Twelve Fatal Flaws in the Instrumentum Laboris

francis one does not state to be catholic

The Instrumentum Laboris [IL] should be abandoned as a guide for the Synod fathers in October!

Reports and commentary, from Rome and elsewhere, on the XIV Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops

…being thoughts on Synod 2015 from various observers

As a general rule, Letters from the Synod will not burden readers with lengthy texts. When a major text of exceptional thoughtfulness and importance comes our way, however, we’ll bring it, in full, to our readers’ attention.

Such is the case with Dr Douglas Farrow’s analysis of the Instrumentum Laboris, the “working document”, of Synod 2015, which we offer below. Professor Farrow’s detailed description of the numerous weaknesses of the Instrumentum Laboris will, we hope, be carefully studied by all those concerned with Synod 2015’s deliberations – including those who prepared the Instrumentum Laboris, the Synod fathers, and the experts invited to participate in the Synod’s official debates.

Douglas Farrow holds the Kennedy Smith Chair in Catholic Studies at Montréal’s McGill University. He is the author of several well-received theological studies (including Ascension TheologyThirteen Theses on Marriage; and, most recently, Desiring a Better Country). Professor Farrow and his wife, Anna, are the parents of five children. XR2

Twelve Fatal Flaws in the Instrumentum Laboris

The Instrumentum Laboris [IL] should be abandoned as a guide for the Synod fathers in October. Its flaws are legion, beginning with the fact that it is very badly organised; as intellectual architecture it fails completely, lacking both beauty and functionality. And though it claims to “serve as a dependable reflection of the insights and perceptions of the whole Church on the crucial subject of the family” (§147), in reality it undermines both the family and the Church itself, by legitimising a way of thinking that the Church has always regarded as illegitimate. In support of that claim I will enumerate just a few of its flaws.

1. The IL doesn’t seem to know what ‘the Gospel of the Family’ is.

The IL tells us that the Church proclaims “untiringly and with profound conviction the ‘Gospel of the Family’, entrusted to her together with the revelation of God’s love in Jesus Christ and ceaselessly taught by the Fathers, the masters of spirituality, and the Church’s Magisterium” (§2). That gospel is said to span the history of the world “until it reaches, at the end of time, its fulfillment in the mystery of Christ’s Covenant, with the wedding of the Lamb” (§46).

One looks in vain, however, for a proper description of this gospel, which is more slogan than substantive announcement. The nearest thing to a definition appears at §4: “what revelation … tells us about the beauty, the role and the dignity of the family.” Unfortunately very little is said in elaboration of this. Even less is said about the relation between the gospel, the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and the “Gospel of the Family” or the issues facing the family. Already, in this vital respect, the IL fails as the working outline of an authentically ecclesial document.

2. The IL speaks of a crisis without making clear what that crisis is.

We are told that the reason the “Gospel of the Family” must be proclaimed afresh is that there is a pressing need to confront the situation in which the family finds itself today. That situation includes, inter alia, the turmoil produced by wars and persecution, together with “cultural, social, political and economic factors, such as the excessive importance given to market logic, that prevent authentic family life and lead to discrimination, poverty, exclusion, and violence” (§90). It also includes “a troubling individualism which deforms family bonds and ends up considering each component of the family as an isolated unit, leading, in some cases, to the idea that a person is formed according to his own desires, which are considered absolute” (§6). “Added to this is the crisis of faith, witnessed among a great many Catholics, which oftentimes underlies the crisis in marriage and the family” (ibid.; cf. §76).

Just as it is not quite clear what the “Gospel of the Family” is, however, it is not entirely clear what the main crisis is. The world has always known poverty and brutality and moral confusion, and it doesn’t need the Church to tell it that such evils exist. What is most noteworthy about the situation of the family today? What is the Church’s peculiar responsibility, precisely as steward of the gospel of Jesus Christ, in supporting and protecting the family? How, in particular, is the crisis of faith to be addressed? These questions, surely, are where deliberations ought to begin, but the IL neither begins with them nor arrives at them.

3. The IL sends conflicting signals about the proper starting point.

In calling rather vaguely for “a more through examination of human nature and culture” (§8), the IL does call also for a Christological analysis of human nature in its familial dimensions: the whole exercise, we are told, is to be conducted with “our gaze … fixed on Christ” (§4). But there is hardly any Christology at all in the document. The real starting point seems rather to be – and this is deeply ironic, given the lament about individualism – an existential one: “People need to be accepted in the concrete circumstances of life” and supported “in their searching” (§35). “The Church’s point of departure is the concrete situation of today’s families” (§68). If there is an “urgent need to embark on a new pastoral course,” that course must be “based on the present reality of weaknesses within the family“ (§106; cf. §81). “Pastoral work … needs to start with listening to people” (§136; cf. §83).

A more uncertain note could hardly be sounded. Which is it to be? Effective confrontation of the crisis facing the family by determined recourse to the Word of God, incarnate in Jesus Christ and proclaimed in Scripture and tradition? Or by listening, “free from prejudice,” to people’s experiences? Well, you say, of course it’s both! But which is the starting point? Which serves as the hermeneutical key to which? Which is the terra firma on which we can grapple with the other? Do we begin with our own strengths and weaknesses or do we begin with the Word of God?

It won’t do to say that the Word of God must be the Church’s starting point, then to proceed by seeking our point of departure in “the concrete situation of today’s families.” That is merely to give lip service to our Lord. In any case, the concrete situation of today’s families is no different than that of yesterday’s families in the most crucial respect. Ditto for the individual, whether or not he or she lives in anything recognizable as a family. Both stand before the Lord. That is what they most need to know and what the Church must always be prepared to tell them. How else will it know what is “positive” and what is “deficient” (§82) – indeed, what is good and what is evil, if we may use that word – in contemporary culture and habits?

4. The IL’s references to the Holy Family are mere tokenism.

It is asserted that the Holy Family “is a wondrous model” for the family (§58). But if the Holy Family is to be held up as a beacon in the dark, should there not be some analysis of what the Holy Family can teach us? There isn’t, nor is there a call for such, unless it be in the concluding prayer. But if indeed we are to pray, “Holy Family of Nazareth,
 may the approaching Synod of Bishops 
make us once more mindful 
of the sacredness and inviolability of the family,
 and its beauty in God’s plan,” then why is it that the IL itself turns a blind eye to the Holy Family? Why does it take no interest in the glaring contrast between the presuppositions of the society in which we live and those revealed by the Holy Family as fundamental to God’s purposes for humankind?

Why, for that matter, does it not propose in outline a theology of the body, of sex, or of the family itself? Why does it not use the appearance of the Holy Family to distinguish and to link the orders of creation and of redemption, or to expound the goods of marriage as the Church understands them? Is all that too much work, or is there some deeper reason for this failure?

5. The IL is far too reticent about sex.

A truly remarkable feature of the IL, given its professed interest in the concrete situation of families and individuals, is its reticence about sex. We live in a sex-saturated society, aided and abetted by the contraceptive mentality and by pervasive pornography. We also live in a time when even the basic categories of male and female are being abandoned. The gospel of marriage popular today is a gender-free “whosoever will” gospel.

Only fleeting references to these facts can be found in the IL. The attack on sexual dimorphism is noted (§8). Pornography is acknowledged as “particularly worrisome” (§33). Abortion puts in a cameo appearance at §141, as a “tragedy” to be countered with commitment to “the sacred and inviolable character of human life.” The contraceptive mentality is countered by several references to “openness to life” (§§54, 96, 102, 133, 136), though the word “contraception” is not to be found. That in itself is a remarkable feature, for the entire sexual revolution, with all its ideological and cultural and legal offspring, including widespread divorce, broken and fatherless families, religious ignorance, hopelessness, poverty, rape, abortion, gender confusion, drug abuse, etc., is built on ready access to contraception.

What kind of examination of “the concrete circumstances of our lives” is being undertaken here, if contraception can be referenced only obliquely, and the worldwide abortion industry only in passing? If recent trends in sexual behaviour and in the laws governing it don’t merit attention? If even the age-old problems of fornication and adultery make scarcely any appearance? The lack of frankness about sex and sexual practices is appallingly out of step with the cultural reality that the IL calls us to consider.

6. The IL compromises the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Now we might take the call to fix our gaze on Jesus and on the Holy Family to be a kind of shock therapy, shaking us loose from our sex-saturated culture so that we may learn how to acknowledge and engage it, confronting it with a call to conversion and salvation. But the drafters of the IL never mention just how startling Church teaching about the Holy Family is, or how truly countercultural it is. “A couple, even a married couple, who abstain from sex? An only son who chooses celibacy for the sake of his vocation? Do say!” But the IL doesn’t say.

The drafters of the IL are not interested in any kind of shock therapy. Quite the contrary. They are completely committed to “the law of gradualism” urged by Cardinal Kasper. That law – the law of the long, slow conversion through initiatives that progressively involve people in the life of the Church and move them towards its ideals (§63) – eschews anything shocking or demanding. It is always looking to split the difference, so to say, by encouraging a culture “capable of coherently expressing both faithfulness to the Gospel of Christ and [faithfulness] to the person of today” (§79).

But this only raises again the question of a starting point. For what is it that will mediate between the Christian gospel and the “person of today,” providing assurance that faithfulness to both is possible and showing what that faithfulness must mean? An answer of sorts has already been supplied: “The great values of marriage and the Christian family correspond to the search that characterises human existence, even in these times of individualism and hedonism” (§35). In other words, the search that characterises human existence mediates.

Here it is man’s innate capacity or instinct for God that is the true gospel. Hence we are not so much to preach Christ and him crucified, as to encourage people gently “in their hunger for God and their wish to feel fully part of the Church, also including those who have experienced failure or find themselves in a variety of situations” (§35). This may lead to various irregularities, of course, but it will all come out right in the end. Meanwhile, we must work with what lies to hand: “the determination of a couple,” for example, which “can be considered a condition for embarking on a journey of growth which can perhaps lead to a sacramental marriage” (§102). Well, perhaps it can, if the definition of marriage is altered, as it has been elsewhere, or if the restrictions around it are loosened, as the third part of the IL proposes.

7. The IL distorts Scripture and tradition in its attempt to dissolve indissolubility.

The Son of God, engaging the people of God within their own family culture, tightened rather than loosened the sixth commandment. The Church, building on Jesus’ exposition of Genesis and on the teaching of Paul, declared marriage not only permanent in principle but, between the baptised, actually indissoluble, given its sacramental character as witness to the union of Christ and the Church. The IL mentions this indissolubility in several places but, rather than facing squarely Jesus’ new rigour with respect to the sixth commandment, turns instead to his promise of a divine gift for those called to celibacy. Only it does not mention celibacy. It speaks instead of what it calls the “gift and task” of indissolubility (§41f.), which it redefines as “a personal response to the profound desire for mutual and enduring love.”

