Feast of the Assumption and an Important Prayer Initiative from Ireland


Torch of The Faith News on Wednesday 15 August 2018 - 10:51:59 | by admin

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Introit Prayer for today's Traditional Latin Mass: Let us all rejoice in the Lord, celebrating a festival day in honour of the Blessed Virgin Mary, for whose Assumption the Angels rejoice and give praise to the Son of God. Ps. 44. My heart hath uttered a good word: I speak my works to the king. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost. Amen.

Today's great Feast of the Assumption has been observed in the Church since the 6th-Century. In Pope Pius XII's Apostolic Constitution, Munificentissimus Deus, which accompanied the Definition of the Dogma of the Assumption in 1950, we read: ''Finally the Immaculate Virgin, preserved free from all stain of Original Sin, when the course of Her earthly life was finished, was taken up body and soul into heavenly glory, and exalted by the Lord as Queen over all things, so that She might be the more fully conformed to Her Son, the Lord of lords and conqueror of sin and death.''

Today's marvellous feast provides us with one of the greatest assurances of the final victory for Our Lord, Our Lady, the saints and the Catholic Church. May God give us all the grace to thus celebrate it with love, joy, hope and peace in our hearts.

Prayer Inititiative from Ireland

A good Catholic lady in Ireland has informed us that today also sees the launch of an important prayer inititiative originating in Ireland.

From today's feast until 7th October, the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, Catholics everywhere are invited to join in praying a daily Rosary Novena, in preparation for another great coastal Rosary to be prayed on that day around Ireland and other places.

By starting these prayers on today's great Marian feast of the Assumption, Catholics who take part will thus be able to pray for 54 days in preparation for the culminating prayers on that day.

As the organisers point out: ''The Novena takes place at a critical time for Ireland which requires a great outpouring of prayer: the World Meeting of Families, The Papal Visit, the referendum challenge, the return of the Oireachtas to an agenda which includes abortion, sex education, euthanasia, the fate of Catholic schools, and many issues of great importance like housing. During this period also the weather will be crucial if farmers are to avoid devastation this winter, our young people will enter universities, unfortunately for many at great risk to their faith, etc...

... By 7th October, we will be facing more referenda. One will seek to remove respect for God and all that is sacred (Blasphemy referendum). Another will seek to remove constitutional recognition of the contribution of family carers (male or female) who selflessly care for their children, grandchildren, family members who are disabled or ill and their elderly family members in the home, and also remove recognition that society must give support where it is needed to mothers bearing and raising children. We will also be choosing our next president...

... So our prayer at this critical time is very important. Please let us pray together the great Rosary Novena from August 15th. We encourage you to add daily acts of reparation to your Rosary, during this Novena. We know that our prayers are, and will be, heard. And we have confidence that Mary, the best of Mothers, will answer them in her perfect way.''

Torch of The Faith encourages all readers, wherever you are reading this from, to please join us also in supporting this daily praying of the Holy Rosary, for these intentions, from today's great feast of the Assumption and on through until the Feast of the Holy Rosary, on 7th October.

May it be a time for a great outpouring of grace and prayer - for Ireland and for the whole world.

Our Lady of the Assumption - Pray for us!

Beyond Scripture and Tradition


Torch of The Faith News on Tuesday 14 August 2018 - 11:30:20 | by admin

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Replacing Christ with Francis?!!!

Rorate Caeli has drawn attention to a Zenit article, from 31st July, in which Francis' Candian friend, Fr. Thomas Rosica, uttered this statement, which is as remarkable as it is revealing:

Pope Francis breaks Catholic traditions whenever he wants, because he is ''free from disordered attachments.'' Our Church has indeed entered a new phase: with the advent of the first Jesuit pope, it is openly ruled by an individual rather than by the authority of Scripture alone, or even its own dictates of tradition plus Scripture.

Quite frankly, what hubris, what heresy, what outright idolatry!

And indeed, what an embarassment of grovelling from Rosica...

So, does Rosica equate fidelity to Sacred Scripture and Tradition as a ''disordered attachment''?

And, at the same time, would he would have us throw over our holy religion in favour of making an idol out of one single, passing, individual, and rather aged, man?

With this, Rosica has even outstripped his own former distasteful hero-worship for the late and heretical homosexualist, Fr. Gregory Baum.

Clearly, Rosica's attachment to the person of Francis has even taken him beyond Scripture and Tradition into the realms of a home-made religion.

Basically, Rosica's attempt to overthrow Sacred Scripture and Tradition, yea even the Sacred Magisterium to boot, and thus replace these treasures with the passing and limited personality of Francis, is nothing other than a move to replace Christ with Francis.

What's With the Troubling Hand-Signs?

Alas, such far-out attempts to re-write the essence, content and mission of the True Catholic religion, in order to suit the shifting mores of post-modern relativism, is not only restricted to radical Canadian liberals.

All around the world, faithful Catholics have been asking why it was that Bishop Peter Doyle, the England and Wales Chair of the Bishops' Committee for Marriage and Family Life, attended a radically dissenting homosexualist conference, hosted by the Quest organization in the UK, this weekend.
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And why it was that the said conference was being promoted with a poster that featured an adult male hand ''walking'' across a ''rainbow bridge'', made from children's building blocks, towards the similarly ''walking'' hand of a young child...

A typical reaction can be found in the words of Carrie Gress, an American wife and mother,  holder of a doctorate in philosophy, faculty member at Pontifex University, author of the The Marian Option, and regular blogger at The National Catholic Register, who remarked on twitter: ''As a mother with sons whose hands look like this, this ad isn't just creepy, it's an outrage.''

Of course, this notion of a ''rainbow bridge'' is itself a reference to the book written by the radical American homosexualist, Fr. James Martin SJ, who was featured as a keynote speaker at last weekend's Quest conference, alongside Bishop Doyle, Clare Watkins and the radical James Alison.

Some Background

International readers are probably aware by now that the radical Quest organization actually promotes homosexual pairings and activity within the Church. The group's ideology was considered so radical that Cardinal Basil Hume, himself a liberal-leaning prelate, banned the Quest group from the pages of the Catholic Directory.

For a long time, the late cardinal's ban could be referred to by Catholics faithful to the Magisterium. However, such an approach has been seriously undermined in recent times by the Modernistic Cardinal Vincent Nichols; who has met and posed for photographs with Quest's leaders and, as recently as last November, has even recommended Quest in a letter to all the clergy of the Archdiocese of Westminster.

Again, this is merely a continuation of Nichols' general approach, which has included his celebrating Mass for the ''LGBT Westminster'' group, regardless of expressed dissent from the Magisterium. Then, too, when asked on the BBC's Hardtalk show, in July 2010, whether the Catholic Church would ever accept ''gay unions'' or not, Nichols answered, ''I don't know. Who knows what's down the road?''

Of course, that was in the days when Pope Benedict XVI was still visibly in place and most of us had never even heard of Jorge Bergoglio.

More recently, during the troublesome Synod of 2015, Cardinal Nichols took with him as his side-kick to Rome the very same Bishop Peter Doyle, who has just attended the Quest conference at the weekend.

