Monday 21st August 2017

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August 4, 2017 Our Catholic Faith No Comments

Q. I was surprised to learn at our last Catholic Daughters of the Americas meeting that our parish Catholic school has a Girl Scouts of America troop. I understand that the values taught by the current Girl Scout leadership are not the values of the Catholic faith. Is there an alternative to the Girl Scouts for our young Catholic girls? — R.D., Pennsylvania.
A. While there are local Girl Scout troops that are headed by persons promoting the values traditionally associated with scouting, the national leadership of the GSA is involved in promoting contraception, abortion, and gender ideology through its ties with Planned Parenthood and the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS). Girl Scouts USA belongs to WAGGGS and pays an annual membership fee of $1.8 million, while WAGGGS partners with International Planned Parenthood and advocates for contraception and abortion.
GSA also holds up as role models for young girls Margaret Sanger, Betty Friedan, and Gloria Steinem, all of whom have crusaded for contraception and abortion, and in 2013 it shared a recommendation for “Woman of the Year” of pro-abortion activist Wendy Davis of Texas. It also promoted as a woman of “courage, confidence, and character” former pro-abortion Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius.
There are many outstanding female role models who are pro-life, but apparently they would be frowned upon by the GSA.
When he cut ties with the Girl Scouts in 2016, Archbishop Robert Carlson of St. Louis said that “Girl Scouts is exhibiting a troubling pattern of behavior, and it is clear to me that as they move in the ways of the world it is becoming increasingly incompatible with our Catholic values.” Similar concerns have been voiced by Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City, Mo.
Parents seeking alternatives for their daughters can turn to American Heritage Girls, which describes itself as “the premier national character development organization for girls ages 5 to 18 that embraces Christian values and encourages family involvement.” You can contact American Heritage Girls at ahg@ahgonline.org or at 175 Tri-County Parkway, Suite 100, Cincinnati, OH 45246. The telephone number is 513-771-2025.

Q. Is Humanae Vitae, the 1968 encyclical of Blessed Paul VI, infallible teaching? If not, could it be overturned by Pope Francis if a new papal commission concludes that contraception is permitted? If the Pope can err in one area, then what good is the Church? — J.C.M., Pennsylvania.
A. Within weeks of the promulgation of Humanae Vitae in July 1968, Patrick Cardinal O’Boyle of Washington, D.C., published a 40-page booklet entitled Sex in Marriage: Love-Giving and Life-Giving, which to this day provides some of the best answers to objections to Pope Paul VI’s controversial encyclical on human life. On the question of infallibility, the booklet said:
“You have to make a distinction between the form in which the teaching is presented and the teaching itself. It is clear that Humanae Vitae is not itself a formally infallible document. However, the opposition of the Catholic Church to contraception is an unbroken tradition going back to the very beginning of Christianity. Pope Paul refers to the Church’s teaching on contraception as firmissa doctrina ecclesiae — ‘the firmly solid teaching of the Church.’ Similarly strong expressions were used by Pius XI and Pius XII in their condemnation of contraception.
“All this — the unbroken tradition condemning contraception and the very strong language used by Popes in their statements on the subject — points to the conclusion that this point of Catholic teaching might eventually be infallibly defined. As a matter of fact, many of the theologians who discussed this question between 1930 and 1960 judged that the Catholic Church’s position on this moral question is part of her infallible teaching” (pp. 4-5).
On September 17, 1983, Pope St. John Paul II reinforced the unbroken tradition when he told a group of priests that “contraception is to be judged objectively so profoundly unlawful as never to be, for any reason, justified. To think or to say the contrary is equal to maintaining that, in human life, situations may arise in which it is lawful not to recognize God as God.”
In his 1995 encyclical on the Gospel of Life (Evangelium Vitae), John Paul went so far as to link contraception with abortion, saying that they are “fruits of the same tree.” He said that “the close connection that exists in mentality between the practice of contraception and that of abortion is becoming increasingly obvious. It is being demonstrated in an alarming way by the development of chemical products, intrauterine devices, and vaccines which, distributed with the same ease as contraceptives, really act as abortifacients in the very early stages of the development of the life of the new human being” (n. 13).
Two years later, the Pontifical Council for the Family issued a reference document (Vade Mecum) for priests hearing the Confessions of those engaged in contraceptive behavior. Among other things was this unequivocal statement:
“The Church has always taught the intrinsic evil of contraception, that is, of every marital act intentionally rendered unfruitful. This teaching is to be held as definitive and irreformable. Contraception is gravely opposed to marital chastity; it is contrary to the good of the transmission of life (the procreative aspect of matrimony) and to the reciprocal self-giving of the spouses (the unitive aspect of matrimony); it harms true love and denies the sovereign role of God in the transmission of life” (n. 2.4).
In Vatican II’s Dogmatic Constitution on the Church (Lumen Gentium), the council fathers said that “although individual bishops do not enjoy the prerogative of infallibility, they can nevertheless proclaim Christ’s doctrine infallibly. This is so, even when they are dispersed around the world, provided that while maintaining the bond of unity among themselves and with Peter’s successor, and while teaching authentically on a matter of faith or morals, they concur in a single viewpoint as the one which must be held conclusively” (n. 25).
In a lengthy analysis of this paragraph, moral theologians John C. Ford, SJ, and Germain Grisez concluded (cf. The Teaching of Humanae Vitae: A Defense, p. 171):
“We think the facts show as clearly as anyone could reasonably demand that the conditions articulated by Vatican II for infallibility in the exercise of the ordinary Magisterium of the bishops dispersed throughout the world have been met in the case of the Catholic Church’s teaching on contraception. At least until 1962, Catholic bishops in communion with one another and with the Pope agreed in and authoritatively proposed one judgment to be held definitively on the morality of contraception: Acts of this kind are objectively, intrinsically, and gravely evil.
“Since this teaching has been proposed infallibly, the controversy since 1963 takes nothing away from its objectively certain truth. It is not the received Catholic teaching on contraception which needs to be rethought. It is the assumption that this teaching could be abandoned as false which needs to be rethought.”
In summary, while one can dispute whether the encyclical Humanae Vitae is formally infallible in itself, there is no room for reasonably arguing that the Church’s teaching on the evil of contraception is not infallible. There is no chance that any Pope today or in the future will overturn the Church’s ancient and unbroken condemnation of contraception. What is good about the Church is that she will never reverse herself on a matter of faith or morals.

