Tuesday 13th October 2015

Recent Articles:

When May We Disagree With The Pope?

October 13, 2015 Frontpage Comments Off


Many faithful Catholics are disturbed by some of the statements made by Pope Francis, and find themselves unable to agree with him. There’s need for clarity here, and the way to achieve clarity is to make the appropriate distinctions. So let us consider what distinctions need to be made in regard to the obligation of a Catholic to accept what the Pope says.
The Pope and the bishops have authority in matters of faith and morals. Christ said to His apostles, “He who hears you hears me”; and He made St. Peter the rock on which He would build His Church. But God the Son didn’t come from Heaven to teach science. As St. Augustine said, Scripture tells us how to go to Heaven, not how the heavens go.
Pope and bishops are divinely guided in explaining divine Revelation, as found in Scripture and Sacred Tradition. This guidance includes what is necessary for the explanation and defense of Revelation — for instance the Pope could declare a scientific theory false if it contradicts revealed truth. Also, he is infallible in canonizing a saint, because otherwise the faithful couldn’t be sure their veneration of the alleged saint was justified.
Vatican II’s Dogmatic Constitution on the Church (Lumen Gentium), n. 25, outlines the three ways in which the Church exercises her infallibility in teaching doctrine. She does this in the solemn definitions given by ecumenical councils, in ex cathedra pronouncements by the Pope, and in the exercise of the ordinary universal Magisterium.
Despite what we often hear from liberal theologians, there are numerous infallible definitions, most of them given by ecumenical councils: Ludwig Ott’s book Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma (an excellent work) gives dozens of infallible pronouncements. … Continue Reading

No Class Of Sinners Should Be Privileged

October 12, 2015 Frontpage Comments Off


I was invited to participate in a teleconference just before the opening of the Synod of Bishops on the Family, being held in Rome October 4 to 25. The call was titled “Living the Truth in Love” and was hosted by Carmel Communications founder Lisa Wheeler and facilitated by Dr. Pia De Solenni of the Augustine Institute.
The main focus of the teleconference was the question of people who identify as homosexual, or who are dealing with same-sex attraction, and the pastoral care that the Church has been extending to these folks.
While it was proposed that we would also be hearing about the Church’s teachings on marriage and family life, and an ongoing appeal to oppose some of the ideas has been put forth by Walter Cardinal Kasper and others who are proposing significant changes to Church teachings, we did not discuss this as much.
On the teleconference were a number of respected authorities on the faith including Mark Brumley, president of Ignatius Press, Fr. Joseph Fessio, SJ, editor in chief of Ignatius Press, and Dr. Janet Smith, co-author of the book Living the Truth in Love. Also on the call was Fr. Paul Check, the executive director of Courage International, which is a ministry that provides support for Catholics who experience same-sex attraction and want to live chaste lives. … Continue Reading

Libertarians And The Pope

October 11, 2015 Frontpage Comments Off

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There is no reason to assume that readers of this column are familiar with the Fox News program The Five, so permit me to give a brief description. It features four conservative commentators and one liberal, lately Juan Williams, discussing the issues of the day.
It is Fox News’ attempt to replicate — with reverse spin — the format of ABC News’ The View, which features four liberal commentators and one conservative.
Why am I bringing up the program now? Because I suspect that Greg Gutfeld, one of the show’s conservative commentators, has caused some confusion in conservative circles. Gutfeld, the author of several books and a former editor of Prevention and Men’s Health magazines, is a likable man, humorous, bright, well-informed, and an articulate defender of the conservative position on issues such as national defense, law and order, and the excesses of the liberal nanny state. But he is also a harsh — very harsh — critic of Pope Francis.
He is a critic not in the way many readers of this publication are critics of the Pope. He opposes not only Francis’ position on global warming, immigration, and the welfare state, but the very notion of papal authority itself. He recently called the Pope the “most dangerous person on the planet.”
Why this hostility? Gutfeld sees papal authority as a threat to achieving a society where important “freedoms” are recognized. He favors the legalization of recreational drug use and prostitution, and is opposed to the censorship of pornography. … Continue Reading

