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.
Marta Rodriguez got a new job in May of 2017, perhaps a job she never expected to have, in a place she never expected to work.
Marta, a consecrated women in Regnum Christi, is the new (actually, the first) director of the office of women’s issues in the Vatican Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life. It is a new dicastery, created by Pope Francis in 2016, and its prefect is Cardinal Kevin Farrell.
And all Marta has to do is help the Church understand women and their appropriate contribution to the world, what it means to be a woman in the world today, and where women are going in the future…
“This assignment indicates a call from the Church, which for me is a call from God,” Marta said. “I feel very small for this mission, but I sense an interior certainty that God has prepared my heart for this new service he has called me to. Since 2000, I’ve worked continually on women’s issues, both in studies and in action on various projects, one of the most important of which was to help in the founding of the Institute for Higher Women’s Studies in 2003. This institute was born in order to promote the feminine genius, which John Paul II asked for.
“I believe that one of the great challenges for modern women is to discover what it means to be a woman. Once a woman discovers who she is, she ends up discovering the feminine richness; she can contribute to the cultural world and the ecclesial world with much more dedication, much more bravery, much more freedom.”
Is this another example of the Church being led by the world? What is meant by “women’s issues”? Notice the mention of women contributing to the “cultural” and “ecclesial” world – what about the “home”?
A friend rang me last night to say he’d attended a Summorum Pontificum Traditional Mass and found himself chatting afterwards with a couple who were not husband and wife, but “partners” … My friend was downhearted, dispirited that even the better priests seem to be willing to tolerate such scandals.
Then this from The American Conservative: “The president of the German Bishops’ Conference has declared that, in his view, Catholic priests can conduct blessing ceremonies for homosexual couples.”
The list of scandalous words and actions from this current shocking pope, or tolerated by him, grows day and daily. Too much to list here – and anyway, would, more likely than not, be out of date before I press the “publish” button on this page.
There is no lack of evidence that Pope Francis is a danger to Catholic Faith and Morals. Quite the reverse – there’s an abundance of evidence. Even as I type this, a report has come in questioning the pope’s integrity – would he blatantly impart falsehoods, we have to ask? Click here to answer that for yourself.
The question is, why are the supposedly concerned bishops who allegedly oppose him remaining silent – such as Cardinal Burke and the Captain and Crew of the Lifeboat SSPX? Why no sense of urgency? Why have they all gone to ground?
It’s one thing to pick one’s fights, but not to fight at all? Take a few minutes to view the short video in the News section of the Dici website here. Who, on this earth, would ever imagine that the Church is suffering the worst crisis ever in its entire history, watching that broadcast? Lovely reports, sure, but there’s been nothing about any attempt to fight as members of the Church Militant, under our banner as Soldiers of Christ, in any of the recent videos posted on Dici in January, which I’ve viewed with surprise and disappointment. This latest one, linked above, dated 2nd February, is no different. Plenty of devotional content, suggesting the danger of becoming so heavenly minded that we’re no earthly use.
What should the supposed opponents of this dreadful pontificate be doing, in addition to prayer. Concrete action, surely – but what, precisely?
CHINA, January 24, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – In what appears to be a capitulation to China’s communist regime, the Vatican has allegedly asked legitimate bishops to step down from their post in order to make way for the installation of new, illegitimate bishops, hand-picked by the government.
The Vatican has asked Bishop Peter Zhuang Jianjian to retire in order to allow a state-sanctioned and excommunicated bishop to take his place while “another Vatican-appointed bishop was asked to downgrade himself as the assistant of an illicit bishop,” according to areportin AsiaNews.
Bishop Zhuang was secretly ordained with Vatican approval in 2006. The Chinese government wants to replace Zhuang with excommunicated Bishop Huang Bingzhang, who is a member of the National People’s Congress. Huang was previously excommunicated because he was ordained without Vatican approval.
