Saturday 24th March 2018

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March 17, 2017 Our Catholic Faith No Comments

Editor’s Note: At a time when some Catholics are afraid to stand up for their faith in the face of secular disdain and ridicule, Fr. George Rutler of the Church of St. Michael in New York City put things into perspective in a bulletin column the Sunday before Ash Wednesday:
“Exactly two years ago this month, twenty young Coptic Christian Egyptians were kidnapped by Islamic State militants while on a work crew in Libya. They refused to renounce Christ and chanted in chorus, ‘Ya Rabbi Yassou!’ — ‘Oh my Lord Jesus!’ A black youth from Chad, Mathew Ayairga, not a Christian, was watching and, when asked by the captors, ‘Do you reject Christ?’ he replied, ‘Their God is my God.’ He was baptized by blood when all twenty-one were beheaded.
While these martyrs had never heard of the theological disputes over grace and justification, they were confident that Christ can raise life eternal from dust and ash. The purpose of Lenten disciplines, not salvific in themselves, is to train voices to join their chorus of faith.”

Q. At Sunday Mass recently, I noticed several pews reserved for something called “Little Church.” Before the readings, those in the reserved pews — mostly preschoolers with parents — were then gathered before the altar and met by the celebrant. Then the “Little Church” group was sent out of the church to another site. Your comment? — M.S. Michigan.
A. We are familiar with this practice of dismissing the children (although not the parents) before the Scripture readings and homily, and then having them return for the Liturgy of the Eucharist. The point of the exercise, which is usually conducted by a layperson, is to have the children hear readings and an explanation suited to their age.
We have never thought that this was a good idea. We would prefer to have families together at Mass. If those in attendance are primarily children, then the readings and the homily can be adapted to them. If the congregation is mostly adults, there could be a class afterwards that would help the children to understand what they had just witnessed, or parents could exercise their role as the primary educators of their children and talk with them at home.

Q. Why is the Church so silent on birth control? As a Catholic mother of seven wee ones, and physically worn out from childbearing, I want to avoid another pregnancy. If I use birth control in my marriage, does the Church teach that I am likely to go to Hell? Am I really to sit out Communion and not go to Confession right now? With my Catholic hospital the one to initiate my birth control, and because of poor catechesis, I knew nothing of mortal sin, only that the Church frowned on birth control. When I decided to learn more about my faith and started reading more, did I suddenly burden myself with sin, whereas before I was innocent and Heaven-bound? This is upsetting to me, and I would love some advice. Can I still be a Catholic if I intend to use birth control? — Name and State Withheld.
A. First of all, if every Catholic guilty of committing sin ceased to be a Catholic, there would be no Catholic Church. The Church is made up of sinners and all are called to, in the words of Jesus, “repent, and believe in the Gospel” (Mark 1:15). No grave sin automatically sends a person to Hell; only persistent and stubborn adherence to that sin until the end of one’s life results in final damnation.
Second, the three conditions for a mortal sin are grave matter, sufficient knowledge that the matter is gravely sinful, and deliberate consent of the will. If you at first were truly ignorant of the sinful nature of birth control (more properly called contraception since one can control births by moral means), then you were not in a state of mortal sin. That may no longer be true since you now possess sufficient knowledge of the immorality of contraception. However, one’s degree of guilt or moral responsibility can be mitigated by such things as fear (of future pregnancies) or concupiscence (the rebellion of one’s passions against reason). You should discuss your situation with a priest who is loyal to the Church’s teaching on the immorality of contraception.
Third, the Church herself has never been silent on the evil of contraception. She has condemned this sin since the first century, and every Pope in the past century, as well as the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) and the Catechism of the Catholic Church, has reaffirmed that condemnation. The definitive statement on the matter was issued in 1968 with the promulgation of Humanae Vitae by Pope Paul VI, who declared as immoral “every action which, either in anticipation of the conjugal act, or in its accomplishment, or in the development of its natural consequences, proposes, whether as an end or as a means, to render procreation impossible” (n. 14).
Fourth, while the Church’s Magisterium has always been vocal about the evil of contraception, many of her bishops and priests have been virtually silent, which is why so many Catholics, even today, think that there’s nothing wrong with practicing contraception. They have never been told by their clergy that contraception is not only a great moral evil, but it is also a betrayal of marriage as the mutual and fruitful self-giving of two persons to each other. Just as the Father and the Son pour out the gift of themselves to each other, and the Holy Spirit is the fruit of their self-giving love, so husbands and wives are to model themselves on the Trinity and make a free, total, sincere, and fruitful gift to each other.
Man and woman were made for each other. For one or both of them to say, “I give you all of myself, except my fertility,” is a lie and a betrayal of the self-giving love that the Creator intended in the beginning when He invented marriage.
Fifth, bishops and priests who failed to teach that contraception is evil will have much to answer for. In Humanae Vitae, Pope Paul VI specifically told the Catholic bishops of the world that their mission of safeguarding the holiness of marriage was “one of your most urgent responsibilities at the present time” (n. 29). The Holy Father had even stronger words for priests, telling them that “your first task…is to expound the Church’s teaching on marriage without ambiguity.”
He told them to “be the first to give, in the exercise of your ministry, the example of loyal internal and external obedience to the teaching authority of the Church….You know, too, that it is of utmost importance, for peace of consciences and for the unity of the Christian people, that in the field of morals, as well as in that of dogma, all should attend to the Magisterium of the Church, and all should speak the same language” (n. 28).
Sixth, perhaps these clergy who failed in their duty to guide their flocks were afraid of driving people away, and so they avoided homilies on contraception. How did that work out? Attendance at Mass still dropped from about 70 percent on Sundays before Humanae Vitae to around 20 percent today\ These members of the clergy should have heeded the advice of Pope Paul, that “to diminish in no way the saving teaching of Christ constitutes an eminent form of charity for souls. But this must ever be accompanied by patience and goodness, such as the Lord Himself gave example of in dealing with men. Having come not to condemn but to save [cf. John 3:17], He was intransigent with evil, but merciful to individuals” (n 29).
Seventh, here is the consolation that you are looking for — the knowledge that the Lord did not come to condemn, but to save us, to be intransigent with such evils as contraception but to be merciful to those individuals caught up in this web. We can identify personally with your situation, having once had seven “wee ones” ourselves under the age of nine. But with God’s help, we survived, even with the birth of two more children. Looking back, my wife and I wonder how we did it, but we did, and now we have 22 grandchildren as well.
Eighth, the answer to your plight is Natural Family Planning, which the Church approves as a method of spacing out the births of children, or of avoiding another birth for the time being, after taking into account what St. John Paul II called the “physical, economic, psychological, and social conditions” facing a family.
The beauty of NFP is that it involves the loving cooperation of both parties, rather than putting the burden on one spouse, usually the woman, who endangers her health by taking powerful drugs (the Pill) or using dangerous devices.
For information on NFP, check with the Family Life Office in your diocese or contact John Kippley of Natural Family Planning International at P.O. Box 112035, Cincinnati, OH 45211. His website is

