Wednesday 14th November 2018

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November 3, 2017 Our Catholic Faith No Comments

Q. I have been trying to read the Book of Revelation, but find it to be too confusing and too difficult to understand. Do you have any suggestions about how to proceed? — L.M., via e-mail.
A. It would be helpful to study the footnotes in the book, say, in the Ignatius Catholic Study Bible version of Revelation. You might also get a copy of Peter S. Williamson’s book, Revelation, which provides an excellent commentary. And you will find useful Fr. Alfred McBride’s book, The Second Coming of Jesus. This is a much shorter commentary than the one by Dr. Williamson, but it offers some clarity about some of the puzzling passages in the last book of the Bible. Based on our consultation of these sources in leading a parish Bible study, we would offer the following comments:
Revelation is a book of Christian prophecy whose authorship is traditionally assigned to John the Apostle, who wrote down his visions while in exile on the Aegean island of Patmos near the end of the first century. Similar to the books of Isaiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel — 278 of the 404 verses in Revelation allude to something in the Old Testament — the book employs visions, heavenly journeys, and exceptional symbolism and imagery to call people to repentance and conversion, to explain the meaning of human events (what Jesus called the “signs of the times”) in the first century, and to predict the future actions of God at the end of history, although not with a specific timeline.
The book contains letters written to seven churches in the Roman province of Asia. Although there were many other Christian churches in existence at that time, John probably singled out these seven because they were connected by the same road and were easily reached. He may have preached and celebrated the Eucharist at these churches, so he would have been familiar with them. The letters he sent out were on a written scroll and probably were communicated to the people orally, perhaps at a liturgical assembly.
Revelation alternates between terrifying visions of judgments on Earth and consoling visions of God’s throne in Heaven. The central theme of the book is that God is on His throne and is in control of events on Earth. He is accompanied by powerful angels and faithful saints and martyrs, and we see that the Lamb (Jesus) has conquered evil and the outcome of history is certain, although there will be many trials and tribulations before the end. The book progresses from John’s first vision of Christ, to his vision of the heavenly throne room, to severe chastisements of the world and trials for the Church, to the return of Christ, and to the full arrival of God’s Kingdom at the end of time.
Why the bizarre symbolism and extravagant imagery? Perhaps because this approach could give deeper meaning to persons and events than could be gotten from plain language. It certainly makes the book much more interesting and challenging than if it were written in ordinary prose. Once you understand the meaning of the symbols and images, the book is no longer confusing or frightening. Numbers are significant: seven normally means completeness or fullness of authority (seven horns) or fullness of knowledge (seven eyes). Since six is less than seven, it is less than perfect and 666, the mark of the beast, is the ultimate in imperfection.
Four represents the world (the four winds or the four points of the compass), twelve refers to the People of God, whether the 12 tribes of Israel or the 12 apostles or the 24 elders (12 plus 12) around the throne, and a thousand and multiples of a thousand indicate a very large number rather than a precise quantity. Colors are significant, too, with white symbolizing holiness (the elders in Heaven) or infinite wisdom (the One with white hair on the throne) and red symbolizing readiness to shed blood (the second horseman of the Apocalypse or the dragon who is Satan).
In the introduction to his commentary on Revelation, Peter Williamson said that the content of the book is about four things: “1) the condition of the churches in Asia; 2) God’s sovereignty and Christ’s lordship over history; 3) the conflict and tribulation before Christ’s return; and 4) a preview in general terms of how God will fulfill His promises, defeat evil, and save his people” (p. 33).
He said that the lessons of Revelation are relevant today when “an international, materialistic, consumerist, sexually immoral culture seduces many away from their Christian faith. While literal idolatry — the worship of pagan gods and their physical images — is less common today than in the first century, spiritual idolatry — manifest in excessive love for and ultimate trust in created things rather than in God, whether wealth, pleasure, science, technology, governments, institutions, celebrities, or leaders — is stronger than ever” (p. 35).
He said that “twenty centuries after Revelation was written, we know that the consummation of all things may or may not be ‘soon’ in the time frame of our world, but a response to the Gospel is nevertheless urgent in the life of every person and society. Revelation reminds us that our ultimate hope is not merely to die and go to Heaven, but rather to see the glorious return of our Lord, the resurrection, and the marriage of heaven and earth when the New Jerusalem descends like a bride. Our destiny as Jesus’ disciples is the wedding feast of the Lamb in an eternal city that defies description, where we will see God face-to-face” (pp. 35-36).

Q. Recently I arranged for Mass to be said for a deceased friend, and I paid a $10 stipend. On the day the Mass was supposed to be said, however, the priest was out of town and the sacristan conducted a Communion service, announcing that the service was being offered for my friend. This was quite different than offering the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass for someone, was it not? Should the priest keep my stipend for a Mass he did not say? — G.P., via e-mail.
A. A Communion service cannot take the place of a memorial Mass for the deceased. The priest who took the $10 offering is obliged in justice to celebrate a Mass for your friend. Since he was unable to do so on the agreed day, he must say Mass for your friend at another time. The laws governing Mass offerings for special intentions can be found in canons 945 to 958 of the Code of Canon Law.

