General Discussion (6)

confusedIf 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.  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 

Cardinal Burke – Latest & Greatest Victim of the Dreaded “Francis Effect”?

Cardinal Burke

As the impeccable prefect of the supreme tribunal of the apostolic signatura, [Cardinal Burke] is on the verge of being demoted to the purely honorary role of “patron” of an order of knighthood. At the behest of Pope Francis by Sandro Magister  

VATICAN CITY, September 17, 2014 – The “revolution” of Pope Francis in ecclesiastical governance is not losing its driving thrust. And so, as happens in every self-respecting revolution, the heads continue to roll for churchmen seen as deserving this metaphorical guillotine. In his first months as bishop of Rome, pope Bergoglio immediately provided for the transfer to lower-ranking positions of three prominent curial figures: Cardinal Mauro Piacenza, Archbishop Guido Pozzo, and Bishop Giuseppe Sciacca, considered for their theological and liturgical sensibilities among the most “Ratzingerian” of the Roman curia. Another whose fate appears to be sealed is the Spanish archbishop of Opus Dei Celso Morga Iruzubieta, secretary of the congregation for the clergy, destined to leave Rome for an Iberian diocese not of the first rank. But now an even more eminent decapitation seems to be on the way. The next victim would in fact be the United States cardinal Raymond Leo Burke, who from being prefect of the supreme tribunal of the apostolic signatura would not be promoted – as some are fantasizing in the blogosphere – to the difficult but prestigious see of Chicago, but rather demoted to the pompous – but ecclesiastically very modest – title of “cardinal patron” of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, replacing the current head, Paolo Sardi, who recently turned 80.

If confirmed, Burke’s exile would be even more drastic than the one inflicted on Cardinal Piacenza, who, transferred from the important congregation for the clergy to the marginal apostolic penitentiary, nevertheless remained in the leadership of a curial dicastery. With the shakeup on the way, Burke would instead be completely removed from the curia and employed in a purely honorary position without any influence on the governance of the universal Church. This would be a move that seems to have no precedent. In the past, in fact, the title of “cardinalis patronus” of the knights of Malta, in existence since 1961, like the previous one of Grand Prior of Rome, has always been assigned to the highest ranking cardinals as an extra position in addition to the main one. This is what was done with cardinals Mariano Rampolla del Tindaro (appointed Grand Prior in 1896 while remaining secretary of state), Gaetano Bisleti (at the same time prefect of the congregation for Catholic education), Gennaro Granito Pignatelli (cardinal dean and bishop of Albano), Nicola Canali (governor of Vatican City), Paolo Giobbe (leader of the apostolic dataria), Paul-Pierre Philippe (until the age of 75 also prefect of the congregation for the Oriental Churches), Sebastiano Baggio (removed from the congregation for bishops but kept on as governor of Vatican City and camerlengo), Pio Laghi (until the age of 77 also prefect of the congregation for Catholic education).

Two separate cases are those of Cardinal Giacomo Violardo, who succeeded the 89-year-old Giobbe as patron at the age of 71, two months after receiving the scarlet at the end of long service in the curia, and of the outgoing Sardi, appointed pro-patron in 2009 at the age of 75 and made cardinal in 2010 after having been for many years the head of the office that writes pontifical documents. Above all, Sardi’s retirement would not be a compulsory act, since the age limit of 80 does not apply to positions outside of the curia. And in fact, with the exception of Paulo Giobbe, all of the aforementioned cardinal patrons went on to a better life “durante munere.”

Burke is 66 years old, and therefore still in his ecclesiastical prime. Ordained a priest by Paul VI in 1975, he worked at the apostolic signatura as an ordinary priest with John Paul II, who made him bishop of his native diocese of La Crosse, Wisconsin in 1993. It was again pope Karol Wojtyla who in 2003 promoted him as archbishop of the prestigious see, once cardinalate, of St. Louis, Missouri. Benedict XVI called him back to Rome in 2008, and made him a cardinal in 2010. With a very devout personality, he is also recognized as having the rare virtue of never having struck any deals to obtain ecclesiastical promotions or benefices. In the liturgical and theological camp, he is very close to the sensibilities of Joseph Ratzinger.

