11/12 – Happy 50th Birthday Summa!

Our Blogger, Summa, Scots-born resident of sunny Australia, celebrates his 50th birthday today – in not-so-sunny Glasgow!  He’s up from down under, so to speak, for the next few weeks,

Yesterday, we chatted briefly after Mass.  Mrs Summa warned that the grey hairs would soon show, now that hubby has reached this landmark birthday. She, being a glamorous gal-about-town, isn’t too crazy at the prospect. 

Anyway, we thought we would seek some advice for the Birthday Boy from those older and wiser… Here’s what one Coffin Dodger (below) had to say to mark the occasion…

Not to worry you, Summa, but take a look at the following conversation between 3 ladies overheard talking about how they feel on reaching their 50th year…

The first lady said “There are times I find myself with the milk jug in my hand, and the fridge door open, but I can’t figure out if I was taking it out, putting it back or pouring myself a glass.”

The second lady answered “Yes sometimes I’m at the foot of the stairs and I don’t remember if I was going up or just came down.”

The third friend responded “Well, thankfully I don’t have that yet, knock on wood.” As she knocked on the table, she looked around and said “Oh, someone’s at the door, I’ll get it!”


And finally, from all of us here at Catholic Truth…

Have a wonderful day! 

 

Trump & Jerusalem: A Moral Move, A Politically Smart & Valuable Move…

Comment:

Well, do you agree that in publicly recognising Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and moving the U.S.A. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem,  President Donald Trump has made a “moral move, a politically smart move and a politically valuable move” – or is he making things worse in the region?   After listening to the potted history on the video, doesn’t it seem odd that the media seem to be united in criticising Trump for this “moral, smart and valuable move”? Or, is it actually the case that no matter what he does, Trump will be criticised… A case of his not being able to do right for doing wrong?

Notice From The Editor…

Please note that the blog will close for the last week in Advent, to allow us personal and spiritual preparation time before the Feast of Christmas. 

We will close on Sunday 17th December and re-open on Christmas Day.   

Feel free to use this thread to comment/ask questions and to post any favourite Advent reflections, hymns etc.  

Pope Francis: Vicar of Allah?

From the Fatima Center…

December 5, 2017

Pope Francis made headlines recently for his championing of the Rohingya. For those who are unfamiliar with the term, it is one that Muslim refugees from Myanmar use to designate themselves. The term is rejected by the Buddhists of Myanmar, as it suggests that the Muslims are native to their country, a claim they deny, insisting that they are intruders from neighboring Bangladesh.

While in Myanmar, the Pope avoided use of the term, but readily adopted it once he had crossed into Bangladesh to meet the Rohingya of the refugee camps. For this supposed act of courage, the Pope was lauded for his shunning of diplomacy in favor of plain-speaking and justice. Apparently, it did not occur to the adulatory media that courage in this matter was only possible while the Pope was in Myanmar, where he carefully avoided its use. He was in no danger among the Rohingya.

Wearing a Yankees’ cap at Fenway Park requires courage. Wearing one at Yankee stadium makes you one of the gang.

While aboard his jet during his return trip to Rome, the Pope, as is his habit, addressed the international press corps that travels with him, chronicling his acts of courage. He explained he did not use the word Rohingya in public addresses in Myanmar because, “They already knew what I thought.” The “they” he is referring to are presumably the political and religious leaders of Myanmar, whom the Pope supposes are so familiar with his views that he need not spell them out. But, as St. Thomas More reminded the court that tried him, the maxim of the law is “Tacet consentire” — silence implies consent.

In any event, once among the Rohingya and safely out of Myanmar, the Pope was bold enough to break his silence and pronounce the term. The Pope told the press corps, “I wept. I tried to do it in a way that couldn’t be seen.” Not to presume too much, but we might suggest to the Holy Father that to keep his weeping secret, it would be best not to announce it to the media. Reporters are terribly indiscreet and very likely to, well, report.

The Pope said he wept over the suffering of the Rohingya, whom he credits as being the blameless victims of persecution, based on their self-declaration and anecdotal accounts.  In an astounding act of presumption, the Pope then appropriated the right to speak in the name of their alleged persecutors:

“In the name of all those who have persecuted you, who have harmed you, in the face of the world’s indifference, I ask for your forgiveness.”

