Synod Special: if it takes wrong turning “stay faithful” – Cardinal Burke


 Update – 1/10/15:  Synod process a sham – click here to read more

On the eve of the Synod on the Family  

On the eve of the Second Session of the Synod on the Family, which will take place in Rome from October 4-25, the petitions, books, colloquiums and articles criticizing the “progressive” proposals of Cardinal Walter Kasper are multiplying—a very fortunate development. Widely different sorts of information are relayed in bulk on the Internet, and documents of uneven value are offered wholesale. The exhaustive treatment of the topics is claimed as a proof of impartiality, but often it serves only to overwhelm the reader.

Given this incessant stream, it is difficult to tell what is truly worth paying attention to. For this reason DICI is now dedicating to the Synod a special column that will feature factual information and essential documents, with commentary explaining whether or not they contribute to the defense of Catholic doctrine and morals about marriage and the family.

As Father Christian Bouchacourt, Superior of the District of France of the Society of Saint Pius X, very correctly remarked in his September 17 communiqué: “The guidelines of the first session, statements by some participants and the preparatory document for this second session cause us to fear great danger for the Church.” In such a serious hour, it is understandable that we do not want to “surf” the Internet about the Synod—from one scoop to the latest buzz!—but rather to distinguish what is Catholic from what is not.    Father Alain Lorans

 Source  and click here to read Cardinal Burke on impossibility of changing Church teaching on marriage. And here to read the Cardinal’s advice on what to do if the synod takes a “strange” (i.e. a “wrong”) turning.


We’re a bit early – we had been planning to launch a “Synod Special” thread on 1st October, but since the DICI column looks good, we decided to go ahead and launch now, instead. As well as keeping an eye on the Dici column, then,  feel free to post any articles, videos etc of interest which may help to cast light on what we might expect during the Synod – or as a result of it.  Anyone who feels moved to post appropriate prayers etc. or to suggest any fasts that don’t include giving up chocolate and cream cakes, go ahead!

General Discussion (9)

group-discussion-213800If there’s something of interest in the news that’s not covered in one of the topic threads, or you have a question to ask, a comment you’d like to  make about anything under the sun, more or less, this is the thread for you. However, please check first, to ensure that you haven’t missed a topic thread or another thread where it would be appropriate to post your comment.  Readers have occasionally gone straight to the General Discussion thread to post news that is already the topic of a thread or to ask a question that is already being discussed elsewhere. So, do your Sherlock Holmes before posting here, please and thank you!

Feel free, also, to share your favourite spiritual reading books, prayers and devotions. Whatever.   Enjoy!

To read General Discussion Thread (1) click here (2) click here (3) click here  (4) click here (5) click here (6) click here (7) click here (8) click here   

October: Month of the Holy Rosary…


This thread is to pay tribute to Our Lady in the special Month of her Holy Rosary.  As ever, feel free to comment, post stories of any favours received through the Rosary that you know of personally, your favourite hymns – lyrics and videos  – I couldn’t find the hymn O Queen of the Holy Rosary except in its American version, so if anyone can find the tune we sing in our neck of the woods on YouTube, please post it here.  This is also the month of the Miracle of the Sun at Fatima (October 13th) so Fatima will, no doubt, feature large in this thread. Let’s pray especially this month for the Synod on the Family which will take place 4-25th… O Queen of the Most Holy Rosary, pray for us!

Pope Francis: Dublin Next To Host World Meeting of Families – Joke, Right?

Pope-Francis-and-Archbishop-Diarmuid-MartinPope Francis has announced that the next World Meeting of Families will take place in 2018 in Dublin. 

He made the announcement at the concluding Mass of the World Meeting of Families which ended in Philadelphia this evening. It was the final stage of Pope Francis’ historic trip to United States. Tonight’s Mass in Philadelphia was attended by almost one million people. Before Mass, the Pope greeted Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia and Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin.

Held every three years and sponsored by the Holy See’s Pontifical Council for the Family, the World Meeting of Families is the world’s largest Catholic gathering of families. It has been described as a celebration of family life and of the Catholic Church’s commitment to support families.