He has celebrated a number of times according to the ancient rite, even donning the “cappa magna,” as do cardinals George Pell and Antonio Cañizares Llovera, without being punished for this by Pope Francis. A great expert in canon law, and appointed to the apostolic signatura for this reason, he is not afraid to follow it to the most uncomfortable consequences. Like when, to the tune of articles of the Code – number 915 to be precise - he upheld the impossibility of giving communion to those politicians who stubbornly and publicly uphold the right to abortion, bringing the rebukes of two colleagues in the United States valued by Pope Francis, Sean Patrick O’Malley of Boston and Donald Wuerl of Washington.  (emphasis added)

Free in his judgments, he has been among the very few to make critical remarks on “Evangelii Gaudium,” pointing out that in his view it is orientational but not truly magisterial. And in view of the upcoming synod of bishops, he has repeatedly taken a stand against the ideas of Cardinal Walter Kasper – well known to be in the good graces of Pope Francis – in favor of communion for the divorced and remarried. The dicastery headed by Burke, eminently technical, recently accepted an appeal from the Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate against a provision issued for them by the congregation for religious. A courageous move on the part of Burke, situated within the context of the punitive action undertaken by the Vatican congregation against one of the most substantial realities of Catholic traditionalism, an action that Pope Francis endorsed by approving in specific form the congregation’s decision to prevent the Friars of the Immaculate from celebrating the Mass according to the “Tridentine” rite.  (emphasis added)

It is only with this kind of pontifical approval, in fact, that a decree of the curia can overturn standing law, in this case the motu proprio of Benedict XVI “Summorum Pontificum.” It is difficult to identify among these episodes the ones that may have have had the greatest influence on the fate of Cardinal Burke. But it is easy to predict that his definitive downgrading will provoke both a tumultuous reaction within the traditionalist world, where Burke is seen as a hero, and a corresponding wave of jubilation in the opposite camp, where he is instead considered a bogeyman.

On the latter side it can be recalled that the “liberal” Catholic commentator Michael Sean Winters, in the “National Catholic Reporter” of November 26, 2013, had called for the head of Cardinal Burke as a member of the congregation for bishops, because of the nefarious influence, according to him, that he was exercising over episcopal appointments in the United States. On December 16, in effect, Pope Francis humiliated Burke by crossing him off from among the members of the congregation. To the hosannas of “liberal” Catholicism, not only in the United States. The pope certainly did not do so out of obedience to the wishes of the “National Catholic Reporter.” But now he seems right at the point of giving the go-ahead for the second and more grave demotion of one of the most untarnished personalities the Vatican curia knows.   Source

Comment

Those who remember the way Cardinal Burke caved in to the “liberal” bullies in Westminster by withdrawing at the last minute from his speaking engagement at the London Conference hosted by the orthodox group Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice, will be pleased to recall the details above of his later fearless confronting of the “liberal” elite. He is now paying the price, of course, if the reports of his “demotion” are, in fact, true.   We welcome your thoughts on this latest bombshell from Rome.

 

A Great Darkness Surrounds Rome…

vatican-cityBelow, an article by American writer Christopher Ferrara…

Antonio Socci is one of the most prominent Catholic voices in Italy, a journalist, author, commentator, and public intellectual of the first rank. I had the privilege of translating from the Italian his ground-breaking work Fourth Secret of Fatima in which he recounts how had he set out to disprove the existence of a suppressed text of the Third Secret only to become firmly convinced that such a text not only exists but is “well hidden” in the Vatican.

Socci is not a traditionalist. He is a Catholic of the “mainstream” who is nonetheless a supporter of the restoration of the Latin Mass. Indeed, Socci was full of praise for Pope Francis at the beginning of his pontificate. And so was I. (If you don’t believe me, take a look at what I wrote here and here in the immediate aftermath of the conclave.)

 I have been forced to change my mind and admit that the earliest critics of the former Cardinal Bergoglio, who knew far more about the man and his ideas than I did, were right from the beginning. Socci, too, has gone from supporting this pontificate to lamenting its alarming trajectory toward what would appear to be the completion of the post-Vatican II autodemolition of the Church (to the extent this is humanly possible and permitted by God).

In a few short months Socci has, in fact, become one of the harshest critics of the Bergoglian agenda, and rightly so. It appears that the last straw for him was the Pope’s outrageous rehabilitation of the Marxist priest Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann, suspended by John Paul but restored to the exercise of the priesthood by Francis, even though d’Escoto had only days before thumbed his nose at Rome and hailed Fidel Castro as a gift of the Holy Ghost to the Cuban people (belying the Vatican’s flimsy cover story that he had repented of his errors).

As Socci writes with undisguised contempt: “In the Bergoglian epoch, the Vatican has practically rehabilitated Liberation Theology, born in the Sixties, which has caused many disasters, above all in Latin America, by having fomented the subjugation of the Church by Marxist thought.” As Socci notes with disgust, d’Escoto declared that Castro was the means by which “the Holy Spirit transmitted to us the message, this message of Christ, on the necessity of struggling to establish… the reign of God on earth…” Socci continues: “After this theological exaltation of the tyrant of Cuba, who for decades oppressed an entire people with a communist dictatorship, d’Escoto was gladdened by the revocation of his suspension by Pope Francis.”

