Saul, Saul, Why Persecutest Thou Me? (Acts 9:4)


Torch of The Faith News on Monday 10 April 2017 - 11:03:26 | by admin

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It is bad enough when wolves come disguised in sheep's clothing; but something altogether more grave when they come in the garb of the shepherd.

Update: For a more fair understanding of what Archbishop Scicluna said, this article needs to be read in light of the update issued in the subsequent article after Malta Today pulled their original description of their interview!

The Catechism of the Catholic Church provides a very clear explanation of the problem of scandal. This is dealt with under a subheading entitled, Respect for the Souls of Others: Scandal.

It reads as follows:

CCC 2284: Scandal is an attitude or behaviour which leads another to do evil. The person who gives scandal becomes his neighbour's tempter. He damages virtue and integrity; he may even draw his brother into spiritual death. Scandal is a grave offence if, by deed or omission, another is deliberately led into a grave offence.

CCC 2285: Scandal takes on a particular gravity by reason of the authority of those who cause it, or the weakness of those who are scandalized. It prompted Our Lord to utter this curse: ''Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and be drowned in the depth of the sea.'' Scandal is grave when given by those who, by nature or office, are obliged to teach and educate others. Jesus reproaches the Scribes and Pharisees on this account: He likens them to wolves in sheep's clothing.

The cup must already be overflowing with the scandal that has been given during the last four years.

Certainly, the problems with Chapter 8 of Amoris Laetitia, and the weird silence of almost all of the Hierarchy in the face of those problems during the course of an entire year, have led to us all struggling to survive spiritually in a veritable swamp of scandal.

That scandal only increased towards the end of last week when it was announced that Cardinal Baldisseri had passed on Pope Francis' words of gratitude to those Judas-Bishops Scicluna and Grech, of Malta and Gozo, for their sacrilegious ''guidelines'' regarding the implementation of Amoris Laetitia in their respective dioceses.

Perhaps finding himself to be on a roll with the support of Francis, Scicluna piled on another layer of scandal during an interview he gave about contraception to Maltese TV's Xtra on TVM.

During that interview, Scicluna said: ''One must remember that the Church has always placed the argument in the context of marriage; and it holds on to the tenet of sex belonging within the marriage... What we are saying is that if you have to use a contraceptive, make sure it is not one that kills life.''

Of course, whilst the Archbishop did attempt to make some kind of distinction between those forms of contraceptive which are abortifacient, and those which are not, he still failed spectactularly to point out the fact that all forms of contraception are gravely against the Natural and Divine Law, which the Catholic Church upholds. Worse than that, he actually endorsed contraception use in marriage for ''those who have to use a contraceptive''. One can already detect echoes of Ch. 8 of Amoris Laetitia in that statement.

Indeed, as we shall now see, those echoes become still clearer.  

Since making those statements on Maltese television, the Archdiocese of Malta has attempted to soften the blow in two ways.

In the first instance, they affirmed Scicluna's differentiation between abortifacients and non-abortifacients, as well as drawing on Amoris Laetitia 222a. However, their use of this latter tried to argue for primacy of conscience in moral decisions. Of course, that leaves out the fact that each person and couple has a grave moral duty to both inform and form that conscience with the objective truth of the Church's true teachings.

Therefore, this first follow-up to Scicluna's media interview will only have served to muddy the waters still more for many people who have not been sufficiently catechized to recognize this for what it is.

The second follow-up by the Archdiocese of Malta appears to have come in the form of a response to a question posed to the Archbishop by the Church Militant TV group. This response was written by the Archdiocese of Malta's spokesman, Kevin Papagiorcopulo. At least in this instance, a more straightforward answer is given: ''In reply to your question, the Archbishop believes and teaches that the use of artificial birth control in marriage, whether abortifacient or not, is always wrong.''

Whilst that is a positive thing to hear, it will do little to correct the opposite impression which Scicluna gave on TVM's Xtra show; and which has since done the rounds of headlines and articles across the globe.

As a result, countless numbers of couples and other observers around the world, the majority of whom will never get to hear of Papagiorcopulo's answer, have been left with the false impression that Pope Francis' chum Scicluna has said that it is now OK to contracept, as long as this is only done in marriage and with the avoidance of abortifacients. Only a clear and direct statement from Scicluna himself could put that right.

To make matters still worse, Scicluna's interview also included an exchange in which he stated: ''We must also make a clear distinction between abortive products and contraceptive pills... But it is not my role to identify which brand of pill is good and which isn't, because the role of the archbishop is not to replace science.''

The back-drop to that unnecessarily complicated cop-out is the fact that, even though abortion is illegal in Malta, the so-called Morning-After-Pill was recently permitted in the midst of an argument over its abortifacient nature.

In contrast to Scicluna's attempt to subtly nuance the argument, it has always been our understanding that almost all contraceptive pills, including the mini-pill, regular contraceptive pill and Morning-After-Pill, included an abortifacient component in their construction.

Indeed, the fact that women are seldom told about any of this has even led people as radical as Germain Greer to protest!

In his excellent book, Who is at the Centre of Your Marriage - The Pill or Jesus Christ?, Patrick McCrystal, the former pharmacist and now head of HLI Ireland, states: ''Every chemical contraceptive preparation involving pills, injections, implants and intrauterine devices inherently employs this mechanism as part of its overall mode of action.''

This means that women using these means will likely, at some point in their fertile life, cause the chemical abortion of their offspring. As Patrick's book suggests: ''It is hard to quantify just how many embryos are lost through the abortifacient action of contraceptives at the implantation stage, but it has been estimated that a silent chemical abortion happens once in about 200 menstrual cycles for a woman continually on the combined Pill... The fact that millions of women use these contraceptive methods implies that these chemical abortions must run into millions worldwide.''