Indissolubility, in other words, is something subjective rather than something objective. It is reconceived, within the “Gospel of the Family,” as offering “an ideal in life which must take into account a sense of the times and the real difficulties in permanently maintaining commitments” (§42). Hence we are not surprised to find the IL speaking at §57f. of those who heroically model “the beauty of a marriage which is indissoluble and faithful forever,” as if to say to them, “Why, thank you very much for this rare and inspiring example in such difficult times!”

To be fair, Church teaching on indissolubility, not as an ideal but as an objective norm, is acknowledged at §99 and §120, but it is immediately relativized by appeals to the law of gradualism and “the art of accompaniment.” The document’s handling of Scripture and tradition is not merely unsystematic, but tendentious in the extreme. It has to be, in order to convert indissolubility from a fact to a task.

8. The IL dissolves instead the sacrament of marriage.

The IL recommends that the Church look again at “the connection between marriage, Baptism and the other sacraments” (§94). This is certainly the right thing to do, but it is done in just the wrong way. By championing the cause of those who wish to loosen “the present discipline” by “giving the divorced and remarried access to the Sacraments of Penance and the Eucharist” (§122), the IL overlooks the fact that Baptism already gives access to Penance, and Penance (in the case of grave sin) to the Eucharist. The real question, never posed and indeed carefully avoided, is whether the penance for adultery must include ceasing the adulterous activity of a sexual union with someone other than the baptised person one initially married.

If it must, then there is no real issue here, though of course there are still many prudential pastoral judgments to be made inside and outside the confessional. If it need not, then there is no distinction to be made between marriages made and broken outside the bonds of Baptism and marriages made and broken inside. That is, there is no longer a difference between marriage in the order of creation and marriage in the order of redemption. The Protestant reformers were right after all: there is no sacrament of marriage.

9. The IL misconstrues spiritual communion.

The IL also recommends clarification of “the distinctive features of the two forms” of spiritual communion (§124), one of which permits full communion and one of which, inexplicably, does not. But there are not two forms, only two quite different circumstances, one of which has a limiting effect the IL does not wish to acknowledge.
The 1983 Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on Certain Questions Concerning the Minister of the Eucharist speaks of the spiritual communion of those are who are unable to be present at the Eucharist by reason of persecution. These “live in communion with the whole Church…; they are intimately and really united to her and therefore receive the fruits of the sacrament.” The 1994 CDF document, Concerning the Reception of Holy Communion by Divorced and Remarried Members of the Faithful, addresses itself to those who are engaged in a penitential process, by reason of sin. In the former case, spiritual communion is a substitute for full communion because of bodily separation, and all the fruits of the sacrament appertain. In the latter case, spiritual communion is a substitute for full communion because, in bodily proximity, there remains a spiritual distance – the distance of the penitent who has not yet taken all the necessary steps to bring his life into conformity with dominical teaching. In such a case, it cannot be said without qualification that all the fruits of the sacrament appertain. So in both cases full communion is hoped for, but the path to that communion is not the same in each.

When the IL points out that “spiritual communion, which presupposes conversion and the state of grace, is connected to sacramental communion” (§125), it conflates these two very different circumstances in hopes of getting round the requirement that people in adulterous relationships either break them off or convert them into non-adulterous relationships. It ignores the fact that the sacrament of penance is incomplete and that a state of grace cannot be presupposed. It suggests that, if spiritual communion is encouraged, sacramental communion – now, not later – is a simple matter of justice. Which is entirely contrary to every existing magisterial intervention on the subject, including what it bizarrely calls (§121) the “recommendations” of Familiaris Consortio §84, though these are reiterated and still further entrenched in the Declaration Concerning the Admission to Holy Communion of the Faithful who are Divorced and Remarried of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts (2000).

10. The IL lacks all sense of proportion.

Why does the question of the admission to Holy Communion of the divorced and civilly remarried emerge as so prominent a question in the IL? Why are we reminded, just here, that “the necessity for courageous pastoral choices was particularly evident at the Synod” (§106)? In the face of grinding poverty and brutal terrorism and state coercion and a degree of moral confusion that defies even the very concept of the family, it seems rather odd to fix on this particular proposal. In societies in which the Catholic vision of sex, marriage, and the family has become all but incomprehensible to the general populace, and indeed to many Catholics, through a major breakdown of the Church’s mission to convert and to catechise, why is communion for the divorced and remarried the one thing with which we must have the courage to deal?

It is implied that admitting the divorced and civilly remarried to Holy Communion is a token, not only of the Church’s justice, but also and more especially of its mercy or tenderheartedness. But how is encouraging penitents to stop short of the goal – for such is the real effect of this proposal – tenderhearted? And will it not turn what the Holy Father called “the great river of mercy” (Misericordiae Vultus §25) into a conduit for counterfeits of every kind? Why not add, for example, the blessing of same-sex unions, since they too are built on “the determination of a couple”? One suspects that talk of mercy is being made to serve some other purpose here, as is the focus on admission to Holy Communion of the civilly remarried.

11. The IL belongs to the Humanae Vitae rebellion.

We do not have to look far to discover that purpose. At §134 the IL makes the very odd remark that “some see a need to continue to make known the documents of the Church’s Magisterium which promote the culture of life in the face of the increasingly widespread culture of death.” Others, we must assume, would be happy to bury them, and this the IL does not discourage. Indeed, it sets up the very same dialectic used in the historic attempt to dispose of Humanae Vitae, a dialectic explicitly repudiated in Veritatis Splendor and other magisterial documents. In this dialectic, claims about objective moral norms are balanced by the discernment of conscience, such that each serves to limit the other. As the IL puts it: “A person’s over-emphasising the subjective aspect runs the risk of easily making selfish choices. An over-emphasis on the other [objective aspect] results in seeing the moral norm as an insupportable burden and unresponsive to a person’s needs and resources” (§137). It is not too much to say that, if this particular passage is allowed to stand, the entire Catholic moral tradition must fall.

Let us not remain at too abstract a level, however. We should admit that the Humanae Vitae rebellion was and is a rebellion over sex itself; that is, over marriage understood in 20th-century Protestant fashion as more unitive than procreative and indeed as a licence (increasingly regarded as unnecessary) for carnal pleasure. That base view of sex and marriage demands the embrace of contraception that Humanae Vitae, like Casti Connubii, forbids. Truth be told, it also demands the embrace of same-sex marriage, which many western Catholics now champion. What is the “insupportable burden”? It is the burden of continence or chastity; the burden, as Elizabeth Anscombe puts it, of virtue in sex.

Here, I dare say, we have the main reason for all the machinations described above, from the refusal to mention contraception through to the mishandling of Christ’s teaching and on to the proposal itself – the proposal that the burden of abstaining from sex not be imposed on those who are repenting of adulterous civil marriages. The simple fact of the matter is that “the person of today” refuses to accept this burden. And why should he, if he will not accept the burden of continence even in a faithful sacramental marriage?

12. The IL is deeply implicated in the crisis of faith.

The final flaw of the IL is that it is deeply implicated in the very crisis of faith of which it speaks, and in a rebellion against magisterial authority that it is careful to deny. In point of fact, what it angles towards at every possible opportunity is the overturning – now at last in principle, as already in practice – of Humanae Vitae and its sister documents. What better place to do it, what more satisfying venue, than a Synod devoted to the family? And under what better rubric than the “Gospel of the Family”?

I have already said that, if this rebellion succeeds, magisterial authority falls. So does the Catholic vision of man – which, as Anscombe pointed out when Humanae Vitae appeared, was never that of “the person of today.” The same may be said of the Catholic vision of the Church itself, and of the sacraments. Which leads to the question, how can this rebellion have got so far?

We should not be too quick to vilify the usual suspects. It has got this far because too many bishops and priests who lament this great crisis of faith and of obedience have lacked the courage to respond to it. Some of them are making a good deal of noise, even now, about protecting marriage, protecting the integrity of magisterial teaching and authority, protecting people too. Yet they themselves have failed to acknowledge what is entirely obvious: The Church cannot withhold Holy Communion for one grave sin, viz., an adulterous civil marriage, while not withholding it for another, viz., the recalcitrant use of contraceptives. That is an entirely unsustainable position, and everyone knows it. Bishops and priests who have abandoned all sacramental discipline in the matter of contraception to the private judgments of “the faithful” have already capitulated to the subjectivism that powers this rebellion.

We do indeed need courageous pastoral choices. There is an “urgent need to embark on a new pastoral course.” But it is false and cowardly to say that the course must be “based on the present reality of weaknesses within the family.“ That is not an assertion of the gospel of the family, but a denial of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. No! The new course must be based on repentance for past and present unfaithfulness, and the promise of renewed grace. It must be based on a deeper fidelity to Scripture and tradition. It must be based on a new willingness to bear the cross, the sign of contradiction. For that is where the divine mercy has been invested.

…for the Synod and the Church to hear

Anthony Fisher, OP, is the Archbishop of Sydney, Australia, having previously served as auxiliary of that archdiocese and Bishop of Parramatta. After working as an attorney he entered the Dominicans and, following ordination to the priesthood, earned a doctorate in bioethics from Oxford with a dissertation on “Justice in the Allocation of Healthcare.” Pope Francis appointed him a member of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in 2015. Letters from the Synod asked him to reflect on the crisis of marriage and the family and his hopes for the Synod through the prism of his pastoral experience – as we’ve asked other bishops and lay experts whose answers will appear in this space in the days and weeks to come. XR2

1. In your pastoral experience in Parramatta and Sydney, what are some of the particular ways the contemporary crisis of marriage and the family — the contemporary crisis of chastity, really — have presented themselves to you?

Over the last few decades there have been some very real advances in appreciation of romance and intimacy in marriage, in respect for the dignity of women and children, in the sharing of lives and responsibilities between spouses, and in the theology and pastoral care of marriages. Yet even as our understanding of relationships has been enriched in these ways, modernity has found itself in a mess about marriage. When I was a child growing up in Australia most people got married and stayed married; in contemporary Australia (as in many other countries today) most people of marriageable age are not married and many who try fail to persevere. Many now live singly or in a series of temporary relationships. Eventually one of these relationships may settle into being a sort of ‘de facto’ marriage. At some point, perhaps when a couple are thinking of having children, they may decide to solemnise it – interestingly, this means that deep down most people know marriage has got something to do with children. But after years of try-before-you-buy and habitual non-commitment, many find they cannot sustain actual marriages once entered. Some try again – and fail again. Many eschew child-bearing altogether; some want children but in limited numbers, later in life, after achieving other goals. Many children now grow up without ever experiencing the love and care of a mother and father committed to each other and to them over the long haul; that makes them in turn less likely to aspire to and achieve stable marriage themselves. We all know and love people who have suffered from family breakdown; every serious social scientist and thoughtful economist understands the costs of this. Theories abound about the whys and wherefores of all this, but the what is undeniable: never before in history have we been so unsuccessful at marrying.