At the time, I noted that both of these men seemed to be very focused on the interests of the ''LGBT Westminster'' group, rather than on furthering the Church's objective teachings on chastity, marriage and family life.

I also asked what the connections were between the promotion of LGBT ideology in Rome, and the New-World-Order-constructing Socialist, George Soros.
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For example, the Global Network of Rainbow Catholics (!) meeting, which took place in Rome during one of the weekends of the Synod, on Saturday, 3rd October 2015 to be precise, saw Martin Pendergast acknowledging the strong support of none other than Cardinal Vincent Nichols for their efforts.

That widely publicised meeting was also attended by Peter Matjasic, a representative of George Soros' Open Society Foundations. This is one of the most influential funders in the whole world. According to the foundation's own website at that time, it had expended some $827 million globally, in 2014 alone.

Also present at that Rome meeting was the former Irish leader, Mary McAleese. Of her participation, Matjasic tweeted that she had given, what he described as, ''a compelling condemnation of Roman Catholic doctrine on homosexuality.''

Of course, like many others, McAleese has recently used Francis' attempt to change the Catechism's teaching on the death penalty to further this agenda.

And so, just days ago, she suggested to an audience at an LGBT film-festival in Dublin, that Francis had now ''exploded the myth'' that Catholic principles can not be changed. Indeed, she even went on to describe Catholic teaching on homosexuality as ''evil''...

This is the point things have reached in August, 2018, as Francis and his cohort prepare for their World Day for Families next week in Ireland...

Rewriting Catholicism?

Getting back to Bishop Peter Doyle, the prelate who attended the Quest conference last weekend in England.
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Back during the days of that distressing Rome Synod, in October 2015, Bishop Doyle gave an interview on Vatican Radio, which reveals a pattern with notable similarities to Vincent Nichols' BBC interview, and to Rosica's notion of making up a new religion beyond that of Scripture and Tradition.

When asked about same-sex relationships, the bishop suggested, on Vatican Radio that, ''there is no room at the moment for a same-sex relationship.''

In answer to a follow-up question from the interviewer, Doyle went on to suggest that ''greater theological exploration of anthropology'' needed to be engaged and that this ''challenge'' would even require a further Synod of its own.

I wonder, could that be the purpose of the upcoming Youth Synod, with its subliminal rainbow flag promotional material?

After Bishop Doyle's radio interview, I pointed out that his statements constituted a denial of Divine Revelation, Dogma, Doctrine, Divine and Natural Law, Original Sin, Actual Sin, Concupiscence, Redemption, Grace, Nature and the Sacraments. As such, it provided an example of sheer Modernism.

Bishop Doyle's claims about developing a new ''anthropology'' are particularly noteworthy because, at a meeting of the dissenting UK group ACTA, on 27th February, 2016, as part of that group's Smelling of the Sheep Survey - No, really, I'm not making that up! - Bishop Doyle shared the floor with Fr. Daniel O'Leary.
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This liberal priest has spoken before at meetings of both ACTA and Quest. He has also given retreats in the Archdiocese of Liverpool and presentations in the very shrine complex of Our Lady of Knock, Queen of Ireland.

During ACTA's national meeting at Leeds in 2013, O'Leary had described one of the Catholic Church's central dogmas, that on the Fall and Redemption, as though it were merely a ''theological approach''.

Indeed, he depicted this ''approach'' as one that ''tends to be conservative, dualistic, safe, legalistic'' and even ''inadequate''. Remarkably, he also claimed it to be ''utterly destructive'' when presented as ''the only Christian story of our condition.''

O'Leary went so far as to suggest that it is the promotion of this ''theological approach'' which has led to the splitting of the Church.

Bergoglionism?

With this related background, and Bishop Doyle's words about ''theological exploration'' of anthropology, plus his attendance at last weekend's Quest conference, we find ourselves coming right back to where we started, with Fr. Rosica's radical movement beyond Scripture and Tradition.

For clearly, if it were possible that the Divinely Revealed Dogmas, which stand at the very heart of the Catholic Church's understanding of Creation and the nature of the human person, were to be somehow overthrown and ''rewritten'' to suit post-modern relativistic mores, then that would no longer be Catholicism, but an altogether new religion.

Call it Bergoglionism, Francisism, Rosicaism, Doyleism, O'Learyism, or what have you, it would no longer be the religion founded by Christ, or sustained by the Holy Ghost, for the Glory of God the Father.

Instead, it would be merely a passing phase in sentimentality; a religious enterprise to please the religious feelings of those who still want to feel that they are loved by a loving God, but who do not wish to serve Him according to the revealed demands His Love actually places on us.

And it would be a perfect vehicle for those who are investing so much to do away with the Catholic Church's faith and morality; whilst harnessing her real estate, organizational structures, moral leadership and world-wide membership to further their own globalist agendas.

To sum up: it would be the very Heresy of Heresies.

The Gates of Hell Shall Not Prevail!

Such an attempt may be troubling, it may cause the persecution of untold numbers of faithful Catholics globally, it may look to have the upper hand right now, but it can never, ever, win in the end.

That is because Our Lord Jesus Christ has given us the assurance of the One True Church, against which the Gates of Hell shall not prevail (Matthew 16:18).

Catholicism is a religion founded by Christ, sustained by grace and rooted in Divine Revelation. It clearly upholds both faith and reason in a logical and consistent continuity.

In contrast, the rewritings of anthropology and the Bergoglian breaches with tradition leave us only looking at the limited, passing and sinful personalities of those involved.

Only Catholicism gives us Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, our Divine Lord, Universal King and Saviour.

By way of a conclusion, perhaps those working to subvert the Church in these days, would thus do well to take heed of the words of G.K. Chesterton, who classically reflected: ''We do not really want a religion which is right where we are right. What we want is a religion that is right where we are wrong.''

Our Lady of Victories - Pray for us!

Our Lord is the Good Samaritan


Torch of The Faith News on Monday 13 August 2018 - 12:03:03 | by admin

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Due to the riches of our Catholic Faith, we can see Christ Crucified in the man beaten and left on the road to Jerusalem; and thus be led to see and love Him in our neighbour. At the same time, the Fathers of the Church taught us to see and love Him as the Good Samaritan, rescuing us and tending to our wounds. If we take this to heart, it can be a very consoling and even life-changing teaching.

More Words of Encouragement for Battle-Weary Catholics

I know that I have done this a couple of times before over the years, and I realise that other disturbing news has emerged from here in England this weekend, but I think it first of all worth repeating something important as a follow-up to yesterday's words of encouragement for battered Catholics.

In the Holy Gospel of St. Luke, Chapter 10, from yesterday's Traditional Latin Mass for the 12th Sunday after Pentecost, the classical account of the Good Samaritan was featured.

But a certain Samaritan being on his journey, came near him, and seeing him, was moved with compassion.

Oftentimes, this Gospel is presented in preaching as an exhortation to Christians to reach out and help those that we find broken along the highways and byways of life. We are thus called to recognise and serve Christ in others; something so well expressed in the above-featured painting. In helping others, motivated by love of God, we can thus minister to Christ in and through them.

And, right enough, this is one of the fundamental meanings contained in this rich text from Sacred Scripture.

However, in an age which has become so dominated by a kind of Neo-Pelagian self-sufficiency, with all that this implies for individual effort and self-improvement, it would be a little dangerous to stop with just this reading.

