Is God in Charge of the Weather?

With yet another storm (Dennis) due to hit the UK this weekend, let’s challenge the secular wisdom, reinforced by Pope Francis that humans are causing extreme weather because we insist  on using plastic bags and drive petrol cars.  IS this erratic and often treacherous weather due to human behaviour, or is God telling us something about the way we are living – and I don’t mean that He wants us to start buying electric cars…   

There is no shortage of biblical evidence that God controls the weather, although there is a manifest shortage of Catholic websites and videos reflecting that truth.  God  has established what we think of as scientific laws and principles governing the weather but He remains in charge.  God can dispense with His laws for His own purposes, when He sees fit.  Is that what is happening now, with professional weather forecasters struggling to explain what is going on these days?  

Is “Storm Dennis” on its way because God wants to remind  us of something?  If so, what?  

Most Christians Not Called To Be Heroic – Kasper Strikes Again….

Image.- In a recent interview with Commonweal, Cardinal Walter Kasper discussed his proposal that divorced and remarried persons might receive Communion, suggesting that Christians aren’t called to be heroic.

“To live together as brother and sister? Of course I have high respect for those who are doing this,” he told Commonweal’s Matthew Boudway and Grant Gallicho, referring to divorced partners who have entered into a new civil marriage.

“But it’s a heroic act, and heroism is not for the average Christian.”  Click on photo of Cardinal Kasper to read the rest of this report.   Then tell us your thoughts. 

Cardinal Schönborn: Let’s Bring The Gospel Into Line With Reality…

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From the National Catholic Reporter, with editorial comment …

“It is fascinating to see how Pope Francis is encouraging, reviving and renewing the church.
Ed: isn’t it just. Hopes having been raised that major changes are afoot in the Catholic Church, it’s a wonder there are any atheists left…

Our meeting with him was an excellent lesson on how to live the Gospel today,” Cardinal Christoph Schönborn of Vienna said after a 90-minute audience with the pope during the Austrian bishops’ “ad limina” visit to the Vatican in the last week of January.
Ed: now, anybody who knows anything about Cardinal Schönborn (pictured at a “Balloon Mass”) knows that this “excellent lesson on how to live the Gospel today” would send shudders down the spine of every pope from St Peter through to Pius XII. 

The Austrian bishops took the results of the recent Vatican questionnaire to Rome with them. Responses showed that 95 percent of those who had filled out the questionnaire in Austria were in favor of allowing divorced and remarried Catholics to receive the sacraments.
Ed: from the perspective of traditional Christianity, that fact, alone is a damning indictment of the Austrian Bishops, although not from the perspective of those “fascinated” by the latest renewal of the Church under Pope Francis – following the renewals under John XXIII, Paul VI, John Paul II and Benedict XVI. Anyone who’s not feeling renewed by now, needs help.

The subject of family relationships today and how the church should deal with them played an important role at the Jan. 30 meeting with the pope, Schönborn said.
Ed: hardly surprising if the 95% dissident responses to the questionnaire represents the majority of Austrian Catholics. If the Austrian faithful haven’t a clue about something as elementary as the indissolubility of marriage, the bishops definitely have work to do.

“We cannot speak about people without speaking about families,” Francis said, explaining that was why the subject of the coming Synod of Bishops in October had been altered from bioethics to the family.

Francis spoke of his experiences in Latin America, where the situation of marriage and the family was, to a certain extent, “far more dramatic” than in Europe, Schönborn said. It is important to realize that today many couples live together without getting married and have children, then later marry in a registry office, with some opting for a church marriage, the pope explained. The church must take this way of life seriously and accompany the couples on their way, Francis underlined. His basic message was “Don’t judge, but look closely and listen very carefully,” Schönborn said.
Ed: so we mustn’t “judge” homosexual couples, and we mustn’t “judge” cohabiting couples.  On another occasion  Pope Francis spoke sympathetically of people in “second marriages.” There’s a lot of “no judging” going on in these areas of life.  But it’s fine to judge and condemn the Franciscans of the Immaculate. Hmmmm.  I’m getting the hang of this.

