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May 12, 2017 Our Catholic Faith No Comments

Editor’s Note: Regarding a recent question about the time of day when a Latin High Mass can be celebrated, J.R.D. of New Jersey, the master of ceremonies at his parish, wrote to say that “there is no rule in my parish. We have had the High Mass at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, and now have it at 8:00 a.m. The time is usually determined by the pastor. It was the same in the ‘old days’.”

Q. During World War II, a woman doctor performed some 3,000 abortions on Jewish inmates of a concentration camp in order to save the lives of the inmates as the Nazi policy was to gas any women found to be pregnant, in which case both the women and their babies would be lost. Through her actions, the women were saved. As to the morality of the doctor’s actions, a number of factors arise: 1) the end justifying the means, 2) choosing the lesser of two evils, 3) moral absolutes, and 4) situation ethics. Were the doctor’s actions moral? Please identify the source for your reply. — T.J.M., New Jersey.
A. The doctor’s actions were immoral since no one has the right to take an innocent life, even to spare another life. Numbers 1, 2, and 4 all contradict the moral absolute of the sacredness of all human life. The morality of a human act depends on three things: 1) the act itself, 2) the purpose of the act, and 3) the circumstances surrounding the act.
“The primary and decisive element for moral judgment,” said Pope St. John Paul II in his encyclical Veritatis Splendor, is the act itself because it “establishes whether it is capable of being ordered to the good and to the ultimate end, which is God” (n.78).
The purpose of the act, or the circumstances surrounding it, can change the morality of the act in some cases, but abortion is intrinsically wrong (evil by its very nature) and can never be justified, even to save the lives of the pregnant women in the Nazi death camps. In his 1995 encyclical Evangelium Vitae, St. John Paul said:
“I declare that direct abortion, that is, abortion willed as an end or as a means, always constitutes a grave moral disorder since it is the deliberate killing of an innocent human being” (n. 62).
For more on this subject, see the book Catholicism & Ethics: A Medical/Moral Handbook by Hayes, Hayes, Kelly, and Drummey. It is available for $15 (shipping included) from the address at the bottom of this column.

Q. Getting old comes with a lot of aches and pains, but I recently picked up a book on Tai Chi. The stretching exercises seem okay, but the book recommends a system of breathing and meditation, etc. Will this conflict in any way with my Catholic beliefs? — D.H., Iowa.
A. Sometimes described as “meditation in motion,” Tai Chi was originally developed in ancient China for self-defense, but is now used as a form of exercise for reducing stress and improving health. It is a system of gentle physical movements, performed in a slow and graceful manner, that keeps the body in constant motion. The movements are coordinated with breathing to help a person achieve an inner calm.
Dr. Roger Jahnke, a practitioner of Oriental medicine and author of a book on Tai Chi entitled The Healer Within, says that Eastern wisdom speaks of the body’s ability to heal itself. He contends that normal exercise produces chemicals that allow muscles damaged by the exercise to heal. But he says that the movements of Tai Chi are so gentle that the muscle isn’t damaged, and the chemicals produced can be used to help other parts of the body. He claims that Tai Chi healed a man who had an incurable brain cancer.
Jahnke is also author of The Healing Promise of Qi, which promotes the healing of back and joint pain. “Tai Chi and Qigong literally means life force and mastery,” says a description of his books. “Long kept as a carefully guarded secret from the Chinese public, Dr. Jahnke brings it to the west as a health enhancing self-improvement program. Ancient tools for self-improvement and a safe, gentle, and proven approach to treating pain and disease.”
The problem with these “life force” or “life energy” techniques is that they promote healing through human efforts and not through divine power. In a 2009 document about a related technique known as Reiki (Guidelines for Evaluating Reiki as an Alternative Therapy), the U.S. Bishops’ Committee on Doctrine said that some of Reiki’s teachers “argue that it is not the Reiki practitioner personally who effects the healing, but the Reiki energy directed by the divine consciousness. Nevertheless, the fact remains that for Christians the access to divine healing is by prayer to Christ as Lord.”
The bishops said that “some practitioners attempt to Christianize Reiki by adding a prayer to Christ, but this does not affect the essential nature of Reiki. For these reasons, Reiki and other similar therapeutic techniques cannot be identified with what Christians call healing by divine grace.” They cautioned that “a Catholic who puts his or her trust in Reiki [or Tai Chi] would be operating in the realm of superstition, the no-man’s-land that is neither faith nor science. Superstition corrupts one’s worship of God by turning one’s religious feeling and practice in a false direction. While sometimes people fall into superstition through ignorance, it is the responsibility of all who teach in the name of the Church to eliminate such ignorance as much as possible.”
It seems to us that one could use stretching exercises to help alleviate aches and pains without getting into superstition or into the shadowy world of the New Age Movement.