If we are not as good at entering and sustaining marriages as we were in the past, it is surely significantly because we are so confused about the defining dimensions of marriage. It’s hard to play football well without knowing the objects and rules! The 1960s sexual revolution, fuelled by the Pill, meant the exclusivity and for-children-ness of marriage and marital acts became elective in many people’s minds. The 1970s advent of no fault divorce meant the for-life-ness of marriage also became an optional extra. In the ’80s privatised ‘de facto marriage’ meant the for-society-ness of marriage became discretionary, and the 1990s push for out-of-church weddings meant the for-God-ness was also. Most recently, under the slick slogan of ‘marriage equality’, the for-man-and-wife-ness has also been challenged; and next, on the near horizon, the for-two-people-ness will likely go.

At its base I think this is modernity experiencing a profound crisis in loving: put baldly, we have forgotten how to love. That sounds strange in a culture supersaturated with love longs and other love talk. But as I’ve sometimes put it: we have plenty of the romanticised, self-pleasing, heart-shaped, Valentine’s Day kind of loving: but what we most need right now is self-giving, cross-shaped, Easter Day kind of loving. Easter loving takes fidelity and commitment, self-sacrifice, a willingness to compromise our will for the sake of the other, endless forgiving – and chastity, understood as the virtue that integrates sexuality with the rest of personality and into our whole vocation. Marriage is about so much more than a promise to try to have certain feelings towards someone for as long as it lasts: it is a comprehensive spiritual, psychological, sexual union of a man and woman; it changes a man and a woman into “husband” and “wife”; and in doing what husbands and wives do allows the possibility of children. But modernity says “no” or at best an ambivalent “maybe” to all that.

A culture that is so mixed up about love and marriage won’t be doing a very good job at “marriage preparation”. Selling people on happiness through individualistic self-regard, instant gratification, gadget possession, career before children, pornography addiction, hook-ups and other disordered sex is not helping them marry; indeed it is inoculating them against marriage and family. Vaccination works by giving people small doses of dead or nearly dead versions of the real thing, just enough to build up resistance: by giving people doses of quasi-marriage, of marriage lite, of marriage without the for-life-ness, for-man-and-wife-ness, for-children-ness, for-God-ness, for-society-ness, modernity exposes them to what will make them immune to entering and succeeding in real marriages.

2) What pastoral strategies and initiatives have you found most effective in dealing with these challenges?

A genuinely pastoral approach to this contemporary crisis is not one that gives people more marriage-lite, more of the vaccinating half-dead virus. It is one that helps people recover an understanding of God’s plan for marriage, recover an appreciation of its beauty, recover the kind of character required to achieve something so good and so hard.

I have a priest friend who is a very popular wedding celebrant. As you’d expect, many of the couples who approach him give the same address on their pre-nuptial inquiry form. He is lovely with them, commending their romance and idealism, asking them about marriages they have known and their own hopes. He gently but clearly teaches them the Christian hopes for marriage. He appeals to their innate goodness, indeed to their heroism, and so presents the challenge to them (perhaps especially to the groom): do you love (her) enough to put the marriage before your own gratification? Can you make it to the wedding night without having sex?! My friend reports that some of them take up the challenge and make it; they report an improved relationship as a result.

My thought here is that effective pastoral strategies are never ones that acquiesce in the very problem they are supposed to be addressing. The more confused a society is about marriage the more determined we must be to present the truth about marriage and the sort of behaviour that leads to good marriages with clarity, passion, persuasion. Rather than old men hectoring people as if sexuality and marriage were all about avoiding what is forbidden, we can reveal the nature of the spouses and the moral law that serves their happiness in ways perhaps surprising in our culture but ultimately alluring. One thing I’ve been concerned to work at is that our seminarians, priests, and school teachers know about the rich theology of the body, and of marriage and family, that our tradition offers, and are equipped to present it in ways that people find credible and encouraging.

So I’ve been a strong advocate of the John Paul II Institute for Studies of Marriage and the Family, the several campuses of which around the world offer centers of excellence in this sort of reflection, research and teaching. In three dioceses in which I’ve worked (Melbourne, Sydney, and Parramatta) I established Life, Marriage and Family Centres which help mediate that high level thinking to the grassroots of our parishes and pastoral programmes.

3) What are your hopes for the Synod? How can its work have a positive effect on your own pastoral work?

Hopefully the Synod will be remembered for presenting the beauty of Christian teaching on sexuality, marriage, and family, and positive pastoral strategies for recovering an appreciation for them in our culture and among our faithful; for supporting people in embracing and living marriage well; and for recommending to all things that have worked on the ground for some. The Synod must start with the positives, with the vision splendid about marriage, rather than focusing all its attention on the headline-grabbers such as same-sex ‘marriage’ and Holy Communion for the divorced and remarried. We must not let the New York Times dictate the terms to a Synod of Bishops of the Catholic Church.

With a rich, positive, theological framework in mind, the Synod will be able to offer the Church in various localities ideas on assisting would-be married couples and already-married couples to live out their vocations and create “domestic churches” in which their children can grow in Christian holiness. Having addressed the central case, the Synod can then reach out to those on the peripheries of family life or in irregular situations with various ideas on how they too can be more closely united to Christ. In the end a Catholic Synod on marriage – as opposed to a secular, academic talkfest – must start and finish with “the Marriage of the Lamb”, the marriage of Christ to his bride the Church and how we might be conformed to that marriage; must start and finish with “the Family of God”, our adoption by Word and Sacrament, by Grace and Virtue, into the family of God the Father and the communion of saints. Start there and only then reflect on contemporary challenges, and many creative and effective pastoral strategies will follow.

Catholic Herald

Related: The Synod’s script is atrocious

The synods script is atrocious – Catholic Herald

Russia begins air strikes in Syria after warning America to remove its planes!

ISIS Error...Don't Threaten Putin.

Error of ISIS … Threats to Putin, never go over well.

Russia begins air strikes in Syria after warning America to remove its planes… but kills 36 civilians in first wave of attacks as it targets anti-government rebels instead of ISIS…

Moscow has started blitzing three provinces in support of President Assad

But all the areas targeted are held by moderate rebels backed by coalition

Strikes have infuriated Washington who accused Moscow of destabilising the region even further – U.S. apparently only given hour notice of strikes

At least 36 civilians have been killed in the strikes, says monitoring group

Russian jets have begun airstrikes in Syria after apparently only giving the U.S. an hour to remove its planes and officials from the area.

The Russian Defence Ministry said it carried out about 20 flights over the country today but concerns were raised that they were only targeting anti-government rebels, many of whom are backed by the U.S.-led coalition, instead of ISIS-held areas.

Syrian opposition chief Khaled Khoja said 36 civilians had been killed in the airstrikes, which also apparently targeted a CIA-vetted Syrian rebel group that was receiving U.S. missiles.

Russia has now been accused of ‘pouring gasoline on the fire’ as the intervention in the Middle East appeared to target moderate rebel positions in support of dictator President Bashar al-Assad.

Airstrikes: Russian jets have begun raids in Syria after apparently only giving the U.S. an hour to remove its planes and officials from the area. Pictured: Footage shows rockets hitting the Homs province of Syria today

Explosion: The Russian Defence Ministry said it carried out 20 flights over Syria today but concerns were raised that they were targeting anti-government rebels, many of whom are backed by the U.S.-led coalition


France is investigating Bashar al-Assad over alleged crimes against humanity, the Paris prosecutor’s office said on Wednesday.

The investigation, which is also examining claims of torture and kidnapping by Assad’s forces, was opened ‘on the basis of indications received from the foreign ministry’ on September 10, an official at the prosecutor’s office said.

An estimated 250,000 people have been killed in Syria’s four-year civil war between Assad’s troops, rebel groups and Islamic State militants, and a further 11 million displaced.

The ministry’s dossier drew on some 55,000 photographic images smuggled out of the country by a former Syrian army officer, showing 11,000 alleged victims of forces loyal to Assad, according to various media reports. 

Sodomite Catholics urge Synod of Doom fathers to reject ‘harsh language!’


  We Were Warned!

 Prophecy of St. Nilus the Ascetic 

After 1900, toward the middle of the 20th Century, the people of that time will become unrecognizable. When the time for the Advent of the Antichrist approaches, people’s minds will grow cloudy from carnal passions, and dishonor and lawlessness will grow stronger. Then the world will become unrecognizable. People’s appearances will change, and it will be impossible to distinguish men from women due to their shamelessness in dress and style of hair. These people will be cruel and will be like wild animals because of the temptations of the Antichrist.

There will be no respect for parents and elders, love will disappear, and Christian pastors, bishops, and priests will become vain men, completely failing to distinguish the right hand from the left. At that time the morals and traditions of Christians and of the Church will change. People will abandon modesty, and dissipation will reign. Falsehood and greed will attain great proportions, and woe to those who pile up treasures. Lust, adultery, homosexuality, secret deeds and murder will rule in society.

       At that future time, due to the power of such great crimes and licentiousness, people will be deprived of the grace of the Holy Spirit, which they received in Holy Baptism, and equally of remorse.

       The Churches of God will be deprived of God-fearing and pious pastors, and woe to the Christians remaining in the world at that time; many will completely lose their Faith because they will lack the opportunity of seeing the light of knowledge from anyone at all.

Appeal comes in briefing paper sent to English bishops attending family synod

Sodomite Catholics have sent a briefing paper to the two English bishops attending the family synod next week, urging them to reject “harsh” language about homosexuality.

The LGBT Catholics Briefing Paper resulted from a reflection day, sponsored by the LGBT Catholics Westminster Pastoral Council, held in June 2013.

The briefing paper is addressed to Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster, and Bishop Peter Doyle, Bishop of Northampton and chairman of the bishops’ conference Committee for Marriage and Family Life, who will be at the synod which opens on Sunday.

An accompanying press release says the briefing paper “calls for the harsh language of previous Vatican documents referring to LGBT people as ‘disordered’ to be rescinded” and urges the synod to reject the global criminalization of homosexual activities, including the use of the death penalty.

It also calls on the Vatican to begin a “listening process”, to last between three to five years, including bishops, theologians, gay people and their parents, parish clergy and pastoral workers.

The aim, it says, would be to develop models of pastoral care “which more closely reflect Pope Francis’s call for mercy, justice and equality, particularly applying this to the concerns of LGBT people, parents and families”.