“A letter dated 26 October demanded the 88-year-old bishop to resign to give way to the excommunicated bishop, whom the Holy See is going to recognize,” the AsiaNewsreportcontinued. “Bishop Zhuang at that time refused to obey and rather ‘carry His Cross’ for being disobedience [sic].”
The news comes six months after Cardinal Joseph Zen, the first Cardinal from China and a key adviser to Pope Benedict XVI regarding China-Vatican relations, denounced aVatican agreementwith the Chinese atheistic Communist government. The Cardinal indirectly accused Pope Francis of backing a “fake” church in China.
Cardinal Joseph Zen
“But the whole thing is fake. They [the Vatican] are giving decisive power to the government … how can the initiative of choosing bishops be given to an atheistic government? Incredible. Incredible,” he said at that time.
Regarding the surprising demands of the Vatican as it acquiesces to the communist Chinese government, one underground priest told AsiaNews, “We of course feel hard to accept but do we have the rights to oppose the Vatican?” He added that if things actually go this way, “I may consider to quit and leave my priesthood.”
For the most part, the genuine Catholic Church in China operates underground while the government runs the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association, a counterfeit church of communist-approved and monitored clerics. Bishops and priests of the underground church, which have been loyal to the pope and not the communist government, have faced imprisonment for their loyalty to the successor of Peter.
Last year, Cardinal Zen, the Bishop Emeritus of Hong Kong and China’s highest-ranking prelate, pleaded with the Vatican not to “sell out” China’s Catholics by striking a deal with the Communist government, which seeks nothing less than “total surrender.”
In an exclusiveinterviewwith LifeSiteNews, Zen said he had been urged to speak out by Catholics who lack the freedom to speak for themselves.
Zen said that a Vatican deal with the Chinese government would damage the Church’s credibility. After all, if the Chinese government can appoint bishops, other governments could expect to do so as well.
“We are very much worried because it seems that the Vatican is going to make a very bad agreement with China,” Zen told LifeSiteNews.“And I can understand that the pope is really naive … He doesn’t know the Chinese communists. But unfortunately the people around him are not good at all. They have very wrong ideas. And I’m afraid that they may sell out our underground Church. That would be very sad.”
“They don’t have much public voice, the underground,” Zen explained. “People who come from China to see me, they all say, ‘please, you must raise your voice. We cannot say anything’ because they have no freedom to talk. So I keep talking, but it seems that they [the Holy See] don’t listen. They don’t like to listen.”
Some Holy See officials “consider the underground, the faithful,” to be “troublemakers,” he said. And the pope has a strong desire for unity and peace but is “rather naive” about the nature of the Chinese government. [Emphasis added]
The news also comes amid reports of Christian churches being demolished in China while clerics and other faithful are being jailed for their associations with churches not sanctioned by the state.
In what amounts to a crackdown on “Western” religionsUCANews reports“Authorities in China demolished a large church in the city of Linfen, Shanxi province on Jan. 9, despite efforts by worshippers to halt the demolition and who were then pressured to remain silent, according to witnesses.” This was the third Christian church to be demolished or closed in China in two weeks.
More than 1,500 Catholic and Protestant churches in China’s Zhejiang province “have been targeted for demolition or cross removals in recent years, sources have said in a campaign against churches not coming under state control,” according to theUCANews report. “Chinese authorities are increasingly using property regulations to remove crosses and demolish churches.”
Beginning last year, religious freedom and public worship became severely restricted in China, where the government has “physically abused, detained, arrested, tortured, sentenced to prison, or harassed adherents of both registered and unregistered religious groups,” according to a 2017 U.S. State Department report.
The only priest of the Lishui Diocese, also in Zhejiang province, went missing shortly after Christmas when government officials abruptly took him away.
Father Lu Danhua, ordained a priest of the underground church in 2016, was taken away by officials of the State Administration for Religious Affairs (SARA) for “‘re-educating’ on new religious regulations coming into effect Feb. 1 and that he would return after obtaining a permit to be a priest,” according toanother UCANews report.
