Friday, 15 January


And…Friday! [Charlotte was Both]

Homeschooling in Alabama


On fighting the good fight []

Last year witnessed the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Ypres, perhaps one of the most vicious battles of WWI. One of the great problems in that battle involved the fatigue of the men in the trenches. Many died, and many suffered from battle fatigue.

Someone asked me recently if one could ever take a rest from spiritual warfare. I said no. She is exhausted with spiritual problems, serious ones, in her family. I get tired as well, very tired of fighting the good fight.

But, one cannot rest until God gives us rest. God does give respite, but only in His time  When one is in the army or marines, one gets relieved from duty for r & r. But, in the spiritual life, there is little or no r & r,

To fight the fight, one must rest in Jesus in little ways. Prayer is the basis of strength. But, once in a awhile, God sends troops to take over so one can rest a bit.

This has happened to me this week. I have a semi-serious physical problem and had to get  off my feet. I do not like to rest, but I have to do so. While I have been “down”, God has blessed me with angelic people to surround my day. I did not expect this r & r. It will come to an end soon, but for this week, I get a small break out of the trenches.

This does not mean I can stop praying, and in fact, I need to use the down time to pray more.

But, for those who feel exhausted in the fight, trust in God. When He thinks you have had enough, He will take you off the front line and stick you in the back, even if just for a bit, in order to refresh your spirit to go forward again.


'How good it is for brothers to be together' – a papal history in synagogues [CNA Daily News - Vatican]

Vatican City, Jan 15, 2016 / 04:07 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- On Sunday Pope Francis will become the third pontiff to cross the threshold of the Major Temple in Rome, the most important and significant synagogue in the city.

Thirty years have passed since the historic visit of John Paul II in 1986, and in these decades the relationship between Jews and Catholics has become closer, more intense, and, because of this, not absent of difficulty.

St. John Paul II brought the spirit of Nostra Aetate into the synagogue, making the historic document that reshaped Catholicism’s relationship with Judaism concrete when in 1986 he became the first Pope since the first century to ever set foot in a synagogue.

But the story as to how John Paul II’s decision to visit Rome’s Major Synagogue came about has a little-known twist, beginning with the planning of an international papal trip.

In an interview with CNA, Gianfranco Svidercoschi, a longtime Vatican correspondent, the former vice-director of the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano and a biographer of St. John Paul II, recounted the story.

He said that Fr. Roberto Tucci, former president of Vatican Radio and the previous organizer of papal trips, had been sitting with John Paul II discussing his upcoming 1987 visit to the United States.

“Among the various invitations, one was from an American rabbi who asked the Pope to visit his synagogue,” Svidercoschi said, adding that John Paul II was “very much in favor of it, of course, seeing as how in 1985 he wasn't afraid, at the White House, to meet with young Muslims.”

But it was at this point that Fr. Tucci “had an intuition: 'if a Pope is going to a synagogue, the first needs to be the Synagogue of Rome.'”

So, it was following this train of thought that St. John Paul II decided to visit the Synagogue of Rome, becoming the first Pope in modern history to do so. From that historic gesture in 1986, it has almost become a habit.

Rabbi Elio Toaff, Chief Rabbi of Rome at the time, was the first to go and meet John Paul II in a visit to the parish of San Carlo ai Catinari in 1981. But then the next year, on April 13, 1986, the story took a great leap forward.

After John Paul II’s revolutionary embrace with Toaff, a great promoter of dialogue, the speech of the Polish Pope who had grown up with Jewish friends in Krakow was a lesson on the Second Vatican Council.

The Pope gave his thanks and recalled the many efforts of Pope St. John XXIII, who laid the groundwork for Nostra Aetate, and expressed his “abhorrence” for the Nazi genocide.

He also remembered how the Church came to the aid of Jews during the dark years of persecution in the Second World War by opening the doors of their convents and seminaries to those who went into hiding.

The Pope noted that the relationship Christians have with the Jews is one that they don’t have with any other religion, and pointed to common areas of collaboration in a society that has forgotten the sacred. He then asked for help from the Jewish community, the oldest in Rome, in making Rome a better city.

Many years then passed before another, historic visit took place. The German Pope Benedict XVI arrived to the Seat of Peter, and first wanted to visit the synagogue in Cologne, a tragic reminder of the “Kristallnackt,” or “the Night of Broken Glass.”

The Kristallnackt refers to a massive, coordinated attack against the Jews that took place throughout the German Reich the night of Nov. 9, 1938.

While in Cologne for World Youth Day in 2005, Benedict XVI visited the city’s synagogue, and recalled the 60 years since the liberation from the Nazis.

In his speech, Benedict resumed the path of John Paul II, and took another step forward, condemning the antisemitism which in Europe raises its head like a dragon all too often. He also drew attention to the commitment of the German bishops, and said that we must love one another and put the Ten Commandments again at the center of Jewish-Christian dialogue.

From there, Benedict XVI’s reflections began again when on Jan. 17, 2010, just six years ago, he crossed the threshold of Rome’s Major Temple as a symbol of the “emancipation” of the Jews in Rome.

Rabbi Toaff had by then aged and become ill, but still wanted to greet the Pope. So Benedict went to his house and this time, the first embrace took place in his doorway.

In the synagogue to welcome Pope Benedict after was Rabbi Riccardo Di Segni. It will also be he who receives Pope Francis this Sunday, Jan. 17.

“How good it is for brothers to be together,” the German Pope had said. And in one act the misunderstandings that often punctuate dialogue between Catholics and Jews seemed to dissolve.

Then he gave his reflection, almost in a rabbinic style, on the commandments and on mercy.

One mustn’t forget the destruction of the extermination, he said; a German, who had visited Auschwitz asking for forgiveness. “How is it possible,” he said in the synagogue, “to forget their faces, their names, their tears – the desperation of men, women and children?”

Benedict retraced the common values of the two religions, from safeguarding life to caring for creation.

Then, on the Ten Commandments, he said that “all of the commandments are summed up in the love of God and in mercy toward others.”

The key to everything, the point of union, is the mercy which “urges Jews and Christians to exercise, in our time, a special generosity towards the poor, towards women and children, strangers, the sick, the weak and the needy,” he said.

“In the Jewish tradition there is a wonderful saying of the Fathers of Israel: ‘Simon the Just often said: The world is founded on three things: the Torah, worship, and acts of mercy,’ he said.

In exercising justice and mercy, “Jews and Christians are called to announce and to bear witness to the coming Kingdom of the Most High, for which we pray and work in hope each day,” Benedict XVI continued.

Pope Francis, for whom mercy has been the center of his pontificate, will arrive to the synagogue in the Holy Year of Mercy with a personal history of relationships with Jewish friends from Buenos Aires.

Perhaps his reflection will also be on that very subject of mercy, from the faith of brothers.


Paging Randy Engel! Paging Bella Dodd! Decoding the 'gay lobby'... [Abbey Roads]

Whatever do you mean?

From John Allen:
[W]hen Italians say there’s a “gay lobby” in the Vatican, they don’t mean an organized faction with the aim of changing Church teaching on homosexuality or same-sex marriage. 
Instead, what they have in mind is an informal, loosely organized network of clergy who support one another, keep one another’s secrets, and help one another move up the ladder. The group is perceived to have a vested interest in thwarting attempts at reform, since they benefit from secrecy and old-guard ways. 
It’s called “gay” because, the theory goes, a Vatican official’s homosexuality can be a very powerful secret, especially if he’s sexually active, and threatening to expose him can be an effective way of keeping him in line. It’s hardly the only such possibility, however, and, in any event, the emphasis is not on sex but secrecy, as well as the related impression of people getting promoted or decisions being made on the basis of personal quid pro quos. 
That’s not to say that the perception of a widespread presence of gays in the clergy isn’t a strong part of the picture, especially in light of the furor last fall over Polish Monsignor Krzysztof Charamsa, the former Vatican official who outed himself on the brink of a controversial Synod of Bishops on the family. 
Yet the speculation over a “lobby” isn’t really about sexual orientation, but the impression of a system in which people living personally conflicted lives look out for one another. In that sense, the term “gay lobby” is often synonymous for Italian-speakers with corruption, secrecy, and a sleazy sort of personal patronage. - John Allen

Get it?

To paraphrase:
The emphasis is not on homo-sex and orgies and bathhouse shenanigans, much less lace and leather - but secrecy, as well as the related impression of people getting promoted or decisions being made on the basis of personal quid pro quos. Such as I kept your secret so you keep mine and give me a nice parish.

Why does John Allen understand this when clerics who have lived and worked in the Vatican don't?  Or at least say they don't.

BTW:  Did they ever find the eleven hundred Communists Bella Dodd claimed weaseled their way into seminaries and rose to the top of the hierarchy just in time to call a Council and destroy the Church?  You would have thought she'd have a list with names, locations, and titles.



Will you join Francis in praising Martin Luther? [Vox Cantoris]

Luther In Hell, Egbert van Heemskerck, d. 1710

These pathetic Romans from Bergoglio on down can honour Luther all they want.

I won't.

Who's next, Calvin? How about Henry VIII? Maybe the wretched murderer Elizabeth I or Mahomet? Shall we honour them too along with David Bowie?

Luther was an antichrist and he remains so, notwithstanding whatever corruption existed in Rome - none of which justified his actions which has lead to the loss of tens, nay - hundreds of millions of souls. 

They are simply, wrong.

Important - Lutheran World Federation, Pontifical Council for Christian Unity launch "Common Prayer" service extolling Martin Luther and the Reformation

By their fruits...

Last year saw unprecedented expressions of "openness" on the part of some Vatican officials (including the Pope) and official Catholic structures towards Lutheranism.
First there was the support expressed by a Vatican spokesman for the renaming of a square in the central part of Rome after Martin Luther, support that was never disowned by any higher ecclesiastical authority in Rome. Adventists and Lutherans had been trying since 2009 to get a square in Rome named for Luther, but the effort garnered success -- and Vatican support -- only last year.


Balthasar’s Delirious Hope that All be Saved [Theological Flint]

This is from Theological Flint

Hans Urs von Balthasar’s work has been gaining steady influence in the Church. Whoever reads his work must be impressed by his erudition and the vast sweep of his vision. And indeed he has many insights and has pioneered a way of doing theology that ought to be taken up in many of its respects, […]

The post Balthasar’s Delirious Hope that All be Saved appeared first on Theological Flint.


Ja sowas gibt's noch: Kirchenneubau in Poing bei München [Beiboot Petri]

In vielen Teilen Deutschlands - besonders bei den Protestanten - überlegt man ja schon, "überflüssige" Kirchen zu verkaufen. Manche wird abgerissen, manche einer anderen Nutzung zugeführt.

Aber: Bayern baut auf. Das macht Hoffnung. Und 2017 soll sie fertig sein und geweiht werden.
Die Münchner Kirchennachrichten begleiten diesen Neubau über die Zeit und wir freuen uns drauf und schauen gerne zu!


Pope Francis kicks off monthly works of mercy with surprise visits [CNA Daily News - Vatican]

Vatican City, Jan 15, 2016 / 01:05 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- True to form, the pope of the surprise papal visit dropped by two different nursing homes in Rome unannounced on Friday. The visits kicked off the Pope’s monthly works of mercy, which he plans to do on Fridays during the Jubilee Year of Mercy.

The Pope’s first visit on Friday, Jan. 15 was to the Bruno Buozzi Retirement Home on Via di Torre Spaccata, on the outskirts of Rome, which houses 33 elderly people.

Pope Francis was able to speak briefly with each person during his visit. He was accompanied by Archbishop Rino Fisichella, President of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization.

Before returning to the Vatican, the pope made a second surprise stop at the “Casa Irde,” a home where six persons in a vegetative state live with their families and are provided assistance.

According to a Vatican statement, with these visits, Pope Francis wanted to emphasize the great importance of elderly persons, of grandparents, and the value and dignity of life in every situation.

In December, Pope Francis said in an interview with the official website for the Jubilee of Mercy that he would be making “different gestures” of mercy once a month on Fridays during the Holy Year.

“The revolution of tenderness is that which, today, we must cultivate as a fruit of this year of mercy: the tenderness of God toward each one of us,” the Pope told the official Jubilee publication ‘Credere’.

That the first of his Friday visits were a surprise should not be, well, surprising, to anyone who’s been following Francis’ pontificate.

From early on in his pontificate, Francis has been surprising the people of Rome by showing up in unexpected places – to pay his hotel bill, to get some new glasses – to the delight of many.

In July 2014, the Pope showed up unannounced at a Vatican cafeteria to lunch with some blue-collar
employees of the Holy See.

In February of last year, Francis surprised residents of the Arcobaleno shantytown with a visit before making his way to say Mass at the Roman Parish of San Michele Arcangelo.

In Oct. 2015, Pope Francis paid an inaugural – and, yes, surprise – visit to the “Gift of Mercy” house, a newly built Vatican shelter for homeless men.

The Jubilee of Mercy is an Extraordinary Holy Year that began December 8 – the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception – and will close Nov. 20, 2016 with the Solemnity of Christ the King.

(function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); = id; js.src = "//"; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);}(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk'));Surprise! It's Pope Francis.Watch: Residents at two nursing homes in Rome got the surprise of a lifetime.

Posted by Catholic News Agency on Friday, January 15, 2016


Es bleibt immer was kleben [katholon]


Grafik: Peter Esser

Es war schon ein nicht ganz kleiner Erfolg. Die KNA (Katholische Nachrichtenagentur) hat heute eine Meldung zurück gezogen, weil darin der Erzbischof von Toledo falsch zitiert wurde. Die neue Meldung ist butterweich und spricht davon, der Erzbischof von Toledo, Braulio Rodriguez, weise Vorwürfe entschieden zurück. Es folgt dann in der neuen Meldung das korrekte Zitat und eine Klarstellung.

Zu verdanken ist dieser Erfolg zwei Bloggerinnen, die sorgfältig recherchiert und berichtet hatten. Damit sollte die Sache nun aus der Welt sein, zumal sogar in der Wikipedia läßt im Artikel über Erzbischof Rodriguez die Erwähnung des Rückzugs der KNA- Meldung unangetastet. Damit sollte die Ente aus dem Teich sein. Daß andere Medien, die ebenfalls die falsche KNA- Meldung übernommen haben, die Korrektur übernehmen, ist realistischerweise nicht zu erwarten. In der Welt steht der einschlägige Artikel unverändert. Eine rühmliche Ausnahme bildet das Domradio, denn hier wurde nach Protesten auf der FB-Seite des Senders der Artikel zunächst offline gestellt, nach Klärung erfolgte sogar eine Entschuldigung der Redaktion.

So geht das. Was rückblickend auf den Tag und dieses Ereignis festzustellen ist, ist die Mustergültigkeit der Abläufe. Es bringt gar nichts, sich auf die Straße zu stellen und „Lügenpresse“ zu brüllen. Da gehen nur die Klappen runter und jeder bestätigt sich selber seiner guten Meinung, alle haben Recht und keiner bekommt Ruhe. Es hilft nur eines, wenn man den Verdacht hegt, eine Berichterstattung könne falsch sein: Selber nachsehen, selber recherchieren und dort zu Wort melden, wo man sich zu Wort melden kann. Da gibt es Blogs, Facebook und nicht zuletzt Twitter, um sich Gehör zu verschaffen. Es braucht Netzwerke, wir sind ja keine Redaktion mit gut bezahlten Journalisten, also müssen viele helfen. Findet man die Wahrheit und gelingt es, sie öffentlich zu machen, kann man auch Erfolge verbuchen. Keine Frage, es ist und bleibt mühsam, ärgerlich und oft auch von Mißerfolg gekrönt. Doch es lohnt sich, denn der stete Tropfen höhlt den Stein. Wenn die Agenturen, die Redaktionen und die Kolleginnen und Kollegen von der schreibenden Zunft wissen, daß ihnen kritische Leser mit eigenen Publikationskanälen im Nacken sitzen, werden sie sorgfältiger. Das ist keine Drohung, wir tun niemandem weh. Wir wollen eine gute, starke und glaubwürdige Presselandschaft. Und dieses Ziel ist zugleich der Weg. Wenn es nämlich gelingen sollte, in Blogs und sozialen Medien wirklich als gleichberechtigte Mitbewerber angesehen zu werden, wird die Presse nicht schlechter. Ganz im Gegenteil, größere Sorgfalt birgt das Potential höherer Qualität. Leider kann man eine Falschmeldung noch so gut enthüllen, es bleibt immer etwas kleben. Dennoch wird nicht aufgegeben.

Ein ganz eigener Fall ist die Kirche. Von den säkularen Medien wird sie erst einmal unter Generalverdacht gestellt. Man traut ihr alles erdenklich schlechte zu. Machen wir uns auch da keine Illusionen. Wir werden die Lüge nicht aus der Welt bekommen, denn der Vater der Lüge ist der Fürst der Welt. Und dieser versucht die Kirche zu schwächen wo es eben geht. Dem ist jedes Mittel und jeder noch so unbedarfte Helfer recht. Man kann von Medienvertretern im allgemeinen nicht erwarten, die Kirche in ihrer übernatürlichen Wirklichkeit zu verstehen. Das wäre zu viel verlangt. Nicht zu viel verlangt wäre es, die Kirche nicht stetig unter Generalverdacht zu stellen, ihr Sein und ihre Lehre als gegeben hinzunehmen und auf dieser Basis fair zu berichten. Doch auch die Kirche selbst ist im Medienzirkus nicht das unschuldige Lämmchen, das ganz unbedarft zum Opfer wird.

Die Medienwelt unserer Tage fremdelt mit der Kirche und ihrer Eigenart. Sie nimmt die Kirche primär als eine soziale oder gesellschaftliche Größe hin. Einige Vorurteile spielen immer wieder ihre unrühmliche Rolle. Die Kirche ist reich, die Kirche ist mächtig und die Kirche will eigentlich nur immer mehr Geld und Macht. Das ist idealtypisch überspitzt, der Blick des Mainstreams auf die Kirche. Natürlich ist die Kirche auch ein großer Player im sozialen Bereich. Sie ist nützlich als moralische Instanz, so lange sie nicht allzu konträr gegen die Moral des Zeitgeistes steht. Auch hier natürlich alles nur überspitzt darstellbar in der Kürze. Die Neigung des Staates, der Gesellschaft und nicht zuletzt der Medien ist es, aus der Kirche eine politisch, sozial und moralisch nützliche NGO zu machen. Unterm Strich also ihr die Zähne der Transzendenz zu ziehen, denn allein der Gedanke an überweltliche und überzeitliche Wahrheit, für die die Kirche steht, ist dem Zeitgeist der relativistischen Medienzeit unserer Tage ein Ärgernis, das größer nicht sein könnte.

