Catechism of the Catholic Church (675)

'Before Christ’s second coming the Church must pass through a final trial that will shake the faith of many believers. The persecution that accompanies her pilgrimage on earth will unveil the “mystery of iniquity” in the form of a religious deception offering men an apparent solution to their problems at the price of apostasy from the truth. The supreme religious deception is that of the Antichrist, a pseudo-messianism by which man glorifies himself in place of God and of his Messiah come in the flesh.' ~ Catechism of the Catholic Church (675)

Saturday, 3 December 2016

'Lighthouse of Mercy'



I was always under the impression that lighthouses served a particularly important function in answering distress calls from seafarers, those in choppy waters, storms and in crises. Answering distress calls be they in the form of petitions for help or written appeals, it seems, is not His Holiness's forte. So I'm not sure Mgr Pio Pinto's description of Pope Francis as a 'lighthouse of mercy' is very apt. Unless by 'mercy' we mean, permitting seafarers to perish in confusion amid the roaring waves of this pontificate.


Friday, 2 December 2016

Unpacking the Latest Pinto Propaganda Production

Four Cardinals face the music...

Thanks to One Peter Five for the following excerpts from the latest Pinto propaganda release...

"They have written to the pope and that is correct and legitimate. [Writing letters is not illegal...I guess!]. But, after there did not come [from the pope] an answer after a few weeks, they published the case. [The Pope is a busy man, he might have gotten round to it...someday!] That is a slap in the face. [The four cardinals are traitors!] The pope can choose to take counsel with his cardinals; but that is something different from imposing upon him a counsel. [They're only cardinals! Pope can do what he wants, it's his Church, so there!]
They are not a council with any kind of competences. [They're only cardinals!] On the contrary, they as cardinals are bound in a higher degree to be loyal to the pope. [But they are traitors!] He stands for the gift of unity, the charisma of Peter. [They are schismatics!] That is where the cardinals have to support him, and not hinder him. [They are schismatics and traitors!] By what authority do the authors of the letter act? On the fact that they are cardinals? That is not sufficient. [They're only cardinals!] Please. Of course they can write to the pope and send him their questions,  [Writing letters is not illegal], I suppose! but to oblige him to answer [to expect a reply?! Treacherous madness!] and to publish the case is another matter. [Informing the Faithful that the Pope has not replied?! The faithful have no rights to know! Traitors!]
The absolute majority of the first synod and a two-thirds majority in the second, in which the members of the bishops’ conferences were present, have exactly approved these theses that now the four cardinals contest. [Apart from the most controversial elements of Amoris Laetitia which were rejected by the Synod Fathers, but still, Church history is something we write! Not something history itself records! Because the Pope says so!].

I am not the type who can threaten (people). [I am a nice guy! Trust me on this!] To write something like this is quite a journalistic license and is not serious. [You published what I said and now I look silly! Bastards!] What I have said is, rather: Francis is a lighthouse of mercy and has infinite patience. [The Pope is just like Jesus. Moreover, he is Jesus re-enfleshed on earth!]

For him, it is about agreeing, not about forcing. [He is a nice guy too. Trust me on this!] It was a serious act that these four have published their letter. [Traitors!] But to think that he would remove their cardinalate – no. [The Pope is a nice guy! Trust me on this!] I do not believe that he will do that. [No guarantee he won't mind, because he's unpredictable, some might say volatile. But he's such a nice man!] In itself, as pope, he could do such a thing. [He could do it. So don't make him go red boiling with rage.] The way I know Francis, he will not do it. [But he probably won't because he is a nice guy. Such a nice, sweet man!]
This is crazy. [The cardinals are crazy! What have they done!?] Such a council of cardinals does not exist that could hold the pope accountable. [They're only cardinals!] The task of the cardinals is to help the pope in the exercise of his office – and not to obstruct him or to give him precepts. [They are traitors! Damn their eyes!] And this is a fact: [I need an invented 'fact' to support my argument] Francis is not only in full accordance with the teaching, but also with all of his predecessors in the 20th century, and that was a Golden Age with excellent popes – starting with Pius X. [See! There's no problem here! Dubia schmoobia! In spite of a four year moratorium on any concrete evidence to support my argument, just...just...BELIEVE!!]
I am shocked, especially about the gesture of Meisner. [Traitor!] Meisner was a great bishop of an important diocese [Cologne]  [Traitor!] – how sad that he now with this action puts a shadow upon his history.  [Traitor!] Meisner, a great spiritual leader! [I thought he was a company man! But now? Traitor!] That he would arrive at that, I did not expect. [Traitor!] He was very close to John Paul II and Benedict, and he knows that Benedict XVI and Francis are in full agreement about the analysis and the conclusions when it comes to the question of marriage. [See! There's no problem here! Dubia schmoobia! In spite of a four year moratorium on any concrete evidence to support my argument, just...just...BELIEVE!!And Burke – we have worked together. [And I thought I knew you. But you turned on me. Traitor!] He seemed to me to be an amiable person. [Yes, even I thought you were a nice guy! Well, kind of. But now...Traitor!] Now I would ask him: Your Eminence, why did you do that? [You've broken my heart. You've let the Pope down, you've let me down. Face it, you've let yourself down. You treacherous bastard! Shut it, 'Cardinal Nobody' and don't try and foil our darstardly, wicked masonic plan!]"

Thursday, 1 December 2016

The Next Great Papal PR Move?


The heat is on for His Holiness with Cardinals in hot but by no means trivial pursuit.

But...

I think Spadaro, Rosica, Ivereigh, Burke (Greg not Raymond) and Co. should consider presenting His Holiness with a novel way - a unique plan - to get out of the Dubian missile crisis. We're into 'signs and wonders' territory now. Such things could get His Holiness out of this hole. It is not so much that he needs a 'miracle' - after all he is the Pope and all - but more that a 'miracle' would really help bury any 'doubts' held by the Catholic community...

So here's a possible plan to end all plans to end the Dubian crisis:





Step 1: Issue a press release that the Pope is really ill, dangerously so. Issue a call to prayer for the Pope. The Catholic world prays. Concern grows to a crescendo. Laity, priests, bishops, cardinals, The Tablet, the UN, the World Bank, Leonardo Di Caprio. Everybody's concerned! 
Step 2: Condition is worsening. Pilgrims gather at St Peter's Square. Fr Antonio Spadaro goes on Twitter to issue that terrible news that the Pope is 'pronounced' 'dead' after battling bravely against illness. Live stream footage of weeping and mourning. Tributes, flowers, wailing, gnashing of teeth etc. 'A little more time, he could have reformed the Church and made it great again!'

Spadaro's sock puppets. Now vacating their Twitter accounts.

Step 3: 'Three days later', or alternatively at his 'funeral', Fr Spardaro or one of his less intelligent sock puppets goes back onto Twitter with a picture of the Pope having emerged from the jaws of death unscathed, having been 'pronounced' 'dead' only to be raised to life by God (for who else could have been responsible for this marvel), thus ending any 'doubts' that this man is truly the anointed one of the God of Surprises - and a Catholic Pope to boot - to bring the Church up to date with modern times and send Christ's teachings into the trash can.
His Eminence did reply but his reply amounted to a rather deft deflection of the question. Questions nowadays are very threatening. Popes have a phobia of them and this phobia of answering questions extends also to some Cardinals.

If you can develop this theme that the Pope is 'just like Jesus Christ', I'm telling you this could work like a dream, or a dystopian nightmare, especially in this age of scruples-lite papal press spokespersons, sycophantic advisers and the internationally renowned and mysterious power of the Jesuits.

