Thursday 23rd November 2017

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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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Bannon Discusses Growing Up in ‘a Very Observant Catholic Family’ in the South Where the KKK ‘Tarred and Feathered’ Priests

In a freewheeling new interview with author Keith Koffler, Steve Bannon recounted his upbringing in a “very observant Catholic family” in the 1950s and 1960s and how that molded who he is now. Koffler, author of Bannon: Always the Rebel, asked Mr. Bannon—Breitbart…Continue Reading

Bishop McElroy decries extremism on religious freedom, calls for solidarity in American politics

WASHINGTON (RNS) — In an address at Georgetown University, Bishop Robert McElroy of San Diego criticized both extremes in the fight over religious freedom and called for public consensus based on solidarity to heal our nation in this hyper-partisan age. McElroy…Continue Reading

Cardinal Burke makes ‘final plea’ for clarity to Pope Francis on dubia anniversary

ROME, November 14, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – One year to the day after the dubia were made public, Cardinal Raymond Burke today is turning again to Pope Francis and to the whole Church in an urgent and final plea for clarity.…Continue Reading

Giving bishops final word on Mass translations would ‘destroy’ Church unity: Cardinal Muller

November 10, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — The unity of the Church would be “destroyed” if bishops’ conferences, not the Vatican, had the final word over translations of liturgical texts, said Cardinal Gerhard Müller in a recent interview. The former prefect of…Continue Reading

Notre Dame reverses decision to end coverage of birth control in university insurance plans

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In a reversal of school policy, the University of Notre Dame announced this week that it would continue to cover contraceptives for its employees, according to a report in the South Bend Tribune. The news marked a departure from Notre Dame’s announcement…Continue Reading

House Tax Reform Bill “Unacceptable” As Written, Say U.S. Bishops Chairmen

WASHINGTON—In a letter of November 9, Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Florida, Bishop Oscar Cantú of Las Cruces, New Mexico, and Bishop George V. Murry, SJ of Youngstown, Ohio called for amendments to the current draft of the House…Continue Reading

Truck honoring Dubia Cardinal stopped by police while circling Vatican

ROME, November 6, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — Today in Rome, a publicity truck carrying billboard-size images of Cardinal Carlo Caffarra, the dubia Cardinal who passed away three months ago, and Pope John Paul II made its way through the streets of…Continue Reading

Trump admin asks Supreme Court to ‘discipline’ lawyers for rushing teen’s abortion

WASHINGTON, D.C., November 6, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – The Department of Justice (DOJ) is petitioning the U.S. Supreme Court to punish the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) for lying to the government about the timeline of an underage illegal immigrant’s abortion.…Continue Reading

Christian nurse sues hospital for requiring her to assist abortions

DURHAM, North Carolina, November 3, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – A Catholic nurse is suing Duke University Hospital, claiming that the university discriminated against her religious and pro-life beliefs by requiring her to assist in abortions. Sara T. Pedro was told during her employee…Continue Reading

It’s ‘impossible’ to change Catholic teaching against contraception: Cardinal

ROME, October 28, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — The Church’s teaching against contraception as expressed in Humanae Vitae is an “extraordinary example” of how the “truth of faith” deepens and develops while “continuing to be identical to itself,” Cardinal Walter Brandmüller stated at a…Continue Reading

Thousands sign online petition to remove Madison’s bishop

MADISON (WKOW) — There’s an online petition being circulated to remove the Bishop of the Diocese of Madison. Bishop Robert Morlino is being criticized for his attitude about the LGTBQ community.  Earlier this week, an email was sent to priests in the…Continue Reading

Pontifical Academy of Sciences welcomes leftist California Governor Jerry Brown to keynote

ROME (ChurchMilitant.com) – The Pontifical Academy of Sciences is again throwing open its doors to abortion and population control activists. From November 2–4, the Vatican’s scientific academy will host a conference on the environment that will feature, among others, far-left…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

Today . . .

U.S. bishop defends pro-LGBT priest speaking at Catholic college as thousands protest

DALLAS, Pennsylvania, November 20, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – A U.S. bishop is defending a local Catholic university’s invitation to a pro-homosexual priest to have him speak at its winter commencement in the face of almost 20,000 Catholics having signed a petition asking that the invitation be cancelled. Scranton Bishop Joseph C. Bambera is defending Jesuit homosexualist Fr. James Martin’s speaking engagement at Misericordia University’s winter commencement on December 17, saying that the priest’s latest book condoning…Continue Reading

Progressives hate everything old, including the elderly

November 17, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – Earlier this year, Maclean’s Magazinepublished an article asking a question that seemed to capture the prevailing mood on the Left: “Should older people lose the right to vote?” Because old people are practically dead, the author explained, there are some today who feel that they vote with only a short-term vision in mind, and thus should be barred from interfering with the Progress that would be brought about should young people be allowed…Continue Reading

Venerable Solanus Casey: the priest who answered the doorbell.