The Catholic cleric “remains missing and calls to his mobile phone have not been answered.” Source
PRAYER FOR THE CHURCH IN CHINA
In honour of the Feast of Our Lady Help of Christians (May 24), Pope Benedict XVI composed the following prayer in 2008. He asked that it be recited every year on May 24, and that May 24 be designated a World Day of Prayer for the Church in China, as an act of solidarity and solicitude with her persecuted Catholics.
“Virgin Most Holy, Mother of the Incarnate Word and our Mother, venerated in the Shrine of Sheshan under the title “Help of Christians,” the entire Church in China looks to you with devout affection. We come before you today to implore your protection. Look upon the People of God and, with a mother’s care, guide them along the paths of truth and love, so that they may always be a leaven of harmonious coexistence among all citizens. When you obediently said “yes” in the house of Nazareth, you allowed God’s eternal Son to take flesh in your virginal womb and thus to begin in history the work of our redemption. You willingly and generously co-operated in that work, allowing the sword of pain to pierce your soul, until the supreme hour of the Cross, when you kept watch on Calvary, standing beside your Son, Who died that we might live. From that moment, you became, in a new way, the Mother of all those who receive your Son Jesus in faith and choose to follow in His footsteps by taking up His Cross. Mother of hope, in the darkness of Holy Saturday you journeyed with unfailing trust towards the dawn of Easter. Grant that your children may discern at all times, even those that are darkest, the signs of God’s loving presence. Our Lady of Sheshan, sustain all those in China, who, amid their daily trials, continue to believe, to hope, to love. May they never be afraid to speak of Jesus to the world, and of the world to Jesus. In the statue overlooking the Shrine you lift your Son on high, offering him to the world with open arms in a gesture of love. Help Catholics always to be credible witnesses to this love, ever clinging to the rock of Peter on which the Church is built. Mother of China and all Asia, pray for us, now and for ever. Amen!”
Note: The constitution of the Chinese government guarantees its citizens “religious freedom.” However, since the Chinese Government views religion as a threat to its power, it restricts religious activities to only government-sanctioned organizations and registered places of worship. Those religious groups that do not submit to the government guidelines and are not willing to allow a secular and government agency to dictate its religious activities face severe consequences: surprise raids, heavy fines, imprisonment, and torture. Even to this day, the Chinese Government considers the part of the Catholic Church that is still underground [i.e., those in communion with Rome and the Holy Father rather than being controlled by the State] illegal. Thus, Holy Mass, catechism classes, baptism and other religious services for many Catholics that are still underground must be conducted in private homes and in secret with risks of exorbitant fines, imprisonment, house arrest, physical tortures, and labour camp internment. www.cardinalkungfoundation.org
Since at least 2011, there seems to be a never-ending stream of reports in the blogosphere and even mainstream media that Bishop Bernard Fellay is poised to sign an agreement with Rome. The most recent wave of alleged capitulation occurred this past summer. Yet here, in the autumn of 2017, Bishop Fellay and the Society of St. Pius X remain in the same canonical posture with Rome. Throughout these years of predicted compromise, a number of priests and faithful have preemptively jumped ship, deciding that a break with the SSPX was necessary before the forecasted compromise occurred. Each time a new individual or group breaks the unity of the Society, such persons claim that Bishop Fellay is walking into a Roman trap – canonical regularization – and they must flee before the trap closes. Rome, they say, wants nothing other than the destruction of the SSPX and the legacy of its founder, and that “regularization” is the bait used to lure the Society into a death trap.
Bishop Bernard Fellay
Rome’s Real Trap and Bait
Let us posit this claim as true, that the Roman authorities do share a common intention to destroy the SSPX. But what if the trap and the bait are completely different from what the defectors claim? Perhaps it is not Bishop Fellay who is poised to fall into that trap but, rather, the defectors over the years who have unwittingly taken Rome’s bait themselves.