Did the Buddhists of Myanmar commission the Pope to speak for them? Did they admit wrongdoing and confess their guilt and express a desire to seek forgiveness through the agency of the Pope? If not, why should Francis speak in their name? Indeed, why should he presume to speak in anyone else’s name unless he has permission to do so?

But the Pope not only takes upon himself the unwarranted ambassadorial role of speaking for the alleged miscreants of Myanmar, he goes on to apologize in the name of the whole world. Whatever may be happening along the borders of Bangladesh and Myanmar apparently imposes a moral obligation on the rest of mankind, an obligation we have failed to meet by our “indifference.” The Pope, then, believes it incumbent upon him to acknowledge our failure to the Rohingya and ask that they forgive us.

We might express some skepticism about the probable success of the Pope’s plea, as Muslims have not been notable for their readiness to forgive those who slight them or their religion. Mohammed was not known for his willingness to turn the other cheek, and “Live and let live” is not an attitude that informs the spirit of the Koran.

As for our supposedly sinful “indifference,” just what are we — the world — morally compelled to do, in the Pope’s estimation? We are not eyewitnesses to what is taking place. We cannot tell which stories are true, which are fabricated, whose claims are legally or historically justified and who initiated violence in particular instances. In short, the “world” — you and I — are in the dark about what is going on in this part of the world. And we are under no obligation to become informed.

Are we obliged to patrol the streets of our own cities, righting wrongs, like a superhero? The idea is absurd. How much more absurd is the notion that we must be engaged in conflicts in distant lands, deciding whose claim to justice is the more credible? And even should we become so engaged, what precisely does the Pope propose that we do? Mount crusades for Rohingya Rights?

A moment’s reflection on this Theater of the Absurd that the Pope scripted in his most recent and entirely unnecessary papal trip should make plain to anyone with common sense that nothing the Pope said or did has any connection to the governance of the Catholic Church and the safeguarding of its doctrine, which is the Pope’s designated job.
Why Myanmar and Bangladesh? The Catholic populations in these countries is marginal (about 1 percent in Myanmar; about 0.2 percent in Bangladesh). This dispute is between Muslims and Buddhists, neither of which acknowledge the authority of the Roman Pontiff in any area of life. Why should the Pope travel to the far reaches of the non-Christian world to insert himself in a regional dispute where he exercises neither jurisdiction nor acknowledged moral authority?

Both Buddhists and Muslims reject Christ and the claims of the Catholic Church. Indeed, for Muslims, the Pope is an infidel, leader of the Dar-Al-Harb – the world of war that must be conquered for allah. But the Pope has steadfastly refused to acknowledge the incompatibility of Islam and Christianity and is ever intent on showing compassion for Muslims. If only Francis were as eager to show compassion for members of his own persecuted Church in Muslim nations, or even Europeans maimed and killed in Paris and London to the cry of “allahu akbar!”

But the plight of the Rohingya draws the Pope halfway around the world, where he weeps and apologizes for all of us for the sufferings of a group of Muslim refugees to whom we have supposedly shown a sinful “indifference.” When will the Pope weep for us? When will he weep for Catholics who have been victims of doctrinal confusion and contradiction? When will he cry over the destruction of our liturgy? When will he tear his robes and lament the hideous perversion of his own clergy and the criminal cover-ups of his own bishops? When will he turn a tearful eye to Europe, bereft of Faith, its culture in tatters, Muslim rape gangs roaming the streets of its cities, mosques replacing churches, the bells of the Angelus being drowned out by the cry of “allahu akbar,” calling ever-multiplying numbers of Muslims to prayer – in Rome, in Paris, in Berlin, in Madrid, in Brussels, in London?

We need no apologies from the Pope in the name of supposed oppressors of the Rohingya. We are not edified by his hidden tears, later broadcast to the media, that he shed in Bangladesh. We need no empty words of condemnation or “sorrow” about the atrocities that have become a regular feature of modern life.