The contrast with the brutal treatment Francis has meted out to the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate sickens Socci, as it should any Catholic with a sense of justice:

The velvet glove used by Francis with the famous and powerful “comrade” d’Escoto contrasts with the iron fist he used to strike a good and humble religious of holy life, Father Stefano Manelli, spiritual son of Padre Pio and founder of the Franciscans of the Immaculate. Father Manelli had even written to the Pope, but his letter was not even taken into consideration.

His religious family, orthodox, disciplined, and full of vocations, was annihilated by the will of Bergoglio, inasmuch as it applied the motu proprio of Benedict XVI on the liturgy. And he was too orthodox.

Father Manelli has never disobeyed the Church, has never deviated from right doctrine, has never thrown himself into politics like d’Escoto, and has never exalted communist tyrants. So, he was harshly punished.

Socci’s conclusion is chilling, coming as it does from one who strongly supported Francis but has seen the immense damage this pontificate has already caused, and is likely to cause, to the Church’s mission at a time of unprecedented moral and spiritual decline:

Today, in the Bergoglian epoch, there is a return precisely to Rahner, and to that philosophy which has already caused such damage among the Jesuits and in the Church. And in this empty abyss Catholics are tossed and turned “by every wind of doctrine.” Subjugated by any ideology and corrupted by any heresy. A great darkness surrounds Rome.

Socci shows us that more and more Catholics of good will are coming to the realization that the crisis in the Church has reached a new, and perhaps its final, stage. To remain willfully blind to what is happening is not to “trust the Church” but rather to ignore an alarm that is calling every Catholic to do what our confirmation oath requires: defend the faith of our fathers against an all-encompassing “para-conciliar ideology” that is threatening the Church like no mere heresy ever has. Source

Comment:

Socci is a “mainstream” Catholic – not a “traditionalist”.  Do you agree with his assessment of the state of the Church today and if so, why? Would you identify the same scandals that brought Socci to recognise that “great darkness [that] surrounds Rome” or are there others, even more important, in your view?  Over to thee…

Catholics MUST Boycott SVP…

 - Catholic leaves estate to fund Catholic Charity
– Charity uses money to fund Homosexual Meeting Spot
- Bishop complains, to no avail

Miss Maureen O’Connell, the late owner of “O’Connell’s Pub” in Galway, Ireland, died in 1998. That is, she did not die 1000 years ago. No, she died in 1998. That means that if she had wanted to bequeath her estate to a homosexual-activist cause, she could have done so freely.

St VincentdePaul Instead, she decided to put in her will that proceeds coming from her estate (her pub, eventually sold in 2006) would be allocated to the Irish section of the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul (SVP), the great foundation of Blessed Frédéric Ozanam for assistance to the poorest in society. In Ireland, the SVP is not, in strict legal terms, under the control of the hierarchy. But its self-identification is clear: “The Society of St. Vincent de Paul is an international voluntary Catholic Christian organisation.” And they have no qualms about being a “Catholic” organization when they lobby the Irish government for more funds (see, for instance, here). Or when they ask Irish Catholics for donations for their “charitable” activities.

 So what does the SVP do with the proceeds coming from Miss O’Connell’s estate, now the hefty “Maureen O’Connell Fund”? Well, for instance, it chose to make a 45,000-euro (58,000-dollar) grant to “Amach! LGBT Galway” so it can build its “resource center”, which the group defines in its website as an “alcohol-free venue for social networking” for the homosexuals of Galway (that is, in plain words, a dry homosexual bar).

The Bishop of Galway, the Rev. Dr. Martin Drennan, was rightfully horrified with the use of charitable money given to a foundation that still collects most of its money from Irish Catholics in Irish churches to fund the establishment of a homosexual meeting spot in his diocese.

“On moral grounds we can’t support [the grant],” he told Galway Bay FM’s “The Keith Finnegan Show.” “Homosexual activity is in our eyes morally wrong behavior and we cannot put funds at the service of what we don’t believe is morally correct.”

He told the radio show that he hoped the matter could be resolved in a way that would restore the image of the society: “We want to keep in mind the good work that the St. Vincent de Paul does throughout the country,” he said

What did the SVP say in response to the Bishop? Did they, caught in the act, regret their folly and did they apologize to the Bishop for their outrageous decision?

Quite the contrary – here’s what they said:

The decision was endorsed by the SVP National Management Council as providing support for an excluded and marginalised group in need of support. This is consistent with the SVP mission statement to support people in poverty, both material and emotional, and social justice initiatives. It is also a key element of the SVP Christian ethos to be non-judgmental when its assistance is sought.

The grant does not come in any way from funds collected from the public in the diocese of Galway, at church gates or anywhere else.

