Behold Thy Mother! Remembering Our Lady's Maternal Love
Torch of The Faith News on Sunday 12 February 2017 - 22:05:42 | by admin
Feasts like that of Our Lady of Lourdes serve as reminders of the superabundance of God's love, grace and mercy.
As is the case with so many Catholics, I can look back and give thanks for the many ways in which Our Lady of Lourdes has demonstrated Her maternal care in my own life.
Regular readers will recall that reading Fr. Gabriel Harty's simple little book Make the Wild Rose Bloom played a big part in my conversion story.
My parents had both converted between 1989 and 1990. They were both praying for me to also convert when, in November 1992, I picked up Fr. Harty's book whilst I was watching a ''rock and pop awards'' show on TV. I suddenly experienced a gentle, yet very powerful, interior encounter with the love of Our Lady of the Rosary. As refreshing as a fall of dew on my soul, this experience caused me to find the noise and garish lights of the ''pop-culture'' to be no longer satisfying in comparison to the gentle peace and love of Our Lady of the Rosary. In fact, I now found them to be really dark and could not bear to watch the rest of that TV show.
Although this was not the only aspect of my conversion, it was a significant moment of grace, which led up to my reception into the Catholic Church at Easter 1993.
I first went to Lourdes as a seminarian, in order to serve as a brancardier with the Liverpool Archdiocesan pilgrimage in July 1997.
When we arrived, my friend Ron took me to the far side of the River Gave for my first-ever look at the Grotto from the vantage point pictured above.
Even from that range, there was an intensity of peace and holiness radiating out from the Grotto to where we were standing in silence. When I eventually turned to Ron, he just smiled and said: ''See what I mean?''
We recrossed the river and joined the long queue which was waiting patiently in the summer heat to enter the Grotto. When we finally entered that holy place, I rested my head against the cool Massabielle rock and looked up at the statue of Notre Dame de Lourdes. The ensuing peace cannot be described. I had a profound sense that, through all the years of my life, I had always been meant to come there at that particular time. It is hard to explain, but it was as though I had always been expected to be there just then.
The Motherhood of Our Lady was tangible.
Working for the sick, and seeing the hundreds of buggies, stretchers and wheelchairs laid out under the shade of the trees for the Blessing of the Sick with the Blessed Sacrament taught me the centrality in the Church of those who are sick, vulnerable and weak.
It is an indisputable fact of history, that no other single institution has cared for so many poor, sick, vulnerable and dying people, throughout so many cultures and historical periods, as the Catholic Church has done throughout her two millennia since Christ established her on earth. This alone remains an important facet of her claims to absolute truth.
At that point, I was in my mid-twenties. I had grown through my teens in ''Thatcher's Britain'' in the 80's and, prior to joining the seminary, had worked in a high-street bank for almost 9 years. For much of that time, I had aspired to the whole yuppie-culture. Although I had been a Catholic for 4 years by then, and had always been pro-life, I still needed to be weaned from my materialistic attachment to status, power and physical vitality.
There in Lourdes, kneeling before the Blessed Sacrament, near to row upon row of suffering and broken people who were waiting to receive Christ's blessing, Our Lady of Lourdes helped me to see that, in Christ's Kingdom, the elderly, suffering, poor and weak have a high place. Indeed, they are treated like royalty. Here we glimpse something of the mystery of the Church's rich Theology of the Cross.
In the summer of 1998, I returned to Lourdes to serve for a whole month as a pilgrim-guide for English-speaking pilgrims.
Living and working so close to the Grotto for all that time was an immense blessing. In my whole life, I have never felt myself to be so emotionally, physically and spiritually healthy as I did in those weeks. I now realize that I was being built up for subsequent crosses!
The Maternity of Our Lady is indeed tangible.
That summer, Our Lady of Lourdes broadened my horizons to glimpse something more of the Catholic Church's universality.
Four whole weeks were spent living, praying and working with priests from France, Ireland and South Africa; and seminarians from Cameroon, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands and Vietnam. The international cameraderie was superb. In the above picture, I'm second from the left on the back row. The seminarian on the end in the white shirt had come through a simply amazing conversion experience. He is now Pastoor Nars Beemster; a splendidly orthodox Catholic priest serving in the Netherlands.
In the English-speaking section, I was assigned to serve pilgrims from the UK, Africa, America, Australia, India, Ireland, the Middle-East and the Philippines. It was great to feel oneself to be an active member of the Body of Christ in unity with Catholics from all of these disparate cultures.
During that month, several of the English dioceses came to Lourdes for their annual pilgrimages. I even unexpectedly met my own cousin in the Domain one evening! One day, I spotted the late Bishop Ambrose Griffiths of Hexham and Newcastle giving a blessing to the holy little gentleman pictured above. The humility and tenderness of that scene have always expressed something to me of the mystery of Our Lady of Lourdes and St. Bernadette.
As pilgrim-guides we: assisted people to find their way to Holy Mass, Confession and the baths; gave talks on the history of Lourdes; led groups in devotions up the steep hillside Stations of the Cross; led groups in the Blessed Sacrament and Torchlight Processions; and gave tours of the churches, museum and town.
During those weeks, my own faith was nourished and deepened by meeting so many faithful Catholics from all over the globe. Several had amazing stories of ''little miracles'' and blessings that had accompanied their pilgrimages. I met some amazingly humble and holy families from the Middle East and from the Kerala community in India. One of the most moving memories was of a young Australian ''surfer-dude'' and his girlfriend who came up to our English-speaking gathering point one day and asked, ''Hey mate, what is this place? Me and my girlfriend are back-packing across Europe. We just came out of the mountains and we've never seen anything like it. It's just amazing!'' It was marvellous when this wide-eyed couple joined us in the Blessed Sacrament Procession that afternoon. May God bless them, wherever they are now.
Although my faith was strengthened that summer, I also began to sense that I may, after all, be called to Holy Matrimony, rather than to the Sacred Priesthood. Although this was profoundly unsettling, especially in such a blessed place, I can now see that Our Lady was guiding me and looking after me all the time.
In the summer of 1999, I returned to Lourdes with Mum and Dad for a very different type of pilgrimage: this time I was not there to work, but to receive. I was reaching the point where I was really sensing that marriage was to be my vocation. On top of that, the culture of sacrilegious irreverence and radical dissent in the seminary had wrecked my health and caused me to crash and burn. Big time...
During our stay in Lourdes, a devout old Irish lady sat by us at breakfast in our hotel. She noted quietly to me that she could see that my face was smiling, but my eyes were very sad. She asked if I had ever been training to be a priest. Amazed at her discernment, I agreed to let her pray for me and tell me her own story.