Throughout his visit to the United States this week Pope Francis spoke on the theme of the family in a broad manner referring to issues of education, child parent relationships, employment and poverty. Speaking on the family at the prayer vigil for the World Meeting in Philadelphia on Saturday night Pope Francis said:

            “I think of all those families which lack access to basic health services.  Families which, when faced with medical problems, especially those of their younger or older members, are dependent on a system which fails to meet their needs, is insensitive to their pain, and forces them to make great sacrifices to receive adequate treatment.

            We cannot call any society healthy when it does not leave real room for family life.  We cannot think that a society has a future when it fails to pass laws capable of protecting families and ensuring their basic needs, especially those of families just starting out.  How many problems would be solved if our societies protected families and provided households, especially those of recently married couples, with the possibility of dignified work, housing and healthcare services to accompany them throughout life? 

            God’s dream does not change; it remains intact and it invites us to work for a society which supports families.  A society where bread, “fruit of the earth and the work of human hands” continues to be put on the table of every home, to nourish the hope of its children.”

Previous Meetings have been held Rome in 1994, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 1997, Rome again in 2000, Manila in the Philippines in 2003, Valencia, Spain, in 2006, Mexico City, in 2009, Milan in 2012, and Philadelphia 2015.

Pope Francis, speaking of the World Congress, stressed that “the family which experiences the joy of faith communicates it naturally. That family is the salt of the earth and the light of the world; it is the leaven of society”.

The announcement comes just days before the inauguration of the 14th Ordinary General Assembly World Synod of Bishops which will take place in the Vatican from 5th to 26th October on the theme: “The Vocation and Mission of the Family in the Church and the Contemporary World”.

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin said that he hoped the holding of the Meeting in Ireland would be an occasion to take up the programme of the Synod to strengthen the place of the family in handing on the faith in the face of many new challenges.  He said, the family in Ireland is strong and the Church is called to take up the challenge of ensuring that future Catholic generations are prepared to live their marriage as an itinerary of faith.

The date and the programme of the 2018 Meeting  will be decided at a later stage in consultation with the Pontifical Council for the Family.  The 2018 World Meeting is expected to  extend to various parts of Ireland and given the size of the country, the event will take on different dimensions to that of the Philadelphia event which concluded tonight.

Archbishop Eamon Martin, Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland, has welcomed the announcement saying, “I am delighted to hear that Pope Francis has announced that the 9th World Meeting of Families will take place in Dublin, and that Archbishop Diarmuid Martin is in Philadelphia with our delegation to hear the news directly from the Holy Father.  Three years ago the 50th International Eucharistic Congress was a great celebration of faith for Ireland, and it attracted pilgrims from all around the world.  I am confident that the World Meeting of Families in 2018 will also be an uplifting event for all of us.

“Despite many challenges, the family remains at the heart of faith and of so much that we hold important in this country.  Our preparations for the World Meeting of Families will inspire us as we implement, over the next few years, the recommendations which will emerge from the Synod on the Family in Rome next month.

“At the ‘Festival of Families’ on Saturday night in Philadelphia, Pope Francis said: “What God most wants from us is to knock on the doors of families and to find people who love each other, who bring up their children with love and who contribute to a society of truth, goodness and beauty.”  I look forward to sharing the joy of this announcement with Archbishop Diarmuid, my fellow bishops and with people from all around the country as we begin thinking about how, together,  we can best plan to make this significant international event a success.”  Source


Lots of references to “family” and “marriage” in there, but in a formerly Catholic land where the Bishops (especially Archbishop Diarmuid Martin) did nothing to discourage Catholics from voting for same-sex “marriage” and, in fact, gave their tacit, some of us think open support to the YES campaign, this announcement comes as yet one more scandal.  Pope Francis, remember, to this day has remained silent on the pro-same-sex “marriage” vote in Ireland. It is curious, then,  to say the least, that he has chosen Ireland as the host country for the next meeting on “the family” in 2018.  What’s going on?  Precisely how will “marriage” and “the family” be defined by the Irish authorities charged with preparing this World Meeting of “Families”? I’m already seeing rainbow flags and “pride” marches celebrating the event. St Patrick, pray for us!

Who’s right – the Gospels or YouGov?