Ah, yes, “non-judgmental”… If that were truly the case, they would just throw cash from their office windows onto the street – otherwise, they are always exercising some kind of “judgment”, even if it is a wicked judgment. And of course the excuse that the money comes from the trust and not from collections made in Irish churches can only fool the dimwits the SVP thinks Irish Catholics must be: money given to the homosexual meeting spot is money not given to those Irish in true financial need, so of course, indirectly, it is money collected from Irish Catholics under the name of “charity,” by an organization that calls itself “Catholic” when it wants to, making use of the name when it is in its interest to do so, funding given to promote an activity absolutely antithetical to everything that the Catholic Church has always defended and stood for.

Will this lead Irish bishops to cut all links with this society that has become a promoter of Anti-Catholic values? Quite unlikely… Will the Bishop of Galway at least respond to this unbelievable effrontery to his authority and Catholic moral doctrine represented by the SVP statement? Source

Comment

I will never give another penny to the SVP.  Will you?

We Need Multiple New Masses – Jesuit…

NewMassSix MinistersThe article below suggesting the setting up of Research & Development Centres to work at producing better Masses, which would then undergo  testing for “market” approval,  is really nothing more than the logical conclusion of creating a new Mass in the first place. 

Why NOT keep working at it until we get the “product” that the people like? Click on photo of the original Research & Development Team, led by Pope Paul VI (above) to reach original article. All emphases below, added.  Note: contact details for the author are given at the end of the article, if anyone feels moved to share their thoughts with him privately.  First, though, share them with us. 

Thomas Reese SJ writes…

With a vacancy at the head of the Vatican’s Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments, Pope Francis has an opportunity to restart liturgical renewal, which was stalled by the papacies of Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI.

 The purpose of liturgical reform is not only to translate old Latin texts into good English, but to revise liturgical practices to allow people to celebrate their Christian faith in ways that better fit contemporary culture.

The former prefect, Cardinal Antonio Canizares Llovera, has been appointed archbishop of Valencia in eastern Spain. His conservative liturgical views were more in sync with those of Pope Benedict than of Pope Francis. Canizares, who was appointed prefect in 2008, supported expansion of the Tridentine Mass (aka the Extraordinary Form), and in his most recent letter said that the kiss of peace should be done with greater sobriety.

The good news is that Francis is no fan of the Tridentine Mass. Yes, he did say Mass in Latin in Korea, but that was because he did not know Korean, and they did not know Italian or Spanish. As archbishop of Buenos Aries, Argentina, he forbade the Tridentine Mass in his archdiocese until Pope Benedict mandated that it be available throughout the universal church whether bishops wanted it or not. Francis has never celebrated it (he was ordained in 1969) and never will. He hopes it will fade away.

Nor is he happy with the push for literal translations, including translating pro multis as “for many” rather than “for all.” As a result, the Vatican push for new Italian, German, and other translations has been put on hold.

Francis also prefers a simple liturgical style and has no qualms about breaking liturgical rules for pastoral reasons. For example, as pope and as archbishop of Buenos Aries, he washed the feet of women on Holy Thursday even though the rules say that males (in Latin, viri) are to have their feet washed.

More recently, in Korea while saying Mass, he wore a butterfly pinned to his chasuble in honor of the Korean “comfort women” who were sex slaves to Japanese soldiers during World War II. That is a liturgical no-no.

The bad news is that there is no indication that liturgical renewal is a major priority for Pope Francis. In Argentina, progressive intellectuals criticized him for his support of popular devotions. The poor he so loved in the slums of Buenos Aires were more likely to turn out for a procession or devotion than for the Eucharist. They did not connect with either the old or the renewed Eucharist. Hopefully, this disconnect will lead him to look for a prefect who is more interested in what works pastorally, especially with the poor, than in what either conservative or liberal ideologues want.

The greatest challenge facing the new prefect is to develop a new way of managing liturgical change in the church. Although the changes following the Second Vatican Council were eventually embraced by the priests and people, there was some confusion when the changes were not well explained. Also, the church should have initially been more generous in allowing the old Latin Mass to continue during the transition, especially for the elderly. Conservatives also complained of priests experimenting on their own.

The Vatican response was to stop all change, crack down on experimentation, and force reluctant bishops to provide the Tridentine Mass to anyone who wanted it long after the vernacular language had firmly taken hold. It also pushed through literal translations of liturgical texts that were difficult to understand. This overreaction caused heartburn among liturgical scholars and, more importantly, pastoral problems in parishes.

A more intelligent and pastoral approach to liturgical change would include three things: centers for liturgical research and development, market testing, and enculturation.

