Ecumenical Madness - Please Pray in Reparation Today
Torch of The Faith News on Monday 13 March 2017 - 12:19:59 | by admin
Sacrilege and scandal: Francis and Welby giving a ''mixed blessing'' in Rome last October. During that week, the dome of St. Peter's was struck by lightning on the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. God will not be mocked (Galatians 6:7).
Last October, we wrote about the travesty of Justin Welby being permitted to ''bless'' the congregation at Vespers alongside Pope Francis in Rome. At the time, we recalled that Pope Leo XIII's papal bull Apostolicae curae had magisterially declared that Anglican orders were ''completely null and utterly void''.
In layman's terms, (excuse the pun), that means that Justin Welby has no more power to impart a blessing, with or without a Catholic prelate, than does your neighbour's pet cat.
Acts and images like that above are therefore sacrilegious and scandalous. They offend God, hurt the sensitivities of Catholics and spread confusion about the True Faith.
In May 2015, I had been explaining to a Catholic gentleman in his 80's why it is not correct for a Catholic to receive a ''blessing'' from an Anglican minister. Imagine how undermined I felt, and how confused that poorly catechised chap must have been, to see a picture being released around that time, featuring Pope Francis bowing to receive just such a thing from Justin Welby.
That was all bad enough, but the above-pictured spectacle of the pair of them giving a blessing to a mixed congregation in Rome, whilst wearing mitres and copes, was even more of a grave travesty.
Perhaps even this will be topped at 3pm Rome time today, when a service of Anglican Evensong will take place in the heart of the Catholic Church at St. Peter's Basilica in Rome.
I remember Anglican Evensong from the days of my Protestant youth. At its core is the singing of the Psalms in charming Anglican plainchant. No Catholic would have any problem with that aspect, which has parallels with the Catholic Church's own Vespers ceremony. Indeed, at the emotive level, the phrase ''Anglican Evensong'' recalls for me a childhood montage of happy Sunday afternoons, parents and siblings, aunties and uncles, flickering candles and stained glass, ham salads and bags of toffee.
This, however, is where one's reason must kick in. For I also remember being taught about Anglican cassocks featuring 39 buttons to symbolize the 39 articles of the Anglican Book of Common Prayer.
That is the very prayer book in which Anglican Evensong is found. It was designed by the Anglicans after the Roman Missal and Breviary had been supplanted by the English Reformation, which had forcefully banished the Catholic Church from these isles.
The 39 Articles are particularly objectionable to Catholic Truth, because of their heretical claims which include: the suggestion that the Church of Rome hath erred; the denial of Transubstantiation; the promotion of versions of Luther's Sola Scriptura and Sola Fide; the acceptance of only Baptism and the ''Lord's Supper'' as being sacraments; and the idea that the English monarch, as opposed to the Pope in Rome, had authority as ecclesiastical head within the English realm.
Clearly, it would thus be an affront to God and to the Holy Catholic Church which Christ founded, to hold an Anglican ceremony rooted in these heretical notions within the hallowed walls of any Catholic church; never mind in the principal church of our faith. No wonder members of the Anglican Ordinariate, which is in full communion with Rome thanks to Pope Benedict XVI, have expressed the fact that they feel seriously undermined by the scheduling of today's event.
And yet, such objective truth notwithstanding, the English Archbishop Arthur Roche - who is at present the deputy head of the Congregation for Divine Worship - will take part in a full service of Anglican Evensong from the heretical Book of Common Prayer at the very Altar of the Chair of St. Peter in St. Peter's Basilica in Rome at 3pm local time today!
If one takes into account Archbishop Malcolm McMahon's welcome of compulsory ''relationships and sex-education'' for four year olds and upwards, together with Cardinal Vincent Nichols' promotion of the sacrilegious Malta-Gozo guidelines, then this represents the third major affront to Catholic Truth by an English prelate in as many weeks...
I am pleased to see that the Rapid Response Team from the American Fatima Center (US spelling), together with international members of the Militia of the Immaculata, will be leading prayers of reparation for this sacrilegious event at St. Peter's Basilica at 5:30pm Rome time today. They will also be raising awareness by distributing copies of their helpful leaflet, Ecumenical Madness.
I have just skimmed a copy of this leaflet on-line and completely agree with its warning that such events as this were always forbidden by the official Magisterium of the Catholic Church, because they expose Catholics to false doctrine and practice, whilst also implying to non-Catholic participants that there is no need to convert to the Catholic Faith to be saved. And yet, as the Church has always taught: extra Ecclesiam nulla salus.
Of course, the main reason such events are wrong is because they offend against Almighty God, Who has established One, True, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church for the salvation and sanctification of all. In an on-line video, the Fatima Center's Joanna Swords calls for Rosaries of reparation to be prayed, whilst also warning about the dangers of divine chastisement for this gathering in St. Peter's.
Her prescient words call to mind for me the time that the renowned Cardinal Desire-Joseph Mercier of Belgium reflected that the horrors of the First World War were God's punishment on the earth, specifically for the sin of men attempting to place the One True Church on the same level as false creeds.
And yet, things are now much worse in our day. That should make us all more aware of what is now happening at the spiritual level.
