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This thread is dedicated to sharing news about pro-life issues.
Where possible, we suggest that bloggers make and respond to calls to action in defence of the unborn child – whether that entails emailing MPs or supporting various vigils etc.
Try not to simply post a link to news – publish an extract and/or make a suggestion about possible action, that will encourage readers to click your link.
Among all the crimes which can be committed against life, procured abortion has characteristics making it particularly serious and deplorable. The Second Vatican Council defines abortion, together with infanticide, as an “unspeakable crime”.54
But today, in many people’s consciences, the perception of its gravity has become progressively obscured. The acceptance of abortion in the popular mind, in behaviour and even in law itself, is a telling sign of an extremely dangerous crisis of the moral sense, which is becoming more and more incapable of distinguishing between good and evil, even when the fundamental right to life is at stake. Given such a grave situation, we need now more than ever to have the courage to look the truth in the eye and to call things by their proper name, without yielding to convenient compromises or to the temptation of self-deception. In this regard the reproach of the Prophet is extremely straightforward: “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness” (Is 5:20). Especially in the case of abortion there is a widespread use of ambiguous terminology, such as “interruption of pregnancy”, which tends to hide abortion’s true nature and to attenuate its seriousness in public opinion. Perhaps this linguistic phenomenon is itself a symptom of an uneasiness of conscience. But no word has the power to change the reality of things: procured abortion is the deliberate and direct killing, by whatever means it is carried out, of a human being in the initial phase of his or her existence, extending from conception to birth.
The moral gravity of procured abortion is apparent in all its truth if we recognize that we are dealing with murder... Pope John Paul II: Evangelium Vitae – on the Value and Inviolability, of Human Life #58 [Emphasis added] Click here to read the entire encyclical
ROME, February 22, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — The head of the Vatican department overseeing liturgy is summoning the Catholic faithful to return to receiving Holy Communion on the tongue and kneeling.
Cardinal Robert Sarah
In the preface to a new book on the subject, Cardinal Robert Sarah, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, writes: “The most insidious diabolical attack consists in trying to extinguish faith in the Eucharist, by sowing errors and fostering an unsuitable way of receiving it. Truly the war between Michael and his Angels on one side, and Lucifer on the other, continues in the hearts of the faithful.”
“Satan’s target is the Sacrifice of the Mass and the Real Presence of Jesus in the consecrated Host,” he said.
The new book, by Don Federico Bortoli, was released in Italian under the title: ‘The distribution of Communion on the hand: a historical, juridical and pastoral survey’ [La distribuzione della comunione sulla mano. Profili storici, giuridici e pastorali].
Recalling the centenary of the Fatima apparitions, Sarah writes that the Angel of Peace who appeared to the three shepherd children in advance of the Blessed Virgin’s visit “shows us how we should receive the Body and the Blood of Jesus Christ.” His Eminence then identifies the outrages by which Jesus is offended today in the Holy Eucharist, including “so-called ‘intercommunion.’” Sarah goes on to consider how faith in the Real Presence “can influence the way we receive Communion, and vice versa,” and he proposes Pope John Paul II and Mother Teresa as two modern saints whom God has given us to imitate in their reverence and reception of the Holy Eucharist.
“Why do we insist on communicating standing and on the hand?,” the Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship asks. The manner in which the Holy Eucharist is distributed and received, he writes, “is an important question on which the Church today must reflect.”
Here below, with the kind permission of La Nuova Bussola where the preface was first published, we offer our readers a LifeSiteNews translation of several key extracts from Cardinal Sarah’s text.
*** Providence, which disposes all thing wisely and sweetly, has offered us book The Distribution of Communion on the hand, by Federico Bortoli, just after having celebrated the centenary of the Fatima apparitions. Before the apparition of the Virgin Mary, in the Spring of 1916, the Angel of Peace appeared to Lucia, Jacinta and Francisco, and said to them: “Do not be afraid, I am the Angel of Peace. Pray with me.” (…) In the Spring of 1916, at the third apparition of the Angel, the children realized that the Angel, who was always the same one, held in his left hand a chalice over which a host was suspended. (…) He gave the holy Host to Lucia, and the Blood of the chalice to Jacinta and Francisco, who remained on their knees, saying: “Take and drink the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, horribly outraged by ungrateful men. Make reparation for their crimes and console your God.” The Angel prostrated himself again on the ground, repeating the same prayer three times with Lucia, Jacinta and Francisco.