Sodomite Catholics from the Diocese of Westminster will also be involved in the launch of the Global Network of Rainbow Catholicism in Rome.

The new group will hold a conference, called “Ways of Love: Catholic Encounters with LGBT People & Families”.

Speakers will include former Irish president Dr Mary McAleese and Bishop Raúl Vera, an outspoken Mexican prelate.

Catholic Herald

Read more about St. Nilus at Tradition In Action

Bishop Fellay with great anxiety is petitioning the pope to defend and uphold the institution of Holy Matrimony!!


A petition to Pope Francis: uphold marriage!

It appears Bp. Fellay and the Neo-SSPX are finding out Newchurch is not Catholic at all… When you have to petition the pope to uphold Catholic dogma and Scripture Truth, you just might be in the wrong church! Archbishop Lefebvre warned about Newrome and the Great Apostasy. Bp. Fellay and the Neo-SSPX deserve what they get. Don’t waste your time signing the petition because Rome has Lost the Faith!

Bishop Fellay is petitioning Pope Francis to use his papal voice in a clear and firm defense of the sacrament of matrimony!

The Superior General of the Society of St. Pius X has just published a petition to the Holy Father, Pope Francis, asking him to publicly defend the institution of holy matrimony.

Bishop Fellay respectfully begins his petition to the Supreme Pontiff by stating that “[I]t is with great anxiety that we observe all around us a persistent degradation of marriage and the family, the origin and foundation of all human society.” The superior general observes that this “decay is rapidly accelerating” through civil actions which have “trampled underfoot” the “law of God” and even the “natural law”.

Echoing the sentiments of faithful Catholics around the world, Bishop Fellay stressed to Pope Francis how “our souls were deeply disturbed” by the alarming 2014 Synod of the Family that has produced “statements so contrary to the clear and constant doctrine of the Church concerning the sanctity of marriage” and which were “claimed to have your support, and their claims met with no public denial.”

The bishop continued by reiterating what the Church has always taught and how it has always acted concerning marriage for the salvation of souls, which is being further threatened by the pope’s recent motu proprio concerning astreamlined annulment process.

Before concluding his plea by entrusting the petition to St. John the Baptist—martyred to preserve the “sanctity and exclusivity of marriage”, Bishop Fellay exhorted Pope Francis:

For the honor of Our Lord Jesus Christ, for the consolation of the Church and of all faithful Catholics, for the good of society and of all humanity, in this crucial hour we petition you therefore to let your voice resound throughout the world with a word of truth, clarity, and firmness, in defense of Christian and even merely human marriage, in support of its foundation, namely, the difference and complementarity of the sexes, upholding its exclusivity and indissolubility. With filial piety we beg you to let your voice be heard by all, and that it be accompanied by actions too in support of the Catholic family.”

bishop fellay where are you going

Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre ora pro nobis!


Eleison Comments by Mgr. Williamson – Issue CDXXVIII (428)

Eleison Comments

Europe, Awake!

Europe, you’re being invaded with great skill.

Return to God, or be invaded still.

If any readers have not yet woken up, let them wake up. A report of a few days ago from a reader in Germany tells of news never reported in our vile media, vile precisely because they tell so many lies and so little truth (but is it not we the people who are essentially responsible for our media . . . ?).

“Germany, Austria and neighbouring lands to the south-east have been undergoing for the last few months an aggressive invasion of foreigners disguised as ‘refugees,’ a large majority of whom are young men, spoiling for a fight. Bavaria’s Minister-President Horst Seehofer, looking as pale as a sheet, said on local TV last Sunday that law and order were on the brink of collapse. Yet our puppet-governments and our mass media, at the service of the enemies of God, support this invasion by all means at their disposal, including misused State force, such as the police and the army. These puppets also lie in print, to hide the invasion from the people and thus cause as much damage as possible.

“The mass of people are still asleep, although more and more men of the land around here and elsewhere are speaking openly of civil war. In outlying regions of Bavaria things are coming to a halt. Residents and goods can no longer move, or only with long delays. About the hordes of invaders – not yet grouped together – ranging freely through the countryside and stealing, the mass-media breathe not a word. The local authorities – under orders from above – have lost all control, and the police advise the victimised population to look after themselves and eventually form civil defence groups – after we were completely disarmed a few years ago.

“Croatia has called for mobilization of its army, which is everywhere getting on its feet. I want to see what I can do locally, but I am afraid that most of my fellow-countrymen still have no idea what is happening. If just a certain number of them wake up, they will fight like lions, which is why our so-called government, and the enemies of God who control it, are lying and deceiving at all levels to put off that moment of awakening. It is going to be bad . . .” (End of reader’s report)

The emergency described here is not of course confined to Germany. A similar disaster is afflicting many other Western nations as well. It is unbelievable, unless one looks at it from a religious point of view, and then it all makes sense. Look up the whole of Psalm 105 (106, new numbering). God gave to the Israelites gifts and corresponding responsibilities to which they were repeatedly unfaithful. If he loved them, he could not leave them unpunished (Heb.XII, 7–8). Here are verses 35 to 41 of the Psalm, adapted to our own time:—

“And the Christians were mingled among the heathens, and learned their works, and served the same idols of liberalism, and it became a stumbling-block to them. And they sacrificed their sons and their daughters to the devils of contraception and abortion and they shed innocent blood: the blood of their sons and daughters which they sacrificed to the idols of self-centred pleasure-seeking. And the land was polluted with blood, and was defiled with their works; and they went aside after their own electronics. And the Lord was exceedingly angry with the people: and he abhorred those whom he had specially gifted. And he delivered them into the hands of their age-old enemies: and those that had hated the Christians for 2000 and 1400 years had dominion over them.”

Europe’s disaster is by God’s permission. The solution is of course to turn to God: verse 44, “And he saw when they were in tribulation, and he heard their prayer, (46) and he gave them unto mercies, in the sight of all those that had made them captives. (47) Save us, O Lord, our God, and gather us from among your enemies . . . . ”

Kyrie eleison.




800,000 at papal Mass? Better count again!

So how many people were there, anyway?

One crowd-safety expert estimated the number of people at the papal Mass on Sunday at no more than 142,000.

But his calculations included only the Benjamin Franklin Parkway west of Logan Square, as a photo showing the complete roadway was unavailable.

Add in the people standing in the less-crowded area stretching back to City Hall, as well as the untold thousands who did not get through security, and who knows?

City officials and the U.S. Secret Service are not making any public estimates for now, though a mysterious figure of 800,000-plus was on the lips of the chattering classes.

If there were that many people in the audience, however, they likely weren’t all at the actual site of the Mass. For 800,000 people to gather safely on the Parkway, the street would have to be four times its actual length, give or take, depending on how many people crammed into its grassy border strips.

In other words, the street would have to stretch nearly four miles, from the papal stage near the Philadelphia Museum of Art across the Delaware River and into New Jersey.

That calculation assumes closure of the outer lanes, as was the case Sunday, and packing in four pedestrians per square meter. For the metric-challenged, that’s four people in an area about the size of a card table.

Though city officials once anticipated weekend-long participation of up to 1.5 million, then later revised it to one million, Mayor Nutter said Monday that numbers weren’t the point. The goal was for people to have a good Philadelphia experience, enjoy themselves, and stay safe, he said.

“That’s the measure of success, not exactly how many people came or showed up,” he said. “We’ll look at information that gets compiled. We’ll try to figure it out.”

But of all the things on city government’s plate, a crowd estimate is not the most pressing, he said.

And there is no answer forthcoming from the Secret Service.

“We don’t do crowd estimates,” Special Agent Robert Hoback said.

The rough estimate for the western end of Parkway was performed by G. Keith Still, a professor of crowd science at Manchester Metropolitan University in England.

He relied on an Inquirer photograph taken at 5 p.m. from the Top of the Tower restaurant on the 51st floor of 3 Logan Square.

Still estimated a density of three to four people per square meter in the portion of the roadway from Eakins Oval to just past 22d Street. From there to Logan Square, it thinned out to about one or two people per square meter, Still estimated after examining the photo.

He also added in crowds in adjacent ball fields and on the north side of the Franklin Institute, where densities appeared to be in the range of three to four people per square meter.

After adding up all those areas, equivalent to about 11 acres, Still came up with a total attendance in the range of 80,000 to 142,000 for the western end of the Parkway.

If inflated numbers are circulating, that is no surprise, he said, citing his experience with other mass gatherings, such as the 2011 British royal wedding.

Media outlets said a half-million people gathered on London’s Mall as the royal procession passed by. At most, it was 100,000, Still said.

“What the press say, what the promoters say, and what the police say usually give you three different numbers,” he said.

Yet accurate projections are important, as planners must marshal the right amount of personnel for crowd safety, he said.

“You’ve got to plan for the worst and hope for the best,” Still said.

“Unacceptable!” The Base Document of the Synod “Compromises the Truth.”

'Cardinal' Muller...

                              ‘Cardinal’ Muller…

“Unacceptable!” The Base Document of the Synod “Compromises the Truth”

On the verge of the synod, three theologians with the support of cardinals and bishops critique and reject the “Instrumentum Laboris.” Here is the complete text of their charges of accusation

by Sandro Magister

ROME, September 29, 2015 – The text that is made public here joins the numerous statements of various viewpoints on issues of family, marriage, divorce, homosexuality, that have followed each other with growing intensity with the approach of the opening of the synod.

It is presented as a collective work. Not only because the text has three authors, but even more because it was born and raised, over the span of almost a year, at the initiative and with the contribution of numerous other Catholics, priests and laymen, from various nations of Europe, with the attention and support of bishops and cardinals, some of whom will be fathers at the upcoming synod.

The text takes aim at the most controversial paragraphs of the final “Relatio” of the 2014 synod, which were later incorporated into the “Lineamenta” and the “Instrumentum Laboris,” concerning communion for the divorced and remarried, “spiritual communion,” and homosexuals.

In the judgment of the text’s promoters, these paragraphs contradict here and there the doctrine taught to all the faithful by the magisterium of the Church and by the Catechism of the Catholic Church itself, to the point of “compromising the Truth” and therefore making the entire “Instrumentum Laboris” “unacceptable,” as well as any “other document that may reiterate its contents and be put to the vote at the end of the next synodal assembly.”

The three priests and theologians who byline the text are:

– Claude Barthe, 68, of Paris, cofounder of the magazine “Catholica,” an expert in canon law and liturgy, promoter of pilgrimages in support of “Summorum Pontificum,” author of works such as “The Mass, a forest of symbols,” “Novelists and Catholicism,” “Thinking differently about ecumenism.”

– Antonio Livi, 77, of Rome, dean emeritus of the faculty of philosophy of the Pontifical Lateran University, ordinary member of the Pontifical Academy of Saint Thomas, and president of the apostolic union “Fides et Ratio” for the defense of Catholic truth. His most recent work, from 2012, is entitled: “True and false theology.”