In several interviews shortly before leaving Vienna, Schönborn advocated a more rational, down-to-earth approach toward family relationships. “For the most part, the church approaches the [family] issue unhistorically,” he said. “People have always lived together in various ways. And today, we in the church tacitly live with the fact that the majority of our young people, including those with close ties to the Catholic Church, quite naturally live together. The simple fact is that the environment has changed.”
Ed: odd that. You’d think that Christ would have known that “historically people have always lived together in various ways…” and that in time His Church would learn to “tacitly live with the fact…” so it’s odd that He was so clear about the lifelong nature of marriage. Very odd.

Schönborn “in no way” wanted to advocate changing canon law (Ed: not half) but merely to show how difficult it was to bring the ideal family model into line with reality.  “The decisive point is not to condemn the way most people actually live together, but to ask, ‘How do we cope with failure?’ ” he said.
Ed: er… what we don’t do is say “so your marriage has “failed” – no problem. Go and find another one”.  The Austrian bishops should issue an apology for their failure, their negligence in permitting the situation to develop whereby promiscuous and cohabiting young people are not even aware that what they are doing is gravely displeasing to God and older “remarried” Catholics don’t appear to care, demanding their “right” to Holy Communion. The clergy and hierarchy need to apologise for their cowardice in failing to proclaim the unpopular truths about  sex and its unique relationship to marriage  to a disbelieving and sinful world.  And if, as seems likely, they fail to proclaim these truths because they don’t believe in the natural law/Catholic sexual morality themselves, then they should do the honourable thing and resign.

While most people’s “wishes, hopes and longings often largely correspond to what the Bible and the church say about marriage and the family” and they longed for a successful relationship and a successful family life, real life told a different story, the cardinal said. “The great challenge is to span a bridge between what we long for and what we succeed in achieving.” It was a case of bringing truth and mercy together, he said.
Ed: absolute tosh.  It is a case of bringing sin and repentance together.  The Cardinal  is really saying: “we uphold the indissolubility of marriage in theory, but in reality, in “real life”, it’s not possible so we should let people do what they want and say nothing; don’t judge them. Be kind to them… As long as they don’t start banging on about the Traditional Latin Mass (in which case they must make an oath of fidelity to the new Mass) there’s no problem. That, in Modernist speak, is “bringing truth and mercy together”.

Schönborn said he regretted that the Austrian bishops haven’t dared to speak out openly on necessary church reforms in the past. They haven’t had the courage to address the need for greater decentralization and to strengthen local churches’ responsibilities, he said. “We were far too hesitant. I beat my own breast here. We certainly lacked the courage to speak out openly.”
Ed: who’s he kidding? Cardinal  Schönborn hits the headlines on a fairly regular basis – click here for some background…

The Austrian bishops also discussed with the pope the Austrian Priests’ Initiative, which has called for the ordination of married men and women, and their “Call to Disobedience,” Schönborn said. The pope advised them that the most important thing for bishops is always to be in close contact with their priests, the cardinal said.
Ed: this is just incredible stuff. The Austrian priests’ notorious ‘Call to Disobedience’ was, as its title suggests, a blatant and clearly schismatic break with the Catholic Church. Yet, from the outset, these bad priests were treated with the utmost respect by the Church authorities, right up to and including, as we can see,  Pope Francis himself. I refer readers once again to the entirely “non-judgmental” through to indulgent attitude of this Pope towards dissenters and public sinners of every hue, which contrasts starkly with the treatment meted out in the most judgmental way to any priest showing the slightest leaning towards Catholic Tradition, as instanced in the scandalous measures implemented against the thriving Franciscans of the Immaculate. “Truth and mercy”?  Yeah right.

Schönborn said he was convinced that far-reaching church reform was on the way, “but it will not be achieved through big words and programs but through people like Pope Francis.” One could already see that the pope has become a role model, Schönborn said. “The atmosphere is changing and his behavior is making itself felt,” he said. What impressed him most about the pope was his charisma. “You can feel his inner devotion to God from which his compassion, his warmth and his infectious sense of humor emanates,” the cardinal said.
Ed: Encouraging sinful behaviour, whether in homosexuals, premarital  cohabitees or the divorced and remarried, is anything but compassionate. We don’t need popes who are “warm” and with a “sense of humour”, infectious or otherwise. We need popes to preach the Faith and defend it. Judging from the gleeful reaction of the notoriously dissenting Cardinal Schönborn at the end of his meeting with Pope Francis, we’re in for plenty of warmth and humour to distract our attention from the fact that  the Church is crumbling around us.
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!