Elsewhere, Patrick affirms that ''break-through'' cycles, those when ovulation can happen in spite of contraception use, can occur in anything from 0% to 60% of those cycles depending on the type of pill used. ''The abortifacient mechanism is thus enabled should conception occur during any of these break-through cycles.''

As Patrick acknowledges in his book, many women and couples are horrified when they learn of this abortifacient aspect. 
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Between 2008 and 2012, we used to go around the UK giving catechesis on chastity and marriage to engaged couples, young adult students and RCIA groups. During those presentations we frequently gave away copies of Patrick's fine book. We did this because it so clearly sets out the spiritual, ethical and relational reasons why all forms of contraception are such a bad thing.

Indeed, the sub-heading to that book is, Contraception's Disintegrating Effect on Marital Harmony.

That book is a particularly powerful resource, because of Patrick's pharmaceutical background. It also contains powerful testimonies of various married couples, whose love and marriages were damaged by contraception, but then restored again through the grace of Confession and rejection of the contraceptive mentality.

Although the likes of Kevin Papagiorcopulo have done their level best to present Scicluna's TV interview in an orthodox light, it remains the case that the actual content of his interview, and the initial follow up which drew on Amoris Laetitia, directly contradict the Church's perennial teaching on the intrinsically evil nature of contraception, and on the place and nature of individual conscience in the moral sphere. These matters have, for example, been clearly set forth in Magisterial papal documents such as Humanae Vitae, Fides et RatioVeritatis Spendor and Evangelium Vitae.

Because the news of Scicluna's interview has gone all around the world, it is up to him to correct it in public.

As this seems unlikely to happen, let me say again what I have already said here before: contraception is offensive to God and makes of the spouse and the self mere objects of use; and it is therefore destructive of marital love and harmony.

As such, no-one who truly loved God, loved their spouse, loved themselves and understood the objective truth clearly and freely, would ever wish to resort to contraception.

This has been written to assist all who read it, including married couples who have the misfortune to live under Archbishop Scicluna's faulty leadership, in coming to the freedom of Christ's truth (John 8:32).

In the end, Archbishop Scicluna - and please hear this coming from a married Catholic layman - it is a question of love.

May the Holy Family - Pray for us!

Palm Sunday 2017


Torch of The Faith News on Sunday 09 April 2017 - 08:59:12 | by admin

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Matthew 21 and Blessing of the Palms in the Traditional Liturgy: Hosanna to the Son of David; blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord. O King of Israel: Hosanna in the highest.

Jesus Makes His Triumphant Entry into Jerusalem - From a Palm Sunday Meditation by St. Alphonsus de Liguori

Jesus Christ enters the city: the people go forth to meet Him; they receive Him with acclamations and rejoicings; and, in order to do Him honour, some of them strew branches of palms along the road, whilst others spread out their garments for Him to pass over. Oh, who would ever then have said that that Lord, now recognized as the Messias, and welcomed with so many demonstrations of respect, the next time that He appeared along the self-same ways would be under sentence of death, and with a cross upon His shoulders?

Ah, my beloved Jesus, these people now receive Thee with acclamations, saying, ''Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord! Glory to the Son of David! Blessed be He who cometh in the name of God for our salvation!'' And then they will raise their voices insultingly to Pilate to take Thee out of the world, and cause Thee to die upon a cross: ''Away with Him! Away with Him! Crucify Him!''

Go, my soul, and do thou, too, lovingly say to Him, ''Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord! Blessed forever be Thou that art come, O Saviour of the world! For, otherwise, we had all been lost. O my Saviour, save me!''
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When the evening, however, was come, after all those acclamations, there was no one found who would invite Him to lodge in his house; so that He was obliged to retrace His steps to Bethany.

O my beloved Redeemer, if others will not give Thee a welcome, I desire to welcome Thee into my poor heart. At one time, I unhappily expelled Thee from my soul; but I now prize to have Thee with me more than the possession of all the treasures of earth.

I love Thee, O my Saviour; what power shall ever be able to separate me from my love of Thee? Sin only; but from this sin it is Thine to deliver me, by Thy help, O my Jesus; and Thine too, by thy intercession, O Mary, my Mother.

We pray for all who read this to be blessed with all the graces of this holy day of Palm Sunday 2017.

In Answering Some Questions, Archbishop Ganswein Raises Some More


Torch of The Faith News on Saturday 08 April 2017 - 12:23:28 | by admin

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Archbishop Ganswein adjusts the cloak around Pope Benedict XVI.

I imagine that it would be better for my reputation to simply leave this subject well alone. Nevertheless, I cannot help but think that Archbishop Georg Ganswein's latest interview raises as many questions as it purports to answer.

La Stampa has published details of an interview, which the late-night TV-show Matrix recently conducted with Archbishop Ganswein in Italy. The focus of the La Stampa report deals with Ganswein's responses to the persistent rumours which continue to surround Pope Benedict XVI's abdication.

No doubt, this primarily involves the bombshell claim made by Pope Benedict's friend, Archbishop Negri, that he resigned his papacy under tremendous pressure.

Whilst contesting the various rumours and claims, Archbishop Ganswein states that Pope Benedict's renunciation of the papacy was free, well thought-out and prayed for.

He adds: ''Pope Benedict is not a person who gives in to pressure. Quite the contrary. When there were challenges, when both the doctrine and people of God had to be defended, he was the one who behaved in an exemplary way: he did not flee in front of the wolf, but he resisted, and this would never have been a reason to leave the pontificate and renounce.''