It turned out that, many decades earlier in Ireland, she had tried her vocation in a convent. During her postulancy, it had become clear to her that God wanted her to marry instead. She had to suffer a great deal for a while and few in her family or local town understood her decision. She persevered in her prayer life and, after a few years, met her devout Catholic husband. They married and went on to have several children and many grandchildren. With her husband, she devoutly practiced the Faith for about 50 years. Indeed, this lady said to me: ''Look how many children I now have to give to God!'' She told me to have great trust in the Lord and assured me of her ongoing prayers.
Although this was a pilgrimage marked by deep interior suffering, it was also very beautiful to be able to show Mum and Dad all the places and things that I had shown to pilgrims the year before. This was the only time that Dad ever travelled overseas in his whole life. May God rest his soul, he was faithful to his Rosary for all the years he was a Catholic. At the very end of our pilgrimage, we went for a final prayer at the Grotto, before heading off to Tarbes airport. At the Grotto, I received a very clear and tangible direction regarding my vocation. Although I had to process this, through several more weeks of pacing Crosby beach every day with Dad when we got back home, that moment at the Grotto was important.
Yes, truly the Maternal protection of Our Lady is tangible!
I wrote to Archbishop Patrick Kelly of Liverpool and he accepted my decision with kindness and a supportive letter. His Grace's letter included a reference to Blessed Cardinal John Henry Newman's Lead Kindly Light. As this had already played an encouraging role in my personal struggles in those months, I took this as a sign of confirmation and that part of my journey came to an end. It was the last part of the summer of 1999.
Those who know us will recall that I met Angie at the wedding of a mutual friend in August 2000. Actually, she caught the bouquet! By God's grace, we had each found our soul-mate in Christ and we were married by Canon Albert Shaw on Merseyside in April 2002.
Six-and-a-half years after we got married, we suddenly had the chance of a last-minute booking to go to Lourdes for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception in December 2008. This would be my fourth visit to the holy shrine; but my first as a married man.
It turned out to be a time of special blessings for us. When the great feast day was over, the town and shrine of Lourdes basically shut down for the winter season.
As the crisply cold winter air settled over the French Pyrenees, most people departed for warmer climes. This meant that, unlike in the buzy and hot summer months of all my previous visits, we were able to return again and again to the Grotto, without having to queue at all. Indeed, apart from some French schoolgirls singing beautiful chants by candlelight, there was hardly anybody else around.
Having helped us in so many ways, it now seemed that Our Lady of Lourdes was helping us to recognize the great value in withdrawing from the crowd and bustle, in order to enter into the Great Silence.
Yes, the Maternity of Our Lady of Lourdes is truly tangible!
Over to You!
I pray that whoever reads this, be you Catholic or not, will be able to go to Lourdes and experience these things first hand. Even if you cannot get there, the love of Our Lady is already there for you from Heaven. All you really have to do is open your heart and pray.
Our Lady of Lourdes - Pray for us!
St. Bernadette Soubirous - Pray for us!
Ave, Ave, Ave Maria!
Torch of The Faith News on Sunday 12 February 2017 - 11:46:36 | by admin
A bit of England that is forever Lourdes!: Our home shrine to Our Lady of Lourdes yesterday afternoon. Years ago, my late Dad attached that small note with a piece of rock to the foot of Our Lady's statue. It reads: Rock from the side of the cave of apparitions at Lourdes. Erm, don't ask me how Dad came by that!!! But do know that it is not from the inside of the grotto; and that, nevertheless, it has a special place of honour where it is.
Unearthly Joy in the Domestic Church!
We brought some of the Christmas lights back out yesterday to adorn our statue of Our Lady of Lourdes for Her annual feast day.
In fact, Mum, Angie and I held a candlelight procession around the house; joyfully singing the Lourdes Hymn and Laudate Mariam as we went along!
At the end of the procession, we prayed the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary in front of the statue; prior to settling down with a plate of chocolate tiffin squares to watch the classical black-and-white movie, The Song of Bernadette!
Now to God be all glory and worship for aye,
and to God's Virgin Mother an endless Ave!
Ave, Ave, Ave Maria.
Ave, Ave, Ave Maria!
Some things that have always stood out from Lourdes for us are the facts that Our Lady asked for: people to be cleansed from Original Sin by the waters of Baptism; people to live lives of conversion, holiness and humility; Penance, Penance, Penance!; the Rosary to be prayed devoutly; and that Our Lady told St. Bernadette that She did not promise happiness in this life, but in the next.
These heavenly lessons have a timeless quality for everyone.
Our Lady of Lourdes - Pray for us!
St. Bernadette - Pray for us!
Stigmatizing the Target Group - And Then Some!
Torch of The Faith News on Saturday 11 February 2017 - 12:52:21 | by admin
The good Cardinal Raymond Burke: His Eminence has just been the subject of a brutally vicious attack in the Washington Post; and a more sophisticated hit-piece involving Antonio Spadaro S.J. in the New York Times...
I remember the late Cardinal Francis George of Chicago warning, some years back, that violent persecutions of the Church are frequently preceded by co-ordinated attacks in the media.
The late Cardinal's caution finds something of an echo in the talks and writings of Fr. Joseph Esper, from the Archdiocese of Detroit.
In light of Sacred Scripture, Tradition, approved prophecy and sociological research, Fr. Esper posits that the Catholic Church, and other communities identifying as Christian, are moving ever-closer to a time of distressing persecution.
He does not speak of these things merely to instill fear into his audience, but to help Christians to prepare their minds and hearts in the love of Jesus Christ, in order to be His faithful witnesses.
Drawing on sociological research into the Nazi persecution of the Jews, Fr. Esper delineates various stages which generally unfold when any sociological group is targeted for persecution.
These stages include:-
1. Stigmatizing the Target Group.
2. Marginalizing its Role in Society.
3. Villifying it for alleged crimes or conduct - which can include vicious attacks and blame for a society's problems.
4. Criminalization - with restrictions placed on its activities; and eventually on its very existence.
5. Outright persecution.
Fr. Esper stresses that these various stages are not to be thought of as hermetically sealed blocks, but rather as fluid movements, where events can represent different stages occuring at one and the same time.
Who can fail to be reminded of these things when reading a sophisticated hit-piece against Cardinal Raymond Burke in this week's New York Times?
It is spooky to observe the involvement of ''Francis' mouthpiece'' Fr. Antonio Spadaro S.J. in that article; especially now that the Jesuit America magazine heralds Spadaro with the headline, Pope Francis says Italian Jesuit review has given a faithful reading of his papacy.
Hey, not bad for a man who thinks that 2+2=5...
Still, that New York Times hit-piece both pales into insignifance, and finds its wider context, when reading the simply brutal attack on Cardinal Burke that was featured in the Washington Post. I'd say this reached a heady level 3 on Fr. Esper's rankings.