Not least because this particular text has much to offer in terms of consolation and encouragement to battle-weary Catholic souls everywhere.

Writers as varied as St. Ambrose of Milan, St. Augustine of Hippo, St. Clement of Alexandria, St. Ireneaus of Lyons, St. John Chrysostom and St. Bede of Lindisfarne were able to draw forth deep allegorical interpretations from this text, which were so rich that they still have much to offer to Catholics facing the daily struggles of the Church in the 21st-Century.
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By way of example, here follows St. Bede's marvellous presentation of such an allegorical reading.

The man who went down from Jerusalem to Jericho is Adam, representing the human race. Jerusalem is the city of Heavenly peace, of that happiness from which he has been separated by sin. The robbers are the devil and his (fallen) angels, into whose hands Adam fell, because he went down. They stripped him and robbed him of the glory of immortality and the robe of innocence. The injuries they inflicted on him are sins which, violating the integrity of human nature, let death in through half open wounds. They left him half dead, because they deprived him of the blessedness of eternal life, although they could not abolish in him the faculty of reason by which he knew God.

The priest and the Levite who saw the wounded man and passed by denote the priests and ministers of the Old Testament, who could only show up the wounds of the sick world by the decrees of the law, but could not cure them because, as the Apostle says, it was impossible for them to wash away sin with the blood of calves and lambs.

The Good Samaritan (the word meaning ''Guardian'') is Our Lord Himself. Having become man, He is brought close to us by the great compassion He has shown towards us.

The inn is the Church into which Our Lord Himself brings man, as the Good Samaritan brought in the wounded man on his beast, for no one can take part in the Church unless he is baptised, united to the Body of Christ, and carried like the lost sheep on the shoulders of the Good Shepherd.
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The two pence are the two Testaments, bearing the name and image of the Eternal King. Christ is the fulfillment of the Law. The two coins were given the next day to the innkeeper, because on the morrow of His Resurrection, Our Lord opened the eyes of the two disciples on the road to Emmaus, and of His Apostles, that they might understand the Holy Scriptures. For on that day, the innkeeper received the two pence as a reward for his care of the wounded man, because the Holy Ghost descending on the Church, taught the Apostles all truth, that they in their turn, might be able to teach all nations and preach the Gospel.

Something which this allegorical interpretation by St. Bede does not mention, but which is found in the reflections of other great exegetical writers, is the symbolisation of the binding up of the wounds, and the treatment with the oil and the wine in the Gospel narrative, as being indicative of the Sacraments of Holy Church.

Also, the Good Samaritan's promise to return and repay the inn-keeper points to the Glorious Second Coming of Our Lord, when the final just judgement shall take place.

Restorative Application in Silent Prayer

Several years ago, I led a catechetical study day in the British Midlands for parish catechists who were being formed to hand on the faith in an orthodox manner.

During the last session in the afternoon, I read through the text of St. Luke's presentation of the story of the Good Samaritan.

Then I explained the allegorical meanings found in the writings of the Fathers and Saints of the Church.

Having shared these interpretations, I then invited the participants to prayerfully reflect and apply those deeper meanings, as I re-read the text more slowly through for them.

It can be a very important and powerful moment in one's spiritual life to hear and receive these understandings about Our Lord, the Church and ourselves.

In periods of silent prayer, it can be very fruitful and consoling to read this Gospel account and insert ourselves into the story, wherein: Our Lord Jesus Christ is the Good Samaritan; Jerusalem is the Heavenly Glory; the thieves are the devil and his demonic minions; the inn is the Church; you and I are the battered and wounded man lying on the road to Jericho; our wounds have been inflicted by the demons, by our own sins and by the sins of others; the binding of wounds and the provision of oil and wine are the Sacraments, which heal us of our spiritual, emotional and even physical wounds.

In this way, we can recognise Jesus as the One Who comes to us, even though we are undeserving, wounded and, in a certain sense, powerless to save ourselves. Notwithstanding any of this, He takes the initiative, comes to us with compassion and love, intervenes and takes personal care of us and our convalescence in the security of His Holy Catholic Church.

It is there, as the interpretation of St. Augustine teaches, that we must remain and make a precarious convalescence, until He calls us to the eternal peace of our eternal home.

In the revelations of the love of the Sacred Heart of Jesus to St. Margaret Mary, Our Blessed Lord told her that our suffering endears us to His Heart. How wonderfully consoling this is, especially in light of this rich and deep understanding of the story of the Good Samaritan.

Given all that is happening in the Church these days, we can rest assured that, if those responsible for looking after us in the Church - including the one who sits as pope, the cardinals, bishops and priests - have not been faithful, but have instead been treating us in the manner of the unfaithful servant in Matthew 24:45-51, who treated his Master's delay in returning as an opportunity for partying, getting drunk and beating the other servants, then they will have to answer to Our Lord Himself at His Second Coming.

Or, if they die before that without first repenting, at their own personal judgement.

In the meantime, it is essential that none of us tries to discharge ourselves from the inn which Christ has given us, and brought us safely into, nor to try and find other ways to heal or nourish ourselves.

Only Jesus Christ can save us, heal us, feed us, protect us and get us home to Heaven. This is because He alone is the Way, the Truth and the Life. And only the Catholic Church, the one which He Himself founded and sustains by the power of the Holy Ghost, can provide us with the salvation, sanctification and security which we need to get us through this passing world to the eternal joy, love and peace of Heaven with the Most Holy Trinity, Our Lady and all the saints.

Silent meditation on this Gospel narrative can help faithful Catholics in these testing times for the Church. It can also be a spur to going outwards and helping others to enter into that Church, through evangelization to the many broken souls who are beaten and lost out there on the lonely road to Jericho.
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But a certain Samaritan being on his journey, came near to him, and seeing him, was moved with compassion.

It is my sincere prayer that this reflection may bring you peace, joy and hope today and into the future.

Sacred Heart of Jesus, Our Good Samaritan - Have Mercy on us, save us and heal us! Amen.

A Word of Encouragement


Torch of The Faith News on Sunday 12 August 2018 - 13:58:23 | by admin

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It is clear that many concerned Catholics around the world are driving considerable distances on Sundays to get to Traditional Latin Masses, or else to the most reverent and orthodox Mass that they can reasonably reach.

At the same time, there are many more who wish that they could do so, but find that their circumstances of health, finances or locality, and sometimes a combination of all three, make this either very difficult or even impossible for them to accomplish.

Then, too, there are still others who work hard to arrange and support regular Traditional Masses in their region, but who would like to have even more, at the very least on every Sunday of the month, available.

At times, the distances involved, the obstacles which must be overcome, the resistance which can be met, or the factors which may even prevent regular attendance for some, can lead to discouragement, overtiredness or considerable financial burdens.

I was thinking of these people and issues over the weekend and I wanted to simply encourage all who read this blog today with a reminder that Our Blessed Lord, Who sees the hearts and intentions of all of us, is never outdone in generosity.

He understands the problems, knows the costs, and cares infinitely for all who are trying their level best, often in the midst of testing circumstances, to follow and remain faithful to Him.

