1. Site: Fr Hunwicke's Mutual Enrichment
    0 sec ago
    Since the Council, an idea has been spreading that Judaism is not superseded by the New Covenant of Jesus Christ; that Jews still have available to them the Covenant of the old Law, by which they can be saved. It is therefore unnecessary for them to turn to Christ; unnecessary for anybody to convert them to faith in Christ. Indeed, attempting to do so is an act of aggression not dissimilar to theFr John Hunwickehttp://www.blogger.com/profile/17766211573399409633noreply@blogger.com11
  2. Site: Fr Hunwicke's Mutual Enrichment
    0 sec ago
    S Paul loved his fellow Jews, his 'kinsmen' and believed "the gifts and call of God are irrevocable". He believed that at the End, those among them who had rejected Christ would be brought in to the chosen people. He believed that they were like olive branches which had been cut off so that the Gentiles, wild olive branches, could be grafted in. But, when the fulness of the Gentiles had entered Fr John Hunwickehttp://www.blogger.com/profile/17766211573399409633noreply@blogger.com3
  3. Site: Fr Hunwicke's Mutual Enrichment
    0 sec ago
    Lex orandi lex credendi. I have been examining the Two Covenant Dogma: the fashionable error that God's First Covenant, with the Jews, is still fully and salvifically valid, so that the call to saving faith in Christ Jesus is not made to them. The 'New' Covenant, it is claimed, is now only for Gentiles. I want to draw attention at this point to the witness of the post-Conciliar Magisterium of theFr John Hunwickehttp://www.blogger.com/profile/17766211573399409633noreply@blogger.com13
  4. Site: Fr Hunwicke's Mutual Enrichment
    0 sec ago
    We have seen that the Two Covenant Theory, the idea that Jewry alone is guaranteed Salvation without any need to convert to Christ, is repugnant to Scripture, to the Fathers, even to the post-Conciliar liturgy of the Catholic Church. It is also subversive of the basic grammar of the relationship between the Old and the New Testaments. Throughout  two millennia, in Scripture, in Liturgy, in her Fr John Hunwickehttp://www.blogger.com/profile/17766211573399409633noreply@blogger.com7
  5. Site: Fr Hunwicke's Mutual Enrichment
    0 sec ago
    The sort of people who would violently reject the points I am making are the sort of people who would not be impressed by the the Council of Florence. So I am going to confine myself to the Magisterium from the time of Pius XII ... since it is increasingly coming to be realised that the continuum of processes which we associate with the Conciliar and post-Conciliar period was already in operationFr John Hunwickehttp://www.blogger.com/profile/17766211573399409633noreply@blogger.com0
  6. Site: Fr Hunwicke's Mutual Enrichment
    0 sec ago
    In 1980, addressing a Jewish gathering in Germany, B John Paul II said (I extract this from a long sentence): " ... dialogue; that is, the meeting between the people of the Old Covenant (never revoked by God, cf Romans 11:29) and that of the New Covenant, is at the same time ..." In 2013, Pope Francis, in the course of his Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii gaudium, also referred to the Old Fr John Hunwickehttp://www.blogger.com/profile/17766211573399409633noreply@blogger.com10
  7. Site: Fr Hunwicke's Mutual Enrichment
    0 sec ago
    Continues ...  I should add that Jesse Billett gives critical editions of three unregarded liturgical fragments, relegated to 'Appendix' status but all of them important and with each detail treated with scrupulous attention. I have not checked through the tables which are a prominent feature of the book and which make it easier to follow his discussion, but, in what I have looked at, I have not Fr John Hunwickehttp://www.blogger.com/profile/17766211573399409633noreply@blogger.com2
  8. Site: Fr Hunwicke's Mutual Enrichment
    0 sec ago
    I popped into the Cathedral the other day to warm my hands at what Mgr R A Kox and his chums in the SSPP would have advertised as a "Latimer and Ridley Pricket Stand". It is propped up against a modern and rather nasty statue of our Lady. Frankly, I think the flickering candles (none of that electrical technology here; modern Anglicans find Mystic Flicker more attractive) would be better placed Fr John Hunwickehttp://www.blogger.com/profile/17766211573399409633noreply@blogger.com0
  9. Site: SydneyTrads
    55 min 58 sec ago
    Author: SydneyTrads

    It is a common-place assumption that brains generate consciousness. The fact that brain damage, drug use, sleep deprivation, etc., impair thinking seems to confirm the brain’s generative capacity. However, how a physical mechanism could generate subjective experience is entirely unknown. In fact, the existence of top down causation — where the mind affects the brain and body — is inconsistent with the notion. Although normally correlated, consciousness exists when the brain is not functioning, and in the case of some living organisms, also in the absence of brains all together. This may well be why brain science has done little to explain the mystery of consciousness and may never succeed in doing so.

    Part I
    The Relationship Between Brains, Consciousness and Intelligence

    Brains and a nervous system (per se) are not necessary for memory or evaluation. Consider the stentor raesilii which are a trumpet-shaped single-celled organism. If they are disturbed, they withdraw themselves out of harm’s way. If the stimulus appears to be harmless, the Stentor will quickly cease to react to the stimulus in a process called “habituation.” If the stimulus is a threat, then it appears the Stentor will increase the speed of retraction in a process called “sensitization.” If the negative stimulus continues, eventually the Stentor will swim away and attach itself elsewhere.

    The slowing down of retraction and then its ignoring the stimulus is not due to the depletion of chemical resources. This is proven with sensitization, where the reaction times actually increase.1 Thus, Stentors exhibit what appears or could at least be described as some rudimentary form of memory, and even a process of seemingly rational decision making. They evaluate the stimulus, change their reactions depending on the assessed risk, remember what happened last time and decide to try living somewhere else if the negative stimulus is too prolonged and threatening all without a brain or nervous system.

    In “Is Your Brain Really Necessary?” Roger Lewin discusses a paper of the same name which was presented by John Lorber, who writes about several remarkable cases of hydrocephalus.2 This condition occurs when spinal fluid leaks into the skull in utero and prevents the brain from developing in the normal fashion. In some cases, this results in severe mental retardation, but in other instances the people suffering from hydrocephalus have 95% of their brain missing and are actually of above average mental functioning with no deficits whatsoever. In other instances, children who have had half their brains removed due to chronic epilepsy have gone on to make a full recovery and to have all the normal mental functioning of anybody else. In light of the above, the popular belief which holds that the brain is central to the individual’s functionality or sense of self, seems to require at least some level of qualification.

    Consider also brain plasticity, which is exhibited by stroke victims where parts of the brain are repurposed, and lost mental functions become performed by portions of the brain that once dealt with other tasks.3 This is achieved simply by a combination of merely wanting to regain an old ability and by trying to perform this ability repeatedly. But if parts of the brain can be repurposed, it means that there is not much point in trying to understand why one part of the brain does something different from another part of the brain. This is related to the fact that how one brain performs a particular task can be different from how another brain does it. Even the neurons that control the left and right ears of mice are in different parts of the brain and differ from mouse to mouse.4

    This means that brain science has a big data problem. “Big data” is the term used to refer to masses of collected data that have no obvious meaning. No one has been able to come up with a theory that makes sense of it all. Since “data” is relative to a scientific theory or hypothesis, where neither theory nor hypothesis exist, “data” cannot be seen as constituting real knowledge, or anything very meaningful at all.

    Part II
    Placebos and Nocebos

    Philosophers refer to top down causation and bottom up causation. Bottom up causation occurs when physical factors affect the mind – such as sleep deprivation, or alcohol and caffeine consumption. Top down causation is when the mind affects the brain and the rest of the body. This occurs, for instance, when people get emotionally upset by what someone has said, raising blood pressure and increasing respiration. Brain plasticity is an example of top down causation.

    If mind were simply a product of brain function with the brain being a machine that produces consciousness, then it should not be possible for the mind’s wishes to turn around and affect what is producing it. Placebos and nocebos provide a striking example of this kind of top down causation.

    Henry K. Beecher accidentally discovered placebos in World War II. Having run out of morphine, he injected wounded soldiers with saline solution telling them it was morphine. This had exactly the same pain-killing affect that actual morphine does. It is now known that placebo painkillers work on exactly the same physical principles as ‘real’ painkillers. Both function by releasing dopamine into the brain. This means that the recipients of placebo painkillers do not just falsely think that the pain has been reduced when it has not. The pain really is reduced.

    Materialist scientists recognized the mind over matter implications of placebos and many of them steadfastly rejected their existence for many years. Unfortunately for them, the placebo effect is very real and stands up to experimental verification. It is repeatable and publicly observable. In fact, placebos are now a mandatory part of drug testing. It is sometimes mistakenly thought that giving someone a placebo is giving them ‘nothing’. However, as has just been seen, placebos result in real physical effects. Thus, a controlled drug experiment would have to include three parts – the drug to be tested, a placebo, and literally nothing.

    Nocebo is the name given to a placebo that has negative effects. In a well-known experiment reported in the article “Behaviorally Conditioned Immunosuppression” by Robert Ader and Nicholas Cohen, rats were given sugar water with a drug that suppresses the immune system. All the rats were sickened and half died. The remaining rats were then nursed back to health. They were then fed the sugar water with no added drug. Half of the recovered rats died as a result and all were sickened.5 This means that a mere belief or association can be enough to kill a creature. It is definitely mind over matter – a phrase that when repeated by one of my students in her psychology class reduced the professor to a fit of apoplexy.

    It now appears that most or all of the efficacy of anti-depressants is the result of the placebo effect. Irving Kirsch in “Antidepressants and the Placebo Effect” shows that if antidepressants outperform placebos at all, it is probably due to antidepressants having some rather horrible side effects, such as nausea.6 This means that patients and doctors are frequently able to tell whether patients are receiving the ‘real’ drug or the placebo, effectively increasing the placebo effect for the ‘real’ drug.

    Part III
    Near Death Experiences

    Near Death Experiences (herein NDEs) are also not consistent with the notion that the brain produces consciousness rather than being merely the usual means that mind interfaces with physical reality. Pim van Lommel’s Consciousness Beyond Life is an excellent scientifically-minded book on the subject.7 Van Lommel is a Dutch cardiologist and his work on NDEs has been published in The Lancet, the premiere British medical journal. He is at pains to show why many objections to the existence of NDEs are ill-informed and scientifically unsound. Oftentimes these ‘objections’ are merely ad hoc musings with no evidential support and, in many cases, in contradiction with the known facts.

    Some of the important features of NDEs include the fact that some people who were blind from birth experience perfect vision during an episode.8 This is particularly interesting because if sight is restored to someone blind from birth under normal conditions, their brains are unable to make sense of the unfamiliar sensory input.9 Moreover, NDE experiences are typically hyper lucid, faster, clearer, more ‘real’ seeming, than everyday experience, with good memory formation.10 None of these facts is consistent with the notion that NDEs are the result of oxygen deprivation which results in hazy experiences and interferes with memory formation.

    Many NDEs contain verifiable perceptions, such as the story of a comatose patient who identified the man who had removed his false teeth while the patient was in a coma and asked him where he had put them.11 Likewise, in the famous case of Pam Reynolds, she was able to identify the music playing in the operating theater, the tools used to open her cranium and the conversations had by the medical personnel during the operation. This, while her eyes were taped shut and ‘clickers’ in her ears. Most importantly, her brain also had zero electrical activity at the time.12

    NDEs are unlikely to be a human invention since there is large cross-cultural agreement about their features and their existence. Tibetan Buddhists, Plato’s story of Er, adherents of Judaism, Jainism, Islam, Hinduism and Christian mystics have reported similar phenomena to NDEs, including life review. Children who have not heard of NDEs have had them; sometimes meeting dead relatives or friends who they did not know were dead.13 Blind people seeing, verifiable perceptions, cross-cultural agreement and children’s NDEs mean that the notion that NDEs are hallucinations is not sustainable.

    NDEs can include an out of body experience, an awareness of being dead, positive emotions, moving through a tunnel, the observation of colors, the observation of a celestial landscape, and the presence of a border with an awareness that if this border were crossed, it would not be possible to come back.14 Most importantly, NDEs cannot be the product of residual, undetectable brain function during cardiac arrest and therefore not detectable by an EEG. This is because of certain scientific facts concerning brain function.

    Muscles store glycogen, but the brain does not. The brain cannot operate without oxygen and blood flow. If the heartbeat is not immediately restored, there is a complete loss of all electrical activity in the cerebral cortex. This is always the result in between 10 and 20 seconds (15 sec. average).15 The first result of the absence of blood flow is a neuron’s inability to maintain its membrane potential, resulting in a loss of neuronal function.

    The acute loss of electrical and synaptic activity in neurons can be seen as the cell’s inbuilt defense and energy-saving response. The remaining energy sources can be briefly deployed for the cell’s survival, for just a few minutes. The joint and simultaneous activity of the cerebral cortex and brain stem is a prerequisite for brain associated consciousness as shown by MRIs.16

    Blood flow to the brain during resuscitation is not enough to restore consciousness. Consciousness with no EEG reading should not be possible if consciousness were always dependent on brain activity. Upon resuscitation, it takes between hours and several days for an EEG to return to normal. Recovery of consciousness takes from between 5 minutes, to 72 hours, with a mean time of 6 hours. Until this occurs, the brain mostly flatlines.17 So NDEs are not the result of brain activity as one is being resuscitated.  NDEs are not related to medications, the duration of a cardiac arrest, the duration of unconsciousness, a fear of death, the standard of education, religious beliefs or religion, or familiarity with the notion of NDEs.18

    Deathbed visitations are also common, where within a week or two of death a dying person experiences a visit from a loved one who has predeceased him. In many cases the visitor is invisible to others in the room and the dying person seems to be interacting with thin air.19 In other cases, the visitors are visible to the attending doctors and nurses and have been picked out of photos that include large groups of people.20 So, for instance, a nurse says “this is the person I saw” and points at what turns out to be the dead husband of the dying patient. The dying patient confirms that this is who visited her.

    Part IV
    So What is Consciousness if Not Something Produced by Brains?

    Consciousness is ultimately one and indivisible. Not being physical, it has no borders or boundaries. It is not a thing. It is that in which things arise. It is that with which we are most intimately familiar and yet it is a mystery. It is a light that shines through the eyes of all sentient beings, plants and atoms too; in all Nature. Of one being with the Father, Creation is a thought that shares in the divinity and sacredness of its Source, hence it has intrinsic value, providing the basis for ethics.

    Life on Earth is a school in which the soul and ego are buffed and polished to try to let the light shine through. Or as Plotinus puts it, we sculpt the soul through suffering; slowly, painfully eliminating that which is not beautiful in the pursuit of happiness. Plotinus’ question – why do we love the beautiful? – is profound. His answer: Beauty, Truth and Goodness attract us as reminders of our true home; of our origin. The made seeking its Maker.

    Plotinus points out that Plato’s Cave identifies four levels; the physical, mind (psyche), soul (nous) and the One (the Form of the Good). The mind is the self, the ego; thoughts and feelings that come and go. The Transcendental Self is the soul.

    I am not I
    Juan Ramon Jimenez

    I am not I.
    I am this one
    Walking beside me whom I do not see,
    Whom at times I manage to visit,
    And whom at other times I forget;
    The one who remains silent when I talk,
    The one who forgives, sweet, when I hate,
    The one who takes a walk where I am not,
    The one who will remain standing when I die.

    A time must be found when the mind shuts up and lets the soul speak its silent message. In pursuit of happiness, the ego must imitate the relative perfection of the soul. All that really matters is invisible; love, meaning, purpose, emotion, value, morality, inner beauty, consciousness and God. To attack one is to attack all.

    Part V

    (a) The Mind at Large

    The Cambridge philosopher C. D. Broad argued that the brain, nervous system and sense organs are eliminative rather than productive. In The Doors of Perception, Aldous Huxley comments that mind at large is “funnelled through the reducing valve of the brain and nervous system. What comes out at the other end is a measly trickle of the kind of consciousness which will help us to stay alive on the surface of this particular planet. To formulate and express the contents of this reduced awareness, man has invented … languages.”21 Otherwise we would be overwhelmed by useless and irrelevant knowledge.

    This is consistent with Frederick Myer’s earlier assertion that human consciousness evolves and adapts according to environmental and social pressures.22 Abilities are developed and others are allowed to wither according to the demands of living in a particular context. Hunter gatherers will have a much more alert and intense interaction with their natural environment than someone living in a contemporary developed country, but their ability to think abstractly will probably be minimal. It is just not relevant or necessary for their existence.