Mit dieser Sicht auf die Kirche läßt sich viel erklären. Es läßt sich damit auch erklären, warum viele Fachjournalisten in großen Medienhäusern wohl Theologie studiert haben, mithin fachlich gut qualifiziert sein dürften, jedoch ihre nicht selten gebrochene Biografie mit der Kirche in ihrem Schaffen abarbeiten. Diese Gruppe Journalisten mit wirklich großer Fach- und Sachkenntnis sind sehr beliebt in den Redaktionen. Eine andere Gruppe zeichnet sich durch eine unglaubliche Ahnungslosigkeit bezüglich der Wirklichkeit der Kirche, ihrer Lehre und ihrer Praxis aus. Jedenfalls ist dies der Eindruck, den man als Insider gewinnen kann, liest man deren Texte. Die Folge ist, da es sich ja bei beiden Gruppen, natürlich auch hier wieder nur idealtypisch gerastert, durchaus um gute Journalisten und zum Teil exzellente Schreiber handelt, eine Fülle von Berichten über die Kirche, die einem die Tränen in die Augen treiben. Zudem verfolgen gerade viele Journalisten der erstgenannten Gruppe eine mehr oder weniger persönliche Reformagenda, wie die Kirche denn werden soll. (Frauenpriestertum, Zölibat weg, Ehe relativieren und dem Zeitgeist anpassen etc.)

Aus dieser Lage heraus destilliert sich das Bild, das der Leser, der selber der Kirche fern steht, von dieser Kirche nur bekommen kann. Die Fremdheit wird zunehmend größer. Man will zwar die Kirche irgendwie noch, weil sie ja, was nirgendwo ernsthaft bestritten wird, nützlich ist. Man will sie aber zurecht gestutzt wissen. Aus dem eigenen Leben soll sie sich raushalten. Man zahlt, man erwartet die Dienstleistungen. Fertig. Hier treffen sich die Erwartungshaltungen und die verschiedensten Reformagenden. Es ist ein Bild von der Kirche, das nur noch ein Zerrbild sein kann. Und so glaubt dann jeder sofort, daß ein Erzbischof solche Sachen gesagt haben könnte, wie sie Erzbischof Rodriguez unterstellt wurde.

Umso erstaunlicher ist allerdings, daß eine solche Meldung von einer Nachrichtenagentur verbreitet wurde, die nicht nur katholisch heißt, sondern sich auch noch im Besitz des VDD (Verband der Diözesen Deutschlands) befindet. Es ist nicht mehr und nicht weniger als ein Blitzlicht, der für einen Moment sichtbar erhellt hat, was man sonst eher müsam durchleuchten muß. Das Medienverhalten der Kirche ist von einer ungeheuren Komplexität. Es ist ja nicht so, daß die Kirche der Welt hilflos ausgeliefert wäre, auch nicht der Medienwelt. In Deutschland hat jede Diözese, jeder Verband, jeder Verein seine Pressestelle. Dort sitzen (fast) überall professionelle Journalisten. Das Sekretariat der DBK hat seine eigene Pressestelle und versucht nicht nur die Medienarbeit der katholischen Kirche zu vereinheitlichen, sondern auch selber aktiv in Medienprozesse einzugreifen. Das Ziel dabei ist, in den Medien möglichst gut da zu stehen. Dazu zieht mal alle Register der modernen Public Relations und Public Affairs. Man spielt mit im großen Spiel der Medienwelt. Man lädt ein zu exklusiven Hintergrundgesprächen und weiß sich als guter Gastgeber. Auch wenn so ein kleiner Blogger natürlich niemals zu so einer großen Gesprächsrunde eingeladen würde, bei keiner Veranstaltung der DBK, bei der ich als Journalist akkreditiert war, mußte ich hungern oder dursten. Im Gegenteil, man wird dort immer großzügig bewirtet.

Darüber hinaus wird die Kirche in der Medienwelt auch selber aktiv. Eigene Portale, eigene Druckerzeugnisse, eine eigene Journalistenschule, eine eigene Nachrichtenagentur und nicht zuletzt eine Consultingfirma für professionelle Medienarbeit. Das alles im Besitz kirchlicher Träger, zumeist in den Händen des VDD oder dessen Tochterfirmen. Da kann so manch ein großer Konzern neidisch werden, wenn man sich die Medienpower der Kirche ansieht. Und doch steht die Kirche nicht selten als begossener Pudel in der Medienlandschaft. Da werden Bischöfe gejagt, Kleinigkeiten skandalisiert und jeder Priester der wegen Zölibat sein Amt aufgibt, wird zur Schlagzeile. Andererseits ist die große Botschaft der Kirche keine Randnotiz wert. Es gelingt inzwischen nicht einmal mehr in den Medien die zentralen Inhalte der großen Feste, die auch gesetzliche Feiertage sind, angemessen zu kommunizieren.

Der Grund dafür ist allerdings auch nicht einfach so in drei Zeilen darstellbar. Auch hier liegt wieder eine Gemengelage vor, die sehr komplex ist. Medienarbeit, das ist eine Binsenweisheit, lebt von Menschen. Menschen recherchieren, durchdenken und schreiben die Nachrichten, die Kommentare und eben auch die Pressemeldungen. Meist sitzen an beiden Enden Journalisten. Die Kirche bildet sogar ihre eigenen Journalisten aus. Das ifp hat nach wie vor einen exzellenten Ruf als Journalistenschule. Doch auch das ifp kann nur die Menschen ausbilden, die vorhanden sind. Die Jahrgänge der ifp- Voluntäre und -Stipendiaten bilden die Wirklichkeit der Kirche und der Gesellschaft ab. Diese Wirklichkeit beinhaltet einerseits den Willen zur Kirche zu gehören, aber zugleich das große Fremdeln (oft auf Grund von Unkenntnis) mit Glaube und Praxis eben dieser Kirche. Von einem Jahrgang ifp- Voluntäre oder -Stipendiaten werden eben auch nur ca. 10% regelmäßig die Sonntagsmesse besuchen. Es werden nicht mehr und nicht weniger als in der gesamten Kirche Humanae vitae ablehnen oder den Katechismus für einen römischen Glaubensvorschlag mit geringer Verbindlichkeit halten. Das ist eine Wirklichkeit, der man nicht ausweichen kann. Da kommen am Ende tolle, super qualifizierte Journalisten raus. Gläubiger sind die deswegen aber noch lange nicht. Mehr Wissen über den Glauben erlangen sie auch nicht. (Daran könnte man allerdings was machen.)

Wer sich nun als fragt, wieso eine KNA einen solche kirchenkritische zum einen überhaupt und zum anderen auch noch als Ente in die Welt setzen kann, zähle einfach mal eins und eins zusammen. Die Mechanismen, die im Mediengetriebe ablaufen,  kann man in vielen Fällen sogar leicht erkennen, wenn man die obige sehr grobe Darstellung mal als Schablone auf das Geschehen legt.

Man versteht dann auch, warum man die Blogger nicht mag, warum man – am liebsten gestern noch – loswerden möchte. Man versteht aber auch, daß man selbige fürchtet, verachtet, ja teilweise regelrecht haßt. Im Gegensatz zu den Profis, den angestellten und recht gut bezahlten Redakteuren, sind sowohl die Mitarbeiter von als auch die Blogger tatsächlich gläubige Überzeugungstäter. Und es zeigt sich, je schlechter die Profis werden, umso mehr legt die Professionalität derer zu, die privat als Katholiken in Fragen der Kirche und des Glaubens publizieren. Es nimmt auch die Zahl derer zu, die aktiv werden.

Wir brauchen also gar nicht „Lügenpresse“ brüllen. Wir enthüllen die Enten einfach. Nicht immer, aber immer öfter.


7QT: Catapults, Chimes, and Cosplaying Kids [Unequally Yoked]

— 1 — I’ve been making some progress on the books I earmarked to read in 2016, but I had to make time for a book titled Catapult: Harry and I Build a Siege Weapon, which was pretty much everything I hoped it would be.  Here’s a passage from early in the book: I got off [Read More...]


A Little Sanity on Gender Disorder from the Nebraska Bishops [LES FEMMES - THE TRUTH]

Two thumbs up for the Nebraska Bishops who recently came out with a statement on student participation in sports urging the Nebraska Schools Activities Association (NSAA) to support a policy that children participate in activities according to the sex listed on their birth certificates. Frankly, it's just common sense. Why should boys who generally have greater size and strength be allowed to participate in girls' sports. It's unfair to the girls who work hard to excel to have to compete against boys. How many girls could beat a 6'2" guy (like Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner) in a layup playing on the girls' basketball team? And what kind of injuries could a guy in a girl's uniform do to his opponent on the girl's wrestling team? Somebody needs a reality check!

That these issues are even being discussed seriously shows how dystopian our culture is. Gender disorder is just that, a mental disorder. Many people don't feel comfortable in their bodies: fat people, skinny people, people with eating disorders, people with handicaps. It's time for somebody to say, "Get over it or get treatment, but don't expect the world to cater to your imaginary world. Your feelings, no matter how sincere and intense, do not trump reality!" 

Little children love to pretend. In dance class they often pretend to be flowers opening to the sun or butterflies flitting here and there or birds on the wing. But pretending something doesn't make it so. The little dancer doesn't become a flower or a a butterfly or a bird. A person can have many different feelings. He may feel bullish in the morning and high as a kite at happy hour. But those feelings don't transform him into either a bull or a kite. My grandson who loves to wear his assortment of superhero pajamas doesn't become Spiderman or Batman or Superman when he puts them on. He is just a little kid with a big imagination.

Those with gender identity problems have a mental disorder. I don't care what the American Psychiatric Association says. They dropped homosexuality as a disorder not based on any scientific or health considerations but because of politics, and the same thing is happening with these other disorders. You're born either a boy or a girl except for "extremely rare" instances of hermaphroditism. It's in your DNA and no amount of "feeling" or pretending or surgical and chemical mutilation is going to change it. 

Kindness and respect is due to everyone, but that doesn't equate to participating in their delusions or implementing policies that treat others unfairly or compromise their safety. As the Nebraska bishops write:
Any person who experiences gender dysphoria is entitled to the respect and dignity that is the right of every human person, as well as genuine concern and the support needed for personal development and well-being. Such support, however, must be provided with due consideration to fairness and the safety, privacy, and rights of all students.
Pray that the NSAA adopt the policy requiring students to participate in activities based on the sex recorded on their birth certificates. Anything else is engaging in a policy of let's pretend.


St. Paul of Thebes [Abbey Roads]

How to be a hermit ...

Remove all your clothes and furnishings, empty all of your bins, and walk away...

Take nothing with you.


"When, stripped of everything, you can only see in the world an unfurnished house, and in yourself total poverty with no facade, think of those shadowy eyes open in the center of your soul and fixed on things that are beyond all words, for the Kingdom of heaven is yours." - Madeleine Delbrel


Pope makes 'mercy Friday' visit to elderly, infirm [CNS Top Stories]

By Cindy Wooden

ROME (CNS) -- As part of his personal observance of the Year of Mercy, Pope Francis made an unannounced, "private" visit to a retirement home and to a group home for people in a persistent vegetative state, the Vatican said.

The visits to the 33 residents of the Bruno Buozzi Retirement Home and the six residents of Casa Iride Jan. 15 were announced with the hashtag #MercyFriday by the pontifical commission organizing the Year of Mercy.

The Vatican previously announced that one Friday each month during the Holy Year, Pope Francis would personally and privately perform a work of mercy. The series ended up beginning very publicly Dec. 18 when he visited and celebrated Mass at a shelter run by the Rome diocesan Caritas.

For the January visit, journalists were not invited or even informed. Even the residents of the two facilities were not told in advance, said a statement issued by the Vatican press office once the pope had returned to the Vatican.

Pope Francis was accompanied by Archbishop Rino Fisichella, who is in charge of the jubilee organizing committee; the archbishop's office tweeted several photos of the pope's visit.

The Vatican described the atmosphere at the retirement home as one of "great surprise and joy" as the pope greeted each resident and stopped to speak to them, one by one.

Both the retirement home and the Casa Iride are located in one of the poorer neighborhoods on the outskirts of Rome. The Vatican said Casa Iride is not a hospital or clinic, but is a family-style structure where residents can be cared for by their own family members with the support of the staff.

In choosing the two homes, the Vatican statement said, "Pope Francis wanted to highlight -- in opposition to the 'throwaway culture' -- the great importance and preciousness of the elderly and grandparents as well as the value and dignity of life in every situation."

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Follow Wooden on Twitter: @cindy_wooden.

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Copyright © 2016 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at


Fanatic Friday: Star Wars edition [The Badger Catholic]

I took my older boys(7 and 6) to The Force Awakens. They loved it.

And NOTHING beats dancing storm troopers.

Probably one of the best live performance Weird Al videos I've come across.  And yes, I've seen Al in concert... twice.  The finale is amazing and... weird.


Bishop Bohan of Regina [Vox Cantoris]

The Archdiocese of Regina has announced had announced that Bishop Bohan is "facing the end of his earthly life" and is in palliative care at Regina's Pasqua Hospital.

I was just informed that he has passed on.

May he find peace with Our Lord and may the Lord be merciful to him. 

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


Homo-Ehe: Anglikanisches Nein ist Warnsignal für katholischen Progressismus [Mathias von Gersdorff]

„Lambeth Palace London 240404“. Lizenziert unter CC BY-SA 3.0 über Wikimedia Commons  Sprichwörtlich in allerletzter Minute haben die Anglikaner eine Kirchenspaltung abgewendet. Wieder einmal ging es um das Thema Homosexualität: Während die europäischen und US-amerikanischen Anglikaner (Episkopalkirche) eine moraltheologische Neubewertung der Homosexualität befürworten, die auch die


Focus vs. Blur: Multi-Sensory Learning, Motivated Focus, & The Mass: Pt. I [OnePeterFive]


Part 1

How Does Multi-sensory Learning Theory Help Us Understand the Difference Between a “Complete” Mass and a “Minimal” Mass?

Reasoning by analogy can open up new and helpful ways of thinking.  The Holy Mass may be viewed as a school for souls, an instructional method, similar to the methods skillful teachers use to help students grasp challenging concepts.   An analogy is a comparison that functions as a thought experiment, not an exercise in “nothing but-ism”, reductionism, or pseudo-scientific materialism.  Rather, the analogy of the Mass as a school for souls invites us to appreciate the practical wisdom of the liturgy in a different way.

A parish has much in common with a public school.  Parishioners and students are similar mixed bags.  Whether in the church or the classroom, we find all manner of personality types, learning styles, levels of motivation, personal backgrounds, ethnicities, and aptitudes.

If many kids act unmotivated and disengaged in a public school classroom, it’s useless to blame their low academic achievement on vague “problems in our society”.  In practical terms, that’s a way for teachers to wriggle out from the need to re-examine their instructional methods and make some necessary changes.  For example, traditional lectures work well for the high IQ verbal learners who also speak English as their mother tongue.  This group of students may be a rather small percentage of the entire class.  What about everyone else?  Should the teacher simply allow the rest of the class to drift along in a state of confusion and disengagement?  The answer is not to dumb down the academic standards to hide the reality that 90% of the class is achieving “below basic”.  Instead, instructional methods are most effective when teachers balance direct explanations of Big Picture concepts with a variety of learning options, so there is something for everyone.

The purpose of the school is to educate the students; the purpose of the Church is to sanctify the laity.  Sadly, many of us lay people drift along in a state of confusion and disengagement; our spiritual achievement is “below basic”.  In time, we may drift out of the Faith altogether.  Why is this happening? It’s useless to blame our underdeveloped spirituality on “problems in our society”.  In practical terms, that’s a way for both priests and people to wriggle out from the need to re-examine what they’re doing and to make some necessary changes.

Supporters of the Reform of the Reform know full well what these necessary changes really are, how the changes should look and feel,  and why these changes are vital from a theological perspective.  Unfortunately, however, knowledge isn’t always power. Advocates of authentic liturgical renewal often exhibit considerable emotional scar tissue due to years of frustration.  They know full well that ROTR is vital to the New Evangelization, but it’s difficult to get traction in actual parishes.  Liturgical renewalists read each other’s brilliant articles and attend one another’s fascinating conferences, but how to break out of the closed circle?  How to convince the fence-sitters to quit dithering and take concrete steps to improve the situation?

To develop the analogy and seek new ways to encourage the fence-sitters, we’ll limit discussion to how the “complete” Holy Mass benefits lay people.   Accordingly, the following discussion is a theology-free zone.  This series of three short articles will define certain terms imported from the psychology of education, provide an analytical structure, and unpack detailed examples.  We’ll endeavor to answer three questions:

  • How does multi-sensory learning theory help us understand the difference between a “complete” Mass and a “minimal” Mass?
  • How does the complete Mass build motivated focus? How does a minimal Mass induce blur?
  • How does a complete Mass help lay people learn by osmosis?

“Complete” vs. “Minimal” Holy Masses

A complete Mass, whether in the OF or the EF, provides worshippers with the ultimate expression of multi-sensory learning, because it includes all the bells and smells, liturgical gestures, liturgical vesture, plus sacred music, art, and architecture.  Spaced repetition reinforces multi-sensory learning: the people repeat important sensory experiences in a variety of ways.  In the complete Holy Mass, the whole is truly greater than the sum of its parts; beauty unites the parts and gives form to spiritual feeling.  No one thread can be pulled out without weakening the entire fabric.  When a pastor provides his people with the complete Holy Mass, he exercises a high level of pastoral care and sows seeds that will bear wonderful spiritual fruit.

From an instructional methods point of view, in a complete Mass, multi-sensory learning and spaced repetition combine to support conceptual unity, so the Big Picture becomes clear.  As lay people learn the Faith through the complete Mass, the instructional methods are simultaneously deductive and inductive.  The homily presents the Big Picture in a straightforward way.  Simultaneously, holistic understanding is built from the ground up as worshippers participate in the full range of conceptual, emotional, and sensory experiences provided by the Mass itself.

In contrast, the “minimal” Holy Mass discards many multi-sensory learning opportunities and limits spaced repetition.  The bells and smells, liturgical gestures, liturgical vesture, sacred music, art, and architecture are absent, minimal, or of poor aesthetic quality.  A minimal Mass presents many disjointed parts that do not seem to combine to form a comprehensible Big Picture.  A minimal Mass also over-emphasizes the verbal learning style, so the worship experience feels talky and abstract, yet bland and vague.

This disjointed quality extends to the music program in a minimalist parish.  The music director tends to choose contemporary Catholic songs, or imported Protestant hymns, that do not connect very well with the actual day on the liturgical calendar.  For example, in a minimalist parish on the first Sunday of Advent, the music director may choose to omit the O Antiphons in favor of “The Old Rugged Cross” — a tune he enjoys and that he thinks is popular with the congregation.  This choice diminishes the impact of the first Sunday of Advent upon the people.  The First Sunday of Advent is made to seem like any other Sunday, because the people do not associate “The Old Rugged Cross”  with any special time or purpose.

A few conceptual imports

To understand why the complete Mass is so powerful and so beneficial to the people, it is helpful to import a few ideas from the psychology of education.

