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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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Bishops to Trump: Don’t abandon young people to deportation

Washington D.C., Jul 20, 2017 / 06:01 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Undocumented young people brought to the U.S. by their parents contribute to American society and deserve continued protections from the Trump administration, said the U.S. Catholic bishops this week. “These…Continue Reading

Facing outrage – Facebook unblocks Catholic pages

Dozens of Catholic Facebook pages have been blocked, according to several Catholic news organizations. UPDATE: Facebook has unblocked more than 20 Catholic-interest pages – blaming the issue on a technical glitch. “All Pages have now been restored,” a Facebook spokesperson…Continue Reading

Bishops stress hospitality for Camino de Santiago hosts

Santiago de Compostela, Spain, Jul 14, 2017 / 04:38 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- The bishops of Spain and France have published a new letter emphasizing the importance of hospitality for people who host pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago, offering guidelines…Continue Reading

Cardinal Sarah wants ‘liturgical reconciliation’ between old and new forms of Mass

Sarah says phrase ‘reform of the reform’ should no longer be used but wants ordinary version of Mass to be more like the extraordinary form The Cardinal leading the Vatican’s divine worship office has called for a truce in the…Continue Reading

Video game store promotes graphic animated porn to 35 million child users

WASHINGTON, D.C., July 10, 2017 (NCOSE) – A mainstream online video game store, with an estimated 35 million users under the age of 18, is facilitating gamified sexual coercion and animated pornography featuring genitalia, ejaculation, to users of all ages. This…Continue Reading

Trump: ‘If We Do Not Have Strong Families and Strong Values…We Will Not Survive’

(CNSNews.com) – The values that bind America and Europe together – freedom, faith and family — are threatened from the outside by common enemies and from the inside by bureaucracy, President Donald Trump told a cheering crowd of Poles in…Continue Reading

House Republican says health care bill in jeopardy over Planned Parenthood

Rep. Trent Franks said Wednesday that if Planned Parenthood funding is added to the GOP health care bill, numerous Republican senators will no longer support it. “I think a lot of us are ‘no’ votes,” the Arizona Republican said. “We can’t continue…Continue Reading

Müller has a clear criticism of Francis

Critical criticism of Pope Franziskus was voiced by the Kurien Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Mueller. He told the “Passauer Neuen Presse” (Thursday) that Pope Francis Francis had informed him of the decision not to extend his office as a prefect of the…Continue Reading

Cardinal Joachim Meisner, one of the four ‘dubia’ cardinals, has died aged 83

Former German Bishops’ Conference president and Archbishop of Cologne Cardinal Joachim Meisner has died at the age of 83. Cardinal Meisner served as Archbishop of Cologne for 25 years. A spokesman for the archdiocese said he died on Wednesday morning…Continue Reading

Vietnamese Catholic blogger sentenced to 10 years in prison

HANOI, Vietnam – A Vietnamese court sentenced a Catholic blogger to 10 years in prison for propaganda against the Communist government. Rights activists described the sentence as “heavy.” Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh, 37, also known as “Mother Mushroom,” was tried…Continue Reading

‘It’s not all black and white’: New cardinal criticizes 4 cardinals asking Pope for clarity

ROME, June 30, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — One of Pope Francis’ newly appointed cardinals is already calling out fellow cardinals who are questioning the new direction in which the Pope is trying to move the Church. Archbishop Juan José Omella of…Continue Reading

Vatican’s Cardinal Pell charged with sex abuse, vows to defend himself in Australia

Australian police on Thursday charged Cardinal George Pell, a top adviser to Pope Francis, with multiple historical sex crimes, bringing a worldwide abuse scandal to the heart of the Vatican. As Vatican economy minister, Pell is the highest-ranking Church official…Continue Reading

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Bishop Conley: 50 years after Land O’Lakes, Catholic education needs renewal

Denver, Colo., Jul 21, 2017 / 04:05 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- The 50th anniversary of a historic statement that changed Catholic higher education in America represents both a cautionary tale and a chance to reflect on Catholic renewal, said Bishop James D. Conley of Lincoln, Nebraska. “The Land O’Lakes statement proposed to redefine the mission of the Catholic university. It rejected the authority of the Church, and of her doctrinal teaching,” Bishop Conley said. “It rejected…Continue Reading

Self-pitying and disgruntled, Cardinal Müller takes more jabs at Pope Francis

Cardinal Gerhard Müller has issued new, thinly veiled criticism of Pope Francis by complaining that the pontiff has effectively eliminated Germans from top positions in the Vatican and by insinuating that he is allowing a “pope cult” to fester. In an interview with the German news agency Deutsche Presse Agentur (dpa), which spanned some two hours, the former prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) complained once more and at length…Continue Reading

Pro-Life Group Slams Republican Opposing Senate Bill to Defund Planned Parenthood

Senator Shelly Moore Capito is one of three Republicans in the Senate who opposes the Senate bill to defund Planned Parenthood and repeal Obamacare. She has flip-flopped from suporting the bill to opposing it — but her political calculations are not playing well at home. The junior senator from West Virginia previously voted to repeal the failing ObamaCare legislation but did so expecting a certain veto from then President Obama. Now, it appears that Capito…Continue Reading