Further on, Ganswein concludes: ''It is clear: Pope Francis is the successor of Peter. Pope Benedict was the Pope, he renounced and now he has retired to pray.''

At the very end of the La Stampa piece, we read Ganswein's suggestion that: ''I don't think the gay lobby is a power lobby - he said - there was an attempt to put things right and to give the necessary response.''

Taken at face value, this could all be understood in a way which would finally lay to rest all the rumours and claims about Benedict.

Then again, the questions that this latest interview raises for us fall into three categories:-

1. Defence of Doctrine and the People of God.

Archbishop Ganswein acknowledges that Pope Benedict resisted whenever the doctrine and the people of God needed to be defended. On many occasions, this was certainly true.

The questions thus raised are:-

Who needed to be resisted and why?

Where are they now?

When Pope Francis and many of those around him are so obviously subverting Catholic doctrinal and moral teachings, why does Pope Benedict no longer resist or defend the people of God from their errors?

If Benedict feels that he cannot publicly resist because he has retired to pray, then why does he return to give such public blessings to radical dissenters, when they receive the red hats of the Cardinalate from Francis?

Why is it OK to leave him in prayerful retirement when doctrine needs defending; but not when Francis' actions seem to need Benedict's public affirmation?

Also, if Benedict is under no pressure, then why did he give such an unusual address during his 65th-anniversary of priesthood; in which he described Pope Francis' ''goodness'' as ''the place where he feels protected''?

From whom, or what, does he need protection? Is that the kind of thing that someone who feels no pressure needs to say? If Benedict feels the need for protection, should the rest of us?

Having admitted in his address at the Pontifical Gregorian University last May, that the election of Pope Benedict was the outcome of a ''battle'' betwen the St. Gallen group and the Ratzingerians, why is Ganswein so happy to serve both Ratzinger and the St. Gallen mafia's favoured son Francis, without ever raising his voice to defend the faith or the faithful from that latter group's depradations?

If Archbishop Ganswein is concerned about the defence of the faith and the people of God, then why does he also front up to smilingly take part in videos showing Benedict blessing the new cardinals, inter-religious prayer events or the reception of Luther's heretical theses? 

2. Pope Benedict Renounced the Papacy - It is clear that Francis is the Pope.

Well, fair enough Archbishop. However, it was actually you that confused so many people by positing some kind of diarchy model for the papacy last May in the Pontifical Gregorian University!

Does this latest TV interview, described this week by La Stampa, now lay to rest your own seeming diarchy proposition for the papacy?

If so, have you also renounced your heretical-sounding claims that Pope Benedict had ''profoundly and lastingly transformed'' the papacy; and had even constructed an almost communal papal ministry with contemplative and active members?

Has Archbishop Ganswein now moved beyond his relativistic-sounding complacency in summarizing the several views of the ''transformed'' papacy; which included notions that the papacy had been made more humane and less sacred, more collegial and synodal, and had even been ''demythologized''?

In short, is Archbishop Ganswein now convinced that the seeming conception of a diarchy must be invalid, if Pope Francis is the Pope?

3. The Gay Lobby

Given that, to name just one infamous example, such public promoters of homosexuality as Archbishop Paglia - the scandalous prelate who adorned his cathedral wall with a vast, blasphemous and pro-homosexualist mural, which even narcissistically featured himself and one of his since deceased buddies in the priesthood - are now holding key leadership positions and doing grave damage to the Church, Holy Matrimony, education in chastity and the pro-life apostolate; how can Ganswein suggest that the ''gay lobby is not a power lobby''?

And why has he nothing to say about any of that?

Concluding Question

If everything is as hunky-dory as Archbishop Ganswein wants us to accept, then why does it seem that more questions are raised than answered whenever this matter is discussed?

In the Hour of Darkness Keep Close to Christ Crucified


Torch of The Faith News on Thursday 06 April 2017 - 22:35:46 | by admin

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Mark 15:33: And when the sixth hour was come, there was darkness over the whole earth until the ninth hour.

Update: What follows seems even more urgent in light of the US cruise-missile attack on Syria and the developing response of Putin in Russia.

We've just read the headline news at Canon 212, which announces: Francis Thanks Malta Bishops for UnCatholic, Sacrilegious Amoris Laetitia Guidelines.

That headline relates to Ed Pentin's piece at the American National Catholic Register; noting that Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, acting on behalf of Pope Francis, has reportedly sent a letter to Malta's bishops to thank them for their guidelines on the application of Amoris Laetitia.

Steve Skojec at 1 Peter 5 reflects that this finally puts to rest any doubt that Pope Francis supports the worst possible interpretation of the eighth chapter of Amoris Laetitia. As Skojec points out, this is the latest in a line of related events involving Francis, which include: the Kasper Proposal; Synods '14 and '15; Francis' scandal-giving interview with the atheistic Eugenio Scalfari on the issue of divorce and Holy Communion; Francis' letter praising the Bishops of Buenos Aires for their Amoris guidelines; the Cardinal Vicar of Rome's radical guidelines; the utterly sacrilegious guidelines from Malta and Gozo; the similarly dire guidelines from the German bishops; and now this decidely grim news regarding a new letter of support for the Malta/Gozo guidelines.

It would still appear to us at this stage that, being issued as it has been by Baldisseri, this latest letter from Francis still allows him to push the sacrilegious agenda, whilst giving him, yet, some further cover of plausable deniability.

But, seriously, who are we trying to kid?

It is abundantly clear, as it has always been since Francis started pushing Kasper's ''Neo-Mercy'' in the very earliest days of his scandalous leadership, that he is 100% behind this plan.

