General Discussion (11)

If 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, as the GD discussion threads fills up very quickly.  Readers, all too often, go 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 – at the very least check the side-bar – before posting here, please and thank you!

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

To read previous 10 General Discussion Threads, click on the links listed below.
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Abortion Uproar In Parliament…

In the video below, Andy Stephenson, Founder of Abort 67, explains what happened in a recent meeting in Parliament that caused abortion supporters to go running for the police.  Listen to Andy in the video below, and then read his letter which follows…

The meeting was organised by Abortion Rights and sponsored by the Shadow Minister for Women, Cat Smith MP.

The Labour MP described herself as a “pro-choice Christian”; assuring the room the two conflicting positions were compatible.

Watch the video to see our response to the meeting. (No pro-lifers were arrested in the making of this video).

[Andy] says: If you would like to partner with us in making abortion unthinkable, then please make a donation by emailing ivana@cbruk.org

The Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform UK and the Abort67 project are working to expose this enormous human rights abuse. We can end it but only if we can allow people to see it for what it really is. 

We would love to step up the exposure with your help on our weekly displays or helping us arrange presentations for your friends or church so they too can think about how they can get involved.

Thank you for your support!
Every blessing,
Andy Stephenson

Comments invited…

Küng Claim: Dogma of Infallibility Up For Discussion – How Likely Is That?

Fr. Hans Küng, the Swiss theologian, has told The Tablet that he has received a letter from Pope Francis that responds to his “request to give room to a free discussion on the dogma of infallibility”.    

 In my view, the Catholic Church as a community of faith will be preserved, but only if it abandons the Roman system of rule. We managed to get by without this absolutist system for 1,000 years. The problems began in the 11th century, when the popes asserted their claim to absolute control over the Church. (Interview: Spiegel Online International, 21 September, 2011

In my view, the Catholic Church as a community of faith will be preserved, but only if it abandons the Roman system of rule. We managed to get by without this absolutist system for 1,000 years. The problems began in the 11th century, when the popes asserted their claim to absolute control over the Church.
(Interview: Spiegel Online International, 21 September, 2011)

 

The Tablet has been unable to confirm the existence of the letter as Küng refused requests by The Tablet and the National Catholic Reporter to the Swiss theologian to view a copy of the letter.  

“On 9 March, my appeal to Pope Francis to give room to a free, unprejudiced and open-ended discussion on the problem of infallibility appeared in the leading journals of several countries. I was thus overjoyed to receive a personal reply from Pope Francis immediately after Easter. Dated 20 March, it was forwarded to me from the nunciature in Berlin.”

Küng said that in the Pope’s reply, Francis makes the following points which “are significant” to the Swiss theologian: The fact that Pope Francis answered at all and did not let my appeal fall on deaf ears; the fact that he replied himself and not via his private secretary or the Secretary of State; that he emphasises the fraternal manner of his Spanish reply by addressing me as Lieber Mitbruder (Dear Brother) in German and puts this personal address in italics, that he clearly read the appeal, to which I had attached a Spanish translation, most attentively.

“[And] that he is highly appreciative of the considerations which had led me to write in which I suggest theologically discussing the different issues which the infallibility dogma raises in the light of Holy Scripture and Tradition with the aim of deepening the constructive dialogue between the ‘semper reformanda’ 21st century Church and the other Christian Churches and post-modern society.”

“Pope Francis has set no restrictions,” Küng added. “He has thus responded to my request to give room to a free discussion on the dogma of infallibility. I think it is now imperative to use this new freedom to push ahead with the clarification of the dogmatic definitions which are a ground for controversy within the Catholic Church and in its relationship to the other Christian Churches.

The Swiss theologian said in his statement to The Tablet that the letter is part of the “new freedom” that Pope Francis has brought to the Vatican.

“I am fully convinced that in this new spirit a free, impartial and open-ended discussion of the infallibility dogma, this fateful key question of destiny for the Catholic Church, will be possible,”Küng said. “I am deeply grateful to Pope Francis for this new freedom and combine my heartfelt thanks with the expectation that the bishops and theologians will unreservedly adopt this new spirit and join in this task in accordance with the Scriptures and with our great church tradition.