Emma-Kate Symons, a Washington-based journalist and former Paris correspondent, has been given space to print what can only be described as a spiritually and culturally dangerous attack.
Actually, it just sounds completely unhinged!
Take for example: ''How Pope Francis can cleanse the far-right rot from the Catholic Church... Pope Francis needs to take tougher action against the United States' most influential Catholic in Rome, Cardinal Raymond ''Breitbart'' Burke. The renegade cleric is not only undermining Francis' reformist, compassionate papacy, and gospel teaching as it applies to refugees and Muslims, but the rebel prince of the Church is also using his position within the walls of the Vatican to legitimize extremist forces that want to bring down Western liberal democracy, Stephen K. Bannon-style. Simply put, the Vatican is facing a political war between the modernizing Pope Francis and a conservative wing that wants to reassert white Christian dominance... Burke is unrepentant and even defiant, continuing to preside over a far-right, neo-fascist-normalizing cheer squad out of the Holy See.''
A ''neo-fascist-normalizing cheer-squad''? ''Bring down Western liberal democracy''? Cardinal Burke? Good grief, who is this Symons gal?
It should be obvious from that level of rhetoric, and the fact that it has been published in a paper with the reputation and reach of the Washington Post, just where we are up to now in terms of the opening up of anti-Catholic persecution, and its social acceptability.
These subtle, and not-so-subtle, attempts by media outlets to link Cardinal Burke to President Trump surely tie-in to the matters we discussed a few days ago about the firmly anti-Trump stance taken by both Cardinal Vincent Nichols and his team-mate Mr. Justin Welby, here in England.
Some time around 2008, I was standing in our back garden in the bungalow we were then renting in Wales. As I stood there drinking in the fresh air and beautiful countryside that surrounded us, I had a sudden and disturbing realization.
I was at that time reflecting on the elevation of the Modernistic Vincent Nichols to the Archdiocese of Westminster; even though this man had run a scandalous sex-ed programme for young kids in his schools, and covered for the pro-abortion former-MP Clare Short over the heads of complaining Catholic parents, so that she could attend an education event in his diocese.
Then, too, I thought about the ''reception'' of the publicly unrepentant pro-homosexuality/pro-abortion/pro-unjust war Tony Blair into the Catholic Church.
In relation to this last point, I considered also the strangely defensive reaction of various episcopal leaders, when faithful Catholics and pro-life organizations had sincerely voiced their concerns.
Blair and his ''Catholic'' defenders were making it seem to the Church and the wider society that there was a culturally acceptable Catholicism that went along with the mores of post-modernity. Indeed, it actively encouraged these mores. In light of that, orthodox Catholics suddenly appeared to many ''in'' the Church, and more especially to those outside of it, to be a bunch of hardline extremists.
Such a picture was given credence when the notorious Austen Ivereigh flippantly depicted orthodox Catholics, via the mainstream media, as ''Taliban Catholics''.
In the garden in Wales that day, it hit me with all the gravity of a falling anvil that, when the inevitable persecution of Christians comes, some of our episcopal leaders will not only not defend us; but they will actually join in actively with the persecution!
About a year after this, I read Richard Wurmbrand's book, Tortured for Christ. Although I do not normally feature Protestant writers here, I mention Wurmbrand today because he understood, from first hand experience, the Communist infiltration of the churches; and how many episcopal leaders turned out to be Communist soldiers when the gloves were off against Christians in Communist Romania and elsewhere.
Like the Catholic Bella Dodd and others, Mr. Wurmbrand tried to warn that Communism had not really gone away; and that the subversion of church bodies by Communists represented a real, present and growing danger.
We've already spoken in some depth about the invitation of Communistic Culture of Death speakers to the Vatican in the days of Francis.
This week such scandals increased exponentially when it became clear that the Vatican has even welcomed Communist China's Huang Jiefu to a conference on organ trafficking.
Even though this fellow has supposedly worked to overcome the dehumanizing Chinese practice of transplanting the organs of prisoners, as though they were so many expendable human organ banks, his attendance has shocked many because, in spite of his positive claims that the practice would be halted in 2015, it is not at all clear that the practice has stopped.
As reported in the Guardian this week, informed observers are concerned that Huang's attendance in Rome could also be used by the Communist leadership of China to give a sense of legitimacy to its evil organ trafficking practices.
The point here is that Bishop Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo has brushed off the concerns that have been raised by faithful Catholics and other cultural observers. This casual approach has become typical of Sorondo about various scandalous Vatican invite-lists in the days of Pope Francis.
On top of all of this, LifeSiteNews is also reporting that the Canadian Prairie Messenger, published by the Benedictine monks of St. Peter's Abbey in Saskatchewan, has vilified the Knights of Columbus for being ''anti-abortion'', rather than ''pro-life'' in a broader Pope Francis care-for-the-environment type way!
Orthodox Catholics have now endured several decades of persecution from those who have infiltrated the Church; and from the many ''useful idiots'' who further such persecution without really realizing who they serve.
What is new is that the enemies within the Church are now quite openly joining forces with the enemies without.
And their rhetoric is becoming distinctly more harsh and unreasonable. To us, that looks as dangerous as it looks co-ordinated... I mean, can any of us really imagine the mainstream media siding with any of the previous popes against faithful Catholics?
Like Fr. Esper, I do not highlight all these things to distress our readers. However, I think we all need to draw closer to Christ and His Holy Mother, so that they will give us the grace we need each day. The daily Rosary is an essential practice.
He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Holy Spirit saith to the Church (Revelation 2:29).
Overcoming a False Dichotomy
Torch of The Faith News on Friday 10 February 2017 - 12:45:51 | by admin
The wires were alight in England on Wednesday, when Bishop Philip Egan of Portsmouth tweeted about a ''growing problem'' in the Church and called for prayer.
At 7:58am, His Lordship tweeted: ''Council of priests yesterday: Whom do we obey, the bishop or the pope? I'd say Both! But there's a growing problem: let's pray 4 the Church.''
This question from the council of priests clearly comes in the wake of Bishop Egan's pastoral letter on Amoris Laetitia from last April; wherein the good bishop affirmed the Church's Tradition that adulterers may not receive Holy Communion until they have repented, confessed and amended their life.
In recent weeks, the simplicity of this interpretation was undermined when grossly sacrilegious claims were made, by the likes of Charles Scicluna and Reinhard Marx, to suggest that it is Pope Francis' actual will that Holy Communion be given to unrepentant adulterers. Well, they spoke a little more euphemistically than that, but this is essentially what they meant.
Of course, this is the whole problem with Amoris Laetitia: in that its slick use of footnotes and sophistry plays fast and loose with Christ's own teaching; leaving everyone to interpret it according to the lights, or in too many cases the darkness, of their own individual consciences.
Then again, there are parts of that document which are not so much ambiguous as giving off the odour of rank heresy. Hence the Dubia, right?