Regular readers will know that we have not been backwards in coming forwards to, several times, condemn the sacrilegious approach being forced on their priests and people by, what we have described here as, those Judas-Bishops Scicluna and Grech. Indeed, we have warned that these men need to publicly repent of the grave public scandal that they have given in promoting sacrilege, heresy and a radical breach from the teaching of Christ. We have warned that these men's souls could be in danger of Hell for promoting, nay forcing, such widespread sacrilege.

To thus hear of Francis issuing words of praise to them during Passion Week is like the worst kind of body blow one could possibly imagine.

Although, as I have reflected once before, the last few years since the announcement of the diabolical ''Kasper proposal'' have felt like an ongoing and grinding car wreck, there have also been a few times when the darkness was most particularly pronounced.

In my own personal experience, these have included: a sense of the sky going black at the spiritual level, with much evil being unleashed on the earth, when Francis led ''inter-religious prayers'' in the Vatican garden during that otherwise sunny Pentecost in 2014; periods of intense spiritual anguish immediately prior to and during Synod '15; a grim crushing experience during the televised release of Amoris Laetitia, at the point when the key soundbites - which included lines like, ''No-one can be condemned forever, because that is not the logic of the Gospel'' and ''Hence it can no longer simply be said that all those in any irregular situation are living in a state of mortal sin and are deprived of sanctifying grace'' - were smugly announced to a shell-shocked Church.
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That very day, almost one year ago to the date, we responded to Fr. Z's upbeat suggestion that, with Amoris Laetitia's ambiguities, the Church had ''dodged a bullet'' by saying: ''Well, yeah... in a Harry M. Whittington kind of way!''

Reading Ed Pentin's report tonight has caused yet another of these bleak experiences of the darkness of the Cross.

I have spoken several times here in recent years of the increasing danger of a major spiritual and temporal chastisement falling on the Church and world for all of this sacrilegious rebellion.
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And now, here we are just days from Holy Week, and just weeks from the 100th anniversary of Fatima, with Pope Francis and his closest supporters seeming to fly in the very face of God to further an agenda which, if accepted by the Church, would not only mean disaster for Holy Matrimony, Holy Confession and Holy Mass, though it would also mean all of that, but even disaster for the very nature and credibility of the Catholic Church.

That has always been what is at stake in this high stakes gamble that Pope Francis and his radicals are trying to take and force on the rest of us.

I have also written here about the various approved prophecies which suggest that the Church will be brought very low, indeed so low that it will seem that all is lost, before Our Lady and Our Blessed Lord will usher in the definitive victory and a resurgence of the One True Faith.

In a piece entitled, A Timely Reminder, last September 14th, I recalled the fact that it is essential for each of us to remain focused each day on Christ and the promises He made to the Church, in both Sacred Scripture and Tradition.

As the liturgical celebration of the Crucifixion and Resurrection fast approach, and as the Church and world appear to be on the brink of similar reflections of these mysteries, I renew that appeal to draw very close to Christ.

Perhaps we are now near to very grave chastisements. Who would really be surprised by this when one looks around in the Church and world today? When one thinks of Pope Francis' not-so-subtle promotion of sacrilege and divorce, who would even doubt it, if someone suggested that the oft-prophesied Three Days of Darkness were now near?

In the concluding days of Lent, let us re-focus on Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, and His sacred Passion and Death. May we never forget that He is our Light and Salvation.

At the very least, it is essential to be in the state of grace, willing to love and serve God, and ''armed'' with frequent Holy Communion and daily Rosary.

Blessed Crucifixes, Holy Water, blessed candles and blessed salt are similarly vital in these times of dischord.

We must all pray for our family members, neighbours, friends and enemies, that they not be ultimately overtaken by the spreading darkness.
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But, as bad as things are getting, do also be encouraged that the power of the Cross of Jesus Christ will ultimately bring the definitive VICTORY! We pray that His Light will shine over, in and through your hearts and homes.

Mark 15:33: And when the sixth hour was come, there was darkness over the whole earth until the ninth hour.

After the darkness comes Christ's Light and the Resurrection - KEEP THE FAITH!      

Reflecting on Cardinal Nichols' Visit to Pope Francis with Four British Imams


Torch of The Faith News on Wednesday 05 April 2017 - 16:22:44 | by admin

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The Catholic Herald has reported on Cardinal Nichols' trip to Rome to see Pope Francis with four British imams.

At one level, this can be viewed in a positive light in terms of building peaceful and positive relations between different communities here in the UK.

To be sure, our own personal experiences of British Muslims have been consistently positive.

When I worked for the Life charity, I had to visit the headquarters for meetings with other regional education officers about once a month; my superiors frequently put me up overnight in a B&B run by a Muslim family in the British Midlands. That family were always very kind and helpful to me; and also supportive of the pro-life work in which I was engaged.

Then, too, we were once praying with a Catholic priest, who was preaching in London's Hyde Park Corner, when a group of young Muslim men stood up for us against the jeers of the drunks and anti-Catholic secularists who had gathered to mock the priest and the message he was sharing. During that exchange, one of the Muslim chaps gestured reverently towards the priest's icon of Our Lady and warned the onlookers to have respect for Her and towards our Catholic religion.

All that being said, for one who really believes in the truth of the Catholic religion, inter-religious dialogue, properly understood, would always have an eye to leading all people toward the Light of Christ and the true religion He founded for the salvation and sanctification of souls.

From the words that Cardinal Vincent Nichols says on occasions like today, one can never really be sure that this is the way he sees things.

For example, in his statements to the media during this trip to Rome, he states: ''I also hope that this moment will help the voice of authentic Islam to be heard clearly. We look forward to our continuing promotion of collaboration at a local level at the service of all in society.''