Every successful business does research and development on new products. While there are liturgical scholars who do research, they are forbidden to take the next step in developing and trying out new liturgical practices. New liturgical practices require testing to find out what works, but not every priest has the training and skill to do this.

What is needed are centers for liturgical R&D where scholars and artists can collaborate with a willing community in developing new liturgical practices. Seminaries and universities with liturgical scholars are obvious places for this, but some parishes might be willing to be beta sites for new practices, especially if they were allowed to give feedback.

Bishops should be allowed to set up centers for liturgical R&D, operated by creative experts with appropriate supervision and review. Once new liturgical practices are developed and accepted by church officials, they should be market tested in a variety of pastoral settings before being offered to the rest of the church. Only the most arrogant business rolls out a new product everywhere in the world at the same time without market testing it.

Finally, the most difficult challenge is developing liturgy that fits the local culture. This is very difficult in multicultural countries like the United States and India. In the U.S., liturgy has to be sensitive to cultural differences based on race, language, ethnicity, age, education, and social background. What is appropriate at a high school may not be appropriate at a retirement home. In India, liturgical sensitivity to Hindu culture may be offensive to minorities who feel oppressed by the Hindu majority.

Such countries may require multiple liturgical forms to serve multiple cultures. Enculturation is easier to talk about than to do, which is why we need centers for liturgical research and development.

Besides developing a better system for managing liturgical change, I hope the new prefect reviews the latest English translation of the liturgy. Is it working? I don’t think so.

Many priests complain about the difficulty of proclaiming the prayers because the wording is convoluted and sometimes unintelligible. This makes it often impossible for the people in the pews to understand the prayers when they are prayed out loud. The prefect should encourage bishops to be generous in allowing priests to use the old translation if they find the new translation problematic pastorally.

 The prefect should also take another look at the 1998 translation of the Sacramentary done by the International Committee on English in the Liturgy and approved by most English-speaking bishops’ conferences but rejected by the Vatican. This translation is substantially better than both the new and old translations and has wonderful opening prayers that match the readings for each Sunday of the three-year cycle.

And despite Canizares’ circular letter, the new prefect should reopen consideration of moving the kiss of peace. Pope Benedict and former Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments prefect Cardinal Francis Arinze reportedly favored moving the kiss to the end of the Liturgy of the Word, but backed down when a majority of the episcopal conferences said to leave it alone.

Trying out different settings for the kiss is an ideal project for the centers for liturgical research and development, as are the other suggestions I give below.

One of the reasons for moving the kiss of peace is that it would open up space for a more expansive rite at the breaking of the bread prior to Communion. This would require bread that actually looks like bread.

Another project I hope is on the new prefect’s agenda is the drafting of new “Prefaces” and new Eucharistic Prayers besides the 13 already approved for use.

Different Prefaces could be prepared for each Sunday of the three-year cycle, which would pick up on the Scripture readings for that Sunday. More effort is needed to keep themes from the Liturgy of the Word alive in the Liturgy of the Eucharist. This is done on many feast days, and it could be done on ordinary Sundays.

More eucharistic prayers could be written, especially some that follow the “proclamation and response” pattern of the eucharistic prayers for children. I also dream of eucharistic prayers that are based on the language and theology of each Gospel and some of the Pauline letters.

Too many people (and priests) think that the eucharistic prayer is the priest’s prayer. Priests say it quickly in a monotone, and people tune out. We need more eucharistic prayers that actually engage both the priests and the people.

Any work on the Sacramentary should also have as a priority the development of common texts with other churches, a priority that has recently been ignored.

The new prefect also has to look at how is his congregation is run. He needs to replace many of the consultors and staff whose only qualification as liturgist is their support for the Tridentine Mass. It would also make sense to have the chairs of bishops’ conferences’ liturgy committees as members of the congregation rather than cardinals who have no expertise in liturgy.

The congregation should function as a midwife to liturgical renewal and stop playing liturgical cop. This means more consultation and entrusting more liturgical changes directly to episcopal conferences, which was the original intent of Vatican II, rather than micromanaging things from Rome.

 Despite my hope that the new prefect would take up such an agenda, we need to recognize that even if we had perfect liturgical texts and ceremonies in the Sacramentary, liturgy lives or dies at the local parish. What the people want is good music, good preaching, and a sense of belonging, which cannot be prepackaged in Rome. Parishes that are welcoming and have good music and good preaching see their pews filled. We cannot blame Rome for everything that is wrong in the liturgy.

That is my agenda for the new prefect. What is yours? Share them with us in the comments section below.