Multi-sensory learning engages more than one sense, which heightens focus and aids storage in long- term memory.  Each sense is associated with a natural learning style or personal aptitude. Different people have different learning styles.   Most people have a preferred or predominant learning style, with the other styles functioning in a secondary but supportive way.  Both primary and secondary learning styles become stronger through the right kind of experience and practice.  Our society values the verbal and analytical styles over the visual, aural, and kinesthetic/tactile styles.  The academic-industrial complex associates verbal and analytical fluency with high intelligence.  This is not always accurate:  artists, musicians, and athletes are highly intelligent, but not in the same way as writers or software engineers.  For example, the Scholastic Aptitude Test does not measure artistic, musical, or athletic aptitude, although these abilities are important in the Real World.

Spaced repetition is a type of reinforcement that supports multi-sensory learning.  Spaced repetition incorporates increasing intervals of time between subsequent reviews of previously learned material in order to consolidate learning permanently in memory.  The manner of repetition can take many forms; all combine to support the unifying Big Picture concept.  For example:  the Hail Mary is said, the Salve Regina is sung, and the statue of Mary is seen. References to Mary are repeated throughout the Mass, but in different ways that connect with the different learning styles.

Major learning styles

  • Verbal: learns through words; easily grasps abstract concepts expressed in words.
  • Analytical: learns through abstract concepts presented systematically as logical wholes, including lists, if-then relationships, cause-effect relationships etc.
  • Visual: learns through pictures, colors, physical position of objects.
  • Aural: learns through sounds and music, poetic rhyme and rhythm.  Words associate easily with musical settings.
  • Kinesthetic/tactile/proprioceptive: learns through bodily motions, sense of touch, and sense of effort felt in muscles and joints.

Minor learning styles that may support any or all of the major styles 

  • Olfactory: associates aromas with concepts
  • Gustatory: associates tastes with concepts


  • Sensory memory: brief impression formed by input to any or all of the senses.
  • Short-term memory, AKA working memory: what has been learned in the last few minutes, without conscious recall or practice.  Example:  ability to repeat a phrase verbatim after hearing it just once.
  • Long-term memory: permanent storage available for retrieval at will.
  • All memory starts as sensory input, goes into working memory, and finally into long-term memory. 


Example:  Entering the church

Now let’s unpack an action that happens before every Mass, entering the church, and analyze it according to the principles developed above.  When people first enter the church, the kinesthetic/tactile learning mode is paramount, but the other four major styles are present, plus one minor style.  The people become recollected and ready for Mass.


(Click image to enlarge)

Readers, here’s your homework!  Please choose your favorite Catholic rite.  Take pencil and scratch paper, or fire up your laptop, and construct a chart similar to the one above.  How many multi-sensory learning opportunities and spaced repetitions do you discover?  What are they and how do they support one another to strengthen the people’s motivated focus?

Next, please rank your own learning styles in order, from most to least natural for you.  Your author’s rank order of learning styles are verbal, analytic, aural, visual, and kinesthetic / tactile.  Even though aural learning is third on my list, it’s extraordinarily important for my emotional relationship with the Holy Mass.  Since visual and kinesthetic learning are fourth and fifth on my list, I have particular need for the liturgy to use these learning styles to strengthen my natural weaknesses.  What about you?

In the next part, we’ll take a look at the differences between motivated and coerced learning, and the role each play in developing our focus.

The post Focus vs. Blur: Multi-Sensory Learning, Motivated Focus, & The Mass: Pt. I appeared first on OnePeterFive.


"Where We Find Our God" – At Nursing Home, The Pope's "Mercy Friday" [Whispers in the Loggia]

In the day-to-day of his Petrine ministry, it's no secret that Francis likes linking what some might see as diametrically opposed realities of the center and the peripheries in the hope of bringing them closer together. And so, just as he went straight from addressing a joint session of Congress to a Washington soup kitchen for the homeless, just after meeting this morning with the CEO of Google did word of another surprise break: an unanticipated afternoon visit to a retirement home (left) on the outskirts of Rome.

The drop-in only announced once the Pope had spent more than an hour with the 30 residents, while "Matthew 25 stops" have become the spiritual core of Francis' travels and his celebrations of the Holy Thursday Evening Mass (in keeping with his practice in Buenos Aires), today's outing is part of the monthly "Mercy Fridays" which will see the pontiff personally take up the works of mercy around his own diocese to underscore the message of this Jubilee Year. Accordingly, Papa Bergoglio was accompanied by the Curial official tasked with planning the celebrations, the president of the Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization Archbishop Rino Fisichella.

After their departure, the New Evangelization council released several photos of the visit and a statement that the site was chosen to highlight the Pope's repeated calls "against the 'throwaway culture' and [for] the great value that the elderly and grandparents should have in the church and society." The release likewise noted that Francis visited patients in vegetative states at another nearby facility, joined by the family members who care for them.

While any record of what the Pope said hasn't emerged, in his now-released treatise on the Extraordinary Holy Year, Francis was asked if the traditional works of mercy as taught through the centuries remain relevant today, offering this in reply:
They are still valid, still current. Perhaps some aspects could be better “translated,” but they remain the basis for self-examination. They help us open up to the mercy of God, to ask for the grace to understand that without mercy a person cannot do a thing, that you cannot do a single thing, that “the world would not exist,” in the words of the elderly lady I met in 1992.

Let us examine the Seven Corporal Works of Mercy: feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, dress the naked, house the pilgrims, visit the sick, visit the imprisoned, bury the dead. I do not think there is much to explain. And if we look at our situation, our society, it seems to me that there is no lack of circumstances or opportunities all around us. What should we do for the homeless man camped in front of our home, for the poor man who has nothing to eat, for the neighboring family who cannot make it to the end of the month due to the recession, because the husband lost his job? How should we behave with the immigrants who have survived the crossing and who land on our shores? What should we do for the elderly who are alone, abandoned, and who have no one?

We have received freely, we give freely. We are called to serve Christ the Crucified through every marginalized person. We touch the flesh of Christ in he who is outcast, hungry, thirsty, naked, imprisoned, ill, unemployed, persecuted, in search of refuge. That is where we find our God, that is where we touch the Lord. Jesus himself told us, explaining the protocol for which we will all be judged: “whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did it for me” (Matthew 25:40)....

By welcoming a marginalized person whose body is wounded and by welcoming the sinner whose soul is wounded, we put our credibility as Christians on the line. Let us always remember the words of Saint John of the Cross: “In the evening of life, we will be judged on love alone.”
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As a papal pit-stop at a retirement home will inevitably set off some chatter about whether Francis himself will follow the modern precedent set by his predecessor and renounce the papacy, one thing beyond clear is that nothing of the sort will take place upon his 80th birthday in December, nor anywhere close.

Lest some forgot, just because you can bet the house on such things being said around that time – or, indeed, even already – doesn't make them reality-based.

For starters, while Francis' oft-cited "model" predecessor, Blessed Paul VI, famously contemplated leaving office as he approached the same milestone he introduced for the retirement of cardinals, for a practice still in its "experimental" phase to be tied to reaching a certain age would, albeit unintentionally, bind the hands of future Popes merely by setting an expectation for it.

To be sure, the incumbent has said as much himself, telling the Mexican network Televisa last year that "it does not appeal to me, this idea of setting an age [for retirement]. Because I believe that the papacy has an element of being the final authority.

"So," he added, "saying 'OK, this fellow is 80 years old,' creates the sensation of the ending of a pontificate which would not be good. Too predictable, no?"

Of course, hardly anything's more anathema to Francis than being "too predictable." And speaking of which, to recall the line he quietly slipped into the last homily of November's Africa trek, "the fact is that we have not yet reached our destination... in a certain sense we are in midstream."



Cattlemen: As I Tried To Tell You, The Only Protection Is Equity [Barnhardt]

I taught my first Cornerstone Cattle Marketing Level 2 class in Guymon, Oklahoma something like five years ago now.  It was a spectacular group of people.  I recall being asked to discuss my thoughts on how the markets would develop (even though forecasting is a BIG no-no for a skilled marketer) with regards to the Obama regime’s economic warfare, specifically with regards to the collapse – would it be INFLATIONARY or DEFLATIONARY?

I created an entire module in the Level 2 curriculum which dealt explicitly with inflation and hyperinflation, going so far as to integrate problem sets in which the Dollar was no longer a unit of exchange.  I taught cattlemen how to trade the cash cattle markets with rounds of .223 and gallons of diesel as the baseline unit of value, in addition to using hyper-inflated prices – prices so inflated that they were completely disorienting, even to the most experienced cattle jock.  You know, like DOUBLING the price.  This module was so well-received and appreciated that I integrated it into my Level 1 curriculum, and recorded the second edition of my Level 1 DVD curriculum including the inflation module in March of ARSH 2011.

The Level 1 Cornerstone Cattle Marketing DVD set, second edition, is STILL AVAILABLE FOR SALE.  Email me for ordering instructions. They have changed.

I leaned then towards an INFLATIONARY event, because of the sheer enormity of the “money printing”, that is, debt creation, already well underway at that time.  We then discussed how a large deflation could possibly then follow, and my focus at that time was drilling into the guys (and gals) that when inflation comes, the WORST POSSIBLE THING ONE COULD DO would be to re-lever.  In other words, when inflation hits, CAPTURE THE EQUITY.  DO NOT EXPAND WITH LEVERAGE.  IF ONE HAD DEBT, USE THE WAVE OF INFLATION TO PAY DOWN OR COMPLETELY PAY OFF THE DEBT.  Then, if and when the markets deflate, the deflation will not be catastrophic.  Cash flows would continue, selling and buying back will continue, and, if the inflation was severe enough, the cattleman would be operating debt-free.

How many took my advice?  How many maintained the moral discipline to SHUN leverage, even when every “economist”, broker and agricultural loan officer was pressuring them day after day to “take advantage of the low interest rates and put that equity to work!”

Here is a 5 year continuation chart of Feeder Cattle futures, from January 2011 to today.  Please note that the price of feeder cattle in fact DOUBLED from $1.22 per pound in the spring of ARSH 2011 to $2.45 per pound in late ARSH 2014.  Then note the crash seen over the past six months.

Feeder Cattle Futures Nearby Continuation - 5 years

Feeder Cattle Futures Nearby Continuation – 5 years

Anyone who foolishly, greedily re-levered during the inflationary period, thus COMPLETELY NEGATING THE NATURAL INFLATIONARY HEDGE OF DEALING IN A CASH FOOD COMMODITY, is now in dire, dire, dire financial straits – even though prices today are what would have been RECORD HIGH LEVELS just TWENTY-FOUR MONTHS AGO.

Guys, this is why I BEGGED you – do you remember that I literally got down on my knees and BEGGED you – to stay open on the topside, CAPTURE EQUITY and PAY OFF DEBT in an inflationary event.  Delay ALL EXPANSION until it can be done on a 100% CASH basis.

Here is what I suspect the new normal will be until there is a total civilizational collapse.  I suspect that there will be a horrific, ever-more volatile cycle of hyper inflationary followed by deflationary events for raw commodities.  As West Texas Crude probes below $30 with talk of $10, it wouldn’t surprise me one bit if a year from now crude has made new all-time highs or some such.  After which, if the world has not descended into full-blown hot war, there will be another orchestrated deflationary event, again, trying to squeeze someone, as the markets have now become a primary battlespace, driven by algorithms, funded by central banks – market players that can literally print their own money, and are thus impervious to margin calls and any cash delivery convergence. It’s all just a massive game of money-printing “chicken”, with the completely corrupt derivatives markets DRIVING the underlying cash markets.

Or as they say in Yorba Linda, “completely FUBAR.”

And if any commodity broker tries to tell you that the solution to all of this is “hedging on the Board”, just punch him as hard as you can right in the mouth.  For me.

I tried.  God knows I tried. I pray that some actually listened. Even if some did, I know it wasn’t enough to feed everyone.



Anglican leaders sanction Episcopalians over same-sex marriage [CNS Top Stories]

IMAGE: CNS photo/Toby Melville, Reuters

By Simon Caldwell

MANCHESTER, England (CNS) -- Because of the U.S. Episcopal Church's moves to unilaterally change canon law to allow same-sex marriage, Anglican leaders voted to suspend Episcopalians from positions representing the Anglican Communion and from participating in some Anglican bodies.

Primates meeting in Canterbury, England, said that for three years, members of the Episcopal Church will be barred sitting on Anglican bodies making decisions on doctrine and polity and from representing the Communion on ecumenical and interfaith bodies.

The move comes in response to a policy allowing gay marriages, adopted last year by the General Convention, or governing body, of the Episcopal Church, the Anglican Church in the United States.

The change in canon law in the U.S. has been strongly opposed by many of the theologically conservative African churches, some of whose leaders had threatened to walk out of the five-day primate meeting if the Episcopal Church was not penalized for its actions.

The suspension was announced in a statement issued by the primates Jan. 14, a day earlier than planned because of leaks to the media.

It said the changes in teaching on marriage in the Episcopal Church represent a "fundamental departure from the faith and teaching held by the majority of our provinces on the doctrine of marriage," which it defined as a lifelong union between a man and a woman.

The change had caused "deep pain," impaired the Anglican Communion by placing "huge strains" on its unity, and created "deeper mistrust between us," the statement said.

The policy set a precedent that could be copied by other provinces, such as Canada, where Anglicans will vote on same-sex marriage in July, and this "could further exacerbate this situation," the statement said.

It added that the primates had expressed a "unanimous commitment to walk together" and had asked Archbishop Justin Welby of Canterbury, spiritual leader of the worldwide Anglican Communion, to appoint a "task group" to work toward dialogue, trust and healing among the provinces.

The Jan. 11-15 meeting brought together 39 Anglican primates to reflect on the challenges posed to the unity of their communion.

At a Jan. 15 news conference, Archbishop Welby repeatedly insisted that the measures taken against the Episcopal Church were not "sanctions" but were consequences of "going off on your own."

Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Michael B. Curry addressed his fellow bishops before they voted for suspension, telling them that Episcopalians were committed to creating "an inclusive church."

"This decision will bring real pain," he said in comments he later released to the Episcopal News Service. "For fellow disciples of Jesus in our church who are gay or lesbian, this will bring more pain.

"For many who have felt and been rejected by the church because of who they are, for many who have felt and been rejected by families and communities, our church opening itself in love was a sign of hope," he continued. "And this will add pain on top of pain."

Archbishop Welby told reporters that persecution of people for their sexuality was a "source of deep sadness." He said he wanted to apologize "for the hurt and pain, in the past and present, the church has caused."

In a final statement from the meeting, the primates also condemned "homophobic prejudice and violence" as well as "criminal sanctions against same-sex attracted people" and said they were "resolved to work together to offer pastoral care and loving service irrespective of sexual orientation."

The Global Anglican Future Conference, a coalition of conservative Anglican leaders from around the world, welcomed the suspension, adding that "this action must not be seen as an end, but as a beginning." The suspension infuriated gay rights activists, however, with some traveling to Canterbury Jan. 15 to demonstrate at a "vigil" outside the meeting.

Paulist Father Ron Roberson, associate director of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Secretariat for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs, said he doubted the suspension would have an impact on ARCUSA, the 50-year-old dialogue between the Episcopal Church and the USCCB Committee on Ecumenism and Interreligious Affairs.

He told Catholic News Service Jan. 14 that while "the statement of the primates could be open to different interpretations," in the bilateral dialogue, "the Episcopal Church never claimed to represent the other Anglican provinces."

Each province of the Anglican Communion is independent and runs its own affairs; even the Archbishop of Canterbury has no authority over an individual province like the Episcopal Church or the Anglican Church of Canada.

Cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, told Vatican Radio Jan. 15 that he hopes the next three years "will be used to find deeper unity within the Anglican Communion."

The cardinal noted that the official Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission, the official body for Catholic-Anglican theological dialogue, is discussing on a general level what the Anglican primates were dealing with at their meeting.

"On the one hand, there is the relationship between the local church and the universal church," while on the other hand there is a need "to find greater unity" in dealing with ethical questions. "These are the principal themes of our dialogue and have become visible now in the Anglican Communion. It would be beautiful if our dialogue was able to be of help to the Anglican Communion so that it would find its unity again."

The Episcopal Church, which has about 2 million members, is among the most liberal of Anglican provinces in the world and has continuously divided opinion among Anglicans with its policies.

Tensions came to the fore in 2003 when Canon Gene Robinson, who was openly gay, was elected an Episcopal bishop. Soon afterward, then-Archbishop Rowan Williams of Canterbury asked the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada to halt any future such ordinations and to withdraw from the Anglican Consultative Council.

After Mary Douglas Glasspool, a lesbian, was ordained as suffragan bishop of Los Angeles in 2010, Archbishop Williams barred members of the Episcopal Church from representing the Anglican Communion on international ecumenical dialogue commissions.

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Contributing to this story were Barb Fraze in Washington and Cindy Wooden at the Vatican.

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Copyright © 2016 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at


Flip Turns and the Latin Mass [The Remnant Newspaper - The Remnant Newspaper - Remnant Articles]

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Born to be Rich [Laudator Temporis Acti]

Ernest Renan (1823-1892), Recollections of My Youth, tr. C.B. Pitman (London: Chapman and Hall, 1883), p. 85 (his mother speaking):

There are some people who are born to be rich, while there are others who never would be so. The former have claws, and do not scruple to help themselves first. That is just what we have never been able to do. When it comes to taking the best piece out of the dish which is handed round our natural politeness stands in our way.

Il y a des gens qui naissent pour être riches, d'autres qui ne le seront jamais. Il faut avoir des griffes, se servir le premier. Or c'est ce que nous n'avons jamais su faire. Dès qu'il s'agit de prendre la meilleure portion sur le plat qui passe, notre politesse naturelle s'y oppose.

Cartoon by William Gropper


und zwischendurch [Beiboot Petri]

was zum Freuen, nicht nur für die Ohren...



The Sacred and the Profane [Laudator Temporis Acti]

Émile Durkheim (1858-1917), The Elementary Forms of the Religious Life, tr. Joseph Ward Swain (New York: Collier Books, 1961), p. 56:

But the real characteristic of religious phenomena is that they always suppose a bipartite division of the whole universe, known and knowable, into two classes which embrace all that exists, but which radically exclude each other. Sacred things are those which the interdictions protect and isolate; profane things, those to which these interdictions are applied and which must remain at a distance from the first. Religious beliefs are the representations which express the nature of sacred things and the relations which they sustain, either with each other or with profane things. Finally, rites are the rules of conduct which prescribe how a man should comport himself in the presence of these sacred objects.

Mais ce qui est caractéristique du phénomène religieux, c'est qu'il suppose toujours une division bipartite de l'univers connu et connaissable en deux genres qui comprennent tout ce qui existe, mais qui s'excluent radicalement. Les choses sacrées sont celles que les interdits protègent et isolent; les choses profanes, celles auxquelles ces interdits s'appliquent et qui doivent rester à distance des premières. Les croyances religieuses sont des représentations qui expriment la nature des choses sacrées et les rapports qu'elles soutiennent soit les unes avec les autres, soit avec les choses profanes. Enfin, les rites sont des règles de conduite qui prescrivent comment l'homme doit se comporter avec les choses sacrées.