In the prophetic warnings of Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich we read of heretics of every kind being welcomed in Rome and of everything that pertains to Protestantism gaining the upper hand for a while.
Blessed Anne Catherine also warned of the infiltration of the Church by members of the ''illuminati'' sect. How spooky is that, when one recalls that Francis and Vincent Nichols' good chum Justin Welby recently allowed the Freemasons to hold a secretive 3-hour Freemasonic ceremony in the ancient Canterbury Cathedral? Let us remember that Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich also called on all faithful Catholics to ''pray for the church of darkness to leave Rome.''
Please join us in doing just that by praying prayers of reparation today, in union with the Fatima Center and the Militia of the Immaculata.
Ss Peter and Paul - Pray for us!
St. Pope Pius X - Pray for us!
Bl. Pope Pius IX - Pray for us!
Pope Leo XIII - Pray for us!
St. Frances of Rome - Pray for us!
2nd Sunday in Lent
Torch of The Faith News on Sunday 12 March 2017 - 10:24:24 | by admin
A Meditation on the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ by St. Alphonsus de Liguori
There is no means which can more surely kindle in us divine love than to consider the Passion of Jesus Christ.
St. Bonaventure says that the wounds of Jesus Christ, because they are wounds of love, are darts which wound hearts most hard, are flames which set on fire souls the most cold: ''O wounds, wounding stony hearts, and inflaming frozen minds!''
It is impossible that a soul which believes and thinks on the Passion of the Lord should offend Him and not love Him, nay, rather that it should not run into a holy madness of love, at seeing a God, as it were, mad for love of us: ''We have seen,'' says St. Laurence Justinian, ''Wisdom infatuated by too much love.''
Hence it is that the Gentiles, as the Apostle says, when hearing him preach the Passion of Jesus crucified, thought it a folly: ''We preach Christ crucified, to the Jews indeed a scandal, but to the Gentiles foolishness.'' How is it possible (said they) that a God, almighty and most happy, such as He Who is preached to us, could have been willing to die for His creatures?
Ah, God enamoured of men! How is it possible (let us say this who by faith believe that He really died for love of us), - how is it possible that a goodness so great, that such a love, should remain so badly corresponded to by men?
It is wont to be said that love is repaid with love; but Thy love - with what manner of love can it ever be repaid? It would be necessary that another God should die for Thee, to make recompense for the love which Thou hast borne towards us in dying for us.
O Cross, O Wounds, O Death of Jesus! You bind me closely to love Him.
O God, eternal and infinitely worthy of love, I love Thee, I desire to live only for Thee, only to please Thee; tell me what Thou willest of me, and I will wholly to do it.
Mary, my hope, pray to Jesus for me.
May God give us all many graces to help us love Him, with a holy Lent expressed through charity, prayer, penance, fasting and almsgiving.
St. Alphonsus de Liguori - pray for us!
St. Joseph - Pray for Us!
Torch of The Faith News on Saturday 11 March 2017 - 23:29:40 | by admin
Remember that the St. Joseph Novena begins today, in preparation for the feast of the greatest of saints after Our Lady!
Torch of The Faith News on Saturday 11 March 2017 - 00:44:47 | by admin
Matthew 5:37: But let your speech be yea, yea: no, no: and that which is over and above these, is of evil.
I had an enjoyable conversation with my barber today. We spoke about the usual type of stuff whilst I was under the razor and scissors: the weather, cars, motorbikes, books, social history, our families. On earlier visits to get the old mop chopped, we've also chatted about the monks at Norcia, the splendid beauty of Gregorian chant, medieval European history, DIY, home-cooking, philosophy and a comparison of childhood holidays in Wales.
What is so satisfying about exchanges like that is the straightforwardness of the conversation. It's down to earth, honest and real. Ordinary words bear and convey real meaning.
It sometimes strikes me that some of our ivory-towered and silken prelates could learn a thing or two from your average neighbourhood barber. For some, it might even make up for the lack of time they've spent actually working as ordinary priests down at the cliff-face in real-life pastoral situations.
I've just been reading Cardinal Vincent Nichols' latest, erm, contribution in the Jesuit America magazine. It is sad to have to say it, but compared to the clarity of the barber-shop colloquy, His Eminence's interview comes across as a classic example of obscurantist doublespeak.
Take for example, the cardinal's praise for the sacrilegious ''guideline'' document issued by Scicluna and Grech; those two Judas-bishops in Malta-Gozo who, in their attempts to give Holy Communion to adulterers, have gone so far beyond Christ's teachings, and the boundaries and anathemas so clearly marked out by the Magisterial Council of Trent.
Cardinal Nichols gushes: ''It doesn't start by saying, 'What about this rule or that rule?' It starts by saying if this is your position and you feel uneasy, you want to know where you stand, what you ought to be doing, then come and we'll talk. But let's be honest, let's be open and let's see where we go.''
To this confused utterance, one must ask: How can anyone discover where they stand, or what they ought to be doing, if nobody will be ''honest and open'' with them and admit that there are clear and objective rules regarding marriage? For example: if you are already validly married to someone, then you cannot validly be married to anybody else. You are either married to the first person, or you are not; but you cannot have it both ways.