Indeed, these circumstances themselves can be the royal road of the Cross, which He is permitting for us as the way for us to be purified and to work out our salvation with the aid of His grace.

Such hardships and even thwarted desires to follow Him at the Traditional Latin Mass can even be offered up and thus become salvific themselves.

The key is not to become discouraged.

The enemy of souls can work to exploit discouragement, or to unbalance the wholesome spirituality of those who are doing their very best to keep the Faith in these times.

Let us not become discouraged, but rather let us learn to trust ever more deeply in Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

We can be sure that He is already lavishing grace upon us, if we are at all concerned about remaining faithful in these times. If we even want to honour Him with reverence and interior prayer, this is already a sign of His presence and grace at work in our hearts.

This is because His grace always precedes, accompanies and goes ahead of us in our walk with Him.

As a good old Irish priest used to say to me, many years ago, in Confession: ''The very fact that you are kneeling there now, saying sorry to God, shows that He is looking after and leading you.''

It is as the great St. Augustine of Hippo taught in his classical De natura et gratia: ''Indeed, we also work, but we are only collaborating with God Who works, for His mercy has gone before us. It has gone before us so that we may be healed, and follows us so that once healed we may be given life; it goes before us so that we may be called, and follows us so that we may be glorified; it goes before us so that we may live devoutly, and follows us so that we may always live with God; for without Him, we can do nothing.''    
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These are words which can encourage all who may be driving considerable distances today for God; or even those who wish they were; and perhaps even for those who wish that they did not have to!

Today is the 12th Sunday after Pentecost in the Traditional Calendar.

Perhaps we could conclude with the heartening words of the Collect prayer for today's Traditional Latin Mass.

Collect: Almighty and Merciful God, of Whose gift it cometh that Thy faithful people do unto Thee due and praiseworthy service: grant, we beseech Thee, that we may run without stumbling to the attainment of Thy promises. Through Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, Who livest and reignest with Thee, and the Holy Ghost, One God, forever and ever, world without end. Amen.

Keep the Faith, friends!

England's (Latest) Sex Abuse Scandal


Torch of The Faith News on Friday 10 August 2018 - 11:02:06 | by admin

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An aerial view of the monastery and school at Ampleforth in North Yorkshire.

The major news here in the UK yesterday related to the shocking findings of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sex Abuse (IICSA), led by Professor Alexis Jay, relating to a ''culture of acceptance of abusive behaviour'' in the Benedictine schools at Ampleforth and Downside.

Even though the violently abusive sexual content of the report already makes for brutal and disturbing reading, the Inquiry has added that the true scale of the sexual abuse of children, some as young as 11 years of age, over a period of 40 years is likely to be considerably higher than is reflected in the number of perpetrators who have been convicted.

As it stands, ten people, mostly monks, connected with Ampleforth and Downside have been convicted or cautioned in relation to offences involving sexual activity with a large number of children, or pornography.

Apparently, men at the schools did not hide their sexual interest in boys from as young as 7 years of age.

In terms of safeguarding, the report states that: ''Both Ampleforth and Downside prioritised the monks and their own reputations over the protection of children, manoeuvring monks away from the schools in order to avoid scandal... Those who received them would sometimes not be adequately informed of the risk.''

That is simply outrageous behaviour.

However, given the disgusting nature and sheer scale of the abuse, what is even more reprehensible is the fact that, as the report notes, ''Downside in particular tried to pave the way for the return of abusive monks after the boys who might have known them had left.''

Professor Jay has noted that, ''For decades, Ampleforth and Downside tried to avoid giving any information about child sex abuse to police and social services... Instead monks in both institutions were secretive, evasive and suspicious of anyone outside the English Benedictine Congregation.''

And further: ''Even after new procedures were introduced in 2001, when monks gave the appearance of co-operation and trust, their approach could be summarised as a 'tell them nothing' attitude.''

As to whether there has been any improvement at these institutions, the report acknowledges the troubling fact that, as recently as 2016 to 2017, information was not passed on to the local authority safeguarding lead regarding four suspected paedophiles who remained at Downside.

In the words of the report: ''The whole incident, having occurred so recently, gives no cause for confidence that the attitudes at Downside had changed enough to put children first over threat to reputation and embarassment to senior members of the monastic order.''

Fr. Ray Blake issued a poignant tweet yesterday in relation to this massive scandal and a video of Michael Voris' about the ongoing scandals in the USA: ''In the UK today fresh revelations about abuse at Downside and Ampleforth schools. I have taken part in the Requiems of boys from these schools who killed themselves. Voris is right, any toleration of abuse leaves blood on our hands and the Church.''

Whilst the content of the Inquiry's report is so foul, impure, violent and extensive as to invite reader discretion, it is good that this filth is at last being brought out into the open and exposed.

I am also glad to see that Fr. Christopher Jamieson, the Abbot General of the English Benedictine Congregation, has welcomed the IICSA's report, has apologised unequivocally to anyone who has been a victim of the abuse and is in the process of developing the English Benedictine community's first ever Safeguarding Charter.

Let us hope that changes will be made in both the hearts and exterior behaviours of all who should have protected children from these monstrous evils.

At the same time, I am reminded of an article which I posted here just a few weeks ago, about a priest with an Ampleforth background who was as rude as Hell to me in 2006. This was because I had challenged him after Mass one Sunday, when he had spoken from the pulpit during Mass in favour of homosexual civil-partnerships and also of divorce and re-''marriage''.

What I said in summary of that errant priest and his behaviour obviously needs to be taken on board by others in his religious community.

I refer to my phrase about, ''the kind of toffee-nosed arrogance which, forgetful of the origins of its treasury of education, sophistication and wealth, has too often marred the Benedictine vocation in latter years.''

To that, alas, it seems that we must also add the sins of sexual abuse, violence and the disgraceful covering up of such abuse.

Whilst it is good that the Benedictines seem willing to clean up their act, the word ''repentance'' does rather seem to have been lacking in their public communications on the matter. 

And let's face it, a number of guys there must have known about this grave abuse of minors. Those who have colluded with this evil must repent and confess their sins and make restitution as far as they are able.

We must pray that the exposure of this culture of abuse will help to bring justice and healing to the victims and their families. Lord have mercy on them, they have suffered immensely.

Postscript

At 02:50 am this morning, I awoke to hear a strange thunderstorm developing a few miles away from here. As the lightning flashes came with increasing regularity, I discovered that the whole household was already awake.

Now, we have lived through some tremendously violent thunderstorms during the two years from 2004-2006 which we spent in Ohio; most notably those during the two consecutive months of May in that period.

There was one night back then when the thunder was so bad that we and our Ohioan neighbours were up through the night watching.

As lightning had flashed and torrents of rain had poured down, a crowd of young people who were huddled under a shop-front canopy had been crazily cheering each of the thunder strikes! The next day, we discovered that a hairdresser's shop, a couple of miles away, had been burned out by a direct hit from one of the immense lightning strikes. 

In May 2009, we also spent a scary day and night in Kansas, during a day of tornados that was so bad that - with sirens blaring and a warning issued that a tornado was on the ground and headed our way - we were evacuated to an underground storm shelter with dozens of other people.

