere pacifists who would allow sinners to purposely desecrate Christ's true Flesh & Blood in order to be "inclusive". "Do not give what is holy to dogs..." (Mt. 7:6)
It is true that Jesus does not exclude people from is His mercy & forgiveness - but to be salvific, there is the necessary condition of repentance. To throw around misleading phrases such as "Jesus excludes no one" in order to promote desecration of the Holy Eucharist is loathsome. Unfortunately, however, such one-liners - often left uncontested by courageous people with facts - tend to appeal to onlookers who either don't know better or who are engaged in wishful thinking.
The bottom line is that if Jesus didn't condemn people based on their actions (or lack of), but had rather come with the simple message that "I'm okay, you're okay", He wouldn't have made such fierce enemies and wouldn't have been crucified. The same goes for the other apostles who where likewise martyred.
"For there is nothing which We believe to be more needful than that truth should find defenders more powerful and more numerous than the enemies it has to face; nor is there anything which is better calculated to impress the masses with respect for truth than to see it boldly proclaimed by learned and distinguished men." (Pope Leo XIII, "Providentissimus Deus", 1893)
Pope Benedict XVI has called on the Iraqi government to put a stop to the recent "killing spree" in the Muslim-majority city of Mosul which has claimed the lives of at least eight people. Pope Benedict expressed "deep sadness" over the religiously motivated killings of non-Muslims.
Commentary: Can't help but notice that this report comes about 10 days after Cardinal Tauran said that "We must not fear Islam"
In case you missed it, this past Saturday, February 27, was Cardinal Mahony's 74th birthday. The event has provided fresh impetus for those counting the days to the date when the controversial "progressive" (notoriously liberal) Cardinal will retire. Cardinal Mahony has been at the helm of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles - the nation's largest diocese - for nearly 25 years. To the delight of many, he has now officially entered his last year before the mandatory retirement age of 75. A prayer seeking divine assistance in the selection of his successor was recently issued by the archdiocese.
Note: Dates in brackets may refer to date news brief was added to MCS news page
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Preparations underway at Vatican for weekend ceremonies; Pope Benedict reminds that these holy days "invite us to meditate upon the central events of our Redemption, the essential nucleus of our faith"; Holy Father encourages the faithful to "experience this period intensely, that it may decisively guide everyone's life to a generous and strong adherence to Christ, Who died and rose again for us" [3/31]
Pro-lifers remember Terri Schiavo five years after her court mandated death by starvation & dehydration; Fr. Pavone notes that her death "was not 'peaceful' and 'beautiful' as euthanasia advocates want us to think" and warns that "as health care is placed more and more in the hands of the government, we have to be more vigilant than ever to protect the Terris of today and tomorrow" [3/31]
Cardinal Levada on recent NY Times coverage: "Both the article and the editorial are deficient by any reasonable standards of fairness that Americans have every right and expectation to find in their major media reporting" [3/31]
USCCB statement says abuse by clergy "saddens and angers the church and causes us shame"; Statement also says the U.S. bishops will "continue to intensify our efforts to provide safe environments for children in our parishes and schools" and indicates that Pope Benedict has "strengthened the church's response to [abuse] victims" [3/31]
Milwaukee Archbishop Jerome Listecki says mistakes in Fr. Murphy case were made in Milwaukee, not in Rome; Says "This crime, this sin, this horror, should never occur, especially by a priest. Those who committed these crimes and those, including some bishops, who didn't do everything in their power to stop it, go against everything the Church and the priesthood represent. For those actions, I offer my sincere apology" [3/31]
Italian Bishops' Conference issues statement "encouraging Church officials to cooperate with secular authorities and police in investigating [abuse] cases"; Statement also expresses support for Pope Benedict, defends priestly celibacy [3/30]
Priest who presided over Fr. Murphy trial sets the record straight: In "devastating critique" of the NY Times' coverage, judicial vicar says trial was never halted and that he was never contacted by reporters to verify details of the case [3/30]
Report from bishops' conference of Chile indicates that "Eighty percent of religious sites in the Chilean regions hit by last month's earthquake are in desperate need of repair"; Total cost of restoration estimated at $260 million [3/29]