Demo Leaders… Fight Videos As New Footage Shows Graphic Organ-Harvesting Talk

October 10, 2015 Frontpage Comments Off


Like the Planned Parenthood mega-abortionists they support, national Democrat Party leaders grimly refuse to see the evidence of slaughter before their eyes while they try to crush the opposition to crushing helpless infants.
Veteran Cong. Elijah Cummings (D., Md.) was among Democrats excusing PP’s assault on babies and the law even while they pushed an attack against the Center for Medical Progress (CMP), whose sting videos have exposed the abortion giant’s barbarity, according to an October 6 report.
“We believe it is inappropriate for the (House Oversight) committee to continue harassing Planned Parenthood for political reasons — with no evidence of any wrongdoing,” Cummings and others complained, the Washington Examiner reported.
The videos clearly have shown PP officials talking about illegally altering abortion procedures so as better to obtain organs, and illegally negotiating about getting a better financial return for providing the organs to procurers.
The tenth video, released September 15, plainly showed PP officials talking about evading the law, including warning against the timing of conversations that “could destroy your organization and us,” about avoiding leaving an email trail, and cautioning about causing “headlines (that) would be a disaster.”
Meanwhile, CMP leader David Daleiden and Lila Rose, president of the pro-life Live Action, appeared on TheBlaze TV with new sting footage of a Texas PP abortionist graphically talking about obtaining organs by extracting babies as she removes their “lower extremities and then go(es) for the spine and sort of break(s) it down that way. . . . … Continue Reading

The First Week Of The Synod . . . Concerns About Instrumentum Laboris, Final Report Surface

October 9, 2015 Frontpage Comments Off

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It wasn’t done on purpose, of this Archbishop Bruno Forte assures us, but there they were, the ringing words of Christ Himself read out in every Catholic church throughout the world on the first day of the Family Synod:
“It was because you were so unteachable that [Moses] wrote this commandment for you. But from the beginning of creation God made them male and female. This is why a man must leave father and mother, and the two become one body. They are no longer two, therefore, but one body. So then, what God has united, man must not divide.”
Pope Francis has repeatedly assured us that the task of the synod is to be all encompassing, to consider every aspect of family, without being tied down to knotty matters, including divorce, cohabitation, and homosexuality. These “tricky” questions were all designed to come up for discussion in Week 3, presumably so that they would not overshadow other discussion (some say also to facilitate adopting a liberal agenda for lack of time and energy) but they have been thrust upon the fathers from the beginning.
The proud emergence at the synod’s beginning of Msgr. Krzysztof Charamsa, a member of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, as a homosexual with his lover has further directed attention. … Continue Reading

Diary Of A Synod . . . Positions, Preparations, And Maneuvers

October 8, 2015 Frontpage Comments Off


Even before the long-awaited (and sometimes feared) Synod of Bishops on the Family commenced in Rome on October 4, several prelates, priests, and lay groups published important statements with regard to the desired and desirable outcome of that synod. I shall name now only four examples, hoping thereby to shed some helpful light.
First, two major lay organizations in Germany — the Central Committee of German Catholics (ZdK) and the Association of the German Catholic Youth (BDKJ) — have both made statements concerning their wishes for the outcome of that synod.
As the official website of the German Bishops Conference, katholisch.de, reports, the president of the German Catholic Youth Organization, Wolfgang Ehrenlechner, said that he will be disappointed if the synod, in the end, “will merely make a recommendation that one should treat the remarried divorcees in a more generous manner.”
According to katholisch.de, he requested that the Church accept the empirical factual disparities, that is, the worldwide cultural differences, so that the local churches themselves, “based on the Christian Faith, may lead their own discussions about how the faithful can lead their personal lives in their varied relationships, in light of a Christian responsibility.”
The speaker of the ZdK, Birgit Mock, spoke about the same topic in Bonn, Germany, and promoted the idea of a moral diversity within the Church. For her, it will be a “test for the ‘pastoral change’ as expressed by Pope Francis,” as to whether the individual bishops conferences “receive more freedom in order to develop standards that are fitting for their area of competence and in order to define how the pastoral care should deal — in accordance with the Gospels — with those people who have failed in their marriages.” … Continue Reading

Wikipedia: A Reliable Source?