By the end of that day, one man had been killed, barns had been devastated, cars had been picked up and scattered like toys and fields in the area had been wrecked.

In the lead-up to that dramatic storm, we had been sitting with beverages in hands along an open-sided first-floor corridor, with a group of experienced Kansan Catholics, watching magnificent forked lightning strikes searing down from the purple skies all around us.

As the wind kicked up, and downward-pointing cones began to form worryingly from the rapidly twisting clouds in the not-too-distant formations, I asked a wise looking older woman if we ought not to be heading down to the shelter. She smiled knowingly and replied that the time to worry was when the sky turned green and a noise like a runaway diesel train came along the ground. ''That's when you run and don't look back or stop for anything, Honey!''

When the time to move did come, you can rest assured that we were not found lacking in the alacrity department...

Anyway, compared to those American storms, the one we had here last night was in a certain sense nothing to write home about.

Nevertheless, there was such a strange quality in the rumbles of thunder, something like a low and weirdly menacing grumble that I'd never heard before in my life, that I whispered over to Angie about the 3-Days Darkness and the Chastisements.

Perhaps it was just the early hour, maybe it was the charged atmosphere, or even the fact that the dark room kept lighting up with dazzling flashes of white light, but I felt a distinct chill when Angie whispered back that she had just been thinking about all of that too.

When one looks at the state of the Church and the world, we think it worth bearing these things in mind.

After all, it is only a few days since Francis attempted something with his Catechism stunt which, even the day before it happened, few would have believed possible.

And the unfolding scale of sexual abuse by priests who are sacrilegiously saying Mass every day across the globe is just unprecedented.

We keep thinking here of Our Lord's warning about the millstone for those who cause one of His little ones to stumble (Mark 9:42).

May God give us the grace to always live with, for and in Him, for His greater glory. 

Repent, Confess, Pray and Always Be Ready.

St. Benedict - Please pray for all faithful Catholics, for the children who have been harmed and for a restoration of the Order that bears your good name!

Fix-Its Not Fixists, Fisi'!


Torch of The Faith News on Thursday 09 August 2018 - 13:28:58 | by admin

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Archbishop Rino Fisichella's Interview

Diane Montagna has provided a helpful translation, complete with a succinct critique by Dr. Peter Kwasniewski, of an interview, originally given in Italian, by Archbishop Rino Fisichella to Vatican News.

The occasion of the archbishop's interview was to mark the 25th-anniversary of the promulgation of the excellent papal encyclical Veritatis Splendor.

What makes Fisichella's interview so singular is the fact that his confused words stand in such muddied contrast to the crystalline teachings found in the splendid encyclical itself. Indeed, his commentary can be said to actually go against the teachings expressed in Veritatis Splendor. That's quite a result in an interview purporting to celebrate the revered encyclical!

At the same time, Fisichella used the opportunity to even go so far as to disparage those Catholics - i.e. the faithful ones - who find themselves having to stand up as critics of Francis' teachings in these difficult times.

Indeed, in the words of the translation at LifeSiteNews, Archbishop Fisichella accused us all of somehow being ''not faithful to the Tradition of the Catholic Church.''

True and False Development of Doctrine

When Vatican News asked Fisichella about those ''sectors'' in the Church who criticise Francis for departing from Catholic doctrine, and who often point to Veritatis Splendor as the basis for their criticism, the archbishop suggested that, ''one should never use the Magisterium as an instrument to dispute the development of doctrine.''

Now, at this point, all Catholics need to be clear on the fact that an authentic understanding of the concept of ''development of doctrine'' is one which allows for deepening of understandings, and perhaps even of expressions, of already revealed doctrines and dogmas. This is because, reason, of course aided by grace, can enter ever more deeply into the rich depths of God's saving revelation. 

We must also be very clear that this understanding of development is absolutely distinct, and in clear oppositon to, the false and heretical notion that doctrines can ever evolve, or even change, with the times.

Some of the roots of that faulty and heretical understanding are found in the Modernistic currents of immanentism and historicism.

These latter were amply and Magisterially refuted and condemned by, among others, Pope St. Pius X, in his classical 1907 encyclical Pascendi dominici gregis.

The following meme provides a handy summary of the point which I am here making.        
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In contrast to these truths, and those contained in Veritatis Splendor, Archbishop Fisichella suggests, ''When it (the Magisterium) is used as an instrument, then I fear there is no desire to discover the truth and also no fidelity to the tradition of the Church... instead we must reiterate how much continuity there is in the development.''

This represents an attempt to falsely accuse those who are defending the traditional teachings of the Church, as though they were the ones doing the attacking.

The give-away, however, is in that line, ''we must reiterate the continuity in the development.''

If such continuity were clear, then we would not even be having this conversation.

Of course, this all calls to mind Cardinal Kevin Farrell's disingenuous claim in the leftist paper, The Tablet, that Amoris Laetitia was, ''faithful to the doctrine and to the teaching of the Church. It is carrying on the doctrine of Familiaris Consortio of John Paul II.''

If a development in a doctrine were clear then it would be absolutely transparent that the same teaching were being given, only with more depth and, perhaps, application.

We could think of, say, the precise Credo formulated at Nicaea in 325 AD, and the more fully developed Chalcedonian Definition promulgated in continuity in 451 AD.

Closer to our own time, we can see that it is absolutely NOT in the way of a developed continuity to say that, throughout Church history, adulterers were not able to present themselves for Holy Communion, without amendment of life and confession; and then to suddenly say, voila!, now they can!

Or to say from the Council of Trent onwards that Protestants may not receive Holy Communion; and then to claim that, thanks to pastoral reasons, they suddenly can.

Or that the there is any continuity, or even any natural logic, in saying for centuries that the death penalty was always permissable in some circumstances; but now is going to be always inadmissable.

According to natural logic, a thing is what it is; and it can only develop along the lines of its true nature. Just to cite an obvious example, by way of a final illustration: a puppy grows into a fully grown dog; and whilst there can be varieties of dog within the genus ''dog'', a dog can never grow into something else, like a cat.

If there was really a continuity in Francis' problematic developments, as Archbishop Fisichella so vehemently wants us to accept, then it would already be so clear as to require no, or at the very least little, ''reiteration''.

The Norm and the Proclamation

In another remarkable section of his interview, Archbishop Fisichella suggests that Francis displays ''a great openness'' in the work of Evangelization, of not ''putting the norm before the proclamation.''

This statement can be questioned in two ways: firstly in that Francis has consistently spoken out against ''proseltytism''. We may ask how that supports an openness in Evangelization?

For the purposes of the overall thrust of this article, and indeed that of Archbishop Fisichella's interview, we must focus instead on a second aspect: in philosophical terms, there can be no proclamation without the prior existence of a norm.

In other words, and in a classically Catholic sense, Being precedes Doing.

There simply has to be a reality, a central truth, and a message to communicate, in other words a norm, before there can be any proclamation of that norm. Otherwise, what is being proclaimed?

Fixist?

Later in his interview, Archbishop Fisichella suggested that, when we speak of truth, we must always keep in mind a ''dynamic'' concept. ''Truth is not a fixist dimension,'' he claimed.

LifeSiteNews have done well to identify that as having some link to biological evolutionary theories; in that Fixism is ''the non-scientific theory that the species alive today are identical to those of the past and that evolution does not happen.''

