Wednesday, July 1, 2015

EXCOMMUNICATION IN THE 21ST CENTURY: WHO SHOULD BE?

The Deacon's Bench Blog and his use of Wikipedia tell us who has been excommunicated in the 21st Century. Of course in the various culture wars, some Catholics want all politicians and elected officials who are Catholic excommunicated if they don't place into political policies the teachings of the Church. The post-Catholics on the Supreme Court who are social engineers and redefined what civil marriage is are a case in point, not to mention Nancy Pelosi and Joe Bidon amongst other notorious post-Catholics. But this is the good deacon's list:
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I’ve seen that question a lot lately, as people have wondered on social media why certain Catholic Supreme Court Justices—along with prominent Catholic politicians—haven’t yet been publicly excommunicated, either for their position on abortion or their stance on same-sex marriage.
Good question. I have no idea. That’s above my pay grade. Public excommunication, at any rate, seems to be a relatively rare phenomenon.

But I was curious about just whom the Church had excommunicated.

This, of course, is why God made Wikipedia. The good people at Wikipedia have compiled a list of recent formal excommunications, which might be of interest:

21st century 

  • Members of multiple organizations in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Lincoln, Nebraska were excommunicated by Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz in March 1996 for promoting positions he deemed “totally incompatible with the Catholic faith”.The organizations include Call to Action,Catholics for a Free ChoicePlanned Parenthood, the Hemlock Society, the Freemasons, and the Society of St. Pius X. The Vatican later confirmed the excommunication of Call to Action members in November 2006.
  • The Community of the Lady of All Nations for heretical teachings and beliefs after a six-year investigation. The declaration was announced by the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops on September 12, 2007.
  • Fr. Dale Fushek (also laicized by Pope Benedict XVI 02/2010) and Fr. Mark Dippre. Former Priests were issued a Decree of Excommunication by Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted for operating “an opposing ecclesial community” in direct disobedience to orders to refrain from public ministry.
  • Fr. Marek Bozek (since laicized by Pope Benedict XVI), and the lay parish board members of St. Stanislaus Kostka Church in St. Louis, Missouri in December 2005 were declared guilty of the ecclesiastical crime of schism by then-Archbishop Raymond Leo Burke. Their excommunication was ratified by the Vatican in May 2008. Four of the parish board members have since reconciled with the Church.
  • Both the doctors and the mother of the nine-year-old victim in the 2009 Brazilian girl abortion case were said by Archbishop Jose Cardoso Sobrinho of Olinda and Recife to have incurred an automatic excommunication. The victim had an abortion after being raped and impregnated by her stepfather. The National Conference of Bishops of Brazil contradicted Sobrinho’s statement: it declared that, in accordance with canon law, the girl’s mother was not in fact excommunicated and that there were no grounds for stating that any of the doctors involved were in fact excommunicated.Disagreement with the Archbishop’s view of the supposed excommunication was expressed also by other bishops.
  • Sr. Margaret McBride, a nun, for allowing an abortion. McBride later reconciled with the Church and is no longer living in a state of excommunication.
  • In October 2012, the newspapers El Observador and El País reported that all the Catholics who promoted the abortion law in Uruguay were excommunicated. The newspaper Urgente24, in spite of a headline stating that what it called the “abortionist lawmakers” were excommunicated, explained in the body of the article that automatic excommunication applied only to someone who directly carried out an abortion. The bishops website also explained that excommunication would automatically apply, under Canon Law 1398, only to anyone carrying out an abortion, and not to lawmakers.
  • Fr. Roy Bourgeois (also laicized and dismissed from the Maryknoll Fathers) for participating in the ordination of a woman.
  • Fr. Robert Marrone, by Bishop Richard Gerard Lennon of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Cleveland in ClevelandOhio for violating the terms of his leave of absence. Marrone set up a worshipping community (the Community of St. Peter’s) in a vacant warehouse and outside of a Catholic building or church after St. Peter’s Parish in Cleveland was closed (it has since been reopened), in defiance of the bishop .
  • Fr. Simon Lokodo, The Minister for Ethics and Integrity in Uganda, was excommunicated from the Catholic Church by Pope Benedict XVI when he entered politics in violation of Canon Law 285.3
  • Fr. Roberto Francisco Daniel, known by local community as “Father Beto”, by Bishop Caetano Ferrari, from Bauru, Brazil. Daniel was excommunicated because he refused a direct order from his bishop to apologize for or retract his statement that love was possible between people of the same sex. The priest also said a married person who chose to have an affair, heterosexual or otherwise, would not be unfaithful as long as that person’s spouse allowed it.
  • Fr Greg Reynolds of Melbourne, Australia was excommunicated in 2013 for continuing to celebrate Mass when not permitted, advocating the ordination of women, and promoting same-sex marriage
You can read a more complete list here.

