This January, Canadian pastor Ben Gregor of St. Dwenden Catholic Church was forced to postpone the consecration for nearly two hours after no laity could be found to bring the gifts up to the altar. After being questioned as to why there needed be anyone to bring up the gifts, Gregor justified his decision telling EOTT that, “Without Mary’s Fiat, there is no Jesus to be born; and without the laity’s Fiat in presenting, there is no bread to become Jesus.” Later that month, Notre Dame football star Manti Te’o realized he had been duped into playing for fake a Catholic university, and in a controversial move, the Chicago School Board banned crosses and lower case T’s.
In February, parishioners were mystified by the sudden appearance of a mysterious “shiny, golden box,” which turned out to be a tabernacle. Later that month, Vatican insiders confirmed that the reason Benedict XVI resigned was because the Roman Curia was too “fabulous” for him, revealing that Benedict was a simple man who could not keep up with the non-stop furniture re-arrangements, hair stylings, or near-hourly musical numbers he found himself surrounded by in the Vatican.
Berkley sophomore Emanuel Ramsey revealed that he was extremely nervous about possibly coming out of the closet to friends and fellow classmates about his opposition to gay marriage in March, saying that “I’ve been living a lie and I can’t take it anymore. I’m tired of hiding who I really am.” In the meantime at the Vatican, just days after many were let down that the first ever black, Jewish, woman, lesbian pope was not elected, the recently elected Pope Francis picked up a midnight shift at McDonald’s to help the poor. The manager at the McDonald’s reportedly said that although His Holiness was “ridiculously overqualified” for the job, that he didn’t exactly know how to say no to him.
The following month in April, Pope Francis made his television debut in the show Undercover Boss where he went undercover to investigate the Roman Curia. At Gonzaga University, a new text message Mass became all the rage as students were finally able to respond to the priest with their cell phones. ”The priest texted everyone, ‘Th Lord b W u,’ and I was all texting back like, ‘n w ur spirit ; ),’ said one student. “It was awesome.” Nearing the end of the month, Catholics around the country were shocked when Catholic Answers announced they would be closing their doors because they had “run out of questions to answer,” and were even more shocked to learn that EWTN had inexplicably and “for absolutely no good reason whatsoever” decided to pick up TV show Life on the Rock for yet another season, prompting one EWTN viewer to wonder “how a good and loving God could allow something like this to happen…season after season.”
Come we now to May and June where a 17-year-old homeschool boy was able to figure out the Trinity while his mother combed his hair in the kitchen. In the U.S. millions were forced to miss the Pope’s global Holy Hour due to “super busy schedules.” ”I’m just absolutely swamped right now,” millions said in unison. “I hardly have time to breathe. I mean, I know that’s a bad excuse and all, but it’s just…you know,” millions of Catholics, located everywhere from Rome to Venezuela reported. Big news out of Fairbanks, Arkansas came in June when the local diocese obtained and email address to evangelize the modern world. “Once our modem is hooked up, we will be able to take part in the world wide webs,” a diocesan official said. In political news, after reporting that late-term abortion was sacred ground to her, Nancy Pelosi went on to say that virgin sacrifices at Black Masses were also sacred ground to her. In schismatic news, a disobedient SSPV woman wore shoes in the kitchen, and Sedevacantist Singles employees were unsure as to whether to recognize the authority of company president.
In July and August, the second miracle attributed to John XXIII was confirmed after, what the Vatican called an “inexplicable surge of supernatural endurance” when Murrieta man was able sit through the entire St. Therese film in one sitting. Also that month, One million young-adults visited Rio de Janeiro to see Pope Francis on a gigantic screen, many of whom looked at their phone screens as they recorded the larger screen showing the Holy Father. On his way back from Rio de Janeiro, Pope Francis sent shockwaves through the Catholic Church after The New York Times reported that he had declared homosexuality obligatory for all Catholics. “If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge, and would it not be judgmental for me to not require all Catholics to walk in his footsteps?” The New York Times reported him as saying. A Maestro who conducted his symphonies with his back facing the audience was labelled a “Radical Traditional.” A new California Law forced parishes to switch to e-thuribles. A new study found that diversity was the greatest of all moral virtues, and the USCCB deferred every Holy Day of Obligation to Easter.