In truth, the question posed by the council of bishops, and tweeted out for all the world to see, represents a totally false dichotomy.
The simple answer to overcoming this dichotomy is to state that the Pope, the Bishop, the Priests and the lay faithful must all obey Christ's words together.
Nobody, be he pope or emperor, has the authority to cast aside the teachings and law given to us by Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, the Universal King.
Sadly, many folks in the Church today are making an idol out of obedience.
The authentic virtue of obedience was given as a safeguard to keeping the Holy Law of God; and overcoming our concupiscent rebelliousness in the process.
Holy obedience is just that: holy. It is never in opposition to truth, love or morality.
Obedience has limits and boundaries.
As we have said here a number of times: We must obey our spiritual superiors in all things except for sin.
If Pope Francis ordered someone to steal their mother's wedding ring and give it to a notorious and wretched jewel thief, what good man among us would obey him?
And yet, people are quibbling about whether they should obey if they are told to cast the Most Holy Eucharist, the very Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ, into the degraded filth of souls who remain obstinately in the state of mortal sin!
Why is there such timidity to resist such evil openly?
In any case, Francis has not ordered this; his words are more serpentine than that. The whole situation smacks of the snake in the Garden of Eden, hissing to Adam and Eve: ''Did God really say that?''
As a point of fact, due to Francis' slipperiness, the likes of Marx and Scicluna would do well to remember that they have overeached themselves so much that, should Francis be forced to clearly state Catholic Truth on these matters, they will be left high and dry on the road to Hades; which they are already on by their own free choice. May God give them the grace to repent!
It was good that Bishop Egan interpreted Amoris Laetitia in an orthodox manner last April.
However, the acceleration of events now shows that it has always been the wrong course of action to suggest that Amoris Laetitia is unproblematic; and to thus blame only its interpreters for promoting errant teachings and practices. The longer that approach persists, the more disingenuous it comes to appear.
It is akin to having an enemy tank on one's front lawn, its cannon pointing through the lounge window; and all the while stooping to debate the patterns made by the tank's half-tracks in the flowerbeds...
Don't get me wrong: Bishop Egan is a good man, who has greatly inspired us by his orthodox leadership through the years. It's just that, we have to admit that this ''tank'' really is there, encroaching on all of us, if we are to have a hope of resisting its crushing advance.
The problems are in Amoris Laetitia itself; otherwise we would not even be having this conversation. As men trained in philosophy, the bishops know all about the importance of accurate first principles and all that jazz.
Anyway, that which is clear requires no interpretation.
As Jesus said Himself: ''And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free'' (John 8:32).
That crystalline clarity has always been part of Catholicism's attractive beauty.
Singing from the Same Hymn Sheet (as the Globalists)
Torch of The Faith News on Wednesday 08 February 2017 - 23:37:41 | by admin
It's that man again! Not Tommy Handley, but that other radio-friendly former ''Scouser'' Cardinal Vincent Nichols.
Speaking in Unison
From Brexit to sex-ed on all the way to Islamic immigration, it is often intriguing to witness the extent to which some episcopal leaders march in lock-step with official government policies. This is certainly noticeable in relation to those powerbrokers furthering the globalist agenda.
It can be especially revealing to observe the times when church leaders closely parrot whatever narrative is currently dominant in the mainstream media.
Take, for example, the recent joint-appearance on Leading Britain's Conversation Radio (LBC), of Westminster's Cardinal Vincent Nichols and the present Anglican claimant to the ancient Catholic See of Canterbury, Mr. Justin Welby.
The pair were on-air together to present a shared front in the popular narrative which has formed up against the immigration controls sought by US President Donald Trump.
Their shared radio appearance had its sequel when Cardinal Nichols also appeared in a related interview on BBC Radio 4's Westminster Hour.
These media communications took place during a week in which the mainstream media also: presented a narrative depicting Queen Elizabeth II as having being ''put in a very difficult position'' by the planned State Visit of President Trump; reported on a 1.3-million petition demanding a halt to the planned visit; gave coverage to various anti-Trump marches in British cities; and gave space for the House of Commons Speaker, Mr. John Bercow, to voice his opposition to President Trump being permitted to address Parliament, by accusing Trump of ''racism'' and ''sexism''.
During the LBC interview, Cardinal Nichols built on the rhetoric he uttered last November; when he had argued that some politicians were ''trading in fear'' and suggested that the British people could ''learn much'' from the ''vibrancy of the Muslim faith'' of new immigrants, including refugees.
Now joining Mr. Welby's on-air critique of ''policies that are based in fear rather than confidence and courage and Christian hospitality'', Cardinal Nichols opined: ''To identify a whole people, a nation or a whole religion as the enemy is a desperate road to go down.''
He suggested that such a policy would put Christians in greater jeopardy, whilst ''doing nothing to help the Muslim community deal with the tensions within it.''
It must be said that such talk of ''tensions'' sounds awfully prissy when one recalls the genocidal mass-slaughter of Christians and various minority groups by Islamists in the Middle-East and parts of Nigeria.
Iraq's Archbishop Warda adds Some Depth
Given the Cardinal's talk of putting Christians in jeopardy, it is well worth reflecting on something we first said last Monday. That is when we noted that Mr. Trump's intended immigration control was not a ''Muslim ban'' in any case.
The importance of restating this point hits home when reflecting on an interview given by the good Archbishop Bashar Warda of Iraq to Crux. It will become clear that His Grace was speaking primarily in relation to the anti-Trump rallies in the US, but his words can be given similar application to the British situation.
Having expressed his wonder that those protesting Trump's refugee order were nowhere to be seen when ISIS came to kill Christians, Yazidis and other minority groups, nor when Syrian Christians were only being allowed into the US at a rate that was 20 times less than the percentage of their population in Syria, His Grace reflected: ''I would also say this, all those who cry out that this is a ''Muslim ban'' - especially now that it has been clarified that it is not - should understand clearly that when they do this, they are hurting we Christians specifically and putting us at greater risk. The executive order has clearly affected Christians and Yazidis and others as well as Muslims... Here in Iraq, we Christians cannot afford to throw out words carelessly as the media in the West can do. I would ask those in the media who use every issue to stir up division to think about this. For the media, these things become an issue of ratings, but for us the danger is real... Most Americans have no concept of what it was like to live as a Yazidi or Christian or other minority as ISIS invaded. Our people had the option to flee, to convert, or to be killed, and many were killed in the most brutal ways imaginable. But there were none of the protests then of ISIS' religious test.''
Irrational Fear or Reasonable Concern?
This brings us to an important aspect in critiquing the Welby-Nichols rhetoric. It seems to me that their depiction of President Trump's refugee policy is at best a caricature. For example, they consistently suggest that Trump's policy is based on ''fear'' and the ''trading in fear''.