Angel of Peace at Fatima
The Angel of Peace therefore shows us how we should receive the Body and the Blood of Jesus Christ. The prayer of reparation dictated by the Angel, unfortunately, is anything but obsolete. But what are the outrages that Jesus receives in the holy Host, for which we need to make reparation? In the first place, there are the outrages against the Sacrament itself: the horrible profanations, of which some ex-Satanist converts have reported and offer gruesome descriptions. Sacrilegious Communions, not received in the state of God’s grace, or not professing the Catholic faith (I refer to certain forms of the so-called “intercommunion”), are also outrages. Secondly, all that could prevent the fruitfulness of the Sacrament, especially the errors sown in the minds of the faithful so that they no longer believe in the Eucharist, is an outrage to Our Lord. The terrible profanations that take place in the so-called ‘black masses’ do not directly wound the One who in the Host is wronged, ending only in the accidents of bread and wine.
Of course, Jesus suffers for the souls of those who profane Him, and for whom He shed the Blood which they so miserably and cruelly despise. But Jesus suffers more when the extraordinary gift of his divine-human Eucharistic Presence cannot bring its potential effects into the souls of believers. And so we can understand that the most insidious diabolical attack consists in trying to extinguish faith in the Eucharist, by sowing errors and fostering an unsuitable way of receiving it. Truly the war between Michael and his Angels on one side, and lucifer on the other, continues in the hearts of the faithful: Satan’s target is the Sacrifice of the Mass and the Real Presence of Jesus in the consecrated Host. This robbery attempt follows two tracks: the first is the reduction of the concept of ‘real presence.’ Many theologians persist in mocking or snubbing the term ‘transubstantiation’ despite the constant references of the Magisterium (…)
Let us now look at how faith in the real presence can influence the way we receive Communion, and vice versa. Receiving Communion on the hand undoubtedly involves a great scattering of fragments. On the contrary, attention to the smallest crumbs, care in purifying the sacred vessels, not touching the Host with sweaty hands, all become professions of faith in the real presence of Jesus, even in the smallest parts of the consecrated species: if Jesus is the substance of the Eucharistic Bread, and if the dimensions of the fragments are accidents only of the bread, it is of little importance how big or small a piece of the Host is! The substance is the same! It is Him! On the contrary, inattention to the fragments makes us lose sight of the dogma. Little by little the thought may gradually prevail: “If even the parish priest does not pay attention to the fragments, if he administers Communion in such a way that the fragments can be scattered, then it means that Jesus is not in them, or that He is ‘up to a certain point’.”
The second track on which the attack against the Eucharist runs is the attempt to remove the sense of the sacred from the hearts of the faithful. (…) While the term ‘transubstantiation’ points us to the reality of presence, the sense of the sacred enables us to glimpse its absolute uniqueness and holiness. What a misfortune it would be to lose the sense of the sacred precisely in what is most sacred! And how is it possible? By receiving special food in the same way as ordinary food. (…)
The liturgy is made up of many small rituals and gestures — each of them is capable of expressing these attitudes filled with love, filial respect and adoration toward God. That is precisely why it is appropriate to promote the beauty, fittingness and pastoral value of a practice which developed during the long life and tradition of the Church, that is, the act of receiving Holy Communion on the tongue and kneeling. The greatness and nobility of man, as well as the highest expression of his love for his Creator, consists in kneeling before God. Jesus himself prayed on his knees in the presence of the Father. (…)
In this regard I would like to propose the example of two great saints of our time: St. John Paul II and St. Teresa of Calcutta. Karol Wojtyła’s entire life was marked by a profound respect for the Holy Eucharist. (…) Despite being exhausted and without strength (…) he always knelt before the Blessed Sacrament. He was unable to kneel and stand up alone. He needed others to bend his knees and to get up. Until his last days, he wanted to offer us a great witness of reverence for the Blessed Sacrament. Why are we so proud and insensitive to the signs that God himself offers us for our spiritual growth and our intimate relationship with Him? Why do not we kneel down to receive Holy Communion after the example of the saints? Is it really so humiliating to bow down and remain kneeling before the Lord Jesus Christ? And yet, “He, though being in the form of God, […] humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross” (Phil 2: 6-8).