A little further on in his America interview, Cardinal Nichols attempts this little gem: ''Try and accompany these people, whoever they might be, with the full richness of the Gospel and try not to enter the process with a determined outcome.''
The point here is that the ''full richness of the Gospel'' includes the determined outcome that a valid marriage is valid and an invalid marriage is invalid. It was Jesus Himself, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, Who so clearly taught in the Gospels that we must not commit adultery.
He also said that the Truth will set us free.
Any young child who knew their Baltimore Catechism would be able to refute the cardinal's claim that it is no problem for different dioceses to issue varying guidelines about giving Holy Communion to adulterers (he does not use that word of course...).
He suggests: ''Creating space for a variety of pastoral responses is not decentralization. It is a response to the realities in which people live.''
To this airy-fairy bit of ''space-creation'', your average well-catechized 10 year-old kid would counter with the Four Marks of the Church, the weight of Sacred Tradition, the fact that one cannot be validly married and invalidly married at the same time and the reality that one cannot receive the Holy Eucharist in the state of unconfessed mortal sin without commiting another mortal sin, and a particularly grave one at that, of a sacrilegious communion. These are just a few ''realities in which people live'' to be going along with.
Perhaps one of the most risible examples of Modernistic Doublespeak that the cardinal employs occurs in his resistance to the Dubia.
Having claimed that Francis is ''absolutely right'' to ignore the Dubia, he riddles: ''To enter into that field is actually to step back from the very thing he wants to help us understand, that we have to respond to people and help them in their journey to God and to do so is not simply to apply a law.''
So, to sum that up briefly: It is absolutely right not to respond to people, in order to help us to understand that we have to respond to people.
Later on, Cardinal Nichols and America use the opportunity of this interview to take another pop at so-called ''populism'' - i.e. President Trump's leadership - and bolster the anti-Trump statements which Cardinal Nichols has already used in his pro-immigration interviews in the British media. In common with the Anglican Justin Welby, Cardinal Nichols has spoken in the UK media of politicians ''trading in fear'' over the immigration issue.
And so, without a word of praise for Trump's pro-life policies, he speaks of not playing to people's fears and worst traits, but by instead leading through appeals to what is best in them.
He suggests: ''I think that's what Pope Francis does, and that is why people are so interested in what he has to say - because he appeals to their best. They feel better when they listen to him, because he seems to recognize what is best.''
Looking at the evidence - for example the praise Francis receives from atheists, elites in the globalist movement, pro-abortion population control advocates, homosexualists and pop-culture idols - I cannot help but think that many folks like him because he actually gives them the impression that they are free to keep on wallowing in their sins.
In the words of Madonna during the papal visit to America in September 2015: ''Rules are for fools. That's why I like the new pope. He seems very open minded.''
Yeah, they ''feel better when they listen to him'' alright...
All of which is why Cardinal Nichols' latest statement, made in an official letter of congratulation to Pope Francis for the fourth anniversay of his election, comes across as sounding like just another piece of Modernistic Doublespeak.
Leaving aside the question of whether or not it is normal, and not just a little toadying, to send official congratulations for something as trivial as a 4th anniversary, one can only stand open-jawed at the cardinal's gushing praise of Francis for his ''steadfast defence of Church teaching''.
This brings me back to my barber shop conversations earlier today. As I noted above, the dialogue there was so rewarding because it was authentic. Both my barber and I knew that words actually mean something. It is because of such basic realities that any human activity and interaction can take place. And upon those foundations can be built the search for objective truth and meaning. Throughout two millennia of Church history, it has been the logical coherence and consistency of Catholic Truth which has been so appealing to human beings, who were made to know and love the Truth. Indeed, to love God Who is Truth Himself.
Alas, all Cardinal Nichols has done is to further obscure Christ's wonderful truth for so many of the already confused people in these post-modern times.
As if it were really possible to obscure Christ, that is.
Make no mistake, when each of us goes before the Holy Face of God for our particular judgement at the end of this life, there will be no room for doublespeak or obscurantism. The hearts of each and all of us will be laid open (1 Corinthians 14:25).
Let us conclude with one of my favourite quotes from the Catechism of the Catholic Church in CCC 89: ''There is an organic connection between our spiritual life and the dogmas. Dogmas are lights along the path of faith; they illuminate it and make it secure. Conversely, if our life is upright, our intellect and heart will be open to welcome the light shed by the dogmas of faith.''
If we ever see Pope Francis or, for that matter, Cardinal Nichols, affirming truths like this, perhaps then it would be meaningful to claim them as ''steadfast defenders of Church teaching''.
Oh, that it already were so!
For now, those congratulatory words are as empty and meaningless as those of the cardinal's interview with America magazine. At least he is consistent...
Keep the Faith!
Help Save Lives in Our Home City of Liverpool!
Torch of The Faith News on Thursday 09 March 2017 - 22:59:11 | by admin
Library Pictures from the days when we used to pray the Rosary outside the BPAS abortion centre on Parkfield Road, Liverpool.
We are delighted to see that 40 Days for Life are holding a peaceful prayer vigil on the public right-of-way outside of the BPAS abortion centre on Parkfield Road in Liverpool from 1st March - 9th April.
The hours of the vigil are from 8am - 8pm each day.
