29 June: Feast of SS Peter & Paul…

Comment: 

Discuss any issues arising from this important Feast – perhaps  the role of Peter – Francis – as Supreme Pontiff?  

As well as discussion on relevant key issues, though, such an important Feast must be celebrated with the usual mix of Feast day greetings, favourite prayers, hymns, jokes and stories – enjoy!

A very happy Feast of SS Peter & Paul to one and all!  

Pentecost NOT “Birth of the Church”

Editor: it is a common error, repeated often in homilies/sermons, that the Church was “born” at Pentecost.  We need only recall the Petrine verses in the Gospel, and Christ’s final command to his apostles prior to his Ascension into Heaven: “Go out into the whole world and baptize…” to recognise that this claim is false.  The apostles were strengthened at Pentecost, their faith renewed so that they had the courage to come out of hiding and obey Christ’s Ascension command to go into the whole world and spread the Faith.  The Church, however, was established by Christ Himself  during His time on earth, as amply reported in the New Testament.

Below, extracts from a short article on the subject…

Every Christian believes that Jesus Christ established and sustains a community of faith, hope and love for all believers. This community we call His Church. The Church that Christ founded is the Catholic Church which has a formal earthly structure established by Christ and which continues under His authority and protection.

 Jesus did three things that established the framework of His Church. First, He chose humans to carry out His work. He appointed Peter to be the visible head of the Church. Jesus said to Peter, “You are Rock and on this rock I will build my Church.” (Matthew 16: 18) Jesus said “build,” as in to create a structure. Jesus built His structure on specifically chosen human beings Peter and the apostles.

Second, Jesus gave Peter and the apostles the power and authority to carry out His work. “Whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven.”(Matthew 16:19; 18:18) “Receive the Holy Spirit, whose sins you forgive, they are forgiven, whose sins you retain, they are retained.”(John 20:23)

Third, Jesus gave Peter and the apostles commands as to what that work should be. At the last supper, He commanded, “Do this in memory of Me.” (Luke 22:19) He commanded them to “Make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19), and to “Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature.” (Mark 16:15)

The early Church was structured in a hierarchical manner as it is today. We see in Acts, chapter 15 how the apostles and the elders came together under the leadership of St. Peter to decide the question of what was required of Gentiles. We also see how St. Peter was regarded as the head of the Church when St. Paul, “Went up to Jerusalem to confer with Cephas [Peter] and remained with him fifteen days.” (Galatians 1:18) There is no Scriptural evidence of independent local churches.

The Catholic Church is the only church that can claim to have been founded by Christ personally. Every other church traces its lineage back to a mere human person such as Martin Luther or John Wesley. The Catholic Church can trace its lineage back to Jesus Christ who appointed St. Peter as the first pope. This line of popes has continued unbroken for almost 2,000 years.

God rules, instructs and sanctifies His people through His Church. Under her teaching office, the Catholic Church preserves the Word of God. She is the custodian, keeper, dispenser and interpreter of teachings of Christ. And she accomplishes this under the protection of the Holy Spirit. Source

Comment: 

It is important to note that there was never any time when the Church was known as “Christian Church” – never.  From the earliest times, the Church was called the “Catholic Church”.  The adjective “Roman” was added during the Reformation period by the Protestant Reformers to push their heresy that the Church is made up of “branches” – of which those who adhere to Rome are but one part.  Click here to read more.  There is one exception to the writer’s claim that “RC” is not used in official Church documents, and that exception is found in Humani Generis # 27 – click here.  However, Pope Pius XII is a recent pontiff, so the facts  stand, as detailed in the article How Did the Catholic Church Get Her Name?

What, if any,  difference does it make if priests preach that Pentecost celebrates “the birth of the Church”?    

Evil in Vatican: “Disorientation, Chaos & Scandal Marks Francis’ Pontificate”

Pope Francis

VATICAN, May 2, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — A Vatican conference has wrapped up featuring controversial pop-star Katy Perry speaking on transcendental meditation, disgraced Lettergate monsignor Dario Viganò delivering a talk on “Fake News,” and a “meditating eye” charm bangle given as a gift to select participants…

On day three of the Vatican conference, Perry joined a discussion on “Impacting Children’s Health Through Meditation Globally” with her mentor, Bob Roth, CEO of the David Lynch Foundation. Roth is also the mentor to Oprah Winfrey and Dr. Oz on Transcendental Meditation…

“For Katy Perry to speak about Transcendental Meditation from the same seat used by the Pope during major Church meetings is symbolic of the chaos, disorientation and scandal that marks this pontificate,” a source close to the Vatican told LifeSiteNews. “It would be one thing to have her presence moderated by a Church leader, but to have the podium given over to celebrity TM proponents with no Church voice to counter them is unconscionable.”

The source added: “It’s tragically emblematic of today’s culture: when the Church chooses to be absent, the world steps in to fill the vacuum.” [emphasis added]

 Read rest of the article here – and don’t miss the paragraphs headed “I Kissed a Girl”, Fighting the Nuns, Katy, Cannibalism and the Occult and Funding Planned Parenthood…

Comment:

Laughably, Lifesitenews adds:  An official in the Pontifical Council for Culture told LifeSitenews the plan was for the guests promoting transcendental meditation to be able to air their ideas which would then be “robustly challenged” — an exercise, he said, that would educate Catholic participants attending the Conference about the nature of some of the current challenges to the Faith in healthcare settings.” 