September, October, November, December, go. An Argentinian man whose every word was misconstrued and misrepresented by the media thought that a 12,000 word interview would be a good idea. “Sure, the media has made mistakes,” he said. “But you know, I believe fifth chances.” Later in October, Pope Emeritus Benedict finally broke his silence with a letter written to a prominent Italian atheist. The atheist denied the existence of a letter saying that anyone who believed in such a letter was “deceiving themselves.” At a local Clown Mass in November, a clown was reprimanded for honking the Sanctus Horn at the wrong part of the consecration, the music of Marty Haugen was outlawed under a new Geneva Convention resolution, and a man dressed as a tabernacle at a Haloween party was ignored, and promptly moved to the corner of the room. A new study was released by Catholics and non-Catholics that all that really matters in life is having a good heart. The Dark Lord Sauron was announced as head speaker for next year’s LCWR Annual Assembly, and Pope Francis named 2014 “The Year of Terror.”
Behold, another few minutes of your life has passed and you’ve chosen to waste it on a stupid little satirical recap of the news rather than spending that time praying for the holy souls in Purgatory. For shame. Now go on and say three Hail Marys and three Our Fathers. See you next week.
CNBC’s Michelle Caruso-Cabrera talks to Cardinal Timothy Dolan about concerns following the pope’s recent comments.
Pope Francis’ critical comments about the wealthy and capitalism have at least one wealthy capitalist benefactor hesitant about giving financial support to one of the church’s major fundraising projects.
At issue is an effort to raise $180 million for the restoration of St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York being spearheaded by billionaire Ken Langone, the investor known for founding Home Depot, among other things.
Langone told CNBC that one potential seven-figure donor is concerned about statements from the pope criticizing market economies as “exclusionary,” urging the rich to give more to the poor and criticizing a “culture of prosperity” that leads some to become “incapable of feeling compassion for the poor.”
Pope Francis on his way to attend the Via Crucis during World Youth Day celebrations in July in Rio de Janeiro.
Langone said he’s raised the issue more than once with Cardinal Timothy Dolan, archbishop of New York, most recently at a breakfast in early December at which he updated him on fundraising progress.
“I’ve told the cardinal, ‘Your Eminence, this is one more hurdle I hope we don’t have to deal with. You want to be careful about generalities. Rich people in one country don’t act the same as rich people in another country,’ ” he said.
Some of the statements in question are from Francis’ first teaching, or “exhortation,” a 224-page document issued in late November. In it, the pontiff criticizes what he calls “an economy of exclusion and inequality,” blaming ideologies that “defend the absolute autonomy of the marketplace and financial speculation.”
Dolan told CNBC that he had heard from Langone and said, ” ‘Well, Ken, that would be a misunderstanding of the Holy Father’s message. The pope loves poor people. He also loves rich people.’ … So I said, ‘Ken, thanks for bringing it to my attention. We’ve gotta correct to make sure this gentleman understands the Holy Father’s message properly.’ And then I think he’s gonna say, ‘Oh, OK. If that’s the case, count me in for St. Patrick’s Cathedral.’ “
Neither Langone or Dolan revealed the name of the potential donor. The cardinal said he didn’t know the person’s identity, and Langone declined to name him, saying only that the individual was upset about the pope’s comments about the rich being insensitive to the poor.
Dolan on free market
CNBC’s Michelle Caruso-Cabrera talks to Cardinal Timothy Dolan, asking whether the Catholic Church supports a market- or a government-driven economy. Neither, the cardinal says.
In a speech in Brazil in July, Francis appealed “to those in possession of greater resources,” saying that they should “never tire of working for a more just world, marked by greater solidarity. No one can remain insensitive to the inequalities that persist in the world.”
It was unclear when Dolan may speak with the individual donor.