40 Days for Life have a local contact called Declan Carroll. We encourage readers in the northwest of England to attend this event by contacting him at declancrrll©hotmail.com. More information can be found at the 40daysforlife.com/liverpool web-page.
We think our late friend Fr. Mike Williams, who used to lead the Rosary outside the Parkfield Road BPAS as often as he could, would be very pleased at this news.
Please join in wherever you are with your prayers and fasting for the worldwide 40 Days for Life initiative which, with God's help, has saved 12,668 babies from abortion, converted 143 abortion workers and closed down 83 abortion centres.
Pray the Rosary - Save Life!
Please Pray for Deacon Nick Donnelly
Torch of The Faith News on Thursday 09 March 2017 - 22:27:37 | by admin
Please say a prayer for the good Deacon Nick Donnelly, who tweeted the following yesterday: ''Due to deteriorating health it is necessary for me to take some time away from work in order to recover... Thank you for your friendship and support over the years... You will remain in my prayers... All being well, I'll be back in October 2017... God bless... Deacon Nick.''
As you know, Deacon Nick has been a consistently courageous witness for the Catholic Faith, both through his ministry as a deacon and in his journalistic career.
His honest defence of the Truth has won him many supporters and not a few enemies. Indeed, he has had to endure persecution both from within the Church and also from the wider society in recent years.
Just to give one example of his courage, consider his tweet from just four days ago: ''Catholic journalists are under attack for telling the truth about Francis and the crisis in the Church... Please pray to St. Francis de Sales.''
May Our Blessed Lord protect Deacon Nick and his wife; bringing them healing, strength and protection in these difficult times.
Our Lady of Lourdes - Pray for us!
St. Nicholas - Pray for us!
St. Francis de Sales - Pray for us!
St. Athanasius - Pray for us!
St. Frances of Rome
Torch of The Faith News on Thursday 09 March 2017 - 12:11:32 | by admin
Collect Prayer from the Traditional Latin Missal for the feast of St. Frances of Rome: O God, Who amongst other gifts of Thy grace didst honour blessed Frances Thy handmaid with the familiar companionship of an Angel: grant, we beseech Thee, that by the help of her intercession we may merit to be admitted to fellowship with the Angels.
Whilst Mum's family have always called her Doreen, and although she converted to the Catholic Faith from Protestantism as an adult in 1990, she had actually been baptized as an infant in her local Catholic parish with the names Frances Doreen.
That makes today's celebration of St. Frances of Rome particularly special for her.
St. Frances of Rome was born into a wealthy aristocratic family and lived from 1384 to 1440. As a child, she wanted to be a nun, but her parents pushed for her to marry Lorenzo Ponziani, the commander of the papal troops of Rome.
Although he was a good man who cared deeply for her, St. Frances was distressed and prayed for God to prevent the marriage. However, when her Confessor asked her to reflect on whether she was crying because she wanted to do God's Will, or because she wanted God to do her will, she gave in to the marriage.
The young St. Frances preferred fasting and prayer to the banquets and society life that her new mother-in-law expected of her. She collapsed under the strain and fell very ill. For months she lay close to death.
At her lowest ebb, St. Alexis appeared to her and asked whether she wanted to live or die. She answered, ''God's Will is mine.'' St. Alexis proclaimed that she would live to glorify God's Holy Name. At that moment, she received the grace of a complete and miraculous healing. After this, St. Frances' guardian angel frequently appeared to her and gave her a little nudge if she fell into any fault.
With the eventual help of her sister-in-law, St. Frances managed to maintain the societal obligations of her state, whilst also attending Holy Mass, praying, doing penance and helping the poor and the sick.
When her mother-in-law died, St. Frances had to take over the running of the household. She carried out her duties both efficiently and in an inspiringly Christian manner.
During a grave famine she gave away so much corn from the family cellar that her husband objected. However, he had a change of heart when he discovered that it had been miraculously replenished by forty measures of shining and full wheat! A similar event happened when her father-in-law discovered that his wine supply had been emptied by the saint's generosity to strangers. When he shouted at her for bringing privation on the family, St. Frances asked the family to have faith and prayed. When they returned to the cellar, they discovered the cask flowing with the tastiest wine. When he witnessed this, her father-in-law told her to multiply without end the alms that she had already given away.
St. Frances and Lorenzo had much to suffer during their married lives. They were blessed with three children, but only one survived into adulthood. When civil war caused Lorenzo to be badly wounded, St. Frances nursed him back to health. Her oldest son was taken hostage until the end of the hostilities. Then a plague swept the land and claimed the lives of two of her young children.
St. Frances organized a group of Roman ladies to assist in caring for the sick, starving and dying. She helped many society women to convert from lives of frivolity to seriously Christian lifestyles. At one point the plague struck St. Frances down also. However, she received another miraculous healing and continued on with her much needed charitable works.
After the troubles of the civil war and plague, St. Frances had to endure the insults of her son's wife, when he married an arrogant and frivolous woman, who took a dislike to the holy Frances. One day, in the midst of one of her tantrums, this woman was struck by a strange illness. With patience and humility, St. Frances calmed and cured her daughter-in-law with her hand. From that day, the young woman was a changed person. St. Frances eventually entrusted her with the running of the household and she continued the charitable outreach begun by the saint.