NEW YORK TIMES WEIGHS IN ON CHRISTIANITY'S DECLINE, BUT IS IT A FALL?



My comments first: David Brooks makes some good points and perhaps he unwittingly supports what Cardinal George is purported to say or at least legend has it. The last part of what the late Cardinal said is apropos:

"I will die in my bed; my successor will die in prison; his successor will die a martyr; his sucessor will rebuild the ruins of society."

 Of course history repeats itself and ties into what we know Pope Francis said just this past Monday to Archbishop Blase Cupich and the other archbishops around the world receiving the palium:

Everything passes, only God remains.  Indeed, kingdoms, peoples, cultures, nations, ideologies, powers have passed, but the Church, founded on Christ, notwithstanding the many storms and our many sins, remains ever faithful to the deposit of faith shown in service; for the Church does not belong to Popes, bishops, priests, nor the lay faithful; the Church in every moment belongs solely to Christ.  Only the one who lives in Christ promotes and defends the Church by holiness of life, after the example of Peter and Paul. 
  
Yes, many Christians to include not only Evangelicals but also Catholics are involved in the culture war concerning the sexual revolution and what it has done to the very fabric of family life in America and which is contributing to the decline and fall of this great nation and of western civilization. Some have not used the spiritual weapon of love, authentic love, to communicate the Church's mission.

Pope Francis, much to the discomfort of angry and shrill Catholics isn't using the weapon of shrill and anger in this culture war. He is using honey to attract sinners. Seems like a good approach today. He has shifted the Church's culture war to that which even an atheist could agree, the love of the world that sustain life and protecting it, helping it to heal. 

He is calling on Catholics and all the world to assist the poor and to become poor in assisting them.  He hasn't changed one iota of Church teaching concerning sex, her social agenda or any other dogma or doctrine, but His Holiness is calling for a new way of speaking and dialoguing with the world. 

The Holy Father is beginning to pick up the pieces of an already declined and fallen world. This is what the Church has always done in these kinds of times. He is showing us the way to counteract a world obsessed on self, sex and money not by anger and shrill arguments but with love and reconciliation.  
David Brooks – New York Times – 25 June 2015

Christianity is in decline in the United States. The share of Americans who describe themselves as Christians and attend church is dropping. Evangelical voters make up a smaller share of the electorate. Members of the millennial generation are detaching themselves from religious institutions in droves.

Christianity’s gravest setbacks are in the realm of values. American culture is shifting away from orthodox Christian positions on homosexuality, premarital sex, contraception, out-of-wedlock childbearing, divorce and a range of other social issues. More and more Christians feel estranged from mainstream culture. They fear they will soon be treated as social pariahs, the moral equivalent of segregationists because of their adherence to scriptural teaching on gay marriage. They fear their colleges will be decertified, their religious institutions will lose their tax-exempt status, their religious liberty will come under greater assault.

The Supreme Court’s gay marriage decision landed like some sort of culminating body blow onto this beleaguered climate. Rod Dreher, author of the truly outstanding book “How Dante Can Save Your Life,” wrote an essay in Time in which he argued that it was time for Christians to strategically retreat into their own communities, where they could keep “the light of faith burning through the surrounding cultural darkness.”

He continued: “We have to accept that we really are living in a culturally post-Christian nation. The fundamental norms Christians have long been able to depend on no longer exist.”

Most Christian commentary has opted for another strategy: fight on. Several contributors to a symposium in the journal First Things about the court’s Obergefell decision last week called the ruling the Roe v. Wade of marriage. It must be resisted and resisted again. Robert P. George, probably the most brilliant social conservative theorist in the country, argued that just as Lincoln persistently rejected the Dred Scott decision, so “we must reject and resist an egregious act of judicial usurpation.”

These conservatives are enmeshed in a decades-long culture war that has been fought over issues arising from the sexual revolution. Most of the conservative commentators I’ve read over the past few days are resolved to keep fighting that war.

I am to the left of the people I have been describing on almost all of these social issues. But I hope they regard me as a friend and admirer. And from that vantage point, I would just ask them to consider a change in course.

Consider putting aside, in the current climate, the culture war oriented around the sexual revolution.

Put aside a culture war that has alienated large parts of three generations from any consideration of religion or belief. Put aside an effort that has been a communications disaster, reducing a rich, complex and beautiful faith into a public obsession with sex. Put aside a culture war that, at least over the near term, you are destined to lose.

Consider a different culture war, one just as central to your faith and far more powerful in its persuasive witness.

