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


Satanic Fruit from Team Bergoglio: Stable gay relationship is better than a ‘temporary’ one!!

Christoph Schonborn and Conchita Wurst

This is the Newchurch of Filth Mentality of our perverted and Godless day… Stable Sodomite relationship is better than a temporary one! –  Cardinal’ Schönborn 

Absolute Heresy since when did it become permissible to encourage sin and in this case the most vile, abominable and detestable sin against nature! God is not mocked! Anathema sit! Haereticus!!

Council of Ancyra (A.D. 314)

“Those who have committed such crimes before age twenty, after fifteen years of penance, will be readmitted to the communion of prayer. Then, after remaining five years in that communion, let them receive the sacraments of oblation. However, let their lives be analyzed to establish how long a period of penance they should sustain in order to obtain mercy. For if they unrestrainedly gave themselves over to these crimes, let them devote more time to doing penance. However, those aged twenty and over and married who fall into these crimes, let them do penance for twenty-five years and [then] be received in the communion of prayer; and, remaining in it for five years, let them finally receive the sacraments of oblation. Moreover, if those who are married and over fifty years of age commit these crimes, let them obtain the grace of communion only at the end of their lives.”


Cardinal Schönborn spoke in the interview about a gay friend of his… after many temporary relationships, is now in a stable relationship. “It’s an improvement,” he said. They share “a life, they share their joys and sufferings, they help one another. It must be recognized that this person took an important step for his own good and the good of others, even though it certainly is not a situation the Church can consider ‘regular’.”

“We are all called to observe the situation, not gazing from above and beginning with abstract ideas, but with the gaze of pastors who scrutinize today’s reality in an evangelical spirit,” the cardinal said in an interview!!


As Sodom and Gomorrha, and the neighbouring cities, in like manner, having given themselves to fornication, and going after other flesh, were made an example, suffering the punishment of eternal fire. Jude 7- DRV

Thou shalt not lie with mankind as with womankind, because it is an abomination.  Leviticus: 18:22 DRV

If any one lie with a man as with a woman, both have committed an abomination, let them be put to death: their blood be upon them.  Leviticus: 20:13 DRV

For this cause God delivered them up to shameful affections. For their women have changed the natural use into that use which is against nature. And, in like manner, the men also, leaving the natural use of the women, have burned in their lusts one towards another, men with men working that which is filthy, and receiving in themselves the recompense which was due to their error.  Romans 1:26, 27 – DRV

“And the Lord rained upon Sodom and Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven. And he destroyed these cities, and all the country about, all the inhabitants of the cities, and all things that spring from the earth.” —Genesis 19:24-25

“Be not deceived, God is not mocked!!” —Galatians 6:7

The cardinal says as a child of divorced parents he knows what it is to grow up in a ‘patchwork family!’

heretic bergoglio 1

A three-week Synod of Bishops to talk in the abstract about Catholic teaching on the family makes no sense to Austrian Cardinal Christoph Schönborn of Vienna.

“We are all called to observe the situation, not gazing from above and beginning with abstract ideas, but with the gaze of pastors who scrutinise today’s reality in an evangelical spirit,” the cardinal said in an interview with Jesuit Fr Antonio Spadaro, editor of La Civiltà Cattolica.

In the early September interview, the cardinal spoke about his experience at the extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the family last year, about his own parents’ divorce, about the relationships of his friends and about his hopes for the world Synod of Bishops on the family next month.

The approach the bishops are called to take, he said, “is not first of all a critical gaze that highlights every failure, but a benevolent gaze that sees how much good will and how much effort there is even in the midst of much suffering”.

The next step, he said, is not to pretend that everything in all those situations is fine, but to help Catholics build on what is good, growing in holiness and faithfulness to God and to each other.

The Church’s ministers, the cardinal said, should recognize what is good where it is found. For example, he said, a civil marriage is better than simply living together, because it signifies a couple has made a formal, public commitment to one another. “Instead of talking about everything that is missing, we can draw close to this reality, noting what is positive in this love that is establishing itself.”

Cardinal Schönborn spoke in the interview about a gay friend of his who, after many temporary relationships, is now in a stable relationship. “It’s an improvement,” he said. They share “a life, they share their joys and sufferings, they help one another. It must be recognized that this person took an important step for his own good and the good of others, even though it certainly is not a situation the Church can consider ‘regular’.”

The Church’s negative “judgment about homosexual acts is necessary”, he said, “but the Church should not look in the bedroom first, but in the dining room! (??!) It must accompany people.”

Pastoral accompaniment “cannot transform an irregular situation into a regular one”, he said, “but there do exist paths for healing, for learning,” for moving gradually closer to a situation in compliance with Church teaching.

“We are not at risk of diluting the clarity [of Church teaching] while walking with people because we are called to walk in the faith,” he said. No synod member wants to change Church teaching.

However, he said, at the 2014 extraordinary synod it seemed that many synod members had very abstract ideas – and actually rather modern ideas – of what the reality of marriage is, ignoring that “for centuries, perhaps millennia”, marriage was a sacrament reserved to the upper classes who could afford a dowry and a ceremony.

“In the Vienna baptismal records of the 1800s, about half of the babies were illegitimate, children of all those servants in the upper-class homes who could not marry because they did not have the means,” he said.


The Sin of the Century is the Loss of the Sense of sin. – Pope Pius XII

More and more young people today are living together instead of marrying, many of them because of a lack of financial security, he said. The bishops need to ask themselves: “Are we here to deplore this phenomenon instead of asking ourselves what has changed?”