From what one hears, I imagine that many Catholics in the UK would join us in wishing that Cardinal Nichols would be as quick to affirm his hopes for the voice of authentic Catholicism to be heard in this country!

Certainly, as evidenced in his infamous ''who knows what's down the road?'' line, about Church teaching on homosexuality, he frequently gives a diluted message to the media in terms of faith and morals.

When all is said and done, spreading the Catholic Faith - and not inter-religious dialogue or political manoeuvres over Islamic immigration - is the commission which Cardinal Nichols has received from Our Lord Jesus Christ, as a successor to the Apostles.

Yesterday, the Gatestone Institute reported that, in London alone, some 500 churches have closed for lack of numbers, between 2001 and the present day. In that same period, some 423 mosques have opened in London. Many of these mosques are full to bursting with existing members and new converts. The constant drain away from the Catholic Church, and other Christian communities, underscores the fact that much that passes for Christianity today is, in fact, watered down feel-good religion. Christian leaders appear weak and unwilling to promote Christ's eternal truths; whilst Islamic leaders and their followers appear, generally speaking, much more committed to what they believe in. To that equation must be factored in the large numbers of Muslims arriving into the UK each year; and the fact that Islamic families are having far more children in general, due to the widespread promotion of contraception, abortion and homosexualization in the wider populace.

This is all indicative of the future religious and cultural situation in the capital and in many other parts of the country; such as Birmingham, Leeds, Manchester and Bradford.

Whilst Cardinal Nichols wishes his hearers to concentrate on what he deems to be the authentic voice of Islam, it is also worth reflecting on the words of Innes Bowen in The Spectator.

Bowen had drawn attention to the claim that only two of the mosques in Britain today follow the modernist interpretation of Islam, compared with 56% of mosques in the USA. Bowen added that the Wahhabis control 6% of the mosques in the UK, while the fundamentalist Deobandi control up to 45%. The news of fundamentalism is the kind of information that gets British Christians and others concerned; especially when the nation is still reeling from the unprecendented attack by the Islamist on Westminster Bridge a couple of weeks ago. After all, in the Britain we grew up in, it was safe to walk through cities and tourist attractions without being suddenly run down by Islamists. 

Again, the Gatestone Institute article pointed to a Knowledge Centre survey, which claimed that 1/3 of British Muslims do not feel themselves to be part of British culture. Furthermore, as Gatestone Institute reported, there is also a spreading acceptance of Sharia Law in the UK.

Conclusion

In so far as inter-religious dialogue leads to peace, positive community relations and social cohesion, it can only be seen as a good thing at the level of natural human interaction.

However, as Catholics we also believe in the supernatural dimension, which includes the belief that true and lasting peace, the type that the world cannot give (John 14:27), always comes from Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

If one really loves Christ, and truly loves other people and their cultures, then it is the Gospel message that one desires to spread.
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But, based on all the objective evidence, is it really the Gospel of Jesus Christ that Pope Francis and Cardinal Nichols are spreading?

John Vennari - Requiescat in Pace


Torch of The Faith News on Tuesday 04 April 2017 - 21:59:19 | by admin

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We've just read Rorate Caeli's sad news that John Vennari has died today. By God's grace, he was fortified by the Sacraments of Holy Church, and died in the presence of his wife and a close family friend.

There are clearly many other consoling details in the Vennari family's public statement, regarding the holy nature of Mr. Vennari's death. Please do click over to Rorate and read these through for yourselves.

In particular we find it remarkable that he died on the 98th anniversary of the death of Blessed Francisco Marto of Fatima.

Perhaps now people will start to pay attention to the urgent things that this courageous man consistently said about Fatima, regardless of opposition, over a period of many years.

We are grateful to God for his faithful witness and for the things that we have learned through his work.

May he rest in the peace of Christ; and may his family be comforted in their grief.

Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord; and let perpetual light shine upon him; and may he rest in peace. Amen. 

United in Christ


Torch of The Faith News on Tuesday 04 April 2017 - 11:21:26 | by admin

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The Burton Constable Crucifix (please forgive picture quality here).

There was a moving story involving an antique crucifix recently on the BBC's Antiques Roadshow. The episode in question was recorded at Burton Constable Hall near Hull.

If that name sounds familiar, it could be because the historic manor house gets a mention in Herman Melville's famous 1851 novel, Moby Dick.

Melville wrote: ''... at a place in Yorkshire, England, Burton Constable by name, a certain Sir Clifford Constable has in his possession the skeleton of a Sperm Whale... Sir Clifford's whale has been articulated throughout; so that like a great chest of drawers, you can open and shut him, in all his long cavities - spread out his ribs like a gigantic fan - and swing all day upon his lower jaw. Locks are to be put upon some of his trap doors and shutters; and a footman will show round future visitors with a bunch of keys at his side. Sir Clifford thinks of charging twopence for a peep at the whispering gallery in the spinal column; threepence to hear the echo in the hollow of his cerebellum; and sixpence for the unrivalled view from his forehead.''

Even today, visitors to the fine manor house, gardens and orangery can still view the vast cetacean skeleton in the Great Barn of the Stable Block. The place is full of interesting curios and well worth a visit.

The small crucifix mounted on the wall of the manor's chapel may be a lesser known treasure, but it has its own inspirational story to tell.

The antique crucifix belonged to the Catholic Cecil Chester Constable, who wore it around his neck throughout his life. His heartwarming story was shared with the Antiques Roadshow by Cecil's great-grandson Jack.

In the very opening days of the First World War in 1914, Cecil had been captured by the Germans at the age of 21. That meant he had to spend the duration of that dreadful period as a prisoner of war.