We live in a society plagued by formlessness and radical flux, in which bonds, social structures and commitments are strained and frayed. Millions of kids live in stressed and fluid living arrangements. Many communities have suffered a loss of social capital. Many young people grow up in a sexual and social environment rendered barbaric because there are no common norms. Many adults hunger for meaning and goodness, but lack a spiritual vocabulary to think things through.

Social conservatives could be the people who help reweave the sinews of society. They already subscribe to a faith built on selfless love. They can serve as examples of commitment. They are equipped with a vocabulary to distinguish right from wrong, what dignifies and what demeans. They already, but in private, tithe to the poor and nurture the lonely.

The defining face of social conservatism could be this: Those are the people who go into underprivileged areas and form organizations to help nurture stable families. Those are the people who build community institutions in places where they are sparse. Those are the people who can help us think about how economic joblessness and spiritual poverty reinforce each other. Those are the people who converse with us about the transcendent in everyday life.

This culture war is more Albert Schweitzer and Dorothy Day than Jerry Falwell and Franklin Graham; more Salvation Army than Moral Majority. It’s doing purposefully in public what social conservatives already do in private.

I don’t expect social conservatives to change their positions on sex, and of course fights about the definition of marriage are meant as efforts to reweave society. But the sexual revolution will not be undone anytime soon. The more practical struggle is to repair a society rendered atomized, unforgiving and inhospitable. Social conservatives are well equipped to repair this fabric, and to serve as messengers of love, dignity, commitment, communion and grace.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

WHEN SINNERS (AND AREN'T WE ALL) CAST STONES AT SOME SINS AND SINNERS AND IGNORE THEIR OWN

There is a lot of anger these days especially from some Catholics, but not exclusive to us. Anger, like lust, no matter the orientation, is a deadly sin, a mortal sin.

Those who die in mortal sin unrepentant of the sins they have committed are justly condemned to hell by our all loving God who does not impose salvation on anyone but rather offers it as an unmerited gift. One can take it or leave it or receive it and hand it back depending upon sin and grace.

So here is an explanation of the Sin of Anger, one of the seven deadly or capital sins:


The Seven Capital Sins, #4 Anger

Father Michael gives practical advice on how to overcome the sin of anger in our lives.
by Fr. Michael Sliney, LC | Source: Catholic.net
This week I return to the series on the Capital Sins, focusing on anger this time.

First of all, what is anger?  Bishop Fulton Sheen describes it as following: “Anger and reason are capable of great compatibility, because anger is based upon reason which weighs both the injury done and the satisfaction to be demanded. Here we are not concerned with just anger, but with unjust anger, namely, that which has no rightful cause- anger which is excessive, revengeful and enduring…the anger which seeks to ‘get even’, to repay in kind, bump for bump, punch for punch, eye for eye, lie for lie…” (The Seven Capital Sins, Bishop Fulton J. Sheen, pp. 1-3)  

A Winning Strategy for Inner Peace and Authenticity:

1.  Sacraments and Prayer

-   Lots of Eucharist and regular Confession (at least once a month): you cannot conquer these powerful passions without the help of God’s grace.
-   Pray a decade of the rosary every day for a greater capacity of forgiveness.

2.  Assume the ignorance and good will of those who harm us:   We often do not know the circumstances, the good faith or the motives behind someone’s actions, so we need to repeat with Christ:  “Father, forgive them; they do know not what they are doing. ” (Lk 23: 34)

3. “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you…”  “There are Christians who think they can dispense with this unceasing spiritual effort, because they do not see the urgency of standing before the truth of the Gospel. Lest their way of life be upset, they seek to take words like "Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you" (Lk 6:27) and render them empty and innocuous. For these people, it is extremely difficult to accept such words and to translate them into consistent patterns of behavior. They are in fact words which, if taken seriously, demand a radical conversion. On the other hand, when we are offended or hurt, we are tempted to succumb to the psychological impulses of self-pity and revenge, ignoring Jesus’ call to love our enemy. Yet the daily experiences of human life show very clearly how much forgiveness and reconciliation are indispensable if there is to be genuine renewal, both personal and social. This applies not only to interpersonal relationships, but also to relationships between communities and nations.” (Pope John Paul II, Message for Lent, 2001) 

4.  We need to take the “plank” out of our own eye before removing the splinter from our brother’s eye:   “The harder we are on ourselves, the easier we will be on others…the man who has never disciplined himself knows not how to be merciful. It is always the selfish who are unkind to others, and those who are hardest on themselves are the kindest to others…” (The Seven Capital Sins, Bishop Fulton J. Sheen, p. 9)

5. Forgiveness as a condition for God’s forgiveness to us:    “Now - and this is daunting - this outpouring of mercy cannot penetrate our hearts as long as we have not forgiven those who have trespassed against us. Love, like the Body of Christ, is indivisible; we cannot love the God we cannot see if we do not love the brother or sister we do see.136 In refusing to forgive our brothers and sisters, our hearts are closed and their hardness makes them impervious to the Father's merciful love; but in confessing our sins, our hearts are opened to his grace. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 2840)

6. Never act or react to someone when your passions are boiling:   It is prudent to wait until you are “detached” from the situation and you can address the person in a more balanced and considerate manner.