St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta, an exceptional religious who no one would dare regard as a traditionalist, fundamentalist or extremist, whose faith, holiness and total gift of self to God and the poor are known to all, had a respect and absolute worship of the divine Body of Jesus Christ. Certainly, she daily touched the “flesh” of Christ in the deteriorated and suffering bodies of the poorest of the poor. And yet, filled with wonder and respectful veneration, Mother Teresa refrained from touching the transubstantiatedBody of Christ. Instead, she adored him and contemplated him silently, she remained at length on her knees and prostrated herself before Jesus in the Eucharist. Moreover, she received Holy Communion in her mouth, like a little child who has humbly allowed herself to be fed by her God.
The saint was saddened and pained when she saw Christians receiving Holy Communion in their hands. In addition, she said that as far as she knew, all of her sisters received Communion only on the tongue. Is this not the exhortation that God himself addresses to us: “I am the Lord your God, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt. Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it”? (Ps 81:10).
Why do we insist on communicating standing and on the hand? Why this attitude of lack of submission to the signs of God? May no priest dare to impose his authority in this matter by refusing or mistreating those who wish to receive Communion kneeling and on the tongue. Let us come as children and humbly receive the Body of Christ on our knees and on our tongue. The saints give us the example. They are the models to be imitated that God offers us!
But how could the practice of receiving the Eucharist on the hand become so common? The answer is given to us — and is supported by never-before-published documentation that is extraordinary in its quality and volume — by Don Bortoli. It was a process that was anything but clear, a transition from what the instruction Memoriale Domini granted, to what is such a widespread practice today (…) Unfortunately, as with the Latin language, so also with a liturgical reform that should have been homogeneous with the previous rites, a special concession has become the picklock to force and empty the safe of the Church’s liturgical treasures. The Lord leads the just along ‘straight paths’ (cf. Wis. 10:10), not by subterfuge. Therefore, in addition to the theological motivations shown above, also the way in which the practice of Communion on the hand has spread appears to have been imposed not according to the ways of God.
May this book encourage those priests and faithful who, moved also by the example of Benedict XVI — who in the last years of his pontificate wanted to distribute the Eucharist in the mouth and kneeling — wish to administer or receive the Eucharist in this latter manner, which is far more suited to the Sacrament itself. I hope there can be a rediscovery and promotion of the beauty and pastoral value of this method. In my opinion and judgment, this is an important question on which the Church today must reflect. This is a further act of adoration and love that each of us can offer to Jesus Christ. I am very pleased to see so many young people who choose to receive our Lord so reverently on their knees and on their tongues. May Fr. Bortoli’s work foster a general rethinking on the way Holy Communion is distributed. As I said at the beginning of this preface, we have just celebrated the centenary of Fatima and we are encouraged in waiting for the sure triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary that, in the end, the truth about the liturgy will also triumph. [emphases added]. * Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments
Surely, no Catholic reading the above could continue to participate in this Satanic attack on the Eucharist? Indeed, could anyone who continues to receive Communion in the hand after reading the above, honestly claim to believe in the Real Presence of Our Lord, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity, truly present in every particle of the Sacred Species?
From Voice for Justice UK… Have they really thought about this?
The Government has now published its response to VfJUK’s petition calling for the prohibition of all medical treatment for gender reassignment below the age of 18. The petition was posted on 1st January, and the Department of Health and Social Care posted a direct response on its website on February 20th.
You may be unsurprised to learn that The Department of Health and Social Care is blandly reassuring, while not giving an inch on policy. They write:
“If children have the capacity to give consent for themselves, then consent should be sought direct from them. Once young people reach the age of 16, they are presumed in law to be competent to give consent for themselves for their own surgical, medical or dental treatment, and any associated procedures, such as investigations, anaesthesia or nursing care.
Those under 16 are not automatically presumed to be legally competent to make decisions about their healthcare. However, the courts have stated that a person under 16 will be competent to give valid consent to a particular intervention if they have “sufficient understanding and intelligence to enable him or her to understand fully what is proposed”.
The Department ignores entirely the fact that as a society we routinely protect children from making choices they might in the future regret. For example, we prohibit the sale of tobacco to children under the age of 18; similarly with the sale of alcohol; and, although widely ignored, sex under the age of 16 remains a criminal offence.