When he again found himself fighting the Germans in the Second World War, Cecil apparently vowed not to be taken prisoner ever again. And so, when surrounded by Germans in May 1940, he was last seen by his men going out with his pistol to give battle to the last.

Cecil was sadly shot down by an SS unit which was operating in the area.

Remarkably, in spite of his SS war service, one of the men who found Cecil was a devout Catholic called Alfons Dahlhoff. He was a young German grenadier with the rank of Lance Corporal.
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Gefr. Alfons Dahlhoff.

Dahlhoff spotted the crucifix around Cecil Chichester Constable's neck and, as a fellow Catholic, gave him comfort and support in his last moments on this earth. In that time, Cecil was able to give his crucifix and his last letters home to Dahlhoff.

Several months later, the Constable family at Burton Constable Hall received a package containing Cecil's crucifix, final letters and also a covering letter from Alfons Dahlhoff's mother in Germany.

Frau Dahlhoff explained that, although she knew the two countries were still at war, she wanted Cecil's family to have the comfort of knowing that their son had died in the arms of a fellow Catholic.

She went on to explain that young Alfons had managed to get the crucifix and letters to her, before he had himself also been killed in action just a few weeks later.

Frau Dahlhoff asked the Constable family to, please, pray for the soul of her son Alfons.

The story Jack shared with the BBC, and the manner in which he did this, provided a touching account of faith, family, love and genuine humanity during the hardest of times in an often cruel world.

It was also a great testimony to the Catholic Faith, which has the power to unite even enemies through the Cross of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

Although the theological context is clearly different, one cannot help but call to mind those timeless words of St. Paul in Ephesians 2:14: ''For he is our peace, who has made both one, and breaking down the middle wall of partition, the enmities in his flesh.''

The story of those spirited Catholics Cecil Chichester Constable and Alfons Dahlhoff was an inspirational one.

May they rest in Christ's peace.

Kyrie Eleison - Lord Save Us!


Torch of The Faith News on Monday 03 April 2017 - 11:37:06 | by admin

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We adore Thee, O Christ, and we bless You; because by Thy Holy Cross, Thou hast Redeemed the world! The Good Friday meditations in the days of Pope Benedict XVI.

The Passion of Christ in the Church

It was announced through the Italian ANSA news service on Friday that Pope Francis' Via Crucis meditations on Good Friday will have been written by Professor Anne-Marie Pelletier.

That this represents yet another distressing scandal to the Catholic faithful has been well summarised by Dr. Maike Hickson's weekend article at 1 Peter 5. From the translations and analysis provided by Dr. Hickson, it appears that Prof. Pelletier has used her academic position in the past to forge convoluted, modernistic and self-contradictory arguments to subvert the Scriptural teachings of Christ and promote the acceptance of divorce and '''re-marriage'' in the Church.

Just to give a flavour of this approach, let us mention Dr. Hickson's exposure of Prof. Pelletier's depiction of the Catholic Church's traditional teaching on the 6th Commandment - including the licentiousness of sexual intercourse outside of marriage - as being ''a rather rigid interpretation''.

Dr. Hickson also reminds her readers that Prof. Pelletier took part in the infamous ''study day'' at the Pontifical Gregorian University in May 2015, which prepared the way for the Rome Synod of 2015 with dissenting positions regarding the Church's teaching on divorce and homosexuality.

Even if Prof. Pelletier somehow manages to write a thoroughly orthodox and edifying set of Stations of the Cross meditations for Good Friday, her authorship would still represent a major source of scandal and confusion. However, it is also to be feared that her forthcoming Good Friday reflections may be used to further the dissenting agenda which is presently scourging Christ's Church.

Indeed, the distress caused by this latest example of Pope Francis promoting such a public dissenter from Catholic orthodoxy to a key role is exacerbated this time by the sensitivities which so naturally surround the Good Friday liturgy and devotions for all faithful Catholics who love Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

By way of stark contrast, this latest debacle has called to mind for me those powerful Via Crucis meditations which Pope Benedict XVI led at the Colosseum on Good Friday 2005. To be sure, they are so Christocentric that they still have much to teach us; they even stand upright as a timeless and potent rebuke to the present situation.

His following meditation and prayer for the Ninth Station, wherein he lamented the sacrilege, filth, secularism, narcissism, and twistedly faithless theories that had entered into the Church, seems particularly appropriate at this very testing time for the Catholic faithful.

Jesus Falls the Third Time

V/. Adoramus te, Christe, et benedicimus tibi.
R/. Quia per sanctam crucem tuam redemisti mundum.

Sacred Scripture

From the Book of Lamentations 3:27-32.

It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth. Let him sit alone in silence when he has laid it on him; let him put his mouth in the dust - there may yet be hope; let him give his cheek to the smiter, and be filled with insults. For the Lord will not cast off forever, but, though he cause grief, he will have compassion, according to the abundance of his steadfast love.

Meditation

What can the third fall of Jesus under the Cross say to us? We have considered the fall of man in general, and the falling of many Christians away from Christ and into a godless secularism. Should we not also think of how much Christ suffers in His own Church? How often is the holy Sacrament of His Presence abused? How often must he enter empty and evil hearts! How often do we celebrate only ourselves, without even realizing that He is there! How often is His Word twisted and misused! What little faith is present behind so many theories, so many empty words! How much filth there is in the Church, and even among those who, in the priesthood, ought to belong entirely to Him! How much pride, how much self-complacency! What little respect we pay to the Sacrament of Reconciliation, where He waits for us, ready to raise us up whenever we fall! All this is present in His Passion. His betrayal by His disciples, their unworthy reception of His Body and Blood, is certainly the greatest suffering endured by the Redeemer, it pierces His Heart. We can only call to Him in the depths of our hearts: Kyrie eleison - Lord save us (cf Matthew 8:25).