“There is a risk of easily pointing a finger at hedonism and individualism,” he said, when “it takes much more effort to observe the realities carefully” and respond helpfully.

Cardinal Schönborn said that being a child of divorced parents – and of a father who remarried – he knows what it is to grow up in a “patchwork family”. And despite it not conforming fully to the Church’s ideal, “I also experienced the radical goodness of the family” with grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins who helped out.

Unfortunately, he said, the media seem to have made the treatment of Catholics who are divorced and civilly remarried without an annulment into a “test case” for Pope Francis, asking: “In the end, will there be mercy for those in irregular unions?”, meaning allowing them to receive the sacraments.

But a blanket edict, he said, is not the attitude of Christ, the good shepherd; “the attitude of the Good Shepherd is, first of all, to accompany persons”, helping them heal.

They want mercy from the Church, the cardinal said, “but the first mercy to be requested is not that of the Church, it is mercy toward their children” and toward the ex-husband or ex-wife. The Church’s ministers can help them move in that direction, too, he said.


Satanic Fruits of Bergoglio: Fast and Free Annulments on the way!

Archbishop Lefebvre ora pro nobis!

Archbishop Lefebvre ora pro nobis!

Kyrie Eleison: Annulments to be handed out like candy in Newchurch of Rot!!

Pope radically simplifies Catholic marriage annulment procedures!

by Philip Pullella

(Reuters) – Pope Francis on Tuesday made it simpler and swifter for Catholics to secure a marriage annulment, the most radical such reform for 250 years, and told bishops to be more welcoming to divorced couples.

Under the old norms, it often took years to win an annulment, with hefty legal fees attached. Francis said the procedure should be free and the new rules mean that a marriage might be declared null and void in just 45 days in some cases.

The announcement came the week after Francis signaled a more merciful approach to women who had obtained abortions and was another sign of his drive to shake up the hidebound Roman Catholic Church and try to soften some of its more rigid rules.

In a document known as a Motu Proprio, Latin for “by his own initiative”, Francis reaffirmed traditional teaching on the “indissolubility of marriage”, making clear that the Vatican was not in any form promoting or sanctioning divorce.

However, he said he would make it easier for separated couples to obtain an annulment — a ruling whereby the Church decides that a marriage was not valid in the first place because certain prerequisites such as free will, psychological maturity and openness to having children were lacking.

Francis eliminated a previously mandatory review of an annulment decision by a second tribunal and gave bishops sweeping powers to judge quickly the most clear-cut cases.

He said he had decided to streamline procedures so that Catholics who sought annulments should not be “long oppressed by darkness of doubt”(?!) over whether they could have their marriages declared null and void.


Monsignor Pio Vito Pinto, dean of the Vatican appeals court that rules on annulments, told a news conference the new rules were the most substantive changes to the laws since the papacy of Benedict XIV, who reigned from 1740 to 1758.

“The pope is seeking to respond pastorally to the tens of thousands of couples who are experiencing profound pain and alienation as a result of broken marriages,” said Father James Bretzke, theology professor at Boston College.

Francis took charge of the 1.2 billion member Church in 2013, replacing Pope Benedict, a theological hardliner well liked by conservatives for seeking to reaffirm traditional Catholic identity.

The Argentine pope has appeared a much more approachable figure and has spoken repeatedly of the need for the Church to show mercy and understand the needs of Catholics struggling to live by its rules.

Catholics who divorce and remarry in civil ceremonies are considered by the Church to be still married to their first spouse and living in a state of sin. This bars them from receiving sacraments such as communion.

While not changing this position, Francis wrote on Tuesday that bishops should show “particular pastoral concern” for divorced and remarried Catholics.

Many couples and priests have complained that the complex procedures discourage even those with legitimate grounds for an annulment from trying to obtain one.

Some 50,000 annulment procedures were launched last year, nearly half of them in the United States, according to the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University.

Francis is due to pay a landmark visit to the United States next month, where his progressive views on climate change and condemnation of rampant capitalism look certain to put him at loggerheads with Republican presidential hopefuls.



Newchurch Rotten Fruits: Bergoglio Prays with Pentecostal pastors!

Anti-pope Bergoglio is the second pontiff to visit a Buddhist place of worship after St. John Paul II paid his respects at a temple in Thailand in 1984. Monks at the Agrashravaka Temple opened a casket containing important Buddhist relics, an event that usually only takes place once a year. The head monk at the temple, Banagala Upatissa, said opening the relics was "the highest honor and respect" they could show to the pontiff.

We Were Warned of the Great Apostasy.

“During this unhappy period there will be laxity in divine and human precepts. Discipline will suffer. The Holy Canons will be completely disregarded and the clergy will not respect the laws of the Church. The Holy Canons and religious dogmas are clouded by senseless questions and elaborate arguments. As a result, no principle at all, however holy, authentic, ancient, and certain it may be, will not remain free of censure, criticism, false interpretations, modifications and delamination by man. These are evil times, century full of dangers and calamities. Heresy is everywhere and the followers of heresy are in power almost everywhere. Bishops, prelates and priests say they are doing their duty, that they are vigilant.  – St. Francis of Paola

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Thursday afternoon met with a group of Pentecostal pastors in the “Auletta”, a meeting room adjoining the Paul VI Audience Hall.

A statement released by the Holy See Press Office said the meeting was private, and involved around 100 pastors from around the world. The group was led by Pastor Giovanni Traettino, whose community in the Italian city of Caserta was visited last year by Pope Francis.