Bishop of Madison 'takes to task' Catholic Health Association leaders & Network for support of healthcare bill in opposition to the U.S. bishops; Bishop Morlino notes that "The Lord Jesus Christ, unworthy though the bishops are, called the bishops to lead the people in faith; He did not call anybody in the Catholic Health Association and he did not call any of the Sisters in Network" [3/27]
Director of Vatican Radio on abuse scandals in the U.S.: "[I]t must be recognised that the decisive measures currently being implemented are proving effective: the Church in the United States is on the right road to renewal" [3/27]
For second day in a row, New York Times runs article attempting to implicate Pope Benedict in abuse scandals: NY Times charges that "The future Pope Benedict XVI was kept more closely apprised of [an abuse] case in Germany than previous church statements have suggested, raising fresh questions about his handling of a scandal unfolding under his direct supervision before he rose to the top of the church's hierarchy" [3/26]
Amazing: Scandalized Legionaries issue statement acknowledging founder's misdeeds & asking for forgiveness - yet they still claim that "God, 'for his own mysterious reasons,' had chosen Father Maciel to found the order and its lay association, and '[they] thank God for the good he did'" [3/26]
New York Times article charges that "Top Vatican officials - including the future Pope Benedict XVI - did not defrock a priest who [abused] as many as 200 deaf boys, even though several American bishops repeatedly warned them that failure to act on the matter could embarrass the church"; Article claims that internal correspondence shows that "while church officials tussled over whether the priest should be dismissed, their highest priority was protecting the church from scandal" and says that three successive archbishops in Wisconsin were told of the abuse "but never reported it to criminal or civil authorities" [Warning: Article contains disturbing content] [3/25]
Director of Holy See Press Office gives statement to New York Times concerning Milwaukee abuse case: Statement indicates that the priest involved "violated the law and, more importantly, the sacred trust that his victims had placed in him" and noted that "neither Crimen nor the Code of Canon Law ever prohibited the reporting of child abuse to law enforcement authorities" [3/25]
St. Louis Historical Museum to host "one of the largest collections of art, documents and historically significant objects from the Vatican ever to tour North America"; Exhibition limited to three North American cities [3/24]
Thomas More Law Center files lawsuit challenging healthcare bill; Suit argues that it is unconstitutional to force people to purchase health insurance and make those who object to abortion pay for it [3/24]
"Prominent Catholic writer" says "selective" and "salacious" reporting of abuse scandals is being used to discredit the Church; Author finds parallels between present day media depictions and "sustained hostile attacks" on Catholic clergy in pre-Revolutionary France [3/24]
Catholic congressman 'lashing out' after criticism from pro-life community regarding his 'sell-out' vote on abortion-expanding healthcare legislation; Formerly 'pro-life' Stupak calls pro-life groups hypocrites, defends Planned Parenthood, and says that "The Pope and the Catholic faith does not control Catholic legislators" [3/24]
Catholic lawmaker stripped of pro-life award after he agrees to deal on healthcare legislation; Pro-lifers say "formerly respected pro-life Democrat" Bart Stupak and others who voted for healthcare bill "can no longer call themselves 'pro-life'" [3/22]
Pro-lifers disappointed after 'last-minute flip-flop' by formerly pro-life Democrats causes abortion-expanding healthcare bill to pass on Sunday; Executive order deal "has been unanimously condemned by pro-life advocates, including the National Right to Life Committee and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops" as "woefully inadequate"; Large abortion provider Planned Parenthood is "grateful" over legislation [3/22]
Pope Benedict's Pastoral Letter to the Catholics of Ireland; Holy Father apologizes, expresses "shame and remorse", acknowledges that "serious mistakes were made in responding to allegations", tells abusers that they "betrayed the trust that was placed in you by innocent young people and their parents, and you must answer for it before Almighty God and before properly constituted tribunals"; Letter also announces Apostolic Visitation "of certain dioceses in Ireland, as well as seminaries and religious congregations" [3/20]
Disgusting: Pro-abort 'Catholic' Pelosi references St. Joseph - Jesus' foster father - in connection with abortion-expanding healthcare bill; House Speaker gets feast day wrong [Note: Regarding Pelosi's erroneous concept of free will, see earlier story here] [3/20]