But, surely, it is necessary to distinguish between fear that is irrational, such as that based in xenophobic bigotry, and the rational concern that is rooted in experience, observation and reason?
After all, we would all do well to remember that Ahmad al-Mohammad and another of the jihadis who callously slaughtered 130 people in Paris in November 2015 had only recently entered mainland Europe as supposed refugees.
Then again, the Daily Mail reported, on 18th February, 2015, that ISIS had threatened to send 500,000 migrants to Europe as a ''psychological weapon''. Even allowing for hyperbole, it is necessary to know that the Daily Mail also described letters from jihadis which spoke of plans to hide terrorists among the incoming refugees.
As the events of Paris and elsewhere have demonstrated, even a very small number of determined terrorists pose a significant threat. This is why it is only reasonable to ensure exactly who is coming into Europe, from where they are coming, and what their key intention is by coming.
This opens up another critique of the Nichols-Welby narrative. For example, when one looks at the scale of the issues, their talk of ''Christian hospitality'' begins to sound more like an ecumenical tea-party, than a developed approach to the complexities of cultural cohesion, national sovereignty and civic security.
If one looks a little deeper into the historical development of the traditions of ''Christian hospitality'' which they highlight, then one finds a Christendom that was prepared to welcome newcomers on condition that they posed no threat and that they could demonstrate a willing ability to integrate into the Christian civilization, with all of its core values.
In this context, it is important not to overlook the contribution made by St. Thomas Aquinas in the Summa Theologiae. For instance, he addressed the issue of immigration in article 3 of Q.105, on the question of Whether the judicial precepts regarding foreigners were framed in a suitable manner?
St. Thomas wrote: ''With regard to these a certain order was observed. For they were not at once admitted to citizenship; just as it was law in some nations that no-one was deemed a citizen except after two generations, as the Philosopher says (Politics 111.1). The reason for this was that if foreigners were allowed to meddle with the affairs of a nation as soon as they settled down in its midst, many dangers might occur, since the foreigners not yet having the common good firmly at heart might attempt something hurtful to the people.''
That this kind of danger is as relevant as ever in terms of genuine existential threats - and not just as the Nichols-Welby discussion has it as a mere ''trading in fear'' - is evidenced by the fact that the precincts of the medieval Canterbury Cathedral, that important site of European Christendom, now have to be patrolled by police, bristling with Glock 17 semi-automatic 9mm pistols and Tasers, to deter potential Islamist attacks.
Indeed, only last week it was officially announced that the weekend Changing of the Guard ceremony at Windsor Castle would be permanently stopped to avoid the crowds of tourists in the summer months becoming potential targets of terror.
This is Windsor Castle in 2017 mind you; not some isolated 19th-Century fort on the North-West Frontier of Imperial British India!
And yet, even though he is based right there at Canterbury, sitting on the borrowed throne of St. Augustine nonetheless, Mr. Welby does not seem to make these connections in his thinking when he so strongly denounces Trump's developing foreign policy.
Before we conclude today, there are just two final points that trouble me deeply.
Singing, but to whose tune?
It seems remarkable to me as a Catholic layman that Cardinal Nichols can devote so much time and energy to using the media to criticize President Trump, in a manner which so echoes the ideology of those stirring up opinion and marches against Trump, when he could be using the opportunity to further Our Lord's Great Commission to the Apostles and their successors of bringing all peoples into the unity of Christ's Church. Surely this, and not international politics is his remit?
Then, again, if Cardinal Nichols is going to focus on President Trump's political affairs, why does he only zero-in on those matters that he personally deems to be negative?
Would it not be appropriate for a Catholic prelate to also speak positively of those good things that President Trump has already achieved in the areas of the family and pro-life; such as sending his deputy to the March for Life, or managing to save lives by defunding IPPF and Marie Stopes International through the reinstatement of the Mexico City Policy?
But then again, perhaps those things do not fit with the present narrative being pedalled by the powers that be in government and media...
Talk about singing from the same hymn sheet!
Torch of The Faith News on Wednesday 08 February 2017 - 15:05:56 | by admin
Too Many Interruptions...
Like many people, we received last night's e-mail from Voice of the Family, highlighting the fact that Pope Francis had adopted the abortion lobby's euphemism ''interruption of pregnancy'' in place of the actual word ''abortion'' during his selected remarks for Italy's ''Day for Life''.
As both Voice of the Family and LifeSiteNews have demonstrated, Francis has thus used a euphemism that was distinctly condemned by St. John Paul II's magisterial encyclical letter Evangelium Vitae, way back in 1995.
That classical document clearly teaches: ''Especially in the case of abortion there is a widespread use of ambiguous terminology, such as ''interruption of pregnancy'', which tends to hide abortion's true nature and to attenuate its seriousness in public opinion'' (EV 58).
As the propagation of the Culture of Life has always been one of the key aims of this Torch of The Faith apostolate - hosting Evangelium Vitae study days/sessions was one of the key things that we used to do - we can only say that we are deeply grieved and troubled by this latest scandal coming forth from the lips of Francis.
Who wouldn't be, given that the Catholic Church is one of the last bastions standing against the slaughter that has killed over 1 billion babies in the womb since pro-death legislation swept throughout the world in the 20th-Century?
No Mere Slip of the Tongue
The more one thinks about this latest episode, the more clear it becomes that this could not be a mere slip of the tongue.
To describe the brutal slaughter of an innocent child in the womb in such anodyne terminology has to have been calculated; either by Francis, his ghost-writers or both.
This becomes especially clear when recalling that, for several decades, that very phrase has been employed with notoriety by the pro-abortion crowd.
For example, one could no more slip-up by describing abortion as ''interrupted pregnancy'', than one could refer to infanticide as ''interrupted childhood''; or euthanasia as ''interrupted retirement''.
A Troubling Pattern - To Put it Mildly!
Whilst both Voice of The Family and LifeSiteNews note that Francis did speak some welcome words about the sacredness of every life during his speech, they also point to a gravely troubling pattern that emerges when studying the bigger picture of his leadership.
This picture includes: Francis' unqualified profession of gratification regarding the UN's Sustainable Development Goals, even though these call for universal access to ''sexual and reproductive health'' (long-held euphemisms for abortion and contraception); the welcome given at the Vatican, in the days of Francis, to infamous population control advocates like Jeffrey Sachs and Paul Ehrlich; the scandalously obscene and morally confusing ''sex-ed'' programme launched by the re-envisioned Pontifical Council for the Family; Francis' friendship and support for the mass-murdering abortionist Emma Bonino; and his infamous statement that the Church ''cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods''.
And, as Voice of the Family and LifeSiteNews both observe, whilst Amoris Laetitia purports to be about helping families in the modern world, it has not only served to undermine Catholic teaching on the moral law, but also contains only minor mention of abortion; whilst failing even to condemn the practice as an evil per se.