After the death of her husband Lorenzo, St. Frances founded a female order of Oblates of St. Benedict to pray for the Holy Father and to work and pray for the peace of Rome, which had been disturbed by renewed disturbances. Prior to this, she and some companions had already become Third Order Franciscans. Indeed, they even received a vision of St. Francis during a pilgrimage to Assisi.
St. Frances of Rome practiced great austerities until her death on this day, 9th March, in 1440. Several months after her death, her tomb was opened and her incorrupt body was found to give off a delightful fragrance. Canonized in 1608, St. Frances' relics are venerated in a tomb beneath the High Altar crypt in the church of Santa Francesca Romana in Rome.
St. Frances of Rome provides a good role model, patron and intercessor for all wives, mothers, widows, parents who lose a child, and all who are mocked for their piety. The accounts of her guardian angel lighting the way for her at night with a lantern have also caused her to be invoked by taxi drivers.
When we think of Mum's own faith, gentleness, humility, kindness and forbearance in suffering, we can't help but reflect that her parents gave her an excellent patron in St. Frances of Rome.
Many years ago, Mum told me that she had wanted to be a nun when she was a youngster too.
Thank God that she found her way home to the Catholic Church; which happy outcome came largely through Dad's own sincere search for the full truth of Jesus Christ. As regular readers know, he converted from Protestantism just before Christmas in 1989; almost one year to the day before Mum did. I followed them both home into the Church at Easter 1993. Who is to say that St. Frances of Rome was not also interceding for her all along? Deo Gratias!
St. Frances of Rome - Pray for us!
Cohabitation - The Domestication of Evil
Torch of The Faith News on Tuesday 07 March 2017 - 22:06:50 | by admin
We're still catching up on some of the news that happened whilst we were away dealing with Mum's recent health scare. Although what follows may seem like old news to some people, we still think it important to comment, because one of the key reasons this apostolate was established was to defend and promote the true teachings of the Church on Holy Matrimony.
Diabolical Promotion of Cohabitation - A Danger to Souls
On 26th February, Fr. Antonio Spadaro S.J. tweeted a link to his Cyberteologia site with the disturbing tag-line, The welcoming of those young people who prefer to live together without getting married.
The photograph which Spadaro chose to illustrate this tweet - featuring a young couple approaching to greet Pope Francis - made that tweet even more inappropriate for three key reasons: the woman was wearing very tight jeans (have we reached a point where it is deemed acceptable to personally meet the Supreme Pontiff dressed in jeans?); the angle of the photo highlighted this fact in a less than chaste manner; and the couple themselves were actually not being photographed as a contingent of ''young people who prefer to live together without getting married''.
In fact, as Oakes Spalding pointed out the very next day at Mahound's Paradise, that couple were actually from among the 20,000 engaged couples who had travelled for an audience with the Pope as part of Familia Cristiana.it on St. Valentine's Day! So, in spite of the impression given by Spadaro's tweet and headline, there was not an actual event set aside to ''welcome those young people who prefer to cohabit instead of getting married''. Sure looks like a nasty trick, hey? Having seen that headline and photograph, I was misled myself for a few days until I read deeper.
If they are not living together outside of holy matrimony, I think Spadaro owes that couple and his readers an apology.
Spadaro's disingenuous use of that headline and photograph, make it apparent that he is trying to downplay, and even to promote, cohabitation as nothing more than a harmless ''lifestyle choice''.
That is very disturbing when one considers that Spadaro has often been described as Pope Francis' ''mouthpiece''. Indeed, Francis himself recently highlighted Spadaro to La Civilta Cattolica as the one who had ''given a faithful reading of his papacy''.
In an age of instant messaging through social media, many will imbibe the faux message that the Church now somehow accepts cohabitation, without taking the time to study the actual content of Spadaro's Cyberteologia article itself; much less Pope Francis' address to priests, upon which it is based. And because Spadaro is so widely understood as the communicator of Francis' message, that could do untold damage to countless souls...
What is the Meaning of This?
The content of Spadaro's article itself is, perhaps, a little more nuanced than either his tweet or the Cyberteologia article's own headline. I say this in light of the fact that he does speak of ''welcome'' as a constructive opportunity to ''journey towards the fullness of marriage and family in the light of the Gospel''.
At the same time, it is hard not to miss the Marxization of the Gospel which seems to lurk in his assertion that ''simply cohabiting'' is often chosen because couples are awaiting work and a fixed salary. I say Marxization, because this approach tends to situate all sin beyond the self and in things like social structures, the economy and perceptions of class struggle. But, of course, all sin finds its origin in the depths of the human heart. Whatever external pressures bear upon us, we are nevertheless responsible for our own choices, responses and sins. It is worth noting here, the parallels in Spadaro's argument to the content of paragraphs 293-294 of Amoris Laetitia...
As we have alluded, Spadaro's tweet and article were fundamentally based on an address given just one day earlier by Francis to priests in Rome on what is termed the ''new matrimonial process''.
Although the experiences of Synods '14 and '15, combined with the whole saga of Amoris Laetitia, might cause us to prefer to think otherwise, it is actually possible to read Francis' original address to the priests in a more orthodox way than Spadaro implies in the misleading tweet we mentioned at the outset.