    The eliminative function of the brain seems to be supported by neurophysiology. The brains of babies are a mass of interconnections. Those interconnections that are not used are pruned away and those that are used are thereby reinforced and strengthened. Like muscles, use and activity affect the very structure of the brain. Abilities that are practiced improve and those that are irrelevant or ignored remain merely potential or disappear. Windows of development open and then close if the relevant activities fail to materialize.23

    (b) The Mind and Epistemology

    Consciousness is experienced directly only from a first-person perspective and so is not amenable to scientific analysis grounded in third-person techniques. Buddhist meditation provides an alternative route; first focusing attention on the body, then the mind, the soul and then resting in nondual awareness coextensive with mind at large. Experience of the true nature of consciousness can only be attained by actually engaging in meditative practices.

    Since science focuses on what can be physically verified, its truths are in principle accessible to all. Science is a lowest common denominator phenomenon – mind using what can be very sophisticated techniques to study matter. By restricting themselves to studying the tactile and physical, scientists examine the world like very intelligent babies. Becoming habituated to this mode of thinking déformation professionnelle leads many of them to nihilism since meaning and purpose, being invisible, are excluded from their purview.

    Real babies, however, only exist because of love – one of the invisibles. Without love and affection most babies give up the will to live. Understaffed orphanages can have astronomical mortality rates for this reason. Those babies who survive are likely to suffer from attachment disorder and remain unassimilable to normal human society, having no interest in their fellow humans.24

    Whatever the popularity and prestige of science, in real life mind cannot be ignored. Social existence means paying careful attention to the varying emotions and thoughts conveyed by faces, tones of voice and gesture. Far from being skeptical as to other people’s consciousness, close attention is paid to every nuance of an interlocutor. This ability to recognize human emotional states is highly developed by dogs in particular with whom humans have coevolved. Dogs, cats and humans relate to each other as conscious beings.

    (c) The Four Quadrants

    Ken Wilber locates interior subjectivity and individual consciousness in the top left-hand quadrant.25 Human consciousness is a collective phenomenon. Without culture (bottom left-hand quadrant) and the economic system that sustains it (bottom right-hand quadrant) humans cannot exist. So, to understand oneself it is necessary to study the cultural heritage of which a person’s individual mind is a part. Thoughts are influenced by the thoughts of others. Likewise, normally, the brain and mind are intricately related (top-right quadrant).

    Mystics like Plato and Plotinus focus on interior subjectivity. Each person tends to have his favorite quadrant, but each quadrant influences the other. Brain and body influence mind – bottom up causation – and mind influences brain and body – top down causation. Individual minds exist within a cultural heritage that provides concepts, traditions, points of view, literature, poetry, music, art and philosophy. And those in turn are influenced by social institutions like the Church and economic practices.

    So consciousness at the level of mind exists in a social and cultural context which changes. Spiritual truth remains constant, but, as is frequently observed, each generation must rediscover those truths for itself. People use the concepts and points of view available to them. Without the process of rediscovery, coming to know and feel the truth, spiritual truth is in danger of becoming what William James calls a “dead option.”26 A commonly suggested example is the notion that it is no longer possible to believe in the existence of the Greek gods.

    Thanks to the discovery of the Big Bang, Moderns know that the universe itself is evolving and this becomes a way of re-acknowledging the older organismic and animistic conception of the universe as alive and conscious expressed in Plotinus’ notion of the World Soul. Wilber points out that Plato’s Cave can easily be set in motion and depict the history of the universe as well as the path of individual growth.27 By making these minor adjustments it is possible to keep spiritual realities as live hypotheses.

    One thing missing from Wilber’s picture is a quadrant of “You.” It is important that a distinction is recognized between the You who is not I. “We” is merely the plural of “I.” This provides a link to the Absolute, but “You” recognizes that you may have different desires and ambitions from me. Christianity emphasizes the I/Thou of the Relative, while Buddhism tends to focus on the We – all is one.

    Part VI
    René Girard

    Part of the communality of human consciousness is its intensely mimetic (imitative) nature. Thoughts, attitudes, desires, points of view, beliefs and the language employed are all copied from other people. Even the desire to be original, if it exists in the individual, is mimetic. The possessor of this desire has copied it from the people around him. There is nothing original about wanting to be original. Thus, human consciousness is inherently communal. Without the shared aspect; without copying the speech and behaviors of others; someone is not really human at all – just a grunting animal who would possibly never discover the ability to walk on two legs.

    Humans only exist as persons in relationship with others. Each person discovers who he is in connection with other people.

    Epistemically, it can happen that the communal nature of human consciousness gets ignored or forgotten. The mind is the means by which we think. Each person is bequeathed ideas, concepts, modes of thought from others which are then used to think about, among other things, ideas, concepts and modes of thought. What is doing the studying is of a piece with the thing being studied. Philosophers are notorious for ignoring the self-reflexive implications of what they write, generating tears-inducing absurdities.

    René Girard argues that human consciousness originated in the communal awareness generated by scapegoating.28 With the scapegoat mechanism, the violence that comes from imitating desires, wanting what other people want, is assuaged when an innocent victim is blamed for all the mutual antagonisms and murdered; thus, ending the conflict in cooperation. Fortunately, Judaism and most especially the Passion of the Christ brought the scapegoat mechanism to light. Jesus is the innocent victim murdered by an angry mob par excellence and the disciples served to counter the usual universal condemnation of the scapegoat. Unfortunately, this awareness has remained partial at best and with the fading popularity of Christianity, pagan scapegoating is enjoying a renaissance. Many people fail to recognize that bonding together over the shared hatred of anyone at all, from presidents, to criminals, to the physically handicapped, is to scapegoat.

    Part VII
    Faith and the True Myth

    With regard to religious experience, if something falls outside a person’s range of experiences, he must take what other people say on trust and faith. For instance, if someone cannot do or understand calculus, he might still have faith that some people can do it and that it is a meaningful exercise.

    Fortunately, there is something more than faith alone and that is anamnesis. That was Plato’s way of referring to the ability of some deep part of a person’s soul to recall aspects of reality encountered in the afterlife.29 Intuitive knowledge or sympathy for an idea means the idea resonates with an inner conviction that is a remembering. If someone is deaf to the call of the soul and demands tactile evidence, no further discussion is possible. Some things cannot be argumentatively proved but rest on testimony instead. God-given free will requires that some things be open to doubt.

    At times, Plato used the concept of myth or story. He would write “this may not be exactly true, but something like this must be the case.” Consider the storyline in the movie Surrogates, where humans send robot surrogates to interact with the world for them.30 If a robot is harmed, no harm can come to its operator. The operator stays safe at home. Someone figures out how to kill the operator when he destroys the robot, causing a crisis in the social setup.

    Likewise, it is the view of most religions that humans are spiritual beings having a temporary sojourn on Earth. This means that bodies and brains are an interface with the physical world. Like the human operator in Surrogates, the spiritual self cannot be harmed or killed. It is immortal.

    This transmission theory of mind suggests that consciousness exists in another non-physical atemporal dimension. A brain and body are necessary for us to interact and operate in the realm of the physical. The brain is thus like a radio receiver. It does not generate thoughts and trying to find the source of consciousness in the brain is no more realistic than attempting to find the source of music and speech in a radio. If the brain is damaged, then transmission is impaired.

    The neuroscientist Benjamin Libet got experimental subjects to decide on their own when to press a button while hooked up to an electroencephalograph (EEG). He found that the conscious decision occurred 200 milliseconds before the finger moved. However, Libet also found brain activity 300 milliseconds before the conscious decision.31 This would make sense on the transmission theory of mind. The conscious decision of the soul is communicated to the physical realm via the brain. Libet suggested that there was time in those 200 milliseconds for the mind to veto the decision coming from what could be called the soul mind.

    Part VIII
    The Story of Er and the Meaning of Life According to St Stephen

    The story of Er was reported in Plato’s Republic. Er was a soldier whose body was about to be burned on a funeral pyre when he suddenly woke up and reported his near death experience. He recounted that he was taken to a place of judgment and told to watch the proceedings. He saw souls coming from below the Earth and from Heaven. The former were care-worn, weary and stained from travel. They had spent a thousand years underground in punishment with murderers and tyrants. The latter were refreshed. After seven days the souls traveled to the Fates where they were to be assigned new lives as mortals. They could choose the kind of life they would lead. Some chose wisely, some did not. Before being reborn, the souls drank from the River of Lethe – Forgetfulness. In Afterlife Teaching From Stephen the Martyr, this is the description of the meaning of life:

    Remember, that in the beginning there was the coming away from the Source for the correction of many disorders. Acquiring a physical body is only one stage in the corrections. To be in the physical is not always the most enviable stage,  as just lately you may have learnt, but this I tell you: in this span of creation, the time or times in the state are of short duration, and, though important, are at the most very temporary. It is not surprising then that whilst you should be in this state the importance of comfort or happiness seen from the physical point of view is generally foremost in the mind of each soul. And yet the message that you have all been given, and which you must learn to hear with greater clarity, is the message of our Lord Jesus Christ [namely that] your physical well-being, your possessions, or lack of them, so important to you, are immaterial to your development. As the Lord said, you should neither be judged whether you be rich or poor, for neither state will qualify you for acceptance back to the Source.

    “Blessed are the poor”, you have read, words said by the Lord. Do not misunderstand these words, as often is done. The state of poverty in itself does not make them blessed. It is their own mentality and thoughts they have in the state of poverty. You will find that the poor give as often as the rich do but because they have so little to give in material things they always give a larger percentage, more often than not all of what they have.

    Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth.” For the same reason are they blessed, for they look down on no man and call him less, for they are meek. The gift of meekness is a gift indeed; therefore pray for the mighty, for they are not thus blessed. Each one elevated to the heights of government of kingdoms has always to accept and give the example of greatness. They may not be meek: therefore, to be rich in grace is doubly great. If we were to carry on and talk more and give more of these examples we could only come to one conclusion: that life in a physical body is from necessity difficult and undesirable. For it would be very hard to accept that when you have the least comfort, when you have the least position, you are greatly blessed and that when you have the most comfort and the higher position then prayers are needed more. It seems a contradiction in itself unless you understand that it is for this reason each and every one of you is in the position that you are for the reason that you may develop and that disorder may be corrected. Each is in the situation where he must learn, develop and correct disorder.

    Section 6. God seen as the Surgeon operating on us while we live our “unconscious” lives on earth.

    Stephen: Then you say, “Would it not be easier if the Lord our God were to make it very clear to us what the purpose is and what the working of that purpose is, and why and how, and when and whom?” You have asked questions like this, Olive. But think how a surgeon would act if, when he had to operate, he had to keep the patient conscious, adjust mirrors so the patient could see the operation that would be beyond his understanding in any case. Should he perhaps have each patient undertake advanced studies before an operation? Or would it perhaps not be better only to operate on a surgeon?

    In actual practice the patient is treated and bathed and is given what medication he may need. He is clothed in a gown most suitable for access, and he is put in a place most suitable for the operation. He is kept in a state so that no pain more than he can bear will be administered to him. When the operation is completed and the wound is healed and the disorder is corrected then the patient may arise and even discuss the disorder and sickness with the surgeon and learn from him. This must be the order of things, therefore, that the patient must trust his surgeon and carry out his instructions regarding what the patient must know or do or, rather, not do. Likewise the patient must love his Lord God with all his heart and all his soul; he must trust his God as he trusts his surgeon, for when he comes to the operating table he is by his own choice made unconscious of the things that are about to happen. Even if he were a surgeon himself he would still be unconscious at the time of the operation. Even though in consciousness he would know what has to be done and how it should be done by his own choice he would choose the unconsciousness, for he would know that without this the operation would not be possible. So, therefore, you must trust your surgeon, have faith in his skill, place yourself in his hands and love him.

    Furthermore we must all love one another for we are part of the one body; there is no separateness. To hate someone, dislike someone, is to hate or dislike yourself and to hate and dislike your God. There is no one, no soul beneath your love; for there is not one soul that should not give you love and not one soul that you should not receive love from. Therefore, the second of your duties is to love yourselves, for you are a part of God and He of you. Love each other; give to each other, for in giving you are receiving. The physical is only temporary; providing you do these two things then no state of mind or physical welfare is material to your progress. Your true reward for loving each other is to receive the love of each other, and the love of God. Understand and give only this, and you will find that each time that you do this the wound of your operation will heal a little more; each time that you do this, consciousness which you lack now will begin to return. This is the way that the answers will come to you, to heal the wound and return to the consciousness. Therefore love much.

    When you are gone from this place, when you are done with these bodies, physical, mental, ethereal and all others, then you will be back with the Source, and it will be of no mind.

    (Same session) You will forgive me for my serious talking this night for it is not often that I have the opportunity to discuss these things with you alone. Remember that mothers never tend to be less wise than their children are for, because of their development not in age but in experience, their wisdom grows and you will generally notice a calmness and an acceptance of life. Look upon the aged and those older than you and you will find that you are looking upon yourself when a number of your own mis-arrangements have been corrected. Think of the acceptance, notice the calmness; this is a message. Do not expect the aged to be clever, for cleverness most times is a barrier to the healing. Cleverness often, as I have said, stops loving. Intelligence is a disability; this is why I am often amused when Tom accuses me of cleverness for I discarded cleverness many ages ago. I must depart now. Thomas is tired. God bless you all; pray for me and also for those in greater need of your prayers than yourselves or myself.32

    Part IX

    The mysteries of existence include why there is something rather than nothing, the emergence of living organisms, and consciousness. Each person represents an unbroken chain of life reaching back to the first cell. Since cells are unfathomably complicated and manufacture a wider range of products than all of human manufacturing put together, all on a microscopic level, their existence seems profoundly unlikely. The emergence of living cells if imagined to be by chance, would be analogous to a tornado driving through a junkyard and assembling a fully functioning 747, including every rivet, electronics, miles of wiring and computer systems.

    Humans find themselves to be alive, conscious and confronting a universe which is poorly understood. Physicists claim that ninety-six percent of the universe consists of dark matter and dark energy, both of which are just placeholders awaiting further discoveries.

    Materialists posit consciousness as something emerging from brains or, if brazen enough, try to deny that consciousness exists at all. Some even deny the existence of life; claiming that it is a poorly defined concept and that all definitions of life are unsatisfactory because some computer programs share the characteristics of life so defined.

    In those two cases, materialists are willing to simply deny the two most important features of any human being. One, that the person is alive. Two, the person is conscious. Being dead or in a permanent coma spell the end of existence in this world as we know it.

    Some materialists are willing to take these drastic steps because they intuit that consciousness and God are connected. Though normal human consciousness is but a trickle of Mind at Large, the connection is retained and can be experienced in moments of grace.

    NDEs prove that human consciousness continues when the brain is not functioning. Brain plasticity, hydrocephalus and a normally functioning mind when one hemisphere is removed, mean that coming to understand human minds by examining brains seems unlikely.

    The evidence favors the transmission theory of mind, that the brain, nervous system and sense organs function more like a radio, picking up signals and thoughts from another dimension rather than generating thoughts. Placebos and nocebos point to top down causation and mind over matter.

    Human consciousness is but a ripple on a wider ocean of thought. Brains and bodies are normally necessary as interfaces with physical reality, but NDEs show that the link can be broken. Likewise, a person with ninety-five percent of his brain missing can exhibit above average cognitive abilities. Consciousness permeates the universe and according to Plato, Plotinus, the Buddhists and others, is more fundamental than matter.

    – Adj. Prof. Richard Cocks teaches philosophy at SUNY Oswego. Originally from Christchurch, New Zealand, he is presently based in the United States. Dr. Cocks is an editor and regular contributor at the Orthosphere and has been published at The Brussels Journal, People of Shambhala, The John William Pope Center for Higher Educational Policy and the University Bookman.