Full text of Fr. Hans Küng statement. Translation: Christa Pongratz-Lippitt, Vienna

The Pope answers Hans Küng

On 9 March, my appeal to Pope Francis to give room to a free, unprejudiced and open-ended discussion on the problem of infallibility appeared in the leading journals of several countries. I was thus overjoyed to receive a personal reply from Pope Francis immediately after Easter. Dated 20 March, it was forwarded to me from the nunciature in Berlin.

In the Pope’s reply, the following points are significant for me:

– The fact that Pope Francis answered at all and did not let my appeal fall on deaf ears so to speak;

– The fact that he replied himself and not via his private secretary or the Secretary of State;

– That he emphasises the fraternal manner of his Spanish reply by addressing me asLieber Mitbruder(Dear Brother) in German and puts this personal address in italics,

– That he clearly read the appeal, to which I had attached a Spanish translation, most attentively;

– That he is highly appreciative of the considerations which had led me to write Volume 5 in which I suggest theologically discussing the different issues which the infallibility dogma raises in the light of Holy Scripture and Tradition with the aim of deepening the constructive dialogue between the “semper reformanda” 21st century Church and the other Christian Churches and post-modern society.

Pope Francis has set no restrictions. He has thus responded to my request to give room to a free discussion on the dogma of infallibility. I think it is now imperative to use this new freedom to push ahead with the clarification of the dogmatic definitions which are a ground for controversy within the Catholic Church and in its relationship to the other Christian Churches.

I could not have foreseen then quite how much new freedom Pope Francis would open up in his Post-Synodal Exhortation Amoris Laetitia. Already in the introduction he declares “that not all doctrinal discussions, moral or pastoral, need to be resolved with interventions of the Magisterium.” He takes issue with “cold bureaucratic morality” and does not want bishops to continue behaving as if they were “arbiters of grace”. He sees the Eucharist not as a reward for the perfect but as “nourishment for the weak”. He repeatedly quotes statements made at the Episcopal Synod or at national bishops’ conferences. Pope Francis no longer wants to be the sole spokesman of the Church.

This is the new spirit that I have always expected from the Magisterium. I am fully convinced that in this new spirit a free, impartial and open-ended discussion of the infallibility dogma, this fateful key question of destiny for the Catholic Church, will be possible. I am deeply grateful to Pope Francis for this new freedom and combine my heartfelt thanks with the expectation that the bishops and theologians will unreservedly adopt this new spirit and join in this task in accordance with the Scriptures and with our great church tradition. Source – The Tablet

Comment: 

That Hans Küng is a heretic par excellence is beyond dispute.  He is no stranger to controversy on all sorts of topics. His support for euthanasia is well known, and so it comes as no surprise that he doesn’t believe in “an eternal Hell”.   Yet, despite the fact that he is officially not allowed to teach as a “Catholic theologian”, he appears to have easy access to the pope of the day. In September, 2005, Pope Benedict invited Father Küng to dinner at his summer residence in Castel Gandolfo, where, according to Küng, they spent four hours together in a relaxed, warm discussion in the Pope’s private study and dining room. Now, we have Pope Francis apparently willing to put the dogma of infallibility on the table for discussion aka challenge. 

The Tablet admits that “Küng refused requests by The Tablet and the National Catholic Reporter to the Swiss theologian to view a copy of the letter.”

So we’re asked to take the word of this anything-but-Catholic “theologian” that the Pope is prepared to admit a challenge to the dogma of infallibility. Well. Who’s ever gonna believe THAT?  

The Dogma of Infallibility is a revealed truth of the Faith. No Pope would give the impression that it could be overturned ergo Pope Francis will not permit that to happen.... will he?

The Dogma of Infallibility is a revealed truth of the Faith. No Pope would give the impression that it could be overturned, ergo Pope Francis will not permit that to happen…. will he?  