The statement said the meeting was “very cordial” and characterized by a “spirit of prayer for unity.”

Pope Francis was accompanied by Cardinal Kurt Koch, the President of Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.

Newchurch freak show...



Heresy: Pope may ride to rescue of interfaith marriages / Sermon Padre Pfeiffer

Absolute Truth Must be Unchangeable!!!!!  Pope St. Pius X

Are you a divorced non-Christian in love with a Catholic and are hoping to marry in a church? Are you dreading the long arduous process you have to go through to do so? Well it may not be so tortuous if the Pope has his way. In the current process the non-Christian must apply to the Pope through a tribunal and then wait for over a year for permission to be granted. But Pope Francis is likely to ease restrictions on the marriage of divorced non-Catholics to Catholics.

“In all likelihood the Holy Father [Pope] might be generous and decide that the Archbishop can give his consent for the remarriage of a divorced non-Christian with a Catholic. We will know in October when over 1,200 bishops from across the world meet in the Vatican,” said Reverend Dr John Abraham, the judicial vicar.

Though the church does not believe in divorce as a concept, it practices a detailed and exhaustive procedure before allowing a divorced non-Christian to marry a Catholic in church. The tribunal, consisting of three judges, studies the case and decides whether to send a final dossier to the Vatican to seek the permission of the Pope.

According to Reverend Abraham thus far only seven cases have been sent to Rome from Karnataka, since the tribunal began in 1971.

“But if the divorced non-Christian party gets baptized before the marriage then they can seek the permission through the Archbishop and not the Pope,” clarifies Reverend Abraham.

“But it is ridiculous if the Pope has to sit and give permission for every Catholic who wants to marry a non-Christian,” said 23-year-old Rhea D’Souza who is planning her marriage to a divorced non-Christian. (!!)

“So my partner has to apply to the Church requesting the Pope to annul his marriage. This whole process itself will take several months or even years as there are over 150 cases being filed every year,” she adds.
First the tribunal checks if the non-Christian in question has obtained a divorce from a civil court. After this the tribunal will summon the former spouse and other family members to check if the divorce was by mutual consent, and carried out in a fair and just manner. “It is important for us to find out if the ex-spouse was keen on staying in the marriage. We take statements of the ex-spouse, parents and other family members. In case we find out that the Catholic fell in love with the non-Christian while he’she was married, and that was the reason for the dissolution of the marriage then we will not give permission for the marriage to go ahead. The church cannot accept its own child to sin and be the reason for a broken marriage,” Reverend Abraham adds.
The tribunal then finds out whether there are valid reasons to annul the marriage, even if it is a non-Christian one. “Some of the grounds to annul the previous wedlock of a non-Christian include mental stability of the ex-spouse, whether the party [who is keen on marrying a Catholic] was forced or cheated into the first marriage, whether the marriage was consummated,” explains Vicar General of Bengaluru Archdiocese S Jayanathan.
The church also finds out whether the ex-spouse or the children from the first wedlock have been well cared for and their requirements have been taken care of.

“Once these issues have been set right by the divorcee and we feel that the two parties [from the previous wedding] are not willing to reconcile then we petition the Pope and the process of getting a reply from the Vatican takes about six months and then another four months to complete the paperwork before the two can marry in or outside the church,” says Reverend Abraham. In case this procedure is defied by the two parties and ends up in a civil court marriage, then the Church will not consider wedlock valid.

‘No need to convert’?? Absolute Heresy! NO SALVATION OUTSIDE THE CHURCH!

False Church: ‘No need to convert’ – Proselytism is solemn nonsense – Bergoglio 

Vicar general S Jayanathan and Judicial vicar Reverend John Abraham stated that the church does not insist on a non-Christian converting to Christianity in order to marry a Catholic, even if the ceremony were to be held in a church. The Church allows the marriage of a non-Christian to a Catholic on two conditions: One, that all children born out of this marriage will be baptized in a Catholic church. Two, the non-Christian party will accept the marriage as unbreakable and that he/she will not re-marry. “Though we don’t forbid non-Christians from converting, there is no obligation on the party to convert if they want to marry in the church,” Abraham told BM.

Source: Pope may ride to rescue of interfaith marriages

Watch the video for the Truth! Fr. Pfeiffer delivers another excellent sermon on the Beauty of Purity and the Rot of Impurity.


Synod Chief: Pope Francis approved family synod’s controversial mid-term report before publication!!

Resist Bergoglio!!

Resist Bergoglio!!

Not a real shocker!  New Order Bergoglio continues doing what he always has done, please the people of the world and continue to mock God and our Holy Catholic faith.

( – The lead organizer of the Vatican’s Synod on the Family has revealed that Pope Francis approved the controversial mid-term report from the meeting before it was published. Until now, Pope Francis’ role in the document’s publication has been left to conjecture.

The Relatio post disceptationem, as it is called, was intended as a provisional summary of the debate from the Synod’s first week. But after it was released it was strongly criticized by numerous Synod fathers, including Cardinals Raymond Burke, Gerhard Muller, George Pell, and Wilfrid Napier, some publicly and some behind meeting doors.

Some critics have even described it as the worst official document in the history of the Church.

Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, secretary general of the Synod of Bishops, spoke about the pope’s role regarding the Synod documents in an interview with Aleteia at a Pontifical Council for the Family conference last week.

heretic 2

“The documents were all seen and approved by the Pope, with the approval of his presence,” Baldisseri said. “Even the documents during the [Extraordinary] Synod, such as the Relatio ante disceptatationem [the preliminary report], the Relatio post disceptationem [interim report], and the Relatio synodi [final report] were seen by him before they were published.”