    1. Rupert Sheldrake, Science Set Free (Penguin Random House, 2013) p. 200.
    2. See for background: Roger Lewin, “Is Your Brain Really Necessary?Science No. 210 (12 December 1980). [SydneyTrads: consider also the 2007 case of a 44 year old French man, who, while having most of his brain consumed by ventricular enlargements, was still able to live with “normal social functioning”. See for further information: Lionel Feuillet, Henry Dufour and Jean Pelletier, “Brain of White-Collar Worker” The Lancet Vol. 370 No. 9583 (21 July 2007) [DOI:10/1016/S0140-6736(07)61127-1]]
    3. Moheb Constandi, Neuroplasticity (The MIT Press, 2016).
    4. Ju Lu, Juan Carlos Tapia, Olivia L. White and Jeff W. Lichtman, “The interscutularis muscle connectomePublic Library of Science Biology (10 February 2009) [DOI:10.1371/journal.pbio.1000032].
    5. Robert Ader and Nicholas Cohen, “Behaviorally Conditioned ImmunosuppressionPsychosomatic Medicine Vol. 37 No. 4 (July-August 1975).
    6. Irving Kirsch, “Antidepressants and the Placebo EffectZeitschrift Fur Psychologie Vol. 222 No. 3 (2014) [DOI:10.1027/2151-2604/a000176].
    7. Pim van Lommel, Consciousness Beyond Life – The Science of Near Death Experience (Harper Collins, 2010).
    8. Ibid. p. 23 ff.
    9. Oliver Sacks, An Anthropologist on Mars (Vintage 1, 1996).
    10. Pim van Lommel, op. cit. p. 115.
    11. Ibid. p. 127 ff.
    12. Ibid. pp. 169-170.
    13. Ibid. p. 162.
    14. Ibid. p 165.
    15. Ibid. p 164.
    16. Ibid. p. 145.
    17. Ibid. p. 163.
    18. Ibid. p. 145.
    19. Edward Kelly and Emily Kelly, Irreducible Mind (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2006) p. 110.
    20. Ibid.
    21. Aldous Huxley, The Doors of Perception (Harper Perennial Modern Classics, 2009) p. 6.
    22. Kelly and Kelly, op. cit. p. 80.
    23. Patricia K. Kuhl, “Brain Mechanisms in Early Language AcquisitionNeuron Vol. 67 Issue 5 (9 September 2010); Gail Gross, “Your Baby’s Brain, Part 3: Windows of OpportunityHuffington Post (blog) (12 September 2014 @ 11:21 ET; updated 12 November 2014) <huffingtonpost.com> (accessed 26 April 2017).
    24. Tara Bahrampour, “Romanian orphans subjected to deprivation must now deal with dysfunctionWashington Post (online) (30 January 2014) <washingtonpost.com> (accessed 26 April 2017).
    25. Mark Michael Lewis, “Ken Wilber and the Foundation for an Integral ScienceRational Spirituality (online) (undated) <rationalspirituality.com> (accessed 26 April 2017).
    26. William James, “The Will to Believe”, Address to the Philosophical Clubs of Yale and Brown Universities, republished in The New World (June 1896) § 1.
    27. Ken Wilber, A Brief History of Everything (Shambhala Publications, 1996) pp. 228-229.
    28. René Girard, The One By Whom Scandal Comes (Michigan State Press, 2014) p 12.
    29. Plato, Phaedo § 73.
    30. “Surrogates” (Director: Jonathan Mostow; Writers: Michael Ferris, John Brancato and others; Released on 24 September 2009).
    31. Sheldrake, op. cit. p. 123.
    32. Michael Cocks, Afterlife Teaching From Stephen the Martyr (White Crow Books, 2011) pp 11-12.
    SydneyTrads is the web page of the Sydney Traditionalist Forum: an association of young professionals who form part of the Australian independent right (also known as “non-aligned right”).
  10. Site: RT - News
    58 min 41 sec ago
    Author: RT
    Brazil’s Federal police have arrested at least 8 men following a spectacular multi-million dollar heist in Paraguay which was carried out with military precision, leaving one officer and three attackers dead.
    Read Full Article at RT.com
  11. Site: GalliaWatch
    59 min 2 sec ago

    Individuals and groups are continuing to call for a Macron victory and a barrier to the Front National.

    - Islamist preacher Hani Ramadan (below), who was recently forced to leave France on orders of the Interior minister, has posted several tweets against Marine:

    "Continuous orders: Block the FN! No to racism, antisemitism and Islamophobia."

    - The Grand Mosque of Paris called on Muslims of France to vote for Emmanuel Macron:

    "Before this second round that is decisive for the destiny of France and its religious minorities, it appears that all Frenchmen must imperatively remain united together against the threat of xenophobic ideas dangerous to our national cohesion (…) The Grand Mosque of Paris and its national Federation (FGMP) urge the Muslims of France to vote massively for candidate Emmanuel Macron who, in respect for republican values and the strict application of the principles of laïcité, represents the way of hope and of confidence in the spiritual and civic forces of the Nation."

    Note: Macron represents the hope for a total Islamization of France.

    Below, grand mufti of the mosque, Dalil Boubakeur.

    Source: Novopress

     - In addition to the Muslims it is no surprise that the Grand Orient masonic lodge is calling on voters to elect Macron. On April 24 it issued this communiqué:

    Faithful to its humanist principles and promoter of the slogan of the Republic, the Grand Orient of France (GODF) calls for a Nation that is welcoming, social, open and emancipating. That is why the Grand Orient of France urges voters to elect candidate Emmanuel Macron on May 7. It is about promoting Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité against the hatred, fears and the dangers of rejecting the Other that the candidate of the Front National is propagating.

    The Grand Orient of France is composed of men and women of diverse sensitivities and naturally grants its members the freedom to make their own choices. But confronted with the extreme-right, in full awareness of the history of France and Europe, the duty of each citizen attached to the principles of the Republic is to remove the danger that a victory of this party would represent. The Freemasons are particularly aware of those historic and ideological references.

    This appeal to vote for candidate Emmanuel Macron does not constitute an alliance or a free pass and if he is elected on May 7, the Grand Orient of France will continue to defend its principles in complete independence, in the continuity of its centuries-old combat for the Republic, for progress and social justice, for laïcité, for emancipation and for universalism.

    The first round of the presidential election brought to the forefront the rejection of the traditional parties and the mistrust of the French vis-à-vis the world of politics. Imperatively, it will be up to the new president to re-establish a climate of confidence with political leaders who set examples and who listen to the French: it is on this condition that the advance of the Front National can be eradicated. Otherwise, what we can still avoid in 2017 will happen again in 2022.

    - Back on April 2, some personalities in the world of French culture signed a joint editorial in Libération to "block Marine Le Pen":

    "The Front National is at the gates of power, we are calling for a barrier against Marine Le Pen." The authors of this warning accuse the party of Marine Le Pen of promoting "racist, antisemitic, xenophobic, and nationalist ideas."

    Among the artists who signed: actress Jeanne Moreau, singer Renaud, and stage director Olivier Py.

    Source: RTL

    - High school and university students as well as SOS-Racism and Ni Putes Ni Soumise (a feminist group) demonstrated Monday night (April 24) in Paris and several other cities:

    At Place de la République in Paris, about two hundred persons gathered representing SOS-Racism and student unions (FAGE, UNEF, UEJF). Organizers denounced the "party of hatred". "This is only a first step in the mobilization. It's important to begin to build a Republican Front right away. We cannot accept a Front National at 22%," said Sacha Ghozlan, president of UEJF (Union of Jewish Students of France). "We got hit hard last night. The FN results are horrible," said Juliette, a graduate student at the University of Paris. "My parents helped to block the FN in 2002, it's our turn now, but it's hard to have to choose between the plague and cholera," added Basma, another student. (…) The high school students of the FIDL (Independent and Democratic High School Federation) were also expected to demonstrate Monday night. Their communiqué reads: "This party is a danger for the future of young people. Abolishing free schooling for children of foreigners, trivialization of the word racist, a retrograde position on women's rights… this party must not reach power in France!"

    Source: Le Monde

    Below, There were also demonstrations Sunday night at the place de la Bastille, as the polls closed and the first results were known. Twenty-nine people were arrested.

  12. Site: St. Corbinian's Bear
    1 hour 6 min ago
    The Bear reconsidered. If the original blogger thinks it should be dropped, the Bear should respect her wishes. We are a community, and... well, that's all. (Re: Arkansas condemned.)
  13. Site: RT - News
    1 hour 20 min ago
    Author: RT
    China has transferred its first indigenously built aircraft carrier into the water, expanding its fleet to two such vessels. The ceremony, held amid heightened tensions in the region, almost coincided with the US deployment of THAAD anti-missile system in South Korea.
    Read Full Article at RT.com
  14. Site: Community in Mission
    2 hours 18 min ago
    Author: Msgr. Charles Pope

    It is curious that upon rising from the dead the Lord appeared to Mary Magdalene and other women before appearing to the Apostles, His chosen witnesses. It is even stranger that He sent the women to the Apostles as witnesses, given that women were not considered valid witnesses at that time. Indeed, the Apostles do resist their testimony, considering it fanciful. While this behavior makes many modern people wince, it is not presented as a way of approving those reactions, but in order to highlight the curious fact that the Lord would send the women to the Apostles.

    A common modern tendency (and I would say error) is to interpret the Lord’s actions sociologically and with a kind of revolutionary meaning. Many today prefer to see the Lord as an ancient version of a 1960s radical, so that in sending the women He was dismissing and overthrowing the social order of the time. They then continue by claiming that the Lord was pointing toward our far more “enlightened” times and would have us go even further, by ordaining women for example.

    Aside from the radical revolutionary elements, the sociological interpretation has some validity. The Lord is in fact bypassing the norms of His day in sending the women to the Apostles.

    But it is refreshing and enlightening to consider the action of the Lord theologically and spiritually as well. This seems a more likely purpose of the Scripture than as a sociological commentary or a tool for cultural revolution.

    In his Summa Theologiae, St. Thomas Aquinas considers the meaning of Jesus sending the women, summarizing the interpretation of others and adding his own thoughts. St. Thomas’ teachings are presented in bold, black italics, while my comments are shown in plain red text. The sections shown below are all from the Summa Theologiae Part III, Q. 55, Art. 1, Obj. 3.

    St. Thomas’ replies to an objection that it was not in fact fitting for Christ to appear first to the women and then send them to the Apostles. Thomas records the objection to his teaching as follows:

    Objection 3 … Now [the apostles] bore witness by preaching in public: and this is unbecoming in women, according to 1 Corinthians 14:34: “Let women keep silence in the churches”: and 1 Timothy 2:12: “I suffer not a woman to teach.” Therefore, it does not seem becoming for Christ’s Resurrection to be manifested first of all to the women and afterwards to mankind in general.

    The stated objection is not without merit and should not simply be dismissed as misogynistic. The texts referenced from First Corinthians and First Timothy are underreported today, likely because they make modern people uncomfortable and because many commentators dismiss them as merely cultural artifacts.

    But in these writings, St. Paul (and the Holy Spirit who inspired him) does not appeal merely to custom or culture. He gives a theological reason for the inappropriateness of women giving the official teaching of the Church in the Liturgy and other such gatherings. He writes, For Adam was formed first, then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor (1 Tim 2:13-14).

    In this passage, St. Paul is reflecting the teaching of Genesis, which describes the roles of Adam and Eve in the first sin differently: When confronted by the Lord, Eve responds, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate” (Genesis 3:12). But the text says that Adam’s response was “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate” (Gen 3:11).

    So Eve was deceived and then was able to tempt Adam. This is at the heart of why St. Paul says that a woman should not teach officially in the Church. Although politically incorrect today, Paul argues that women are generally more easily deceived by the evil one. Also implicit in the Genesis text, a woman (perhaps through her beauty) can unduly influence men, who are often weak in this regard.

    This sort of reflection elicits many objections today, both rational and emotional, but the sacred texts from St. Paul and Genesis should not be simply set aside as cultural artifacts. They are also theological reflections and deserve our attention. I have written more on this topic here: How is Adam’s Sin Different from Eve’s?.

    St. Thomas makes an important distinction and shows why, despite the texts of Scripture, the objection does not hold in this case. He writes,

    Reply to Objection 3. A woman is not to be allowed to teach publicly in church; but she may be permitted to give familiar instruction to some privately. And therefore as Ambrose says on Luke 24:22, “a woman is sent to them who are of her household,” but not to the people to bear witness to the Resurrection.

    Thus the objection is set aside in this case because although a woman should not give magisterial teaching in the sacred assembly, it is certainly fitting that she should witness to and give instruction within her household.

    St. Paul also mentions many women (Lydia, Chloe, Nympha, Apphia, Mary, Persis, Tryphena, Tryphosa, Priscilla, Euodia, Syntyche, Phoebe, and Junia) participating in extended roles of service and in the work of evangelization. Outside the liturgy and other modes of official teaching, St. Paul’s teaching of women remaining silent does not seem to apply.

    St. Thomas here reminds us of an important distinction. While a woman is excluded from giving the official teaching in the liturgy, in the familial setting she is still called to be among those who teach and bear witness. St. Thomas implies that the Apostles and first disciples form a family, hence there is no violation of the norms.

    St. Thomas then turns his attention to another reason that it was fitting for the women to see Christ first and then to announce this to the Apostles:

    But Christ appeared to the woman first, for this reason, that as a woman was the first to bring the source of death to man, so she might be the first to announce the dawn of Christ’s glorious Resurrection. Hence Cyril says on John 20:17: “Woman who formerly was the minister of death, is the first to see and proclaim the adorable mystery of the Resurrection: thus womankind has procured absolution from ignominy, and removal of the curse.”

    Here is a great reversal of the order of Original Sin. Whereas Eve was deceived and then enticed her husband, now woman is offered the opportunity to see first and then to call man back from darkness and sin to behold the grace of the resurrection glory.

    St. Thomas then adds a third teaching:

    Hereby, moreover, it is shown, so far as the state of glory is concerned, that the female sex shall suffer no hurt; but if women burn with greater charity, they shall also attain greater glory from the Divine vision: because the women whose love for our Lord was more persistent—so much so that “when even the disciples withdrew” from the sepulchre “they did not depart” [Gregory, Hom. xxv in Evang.]—were the first to see Him rising in glory.

    Love more quickly lays hold of the beloved than does mere affinity or friendship. The intensity of the women’s love described in the scriptural account makes them more tenacious and the Lord rewards such love, sending them to men of the family of disciples. Indeed, many a man has been saved unto the Lord by the devotion of his wife and her constant call for him to join her at the Lord’s feet.

    Beyond theology, it is a culturally observed phenomenon that women are more naturally spiritual and intense than men. And while this may have disposed Eve to be too willing to succumb to the deceiving appeals of Satan, it is also what made Mary Magdalene and the other women more able to see him first.

    Here, then, are some reflections, popular or not, on the sending of the women to the Apostles. The reflections are not devoid of sociological or cultural elements, they are rooted more richly in the world of spirituality and theology. To those who consider such reflections antiquated or even obnoxious, let me counsel contemplation and consideration rather than reaction. Often, the challenging and upsetting teachings of Scripture have much to teach us.

    The post Why Did the Lord Appear to the Women Before the Apostles? appeared first on Community in Mission.

  15. Site: Fr. Z's Blog
    2 hours 29 min ago
    Author: frz@wdtprs.com (Fr. John Zuhlsdorf)

    From a reader…


    Father, can you please shed some light on GIRM #171-173 (and there abouts), regarding the position of the Deacon during the procession to and from the altar?

    We were instructed in the seminary to be in front of the priest. I am seeing more and more (even on EWTN) the deacon walking in procession to and from the altar NEXT to the priest. This seems to be wrong. It “appears” then as the Deacon is equal in all aspects to the priest. In fact, in my diocese deacons have been asked to not conduct any, so called, “Communion Service” because it “looks” like he is offering the Mass in the eyes of many of the laity. At Masses where the Deacon preaches, I have even heard parishioners say to the Deacon after Mass: “nice Mass Father.” And the Deacon, of course, never correctes them. Is the statement about being “next to the priest” meant for only within the sanctuary, or only as an alternative to being in front of the priest during the procession, as when not carrying the Book of the Gospels? I believe there is another part of the GIRM (escapes me at the moment) that states the Deacon exits the same way he enters. I would read that as, if entering carrying the Gospels in front of the priest, then you should leave in front of the priest even if not carrying the Gospels.

    It seems, our “Uppity Deacons” today enjoy making issues of virtually everything.

    Thank you Father, for your wise and much appreciated thoughts.