NOT TO BEAT A DEAD HORSE, BUT AS I HAVE BEEN SAYING AND THIS EDITORIALIST CONFIRMS IN BETTER WORDS, THE HAND WRITING IS ON THE WALL FOR THE CATHOLIC CHURCH AND ITS POSITION THAT MARRIAGE IS BETWEEN ONE MAN AND ONE WOMAN AND FOR A LIFETIME AND AN INTERVIEW I GAVE ON HOMOSEXULAITY FOR OUR LOCAL TELEVISION CBS AFFILIATE LAST YEAR

Fasten your seat belts, institutional Church and faithful Catholics, the ride is going to get bumpy!  After this New York Post editorial, my interview from a year ago.

Churches are the left’s next target in the gay-marriage war


Everyone knows where the debate over gay marriage is going next.

Now that the Supreme Court has imposed its edict on the land, the question is whether religious institutions and people of faith will still be permitted to act on moral beliefs that the court has portrayed as bigoted and deeply wounding.

In his long prose-poem about love masquerading as a judicial opinion, Justice Anthony Kennedy made a bow to these concerns.

He cited the First Amendment for the proposition that religions and those who adhere to them “may continue to advocate with utmost sincere conviction that, by divine precepts, same-sex marriage should not be condoned.” Gee, thanks, Mr. Justice.

This assurance is about as convincing as the rest of Kennedy’s airy majority opinion with little or no connection to the Constitution or law — which is to say, people of faith ought to brace for the worst.

Kennedy’s statement was carefully hedged to include only advocacy and teaching, a lawyerly wording that the other lawyers on the court were quick to pick up on. The First Amendment, Chief Justice John Roberts pointed out in his dissent, actually protects the freedom to exercise religion.

That means people of faith acting on their beliefs, not merely advocating them or teaching them.
It’s easy to see the coming clash of moralities, one enjoying official favor, the other religious sanction. What Kennedy refers to as the “dignitary wounds” of the traditional definition of marriage are also inflicted by the private institutions and people who uphold that definition.

In oral arguments, Justice Samuel Alito asked Solicitor General Donald Verrilli whether, on the model of Bob Jones University a few decades ago when it banned interracial dating and marriage, a college that opposed same-sex marriage could be denied tax-exempt status. “It’s certainly going to be an issue,” Verrilli admitted. “I don’t deny that.”

At this juncture, most supporters of same-sex marriage do deny it, although they have a history of making whatever assurance seems necessary, before discarding it in due course. It used to be that prominent supporters of gay marriage pooh-poohed the idea of a judicial imposition of their view on the country.

In the Supreme Court’s prior pro-gay-marriage decision, just two years ago, it said that domestic relations were exclusively a matter for the states — before turning around and throwing out state marriage laws not to its liking.

If supporters of same-sex marriage truly have no interest in punishing the exercise of religion they find objectionable, they can sign off on legislation to prevent it.

Utah Sen. Mike Lee, a Republican, has a bill called the First Amendment Defense Act — yes, it’s come to that — protecting organizations from government retaliation over their opposition to gay marriage.

There is unlikely to be a rush on the left to endorse it, when the American Civil Liberties Union is heading in the opposite direction. It has just withdrawn its support for the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, on grounds that it can be used to protect organizations refusing to get on board with gay marriage.

Already, there are a few calls to remove the tax exemption of churches now opposed to what the Supreme Court has deemed a fundamental right.

These are only tea leaves. The move against religious groups will surely start small, with some isolated, unsympathetic Christian institution, and then grow until what once had been called unimaginable becomes mandatory.

The push for gay marriage is motivated by a moralistic zeal that sees only one point of view on the question as legitimate.

If its supporters weren’t patient enough to see their cause through the inevitable fits and starts of the democratic process, they aren’t going to let procedural niceties stand in the way of an effort to bulldoze their way to a more thoroughgoing conformity on the issue.

The gay-marriage debate isn’t over; it’s merely entered a new phase.

This local news story was done about a year ago:
(I've removed the video as it has an automatic start, which was driving me crazy, so you can to the the video by PRESSING HERE-FOR MY INTERVIEW OF GAY ISSUES FROM LAST YEAR.)