HellquoteOne of our Glasgow readers, George (his real name!) sent me a copy of a letter he had submitted to the Daily Mail, in response to their article Oh hell – it’s the least that we deserve, by Jonathan Brocklebank, September, 11, 2015.

The article is a commentary on a YouGov poll which “shows significantly more guilty consciences in Scotland than anywhere else in the UK, with 14 per cent admitting their sins merit damnation.” Only “10 per cent of people in the rest of the UK think Satan’s furnaces should await them in the afterlife.”  [Ed: and before our English readers jump to the wrong conclusion – this has nothing to do with the independence referendum :grin: ]

I’ve been unable to find a link to the article online (not having a Facebook , Google or Twitter account) but the reader who sent me his unpublished letter also enclosed a copy of the article, so here are a few quotes from it.  You can study the YouGov poll here

The YouGov survey revealed that: “…despite Scots’ dimmer view of their own moral virtue, they are less afraid of death than those in the rest of Britain. They are also less likely to believe in the afterlife…”  The survey asked: ‘If there were a heaven and a hell, which would you end up in?” The article continues:  “Among Scots, 48 per cent believed they would pass through the Pearly Gates – in line with the UK average.  The proportion willing to admit they deserved the other place was surprisingly high – a finding which one minister said might be explained by Scots’ cultural Calvinism placing greater weight on sin.” [Ed: Well, it sure ain’t because they’re hearing  thunderous sermons on Hell  in Catholic parishes. ]

Below is our reader’s letter to the Daily Mail:  he is disappointed it was not selected for publication, so it will be pleasing to be able to let him know that we published it here and discussed the very good points contained therein…

George’s Letter to the Daily Mail…

Dear Sir,

I found the results of the YouGov survey on “would you end up in Heaven or Hell?” fascinating and most revealing.

As it happens, I had been reading about the forthcoming centenary of the apparitions, in 1917, at Fatima where Lucy, one of the three seers, when asked this same question later in life said: “Taking into account the behaviour of mankind, only a small part of the human race will be saved.”

This seems to agree with many of the saints who answered “that most people will end up in Hell.”  Indeed, Jesus Himself said in the Gospels that “few” are saved and enter by what He called “the narrow gate.”

All this runs counter to the YouGov results, e.g. 52% of Londoners believed they were “heaven bound”. As for views on “fearing death” when only 16% of those surveyed said that “death scared them” we know that St Paul said that we all should approach death and the final judgment with “fear and trembling.”

All this “doom” seems to be at loggerheads with comments from the majority of the clergy over the last half-century, saying that “most, if not all of us will go to Heaven.” Seldom a mention of Hell.

Could they be guilty of  genuine heresy?  Perhaps another YouGov poll is needed. 

Yours etc.

Comments invited

Dunkeld Priest: Scottish Catholicism is quite Presbyterian – No surprise then…

ElevationofHosttradmassThe headline of this thread is part of the front page headline of our March 2007 newsletter, Issue No. 44.  The complete headline reads:  Dunkeld Priest: “Scottish Catholicism is quite Presbyterian” – No surprise then that he disposes of the doctrine of Transubstantiation.

The headline introduced a report on a Dunkeld priest – Fr Tom Shields –  who completely betrayed the Faith in an interview which was published in the Church of Scotland periodical Life & Work…

The Life & Work interviewer remarks that  “Catholics have varying interpretations, even mongst themselves, about what exactly Transubstantiation means” (and it is not clear if this observation comes from the interviewer, or the priest) but Fr Tom Shields comments:  “If you understand ‘substance’ in a commonplace way as ‘depth’ (as in ‘that person has depth’) most Catholics would agree that, yes, in the substance of the bread and wine something special happens here.”

Now, as I pointed out in my commentary at the time, “something special” is the description you would apply if you witnessed a daylight robbery at your local bank and managed to find a policeman within an hour…  And, again, as I pointed out in my commentary at the time, I know of at least one RE teacher on record as saying that if she ever has the power to remove one single word from the dictionary, it will be the over-used to the point of being meaningless term “special”.