October 7, 2015 Frontpage Comments Off


I have been hearing for years that it is unwise to use the website Wikipedia.com for my research because, people say, “anyone can put anything in there.” Which is largely true.
Wikipedia — a combination of “wiki,” the Hawaiian word for quick, and encyclopedia — is a collection of nearly 5 million articles in its English version, written and edited by people who feel they have expertise to offer on a particular subject. This means that when you look up a topic on Wikipedia you are reading articles by anonymous individuals, who may or may not know what they are talking about.
The people who run the website state that they “strive for articles that document and explain the major points of view, giving due weight with respect to their prominence in an impartial tone” and that “all articles must strive for verifiable accuracy, citing reliable, authoritative sources, especially when the topic is controversial or is on living persons.” But they can’t remain on top of all 5 million articles.
Anyone reading an article on Wikipedia can click on the “edit” button at the top of the page and add corrections or observations about the content. The hope is that readers of Wikipedia will call attention to anything erroneous that has been posted. It is hard to tell whether that happens in a reliable manner.
That said, I have found Wikipedia a valuable research tool. I would not trust it as the final arbiter on a controversial topic, such as Obamacare or papal infallibility. The last editing of the article may have been by an angry partisan or mischievous tenth-grade student from Beverly Hills. But the site can provide quick access to basic information. … Continue Reading

A Leaven In The World… The Hug And The Shrug: Kim Davis And The Pope

October 6, 2015 Frontpage Comments Off


As with all things Catholic and all things in life, we must always put the most charitable interpretation on events that come to our attention. If they come to our knowledge through sinful curiosity, it is, of course, none of our business. In our voyeuristic culture, however, where the news cycle knows no sleep and many people record their entire existence on the Internet, it becomes increasingly heroically virtuous to observe private boundaries in our culture and to ask that others do the same. In this milieu almost every word and action of Pope Francis is recorded, analyzed, and spun.
To our Holy Father Pope Francis we owe a great deal in the way of respect for he is the Vicar of Christ: There is no office on Earth more important to Christ and His plan for our salvation in and through the Church. To the Pope, and his Successors, we owe obedience of intellect and will as he reaffirms Church moral teaching. We owe our assent likewise if he should, as has happened very rarely in … Continue Reading

On The 50th Anniversary Of Dei Verbum . . . The Inerrant Truth Of God’s Word

October 5, 2015 Frontpage Comments Off


(Editor’s Note: Professor Josef Froula has taught dogmatic theology at Holy Apostles College and Seminary since 2003. He holds a master’s in humanities, a master’s in dogmatic theology, and is pursuing a doctorate in education.)

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November 18, 2015 marks the golden jubilee of the promulgation of Dei Verbum, the Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation. This momentous document of the Second Vatican Council sought to clarify the nature and scope of divine Revelation by answering the following questions. How does God manifest Himself to us? How do we participate in His life and knowledge? Can we really trust the words of Scripture?
With so much dissent and disagreement among Catholics of our day, it seems at times that our beliefs about God and how we relate to Him are thorny issues that present difficulties beyond resolution. Dei Verbum, however, offers consoling words to the contrary. If we submit our hearts and minds to the teaching Church, it becomes clear that “God, the first principle and last end of all things” can “be known by all men with ease, with firm certainty, and without the contamination of error” (Dei Verbum, n. 6).
Twenty years ago as a young graduate student in theology, I enrolled in a course on the Second Vatican Council. One of the many strong points of this class was that we read and discussed all sixteen documents, focusing on the texts themselves rather than on summaries or the interpretations of others. This experience was an eye-opener for me. Time and again, the teaching of the council leapt off the page to dispel my misconceptions which were based on what I had heard was in Vatican II. Dei Verbum was no exception: It is a common opinion among Catholic theologians that this document allows for error or falsehood throughout the books of the Bible. … Continue Reading

Homily of Pope Francis during the Mass for the opening of the 14th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops

October 4, 2015 Frontpage Comments Off

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Vatican Basilica
27th Sunday in Ordinary Time, 4 October 2015


“If we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us” (1 Jn 4:12).