– Alfredo Morselli, 57, of Bologna, pastor, confessor, and preacher of spiritual exercises according to the method of Saint Ignatius. A graduate of the Pontifical Biblical Institute, he is the author of works such as “The negation of the historicity of the Gospels. History, causes, remedies” (2006), and “Then all Israel will be saved” (2010). His archbishop is Cardinal Carlo Caffarra.

The text can be read in its entirety, in the original Italian, on this other page of www,chiesa:

> Osservazioni sull'”Instrumentum Laboris”

Reproduced below are the introduction and two of the four chapters into which the text is divided: the first, on communion for the divorced and remarried and the third, on homosexuality.


by Claude Barthe, Antonio Livi, Alfredo Morselli

This document presents in a detailed manner, in the light of the Catechism of the Catholic Church anf of the “depositum fidei” in general, some difficulties concerning the “Relatio Synodi” of the last extraordinary synod, incorporated and expanded in the “Instrumentum Laboris” for the 14th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops.

It is even apt to observe how the “Instrumentum” goes further than the “Relatio” itself, expanding its scope, going beyond the intentions of the synod fathers themselves. In effect, this document has taken care to pick up and rework even those propositions which, not having been approved by a qualified majority of the last assembly of the extraordinary synod, should not and could not have been included in the final document of that synod and which therefore should have been viewed as rejected.

Therefore, even where the “Instrumentum” appears to be in keeping with Revelation and the Tradition of the Church, the overall result is a compromising of the Truth such as to make the document unacceptable on the whole, unless its contents were to be presented again and put to a vote at the end of the next synodal assembly.

Pastoral care is not the art of compromise and concession: it is the art of caring for souls in the truth. So the warning of the prophet Isaiah applies to all the synod fathers: “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter” (Isaiah 5:20).

Last but not least it must be noted how the “Instrumentum” has to a great extent been stripped of theological significance and superseded, from the canonical point of view, by the two motu proprio of last August 15, released the following September 8.


1 – Observations on § 122 (52)

A. – An hypothesis incompatible with dogma
B. – An improper use of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, erroneously drawing arguments from it to support a form of situational ethics
C. – An argument not to the point

2 – Observations on §§ 124-125 (53)

The non-univocal character of the term “spiritual communion” for those who are in God’s grace and those who are not.

3 – Observations on §§ 130-132 (55-56)

“Instrumentum Laboris” and pastoral attention for persons with homosexual tendencies: omissions and silences

4 – Spiritual communion and the divorced and remarried

A more in-depth study on spiritual communion



The next assembly of the Synod of Bishops is intended to deal with many problems concerning the family. Nevertheless, thanks in part to the media uproar and to the pope’s great attentiveness toward the divorced and remarried, the next assembly is considered as the de facto synod of communion for the divorced and remarried. One of the issues that will be addressed seems to be, in fact and for most, the issue of the discussion.

It is well known that in order to resolve a problem it is essential to frame it properly. Unfortunately we have grounds for maintaining that the document that should furnish the correct framing of the whole question – meaning the “Instrumentum Laboris” – is instead misleading and dangerous for our faith.

We present a few observations on the most problematic paragraph, concerning the question of admission to Holy Communion for those who live “more uxorio” in spite of not being canonically married; this is § 122, which reproduces § 52 of the definitive version of the “Relatio finalis” of the 2014 assembly.

The text in question, § 122 (52):

“122. (52) The synod fathers also considered the possibility of giving the divorced and remarried access to the Sacraments of Penance and the Eucharist. Various synod fathers insisted on maintaining the present discipline, because of the constitutive relationship between participation in the Eucharist and communion with the Church as well as her teaching on the indissoluble character of marriage. Others proposed a more individualized approach, permitting access in certain situations and with certain well-defined conditions, primarily in irreversible situations and those involving moral obligations towards children who would have to endure unjust suffering. Access to the sacraments might take place if preceded by a penitential practice, determined by the diocesan bishop. The subject needs to be thoroughly examined, bearing in mind the distinction between an objective sinful situation and extenuating circumstances, given that ‘imputability and responsibility for an action can be diminished or even nullified by ignorance, inadvertence, duress, fear, habit, inordinate attachments, and other psychological or social factors’ (CCC, 1735).”

There are reasons to maintain that § 122 contains:

A. – An hypothesis incompatible with dogma
B. – An improper use of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, erroneously drawing arguments from it to support a form of situational ethics
C. – An argument not to the point

A. – An hypothesis incompatible with dogma, such as to present itself as deliberate doubt in a matter of faith

“The synod fathers also considered the possibility of giving the divorced and remarried access to the Sacraments of Penance and the Eucharist.”

This reflection is illicit and falls under the category of deliberate doubt in a matter of faith, on the basis of what Vatican Council I solemnly declares: “Catholics may never have just cause for calling in doubt, by suspending their assent, the faith which they have already received from the teaching of the Church.” In full conformity with the whole Tradition of the Church, the Catechism of the Catholic Church also places doubt among the sins against faith:

CCC 2088: “There are various ways of sinning against faith: Voluntary doubt about the faith disregards or refuses to hold as true what God has revealed and the Church proposes for belief. […] If deliberately cultivated, doubt can lead to spiritual blindness”.

That the statement “the civilly divorced and remarried cohabiting ‘more uxorio’ cannot receive Eucharistic communion” belongs to that which is presented for belief as revealed by the Church – and therefore can no longer be brought into question – is proven by:

John Paul II, Apost. Exort. “Familiaris Consortio”, November 22, 1981, § 84:

However, the Church reaffirms her practice, which is based upon Sacred Scripture, of not admitting to Eucharistic communion divorced persons who have remarried. They are unable to be admitted thereto from the fact that their state and condition of life objectively contradict that union of love between Christ and the Church which is signified and effected by the Eucharist.”

Congregation for the Doctrine of the faith, Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church Concerning the Reception of Holy Communion by the Divorced and Remarried Members of the Faithful, September 14, 1994:

“5. The doctrine and discipline of the Church in this matter are amply presented in the post-conciliar period in the Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris Consortio. The Exhortation, among other things, reminds pastors that out of love for the truth they are obliged to discern carefully the different situations and exhorts them to encourage the participation of the divorced and remarried in the various events in the life of the Church. At the same time it confirms and indicates the reasons for the constant and universal practice, ‘founded on Sacred Scripture, of not admitting the divorced and remarried to Holy Communion (Apost. Exort. Familiaris Consortio, no. 84: AAS 74 (1982) 185). The structure of the Exhortation and the tenor of its words give clearly to understand that this practice, which is presented as binding, cannot be modified because of different situations.

6. Members of the faithful who live together as husband and wife with persons other than their legitimate spouses may not receive Holy Communion. Should they judge it possible to do so, pastors and confessors, given the gravity of the matter and the spiritual good of these persons (cf. 1 Cor 11:27-29) as well as the common good of the Church, have the serious duty to admonish them that such a judgment of conscience openly contradicts the Church’s teaching (cf. Code of Canon Law, can. 978 § 2). Pastors in their teaching must also remind the faithful entrusted to their care of this doctrine.”

Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, Declaration Concerning the Admission to Holy Communion of Faithful Who Are Divorced and Remarried, June 24, 2000:

“The Code of Canon Law establishes that ‘Those upon whom the penalty of excommunication or interdict has been imposed or declared, and others who obstinately persist in manifest grave sin, are not to be admitted to Holy Communion’ (can. 915). In recent years some authors have sustained, using a variety of arguments, that this canon would not be applicable to faithful who are divorced and remarried. […]

“Given this alleged contrast between the discipline of the 1983 Code and the constant teachings of the Church in this area, this Pontifical Council, in agreement with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and with the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments declares the following:

“1. The prohibition found in the cited canon, by its nature, is derived from divine law and transcends the domain of positive ecclesiastical laws: the latter cannot introduce legislative changes which would oppose the doctrine of the Church. The scriptural text on which the ecclesial tradition has always relied is that of St. Paul: ‘This means that whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily sins against the body and blood of the Lord. A man should examine himself first only then should he eat of the bread and drink of the cup. He who eats and drinks without recognizing the body eats and drinks a judgment on himself.’ (1 Cor 11: 27-29. cf. Council of Trent, Decree on the Sacrament of the Eucharist: DH 1646-1647, 1661).”

The Catechism of the Catholic Church also “confirms and indicates the reasons for the constant and universal practice, ‘founded on Sacred Scripture, of not admitting the divorced and remarried to Holy Communion’” and “the constant teachings of the Church in this area”:

CCC 1650: “Today there are numerous Catholics in many countries who have recourse to civil divorce and contract new civil unions. In fidelity to the words of Jesus Christ – ‘Whoever divorces his wife and marries another, commits adultery against her; and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery’ (Mk 10:11-12). The Church maintains that a new union cannot be recognized as valid, if the first marriage was. If the divorced are remarried civilly, they find themselves in a situation that objectively contravenes God’s law. Consequently, they cannot receive Eucharistic communion as long as this situation persists. For the same reason, they cannot exercise certain ecclesial responsibilities. Reconciliation through the sacrament of Penance can be granted only to those who have repented for having violated the sign of the covenant and of fidelity to Christ, and who are committed to living in complete continence”.

Conclusions of § A.

§ 122 of the “Instrumentum Laboris” admits the possibility of that which, for a Catholic, is completely impossible. Access to sacramental communion for the divorced and remarried is presented as a legitimate possibility, when instead this possibility has already been defined as illicit by the previous magisterium (FC, CdF 1994, CCC, Pont. C. Legislative Texts); it is presented as a possibility that is not only completely theoretical (reasoning “by the impossible”), but real, when instead the only real possibility for a Catholic consistent with the revealed Truth is to affirm the impossibility that the divorced and remarried can licitly receive sacramental communion. The question is presented as theologically open, when in doctrinal and pastoral terms it has been closed (ibid.); it is presented as if beginning from a vacuum in the preceding magisterium, when instead the preceding magisterium has spoken with such authoritativeness as not to admit any more discussion on the matter (ibid.).

If anyone were to insist on discussing again that which is presented for belief as revealed by the Church, formulating hypotheses that turn out to be incompatible with dogma, he would lead the faithful to deliberate doubt in a matter of faith.

B. – An improper use of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, erroneously drawing arguments from it to support a form of situational ethics

“The subject needs to be thoroughly examined, bearing in mind the distinction between an objective sinful situation and extenuating circumstances, given that ‘imputability and responsibility for an action can be diminished or even nullified by ignorance, inadvertence, duress, fear, habit, inordinate attachments, and other psychological or social factors’ (CCC, 1735).”