The Modernists are clearly threatened by any attempt to hold fast to Tradition and thus seek its destruction or, at the very least, its containment. However, there are many ways to achieve that end. One way might be to lure the SSPX into a canonical recognition that was designed to subject it to Roman power in order to crush it. Yet we should consider the possibility that their strategy might be a bit more subtle, namely, to force the SSPX into a continual state of division and defections so as to keep its numbers low enough to be ignored, as opposed to luring the Society into the Conciliar Church. If this were the strategy, the Modernists could be using the constant recurring possibility of canonical regularization to divide and conquer.
A review of the past forty years would suggest that a strategy of “divide the SSPX to contain its influence” seems to explain the Roman authorities’ behavior. Although using different instruments, the goal seems fairly clear: Get as many priests and religious to leave the Society as possible so its growth is artificially controlled.
Divide and Conquer
The defection of priests has been the single most destructive blow to the SSPX. Beginning with the defection of nine sedevacantists in the early 1980s, the Society has constantly been fighting a battle to replace lost numbers rather than growing organically with new vocations. A conservative calculation suggests that, were it not for defections over the past four decades, the SSPX would have over 1,800 priests and religious (SSPX proper + affiliated communities). The Vatican would be confronted by a very different reality if Bishop Fellay spoke for so many priests and religious.
The Vatican strategy from 1988 to the early 2000s seemed to be an attempt to break up the SSPX by luring individual priests (or small groups) into regularized situations. In those cases, the bait employed was to start one’s own little SSPX with canonical recognition. The first batch left in July 1988 following the consecrations. A few more priests trickled out due to Vatican luring through the 1990s and early 2000s. The deal with the Union of St. John Vianney in Campos was the most significant success of this strategy to lure away with the carrot of setting up a new regularized group. By 2010 or thereabouts, the success of this strategy was waning. There was not much more movement after the defection of Campos and the SSPX was starting to rebuild. If my hypothesis is correct, the Vatican then changed tactics. They decided to dangle their carrot of canonical regularization in front of the Society itself, crafting the bait to give the appearance that Bishop Fellay might bite it, all the while knowing he would reject their last-minute demands. This new approach has, in fact, produced two detrimental effects: (1) It caused more defections from the Society for fear of compromise and (2) it has kept the SSPX under the stigma of canonical irregularity.
Such a strategy would explain the cycle of “doctrinal discussions” and “rapprochement” witnessed in 2009-2012 and again in 2015-2017. The Vatican makes it appear as though regularization of the SSPX is imminent. They even take some concrete steps to make the story plausible (e.g. the Motu Proprio granting more tolerance of the old Mass, nullification of the 1988 excommunications, conferral of ordinary jurisdiction for Confession and Marriage). They make suggestions that a relaxation of total adherence to Vatican II is possible. As expectations rise, so do fears and conspiracy theories claiming capitulation is just around the corner. As a result, priests and faithful once again start abandoning ship. And then, at the eleventh hour, Rome adds a demand they know Bishop Fellay will never accept and thus ends the cycle with the SSPX still “irregular” and a path of devastation through the ranks of the Society.
New Strategy Proves Successful
From the perspective of the enemies of Tradition, this new strategy has been more successful then luring away individual or small groups of priests to regularization, as with the FSSP founders and the priests of Campos. This “scare and disperse” tactic has resulted not only in the loss of individual priests and religious but also high-ranking and internationally respected figures of the Society. It has also driven a wedge between the SSPX and several previously affiliated religious orders, resulting in entire monasteries and orders breaking from the Society. Even better, from the enemies’ perspective, it does not result in these priests who favor Tradition and the traditional Mass coming into the Conciliar Church. The defectors in this new wave have not founded or joined Ecclesia Dei communities; rather, they have gone truly independent, scattering to the four winds. Although it is true that the price of canonical recognition for Ecclesia Dei communities has been compromise and silence, their presence within the Conciliar Church is still a thorn in the side of the Modernist destroyers. Even if they are silent about the illicit nature of the New Mass, they spread awareness of the ancient liturgy and preach some traditional doctrines. These “troublesome” conservative or traditional-leaning priests would be less trouble if they were both outside the Conciliar Church and separate from the SSPX. That would diminish the influence of Tradition within the mainstream Church as well as weaken the witness and position of the SSPX by constantly reducing its numbers (notwithstanding the flourishing of new vocations). It would also result in the continued marginalization of the Society in the Modernist twilight zone of “less-than-full communion.”