But there are no such reservations apparently when it comes to the truly momentous and life changing decision to undergo treatment to change sex. Indeed, from age 4 we are now encouraging children to choose their gender for themselves, telling them they don’t have to be limited by biology! And it seems, from the Department of Health and Social Care response, that we will persist in this, even though there is now growing evidence of children subsequently regretting their decision and asking for reversal.
When will this country wake up and tell the ideologues they’ve got it spectacularly wrong? Adolescence is notoriously a time of confusion and experimentation, with children pushing the boundaries to find out who and what they really are. It’s a time to rebel and make mistakes in relative safety, knowing that parents are there to pick up the pieces.
But this modern approach changes that. Propelling children prematurely into treatments that will necessitate the rest of their lives spent on damaging medication and surgical mutilation is not compassion. It is prioritisation of ideology and a failure of care.
What does protection of children’s rights really mean? Protection to grow up in safety? Or ‘protection’ to make life changing and potentially irrevocable decisions that they may in the future bitterly regret?
Children have neither the intellectual nor emotional maturity to make such life changing decisions.
VfJUK will shortly respond formally to the Department of Health and Social Care. We shall circulate our reply and would urge supporters also to write.
Surely the same tax-payers who are complaining about inefficiency in the National Health Service will refuse to accept this waste of money? It is unthinkable that the Government will authorise NHS funding to be spent on – to say the very least – totally unnecessary surgery, based, not on health needs but on a ridiculous – clearly demonic – ideology. If not, why not? Is the Government, not to mention the medical profession, completely mad? Is the UK population so devoid of all ability to think critically that they will go along with this dangerous stupidity, allowing children to be used as guinea pigs in the attack on our very humanity which is the “transgender” experiment? Share your thoughts – I know what I think…
Young people urged to ‘change the world’ at Paisley youth Mass – click here to read moreWhile across in Glasgow, St Ninian’s High School in Kirkintilloch has put a stop to the high-sugar and caffeinated beverages, following calls from both teachers and experts in the UK – click here to read about that nonsense...
I don’t remember being made to feel obligated to “change the world” during my schooldays. Some pressure!
Instead, the focus was on God and on our own souls. We were to change ourselves, not “the world”.
What about you? Would you be hurrying to get to Catholic school these days or do you prefer the “old” model where we were brought to understand that it is holiness of life, achieved by being faithful Catholics, that changes us… and thus, the world? Isn’t that the message Catholic educators should be delivering?
Most of the time I feel perfectly at ease in my own country, and that would be the case had we voted Brexit or Remain, Theresa May or Jeremy Corbyn. But just occasionally Britain seems to me an utterly alien place – bizarre even. Today, Jeremy Corbyn launched his manifesto for pets. He wants to ban foie gras, make it mandatory for motorists to report that they have run over and killed cats, and pass a law giving tenants the right to keep a pet. I don’t suspect that he will encounter a great deal of opposition on these things – bar a token protest on the last from buy-to-let investors. Fox hunting aside, no political party in recent times has come to much harm by doing something to help furry, feathery or scaly animals. In the past 20 years, we have had animal laws by the dozen, controlling the use of animals in circuses and in advertising campaigns, laws against sow stalls and numerous others.
This would all be fine – I can’t say I have a problem with much of the above – if it weren’t for the utter refusal on the part of our main political parties to even discuss what seems to me a far more pressing issue for human beings: the rights of unborn children. With the honourable exception of Jacob Rees-Mogg, when did you last hear a frontline politician or even backbench MP dare to even ask whether our laws on abortion, and the practice of them, ought to be reformed (reformed, that is, in the direction of making it harder to have an abortion)? There seems to be an unwritten rule in politics that the issue must not be discussed, and that anyone holding views which are disapproving of current practice on abortion must be dismissed as an extremist or religious nutter. This is in spite of obvious evidence that abortion as conducted in Britain is completely at odds with the word of the law. Under the 1967 act that legalised abortion, it is clearly stated that it is only supposed to be used in situations where the mother’s physical or mental health is at risk or if the baby were to be born seriously handicapped. Few would even pretend that abortion is being restricted to these cases. It is over 20 years ago now, but the first question my wife’s GP asked her when she said she thought she was pregnant was: do you want the baby? There is little getting away from it: social abortion is routine in Britain, even though it is illegal. The law supposedly preventing it is treated with the same contempt as archaic laws ordering us to do archery practice.