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Cardinal Sarah urges faithful to resist ‘revolutionaries’ who attack faith and family

At a memorial Mass honoring the martyrs of the Vendée region in France, Cardinal Robert Sarah challenged Catholics to oppose “the modern persecutors of the Church,” and warned that today’s attack on the faith is centered on a bid to…Continue Reading

Calls for prayer amid ‘abhorrent’ violence in Charlottesville

Washington D.C., Aug 12, 2017 / 03:46 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- The head of the U.S. bishops conference called for prayers after one person was killed and over a dozen injured during a white nationalist protest in Charlottesville, Virginia. “The abhorrent…Continue Reading

Knights of Columbus ‘modernize’ Fourth Degree uniforms

St. Louis, Mo., Aug 3, 2017 / 02:56 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- The classic ceremonial hats and capes of Fourth Degree members of the Knights of Columbus that you may have seen at Mass or at parish events will now be…Continue Reading

Priest stabbed during Mass at Mexico City cathedral dies in hospital

Mexico City, Mexico, Aug 3, 2017 / 04:02 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Father José Miguel Machorro, who was stabbed in the neck and torso mid-May at the conclusion of Mass at the cathedral of Mexico City, died while at hospital on…Continue Reading

Abortionist praised by Pope speaks at Catholic church, pro-life protesters kicked out

BIELLA, Italy, July 28, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – Despite vocal opposition, a notorious Italian abortionist was allowed to speak at a Catholic parish on Wednesday, while pro-life critics were locked out, silenced or kicked out. Despite her abortion advocacy, Emma Bonino was praised by Pope Francis in…Continue Reading

Gard family announces that Charlie has died

London, England, Jul 28, 2017 / 11:51 am (CNA/EWTN News).- A spokesperson for the parents of terminally ill British infant Charlie Gard has reported that their “beautiful little boy” has died. He had been taken into hospice care on July…Continue Reading

John McCain Burns Mitch McConnell Sides with Democrats

In a move that’s no surprise to anyone, John McCain voted against the embarrassingly named “Skinny Repeal”, voted against his party (or is it his party?) and voted to keep Obamacare going as is. Smarter people than me say that…Continue Reading

Catholic men’s conference in crosshairs of left-wing activists

Christine Niles, a Vietnamese immigrant who helps run a parachurch organization in Michigan that promotes Roman Catholic teaching, expected to spend this week preparing theological materials and getting ready for the group’s annual conference for men. Instead, Niles, who is…Continue Reading

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

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Today . . .

Planned Parenthood is Spending $500,000 to Create an Army of Pro-Abortion Activists

Planned Parenthood and other pro-abortion groups have long envied the grassroots power of the pro-life movement. Now, the nation’s largest abortion chain is trying to buy its own grassroots base, starting with half a million dollars. BuzzFeed News reports Planned Parenthood just kicked off a campaign to set up 600 volunteer-led teams to promote abortion across the United States. Each team in the abortion group’s “pink army” will be located near one of its 600-plus facilities,…Continue Reading

Cardinal Sarah: ‘We are called today to witness, which means martyrdom’

August 17, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — This evening, we offer the sacrifice of the Mass for the repose of the souls of all of the volunteers of the Puy-du-Fou who have died since the beginnings of this beautiful work, 40 years ago. Every night, all of you who are gathered here, awaken the memory of this place through your work. The castle of the Puy-du-Fou, with its hurting ruins, abandoned by man, seems to rise like a cry…Continue Reading

Planned Parenthood CEO Claims President Trump Has “Both Barrels Aimed at Women” on Abortion

The CEO of America’s largest abortion business slammed President Donald Trump again this week for his pro-life policies. Cecile Richards, who makes nearly $1 million a year running the “non-profit” Planned Parenthood, claimed Trump is out to get women because he supports cutting off taxpayer funding to abortion groups. “The actions we’re seeing and what we’ve seen out of this administration from day one have had both barrels aimed at women,” Richards told Politico.