“This point is important not only because of his authority, but also it puts the Secretary General at ease,” the cardinal added – “wryly,” according to Aleteia.

In its most controversial sections, the Relatio post disceptationem, or “report after the debate,” asked whether “accepting and valuing [homosexuals’] sexual orientation” could align with Catholic doctrine; proposed allowing Communion for divorced-and-remarried Catholics on a “case-by-case basis”; and said pastors should emphasize the “positive aspects” of lifestyles the Church considers gravely sinful, including civil remarriage after divorce and premarital cohabitation.

Its most controversial provisions were left out of the Synod’s final report, the Relatio synodi, but many critics have called on the Vatican nevertheless to rescind the interim document.

Cardinal Baldisseri also confirmed that the pope ordered that several controversial sections in the proposed Relatio synodi, or final report, be included in the published version even though they failed to get the necessary two-thirds vote from the Synod fathers.

“It was the Pope’s decision to include the points that did not receive the two-thirds majority,” he said.

“The Pope said: ‘These three points received an absolute majority. They were therefore not rejected with a ‘no,’ as they received more than 50 percent approval. They are therefore issues that still need to be developed. We as a Church want a consensus. These texts can be modified, that’s clear. Once there has been further reflection, they can be modified.”

These sections were re-published as part of the Lineamenta, without a note that they were rejected, that was sent out to the world’s bishops for discussion in preparation for the next Synod in October 2015.

Aleteia’s Diane Montagna writes that these latter comments from Baldisseri came in response to a question from a representative of a Venezuelan-based family organization, who asked for anonymity. This man expressed the “shock” and “concern” that has been the response of many Catholics around the world, particularly those involved in the struggle to defend life and family.

Baldisseri said, however, that the “shock” was misplaced. “We shouldn’t be shocked that there is a different position from the ‘common doctrine,’” he said. (?!!)

He assured the 300 conference attendees that “there’s no reason to be scandalized that there is a cardinal or a theologian saying something that’s different than the so-called ‘common doctrine.’ This doesn’t imply a going against. It means reflecting. Because dogma has its own evolution; that is a development, not a change.”

Montagna told that she had wanted to “be fair” to the cardinal, so she made a recording of all his comments to ensure that she could reproduce the quotes correctly.

She writes, “The Cardinal also informed us that the 46 questions published in the Lineamenta were the work of both the General Secretariat and the 15 members of the Council of the Secretariat. Responses are due April 15th.”

Baldisseri’s comments confirm the claim by another of the Church’s highest ranking prelates, Cardinal Reinhardt Marx, a member of the pope’s private council of nine cardinals, and the head of the German bishops’ conference. Marx said that it was Pope Francis who had “pushed the door open” on these topics.

“Up to now, these two issues have been absolutely non-negotiable. Although they had failed to get the two-thirds majority, the majority of the synod fathers had nevertheless voted in their favor,” he told Die Ziet.

“They are still part of the text,” Marx said. “I especially asked the pope about that, and the pope said he wanted all the points published together with all the voting results. He wanted everyone in the church to see where we stood.”

What some have argued is the Synod’s apparent program of easing the Church’s opposition to adultery, homosexuality, and other sexual sins has prompted some prelates to identify it as one of the great crisis points of Church history. Bishop Athanasius Schneider, who did not attend the Synod but said he had reflected deeply on the proceedings, said that it is a sign that the Church is entering a period comparable to that of its tumultuous early centuries.

“We are living in an un-Christian society, in a new paganism,” Schneider told an interviewer after the Synod closed.

“The temptation today for the clergy is to adapt to the new world to the new paganism, to be collaborationists. We are in a similar situation to the first centuries, when the majority of the society was pagan, and Christianity was discriminated against.”

He continued, “Unfortunately there were in the first century members of the clergy and even bishops who put grains of incense in front of the statue of the Emperor or of a pagan idol or who delivered the books of the Holy Scripture to be burned.”

In our times, he said, clergy and bishops are not being asked to pinch incense to the emperor, but “to collaborate with the pagan world today in this dissolution of the Sixth Commandment and in the revision of the way God created man and woman.” These clergy, he said, would be “traitors of the Faith; they are participating ultimately in pagan sacrifice.”


For the Record: As everyone knew, Pope approved most shocking document in the History of the Church of Rome

He also made clear that the non-approved paragraphs of the final report were included as part of the main document (in complete contradiction with any supposed notion of “synodality” or consensus) by direct papal order.


Protesting priest shouting ‘NOT IN THE BIBLE’ disrupts consecration of first female bishop in the Church of England!!

Christ and His Apostles chose only men to be priests, only men can validly become priests.

Christ and His Apostles chose only men to be priests, only men can validly become priests.

Protesting priest shouting ‘Not in the Bible’ disrupts consecration of first female bishop in the Church of England at York Minster

  • Rev Libby Lane, 48, was today consecrated as the Bishop of Stockport
  • Service at York Minster was led by the Archbishop of York, John Sentamu
  • Dissident priest Rev Paul Williamson interrupted the service shouting ‘Not in the Bible’
  • CofE spokesman said he was ‘serial protester expected to attend’
  • Rev Williamson has previously mounted several legal challenges against women in the church
  • Mrs Lane’s appointment came after years of furious argument over the possibility of female bishops
  • She is married to another vicar and is a mother of two

The first woman bishop in the history of the Church of England was today officially consecrated – but the ceremony at York Minster was disrupted by a protesting vicar. The Reverend Libby Lane became the Bishop of Stockport in a service conducted by the Archbishop of York, John Sentamu. The historic event was briefly interrupted by the appearance of an ultra-conservative priest, Rev Paul Williamson, shouting ‘Not in the Bible’ as she was presented to the congregation. 