Here, I would add what I said above that, whilst there may be development within species, such as birds growing tougher beaks when their environments demand it for survival, there is no development across species; such as birds evolving into anything other than a bird.

Furthermore, I cannot help but hear Fisichella say this and not think of the possible influence of the heretical theological-evolutionary ideas of Teilhard de Chardin, which continue to do so much damage in and beyond the Church.

Archbishop Fisichella claims that the entire truth that Jesus wanted to transmit ''is a truth that opens more and more to a discovery of a mystery that has been revealed''. He develops on that theme to suggest that ''the Catholic Church cannot accept an idea of truth which is ''closed in'' on itself.''

He says, ''The truth, by its very nature, refers to fidelity, but also to freedom. The truth shall make you free.''

In response to that, I would suggest that, what faithful Catholics need to do, is to recognise that it is a false first principle to begin with, to claim that truth can, in any way, be a ''closed in'' reality. Truth is always ''open'' and transparent.

Also, this acknowledgement that there is fidelity, but also freedom, must be correctly discerned in that there is actually fidelity and freedom; not fidelity or freedom. Indeed, it is by being ever more faithful to the truth, that we are thus enabled to become ever more free. This is a correctly Catholic understanding of Our Lord's promise that ''the truth shall make you free.''

We are free for the Truth; not ever free from the Truth.

At the core of his interview, Archbishop Fisichella says that it is the ''encounter'' with Jesus Christ that makes us free. It is this reality which he appears, at least from the LifeSiteNews interpretation, to present as an alternative to a supposedly ''fixist'' position vis a vis Truth.

Faithful Catholics must insist that, as indeed is the case, it is their fidelity to the Person and teachings of Our Lord Jesus Christ, which is the reason for their opposition to Francis' novelties in the realm of Church teaching and moral theology in the first place.

We would say that it is because we love Jesus, and souls, that we are having to stand up against Modernistic re-interpretations of the Faith.

In that sense, we are not fixists... but rather people who desire to see the present mess fixed. Hence the title today of Fix-Its, Not Fixists!

Archbishop Rino Fisichella, like Francis and others in his entourage attack both the true teachings of the Church, and those who find themselves having to defend them, as though we were some kinds of narrow minded stick-in-the-muds. However, their position in doing this is not defendable from either Catholic theology or natural philosophy.

As we have shown, the position presented by Archbishop Fisichella is just not tenable.

As such, it harms the faithful and confuses those who are trying to be faithful; including those who may know there is something wrong with what is now being presented to them, but who find themselves perhaps unable to articulate exactly what it is that is wrong.

Such people can often find themselves distressed when men of Fisichella's position seek to blame the defenders of Catholic teaching, as though it were they, and not those subverting the Faith with their sophistry, who were to blame for the obscuration of Christ's revealed Truth. This is even more so when it is Francis doing both the false teaching and the accusing.

As an antidote to these times of confusion and discouragement for so many good people, may we thus invite all readers to prayerfully and carefully take up the study of three key Magisterial teaching documents: Pascendi dominici gregis (1907); Veritatis Splendor (1993); and Fides et Ratio (1998).

We suggest that these will prove to be excellent sources for understanding and surviving all that is happening at present in the Church and society, with one's faith, and indeed with one's reason, still firmly intact.

St. Pope Pius X - Pray for us!

Keep Your Eyes on Jesus!


Torch of The Faith News on Tuesday 07 August 2018 - 14:49:44 | by admin

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May the Heart of Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament be praised, adored, and loved with grateful affection, at every moment, in all the tabernacles of the world, even until the end of time.

Amen.

Sure Norms...


Torch of The Faith News on Monday 06 August 2018 - 14:04:32 | by admin

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A Sure Norm': The hilarious Norman Wisdom is always sure to give you a laugh; no matter how many times I have seen them since my youth, his daft movie antics, like the lawn-mower sequence alongside the debonair Jerry Desmonde, still crease me up with laughter!

When the present edition of the Catechism of the Catholic Church was promulgated in 1992, the Apostolic Constitution Fidei Depositum declared it to be a ''sure norm'' for teaching Catholic doctrine. It was for this reason that this apostolate, and all the work we did several years ago in the realm of the formation of orthodox catechists, drew so heavily on the Catechism of the Catholic Church, in order to promote fidelity to the authentic teachings of the Church on faith and morals.

There is no doubt that Francis' sudden replacement of the existing paragraph CCC 2267, on the theme of the legitimacy of the death penalty, with a newly minted and liberal-friendly version - based as it is not on Magisterial teaching, but only the personal ideas he himself expressed in the Meeting for the Promotion of the New Evangelization in 2017 - represents a gaping wound to both the content and reputation of that Catechism as being a ''sure norm'' for the teaching of Catholic doctrine.
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Lord Tebbit and Lady Thatcher: When I was a lad of 12, the sight of the wounded Norman Tebbit being carried out from the destruction of the 1984 Brighton Bomb, and learning that this had permanently disabled his wife, forever changed my opinion of the man who had been mercilessly portrayed by Spitting Image as a fascistic and violent Bovver Boy. Although he saw the funny side of the satire against him, Tebbit was in fact a thoughtful family man with an interesting past as a pilot in both the RAF and BOAC. In 1987, he stepped down from politics to care for his injured wife. That fact alone must make him a ''Sure Norm''!

In my first article on this matter on Friday, I acknowledged that the existing 1992 paragraph CCC 2267, whilst remaining well within the boundaries of traditional Catholic teaching, did not itself fully express those teachings in its brief format. Traditionalist readers would no doubt cite various other examples from the 1992 Catechism where this is similarly the case. Nevertheless, the existing CCC 2267, though not fully expressing the traditional teaching, certainly remained in accord with it.

As I also noted on Friday, the radical update of Francis, on the other hand, represents a rupture that is as sudden as it is dramatic.

I did concede in that piece, that it was possible, but only by a contorted reading of what may be implicit, rather than explicit, in the new Francis-version of CCC 2267, to read it as being just short of a formal heresy.

I was thus interested to read Joseph Shaw's conclusions on the possible ambiguity in Francis' new version, in an article he posted up yesterday at the blog of the LMS Chairman.

Mr. Shaw notes: ''This is no accidental ambiguity: it is a design feature. In this case the mouse-hole of ambiguity Conservative Catholics need to crawl through to maintain the continuity through the two editions of the Catechism is humiliatingly small. When they have crawled through it, moreover, they will be ignored.''

Due to the committments we now have, we have not been in a position to give any catechetical presentations, nor to assist with any formation of catechists during the last four years. However, had we been able, I would no longer find myself able in good conscience to recommend to them the newly updated Francis-version of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, in its newly mauled form, as the ''sure norm'' that I once took genuine joy in doing.

I feel that I owe this honest conclusion to all of the sincere catechists and catechumens whose catechetical sessions and lectures I used to lead, and whose carefully crafted essays and workshops I used to mark.  
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Stormin' Norman Schwarzkopf: Watching his flip-chart debriefings on the BBC, during the first Gulf War became something of an institution for my buddies and I, as a group of young 18 year old lads in 1990-91. To us back then, he sure seemed like a Norm who was going to get the military job done speedily enough to save us young blades from having our lives interrupted by being called up!