Langone, who describes himself as a devout Catholic who prays every morning, said he has told the cardinal that “you get more with honey than with vinegar.” He said he also wants to make clear that wealthy Americans are some of the biggest donors in the world.
“There is no nation on earth that is so forthcoming, so giving,” he said, adding that he hopes the pope can “celebrate a positive point of view rather than focusing on the negative.”
The United States ranks No. 1 in the Charities Aid Foundation’s most recent World Giving Index, with proportionally more Americans giving than the population of any other country.
Dolan said that the pope has expressed gratitude for American philanthropy.
“In the one long sit-down that I had with him, the Holy Father told me that he has a lot of gratitude for the generosity of the Catholic Church in the United States. He’s aware of our help to the missions, to the poor of the world, to international development, to peace and … justice,” he said. “So, I know that he’s very grateful for the … legendary generosity of the Catholic Church in the United States.”
Langone said he is also on a campaign to explain “the vast difference between the pope’s experience in Argentina and how we are in America.”
Francis is from Argentina, a country that suffered tremendous economic upheaval in early 2001 in what was then the largest sovereign default in history. Poverty rates skyrocketed overnight when the country refused assistance from the International Monetary Fund.
Arthur Brooks, head of the American Enterprise Institute, a think tank that promotes free markets, said he agrees that the pope’s beliefs are likely informed by his Argentine heritage.
“In places like Argentina, what they call free enterprise is a combination of socialism and crony capitalism,” he said.
Brooks, also a practicing Catholic who has read the pope’s exhortation in its original Spanish, said that “taken as a whole, the exhortation is good and right and beautiful. But it’s limited in its understanding of economics from the American context.” He noted that Francis “is not an economist and not an American.”
Michael Pasdzior | The image bank | Getty Images
St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York
“For American Catholics and Americans in general, we have a moral responsibility to the poor to spread the word of true free enterprise around the world,” Brooks said. “By doing that, we have the best shot of meeting the Holy Father’s objectives, which are good objectives.”
He also thinks some of the English translation of the exhortation is inaccurate. For example, in one of its most talked-about passages about trickle-down economics, the Spanish version is softer than the English-language one.
The quote in English reads, “In this context, some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, willinevitably [italics CNBC’s] succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world.”
Pope’s sharp words make a wealthy donor hesitate
Amid a $180 million renovation of St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Cardinal Timothy Dolan of the Archdiocese of New York sits down with CNBC’s Michelle Caruso-Cabrera to discuss Pope Francis’s remarks about capitalism.
A better translation, Brooks said, would be “economic growth, encouraged by a free market alone, will succeed in bringing about greater justice.” (This author speaks Spanish and agrees.)
“Of course a free market alone won’t do the trick,” he said.
A number of people, from Republican Sen. John McCain to conservative radio commentator Rush Limbaugh, have weighed in on Francis’ statements, with the latter calling it “pure Marxism.”
Dolan calls the Marxist label “hyperbole,” telling CNBC that the pope thinks “money in itself is morally neutral. Money, our wealth, is a gift from God. And the morality comes in the way we use it.
“If it becomes a god, if it becomes an idol, Pope Francis is saying, then it’s wrong. Because there is only one God. If we use it for our own selves and our families, for a secure and a safe present and future, if we use it to reinvest in the community, to help others, and if we share with the poor, then it’s morally good,” Dolan said.
War on tradition not normal and must be countered Priests and seminarians: “Why are you waiting to fight back?” “The Pope had hoped for a change … but the diocesan curia, made up of ex-‘68ers, has allowed for nothing.”
The following is the January 2014 editorial from Radicati nella Fede. The call to arms for Catholic priests and seminarians whom know tradition but haven’t fully embraced it is especially important:
Practically everything is allowed, everything except Tradition that is.
After the courageous but at the same timid act by Benedict XVI when he constituted the Motu Proprio in 2007, we have witnessed a continuous effort to “confine” Tradition from the Church.
The Holy Father said that the Old Mass had never been abolished. In some way, he confirmed that it could not be abolished, because Church Authority serves to guard Tradition as source of Revelation, just as it serves to guard Holy Scripture, and may never lord over them; if it lorded over them, the Authority [of the Church] would not be that willed by Our Lord and would take the form of authoritarianism.