So, why am I resurrecting such an old newsletter report? Has Fr Tom Shields repented of his theological and ecclesiastical gaffes? Not quite. Unfortunately, like most of the priests who have featured in our newsletter over the years, Fr Shields is now featuring in the secular press for less than edifying reasons.    Click here to read report.

But before anyone jumps to the conclusion that I’m keen to discuss this sad news of another priest suspended pending police enquiries into historical abuse claims, not so.  I was about to close down and look for another topic, when I noticed this little nugget:   Last year, Bishop of Dunkeld, Stephen Robson appointed Shields to head up the church’s youth formation programme and to help with religious education in schools.

A priest who can’t explain the doctrine of  Transubstantiation to an adult Protestant, isn’t going to be a raving success in the world of the Terrible Teens, now, is he?

Pope Facing Insult On USA Trip

PopeFrancispensivecroppedPresident Obama will apparently test just how far Pope Francis’ notorious tolerance will go by inviting a rogue’s gallery of people opposed to Catholic teaching to greet the pontiff at the White House during his visit next week.

In a stunning show of political indecorum, Obama has invited a series of individuals who publicly flout Catholic teaching, including a pro-abortion religious sister, a transgender woman and the first openly gay Episcopal bishop, along with at least two Catholic gay activists.

The White House was illuminated in gay pride colors on June 26, 2015, after the Supreme Court legalized gay same-sex marriage.

One of the invitees, retired Episcopal bishop Gene Robinson, made history by becoming the first openly gay episcopal bishop in 2003 and subsequently the first to divorce his gay partner in 2014, after having previously separated from his wife of 14 years. He has attended a number of religious events with the Obama administration, offering a prayer at President Obama’s inauguration in 2009 and taking part in the 2014 National Prayer Breakfast.

Mateo Williamson, a cross-dressing woman and former co-chairman of the Transgender Caucus for Dignity USA, has also received an invitation to the White House for Pope Francis’ visit. Williamson says that though she now thinks of herself as a man, she continues to be attracted to males. “Today I identify as a gay man and before that was difficult to understand because I thought that in order to be transgender, in order to be a transgender male that I had to be attracted to females but I never have throughout my entire life.”

Though Pope Francis has said that he doesn’t believe in judging persons and is ready to welcome anyone in Christ’s name, he has also said that Catholics do not accept the modern mentality of transgenderism and once said that gay marriage is the devil’s “attempt to destroy God’s plan.”

“The acceptance of our bodies as God’s gift,” Francis wrote in his encyclical letter on the environment, “is vital for welcoming and accepting the entire world as a gift from the Father and our common home, whereas thinking that we enjoy absolute power over our own bodies turns, often subtly, into thinking that we enjoy absolute power over creation.”

Earlier this month, the Vatican officially prohibited transgender persons from being baptismal godparents posing as the opposite sex from which they were born.

In its response, the Vatican Doctrinal Congregation said that “transsexual behavior publicly reveals an attitude contrary to the moral imperative of resolving the problem of one’s sexual identity according to the truth of one’s sexuality.”

Another White House invitee for the Pope’s visit, Sister Simone Campbell, is the pro-abortion executive director of the social justice lobby NETWORK. Campbell fought against the U.S. bishops when Obama’s Affordable Care Act was originally being debated, in an attempt to undermine their abortion and conscience concerns.

Sister Campbell will attend two events: the White House reception and Pope Francis’ address to Congress on Wednesday. Campbell famously helped organize the “Nuns on the Bus” a tour by Catholic religious women to protest the budget of then-Senator Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI)

An intermediary for several of the invitations to greet the Pope was Vivian Taylor, a 30-year-old male transvestite who acted as Executive Director of Integrity USA, a homosexual and transgender activist wing of the Episcopal Church, until last March.

“A few months ago I received an invitation from the White House to attend the reception for Pope Francis,” Taylor told CNS News. “I was told I could bring several friends with me,” adding that he is “glad we can bring some LGBT representation to the event.”  Source


What, you got fifteen wives? You into polygamy, man? What the heck. Yeah, sure, come along and meet ole Papa Francis. He’s cool.
Anything goes. Anything except those fundamentalist types, you know, the ones who think he ought to cancel his trip here because of all the “free thinkers” we’ve invited to meet him.  What’s that? Your friend who signed up with the Ashley Madison site to arrange an adulterous affair? No problem. Bring him, as well. It’s gonna be a Grand Ole Party! Er… so to speak!