From Decalogue to Dialogue...
This latest scandal-giving speech of Francis comes during a fortnight marked by two separate ''sermons'' in which he has criticized Catholics who supposedly become ''paralysed'' in keeping all the Commandments, and those who he sees as somehow being able to ''hide in the rigidity of the closed Commandments''.
Such un-Catholic, and even blasphemous-sounding, chatter became even more harmful when Francis appeared on screen during the US Superbowl on Sunday to give some humanistic blather about growing in respect for the rules through sport.
Even as he had just trounced the rule of international law and sovereignty in the case of the Knights of Malta!
To Sum Up: the phrase ''interrupted pregnancy'' is to the horrors of abortion, what the phrase ''interrupted orthodoxy'' is to the leadership of Jorge Mario Bergoglio Francis.
Don't Shoot the Messenger!
Torch of The Faith News on Monday 06 February 2017 - 21:26:01 | by admin
Raining on your parade: Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio weathers another Roman storm, while Cardinal Marc Ouellet gets himself into a bit of a tangle...
I've got to admit that I did have a bit of a chuckle on Saturday evening when I saw the news about Rome being ''carpeted'' in hundreds of posters featuring a rather curmudgeonly looking Papa Francesco above the legend, ''Hey Francis! You police congregations, priests are removed. You have decapitated the Order of Malta and the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate, ignored Cardinals... but where is your mercy?''
Alright, I'll admit it: I didn't just chuckle, I had a really hearty belly laugh about it all... In fact, each time I think about those posters, I'm in danger of starting myself off all over again!
As I said to Angie during our tea on Saturday, the power of those posters was that they did not say anything that was not true.
All they really represented was a load of mirrors being held up to Francis to say, ''Dear Francis, this is you. This is what you really look like to all of us out here''.
Later on Saturday evening, I did reflect that it was sad that things have come to the point where we have all begun to think it is fair game to set up such posters about a reigning pontiff.
But, then again, this is what happens when all legitimate avenues of communication have been closed off.
Many Catholics feel simply desparate to see the Faith being attacked, the Holy Eucharist being desecrated and the unity of the Church being sundered as a result of Francis' actions and words.
After almost four years, they are just sick and tired of having to endure almost daily spiritual abuse from Francis.
They can simply take no more of all the pious chatter about ''dialogue'' when so many faithful petitions, requests for clarification and even official Dubia have been ignored.
That is why - though as Rorate Caeli announced it was the first time something like this had happened in Rome since the fall of the Papal States - it seemed like such an overreaction when the Roman authorities firmly announced that they were hunting down the culprits.
And that is why so many faithful Catholics are just gobsmacked tonight to hear that Cardinal Marc Ouellet has described the posters as ''a work of the devil, who wants to divide us''.
Please, Eminence, why are you so quick to give the devil the credit for this bit of a lighthearted prank, nay, this cry of the heart, when you are silent about the diabolical disunity being caused by Francis' manipulations of Synods '14 and '15, the apocalyptic Amoris-gate saga, the heretical and sacrilegious actions of the Bishops of Buenos Aires, Malta, Gozo and Germany, the dreadful breaking of international law in the case of the Knights of Malta, or the promotion of the Culture of Death within the hallowed walls of the Vatican?
Yes, it may be true to observe that, in normal times, it would be preferable for Catholics to use more appropriate methods to communicate in the life of the Church.
Certainly, that is their right and duty under Canon 212 of Canon Law.
But, as you well know, they have tried all that and been left out in the cold, even as Francis cuddles up to anti-Christian globalists and pro-abortionists.
By joining in the actual demonization of orthodox Catholics - as has been done by Francis at least twice, and also by his sock-puppet-using mouthpiece Antonio Spadaro S.J. - Cardinal Ouellet has merely furthered their practice of shooting the messenger.
Whilst this poster might not be pretty to look at, and it might seem sadly disrespectful of the Papal office, there is absolutely nothing in it that is not true.
Like I said above, it is simply a mirror that has been held up for Francis and for all the world to see.
As such, it is a powerful vehicle of truth.
It must be said that, given the good he achieved in the days of former pontiffs, Cardinal Ouellet's reaction is very disheartening.
In light of his silence over the breakdown of unity and promotion of sacrilege following Amoris Laetitia, it makes it seem that he prefers to protect Francis than Our Lord Jesus Christ.
And while that is a choice no-one should have been asked to make in the first place, now that we have all been faced with it, ''We must obey God rather than man'' (Acts 5:29).
Looking at the overall situation, it is clear that these posters represented something of a ''release valve'' for many people in Rome and all around the world.
They gave orthodox Catholics a chance to express the truth in a way that could no longer be ignored.
They also gave many Catholics a chance to get rid of some of the present tension by laughing at the problem. As with all good humour, the posters were so funny because they were also so true.
The best reaction from Francis, the Hierarchy and the secular authorities in Rome, would have been to laugh this one off and put it down to experience. They could have exercised some of that well-publicised humility of theirs and listened to the message being conveyed, rather than getting so uptight that they ended up shooting the messenger.
Alas, Cardinal Ouellet's response has come over as all one-sided and heavy handed. And he is one of those we all considered to be ''one of the good guys''...
Let us conclude with those words from Sacred Scripture: ''For if a man be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he shall be compared to a man beholding his own countenance in a glass. For he beheld himself, and went his way, and presently forgot what manner of man he was'' (St. James 1:23-24).
From Lions of Munster to Feral Cats in a Dumpster - The Fall of the German Hierarchy
Torch of The Faith News on Monday 06 February 2017 - 10:22:14 | by admin
For Thirty Pieces of Silver, the Christ was sold: The modern-day Judas-Bishops Marx, Kasper et al smilingly betray Christ and His faithful, whilst reaping billions of Kirchensteuer Euros...
Perhaps none of us were too surprised when the cash-rich empire known as the German Bishops' Conference issued their heretical and sacrilegious pastoral and doctrinal guidance on Amoris Laetitia last Wednesday. After all, the likes of Kasper, Lehmann, Marx and Bode have long demonstrated that they were less Catholic than Luther's mistress.
No, we were not suprised; but we were still shocked.
As well as deeply grieved by the news: it has taken us until now to read and process the information.
Make no mistake, the ''guidelines'' of the German Bishops' Conference represent a grievous blow to Catholic orthodoxy and unity. They open a door to officially sanctioned adultery, sacrilege and, more than likely, the eventual promotion of sodomitical pairings.
As Dr. Maike Hickson has so carefully demonstrated at 1 Peter 5, the implications of this latest document are even worse than the blasphemous filth (my description not Dr. Hickson's), that was perpetrated just a few short weeks ago by those Judas-bishops Scicluna and Grech of Malta and Gozo.