These last lines of § 122 of the Instrumentum Laboris refer to § 1735 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church to support “the distinction between the objective situation of sin and attenuating circumstances,” in view of a possible admission to the sacraments of the “divorced and remarried.” What does § 1735 of the Catechism really say? Let’s read it again:

“Imputability and responsibility for an action can be diminished or even nullified by ignorance, inadvertence, duress, fear, habit, inordinate attachments, and other psychological or social factors.”

And now let’s try to explain this text: take the hypothetical case of a poor young woman in India or China who is sterilized under pressure, or a young woman in Italy today who is led to get an abortion by her relatives and boyfriend… In this case imputability is diminished or eliminated, however not directly (simpliciter) by the sad circumstances, but by the imperfection of the act: a morally judicable act – a human act, in more precise terms – must be free and intentional.

Today, even in Italy, with the bad education that is received starting in kindergarten, a young woman may very well not realize that abortion is murder: moreover she might be psychologically fragile and not have the natural grit to go against everyone and everything. It is clear that the moral responsibility of this young woman is attenuated.

It is a different matter with a divorced, civilly remarried person who has come back to the faith after the fact: let’s say that his wife has left him, he has remarried with the mistaken idea of making another family, and he can no longer go back to his first, true, only wife (perhaps she has taken up with another man and had children with him); this brother, in spite of praying and actively participating in the life of the parish, being admired by the pastor and by all the faithful, being aware of his state of sin and not stubborn in wanting to justify it, is living more uxorio with the wife he married civilly, not being able to live with her as brother and sister. In this case, the decision to approach the new wife is a perfectly free and intentional act, and what § 1735 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church says absolutely cannot be applied.

The Catechism itself in fact teaches, at § 1754:

“Circumstances of themselves cannot change the moral quality of acts themselves; they can make neither good nor right an action that is in itself evil”.

And John Paul II, in the encyclical “Veritatis Splendor,” at § 115, affirmed:

“This is the first time, in fact, that the Magisterium of the Church has set forth in detail the fundamental elements of this teaching, and presented the principles for the pastoral discernment necessary in practical and cultural situations which are complex and even crucial.

“In the light of Revelation and of the Church’s constant teaching, especially that of the Second Vatican Council, I have briefly recalled the essential characteristics of freedom, as well as the fundamental values connected with the dignity of the person and the truth of his acts, so as to be able to discern in obedience to the moral law a grace and a sign of our adoption in the one Son (cf. Eph 1:4-6). Specifically, this Encyclical has evaluated certain trends in moral theology today. I now pass this evaluation on to you, in obedience to the word of the Lord who entrusted to Peter the task of strengthening his brethren (cf. Lk 22:32), in order to clarify and aid our common discernment.

“Each of us knows how important is the teaching which represents the central theme of this Encyclical and which is today being restated with the authority of the Successor of Peter. Each of us can see the seriousness of what is involved, not only for individuals but also for the whole of society, with the reaffirmation of the universality and immutability of the moral commandments, particularly those which prohibit always and without exception intrinsically evil acts.”

Conclusions of § B.

The words of Saint John Paul II are unmistakable: with the authority of the successor of Peter he reaffirms the universality and immutability of the moral commandments, and in particular of those that always and without exception prohibit intrinsically evil acts. He also refutes the artificial and false separation of those who presume to leave the immutable doctrine unaltered but then reconcile the unreconcilable, meaning that they act pastorally in a way not in keeping with the same doctrine.

In fact the same holy pontiff did not write the encyclical as a speculative exercise apart from the world, but wanted to present the reasons for the pastoral discernment necessary in complex and sometimes critical practical and cultural situations.

Certainly a divorced and remarried person like the one described in the preceding example (absolutely not a rare case) must be loved, followed, accompanied toward complete conversion, and only then will be able to receive the Most Holy Eucharist. This conversion must be proclaimed as really possible with the help of grace, with the patience and mercy of God, without contravening an unquestionable truth of our faith, according to which one cannot receive Holy Communion in a state of mortal sin.

C. – An argument not to the point

“… irreversible situations and those involving moral obligations towards children who would have to endure unjust suffering.”

Admission to the sacraments has nothing to do with irreversible situations, in which it is no longer possible to reconstitute the first and true marriage.

In these situations, the main moral obligation that the divorced and remarried have toward their children is that of living in the grace of God, in order to be better able to raise them; admitting or not admitting them to the sacraments has nothing to do with their obligations toward their offspring. Unless one wants to deny that the Church “with firm confidence believes that those who have rejected the Lord’s command and are still living in this state will be able to obtain from God the grace of conversion and salvation, provided that they have persevered in prayer, penance and charity” (Familiaris Consortio, 84).



Pastoral attention for persons with homosexual tendencies is certainly nothing new in the Church’s magisterium. The “Instrumentum Laboris,” with respect to the “Relatio finalis” of 2014, compensates for the most serious omission of this latter document, giving more attention to the families of homosexual persons (families that are almost completely forgotten in the “Relatio”). As just as it may be, urging the avoidance of unjust discrimination against persons with homosexual tendencies while only barely referring to their families is almost off-topic in a synod on the family.

In the composition of the “Instrumentum Laboris,” a paragraph has indeed been added (§ 131) that advises attention for these family units, and yet there is still no trace of important and fundamental indications reiterated by the ordinary magisterium on the matter.

We maintain that at a synod on the family, addressing the issue of homosexuality by saying only that homosexuals must not be treated badly and their families not be left alone, is a sin of omission.

Here is the text in question:

“Pastoral Attention towards Persons with Homosexual Tendencies

“130. (55) Some families have members who have a homosexual tendency. In this regard, the synod fathers asked themselves what pastoral attention might be appropriate for them in accordance with Church teaching: ‘There are absolutely no grounds for considering homosexual unions to be in any way similar or even remotely analogous to God’s plan for marriage and family.’ Nevertheless, men and women with a homosexual tendency ought to be received with respect and sensitivity. ‘Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided’ (Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Considerations Regarding Proposals to Give Legal Recognition to Unions Between Homosexual Persons, 4).

“131. The following point needs to be reiterated: every person, regardless of his/her sexual orientation, ought to be respected in his/her human dignity and received with sensitivity and great care in both the Church and society. It would be desirable that dioceses devote special attention in their pastoral programmes to the accompaniment of families where a member has a homosexual tendency and of homosexual persons themselves.

“132. (56) Exerting pressure in this regard on the Pastors of the Church is totally unacceptable: it is equally unacceptable for international organizations to link their financial assistance to poorer countries with the introduction of laws that establish ‘marriage’ between persons of the same sex.”

It seems to us that the following observations can be made on this text.

Omissions and silences

Seeing that we are piously urged to put ourselves in the “condition of a field hospital that is so beneficial for the proclamation of God’s mercy,” it is opportune to recall that, in every self-respecting hospital, the doctors do their duty when: 1) they diagnose the illness, 2) administer treatment, 3) follow the patient all the way to recovery; moreover the Church is like “a physician who realizes the danger of disease, protects himself and others from it, but at the same time he strives to cure those who have contracted it.”

To reduce the work of the Church to welcoming persons with homosexual tendencies with “respect and delicacy” (or to silence the rest entirely) can at most be likened – still following the metaphor of the field hospital – to palliative care.

Moreover, recalling only the duty of avoiding any display of unjust discrimination, without saying anything else, can seem like conformity to the propaganda against so-called “homophobia,” which we know very well to be a wedge for introducing disastrous norms into legislation and the acceptance of “gender” theory into consciences.

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith was wise in observing, in 1986, that “one tactic used is to protest that any and all criticism of or reservations about homosexual people, their activity and lifestyle, are simply diverse forms of unjust discrimination.”

When one speaks of unjust discrimination against homosexual persons, it is therefore opportune also to explain clearly what is truly unjust discrimination and what is instead the dutiful denunciation of evil.

The same congregation also reiterated that “departure from the Church’s teaching, or silence about it, in an effort to provide pastoral care is neither caring nor pastoral.”

1 – We maintain that the illness must be diagnosed clearly, as for example the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith did in 2003; let’s see how the question of unjust discrimination is treated in a fairly clear context:

“Homosexual acts ‘close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved’ (Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 2357).

“Sacred Scripture condemns homosexual acts ‘as a serious depravity…’ (cf. Rom 1:24-27; 1 Cor 6:10; 1 Tim 1:10). This judgment of Scripture does not of course permit us to conclude that all those who suffer from this anomaly are personally responsible for it, but it does attest to the fact that homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered’ (Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, declaration ‘Persona Humana,’ December 29, 1975, no. 8). This same moral judgment is found in many Christian writers of the first centuries (cf. for example St. Policarp, Letter to the Philippians, V, 3; St. Justin, First Apologia, 27, 1-4; Athenagoras, Plea for the Christians, 34) and is unanimously accepted by Catholic Tradition.

“Nonetheless, according to the teaching of the Church, men and women with homosexual tendencies ‘must be accepted with respect, compassion and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided’ (Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 2358; cf. Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, October 1, 1986, no. 10). They are called, like other Christians, to live the virtue of chastity (cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 2359; Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Letter on the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons, October 1, 1986, no. 12). The homosexual inclination is however ‘objectively disordered’ (Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 2358) and homosexual practices are ‘sins gravely contrary to chastity’ (Ibid., no. 2396)”.

Moreover, the possibility of sin on the part of persons with homosexual tendencies must be admitted, not excluding confession as a sometimes necessary supernatural aid:

“What is at all costs to be avoided is the unfounded and demeaning assumption that the sexual behaviour of homosexual persons is always and totally compulsive and therefore inculpable. What is essential is that the fundamental liberty which characterizes the human person and gives him his dignity be recognized as belonging to the homosexual person as well. As in every conversion from evil, the abandonment of homosexual activity will require a profound collaboration of the individual with God’s liberating grace.”

Love shows itself also by unveiling prospects of false happiness:

“As in every moral disorder, homosexual activity prevents one’s own fulfillment and happiness by acting contrary to the creative wisdom of God. The Church, in rejecting erroneous opinions regarding homosexuality, does not limit but rather defends personal freedom and dignity realistically and authentically understood.”

2 – In the second place, it is necessary to prescribe treatment:

a) preventing the infections of the spirit of the world…

“… Special concern and pastoral attention should be directed toward those who have this condition, lest they be led to believe that the living out of this orientation in homosexual activity is a morally acceptable option.”