    It has been a long time since I had a deacon for a Novus Ordo Mass, and it has been a really long time since I was a deacon for a Novus Ordo Mass.  I was deacon for a Solemn TLM last Sunday, however.   During that Mass I walked at the side of the priest on the way in and during the Vidi aquam, because he was in cope and because I had to carry the aspersorium. If there had not been a Vidi aquam I would have walked in front of the priest. I also walked at the priest’s side from the sedilia to the altar.  It was pretty clear that the priest was the priest and that the deacon was the deacon: we were dressed differently.  At the conclusion of Mass, I walked in front of the priest.   That’s how we do it in the Roman Rite… traditionally.

    What does the GRIM say?

    171. When he is present at the celebration of the Eucharist, a Deacon should exercise his ministry, wearing sacred vestments. In fact, the Deacon:

    a) assists the Priest and walks at his side;


    172. Carrying the Book of the Gospels slightly elevated, the Deacon precedes the Priest as he approaches the altar or else walks at the Priest’s side.

    I believe the GIRM says that the deacon walks in front of the priest in the entrance procession when he carries the Evangelarium.   I suppose then that if he goes in in front of the priest, he should leave that way too.

    Perhaps this is a chance for enrichment of the Novus Ordo.  Perhaps the more traditional entrance and exit would be a good idea.

    I suspect that there are deacons who would like to jump in.


  16. Site: RT - News
    2 hours 55 min ago
    Author: RT
    The UN should create a set of international rules to help stop the pandemic of fake news and Cold war-style disinformation, Russia’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova has said during a session of the UN Committee on Information in New York.
    Read Full Article at RT.com
  17. Site: The Thinking Housewife
    3 hours 18 min ago
    Author: Laura Wood
    FOR THE third time since January, Donald Trump today commemorated the “Holocaust.” In a passionate speech at the Capitol Building, the president promoted the falsehood that six million Jews were killed in gas chambers, eulogized the proven fraud and profiteer Elie Wiesel, viciously defamed the German people, misrepresented the sacrifices of American soldiers in World War II and […]
  18. Site: The Austin Institute for the Study of Family and Culture
    3 hours 29 min ago
    Author: AI Intern

    As we enter the next big phase of the Austin Institute’s life, a capital campaign for a permanent home, Austin Institute staff and graduate students speak candidly about the institute’s mission, activities, and future.

    CLICK HERE to view the video

  19. Site: RT - News
    3 hours 32 min ago
    Author: RT
    A young boy has had both his legs amputated after allegedly being beaten a number of times with a water hose by an assistant warden at a private religious school in Malaysia. Doctors are now battling to save the boy's right arm from the same fate.
    Read Full Article at RT.com
  20. Site: The Eponymous Flower
    4 hours 9 min ago
    Announcement of the Mercedarian Province of Chile:
    Pope Francis Acknowledges Dismissal of the Former
    Superior General from the Priesthood and Order(Rome / Santiago de Chile) On April 20, the Chilean Mercedarian Province published the scarcely noticed news that the most severe Church punishments have been imposed by Pope Francis upon the former Superior General of the Order, Mariano Labarca Araja. The Vatican has not given any opinion on this.The message of the Order, the silence of the VaticanThe Chilean Mariano Labarca was from 2004-2010 the 86th Superior General of the Order of Our Lady of Mercy for the Ransom of Prisoners (Ordo Beatae Mariae de Mercede redemptionis captivorum) founded in 1218, better known as Mercedarian Order. Since 1574, the General Magister has been elected for six years.The Chilean Province said:"Father Pedro MLA (ex-General Superior) was dismissed from the priesthood and the Order by decree of HH Francis, so he is no longer a priest and no longer a religious. This decision, which is irrevocable, has been taken after careful examination of the case brought to light in 2013, because of the serious damage to the priestly dignity and religious vows."

    Labarca in "better" times
    According to Spanish and Latin sources, the "reported case" appears to have involved sexual abuse. The case started in May 2013. The extent to which Pope Francis himself has been personally interested in the matter or has routinely signed the laicization decree is not known.It is more astonishing that "there are cases of priests who are broadly and publicly treated and accused, and others, of whom we hear nothing, or just as good as nothing, as is the case here. The Spanish Catholic columnist, Francisco Fernandez de la Cigoña, is an attentive observer of the Church's developments in Latin America.Mariano Labarca, for six years as a Superior General, led this Order rich in tradition, which included numerous Saints, including the founder and first General Magister Petrus Nolascus, Raimund of Peñafort, Raimund Nonnatus, Petrus Armengol and Seraprion, the first martyr of the Order. All these saints lived in the first 100 years of the Order, which at that time developed a very extraordinary charism.The Mercedarian Order - For the Ransom of Enslaved Christians

    The Holy Founder Petrus Nolascus
    The Mother of God had appeared to the Occitan nobility, Petrus Nolascus, in 1218, who asked him to found an order to buy Christians, who were in Islamic captivity. Even then the south of Spain was still under Islamic rule. Until the eighteenth century, Islamic princes, army leaders and pirates sailed all over the Mediterranean and the European coasts. They attacked ships and Europe's coastal areas and, according to recent estimates, carried at least two million Christians as slaves to North Africa and the Middle East.The Mercedarian Order collected money to buy the enslaved Christians in the south of Iberia, as well as in North Africa, which, because of the great hardship caused by the slaving of the Muslims in Iberia, also a few other Orders. When no money was available, the Mercedarians offered themselves as pledge to obtain the release of other Christians. Their actions were a "triumph of mercy" in the history of the Church.Because of this original charism, the Order is still active in the prison system.During the period when the Habsburgs also ruled over Spain, a Mercedarian monastery was established in Vienna, but in 1782 it fell victim to the Josephine sack of the monasteries.Determined defense by the progressive sideToday, the Order is only a shadow of its former greatness. Today, however, little is known about the names of the great saints from the beginning of the Order. In 2015 it counted 581 members, but in large part this is over aged. The Mercedarian Order is responsible for the most important place of pilgrimage in Sardinia, the Basilica of Our Lady of Bonaria, named after the Argentine capital of Buenos Aires.While the Labarca case is hardly to be read in the media, the former priest and former Mercedarian, the Basque Xabier Pikaza Ibarrondo, published on the progressive Spanish news site Periodista Digital an unconditional defense of the former Superior General. The contentious, progressive theologian Pikaza was not laicized punitively, but gave up his priesthood and left the Order to marry.Pikaza criticizes the "zero tolerance" as unchristian. It contradicts the commandment of repentance and reconciliation. Labarca, who until a few years ago played a considerable role in the Church of Chile and was described as a possible bishop, had not been condemned by any secular court. His ecclesiastical condemnation had taken place in the silent chamber. The possibility of defense was doubtful, no one knew with what he was being charged. He, Pikaza, had tried to contact his old religious brother during the proceedings, which was not possible. He had only been informed by the Order that the ex-Superior General should not be in contact with the outside world on the instructions of the Vatican.Text: Giuseppe Nardi
    Image: Mercedarian Chiles / Wikicommons (Screenshot)
    Trans: Tancred vekron99@hotmail.com
    Link to Katholisches...
  21. Site: RT - News
    4 hours 9 min ago
    Author: RT
    The Federation of the Jewish Communities in Romania says it is "saddened and revolted" after several youths vandalized a Jewish cemetery in the Romanian capital, Bucharest.
    Read Full Article at RT.com
    4 hours 10 min ago

    Pope asks priests to 'welcome' the idea of living in a perpetual state of mortal sin.

    Remember when Christ asked "Who among you, when your child asks for bread would give them a stone?

    We finally have our answer.
  23. Site: ChurchPOP
    5 hours 17 min ago
    Author: ChurchPOP Editor

    What kind of music should we have at Mass? Does it matter? The fascinating video below tackles these questions in an unusual

    The post This Filmmaker Powerfully Explains Why Mass Should NOT Have Trivial Music appeared first on ChurchPOP.

  24. Site: RT - News
    5 hours 32 min ago
    Author: RT
    The US military has begun moving parts of the THAAD anti-missile complex to its deployment site in South Korea, causing anger and discontent among the locals; some of whom reportedly clashed with police guarding the convoy.
    Read Full Article at RT.com
  25. Site: A Blog for Dallas Area Catholics
    5 hours 58 min ago
    Author: Tantumblogo

    I got sent a link to the following post this morning by reader TT.  It’s an interview of the rather small German province of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter, the organization of priests dedicated to the traditional Mass that was founded by some who “broke away” from the SSPX at the time of the illicit consecrations of 4 bishops in 1988.

    This interview is already being picked up as fodder for the endless (and tiresome) SSPX/FSSP debates that have been raging for almost 30 years.  For those who already feel the FSSP is hopelessly compromised, the interview is being taken as proof of the correctness of that view.  For those with internal knowledge of the Fraternity, as it is typically called, however, this interview only reiterates the divisions already well known within this society of priests.

    I’ll add comments to the post I copy below, because I think there are some important things to clarify/note, but I’d like to make one point clear at the outset: every grouping of more than a few individuals is going to have disparity of belief.  Once you get into the hundreds, like the FSSP, there is going to be a whole range of belief.  Given that, generally speaking, both acceptance of a more stridently traditional outlook (or a certain, sometimes severe, hostility to Vatican II) and friendliness/sympathy for the SSPX varies inversely with the age of the priest and their closeness to the original point of division in 1988.  That is to say, older priests in the Fraternity, especially those who were present in 1988 and made the decision to leave the SSPX, generally tend to be more accommodating towards the post-conciliar ethos and hostile towards the SSPX.  Younger priests are generally more hardcore “traditional” and more friendly towards the Society.

    This is not a universal rule and there is infinite nuance, even within individual priests!, but that’s probably the broad norm.  I would also add that there is, as I understand it, a certain division of belief between priests of the Fraternity in the Americas, and those in Europe, with those again in Europe tending towards being the less ardently traditional, or the more accommodating.  Having said that, I concur with a commenter at 1Peter5 that this is far from an inspiring interview.  While I think the interview is being presented in a fairly negative light by Maike Hickson at 1Peter5, I think I can also say these are some of the most unhelpful comments I’ve seen from an FSSP priest in print, perhaps less for what they say (esp. on reflection) but for the sense they seem to convey of accommodation, of being (to quote some commentary I’ve seen) “modernist lap dogs who will do anything so long as they can continue to offer the ‘old Mass'”.  Then again, I find myself defending the priest quite consistently below – I think that while he exhibits an attitude far different from what I’d like to see expressed, it’s not entirely surprising given his past.

    So keep that in mind as you read the below, which many of you perhaps already have:

    The usually cautious and reserved Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter (FSSP) has now given its current opinion concerning the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) and on its possible formal re-integration into the structures of the Catholic Church. Father Bernhard Gerstle – the head of the German district of the FSSP – just gave a 24 April interview to the German Bishops’ official website Katholisch.dein which he explains many of the positions and opinions of his priestly fraternity. (Father Gerstle is the same priest who, in 2016, made a politely critical statement about the papal document Amoris Laetitia.) [An important note of clarification.  Fr. Gerstle may be the head of the German district of the Fraternity, but I think it a great leap to derive from that that he is speaking for the mind of the entire Fraternity.  Words of Fr. John Berg, former Superior of the entire order, in Latin Mass Magazine from 2015 (which I haven’t to hand) were far different and conveyed a far more traditionally Catholic understanding.]

    Father Gerstle explains, first of all, that he himself split off from the SSPX because of the “illicit episcopal consecrations” in 1988 which, in his eyes, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger tried to forestall. (Interestingly, and just in the recent past, there have been voices saying that Cardinal Ratzinger, as pope, later removed the excommunications of the four SSPX bishops because he realized that he had contributed to the intensification of that earlier conflict. Worth noting is that, Bishop Athanasius Schneider, who has served as an official Vatican liaison to the SSPX, recently called this act of excommunication an “injustice.”) [This little aside causes me to wonder whether the author is not trying to inculcate a bit of doubt, even resentment, towards Fr. Gerstle.  Sure “some voices” may say that, but lots of others say that the excommunications were wholly right and just. Obviously Fr. Gerstle is going to have a bias since he left the SSPX over this matter.  I am curious as to why Hickson chose to introduce this seeming rebuttal right here.] In Gerstle’s eyes, the 1988 breach happened due to a “lack of trust toward Rome.” He also claims that many more priests within the SSPX had disapproved of the episcopal consecrations, “but did not make the final step.” Thus, there were “only a few priests and seminarians who left the Society of St. Pius X at the time [in 1988].” Gerstle explicitly says that the foundation of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter happened “essentially due to Cardinal Ratzinger, [who was] then head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.”  [For those of us who weren’t involved, I don’t think it is easy to comprehend the depth of feeling on both sides involved in the 1988 consecrations.  This was an event so trying and so radicalizing I don’t think many today fully realize the effect these events had on the participants.  As one who was directly involved and experienced that heart-rending time, I don’t find Fr. Gerstle’s comments out of place.  There are many involved who share his views, and of course, many who don’t, but it’s not like he’s breaching some radical new concept no one’s ever said before, even those who are very attached to the traditional practice of the Faith.]

    Father Gerstle further distances himself from those smaller groups within the SSPX – whom he calls “hardliners” – who “reject the Second Vatican Council to a large extent, for example with regard to religious freedom or as to the decree on ecumenism.” Some of them, he says, also doubt the validity of the new liturgy. Gerstle makes it clear, moreover, where the Fraternity of St. Peter stands with regard to the Second Vatican Council: [No, he gives his own opinion.  Unless he directly stated he was speaking as the voice of the entire Fraternity as a matter of policy – which if he did, we can be certain Hickson would be trumpeting this from the rooftops – then he’s giving his opinion, which Hickson is taking to mean it is the policy of the Fraternity because of his position, but I can say from direct experience there are many Fraternity priests who do not conform to the views expressed in this para or the one below. As to the divisions within the SSPX, these are well known and I find pointing them out wholly unremarkable.]

    The Fraternity of St. Peter, however, has accepted to study without prejudice the conciliar texts and has come to the conclusion that there is no breach with any previous magisterial statements.However, some texts are formulated in such a way that they can give way to misinterpretations. But, in the meantime, Rome has already made here concordant clarifications which the Society of St. Pius X should now also recognize. [Emphasis added] [I would say the situation now remains as it has been, vague, uncertain, and unclear.  Some tradition-friendly individuals in the Curia have made clarifications, they have expressed their opinions, but that is far from saying there has been a wholesale clarification of the problematic aspects of Vatican II. Rome appears willing to say almost anything to get the SSPX regularized.  But whether these stands hold after that occurs is anyone’s guess, but there remains a huge monolith of progressive-modernist opinion in the clergy and hierarchy that VII is perfect, the best expression of the Faith ever conceived, and that the Church was literally re-born in 1965.  That remains an extremely dangerous ideology that has not been washed away by a few conciliatory comments from folks at the Ecclesia Dei commission.]

    Additionally, Father Gerstle insists that for the FSSP, the new 1983 Code of Canon Law is the standard. In his eyes, the SSPX has here some more reservations. For the FSSP, explains Gerstle “there is not a pre- and a post-conciliar Church.” “There is only the one Church which goes back to Christ,” he adds. Gerstle also insists that the FSSP does not “wish to polarize or even to promote splits,” but that they wish to instill in their own parishes “an ecclesial attitude.” Certain (unnamed, unspecified) abuses in the Church should only be criticized in a “differentiated and moderate way.” [We are only getting very partial and bifurcated comments.  I don’t read German so I can’t go to the original and Google translate is too unreliable in such fine points.  Having said that, I find these comments disappointing and far too conciliatory towards the post-conciliar construct.  Then again, we do not know what pressures the Fraternity is under right now, but I understand they are considerable and the dangers great from those who would like to do to the ED communities what has been done to the FI’s.]

    Father Gerstle also distances himself from the concept “traditionalist” when he says: “This notion I do not like at all to hear. We are not traditionalists, but simply Catholic.” As Catholics, he says, “we appreciate tradition,” but without “completely blocking organic adaptations and changes.” [This one I have no problem with.  Some of the most informed readers of this blog eschew the term traditional, and say that what we practice is simply the Catholic Faith as it has always been believed, understood, and lived.  There is nothing remarkable about “organic changes” either.  VII was wholly inorganic.]

    The worthy celebration of the traditional liturgy, together with a loyal teaching of the Catholic Faith, is at the center of the work of the FSSP, according to Gerstle. “Salvation of souls” and “eternal life” are their Fraternity’s own concern. Unfortunately, adds the German priest, “the Four Last Things have been widely neglected in the Church, with the effect of a belittling and attenuation of sin and of a loss of the practice of sacramental confession.” [I would hope this is uncontroversial.  In fact, one could take from this a tacit rebuke of the post-conciliar construct, where the Mass is typically deplorable and the “teaching” counterfeit.]