Joy: Rev Libby Lane with the Archbishop of York after being consecrated as Bishop of Stockport

Rev Paul Williamson, an outspoken opponent of women in the church, heckled the ceremony

Rev Williamson interrupted the ceremony by shouting 'Not in the Bible'. A Church of England spokesman said his attempt to disrupt the ceremony was 'expected'

Disruption: Rev Paul Williamson, circled, shouted 'Not in the Bible' during the consecration service

Historic: Mrs Lane, centre, entering York Minster for a service consecrating her as Bishop of Stockport

First: Rev Libby Lane today became a bishop in the Church of England, overturning five centuries of tradition

Libby Lane

Emerging: Mrs Lane comes out of the church after being officially consecrated as a bishop

Gathered together: Mrs Lane with the Archbishops of York and Canterbury after the service

Congratulations: The new bishop hugs another priest during the ceremony

At today’s service – described by the new bishop as ‘an occasion of prayer and of party’ – Mrs Lane, 48, was greeted by the ringing bells of the medieval Minster as a congregation of 2,000 awaited her arrival. She entered the cathedral through the south door in a procession with other ministers and members of the clergy. The Archbishop of York introduced the service and welcomed Mrs Lane and her family before she was presented to be ordained and consecrated by the Bishops of Exeter and Chester. She spoke to affirm her faith and swore oaths of allegiance and canonical obedience, followed by hymns, Bible readings and psalms. As Dr Sentamu asked the congregation if they wanted Ms Lane to be ordained, Mr Williamson stepped forward to the altar and shouted: ‘No. Not in the Bible,’ demanding to speak to the prelate.

Support: The Archbishop of York, John Sentamu, gives a thumbs-up sign outside the cathedral

Shepherd: Mrs Lane with other female priests outside York Minster following the service

Archbishop: Dr Sentamu, centre, oversaw the service which was attended by 2,000 people

The Archbishop read out a pre-prepared legal statement then repeated his question, ‘Is it now your will that she should be ordained?’ The congregation replied, ‘It is,’ and the service continued despite the disruption. After the litany and an ordination prayer, Rev Lane knelt before the Archbishop while he and 100 other bishops present laid their hands on her head. Dr Sentamu presented the new bishop with a Bible and anointed her head. The congregation applauded as she was officially presented as the Bishop of Stockport. Mr Williamson, the vicar of St George’s, Hanworth in south-west London, is a well-known campaigner against female priests who tried to launch a lawsuit stopped Prince Charles from marrying Camilla Parker Bowles.

Unprecedented: Mrs Lane is the first woman ever to become a bishop in the Church of England

Service: The new bishop looks straight ahead during the service of her consecration

Procession: Dozens of church officials attended the service at York Minster today

Speaking after her consecration, Mrs Lane said: ‘Archbishop Sentamu has observed, “The way that we show our faith and our love for one another is with two simple things, prayer and parties.” ‘Today is an occasion of prayer and of party and I am thrilled that so many want to share in both. ‘I cannot properly express how encouraged I have been in the weeks since the announcement of my nomination, by the thousands of messages I have received with words of congratulation, support and wisdom. ‘Thank you to all who are praying for me and partying with me today.’ The bishop added: ‘I cannot possibly live up to everyone’s expectation. And so today, at my consecration, I hold on to words of promise from the Bible, a reassurance that all this does not depend on me.

‘My consecration service is not really about me. With echoes of practice which has been in place for hundreds of years in the church, it is a reminder that what I am about to embark on is shared by the bishops around me, by those who have gone before me and those who will come after.’

Authority: The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby was in York today for Mrs Lane's consecration

Embrace: Kate Bottley, a priest who features in TV's Gogglebox, greets Bishop of Manchester David Walker

Excitement: Two members of the clergy run into York Minster ahead of the service

On duty: TV presenter Adrian Chiles, who was sacked as ITV's football anchor last week, was in attendance

At the time of her appointment, Mrs Lane said it was a ‘great honour’ to be the first female bishop – but insisted that she would not simply be a token face. ‘This moment is significant, but it is not simply a gesture,’ she said. ‘I’m the first, but I won’t be the only. ‘And I follow in the footsteps of women across the Anglican Church and globally.’ The announcement prompted fears that it could lead to a split in the Anglican community, as traditionalists have long fought against the prospect of women becoming bishops. However, Mrs Lane said she wanted to ‘heal and not to hurt, to build up and not to destroy’. 

Capturing the moment: A priest takes a photograph as he waits for the start of the ceremony

Service: Many of those attending were dressed in their formal ecclesiastical vestments

Her husband George is also a reverend, while the couple have two children – Connie, 20, and Benedict, 18. Mrs Lane, originally from the Peak District, was already a pioneer as one of the first female priests in the Church of England, having been ordained in July 1994 after studying theology at St Peter’s College, Oxford. Her last job was as vicar of St Peter’s, Hale and St Elizabeth’s, Ashley – both in the North-West – and she was appointed to her new post after initially serving on the committee trying to find a bishop. In her spare time she is an avid Manchester United supporter who has learned to play the saxophone and enjoys solving cryptic crosswords.