For instance, the context of that phrase ''those young people who prefer to cohabit without getting married'' does not come across in the original as the straightforward promotion of fornication that Spadaro's tweet insinuates. On the contrary, Francis describes such couples as spiritually and morally among the poorest and the least. Even the most orthodox priests could read Francis' words in the original as a call to go out pastorally to bring in the lost sheep back to the sheepfold.
I suppose what nags in our minds at this point, is that Francis' own depiction of Spadaro as his faithful interpreter, especially when viewed in light of his many ''interviews'' with the atheistic Scalfari et al, points to something much less benign. In addition to this, the scandal still lingers from the time in September 2014 when mainstream media outlets were told that Francis was to marry cohabiting couples, without any reference being made to the sinfulness of cohabitation, nor to whether the couples concerned had repented of their public sins. Then, too, there was that scandalous suggestion that Francis made on 16th June 2016 that he had seen ''much fidelity'' in cohabiting couples. Indeed, he even claimed that such couples had ''the grace of a real marriage because of their fidelity''! Can anyone explain to me how that is not at least material heresy? And what of the rumours of his unorthodox approach to cohabiting couples back in Buenos Aires? Therefore, we are forced to ask: is Spadaro's tweet the real meaning behind the papal address?
Everbody's Welcome - Except for Orthodox Catholics...
Whatever the case may be, it seems apposite to look into this whole concept of the ''welcome'' given to cohabiting couples.
Of course, it is essential to show welcome to all people who come to the Church seeking the sacraments. And it is natural that one would befriend and get to know such people before placing any hard truths before them. St. Francis of Assisi himself taught these very facts when it came to dealing with sinners. However, the impression is being given that it is somehow unwelcoming, nay even uncharitable, to explain to cohabiting couples that what they are doing is gravely sinful.
It has to be said that the advent of Amoris Laetitia, and its ongoing application throughout the world, has made this situation much worse.
Would anyone honestly say that there is really anywhere in the Church these days where cohabiting couples are being made to feel unwelcome when they attend for marriage preparation courses?
Is it not the opposite that is true?
If you have been reading this blog for long enough, you will recall that the Torch of The Faith apostolate was developed in light of the dreadful experiences which we had to endure on the compulsory marriage preparation course in the Archdiocese of Liverpool in 2002.
On that occasion, it was the couples who were trying to live by the Church's orthodox teachings who were made to feel unwelcome!
As a young engaged couple in 2002, Angie and I were made to feel extremely unwelcome, indeed bullied, on our Archdiocese's marriage preparation course, because we were standing up for the Church's true teachings on cohabitation!
As we have described here several times over the years, that course consisted of: relativistic group discussions; a video of a stand-up comedian talking about sexuality; and the catechists claiming that the Church had changed the teachings on sex outside of marriage, contraception, divorce and homosexuality...
When we challenged this by asking them to prove this from official Magisterial documents, they suggested we ''had an old-fashioned model of church'' as ''decisions were now made by the laity''. When Angeline said it was disappointing that Jesus had not been mentioned during the whole day, the lead catechist chillingly replied: ''You might be comfortable with that name dear, but others here may prefer to speak of a transcendental reality.''
At that point, I added that the entire course had been an example of the kind of moral relativism refuted by teaching documents like Fides et Ratio and Veritatis Splendor. Suddenly, the catechist's husband jumped up, wrote the word ''Challenging'' on the flip-chart, pointed to us and then apologized to the rest of the group for the fact that Angie and I had ''spoiled what was meant to have been a bit of fun!''
Out of around 18 engaged couples on our course, there were only us and one other couple that were not already living together. In fact, there was even one couple who loudly and laughingly made clear that they were sexually active. At the end, one of the catechists made a bee-line for that couple and scoffed about Angie and I to them.
We were not only distressed at the way we were treated on that course; we were also deeply concerned for all the couples who had not been evangelized or catechized, but had instead been mislead into thinking that they could just carry on with their destructive fornicating; and then get happily married in Church without any compunction whatsoever.
It all made us realise that this had been going on for many years with the same Archdiocesan catechists in place.
We complained to Archbishop Patrick Kelly and received a swift and polite reply from him. However, no concrete action was ever taken and those catechists remained in place for several more years. At one point, one of them even co-hosted a day promoting homosexual ideology.
When we launched Torch of The Faith at a day of reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary at Pantasaph Franciscan Friary in 2008, a big part of the mission was to get the true teachings of the Church on Holy Matrimony out to as many people and places as we possibly could. Between 2008 and 2012, we travelled the country to give catechesis to dozens of engaged couples, married couples, RCIA catechumens and students of college and high school on the Church's true teachings relating to Holy Matrimony and chastity.
Admonishing Sinners is a Spiritual Work of Mercy
Throughout those times, we always gave the full teachings in a charitable manner. Indeed, in an age when so few have had any kind of orthodox catechetical formation whatsoever, it is a work of charity to tell people that it is a sin to have sex outside of marriage. Readers will recall that instructing the ignorant and admonishing sinners are two of the spiritual works of mercy.