    Father Gerstle sees that “one cannot simply introduce everywhere again the old liturgy and, so to speak, impose it upon people.” “Both rites thus [with the help of the “reform of the reform”] should enrich each other,” explains the priest. Certain elements of the new liturgy could be “enriching for the extraordinary form of the Roman Rite.” [He’s just parroting PBXVI here, but I am personally extremely leery of any “enrichment” flowing from the NO to the TLM.  I think there is virtually nothing in the NO that would “improve” the TLM.]

    Moreover, Father Gerstle also explains that, in the German district, there are growing numbers of faithful who are interested in the traditional Tridentine Mass. Some of the FSSP Masses have “100 to 180 faithful” in attendance. He admits, however, that the FSSP has not too many vocations. “All in all we have a good number of incomers [16 new priests in 2016 and currently some 100 seminarians altogether], but it is not so that we are under pressure due to high numbers of vocations.” [The Fraternity is generally doing better in North America, where there is a certain pressure to grow the seminary.  As for Mass attendance, the local FSSP parish is now attracting 1200+ on a typical Sunday.  That is unusual, but the growth is consistent throughout, and I pray all the other tradition-oriented groups are experiencing the same or better.]

    At the end of this interview, Gerstle explains that the SSPX faces a dilemma: either Bishop Fellay chooses unity with Rome and will have a split within his own organization, or he will choose unity within the SSPX and will not have unity with Rome.  The German priest explains, as follows:

    I think that the current Superior General, Bishop Bernard Fellay, will have to decide between unity with Rome and unity within the Society of St. Piux X. The realists within the leadership will then hopefully realize that there is no alternative to a reconciliation with Rome.

    I find the first part of this analysis to be insightful, but I think anyone who has followed the situation even as casually as I have has reached about the same conclusion.  I also think the second part is right, though I continue to have doubts as to whether now, with Francis in charge, is the right time.  The man has a demonstrated track record of deliberately targeting tradition-embracing groups for destruction.  But may God’s will be done.

    As for the interview, this is absolutely not what I would prefer to see from a leading Fraternity priest.  But I’m not sure it confirms the fatal weakness of the Fraternity, either.  Does having a regular canonical status involve some compromise?  Absolutely*.  And folks in the SSPX had better be FULLY cognizant of that fact when they sign their “deal” with Rome.

    Well I don’t post for a week then you get a novella.  Lucky you.  Sorry folks, posting is going to be infrequent for the foreseeable future.  I had a very  unusual situation for first 76 months of this blog’s history but that period is definitively order.  I probably would not have posted today if this matter hadn’t hit so close to home.  We’ve had a nightmare bronchitis/pneumonia go through our family that takes weeks to get over.  I’m still fighting it but am back at work but also playing lots of catchup.  Hope to get another post out tomorrow but who knows.

    *-but so far, only of a limited and generally unobtrusive (or undamaging) sort.  The “gravitational pull” of an unreconciled SSPX probably plays a role in the limited nature of the compromises forced on the FSSP – which is why I fear regularization for the entire restoration of the Faith.  But ultimately God is in charge and we have to want what is best for the salvation of souls, which everyone (not really, but lots) tells me is regularization.  So it must be it.

  26. Site: Call Me Jorge...
    6 hours 10 min ago

    Watch as Trump invokes the Hasidic High Priest of the Holocaustianity — Elie Weisel — and quotes this chronic liar, “Never forget!” and “whose spirit fills this room.”  Trump believes that the Holocaust survivors, “fulfill the righteous duty to never forget, and engrave into the world’s memory the Nazi genocide of the Jewish people.”  What he leaves unexplained is that one can be a Holocaust survivor without ever having lived in a Nazi concentration camp.

    Then, Trump Kabbalistically infuses his words with the magic six-million just as he did the other day when addressing the World Jewish Congress.  Next up Trump’s chutzpah is front is center as he throws out this condemnation, “Those who deny the holocaust are an accomplice to this horrible evil.”  Trump continues by trumpeting the Chasidic lines of, “We will never be silent!” and “Denying the holocaust is only one form of dangerous anti-semitism!”

    The best part of his speech is when he mentions one of the Holocaust’s living patron saints, Gerda Klein.  See good old, Gerda Weissmann Klein is a survivor of German concentration camps and an Academy Award winner but she has some problems with her memory.  She goes around telling her stories but the details are always changing.  She and her family were forced to live in the basement of their family home because “Aryans” who lived in basement decided to now live upstairs.  This arrangement either went on for a year and a half or three years depending on the version of the fantasy being told.  At the age of fifteen (in other versions Gerta is nine) she was kidnapped from Poland and taken to Germany where she was sold as a slave at the open slave market.  She was sought after because she spoke German and the Nazis were in need of Polish Jews who spoke German.  Then there is her heart tugging story about the slightly bruised raspberry her friend gave her.  Gerda says she went on a 350 mile death march or was it a 500 mile death march?  Well in both versions she ends up with white hair and weighing 68 lbs. when the death march is finished wearing rags and not having taken a bath in three years.  Gerda was liberated by her future husband, a US soldier, from a bicycle factory or ice factory (depending on which version of the story Gerda is telling), with a time bomb strapped to the door which failed to go off because it was raining outside.  What luck!  Her future husband “looked like a God to her” and whom she told in German, “I'm a Jew, you know” and he responded “So am I.”  She made it through this grueling death march and others because of ski boots her father made for her before he was shipped off to die in another concentration camp.  She also hide family photos in these magical ski boots.  Truly a miraculous tale in all of its versions.

    Trump extols survivors like Gerta as everything that is good and beautiful in the world.
    “Each survivor here today is a beacon of light, and it only takes one light to illuminate even the darkest space. Just like it takes only one truth to crush a thousand lies and one hero to change the course of history. We know that in the end, good will triumph over evil, and that as long as we refuse to close our eyes or to silence our voices, we know that justice will ultimately prevail.”
    This light obviously is the Jewish people and the truth is the Holocaust.  The Donald concludes this solemn and sacred gathering to the eternal monument that is Israel with “...and (today) we pledge never again!”

    Straight from the con-artist’s mouth.


    The White HouseOffice of the Press SecretaryFor Immediate ReleaseApril 25, 2017Remarks by President Trump at United States Holocaust Memorial Museum National Days of RemembranceUnited States Capitol
    Washington, D.C. 11:30 A.M. EDTTHE PRESIDENT:  Thank you very much.  Thank you.  Friends, members of Congress, ambassadors, veterans, and, most especially, to the survivors here with us today, it’s an honor to join you on this very, very solemn occasion.  I am deeply moved to stand before those who survived history’s darkest hour.  Your cherished presence transforms this place into a sacred gathering.Thank you, Tom Bernstein, Alan Holt, Sara Bloomfield, and everyone at the Holocaust Memorial Council and Museum for your vital work and tireless contributions.We are privileged to be joined by Israel’s Ambassador to the United States, friend of mine -- he’s done a great job and said some wonderful words -- Ron Dermer.  The State of Israel is an eternal monument to the undying strength of the Jewish people.  The fervent dream that burned in the hearts of the oppressed is now filled with the breath of life, and the Star of David waves atop a great nation arisen from the desert.To those in the audience who have served America in uniform, our country eternally thanks you.  We are proud and grateful to be joined today by veterans of the Second World War who liberated survivors from the camps.  Your sacrifice helped save freedom for the world -- for the entire world.  (Applause.)   Sadly, this year marks the first Day of Remembrance since the passing of Elie Wiesel, a great person, a great man.  His absence leaves an empty space in our hearts, but his spirit fills this room.  It is the kind of gentle spirit of an angel who lived through hell, and whose courage still lights the path from darkness.  Though Elie’s story is well known by so many people, it’s always worth repeating.  He suffered the unthinkable horrors of the Holocaust.  His mother and sister perished in Auschwitz.  He watched his father slowly dying before his own young eyes in Buchenwald.  He lived through an endless nightmare of murder and death, and he inscribed on our collective conscience the duty we have to remember that long, dark night so as never to again repeat it. The survivors in this hall, through their testimony, fulfill the righteous duty to never forget, and engrave into the world’s memory the Nazi genocide of the Jewish people.  You witnessed evil, and what you saw is beyond description, beyond any description.  Many of you lost your entire family, everything and everyone you loved, gone.  You saw mothers and children led to mass slaughter.  You saw the starvation and the torture.  You saw the organized attempt at the extermination of an entire people -- and great people, I must add.  You survived the ghettos, the concentration camps and the death camps.  And you persevered to tell your stories.  You tell of these living nightmares because, despite your great pain, you believe in Elie’s famous plea, that “For the dead and the living, we must bear witness.”  That is why we are here today -- to remember and to bear witness.  To make sure that humanity never, ever forgets.
    The Nazis massacred 6 million Jews.  Two out of every three Jews in Europe were murdered in the genocide.  Millions more innocent people were imprisoned and executed by the Nazis without mercy, without even a sign of mercy.  Yet, even today, there are those who want to forget the past.  Worse still, there are even those filled with such hate, total hate, that they want to erase the Holocaust from history.  Those who deny the Holocaust are an accomplice to this horrible evil.  And we’ll never be silent -- we just won’t -- we will never, ever be silent in the face of evil again.  (Applause.)  Denying the Holocaust is only one of many forms of dangerous anti-Semitism that continues all around the world.  We’ve seen anti-Semitism on university campuses, in the public square, and in threats against Jewish citizens.  Even worse, it’s been on display in the most sinister manner when terrorists attack Jewish communities, or when aggressors threaten Israel with total and complete destruction.This is my pledge to you:  We will confront anti-Semitism (Applause.)  We will stamp out prejudice.  We will condemn hatred.  We will bear witness.  And we will act.  As President of the United States, I will always stand with the Jewish people -- and I will always stand with our great friend and partner, the State of Israel.So today, we remember the 6 million Jewish men, women and children whose lives and dreams were stolen from this Earth.
    We remember the millions of other innocent victims the Nazis so brutally targeted and so brutally killed.  We remember the survivors who bore more than we can imagine.  We remember the hatred and evil that sought to extinguish human life, dignity, and freedom.  But we also remember the light that shone through the darkness.  We remember sisters and brothers who gave everything to those they loved -- survivors like Steven Springfield, who, in the long death march, carried his brother on his back.  As he said, “I just couldn’t give in.” We remember the brave souls who banded together to save the lives of their neighbors -- even at the risk of their own life.  And we remember those first hopeful moments of liberation, when at long last the American soldiers arrived in camps and cities throughout occupied Europe, waving the same beautiful flags before us today, speaking those three glorious words:  “You are free.”It is this love of freedom, this embrace of human dignity, this call to courage in the face of evil that the survivors here today have helped to write onto our hearts.  The Jewish people have endured oppression, persecution, and those who have sought and planned their destruction.  Yet, through the suffering, they have persevered.  They have thrived.  And they have enlightened the world.  We stand in awe of the unbreakable spirit of the Jewish people.I want to close with a story enshrined in the Museum that captures the moment of liberation in the final days of the war.
    It is the story of Gerda Klein, a young Jewish woman from Poland. Some of you know her.  Gerda’s family was murdered by the Nazis. She spent three years imprisoned in labor camps, and the last four months of the war on a terrible death march.  She assumed it was over.  At the end, on the eve of her 21st birthday, her hair had lost all of its color, and she weighed a mere 68 pounds.  Yet she had the will to live another day.  It was tough. Gerda later recalled the moment she realized that her long-awaited deliverance had arrived.  She saw a car coming towards her.  Many cars had driven up before, but this one was different.  On its hood, in place of that wretched swastika, was a bright, beautiful, gleaming white star.  Two American soldiers got out. One walked up to her.  The first thing Gerda said was what she had been trained to say:  “We are Jewish, you know.”  “We are Jewish.”  And then he said, “So am I.”  It was a beautiful moment after so much darkness, after so much evil.As Gerda took this solider to see the other prisoners, the American did something she had long forgotten to even expect -- he opened the door for her.  In Gerda’s words, “that was the moment of restoration of humanity, of humanness, of dignity, and of freedom.” But the story does not end there.  Because, as some of you know, that young American soldier who liberated her and who showed her such decency would soon become her husband.  A year later, they were married.  In her words, “He opened not only the door for me, but the door to my life and to my future.” Gerda has since spent her life telling the world of what she witnessed.  She, like those survivors who are among us today, has dedicated her life to shining a light of hope through the dark of night.Your courage strengthens us.  Your voices inspire us.  And your stories remind us that we must never, ever shrink away from telling the truth about evil in our time.  Evil is always seeking to wage war against the innocent and to destroy all that is good and beautiful about our common humanity.  But evil can only thrive in darkness.  And what you have brought us today is so much more powerful than evil.  You have brought us hope -- hope that love will conquer hatred, that right will defeat wrong, and that peace will rise from the ashes of war.Each survivor here today is a beacon of light, and it only takes one light to illuminate even the darkest space.  Just like it takes only one truth to crush a thousand lies and one hero to change the course of history.  We know that in the end, good will triumph over evil, and that as long as we refuse to close our eyes or to silence our voices, we know that justice will ultimately prevail.So today we mourn.  We remember.  We pray.  And we pledge:  Never again. Thank you.  God bless you, and God bless America.  Thank you very much.  Thank you.  (Applause.) END
    11:45 A.M. EDTsource: White House, Remarks by President Trump at United States Holocaust Memorial Museum National Days of Remembrance
  27. Site: OnePeterFive
    6 hours 27 min ago
    Author: Cole DeSantis

    One sunny autumn day, as I was taking a walk throughout my neighborhood, I spotted a man whom I had never met before, and who I knew did not live in the neighborhood. After briefly talking, he reached into his pocket and handed me something. It was a dollar bill with a picture of Benjamin Franklin and the number 1,000,000 printed on it. I knew right away that it was fake. Yet, when I turned it around, I saw something printed on it:

    Here is the million-dollar question: Will you go to heaven when you die? Here’s a quick test: Have you ever lied, stolen, or used God’s name in vain? Jesus said, “Whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” If you have done these things, God sees you as a lying, stealing, blasphemous adulterer at heart, and the Bible warns that God will punish you in a terrible place called hell. But God is not willing that any should perish. Sinners broke God’s Law and Jesus paid the fine. This means that God can legally dismiss the case: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” Then Jesus rose from the dead, defeating death. Today, repent and trust Jesus, and God will give you eternal life as a free gift. Then read the Bible daily and obey it. God will never fail you.

    Many Catholics in this situation may have read this and thought it was a lovely sentiment, completely in line with what they have heard at Mass or read in the Bible or the teachings of the saints or the Catechism or heard or saw in Catholic media outlets. Yet any Catholic who has studied theology, particularly when studying Church history, soteriology (the study of the Church’s view on salvation), and systematic theology, will recognize that this sentiment manifests not just a vague nice sentiment, but rather a specific understanding of what took place in Christ’s death and resurrection.

    The above quote contains a view rooted in the concept of penal substitution, which states that Christ took upon Himself the punishment that rightfully belonged to humanity. While this view is not, in and of itself, contrary to any defined Church teaching, it was never adopted as a normative view of the atonement within Catholic theological circles.

    However, penal substitution is quite popular among many Protestants and is often tied with several other uniquely Protestant ideas and doctrines. John Calvin, for example, in Book II, Chapter 16, section 2 of his famed work The Institutes of the Christian Religion, wrote that “sinners, until freed from guilt,” are “always liable to the wrath and curse of God, who, as He is a just judge, cannot permit His law to be violated with impunity, is armed for vengeance.” As a result of God’s anger at our offense, Calvin states that in the period between the fall and the time of Christ, God considered humanity His enemy, and we were under God’s curse, as per Romans 5:10 and Galatians 3:10-13. We were, in Calvin’s words, “a complete alien from the blessing of God” and a “slave of Satan.” No matter how much God let His wrath come upon humanity, it was not enough to placate His just anger. Only with Christ were the yoke of sin and the corresponding punishment lifted. As Calvin wrote:

    [T]hen Christ interposed, took the punishment upon Himself and bore what by the just punishment of God was impeding over sinners; by His own blood expiated the sins which rendered them hateful to God … [and] by this intercession appeased His anger[.]