If someone set me up like that, I’d cancel in a heartbeat. Should the Pope cancel his forthcoming visit to the USA and throw in his opinion (or rather, my opinion of Obama) for good measure?  I mean, would YOU trust this man to sell you a used car?    So, what do you think – should the Vatican cancel this trip to the USA?   Or should the Pope take advantage of the guest list to proclaim Catholic teaching loud and clear? Well, we’d probably all agree that he should, but will he? Or, is he likely to say:  “Well… who am I to judge?”

State Plans to Vet Priests “Sinister” ?

The British government is planning to force all priests, rabbis, imams and other religious figures to enrol on a “national register of faith leaders” in a scheme branded “truly sinister” by Christian campaigners.


The Sunday Telegraph claims the scheme appears in a leaked draft of the government’s new counter-terror proposal. It says that state bureaucrats will “require all faiths to maintain a national register of faith leaders” and that the government will “set out the minimum level of training and checks” registered faith leaders must have.

The plans mark a new level of state intervention in religion and are likely to fuel fears that Christians with traditional beliefs are being slowly criminalised.

All faith leaders who wish to work with the public sector, including schools, universities and hospitals, will have to sign up to the register and undergo government vetting. Given that many priests, imams, rabbis and other figures often have some dealings with the public sector, the register will likely cover the great majority.

The plan has been condemned by the Christian Institute, who said it was “sinister” and “more in keeping with China or North Korea” than a democratic Western society.

A spokesman told Breitbart London: “If the reports are accurate, what the Government is proposing turns the clock back on religious freedom more than 300 years. Not since the days of the notorious Test and Corporation Acts have we seen such a concerted attempt by a British Government to restrict religious practice. We don’t want to go back to those darker days of religious intolerance.”

He added that the proposals would mean a Christian minister would not be allowed to visit a member of his congregation in hospital, nor address a university Christian Union, without having been on a government-approved training scheme.

“It marks a deeply concerning attempt by the State to interfere with religious practice.

“The Government are proposing an Orwellian watch list of Reverends and Rabbis, who are to be told which state values they must espouse before being allowed to speak about their religion.”

There are already fears that the government’s plans to tackle Islamist fundamentalism could lead to traditional Christians being branded “extremists”.

The Durham Free School, a Christian faith school in north east England, was forced to close this year after inspectors branded children “bigots” for not knowing what a Muslim was. The inspection report concluded: “Leaders are failing to prepare students for life in modern Britain. Some students hold discriminatory views of other people who have different faiths, values or beliefs from themselves.”

Breitbart London reported last month that Welsh Minister for Education Huw Lewis wanted to remove Christianity from the country’s state schools. He told the Welsh Assembly: “My contention would be that we rename the [religious education] curriculum and transform it into the religion, philosophy and ethics element of the curriculum – where there is an explicit commitment to allowing children to ponder ideas around ethics and citizenship and what it means to be a citizen of a free country.”

Chris McGovern, chairman of the Campaign for Real Education told Breitbart London last month that such a move would be a big mistake: “The British government has a new agenda called ‘British values.’ Nicky Morgan [MP and Secretary of State for Education] has changed the rules on this, and one of the values schools are now obliged to promote is the doctrine of tolerance for all ideas, and accepting the point of view of anyone you might disagree with.

“This sounds very persuasive, but it is a form of value relativism. Teacher are discussing extremist values on a level plain field with what you might call more reasonable points of view.

“I’ve seen it myself in schools. It is dangerous; it offers children no real moral guidance and can actually serve promote the extremism and lack of community cohesion which the government wants to tackle in the first place.” Source


Blogger Prognosticum suggested that this topic deserves a thread of its own.  On the face of it, it does, indeed, seem like a sinister move – potentially a serious threat to religious freedom. Or is this scare-mongering? Is it only to be expected, given the rise of the radicalisation of young Muslims, that the Government would decide that the time has come to monitor all religious leaders? It’s only  “national security” at work, we’ve nothing to fear, surely? Why all the cynical faces?  


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