Well then, after the Motu Proprio, Summorum Pontificum, the various diocesan curia engaged themselves in an unwavering work of stopping, stemming and confining any attempt at a return of the glorious Tradition of the Church, whether it was liturgical or doctrinal.
This has been the complete boycotting of the will of the Pope which was a simple act of justice: the Mass that the Church has celebrated for fifteen centuries and which made Saints cannot be abolished.
Not even the awful lack of priests, which we have seen these past years, not even this will be able to liberate Tradition from its confinement. They would rather be without priests, they would rather close the churches, but they will not allow a traditional priest to celebrate the Mass of ages.
Many priests were ready to pass to Tradition, many were seriously interested in regaining possession of that which is the greatest patrimony in the Church, many of them asked to learn the Old Mass.
Then, like an implacable executioners’ axe, the hatchet fell on those who with joyful simplicity had begun to celebrate it: canonical proceedings, removal from parishes, subtle accusations of schism! (etc.,). You know the story. Thus, a chill has fallen on priests, many of whom were young and who dreamt of being able to go up to the altar “Introibo ad altare Dei…”
And what is to be said about seminarians? “If you love Tradition you are dangerous and are unable to be ordained in the Church,” this is the refrain from superiors of seminaries obedient to their bishops.
A tremendous chill has thus fallen on a potential springtime for souls, first on the priests and then on the faithful. The Pope had hoped for a change of climate in the Church, but the old guard, nowadays in the diocesan curia, made up of ex-‘68ers, has allowed for nothing.
Priests who love Tradition are closed up in a prudential silence and the seminarians in an “apnea” of conscience, so that they will be able to arrive at their longed for ordination, illusorily convinced that things will change once they are priests.
Is all of this normal? Absolutely not, it is not normal in the Church!
Are all those gentlemen who are hostile to Tradition and impede it with strange Byzantinism[s] still concerned about the salvation of souls? Do they still want [to promote] Christianity? Or do they aspire to something different? And if it so, why are they occupying the Church of God?
They have been promoting a new religion with timorous references to the Christianity of the past. They have been working and spending a lot of money(!) in order to transform Catholicism into a religion fit for literary salons; they waste time in trying to restore a painting or commenting on a [literary] text, but they are absent in the field…they are not going into the confessional and they are not going up to altar every day, because they are [busily] engaged in some cultural project.
Are they still worried about souls frequenting the Sacraments? Do they still deem the Sacraments necessary for salvation, or are they only concerned about creating “community” substituting the structure to the essential, that is, to God?
We hope with all our hearts that the new year will bring two things:
1. A leap of courage from all those priests and seminarians who are suffering on behalf of a Church increasingly hostile to its past.We would like to say to them: “Why are you waiting to fight back? Yes, fight back – so as to obey God!”Consider the effects of this Church badly modernized, consider the great sadness that it has produced and obey God joyfully. It is only in this way that you will serve the Church with love, because the Church is – Tradition.
2. An amendment in those who have had such hostility to the Traditional Mass and have imprisoned it. We realize that not all of them operate in bad conscience. To them we would like to say: “Let us have the experience of Tradition,” give us the churches, allow us to look after souls and then come in all simplicity and judge the fruits. You have given churches to the schismatic Orthodox, advertised even the times of worship for the Protestant heretics, when will you release the Mass of all ages from limbo? What would your old parish priests, your grandparents and the saints of over two thousand years of Christianity say?
Forgive us if we have spoken to you with such frankness, we do not want to offend anyone but to stir up an awakening of conscience: in this dramatic situation, there is no time for ceremony.
May the year 2014 remove the torpor of many sincere souls, through the grace of God and the prayers of many.
Translated and adapted by Rorate Contributor Francesca Romana with emphasis added by Adfero.