Q. I was surprised that you felt that Jesus would not have undergone His horrific Passion and Death for only 10 percent of the billions who have inhabited this planet. To feel that the many billions of souls who would represent the 10 percent would not be significant is stunning. I refer you to Abraham pleading with the Lord not to destroy Sodom if at least 10 good men could be found. The Lord agreed. — B.W., via e-mail.
A. The point we were making was not that Jesus would not have died to save only a small percentage of sinners (He would have), but rather that His sacrificial death would surely have effected the salvation of many more souls than the 10 percent envisioned by St. Bernard. We believe this to be so in light of what Jesus told St. Faustina about the vast scope of His divine mercy. Here are some of His statements to Faustina:
“The loss of each soul plunges Me into mortal sadness. You always console Me when you pray for sinners. The prayer most pleasing to Me is prayer for the conversion of sinners. Know, my daughter, that this prayer is always heard and answered.”
“I do not want to punish aching mankind, but I desire to heal it, pressing it to my merciful Heart. I use punishment when they themselves force Me to do so. My hand is reluctant to take hold of the sword of justice. Before the day of justice, I am sending the day of mercy.”
“I desire that the first Sunday after Easter be the Feast of Mercy. . . . Whoever approaches the Fount of Life on this day will be granted complete remission of sins and punishment.”
“The soul that will go to Confession [within seven days] and receive Holy Communion shall obtain complete forgiveness of sins and punishment. On that day are open all the divine floodgates through which graces flow. Let no one fear to draw near to Me, even though its sin be like scarlet. My mercy is so great that no mind, be it of man or of angel, will be able to fathom it throughout all eternity.”
“Even if the sin of souls will be as dark as night, when the sinner turns to my mercy he gives Me the greatest praise and is the glory of my Passion. When a soul praises my goodness, Satan trembles before it and flees to the very bottom of Hell.”
“Souls perish in spite of my bitter Passion. I am giving them the last hope of salvation, that is, the Feast of My Mercy. If they will not adore my mercy, they will perish for all eternity. Tell souls about this great gift of mine because the awful day, the day of my justice, is near.”
“Let the weak, sinful soul have no fear to approach Me, for even if it had more sins than there are grains of sand in the world, all will be drowned in the immeasurable depths of my mercy.”
“When you say this prayer with a contrite heart and with faith on behalf of some sinner, I will give him the grace of conversion. This is the prayer: ‘O blood and water, which gushed forth from the Heart of Jesus as a fount of mercy for us, I trust in You’.”

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Vikings host ‘LGBTQ summit’ to promote ‘inclusion’ in sports

EAGAN, Minnesota, June 21, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The Minnesota Vikings are hosting a conference and fundraiser today for “LGBTQ inclusion in sports,” the first of its kind in the National Football League (NFL). The event will include speeches, interviews, and…Continue Reading

Catholic bishops are quick to attack Trump but slow to advise their voters

(RNS) — President Trump had no sooner returned home from his historic photo op with Korean dictator Kim Jong Un in Singapore when he faced condemnation from a host of religious leaders, from Southern Baptists to African Methodists to Catholics,…Continue Reading

Bishop: Deny Communion to Border Agents. It’s a ‘Life Issue.’