Not all Jesuits are shady. But some are.

Who would dare challenge a man who has risen from the dead, his authority or legitimacy? Who would question him? The whole world would bow down before such a man - 'He's just like / better than / more wonderful than Jesus!' and even the faith of the elect of God would be put to the greatest of tests. Of course, His Holiness would never go along with such an audacious, ambitious, nay humble proposal, but in desperate times, some of his advisors could have been asked to come up with ideas that are 'outside the box' since just attacking the four Cardinals in public makes them look like a bunch of bullies with zero intelligible arguments.



One jokes but clearly Austen Ivereigh is already comparing those who question the Pope to be like the Pharisees who questioned Jesus Christ our Lord with 'trick questions'.

Are you happy now Cardinals! See you not what you have done??!

What better way to counter the dubia and make everyone forget about those five doubts than to remove all doubt and replace that doubt with the certainty that Pope Francis is so much like Jesus Christ that God does 'miracles' for him to ensure the whole Church 'believes'. Yes, a Church that could say 'Pope is so much like Jesus he kind of is Jesus or even better' would make the post-dubia Church a whole new battleground with a whole new set of rules for the Church, for 'saving the planet', politics, economics and for those who would be deceived. 



But really. One shouldn't give the Pope's entourage any ideas. Maybe they should just stick to saying... 

'We're got more Cardinals on our side than you so there! Losers! Because mercy.'

I nicked this idea from a blogpost from a lady who is said to live in Ireland going by the first name of 'Maria', so its only right to H/T her. Only fair. Credit where it's due.

Trivial Pursuit (Papal Edition, 2016)


In addition to Eccles's fun Christmas gifts, may I add Trivial Pursuit (Papal Edition, 2016).

All 1000 question cards for this limited edition game are exactly the same, to ensure the questions 
are answered. It is said that at least four Cardinals - though it could be more in time - wish to play this fun game for the family of God with His Holiness over the season of Christmastide...perhaps beyond!

Rules: 

The questions must be answered, but calmly, moving forward in a relaxed manner.

Any participant boiling with rage is to be removed from the game for a breather to re-enter the game when he is not boiling with rage.

All the questions must be answered in order to get 'all the pies' and 'get home'.

Age range of respondents to questions: Between 79 to 80 years old.

Number of participants: 7 in private, 5 in public, but could be more.



Warning: Despite the limited number of questions, this game can nevertheless take a very long time to complete. Best to leave yourself a year or two to get the answers after many delaying tactics, but that's all part of the fun, eh? No?

Limited Edition Price: Legitimacy, but is also of eternal value.



Wednesday, 30 November 2016

The Papal Privilege and Erroneous Messages


One can't help noticing...

From various sources it was reported that the responses to the Exhortation, Amoris Laetitia were as follows:

Australian Archbishop Mark Coleridge of Brisbane, who attended the 2015 Synod of Bishops on the family, said the document “is full of contemplative vistas but also down-to-earth practical wisdom which could come only from long pastoral experience of spouses and their families. It moves constantly between the ideal and the real.”
Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin called Amoris Laetitia an “encyclopedic document and, like all encyclopedic documents, much of its most valuable content runs the risk of being bypassed by a preoccupation with one or two of its aspects. It is not just a collection of separated chapters,” Archbishop Martin said in a statement. “There is a unifying thread: The Gospel of the family is challenging and demanding, but … with the grace of God and his mercy, is attainable and fulfilling, enriching and worthwhile.”
Bishop Richard J. Malone said the exhortation invites the Church to heal wounds that families experience because of poverty, human trafficking, immigration, domestic violence and pornography. We also have room to grow and improve and we welcome the Pope’s encouragement for the renewed witness to the truth and beauty of marriage of a more tender closeness and families who are experiencing real difficulties.”

These three prelates are among the others who have condemned perceived errors within the Maria Divine Mercy messages. The Church deserves consistency from Her prelates. It is widely reported that the messages contained within Maria Divine Mercy contain errors which could confuse the faithful and lead the Faithful astray.

In Bishop Andreas Laun, auxiliary bishop of Salzburg, we at least have some consistency in as much as he added his name to a statement signed by other bishops and cardinals defending the Magisterium of the Catholic Church on the Sacraments. Quite possibly, there are other prelates who have defended the Magisterium but who, listed here, condemned Maria Divine Mercy's messages prophesying apostasy, schism and an all out war on Catholic Truth and those who uphold it from the Pope and members of the Hierarchy. Since that signature, however, even this Bishop has fallen silent. Perhaps now he will speak in support of the four Cardinals who seek clarification from the Pope? Right now, every bishop matters! These four Cardinals deserve support because they are acting in the service of Christ and His Church.

Unfortunately, members of the Sacred Hierarchy are making Maria Divine Mercy's prophecies look pretty good and attractive as a navigational tool and spiritual support during this apocalyptic crisis in the Church. The intrinsic power of the MDM messages is not that the messages are believable. It is that the messages were unbelievable but that events make them appear credible, one recent example being the messages that 'many will be stripped of their titles'. Do the Pope and those who offer him advice really wish to fulfill these strange messages and give them credibility? I've always maintained that the greatest promoters of the MDM messages are the Pope and the Hierarchy who at many and varied times confirm the basic premises of these messages by their actions and words.

So on MDM the three prelates listed above acted as follows:

Diarmuid Martin, Archbishop of Dublin, issued a statement condemning Maria Divine Mercy stating that her messages have 'no ecclesiastical approval and many of the texts are in contradiction with Catholic Theology'. His condemnation is binding for the whole Church since he is the Ordinary of the 'seer'.

Archbishop Mark Coleridge of Brisbane upon examination has found the messages to be fraudulent and corrosive of the Christian faith.

Bishop Richard. J. Malone, apostolic administrator for the Diocese of Portland has issued a letter forbidding dissemination of MDM messages in the Diocese.

Of course, two wrongs do not make a right, but it seems just a little unjust to permit error to flourish without any reproach in a papal document while condemning error in the messages of a lay person. The whole Church deserves consistency and Truth. The papal privilege is not the privilege to spread error without censure or at least requests for clarification from the competent authority. If the competent authority is equipped enough to condemn error when it is perceived in the messages of members of the laity, then it, too, is competent and equipped enough to condemn or at least raise questions over errors perceived in the messages - especially Exhortations - of a Pope.

Unfortunately, instead of raising questions, these prelates have publicly lauded the papal document that is much more divisive and more damaging to the unity of the Church than those promoted by the MDM crowd. This document is that which is being forced upon the Faithful with full ecclesiastical approval, containing errors and suggestions which meet the descriptions of 'corrosive of the Christian faith' issued by Archbishop Mark Coleridge or the description, 'in contradiction with Catholic Theology', issued by Archbishop Diarmuid Martin. While the competent authority to judge MDM has no qualms with condemning those messages out right in the strongest possible terms, instead of applying the same just criteria to the Exhortation, they have done the opposite and publicly praised it. They must be consistent!

The Exhortation of desolation: Free from error?