Scalfari: “Pope has De Facto Abolished Sin With Evangelii Gaudium”
The founder of the daily newspaper La Repubblica refers back not to the direct contact with the Pope, but to his recently published Apostolic Letter. The “abolition of sin,” says Scalfari, was included in Evangelii Gaudium. An “abolition”, which was done by means of two instruments: on the one hand by equating the revealed Christ, the Christian God, with love, mercy and forgiveness. And then by granting people complete freedom of conscience.
Pope Francis had raised conscience as the last instance of human action already in his letter to Scalfari and this statement was confirmed in his interview with Scalfari later. The Pope’s answers were indeed formulated by Scalfari himself, but the writing was just the Pope’s words again. The interview, was initially published on the website of the Vatican, as if it were part of the papal Magisterium, though it has since been removed, but a distancing from the highly controversial, non-Catholic statement has not occurred to date.
The renewed insistence by the well-known journalist outrageously appear in the polemics about the authenticity of the papal statements. Scalfari does not give up on the issue of freedom of conscience, he was actually jubilant about the basic message of the papal interviews. In fact, it would have been a historical sensation, if the papal statement had been done. This means that the Pope would make of the past 300 years of his own Church, which with good reason rejected and fought against basic tenets of Freemasonry.
“What can I say except that it’s a real mess?” Today writes the daily Il Giornale . “It is pure chaos, if you want to discuss about Christianity, by placing Jesus Christ in parentheses. Scalfari recognizes that the central argument of the Magisterium of Francis is mercy and divine forgiveness. Good: but what need there should be for this mercy, when sin would be abolished? What would God forgive if there is no more sin?”
What a difference a year makes. And what a difference a pope makes. At Christmas services this year, the priest at our local church told the families gathered for the children’s pageant that Jesus loves and is represented in everyone, including gays and lesbians. Our local church isn’t Jesuit, nor particularly liberal, but before Pope Francis stepped up with a new message of inclusivity, none of us had ever expected to hear anything like that at church, let alone at Christmas Eve mass. The congregation cheered.
The priest also pressed his core Christmas theme that the greatest joy we will experience is the joy we feel when serving others. Serving the poor is another significant shift in focus that Francis has brought to reinvigorate the church. Surely, there is no message more central to Jesus’ teaching and the Christian tradition than serving others and loving humanity, and, yet, prior to Francis’ ascent, it was a message eclipsed by a Catholic Church bent on fighting culture wars and chastising those who stray from its teachings. All too often, serving the poor had taken a backseat to the Church’s war on abortion and gay marriage.
Pope Francis meets children at the Vatican, Saturday, Dec. 14, 2013.
Francis called an end to those culture wars, urging bishops to spend more time healing their flock and less time fighting political battles. He started a revolution by answering a reporter’s question about gay priests with the question, “who am I to judge?” and then later, elaborating, urged bishops to drop their“obsession” with gays, abortion and contraception and to create a welcoming church that is a “home for all.” Recently, Pope Francis removed a conservative American cardinal from a key Vatican committee after the cardinal said, “One gets the impression … that [the Pope] thinks we’re talking too much about abortion [and gay marriage.] But we can never talk enough about that.”
Instead of focusing on political fights, Francis is urging a renewed focus on serving the poor, pushing his cardinals to abandon their “psychology of princes” and get out of the lavish Vatican. He, himself, hasrejected the posh apartment, cars and wardrobe of previous popes to live, travel and dress simply and humbly. He celebrated his recent birthday with homeless men, and has drawn attention for kissing and embracing a severely disfigured man and washing the feet of girls in a juvenile jail. Surely, there is no Catholic leader this Christmas who is closer in his own practices to the teachings and life of Jesus. In retrospect, his selection of his papal name seems perfectly apt: Francis of Assisi, the 13th-century patron saint of the poor.
Where the previous Catholic Church hierarchy had denied communion to elected officials who voted to give poor women the right to terminate unwanted pregnancies, the current pope exhorts that communion is open to all and not to be treated as “a prize for the perfect but a powerful medicine and nourishment for the weak.”
What a difference a year makes. Actually, it’s been a mere nine months.
There are some lessons here for Washington. And for the Republican party in particular.