Adulterous Unions: “Pastoral Concern” Euphemism For “Acceptance”?

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Rome, Italy, Dec 18, 2013 / 02:02 am (CNA/EWTN News).- The Catholic Church must reach out to Catholics who are divorced and remarried to let them know they are welcome even if they cannot receive the sacraments, several theologians have noted.

Sean Innerst, theology department chair at Denver’s St. John Vianney Seminary, said he hopes to see “interesting and creative responses” to help those who are divorced or divorced and remarried and believe themselves to be outside of the Church.

“They might be in a life situation which means they can’t receive Communion, but that doesn’t mean they can’t darken the door of the church,” he told CNA Nov. 5.

“It’s just inconsistent with the gospel for people to feel they’re excluded because they’re in a situation that’s tragic and complicated and they can’t currently sort out.”

“We need to have some pastoral responses to these situations where we don’t simply allow people to drift away because they’ve made serious mistakes, because the culture has led them in this direction,” Innerst emphasized.

“We need to go out and find these people and help them to know they have a place in the Church.”

Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Müller – head of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith – reaffirmed in an essay republished in L’Osservatore Romano in October that Catholics in irregular marital unions after divorce cannot receive Holy Communion. He underscored, though, that it is “imperative” to show “pastoral concern” for them
(Ed: it would help if someone would spell out what this means in practical terms.)

However, many Catholic bishops in Germany have said they intend to give Holy Communion to divorced and remarried Catholics, despite Catholic teaching.
(Ed: and what then? Do they remain “bishops in good standing” – unlike the Bishops of the SSPX?)

The Archdiocese of Freiburg in October released a document saying that divorced and remarried Catholics can receive Holy Communion if they can show their first marriage cannot be reentered, if they repent of their fault in a divorce and if they enter “a new moral responsibility” with their new spouse.

That document drew a swift response from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which said pastoral approaches must agree with Church teaching.

Despite these rejections, Bishop Gebhard Fuerst of Stuttgart in November told a meeting of the Central Committee of German Catholics that the German bishops have drafted guidelines and aim to approve them at their plenary meeting in March 2014.
(Ed: what will the Pope do then? Remember, Archbishop Lefebvre was “excommunicated” for a heck of a lot less)

Last week, Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith member Cardinal Walter Kasper told the German weekly Die Zeit that the divorced and remarried will soon be able to receive the sacraments, the Italian news site AGI reports.
(Ed: this is the same Cardinal Kasper who said the SSPX must accept Vatican II – hilarious considering he clearly doesn’t accept Christ’s own words about divorce and remarriage = adultery, expressly stated in the Gospel.)

Catholic teaching recognizes the indissolubility of Christian marriage, allowing marriages for the divorced only if they can show the first marriage was invalid according to canonical norms. Those in irregular unions are admitted to Holy Communion only if they are living “as brother and sister” with their partners.

Manfred Lütz, a German psychologist and theologian in Rome for the Pontifical Council for the Laity’s plenary meeting on “Proclaiming Christ in the Digital Age,” said the Church’s dogmatic teaching on divorced and remarried Catholics who have not received an annulment is “clear” but the pastoral response is the question.
(Ed: at the risk of repeating myself, will someone tell us all what “pastoral response” means – in practical terms.)

He told CNA Dec. 4 that in the Catholic Church in Germany lay people are “not always very informed about the position of the Church” and believe that the Church is “not merciful enough.” This is “a great problem” not only in Germany but “all over the world.”
(Ed: someone should tell them that they are, therefore, accusing Christ, our Lord of not being merciful enough.)

Innerst agreed that many Catholics do not know or understand Church teaching.