Is enforcing U.S. immigration law a moral evil that demands excommunication? Or would a new proposal politicize the Eucharist, strengthen organized crime, and hurt even more migrant children? Roman Catholics must face these questions after Bishop Edward Weisburger of Tucson suggested “canonical…Continue Reading

Argentina steps closer to legalising abortion

Catholic Argentina’s lower house has backed a bill legalising abortion in the first 14 weeks of pregnancy. After a divisive debate lasting more than 22 hours, 129 members of the Chamber of Deputies voted in favour and 125 against while…Continue Reading

Pope Francis rejects German proposal for inter-communion

Vatican City, Jun 4, 2018 / 06:37 am (CNA/EWTN News).- One month after Vatican and German delegates met in Rome to discuss a proposal put forward by German bishops to allow Protestant spouses in inter-denominational marriages to receive the Eucharist…Continue Reading

St. Paul archdiocese settlement is largest-ever in Catholic bankruptcy case

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Church’s teaching on male-only priesthood is ‘infallible’: Vatican doctrine chief

ROME, May 29, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — The head of the Vatican office overseeing Church doctrine has insisted that the Church’s teaching on the male-only priesthood is “infallible,” and has offered a veiled rebuke of a prominent Cardinal who recently claimed the…Continue Reading

The revolt against Humanae Vitae continues to haunt us today

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Cardinal: Communion cannot be shared with non-Catholics like beer or cake

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Speaker Ryan Proposes a Return to Catholic Social Doctrine at Prayer Breakfast

Washington, D.C. – House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) spoke at the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast Thursday about how he believed the answer to many of the political problems society faces today, including “moral relativism” and “tribalism,” can be found in Catholic…Continue Reading

Judge rules ‘transgender’ high-schooler should have been allowed opposite-sex bathroom

NEWPORT NEWS, Virginia, May 24, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A judge has ruled that a Virginia high school should have allowed a gender-confused former student to use the restrooms designated for the opposite sex. Gavin Grimm is a female Gloucester High School…Continue Reading

One of the most ‘liberal abortion regimes’ if vote passes

Ireland will have one of the most liberal abortion regimes in Europe if Friday’s referendum is passed, the No campaign warned during its final press conference on Wednesday. With the broadcasting ban set to come into force on the eve of the…Continue Reading

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

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  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

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Today . . .

Fr. James Martin praises Catholic parish booklet affirming active gays

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Cardinal Burke responds to Francis: We hand-delivered dubia letter to Pope’s residence

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GOOD NEWS . . .Fr. Phillips Exonerated

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Cardinal Brandmüller Questions Francis’ Claim Not to Have Received the Dubia Before Publication

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US Cardinal removed after ‘credible’ allegation he abused a minor

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Memory Lapses At The FBI

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But What Happened To The News Coverage? . . . Pope Says Homosexual Couples Are Not A Family

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Holy Bashfulness Vs. Shame By ALICE von HILDEBRAND

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On The Role Of Beauty In The Spiritual Life

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Civil Court… Rules Fulton Sheen’s Remains Can Go To Peoria

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Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

The Sacraments Instituted By Christ… More On Confession

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Freedom And Truth

By DON FIER A preeminent truth that no man can deny is the universal desire for happiness — it is a goal that is common to all. This innate desire was identified and written of more than three centuries before Christ by the Greek philosopher Aristotle in his classic work entitled Nicomachean Ethics. At the same time, the pagan philosopher…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Q. Following up on a recent question about a divorced and remarried non-Catholic adult who converts to the Catholic Church, you said that the conversion would not change the status of the person, that he would still be married to his previous spouse and could not marry again without a decree of nullity or the death of the first spouse.…Continue Reading

None Dare Call It Treason

By DEACON JAMES TONER (Editor’s Note: Deacon James H. Toner, Ph.D., is Professor Emeritus of Leadership and Ethics at the U.S. Air War College, and author of Morals Under the Gun and other books. He has also taught at Notre Dame, Norwich, Auburn, the U.S. Air Force Academy, and Holy Apostles College & Seminary. He serves in the Diocese of…Continue Reading

The Glorious St. John The Baptist

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Catholic Heroes… St. Joseph Cafasso

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Catholic Heroes… St. Joseph The Hymnographer

By CAROLE BRESLIN In the late sixth and early seventh century, the glories of Gregorian chant began to develop in Rome. Then, in the thirteenth century, St. Thomas Aquinas wrote beautiful hymns to celebrate Corpus Christi and to honor the Real Presence. In the Eastern Church, around Constantinople, they also sang hymns, but it was not until the late ninth…Continue Reading