Like, er, who would know how to begin to challenge these New Age ideas when Catholics have been encouraged to involve themselves in them for years now. Adverts for Yoga classes are not uncommon on parish notice boards, and Catholic schools don’t teach the most basic doctrine, let alone the niceties of occultism. No surprise then, that the report continues… Drum roll….

Despite these aims, the ideas were not robustly challenged during or after the panel discussion.   

Now, there’s a surprise – not! 

Update:

See video and thread on Catholic Devotions…

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? 

Is There A RIGHT Reason For Young Catholics To Leave The Church?

From the Scottish Catholic Observer, 2nd March…

Young people are ‘leaving the Church in droves,’ says Scots delegate to Vatican youth synod  By James Farrell

Young people are ‘leaving the Church in droves for all the wrong reasons,’ according to Scotland’s representative to a global Vatican meeting of young people.
Sean Deighan, 23, a youth worker for Glasgow Archdiocese, will be one of 300 young representatives to attend the Synod on Young People, the Faith, and Vocational Discernment to be held in Rome from March 19 to 24.

The meeting is being held ahead of a Synod of Bishops in October that will focus on youth.

“I didn’t realise it was such a select group [attending the meeting] and it’s a great privilege,” Mr Deighan said. “I hope that my voice will be heard and by extension I hope the representative voice of all young people in Scotland will be heard. I’m optimistic that real results will materialise from the pre-synodal meeting. I think what needs to be addressed is that young people are leaving the Church in droves for all the wrong reasons.

“They are leaving the Church because of what they think the Church is and not the reality. If we want to pursue the new evangelisation authentically then we need to present the Church ­authentically and young people need to see that.”
“When young people see the Church being presented authentically, it’s attractive,” Mr Deighan said. “We have never had to dress things up or use false pretences to get people in the Church. It has always been the reality of the Church’s message which they are attracted to.”

At the Angelus on Sunday February 18, Pope Francis called on young people from around the world to take part in the preparatory work of the upcoming synod.
“I strongly desire that all young people might be the protagonists of this preparation,” Pope Francis said. “And so they will be able to contribute online through linguistic groups moderated by other young people.”

The Pope was referring to an initiative promoted by the Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops, under the direction of its general secretary, Cardinal Lorenzo Baldiserri. Young people have been invited to join a Facebook group through the Synod website, http://www.synod2018.va, and from March 12 will have the ­opportunity to send questions to Pope Francis for the Synod on the group page.

“Pope Francis insisted on showing great concern for the ‘distant’—the young people of the ‘peripheries,’ those who are not part of our network of Catholics faithful,” Cardinal Baldisseri said in conversation with the Vatican website.

“The participants will be able to ask questions, propose ideas and therefore act as intermediaries between the ecclesial institution that derives from the people of God and secular society. The experience that will be proposed to them will consist in getting to know the Church better, discovering what we are more deeply.”

At the end of the youth meeting representatives will approve a document, the result of the work of the entire week, which will express their point of view on the reality of youth in the Church and present their expectations, their doubts and their hopes. This document will then help guide reflections at the synod in October.  Source – SCO

Comment: 

I know it’s been a while, but when I was a schoolgirl we were taught about the Faith, that we were Catholics and should be knowledgeable and be able to explain it to those we met outside of school, friends etc. and later, in the workplace, colleagues.  There was no mention of, let alone emphasis on, the fact that we were “young Catholics”, a separate type of Catholic from everyone else.  We didn’t have “special” Masses for the young, etc. That’s the beauty of the Traditional Latin Mass, with which I grew up – it cannot be manipulated into a performance tailored to particular groups. We were simply Catholics. This contemporary emphasis on reaching out to the young as if they ARE a different type of Catholic has led to a great deal of muddled thinking, beginning with this…

Those young people identified in the above SCO report, are not leaving the Church because they are young. They are leaving it – as the author writes – for all the wrong reasons, and that is because, there IS no “right reason” to leave Christ and His Church.  Someone needs to clarify for those youngsters who say they believe in Jesus, admire Jesus etc. but just don’t like the Church or “institutionalised religion” that, like love and marriage, as the old song goes, you can’t have one without the other.  Christ cannot be separated from His Church – that’s the way HE has arranged things. 

Think of your favourite quotes from Scripture and from saints, to drive home this message to the young.  Plenty read this blog, I’m told, so how would YOU convince them that, not only is there no right reason to leave Christ’s Church, but there is no “wrong” reason either – leaving the Church for any reason means  that they are risking damnation  – spelt out, they are risking suffering Hell fire for all eternity.  Not cool.  Convince them to begin their journey to the fullness of the Faith which they have manifestly not been taught and which, if they truly knew it, would love it and never dream of leaving it.  What’s the first thing you would advise a young person seeking the Faith in its fullness to do… where’s the best place to begin that journey?

    

Vatican: Director of the Office of Women’s Issues – Feminist Appointed

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 Rodriguez

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.” 

Click here to read entire interview…

Comment:

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”? 

Vatican Betrayal of Chinese Faithful…Recognises Fake Government “Church”

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 a report in 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 AsiaNews report continued.  “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 a Vatican agreement with 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 exclusive interview with 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” religions UCANews 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 the UCANews 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 to another 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

Comments invited…