If the Truth, divine truth, the Deposit of Faith is not safeguarded, proclaimed and defended by the Pope supported by the Sacred Hierarchy of the Holy Catholic Church, it is a scandal to the Faithful. If the Faithful are not fed Truth by the Sacred Hierarchy and if error is allowed to flourish within the highest ranks of the Hierarchy then can such men really be surprised if Catholics go looking for Truth to be fed by visionaries be they true or false, because at least, in terms of teaching people the most basic truths about sin, salvation and the Sacraments, these people have something substantial to offer? At least these people actually preach a messages which positively believes in the supernatural, not a merely humanistic philosophy like that emanating from Rome. Yes, be they true prophets or false prophets, the greatest recruiters for self-proclaimed prophets are not the prophets and visionaries themselves, but those who fawn over Papal documents containing serious errors and scandalous assertions concerning faith and morals, laud them and then recommend them to the Faithful and who then say nothing in defense of the just when the few just men say that serious errors are contained therein.



In order for the message of the Gospel to be credible, error must be opposed and challenged, whether it comes from the laity, or comes from the Pope himself, perhaps with the due deference with which that Office demands, but nevertheless, opposed. The Pope himself is not served by obsequious prelates who overlook elements within his documents which could cause the little ones to stumble. Are such men working in the service of the Truth Himself if they do not speak up? The most controversial element of the MDM messages is that Pope Francis is the False Prophet of Revelation working within the Church to dismantle it and create a new One World Religion which forgets Jesus Christ and condones sin. If the Pope and Cardinals and Bishops want to lay those messages to rest, they have the power to do just that. They can turn around, repent, stop working towards the destruction of Christian morals and worship and serve God instead of promoting error and condoning or excusing sin in the service of God's chief adversary. Quite frankly, just condemning MDM seems a little pointless, if you're content to just go ahead and fulfill the general content of the messages yourself regardless. I assume that having condemned these apocalyptic messages, these prelates have actually read them?

Such behaviour only serves to break down trust in the Sacred Hierarchy only for that trust to go towards others who have not been appointed as Shepherds of the Faithful, but who are deemed by those faithful trustworthy enough to feed them, lest they starve to death in a spiritual wasteland! It costs the ecclesiastical careers of prelates nothing to condemn error when it is perceived in the work of a member of the laity. That is easy pickings indeed. In terms of prestige, title, ecclesiastical career, rank, status, privilege, it may cost the four Cardinals everything, if not their lives to bring to the Faithful's attention errors contained within Amoris Laetitia on which they only seek clarity. Canon law allows them to do what they have done. Justice demands that what they have done is not belittled or condemned, since they act in good faith. Their motives are not sinister nor should they be presumed as such without firm, concrete evidence. They simply ask Pope Francis to clarify that which appears at odds with the perennial faith within his own document. It is no threat to the Supreme Pontiff's authority for them to do that. Simply answering the dubia will put many minds at rest and confirm his brethren in that faith which he has received to be defended and proclaimed.

May Bishops and Cardinals be bold and come forward in defense of the One True Faith and those remaining Cardinals and Bishops who are brave enough to defend it when it seems to be at risk of violation by the Successor of St Peter.

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

From Propaganda to Psychological Warfare: The Spiralling Descent of the Francis Pontificate

What is really fascinating about today's threat from Mgr Pio Pinto is what it says about him and those for whom he so obviously speaks.

As it so happens, Mgr Pinto is named in a website claiming to reveal members of the Hierarchy who are Freemasons - I have no idea whether the site is credible or the list true.

However, it is quite an allegation that someone has made in the public domain so would he care to answer a 'Yes' or 'No' to the question: 'Are you a Freemason?' Or has he already answered the question 'in a round about kind of way' throughout his ecclesiastical career? For clear answers of a 'yes/no' variety seem to be such a rarity from Rome nowadays.

But I digress: Much is revealed about Mgr Pio Pinto's psychology (or the psychology of whomever put him up to it) when he issues such threats against Cardinal Burke and the four Cardinals in general, claiming that they could be stripped of their cardinalate should they continue their questioning of the Pope or 'move forward' with their promise to take further action.

An alleged list of members of the Sacred Hierarchy of the Church who are Freemasons.

Mgr Pinto - or whoever put him up to it - quite shamelessly assumes that these Cardinals are motivated by the rank and authority, title, privilege and status to which they have risen in the Church. Why would he or whoever put him up to it do that or think in that way?

'Drop it! Be silent! Otherwise the Pope will publicly humiliate you and see your rank and status taken from you!'

Allegedly!

Well, quite naturally - though such naked ambition is always unbecoming of a prelate, for I believe His Holiness called them 'ladder climbers' or 'careerist bishops' or some similar insult, it does happen that people angle themselves for promotion within the Church and prize that above the important things - like remaining faithful to the Truth of Christ and service of Him in His Holy Church for the salvation of souls.

But clearly the one who says...

'Drop it! Be silent! Otherwise the Pope will publicly humiliate you and see your rank and status taken from you!'

...believes that Cardinals Burke, Meisner, Caffara and Brandmuller fall into this category of prelate, thinking that, because that is (quite clearly) the way in which he - or they - or whoever put him up to it thinks, that such is how the faithful four think.

I don't obviously know the hearts and souls of Cardinals Burke, Meisner, Caffara and Brandmuller, but I just imagine that somebody has made a massive miscalculation and into the bargain has revealed the real intentions of the heart of either himself or whoever has put him up to it.

Benedict XVI saw authority in the Church as a gift to be used in the service of Christ, in the service of Truth, in the service of God's people, in the service of the Church. Benedict XVI did not see the papacy - even the papacy - with its extraordinary privileges in terms of power, but pointed to the Crucified Christ who emptied Himself out of love for us.



Only those who believe that their position and vocation in the Church is about power and influence for its own sake would assert the withdrawal of rank and privilege as a real threat to those who question the Pope on faith and morals, when teaching on faith and morals is his very duty as Supreme Teacher of the Faithful. Further, if this were being considered by the Supreme Pontiff who is, according to Cardinal Hummes, ever serene and 'moving forward' then not only is this a threat that could - for even Popes are prone to human error and poor judgement - backfire catastrophically, but one that he may be forced to act on because the threat has not been taken terribly seriously. If the threat is seen in terms of 'God or Nothing' then it is a threat that will be treated as something to be taken in the stride of those who are faithful to Christ, something which history documents has been costly to ecclesiastical careers, yes even within the Church. St Athanasius, after all, was exiled for standing firm!

Quite simply if these four Cardinals or 'persons' really believe that remaining faithful to the Truth of Christ come what may - then this threat, sorrowful as its consequences would be for these men - would not be deemed terribly important. That's quite a gamble when you are dealing with men who, unlike the Pope's mischievous minions, take Jesus Christ very seriously indeed. I just don't see how the Pope could still retain his waning reputation as merciful or pastoral or humble or fraternal or'in the spirit of dialogue or whatever kind of vacuous, platitudinous phrase is currently circulating in the papal lexicon, should he decide to press that button.



Creating martyrs - real Christian martyrs - may not be such a wise move by His Holiness. He should perhaps consider the implications of such a move before permitting his Dean of the Roman Rota to publicly suggest such an idea, or, having permitted it to occur, restrain him, perhaps even publicly. The Pope has more to lose in the public eye than do those who he could sanction and publicly strip of their rank and status. But I suppose that the more silent is the Pope on the dubia, the more questions arise over his pontificate. the less he is able to maintain unity in the Church under Peter, the more anxious will become those who wish to, by hook or crook, disavow the Teachings of Jesus Christ.

Yes, the way is being paved for apostasy in Rome. No, many people, including some bishops and Cardinals, will not remain silent in the face of evil. There are real consequences to threats. There are real consequences to actions. Those consequences will not - I suspect - leave Pope Francis looking good any longer. Having asked unanswered questions, these men have simply brought the issue to the assembly because they believe - rightly - that it is the Church's business to know. Thank God for these wise and brave men who - I believe - are not ashamed of Christ, nor afraid to 'suffer humiliation for the sake of the Name'!