“[The Church] is really concerned about the many who are not represented by the pro-homosexual movement and about those who may have been tempted to believe its deceitful propaganda.”

b) … having recourse also to the human sciences. The treatment prescribed must not be only of a moral character: just as the Church, in order to foster the correct use of marriage, promotes the creation of clinics where natural methods are taught, so also it is opportune that the Church should foster all those forms of psychological support which have been provided in recent years, with encouraging results:

“In a particular way, we would ask the Bishops to support, with the means at their disposal, the development of appropriate forms of pastoral care for homosexual persons. These would include the assistance of the psychological, sociological and medical sciences, in full accord with the teaching of the Church.”

c) … and instilling hope: persons of homosexual orientation must be accompanied on a cultural journey as well, intended to unmask all homosexualist theories (such as “gender” theory) and slogans such as “homosexuals are born that way”; this slogan soothes the consciences of those who want to stay like this, and suppresses the hope of those would would like to get out.

3 – In the third place, the patient must be followed all the way to recovery, which is the life of grace and holiness itself; anything whatsoever not in keeping with faith that is called hardship is – for the believer – a providential occasion of sanctification: “Diligentibus Deum, omnia cooperantur in bonum” (Rm 8, 28). Under this aspect as well, we find no words better than those of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith:

“What, then, are homosexual persons to do who seek to follow the Lord? Fundamentally, they are called to enact the will of God in their life by joining whatever sufferings and difficulties they experience in virtue of their condition to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross. That Cross, for the believer, is a fruitful sacrifice since from that death come life and redemption. While any call to carry the cross or to understand a Christian’s suffering in this way will predictably be met with bitter ridicule by some, it should be remembered that this is the way to eternal life for all who follow Christ.

“It is, in effect, none other than the teaching of Paul the Apostle to the Galatians when he says that the Spirit produces in the lives of the faithful ‘love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, trustfulness, gentleness and self-control’ (5:22) and further (v. 24), ‘You cannot belong to Christ unless you crucify all self-indulgent passions and desires.’

“It is easily misunderstood, however, if it is merely seen as a pointless effort at self-denial. The Cross is a denial of self, but in service to the will of God himself who makes life come from death and empowers those who trust in him to practise virtue in place of vice.

“To celebrate the Paschal Mystery, it is necessary to let that Mystery become imprinted in the fabric of daily life. To refuse to sacrifice one’s own will in obedience to the will of the Lord is effectively to prevent salvation. Just as the Cross was central to the expression of God’s redemptive love for us in Jesus, so the conformity of the self-denial of homosexual men and women with the sacrifice of the Lord will constitute for them a source of self-giving which will save them from a way of life which constantly threatens to destroy them.

“Christians who are homosexual are called, as all of us are, to a chaste life. As they dedicate their lives to understanding the nature of God’s personal call to them, they will be able to celebrate the Sacrament of Penance more faithfully and receive the Lord’s grace so freely offered there in order to convert their lives more fully to his Way.”

4 – Finally, seeking to protect oneself and others from such infection:

“Moral conscience requires that, in every occasion, Christians give witness to the whole moral truth, which is contradicted both by approval of homosexual acts and unjust discrimination against homosexual persons. Therefore, discreet and prudent actions can be effective; these might involve: unmasking the way in which such tolerance might be exploited or used in the service of ideology; stating clearly the immoral nature of these unions; reminding the government of the need to contain the phenomenon within certain limits so as to safeguard public morality and, above all, to avoid exposing young people to erroneous ideas about sexuality and marriage that would deprive them of their necessary defences and contribute to the spread of the phenomenon.”


Recalling the issue of helping families with children of homosexual tendencies offers an occasion to ask ourselves the reason for this mention to the detriment of all the other much more widespread hardships that families experience; moreover the issue is presented in such a way as to blur it from being a family problem into a problem of homosexual persons alone, off-topic with respect to the proper object of the synod.

Moreover, the paragraph in question, albeit while having to stay within the space of a few lines, omits any reference to the true issues connected to the pastoral care of homosexual persons; this silence is all the more culpable given the appalling advance of “gender” ideology today.

The base document of the synod, object of the “Observations”:

> Instrumentum Laboris


At World Meeting of Families, homosexuality dominates talk


brace yourself bergoglio is coming

Bergoglio effect: At World Meeting of Families, Homosexuality dominates talk.

By Peter Smith

PHILADELPHIA – About 1,000 people filled every seat in the conference room and stood several deep along the walls.

The session started a little late because of a room change, but it lasted nearly three times longer than its one-hour time slot Thursday afternoon. The crowd gradually dwindled but many people remained lined up at microphones to ask often agonized questions about homosexuality.

This was clearly not just another session at the World Meeting of Families, which has drawn about 17,500 people to the Pennsylvania Convention Center here. The triennial international gathering is the anchor for Pope Francis’ ongoing visit to the United States, and he will celebrate Mass here on Sunday as its closing event.

And as an official Catholic gathering, all of the speakers at the sessions are on board with church teaching about marriage between one man and one woman as the only moral setting for sexual activity, and for such marriage to be open to children, or avoiding artificial birth control.

But clearly the subject of homosexuality was on the minds of many in the year when the U.S. Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage, something supported by many Catholics in opinion polls despite outspoken opposition from the Catholic hierarchy. And even though the conference was drawing a self-selecting group of people more inclined toward traditional church teachings, many in this room came to the microphone to speak of anguished conflicts over people in their own families coming out as gay, or friends tempted to suicide over rejection for their orientation.

The featured speakers included Ron Belgau of Washington state, who is openly gay but committed to living in celibacy out of fidelity to church teachings, and his mother, Beverley Belgau. They spoke on their experience of Mr. Belgau coming out as gay as a young man and her fears, which proved unfounded, that his father would reject him.

Mr. Belgau is one of the organizers of the blog Spiritual Friendship, a role he shares with the Rev. Wesley Hill, a professor at Trinity School for Ministry in Ambridge. They affirm that they are gay and speak out against homophobia, yet commit to celibacy. In the concept of deep spiritual friendships, they argue, such a life doesn’t need to be lonely.

The issue of homosexuality is crucial, Mr. Belgau said, as “one of the biggest points of conflict between the church and surrounding culture.”

He cited an online post he had seen from a 17-year-old gay Catholic. “The church has a lot to say about what I’m not supposed to do,” the youth wrote. “But … I couldn’t find any church document (about) what a gay person is supposed to do with his life. I feel abandoned by the church.”

He said the church teaches much about the beauty of marriage, but then tells its gay members they “can’t have this wonderful thing.”

“It often appears as no. No sex, no romance, no marriage. It seems like that means no love. Lifelong loneliness.”

But he said Pope Francis is changing the tenor of the conversation. The title of the Belgaus’ session, “Always consider the person,” comes from Francis’ own words about homosexuality in an interview. “God accompanies persons, and we must accompany them, starting from their situation,” the pope said.

Mrs. Belgau echoed the sentiment.

“The problem isn’t that people don’t know what the church’s teaching is,” she said. “The problem is we haven’t done enough to help people live it.”

She said she has often heard cruel invectives against gay people in church settings, and cautioned that no matter what one believes about homosexuality, there are people in their families and parishes who are gay and they need to respond to them lovingly.

While some conservative Christians have criticized those in the celibate-gay movement for even affirming being gay as a positive part of their personality, such sentiment was not much in evidence here. The Belgaus’ comments were frequently applauded.

But some, including members of the group Equally Blessed, which supports the inclusion of openly gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Catholics including those in sexual relationships, disagreed that celibacy is the only option.

One speaker, Cindy Towle of New York State, said she has a sister and two nephews who are gay, as well as a transgender niece.

“We chose love, because we choose every other method in our family, and it caused only destruction,” she said.

Delfin Bautista of Athens, Ohio, agreed. He told the speakers that the church should bless his and his husband’s relationship.

“The struggle is with the rejection which is perpetuated by society and also the church,” against LGBT people, he said.

Mary Ellen Pellegrino of Greensburg, however, said Mr. Belgau did “an excellent job articulating the church position.”

She added: “He’s able to field a lot of questions from diametrically opposed views and do it with charity and comfort and sensitivity.”



BERGOGLIO IN NY: Congressman steals Pope Francis’ glass after White House address to sip remaining liquid with his wife!



Holy water: Congressman steals Pope Francis’ glass after White House address to sip remaining liquid with his wife – and then saves some to sprinkle on his grandchildren!

  • Representative Bob Brady, a devout Catholic and Democrat from Pennsylvania took Pope Francis’ water glass on Thursday 

  • After Pope Francis addressed congress, Rep. Brady made his way to the podium to get the leftover liquid so he could drink it

  • He also shared the water with his wife Debra and his staff, and plans to use the rest to sprinkle on his grandchildren 

  • Brady poured the liquid into the mouths of others rather than letting them hold the glass and had his staff send out the photos

  • He did the same thing at President Obama’s inauguration with his water glass

  • Brady also plans to have police dust the cup for fingerprints to prove it was used by Pope Francis 

A congressman stole the water glass Pope Francis was drinking out of during his address at the White House on Thursday. Representative Bob Brady, a devout Catholic and Democrat from Pennsylvania immediately made his way to the podium after Pope Francis finished speaking and grabbed the glass that was still filled with water. He then drank the water, gave some of the water to his wife Debra, and saved the rest for his grandchildren. Representative Brady took photos as well, and had his staff send them out to the press. 

        Scroll down for video

Sipping: Representative Bob Brady (above), a devout Catholic and Democrat from Pennsylvania took Pope Francis' water glass on Thursday

Sharing: Rep. Brady shared with his wife Debra  (above), and plans to use the rest to sprinkle on his grandchildren

Thief: After Pope Francis addressed congress (above), Rep. Brady made his way to the podium to get the leftover liquid so he could drink it

‘The congressman is a Catholic and has immense respect for the Holy Father,’ Chief of Staff Stan White told ABC NewsWhite added that Representative Brady ‘was immensely moved by the speech. He thought the Holy Father spoke to issues he cared deeply about … especially caring about the poor and the Holy Father’s concern about our environment.’ He also shared some of the water with members of his staff and assistant, also a devout Catholic. As for the saved water, he plans to sprinkle it on his grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

Messiah: Brady poured the liquid into the mouths of others rather than letting them hold the glass and had his staff send out the photos (above with constituent Ernie DeNofa)

Helping hand: Brady shares the water with Colleen Carlos (above), his assistant 

Representative Brady may also get the chance to nab another one of Pope Francis’ water glasses too, as he will be heading to Brady’s district of Philadelphia over the weekend. The congressman plans to attend Holy Mass and hear the Pope Francis speak in the city. The Philadelphia trip begins Saturday morning, with Pope Francis flying out of JFK in New York at 8:40am.

This is not the first time Brady has pulled a stunt like this, with the Philadelphia Daily News reporting he did the same thing after President Obama’s inauguration, though he just saved that glass and did not drink from it.

They also spoke to Representative Brady who said he had saved the cup and would have police dust it for fingerprints to prove it was used by Pope Francis.