    Because the anger God had toward man was taken out on Christ – and in a sense “dumped onto Him” on the cross – Jesus stood in for the elect (those God had predestined for salvation) and took upon Himself their just punishment, thereby fulfilling the precept of divine justice on their behalf and allowing God to have mercy on them and grant them the grace whereby they attain salvation.

    It is true that through sin, humanity incurred the anger and punishment of God and put itself at odds with God – and thus generations of Christians, even within the Catholic tradition, used language similar to that of Calvin independently of and prior to Calvin. But to say Christ’s sacrifice on the cross was merely a means of satisfying divine anger is an oversimplification of the biblical and early Christian view of the nature of Christ as the One who gave Himself up for the forgiveness of sins, and of the entire biblical logic underlying the notion of making sacrifices for the forgiveness sin.

    Let us look first to Scripture to see the dynamic and multifaceted nature of the atonement. We see this in St. Paul’s letter to the Romans, chapter 3: St. Paul here states that up until the coming of Christ, the Jews were privileged with having God’s most direct utterance to humanity, the Law, which foreshadowed or prophesied the coming of Christ. Yet the Jews, as St. Paul writes, should not view themselves as morally or spiritually superior simply because they possess or follow the Law. This is because, as St. Paul writes in verse 20, the Law cannot make us righteous in the sight of God, but rather, through our constant failure to observe the Law, the Law can only serve as a witness of human sinfulness.

    In verse 21, St. Paul writes how the righteousness of God, whereby humans are made righteous, is made manifest “apart from the Law,” in and through Jesus Christ. Thus, we “are justified freely through redemption in Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:24). The reason why the Law could only point toward righteousness but could not actually bring us to a righteous state, whereas Jesus could serve as cause of our being made righteous, is because Jesus was one “whom God set forth as an expiation, through faith, by His blood, to prove His righteousness because of the forgiveness of sins previously forgiven” (Romans 3:25). Jesus is thus “an expiation” put forward by God for the forgiveness of sins.

    The language of Jesus’ death serving as an expiation – that is, something offered to make amends with another or to obtain forgiveness – became the basis of the penal substitution theory. What does it mean for Jesus to be “an expiation”?

    The term used by St. Paul for “expiation” is hilastērion. This phrase is closely related to the Greek term hilaskesthai, meaning “to appease” or “to propriate.” This implies that Jesus’s death was a ransom from the anger and punishment of God. Yet, as the Catholic biblical scholar Fr. Joseph A. Fitzmyer, S.J. pointed out in his commentary on Romans, this doesn’t do justice to the larger theology of St. Paul, nor to the Old Testament backdrop to St. Paul. In the Septuagint (the Greek translation of the Old Testament), the term hilaskesthai refers to God’s pardon. In other areas, it refers to ritual acts done to obtain God’s forgiveness, yet these acts were seen not as appeasing or placating the divine wrath, but rather as the recommitment of the people of God to the covenant relationship and to the removal of any obstacles in said relationship. This same Greek term even refers to the mercy seat (that is, the lid of the Ark of the Covenant) – for example, in the Greek translation of Leviticus 16:2, 11-17. Thus, one may conclude that Jesus, as the new mercy seat, serves as the vessel of God’s mercy, insofar as through His death and resurrection the covenant is renewed, and anything that serves as an obstacle to humanity’s relationship with God is definitively removed, something that could not be done by the Law. As Fr. Fitzmyer wrote, “Christ crucified has become the mercy seat of the new dispensation, the means of expiating (wiping away) the sins that have estranged human beings from God.”

    One may also look to Galatians 3:13-14 – “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law by becoming a curse for us. For it is written: ‘Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.’ He redeemed us so that the blessing promised to Abraham would come to the Gentiles in Jesus Christ, so that by faith we may receive the promise of the Holy Spirit[.]” What St. Paul is saying is that, according to the Law (Deuteronomy 27:26), anyone who disobeys God’s law is to receive God’s curse. As St. John Chrysostom points out in his homily on Galatians 3, no one can perfectly keep the Law, and thus all were subject to God’s curse. Jesus freed us from this curse by taking upon Himself another curse, for, also according to the Law (Deuteronomy 21:23), anyone who died as a result of the death penalty by way of being hanged was to receive God’s curse. Through this we were set free in order to receive the promises of the Holy Spirit.

    What we were freed from is not the anger of God, but rather the Law. Fr. Fitzmyer, in a commentary on Galatians, says Christ died through the Law, and thus died to the Law. Jesus lived as one under the Law, and He in His death fulfilled the Law. Since through participating in or cooperating with God’s plan of salvation, we participate in the death of Christ, we, too, in Christ, have died to the Law, and thus have made the transition from a state of being under the Law to living in the Spirit. Humans, being fallen, sinful creatures, could not but disobey the Law, and thus incur God’s curse; Jesus, through dying on the cross, also incurred God’s curse, but in doing so, He fulfilled the Law, thereby freeing us from the curse that had fallen upon us.

    All of this points toward the reality of Christ’s death as being not merely an event wherein someone is punished by God on behalf of all of humanity, but rather as the means through which God radically recreates humanity, purifying it of its sin and restoring His relationship with creation. We get a sense of this in St. Athanasius’s On the Incarnation. According to Athanasius, Jesus’s divinity made His humanity incorruptible, so that death could not conquer it. So, through subjecting Himself to death, Christ absorbed death, and defeated it, which is seen explicitly through His resurrection. In his own words:

    But He [Christ] takes that which is ours, not simply, but from a spotless and stainless virgin, ignorant of man, pure and unmixed from intercourse with man. … And thus, taking from ours that which is like, since all were liable to the corruption of death, delivering it over to death on behalf of all, He offered it to the Father, doing this in His love for human beings, so that, on the one hand, the law concerning corruption in human beings should be undone … and that, on the other hand, that as humans had turned towards corruption, He might turn them again to incorruptibility and give them life from death[.] … For the Word, realizing that in no other way would the corruption of human beings be undone except, simply, by dying, yet being immortal and the Son of the Father the Word was not able to die, for this reason He takes to Himself a body capable of death, so that it, participating in the Word who is above all, might be sufficient for death on behalf of all, and through the indwelling Word would remain incorruptible, and so corruption might henceforth cease from all by the grace of the resurrection.

    As St. Athanasius says, “for the trophy of victory over death was this [resurrection] being shown to all and all being persuaded of the removal of corruption effected by Him[.]” One of the central elements of the atonement for Athanasius was the victory over death, by which ontological corruption was destroyed. Sin is, or leads to, ontological corruption, since sin is a turning away from God, the source of all being and existence. It is for this reason that death is the punishment for sin, and thus Athanasius asserts that God was motivated to save us from sin, “lest what He had created should perish and the work of the Father should be in vain[.]” This concept of the death and resurrection of Christ being a victory over death, and the renewal of man on an existential level, was a major theme in patristic, and to a certain extent, biblical, texts, and it remains a popular theme among Eastern Christians to this day, as can be seen in the famous Byzantine Easter hymn Christos Anesti (“Christ is Risen”), the opening lyrics of which are “Christ is risen from the dead, by death trampling down upon death.”

    By the Middle Ages, many thinkers had moved toward the notion of the atonement as Christ making satisfaction for our sins on our behalf. St. Anselm, in his work Cur Deus Homo (Why God Became Man) asserted that the purpose of human life is to offer honor and homage to God. Through sin, we fail to do so, thus we become indebted to God. Moreover, not only does sin cause us to become indebted to God, but it also spiritually binds us, preventing us from being able to pay off the debt. From a spiritual perspective, things got so out of hand for the human race that only God had the capacity to pay off our debt, yet the debt fell upon humanity, not upon God. Thus, God, in His mercy, assumed human nature so that His divinity could act in and through His humanity to pay off the debt we owed. This Christ did in His death.

    Death is the punishment for sin. Christ, through dying, paid off the debt we owed God.

    St. Thomas Aquinas takes on a similar perspective in his treatment of the atonement in Part III of the Summa Theologicæ. Aquinas says the value of Christ’s death was of so much greater value than our sin that Christ not only paid off our debt to God, but also merited favor with the Father, and it is on the grounds of these merits that God extends His grace to humanity.

    The vocabulary of the Scholastics, though heavily influential in Catholic theology (particularly in the Latin Tradition), created the framework for the rise of the theory of penal substitution. The notion of Christ paying off humanity’s debt to God and making satisfaction for sin was reinterpreted by many Reformers, especially of the Calvinist tradition, as meaning that Christ paid off the debt of God’s punishment, and thus the atonement means, according to this tradition, that Christ placated the divine wrath. In many ways, this developed from an oversimplification of certain elements of the Medieval Christian views concerning the atonement, which were later read into biblical and patristic texts.

    In biblical texts, we see Christ’s death treated mostly as the fulfillment and renewal of the covenant, the fulfillment of the Law, and the grounds on which God grants us the grace of justification. In biblical and patristic texts, we also see a strong emphasis on Christ’s death and resurrection as God using death to defeat death. In the Medieval and early modern era, we see a shift in emphasis toward situating Christ’s death within the context of the larger process by which humanity pays off its debt to God incurred through sin and merits salvation. While humanity did incur the wrath and punishment of God through sin, Christ’s death was not so much the placating of that wrath; rather, Christ, through His ministry, death, and resurrection, restored the relationship between God and man.

    It is through the lens of all of this that the Catholic Church has traditionally interpreted the theological implications of Christ’s death and resurrection. Penal substitution, at its root, is thus an over-simplification of this larger tradition.

    As we meditate upon the meaning of Christ’s death and resurrection through this Easter season, and look to Scripture, the Church, and the great saints of history for deeper insight on this topic, let us realize that at the bottom of the Cross is a paradox through which God’s plan of salvation is made known. Through dying the dishonorable death of one falsely accused of blasphemy and insurrection, Christ made manifest His glory as the God-man. Through suffering the death of one marginalized and outcast by society, Christ made manifest His nature as the King and Lord of creation and of the Church. What seemed like a defeat for God and a victory for sin and death was in fact a victory for God and a defeat for sin and death. To use the words of St. Paul, this makes the Cross “a stumbling block” and “foolishness” for those who lack faith, yet for those who have faith, it is the “power of God and the wisdom of God” (cf. 1 Corinthians 2:18-25).

    The post Christ’s Atonement: More Than Just Payment for Sin appeared first on OnePeterFive.

  28. Site: Novus Motus Liturgicus
    6 hours 37 min ago
    As always, our thanks to the many readers who sent in photos of their liturgies. I apologize for the delay in getting this up; last week turned out to be very busy indeed, but this week, we should be able to cover most of your photographs of the Triduum, and get to Easter soon enough. Evangelize though beauty! (There are two entries at the bottom for which the name of the church and location of the church was not given; please feel free to send me the relevant information so I can add it.)

    St Joseph Oratory - Detroit, Michigan (ICKSP)

    St Mary’s - Norwalk, Connecticut

    Parish of the Holy Redeemer - Diocese of Cubao, Philippines

    Immaculate Heart of Mary Oratory - San José, California (ICKSP)

    Aberdeen Technical School Chapel - Hong Kong

    St Monica - Edmond, Oklahoma

    Holy Innocents - New York City

    Mater Ecclesiae - Berlin, New Jersey

    Shrine of Christ the King - Chicago, Illinois (ICKSP)
    Church of St Matthew - Monroe - Louisiana
    St Stephen’s Cathedral - Owensboro, KentuckyShrine of St. Pedro Calungsod - Cebu City, PhillipinesSt Francis de Sales - Benedict, Maryland

  29. Site: Fr. Z's Blog
    6 hours 47 min ago
    Author: frz@wdtprs.com (Fr. John Zuhlsdorf)

    Please use the sharing buttons! Thanks!

    Registered or not, will you in your charity please take a moment look at the requests and to pray for the people about whom you read?

    Continued from THESE.

    I get many requests by email asking for prayers. Many requests are heart-achingly grave and urgent.

    As long as my blog reaches so many readers in so many places, let’s give each other a hand. We should support each other in works of mercy.

    If you have some prayer requests, feel free to post them below.

    You have to be registered here to be able to post.

    I still have two pressings personal petitions.  No, I actually have THREE now.  I can’t get a break, it seems.  Ut Deus….


  30. Site: The Radical Catholic
    6 hours 48 min ago
    Over at OnePeterFive, Maike Hickson provides a few choice quotations from a recent interview with Fr. Bernhard Gerstle of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter (FSSP). For those who would like to learn the context of the various statements quoted in Hickson's report, I provide a full translation of the original article below, without comment. - RC