PHOTO TAKEN TODAY: THE HOLY FATHER LOOKS GOOD!


Monday, June 29, 2015

FATHER ROBERT BARRON HAS SOBER WORDS ABOUT MOVING FORWARD NOW THAT CIVIL MARRIAGE HAS BEEN BEEN GIVEN A NEW DEFINITION BY THE SOCIAL ENGINEERS IN THE SUPREME COURT AND FATHER JONATHAN MORRIS' TASTE OF SYMBOIC MARTYRDOM

I think Fr. Robert Barron is clairvoyant and hits the nail on the head. We live in precarious times for Catholics similar to the French Revolution and what happened to the Church in France at that time!

FATHER ROBERT BARRON FIRST AND FATHER JONATHAN MORRIS NEXT:

We’ve Been Here Before: Marriage and the Room of Tears

by Fr. Robert Barron June 29, 2015


Just last week, I had the privilege of spending four hours in the Sistine Chapel with my Word on Fire team. Toward the end of our filming, the director of the Vatican Museums, who had accompanied us throughout the process, asked whether I wanted to see the “Room of Tears.” This is the little antechamber, just off of the Sistina, where the newly-elected Pope repairs in order to change into his white cassock. Understandably, tears begin to flow in that room, once the poor man realizes the weight of his office.

Inside the small space, there were documents and other memorabilia, but what got my attention was a row of impressive albs, chasubles, and copes worn by various Popes across the years. I noticed the specially decorated cope of Pope Pius VI, who was one of the longest serving Pontiffs in history, reigning from 1775 to 1799. Pius was an outspoken opponent of the French Revolution and its bloody aftermath—and his forthrightness cost him dearly. French troops invaded Italy and demanded that the Pope renounce his claim to the Papal States. When he refused, he was arrested and imprisoned in a citadel in Valence, where he died six weeks later. In the room of tears, there was also a stole worn by Pius VI’s successor, Pius VII. This Pope Pius also ran afoul of the French, who, under Napoleon, invaded Italy in 1809 and took him prisoner. During his grim exile, he did manage to get off one of the greatest lines in Papal history. Evidently, Napoleon himself announced to the Pope that he was going to destroy the Church, to which Pius VII responded, “Oh my little man, you think you’re going to succeed in accomplishing what centuries of priests and bishops have tried and failed to do!”
Both popes find themselves, of course, in a long line of Church people persecuted by the avatars of the regnant culture. In the earliest centuries of the Church’s life, thousands—including Peter, Paul, Agnes, Cecelia, Clement, Felicity, Perpetua, Sebastian, Lawrence, and Cyprian—were brutally put to death by officials of the Roman Empire. In the fourth century, St. Ambrose was opposed by the emperor Theodosius; in the eleventh century, Pope Gregory VII locked horns with the Holy Roman Emperor Henry IV; in the nineteenth century, Bismarck waged a Kulturkampf against the Catholic Church in Germany, and in the twentieth century, more martyrs gave their lives for the faith than in all the previous centuries combined.

Now why am I rehearsing this rather sad history? In the wake of the United States Supreme Court decision regarding gay marriage, a not inconsiderable number of Catholics feel beleaguered and more than a little afraid. Their fear comes from the manner in which the decision was framed and justified.

Since same-sex marriage is now recognized as a fundamental human right guaranteed by the Constitution, those who oppose it can only be characterized as bigots animated by an irrational prejudice. To be sure, Justice Kennedy and his colleagues assure us that those who have religious objections to same-sex marriage will be respected, but one wonders how such respect is congruent with the logic of the decision. Would one respect the owners of a business who refuse to hire black people as a matter of principle? Would not the government, in point of fact, be compelled to act against those owners? The proponents of gay marriage have rather brilliantly adopted the rhetoric of the civil rights movement, precisely so as to force this conclusion. And this is why my mentor, the late Francis Cardinal George, so often warned against the incursions of an increasingly aggressive secular state, which, he argued, will first force us off the public stage into privacy and then seek to criminalize those practices of ours that it deems unacceptable.

One reason that this has been rather shocking to American Catholics is that we have had, at least for the last century or so, a fairly benign relationship with the environing culture. Until around 1970, there was, throughout the society and across religious boundaries, a broad moral consensus in our country, especially in regard to sexual and family matters. This is one reason why, in the 1950’s,

Archbishop Fulton Sheen could find such a wide and appreciative audience among Protestants and Jews, even as he laid out fundamentally Catholic perspectives on morality. But now that consensus has largely been shattered, and the Church finds itself opposed, not so much by other religious denominations, as it was in the 19th century, but by the ideology of secularism and the self-defining individual—admirably expressed, by the way, in Justice Kennedy’s articulation of the majority position in the case under consideration.