He also had police dust President Obama’s glass as well.

Read more:

Source: Daily Mail


francis i am not a marxist

On Thursday, Pope Francis spoke before a Joint Session of Congress, where he explicitly lectured Americans on illegal immigration, redistribution of income, the death penalty, and climate change, but made only veiled references to abortion and same-sex marriage. It is no wonder President Obama was so happy to see the Pope in Washington, D.C.

By Ben Shapiro


The Pope began his address by telling legislators that he is a “son of this great continent, from which we have all received so much and toward which we share a common responsibility.” He did not mention what responsibility other countries in our hemisphere carry for their own citizens.

The Pope continued that Congressional authority sprang from the need to pursue the “common good,” adding, “legislative activity is always based on care for the people. To this you have been invited, called and convened by those who elected you.”

In Constitutional terms, this is plainly untrue. Legislative authority does not spring from care for the people, but from the consent of the people and non-violation of their rights.

Every dictatorship in history has justified its authority on the basis of care for people, but in the American vision, the people are not children to be led by the hand or cared for, but to be protected from encroachment upon their God-given freedoms.

After giving a well-stated, meaningful reflection on Moses’ role in the Bible – both patriarch and conduit for God – the Pope moved on to an appeal to the poor, the elderly, and youth, citing specifically Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Dorothy Day and Thomas Merton.

The Pope characterized Lincoln’s legacy thusly: “Building a future of freedom requires love of the common good and cooperation in a spirit of subsidiarity and solidarity.” Actually, Lincoln’s legacy wasn’t cooperation: it was fighting the evil of slavery through force of arms. Hundreds of thousands of Americans died to fight slavery. Lincoln was the Great Emancipator, not the Great Conciliator.

But in the name of Lincoln, the Pope then soft-pedaled the fight against radical Islam:

Our world is increasingly a place of violent conflict, hatred and brutal atrocities, committed even in the name of God and of religion. We know that no religion is immune from forms of individual delusion or ideological extremism. This means that we must be especially attentive to every type of fundamentalism, whether religious or of any other kind.

Well, no. There are some forms of religion that are more prone to extremism and violence than others, and this form of religious multiculturalism is odd coming from the leader of the world’s most powerful proselytizing religious institution. He continued:

A delicate balance is required to combat violence perpetrated in the name of a religion, an ideology or an economic system, while also safeguarding religious freedom, intellectual freedom and individual freedoms. But there is another temptation which we must especially guard against: the simplistic reductionism which sees only good or evil; or, if you will, the righteous and sinners. The contemporary world, with its open wounds which affect so many of our brothers and sisters, demands that we confront every form of polarization which would divide it into these two camps. We know that in the attempt to be freed of the enemy without, we can be tempted to feed the enemy within. To imitate the hatred and violence of tyrants and murderers is the best way to take their place…. Our response must instead be one of hope and healing, of peace and justice.

Obviously, we have to avoid engaging in evil acts. But labeling the distinction between good and evil “simple reductionism” runs directly counter to the dictates of morality. Lincoln would have found this appalling, because Lincoln did not preach moral relativism.

As Lincoln said in his Second Inaugural Address, while justifying the bloodiest war in American history, “In giving freedom to the slave, we assure freedom to the free – honorable alike in what we give, and what we preserve. We shall nobly save, or meanly lose, the last best hope of earth. Other means may succeed; this could not fail. The way is plain, peaceful, generous, just – a way which, if followed, the world will forever applaud, and God must forever bless.”

The Pope then jumped into pushing wealth redistributionism:

We are asked to summon the courage and the intelligence to resolve today’s many geopolitical and economic crises. Even in the developed world, the effects of unjust structures and actions are all too apparent. Our efforts must aim at restoring hope, righting wrongs, maintaining commitments, and thus promoting the well-being of individuals and of peoples. We must move forward together, as one, in a renewed spirit of fraternity and solidarity, cooperating generously for the common good.

Later on, he continued:

If politics must truly be at the service of the human person, it follows that it cannot be a slave to the economy and finance. Politics is, instead, an expression of our compelling need to live as one, in order to build as one the greatest common good: that of a community which sacrifices particular interests in order to share, in justice and peace, its goods, its interests, its social life. I do not underestimate the difficulty that this involves, but I encourage you in this effort.

Nonsense. If politics serves individuals, it serves individual freedom. Redefining the “service of the human person” as the “compelling need to live as one” is both a linguistic and moral perversion. Mao would have agreed with the Pope on this one.

This veiled call for socialistic government economic intervention then gave way to a completely incorrect interpretation of American politics: “The challenges facing us today call for a renewal of that spirit of cooperation, which has accomplished so much good throughout the history of the United States.”

No, actually. Cooperation is not the general spirit of American politics, nor has it ever been. American politics has been based around the notion that contentious debates regarding policy generally end in gridlock, preserving freedom by preventing an ever-growing government. But the Pope seems to be reading from President Obama’s hymnal, in which government is simply a word for what we all do together.

Pope Francis made a veiled reference to religious freedom without referring explicitly to either Obamacare or the latest legislative attempts to destroy religious businesses on behalf of homosexual marriage (“It is important that today, as in the past, the voice of faith continue to be heard”), then moved quickly onto illegal immigration, where he proceeded to relate America’s treatment of immigrants to original American settlers’ treatment of Native Americans:

In recent centuries, millions of people came to this land to pursue their dream of building a future in freedom. We, the people of this continent, are not fearful of foreigners, because most of us were once foreigners. I say this to you as the son of immigrants, knowing that so many of you are also descended from immigrants. Tragically, the rights of those who were here long before us were not always respected. For those peoples and their nations, from the heart of American democracy, I wish to reaffirm my highest esteem and appreciation. Those first contacts were often turbulent and violent, but it is difficult to judge the past by the criteria of the present. Nonetheless, when the stranger in our midst appeals to us, we must not repeat the sins and the errors of the past. We must resolve now to live as nobly and as justly as possible, as we educate new generations not to turn their back on our “neighbors” and everything around us. Building a nation calls us to recognize that we must constantly relate to others, rejecting a mindset of hostility in order to adopt one of reciprocal subsidiarity, in a constant effort to do our best. I am confident that we can do this.

Dissecting this logic requires a neurosurgeon. Apparently, the Pope believes that America’s original immigrants mistreated the natives, and that the current native-born of America thus ought to welcome illegal immigrants. This, to be sure, makes no sense, but it certainly places the onus on Americans instead of those breaking American law. The Pope continued along these lines:

Our world is facing a refugee crisis of a magnitude not seen since the Second World War. This presents us with great challenges and many hard decisions. On this continent, too, thousands of persons are led to travel north in search of a better life for themselves and for their loved ones, in search of greater opportunities. Is this not what we want for our own children? We must not be taken aback by their numbers, but rather view them as persons, seeing their faces and listening to their stories, trying to respond as best we can to their situation. To respond in a way which is always humane, just and fraternal. We need to avoid a common temptation nowadays: to discard whatever proves troublesome. Let us remember the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

Opposing illegal immigration is not matter of discarding “whatever proves troublesome.” It is a matter of preserving a country with values worth preserving, and doing so by either assimilating new immigrants or limiting immigrants to those who wish to assimilate.

The Pope’s only reference to abortion came next: “The Golden Rule also reminds us of our responsibility to protect and defend human life at every stage of its development.”

This, you would think, would lead to a full-scale attack on America’s disgusting abortion culture, funded and promulgated by Democrats sitting in front of the Pope. But no. That veiled reference was it. And the Pope used the veiled reference to swivel not to abortion but to the death penalty.

Yes, the death penalty.

The Pope was far more interested in lecturing federal legislators about saving the 35 murderers executed in the United States under state law in 2014 than the million innocent unborn children killed every year in the United States under federal auspices:

This conviction has led me, from the beginning of my ministry, to advocate at different levels for the global abolition of the death penalty. I am convinced that this way is the best, since every life is sacred, every human person is endowed with an inalienable dignity, and society can only benefit from the rehabilitation of those convicted of crimes. Recently my brother bishops here in the United States renewed their call for the abolition of the death penalty. Not only do I support them, but I also offer encouragement to all those who are convinced that a just and necessary punishment must never exclude the dimension of hope and the goal of rehabilitation.

Would he tackle abortion now? Not a chance. The Pope again launched into a broadside against capitalism, praising Dorothy Day of the Catholic Worker Movement before adding, “I would encourage you to keep in mind all those people around us who are trapped in a cycle of poverty… It goes without saying that part of this great effort is the creation and distribution of wealth.”

But the Pope did not attribute the global rise in living standards to the power of capitalism. Instead, he called for its tremendous limitation on behalf of global warming:

In Laudato Si’, I call for a courageous and responsible effort to “redirect our steps,” and to avert the most serious effects of the environmental deterioration caused by human activity. I am convinced that we can make a difference and I have no doubt that the United States – and this Congress – have an important role to play. Now is the time for courageous actions and strategies…

No courageous actions and strategies to fight abortion or same-sex marriage. But the war on the air conditioner proceeds apace.

And, it turns out, the war for pacifism:

When countries which have been at odds resume the path of dialogue – a dialogue which may have been interrupted for the most legitimate of reasons – new opportunities open up for all. This has required, and requires, courage and daring, which is not the same as irresponsibility. A good political leader is one who, with the interests of all in mind, seizes the moment in a spirit of openness and pragmatism.

Given that no other major international deals regarding armed conflict have been signed in the recent past, this must be a coded reference to President Obama’s Iran deal, which the Pope supported.

Finally, at long last, the Pope’s more conservative supporters must have been excited to hear him speak about the family as he transitioned into a discussion of his upcoming appearance at the World Meeting of Families:

It is my wish that throughout my visit the family should be a recurrent theme. How essential the family has been to the building of this country! And how worthy it remains of our support and encouragement! Yet I cannot hide my concern for the family, which is threatened, perhaps as never before, from within and without. Fundamental relationships are being called into question, as is the very basis of marriage and the family. I can only reiterate the importance and, above all, the richness and the beauty of family life.

Did this lead to a discussion of traditional marriage? It did not. The Pope instead redirected to a vague statement about “the young,” whom he says are trapped in a “hopeless maze of violence, abuse and despair” rather than starting families. Given that the Justices of the Supreme Court attended the speech, it would have been an opportune moment to say something about Justice Kennedy, a Catholic, writing glorification of homosexual relationships into the Constitution. Alas, the Pope continued not to speak truth to power, instead opting for leftist tropes that will please the media and do little to redirect the nation’s moral conversation.

For years now, Pope Francis’ more conservative defenders have stated that his words have been consistently misinterpreted by the media. There’s truth to that. But there was no way to misinterpret his speech today, delivered in plain English to an adoring left.