    Fr. Bernhard Gerstle, FSSPQ.: Fr. Gerstle, the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter (FSSP) arose by breaking away from the Society of St. Pius X. You were directly involved. What exactly happened? 
    A.: I entered the Society seminary in Zaitzkofen in the Fall of 1985, and hoped that there would be a reconciliation with Rome as soon as possible, as there were favorable indications at that time. A shift occurred in 1986 as a result of the interreligious summit at Assisi, which Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre rejected. Efforts were made on the part of Rome, especially by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, to prevent the unauthorized episcopal consecrations of 1988 and come to a mutual understanding. This was almost achieved via a written agreement, which was signed but then rejected by Lefebvre shortly thereafter. I think the whole thing came about due to a lack of trust toward Rome.
    Q.: And you, as well as other members of the Society, didn't want to go along with the coming break?
    A.: The decision was clear to me from the beginning: in case of a break with Rome, I would stand on the side of the pope. Many of my confrères desired reconciliation with Rome, but didn't risk taking the leap. Thus, it was only a few priests and seminarians who then left the Society. The foundation and ecclesial recognition of the Fraternity of St. Peter - which came about largely as a result of the efforts of the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Ratzinger - was unforeseeable at that time.
    Q.: In what ways does the FSSP distinguish itself from the Society of St. Pius X?
    A.: First, one has to recognize that there are different currents within the Society. One must distinguish between the moderates and the hardliners. There exists a larger number of moderate priests, especially within the German-speaking region, who want to avoid a permanent break with Rome and are interested in an agreement. Then there are the hardliners who largely reject the Second Vatican Council - for example, freedom of religion or ecumenism - and of these, there are some who even doubt the validity of the new liturgy. The Fraternity of St. Peter, on the other hand, agreed to undertake an impartial study of the documents of the Council and has come to believe that there is no break with earlier magisterial teaching. Nonetheless, some documents are formulated in such a way as to give rise to misunderstandings. Since then, however, Rome has issued relevant clarifications, which the Society of St. Pius X should recognize.
    Q.: Are there any additional differences?
    A.: It is for us a matter of course that the 1983 Code of Canon Law is normative. It appears to me that, for the Society of St. Pius X, there remains here a need for additional clarification. Also, phrases such as "Institutional Church" (Amtskirche) or "Conciliar Church" (Konzilskirche) are to be avoided. We reject them not only because they suggest a kind of distance, but also because, for us, there is no "pre-" and "post-Conciliar" Church. There is only the one Church, which goes back to Christ. Additionally, our apostolate always operates with the consent of local bishops and priests, and we work to maintain good relations. Almost everywhere we are active, our priests have a good relationship to the local ordinaries. We do not want to polarize or divide; on the contrary, we attempt to convey an ecclesial attitude to the faithful in the communities we serve. Those grievances and abuses which undeniably take place in the Church must be addressed, but this must be done in a differentiated and moderate manner.
    Q.: Nonetheless, the FSSP, like the Society of St. Pius X, is described as "traditionalist." Do you like hearing that?
    A.: I don't like hearing the term at all. We are not "traditionalists;" we're simply Catholics. And as Catholics, we treasure Tradition. But not in the sense that we completely block ourselves off from organic adaptations and changes.
    Q.: What are the core concerns of the FSSP?
    A.: First and foremost, the celebration of the liturgy in the Extraordinary Latin Form. To strive for the reverent celebration of Holy Mass combined with faithful preaching is an important service in the interest of the Church. Concern for salvation of souls, as Pope Francis is fond of stressing, must remain our central concern. We must once again communicate to people that eternal life is at stake, which is decided here on earth. Especially the message of Fatima, where the Mother of God appeared a century ago, should be brought to the fore in the minds of the people. Unfortunately, the Last Things have been pushed into the background by matters of secondary concern over the past few decades, such that many Christians no longer understand what life is about. This has led to a downplaying of sin and a large-scale collapse of the discipline of confession.
    Q.: Do you reject the new liturgy?
    A.: We recognize the new liturgy as valid and licit. But we do not close our eyes to the fact that the liturgical reform brought with it many developments which have taken on a life of their own and which lead away from the meaning of the Mass according to the Faith of the Church. The sacrificial character is frequently pushed into the background, or there is a lack of reverence shown toward the Blessed Sacrament. We are very thankful that Pope Benedict XVI pointed out these negative developments. For example, celebrating ad orientem and the reception of Holy Communion kneeling and on the tongue are barely practiced today. The question poses itself whether the changes made to the external form have facilitated a rather protestantized understanding of the Mass among priests and laity.
    Q.: This wouldn't have happened if we had retained the "Old Mass," in your opinion?
    A.: Presumably not to this extent. Surely, this isn't to be attributed solely to the changes in the liturgy. The training of priests today must also be reconsidered. But the liturgy is an important part of the whole - after all, it is the visible expression of the Faith. It is precisely the many signs of reverence and adoration prescribed by the Extraordinary Form of the Mass, as well as its prayers, which make explicit the sacrificial character of the Mass and express the great Mystery taking place on the altar.
    Q.: The Council called for a more active participation of the faithful. How can this be realized in the old liturgy when the priest is more or less the sole actor and the Latin language represents an obstacle to conscious engagement?
    A.: One must examine the conciliar document on the liturgy, Sacrosanctum Concilium, very closely. One observes significant discrepancies in comparison to what was later put into practice. For example, the text never mentions that the Latin language should be abandoned, merely that the local vernacular should be given due place. And this is something that we actually practice insofar as, for example, the readings in our Masses are recited in German. Nearly all the faithful who come to us have a German-Latin missal, and they manage quite well. I don't see language as an obstacle to conscious engagement in the Mass.
    Q.: But what about the active participation of the faithful?
    A.: In my opinion, the Council didn't intend for as many laypeople as possible to serve as liturgical actors within the sanctuary. Rather, that the faithful should be drawn more intensly into the unfolding of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. This does not mean activism, but rather that they participate through reaping greater spiritual fruits. In the past, many simply prayed the Rosary during the Mass. The Council wanted to put a stop to that and motivate the faithful to a more conscious participation in the Mass.
    Q.: With his Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum, Benedict XVI granted a general allowance for the celebration of the old liturgy. Are things supposed to go back to how they were before the reform of the liturgy?
    A.: I realize that we can't simply re-introduce the old liturgy in parishes everywhere and, as it were, impose it upon the people.  That just won't work. As I see it, Pope Benedict intended to set a standard for the Reform of the Reform. Both forms of the Rite should enrich each other mutually. I am convinced that certain elements of the old liturgy could improve the new, and also that elements of the new liturgy could enrich the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite: I'm thinking, for example, on the broader lectionary, or a period of quiet reflection after the reception of Holy Communion. Likewise, the calendar for the Extraordinary Form should be updated in the foreseeable future.
    Q.: So, you're expecting a new liturgical reform?
    A.: I don't think this is an issue at the moment. Pope Francis is not as concerned with the liturgy as was Pope Benedict. He has other priorities. Nonetheless, it should be noted that interest for the old liturgy, especially among younger clerics, is growing. An increasing number of priests celebrate the Mass in the Extraordinary Form at least occasionally. This, in turn, influences the manner in which the new Mass is celebrated, so that the Sacred becomes more apparent.
    Q.: In the German Church, dwindling vocations are a big problem. Does the FSSP share this concern?
    A.: Of course we are impacted by the problems of the age. After all, we don't live in isolation. Though, we did have a total of 16 priestly ordinations last year. Both of our seminaries - in Wigratzbad in Allgäu and in Denton in the US - are filled with over 100 seminarians. The average age of our priests is currently 37 years. All in all, we're doing quite well, but it's not as though we are drowning in vocations.
    Q.: What about the number of faithful?
    A.: In the German-language region, we have 23 branches or houses through which other apostolates are conducted. The number of faithful varies considerably. In the larger communities, between 100 and 180 faithful attend Sunday Mass. The trend, however, is upward. Moreover, all age groups are represented, though in our communities, the average age of the faithful is considerably younger than in other parishes.
    Q.: Why is that? Do young people feel attracted to the old liturgy?
    A.: In a certain sense, the old liturgy is the new liturgy for young people. They read about it on the internet and become interested.  They come to our Masses out of curiosity, and are often fascinated by the atmosphere of the sacred. Of course, this has to be followed up with good catechesis and pastoral services. When that happens, then people come to see that we can offer them the spiritual food that they need.
    Q.: Rumor has it that an agreement between Rome and the Society of St. Pius X is on the horizon. How is the relationship between the Fraternity and the Society today, and what does the future hold?
    A.: Recently, there have been multiple indications that an agreement with Rome is coming. It cannot be overlooked that there has been a certain opening on the part of the official leadership of the Society over the last few years. Some of their priests are also strengthening their contact with us. The moderate wing is apparently ready for an agreement, which is being energetically pursued by Rome and the current pope. Still, the hardline wing remains. The Society has to accept the possibility of significant losses, perhaps even an internal split. I think that the current Superior General, Bishop Bernard Fellay, will have to decide between unity with Rome and unity within the Society. The realists among the leadership will hopefully recognize that there is no alternative to reconciliation with Rome.
    (Original [German]: katholisch.de)
  31. Site: The Orthosphere
    6 hours 54 min ago
    Author: Kristor

    The admirable EH Looney – an orthospherean through and through, let it be noted, and so our ally and friend (witly or not), whose site I visit daily – has in a recent short post subtly erred, in three different and interesting ways. An Orthodox Christian who admires Rome with fervent intelligence, he nevertheless writes with eyes open:

    The problem with Rome isn’t papal supremacy, or even the filioque, it’s that the Roman church is the cradle of nominalism. That sickness should have been condemned immediately rather than being allowed to fester long enough to create Luther and the Protestant deformation.

    Also Anselm’s theory of the atonement almost totally obscures the existential nature of the paschal mystery into a legalism of the worst possible sort.

    Now, there is some truth to each of these statements. Some truth; not all.

    First, while nominalism is an everlasting temptation to the sophomoric intellect, first proposed to man by Lucifer at Eden, nevertheless its most potent and perdurant formal manifestation to date did arise in the Latin West, with Roscellinus and Ockham.

    But then, the Church is the religion of Adam, so that all cults whatever originate in it, and have diverged from it errantly. Rome insists that the Church is the cradle of everything: Islam, Communism, Mazdakism, Mormonism, atheism, Pharisaism, paganism, shamanism, Shinto: you name it. Eastern Orthodoxy agrees, of course. And both East and West agree that they are both the Church. The two lungs of the Church, that is to say, both agree that they are the two lungs of the Church. They agree therefore also that all other cults diverge from their joint and – when push comes ultimately to shove – agreeable witness.

    The cradle of nominalism, and of all other doctrinal errors, is truth. No truth, then no possibility of error in respect thereto. That men err nowise impeaches truth.

    Second, it is true that nominalism was specifically repudiated only at the Council of Trent, at which point the horse was already out of the barn.

    Nevertheless it was in fact repudiated by the Church, early on. Roscellinus was condemned for his nominalism, and recanted it. Ockham was excommunicated, and his nominalism prohibited. And, of course, Aquinas – archon, paragon and archetype of the philosophia antiqua – is the preeminent theologian and the Angelic Doctor of the Church, and his realism the crown and summation of Western theology. The Church’s resounding magisterial affirmation of Thomism (in Aeterni Patris, ex cathedra Leo XIII) is an effectual repudiation of Ockhamism – and of all other doctrines that cannot be reconciled with Thomism.

    The affirmation of truth is an effectual repudiation of all errors, whether or not those errors are anywhere explicitly catalogued. If I say that 2 + 2 = 4, it follows that 2 + 2 ≠ ¬ 4 without my specifying that this is so; to say that 2 + 2 = 4 *just is* to say that 2 + 2 ≠ ¬ 4.

    Third, it is certainly possible to lose oneself in the formal thickets of Scholasticism, and so lose sight of the concrete mysteries to which the Schoolmen devoted their lives, and pointed their work.

    But this can be accomplished only by a misprision of that work; by a sort of ideolatry. It was to the temptations of such error that the first of the Latin Fathers, the firebrand Tertullian, referred in asking the Greek Fathers what Athens might have to do with Jerusalem.

    The Schoolmen themselves – even the errant among them, such as Ockham – did not usually fall into that sort of thing. In the first place, they were well trained. In the second, they were almost all besotted by Christ, utterly consumed in humble contemplation of holy mysteries.

    Anselm developed his theory of the Atonement as an apologetical answer to the skeptic’s question, cur deus homo – why did God become man? Why, that is, did not Omnipotence simply repair the Fall by his own mere whim? Why go to the trouble of the Incarnation, and especially the Passion? It’s rather a tricky question. And it can arise only in minds alive to the philosophical puzzles that must attend any doctrine of an interaction between ultimacy and any sort of penultimacy. It is an inherently philosophical question, calling for a philosophical answer. Only having enjoyed the satisfaction of an adequate philosophical answer might a philosophical skeptic find himself able to proceed to worship in peace of heart and mind so as to open a way to mystical contemplation of the tremendous and mysterious fact of the Atonement that his philosophical satisfaction has enabled him to recognize as such.

    Anselm’s answer was therefore a formal philosophical analysis, not a mystical treatise (if you want a mystical treatise from the Latins, better to turn to such as Eckhart, John of the Cross, the Cloude of Unknowyng, et alii). Nevertheless it was borne of Anselm’s own profound mystical contemplation – the man was renowned for his intense spirituality. He was not sainted on account of his philosophy.

    The analysis in his Cur Deus Homo is often characterized as legal, for Anselm treats sin as man’s partial default on his legal debt to God, that he must somehow repay, but that – being ontologically deficient on account of the wound of his sinful deficit – he cannot possibly repay from his own finite resources, of which absolutely all are in any case also already owed to God. God becomes man then, uniting divine ultimacy with human penultimacy in one person, so that a man might redeem human debt from his very own infinite divine store of ontological wealth.

    Now, insofar as a debt is a legal instrument, this is indeed a legal analysis. But notice that debt instruments are formalizations of concrete economic, thus moral, and so ontological relations (so are all legal instruments; as laws, trusts, agreements, verdicts, sentences, proclamations, declarations, regulations, and so forth). Legal instruments are to the concrete moral, economic and ontological relations to which they refer as words are to the ideas, facts and intentions they denote.

    If I borrow $1,000 from you under a note payable, my debt is not a legal or financial fiction. It is not reduced to the instrument of the note. The debt would not vanish with the destruction of the note that records it. On the contrary, my debt to you is a real aspect of our concrete relations: a portion of my substance is properly yours, to the measure of $1,000, and this property of yours is recorded in the note.

    That Anselm treats the Atonement under the terms of finance no more empties it of mystery or concreteness than a detailed topo map of Grand Canyon vitiates the Canyon’s numinous majesty. Nor does it even obscure the Canyon, except insofar as one uses it as a blindfold; as, i.e., one misuses it, qua map.

  32. Site: RT - News
    6 hours 57 min ago
    Author: RT
    A controversial theater sign “A Holocaust Cabaret” announcing a new play staged in the Ukrainian capital has provoked a storm of criticism from the local Jewish community and social media users.
    Read Full Article at RT.com
  33. Site: Fr. Z's Blog
    7 hours 2 min ago
    Author: frz@wdtprs.com (Fr. John Zuhlsdorf)

    From a reader…

    Are SSPX Masses and Eucharist licit for Roman Catholics? This Triduum was heart-wrenching as we had the “full band” (organ, piano, guitar, drums and cymbals) playing during Holy Thursday AND Good Friday!

    There is no Tridentine Mass celebrated in my area. I have increasing doubts as to the validity of the NO. There is an SSPX parish several towns over, also a Ukranian Byzantine Catholic Church within 45 minutes of here. I love God, and I love my faith, but truly feel the NO has been protestantized (is that even a word?). Yes, I have spoken to our priests. Their responses were “I’ve heard that from several other parshioners as well”.

    I’m sorry that you have had to suffer in that way.

    Without question the Novus Ordo is valid.  The Eucharist is confected and Holy Mass is celebrated.  Sadly, the Novus Ordo lends itself to abuses.   However, it can be celebrated reverently and in a traditional way.  If it is possible to protestantize the NO it is also possible to traditionalize it. Way too much depends on the whims of the priest and those whom he designates to help.

    And now to the question which has been answered here many times before.

    Masses celebrated by the SSPX are valid.  They have valid Holy Orders.  They validly consecrate the Eucharist.  They undoubtedly celebrate Mass using a Catholic rite, since it is the legitimate traditional Roman Rite which was never abrogated, even with the introduction of the Novus Ordo.

    The Code of Canon Law for the Latin Church says:

    can. 1248 1. The precept of participating in the Mass is satisfied by assistance at a Mass which is celebrated anywhere in a Catholic rite either on the holy day or on the evening of the preceding day.

    This means that if you go to a chapel of the SSPX on the day of precept (such as a Sunday) or the evening before and attend Holy Mass, you fulfill your obligation… silly claims to the contrary notwithstanding.

    The Holy See has clarified that this is so.

    Also, there is no question that you fulfill your obligation by attending the Divine Liturgy of a Catholic (not Orthodox) Eastern Church, such as the Ukrainian Catholic Church or a Maronite Catholic Church, etc.   They, too, celebrate in a Catholic Rite.  You may go to these churches and you may receive Holy Communion.  I suggest that you not be the first to present yourself for Communion if you are not familiar with how it is distributed.  It is distributed by the priest with a spoon directly into the mouth.  Watch others first.  Do not close your mouth on the spoon!  That’s a no no.   Attending Eastern Catholic Divine Liturgy can be a tremendous experience, especially when the choir and acoustics are good.

    I have never recommended that people regularly frequent chapels of the SSPX.  A great deal depends on the priests of these chapels.  If they get the “wrong guy” as it were, people can undermine their unity with the Roman Pontiff by taking in the wrong message.  The risk of this erosion of unity could in part depend on the manner of preaching and many other factors.

    Mind you, I think this erosion take place on a huge scale at “legitimate” parishes which lean liberal!   For decades, countless Catholics have been starved of sound doctrine and their faith eroded by dreadful worship.  It is a sad fact that the SSPX, which is so Catholic and reverent, must be… well… not avoided, but not entirely embraced yet, while there is no problem with going to a loony parish in manifest communion with the local bishop where all manner of soul-annihilating nonsense goes on unchecked.  It’s just plain sad, and I hope that this will soon be resolved.

    I still will not recommend frequent reception of Holy Communion at an SSPX chapel – yet – unless the conditions of your life are such that it would be very difficult, physically or morally, to get to another church or parish manifestly in union with the local diocese and Rome, even if it isn’t ideal.  The obstacles must be serious, but they cannot be easily spelled out because the circumstances of people’s lives differ so much.

    So, yes, you fulfill your Sunday Mass obligation at an SSPX chapel and at an Eastern Catholic church.

    This question comes up fairly often and it bears review.

  34. Site: RT - News
    7 hours 4 min ago
    Author: RT
    Moscow has dismissed allegations suggesting it is involved in cyber attacks against the campaign of French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron.
    Read Full Article at RT.com
  35. Site: The Eponymous Flower
    7 hours 27 min ago
    [Express UK] President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has taken control of six churches in the war-torn southeastern city of Diyarbakir in his latest move to squash freedom of speech and religious movement. The state-sanctioned seizure is just the latest in a number of worrying developments to come out of increasingly hardline Turkey, which is in advanced talks with the EU over visa-free travel for its 80 million citizens.Included in the seizures are Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox churches, one of which is over 1,700 years old.

  36. Site: RT - News
    7 hours 30 min ago
    Author: RT
    Two men who participated in the rape of a Swedish woman which was live-streamed on Facebook have been sentenced to prison. A third man has also been put behind bars for publishing the video online and failing to report the violent incident.
    Read Full Article at RT.com
  37. Site: RT - News
    7 hours 30 min ago
    Author: RT
    Be careful what you drink this weekend – a special law enforcement operation has revealed the true extent of the fake alcohol industry.
    Read Full Article at RT.com
  38. Site: Fr. Z's Blog
    7 hours 45 min ago
    Author: frz@wdtprs.com (Fr. John Zuhlsdorf)

    From a reader…


    I travel to many places that don’t have a church (e.g. remote areas of Nepal; Bhutan; Ladakh) so I can’t attend Mass. What do I do? Pray the Rosary?