Fellowship [Laudator Temporis Acti]

An Attic skolion = Poetae Melici Graeci, no. 902 (tr. David A. Campbell):

Drink with me, be youthful with me, love with me, wear garlands with me,
be mad with me when I am mad, sober with me when I am sober.

σύν μοι πῖνε συνήβα συνέρα συστεφανηφόρει,
σύν μοι μαινομένῳ μαίνεο, σὺν σώφρονι σωφρόνει.
Commentators compare Theognis 313-314 (tr. Douglas E. Gerber):
Among those who rave I rave with the best, but among the level–headed
I am the most level–headed of all.

ἐν μὲν μαινομένοις μάλα μαίνομαι, ἐν δὲ δικαίοις
    πάντων ἀνθρώπων εἰμὶ δικαιότατος.
See Robert Renehan, "An Unnoticed Proverb in Theognis," Classical Review 13.2 (June, 1963) 131-132.


"I was always looking left and right" [Καθολικός διάκονος]

In addition to David Bowie's passing, this week also marks the thirty-ninth anniversary of the release of his album Low, the first album of his so-called Berlin Trilogy. After spending several years in southern California once he "hit it big," Bowie retreated to Berlin to recover from his lifestyle of excess, which resulted in a fairly serious cocaine addiction.

Bowie later claimed to only have sketchy memories of his time in California, even claiming not to remember recording his Station to Station album. Station to Station was the album just prior to Low. While I am sure there is some truth to his reported lack of memory, it's easy to imagine there were things he later simply preferred not to remember, perhaps like the episode involving the 15 year-old Sable Starr (see "Oh! You Pretty Things: Spotlight on David Bowie and Catholic Sex Scandals"). Speaking of his time in Berlin, Bowie observed that by moving there from California he moved from the cocaine capital of the world to the "smack" (i.e., heroin) capital, but he had "no taste for smack." And so it appears Bowie got clean in Berlin.

The Rolling Stone Album Guide says that Low is "the music of an overstimulated mind in an exhausted body . . . [the album] sashays through some serious emotional wreckage." In an article posted yesterday on the anniversary of Low's release, Frankie Deserto tells the story of how Low began as the soundtrack for Bowie's film The Man Who Fell to Earth, for which it was rejected, and later became a seminal album, making many critical 100 best album lists: "David Bowie: Low."

Our Friday traditio for today is "Always Crashing the Same Car" off Low:

I would also draw your attention to Henry Rollins' remembrance of Bowie, which he accomplishes through the prism of Bowie's last album Blackstar:
Blackstar is on the level of Low, Heroes or any of Bowie’s standout works. It is hard to listen to because it was obviously written with his [terminal] condition in mind. The final lyric of the last track, "I Can’t Give Everything Away," repeats the song title over and over, like a mantra, and makes me want to chase after him as the song fades away, pleading with him not to go
It seems that, at least for Rollins, Bowie's Blackstar has the effect of what I might call in my pedestrian manner of writing, "good art" in that by listening to it he confronts his own mortality- ars moriendi. Today I plan to listen to Blackstar in its entirety for the first time.


It's impossible not to mention the passing of actor Alan Rickman, who, like Bowie, passed this week at age 69. His passing was also due to the terminal effect that cancer has on so many of its victims. Almost without doubt, Rickman's best work as an actor was on stage. But his film Truly, Madly, Deeply has rightly been described as a minor masterpiece. But as an unabashed Harry Potter enthusiast, I have to state that Rickman was nothing short of sublime in his portrayal of Severus Snape. Hence, I can't help posting Rickman's take on the fascinating character of one of J.K. Rowlings' best creations:


Ars Moriendi, by Marcos Carrasquer


Symposium „Gender und Sexualpädagogik auf dem Prüfstand der Wissenschaften“ [Mathias von Gersdorff]

Symposium „Gender und Sexualpädagogik auf dem Prüfstand der Wissenschaften“ Veranstalter: Aktionsbündnis für Ehe & Familie – DEMO FÜR ALLE Ort:     Stuttgart, Liederhalle, Mozartsaal Zeit:     Samstag, der 23. Januar, Beginn 10 Uhr (Einlass ab 8.30 Uhr), Ende 18 Uhr Der Eintritt ist frei (Spenden sehr willkommen) Eine Anmeldung (bis 20. Januar) ist unbedingt erforderlich! Anmeldung


Cosmological argument from time [Just Thomism]

A: I’m open to cosmological arguments, but not to ones that argue to a necessary being.

B: What’s wrong with those?

A: The universe is as necessary as any being can get, as far as I can tell.

B: Why so?

A: Because if something is not necessary, it can be otherwise.

B: Yes. So?

A: But then it can only be otherwise at some time?

B: Yes.

A: But there’s no time at which the universe cannot exist. Even Augustine figured this out. No universe, no time. Augustine even thought this included angels.

B: You are missing what possibility means. When I say “it can be otherwise at some time” I mean it can be otherwise than it is at the same time when it is. You don’t need some other, later time for it to be otherwise.

A: That’s just not true. A thing can’t be other than it is when it is. That would it require that it could be simultaneously what it is and something else.

B: Oh. I get it. So it needs some other time.

A: But there’s no other time for the universe. So it can’t be otherwise. So it’s a necessary being. Q.E.D.

A: Let me regroup. Do you agree with this? If the universe stopped existing,  it would not be necessary?

B: That seems hard to argue with. Even if it took all time with it, I’d still call the whole thing contingent.

A: But then a thing can contingently exist, even if there is no other time for its non-existence.

B: So I have to choose which I premise I want to keep: (a) a real possibility needs some other time and (b) if the universe stopped existing, it would be contingent. I guess I choose (b).

A: So then your argument won’t work to show the universe is necessary. I want to say more though. Let’s start with Aristotle’s claim that if the universe existed for an infinite time from now, then it must be necessary.

B: Why did he say that?

A: Because if it existed to the end of the infinite time, there would be no other time for it to collapse into non-existence.

B: But he seemed to make the mistake that the universe needs another time in order to be contingent.

A: I want to suggest that that it’s just this “going to the infinite” that a necessary universe would have to accomplish. But how could it get to some point infinitely far off? Any point it got to would be one that was a finite distance from now.

B: So you want to claim the universe can’t be necessary. It either (a) exists to some infinite time or (b) not. If (b) is true, it’s clearly contingent, but (a) is impossible, since all “infinite” means is that there will always be some next moment. In neither case is the universe necessary. What will not exist for an infinite time from now is not necessary, but it is impossible to exist for an infinite time from now.

A: Right. It’s contingent whether it gets to some last time or not.

B: But then we get a cosmological argument from the experience of things in time.



THE COMMON MAN – G.K. Chesterton [Traditional Catholic Priest]

The explanation, or excuse, for this essay is to be found in a certain notion, which seems to me very obvious, but which I have never, as it happens, seen stated by anybody else.  It happens rather to cut across the common frontiers of current controversy.  It can be used for or against Democracy, according …

The post THE COMMON MAN – G.K. Chesterton appeared first on Traditional Catholic Priest.


Politics and Religion [Catholic Answers]

Catholic Answers published its now-famous “Voter’s Guide for Serious Catholics” back in 2004 (updated in 2006) that has now sold millions of copies with millions more having been distributed for free...


Vatican is not a 'den of thieves,' says top Vatican official [CNS Top Stories]

By Carol Glatz

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The Vatican is not "a den of thieves," and such insinuations are an injustice to employees who are proud to serve the pope and the church, said Archbishop Angelo Becciu, a top official in the Vatican Secretariat of State.

Necessary economic and administrative reforms and countermeasures have been taken to address any problems, he told the Italian weekly Panorama in an interview published in the issue dated Jan. 20.

"I must reiterate firmly that we are not a bunch of corrupt and incompetent people," he said in a lengthy interview conducted at the Vatican Dec. 31.

"The Vatican is not a den of thieves. To represent it as such constitutes an absolute falsehood. I find it extremely unjust that our employees, proudly carrying out a service for the pope and the church, have gotten to the point, for some time now, of being ashamed to tell people they work here," he told the weekly.

Archbishop Becciu, 67, has been substitute secretary for general affairs in the Vatican Secretariat of State -- a job similar to a chief of staff -- since 2011.

A large portion of the Q&A interview focused on accusations of financial mismanagement illustrated in recent books by Italian journalists Gianluigi Nuzzi, author of "Merchants in the Temple," and Emiliano Fittipaldi, author of "Avarice."

The two authors are on trial at the Vatican for "soliciting and exercising pressure" on their alleged sources in order to obtain confidential documents and news. Also standing trial on accusations of forming an "organized criminal association" with the aim of "committing several illegal acts of divulging news and documents" are Spanish Msgr. Lucio Angel Vallejo Balda, secretary of the Prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See; Francesca Chaouqui, a member of the former Pontifical Commission for Reference on the Organization of the Economic-Administrative Structure of the Holy See; and Nicola Maio, who had served as personal assistant to Msgr. Vallejo.

Archbishop Becciu said "stealing those documents was a crime, a deplorable act that does not help."

"The right of journalists to publish news they come to have is not in question. The misgivings concern the way in which this news was obtained. There is a trial underway that will find out," he said.

Regarding Msgr. Vallejo and Chaouqui, the archbishop said their "betrayal was a slap in the face to the Holy Father. They had sworn on the Gospel to not reveal to anyone what they saw, heard and read in carrying out their assignment" as members of the commission to reform Vatican financial practices.

When asked why money donated by the faithful for Peter's Pence is being used primarily to fund the Roman Curia -- only about two euro out of ten donated goes to charity -- the archbishop said if the Vatican were to earmark, for example, 60 percent of the funds to charity "we would have to immediately fire 400 people" out of the current 4,000 Vatican employees. "We prefer not to load the Italian government with this further burden" of unemployment and to abide by the pope's request to reform without layoffs, he said.

The charitable fund's balance sheets are "public and approved by the Holy Father and the council of cardinals," adding that it can be seen the money is used to support Vatican Radio, the Vatican newspaper and the various Vatican diplomatic representatives abroad who channel the pope's financial support to mission churches and the poor.

The archbishop was asked to comment on the fact cardinals living in Rome reside in very large apartments while Pope Francis has chosen to live in a small set of rooms in a Vatican guesthouse. The archbishop said the apartments date back to the 1930s "when the cardinals were in effect considered princes of the church and were treated as such."

He said Nuzzi's suggestion of moving the cardinals into the more modest Vatican guesthouse would be "populist bordering on the ridiculous."

There would be the problem of where to then house the priests who are living at the guesthouse, he said; "We would have to build another building to house them," which would be a "huge waste" of resources, and all the large cardinal residences would be left empty.

When asked why the property would be left unoccupied, the archbishop said only Vatican citizens and employees are allowed to live in Vatican-owned properties.

"Imagine the pandemonium that would be let loose if by accident they ended up being rented to tax evaders or in any case individuals wanted by the law who could benefit from immunity" by living in Vatican City State instead of Italy, he said.

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Fundamentalism of the Sources: Problems with Some Practices of Source Criticism – Part 10 [Theological Flint]

This is from Theological Flint

Also, just consider the following. Gen 1 is ascribed to the “Priestly” author and Gen 2-3 are ascribed to the “Yahwist.” The authors’ names are rooted in the characteristics of the texts inferred to be written by diverse authors, as stated in a previous post. For the Yahwist is called such because he calls God […]

The post Fundamentalism of the Sources: Problems with Some Practices of Source Criticism – Part 10 appeared first on Theological Flint.


Death: a history of beliefs [Musings of a Pertinacious Papist]

One of our readers cites as one of his favorite books on the subject is by Professor of History at Warwick University, UK, Peter Marshall, Beliefs and the Dead in Reformation England (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004). An excellent introduction, he says is the article, also by Peter Marshall, entitled "Death."

[Hat tip to Sri A.S.]


Early Morning Confusion [The Paraphasic]

Most days the first thing I do upon waking is open up my laptop and run through my RSS reader and the front pages of the major news sites.  This morning I saw the following headline above an article by Sandro Magister:

When It Comes To Gay Unions, Bergoglio Doesn't Say No
They are about to become law in Italy, but the pope is discouraging Catholics 
from raising the barricades.

My first thought was "gay people are unionizing in Italy? Is this part of the 'gay lobby'?"


The Saints and the Successful [Siris]

The cult of saints excludes the cult of success--the veneration of those people who have got on well in this world, the snobbish admiration of wealth and fame. This does not mean that a person who apparently has succeeded in the world and has led a happy life is necessarily a bad Christian who must be prepared for a painful settlement with his God and Judge when he comes to die. But it does mean that the religious business instinct which has caused people to imagine that the material welfare of individuals or nations is a sign of God's special favor, or to see in disasters and defeats a punishment from God--that this is opposed by the Church in her veneration of saints.

Sigrid Undset, Stages on the Road, Chater, tr., Christian Classics (Notre Dame, Indiana: 2012) p. xii.


No one 'deserves' faith; it is a gift, pope says [CNS Top Stories]

By Junno Arocho Esteves

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- No one deserves faith and no one can buy it; faith is a gift that changes one's life and allows people to recognize Jesus as the son of God with the power to forgive sins, Pope Francis said at his morning Mass.

Praise is the proof that one truly has faith and believes "that Jesus Christ is God in my life," the pope said Jan. 15 during the Mass in the chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae.

Jesus, he said, was sent "to save us from our sins, to save us and bring us to the father. He was sent for that, to give his life for our salvation." However, the pope added that is "the most difficult point to understand."

The Gospel for the day, Mark 2: 1-12, recounted Jesus' healing of a paralytic in Capernaum and the tension that arose among those who followed Jesus when he told the ailing man that his sins were forgiven.

Many in the crowd had their hearts "open to faith," but there were others, the pope said, who accepted Jesus as a healer but not his authority to forgive sins.

The day's Gospel reading, the pope continued, is a call for Christians to ask themselves how strong their faith in Jesus is and to discern if their faith changes their lives and brings them closer to God.

"Faith is a gift. No one 'deserves' faith, no one can buy it; it is a gift," he said. "Does my faith in Jesus Christ bring me to humble myself, to repentance, to the prayer that says: 'Forgive me, Lord. You are God. You can forgive my sins?'"

Noting the crowd's reaction after Jesus' healing of the paralytic, Pope Francis said that is through praise that people prove their faith and belief that Jesus was sent to forgive sins.

"Praising is free. It is a feeling that is given by the Holy Spirit and brings you to say: 'You are the only God,'" he said. "May the Lord make us grow in this faith in Jesus Christ, who forgives us, who offers a year of grace, and may this faith brings us to praise."

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In Today's Audiences, The Pope's "Google Hangout" [Whispers in the Loggia]

As it tends to do often these days, this Friday's Noontime Bollettino of the Holy See Press Office carried an interesting bit of news... and this one more notable than most – for the first time in memory, the Pope had granted a full-tilt private audience to a major corporate exec, and a very conspicuous one at that: the Google CEO Eric Schmidt (above).

In terms of protocol, the sheer occurrence of the sit-down and its announcement alongside the usual crop of routine meetings with prelates is nothing short of extraordinary. As a matter of course – above all given the Vatican's paranoia about playing into any kind of advertising or "product placement" involving the pontiff – secular executives coming to Rome have only ever met Popes in one of two ways: in the bacimano lines alongside the stage at the Wednesday General Audience (when brief handshakes take place after the gathering), or if a business figure were part of a group being received privately for charitable or ecumenical purposes without reference to their work. (In an example of the former, Claire Diaz-Ortiz – the top Twitter exec who served as the Vatican's lead collaborator in 
creating the @Pontifex feed – was briefly presented to B16 at the platform's public launch in December 2012.)

At least, that's been the case until today. While the Vatican has had a partnership with the digital giant since 2009 – when its television arm started running papal events on YouTube – Francis has upped the connection by employing the company's video-chat "Hangout" service (below) on several occasions to hold cyber-encounters with groups of young people far from Rome, with the chats usually tied to his upcoming travel.

Even as the reigning pontiff has put his foot to the gas on internet outreach – most recently taking his monthly prayer intentions to viral video and naming the Holy See's lead social media "apostle" as a bishop in the Curia – it bears reminding that, despite a keen grasp of the medium's import and style, Francis' actual command of technology is almost exceedingly limited. Having revealed last year that he hasn't watched television in a quarter-century to fulfill a promise to the Madonna, before his election the now-Pope once advised an aide that he couldn't operate any device with "more than two buttons." That said, after saying as a cardinal that he planned to delve into the internet after retiring as archbishop of Buenos Aires – a day that, obviously, never came – it has emerged that Papa Bergoglio now keeps a personal email address to hear from old friends and a privileged few prelates, with the account likely being handled by his almost invisible private secretary, Msgr Fabian Pedacchio.

With Schmidt reportedly bringing the head of Google's product-planning Ideas division, Jared Cohen, to the audience, the timing of today's sit-down is especially curious. Keeping with the half-century tradition for the feast of St Francis de Sales (the patron of writers and journalists), a week from today brings the release of the annual papal message for World Communications Day, with 2016's observance dedicated to the theme "Communication and Mercy: a fruitful encounter." As the WCD rollout in 2009 brought the initial announcement of the Vatican's Google partnership, it's quite possible that today's offline "hangout" might be related to some developments to it.

Reflecting the new arrangement at the helm of the Holy See's media operation – and with it, the preparation of the the Communications Day message – for the first time next Friday's briefing on the text won't be led by the president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli, but Msgr Dario Viganò, the chief of the recently-established Secretariat for Communications, into which the PCCS, Vatican Radio and Television and the Holy See's Press Office and Photo Service are all being consolidated on a gradual timeframe with an eye to enhanced coordination and effectiveness.

Notably, Viganò isn't slated to be joined at the presser by any of his new department heads, but the director of TV2000, the national Catholic station founded and overseen by the Italian bishops.

SVILUPPO: Hosted via Google servers – as are these pages – here's footage of the audience via Rome Reports....



" Der Papst sagt nicht nein [Beiboot Petri]

zu gleichgeschlechtlichen Verbindungen".... sagt Sandro Magister bei www. chiesa.
Unwillkürlich stellt man den Bezug zum Vorgehen der Anglikanischen Kirche gegen die Episkopalkirche her und wundert sich.
Hier geht´s zum Original: klicken


"Die stehen kurz davor, in Italien Gesetz zu werden, aber der Papst rät den Katholiken davon ab, Barrikaden zu bauen. Das hat er auch in Argentinien getan. Aber es gibt einen Unterschied in seiner Politik bzgl. Immigration, Armut und Islamischen Radikalismus.