Rev Libby Lane comes from an Anglican, but not particularly church-going, family. She became interested in the church after attending a small Anglican church community in rural Derbyshire. Rev Lane studied theology at St Peter’s College, Oxford, where she met her husband and trained for the ministry at Cranmer Hall, Durham. The 48-year-old was ordained as a deacon in 1993 and a priest in 1994 – the first year that women were ordained into the priesthood. Mrs Lane was ordained with her husband and they were one of the first married couples to do so. She has held a number of roles in the north of England in the dioceses of Blackburn, York and Chester. She was team Vicar in the Stockport South West Team and Assistant Diocesan Director of Ordinands in the Diocese of Chester. Rev Lane has been vicar at Hale in Greater Manchester and Ashley in Cheshire since 2007. She is married to the Rev George Lane, coordinating chaplain at Manchester Airport. They were one of the first married couples in the Church of England to be ordained together.

The couple have two children, Connie, 20, and Benedict, 18. Her interests include being a school governor, encouraging social action initiatives, learning to play the saxophone, supporting Manchester United, reading and doing cryptic crosswords. Mrs Lane was originally part of a committee tasked to find a candidate for the bishopric but was invited to apply herself following the vote in the Synod last month. Her position at the Bishop of Stockport makes her an assistant in the Chester Diocese.

But because the post is fairly junior she will not be allowed to sit in the House of Lords.

Source: Daily Mail


Pope given Buddhist temple’s highest honor!

Anti-pope Bergoglio is the second pontiff to visit a Buddhist place of worship after St. John Paul II paid his respects at a temple in Thailand in 1984. Monks at the Agrashravaka Temple opened a casket containing important Buddhist relics, an event that usually only takes place once a year. The head monk at the temple, Banagala Upatissa, said opening the relics was "the highest honor and respect" they could show to the pontiff.

Anti-pope Bergoglio is the second pontiff to visit a Buddhist place of worship after St. John Paul II paid his respects at a temple in Thailand in 1984.

Pope Francis made a last-minute change to his schedule late Wednesday to visit an important Buddhist temple in Sri Lanka’s capital, becoming only the second pontiff to visit a Buddhist place of worship after St. John Paul II paid his respects at a temple in Thailand in 1984.

Monks at the Agrashravaka Temple opened a casket containing important Buddhist relics, an event that usually only takes place once a year. The head monk at the temple, Banagala Upatissa, said opening the relics was “the highest honor and respect” they could show to the pontiff.

By Nicole Winfield, AP writer, Colombo, Sri Lanka


Pope Francis isn’t afraid of a little rain, but a tropical storm is something else.

The Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, was asked Wednesday if Francis might alter his schedule in the Philippines as a result of a tropical storm brewing in the Pacific that is heading toward the eastern coast.

“We hope there is not a hurricane, that it is only rain,” Lombardi said. “If there is only rain, the pope has no fear of the rain — we see him in St. Peter’s Square, he is ready to be in the rain! We hope it is not a particularly hard situation, but we will see.”

Forecasters say the storm has maximum sustained winds of 65 kilometers (40 miles) per hour and higher gusts. It may not make landfall, but will come close to Tacloban on Leyte Island, where the pope is to meet with survivors of the 2013 Typhoon Haiyan.

By Nicole Winfield, AP writer, Colombo, Sri Lanka


Sri Lanka’s holiest Christian site, the Our Lady of Madhu shrine, has a remarkable, centuries-long history as a place of refuge for Christians fleeing war and persecution.

Pope Francis traveled to the jungles of northern Sri Lanka to visit the shrine and pray before its statue of the Madonna, which is believed to hold miraculous healing powers.

The shrine dates from the 16th century when Christians fleeing persecution in the kingdom of Jaffna established a sanctuary in the area, bringing the statue with them. The current shrine dates from 1670 when Catholics fleeing persecution — this time from Dutch colonizers — built the blue and white house that now holds the Madonna.

During the 25-year civil war that wracked Sri Lanka, civilians sought refuge in the shrine, though in the war’s final months the villages surrounding Madhu emptied out as residents fled deeper into rebel territory to escape the government offensives. At one point, the priest in charge of the shrine fled for safety with the statue, but both returned.

On Wednesday, Francis cradled the statue in his arms.

“Let us ask that this shrine may always be a house of prayer and a haven of peace,” he said.


Pope Francis headed by helicopter to a well-known Catholic shrine in Madhu, a tiny town in Sri Lanka’s north that was often controlled by the Tamil Tiger rebels  and often a scene of violence  during the country’s 25-year civil war.

Mary Conseeta’s two teenage brothers were killed when their school bus hit a roadside bomb in 2008. Conseeta, now 22, escaped with a leg wound. Sri Lankan forces that secretly entered the rebel area were blamed for the attack.

“I have faced enormous losses,” Conseeta said. “Not only me, everyone who is here is carrying some form of grief. All I pray for is peace. I believe the holy father’s visit will be a remedy for our pain.”

By Jayampathi Palipane, AP videojournalist, Madhu, Sri Lanka

Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus! Outside of which there is No Salvation.

Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus! Outside of which there is No Salvation.


Sri Lanka’s Catholic bishops knew exactly what they wanted when asked what gift they’d like from Pope Francis to commemorate his visit: a high-quality replica of a 1694 decree issued by the king of Kandy — then an independent state on the island — saying he didn’t oppose the conversion to Christianity of Sinhalese Buddhists.