[Jesuit Fr. Thomas Reese is a senior analyst for NCR and author of Inside the Vatican: The Politics and Organization of the Catholic Church. His email address is treesesj@ncronline.org. Follow him on Twitter: @ThomasReeseSJ.]    Source 

Christian Order: The Kasper Apostasy…


ChristianOrder
With the October Synod on the Family now looming on the horizon, a recent Christian Order editorial really says it all. Be warned though, the Editor, Rod Pead, does not mince his words. This is n
ot recommended reading for the faint-hearted and certainly not for those who dabble in papolatry.  It’s lengthy but you won’t want to miss a word.  Click on “source” at the end of the extract (or on either of the images on this page) to read the entire editorial – then share your thoughts…


“The new approach that Catholic scholars are taking to Jesus and the scriptures … reflects the presuppositions and procedures [of] Catholic scholars like … Walter Kasper…. Many of the conclusions of [this] ‘liberal consensus’ conflict sharply with traditional Catholic doctrine. … [Its] major achievement … seems to be bringing the church to what can be called the end of Catholicism…. [The point] is not to salvage Catholicism or Christianity but to let go of them… to help people leave the church with a good conscience. “

 – Thomas Sheehan, The New York Review of Books,1984

  • [A] divine intervention in the sense of a directly visible action of God is theological nonsense. (Jesus the Christ, 1974)
  • God’s relation to Moses in the Burning Bush is not “I Am,” but “I am with you. I am for you.” (7/5/14)
  • The Church is not against birth control at all. … it’s [the couple's] personal conscience and their personal responsibility. (5/5/14)
  • So if [the divorced-and-remarried] can receive spiritual communion, why not also sacramental Communion? (5/5/14)

- Cardinal Kasper

“In the past few days I have been reading a book by… Cardinal Kasper, a clever theologian, a good theologian…
And that book did me a lot of good.”

  – Pope Francis, 17/3/13

Spanning forty years, this thread of quotations pretty much underlines and sums up the current state of play as detailed and analysed in recent editions. We could, therefore, pronounce a simple, emphatic “Oremus!” — and leave it at that.

However, Cardinal Kasper’s influential re-emergence under Francis requires elaboration. Especially when the looming Extraordinary General Cardinal Kasper Assembly of the Synod of Bishops (5-19 October) — called to discuss “pastoral challenges to the family in the context of evangelisation” — is being primed for Kasper’s hobbyhorse: Communion for the divorced-and-re-remarried.

The Modernist proposition

Last February, at the Pope’s behest, the notorious German enumerated to an Extraordinary Consistory of around 150 cardinals, his long-held proposal to sanction that sinful pastoral practice.

Typically, the undermining of the indissolubility of the marriage bond, and related Catholic dogmas pertaining to the Sacrament of Penance and the Holy Eucharist, was presented as a trifle: a “merciful” granting of hard-case “exceptions.”

Sounding more like the king of snake oil salesmen than a prince of the Church, Kasper posited no significant doctrinal change or damaging ramifications at all, selling the supposed “exclusion” of a divorced-and-remarried person from receiving Communion as an “exploitation of the person,” while suggesting an oh-so-reasonable compromise: that “the smallest sector of divorced-and-remarried Catholics who are truly interested in receiving the sacraments” might be admitted to “the sacrament of penance, and then of Communion,” if the person concerned:

  1. Repents of the failure of his marriage and
  2. Has cleared up the obligations of his first marriage, if a return to it is definitely ruled out;
  3. If he cannot abandon the commitments that he has made with his new civil marriage without committing other sins [— these, he recently explained, involve "The breakup of the second family. If there are children you cannot do it. If you’re engaged to a new partner, you’ve given your word, and so it’s not possible."]
  4. If he tries nevertheless to live his second marriage as well as he can, in faith, and educating his children in the faith;
  5. If he desires the sacraments as the source of strength in his situation.

For the diabolically-disoriented Cardinal, in other words, marriage is doctrinally indissoluble but can be dissolved pastorally. The same sulphurous approach he has adopted to ecumenism and religious liberty with the blessing of his favourite pastoral Council, which, he says, “opened the doors without violating the compulsory dogmatic tradition.”

The papal patronage

Once again the open dialogue the Holy Father likes to tout was nowhere in evidence. Instead, to underscore his own stance, not even a token orthodox speaker was chosen to counter Kasper’s two-hour marathon. According to German Cardinal Reinhard Marx, after the address “strong objections” were posed by numerous cardinals, effectively pricking this trial balloon sent up by our über-collegial pontiff to test the collegial temper. Undeterred, Francis then praised Kasper effusively, opening the second day of the consistory (21 February) with this spurious thumbs up:

Yesterday, before going to sleep, … I re-read Cardinal Kasper’s study, and I would like to thank him, because I found in it a profound theology and the serene thought of a theologian. I also found what St. Ignatius told us about, the sensus Ecclesiae, the love of our Mother the Church…. This is called doing theology on one’s knees.