Australian bishops oppose forcing priests to reveal details of confession

Vatican City, Aug 14, 2017 / 07:20 am (CNA/EWTN News).- The bishops of Australia have indicated that they will resist the Royal Commission’s proposal that priests be legally obligated to disclose details of sexual abuse revealed in the confessional, facing criminal charges if they don’t. “Confession in the Catholic Church is a spiritual encounter with God through the priest,” Archbishop Denis J Hart of Melbourne said in an Aug. 14 statement.

A bishop’s plea: Don’t forget victims of war and cholera in Yemen

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Aug 11, 2017 / 04:42 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- A deadly cholera outbreak in Yemen could continue indefinitely without an end to the civil war, says a bishop in the region who has pleaded for the faithful to pray and for an end to arms sales to the parties. “As I believe in the power of prayer, I can only ask the faithful around the world, to keep in mind the…Continue Reading

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Jean Vanier… To Love And Be Loved

By DONALD DeMARCO Jean Vanier was born on September 10, 1928 in Geneva, Switzerland. His father, Major-General Georges Vanier, served as the 19th governor general of Canada. Jean received a broad education in Canada, England, and France. He served with the Royal Navy and the Royal Canadian Navy. He earned a doctorate in philosophy and…Continue Reading

Our Lady Of Fatima… The July Apparition And Subsequent Controversies

By FR. SEAN CONNOLLY (Editor’s Note: This is the sixth in a series of articles on the one hundredth anniversary of our Lady’s apparitions at Fatima. Fr. Connolly is a priest of the Archdiocese of New York. Part six, because of its length, has appeared in two separate issues of The Wanderer. This is the…Continue Reading

Dissonance, The New Normal

By LAWRENCE P. GRAYSON Almost daily, the media report on instances of radical dissension in America. People are split on numerous political, social, and religious issues, show no inclination to compromise, and increasingly rely on obstruction to pursue their positions. The result is discord, confusion, outrage, greater polarization, and violence. In the absence of national…Continue Reading

Religion Is Not Simple

By JOHN YOUNG Some people claim that true religion is very simple, and that if we delve into difficult theological questions we will lose that simplicity. Jesus said we must become as little children if we are to enter God’s Kingdom; He didn’t say we must become theologians. Frank Sheed’s response to the claim that…Continue Reading

Rose Of Lima, A First For The Americas

By RAY CAVANAUGH The first saint born in the Americas, Rose of Lima practiced both charity and asceticism with extreme intensity until her death at age 31. She is now the patroness of South America, and churches across the world bear her name. This August 24 marks the 400th anniversary of her death. The future…Continue Reading

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Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

A Leaven In The World . . . Silence Is Human And Divine

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK Perhaps you, like me, have sometimes been left with the sudden and awkward realization that you are in fact speaking to yourself when, confronting another human being with whom you thought you were communicating, you were met with total silence and completely ignored. More and more, the ubiquitous earphones have become mandatory equipment for many…Continue Reading

What Is Divine Grace?… Sanctifying Grace: Light Excludes Darkness

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM Part 3 In the previous article, we investigated the nature, purpose, and work of actual grace. In this article, we will look at sanctifying grace. We have seen that actual grace, although supernatural, is transient, not permanent. It is like an electric current which, passing for an instant through the wire wound around an iron…Continue Reading

Celebration Of The Sacrament Of Penance

By DON FIER The doctrine of indulgences, as we have seen over the past two weeks, is an important part of the life of the Church. Although the Catholic understanding of indulgences has been clouded by abuses, most notably in the 16th century when Martin Luther posted his Ninety-Five Theses, its roots go back to the beginning of the Church…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Q. You have expressed your disagreement in the past with the practice of omitting “hard sayings” from the Mass readings or giving the option of using the “shorter version” of a reading, which usually means leaving out a strong passage. I noticed that this happened with the Gospel for the 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time. Is this what you had…Continue Reading

God’s Inscrutable And Unsearchable Ways

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Twenty-First Sunday In Ordinary Time (YR A) Readings: Isaiah 22:19-23 Romans 11:33-36 Matt. 16:13-20 In the second reading today, St. Paul marvels at the depth of the riches, the wisdom, and the knowledge of God. He proclaims that God’s judgments are inscrutable and His ways are unsearchable. Of course, in our humanness, we often seem to…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… Blessed Karl Leisner

By CAROLE BRESLIN There was a priest, Blessed Karl Leisner, who heard his call to the priesthood during a Schoenstatt Retreat. The Apostolic Movement of Schoenstatt is an apostolate of the Roman Catholic Church, a Marian movement founded in Germany in 1914 by a Pallottine priest, Fr. Joseph Kentenich (1885-1968). Members of the Schoenstatt were formed for a renewal in…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Alphonsa Of The Immaculate Conception

By CAROLE BRESLIN There are many different churches that are in full communion with Rome. One of these is in India: the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church in Kerala, India — once called the St. Thomas (the Apostle) Christians. From this tiny group of Catholics have come a growing number of holy men and women recognized by Rome. So far, there are…Continue Reading