Hummes Propaganda Unpacked



'The pope could be wounded [were he not a living Saint] by the motives [referring hearers not to the questions but to the motives themselves, which he hereby casts as suspect'] which led these four persons to go so far [they are extreme/extremists] as to want to [they are not doing this out of duty but out of disobedient self-will] correct him [how dare they!!!?]. But, he is very calm, relaxed, and moves forward [our leader is strong and fearless in the face of this outrage]. He knows which is the right path [he is so wise he is beyond questioning by a competent authority] that one has to [he and we are obliged to] follow. And the College of Cardinals is with him, without any larger problems [he has overwhelming, total support among the Cardinals]. The whole College of Cardinals is with him [he has overwhelming, total support among the Cardinals. It is necessary to repeat this because that's the message he wants to get through, even though he can provide no evidence for this].'

Monday, 28 November 2016

The War on 'Rigid Morality' is a War on Morality



There is now a wealth of online news material of stories covering the Pope's comments on 'rigid morality', 'rigid Catholics', 'rigid seminarians', 'rigid priests', the latest (but doubtless not the last) being his 'Q and A'' with La Civiltà Cattolica.

As an aside, every interview His Holiness does now only creates more mystery concerning the unanswered dubia. It is strange how His Holiness can happily conduct a 'Q and A' with a Jesuit journal but not with his four Cardinals.

The funny thing is that when we deal with 'rigid' 'morality', if you just take out the adjective preceding the noun the headlines and quotes are more accurate to the truth of what the Pope is really saying.

So for example, we have...

'Pope despairs of current politics and rigid seminary morality'

becomes simply...

'Pope despairs of current politics and seminary morality'.

Pope on families: 'A rigid morality will not do'.

becomes simply...

Pope on families: 'Morality will not do'.

Am I being unfair? The definition of morality is:

(n) principles concerning the distinction between right and wrong or good and bad behaviour.


Does removing the adjective do an injustice to His Holiness? I think not. The principles themselves are either right or wrong. The principle, 'Direct abortion is always wrong in all circumstances' is according to the Church, right. If I contradict it for any reason, I've gone against the principle to which I say I hold to be true.

Nice Mr Castro: Not believed to have held onto a 'rigid' morality

See, the argument posed by His Holiness is no longer even as nuanced as 'the application of morality is too rigid'. You know, 'confessors, go easy on your penitents'. That's not it at all. The problem is deeper than that. It is morality itself being challenged and being ushered into the firing line. Believing what Catholics have always believed about God, death, judgment, Heaven, Hell, Purgatory, the moral law, prayer, the Sacraments, the Catechism - everything that is Catholic - is now being challenged. Yet we either believe what Catholics have always believed or we don't. We can't believe it 99.9% and be called authentic. We either take Christ at His word and believe He is God, He is trustworthy and worthy of our love and fidelity or we do not. We are either for Christ or against Him. We cannot be both at the same time.

The subtle and repeated appeal to lose 'rigidity' in the life of the Church is not an appeal merely to a 'merciful' approach to pastoral issues. Or even a merciful overlooking of the faults in ourselves and others. I've never experienced a confessor who was anything but merciful. This idea, surely, is a bi-product or a far deeper objection to Catholic Truth. It would seem rather to be an appeal to relativism and subjectivism towards the whole life of the Church, including, but not only including, Her morality - one that echoes the world's own rejection of Catholicism because it allows itself to be guided by moral absolutes. In terms of papal teaching, well, I don't know my history of the Popes that well, but the rejection of moral absolutes has got to be something of a first.

Principles, we know, are by their nature fixed and inflexible, unless you are a man of no or few principles. It is a given that morality - if it is to be sincerely held - be rigid. If a set of morals are going to be credible and possess integrity that cannot yield to objection or defiance. So, 'rigid' becomes an unnecessary (but highly effective) word employed to cast a negative light on those who hold onto morality itself.

Quite simply, a morality that is elastic and has no rigid quality is no morality at all. It is either something of substance or its empty. It means literally nothing. So remember, the next time you hear the Pope talk about 'rigid morality' or 'rigidity' in general don't take it personally. His war is not on 'rigidity' or even those who hold onto their morality rigidly. His war is on morality itself. And the author of Christian morality, and indeed natural law, is Almighty God. Good luck with that war, Your Holiness.

Joseph Goebbels: Master of Nazi propaganda and not believed to have held onto a 'rigid' morality

However, in terms of propaganda - and His Holiness and his entourage seem masters of it - what it looks like he is trying to do is to make Catholics feel terribly bad for holding onto very reasonable, sound Catholic teachings and values (Catholic morality) and make Catholics look bad for holding onto very reasonable Catholic teachings and values (Catholic morality). Having cast the first rigid stone, His Holiness in turn gets to look good in comparison to those who would apply morality or uphold it in a rigid manner. And it is propaganda, quite clearly, because only propaganda is something so intellectually unconvincing that it has to be repeated since 2013 to filter through to the minds of its hearers. As Joseph Goebbels said:

“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”

The cold, harsh 'rigid' reality - for unlike Popes, reality isn't subject to alteration - is that Pope Francis is by a very subtle linguistic technique really telling the Church - that is the Body of the Faithful, no matter what their rank - to consider giving up Catholicism and embrace something else. Whether it is amoralism or nihilism or atheism or some other -ism right now that doesn't really matter. It is what we are being asked to renounce that matters. Emptied of its capacity to be 'rigid' morality as even a concept loses its original power. It either is or it is not. Morality is either binding on us or it is not. We either believe what we Catholics believe and strive to live what we believe or we don't believe what we Catholics believe and we don't strive to live what we believe. We are either Christians in truth or we 'reject the inner power of it'.

No wonder His Holiness looks so much more comfortable in the presence of left wing dictators, infamous abortionists, unbelieving celebrities and prominent atheists than a growing number of Cardinals striving to remain faithful to the teaching of Christ. Groucho Marx's quip, 'Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others,' was meant to be a joke! Under this papacy, its a motto.

Do we really have to remind His Holiness that it was just the opposite of a 'rigid' morality or even 'rigid' application of morality that led to the clerical sexual abuse crisis? Do we really think that uppermost in the minds of those clergy who have abused children was the vital importance of the moral law and its strict adherence in each and every situation in their lives as priests or religious brothers? But never mind, all that, eh? Each to their own, eh? As long as they're not rigid. When it comes to morality any position is valid, it would seem, as long as the Pope's utterly confusing perspective on it is not questioned, or, if it is, that it goes unanswered.

“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.” ~ Joseph Goebbels

As news has it, One Peter Five has just posted on the statement by Cardinal Hummes which, in the face on an still unanswered dubia from the four Cardinals is meant clearly to instill a further element of fear into those who seek clarification on and further explanation of Amoris Laetitia from the Pope.

'The pope could be wounded by the motives which led these four persons to go so far as to want to correct him. But, he is very calm, relaxed, and moves forward. He knows which is the right path that one has to follow. And the College of Cardinals is with him, without any larger problems. The whole College of Cardinals is with him.'

Unpack that for propaganda value if you wish. It won't take you long. 'Calm, relaxed and moves forward'? Not boiling with rage then?

Saturday, 26 November 2016

Hell is Not About Simply 'Distance' from God



'Eternal damnation is continually distancing oneself from God. It is the worst pain, an unsatisfied heart, a heart that was created to find God but which, out of arrogance and self-confidence, distances itself from God.' ~ Pope Francis


Hell is not about simply distance from God.