So what do we do? We continue to put forth our point of view winsomely, invitingly, and non-violently, loving our opponents and reaching out to those with whom we disagree. As St. John Paul II said, the Church always proposes, never imposes. And we take a deep breath, preparing for what could be some aggression from the secular society, but we take courage from a great cloud of witnesses who have gone before us. The Church has faced this sort of thing before—and we’re still standing.

AND NOW FOR FATHER JONATHON MORRIS' FORETASTE OF ACTUAL MARTYRDOM:

Fox News’ Priest Jonathan Morris Spat on Near Gay Pride Parade: ‘I Deserve Worse’

Fox News’ Priest Jonathan Morris Spat on Near Gay Pride Parade: ‘I Deserve Worse’Fox News’ Priest Jonathan Morris Spat on Near Gay Pride Parade: ‘I Deserve Worse’

Father Jonathan Morris wasn’t feeling prideful after being spit on by two men near a Gay Pride Parade in New York City Sunday.

“Walking down Broadway and 22nd St just now, I ran into gay marriage parade.Two men walked by and spat on me. Oh well… I deserve worse,” Morris tweeted.

Morris, who’s a frequent guest on Fox on religious and cultural issues, added that the two men don’t represent all the marchers.

“The two men who spat on me are probably very good men caught up in excitement and past resentment. Most in that parade would not do that,” he added.

The network, like all of cable news, covered the historic same-sex marriage ruling at length over the weekend. The fallout from the Supreme Court’s decision will solicit additional coverage this week

BOMBSHELL ALERT! IS POPE FRANCIS TRYING TO BE A BRIDGE FOR BOTH POLARIZED ASPECTS OF THE MODERN CATHOLIC CHURCH? IT SEEMS LIKE IT TO ME!

Traditionalist become apoplectic when Pope Francis allows discussion of issues once thought closed and forbidden to discuss, such as Communion for Catholics in marriages not recognized by the Church to be sacramental. Pope Francis allowed both sides to be aired at the last synod.

But we also know that the door has not been closed to making regular the life of the SSPX community in the Church. Pope Francis has in fact advanced that cause. He does not seem to want to stop what Pope Benedict tried to do prior to his abdication as the Successor of Saint Peter. Progressives are left scratching their heads or living a sort of psychological denial about the tradtionalist aspects of Pope Francis.

I listened to an interview from Vatican Radio on the XM Catholic radio station of a South American priest who works for Vatican Radio. He tried to explain Pope Francis cultural perspective as a South American which is different than the European perspective we have had in our popes, especially with the first two non-Italian popes in 600 years. South American Catholics are more willing to listen and dialogue with differing perspectives to arrive at a unity in diversity. Whereas as Americans (as well as Germanics, such as popes from Germany and Poland) prefer a more linear approach to disagreements and a clearer demarcation in lines of what is discussed and not discussed. South Americans and Italians, by the way, are not as rigid or regimented or puritanical!

Thus this bombshell from the SSPX and what seems to be going forward under Pope Francis. I copy this from Rorate Caeli blog:

SSPX Superior-General after Vatican visits of their Seminaries: "Francis has kept his promises to us, he sees us as Catholic"

On Saturday, June 27, French conservative daily Présent published an interview Superior-General of the Society of Saint Pius X (FSSPX / SSPX), Bp. Bernard Fellay, on the surprisingly positive developments for the Society under Francis, and what they mean for the future.