Q. I just finished watching a one-hour YouTube presentation by a woman at a Fatima conference in Chicago. She talked about Pope Francis being friendly with George Soros and his deputies with regard to global warming and population control. She said that the Holy Father, the United Nations, and George Soros are walking hand-in-hand toward socialism. How much credence can one put in this? — J.D., via e-mail.
A. The talk you are referring to was entitled “An Unholy Alliance: the UN, Soros, and the Francis Papacy.” It was delivered in 2016 in Chicago by Elizabeth Yore, an attorney who had spent many years fighting human trafficking. She said that when she went to what was supposed to be a human trafficking conference at the Vatican in 2013, she found a number of “global elitists” — people from the Obama administration, the UN, and various left-wing non-governmental organizations (NGOs) — pushing a one-world agenda revolving around climate change and population control.
One of the main speakers was economist Jeffrey Sachs, a close associate of leftist billionaire George Soros and a man who has spoken at Vatican conferences 18 times in recent years. Mrs. Yore noted that Sachs has the ear of Pope Francis and has been praised by the Holy Father.
While we wouldn’t endorse everything in the video, you can put some credence in it since much of what Mrs. Yore pointed out is factual. Her concerns were reaffirmed at a more recent Vatican conference, from February 27 to March 1 of this year, that featured a talk by Paul Ehrlich, the notoriously unreliable climate prognosticator and population-control advocate. Ehrlich has called the Catholic Church “dangerous” for opposing contraception and Pope Francis “dead wrong” for not mentioning population control in his encyclical Laudato Si.
“Why the Vatican should be giving a platform to this secular prophet of doom is beyond me,” said Steven Mosher of the Population Research Institute. “There are plenty of credible Catholic scientists around whose fact-based opinions should be highlighted by their Church. What’s next — inviting Raul Castro to speak on human rights?”

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Having watched the first session of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops General Meeting, and that fact that the Pope has ordered them not vote on any action items, I have to ask, what is the point of this meeting? What is the point of National Bishops' Conferences?

One of my #prolife colleagues talked to a mom outside of an #Abortion facility the other day; at one point she asked, “My baby has a heartbeat?“ She chose life. The simple facts about the development of the #unborn turn people around. The abortion industry hides all these facts.

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US bishops consider asking Pope Francis to release McCarrick documents

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U.S. Catholic Bishops Meet in the Shadow, Still, of Clergy Sex Abuse

This weekend, the Catholic bishops of the United States gather in Baltimore ahead of their three-day annual general assembly, which opens Monday. By coincidence, it will be 16 years exactly since their session in 2002, when they met to amend…Continue Reading

The Synodal Church

Antonio Spadaro, SJ – Carlos Galli Forty years ago, Jesuit Father Arij Roest Crollius wrote: “What is so new about inculturation?”[1] His reflection was a milestone in the understanding of that word and in welcoming a concept at the heart of…Continue Reading

National network of Catholic church leaders told to preserve all communications

The U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania has asked the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops to preserve all electronic and paper documents in case other federal prosecutors need to look into accusations of sexual assault against current…Continue Reading

Cdl. Burke ‘strongly’ endorses new virtue education program for young people

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Pittsburgh wants to revoke Chick-fil-A’s sponsorship of kids event over Christian marriage views

PITTSBURGH, October 24, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – America’s most successful Christian food chain may be driven out of a children’s community event in Pittsburgh over the owners’ Christian-based view of marriage and homosexuality, if the Pittsburgh City Council has its way.…Continue Reading

Australian bishop touts women’s ordination: ‘transformation of priesthood’ is underway

CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand, October 23, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – An Australian bishop recently told priests that admitting women to the priesthood in the Church’s current state of affairs would be like pouring new wine into old wine skins, but that a “transformation…Continue Reading

Twitter locks LifeSite out of account for ‘hate’: fact-based post on rise in gay STDs

October 18, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Twitter has just locked LifeSiteNews out of our Twitter account over an article we posted four years ago that provided expert analysis on the rise in sexually-transmitted diseases among homosexuals. The 2014 piece by Dr. Gerard M.…Continue Reading

Ave Maria U president who criticized Cdl. Burke, Archbishop Viganò announces resignation

AVE MARIA, Florida, October 17, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Just six weeks after he issued a statement criticizing Vatican whistleblower Archbishop Carlo Vigano, Ave Maria University (AMU) announced its president Jim Towey will step down in June 2020. Vigano’s 11-page testimony…Continue Reading

‘Just glad we ruined Kavanaugh’s life’: Pro-abortion Left responds to Supreme Court defeat

WASHINGTON, D.C., October 8, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Judge Brett Kavanaugh is now Justice Brett Kavanaugh, and the left-wing forces who pulled out all the stops to defeat him show no signs of cooling down anytime soon. The Senate voted 50-48 on…Continue Reading

Pope selects youth from pro-gay Vatican consultant’s media org to attend Synod

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Youth Synod Archbishop apologizes to young Catholics for sex abuse, ‘unbeautiful liturgies’

ROME, October 4, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — Archbishop Anthony Fisher of Sydney, Australia, has issued an extensive mea culpa at the Vatican Youth Synod for all the ways in which the hierarchy and members of the Church have failed young people — whether…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 . . .