On the contrary, Holy Father, this is to confuse doing theology on one’s knees before God with doing apostasy kneeling before the world! Meanwhile, on the pope’s behalf, the dean of the assembled cardinals, ex-Secretary of State Angelo Sodano, was stressing consistory confidentiality and swearing all to secrecy … with the exception of one Walter Kasper. While his brethren duly kept their counsel, Kasper immediately announced publication of his address in Germany and Italy. He was also granted final right of reply to his opponents in the consistory.

The Catholic response

Providentially, the editor of Il Foglio, the Milan-based neo-conservative daily, upset the liberal apple cart. On 1 March he published the speech worldwide, together with an objective critique by historian Roberto de Mattei. Citing the Church Fathers, de Mattei shredded Kasper’s specious appeal to early Church practice to justify his perverse cause.

Since his thinly-disguised Modernist assault on the Faith cannot withstand Catholic critique, Kasper exploded, venting his spleen on Vatican radio, then sounding off in the Pope’s L’Osservatore Romano, all of which leant further authority to his position. But at least de Mattei’s clear analysis was now available to shed comforting light on the modus operandi of the Kasper-led revolution, which he summarised as follows:

The doctrine does not change; the only novelty concerns pastoral practice. The slogan, which has been repeated for a year now, reassures on the one hand those conservatives who gauge everything in terms of doctrinal declarations, and on the other hand it encourages the progressives who attach little importance to doctrine and entrust everything to the primacy of practice.

By paying lip service to orthodoxy (right belief) and positing sinful practice as orthopraxis (right action), Kasper seeks to disguise his profound incoherence and hyprocrisy. Shortly after the election of his papal patron, for instance, he wrote in L’Osservatore Romano (12/4/13) that the Church “needs to defend the faith against pluralism and postmodern relativism, as well as the fundamentalist tendencies that run from reason.” Yet what could be more irrational than his undoing two thousand years of Sacramental Theology of Matrimony and Penance in order to accommodate the relativistic/pluralistic postmodern world he supposedly deplores; to construct a slippery slope to ever more concubinage, Eucharistic sacrilege, and sola scriptura protestantisation?  Source

Ireland: Home-Educating Mother Jailed

CarlowwomanjailedToday, I  received an email from Dan Arnold, who was recently (Aug 23) elected Chair of Home Education Network (HEN), the oldest, biggest, and best-known home-ed representative group in Eire. He asks for our support in the case of a home-educating mother, a traditional Catholic, who has been imprisoned for what amounts to refusing to ask the State’s permission to home-educate her children – a right enshrined in the Irish Constitution.  You can read the background to this case here    The point is well made in this report  that The state could go to any school gate on any day and pick up an unfit parent, one that is addicted to intravenous drugs, whose children go to school hungry, unwashed or otherwise neglected. The state could spend their energy and money getting help for those families, who I see around me every day in Dublin city; children so sad and malnourished, drinking cans of Coke as they walk in the school gates, with eyes already dulled by years of mistreatment. I worked in a disadvantaged school and when I once asked the principal why didn’t social services get involved more in the many, many neglectful families, she said “where would they start?”. Instead, the state is picking on easy targets, fantastic parents who are taking a stand for families everywhere, Monica O’Connor and Eddie O’Neill. This is an absolute disgrace. How much in taxpayers money will go into Monica’s prison time, thousands that could be put elsewhere and actually do some good? I am so angry about this, I am just disgusted. I urge you all, whether home educators or not, to stand in support of Monica, sign the petition here, write to your TDs, email, ring them, do whatever you can or have time for to help us protect the rights of our families.”  

As I read about the predicament of Monica and Eddie,  I found myself thinking of the Ashya King scandal.  It seems that “the State” – in Ireland as in the UK –  holds to the erroneous opinion that it owns the nation’s children, with parents being cast in the role of caretakers, not to say something of a nuisance when they choose to differ from the “experts” – medical or educational – in the best interests of their offspringRead the Press Release below and tell us if you agree.  Source

PRESS RELEASE JULY 2014 Embargo 9am Wednesday 3 September 2014

A Carlow mother of 6 has been imprisoned for not paying a fine relating to the Constitutionally protected right to home educate her children

 Monica O’Connor, 47, from Tullow, has 5 sons and a daughter, ranging in age from 6 to 27 years. Her husband Eddie O’Neill, 49, is also threatened with serving a prison sentence.

Article 42 of Bunreacht na hEireann, the Irish Constitution, acknowledges that parents are their children’s primary educators. Section 2 says “parents shall be free to provide this education in their homes..”  