On the occasion of the blessing of the bells for the chapel of the Saint-Michel de La Martinerie school in Chateauroux, Bishop Fellay gave Presentan update on the situation of the Society of St. Pius X, of which he is the Superior General.
In an interview with Fideliter in 2001, you mentioned the "movement of profound sympathy from the young clergy for the Society." Has this movement grown, especially with the motu proprio in 2007?
"Without a doubt! The motu proprio gave this movement a new impetus. And it is important to insist upon Benedict XVI's interest for the liturgy in general. He truly wished to put the entire traditional liturgy, not only the Mass, at the disposition of the priests and the faithful; this did not happen because there was too much opposition. But the young priests identify with this liturgy, precisely because it is timeless. The Church lives in eternity. The liturgy does also too, which is why it is always young. Close to God, it is outside of time. So it is no surprise that the baptismal character makes this harmony resound even in souls that have never known the liturgy. And the way the young priests react when they discover this liturgy is moving: they have the impression a treasure has been hidden from them."
The Society was officially recognized as Catholic by the State of Argentina, with the help of Cardinal Bergoglio, who has since become Pope Francis. Does this have a purely administrative importance or is it more revealing?
"First of all, it has a juridical and administrative effect with no implications as far as the Society's general relations with--to put it simply--the official Church are concerned. But the secondary effects are not easy to evaluate correctly. There is no doubt that Pope Francis, then Cardinal Bergoglio, had promised to help the Society obtain the Argentinian State's recognition of our society as Catholic and that he kept his promise. So we have no choice but to think that he does consider us Catholic."
Along the same lines, you were made a judge of first instance by the Vatican for the trial of a Society priest. Can that be seen as a sign of good will?
"That is nothing new; it has been the case for over ten years. It is indeed a sign of good will and of common sense. It is something that can be observed in the Roman Church throughout her whole history: her realism, her capacity to go beyond canonical and juridical problems in order to find solutions to very real problems."
In your Letter to Friends and Benefactors, you mentioned "contradictory messages" coming from Rome. What do you mean by that?
"I was thinking of the way in which a society that was becoming closer to Tradition was treated--or rather mistreated: the Franciscans of the Immaculate. And of the different ways we are treated by the different Roman authorities: the Congregation for Religious, for example, still considers us schismatic (in 2011, they declared a priest who joined our Society excommunicated), but that is not the case with other congregations, or the pope himself, as we just said."
"Pessimistic", "closed to others", "thinking that only the faithful of the Society will be saved": you are sometimes referred to in these terms. How would you respond? What is the missionary spirit in your eyes?
"I do not recognize myself in these quips. Firmness in doctrine is indeed necessary, for the Faith is not up for negotiation. The Faith is, as a whole, given by God, and we have no right to pick and choose among the revealed truths. Today, reminders of these requirements are unwelcome, as has always been more or less the case. The expression 'the fight of the Faith' is part of the history of the Church. The missionary has to make the voice of the Faith heard outside, and at the same time seek to strengthen those who already have it. We cannot speak only to the faithful of the Society. The torch lights up the world, the light of the faith shines with warmth. The Faith must be borne by charity: that is how I see the missionary."
A few weeks ago, the Society's seminaries were visited by Cardinal Brandmuller and Bishop Schneider. These visits are a public connection with the "official Church". Isn't that vital?
"The link with the Church is vital. The manifestations of this connection can vary. The dates and places for these visits were left up to me; the Vatican chose the names. I chose the seminaries because they seemed to me to be the most eloquent and representative for the bishops."
What were the first reactions of these bishops?
"They were very satisfied. 'You are normal people,' they told us...which goes to show the reputation we have! They congratulated us on the quality of our seminarians. There is no doubt that their conclusion after this first closer contact was that we are a work of the Church."
Have you been in contact with any bishops who support you discreetly?
"Of course! When we see that priests are coming closer to us today and entering into contact with us, we can easily conclude that the same is true on the higher level..."
In the 2001 interview we already mentioned, you declared: "If there is any chance at all that our contacts with Rome could bring back a little more Tradition in the Church, I think we should seize the opportunity." Is that still your position?
"That remains our position, even if we cannot say it is easy, especially because of the open dissensions within the Vatican itself. These relations are delicate, but our point of view remains valid as is confirmed by the facts. It is a discreet work, being accomplished in the midst of strong opposition. Some are working in one direction, others in the opposite direction."
Is the Society's role as a counterweight within the Church important?
"This role is nothing new. Archbishop Lefebvre started it, and we are continuing it. It is easy to see in the irritation of the modernists at the steps taken by Benedict XVI."
Where is the Society today? What are its strong points and its weak points? What future do you foresee for it?
"I see a peaceful future. It is a work that has been entrusted to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary; all we have to do is remain faithful to their will. This Church is the Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ, who remains her head and will not allow her to be destroyed."
"The Society's weaknesses? The risk of separation is serious. Look at the caricature of Tradition that calls itself the "Resistance", for example: it is a non-Catholic spirit that is almost sectarian. We wish to have nothing to do with it; it is a movement that is withdrawn into itself, with people who think that they are the only good and just men on earth: that is not Catholic. It is an objective, but relative danger. Most of the Society is healthy and will not fall into these illusions. This encourages us to rely upon supernatural means. God will show us what He wants of us; He will speak through circumstances."
"The strong points? The living fidelity that bears fruit and shows the world today that the Catholic life, even with all its requirements, is possible. But -another weak point- we are men of our times, and it would be a dream to pretend that we are immunized against the influence of the modern world. To be more precise, we must avoid the caricature of wishing for a Church without wrinkles or stains here below: that is not what the good Lord promised us on this earth. That is not what the 'Holy Church' means; it means that she is capable of sanctifying using the means given by Our Lord: the sacraments, the Faith, discipline, religious life, the life of prayer."
What do you think of Cardinal Sarah's suggestion of introducing the traditional offertory into the New Mass?
"It is not a new idea; it has been around in Rome for ten years. I am glad it has been taken up again. Some criticize the idea, saying it is a way of mixing the profane with the sacred. On the contrary, in the perspective of bringing health back to the Church, I think it would be a great step forward, because the Offertory is a summary of the Catholic principles of the Mass, of the expiatory sacrifice offered to the Blessed Trinity, offered by the priest to God in reparation for sins, and accompanied by the faithful. And that would gradually bring the faithful back to the traditional Mass they have lost."
How would you like to conclude, your Excellency?
"In my opinion, we are on the eve of important events that we cannot yet define very well. I would like to call for prayers and end with a gaze towards God, which allows us to always have hope."