Jorge Mario Bergoglio mag seine Massen festlich und betend, niemals politisch aggressiv.
In Buenos Aires sandte er die 2010 die Katholiken nach Hause, die sich vor dem Parlament zur Gebetsvigil gegen die bevorstehende Zustimmung zu gleichgeschlechtlichen Ehen versammelt hatten. Er überredete sie, "die Sackgasse zu vermeiden".

Natürlich sah Bergoglio in diesem Gesetz niemanden anderen am Werk als "den Vater der Lüge, dessen Ziel es ist, die Kinder Gottes zu verwirren und zu täuschen", aber öffentlich sagte er kein Wort. Er veröffentlichte nur einen Brief, den er an die klausurierten Karmeliter-Nonnen geschrieben hatte, in dem er  den Teufel anklagte und um Gebete bat.

Auch heute, wo das Gesetz für gleichgeschlechtliche Ehen auf dem Weg ist, rückt Papst Franziskus nicht von seinem Standpunkt ab.
Er hat gegen den "neuen ideologischen Kolonialismus, der versucht die Familien zu zerstören" gewettert und "gegen diesen Irrtum des menschlichen Geistes-die Gender-Theorie" - aber das tat er auf dem Weg nach Manila und nach Neapel -außerhalb des Kontextes- niemals in der Hitze der politischen Schlacht.

Im letzten Juni -bei der Ankündigung des "Familien-Tages" gegen die Legalisierung von HS-Ehen in Rom, hat der Sekretär der CEI, Nunzio Galantino, der Vermittler zwischen Papst und Bischöfen, alles getan, was er konnte, um ihn als Totgeburt enden zu lassen. Und als die Demonstration trotzdem ihren Weg ging - mit massivem Zulauf an Menschen- vermied es Papst Franziskus sorgfältig, ihr seinen öffentlichen Segen zu geben.

Die Gläubigen dürfen auf dem Gebiet der Politik handeln, sagte der Papst im folgenden November bei einer Versammlung der italienischen Bischöfe in Florenz, aber sie sollten nicht vergessen, daß die " Bischöfe ihre Piloten sind."

Der Familientag von 2007, der die Zustimmung zu den de-facto-Verbindungen verhinderte, war sogar von der CEI organisiert worden. Aber sogar einige derer, die damals daran teilnahmen, nehmen jetzt den Bergoglio-Standpunkt ein und sprechen darüber nicht länger als "Erfolg" sondern als "Mißerfolg", den man nicht wiederholen solle: die Worte Kardinal Gualtiero Bassettis und des neuen Präsidenten des Katholischen Familienforums, Gianluigi De Palo.

Milde und von der säkularen öffentlichen Meinung gern gesehen, wenn es zu neuen Gesetzen zu homosexuellen Verbindungen kommt, nimmt Franziskus einen dissonanteren Standpunkt bei anderen essentiellen geopolitischen Fragen ein: von Immigration zu Armut zu islamischem Radikalismus.
Bei den Immigrationsströmen kocht der Papst alles auf ein einfaches Wort herunter: "Akzeptanz" und zu einem konsequenten Tadel all derer, die damit nicht einverstanden sind.
Franziskus vermeidet es sorgfältig, diese beim Namen zu nennen- eingeschlossen Staaten und öffentliche Institutionen. 

In Lampedusa , auf der kleinen Insel, zu der er seine erste Reise als Papst machte, erhob er den  vagen Schrei "Schande!". Aber wenn man schaut, was die Regierenden in Europa und der Welt sagen und tun, scheint die Entfernung zwischen ihnen und dem Papst unermeßlich groß.

 "Akzeptanz ist nötig, aber Strenge auch" sagte der Italienische Präsident Sergio Mattarella, ein Katholik und Linker, in seiner Silvesterbotschaft an die Nation: "Allgemeine Regeln werden gebraucht, um die. die vor Kriegen und Verfolgungen fliehen und ein Recht auf  Asyl haben, von anderen Migranten zu unterscheiden, die repatriiert werden müssen " Das sind Worte, die Franziskus nicht unterstützen würde.

Was die Armut angeht, ist die Lösung, die der Papst systematisch beschwört, allen Menschen Land, Häuser und Arbeit zu geben. Aber der Politikwissenschaftler Angelo Panebianco hat Recht, wenn er erwidert, "daß Franziskus der Idee anhängt, daß alle diese Ressourcen schon zur Verfügung stehen und daß der Mangel an ihnen eher die Auswirkung einer Verschwörung der regierenden Klassen zu Lasten der Armen des Planeten ist als ein objektives Hindernis."

Auf die unvermittelte Frage eines deutschen Journalisten auf dem Rückflug von Paraguay gab Franziskus zu- mit dem Übersehen der Mittelklasse in seiner Analyse einen Fehler gemacht zu haben, aber er fügte hinzu, daß "diese immer kleiner werde" -zerquetscht durch das Anwachsen der Ungleichheit zwischen arm und reich.
Augenscheinlich ist es dem Papst entgangen, daß die Zahlen das Gegenteil sagen, beginnend bei den Riesen Indien und China.

Was nun den radikalen Islamismus angeht, ist es erstaunlich daß Franzislus sagen sollte, dieser sei das Ergebnis der westlichen Aggression und der Armut- superstrukturell- im marxistischen Sinne, anstatt das Ergebnis einer ursprünglichen religiösen Entscheidung, einer Interpretation, die im Koran tief verwurzelt ist. Hier erscheint die politische Sicht des Papstes von der Realität losgelöst. Und deshalb wirkungslos.

Quelle: www. chiesa, Sandro Magister


On Catholic Yellow Journalism []

Today’s first reading reveals several things about the relationship between God and His People. God, as we know from the Fathers and Doctors of the Church, as well as other teachers, has His Perfect Will and His Permissive Will.

As God sees our free will as sacred, and as we have complete freedom on the use of our wills,   today’s reading may help us understand several aspects of willing or not willing God’s Will.

First Samuel 8:4-7, 10-22

4 The elders of Israel all assembled, went back to Samuel at Ramah, and said,

5 ‘Look, you are old, and your sons are not following your example. So give us a king to judge us, like the other nations.’

6 Samuel thought that it was wrong of them to say, ‘Let us have a king to judge us,’ so he prayed to Yahweh.

7 But Yahweh said to Samuel, ‘Obey the voice of the people in all that they say to you: it is not you they have rejected

10 Everything that Yahweh had said, Samuel then repeated to the people who were asking him for a king.

11 He said, ‘This is what the king who is to reign over you will do. He will take your sons and direct them to his chariotry and cavalry, and they will run in front of his chariot.

12 He will use them as leaders of a thousand and leaders of fifty; he will make them plough his fields and gather in his harvest and make his weapons of war and the gear for his chariots.

13 He will take your daughters as perfumers, cooks and bakers.

14 He will take the best of your fields, your vineyards and your olive groves and give them to his officials.

15 He will tithe your crops and vineyards to provide for his courtiers and his officials.

16 He will take the best of your servants, men and women, of your oxen and your donkeys, and make them work for him.

17 He will tithe your flocks, and you yourselves will become his slaves.

18 When that day comes, you will cry aloud because of the king you have chosen for yourselves, but on that day Yahweh will not hear you.’

19 The people, however, refused to listen to Samuel. They said, ‘No! We are determined to have a king,

20 so that we can be like the other nations, with our own king to rule us and lead us and fight our battles.’

21 Samuel listened to all that the people had to say and repeated it in Yahweh’s ear.

22 Yahweh then said to Samuel, ‘Do as they ask and give them a king.’ Samuel then said to the Israelites, ‘Go home, each of you, to his own town.’

Bullet points may be useful.

  • The People of God wanted to be a nation like ever other nation. God did not want this. God wanted them to be a holy people, not just another kingdom but His Kingdom.
  • The Judges and Prophets had been given to Israel as leaders. The People did not want to be different.
  • The people did not trust in Samuel, one of the most holy prophets and leaders of the Old Testament. They most likely were rebelling against his good, clear, strong rule.
  • God warned the people as to how kings would act, which is precisely how they did act. David, an exception to the rule, is the only saint-king of Israel, as compared to the judges and prophets who have many saints among their ranks.
  • The people did not want to be signs of contradiction in the world as followers of the Law.
  • God gave in to them in His permissive will for several reasons: one, they were hard of heart and were not listening to Samuel; two, God allowed suffering to result from this decision, as prophesied, many of the kings were bad, even evil, as in the case of Saul, who committed suicide after leaving God and committing the heinous crime of necromancy.
  • God’s permissive will brings about purging of the wills of the people, who, apparently, like so many of us, had to learn the hard way how to listen and trust in God’s perfect will.

Today, one sees the same problem of grumbling to be like everyone else. The American Episcopalian Church is now banned from the larger Anglican Church for three years because of the former’s stance on homosexual “marriages”.  The worldwide Anglican Church decided on the conservative, Scriptural teaching. The American Episcopalians are like the Old Testament People of God wanting to be and look like everyone else. Conformity has become more important than witness.

So, too, this happens in the Catholic Church. Conforming to a certain group becomes more important than witnessing to the Truth.  Yesterday, the holy woman to whom I referred showed me two very popular “Catholic” newspapers. These two newspapers, highly conservative, feature writers who have moved themselves out of the Church by their extreme right-wing views. One new issue was so negative in almost every article that I mentioned to two friends later that if one read these newspapers regularly one would become cynical, negative, aggressively anti-Church. One can become a Protestant from the right end of the spectrum as well as from the left.

Agendas and heresies were set up in some of these articles as true Catholic teaching. The holy woman decided not to renew her subscriptions. She said the newspapers had changes and I noted that the vitriolic expressions indicated warped, angry souls. Even the great reforming saints loved the Church. One does not see love, only actual hatred.

Three small points noted in some of the articles (she was throwing away back issues) indicated deviation from Church teaching.

One, both Pope Benedict and St. John Paul II, as well as St. John XXIII were referred to as “modernists” , a completely untrue statement, and slander.

Two, some articles referred to both St. John XXIII and St. John Paul II as not being saints-and as canonization is infallible, these decisions indicate a rebellious stance to the Church.

Three, quotations of the present Pope were taken out of context and references without texts to his errors were noted. Now, one can see some flaws, but to be picking on even falsely reported articles or bad translations, or taking things out of context is just plain yellow journalism.

These writers remind me of those complainers among God’s Chosen People noted in the above passage. They wanted something God did not want. They wanted to conform to a certain group of people outside of the call of God to be His Chosen People. Now, we have not only the liberal end of the Church conforming to errors, we see far-right groups conforming to errors, including slander.

One can become a heretic so easily, simply by not being humble and quiet. To be obedient to Holy Mother Church means realizing one’s real place in the Church and abiding in peace in that place. Yes, one may have to suffer, but creating agendas and following negative people will make one into a rebel, just like any liberal person.

There are many balanced groups of Catholics. I cannot understand buying a newspaper which refers to Father Zuhlsdorf as Mr. Zuhlsdorf, can you? And, the term neo-con, which is totally judgmental and not a theological term, causes great harm in the Church, as many good and holy people are judged as such by some of these newspapers.

Samuel was trying to show the People of God that they were not like any other group of people created by man. They were God’s People, not belonging to themselves, a clique or a potentially heretical community. Be careful, prayer, and discern by testing all your ideas against the true teachings of the Catholic Church.







OP-ED: "To Ross Douthat, With Affectionate Correction", by Fr. Richard Cipolla - Church Crisis, the True Battle, and Sacred Liturgy [RORATE CÆLI]

To Ross Douthat, With Affectionate Correction

Fr. Richard G. Cipolla, DPhil

Paolo Veronese - The Wedding Feast at Cana (1563) - Musée du Louvre

It is certainly true, as has been observed on Rorate Caeli, that Ross Douthat’s Erasmus Lecture for First Things has caused quite a stir in traditional Catholic circles.  Msgr. Pope’s article bemoaning the lack of growth in the presence of the Traditional Mass in the Church has also gained the attention of Traditional Catholics, but that article lacks the depth and urgency that is contained in Douthat’s lecture. Many of us have admired his Op-Ed pieces in the New York Times, often wondering how he achieved his position amidst the quintessential Liberal Establishment embodied by that paper of record.  His skirmish with the Catholic theologians (and I have refrained from putting theologians in quotation marks out of some sense of objectivity, despite my belief that there may no longer be any Catholic theologians, for Catholic theologians have to be immersed in the Tradition, and there do not seem to be any who are so today) is an example of the proper role of the laity in the Church as encouraged by the Second Vatican Council. 

Douthat sees a number of important issues that are not immediately apparent either to Joe Q. Catholic, nor to the clergy, especially the bishops:  the commandeering of the post-Second Vatican Council by a strong group of bishops and theologians committed to the redefinition of Tradition that would allow for conformity to the spirit of the times, the times of the 1960s and 70s; the failure, despite heroic attempts, of Pope John Paul II, to change the course of the Church directed by those in love with the Zeitgeist of the end of the twentieth century; the failure of the pontificate of Benedict XVI not only to reverse the impetus to the embrace of secularism but also to fail to “clean the stables of the filth”; the terrible and long lasting effects of the clerical sexual abuse scandals on the faith of the people and on the world’s attitude towards the Church.  All this Douthat understands clearly. And he also sees that the biggest problem in the Church, biggest because it is the basis for the continuance of the slide of the Church to tepid and flaccid Anglicanism, is—whatever one wishes to call it—papolatry, hyper-papalism, that adulation of the Pope that is unprecedented in the history of the Church, and the assumption that the power of the Pope has no limits, no boundaries, such that his pronouncements can change doctrine, of course under the guise of development controlled by the Holy Spirit, at will.  Pio Nono was no slouch with respect to having a high sense of his power as Pope. But as I have written before, he would be quite surprised, and perhaps would even blush, in the face of the power the Popes of the latter part of the twentieth century have taken as their right, including suppressing the Traditional Roman Rite and imposing a Novus Ordo of Mass on the whole Church.

Although Blessed John Henry Newman fully assented to the definition of Papal Infallibility at the First Vatican Council, his grave hesitation with respect to the suitability of defining the doctrine was prescient. 

Douthat sees clearly the terrible flaw in those whom he calls “conservative Catholics”, a term that is terrible flawed in of itself, in their constant appeal to documents to uphold a traditional understanding of the Catholic faith.  This appeal to official Church documents is a product of a rationalizing of Catholicism that certainly began with Trent (nevertheless a great Council) and has continued ever since.  The deliberate ambiguity of the documents of Vatican II has been used in a brilliant way by those who would move the Church in a direction that is non-Traditional, brilliant by the standards of the world.  Even the much touted Catechism of the Catholic Faith is no match for the Hegelian goosestep towards the triumph of the naked individual and the inevitability of an apotheosis of history as self-fulfillment. 

Douthat has arrived at the conclusion that Pope Francis, while grounded in Christian morality and the love of neighbor that is the necessary corollary of the love of God, is trying to take the Church to a place that may be denying what Catholicism is, at least as it should be lived.  When Pope Francis was elected, I wrote a piece for Rorate Caeli in which I described Francis as the inevitable Pope for our times.  I declared that the next several years would be “back to the future”. Papa Bergoglio embodies all that 60s Jesuits were and still are.  And I said that we must go through this time again, but this time not as secular society but as the Church.  This is not to malign Pope Francis. I pray for him every day in my Rosary, and I do so with genuine affection for his God-given role in the Church.  And I shall continue to do so.  But I will not succumb to that hyper-papalism that has had such a negative effect on the Church for the past fifty years at least, that papolatry that refuses to look at Church history and stand back with some sense of objectivity in looking at the men who have occupied the See of Peter. 


If I were to have a conversation with Ross Douthat, this is what I would say.  

First: your use of the terms conservative and liberal in your analysis of the situation in the Church is absolutely wrong, absolutely guaranteed to continue the march towards the morphing of Catholicism into the silly vagueness of contemporary Anglicanism, where Scripture, Tradition and Christ himself are no barriers to proclaiming the darkness of the world as the light.  The very foundation of Anglicanism in the selfish break of a randy King with the Church, as Newman finally saw, guaranteed its demise and apostasy, for the center does not hold, for there is no center.  The death of Anglo-Catholicism as a force within Anglicanism to bring it to a Catholic understanding of the Christian faith, while peopled with truly great men and women of faith, devolved into an imitation of Catholicism but with good taste, and was destroyed by mere aestheticism and a clergy where homosexuality was an all too common element.  Newman saw, unlike Pusey, Keble and their followers, that Catholicism is impossible except in the Catholic Church.

What is going on in the Church today is not a battle between liberal and conservative. Those are political terms that have changed their meaning quite often through two centuries.  The battle is between Catholic Tradition (which includes the primacy of Scripture and its binding force) and the selfishness and darkness of the world clothed in the sentimentality of "LUV".  That battle is what the First Epistle of St. John speaks about.  And it has not changed for two thousand years.

But above all, Mr. Douthat, you do not understand that the deepest problem of the state of the Church today is the destruction of her liturgical life.  That blindess you share with the Neocons, who have been blind to this for so many years and who refuse to see this because of their inability to even consider that the Church can make serious mistakes despite her indefectibility.  The Panglossian attitude towards the post-Vatican II developments in the liturgy on the part of those who style themselves as conservative Catholics is not only an affront to reality but has contributed to the shocking (never admitted by the bishops) decline in Mass attendance to the point where less than 25% of Catholics go to Sunday Mass on a regular basis.  Any rational person would want to sit down and discuss how we got to this point and at least consider that bad decisions were made in the implementation of Sacrosanctum Concilium by the Consilium entrusted with liturgical renewal.  It is a remarkable fact that Pope Paul VI thought that he had the power to change the liturgy of the Mass.  As I said before, even Pio Nono would have been amazed that he had this power.  But then comes Benedict XVI who declares that what was sacred then is sacred now and that the Traditional Roman Mass was never suppressed.  Ahem.  There may a contradiction somewhere in all of this. 

We who love the Tradition of the Catholic Church rejoiced in Benedict’s Motu Proprio—Summorum Pontificum that freed the Traditional Mass from the tyranny of the post-Vatican II liturgical establishment.  But Benedict did this by inventing the fiction that there are two forms of the one Roman Rite:  the Ordinary and the Extraordinary.  What this means is, to say the least, not clear, perhaps not cogent.  But he could not say explicitly that what Paul VI did in imposing the Novus Ordo on the Church was wrong—because Popes do not make serious mistakes.  And so that whole fiction about if a small group in a parish want the “old Mass”, they should go to the pastor and ask that it be celebrated in their parish, and if the pastor refuses (why would he?), they could go to the bishop.  What does all this mean?  The great majority of bishops are inimical to the Traditional Mass, and this animosity is true even more of pastors of parishes and seminary officials.  Those of a certain age have a vested interest in the de-sacralization of the liturgy that occurred after the Second Vatican Council.  And, Mr. Douthat, what you see happening in the doctrinal life of the Church is a direct consequence of the unmooring of the liturgical life of the Church from its foundation in Catholic Tradition.  This is not conservatism.  This is foundationalism, grounded in the Tradition of the Apostles.