The first lesson is how quickly things can change. Republicans starting 2014 giddy about the coming elections for Congress may not want to count their chickens before they’ve hatched. Much of their giddiness rides on the poorly handled roll-out of Obamacare and resulting negative public opinion about both health care reform and the president. But the federal website – healthcare.gov – is rapidly improving. Although only about 30,000 people were able to enroll in the launch month of October, the same number was able to enroll in the first two days of December, alone, with nearly 1 million people enrolling in December overall.
Americans are starting to find out for themselves what affordable, high-quality health care looks like without pre-existing conditions, lifetime limits and caps on coverage, now that insurance companies no longer call the shots. And they like it. Over this year, word will spread around America about people too young for Medicare – but too old and sick to find a new job or to buy individual insurance – who finally have insurance, or kids with cancer who finally get care, or women who don’t lose their insurance simply because they become pregnant or get breast cancer. And, as that word spreads, minds will change. Republicans who gloat today over projected victories in November based on their presumption of public distaste for Obamacare are vulnerable to a quickly changing future.
The second lesson to take to heart is that culture wars may not be as popular as those waging them think. No doubt many American bishops leading the war against gay marriage and contraception believed the majority of their flock, as well as their fellow Catholic leadership, was behind them. Today, they are shocked to hear words of chastisement from the Vatican and surprised at how Francis’ message of inclusivity and economic justice is garnering sky high public approval ratings – from 88 percent of American Catholics and three-quarters of non-Catholic Americans, in a CNN poll shortly before Christmas – and landing him on the cover of Time and other magazines as person of the year.
Just like their political allies among conservative American bishops, Republican obsessed with social issues are somewhat out of touch with the general public, yet they remain unaware of this critical fact. And this is their Achilles heel. They were surprised on election night this year to find their extremism rejected at the polls in Virginia, Alabama and elsewhere, and they continued to believe they lost because they had not pushed their extremist agenda harder – out of touch with the polling that showed American voters rejected extremism and favored leaders willing to work across the aisle to forge compromise and get results.
Republican leaders obsessed with so-called family values while simultaneously breaking up undocumented families, slashing food stamps and cutting off unemployment insurance will be as disappointed in November as conservative American bishops were this fall when they discovered they were out on a limb in their culture wars without sufficient backing among either their flock or their colleagues in Rome.
In Hitler’s “hometown” the modernist faction introductes an un-Catholic approach to Confession.
From Eponymous Flower.blogspot
Waiting for the first victims: Pastoral shrinks in the confessional of the old Cathedral in Linz – whether they both play the role of the priest is not apparent [screen capture Kirchenzeitung Linz]
Despite the desperation for novelty, Linz remains the same: one just wants to suck up to the large heap of the consumers of Church contributions who have little faith and make the Catholic faith unstable. Nevertheless, the reasons for the countless innovations (to innovations, etc.) are proven futile.
“In the new confessional in the old Cathedral there aren’t only priests are there to talk to … for consultation. There is also a psychologist inside offering advice.”
In the future, a person can not only chat with the priest in the so-called “confessional” of the old cathedral in Linz, but shrinks dig into the depths of souls there as well, if one becomes consumed by earthly fears and desires. The existence of the soul in eternity would not be in the foreground of this modernist caricature.
The Jesuits Once Carried the Faith
Under Emperor Ferdinand II, the Jesuits were still mainly a guarantee of the strengthening of the Catholic Faith, model vehicles of the beneficent Counter-Reformation in the inner-Austrian lands.
This has changed fundamentally: Large parts of the Jesuit Order have now the prescribed the neo-Protestant Zeitgeist “church” and are the bearers of the Modernist movement within the Church.
The Modernist-Jesuits Mock the Sacrament of Confession
“If the sacrament of reconciliation is to have a future, it needs new spaces and new forms,” said the European plain clothes Jesuit of the Old Cathedral in Linz, Fr. P. Michael Messner, whose psycho-confessional doesn’t even include a minibar stocked with alcohol.