How wonderful it would be if useless words were no longer spoken by the Pope. How wonderful it would be if the Pope were to say: “I know little about climate change or environmental science or international economics. I cannot intervene and decide who is right and wrong in the many armed conflicts that perpetually erupt around the world, nor is it my duty to do so. I have no advice to give Buddhists or Muslims except this: turn to Christ and His Church. In our doctrine is truth. In our Lord is peace. In our worship is love. Come inside. Be with us and be saved.”

If the Pope were to do this, how many souls might be drawn to the Church? If the Pope were to use his power for the purpose intended by Our Lord, to strengthen his brothers and sisters in the Faith, the crisis in the Church would end. The Holy Father is the most powerful person on God’s Earth, but only as the Vicar of Christ, not as the vicar of the environment, or the vicar of economic equality, or the vicar of immigration, or, Heaven help us, the vicar of allah!

If the Pope really wants peace, for the Rohingya as well as for the rest of us, he has it in his power to bring it about: He can consecrate Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, along with his bishops. Were he to do this, there would be an end to much weeping, both public and private.   Source – Fatima Center

 

Comments invited…  

Congratulations, Gabriel Syme!

Great news!  blogger, Gabriel Syme, already Dad to a little toddler daughter, is now father to a second bouncing baby daughter.  The newborn – Felicity Hope  – arrived on Tuesday evening, 28th November, weighing 7 Ibs 9oz. She and her mum are both well.

Congratulations, Gabriel Syme – and a huge welcome to little Felicity Hope, named after an early martyr and a  theological virtue!  Nothing like holding a newborn to a very high standard! 

There’s so much bad news to report and discuss, so here’s an opportunity to relax and congratulate our fellow blogger on this wonderful news. 

A word of warning, though – a “daddy’s girl” she may be, but is this what lies ahead?

Baby jokes welcome!  

Concern Over Pope Francis Grows: Schism Looms – Cardinals MUST Act!

From One Peter Five…

Pope’s Letter on Argentinian Communion Guidelines for Remarried Given Official Status

A letter from Pope Francis praising episcopal guidelines that would allow divorced and remarried Catholics to receive Holy Communion in some cases while living in a state of objective grave sin has now been added to the official acts of the Apostolic See, conferring official status on what was formerly considered by many to be merely private communication — and raising the stakes on the Amoris Laetitia debate significantly.

Of the guidelines issued by the bishops of the Buenos Aires region that would open “the possibility of access to the sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist” in “complex circumstances” where “limitations that lessen the responsibility and guilt” of couples who will not make the commitment to “live in continence” despite living in an objectively adulterous situation, the pope said in his letter that “The document is very good and completely explains the meaning of chapter VIII of Amoris Laetitia. There are no other interpretations.”

In August of this year, this letter was added to the Vatican website as a papal document available for public reference. Concerns were raised that what had previously been viewed as only private correspondence — and thus, completely outside the realm of papal magisterium — was being given the appearance of an official papal act.

Others were quick to point out that the presence of such a letter on the Vatican website, while troubling in itself, did not grant the document any status, but only publicity. The concern, as I speculated at the time, was that the letter seemed likely therefore to find its way into the Acta Apostolicae Sedis  (AAS) — the journal of the official acts of the Apostolic See. Such a move would confer an official, and at least quasi-authoritative status to the document, in as much as the AAS “contains all the principal decrees, encyclical letters, decisions of Roman congregations, and notices of ecclesiastical appointments. The contents are to be considered promulgated when published, and effective three months from date of issue.”

As Vatican journalist Marco Tosatti reported yesterday, the addition of the letter to the AAS has now been confirmed*:

[T]he “private” letter of Pope Francis to the Argentine bishops was published in the October 2016 edition of Acta Apostolicae Sedis, after they had issued directives for the application of chapter 8 of Amoris Laetitia (the chapter with the famous footnotes on giving communion to the divorced and remarried). Directives which, as has been noted and emphasized here, are anything but clear.
The publication of this letter in the Acta is accompanied by a brief note from the Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, together with an official rescript from a papal audience in June 2017, announcing that the Pope himself wanted the two documents — the guidelines and the letter — published on the website of Acta Apostolicae Sedis.