Then, too, it seems from Dr. Hickson's translations that even lay pastoral caretakers might replace priests as those who ''accompany'' adulterers in the process of ''pastoral discernment'' suggested by Amoris Laetitia.
Whilst that might sound far-fetched at first hearing, let us say that we have friends with relatives in Germany. They have told us something of the awful horrors in situations where liberal ''lay leaders'' are running parishes due to the lack of priests. I have also spoken with a German seminarian who described that lack in light of the persecution of orthodox priestly students in the German seminary situation.
If there are any orthodox bishops left in Germany, and there are a few with that too-rare reputation, then they must firmly and openly declare their outright rejection of these new sacrilegious ''pastoral guidelines''.
Starting with Cardinal Gerhard Muller...
Trent Uber Alles
You will recall that, when discussing the document from Malta and Gozo, I drew attention to two key themes from the Council of Trent.
Firstly, Council 11, 13th Session, October 11th, 1551, on the theme of the worthy reception of Holy Communion. This clearly states: Those whose conscience is burdened with mortal sin, no matter how contrite they may think they are, first must necessarily make a sacramental Confession - If anyone presumes to teach, or preach, or obstinately maintain, or defend in public disputation the opposite of this, he shall by the very fact be excommunicated.
Secondly, I pointed to the Council of Trent's Canon XII on Holy Matrimony. This clearly pronounces: If anyone saith, that matrimonial causes do not belong to ecclesial judges; let him be anathema.
Apply that to the German Bishops' document and it is easy to grasp the ramifications.
The Prophetic Warnings of Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich
Given the fact that Francis helped to launch the Germanic Kasperite heresy from the very first week of his papal leadership, it is certainly remarkable that prophetic warnings - which even include a prophesied time of two popes - emerged from Germany in the 19th-Century prophecies of Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich.
Take for example Bl. Anne Catherine's warnings from 1820-1821 alone.
I had another vision of the great tribulation. It seems to me that a concession was demanded from the clergy which could not be granted. I saw many older priests, especially one, who wept bitterly. A few younger ones were also weeping. But others, and the lukewarm among them, readily did what was demanded. It was as if people were splitting into two camps...
I also saw the various regions of the earth. My Guide (Jesus) named Europe and, pointing to a small and sandy region, He utterd these words: ''Here is Prussia (East Germany), the enemy''. Then He showed me another place, to the north, and He said: ''This is Moskva, the land of Moscow, bringing many evils''.
I see many excommunicated clerics who do not seem to be concerned about it, nor even aware of it. Yet, they are (ipso facto) excommunicated whenever they cooperate with enterprises, enter into associations, and embrace opinions on which an anathema has been cast. It can be seen thereby that God ratifies the decrees, orders, and interdictions issued by the Head of the Church, and that He keeps them in force even though men show no concern for them, reject them, or laugh them to scorn.
In relation to this last warning, I am reminded of the words in St. Paul's Letter to the Galatians 6:7-8: ''Be not deceived, God is not mocked. For what things a man shall sow, those also shall he reap''.
Reaping the Whirlwind
The faithless apostates leading the Church in Germany ''tempt God'' when they fly in His face with such arrogance as they are presently displaying.
One must shudder to think of the calamities that will surely follow when entire conferences of bishops, with the connivance of the man holding the papacy, openly promote adultery, heresy and sacrilege to their flocks. As if it were possible, even the very Four Marks of the Church - that She is One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic - are attacked and overshadowed by these evil actions.
Perhaps it might seem in poor taste for an Englishman to quote ''Bomber'' Sir Arthur Travers Harris in the context of present-day Germany. Still, the gravity of this situation forces me to put aside such squeamishness and recall that Harris once said of Hitler's Germany: ''They sowed the wind, now they must reap the whirlwind''.
How aptly his words can be applied to the German Conference of Bishops of 2017...
May God have mercy on us all.
August Queen of Heaven - A Powerful Prayer for These Times
Torch of The Faith News on Sunday 05 February 2017 - 08:44:52 | by admin
I was deeply saddened to hear last night of a person who has chosen to leave Christ's Holy Church because they were so scandalized over the actions of Pope Francis.
Please pray for this soul.
Look, none of us can leave God's Holy Church for any reason whatsoever. We are in this for the long haul. You and I are fallen creatures in a fallen world; we simply cannot save ourselves when we are wounded by Original Sin and Concupiscence.
On top of that we have the infernal enemy of our souls working tirelessly to destroy us. None of us who has been given the True Faith would last very long if we were to move beyond the graces and protection of Holy Church. There could be no greater tragedy than to lose the Catholic Faith.
Our Lord Jesus Christ has given us the Catholic Church as the one means of salvation and sanctification. In these grim and often confusing times we need to make our own the words of St. Peter, ''Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life'' (John 6:68).
There is a very powerful prayer that we have found to be so helpful in times of spiritual attack, distress and warfare that we now pray it a few times each day. It is one you may have already heard of. In any case, we describe it here as an extra weapon for your spiritual arsenal.
On the 13th January, 1864, Blessed Fr. Louis Cestac suddenly received a vision in which he perceived the presence of demons spread out over the whole earth causing terrible ravage.
Blessed Pere Louis-Edouard Cestac of France (1801-1868).
At the same time, Bl. Father Louis was elevated towards the Blessed Virgin Mary. Our Lady explained to him that the time had come to pray to the Queen of the Angels and ask Her to send the holy legions to combat and overthrow the powers of Hell.
Bl. Father Louis asked our Heavenly Mother if, being so good, She could send the holy angels without being asked.
Our Lady explained, ''No. Prayer is a condition set by God Himself in order to obtain graces.''
With a childlike simplicity, Bl. Father Louis then asked Our Lady to teach him how we must pray to her. The answer that he received from the Blessed Virgin Mary was the ''August Queen'' prayer, as follows:-
August Queen Prayer
August Queen of the Heavens, heavenly sovereign of the angels, Thou who from the beginning received from God the power and the mission to crush the head of Satan, we humbly beseech Thee to send Your holy legions, so that under Thy command and through Thy power, they may pursue the demons and combat them everywhere, suppress their boldness, and drive them back into the abyss. Who is like God? O good and tender Mother, Thou will always be our love and our hope! O Divine Mother, send Thy Holy Angels to defend me and to drive far away from me the cruel enemy. Holy Angels and Archangels, defend us, guard us. Amen.
We highly recommend this prayer to all readers, especially in times of spiritual and temporal distress. Even in times of peace, it is good to keep praying it for Our Lady's help and protection.
Please spread this prayer far and wide.
We wish Christ's peace to you on this 5th Sunday after Epiphany - from Alan and Angeline.
Keep the Faith!