But this is not a time for gloom and doom, nor is it a time for Pope-bashing, nor is it a time for circling the wagons. No.  Next Sunday’s gospel in the Extraordinary Form as always is the first miracle of Christ: the changing of water into wine at the wedding feast of Cana, as part of the Epiphany of the Lord. And, mirabile dictu, because it is "Year C in the Ordinary Form", our people at the masses celebrated according to that Form, will also hear this Gospel.  

And how wonderful that is! For this first miracle of our Lord is a miracle of pure largesse, a miracle not to heal, or to exorcise, or to raise someone from the dead.  His first miracle was to help make people happy at a celebration of hope and love that is a wedding.  And so let us all raise our glasses in happiness and thanksgiving that we are blessed by our Catholic faith.  And let us, yes, toast the Pope, but conscience first.  And let us toast each other, whoever we are, and let us toast this whole messy world in which we live that whether they know it or not,  the world has been redeemed by Jesus Christ.  And with a smile on our face let us thank God that He has loved us so much that He sent his Son to die for us; and that he continues to love us so much despite our ungratefulness and sin-- and let us thank God that we know the beauty and the truth of the Catholic faith.


Starting Friday Off Right: St. Maurus Edition [Barnhardt]

Our Father, Who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy Name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.

PATER NOSTER, qui es in caelis, sanctificetur nomen tuum. Adveniat regnum tuum. Fiat voluntas tua, sicut in caelo et in terra. Panem nostrum quotidianum da nobis hodie, et dimitte nobis debita nostra sicut et nos dimittimus debitoribus nostris. Et ne nos inducas in tentationem, sed libera nos a malo. Amen.

Lorenzo Monaco (c. 1370-1423), Coronation of the Virgin, predella: Saint Benedict & Saint Scholastica and Maurus Saving Placid

Lorenzo Monaco (c. 1370-1423), Coronation of the Virgin, predella: Saint Benedict & Saint Scholastica and Maurus Saving Placid, Uffizi Gallery, Florence

Today is the feast of Saints Maurus and Placid.  St. Maurus was St. Benedict’s first disciple. We see in the left half of the beautiful image above the instance wherein St. Benedict summoned St. Maurus and told him that his confrere, St. Placid, had fallen into the lake while fetching water, and was now about “the length of an arrowshot” away from the shore, drowning, and that St. Maurus should go save him.  St. Maurus took off running, ran out onto the surface of the lake, pulled St. Placid out of the water, hauled him back to shore – again, on the surface of the water the whole time. St. Maurus said afterward that he didn’t realize what he had done – namely walk on water – until after the fact. All he was thinking about was saving his friend per St. Benedict’s instruction.

He just did it.  He didn’t pull up at the water’s edge and stand there whining about how there was nothing he could do, and that he didn’t like swimming, and he couldn’t possibly be expected to go in the water, and maybe even risk his own life, and it was no use, and St. Placid should learn how to swim and save himself.  Nope.  He just did it.  And God provided a miracle – a miracle not seen since Our Lord walked with (a somewhat soggy) St. Peter on the Sea of Galilee.

Dear God, please let us be more like St. Maurus and just do what needs to be done, not pulling up at the shore and making whining, faithless excuses about why we can’t.


Macbeth & the Culture of Life [Dominicana]

It may seem absurd to leave after seeing director Justin Kurzel’s new adaptation of Macbeth and to think, “Now that’s pro-life.” That is because, true to the Shakespearean original, the film abounds with violence and blackened, gory blood. The eponymous character’s name rhymes with death, and his tragedy traffics in it. A cast of fresh […]


The Holy Moly Doors at Toronto's Our Lady of Sorrows Parish [Vox Cantoris]

Nestled on the main road of the Kingsway, Bloor Street, in what was Etobicoke and now part of the City of Toronto is one of the more beautiful churches in Toronto west of the downtown, Our Lady of Sorrows. In my view, the prettiest one is a little further along, Our Lady of Peace, but the church to Her Seven Sorrows is a real gem. It was built in 1940 in the Lombard style and has one of the finest tracker organs in Canada, a Casavant. The ceiling is wonderfully coffered and the apse and clerestory have over 1,000,000 marble tiles forming a stunning mosaic which was completed in 1962.

Below is a picture of the church after the completion of the most "ambitious and extensive mosaic production in the New World north of Mexico."

THE CANADIAN REGISTER, Kingston, Ontario. Jan. 7, 1961
REBIRTH OF MOSAIC ART IN ETOBICOKE CHURCH TORONTO - An art form begun by the Sumerians of the Euphrates Valley in BC has planted firm feet in Canada. Mosaics have been installed in Toronto's Church of Our Lady of Sorrows, as part of a renovation program. The Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin are portrayed in larger - than - life - size reproductions complemented by highlights from the life of Christ.
The mosaics were executed by the Svoboda Studio under the direction of Count Alexander von Svoboda. The work began on March 21st 1960 and seven tons of tiles, in 150 colours, were used to make up the mosaics, which cover about 10,000 square feet of the clerestory walls and the apse of the church. The cutting and placing of the tiny individual tiles were done in a studio by 13 mosaicists. As major segments were completed they were transferred to the church for installation by the craftsmen. Installation in the church began on May 1, with artists working five days a week and, on Saturdays, clearing away materials and tools so that services could be conducted as usual each Sunday. Count von Svoboda was born and educated in Vienna and for the past ten years has been identified with the creation of several murals in Canadian buildings.
This effort is realised, in what is perhaps the most ambitious and extensive mosaic production in the New World north of Mexico.

The parish is in a privileged community with homes in the multi-millions, money is no problem, that is to be sure. A few years ago the original altar cross was removed and relegated to a side wall to be replaced by a painting of Christ Pantocrator. Not that the painting is in itself a bad thing, but to remove the original altar cross on an already reconstructed High Altar, was not helpful. Nor was it necessary. It is a beautiful painting with much colour. It is an iconographic and unsuited to the rest of the mosaic and if there was anything not needed, it was more colour. It was controversial at the time and you can clearly see why! Taking down the historic and original Crucifix was wrong and without any justification.

It certainly seems that this parish has more money than it knows what to do with and looks for ways to spend it and it begs the question, "when is more, too much?"

Now, I am all for beauty in our buildings and our liturgy. I abhor modernist church buildings and would support the raising of funds to restore
 and maintain our ecclesiastical architectural heritage. That includes the Cathedral of St. Michael in Toronto which suffered a century of neglect to the point where tens of millions are necessary to restore and save it from literal collapse. It was a pretty "poor" building to begin with built with pennies of poor Irish immigrants.

Getting back to Our Lady of Sorrows.
The original doors can be seen in this wedding photo

Did I write that sometimes, a parish has more money than it knows what to do with? I would think if they were looking for something proper and worthwhile a restoration of the marble sanctuary floor from that filthy brown carpet and the marble communion rail and the mensa of the High Altar might have been one option.

Now to the holy-moly doors. The Church had beautiful, powerful oak doors with a coffered design which suited the structure and reflected the ceiling of the interior nave.

A few months ago, a friend asked me if I'd seen the new doors of solid bronze with the relief of St. Michael the Archangel, I had not but made it a point on my next trip by. Well, what can one say? To say they were out of place with the original design would be an understatement.

Yesterday, I arrived home to find my free copy, since I don't subscribe but someone does for me, of The Catholic Register. There, on page 4 was a picture of the doors from the inside and the price - $400,000.00. That's right, you read that correctly. The Holy-Moly Doors were $400,000.00. The Catholic Register was not wrong and that was not an added a "0", as I confirmed the accuracy of the number with the Editor. 

Four. Hundred. Thousand. Dollars. For two doors.

Let us not compare this to Our Lord and the ointment where Judas complained about the cost of it. The ointment was what was of value, not the vessel it was in which was probably clay and the action of the anointing was the point. It is what is inside the church and our hearts. The fact is, there could have been nothing wrong with the old oak doors that could not have been fixed. Even if one argued that they needed to be replaced they could have been reproduced for perhaps ten, or twenty thousand. But seriously - solid bronze doors which required modification to the walls to be supported for $400,000.00 - this was necessary? One can only recall Cary Grant in The Bishop's Wife (Episcopalian, of course) and his admonition about "tough times for the world."

Now, lest any of my fellow Etobians or anyone from the parish be upset at Vox for reporting this, you might first direct that to the Catholic Register. They made public your nearly half a million dollar expenditure on two doors, so don't blame me.

Oh, and by the way, what happened to the originals?


Lieber "Humanistischer [** hüstel **] Pressedienst",... [totaliter aliter]

... ich habe leider keine Wundcreme, die ich Dir für diesen Burn zur Schmerzlinderung zulassen kommen könnte.

Aber ich habe einen guten Ratschlag: Beim nächsten Mal vielleicht einfach mit den Informationen wahrheitsgemäßer umgehen oder in besonders komplexen Fällen (= korrekte Sachlage wäre leicht zu erfahren, könnte aber kostbar zusammengeschmiedetes Weltbild ins Wanken bringen) auch ganz die Finger von der Tastatur lassen.

Gern geschehen.


Zurück aus der Mottenkiste: verheiratete Priester & viri probati [Beiboot Petri]

Nach Father Raymond Blake hat sich in Settimo Cielo, L´Espresso nun auch Sandro Magister wieder des Wiedergängerthemas "verheiratete Priester & viri probati" angenommen.
Hier geht´s zum Original:   klicken

"Norberto Saracco ist ein argentinischer Pastor der Pfingstkirche und Gründer einer internationalen Fakultät für Theologische Studien, die in vielen Ländern aktiv ist und deren Dozenten verschiedenen christlichen Konfessionen angehören.
Er ist seit langem ein Freund von Jorge Mario Bergoglio und hatte zwei Monate nach seiner Wahl zum Papst ein langes vertrauliches Gespräch in seinem Appartement in Santa Marta- zusammen mit einem Dutzend anderer argentinischer Freunde.


                                            Pastor Norberto Saracco

Im Sommer 2015 hat Saracco dann Robert Draper, dem Autor der Papst Franziskus gewidmeten Titel-Story der Augustausgabe von National Geographic "Wird der Papst den Vatican verändern?" von diesem Gespräch berichtet. Und aus seiner Erzählung ergibt sich eine weitere Bestätigung, daß Papst Franziskus einen Weg für verheiratete Priester in der südamerikanischen Katholischen Kirche öffnen will- wie wir bei
www. chiesa bereits berichteten (zuletzt in "Die Achse Deutschland-Brasilien...")

Von diesem Treffen in Santa Marta erinnert Pastor Saracco die entschiedenen Zustimmung von Franziskus, "sofort Veränderungen einzuführen" -für verschiedene Gebiete des Kirchenlebens, obwohl er wisse, daß er sich damit "eine Menge Feinde machen wird"
Und als der Pastor den Papst fragte, ob er auch die Ketten des Zölibats für die Priester abschaffen wolle, habe er das nicht herausbekommen.
Er erzählte dann weiter:"Wenn Franziskus den Druck der Kirche zum Ausgang der Synode überleben kann, denke ich- wird er bereit sein, den Zölibat zur Diskussion zu stellen."
Der Journalist von National Geographic hatte Saracco dann gefragt, ob der Papst ihm das gesagt habe, oder ob das nur auf einer Intuition beruhe, Saracco" hat scheinheilig gelächelt und gesagt "das ist mehr als nur eine Intuition."

Quelle: Settimo Cielo, L´Espresso, Sandro Magister


Pope Benedict and his Ordinariates [Fr Hunwicke's Mutual Enrichment]

As we celebrate this Fifth Anniversary of our Ordinariate, we naturally celebrate also our Founder ... with very much love and loyalty and with thanksgiving to God. I don't know if you remember where you were when you heard of Benedict's election: I certainly do (a little village near Land's End), and I recall that sudden surge of exultation: Our friend has become Pope! Now anything can happen!


The problem of Chivalry [LMS Chairman]

Hercules overcoming Hippolyta
Bishop Olmstead has reiterated his call to men to take their responsibilities properly, this time in a short but slickly produced YouTube video. I addressed his pastoral letter on the subject on this blog, here.

The content of the video reflects Bishop Olmstead's letter. My comment on that was that it didn't get to the heart of the problem, which is that the reasons why earlier generations of men were hard-working, dependable, and willing to commit to marriage and children, have been systematically removed, to a large extent deliberately, in response to feminism. To tell men that they ought to 'man up' and marry and stay married when the marriage deal is no longer a rational choice, is unbalanced. It wasn't men who asked for these changes, and, interestingly, it is often women complaining about their consequences. The Church's intellectual leadership ought to be pressing these contradictions with a view to reversing some of the policies which make marriage unattractive, instead of, or at least as well as, lambasting men for failing to take leave of their senses to marry anyway.

Indeed, the Church has actually made things worse, depriving men of the kind of liturgy which appeals to them, as I have discussed on this blog. Another ecclesiastical policy which is truly insane in the conditions of today is failing to discourage 'mixed' marriages - marriages of Catholics to non-Catholics. Another, of course, is the smoothing of the path to annulments. Today, the Church herself cannot escape blame for undermining the permanence of marriage. Not that I lay these failings at the feet of Bishop Olmstead, and I give him credit for addressing the problem at all.

The video expresses the bishop's appeal by reference, at least implicitly, to the ideal of chivalry, and this raises another problem, because the concept of chivalry is often used in a very strange way. In video the suggestion appears to be simply that men put themselves on the line, take risks, for the sake of women (and children), without any thought of self. This sounds nice, but in reality it opens up generous souls to exploitation, and can look to women like the kind of 'putting them on a pedastal' which is unattractive and, quite reasonably, intensly annoying. If this is the take-home message, we are setting up young men for failure and unhappiness.

The American Evangelical blogger 'Dalrock' puts his finger on the nub of the problem when he points out that key to the classical conception of chivalry is the contrast between strong, high-status men, and the weak and vulnerable people they help.

...the feminists and the white knight boot licker brigade want to appeal to the power of the contrast (the bait) while substituting an obligation of subservience in its place (the switch). I think most of us sense this in our gut, and many of the commenters on my last post articulated this problem quite well. However, I strongly suspect those advocating chivalry as male obligation haven’t really considered the feminist water they are carrying. They are only repeating the anti male slogans they have been drilled in since birth. Our homeschooled blogger provides perfect examples of this frame of mind:

"And guys for the most part (especially those of my generation) are a waste of skin. Too harsh? I think not."

Since real chivalry comes from a position of strength, it can only be offered by a man who is actually powerful and offers his assistance with full freedom and knowledge of his own worth.

The 'obligation of subservience' can be illustrated from the history of this blog. Long-time readers will recall one of my most-read posts, a counter-attack on Professor Tracey Rowland, an Australian theologian who decided to season her liturgical conservatism, which might seem friendly to the Traditional cause, with an attack on the dress-sense of women who attend the Traditional Mass. This was a really, really nasty attack, which went around the world on YouTube and reappeared the following year, unrepented and largely unedited, in the published version of her lecture. She said, among other things, that Traditional Catholic women looked as though they had 'escaped from a Amish farm'. In the video, Prof Roland was dressed as a blue-stockinged frump, so I gave her both barrels - rhetorically, that is.

And what happened? I was attacked for my lack of chivalry. Chivalry has come to mean, by many good-hearted Catholics, not as the defence of the weak, but as subservience to aggressive women, and the more prestigious and powerful the woman, more subservient one should be. This attitude cripples many priests in dealing with aggressive women in their parishes, and it has crippled the Church as a whole in dealing with feminism. What Dalrock calls 'white knights', men who don't identify as feminists but rather as cultural conservatives, twist the narrative of the strong man helping the weak woman out of charity into a narrative of the weak man serving the strong woman out of obligation. They do so even when there are real, vulnerable, females who do need defending, such as the victims of Rowland's disgusting attack. They aren't, in the end, interested in the vulnerable, or in justice; they are just scared of the feminists, and think this version of the chivalric ideal will play well with them.

A Greek warrior catching an Amazon by the hair,.
The existence of this attitude makes appealing to the chivalric ideal problematic. When Bishop Olmstead calls for manly, self-sacrificial, service of the family by men, the 'white knights' are telling us that this means that men should emasculate themselves. To deal with the point at more length, I need another post: in the meantime, just remember Hippolyta. You know, Hippolyta, the Queen of the Amazons.

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Das war kein Ruhmesblatt [katholon]

Oder: So blöd sind die Blogger gar nicht

IMGP1557Im Normalfall ist das Domradio in Köln eine verlässliche Quelle. Das sei einmal vorweg geschickt. Ein zweiter Aspekt noch als Disclaimer sei an dieser Stelle hinzugefügt: Der Ausdruck „Lügenpresse“ ist mir mindestens so verhaßt, wie in der Presse verbreitete Lügen. Eine Ente ist dann nicht etwa ein possierlicher Wasservogel, es ist ein Falschbericht, eine Sage, eine Erfindung, ein Gerücht oder eine böswillige Unterstellung. Eine solche kann erheblichen Schaden anrichten und den Ruf eines Menschen erheblich beschädigen.

Dies ist passiert, indem einem spanischen Erzbischof ein Zitat unterstellt wurde, das er so nie getätigt hat. Steht so in der Zeitung, im Internet oder auf facebook, dann wird das auch so sein. Und überhaupt, diesen Kirchenfürsten ist ja alles zuzutrauen. Einerseits! Andererseits ist dann wieder ganz fix das böse Wort „Lügenpresse“ im Raum. Ein ganz übles Wort, weil es keinen real existierenden Sachverhalt beschreibt. Nicht „die Presse“ lügt, es sind einzelne ganz konkrete Menschen, die es mit der Wahrheit und /oder der journalistischen Sorgfalt nicht so ganz ernst nehmen. Das ist ein Übel, das allerdings nicht mehr und nicht weniger ist als ein Spiegelbild einer Gesellschaft, in der Tugenden (und dann eben auch die Wahrhaftigkeit) langsam aber sicher abgeworfen werden und vergammeln, verderben verrotten. So fasse sich denn jeder, er „Lügenpresse“ brüllt an seine eigene Nase und frage sich nach seinem Verhältnis zu den Tugenden. Wir haben im christlichen Abendland die Kardinaltugenden Weisheit, Gerechtigkeit, Tapferkeit, Mäßigung, Glaube, Hoffnung und Liebe. Wie halten wir es damit?