Also the obligatory couch, on which a patient can make himself comfortable has been omitted. Despite or really because of these innovations the penitent can be hastened down the path to damnation more freely.
Uselessness of Plain Clothes Jesuits
These new forms of the “sacrament of reconciliation” apparently mean that the priest is forced out of the confessional and a sunshine psychologist gives his two cents where he does not belong.
The priest’s role, who for good reasons is subject to the Sacrament of Penance for the forgiveness of (repented) sins, will be laicized and a signal for the uselessness of the clergy is established.
That God is degraded in psychology to the creation of the mortal soul, is probably the main reason why the shrink may give their two cents in the confessional in Linz.
“Psychologists are the Disease, Whose Cure They Conceal”
These changes are the expression of boundless hubris, which exactly causes apostasy, which one then tries to cure with still more innovations and waste.
This innovation always has one thing in common: the believers (in this case, the confessional clients) would be removed from the influence of the heavenly.
Despite desperate attempts at innovation in the Tax Church in the land of Austria, everything remains the same: Faith “in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth” is not renewed, but is significantly flattened.
Archbishop and bishops urge parishes to open doors to those not in “conventional family situations” ahead of Pope Francis’s gathering to discuss lifting remarried divorcees’ exclusion from Holy Communion
Archbishop of Birmingham leads call for Church to open up to those not in ‘conventional family situations’ Photo: PRESS ASSOCIATION
By John Bingham
Roman Catholic bishops have offered an olive branch to divorcees and single parents urging priests and parishioners to do more to welcome those not in “conventional family situations”.
The call, in a series of letters read at services, comes ahead of a major gathering in Rome next year which will discuss the possibility of relaxing the ban on remarried divorcees receiving Holy Communion as part of a reassessment of the Church’s response to sweeping changes to family life.
The Archbishop of Birmingham, the Most Rev Bernard Longley, was among a series of British bishops who issued pastoral letters to mark the Feast of the Holy Family – which honours Mary and Joseph – calling for greater “understanding and compassion” within the Church for those faced with marital breakdown.
Pope Francis has played down hopes in some quarters of major doctrinal changes but repeatedly spoken of a need not to “judge” people and warned against being “obsessed” with issues such as gay marriage, abortion and contraception.
He recently spoke about finding “another way” of treating divorcees who remarry.
Archbishop Longley spoke of the “difficult circumstances” faced by Mary and Joseph in a letter read out at services in his archdiocese.
“The example of the Holy Family and their experiences of misunderstanding and rejection remind us of the need for understanding and compassion – especially for those who have experienced a breakdown of family life or who may have become estranged from their closest relatives,” he said.
“The family of the parish must always offer a place of welcome for those who no longer find themselves in stable or conventional family situations.
“As a New Year beckons we should be slow to judge and quick to embrace those who are afraid to cross the threshold of the Church because they fear they are not perfect.”
He said the issue had been raised amid preparations for next year’s Synod – a signal that the responses to Pope Francis’s questionnaire have already singled it out.
Meanwhile the Bishop of Nottingham, the Rt Rev Malcolm McMahon, said “the very existence of the family itself” is under threat in a society which no longer exclusively values traditional marriage as something “written in the laws of nature itself.”
But he added: “The challenge that the Synod will face is how to respond to this with the gifts and divine graces that the Church has at her disposal … the Synod, which will meet under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, will find new ways of deepening the way in which the Catholic Church cares for families, whatever their circumstances.”
Bishop of Clifton, the Rt Rev Declan Lang, said he feats was “a time to be aware of those families who struggle in life”.
Elizabeth Davies, who coordinated responses to the Pope’s survey for bishops in England and Wales, said a Church listening exercise 10 years ago had also found that divorcees felt alienated.
“I think that a lot of the things that we heard about then are coming up now,” she said.
“Clearly when you ask different questions the response comes back in a different way, the fact that Archbishop Bernard has talked about the need for understanding for all who are in an untypical relationship I think clearly [shows] he is aware that some of these issues have come up this time.”