Hell is separation from God.

Hell is exclusion from God's presence forever.

Hell is also a place of torment and punishment.

This is what the Gospel says. This is what the Lord Jesus says.


And whosoever shall scandalize one of these little ones that believe in me; it were better for him that a millstone were hanged around his neck, and he were cast into the sea. And if thy hand scandalize thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life, maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into unquenchable fire: Where there worm dieth not, and the fire is not extinguished. And if thy foot scandalize thee, cut it off. It is better for thee to enter lame into life everlasting, than having two feet, to be cast into the hell of unquenchable fire: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not extinguished. And if thy eye scandalize thee, pluck it out. It is better for thee with one eye to enter into the kingdom of God, than having two eyes to be cast into the hell of fire: Where the worm dieth not, and the fire is not extinguished. (St Mark, 9:48)



How clear can Jesus be? 

Black and white?

The 'distancing' oneself from God is not 'the fire', as if 'fire' is simply being used by Christ as a metaphor for being far away. The Pope today makes eternal damnation sound like a kind of unhappy limbo, a place of depression.

Many Saints and mystics have described what Hell is like and its awful torments, and they have said clearly that despite the punishments the damned undergo in Hell, the worst experience is the knowledge that they will never see God and the terrible despair this sensation induces. Nevertheless, it is Dominical teaching that the fire of Hell is not a nuanced linguistic turn of phrase used by Christ to indicate distance from God, but a reality which is stored up for the punishment of those who reject Him who die in mortal sin, including the devil and the fallen angels.

'Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.' (St Matthew, 25, 31-46)

Christ reveals in the Parable of the rich man and Lazarus that there is no mere 'distance' from the soul and God should that soul be damned. There is a chasm, a gulf, a separation, a place of comfort and peace for those who die in God's friendship and a place of agony for those who die His enemies...

'The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. In Hades, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’ 
“But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been set in place, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’ (St Luke, 16, 22-26)

It is interesting - and I hope mere coincidence that the Pope uses this phrase of 'distancing' in his interview in which he discusses those who attend the Extraordinary Form:

"The Latin Mass? Only one exception. Pope Benedict has made a proper and generous gesture to accommodate a certain mentality of some groups and persons who are nostalgic and have distanced themselves. But it is an exception."

Distanced themselves from whom or distanced themselves from what? From Christ? From the Saints? From modernism? From the Pope?

Jesus Christ tells us the truth about Hell because He does not wish us to go there. He does not remain silent on it. He wishes to save us from it. He wants us to choose Him and be with Him. Nevertheless, Hell is real and it is exclusion from God forever and it is a place of agony and flames that will never be extinguished. Let us then choose Jesus Christ, choose Salvation and devote ourselves to our Salvation and the Salvation of souls. We cannot improve on Christ's own words. We do none any favours should we try to weaken Christ's teachings.

Thursday, 24 November 2016

To Conscience First


'We can now appreciate Newman's toast first to conscience and then to the Pope. The Pope cannot impose commandments on faithful Catholics because he wants to or finds it expedient. Such a modern, voluntaristic concept of authority can only distort the true theological meaning of the papacy. ' ~ Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, 1991

It seems very much that the wheels are coming off the papal bus, that vehicle with Francis in the driving seat and with Fr Antonio Spadaro the irritating tour guide, telling the passengers about the sites of local interest.

There is no doubt however that there exists in the wake of Amoris Laetitia an epic problem for the Pope, for his advisers and for prelates who wish to sideline or send to the outer peripheries those who have rightly taken issue with its more controversial contents. This problem is more to do with the issue of authority than it is to do with credibility. There now exists a great disconnect which is at the heart of the Four Cardinal's letter to the Pope seeking clarification on matters of faith and morals. It lays this disconnect, this faulty wiring, bare for all to see. This is hugely - or should be - hugely embarrassing for the Pope and his entourage. Will they never blush?

It is frighteningly easy for priests, bishops, cardinals and Popes to misuse their authority in many and varied ways, but in particular regard to the Papacy, cause for anxiety is very well-founded because the Pope oversees not simply a parish or a Diocese, but is Supreme Pontiff for the whole Universal Church. If the Shepherd goes astray, the multitude of sheep who follow him will likely go astray too. Not just a parish. Not just a Diocese. An incalculable number.

Fr Antonio Spadaro on Twitter recently posted an image of Cardinal Tagle in a moment signifying his obedience to Pope Francis with the caption, 'Tu es Petrus' at a time when Pope Francis is being publicly questioned on his fidelity to the Deposit of Faith. Of course, that's not coincidental. I interpret the tweet to be a reminder to Papal critics to remember 'who the boss is' and to bring to mind the authority that he has.  However, Fr Antonio Spadaro in giving us his timely 'Tu es Petrus' reminder significantly does not go on to complete the sentence that fell from the mouth of the Eternal Son of God to St Peter. The full sentence is, of course...


Tu es Petrus, et super hanc petram aedificabo ecclesiam meam.
You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church.


One cannot help but feel that the omission of the clause 'et super hanc petram aedificabo ecclesiam meam' is all too much of a coincidence at this time of great crisis and confusion, for the second clause of the sentence really fleshes out who Peter is and who his Successors are, because Peter does not exist in isolation or in some sort of power vacuum, but instead in intimate Communion with the One Who delivered this mandate to the Prince of the Apostles. In fact, his authority relies heavily on his Communion with Christ. If he breaks his Communion with Christ in a public manner, or signifies that he is doing so, he shatters the unity of the Church founded on the Rock of Peter. That is why we are in such a fragile, delicate and potentially disastrous time.

Yet Peter is not the Church. The Body of Christ is the Church. He is a member of it, a member with a particular role which requires a special authority to govern the Church given to him by the Son of God. Nobody doubts the importance of this role. He governs the Church, is given primacy anda special teaching function, but he is not the Lord and Master of the Church. Peter did not appoint himself to the Papacy but you could be forgiven these days for thinking that this is the case. It isn't the case. It is Christ Himself who appoints him. Peter has no authority by himself but is given authority by Christ. And the authority that comes to Peter from Christ rests not merely on the fact that Jesus Christ gives it to him but by virtue of the fact that Jesus Christ has a particular authority to give. He did not appoint the Chief Executive of an NGO. Jesus Christ - alone - can give spiritual and teaching authority and paternity over the Church to Peter because Jesus Christ is both human and divine. Quite simply, Jesus Christ can give authority over the Church to Peter because Jesus Christ is Lord, God and Master. If Christ were not God, this authority would mean absolutely nothing. If Christ were not raised, then not only would our Faith be in vain, but so would the papacy, so every Pope really needs to believe that, indeed, Christ is raised, if only for intellectual coherency.

Jesus Christ changes Simon's name to Peter which means 'Rock' or 'Rocky'. This here too is a sign of His authority over men, not Peter's authority over Christ or even an indication of Peter's authority over the Church. That comes later in the commission. Yes, it is Peter's name that is changed by Christ, not Jesus Christ's name which is changed by Peter. Peter doesn't choose his new name. Christ does. Thus it is the Church's holy custom that each new Pope takes a different name, the name by which they will henceforth be known but the choice of name is very significant.

'Rock' is not a noun symbolic merely of what or who Peter is in his role in the Church. It is his very name and its meaning. It is his spiritual essence. It is his meaning. Christ is not saying, 'You are like rock or like a little rock'. He says, 'You are rock'. One need not elaborate on the significance of this for every Successor of St Peter except to say that rock is solid rather than nebulous matter and that immovable mountains founded upon the Earth since the dawn of Creation themselves are made of it. Rock also serves as an excellent foundation for buildings, which leads us to the culmination of Christ's commission to Peter, the Rock.