The reasons I would no longer find myself able to recommend the Francis-Catechism are both theological and philosophical.

At the theological level, the new CCC 2267 looks objectively, in its actual wording, to be a direct breach with the traditional teaching of the Catholic Church on the death penalty. Only with a gymnastic level of contorted reading, drawing on the potentially implicit meanings which, due to the inclusion of the word ''consequently'', I pointed out here on Friday, can it be said to be even possible to read this in light of Tradition.

At the philosophical level, I could not recommend the new Francis-Catechism because it can no longer be described as being either ''sure'' or a ''norm''.

It is not ''sure'', because it fails to impart a clear and unproblematic restatement of Catholic moral teaching in this area.

Again, it is not ''sure'', if Francis can simply change any of its key doctrinal teachings, on any day of the week, with a mere rubber-stamped approval from his own CDF-appointed ''Yes-Man'' Cardinal Ladaria.

It is not a ''norm'', because it is not and cannot be normative; in light of the fact that it is not an expression of the teaching that has been held everywhere and always in the Church.

Also this updated paragraph fails to account for the period of discernment and articulation, which was carried out so carefully among all the bishops of the world, when the 1992 Catechism was being developed. Instead of his oft-touted ''synodal Church'', this intervention merely represents a direct, unilateral expression of Francis' self-assertion over, and even against, the Faith and the faithful. Just at the natural level, how can this be in any way a ''norm'' if it only represents a personal view expressed by Francis in a low-key meeting, not even one year ago?  
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The fictional Norm Peterson in the US TV-comedy Cheers! The sudden appearance of Norm calling out ''Afternoon everybody!'' was as dependable as the laughs and the hilarious one-liners in that long-running sit-com. ''Good Afternoon, Norm'' and ''Hello, Mr. Peterson!''

At the risk of stating the obvious, the Apostolic Constitution asserting the trustworthiness of the Catechism of the Catholic Church as a ''sure norm'' for teaching Catholic doctrine, related to its original pristine form; not to this newly amended text dating to just last week.

What then would I recommend?

Although we have have not been giving any presentations, of any kind in the last four or five years, we do suggest to people with whom we come into contact to obtain and prayerfully read through a copy of the traditional Catechism of the Council of Trent.

I promise you that investing money, time and prayer in the Catechism of the Council of Trent will help and equip you and your family, especially if you study it a paragraph at a time with them each evening, to Keep the Faith, and to test everything disturbing that you see and hear happening these days, in light of Sacred Scripture, Tradition and Magisterium. 

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The 1992 edition of the Catechism of the Catholic Church has now been mauled by Francis and his novelties. Only time will tell if this latest travesty will lead to further invasions of the Catechism. In light of that fact, and our own deepened understanding of Sacred Tradition, we recommend readers to purchase, study and pray through a copy of the Catechism of the Council of Trent. Copies can be obtained from good publishers like Baronius Press Classics.

As a good Catholic priest said to us a few years ago: As a Catholic, you can never be too Traditional.
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Dear Readers: May Christ be your light throughout this present time of testing.

Our Lady of Victories - Pray for us!

Messing with the Catechism...


Torch of The Faith News on Saturday 04 August 2018 - 09:21:13 | by admin

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Messing with the teachings of the Catechism?!!! It's not to be done!

As was predictable, and barely hours after Francis sent out another major Church-quake which was massive even by his standards, homosexualists have started calling for further ''changes'' to be made to the teachings of the Church presented in the Catechism.

And so, the radically dissenting US group known as New Ways Ministry has now suggested: ''It is important for Catholic advocates of LGBT equality to take note of this change because for decades Catholic opponents of LGBT equality argued that it is impossible to change Church teaching. They often pointed to the fact that condemnations of same-sex relationships were inscribed in the Catechism, and so were not open for discussion or change. Yet, the teaching on the death penalty is in the Catechism, too, and, in fact, to make this change in teaching, it was the text of the Catechism that Francis changed.''

This New Ways communication calls to mind an article that first appeared at 1 Peter 5, on the 17th June, 2016, and carried the headline, Theologians Propose to Re-Write Catechism and Canon Law in Light of Amoris Laetitia.

It also bears out precisely the second of the three-fold problems which were outlined in my article here yesterday.

At this point, it is therefore absolutely vital that all Catholics are reminded about - and that Francis himself is called to obey and live out - the actual nature and limits of the charism of papal infallibility, as are so clearly expressed in the Decree of the First Vatican Council pronouncing that very dogma.


In Point 6, of Chapter 3, of the First Vatican Council's Session 4, dated the 18th July, 1870, that vitally important decree affirms the following in regard to the infallible teaching authority of the Roman Pontiff: ''For the Holy Spirit was promised to the successors of St. Peter, not so that they might, by His revelation, make known some new doctrine, but that, by His assistance, they might religiously guard and faithfully expound the Revelation or Deposit of Faith transmitted by the Apostles.''

In other words, this supernatural charism enables the supreme pontiffs to faithfully hand on the full Fidei Depositum from one generation to the next, from the time of Christ and the Apostles all the way on until the end of time; rather than to receive a licence to act like some kind of trendy guru, chanelling the kind of new ''revelations'' and novel teachings that would appeal to the post-modern hipsters and sentimental liberals of an atheistic and thoroughly immoral generation.

I know I've mentioned this twice before in recent years, but given all the confusion knocking about these days, I think it also worth encouraging the faithful once more with the recollection of those helpful words of St. Padre Pio of Pietrelcina, who reminded his spiritual children: ''Keep close to the Catholic Church at all times, for the Church alone can give you true peace, since She alone possesses Jesus, the true Prince of Peace, in the Blessed Sacrament.''
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With God's grace, Keep the Faith! St. Pio did, and he was enduring the sacred Stigmata of Christ for 50 years of his life. May he pray for each and every one of us to remain faithful to Christ and His true teachings; and thus one day arrive safely in our Heavenly Home to love God and there be happy with Him for ever in eternity.

St. Padre Pio - pray for us!

St. Peter and All Holy Pontiffs in Heaven - Pray for us!

Our Lady of Fatima - pray for us!         

From Catechism to Cataclysm


Torch of The Faith News on Friday 03 August 2018 - 10:59:09 | by admin

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Francis wants to abolish the dealth penalty; but is that all he is abolishing?

Traditional Clarity

The beauty about the teaching expressed in paragraphs CCC 2267 of the existing Catechism of the Catholic Church and EV 56 of Evangelium Vitae, is that these acknowledge both the conception of the dignity of the human person and the possibility of legitimate resort to use of the death penalty in extreme circumstances.

If one studies the traditional teaching of the Church on the death penalty, from Sacred Scripture, St. Augustine, St. Thomas Aquinas, the Council of Trent and Popes Innocent I, Innocent III and Pius XII, and subsequently reflects on the in-depth philosophical treatment of those traditional teachings as found in Professor Romano Amerio's Iota Unum, it is clear to see that even the teachings on CCC 2267 and EV 56 left out a deep explanation of the reasons the death penalty had come to be accepted in the first place.