23rd April: Feast of St George

St George of England

Prayer to St. George

St. George,

Heroic Catholic soldier and defender of your Faith, you dared to criticize a tyrannical Emperor and were subjected to horrible torture. You could have occupied a high military position but you preferred to die for your Lord.

Obtain for us the great grace of heroic Christian courage that should mark soldiers of Christ. Amen

 

Comments invited – what, in your opinion, would St George think about what is happening in England today… And as with all Feast Day threads, feel free to share favourite prayers, hymns, stories and jokes. 

SSPX Regularisation In Year of Mercy?

On April 1 this year, reports emerged that the Superior General of the Society of St Pius X (SSPX) was welcomed with open arms at the Vatican by the man some regard as the most liberal pope of all time.  

No, it wasn’t an April Fool’s story; the summit actually took place. Even more remarkably, the meeting was described by traditionalists as “very positive”. There was good reason to be incredulous. The SSPX is a traditionalist group that fiercely oppose the changes brought about following the Second Vatican Council. Their leader Bishop Fellay was so disappointed with the recent apostolic exhortation that he said it made him weep. 

Pope Francis: SSPX is Catholic - that is evident

                   Pope Francis: SSPX is Catholic –             that is evident

Meanwhile, Pope Francis is adored by secular commentators and during his time as Pontiff has fast-tracked the canonisation of the architect of Vatican II, [Pope] John XXIII, with whom he is regularly compared. It is difficult to imagine much common ground between Bishop Fellay and Francis, and yet the Pope has taken constructive steps in order to bring the estranged SSPX back into full communion with the Church. 

Francis’s sympathies existed long before he was elected Pope. When he was Archbishop of Buenos Aires and members of the SSPX applied for visas to work in the country, he vouched for their Catholicity to the Argentine Government, reportedly saying: “You are Catholic – it is evident.”

But the big gesture of inclusion came when Pope Francis announced that during the Year of Mercy, contrary to former rules, Catholics would be able to receive absolution from SSPX priests. In a letter last year, he wrote: “This Jubilee Year of Mercy excludes no one.”

As Fr John Zuhlsdorf pointed out: “If the Holy Father is willing to go this far with the priests of the SSPX, is it hard to imagine that this merciful concession might not be extended beyond the Year of Mercy? I would like to think so.” He then observed, in an analogy with American history: “If only Nixon could go to China, perhaps Pope Francis is the Pope who will reconcile the SSPX.”

Pope Francis encouraged Bishop Fellay to open a seminary in Italy

Pope Francis to Bishop Fellay:  open a seminary in Italy!

Perhaps. After all, Rorate Caeli, a blog that is not usually overflowing with optimism about Francis, was positive about Bishop Fellay and Francis’s meeting last week. It reports that during the meeting “the Pope confirmed that the SSPX was Catholic in his eyes. He confirmed that he never would condemn it, he confided that he wishes to expand the faculties of the SSPX, starting with the authorisation of its priests to validly hear Confession. Finally, during the talks in Rome, Bishop Fellay was encouraged to establish a seminary in Italy.”

The question still remains as to why Francis is so keen to extend the hand of friendship. Paul Vallely, author of Pope Francis: Untying the Knots: The Struggle for the Soul of Catholicism, says Francis’s approach is typical of his inclusive character: “He wants everyone inside the Church and inside the conversation … Being welcoming to the SSPX is part of his openness.”

Austen Ivereigh, author of The Great Reformer, agrees: “Like his predecessors, Pope Francis takes very seriously his mission of restoring the unity of the Church. Orthodox, Anglicans, SSPX – wherever there has been a split, he will try to heal it … Extending the SSPX’s faculty of Confessions is one area where he sees they can do something together – and create space for the Holy Spirit to act. That’s how he sees his task as Pope.”