Fakt ist, das ist nicht zu bestreiten, hier wurde auf Basis eines falschen Zitats, dessen Erfinder irgendwo im Dunkel bleibt, ein katholischer Erzbischof verleumdet. Nun kann nicht jeder eine spanische Predigt übersetzen, ja es nicht einmal gesagt, daß man den Text überhaupt findet. Darum braucht es Medien, die nach der Wahrheit suchen, dabei jede nur denkbare Sorgfalt walten lassen und erst dann berichten, wenn heikle Fakten verifiziert sind. Für eine große Nachrichtenagentur sollte eine europäische Sprache kein unüberwindliches Hindernis darstellen. Vor allem dann, wenn es um einen katholischen Bischof geht, sollte eine katholische Nachrichtenagentur noch einmal doppelt hinsehen, bevor man ein Skandalon aufbaut. Dabei geht es nicht darum, um jeden Preis zu verteidigen, wenn etwas aus dem eignen Laden kommt. Es geht um die Wahrheit. Dazu hat man in der katholischen Nachrichtenagentur gut bezahlte Redakteure, die diese Arbeit leisten könnten. Stattdessen, so hat man den Eindruck, werden Meldungen mit der heißen Nadel am Newsdesk zusammen gestrickt. Hauptsache Ausstoß, Hauptsache Umsatz. Wen stören ein paar Enten im großen Medienteich?

Es gibt sie, die sich daran stören. Viele sind hilflos und resignieren. Andere tun das nicht und nehmen den Streit auf. So brauchte es nicht mehr und nicht weniger als ein Erschrecken zweier Bloggerinnen, die sich ge- und betroffen fühlten. Beide haben sich um Übersetzung der Originalpredigt des Erzbischofs von Toledo bemüht. Beide haben unabhängig voneinander ihre Artikel dazu veröffentlicht. Daher an dieser Stelle ein großer Dank an Heike und Anna für ihre Arbeit, die sie ehrenamtlich für die Kirche getan haben. Es sollte ein Menetekel an der Wand des katholischen Medienhauses in Bonn sein, wenn zwei Bloggerinnen den Profis der kna zeigen müssen, wo journalistisch der Hammer hängt. Da soll es in unserem Land doch immer noch Leute geben, die glauben, Verbloggung führe zur Verblödung. Lassen wir sie in dem Glauben. Wer „das alles an sich heran läßt“, wer sich interessiert und informiert, kann es längst besser wissen. Das genaue Gegenteil ist der Fall. Es gibt nichts intelligenteres als Netze. Blogger bilden Netze, tauschen Informationen, finden Zugänge zu Informationen und Kolleginnen oder Kollegen, die fremde Sprachen beherrschen. Und am Ende bringen sie die Wahrheit ans Licht.

So blöd ist das alles gar nicht …


USA: 58.586.256 Abtreibungen seit Liberalisierung [Mathias von Gersdorff]

„Capitol 2 Washington“ von Christoph Radtke - Eigenes Werk. Lizenziert unter CC BY 3.0 über Wikimedia Commons  Seitdem in den Vereinigten Staaten die Abtreibung vom Verfassungsgericht freigegeben wurde (Roe vs. Wade Urteil), kamen 58.586.256 ungeborene Kinder auf diese Weise ums Leben. Die Zahl wurde von der Lebensrechtsorganisation „National Right to Life Comittee (NRLC)“ errechnet und am


That Sinking Feeling [iBenedictines]

There are probably very few who do not feel, from time to time, that they are ‘going under’. Work, relationships, the sheer complexity of life in the twenty-first century, with its endless demands for immediate response/action, all take their toll (…)

Read the rest of this entry »


It’s Cold Out There [RSS]

An acquaintance tells me that in his part of the world, which would normally be warm this time of year, the weather is unusually cold.

If it’s shivery where you are, this may amuse you:  The next time someone comments on the cold, quietly murmur “Climate change,” then watch for the reaction.

I don’t claim to know whether the globe is getting warmer.  I do know that for scientists who live on money from the government, it’s a beautiful hypothesis.  No conceivable evidence can disconfirm it.  Hot weather or cold, rising global average temperatures or stable ones, favorable data, unfavorable data, or no data at all – it’s all good.



Laci Green screenshot [Oz Conservative]

Laci Green is a feminist activist with a million subscribers to her YouTube channel. I watched her explain feminism in one of her videos. It was unintentionally very funny - as an example, here is a screenshot of Laci explaining one of feminism's core beliefs:


Here's a thought ... [Abbey Roads]

On conversion and healing ...

Someone who is free of his infirmity is ...

"someone who no longer attracts attention ..." - Adrienne Von Speyer

That's it.

That's what has been wrong here.  Conversion story blogs keep picking at the sores - the wounds.  For ten years I've been dancing around this stuff, calling attention to my wounds, my sins, my disabilities.  Licking my wounds, as it were.  Protesting too much.  Then convincing myself that I have something to say about this or that or the other thing.  Seeking and attracting attention - to myself.

Some bloggers do that a lot.

I just saw a thing from a guy whose evangelization and apologetics is more or less based upon his conversion story and pursuit of some sort of online ministry - he was quoted at length, writing about how imperative it is for Christians to judge; because everyone says 'do not judge' when some one calls another one out... and although Christ said 'do not judge' we always seem to do it anyway.  Some apologists - much like this guy - spend a great deal of time explaining why they are correct in judging, suggesting that "not to judge is not to love."  Oddly enough - this same fellow misjudged me once.  A good lesson BTW, since I have misjudged many in my life ... but I digress.

Ones conversion experience does not justify the feeling that one is one of the "elect". - Pope Benedict

Someone who is free of his infirmity ...

One has to want to be free.  One has to want to be healed.  One has to believe, or at least hope God will free him - all of that is true.  All of that takes time, and it definitely takes humility.  Humility often comes through hard falls, hard knocks, harsh judgments endured - some true, others maybe a penance supplying for hidden faults unknown to others.  Humiliations are the stepping stones to humility, as Mother Teresa said.

The humble man cannot judge.  He can't look down on others.  For shame - actually humility in another guise - leads the humble man to no longer attract attention to himself, much less judge the conduct of others.

When we fall into that trap of setting ourselves up as judge and calling attention to ourselves by calling out the faults of others, we can still repent, we can still begin again - while there is still 'time'  ... we can finally come to understand that everything is a grace, that it is sheer gift ...
As the pope stated in his book:  "For as long as we are alive it is always possible to start over, all we have to do is let Jesus embrace us and forgive us." 
"There is medicine, there is healing, we only need to take a small step toward God, or at least express the desire to take it," he continued, saying "a tiny opening is enough."

Best advice:  Do not judge.

Wie die Internet-Pornographie finanziert wird [Mathias von Gersdorff]

"StrappedCurrency" by  Licensed u.Public Domain via Commons  Es lohnt, zu analysieren, wie sich Internet-Pornounternehmen finanzieren, denn so kann man das Ausmaß der Passivität der zuständigen staatlichen Behörden bei der Bekämpfung der Pornographie erkennen. Schon allein aus Gründen des Jugendmedienschutzes müsste der deutsche Staat viel mehr in

Increase in Ordinations [Tea at Trianon]

Holy Mother Church always rises from the ashes. From The Catholic World Report:

Although last year’s Pew Research Center's study “America's Changing Religious Landscape” was used by some pundits as evidence for a steady decline in Catholicism, the evidence points to differing trends. As I noted last May, “the Northeast losses for the Catholic Church are attenuated by gains in the southern part of the country where Catholics have increased from 25% of those living in the South in 2007 to 27% of the population today, and in the West where the percentage of Catholics has increased from 23% in 2007 to 26% in 2014.”

Even more significantly, in 2015 there was a 25% increase in ordinations to the priesthood as 595 men were ordained last year, up from 477 the previous year. According to Mary Gautier and Thomas Gaunt, authors of The Class of 2015: Survey of Ordinands to the Priesthood, commissioned by the Secretariat of Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, the average age of those ordained in 2015 to the priesthood is 34—continuing a pattern of younger men entering the priesthood earlier than in previous decades.

More than half (60%) of those ordained in 2015 have completed college before entering the seminar, and one in seven (15%) entered the seminary with a graduate degree. One in three entered the seminary while in college. Most respondents to the USCCB survey reported that there were about 17 years old when they first considered a vocation to the priesthood and were encouraged to consider their vocation by an average of four people. Seven in 10 of them said they were encouraged by a parish priest, while 46% were encouraged by friends, 45% were encouraged by parishioners, and 40% were encouraged by their mothers. (Read more.)


Muslim-Christian Relations in Ottoman Palestine [Eastern Christian Books]

I have noted many books over the years about Ottoman history, especially the history of Muslim-Christian relations in the empire. I have also noted the perduring problem of ethno-nationalism as it has afflicted, and still afflicts, not just Eastern Christian groups but Muslim ones as well.

A book set for release later this spring looks at all these questions: Erik Freas, Muslim-Christian Relations in Late-Ottoman Palestine: Where Nationalism and Religion Intersec (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016), 320pp.

About this book we are told by the publisher:

Numerous factors underlie the dynamic shaping of present-day Muslim-Christian Arab relations as well as the formulation of Arab national identity. In Muslim-Christian Relations in Late-Ottoman Palestine, Erik Freas argues that paramount among these were three developments that transpired in the late-Ottoman period, of which Palestine provides a microcosm. One is that non-Arabic speaking Christian communities began to define identity in nationalistic terms on the basis of faith. Also, with their transformation into politically equal Ottoman citizens, Christians were more intent on taking advantage of their new rights rather than fulfilling civil obligations. Finally, for most Muslim Arabs, the transition from identifying primarily as 'Muslim' to 'Arab' in terms of their broader communal affiliation often entailed little change in how they experienced communal identity in the day-to-day. Taken together, the analysis of these developments provides an in-depth examination of Muslim-Christian Arab relations in Palestine during the nineteenth century as well as the long-term implications of these changes on the manner of Arab national identity's formulation.


Liberation Theology in Latin America [Ethika Politika]


Fifty years ago the Catholic Church witnessed the blooming of a theological movement known as Liberation Theology. Drawing on the social concerns of the Church, those scholars created a blend of Christianity with Marxism that explain some current pastoral phenomena in Latin America. Much of the current debate around the subject is a war between radical traditionalism and Marxism disguised as Catholicism. Although this piece focuses on liberation theology, I believe traditionalists created their own set of problems. Both radical traditionalism and the Marxist forms of liberation theology are theological errors regarding the role of the Grace. In radical traditionalism, the sacramental grace is replaced by the Pharisaic observance to the ritual, as if the 1962 Ordo missae was the only way Christ becomes present in the Eucharist. In liberation theology, a political and social liberator replaces Jesus Christ as the author of grace and liberator from sin, as if Ché Guevara or another guerrilla leader could take the place of Jesus Christ. Thus the sacraments and the spiritual life are relegated to a remote or even inexistent place. I can speak of Brazil in particular, but for the better part of the countries of South America, the side effects of the theological doctrine that spread like wildfire was felt in a practical way through lack of clergy, faithful leaving the Catholic Church for neo-charismatic churches, and the abandonment of the sacraments among those who remained in the Church, especially confession. You can pick any large city in Brazil and you’ll notice that finding a confessional with a priest in it is harder than getting water in the Sahara. Although we in South America lack sound statistics, a circumstantial evidence to support my claim about the loss of priests in South America is the disparity in the number of Catholics per priest: the United States has 2,600 Catholics per priest, compared with Colombia (4,750), Chile (4800), Argentina (5,600), Brazil (7,000), Mexico (7.200), Peru (9,100), Venezuela (9,600), Ecuador (10,000), and Guatemala (10,000). Two stories from my personal experience may fill out this statistic. Liberation Theology’s Impact A few years ago I organized some volunteer camps in the Amazon region. In those trips I witnessed the impact of Liberation Theology in the existential periphery of the world. The two events happened in a diocese the size of the state of Utah that has only thirteen priests. Every parish is spread across several thousand square miles and thus pastoral attention is, at best, scarce. My experience matches Pope Francis’s observations in the interview he gave for a Brazilian television days after the 2013 World Youth Days, where he addressed the problem of people leaving the Catholic faith due to lack of real pastoral care. In the wilds of the Amazon region, a few kilometers from the border of Venezuela, I was walking down a dirt road in the village of Trairão, a tiny colony of five-hundred inhabitants in the municipality of Amajari, one of utmost regions of Brazil. I was accompanied by Fr. Michelino, who had volunteered during his vacations to provide pastoral care to that population, part of a parish the size of the state of New Hampshire. In that village, a chapel in ruins served as the Catholic Church. Our engineering crew had brought tons of construction material in a time-worn KC-137 air force cargo jet. Their mission was to reform the chapel while our medical team provides basic healthcare and dental aid. “I’m going to kill you!” Those were the greeting words of welcome I heard from the farmer sitting on the side of the road. Words not addressed to me, but to the priest who was walking with me dressed in his black clerical outfit beneath an intense equatorial sun. Immediately, since we had logistical support from the Army, I asked for protection for the priest. Despite the scare, he remained serene and every day he celebrated Mass for the community, tended confessions and provided priestly services which that community only received from time to time. On our last day of work on the village, we went to inaugurate the chapel, which from ruins had become, in two weeks, a beautiful church. After the Mass, I noticed, approaching the priest, the man who had threatened him on day one, and fearing for the life of Father Michelino, I ran over. "I wanted to apologize to you for having said that I would kill you,” I heard the man say to the priest. “I was greatly mistaken. You are the first priest I’m acquainted with that talks of God. All the priests who passed here before preached hatred between indigenous communities and us. They said we were capitalists, they ignored our work. And you told us all these days, of Jesus Christ and the love of God, Our Lady and the love that we should have between us. I never imagined that a priest could address such subjects.” Speaking of Jesus The following year, after a six-hour flight to Boa Vista, the state capital of Roraima, we had another five-hour bus ride to reach the Trairão Camp where we would continue the work we had started. Beside me sat a pastor of a Neo-Pentecostal Evangelical church. In that Lilliputian village there were seven of them. He was interested in what I would do there, and hearing that among our various activities we planned to expand the chapel we had rebuilt a year earlier, he struck up with me the following dialogue: “You're fighting a losing war; do you realize it?” “To my knowledge,” I said, “we are not in any war, we believe in the same Jesus. But why do you say it's a lost war?” “For starters,” he said, “in six months, we manage to form a pastor who knows how to preach the word of God, to teach the Bible. You take six, seven, or even eight years to train a priest, and all he knows to preach here is the class struggle, Marxism, and the divide between the poor and the less poor. People are tired of this; they want to hear of Jesus.” The liberation theology motto: “the preferential option for the poor” seems interesting, but when it comes at the cost of forgetting the role of Jesus Christ in salvation and the sacraments as channels for the Grace we should remember the verse of St. Matthew: “The poor you will always have with you; but you will not always have me.” If we forget this, we turn Catholicism into a commodity and people will leave it for other Christian confessions that at least speak of Jesus.

The post Liberation Theology in Latin America appeared first on Ethika Politika.


History and Healing [Tea at Trianon]

Remembering the Stuarts. To quote:

On 8 January, with the gracious permission of Her Majesty The Queen, I laid a wreath at the tomb in the crypt of St Peter’s Basilica of James Francis Edward Stuart, 250 years after his burial there. The message on the wreath was very simple: “In memoriam – James Francis Edward Stuart – ‘The Chevalier’ – 1688-1766”.

Why, you may ask? What has that to do with the British Embassy to the Holy See?
James Francis Edward Stuart had other names. ‘The Chevalier’ to his friends and admirers, he was “The Old Pretender” to his enemies (to distinguish him from his eldest son, ‘Bonnie’ Prince Charlie, ‘The Young Pretender’), and to his supporters – and, when it suited him, King Louis XIV of France – King James III of England and Ireland, VIII of Scotland. He was the son of James II, deposed in the ‘Glorious Revolution’ of 1688 after a crisis precipitated by his son’s birth, and lived and died in exile. 
After his death in Rome on New Year’s Day 1766, Pope Clement XIII accorded him the honour of a magnificent State Funeral the following 8 January. In his lifetime, successive Popes always recognised him as King. However, significantly, Clement XIII did not extend that recognition to his sons, in tacit and later explicit recognition of the Hanoverian succession.

So our simple wreath-laying ceremony was, in a way, one of historical reconciliation. The Chevalier always considered himself a patriot, and his court in exile welcomed Britons of all political and religious stripes. His younger son, Henry Benedict, Cardinal York, received a pension from the British Crown after his lands had been seized by Napoleon, and the Prince Regent offered to contribute to the magnificent Stuart monument by Canova that can still be seen in St Peter’s. The tomb in the crypt where I laid the wreath was restored by Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, through the good offices of my predecessor, Sir D’Arcy Osborne, in the early 1940’s. And in 2012 HRH The Duke of Gloucester unveiled a restored Coat of Arms of Cardinal York in the Pontifical Scots College, where the original Stuart gravestones had been transferred. (Read more.)
Via Nobility.


Welcome to asylum seekers party in Germany goes terrribly wrong [Oz Conservative]

On November 7th, a welcome to refugees party was organised by Cologne city authorities in the town of Bonn. It did not go well:

The appalling incident, on November 7, 2015, only became known of at all because one of the victims bravely decided to go to the police in the aftermath of the Cologne sex attacks.

She told the city's Express newspaper how she and her friend were surrounded by migrants at the party, which was held on a boat, and were repeatedly groped despite asking the men to stop.

She said: "I guess there were about 100 to 150 asylum seeker men there. I'd only been there a few minutes, and I got the first hand on my breast."

Soon the fondling increased even further until there were "up to four men were pressing themselves on me and my friend at the same time", according to the victim.

She said one migrant then grabbed her and kissed her, at which point she managed to break free and run off with another friend.

Once again, the interests of the asylum seekers were placed above those of the German women:
But the council official responsible for integration matters, Coletta Manemann, who helped organise the 'Refugees Welcome' event, did not report the incidents and has now been accused of a cover-up attempt.

Admitting that she knew about the incident "shortly before Christmas" after talking to students who had been assigned to helping the refugees, she said: "I can't remember any more if I told them that they needed to go to the police or not."

Amazingly she said she later concluded that "the student organisers had learned from the situation" and felt there was no need to make a fuss.


When It Comes To Gay Unions, Bergoglio Doesn’t Say No [Chiesa -]

They are about to become law in Italy, but the pope is discouraging Catholics from raising the barricades. He did the same thing in Argentina. But there’s a difference in his politics on immigration, poverty, Islamic radicalism


Merit you say? [Oz Conservative]

Funny the way some news items appear together. Yesterday, the Daily Mail ran a story about a viral video that mocks white men for succeeding at university on unearned privilege. On the same day a news story broke that the Australian National University has launched an enquiry into an essay farm selling completed assignments to Chinese students.

It's a reminder that white men, if anything, have had to succeed more on their own merit than is the case for most other groups in most other cultures. There has been less of a culture of cheating in Australia than elsewhere; nepotism is not as strong as elsewhere; and middle-class white males do not benefit at all from affirmative action policies. (White males here in Victoria are also very much underrepresented in select entry and high performing state schools.)

The one advantage a small number of white men do have (though other ethnicities have this as well) is a class one. There is still some advantage to belonging to the upper middle-class and having a private school education. It's possible that family connections might help a small number of such men into professional positions.