It is a supreme irony that those who have asked for clarification are told they are being too 'rigid'. When was the last time you saw a rock that lacked a certain quality of rigidity? Perhaps those close to the Pope, instead of denouncing his 'critics' need to remind themselves and even the Pope of the job description to which he himself publicly announced his desire to fulfill. If Peter chooses to be objectively un-rock like, wavering, placating the whims of the age, moving placidly along with the current of the world in which the Church finds Herself at a particular time, he goes against the nature of his Office and his role. In undermining his Office, he undermines the authority given to him. He is called to stand firm for Christ, not against Him, because it is He, not himself, of Whom Peter is Vicar. Peter is to teach 'Do whatever He tells you'. He is not called simply to say, 'Do whatever I tell you'.

The Pope may say to atheistic journalists such things as, "I would rather not talk in terms of absolute truth", but that's a real problem, because this is really one of the very few areas in which he and the Church has any form of competency whatsoever. The Church has no divine mandate or authority to speak on climate change. It does have a divine mandate and authority to speak on moral, doctrinal and theological absolutes.


This rock is somewhat rigid. All the better for it, I say.

But let us be in no doubt, Scripture makes it clear that it is Christ Who 'will build', Christ Who has built indeed, His Church on Peter. It is Christ Himself who is the Builder. Not Peter! The Son of God makes this very plain to Peter and it should serve as a warning to all who would come after him in his line of Successors...

'I will build my church.'

The Church is the possession of Christ. It doesn't belong to itself. The Church is united to Jesus Christ. What God has joined together, let no man put asunder. The whole Church, including Peter, belongs to Christ. He Who says 'I am the Way, the Truth and the Life' (for Peter never says that Peter is the Way, the Truth and the Life, nor does the Lord say that of Peter) is always both the giver and the possessor of authority and it cannot be given by the Giver and yet stolen by the recipient. Christ's authority is never removed from Him, He himself never dispenses it only for it to be taken from Him. The power exercised by the Pope belongs to Christ. That which He gives, He also retains. Christ gives His authority to Peter as His Chief Shepherd on Earth but Christ never ceases to be the Chief Shepherd Himself. He delegates to Peter authority that, even when given, is never lost by the Giver Himself.

Thus we see that Peter is not the possessor of authority. How can he be if he is the recipient of authority - always the recipient. And he exercises papal power by virtue of being the recipient of power from on High. It is not self-generated. He cannot separate his authority from the will of Christ and exercise it divorced from Christ's will without some form of censure from Successors of the Apostles with care for souls. The authority given to Peter will until the Second Coming of Christ pass to another who comes to fill his Office, but it never passes from Christ to another to the effect that Christ's authority is diminished. He is all-powerful. Peter is not. He is the Word of God. Peter is not. He is God. Peter is not! The Supreme Authority in the Church is Jesus Christ, the Divine Head, in Whose name the Pope - we pray - speaks and acts. The authority placed within the hands of Peter is not Peter's own authority but Christ's authority and just as it is that Peter's authority over the Church is not Peter's own possession but Christ's, so it is that the Church founded upon Peter belongs not to Peter but to Christ. Christ will render an account from every Pope for how this donation of power has been exercised in his name.

Yes it is Christ who says, 'Tu es Petrus', not Peter who says, 'I am Peter' and he is Peter as long as he enjoys Communion with Christ in saying, 'Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God, the Messiah, the Saviour of the World', but like any of us, he is just as easily Judas as long as he breaks faith with Christ or betrays him or hands Him over to the wicked. God regards the free will of the Pope to be as sacred a gift as that of our own. The Pope enjoys papal authority because it is conferred from above, but he himself is not from above. Peter is as bound to obedience to the Faith he receives as you or I. If he wantonly breaks faith with Christ, he is as much cast adrift from the Barque as you or me.



It may serve as a useful and timely - ahem - footnote - to note that Jesus Christ gives this unique role of Chief Shepherd and Prince of the Apostles to Peter only after Peter has recognised as Divine, Lord, God, Saviour, Christ, Messiah, the Son of the Living God, the One who stands before His disciples asking people 'Who do people say that I am?' Presumably, if 'My Father in Heaven' had not 'revealed' to Peter the divinity of Jesus Christ, or if even 'flesh and blood' had revealed this knowledge to him instead, the unique role of Vicar of Christ on Earth may have in time been delegated to another individual. Peter's appointment, his authority given to him by Christ seems to rest on his Faith - his public faith in Christ, a public faith announced in the midst of the assembly of the Church. Nothing given to Peter rests on Peter's personal opinions about other matters, nothing given to Peter rests on his personal virtues or his weaknesses (which neither the Gospels nor the Acts of the Apostles pass over, as if intended to reveal to us something of the mystery of the Papacy). Jesus builds His Church on the Faith of Peter, not on a Peter of no faith.

Yes, Christ is the Builder. Yet He, too, is the Corner Stone. He Himself is the Church's Foundation and without Him the house falls down. He says, 'I will build'. Who can doubt that He has built? Who can doubt that when new members are born from the font that Christ is building? Who can doubt that when a new priest is ordained that Christ will build? Who can doubt that the Builder is Jesus Christ? Not the members of His Body and not Peter or His Successors! Who then, would dare to revoke, dismiss or cast doubt on that which He has built?

What Pope would treat with disdain that which he has received from his predecessors? Who would dare to dispense with the Teachings which are Christ's own or mistreat or desecrate the Body which is His? Who would dare to tear down the foundations of the Church and tear at the very Body of Christ? Who would dare to challenge Jesus Christ and try to wrestle the Church away from God and build something else instead, something of purely human invention in complete contradiction to the divine institution that Jesus Christ has founded? Who would dare to do such unspeakable things to the Bride of Christ, who would try to assert dominance and mastery over the Church to the detriment of the Truth and claim these things are done in the name of God, or in the name of  'the Spirit' or invoke the titles of papal supremacy in the service of the destruction of the Church that belongs solely to Jesus Christ, Her Divine Lord, Head and Chief Shepherd? Anyone who would do that would surely be, whatever rank he had attained within the Church, an apostate and an infidel. Could a Pope ever be an apostate and an infidel? Of course! The Pope is as capable of replacing faith with doubt or even unbelief as you or me.

Good Popes know they are dependent entirely on Christ for grace to effectively govern and feed His people. For Christ is, indeed, the Rock, Christ possesses the Church, it belongs to Him. She is His. He is Bridegroom. She is Bride. Christ is the Church. He is its Head and we, including Peter - and all his Successors - are members of that Body. The Church is His Body, not Peter's Body. Peter is not Jesus Christ. Pope Francis is not Jesus Christ. The Church is the Mystical Body of Christ, not the Mystical Body of Peter. Jesus Christ says to Peter, 'I will build my Church'. He does not say, 'You will build your Church', nor does He say, 'I will build your Church'. Likewise, Peter does not say, 'Lord, I will build your Church' or 'I will build my Church', though it may be the temptation of every Pope to do so and who can doubt that Popes have, at times, given in to this temptation to some degree or another.  All of this, I believe, is known by those who believe that the Lord Jesus is Lord indeed, who know and who believe that Jesus Christ is the Head of His Body, the Church. Sadly, sorrowfully indeed, it is not known well enough by those who do not believe in the Only Begotten Son of God.