The decree was presented to Pope Leo XIII well over a century ago by the then-archbishop of Colombo. Now amid increasingly loud demands by extremist Buddhists seeking an all-Buddhist Sri Lanka — the bishops wanted the decree crystallizing religious freedom back home.

According to a translation provided by the Vatican, the document from King Keerthi Sri Raja Singhe of Kandy declares that “it is not prohibited to those who wish among the multitude of Sinhalese to become Christians, and permits all the pastors of the same order to preach to those born in Sri Lanka and believers of the noble doctrine of Buddhism that some convert to Christianity.”

It adds that Christian ministers “are authorized to build churches where there are Christian faithful and to carry out whatever is necessary to promote their religion.”

Nicole Winfield, AP writer, Colombo, Sri Lanka

Pope Francis, center, delivers a prayer at the church of Our Lady of Madhu in Madhu, Sri Lanka,Wednesday, Jan. 14, 2015. Thousands of people waving the white...Pope Francis, center, delivers a prayer at the church of Our Lady of Madhu in Madhu, Sri Lanka,Wednesday, Jan. 14, 2015. Thousands of people waving the white and yellow Vatican flags were on hand to welcome Francis to the Our Lady of Madhu shrine, which is revered by both Sinhalese and Tamil Catholics, as well as Sri Lankans of other faiths. Francis also traveled to the jungles of war-torn northern Sri Lanka on Wednesday to show solidarity with the victims of the country’s 25-year civil war and urge forgiveness and reconciliation “for all the evil which this land has known.” (AP Photo/L’Osservatore Romano, Pool)


Pope Francis canonized the Indian-born Joseph Vaz as Sri Lanka’s first saint during a Wednesday morning Mass in Colombo attended by more than a half million people.

Vaz, a 17th century missionary to Sri Lanka from what was then the Portuguese colony of Goa, sometimes worked in secret, dressing up as a laborer or beggar so he wouldn’t be arrested by the island’s hard-line Calvinist colonial rulers.

Catholic tradition says Vaz miraculously brought rain to the independent kingdom of Kandy, in central and eastern Sri Lanka, during a major drought. As a result, Kandy’s king gave Vaz protection and allowed him to work there openly.

The first calls to have Vaz made a saint came soon after he died, in 1711, in Kandy.

By Tim Sullivan, AP writer, New Delhi — Twitter:


In his canonization of Sri Lanka’s first saint, Pope Francis cited three reasons why Joseph Vaz sets an example, even today:

Exemplary priest: “He teaches us how to go out to the peripheries, to make Jesus Christ everywhere known and loved.”

Transcending religious divisions: “His example continues to inspire the church in Sri Lanka today. (The church) gladly and generously serves all members of society. She makes no distinction of race, creed, tribe, status or religion.”

Missionary zeal: “I pray that, following the example of Saint Joseph Vaz, the Christians of this country may be confirmed in faith and make an ever greater contribution to peace, justice and reconciliation in Sri Lankan society.”

By Ken Moritsugu, AP writer, Manila, Philippines


Mothers carried babies and young people helped elderly relatives as the last of thousands of people streamed onto Galle Face Green, the seaside park where Pope Francis was celebrating Mass on Wednesday morning. The crowds poured off buses and from the nearby railway station. Security was tight, and everyone had to walk the last few hundred meters (yards), but the feel was festive, and taxi drivers were handing out free cups of tea.

Sure you could stay home and watch it all in comfort. But that, they said, could not capture the feel of being there in person.

“With today’s advanced technology, you can see him on television and on the Internet,” said Kolitha Fernando, a retired clerk from the hill town of Kandy. “But to see him with your naked eyes, that’s a great feeling and a privilege for a Catholic.”(??)

Bharatha Mallawarachi, AP writer, Colombo, Sri Lanka


The pope canonized Joseph Vaz as Sri Lanka’s first saint, but Vaz was actually born an Indian in 1651 in what was then the Portuguese colony of Goa.

Vaz spent 23 years ministering to the Catholic community in Sri Lanka, sometimes working in secret because of the threat of persecution by the island’s Dutch rulers, who were die-hard Calvinists.

Today, Goa is an Indian state famous for its centuries-old churches, beautiful beaches and hordes of tourists. Catholics still make up about one-quarter of Goa’s population of 1.5 million. Bells were to toll in the state’s churches and cathedrals at the time of Vaz’s canonization, church officials said.

Manuel Ubaldo Dias, a Goa church official, said prayers to commemorate the sainthood would also be held there on Jan. 16, the day traditionally celebrated in Vaz’s honor.

“This is a great day for us. Something we have been waiting for years,” Dias said.

Nirmala George, AP writer, New Delhi — Twitter:


When Pope Francis canonized Sri Lanka’s first saint on Wednesday, he again proved he has little tolerance for pointless rules, skirting the Vatican’s normal saint-making regulations. While the church traditionally requires two miracles for sainthood, the Vatican never confirmed a second attributed to the intercession of Vaz, who is credited with reviving Catholicism during anti-Catholic persecution by Dutch colonizers.

Rather, Francis simply signed off on a decision by the Vatican’s saint-making office that Vaz warranted canonization. It’s the same thing Francis did for a far better-known new saint, Pope John XXIII, and is a sign that he firmly believes the faithful need more models of holiness without the technical, time-consuming and costly process of confirming inexplicable miracles.

Nicole Winfield, AP writer, Colombo, Sri Lanka — Twitter:


Catholics make up slightly more than 6 percent of Sri Lanka’s population of 21 million, according to the government. They are by far the largest Christian denomination in the country. Other Christians make up just 1.3 percent of the population, which is mostly Buddhist.