    This question has been answered many times, but here is a…

    GUEST RESPONSE from Fr. Tim Ferguson:

    There are two axioms rooted in ancient Roman law which effectively mean the same thing: Ultra posse nemo obligatur and Nemo ad impossibilia tenetur. No one can be held to the impossible. The Church has utilized this Roman law principle as well. No one can be obliged to do something which is impossible. If you are traveling in a place where there is not a Mass available, you are thereby not bound to attend the Holy Mass.

    I can hear the indignant replies already: “Well, I take my Catholic faith seriously unlike everyone else. I would NEVER travel to a place where it would be impossible to fulfill my Sunday obligation!” or the plaintive, “Surely your travel plans can accommodate a quick flight to Kathmandu where the Church of the Assumption has Sunday Masses!” or even the strident, “If this person took his faith seriously, he would quit his job if it required him to be away from Mass on Sunday! Harumph! Harumph!”

    Respondeo dicendum quod – the Church recognizes that, while hearing Sunday Mass is a serious obligation which should not be dismissed lightly, there are legitimate situations where a good and faithful Catholic finds himself or herself in a situation where attendance at Mass is not possible. The necessities of one’s employment, military service, the due (and legitimate!) cause of the occasional vacation, the human need to explore our world – even the very Christian task of spreading the Gospel to all corners of the earth, all of these things can leave one in a place where Mass is not held.

    Mindful that one is not bound to the impossible, but also mindful of the grave obligation that one assumes upon being Catholic, one should firstly consult with one’s proper pastor or chaplain. They have the ability to dispense or commute the obligation (canon 1245). The Church also provides that, if attendance at Mass is not possible, taking part in a liturgy of the Word celebration be a priority, and if that, too is not possible, spending “an appropriate time in prayer, whether personally or as a family, or as occasion presents, in a group of families” (c. 1248, 2).

    Were I the pastor in question, I would consider commuting the obligation to a devout recitation of the rosary as well as reading the Sacred Scriptures, especially the Gospel of the day and spending time in quiet contemplation if at all possible.

  39. Site: Sunlit Uplands
    7 hours 50 min ago
    Author: noreply@blogger.com (Daniel Cassidy)
    Je suis avec elle!

  40. Site: Live Action News
    8 hours 13 min ago
    Author: Cassy Fiano

    Noah Wall is a little boy with spina bifida who has captured the hearts of people around the world.

    Nicknamed “the boy without a brain,” Noah’s parents found out at three months gestation that he had not only spina bifida, but also hydrocephalus and chromosomal abnormalities. Most alarmingly, only 2 percent of his brain was present. Noah’s parents were pressured five times to have an abortion, but they repeatedly refused.

    Everyone expected Noah to die soon after birth, and his parents planned his funeral during the pregnancy. But he lived, and by age three, his brain had grown, giving him 80 percent of a normal brain. He is paralyzed from the waist down and uses a wheelchair, but he currently is going to school, can talk, read, and count to ten. His doctors even think he might be able to walk one day.

    Now, his mother has a mission: to stop people like her son from being targeted for abortion.

    In the United Kingdom, abortion is banned after 24 weeks of pregnancy… unless the baby has a disability, even one as minor as a cleft lip. Then the mother can choose to have an abortion, right up to 40 weeks of pregnancy. Shelly Wall, Noah’s mom, says that babies with disabilities should have equal rights, from the moment of conception.

    “It is not about having the perfect baby. What is a perfect baby?” she asked. “Noah’s a perfect baby to me. Mothers who abort their disabled baby’s life will miss out on a very special relationship. It didn’t cross my mind to contemplate termination. When you create a life with a person you love and you wanted to have a baby with, then you love that child. It was a child conceived in love. Do you love a child any less because it’s disabled?”

    Shelly also explained that she cherished every moment she had with Noah through the pregnancy, even knowing that she might lose him soon after birth. “We didn’t know how long we’d have with him – minutes, days, months – we had no idea,” she said. “I feel that all disabled children should be given a chance. Noah is normal to me. He’s my son. We need to treat disabled people with respect and treat them like human beings. Everybody has the chance to abort their baby up until 24 weeks but I don’t think that destroying a child up until birth just because it’s got a cleft palate or just because it has spina bifida is right.”

    She has now partnered with Lord Kevin Shinkwin, a disabled U.K. lawmaker who is on a mission of his own. Shinkwin has brittle bone disease, or osteogenesis imperfecta, and has undergone multiple operations, as well as endured multiple fractures. He has been an outspoken opponent of the targeting of disabled babies for abortion. A parliamentary commission pointed out that parents who receive a prenatal diagnosis often are pushed to have an abortion, are not given information about their options, and are not given support or resources.

    “I can see from the trends in abortion on grounds of disability that the writing is on the wall for people like me,” Shinkwin said in a speech before Parliament. “People with congenital disabilities are facing extinction. If we were animals, perhaps we might qualify for protection as an endangered species. But we are only human beings with disabilities, so we don’t qualify.”

    Shinkwin and Wall have joined together to introduce “Noah’s Law,” which would keep babies with disabilities from being the exception to the 24-week abortion law, which Shinkwin calls a “license to kill” disabled babies. “The tragedy is that some in the medical establishment still see disability as a tragedy to be eradicated by abortion. It’s eugenics,” he said. “What no one can explain is why after birth I’m good enough for the Queen to send me to the House of Lords while before birth I’m only good for the incinerator.”

    People with disabilities have just as much of a right to life as any other person, and should not be looked at as less deserving of protection than their typical peers. We can only hope that the rest of Parliament will finally agree, and stop this discrimination against disabled babies.

    The post Mother of ‘the boy without a brain’ fights to save babies with disabilities from abortion appeared first on Live Action News.

  41. Site: Bonfire of the Vanities - Fr. Martin Fox
    8 hours 28 min ago
    On these pages last year, I was attacked viciously by those claiming to be true Catholics (unlike the apostate they deemed me to be) for one simple reason: I did not think candidate Donald Trump worthy of my own support. I demurred, among other reasons, because I wasn't convinced of his sincerity of conservative convictions.

    Now he is President Trump, and he has my support as a citizen, and my best hopes. Alas, however, his promises about religious freedom are going by the wayside. Two items:

    -- Earlier this year a proposed executive order safeguarding religious liberty was being circulated, but then faded from view. Supposedly, it's still being worked on.

    -- The Trump Administration is continuing with the Obama-era lawsuit against the Little Sisters of the Poor, which arose because of the former president's mandate that employers facilitate their employees obtaining contraception and abortifacient drugs. From the linked article: "As things stand now, it appears that Justice plans to continue defending the way the Obama administration applied the birth-control mandate, said Eric Rassbach, a Becket attorney.

    'That just seems to be very contrary to what they’ve been saying publicly,' Rassbach said."

    This isn't the Trump Administration we were promised, it seems.
  42. Site: RT - News
    8 hours 48 min ago
    Author: RT
    A man broadcast the killing of his 11-month-old daughter on Facebook Live, before taking his own life in a resort town of Phuket, Thai police says. Around 24 hours passed before Facebook took down graphic videos of the murder on request of the digital economy ministry.
    Read Full Article at RT.com
  43. Site: Fr. Z's Blog
    8 hours 51 min ago
    Author: frz@wdtprs.com (Fr. John Zuhlsdorf)

    I have to use the “moderation queue” feature for many posts.  I can’t watch what is going on 24/7 and I won’t allow the combox to descend into the horrid fever-swamp of the comments at, say, Fishwrap.   As a result, fewer people comment here, but we can live with the absence of the lack of brains and charity.

    Also, only people who are registered here can post comments.  Again, that is to keep the knucklehead stuff out of sight, not to mentioned spammers, etc.

    Remember also, that any comments that bring up in any way the moderation of comments are instantly deleted.  I don’t even read the rest, once I spot that.

    Some people send me email with their comments.  That’s fine.   Some people even ask me to post them for them.  No.  Unless they are exceptionally good, no.  I have enough to do.

    I am grateful for feedback.  I am grateful for voicemail (see the sidebar).  I am grateful for contributions, alerts, donations, heads up, etc.

    On the subject of donations, today (25th of the month) is a really “thin” day.   Donations keep this blog afloat.  I’m just sayin’.


  44. Site: Corpus Christi Watershed
    9 hours 30 min ago
    Brace Yourself • “Raw” Recordings from Solemn Mass
  45. Site: RT - News
    9 hours 34 min ago
    Author: RT
    The president of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), has appeared before a hearing after some members demanded a vote of no confidence following his unauthorized trip to Syria and meeting with President Bashar Assad.
    Read Full Article at RT.com
  46. Site: RT - News
    9 hours 44 min ago
    Author: RT
    The UN has appealed for $2.1 billion to prevent the "starving of an entire generation" in Yemen. But it says a lack of funds is not the only issue of concern in the war-torn country, amid reports that the strategic port of Hodeidah may be targeted by Saudi-led coalition.
    Read Full Article at RT.com
  47. Site: St. Corbinian's Bear
    10 hours 6 min ago
    Connecticut Catholic is wondering about a story appearing at Ave Maria Radio claiming that condemned man Ledell Lee received "the Eucharist" in lieu of the traditional last meal. The original story is from the Jesuit review America by Kelly P. Kissel of the Associated Press. The only source cited for the one-sentence blurb is "prison officials," who said Ledell had received "communion."

    First things first. Like Cawdor in MacBeth, it appears that "nothing in his life became him like the leaving of it." The Bear knows he is in the minority around these parts in his anti-death penalty position. Consider it the same way doctors are against cancer. It's informed by decades of work as both a prosecutor and a defense lawyer. It has very little to do with any specific teaching of the Church. The Bear sees a person in Ledell Lee, one who killed, and who died as a person, and, to all appearances, as well as he could.

    Next are the questions raised by the one-liner stating that prison officials said he received "communion," which became "the Eucharist" in the Ave Maria Radio Station.

    We do not live in times when we can assume this means something other than the Catholic Church's Holy Communion was received by a non-Catholic. It is quite possible that Lee was not a Catholic, and did, in fact, receive Holy Communion. But we don't know that. It is hard to imagine publishers at America and Ave Maria Radio not noticing this issue.

    Maybe that's all Mr. Kissel had from the prison officials. Maybe he followed up, maybe he didn't. Out of charity, let's assume he did. The Bear has made inquiries.

    Just speculation here, but if there is a "Holy Communion exception" that seems especially sympathetic, the Bear believes it would be the condemned man exception. Against the death of a person dying the best he can, it almost seems crass to quibble about the Eucharist. At any rate, the Bear imagines many who would think that way.

    So, two issues, and the Bear is rock solid on both. Ledell Lee should not have been executed. Holy Eucharist should not be given to non-Catholics. The Bear will not be draw out on the first because that argument was tiresome for him a long time ago. But you're welcome to have it.

  48. Site: Live Action News
    10 hours 14 min ago
    Author: Cassy Fiano

    Last week, Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez caused controversy when he declared that all Democrats must support abortion. He said that this was “not negotiable” and that the DNC would not support pro-life Democrats.

    What caused the pro-abortion edict? Heath Mello, a Democrat running for mayor of Omaha, Nebraska. Mello is pro-abortion, but he also has supported restrictions on abortion, such as a Nebraska state bill that would require abortionists to show women ultrasound images of their preborn children. He believed the bill could help reduce the number of abortions in Nebraska, but trying to reduce abortions is apparently an unforgivable sin to the abortion industry and its allies.

    It was the backlash surrounding Mello that prompted DNC Chair Perez to release his statement demanding that all Democrats support abortion, no matter what. But Senator Ben Sasse, a pro-life Republican who is also from Nebraska, like Mello, had something to say about that.

    .@TomPerez Your profile says you fight for the little guy. Please check out this little fella — special, isn’t he? (He’s 12 weeks old.) pic.twitter.com/g8e6sMTaSB

    — Ben Sasse (@BenSasse) April 23, 2017

    Indeed, Perez’s Twitter profile reads, “Likes: The @BuffaloBills, @TheDemocrats, and fighting for the little guy, though not in that order. Father of 3.” Apparently, Perez isn’t that fond of fighting for the little guy, as he not only supports the killing of little human beings whenever their mothers feel like it, but he also mandates that all Democrats support it, too.

    Sasse shows a preborn baby at 12 weeks gestation as his example of “the little guy.” Already, this baby has undergone tremendous development, even though it’s still early on in pregnancy. His heart has been beating since as early as 16 days after conception, and at six-and-a-half weeks, the baby already had measurable brain waves. By 12 weeks, his taste buds have formed, and he can respond to touch. Most of the baby’s organs and bodily systems are fully formed at this point, too. One new study even suggests that preborn babies at 12 weeks can already feel pain.

    Yet Perez isn’t willing to fight for this little guy. Instead, he wants it to be mandatory for Democrats to support the brutal and violent murder of preborn babies just like him. The video below features a former abortionist discussing what happens in a D&E abortion, the most common second trimester abortion procedure in the United States.

    How is supporting this procedure (and other common abortion procedures — all equally violent and inhumane) fighting for the little guy, Mr. Perez? It’s even more galling considering that approximately one-third of all Democrats are pro-life. That doesn’t even include the Americans who want abortion to be legal, but heavily regulated — the majority of “pro-choice” Americans fall into this category.

    So who is Perez really fighting for? Who is he advocating for his party to fight for? It’s not really the little guy. It’s not the American people. In fact, it seems that the only people Perez is fighting for are the ones who work in the abortion industry, who have the most to lose with more restrictions and regulations on abortion.

    The post Senator Ben Sasse asks if Democrats will stand up for this ‘little guy’ appeared first on Live Action News.

  49. Site: Taylor Marshall
    10 hours 27 min ago
    Author: Dr Taylor Marshall

    All the Gospel writers specifically describe Christ appearing first to Saint Mary Magdalene on the morning of His resurrection from the dead: “He appeared first to Mary Magdalene” (Mark 16:9).

    There is however a [late] Christian tradition that Christ first appeared to His Mother Mary and then afterwards appeared to Saint Mary Magdalene as depicted in the Gospel accounts. This would explain why the Blessed Mother felt no need to go to the tomb of Christ. She already knew and believed that He had risen from the dead early Sunday morning.

    It also explains why Christ is not at the tomb Sunday morning when Mary Magdalene arrives. He is somewhere else and then arrives to speak with her. Where was He at that moment? Well, some say Christ was visiting His mother on the third day – just as she also discovered Christ again “in His Father’s house” when she had lost Him at age twelve in the Temple after three days.

    So did Christ appear first to His Mother Mary?

    We find Saint Anselm as the first Catholic Doctor of the Church to teach that Christ secretly appeared to the Blessed Virgin Mary, and then appeared to Saint Mary Magdalene. This is the opinion of Saint Ignatius Loyola and Saint Teresa of Avila.

    The visionary Blessed Maria of Agreda also received a vision showing that Christ first appeared to the Blessed Mother before visiting Saint Mary Magdalene. Even Saint John Paul II affirmed the possibility that Christ secretly appeared to His Mother first of all:

    “It is legitimate to think that the Mother may really have been the first person to whom the risen Jesus appeared.” (Saint John Paul II, May 21, 1997)

    We already explored the idea that Mary was not at the tomb Sunday morning because Christ had already appeared to her and she was confirmed already in her belief in the resurrection. However, one might assert that the Mother of God’s faith was already so strong that she had not need to see the resurrected Christ. She already believed without proof.

    My own opinion (which carries no weight) is that Mary’s soul was so united to that of Christ at His death and even to His soul’s descent to the dead that she was aware of His ministry to the dead (including her husband Saint Joseph and her kinfoll such as Saint John the Baptist, Saint Zechariah, and Saint Elizabeth, Saint Anna, et al.), that she knew the precise moment of His resurrection and saw it in her soul. Whether Christ appeared outwardly to her physical eyes or only in her heart – her perception of Christ by Faith was more than any saint will have when they “see” Jesus Christ.

    Christos anesti,

    Dr. Taylor Marshall

    The post Did Christ Appear First to His Mother after Resurrection? appeared first on Taylor Marshall.

  50. Site: RT - News
    10 hours 47 min ago
    Author: RT
    China’s national airline has backtracked on its decision to suspend flights to the North Korean capital Pyongyang, according to reports.
    Read Full Article at RT.com


Subscribe to Feeds