It is necessary to receive the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony in the state of grace in order for it to be both pleasing to God and a blessing to you and your spouse. This requires chaste courtship and cooperation with God's grace through Confession, Communion, prayer as a couple and the avoidance of the occasions of sin. (In case this causes concern: if someone were not in the state of grace when they got married, but still intended to be married, their marriage is still valid. As with the Sacrament of Confirmation, sincere repentance with a good confession would remedy the sin and unblock the hindrance to divine grace which the state of mortal sin had caused).
Sometimes our presentations did meet with resistance, even hostility, from some of those attending. On one memorable occasion, a couple of aging women - one of whom was a ''catechist'' - were grumbling against us for imparting Catholic Truth, whilst a pair of young married couples who had come through big conversions to Catholicism were very supportive of us!
We generally found that a sincere opening prayer, a generous presentation style and an invitation to all participants to ask the Holy Spirit to guide them in discerning the things we taught, all helped to get the message across as an act of love.
Sometimes we were actually thanked for our honesty.
I remember one occasion when there was a heavily pregnant woman in the group. I admit that I felt a bit hot under the collar when I got to the bit where I had to explain about sex outside of marriage being objectively sinful, and explain to the group about making a good confession and living the remainder of the engagement period as a chaste preparation for the commitment of marriage.
At the end, the pregnant lady approached me and, to be honest, I was expecting to get a thump! In fact, this lady very humbly thanked me for explaining the Church's teaching to her.
For some people, this is the first time they have heard any of this.
Many priests are afraid to mention these ''hard sayings'' today. However, we owe it to the souls that come our way to help them to know the truth, which will set them free.
In paragraph 44 of his classical encyclical on marriage, Arcanum Divinae, Pope Leo XIII wrote: ''Lastly, since We well know that none should be excluded from Our charity, We commend, venerable brothers, to your fidelity and piety those unhappy persons who, carried away by the heat of passion, and being utterly indifferent to their salvation, live wickedly together without the bond of lawful marriage. Let your utmost care be exercised in bringing such persons back to their duty; and, both by your own efforts and by those of good men who will consent to help you, strive by every means that they may see how wrongly they have acted; that they may do penance; and that they may be induced to enter into a lawful marriage according to the Catholic rite.''
At the end of the day, ''welcome'' is an important aspect of all pastoral activity worthy of the name. However, pastoral outreach cannot end there; for that is merely a part of natural virtue and even general social interaction.
Something more is needed. That something more is the urgent call of the Gospel to conversion to the new life in Jesus Christ. As Pope Leo XIII reminds us, that makes for a welcome that is truly inclusive.
May the Holy Family - Pray for us!
Lenten Observance: It Pleases Our Lord that We Should Call to Mind His Passion
Torch of The Faith News on Sunday 05 March 2017 - 20:09:28 | by admin
If you are hoping to keep a good and holy Lent, then we highly recommend St. Alphonsus de Liguori's splendid book, The Passion and The Death of Jesus Christ. This is to Lent what his reflections in The Incarnation, Birth and Infancy of Jesus are to Advent. That is to say: sheer gold for the spiritual life.
Here is just one gem from the opening pages,
If we were to endure injuries and stripes for the sake of a friend, and were then to learn that our friend, when he heard anyone speak of what we had done, would not pay any heed to it, but turned the conversation, and said, ''Let us talk of something else,'' what pain we should suffer at the sight of the neglect of the ungrateful man!
And, on the other hand, how glad we should be to find that our friend admitted that he was under an eternal obligation to us, that he constantly bore it in mind, and spoke of it with affection and tears.
Therefore the saints, knowing how much it pleases Jesus Christ that we should often call to mind His Passion, have been almost perpetually occupied in meditating on the pains and insults which our loving Redeemer suffered during His life, and still more in His death. St. Augustine writes that there is no more profitable occupation for the soul than to meditate daily on the Passion of the Lord.
As this little taster shows, this could be the perfect antidote to the ''Lent-Lite'' which is promoted in so many places these days. In this holy season of Lent, marked as it is by so much confusion and sin in the Church, may God give us each the grace to withdraw silently into the haven of Our Lord's Sacred Wounds at some point each day.
St. Alphonsus de Liguori - Pray for us!
The Years of Innocence
Torch of The Faith News on Saturday 04 March 2017 - 13:00:14 | by admin
It often strikes me that the danger of Hell is so real that Our Lady was prepared to show it to the innocent little seers at Fatima. She also told them that most souls go there because of the sins of the flesh.
The purity of innocents is a key target of Satan and his minions. Impurity destroys the state of grace in souls and leads them further away from God and neighbour. It creates in the soul a distaste for prayer and penance; leading to increasing hardness of heart, avoidance of the things of God, loss of faith and eventual loss of hope. The self and other people come to be seen as mere objects of use, rather than as persons who are made in God's image and likeness; and who we are called to serve and love. If persisted in, without repentance, impurity can even lead to final impenitence.
We have spoken a number of times here of the fact that atheistic regimes have long recognized two pillars which protected society from their total control: the Catholic Church and the family unit. This is why such entities have frequently made use of atheistic sex-education, devoid of references to morality or spirituality, to undermine these strong pillars. If the conjugal act is removed from marriage, then the family collapses, religion declines and the disintegration of civilization follows in its wake.