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‘Dictator Pope’ author: My suspension from Knights of Malta is illegal

ROME, March 22, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — The Knights of Malta say they have suspended historian Henry Sire for allegedly breaching their constitution, following revelations that he is the mysterious author of The Dictator Pope. However, Sire himself maintains the suspension…Continue Reading

Trump official says US is ‘pro-life country’ at United Nations

NEW YORK, March 23, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A Trump official is making waves at the United Nations for vocally defying the international organization’s conventional wisdom on abortion. Two unnamed UN diplomats have told the UK Independent that Bethany Kozma, a…Continue Reading

Conservative paper pressured into suspending publication

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Student Planning Abortion Protest After School Shooting Walkout

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What US Catholics see as Pope Francis’ most notable action


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Vatican admits doctoring photo of Benedict’s letter praising Pope Francis

VATICAN, March 14, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — One of the world’s leading news agencies has said the Vatican breached journalistic standards by doctoring a photo of a letter from Benedict XVI praising Pope Francis. According to the Associated Press, the doctoring…Continue Reading

Cardinal Müller: The Pope has no power to change Humanae Vitae

ROME, March 8, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — The Pope has no power to change or relax the Church’s ban on artificial contraception, just as he can never allow women to be ordained, Cardinal Gerhard Müller said on Wednesday. The former prefect…Continue Reading

Catholic bishops stand by spokesman after racism comment

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Jim Caviezel tells university students to ‘stand out’ and ‘be saints’

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Catholic hierarchy to be confronted over gender inequality

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Study shows why young Catholics leave the church

They stopped believing in God. They saw a disconnect between what Catholics say and what they do. They disagreed with the church’s stance on social issues such as homosexuality and birth control. They are the growing numbers of young Catholics…Continue Reading

Number of Catholic weddings falls by two-thirds since 1990

The number of Catholic weddings in England and Wales has fallen dramatically in the last 25 years, according to new figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS). In 2015, the most recent year for which statistics have been recorded,…Continue Reading

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Interview With Cardinal Burke . . . Discriminating Mercy: Defending Christ And His Church With True Love


  By DON FIER (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta and Founder of the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Wis., graciously took time out of his busy schedule to grant The Wanderer a wide-ranging interview during a recent visit to the Shrine. Included among the topics…Continue Reading

Developing Lives Of Peace After The Heart Of Mary

By RAYMOND LEO CARDINAL BURKE (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke delivered the address below at the 32nd Annual Church Teaches Forum, “The Message of Fatima: Peace for the World,” Galt House, Louisville, Ky., July 22, 2017. The address is reprinted here with the kind permission of Cardinal Burke. All rights reserved. This is part one of the…Continue Reading


Today . . .