In Moral Matters, the Church Has a Right to Intervene in Temporal Society
Cardinal Wolsey and Henry VIII plotting a way in procuring Henry’s divorce from Queen Catherine of Aragon. Painting by Sir John Gilbert.
[T]he Church clearly recognizes as proper to the temporal sphere an enormous range of activities and customs that belong to the natural development of man in society. Among these are the functions of government, the juridical order, the common defense, the mechanics of economy, and the general welfare of the nation. In all matters purely temporal, the jurisdiction of the State over its citizens is supreme.
“laws in favor of homosexual unions are contrary to right reason…the State could not grant legal standing to such unions without failing in its duty to promote and defend marriage as an institution essential to the common good.” Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Considerations Regarding Proposals to Give Legal Recognition to Unions Between Homosexual Persons (July 31, 2003). This document was signed by the Congregation’s Prefect, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, and Secretary, Archbishop Angelo Amato.
Yet in moral matters where sin is involved, the Church affirms Her right to intervene in temporal affairs. It is proper for the Church to speak out against injustice and immorality, which is detrimental to all in society. She also engages in charitable activities and works of mercy to alleviate suffering, especially among the poor.
Pro Abortion Supporters at a Unite Against the War on Women Rally in Harrisburg, PA. Photo by Paul Weaver.
In addition, we must recognize that some activities are shared by both spheres since they involve moral acts that affect both sanctification and the temporal common good. It is inevitable that they should have mutual relations in the juridical order. It is, for example, to the benefit of both societies that the institution of the family be safeguarded. It is natural that in these shared areas the two spheres should work together. Contrary to the modern liberal doctrine, there should be bridges of cooperation instead of Iron Curtains of separation between the two.
Leroy Matthiesen: Another American bishop (now deceased) disgraced
Common Pleas Court Judge M. Teresa Sarmina also ruled that Lynn, who has already spent 18 months of his three-to-six-year sentence behind bars, must surrender his passport and be subject to electronic monitoring and weekly reporting while on bail.
The Philadelphia district attorney’s office had requested that Lynn, 62, remain in jail while prosecutors appealed the reversal of his conviction.
Lynn’s June 2012 conviction on one count of child endangerment was seen as a milestone because it was the first time anyone in the upper levels of the Catholic Church had ever faced a trial or been found guilty for shielding molesters.
Lynn was responsible for clergy personnel and fielded abuse complaints for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia from 1992 to 2004. His lawyers said that in covering up for molesters he was following the orders and policies of his superiors, primarily the late Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua, who died in January 2012 before Lynn’s three-month trial began.
But a three-judge Superior Court panel on Dec. 26 unanimously ruled that while Lynn had “prioritized the archdiocese’s reputation over the safety of potential victims of sexually abusive priests” his actions did not violate the child welfare law in place at the time.
During Monday’s hearing, which Lynn did not attend, Sarmina said she had been struggling with whether to grant Lynn bail or not. But she said the Superior Court’s ruling tipped the scales toward allowing bail.
Pope Francis highlighted the plight of refugees and migrants in his traditional Angelus prayer, as Catholics celebrated the Feast of the Holy Family on the first Sunday after Christmas.
Using the Holy Family as a comparison, Francis told faithful gathered on the Vatican’s St Peter’s Square that upon fleeing Egypt, Joseph, Mary and Jesus “experienced the dramatic condition of refugees, marked by fear, uncertainty and difficulties”.
Today “millions of families face this same sad reality,” said the pontiff, adding that refugees and migrants do not always “find a true welcome, respect, and appreciation for the value that they bring”.
He also expressed regret at the way the world treats its elderly people, saying older generations were sometimes like “hidden exiles” treated “like burdens”. Francis, a more moderate pontiff than his predecessor Benedict XVI, has appeared keen for the Church to forge a better relationship with the modern family. He has called an extraordinary Synod of Bishops in October next year to address among other issues the problem of divorcees remarrying.
A few simple words go a long way in ensuring a happy family, the pope told the crowd: “May I?, thank you and sorry”, which he made followers in the Square repeat.
The Feast of the Holy Family is celebrated the last Sunday of December.