We see an example of this in the approach of the Communist education tsar Georg Lukacs; that infamous figure from the notorious Frankfurt School, who made extensive use of atheistic sex-education in Hungary during the 1920s. This was done to demolish the strong bonds of the Church and the family, in order to facilitate the total control of the people by the government.
It is a cruel irony, and perhaps an inbuilt form of temporal punishment for sin, that rampant individualism leads incrementally to tyrannical state control. Instead of a flourishing culture which is interlocked by large and strong families, society ends in a mass of isolated individuals, who collectively lack any genuine direction. As all the evidence of our present time shows, sex-education - especially that which is atheistic and graphic - weakens the family bond, and too-often leads straight into the Culture of Death through addictions, fornication, contraception-use and resort to abortion. All too soon, the disoriented and dependant individuals who typify such a society find their life's direction being given to them from those who hold on to power.
Much is being made of the claim that the UK's newly compulsory relationships and sex-education, for four years olds and upwards, will be tailored with ''age-appropriate'' materials.
This claim is hugely problematic, given that the very title of the curriculum is ''relationships and sex-education''!
Then, too, many primary schools are already giving out LGBT reading books and even showing graphic sex cartoons to children as young as five through the Living and Growing series. This latter is quite simply pornographic.
A number of media stories in the last few years have demonstrated that, sometimes, parents only found out that their children had viewed these materials when they came home upset and confused.
Up to now, Catholic parents have at least had some protection, or at least redress, due to the fact that sex-education was not compulsory at the primary level. Now that Archbishop Malcolm McMahon has faced parents with a shocking fait accompli, by suddenly welcoming the government's decision to make relationships and sex-ed compulsory in primary schools, parents will have to struggle even more to ensure their children are protected.
This is very clear when one remembers that local authorities throughout the country have been introducing education materials at the primary level which are gravely at odds with Catholic sexual ethics and moral teaching.
On 5th June, 2014, we reported on the fact that the homosexualist Stonewall organization was calling for UK primary schools to feature the above-pictured Daddy's Roommate, by Michael Willhoite, as a key resource. Other titles pushed by Stonewall, and accepted by some local authorities into their schools included Hello Sailor, The Sissy Duckling, Josh and Jay Have Three Mums and Mom and Mum are Getting Married...
Whilst Archbishop McMahon's official Catholic Education Service response to the government makes much of parental right to withdraw students and the notion that materials will be adapted to suit Church teaching, our report yesterday demonstrated that this did not at all happen in his own Archdiocese, when the Headteacher at Sacred Heart Primary School in Atherton promoted LGBT ideology to young children without even consulting their parents.
Indeed, now that relationships and sex-education has been made compulsory for primary schools, it is difficult to see how such materials would be resisted, given that Royal Assent was given to the same-sex ''marriage'' laws here in 2013.
Catholics in the UK well remember the dark days in 2009 when Archbishop Malcolm McMahon's immediate predecessor at the helm of the CES, (the then) Archbishop Vincent Nichols was meeting with Lord Knight of Weymouth, the CES' Oonagh Stannard and the Labour Government's education leader Ed Balls to discuss the acceptance of compulsory sex-ed into all Catholic schools.
At that time, Lord Knight of Weymouth was reported in the Hansard summary of the debate on the then-proposed Children and Families Bill as saying: ''I set up an expert group to look at compulsory sex and relationship education. It included young people, educationalists, experts from organizations such as Brook and the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, and representatives from the major faith groups. There were representatives from the Anglican church, the Catholic Education Service - I had very good conversations with Vincent Nichols and I congratulate him on being made a cardinal - the non-conformist faiths, the Muslim faith and the Jewish faith. We achieved consensus around the need for compulsory sex and relationship education.''
(Please note: the bold italic type is ours to highlight the salient points). It will be remembered, too, that Brook and the British Pregnancy Advisory Service are promoters and providers of abortion respectively...
The issues surrounding that whole saga were so notorious that over 2,000 Catholic priests, laity and representatives of other concerned groups petitioned our bishops to resist this move. As SPUC's John Smeaton warned in a headline on 10th February, 2010: ''Catholic Education Service has helped draft the government's anti-life/anti-family sex-ed draft guidance.''
This background, taken together with the CES and Archbishop McMahon so readily accepting the new compulsory sex and relationships education this week, should cause grave concern to all faithful observers.
We began this piece by considering the revelations of Our Lady to the three young seers at Fatima. By God's grace, the relics of Blessed Jacinta and Blessed Francesco Marto will travel to many UK cathedrals this year to mark the 100th anniversary of the apparitions. Curiously, Archbishop McMahon's cathedral at Liverpool does not yet seem to be listed as one of the venues.
We must say that, whilst it is great that the sacred relics of the holy seers will be going around the nation in this manner, if the bishops in those dioceses welcome the relics, but fail to stand up against impure and inappropriate relationships and sex-education being foisted on the children in their care, this would be an example of false piety indeed.
Let us therefore pray to Our Lady of Fatima and the holy child seers for the bishops to do the right thing before God and for all the families concerned.
Our Lady of Fatima - Pray for us!