CIVILITY IN THE CHURCH AND TAKING THE HIGH ROAD IN THE FACE OF A NEW CIVIL SITUATION IN THE USA

The Supreme Court as changed the definition of marriage as a state or civil institution. It is a new definition! In doing so it has polarized the civil realm and the religious realm in a area that once had common agreement about the nature of marriage between one man and one woman. The USA as well as other countries though have allowed for divorce and remarriage after divorce something the Catholic Church does not recognize for those heterosexual couples no matter their religion. Their first marriage if valid is for a lifetime. We have coped well with this polarization between the civil and religious and we have ministered to couples in irregular marriages as well as their children. We are not prevent these children from being baptized and receiving a Catholic education or CCD.

The same will be for same sex couples who have children. The Church can minister to the couple, who like heterosexuals in irregular civil marriages, should not receive Holy Communion. However, they may attend Mass for the graces and in fact if Catholic they are obliged to attend Mass under the pain of mortal sin. Their children should be baptized and given a Catholic education or CCD classes and the other sacraments of the Church.

I have had a couple of children in my parish who have parents who are gay and in committed partnerships. I did not stand in the way of these children to be baptized if I could ascertain that their parents or grandparents would be sure to rear the children in the faith and prepare them for subsequent sacraments.

While the Church would have preferred the Supreme Court to give same sex couples in "legal civil partnerships" a legal civil platform named "civil union" and not marriage, we should not interfere as the institutional Church from allowing those in civil unions from receiving the same civil benefits as heterosexual civil or religious marriage. The Church should not support discrimination of homosexuals unless their lifestyle and ideologies oppose the philosophy and teaching of other institutions, secular or religious.

At the end of the day love wins not only for the gay community, if love is properly understood, but also for the Church.

However if the Supreme Court's decision presages a persecution, marginalization and suppression of the Church to the point the Church forms its own circle the wagons community out of fear of being stigmatized and restricted from jobs, housing and the rest of it, we have to fight tooth and nail with the spiritual and legal resources we have to the end. Civil disobedience will be a part of that. Martyrdom even in a symbolic way also.

To keep Catholics from succumbing to the corrupt culture of sexuality and civil marriage, heterosexual or homosexual or whatever combinations, we must make strong the Catholic teaching on the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony and what is expected of Catholics as it concerns marriage and sex and mortal sin:

1. Catholics must be married in the Catholic Church by a bishop, priest or deacon (I believe the permission given after Vatican II to Catholics to be married in other ceremonies is/was a major, major mistake. That must be rescinded! Catholics must receive the blessing of the Church through the Nuptial Blessing offered by a bishop, priest or deacon to have a valid sacramental marriage--this is a shift in theology to bring us to the theology of marriage of the Eastern Rite in union with Rome. No longer can we or should we say that the couple is the "officiant" of the Sacrament of Marriage of which the bishop, priest and deacon are simply official witnesses. The official witnesses are the best man and maid of honor or any two people of whatever combination. The bishop, priest and deacon provide the validity of the Sacrament! Change this now!!!!!

2. Those Catholics who enter into any kind of civil marriage are considered to be living in sin and may not receive Holy Communion unless they renounce sex within their relationship. 

3. Catholics are called to Biblical chastity--abstinence from sex before the Sacrament of Marriage and fidelity to their marriage after the Sacrament of Marriage. Sex outside of marriage is a mortal sin. Sex in a civil marriage, gay or straight, is a mortal sin for Catholics.

Finally, Pope Francis has reassured us in his homily for the Paliums of the new Archbishops today the following:

 Everything passes, only God remains.  Indeed, kingdoms, peoples, cultures, nations, ideologies, powers have passed, but the Church, founded on Christ, notwithstanding the many storms and our many sins, remains ever faithful to the deposit of faith shown in service; for the Church does not belong to Popes, bishops, priests, nor the lay faithful; the Church in every moment belongs solely to Christ.  Only the one who lives in Christ promotes and defends the Church by holiness of life, after the example of Peter and Paul.