Joseph Shaw, chairman of the Latin Mass Society, notes that traditionalists and SSPX are on the outskirts of the Church. He said: “Pope Francis has shown a particular interest in this important work of the Petrine Office, in relation not only to the SSPX but also to the ‘Patriotic’ Catholics of China, and the Orthodox …

“There is also a parallel between Catholics attached to the Traditional Mass and others found on the ‘peripheries’ of the Church, since as Pope Benedict remarked they have been treated as ‘lepers’, and suffered real marginalisation. The reasons for the attitude pushing them to the margins is increasingly difficult to understand, and clearly not shared by Pope Francis.”

The fact that so many liberals warm to Francis makes some traditional Catholics uneasy. But if Francis really is today’s pin-up for “progressive” Catholics, he is certainly teaching them a thing or two about how to be genuinely inclusive, and this includes welcoming traditionalists. Click here to read original

Comment:

We did discuss the possibility – likelihood even  – of a speedy recognition of the Society back in February click here to read that previous post. Despite all the scandals, notably the recent Exhortation, it seems that Pope Francis is still well disposed towards the SSPX.  The key question is… why?  

Bl Alexandrina – A Modern Mystic…

“ I desire that, after your death, your life may be known, and that will happen; I shall see to it.  It will reach the ends of the earth.”

Our Lord speaking to Blessed Alexandrina, 22nd November 1937.

The desire of Jesus to see a widespread knowledge of the life of Blessed Alexandrina Maria da Costa of Portugal is starting to be fulfilled, as devotion to her grows steadily throughout the world.  One of the great mystics of modern times, a ‘victim soul’ chosen by Christ to suffer in atonement for the sins of humanity, she appears set to become an important and well-loved saint in the Universal Church.

Her life gives us an example of complete fidelity to the will of Christ, and also presents an astonishing and undeniable explosion of the supernatural to an increasingly secular world. 

Blessed AlexandrinaBedridden for life from the age of twenty, after sustaining a serious injury some years earlier while trying to escape from an attack on her virtue, she suffered unspeakable pain throughout her life and mystically underwent the Passion of Christ on Fridays to atone for the sins of humanity.  She also had frequent ecstasies during which she saw and spoke with Our Lord and Our Lady, and offered her sufferings to bring about the consecration of the world by Pope Pius XII to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, an act which in turn shortened the duration of World War II.

Her life reaffirms the immense value of suffering offered in union with Jesus, and stands as a beacon of hope to those who suffer in any way, and a sign of contradiction to those who would deny the value of suffering offered in union with Jesus.  She prayed especially for youth, and has been proposed by the Church as “a model of purity and perseverance in the Faith for today’s youth.”

Although she was never able to visit the site of the apparitions of Our Blessed Lady at Fatima, Alexandrina’s extraordinary story has many connections to the Fatima events, and her message is essentially the same: “ Do penance, sin no more, pray the Rosary, receive the Eucharist ”.  Because of this, she has been described as the ‘fourth seer of Fatima’.  One can point to miraculous occurrences in the lives of all the saints, but Alexandrina herself became a living miracle , for in the last thirteen years of her life, she ate and drank absolutely nothing, existing on the Holy Eucharist alone.

Pope John Paul II said the following about Alexandrina in his homily at her beatification ceremony in 2004:-

“ ‘Do you love me?’, Jesus asks Simon Peter, who replies: ‘Yes Lord, you know that I love you’. The life of Blessed Alexandrina Maria da Costa can be summarized in this dialogue of love. Permeated and burning with this anxiety of love, she wished to deny nothing to her Saviour. With a strong will, she accepted everything to demonstrate her love for him. A ‘spouse of blood’, she mystically relived Christ’s passion and offered herself as a victim for sinners, receiving strength from the Eucharist: this became her only source of nourishment for the final 13 years of her life.  With the example of Blessed Alexandrina, expressed in the trilogy ‘suffer, love, make reparation’, Christians are able to discover the stimulus and motivation to make ‘noble’ all that is painful and sad in life through the greatest evidence of love: sacrificing one’s life for the beloved.  Secret of holiness: love for Christ.”  Click here to read more…

Comments invited