“I know some people who are divorced, and not remarried, and they think they’re formally excommunicated from the Church, but that’s not the case of course,” he said. “They feel that if you violate a rule, you no longer belong.”

He noted that many people feel that Catholicism is “all about laws” and places the “law before love.”

While Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI had to establish guidelines to correct laxity in the Church, Innerst said, Pope Francis is working to stress that “God loves us first.”
(Ed: but what Pope Francis consistently forgets to mention is that Christ told us to prove our love for Him by obeying His Commandments: “If you love Me, you will keep My Commandments.”)

“All Francis is saying is that we have to start loving people first, and then bring them to…the law.”
(Ed: again, a false dichotomy is being created: God’s law IS “love”. Are these guys really “theologians”?)

If others see Christians as “a source of God’s love” then Catholics can “begin to talk, about conversion and changing people’s lives in accord with natural and revealed law. Otherwise it’s a losing battle.”

Lütz said Pope Benedict XVI was also aware that the pastoral care for divorced and remarried Catholics is poor. Catholics have to “see how we live in the parish together with these people” so that they are “not thrown out of the Church.”

He said it is “very important” to help these people and Pope Francis aims to discuss this pastoral care at the October 2014 extraordinary synod of bishops, which is dedicated to the pastoral care of families.

Innerst suggested that the divorced and remarried should refrain from Communion and engage in prayer and penance “not as a punishment, but just as a way of finding meaning in their currently tragic situation.”

This would be a way for them to wait “for the time when they can come into conformity with Church teaching.” These are ways to respond “without pretending that the Pope can change things that he can’t.”

Pope Francis “can’t erase the marriage bond” but he can change the Church’s approach given that the status quo is “not working.”

Innerst suggested that the Pope’s request for input from the Church around the world is an effort to find a good pastoral response for divorced and remarried Catholics, rather than a way to “pretend that they’re not divorced.”

Lütz said the Catholic Church in Germany or an individual diocese cannot decide these responses alone. Rather, this response has to be decided “worldwide.”

He noted that many young Catholics in Germany place the “highest value” on being “faithful” in marriage.

“So, young people hope that to marry will be forever. But when they are asked if they think that they personally will succeed in this, they say they do not think so. And this is really a little bit pessimistic view of things.”   Source    (All emphases added)

Note:  while there’s talk about not pretending people are not divorced in the above article, there’s plenty of pretence that they’re not committing a grave sin, causing public scandal – yet that is the truth of the matter. Their “situation” is described every which way to avoid all mention of sin and repentance.  And what do I tell my friend who struggles to remain faithful to her vows despite the fact that her husband left her for another woman? How about some “pastoral concern” for her and the millions of abandoned spouses like her?

So, what’s going on here – and will someone please tell me what can any priest, bishop or lay person do that constitutes “pastoral concern” – in practical terms – for those living in an adulterous union?  Are we supposed to send  postcards from the place where the altar rails used to be saying “wish you were here”?  Well… what then?

Scots Bishops Poll Parishioners…

Scots Bishops Poll Parishioners...

Next year Pope Francis has called an “Extraordinary Synod” of Bishops from around the world to discuss the Church’s pastoral care for families and the challenges for the Church in responding to changes in family life.

The Holy Father is keen that as many Catholics as possible should have the opportunity to reflect on the issues and have their views and experiences heard by the bishops who will attend next year’s Synod in Rome.

The Archdiocese of Glasgow has prepared a questionnaire based on the Vatican’s own list of questions. Please consider responding.

You do not have to answer all the questions. Please feel free to skip those questions that you do not wish to answer – you can complete as much or as little of the survey as you want.

Thank you in advance for your contribution to this consultation. You are not asked to give your name in the survey, and the results will be collated and analysed before being added to feedback from other Scottish dioceses in the preparation of the final report to be sent to Rome. Source

Click on the picture to read (and respond to) the questionnaire

“Liberals” are quoting Cardinal Newman on “Consulting the Faithful” in an attempt to justify this worldwide survey of Catholic opinion, but we, at Catholic Truth, contend that the Cardinal would definitely NOT approve of consulting the faith-less. Asking dissenters for their views on contraception, cohabitation, same-sex marriage, divorce and remarriage is like asking the proverbial turkey for his views on Christmas.