This Sunday’s Scripture readings seem to have been chosen precisely for this moment of grace which the Church is experiencing: the Ordinary Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on the family, which begins with this Eucharistic celebration.

The readings centre on three themes: solitude, love between man and woman, and the family.


Adam, as we heard in the first reading, was living in the Garden of Eden. He named all the other creatures as a sign of his dominion, his clear and undisputed power, over all of them. Nonetheless, he felt alone, because “there was not found a helper fit for him” (Gen 2:20). He was lonely.

The drama of solitude is … Continue Reading

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Pope FrancisAn Open Letter To His Holiness Pope Francis      Given the controversy and confusion surrounding the 2014 Synod on the Family, the staff of The Wanderer and its supporters thought it appropriate to address Pope Francis with an open letter . . .

Vatican revokes Catholic priest’s press credentials after he challenged archbishop

ROME, October 12, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – Amid continuing concern about the Vatican press office’s “manipulation” of the family synod’s message, a priest who has been covering Vatican news for over 15 years had his credentials revoked last week, and was…Continue Reading

Condemned ‘Catholic’ group uses Vatican press access to challenge African bishop on homosexuality

Analysis ROME, October 8, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) — At the Vatican’s press briefing Thursday, the head of a U.S. group that aims to change Church teaching on homosexuality challenged an African bishop for perceived silence on the criminalization of “gay and…Continue Reading

Cardinal Schonborn says Synod’s contentious parts are yet to come

ROME, October 9, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) –Thursday, October 8, saw a surprise for the Synod of Bishops on the Family, when the Synod Secretariat announced that the only German-speaking discussion group among the 13 discussion groups (circuli minores) is not, as…Continue Reading

Leading African cardinal critiques Vatican spokesman Fr. Rosica

ROME, October 9, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – South African Cardinal Wilfrid Napier, a leading cardinal on the organizing committee for the Synod on the Family, issued a pointed critique on Twitter of a controversial report on the Synod by the Vatican’s…Continue Reading

Archbishop Chaput: Synod’s working text risks ‘compromise’ with sin

ROME, October 8, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) — Fresh off of the World Meeting of Families, Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput gave a strong intervention at the Vatican’s family synod this week, warning that the meeting’s working text risks “compromise” with sin. The…Continue Reading

Canadian Catholic Schools Defy Archbishop on Transgender Policy

DMONTON, Alberta, Canada, October 8, 2015 (ChurchMilitant.com) – A Catholic school district in Canada is planning to approve a transgender policy contrary to its archbishop’s guidelines. The Edmonton Catholic school district in Alberta wants to push through a radical transgender…Continue Reading

Synod Showdown Report—October 5, 2015

We’re just out of the first press briefing of the Synod 2015, and things have pretty much picked up where they ended last year. The lead story, if you want to say there’s a lead to this, was a question…Continue Reading

Gov. Brown signs controversial assisted-suicide bill

Caught between conflicting moral arguments, Gov. Jerry Brown, a former Jesuit seminary student, signed a measure Monday allowing physicians to prescribe lethal doses of drugs to terminally ill patients who want to hasten their deaths. Brown appeared to struggle in…Continue Reading

Someone is Lying About the Pope’s Meeting with Kim Davis

Papal spokesman Father Thomas Rosica flatly denies Kim Davis met privately with Pope Francis when he visited Washington, D.C. which stands in flat contradiction to Davis’s claims. In Roscia’s telling Davis was part of a large number of people as…Continue Reading