Niccolò Machiavelli, 1469-1527
Perhaps the Modernists are not so Machiavellian or organized enough to come up with such a grand scheme, but the results of the past 10 to 12 years are consistent with such a plan. The latest cycle seems to have fizzled out in familiar fashion, with Cardinal Müller demanding use of the post-Conciliar Declaration of Faith and adherence to all the documents of the Council and post-Conciliar papal teachings. After six years of talks with Bishop Fellay, the Cardinal had to know these demands would seal the fate of the latest talks in a rejection by Bishop Fellay. Yet the cycle has yielded more fruit for the enemies of Tradition. The unilateral conferral of jurisdiction for Marriage, the last salvo before killing the prospects of recognition for now, yielded more defections and divisions in the heart of the SSPX in France.
United We Stand, Divided We Fall
If my theory is correct, then in the early 2000s the Vatican authorities changed their strategy from luring individuals and small groups into regularization to causing division within the SSPX by creating the appearance of a regularization that would never actually happen. If this is true, then it is not Bishop Fellay who has fallen into their trap but, rather, the priests who abandoned him and the Society to which they made promises. By their defection, they have weakened the single most effective force for Tradition the post-Vatican II Church has ever seen, all for fear of a theoretical compromise with Rome that has never happened. Rather than confronting the Modernists with thousands of priests and religious, the clerical and consecrated souls of the Society numbers less than 700 while the ranks of defectors suffer further ruptures and isolation. The enemies of Tradition could not have hoped for more.
In the Gospel, Our Lord tells us: “Every kingdom divided against itself shall be made desolate: and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand” (Matt. 12:25). May all the members of the SSPX – priests, religious, and lay faithful – take His words to heart and strive “to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Eph. 4:3). Source
Title at source: A Society Divided Against Itself: SSPX Ranks Must Preserve Internal Unity by Brian McCall.
This article originally appeared in the November 2017 issue of Catholic Family News.
Pope Francis expressed fears on Monday that the world is at the “very limit” of nuclear war.
Reuters reported that he made the remark when aboard a flight for a visit to Chile and Peru. His statements came following a false ballistic missile alert issued in Hawaii that rattled the United States over the weekend. Pope Francis did not specifically mention the false alert, but said in response to a question about whether he is worried about the prospect of nuclear conflict, “I think we are at the very limit. I am really afraid of this. One accident is enough to precipitate things.” Read more
Such barefaced, faithless hypocrisy from the Pope who could bring peace to the world, simply by obeying Our Lady’s request for the Consecration of Russia
Given that we are, certainly, in imminent danger of nuclear war, what possible reason can Pope Francis offer for continuing to refuse to conduct the Consecration of Russia, as specified by Our Lady… We know that Our Lady said that the Consecration would be done, but that it would be late, so we know that world peace will come for that promised period of time. However, when that time comes, people will not only be perplexed, but angry at the fact that all the worry, all the suffering caused by wars and conflicts the world over since 1929 could have been brought to an end much sooner, but for the negligence of successive popes – especially the one who warns that nuclear war is imminent, hypocritically feigning concern for the suffering to ensue, all the while knowing that he – and he alone in the world – could allow God to use him as an instrument of peace by complying with that part of the Fatima revelation which requires the consecration of Russia.
Is Pope Francis lacking human intelligence, or divine and Catholic Faith, both – or what? WHY won’t he consecrate Russia as specified, and bring us that promised period of peace… Why?
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.