The former National Education Welfare Board (NEWB), whose functions were assumed in January by the Child and Family Agency of Tusla, summoned the couple to Carlow District Court, where they were fined €2,000 in June 2013 for “failing to cause” 2 of their children to attend school. The NEWB insisted that home educating families must apply to have their educational provision assessed for each child, in order to avail of their right to home educate. The couple maintain that this is akin to asking permission, which can be refused, so therefore is not a right. The family were sent School Attendance Notices to compel their then 12 year old son, Oran, and 9 year old daughter, Elva, to attend local primary schools.  

The children have all learned at home for their primary years. The 2 eldest sat Leaving Certificate exams after 4 and 21/2 years of secondary schooling, respectively. The eldest, Darragh, 27, works in the bar of golf club in Hawaii and has maintained himself since leaving home to study 3 Bar Skills and Hotel courses with Failte Ireland, aged 17. The second son, Oisin, 20, completed a FETAC 6 in Acting and is auditioning for theatre work. The third, Emmet, 19, is finished the 2nd year of a 4 year Music Degree in Dublin Institute of Technology, gaining entry without a Leaving Cert. He started formal education aged 16, completing a FETAC 5 in Music and gaining entry by audition and entrance exam.  

The younger 3 continue learning at home with their parents.  

Today Gardai escorted Monica O’Connor to Mountjoy prison for not paying the fine. She could serve 5 days in respect of each of the 2 children. 

A 16 minute documentary on youtube “Homegrown Knowledge” features the younger 4 children speaking about how they like to learn at home.  

A petition has been started on change.org calling on the Minister for Education, Jan O’Sullivan, to intervene on the family’s behalf.  

Further details on facebook page “Home Education Support Fund”.   

Monica 086-8366569 Eddie 086-3538849

The Useful Idiots Are Out In Force…

At a Mass of Thanksgiving celebrated at Sclerder Abbey on 28 August, the Rt Rev Mark O’Toole, the Bishop of Plymouth, welcomed EcumenicalcommunityPlymouth the community of Chemin Neuf who have begun a foundation at the Abbey near Looe in Cornwall.

Bishop Mark gave thanks for the life of prayer and service given by the Carmelite Community at Sclerder over many years and thanked God for this new presence of Chemin Neuf. In his Homily he said:

“We give thanks for this new Chapter in the life of this place, recognising the gifts that Chemin Neuf brings to our diocese and to the UK. We thank you all for your generosity in entrusting yourselves so fully to the action of God’s Spirit in this new Mission. Your presence manifests an important gift for the New Evangelisation with the energy and vitality which the newer ecclesial communities bring to the Church….

…Part of our common task today is to accompany people on the journey of discovery into the God who is all goodness and truth, and who desires that we come to Him as His beloved children. This is one important reason why we are so delighted to welcome Chemin Neuf, with your experience of accompanying families, and individuals, along the path of deeper conversion to Jesus.”

The Carmelites, with a small aging community, generously entrusted the Abbey to Chemin Neuf, a Catholic Community founded outside Lyons by Fr Laurent Fabre SJ. The new community is characterised by a spirituality influenced by the Charismatic Renewal and the Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius. Chemin Neuf plan to host ‘Cana weekends’ for Families and married couples, organise youth events and to offer guided retreats on the Exercises of St Ignatius. They have a particular commitment to work for Christian Unity and have a community living at Lambeth Palace with the Archbishop of Canterbury. They aim to build on the good Ecumenical relations that already exist in the South West.  Click on photo to read Bishop O’Toole’s complete homily.

Comment

This group advertises itself as being a  Catholic group with an ecumenical vocation. In other words, it’s a mish-mash of people from various denominations. In their “manifesto” they publish this gem:  Because divisions between Christians are the greatest obstacle to evangelisation; because we believe that the prayer of Jesus Christ for unity will be fulfilled: “that they may all be one so that the world may believe”, together, Orthodox, Protestants, Catholics, without waiting any longer, we follow the humble path of shared daily life(emphasis in the original)  Click here to reach the Chemin Neuf website. 

It’s laughable really.  That same ever-so ecumenical Bishop of Plymouth would probably jump off the nearest bridge before he’d permit one of his redundant churches to be sold to the SSPX yet he’s given his blessing to this scandalous betrayal of the Catholic Faith, and the same could undoubtedly be said of those Carmelite nuns pictured with Bishop O’Toole. Have they really got so little Catholic sense left that they cannot see what they are doing? That they are betraying Christ and His Church in a way that almost puts the first Judas in the shade? Don’t they make you think of Lenin’s description of the “useful idiots” who spread a false and dangerous message, even though it militates against their own best interests – in this case, their eternal salvation? Or do I exaggerate? Am I being uncharitable?  I’ll hear you…

 

 

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