Not to answer such a simple question is to abandon the role given him by Christ of safeguarding the Deposit of Faith
So when the Pope says such things as 'if the Pope says that black is white then we should believe that it is white' Catholics everywhere can say that if Christ and the Fathers of the Church, if the Magisterium in the service of the Truth and the Salvation of mankind says that white is indeed white and black is indeed black, we can say quite categorically that white is white and black is black. We do not have to believe a lie and be told that to believe a lie is some kind of disloyalty to the Pope. And if the Pope says that pastors exercise their pastoral duty best by rejecting a vision of life which is black and white, signifying a preference for 'shades of grey', we can say that there must be times when the distinction between black and white, or good and evil must be made absolutely clear for the good of souls. For this is in the service of Christ the Lord. And if the Pope says that certain people wish to see things in 'black and white' and uses that as a tenuous justification to refuse an answer to some very simple questions concerning faith and morals from his Cardinals, in the service of Christ, His Church and the Salvation of souls, we can say that this is an injustice to Christ and to the flock over which the Pope has been given authority to tend, to serve, to instruct, to teach and to confirm in the perennial Faith of the Church.

"I just wonder if you could answer a couple of questions..."

All this can be said and in this critical time even must be said by those who know that the Pope is the recipient of authority given to him for a unique and particular purpose in the service of the truth, in the service Christ and His Church. If a Pope places the souls in his paternal care at grave risk or peril by teaching error or attempting to build a faith at odds with Jesus Christ the Lord, then those who ask questions seeking clarification in line with the teachings of the Magisterium do so not with malice or ill-intent, but in fidelity to their Lord and to Peter, who was once resisted to his face, in person, by Paul. All this can and must be said because Peter does not act in isolation. He is the possessor of nothing in the Church. Nothing belongs to him, not even his Throne and most particularly the Faith of Christ does not belong to him. This belongs to the man or woman in the pew as much as it belongs to the Pope. I am as capable of changing Truth as the Pope is. That is, completely and utterly incapable.



The Deposit of Faith is a Gift which he is called to preserve and proclaim with the steadfastness of Rock. The day when Peter splits in half, into two, is the day of the Earthquake, the day when the Church, too, splits in two and the Rock itself is rent asunder. That Rock is the Body of Christ itself and that Rock is the Christian Conscience. Unless the Pope upholds the Conscience which unites the People of God in Faith in Christ, unless he behaves and teaches as the custodian of Christian Truth, rather than as an inventor of new pseudo-truths which work to deconstruct or to destroy the Truth of Jesus Christ then there is something inevitable about that Earthquake.

No Catholic should have to imagine that he may one day have to choose between fidelity to his Conscience and fidelity to the Pope, or that these could ever be in any way contradictory. But if that day comes, choose Conscience, because the Pope is not God nor is he the Voice of Almighty God. Your Conscience, however, is. This will be in the service of Christ and of Peter. For there is but one Judge. Peter will not judge you on the Last Day and read your Conscience to you, to your eternal Salvation or to your condemnation. It is Jesus Christ Who will do that. May He, the Lord of all, preserve His Church from error and schism and make us faithful to Him, until the end, come what may even if what comes our way is Fr Antonio Spadaro implying, 'He's Pope so there!' or Cardinal Tobin saying, 'Suck it up, he's Pope so there!' or the head of the Greek Latin Church, Franciscan Fragiskos Papamanolis saying that to question the Pope's document is 'heresy' or 'schismatic' or 'apostasy' for no reason but 'He's Pope, so there!'

We will hear such things a lot. Such statements may be excitable exclamations of papal power, but such statements do not cover these men in much glory now nor do they give any hint as to whether these men will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away when the Chief Shepherd appears. It is easy indeed for a Pope to decide one day to remake the entire Church in his image and place Christ, His Teachings and throw what has preceded him into what he regards as the dustbin of history. Unfortunately for that Pope, and his entourage, it is intellectually and theologically-speaking impossible for him to do that while he or those who support him in this work of destruction claim that he does so with Christ's blessing. This would be a delusion of gigantic proportions and not a very convincing one at that. A Pope might change his mind, but a Pope cannot change God's mind. God can change the Pope, but the Pope cannot change God. New Popes, true Popes, false Popes may appear, but not, in reality, new Gods, true Gods or false Gods. There is but One True God. He is Eternal.




If Christ has spoken even a Pope cannot speak against Him. If the Church has spoken, even a Pope cannot speak against Her. His authority is Apostolic, stretching back in time to Christ and the Apostles and forward in time to that Day when Christ (with His Apostles) returns, when He becomes 'all in all' on the Last Day. The moment a Pope denies an article of Faith or attempts to render Christ's Teachings void he removes from himself the legitimacy that comes to him from Christ, pulling not just the foundations upon which the Church rests, but the foundation upon which he himself - and his authority - rests from under his feet. Presumably, a Pope could excommunicate from Communion with him every loyal son and daughter of the Church, but that wouldn't be much help to him if he was spending his entire pontificate saying 'Truth doesn't matter'. One could reply, 'If Truth doesn't matter, what's the point in excommunicating people from Communion with you.' We have Communion with Peter because of Christ, not because of Peter. He cannot generate his own authority divorced from the will of Christ and call that legitimate authority.



One could easily argue that the more a Pope pushes forward his own private judgments and opinions which do not coincide with the Teaching of Christ, the more he undermines the Teachings of the Church, the further away from Communion with Him he drifts - in a public manner - and that the more he does this the shakier are the foundations upon which his authority rests. For this is Christ's authority - not his! Essentially, the still unanswered dubia makes this crystal clear. Pope Francis does not have to answer, but if he does not answer - by his own choice - that itself undermines his authority to teach.

The more Peter distances himself from Christ the less convincing is his claim to an authority that must be followed and obeyed because he is telling people to ignore the One Who gives him authority. If Peter tells you to ignore Jesus Christ, a Catholic can, even should follow Jesus Christ and for a period of time ignore Peter. The more Peter distances himself from Jesus Christ the wider and deeper becomes the pit he is digging, until, finally, he falls into that abyss which he has dug, his authority, along with his credibility all but destroyed. For he comes in his own name only.



We might ask further questions. Is Peter still Peter if he wilfully rejects his the Petrine ministry or simply 'Simon'. Prior to the Resurrection, just how much authority did St Peter enjoy while he was publicly denying his Lord? Having been made Prince of the Apostles, how much authority would St Peter have enjoyed had he not repented and recovered what was lost and affirmed that he loved the Lord 'more than these others'? A lot, some, or none at all? It is interesting that Christ, when addressing Peter, foretelling his public denial of knowing Jesus Christ reverts back to calling Peter 'Simon', after Christ had established the Petrine ministry on him...

'And the Lord said: Simon, Simon, behold Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and thou, being once converted, confirm thy brethren.'  

Having told Peter that He has prayed for him that his faith does not fail, that he will confirm his brethren the Lord addresses him differently, and He says:

'And he said: I say to thee, Peter, the cock shall not crow this day, till thou thrice deniest that thou knowest me.'

Oh the mystery of the Papacy. Of course, it is for Cardinals, hopefully with the help of Pope Francis, or perhaps only for Divine Providence to untie these intricate theological knots. To end, let us turn back to a quote so good, so relevant to today's Church, a quote so thorny and applicable to those who would have us believe that the Pope is Lord and Master of the Vineyard and that even Christ, even the Truth is his servant, that it is worth reading twice.

Drinks at the ready...