So, what do you think – will this survey reveal a strong Catholic presence in Scotland – or the very opposite?

Spirit of Rebellion Weakens Faith…

Spirit of Rebellion Weakens Faith...

A deeply worrying spirit of rebellion runs through the Catholic press this weekend, following publication of the “consultation” of the laity by the Bishops worldwide, in preparation for the Extraordinary Synod on the Family in 2014. Click on the picture to read the questionnaire, which includes questions about the pastoral care of the divorced and remarried, who may not receive Holy Communion. Being divorced is not, in itself, a bar to receiving the sacraments, but entering into a second marriage means a Catholic may not approach to receive the Eucharist. Coming hot on the heels of the various shocking utterances of Pope Francis since his election, this spirit of rebellion has taken legs.

Columnists, editorials, and correspondents in the letters pages of this week’s Catholic press positively ooze the spirit of rebellion which is now commonplace within the Church. In some circles, such arrogant rebellion is considered a sign of an “adult faith” – never mind that Our Lord instructed us to become as little children in order to attain Heaven.

Glasgow man – John Fegan – dripping in “adult faith” wrote to the Editor of the Scottish Catholic Observer (SCO) to explain that he received Communion despite being divorced (and we presume remarried, or there wouldn’t be an issue). Mr Fegan writes: “I will continue to do so regardless of what comes out of the Vatican.”

He goes on to describe his “pain” at (for more than 20 years) having his “right” to the sacraments taken away from him, arguing that “if you love your Faith as deeply as I do, that is a terrible punishment.” That’s slick: he fails to admit that his deprivation of the sacraments is a consequence of his own actions – NOT a “punishment” of the Church.

Of course, he throws in the usual confused, non-argument that if he’d murdered his wife and confessed it “with mock sincerity he would be forgiven if he fooled a priest but not God” clearly blissfully unaware of the fact that anyone confessing any sin has to be truly repentant, determined never to commit that sin again and do whatever they can to make up for the damage caused. So, wrong, Mr Fegan, Sir – the murderer you describe is NOT forgiven and absolved, and, indeed, is merely piling up coals of fire on his own head. So, that’s a silly argument. Doesn’t wash. However, assuming the conditions for an honest confession are met, then yes, the murderer will receive absolution and be free to receive Holy Communion, just as surely as those in on-going adulterous relationships – and any other unrepentant sinners – are not free to approach the sanctuary for Communion.

Blogger, Petrus, ever on the button, has replied to Mr Fegan and we hope he makes it into print in next weekend’s SCO.

Whatever, since I don’t think we’ve ever discussed the issues surrounding divorce and remarriage, we thought we might do so here and now. Oh, and there’s another reason. When we launched The Church of ‘Holy Father Francis’ thread to discuss the Bishops’ Consultation document, one of our bloggers (Eileenanne) complained that the headline was inaccurate. Well, after perusing this weekend’s papers. sold in Catholic churches across the UK, I doubt very much if she could find grounds to complain about the headline of this thread. For, make no mistake about it, there is a wicked spirit of rebellion abroad in the Church today, and it is self-evidently weakening the Faith of those who rebel against Catholic doctrine and God’s moral law.

Below, to kick-start our discussion, is Petrus’s response to John Fegan:

John Fegan’s letter entitled “I made my peace, and decisions, as a divorcee” ( SCO, 8th November) is emotionally charged. One cannot deny that divorcees place themselves in a difficult position. Interestingly, Mr Fegan does not mention if he has “remarried”. This is pertinent to understanding this issue and there is a danger of muddying the waters unless we are absolutely clear.

A divorcee who does not attempt to remarry can continue to receive Holy Communion. However, one who attempts to remarry, without having obtained an annulment, cannot. The Church is the legitimate authority to decide if the first marriage has been valid or otherwise. The individual is not free to make this decision for himself.

Mr Fegan should remember that Our Lord gave all authority to His Church, saying to His apostles, “He who hears you, hears me.” Divorcees must humbly submit to the Church before attempting to remarry. Yours etc.