Abp. Viganò urges U.S. bishops to confront sex abuse as ‘courageous shepherds’

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Pope Francis . . . “First, there is the immense and ongoing crisis of climate change and the nuclear menace”

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Vatican orders U.S. bishops to halt plans for vote on sex-abuse reforms

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Our Veterans Fought and Died For Our Freedom, Not for Abortion

(Reprinted from 2013) In the early morning hours of June 6, 1944, thirty men from the small town of Bedford, Virginia, huddled close together in landing craft churning through the dark waters of the English Channel on a mission unlike any other the world had ever known. Their destination: a strip of sand known as Omaha Beach in Normandy, France. Most of the thoughts running through the minds of these young men are lost to…Continue Reading

US bishops’ Catholic Campaign for Human Development continues to fund pro-abortion, pro-LGBT groups

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Conflicting Rights In A Divided Nation

By LAWRENCE P. GRAYSON The Senate Judiciary hearings to confirm Brett Kavanaugh as an associate justice of the Supreme Court were brutal to his personal reputation, devastating to the comity of the congressional body, and inflammatory in an already divided nation. Protesters shouted in the hearing room, had sit-ins in the hall, accosted a senator…Continue Reading

The Paradox Of The Person

By DONALD DeMARCO The first law of nature is self-preservation. The highest law of morality is self-sacrifice. What the content these two sentences makes abundantly clear is that the life of the human being is one of perpetual tension. Self-preservation and self-sacrifice are not exactly on the same page. However, it is important to note…Continue Reading

Mass Migration: Mortal Threat To Red State America

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Shawnee State . . . Professors Must Speak Contrary To Their Beliefs Or Be Punished

CINCINNATI — Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys filed a federal lawsuit against Shawnee State University officials Monday, November 5 on behalf of a professor that the university punished because he declined a male student’s demand to be referred to as a woman, with feminine titles and pronouns (“Miss,” “she,” etc.). Although philosophy professor Dr. Nicholas Meriwether…Continue Reading

Trump Administration… Announces New Conscience Exemptions For HHS Mandate

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Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

The Road To Hell Is Paved With Indifference

By MSGR. CHARLES POPE (Editor’s Note: Msgr. Charles Pope is the pastor of Holy Comforter-St. Cyprian, Washington, D.C. Monsignor kindly gave The Wanderer permission to reprint this essay from his blog, which appeared there on November 5, 2018. All rights reserved.) + + + The Gospel for Tuesday of the 31st Week features the Lucan version of the parable about…Continue Reading

Shine Brightly Like The Stars

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Thirty-Third Sunday In Ordinary Time (YR B) Readings: Daniel 12:1-3 Heb. 10:11-14, 18 Mark 13:24-32 In the Gospel reading today our Lord teaches us about what will happen at the end of the world: The sun will be darkened, the moon will not give its light, the stars will be falling from the sky, and the…Continue Reading

A Leaven In The World… Life Is Beautiful With Final Judgment In View

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK The prospect of final judgment brings negative impressions, images, or emotions to mind for many. Sometimes it also does so for some who claim our Catholic faith. As a step along the way to spiritual maturity, we must often be purged of our childish or worldly impressions. With an authentic and deeper faith, the prospect…Continue Reading

The Sacrament Of Holy Orders… More On Women Priests — Why Not?

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA Part 4 The participation of women in the life of the Catholic Church over the centuries has been remarkable. Without being priests, women have played a major role in the instruction of the faithful, service of the sick and needy, and the works of the apostolate. The work of spreading the Gospel, as early as in…Continue Reading

Humility — Foundation Of The Spiritual Life

By DON FIER As has been demonstrated over the past two weeks, temperance is the cardinal virtue that “moderates the attraction of pleasures, assures the mastery of the will over instincts, and provides balance in the use of created goods” (Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 383). Although most often associated with man’s innate appetitive drives to…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Elizabeth Of The Trinity

By CAROLE BRESLIN When a woman receives the Carmelite habit, she also receives a new name. St. Teresa of Avila received the name “of Jesus” and St. Therese of Lisieux received the name “of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face.” Likewise, when Elizabeth Catez became a Carmelite and received her name, she was given the title “of the Trinity,”…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Catherine Of Alexandria

By CAROLE BRESLIN The list of saints is long, and includes both men and women from all walks of life and from all disciplines. For some saints, there is a plenitude of documents and accounts of their lives from which we can draw much information. For most of the saints from the early centuries of the Church, however, there is…Continue Reading