I don't think it's such a bad thing for a society to have an upper middle-class with a settled way of life (i.e. in which the children are raised to aspire to a high level of education, well-paid professional careers and so on). Why? Because such a situation does give the opportunity for a certain kind of culture to develop, one in which individuals are encouraged toward intellectual pursuits; the fine arts; moral leadership and so on.

The problem today is that status is being decreasingly linked to such things. Instead, people imagine themselves to be distinguished by more superficial attainments (e.g. holding politically correct views; trendiness).

The ideal, it seems to me, is one in which a stable upper middle-class culture does exist; which is oriented to being genuinely cultured and which can provide healthy leadership in society; but which is also open to those with talent and energy.


Cum transieris per aquas, tecum ero [Vultus Christi]


When Thou Passest through the Waters
Saint Maurus, together with Saint Placid, is honoured as one of the first disciples of our father Saint Benedict. Saint Gregory the Great, in his Life of Saint Benedict (Second Book of The Dialogues), recounts the story of Saints Maurus and Placid. Today’s feast of Saint Maurus brings with it a particular grace of consolation to souls passing through danger, anxiety, and affliction. Last evening at First Vespers of the feast, as I chanted the capitulum (short lesson) at Vespers, I was struck by its relevance to the lives of many who are dear to me. The text was chosen to recall the miracle of Saint Maurus who, obedient to the command of Saint Benedict, ran over the surface of the waters at Subiaco to rescue little Saint Placid was in danger of drowning. :

Noli timere, quia redemi te, et vocavi te nomine tuo: meus es tu.
et flumina non operient te;
cum ambulaveris in igne, non combureris, et flamma non ardebit in te.
Quia ego Dominus Deus tuus,
Sanctus Israël, salvator tuus.

Fear not, for I have redeemed thee, and called thee by thy name: thou art mine. When thou shalt pass through the waters, I will be with thee, and the rivers shall not cover thee: when thou shalt walk in the fire, thou shalt not be burnt, and the flames shall not burn in thee: For I am the Lord thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour. (Isaias 43:1–3).

A Child Offered to God
Saint Maurus’ parents, wealthy Romans, presented him to Saint Benedict to be raised in the monastery. Saint Maurus, together with his younger companion, Saint Placid, would be considered the first Benedictine Oblates. In Saint Benedict’s time it would not have been uncommon for small boys to be offered to God as a pure and spotless oblation. InfantSamuelThe prophet Samuel’s mother did as much in the days of Heli, the priest of Shiloh. You will recall the distress of the childless Hannah, and her pilgrimage to the sanctuary at Shiloh to beg for the gift of a child:

Sad at heart, she prayed to the Lord with many tears, and made a vow: Lord of hosts, if thou wilt take good heed of this sorrow I bear, if thou wilt keep this handmaid of thine ever in remembrance, and grant her a son, then he shall be my gift to the Lord all his life long, a Nazirite unshorn. Such was the prayer she went on repeating, there in the Lord’s presence. (1 Samuel 1:10–12)

Rite of Oblation
The rite by which a boy becomes an Oblate — literally, an offering made over to God — is wonderfully eloquent. Once it is certain that the boy’s parents have renounced all claim over him, and will not seek to entice him out of the cloister back into the world by offering him an inheritance, the boy is led to the altar of the Oratory of the monastery.  There, the boy’s little hand is wrapped in the altar linen, the ample corporal upon which rest the oblata of bread and wine set apart for the Holy Sacrifice. The child, together with the offerings of the Mass, is made over to God in an irrevocable manner.

A Sacrificial Victim
This rite is extremely important, not only for Oblates of all times and ages, but also for monks, because its casts a theological light over the mystic significance of monastic profession. When a man “makes himself over to God” by monastic profession, he is identifying himself with the offering of bread and wine that will become, as the Roman Canon puts it, the hostia pura, hostia sancta, hostia immaculata, the pure victim, the holy victim, the spotless victim who offers Himself in sacrifice to the Father. Mother Mectilde de Bar’s emphasis on the monastic life as a state of victimhood is not, as some have contended, a marginal development in 17th century piety; it is, rather, deeply rooted in Saint Benedict’s own Eucharistic understanding of monastic profession.  In his commentary on the Holy Rule. Dom Paul Delatte (1890-1921), abbot of Solesmes explains the significance of the prostration of the newly professed monk before the altar after singing the Suscipe. The abbot writes:

There lies there . . . a living victim, a “pure, holy, and unspotted victim,” reunited to the Victim on the altar, offered and accepted with that Victim, and enwrapped by the deacon in the fragrance of the same incense. Then the Mass continues. Motionless and silent, like the Lamb of God, the newly-professed suffers himself to be immolated and consumed mystically by the Eternal High Priest. How sweet that Mass and that Communion! Our whole monastic life should resemble this profession Mass. (Commentary on the Holy Rule of Saint Benedict)

Monks and Oblates
One cannot reflect on the import of the feast of Saint Maurus without taking these reflections on oblation and victimhood into account. The monastic vocation of Saint Maurus began at the altar and was consummated at the altar; it was entirely Eucharistic in origin and in its ultimate realisation. The vocation of Benedictine Oblates also begins at the altar and is consummated there so often as they participate in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and, by their inward adhesion to the words and rites of the sacred liturgy, unite themselves to Jesus Christ in His oblation to the Father.




After David Bowie Will the Vatican Memorialize Alan Rickman? [LES FEMMES - THE TRUTH]

Aleister Crowley in Golden Dawn garb and David Bowie
When Princess Diana died suddenly and tragically in an auto accident in 1997, Mother Teresa and her fellow nuns held an overnight prayer vigil for her. While the secular world canonized Diana instantly, Mother Teresa responded more realistically and more charitably, with prayer and sacrifice. Salvation is not guaranteed to anyone and Diana's past and present offered no assurance of her readiness to face the personal judgment. The appropriate response following what, in Catholic terms, is described as an "unprovided death" is prayer for an endangered soul.

So what are Catholic in the pew to make of a Vatican prelate, Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, gushing over David Bowie who died on January 10th?
Bowie's last album, Blackstar, appeared to be a eulogy for the dark side filled with occult imagery and all around weirdness including a mock crucifixion scene. Even the title of the album shares the name of the satanic Blackstar Church headed by Adrian Clavex who published the Satanocon: the Book of Evil in 1993 with a dedication:
TO SATAN—Who has shown me the value of Evil and who has been my Guide; my personal source of inspiration.
Did Bowie, with his obsessive interest in the occult, have no knowledge of a satanic church named "Blackstar" or the image of the "midnight sun" particularly in view of the occult symbolism filling the video? Both Bowie and the director of the Blackstar video, Johan Renck, were fans of satanist Aleister Crowley and much of the imagery in Bowie's albums could easily be interpreted as promoting Crowley's legacy, e.g., Crowley's initiation into the order of the Golden Dawn.

In any event, the Vatican eulogizing a rock star who, only a few years ago, made an adult video portraying Jesus in a sacrilegious way is beyond bizarre. Would anyone be scandalized if Bowie's death went unnoticed at the Vatican? Wouldn't a simple condolences to the family with a promise of prayers not be more appropriate? Will we see the Vatican release messages eulogizing every celebrity who dies?

Fr. George Rutler called the Vatican's reaction to Bowie's death a "misplaced grief" and I certainly agree.  Father also refers back to the Vatican's gushing reaction to Michael Jackson's death. I'm waiting to see if the Vatican will have anything to say about actor Alan Rickman who died this morning. He also was 69 and, like Bowie, died of cancer.  Does the Harry Potter icon, Professor Severus Snape, (Whom I knew best as Col. Brandon in Sense and Sensibility) have the same appeal to Vatican clerics? Or is it only rock stars?

Like Fr. Rutler I hardly knew David Bowie. I only recognized him when the news showed his photo and I remembered watching The Labyrinth with my kids. Oh yes, I remember him, he played the goblin king reciting the silly exchange, "You remind me of the babe...the babe with the power." I knew nothing of his music or his life. But I will pray for him because he's my brother. Like all of us, he needs the mercy of God. That he needs much prayer and sacrifice is painfully obvious, particularly in view of Blackstar.

Fans of David Bowie who want to do him some good, would do well to imitate Mother Teresa's response to the news of Diana's death. The man doesn't need maudlin praise about his musical legacy or his genius. None of that amounts to a hill of beans now. David Bowie needs prayer and sacrifice that in his final moments he turned to Christ and begged for His mercy and the gift of eternal salvation.

I pray that he did.

May he rest in peace.


Scripture’s Sober Assessment of the Hardness of Many Human Hearts and What It Means for Evangelization [Community in Mission]

blog.1.14.16It is rather a typical assumption of the modern Western mind that differences and hostilities are due mainly to misunderstandings or a lack of proper information; that if we would discuss (“dialogue”), share information, respect pluralism (diversity), and overcome misunderstandings, all would be well and there would be peace.

Missing in this approach is the more sober notion of the hardness of human hearts. Information alone does not usually bring peace and an end to trouble. Rather, transformation effected by repentance and conversion is the truer and more biblical answer. But repentance and conversion usually require a lot more than dialogue or the sharing of information.

Biblically, repentance is usually effected by a combination of instruction and admonition. Teaching and the setting forth of doctrine are essential, but warning about the consequences of disregarding the truth must also take place. As He taught, Jesus consistently warned that in the end there will be sheep and goats, those to the right and those to the left, the wise and foolish virgins, those who will hear “Come blessed of my Father ..” and those who will hear, “Depart from me you evil doers.” Yes, His parables are filled with warnings as are his more discursive teachings, in which He warns that no one will come to the Father except through Him and that Unless you come to believe that I AM, you will die in your sins (Jn 8:24).

The Catholic columnist Joseph Sobran spoke to the sober reality that in our national conversation today we are quite often dealing with hardened sinners. He writes,

We are not dealing with conscientious differences, but with hardened consciences. [For example] such people are willing to pretend that killing isn’t killing; they shrink from using the word “kill” to describe what abortion does, though they would presumably acknowledge the bug sprays kill bugs and weed killers kill weeds.  

Christ himself expected everyone to recognize and acknowledge the truth. He didn’t speak of pluralism and religious differences; he was quite in emphatic that if men rejected the truth—his truth—when it was offered to them, they condemned themselves … Forgiveness, yes, even for those who crucified him; but tolerance in the modern sense, no. His truth was so authoritative, so compelling, that he seemed to assume that nobody who encountered it, simple peasant or learned epistemologist could deny it in good faith. He [also] warned that rejection and persecution would be the normal a lot of Christians, because the world would hate the light and willfully refuse to convert, not because it might be innocently misinformed (Subtracting Christianity, page 84).

Sobran gives a rather succinct statement of the problem as well as the biblical response to it. In the face of hardened hearts we cannot merely presume a lack of information. Rather, we must vigorously insist on the truth, warn others of their obligation to obey it, and be ready to accept persecution on account of our stance. Serious pathologies require strong medicine. And while tactful and pleasant approaches have their place, so does a vigorous and unambiguous statement of the problem and a clear call to repentance. Simply “inviting” people to the truth is not enough; we need to insist on it. This is especially the case within the Church. It is something that clergy (in parish settings) and parents (in the home) need to do in a better and more balanced way. Teaching must include not only information, but also a proper dose of warning, reproof, and admonition. This is often lacking today.

Fr. Thomas Dubay, in his book Authenticity (pp. 186-195), also explored the problem of hardened hearts and the rather stark, sober, biblical assessment of it. In what follows, I summarize Fr. Dubay’s material by weaving together his thoughts with some of my own. Though I do not quote him exactly, I want to be clear that the insights and the gathering of the material are his work more so than mine.

Fr. Dubay introduces the problem by stating that the typical theologian or moralist today often assumes that most (if not all) disagreements are due to insufficient data and or inadequate analysis.

Fr. Dubay states bluntly that this was emphatically not the biblical worldview. Indeed, when we look at biblical discussions of religious and moral disagreements we find a worldview almost totally at odds with this modern notion of mere misunderstanding or lack of information. The sacred text of Scripture is far more sober about the hardness of the human heart and about the sad reality that many reject the truth not out of ignorance or poor information but out of willful resistance and refusal to come to the light, which they have grown to hate.

Fr. Dubay presents a number of explanations for this hardness that are advanced by the Scriptures.

I. There is an inner darkness caused by unrepentant sin. Sin darkens the mind and brings obscurity (Wisdom 2:21). Not only does the man of the flesh, the stubbornly worldly person, fail to understand the things of the spirit; he simply cannot understand them (1 Corinthians 2:14). The fleshly and worldly do not know God at all (1 Corinthians 15:33–34). The “god of this world” blinds the eyes of obstinate unbelievers and prevents them from seeing (2 Corinthians 4:4). Such sinners avoid the light, for it exposes their evil lifestyle (John 3:20). They stumble about in the darkness not even knowing over what they stumble (Proverbs 4:19). And all the while they refuse to listen; they stubbornly turn their backs and stop up their ears, hardening their hearts against the truth (Zechariah 7:11–12). They have closed their minds. Jesus says of many, For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them (Matthew 13:15). 

Note that this inner darkness is not just something that happens by accident or through a mere lack of information that simple dialogue will clear up. Rather, it is the result of obstinate sin and the refusal to repent. As the darkness grows deeper, the ability to see is lessened and the light of truth comes to seem harsh and obnoxious. Such souls are largely closed to mere exhortation or instruction and require stronger medicine: firm teaching, warning, and the grace of repentance to remove the darkness. This will usually be no friendly dialogue! It must be a convicted and urgent proclamation that will often bring persecution—even martyrdom—to those who undertake it (John 15:18; Acts 7).

Today we prefer to think that most people who are in error are sincere. While not excluding some degree of this in a few, Scripture is far less sanguine. Scripture gives as a more routine diagnosis: many simply prefer the darkness because their deeds are wicked (John 3:20). This will bring judgement on them. Jesus says, He who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil (John 3:18-19). This inner darkness is without excuse and is rooted in obdurate hearts that prefer sin to holiness, darkness to light.

II. Though sin darkens the intellect, the problem is rooted in a stubborn will, not simply in misinformation or lack of intelligence. Many are simply rebels, refusing to listen to the Lord or His representatives (Ezekiel 2:1–7). They do not listen because their hearts are evil (Jeremiah 6:10; 7:24). They have hardened their hearts (Zechariah 7:11–12).  Not even resurrection from the dead will convince the one who does not want to believe (Luke 16:31; John 15:24).

Scripture speaks harshly of them and warns that they will undergo a harsh judgment for this refusal to believe, worse than that of Sodom and Gomorrah (Matthew 10:14–15). Prostitutes can get into the kingdom before them (Matthew 21:31–32). They refused to listen to Jesus because their father is the devil and they live as he wants them to live (John 8:43–44). They do not listen because they are not Jesus’ sheep (John 10:26–27).  The rejection of Jesus and His representatives is not due to misinformation or poor judgment; it is a sin for which there is no excuse (John 15:20–22, 24; John 16:9; 1 John 3:1).

A perverse spirit has come upon them leading them to give credence to falsehood (2 Thessalonians 2:10, 11, 12). In their perversion they have condemn themselves (Titus 3:10–11). They are without excuse because the truth is evident to them, even apart from Scripture, in the things that have been made. At some point they are handed over to their perversions permitting them to experience the full and due penalty (Romans 1:18ff).

III. Repentance and conversion are necessary to come to the light of truth. As noted, instruction alone is not enough; one must repent in order to believe the good news (Matthew 4:17). St. Peter insists that repentance is a necessary prerequisite for receiving the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38).

Further, the person without love simply does not know God, for God is love (1 John 4:7–8).  And yet many, even whole nations, have a mysterious obduracy. Even entire cultures can become dull and shut their eyes lest they be converted and healed (Isaiah 6:9–10; Matthew 13:14–15).

To modern ears, much of this seems shocking and insensitive. We have come to prefer explanations that emphasize good will and openness, explanations that posit that those in doctrinal error and who approve of moral confusion and sin do so largely due to a lack of information, invincible ignorance, or to the sins of the Church.

While not wholly setting aside such notions, Scripture puts emphasis on the hardness of human hearts that prefer the darkness because their deeds are wicked.

And if this be the case (and Scripture says it is), then our notions of preaching and evangelizing need adjustment. Invitation, gentle dialogue, providing information, and the like all have their place. But so do a vigorous call to repentance (so often lacking today) and stern warnings of the consequences of unrepentant sin.

Warnings of punishment make many modern people wince. But these warnings are part of the biblical witness and preachers like Paul, Peter, James, John, Jude, and Jesus Himself never got the memo that such warnings should be soft-pedaled. They were more sober about the fallen human condition than most of us are today.

The error of universalism (the unbiblical notion that just about everyone is going to Heaven) has infected modern thinking as well. This is simply not what Scripture teaches. It is often rooted in a false and soft notion of love. No one loves you more than Jesus does and yet no one warned more of judgement and Hell than He did. Most of the teaching on Hell and judgment comes right from the mouth of Jesus.

Given the rather sober portrait that Scripture paints of the stubborn preference of many for darkness (because their deeds are wicked), such a teaching makes sense and calls us to combine clear teaching with an unambiguous call to repentance, and a warning about what sin brings and about the awful destiny of the stubbornly unrepentant.

But, Father, but Father, what about the Year of Mercy? Well, this why we need mercy! We are hard to save. Only boatloads of grace and mercy are going to break through the stubbornness of some. But mercy is accessed through repentance. The Lord is knocking but we have to answer through repentance. Oh, sinner, why don’t you answer? Someone is knocking at your door!

The post Scripture’s Sober Assessment of the Hardness of Many Human Hearts and What It Means for Evangelization appeared first on Community in Mission.


Zustand des einfachen Glaubens [et nunc]

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Man muss drei Stadien der Lehre berücksichtigen, […] die Zeugnisse und Ausführungen der Väter in drei entsprechende Kategorien einzuordnen.

Erstes Stadium:
Das erste Stadium kann man als den Zustand des einfachen Glaubens bezeichnen. Dazu findet man besonders Zeugnisse in den Briefen oder in den Glaubensbekenntnissen der ältesten Bischöfe und Märtyrer, in jenem goldenen Zeitalter, als die Christen noch die Erstlingsgaben des Heiligen Geistes besaßen und wie neue Schläuche mit neuem Wein vollgefüllt waren, der an Pfingsten ausgegossen worden war. Sie hatten es noch nicht nötig, sich mühevoller Arbeit zu widmen, die Gott den Menschenkindern als Beschäftigung auferlegt hat, das heißt, sie hatten es noch nicht nötig, auf Einwände zu antworten und Dialektik zu betreiben. Im Gegenteil, sie nahmen aus dem Schatz ihres Herzens die schlichte Lehre, die sie von den Aposteln empfangen hatten.

(Aus: Louis Billot. Tradition und Modernismus. 2. Kap.
Die Ursache der scheinbaren Widersprüche in den Zeugnissen der Tradition)


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