Catholic Medical Association issues "strong statement" opposing healthcare reform legislation; Says bill will provide "multiple new streams of funding for abortions" and says that the "economically unsustainable" legislation takes "an approach that is flawed in principle and ineffective, if not dangerous, in practice" [3/19]
Good news: South Dakota parish restores ad orientem for all Masses [Note: On this site, it is necessary to scroll down to view the article] [3/19]
Faithful nuns issue statement opposing Senate healthcare legislation; Message notes that "Recent statements from groups like Network, the Catholic Health Association and the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) directly oppose the Catholic Church's position on critical issues of health care reform" [3/19]
Bishops tell flock not to be fooled; Message from Denver bishops affirms that "The Senate bill remains gravely flawed...and should be firmly opposed" and says that "Regrettably, groups like Network and the Catholic Health Association have done a grave disservice to the American Catholic community by undermining the leadership of the nation's Catholic bishops, sowing confusion among faithful Catholics, and misleading legislators through their support of the Senate bill" [3/19]
Media wrongly represent dissident nuns' letter supporting healthcare legislation; Letter from several dozen liberal female religious does not "come anywhere near representing 59,000 American sisters" according to the director of media relations for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops [3/19]
Pope Benedict's pastoral letter to Irish to be released soon; Holy Father asks faithful "to read it for yourselves, with an open heart and in a spirit of faith"; Says that "My hope is that it will help in the process of repentance, healing and renewal" [3/19]
[Note: There were no news updates on 3/17 & 3/18]
Cardinal Francis George disagrees with CHA's endorsement of healthcare bill; Catholic commentator notes that "it's very rare for the USCCB to name names when they take a position contrary to another visible Catholic organization, but Cardinal George did so today" [3/16]
HLI president strongly condemns CHA's endorsement of Senate healthcare bill; Notes that CHA "stands to gain a great deal by its passage, and they [regularly] collaborate with the proponents of this legislation"; Says that "It is a grave insult" for the CHA president to "lend what some will see as a Catholic stamp of approval to this destructive and, if enacted, irreversible assault on life" [3/16]
Archbishop Chaput says Senate healthcare bill "does not meet minimum moral standards" and is "a bad bill that will result in bad law"; Warns that 'Catholic' organizations claiming the bill is "sufficiently" pro-life "are doing a serious disservice to the nation and to the Church" and "provide the illusion of moral cover for an unethical piece of legislation"; He reminds that the bill "does not deserve, nor does it have, the support of the Catholic bishops in our country, who speak for the believing Catholic community" [3/15]
Protest time: Cardinal Mahony's annual 'dissent-fest' to take place March 18-21; Protest organizer says that "the world's largest training event for Catholic schoolteachers" which features "pro-gays, women-priest advocates, New Agers and anti-Pope rebels will tell Catholic educators what to teach" and then "the teachers will go home and infect countless innocent Catholic children with those errors" [3/15]
Bishop Giuseppe Versaldi defends the Church, Pope Benedict; Says "it is even more relevant to underscore that the Catholic Church - despite the deformed image with which it is wished to be represented - is the institution that has decided to lead the clearest battle against [abuse of minors] starting from within" [3/15]
Promoter of justice of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith speaks regarding abuse scandal; Says "Secrecy during the investigative phase served to protect the good name of all the people involved; first and foremost, the victims themselves, then the accused priests who have the right - as everyone does - to the presumption of innocence until proven guilty...Norms on sexual abuse have never been understood as a ban on denouncing the crimes to the civil authorities"; Calls accusation that Pope Benedict was responsible for a cover-up "false and calumnious" [3/13]
Catholic Health Association has spent more than $1 million lobbying for healthcare bill; Organization has "consistently argued that the health-care reform package should not include funding for abortion" but it has "continued to press for adoption of a reform package, even the legislation under consideration - including the Senate-approved bill - has included abortion funding"; CHA's lobbying effort is headed by a man who contributed to a pro-abortion candidate's attempt to unseat a pro-lifer [3/13]