There seems to me to be something desperately wrong here. A Martian looking at us from the outside might well conclude that it is a committee of animals which sets the terms of our political debate. How can it be that we swoon over baby chicks, calves, puppies and the rest, and yet seem blithely indifferent about the industrial-scale destruction of human foetuses? Source – The Spectator
I’ve long marvelled at the intensity of the UK public over animal welfare. I’ve seen grown women shed tears during a BBC discussion, upset at the killing of foxes – not the most endearing of animals. Yet, the same people fighting for animal rights seem to see nothing untoward about the cruelty of killing a baby in the womb. Why is that?
Will Ireland hold out against the evil campaigning of the pro-death camp, those who wish Government approval for the murder of the unborn? If you’re still not sure about the use of the term “murder” visit this websiteand check out the terminated “material” … Don’t duck the reality – look at the images, and then decide if you think once-Catholic Ireland should legalise this death industry.
There can sometimes be a failure to understand the true nature of Lent. It’s seen, rightly, as a time of prayer and penance, making atonement for sins, and reflecting on the Passion and Death of Our Lord. However, arguably, the majority of Catholics pay insufficient attention to what should be the outcome of our Lenten prayers and penances – namely, an increase in our love for Our Lord. It’s sometimes striking to reflect on the uncharitable way we behave towards others, sometimes even right after attending Mass or praying a rosary – indications that we are seriously lacking in charity, that charity which isthe love of God, made manifest in our lives…
I am ashamed to admit that I have never – ever – made a good Lent. My attempted penances over the years include the classics; giving up chocolate, crisps, soft drinks – and if I were fond of the less soft drinks, I would have, very likely, sacrificed those as well (pat on the back), but I can’t , without fibbing, claim an increased love of God, manifesting itself in increased charity towards my neighbour, as a result. The truth that no-one can stand still in the spiritual life – we either go forwards or back – terrifies me. I need help, therefore, and I’m hoping that this thread will do the trick…
As we mark the beginning of Lent today, Ash Wednesday, share your ideas for useful penances, and post any meditations, experiences, prayers, hymns and advice that you think will be helpful to us all this Lent, as we seek to grow in the love of God.
Report on the Diocese of Middlesbrough, north-east of England…
The new diocesan outreach ministry to the LGBT+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) community has now held its first Masses in York.
Some 60 participants travelled from across the diocese for the first Mass. Catholic members of the LGBT+ community were joined by their families, friends and supporters and Christians from other denominations.
All gathered in the hidden chapel of York’s historic Bar Convent, at the kind invitation of the Sisters of the Congregation of Jesus. It was noted in the words of welcome that the Bar Convent has a long history of offering sanctuary and began its life to support minorities suffering persecution by civil and religious authorities.
The presider at Mass was Father Tony Lester, who is working to establish this ministry in our diocese at the request of Bishop Terry, who sent good wishes for the launch. Father Tony was joined on the altar by Canon John Lumley and Deacon Peter Warren, together with Deacon Nick Baggio, from the Diocese of Leeds.
Mass began with a Litany of Welcome, reminding those present that all people have a place in the Christian community because all belong to Jesus Christ, and it is his table the Church gathers around at the Eucharist. It is God who counts us worthy and the welcome the Church makes visible is God’s welcome to all in Christ.
The readers included a human rights defender from Kenya who is spending six months at the University of York as a “protected fellow”, because as an LGBT activist his life is in danger at home. While in Britain he is learning ways to reduce the risks to his life and to network with fellow human rights defenders.
Sadly, his baptismal and confirmation papers were publicly torn up by his parish priest in Kenya because of the work he was doing. Father Tony acknowledged that for many LGBT+ people their experience of Church is marked by pain. Pope Francis has said this is something for which Christians need to apologise.
After Mass the congregation socialised over refreshments and people shared stories of their journey. Among the experiences shared was that of a young man who stopped attending Mass as a teenager, not because he had lost his faith but because he felt his parish community would not accept him. He was very pleased at the launch of the new ministry, which he felt gave him the opportunity to start attending Mass again.
Those who attended the launch were asked how they would like to see this ministry develop in the future. It was agreed that a Mass with an explicit welcome to the LGBT+ community, families and friends would be celebrated at the Bar Convent on the second Sunday of each month at 3pm. In time, a rotation of priests will preside at these Masses and the community that gathers will develop a broader programme that is spiritual, social and supportive.