Prayer

Lord, Your Church often seems like a boat about to sink, a boat taking in water on every side. In your field we see more weeds than wheat. The soiled garments and face of Your Church throw us into confusion. Yet it is we ourselves who have soiled them! It is we who betray You time and time again, after all our grand words and lofty gestures. Have mercy on Your Church; within Her too, Adam continues to fall. When we fall, we drag You down to earth, Satan laughs, for he hopes You will not be able to rise from that fall; he hopes that being dragged down in the fall of Your Church, You will remain prostrate and overpowered. But You will rise again. You stood up, You arose and You can also raise us up. Save and sanctify Your Church. Save and sanctify us all.

As you will have seen, these reflections of Pope Benedict XVI have the inherent power to bring tears to the eyes and heart.

So, too, does the writing of a papally endorsed Way of the Cross by Prof. Pelletier; though, perhaps, for widely different reasons. 

Come Good Friday, and unless Prof. Pelletier is using the occasion to express her sincere repentance for her public attack on God's Law, we know which meditations we will be using; and they won't be those of Prof. Pelletier...

Given the gravity of this ongoing situation, where sacrilegious scandal is being heaped upon sacrilegious scandal, perhaps we could all pray the Stations of the Cross for the souls of Pope Francis and Prof. Pelletier. At least, that way, something Catholic might come of all of this.

Kyrie Eleison - Lord Save Us!

Passion Sunday - 2017


Torch of The Faith News on Sunday 02 April 2017 - 09:07:15 | by admin

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The statues and crosses in the churches are now veiled. This veiling is done in order to help us to concentrate on Jesus and the events leading to His sacred Passion and Death. In the Traditional Liturgy, today's Mass is full of the thought of the Passion in the prayers and Scripture readings. The Gospel describes how Jesus calmly but firmly proclaimed His superhuman origin, power and life against the jeers and insults of the Jews.

As we enter Passiontide, it seems appropriate to reflect on the following words of St. Alphonsus de Liguori.

Jesus Christ is Our Consolation

Who can ever give us so much consolation in this valley of tears as Jesus Crucified? What can sweeten the punctures of remorse, arising from the remembrance of our past sins, better than the consideration that Jesus Christ has voluntarily suffered death in order to atone for our sins? He, says the Apostle in Galatians 1:4, gave Himself for our sins.

In all the persecutions, calumnies, insults, spoliations of property and honours, which happen to us in this life, who is better able to give us strength to bear them with patience and resignation than Jesus Christ, Who was despised, calumniated, and poor; Who died on a cross, naked and abandoned by all?

What more consoling in infirmities than the sight of Jesus Crucified? In our sickness we find ourselves on a comfortable bed; but when Jesus was sick on the Cross on which He died, He had no other bed than a hard tree, to which He was fastened by three nails; no other pillow on which to rest His Head than the Crown of Thorns, which continued to torment Him till He expired.

In our sickness, we have around our bed friends and relatives to sympathize with us and to divert us. Jesus died in the midst of enemies, who insulted and mocked Him as a malefactor and seducer, even when He was in the very agony of death. Certainly, there is nothing so well calculated as the life of Jesus Crucified to console a sick man in his sufferings, particularly if he finds himself abandoned by others. Ah, to unite, in his infirmity, his own pains to the pains of Jesus Christ is the greatest comfort that a poor sick man can enjoy.

In the anguish caused at death by the assaults of Hell, the sight of past sins, and the account to be rendered in a short time at the divine tribunal, the only consolation which a dying Christian, combating with death, can have consists in embracing the Crucifix, saying, my Jesus and my Redeemer, Thou art my love and my hope.

In a word, all the graces, lights, inspirations, holy desires, devout affections, sorrow for sins, good resolutions, divine love, hope of paradise, that God bestows upon us, are fruits and gifts which come to us through the Passion of Jesus Christ.
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Ah, my Jesus, if Thou, my Saviour, hadst not died for me, what hope could I, who have so often turned my back upon Thee and so often deserved Hell, entertain of going to behold Thy beautiful countenance in the land of bliss, among so many innocent virgins, among so many holy martyrs, among the Apostles and seraphs?

It is Thy Passion, then, that makes me hope, in spite of my sins, that I too will one day reach the society of the saints and of Thy holy Mother, to sing Thy mercies, and to thank and love Thee forever in paradise. Such, O Jesus, is my hope. The mercies of the Lord I will sing forever. Mary, Mother of God, pray to Jesus for me.

We pray that this meditation of St. Alphonsus de Liguori would bring consolation and strength to all who read it. May God grant you many graces and blessings for the remaining two weeks of Lent.

Our Lady of Sorrows - Pray for us!  

The Holy Face Campaign in Ireland


Torch of The Faith News on Saturday 01 April 2017 - 11:13:22 | by admin

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The good people of HLI Ireland are presently working very hard to complete their excellent Holy Face Campaign of 2017.

As their recent communications have reminded, the souls of young people in Ireland are under serious attack.

Some of the major threats to the youth of Ireland include: growing ridicule of Church teachings and the Most Holy Eucharist; sex education and gender confusion ideology; the Citizens' Assembly appearing badly biased on abortion and the 8th amendment; and a so-called ''Abortion Bus'' distributing ''abortion pills'' in Irish universities.

As HLI Ireland's executive director, Patrick McCrystal, has stated, only recourse to God and serious reparation can save the situation.