Pope notes that "it is important to avoid a dangerous reductionism which, over recent decades...has presented the priest almost as a 'social worker', with the risk of betraying the very Priesthood of Christ"; Holy Father affirms value of celibacy and notes that priestly ministry requires "ever more strongly, a radical continuity between formation in seminaries and permanent formation" [3/12]
Michigan man who killed pro-life activist & another man found guilty of first degree murder; Shooter who admitted to targeting abortion protester over his pro-life actions reportedly smiled as verdicts were read [3/12]
Catholic hospital in Haiti - "one of the primary treatment centers for patients with trauma and chronic illnesses" - to relocate to safer location in April; Hospital has been operating under primitive conditions, "in tents and under tarps and plastic sheeting hung from trees" [3/12]
"Confidentiality imposed on the church's internal handling of abuse cases does not exempt bishops or others from reporting serious facts and accusations to civil authorities", according to Vatican officials [3/11]
Holy Father tells priests: "The 'crisis' in the Sacrament of Penance, which is often spoken of, is an appeal addressed first and foremost to priests and to their great responsibility to educate the people of God in the radical demands of the Gospel. In particular, it calls on them generously to dedicate themselves to hearing sacramental confessions, and courageously to guide their flock not to conform itself to this world, but to make choices that go against the tide, avoiding deals and compromises" [3/11]
So much for Canon 915: Archbishops Dolan & Listecki "do not favor" denying Holy Communion to 'Catholic' politicians who support abortion, homosexual 'marriage' [Refresher: 1983 Code of Canon Law, Can. 915: "Those who have been excommunicated or interdicted after the imposition or declaration of the penalty and others obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to Holy Communion."] [3/10]
Women in many parts of the world suffer, but an "ideologically driven" push for gender equality may result in international conferences' and committees' documents that "link the achievement of personal, social, economic and political rights to a notion of sexual and reproductive health and rights which is violent to unborn human life and is detrimental to the integral needs of women and men within society" [3/9]
Pope's brother says he'd be "very ready" to testify regarding alleged abuse in the choir he led even though he is "not able to provide any information on any deed that could be punished, because I don't have any, I never knew anything about it"; Alleged abuse didn't occur during his tenure he says: "I insist, I wasn't around in that situation, I wasn't at the choir when the cases they're talking about happened"; He also reportedly wonders what is behind the allegations noting "a certain animosity" towards the Church [3/8]
Secretary of the Congregation for Clergy reminds that the priesthood is a gift, not a right; Archbishop also reminds that the dignity of the priesthood "must be evident in the life of priests: in their sanctity, in their welcoming humanity full of humility and pastoral charity, in the clarity of their faithfulness to the Gospel and the doctrine of the Church, in the sobriety and solemnity of their celebration of the divine mysteries, in their ecclesiastical garb" [3/4]
Images from consecration of new FSSP chapel [Note: On this site, it is necessary to scroll down to view the images] [3/3]
Study says exposure to violent video games makes youth more aggressive, less caring; Researcher says "We can now say with utmost confidence that regardless of research method - that is experimental, correlational, or longitudinal - and regardless of the cultures tested in this study [East & West], you get the same effects" [3/3]
USCCB spokesman contradicts Pelosi's claim regarding abortion funding; Regarding her claim that she talked to the bishops, the USCCB spokesman says "We do not know how anyone who has spoken to the bishops could conclude that the Senate health care bill does not fund abortions" [3/2]
Bishops' Conference of Germany issues statement regarding abuse; Bishops believe abuse may be tied to the "quality of seminarians" who were eventually allowed into the priesthood; Statement notes that "priestly celibacy, as experts have confirmed, is not the cause" of the abuse [3/2]
French bishops condemn pseudo phone 'confessions'; Pay-per-minute 'confessions' confuse the faithful and are not sacramental [Reminder: To be valid, the sacrament of Penance must be conducted in person & requires a validly ordained priest who has proper jurisdiction. For more information, click here] [3/2]
Note: Dates in brackets may refer to date link was added to MCS news page
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