Pastores Dabo Vobis (Jeremiah 3:15)
Torch of The Faith News on Saturday 04 February 2017 - 00:01:39 | by admin
It has been another tough week for Catholics with the news that Pope Francis has permitted the disgraced Boeselager to be restored to his mischief-making at the Knights of Malta; from where Boeselager has uttered threatening-sounding statements regarding the good Cardinal Raymond Burke. Then there came the release of those sacrilegious Amoris ''guidelines'' by the Bishops' Conference of Germany.
Still, there have been a number of uplifting stories this week regarding orthodox priests and their solid defence of the Faith. Here are the ones that most encouraged us in recent days.
1. Fr. Luis Carlos Uribe Medina Reinstated.
We first mentioned Fr. Medina of Colombia a couple of weeks ago when he was sadly suspended a divinis from the priestly ministry, because of his faithful refusal to go along with heretical and sacrilegious orders to give Holy Communion to adulterers.
A couple of days ago, 1 Peter 5's Steve Skojec reported that Fr. Medina had been reinstated and restored to his priestly duties on 31st January.
It seems from Skojec's report, that Fr. Medina told a group of Catholics that Bishop Rigoberto Corredor Bermudez had ''recognized his mistake, accepted the arguments of the priest re-instituting the priestly magisterium and announced that he forbids in his diocese to give Communion to the divorced and remarried in civil or free union. Also the bishop said to be obedient, first of all, to the Sacred Catholic Doctrine.''
As Skojec went on, ''some observers are already speculating that this incident may demonstrate that public back-lash against heavy-handed implementations of Amoris Laetitia may be having an effect.''
It is marvellous to hear that Fr. Medina has been vindicated in this manner. Whilst we think it important to keep a watchful eye on this situation as it develops, we rejoice to hear that Bishop Bermudez appears to have had this change of heart and practice. At the end of the day, this is the kind of happy outcome we all really desire; with those who have been promoting sinful adultery and sacrilege coming to their senses, repenting and making good within the unity of Christ's Church. So, hopefully, this is the end of that particular saga, and we therefore give thanks for Bishop Bermudez' restorative actions and ask for God's blessing on him; and for ongoing strength and protection for the good Fr. Medina.
2. Fr. Blake's account of the ''brightest and best''.
On Tuesday, Fr. Ray Blake posted up a story about a priest-friend of his who had been speaking to his diocesan bishop about Amoris Laetitia.
The priest had asked whether the Bishops of England and Wales would be making a statement along the lines of that issued by the two Maltese bishops.
The bishop had replied that this would not be happening: ''not only would there be division, even war amongst the bishops, at least a strong division between the bishops, but in his own diocese he knew that several of the younger clergy would resign from their parishes, and be welcomed by other sympathetic bishops. The problem he said would be with the brightest and the best, the most hard-working, especially amongst the younger of the diocesan clergy''.
Whilst this information does reflect very badly on the lack of even the most basic orthodoxy among some of our UK bishops, and the resulting disunity this continues to cause, it nevertheless demonstrates that the most orthodox priests are typically the most inspiring and reliable.
It also shows that the small but significant rise in the numbers of orthodox young priests, who came through during the papacy of Pope Benedict XVI, continues to make a difference at the grassroots level.
3. Thousands of Priests from Around the Globe Defend the Dubia and the True Faith.
In his blog-post earlier this week, the Modernistic Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington D.C., smoothly suggested that ''only a very small number of people, whose voices have been amplified by some of the Catholic media, have challenged the integrity of Pope Francis' post-synodal apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia''.
Even if that were the case, it would not make any difference to the nature of truth: truth is truth, regardless of the numbers prepared to defend it.
In any case, before the week was out, and if I may be permitted to employ a local Liverpool expression, Wuerl ''had his eye wiped'' by the release of the Statement of the Confraternities of Clergy.
The fact that this statement has given a voice to thousands of faithful priests from around the globe is splendid. We find the document's particular power to be in its balance, orthodoxy, respectful tones and subtlety.
Given the supposedly ''progressive'' mentality of those being addressed, we also think its employment of Gaudium et Spes to be a slick and sophisticated manoeuvre.
Pope Francis and those following the heretical and sacrilegious line might well ignore this fine statement, but they will find it hard to suppress its message. It also provides a kind of ''insurance policy'' for priests everywhere, in that large elements of the clergy have demonstrated that there is a vast, and ever-growing, groundswell of resistance to the present culture of heresy and sacrilege.
So, pour yourself a coffee and enjoy reading the statement through in the certain knowledge that so many faithful priests from all around the world have acquitted themselves very well this week. May God bless them all!
Statement of the Confraternities of Catholic Clergy
As members of the International Confraternities of Catholic Clergy we believe that there would be great value in an authorative interpretation of the apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia in line with the constant teaching and practice of the Church. This statement comes in light of continuing widespread divergence of understanding and growing divisions in practice. A clarification is clearly needed to correct the misuse of the Apostolic Exhortation to undermine sacred Tradition. We therefore thank the four eminent cardinals who have recently submitted their dubia to the Holy See, requesting such clarification. The Confraternities recognize that this action has been taken out of love for the Church and concern for the salvation of souls. As the Cardinals themselves have made clear, this step has been taken with deep respect for our Holy Father, Pope Francis, and should not in any way be used to foster divisions in the Church.The grave danger to the unity of the Church due to increasing moral relativism must be honestly faced and clearly remedied.
As pastors of souls, we are well aware of the many challenges facing the men and women of today. We strive to help our people, often living in complex situations, to hear the call of Christ and his Gospel. This task is made easier when the Church expounds her teaching boldly and clearly. It is also essential that the Church's discipline must always follow her dogmatic teaching. In particular, since at the present time there is much confusion, it is necessary to make clear that Holy Communion cannot be given to someone choosing to live in a sexual relationship with a person other than their validly espoused husband or wife. Those who find themselves in this situation are of course deserving of pastoral support and must be helped to play as full a part in the life of the Church as their circumstances allow. In connection with this, it is important to state that conscience is not a law unto itself replacing the holy law of God with private judgment, but rather an echo of the voice of the Creator. The dignity of conscience must be assisted to overcome all ignorance and protected from becoming 'practically sightless as a result of habitual sin' (Gaudium et Spes, 16).
Requesting such a clarification, which reiterates the perennial teaching of the Church, is an act of filial love by faithful sons of the Church who turn to our Supreme Shepherd seeking his paternal guidance. It is our desire that this elucidation will enable us and other Catholic priests and deacons to carry out our ministry in ways that are faithful and effective. We hope that this request for clarification may be an occasion for the Holy Father to feed and tend the flock entrusted to him by the Lord, and to support us, the clergy, in doing the same.
It was a good week for the priesthood: let's keep the priests in our prayers in these times.