The announcement can only serve to further fuel the confusion and uncertainty surrounding the controversial apostolic exhortation as well as the Pope’s way of doing things, which yet again appears to be a far cry from the clarity and straightforwardness that many of the faithful would expect [from the Holy Father]. He has given no response to the dubia Cardinals, no response to the letters, petitions and other initiatives written by scholars, theologians, and ordinary faithful people who have been confused by the deliberate ambiguity of the document. Yet, at the same time, he has given a veneer of officiality to one letter sent to one member of one bishops’ conference.

To what end? To obligate all to give religiosum obsequium [religious assent] to a magisterium expressed in oblique and ambiguous forms, or to respond without committing himself in a direct response which would express the mind of the Pope in an unequivocal manner to the doubtful and perplexed? One is given the feeling that the only thing this does is cause the simple believer annoyance with the Pope’s comportment, which may be defined as a “pretext” in the worst sense of that term.

You can view only the relevant section of the October 2016 edition of the AAS here (Spanish/Latin PDF). (The full edition is available here, but a word of caution – it’s a huge PDF document at nearly 1,200 pages and with a 300MB file size.)

Some outlets are already reporting that the presence of the Buenos Aires letter in the AAS elevates it to the level of “authentic Magisterium,” which would therefore require the aforementioned religious assent of mind and will (cf. Lumen Gentium 25). Others are not so sure. We asked for an assessment from Dr. John Joy, co-Founder and President of the St. Albert the Great Center for Scholastic Studies and a specialist in Magisterial authority. “It means that it is an official act of the pope,” Joy said, “rather than an act of the pope as a private person. So it cannot be dismissed as a merely private endorsement of their implementation of AL. It is an official endorsement. But this doesn’t necessarily mean that the letter to the Argentine bishops is itself magisterial” and thus requiring religious submission of will and intellect. Such a requirement, Joy said, would only apply if the document intended to teach on matters of faith and morals.

Inasmuch as the letter was in praise of pastoral guidelines that were anything but concrete, this seems unlikely.

Dr. Joy pointed out that adding the letter to the AAS could, in fact, damage the credibility of Amoris Laetitia by potentially removing the possibility that it could be interpreted in an orthodox way through establishing, via its publication in the official acts of the Apostolic See, that the unorthodox interpretation is the official one.
Marco Tosatti says that even some who have been ideological supporters of the pope are allegedly losing patience with his brashness:

And further, if what we have learned from two different sources is true, this annoyance extends to the Vatican. A cardinal of great renown, a former diplomat, who has served an impressive career at the head of Congregations and in high offices in the Secretariat of State, is said to have reproved the Pope for his actions [as Pope], saying to him essentially, “We elected you to make reforms, not to smash everything.” News of this conversation — if it can be called a conversation — has spread through the Vatican, because it took place at a high decibel level, which carried through the fragile barrier of the doors and walls. The cardinal in question was one of those who supported the candidacy of Jorge Mario Bergoglio in the conclave of 2013.

It would not be the first time such dissent has been reported from within the pope’s own camp. In March, The London Times reported that some of the cardinals who helped to elect Francis wanted Francis to step down out of fear that his agenda might cause a schism “more disastrous” than the one wrought by Martin Luther, and that the Church could consequently be “shattered as an institution”. That story indicated that at least some of the group had an interest in replacing the pope with Cardinal Pietro Parolin, who heads up the aforementioned Secretariat of State.

Earlier this week, we also told you about a new book, The Dictator Pope, which alleges that many cardinals who helped elect Francis are experiencing “buyer’s remorse,” in part because Francis “is not the democratic, liberal ruler that the cardinals thought they were electing in 2013, but a papal tyrant the like of whom has not been seen for many centuries.”

It seems difficult to believe that just over a year ago, we were attempting to ascertain the veracity of the papal letter to the Argentinian bishops — which had been called into question nearly immediately after its publication — and we now learn that it was only the following month that it became an official act of the Apostolic See.