In order to do that, HLI Ireland are preparing to follow up their highly successful Holy Face Campaign from Lent and Easter 2016. We watched an on-line interview about this a couple of days ago at HLI Ireland's website, (please see our ''Links Page''). We must say that this exchange between LifeSiteNews' Steve Jalsevac and Patrick McCrystal has been one of the most uplifting things that we have seen for some time.   
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Last year's Holy Face Campaign managed to put the Holy Face of Jesus firmly into the public square in Ireland.

Large billboard images featuring the Turin Shroud were unveiled at 28 locations around Ireland, smaller images were posted inside 200 buses on countrywide routes, and a Facebook social media campaign attracted hundreds of thousands of views. In addition to these key achievements, a beautiful Holy Face website was created and, on Good Friday, 32 All Ireland public prayer vigils took place, with informative literature being given away free to onlookers.

The Holy Face campaign is rooted in the approved private revelations to Sr. Mary of St. Peter and Blessed Maria Pierina De Michelli.

Sr. Mary of St. Peter's biography explains that Our Lord wanted the devotion to the Holy Face to be spread in order to make reparation for the blasphemies and outrages of ''Revolutionary men'' (Communists) - through whom God is allowing the world to be chastised for its unbelief - as well as for the blasphemies of atheists, freethinkers and others, plus for the blasphemy and the profanation of Sunday by Christians.''

Blessed Maria Pierina De Michelli's biography reports that, ''... in these times of sensuality and hatred towards God and the Church... a Divine remedy is required; that remedy is the HOLY FACE OF JESUS!''

That the Holy Face devotion presents us with a divine remedy really is its true appeal and source of success.

As Patrick McCrystal has recalled, over 1 million people saw the Holy Face last year in Ireland. On top of that, there were no negative comments posted at their website at all; indeed the response was overwhelmingly and universally positive. In his video interview, Patrick puts this down in part to the depth of the Faith which still remains in the Irish people and culture.  
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He reports in his written communication to supporters that a Buddhist woman saw the billboards posted up in Bray Dart station and exclaimed that she could not take her eyes off the Holy Face of Jesus.

Something that we have found particularly inspiring is the arrangement of the public Good Friday vigils of reparation. Again, Patrick's written communication reports a Catholic couple from Dublin, who said: ''It was a tremendous privilege to be at the Spire in Dublin... to make reparation to God for the state of apostasy the country has descended into.''

In his video interview with Steve Jalsevac, Patrick McCrystal also notes that the Holy Face campaign has helped many Catholics around Ireland - including those in small cottages who previously felt they could not do much to reverse the increasing apostasy spreading around Ireland - to get involved through prayer and financial support, to make a difference at this important time in the nation's history.

That really brings us right up to this year's Holy Face Campaign of 2017.

Patrick and his committed team want to take the initiative still higher this year. They plan to flood the country of Ireland with the Holy Face devotion this time around. These plans are well on the way to completion and include: 32 full size billboards in both South and Northern Ireland; 200 national bus adverts for a whole month; 150 adverts in the rail carriages of the Dublin Dart; 10 very professional looking back-lit commuter squares in rail hubs and shopping centres; and an incredible 60 Good Friday public vigils of reparation and witness, at which thousands of leaflets and Blessed medals are intended to be distributed to the public. The aim is to have two of these public prayer vigils going on somewhere in every single Irish county on Good Friday.
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HLI Ireland even have a five-year plan to fill Ireland with the Holy Face of Jesus devotion. Of course, to do this they will need much prayer and financial support.

As such, they are asking folks everywhere to pray for this intitiative and to consider making financial donations.

In terms of spiritual support, HLI Ireland recognizes that the spiritual fruit they seek will only come by serious prayer. They therefore ask supporters to have Holy Masses offered, and to pray a daily Memorare for the Holy Face initiative.

Just to give some idea of the costs involved: the average cost of a billboard in Ireland is presently 1719 Euros; 5,000 Holy Face booklets are 1,000 Euro; an 8-ft Holy Face banner and supporting pole requires 300 Euro; 50 Euro covers 250 medals, which are then blessed for distribution; and 5 Euro would cover the cost of 50 Holy Face prayer cards.

As Patrick's latest written HLI Newsletter reflects: ''What better use of your temporal funds on earth than spread God's Holy Face across Ireland and the world?''

Incidentally, that also points to Patrick and his team's latest plan to spread the devotion throughout the whole world! As such, he would welcome interest from supportive Catholics in other countries. Indeed, through this devotion, HLI Ireland hopes to make Ireland once again a ''Light to the Nations!''

Actually, this is already bearing international fruit: American readers might be interested to know that four weeks ago, as a direct inspiration from the HLI Ireland campaign, a permanent Holy Face billboard has already been erected in South Carolina.

To help HLI Ireland in this splendid initiative of spreading the devotion to the Holy Face of Jesus, please contact them at HLI Ireland, The Guadalupe Centre, Main Street, Knock, Co. Mayo, Ireland. As we said above, we also have a link to their website on our ''Links Page''. 

Readers might also be interested in two books that we highly recommend from TAN Publishers. These are : The Golden Arrow - The Devotion to the Holy Face of Jesus - The Revelations to Sr. Mary of St. Peter; and The Holy Man of Tours - The Life of Leo Dupont - Apostle of the Holy Face Devotion (1797 - 1876). Both of these books were translated by Fr. Emeric Scallan S.T.B., and translated by Dorothy Scallan.

We pray that God would continue to bless HLI Ireland and this marvellous initiative. Please also pray for them, because they are expecting media attacks this weekend against them and their Ask Majella pregnancy support service.

May the Holy Face of Jesus bless and protect us all!

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