Jesus or the Church? 

New video in our series Thinking Through Catholic Truth (updated 18 July, 2018)

If you can think of other arguments to convince lapsed and non-Catholics about the divine roots of the Church, please share your thoughts below…

Happy Easter! But what is Pope Francis celebrating if Hell does not exist?

V. Regina caeli, laetare, alleluia.
Queen of heaven, rejoice, alleluia.

R. Quia quem meruisti portare, alleluia,

For he whom you did merit to bear, alleluia,

V. Resurrexit, sicut dixit, alleluia.

Has risen as he said, alleluia.

R. Ora pro nobis Deum, alleluia.

Pray for us to God, alleluia.

From the  Editor…

As well as being the usual facility to exchange Easter greetings, we might use this thread to discuss what on earth Pope Francis makes of Easter, since, apparently, according to recent reports, he thinks unrepentant souls just “disappear” – they don’t end up in Hell. What on EARTH is he celebrating this weekend, if there is no Hell?  Why Good Friday?  Why the need for the Saviour? What IS Christian salvation if not salvation from the eternal punishment of Hell?  Read the following report, taken from the Rorate Caeli website which will leave you wishing, as it leaves me wishing that Papa Francis would “disappear” – like, yesterday! 

From Rorate Caeli…

“THERE IS NO HELL” — new Francis revelation to atheist journalist just in time for Good Friday

In another informal interview with Italian atheist journalist (and founder of liberal newspaper Repubblica) Eugenio Scalfari, published today, Pope Francis reveals that “hell does not exist”.

His exact words below (full interview behind paywall here, most important excerpt below):

Title of the interview: “It is an honor for me to be called revolutionary.”

Excerpt on hell:

[Scalfari:] Your Holiness, in our previous meeting you told me that our species will disappear in a certain moment and that God, still out of his creative force, will create new species. You have never spoken to me about the souls who died in sin and will go to hell to suffer it for eternity. You have however spoken to me of good souls, admitted to the contemplation of God. But what about bad souls? Where are they punished?

[Francis:] “They are not punished, those who repent obtain the forgiveness of God and enter the rank of souls who contemplate him, but those who do not repent and cannot therefore be forgiven disappear. There is no hell, there is the disappearance of sinful souls.”  Source – Rorate Caeli

And then … click here to see what happened next.  

Comment:

Was Pope Francis misquoted?   Before you answer that, read this Catholic World Report  including the following comment underneath: I can’t believe people have not caught on yet. It is likely that Pope Francis told Scalfari that there was no hell. The fact that he said at other places and times that their IS a hell does not matter. What the Pope says changes from time to time. If Scalfari found it a stumbling block to believe in hell, then the Pope would have no trouble telling him there is no hell. The Pope was “accompanying” Scalfari, trying to move him closer to the church. If this involved the POPE denying or altering doctrine, then so be it. When Scalfari is ready to accept the idea of hell, the Pope will re-introduce it. It will appear again. What we just saw was the Pope’s idea of how to lead someone into the church. You deny or alter doctrine, if necessary. Then, when the person has accepted the fundamentals, you move the goalposts again, hell re-appears, and Voila! Now, the critical thing is that the POPE is endorsing this approach. Truth is situationally relative for the Pope, and he will say whatever he needs to say to get to his goal. He is flexible. Doctrine does not matter. So Germans want to give communion to divorced and remarried and bless gay marriage. Who cares? Not the Pope. So maybe Jesus did not rise from the dead. Who cares? Not the Pope.” 

Well… Was Pope Francis misquoted? 

2018: The Year of Formal Schism?

THE REMNANT UNDERGROUND: Headed up by Bishop Athanasius Schneider and two other Archbishops from Kazakhstan, a total of 6 bishops and 1 cardinal have now signed a statement of opposition to the pope-approved interpretations of Amoris Laetitia that non-repentant public adulterers can return to the sacramental life of the Church. This is revolution and counterrevolution in a Catholic Church in total crisis. Plus, looking ahead to October’s Synod of Young People in Rome—will the Church deep six Humanae Vitae? Will the Vatican give the green light to so-called ‘gay unions’? Finally, an old Jimmy Stewart movie, “Call Northside 777”, includes a sobering reminder of what it used to mean to be Catholic–something Pope Francis would do well to consider.

Comments invited… 

2018: The Year of “Saint” Pope Paul VI?

From Vatican Insider

In a special issue entitled “It will be the year of Paul VI Saint”, the weekly magazine of the diocese of Brescia,

La voce del popolo, writes that on 13 December, theologians of the Vatican Congregation for the Causes of Saints recognized a miracle attributed to the intercession of Pope Montini, after a first free go-ahead had been given by the medical consultation of the Vatican Congregation itself. At this point it is necessary that the cardinals of the Congregation and, finally, the Pope express themselves on the same miracle.

The miracle regards the birth of a girl from Verona called Amanda, who in 2014 had survived for months despite the fact the placenta was broken.

Pope Francis beatified his predecessor on 19 October 2014, concluding the extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the Family.

“Rumors are so insistent and the next steps so fast to take, that everything indicates 2018 as Blessed Paul VI’s canonization year”, writes the diocesan newspaper of Brescia. The last official stage took place last December 13 in the theological commission. The miracle attributed to the intercession of John Baptist Montini about the healing of a fetus in prenatal age in 2014 was approved. The expectant mother native from Verona, at risk of miscarriage, a few days after the beatification of Montini in Brescia, went to the Sanctuary “delle Grazie”, to pray to the newly beatified Pope.

Subsequently, a child in good health was born. After the doctors and theologians’ recognition, there are still a few more steps to be taken: the passage in the commission of cardinals, the final approval of the Pope and that of the Consistory with the official announcement and the definition of the date. But at this point, it is more than a hope. The month of October could be the right one. From 3 to 28 October in Rome, the 15th Ordinary Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on young people will be celebrated and will gather in the Vatican prelates from all over the world. What better opportunity to canonize in front of such a large portion of the College of Bishops, the other pontiff, after Saint John XXIII of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council? It will most likely take place on one of the first three Sundays of October, even if the most accredited date today seems to be the 21. Indeed, sooner or later, in 2018 Paul VI will be Saint! We praise the Lord to Whom we entrust the year that will come”.  Source

Comment:

Is this yet another questionable canonisation to come – the creator of the new Mass, in fact, a saint? Really? Or is this simply the latest attempt to “canonise” the Second Vatican Council and its scandalous aftermath? 

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…

Bishop of Paisley aka Judas Iscariot in Praise of Protestant Reformation…

From Premier Christian Radio…

This month marks the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. And all through this month on Premier we are going to be hearing from theologians, church leaders, historians and many others about their own personal reflections on the Reformation. Ian Britton went to meet Bishop John, the Bishop of Paisley, to get a catholic [sic] perspective on the Reformation.

Click here to listen  to the bishop (pictured) admitting that Vatican II protestantised the laity in compliance with the Protestant Reformers’ demands in liturgy and language (out with that old Latin!) and of course we knew nothing of scripture before the Reformation;  according to “Bishop John”,  too, lay people were never actively engaged in spreading the Faith prior to Vatican II – that is, thanks to the Reformation we now know better.  Ignorance may be bliss for the ignorant, but it’s really annoying for the rest of us to have to listen to such falsehoods.  Never mind Martin Luther, Judas Iscariot is alive and well in the Catholic Church in Scotland today, aka Bishop John Keenan of Paisley.

Our Lady of Fatima, Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us!

Comments invited…