As reported in The Dictator Pope, the English Cardinal Cormac Murphy O’Connor told journalist Paul Valley in 2013, “Four years of Bergoglio would be enough to change things.” Every day, we receive new evidence that this might have been a significant understatement.   Source – One Peter Five…

* Translated by Giuseppe Pellegrino

Comment: 

Discussing this development after Mass today, one of our bloggers twisted my arm to post this thread because, he argued, next to the new Mass, this is the single biggest catastrophe to afflict the post-Vatican II Church.  Explain why you do, or do not agree…

Cardinal Müller Warns of Schism…

From La Croix International: Cardinal Müller ‘bitter and concerned’ with Church’s direction – 29 November, 2017… 

Cardinal Müller 

Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller / Alberto PizzolI / AFP
“There is a front made up of traditionalist groups as well as a number of progressives, who would like to see me lead a movement against the pope, but I will never do it.”

These were the words of Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller, the former prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, to Massimo Franco, columnist at the Italian daily Il Corriere dela Sera, in an interview published on Sunday, November 26.

Müller, who has previously distanced himself from a series of pontifical moves, revealed that he was both bitter and concerned with the direction the Church is taking.

Insisting that he believed in “the unity of the Church”, Cardinal Müller nevertheless called on Church authorities “to listen to those who have serious questions and fair complaints”.

“We must not ignore them or, worse, humiliate them,” he emphasized.

“If not, without intending it, the risk of a slow separation may grow and lead to a schism by a section of the Catholic world that feels disoriented and disappointed,” Cardinal Müller warned.

Schism looming? 

The history of Martin Luther’s Protestant schism 500 years ago should indicate the kind of mistakes we need to avoid,” he said.

Although he had previously harshly criticized his dismissal as the head of the Congregation for the Faith, he revealed several new aspects of this in his Corriere interview.

Pope Francis reportedly said to him that “certain people have told me anonymously that you are my enemy”.

“After forty years of service to the Church,” he lamented, “gossips are making such absurd comments, creating doubts in the mind of the pope when they would have done better to visit a psychiatrist.”

Reaffirming his loyalty to Pope Francis, Cardinal Müller claimed that the pontiff’s “real friends are not those who flatter him” but “those who assist him with the truth and with theological and human expertise”.

He had severe words for the “detractors” whom he blamed for his departure from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Refuting the notion of a plot against the pope as “an absolute exaggeration”, he admitted that significant “tensions” exist in the Church at present.

“I believe that the cardinals who expressed their doubts on Amoris Laetitia or the 62 signatories to a letter making critical comments about the pope, including some which were excessive, should be listened to and not swept aside with the back of the hand as if they were Pharisees or malcontents,” Cardinal Müller said.

What is needed is “free and frank dialogue,” he added.

Instead, he feared that people within the pope’s “magic circle” are “worried primarily about spying on perceived enemies, preventing open and balanced discussion”.

In a sign of his good faith, Cardinal Müller recently issued a public defense of Amoris Laetitia, Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation on the family, which has crystallized the various conflicts.

“To classify all Catholics as ‘friends’ or ‘enemies’ of the pope is the greatest evil that they cause to the Church,” Cardinal Müller insisted.

“People are perplexed when they see a well-known journalist, who is also an atheist, claim to be a friend of the pope, while a Catholic bishop and cardinal like me, is defamed as an opponent of the pope.

“I don’t think that these people are in a position to give theology lessons on the primacy of the sovereign pontiff,” he said.

Compared to Benedict XVI’s pontificate, the Church now seems “weaker,” Cardinal Müller continued.

“There are fewer and fewer priests yet we are offering answers that are more organizational, political or diplomatic than theological and spiritual,” he said.

“The Church is not a political party based on power struggles. We need to discuss existential issues about life and death, the family, and religious vocations and not always ecclesiastical politics,” he added.

“Pope Francis is popular and that’s a good thing. However, people are no longer receiving the sacraments. And his popularity among those Catholics who enthusiastically quote him, unfortunately, does not change their false convictions,” the cardinal insisted.

It is now necessary to go beyond the notion of a Church as a “country hospital”, Cardinal Müller said, citing an expression popularized by Pope Francis.

He said, instead, that the world needs a “Silicon Valley” Church.

“We need to become the Steve Jobs of the faith and transmit a powerful vision in terms of moral and cultural values,” the cardinal claimed. [Emphases added]     Source – La Croix International

Comment:

Is the Cardinal over-egging the crisis?  Or do you agree that we are in danger of schism?