In latest appointments, Pope names new members of Roman Rota

Vatican City, Jul 20, 2017 / 06:15 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Fr. Pierangelo Pietracatella and Fr. Hans-Peter Fischer are the newest members of the Roman Rota, and mark the latest in a string of appointments Pope Francis has made this summer as part of his ongoing effort to restructure the Roman Curia. Hailing from the northern Italian diocese of Toronta, Fr. Pietracatella, a member of the Rota, has been named as it’s new Chief of Office.…Continue Reading

Archbishop Chaput Responds to Vatican Magazine Attack On Pro Trump Supporters . . .

chaput

History is full of great quotations that people never said. One of the best lines comes from Vladimir Lenin. He described Russian progressives, social democrats, and other fellow travelers as “useful idiots” – naïve allies in revolution whom the Bolsheviks promptly crushed when they took power. Or so the legend goes. In fact, there’s no evidence Lenin actually spoke those words, at least in public. But no one seems to care. It’s a compelling line,…Continue Reading

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Wellington Mara… A Pro-Life Giant

By DONALD DeMARCO An unexpected gift arrived in the mail some time ago — a copy of Judie Brown’s autobiography, courtesy of Wellington Mara, co-owner of the New York Football Giants. It was on the basis of my friendship with Mrs. Brown and the fact that I was seen as “a co-worker in her mission…Continue Reading

Alliance Defending Freedom… Condemns ABC’s “Journalistic Malpractice”

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Alliance Defending Freedom Legal Counsel and Director of Communications Kerri Kupec commented July 13 on ABC News’ abandonment of objectivity in repeating false accusations against ADF made by the ultra-partisan Southern Poverty Law Center. U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions spoke at an Alliance Defending Freedom meeting on July 11, “and some in…Continue Reading

A Book Review… A Non-Polemical Study The Third Secret Of Fatima

By DONAL ANTHONY FOLEY On the Third Part of the Secret of Fatima, by Kevin Symonds (En Route Books and Media, 2017, 582 pages, $35.00 paperback, $10.05 Kindle). On the Third Part of the Secret of Fatima is a quite comprehensive treatment of this difficult subject, and one based on extensive documentation and copious footnotes.…Continue Reading

A Pope Who Understood The American Vision

By TERENCE P. JEFFREY (Editor’s Note: Terence P. Jeffrey is the editor in chief of CNSnews.com. Creators Syndicate distributed this column.) + + + It was a bright April day in Washington, D.C., when a large crowd gathered on the South Lawn of the White House to greet a man celebrating his 81st birthday. The…Continue Reading

Neither Left Nor Right, But Catholic . . . A Disturbing Portrait Of The Present-Day American Left

By STEPHEN M. KRASON (Editor’s Note: Stephen M. Krason’s Neither Left nor Right, but Catholic column appears monthly [sometimes bimonthly] in Crisis. He is professor of political science and legal studies and associate director of the Veritas Center for Ethics in Public Life at Franciscan University of Steubenville. He is also cofounder and president of…Continue Reading

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Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

The Sacramental Seal Of Confession

By DON FIER Only bishops and priests, as we saw last week, are valid ministers of the Sacrament of Penance. Just as Christ works through His ordained ministers in the Eucharist to transform bread and wine into His Body and Blood, so too He works through bishops and priests to forgive the sins of repentant sinners. The Vicar of Christ…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Q. I never hear our priest talk about the Apostolic Pardon. Please explain this blessing to me and why I don’t hear much about it. — M.G., Alabama. A. Once the Sacrament of Penance has been given to a dying person, says the document Pastoral Care of the Sick (n. 201), “the priest may give the Apostolic Pardon for the…Continue Reading

The Pearl Of Great Price

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Seventeenth Sunday In Ordinary Time (YR A) Readings: 1 Kings 3:5, 7-12 Romans 8:28-30 Matt. 13:44-52 In the Gospel reading today, our Lord tells us that the Kingdom of Heaven is like something that is hidden: a treasure buried in a field, a merchant searching for a pearl, or an item pulled ashore in a net.…Continue Reading

Maiorem Hac Dilectionem . . . A New Way Toward Beatification

(Editor’s Note: Below we publish the full text of the Holy Father’s motu proprio on a new way toward beatification, titled, Maiorem hac dilectionem. It takes its title from the words of our Lord as recorded in the Gospel According to St. John, “Greater love than this no man hath, that a man lay down his life for his friends”…Continue Reading

A Leaven In The World… Charlie Gard Case A Warning For Faith

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK The world has become embroiled in the story of Charlie Gard, the British infant caught in the web of the National Health System, the bureaucrats of which have decided that he must be denied any further help and “allowed to die.” Any further efforts of doctors to aid him are seen as the cause of…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Bonaventure

By CAROLE BRESLIN There are many saints who have been called saints long before the formal process for canonization was put in place. Some of the names by which we know them may not be the names they were given at birth, but indicate their special gifts. For example, St. Veronica, known from the sixth station of the cross, may…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Bridget

By CAROLE BRESLIN One of St. Teresa of Calcutta’s most quoted sayings would fit with this column’s saint, “God hasn’t called me to be successful. He has called me to be faithful.” What encouraging words for anyone seeking to do God’s will, knowing that the cross, the setbacks, and the obstacles are all part of working for the Kingdom of…Continue Reading