Catholic devotees touch a statue of the Virgin Mary as Pope Francis delivers a prayer at the church of Our Lady of Madhu in Madhu, Sri Lanka,Wednesday, Jan. ...

Pope Francis waves to faithful as he arrives in Madhu, Sri Lanka, Wednesday, Jan. 14, 2015. Pope Francis traveled to the jungles of war-torn northern Sri Lan...

Pope Francis raises his hands during Mass at Colombo's seafront Galle Face Green for the canonization ceremony of Joseph Vaz, Wednesday, Jan. 14, 2015. Franc...

A devotee stretches out his hand to touch the hand of Pope Francis as he arrives to hold a mass at Colombo's seafront Galle Face Green for the canonization c...

The faithfuls takes photos of Pope Francis as he arrives in Colombo's seafront Galle Face Green for the canonization ceremony of Joseph Vaz, Wednesday, Jan. ...

Colombo's seafront Galle Face Green is filled with audience witnessing the canonization ceremony of Joseph Vaz by Pope Francis, in Sri Lanka, Wednesday, Jan....

Pope Francis, right, arrives in Colombo's seafront Galle Face Green for the  canonization ceremony of Joseph Vaz, Wednesday, Jan. 14, 2015. Pope Francis pres...

Pope Francis, center right, holding his pastoral staff, arrives in the seafront Galle Face Green for the canonization ceremony of Joseph Vaz, in Colombo, Sri...

A man kisses Pope Francis's hand upon his arrival in the seafront Galle Face Green for the canonization ceremony of Joseph Vaz, in Colombo, Sri Lanka,  Wedne...

A Catholic priest adjusts the uniform of boys who are dressed as Vatican Swiss guards during a rehearsal for the visit of Pope Francis outside the Manila Cat...

Source: Daily Mail

Related: Francis ‘impromptu’ visit to Mahabodhi Biharaya

Call me Jorge Bergoglio


Religion and Environmental Studies Prof: ‘Church has never been clear’ on animals – ‘Conservative Catholics have got their rosaries in a bunch?!!’

Catholics in Catfight Over Dog Afterlife

Pius X- Progress of DogmasSt. Pius X ora pro nobis

Catholics in Catfight Over Dog Afterlife

By Jordan Lebeau –

Editor’s note: This story was written based on several news outlets’ reports that Pope Francis told a boy whose dog had died that animals went to Heaven. Vatican Radio reports that Francis actually said “The Holy Scripture teaches us that the fulfillment of this wonderful design also affects everything around us” during a general audience last month. It was Pope Paul VI—not Francis—who told a boy mourning the death of his pet dog that he would see his pet again in Heaven.

During his weekly address in St. Peter’s Square, Pope Francis confirmed that dogs, with the rest of “God’s creatures,” can and do in fact, go to heaven. (???!)

The Pope was quoted by Italian news outlets as saying, “one day, we will see our animals again in the eternity of Christ. Paradise is open to all of God’s creatures.”

Pope Francis has been viewed by many as a progressive voice for change in his short tenure as Holy Father. Earlier in his stint, the world became aware that the pontiff enjoys immoral dance, once bounced at a bar, and drives a car with deck chair style seats and a 30 horsepower engine. When he’s not sullying the office of the Pope (in the eyes of his critics), he spends his spare time bashing the priests he was elected to serve.

Gospel according to Bergoglio: Animals go to heaven.

Gospel according to Bergoglio: Animals go to heaven.

Still, devout conservative Catholics have got their rosaries in a bunch over his latest declaration. For all that Popes do agree on from one to the next, it seems they have a tough time agreeing on whether Old Yeller went to that great fire hydrant in the sky.

Lauren Hobgood-Oster, a professor of religion and environmental studies at Southwestern University told the New York Times, “Historically, the Catholic Church has never been clear on this question; it’s all over the place, because it begs so many other questions.”



Pope Francis Equates Christian Fundamentalists to Islamist Killers & Terrorists!

Resist Bergoglio!

Resist Bergoglio!

Pope Francis equated Christianity with Islam while leaving Turkey.
“We have our share of fundamentalists” too.

The pope also said fighting poverty and hunger were key to defeating Islamist killers.
The Jerusalem Post reported:

Pope Francis said Sunday that equating Islam with violence was wrong and called on Muslim leaders to issue a global condemnation of terrorism to help dispel the stereotype.

Francis, the leader of 1.2 billion Roman Catholics, told reporters aboard his plane returning from a visit to Turkey that he understood why Muslims were offended by many in the West who automatically equated their religion with terrorism.

Francis’ predecessor, Benedict XVI, caused storms of protest throughout the Islamic world in 2006, when he made a speech that suggested to many Muslims that he believed Islam espoused violence.

Benedict said he had been misunderstood and apologized. But this year, the image of a violent religion has once more been promoted by Islamic State, who have seized swathes of Syria and Iraq, slaughtering or driving out Shi’ite Muslims, Christians and others who do not share their radical brand of Sunni Islam.

The Argentine pope, who has been trying to foster cooperation with moderate Islam in order to work for peace and protect Christians in the Middle East, said it was wrong for anyone to react to terrorism by being “enraged” against Islam.

“You just can’t say that, just as you can’t say that all Christians are fundamentalists. We have our share of them (fundamentalists). All religions have these little groups,” he said.

Muslims slaughtered 683 innocents THIS WEEK.
Christian fundamentalists have killed no one.
Someone needs to talk with this pope!!

Source: The Gateway Pundit