Top Universities Defend Research Using Body Parts From Aborted Babies

Some of America’s top universities have signed a letter urging states not to support legislation that would ban the sale of aborted babies for research. The letter comes after ten videos surfaced exposing Planned Parenthood’s organ harvesting business, along with…Continue Reading

Catholic Hospitals Sued For Refusing Emergency Care To Pregnant Women

The American Civil Liberties Union on Thursday announced that it is suing Trinity Health Corporation, which operates 80 hospitals nationwide, for refusing to provide pregnant women suffering from life-threatening emergency complications with abortions. Trinity Health hospitals have “repeatedly and systematically…Continue Reading

Too Scared to Pray? ISIL Cancels Prayers for Fear of Russian Airstrikes

The Islamic State terror group cancelled Friday prayers in the Syrian city of Raqqa and emptied mosques there out of fear of further Russian airstrikes, according to activists and city residents. According to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights,…Continue Reading


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A Powerful Weapon: 15 Quotes on the Holy Rosary

We live in evil times. I hardly need elaborate the multitude of crises that fill the globe. Sadly, many are being swept away by this flood of evil and are succumbing to an overwhelming anxiety and discouragement. But no matter how tempting it is, we must not shrink back. We must pray and fast with a living faith and a firm confidence—and there is no better way to…Continue Reading

12 Ways to Become a Committed Catholic Man

There is a Catholic “man-crisis.” Large numbers of men who were baptized Catholic have left the Church and the majority of those who remain are “Casual Catholic Men”, men who do not know the Catholic faith and don’t practice it. This large-scale failure of Catholic men to commit themselves to Jesus Christ and His Church has contributed to the accelerating…Continue Reading

Today . . .

Synod on the Family: Press Briefing Day 7

(Vatican Radio) Monday 12 Oct. Fr. Federico Lombardi SJ, spokesman for the Holy See, was accompanied by Fr. Thomas Rosica CSB and two couples – Pedro & Ketty De Rezende from Brazil and Ishwar & Penny Bajaj from India – at the daily press briefing for the Synod on the Family. It would be a welcome innovation if there was a proposal to the bishops of the world to ensure much more formation and accompaniment of couples…Continue Reading

Synod of Bishops, Week 1: Suspended Between Pastoral Despair or the Decision to Hope


Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Philadelphia gave probably the best description of the Synod’s Working Document – and by extension of the Synod’s discussion so far. In his October 7 speech at the Synod, published on the archdiocese web site – Archbishop Chaput said that the working documents “present us two conflicting views: pastoral despair or the decision to hope.” The Synod Fathers’ sentiment after one week has been swinging between these two poles. Pope…Continue Reading

Pope’s Morning Homily: Be on Guard, Evil One Is Always Trying to Deceive

At Casa Santa Marta, Francis Considers Necessity of Discerning and Watchfulness Vatican City, October 09, 2015 (ZENIT.org) Staff Reporter | 3436 hits Pope Francis today at his morning Mass in Casa Santa Marta recalled that a Christian should always discern what God is doing and asking in a situation, since the Evil One is always present as well, and trying to deceive. Vatican Radio reported that the Holy Father drew his homily from today’s Gospel…Continue Reading

Prelates Note Satisfaction With Synod’s Work So Far . . . Say Instrumentum Laboris a ‘Martyr Document’ Meant to Be Changed

Rome, October 09, 2015 (ZENIT.org) Staff Reporter Though reports from the 13 working groups read today at the synod of bishops showed generalized dissatisfaction with the Instrumentum Laboris, Cardinal Antonio Tagle of Manila says that is to be expected, as the working document is meant to be a “martyr document,” revised and corrected during the process of the synod. That was one of several points made at today’s briefing in the Vatican press office, to…Continue Reading

Santorum Urges Making Difference . . . CMP Videos Had Fast Impact, Pregnancy-Center Head Says

By DEXTER DUGGAN PHOENIX — As GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum urged people to make a difference to save this nation, the leader of a pregnancy center here told an audience that the powerful Planned Parenthood videos from the Center for Medical Progress had an instant effect. Speaking at the annual fund-raising dinner of Phoenix’s…Continue Reading

Is Education Possible?