For example, Professor Amerio explains the fact that, whilst removal of the death penalty to protect the purpose of human existence is often thought to be religiously inspired, it is in fact irreligious.

This is because, such a position overlooks the fact that, from a Catholic view, ''earthly life is not an end in itself, but a means to life's moral goal, a goal that transcends the whole order of subordinate worldly goods.''

Speaking of criminals condemned to death, Amerio reflects: ''Therefore, to take away a man's life is by no means to take away the transcendent end for which he was born and which guarantees his true dignity.''

Amerio develops his theme by reminding his readers that the death penalty can thus be expiatory.

This is so, in that it can allow particularly grave sinners a profound opportunity to repent and, with the assistance of the sacraments and ministrations of a Catholic priest, to make salvific and sanctifying reparation, by means of their death.

This much-overlooked aspect can be found in various expressions of the classical position.

As Amerio concludes: ''Capital punishment comes to be regarded as barbarous in an irreligious society, that is shut within earthly horizons and which feels it has no right to deprive a man of the only good he has.''

Although CCC 2267 and EV 56 left out any developed discussion of these themes, or indeed of other classical understandings of the dignity of the human person - which actually acknowledged the existentially diminished dignity of a murderer in contrast to, say, an innocent newly baptised baby - those two key paragraphs could nevertheless still be seen to uphold the natural moral law and the traditional teaching of the Church.

This was so because both the Catechism and Evangelium Vitae allowed the legitimacy of the death penalty in extreme cases.

Therefore, whilst clearly desiring for the death penalty to be made very rare, those paragraphs did not explicitly go against the natural law or the constant teaching of the Magisterium.

It is very important to note the natural law dimension, because the authentic teaching on the death penalty is indeed part of the natural law, which can be accessed and known by all people of good will and reason with sufficient rational reflection.

Sudden Rupture

This is where Francis' sudden announcement, yesterday, of a change in the CCC on this point is as destructive as it is dramatic.

To suddenly suggest that the death penalty is now, always and everywhere,''inadmissable'' would certainly be to cut oneself off from the natural law and the constant teaching of the Magisterium on this point. It would also make the Church appear untrustworthy in her truth claims if she were to perform a dramatic u-turn on previous fundamental teachings.

Formal Heresy?

Now, Francis' updated paragraph CCC 2267 - the ''smoking paragraph''?!!! - does indeed clearly say that the death penalty is ''inadmissable''.

At the same time, it looks to me that Francis has just stopped very slightly short of proclaiming a formal heresy, because the ''new teaching'' is expressed as being consequent; it actually says ''consequently'', on the factors including both the conception of the dignity of the human person and the presence of more effective systems of detention which have been developed in our day.

Of course, it is essential to grasp - and this newly envisioned paragraph CCC 2267 fails to express this - that not all places do have such developed systems of detention. Nor will they necessarily always and absolutely have everywhere in the future.

Also, as we've alluded above, the present-day discussion of the dignity of the human person has left out some of the classical dimensions as explored in more depth by Professor Romano Amerio. Any authentic understanding of human dignity must take these into account.

Even though I think this ''consequent'' nature of the newly imposed paragraph could be argued to have stopped short of actual formal heresy, as in the fact that its ''consequent'' nature would be obliterated if, say, secure systems of detention were not present somewhere and thus the death penalty could still be resorted to, the new paragraph's wording does not explicitly acknowledge this fact. I am drawing out a potential argument which is implicit in the new paragraph; but it is only implicit with much scrutiny of the words. 

In any case, I think that the paragraph's use of the words ''in light of the Gospel'' may actually undo my ''consequent'' argument there.

In other words, Francis would not have stopped short of formal heresy. But look, we are Catholics, and the teaching of a Catechism is supposed to be a clear expression of ongoing traditional teachings. We're not meant to have to strain gnats, or to perform mental gymnastics, in trying to keep our faith, and that of our catechumens, from being broadsided by theological scandal from popes...

Real and Present Danger

All that being said, those who are still in touch with the genuine sensus fidelium are, in any case, right on target in their very real concerns about the implications of Francis' sudden intervention.

Just as a related aside, it really is remarkable to me, and suggestive of an incredible amount of hubris, that Francis' new paragraph says ''Consequently, the Church teaches'' and then provides a footnote to one of his own addresses given in October 2017 to the Participants in the Meeting for the Promotion of the New Evangelization. In other words, he claims that a recent, and pretty low-level speech of his own, be identified as the teaching of the Church!

But then, hasn't that so often been the case with Francis and his self-referential ''airplane magisterium''?

Opening Gambit?

In any case, astute commentators have rightly noticed that, with this particular teaching, Francis looks to have gone for an opening ''soft-option'' in a direct assault on the teaching of the existing Catechism. There is a genuine concern that, bad as it is, this could just be the start of a very slippery slope.

For instance, it would appear that many ''conservatives'' - and thus naturally pro-life Catholics - are likely to agree about the desirability of removing the death penalty, based upon their own truncated understanding of the dignity of the human person, in relation to the wider issues of salvation and sanctification.

Perhaps, it might seem that Francis would thus have a broad base of acceptance for his initial direct changing of a paragraph in the present Catechism.

Three-fold Problem

The problem with that position is three-fold.

1). Firstly, whilst it may be acceptable to work for the abolition of the death penalty in practice, it is also essential to always uphold its potential use in principle. Only in that way can the natural law, authentic Magisterial Tradition and, in some times, places and situations, the safety and protection of the citizenry from evil doers, be preserved.

2). In the second place, if Francis were to be seen to ''get away'' with a direct ransacking of the Catechism in this manner, then the door would have been blown permanently wide open for him to wreak further catechetical hit and run attacks in the future. If this precedent were allowed, who would be able to stop him in the future?

And, with Francis' radical homosexualist friend, Fr. James Martin S.J., being officially chosen and backed by Francis' Vatican to speak at the upcoming World Day for Families in Ireland, even though he has called for the language about ''intrinsic disorder'' to be excised from the present Catechism, then it doesn't take a rocket scientist to see where things might be headed to next...

3). If Francis can so easily change a moral teaching on something so fundamental, then why should anyone ever believe anything else that the Church, or more specifically, he, ever says in the future, or has said in the past?

Resisting the Cataclysm

Given all of the above, the College of Cardinals, the Bishops of the Universal Church, ordained priests, qualified Church theologians and philosophers, parents, catechists, teachers and everyone down to your own dear old granny, need to raise their voices and call for this latest radical change to be tested and qualified by Sacred Tradition.

In short: Francis needs to be called on to the carpet to account for himself.

And whilst we're all at it, we might like to pray about why Francis so consistently seems to run so very, very close, and with such reckless abandon, against the charism of protection from error, which is given to all the true successors of St. Peter.

In the meantime, if you are heading off to scrub your existing CCC 2267 and stick in the new version, then you might consider also scrubbing the word ''Catechism'' and inserting the word ''Cataclysm''.

As in, the Cataclysm of the Catholic Church...

For, I believe that is what we are living through.

But it won't be the end of the Catholic Church.

We've Our Lord's promises and the direct and ongoing protection of the Holy Ghost to guarantee that.

Keep the Faith!

Our Lady of Fatima - Pray for us!    

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