BREAKING: Local bishop calls treatment of pro-marriage Providence College student ‘reprehensible’

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How one organization helps the Church welcome Catholics with disabilities

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Ohio Bill Bans All Abortions, Declares Unborn Babies as People Under Law

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SHOCK: Dozens of ‘Christian’ faith leaders sign letter supporting ‘right to…abortion’

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Polish archbishop criticises priest who wished for death of Pope Francis

Former seminary rector Fr Edward Staniek questioned the direction in which Pope Francis was taking the Church A Polish archbishop has criticised a priest and theologian who wished Pope Francis a quick death if he did not open his heart to “wisdom”. Archbishop Marek Jędraszewski of Krakow said he had heard the comments with “great pain and regret” and had spoken to the priest about them. Fr Edward Staniek, a noted theologian and former rector…Continue Reading


A Book Review… The Dominion Of Man Over The Rest Of Things

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A Movie Review… St. Paul: From Persecutor To Apostle

By REY FLORES It is said that to know God is to love Him. It is also said that to truly embrace our faith, we must know our faith. The stories of the apostles in their efforts to establish the one true Church founded by Jesus Christ are so very important for us to know.…Continue Reading

How Should We Regard Pope Francis?

By JOHN YOUNG Some Catholics think laypeople have no right to criticize Pope Francis. He is the Vicar of Christ and is guided by the Holy Spirit, so he must know better than we do what should be taught and done. Even cardinals and bishops, they assert, have no right to publicly disagree with the…Continue Reading

Make A Church Post Satan’s Phone Number?

By TERENCE P. JEFFREY (Editor’s Note: Terence P. Jeffrey is the editor-in-chief of Creators Syndicate,, distributes his column.) + + + Jerry Brown once said he saw “the killing of the unborn as crazy.” This was just after the once-and-future pro-abortion governor of California returned to the United States in 1988 after spending…Continue Reading

A Decision From Outer Space

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Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

Catholic Replies

Editor’s Note: Back in January, in response to a question about the Alpha program, we said all we knew was that it was a 10-week course about basic Christian teachings that claims to serve “as a refresher course for practicing Catholics and a point of re-entry for lapsed Catholics.” We said that the value of such courses would depend on…Continue Reading

The Stations Of The Cross . . . Follow The Final Earthly Journey Of Christ

By FR. EDWARD McNAMARA (Editor’s Note: Following is a question on whether or not stations of the cross are liturgical or not, answered by Legionary of Christ Fr. Edward McNamara, professor of liturgy and dean of theology at the Regina Apostolorum university. (Fr. McNamara writes the “Liturgy Q-and-A” column for ZENIT News Agency, which provided this text in 2016. All…Continue Reading

The Horror Of The Passion

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A Leaven In The World… “Fear Is Useless”

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK Lent is about death. The Lord’s death, of course: “Unless the grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies it remains just a grain of wheat.” He Himself in His human nature must be the seed of future glory for all of mankind. Fear is mankind’s most instinctive response before the vast and uncharted…Continue Reading

The Sacraments Instituted By Christ . . . Can We Receive Communion In An Eastern Orthodox Church?

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM Part 20 Here we enter a delicate matter, which requires much prudential judgment from the Church. The matter is normally titled Communicatio in sacris, which refers to receiving Holy Communion in separated Eastern Churches. Here the situation is totally different from receiving “communion” in a Protestant church of whatever denomination, because Protestants do not have…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Isidore Of Seville

By CAROLE BRESLIN Spain is one of two countries located on the Iberian Peninsula. During the time of the Roman Empire, it was the Romans who first called this land “Hispania.” To this land the Romans brought the Latin language, civil organization, and law, as well as the Christian religion. However, as the Roman Empire began to crumble during the…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Clement Mary Hofbauer

By CAROLE BRESLIN It has been said that the four characteristics of good prayer are that it must be sincere, it must be humble, it must be confident, and it must be persevering. This can also be said of the Christian life and a person’s approach to seeking to do the will of God: humble, sincere, confident, and persevering. St.…Continue Reading