By DONALD DeMARCO It may seem odd to question whether education is possible. After all, is it not true that education is going on, if not flourishing, all over North America? The question, however, is not without merit for, in far too many instances, what passes for education is not really education at all. Relativism,…Continue Reading

A Movie Review . . . Giving Their Lives Over To “A Better Way”

By REY FLORES For the past year and a half since a young man named Mike Brown was gunned down in Ferguson, Mo., race relations in America have been going backwards. It wasn’t so much that the racism grew again in an organic manner, but seems to have been manufactured by the government and the…Continue Reading

“What Is Transgenderism?”

By BRIAN CLOWES Conclusion (Editor’s Note: Brian Clowes has been director of research and training at Human Life International since 1995. For all of the previous Culture of Life 101 articles on homosexuality, e-mail him at bclowes@hli.org.) + + + “We psychiatrists should work to discourage those adults who seek surgical sex reassignment” — “sex-change”…Continue Reading

War Party Targets Putin And Assad

By PATRICK J. BUCHANAN Having established a base on the Syrian coast, Vladimir Putin began air strikes on ISIS and other rebel forces seeking to overthrow Bashar Assad. A longtime ally of Syria, Russia wants to preserve its toehold on the Mediterranean, help Assad repel the threat, and keep the Islamic terrorists out of Damascus.…Continue Reading


Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

Mexican Exorcist Moves Toward Sainthood

By ELISE HARRIS VATICAN CITY (CNA/EWTN News) — Among the eight causes for sainthood advanced by Pope Francis is a Mexican exorcist who lived during the time of the Cristero War, and was mentored by a bishop who has since been canonized. The Pope gave the green light to move the causes on to the next step in a private…Continue Reading

An Apologetics Course . . . The Church Of Christ Is Visible, Imperishable, And Infallible

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM From the 15th century onward, there have been some novel doctrines about the nature of the Church of Christ. In order to avoid obedience to the pastors of the Church, especially the Pope in Rome, those creative little minds came up with the idea that the Church is not visible: That is, she has no…Continue Reading

Mission Of The Catholic Laity: Priest, Prophet, And King

By DON FIER Part 2 As baptized Christians, as we saw last week, each member of the lay faithful participates in the life and work of Jesus Christ and thus in His threefold office of priest, prophet, and king. As expressed by the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC): “The whole People of God participates in these three offices of…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Q. We recently celebrated the Feast of the Archangels Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael. But aren’t there other groupings of angels and what are they? — A.C., Florida. A. Based on the writings of Saints Dionysius, Gregory the Great, and Thomas Aquinas, the Church has taught that there are nine choirs of angels. Beginning at the highest level, they are Seraphim,…Continue Reading

Choose To Serve Rather Than To Be Served

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Twenty-Ninth Sunday In Ordinary Time (YR B) Readings: Isaiah 53:10-11 Heb. 4:14-16 Mark 10:35-45 In the Gospel reading today our Lord tells us that He came, not to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many. This is our hope for eternal salvation and, obviously, it is our hope…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . Pope St. John XXIII

By CAROLE BRESLIN Part 2 As we saw in part 1, the ecclesiastical career of Angelo Roncalli up until 1953 had already shown him to be a man dedicated to the Church. Frequently he had to serve the Church despite family tragedies. Wherever the Church asked him to go, he went obediently without complaint. Despite the many persecutions, sacrifices, and…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… Pope St. John XXIII

By CAROLE BRESLIN Part 1 Although rare, it is not unknown for a poor man, who had no connections and did not seek to develop them, to rise above all other men in stature and in influence over mankind. Such was the case of the sharecroppers’ son, Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli. Throughout his ecclesiastical career, he was obedient and kind, but…Continue Reading