'We can now appreciate Newman's toast first to conscience and then to the Pope. The Pope cannot impose commandments on faithful Catholics because he wants to or finds it expedient. Such a modern, voluntaristic concept of authority can only distort the true theological meaning of the papacy. ' ~ Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, 1991

Cheers!

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Help the Four Cardinals


Help Cardinal Burke and the other 3-5 Cardinals find Pope Francis in order to invite him once more to answer some basic questions concerning faith and morals in this fun new game for all the family...




Saturday, 19 November 2016

Ask Francis...

After a long time of working hard on this blog, I can now proudly announce that I have a very special and esteemed guest running a new agony uncle column which I hope you'll enjoy.

He's already known for his worldly wisdom, his promotion of Churchmen with heretical opinions, his avoidance of mail from Cardinals who have fallen out of favour with him, insulting traditional Catholics, clergy and seminarians, creating havoc with Christian doctrine when at 35,000 feet, an enduring cordial relationship with an atheistic journalist who hates the Church, as well as for trashing the legacy of his predecessor who is wheeled out in public glare every now and then to add legitimacy to his pontificate. That's right, reader, the one, the only (apart from Benedict) Pope...

...Francis! 

Enjoy Pope Francis's wise and wonderful words to those struggling with issues in their life, the stuff of life, death and everything in between. Feel free to send in your own personal problems that touch on life, marriage, relationships and morality in general. And remember, whatever the issue is, however colourful it is Francis will reply...just not in 'black or white'.

Our first letter then comes from a concerned Catholic living in Stoke-on Trent. 'Mark' writes...

'Dear Pope Francis,
I'm a Catholic man of 43, married for four years to a beautiful wife. Together we have four children and have done our best to live the Catholic Faith. For our married life I have been very happy, until recently, when I feel like the 'oomph' has gone out of our love life.
I know that the Catholic Church has always taken sexual morality very seriously but I get the feeling that you are different and open to new ideas and so I seek your advice. I've gleaned this from your many public statements which seem to dismiss the concerns of stuffy Cardinals about matters of sexual morality.
Anyway, there's a woman at work who always takes her coffee break at the same time as I do and she's very beautiful. I get a funny feeling of warmth when I'm with her. I haven't experienced it in a while. I don't know what it is, but there's this real 'connection' I get with her. We share similar interests and I feel that she understands where I'm coming from more than my wife. I've read articles online - though not necessarily on Catholic sites about how having an affair can actually benefit your marriage.
A lot of my friends seem to have affairs, often hooking up with strangers they've met on dating apps and they seem to just carry on, accept it and act as if nothing abnormal has happened. They still carry on with their marriages, apart from one I know who got caught after his wife became suspicious. They're divorced now and I think he is thinking of marrying the new woman. The question I would like to ask you is this: Should I really stick with my wife and remain completely faithful to her - a more difficult choice, I know, or not be so hung up on old values that seem to be going out of fashion nowadays like the need for monogamy and fidelity to one spouse until death?
Yours sincerely
'Mark'.


'Dear 'Mark',
I greet you cordially in the Lord.
Let us move forward, always forward, never looking back at the past. I always say a Church or a marriage that does not move forward is dead, like something in a museum. We are not a museum! Or a mausoleum!
First, thank you for sharing your story with me. I congratulate you on your marriage to your wife. Four children - how beautiful. It is not five or six children, so I don't have to tell you to exercise responsible parenthood and not veer off into a mindset that could create a warren of rabbits. 
I find it very fruitful and I feel in my heart that you are thinking of building a culture of encounter with the woman at work who takes coffee breaks at the same time as you. We must never be afraid of encounter. Or dialogue. Fear of dialogue is not from the Lord, nor a fear of encounter. I say again: Do not fear a culture of encounter. I say: Dialogue, dialogue, dialogue. Allow me to say it again: Dialogue, dialogue, dialogue. Unless you are dealing with certain Cardinals with a rigid world view. Rigid priests and Cardinals scare me, you know. They bite! I always tell seminarians: don't be rigid! Little monsters! They go in to the seminary with enchanting thoughts of improving the world but are always at risk of imposing their psychological disturbances on others.

Work is the place where we learn fraternity: Brotherhood, sisterhood. In my heart I feel a great love when I hear this word: fraternity. We care for our common home in a spirit of fraternal sharing. Now we return to dialogue and sharing. Proceed forward, with serenity of mind. One way of building dialogue with the woman at work could be in a spirit of sharing. Another way of promoting dialogue and sharing would be to bring in some Rich Tea biscuits or other biscuit foodstuffs and sharing these with her and, remember what I say, all of your office colleagues. Remember the story of the loaves and fishes. The miracle of sharing!
You could find that the miracle of sharing brings your whole office together in woven bonds of mutual affection and perhaps even outreach to those on the peripheries of your workplace, perhaps even those outside of the workplace, those who until now have not felt included. Never exclude! Never! Always we must welcome the stranger and encounter him or her! If you wanted to go further, you could consider composting tea bags, cultivating a greener, cleaner, more ecological, Laudato Si compliant office space, ensuring that air conditioning is used sparsely, as infrequently as possible.
I would like to share some thoughts with you about family. Sundays are for families. We look at the family and what do we see. We see a place of sharing and love, a place of mercy. Without mercy, your marriage and your family is at risk of becoming closed, rigid, blinkered, unable to see the beautiful horizon and expanse of mercy that is at the heart of the God who became, for us, mercy. Marriage is beautiful, marriage is the home of mercy. Did I mention that it is estimated - I forget where I heard it - that 50% of marriages are invalid?
May I recommend to you a beautiful book - beautiful - I have read it often, especially when I feel doubts or feel I need some inspiration. This book has done me so much good. It is by Cardinal Walter Kasper. It is called 'Mercy: The Essense of the Gospel and the Key to Christian Life'. Mercy is the balm, the oil with which we anoint the wounded. I can tell by your letter that you feel wounded. I recommend Cardinal Kasper's serene theology.
Always remember, the name of God is mercy. Mercy for the refugee, mercy for the prisoner, mercy for those who make mistakes, mercy for those who in relationships have experienced woundedness, failure and sadness. I always think that the Church is a field hospital for the wounded. We must treat these wounded individuals with mercy. Always mercy. Mercy, mercy, mercy. Mercy and rigidity cannot go together. They key to the whole of the Gospel, the key to understanding, is mercy. Without mercy, we cannot have fraternity or unity in diversity - diversity of customs, diversity of beliefs and diversity of methods, but always the same unity, but not conformism! I say again: Unity is not conformity! Conformity! What a prison that would be! A prison of joylessness which never encounters mercy, a form of spiritual euthanasia masked by rigidity, but dig, dig beneath the surface and you'll find only dissatisfaction, or something else. Such people often attend the Extraordinary Form, you know.
Finally, I would like to impress upon you the urgent need to focus on these key themes: firstly, fraternity - in which we find communal happiness, each serving the other. Second, dialogue, in which we leave our preconceived obsessions with doctrine and law to one side and - here is the third theme - encounter! Encountering the other! This encounter is always beautiful - it makes my heart feel happy. Your heart will feel happy too. Encountering the other brings us a deep joy. It is in this beautiful culture of encounter that people who are trapped - trapped in a closed, gnostic, self-absorbed neo-promethean pelagian worldview - are set free from rigidity and a dull life of superficial slavery and rigid, scrupulous attachment to laws, finding happiness and lasting fulfillment. All walls must fall! If you would like more information on happiness, please see my guide to happiness which I have posted for you below.'


Yours in the Lord, 
Franciscus

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