Vatican City, Nov 17, 2017 / 06:00 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Venerable Solanus Casey, a Capuchin priest from Wisconsin, was humble before all else, said the postulator of his cause for sainthood. The life of Venerable Solanus Casey is the story of his “humility, his simplicity, as well as his acceptance of whatever life gave him,” Franciscan-Capuchin Fr. Carlo Calloni told CNA Nov. 15. Fr. Solanus Casey is an American-born Capuchin priest who died in 1957.…Continue Reading

Swiss Planned Parenthood president invited to speak at Vatican

November 18, 2017 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The Vatican’s Pontifical Academy for Life co-hosted a conference on the topic of end of life issues that included several speakers who oppose the Catholic Church’s teachings on the right to life, including the president the board of Switzerland’s Planned Parenthood affiliate, and the president of the pro-euthanasia Royal Dutch Medical Association. The conference, entitled the “WMA Europ

Catholic priests, activists to stand trial for pro-life witness inside abortion facility

November 17, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – On Monday, November 20, six pro-lifers will stand trial in a State of Virginia courtroom for their defense of the unborn—facing a possible jail term of up to 90 days. On Friday, September 15, 2017 in three different cities across the United States, pro-lifers entered abortion centers to talk to women scheduled for abortions. By refusing to leave the clinics when told to do so by law enforcement, they offered…Continue Reading

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An Underground Priest In China Tells His Story

MADRID (CNA) — Fr. Joseph of Jesus is a Chinese priest, faithful to the Catholic Church. Life is not easy for Catholics in China. Those who adhere to Rome are persecuted by the Chinese government, which only grants freedom of worship to those belonging to the state-controlled Patriotic Church. Fr. Joseph recently shared his story…Continue Reading

SCOTUS Will Hear California Forced Abortion Speech Law

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Supreme Court on November 13 agreed to review the California Reproductive FACT Act, which compels pro-life crisis pregnancy centers to post notices regarding the availability of free and low-cost abortions in their physical clinics, printed material and online. The court agreed to hear National Institute of Family and Life Advocates (NIFLA)…Continue Reading

A Book Review… The Sacred Heart Vs. Secularism

By DONAL ANTHONY FOLEY Cor Jesu Sacratissimum, From Secularism and the New Age to Christendom Renewed, by Roger Buck (Angelico Press, 2016, 482 pages; $21.95 paperback, $10.12 Kindle). The Cor Jesu Sacratissimum of the title is the Latin for “Sacred Heart of Jesus,” and the premise of Roger Buck’s sizable volume is that the Sacred…Continue Reading

Neither Left Nor Right, But Catholic… Questions In The Aftermath Of The Las Vegas Tragedy

By STEPHEN M. KRASON (Editor’s Note: Stephen M. Krason’s Neither Left nor Right, but Catholic column appears monthly [sometimes bimonthly]. 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 co-founder and president of the Society…Continue Reading

A Movie Review… “The Star” Shines For Christmas

By REY FLORES As children, many of us grew up watching television, particularly memorable special broadcasts of The Wizard of Oz, Rankin and Bass’ Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, and of course, all the holiday-themed Peanuts animated specials. My favorite was A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving where Snoopy and his little bird friend Woodstock fix a Thanksgiving…Continue Reading

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Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

Advent And The Time Of Testing

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER First Sunday Of Advent (YR B) Readings: Isaiah 63:16b-17, 19b, 64:2-7 1 Cor. 1:3-9 Mark 13:33-37 As we begin a new Church year, we kick off with a question that burns in the hearts of many people: You are our Father, our Redeemer; why do you let us wander from your ways and harden our hearts…Continue Reading

Fr. Brian Harrison Says… It’s Not “Dissent” To Criticize “Confusing Cascade Of Papal Novelties”

By DIANE MONTAGNA ROME (LifeSiteNews) — Earlier this year, a group of over 60 scholars issued an almost unprecedented “filial correction” to Pope Francis, charging him with permitting the spread of seven heresies. This measure, unseen since the fourteenth century, has generated controversy around the world, while the number of signatories has risen to 250 professors and priests since it…Continue Reading

A Leaven In The World… The Kingmakers Reject A Papal Favorite

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK The approval of one’s peers is a highly prized trophy in the complicated world of adult professional relationships. Many work for years in obscurity with little acknowledgment. The opportunity to be championed and appreciated is a blessing not to be taken askance when other forms of promotion are no longer possible for those already at…Continue Reading

The Sacraments Instituted By Christ… The Cisterns Of Grace

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM Part 3 In the last article, I finished the text with a prayer for the bishops of Malta, who now allow people living in adultery to receive Holy Communion. May our Lady guide them to repentance, and to correct their wrong teaching, lest they answer before God our Lord for leading people into committing a…Continue Reading

The Recipient, Minister, And Celebration Of Holy Orders

By DON FIER A significant reform of Vatican Council II, as we saw last week, was the restoration of the permanent diaconate in the Western Church “as a proper and permanent rank of the hierarchy” (Lumen Gentium, n. 29 § 2). An ordained ministry that has always been retained by the Churches of the East, it can be conferred on…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Vicente Liem De La Paz

By CAROLE BRESLIN Vietnam received its first missionaries of the Catholic Church in the 1500s. These missionaries were predominantly Portuguese in the 16th century, with French Jesuits and the Dominicans coming in the 17th century. Throughout the following centuries the priests and missionaries suffered excruciating tortures and martyrdom. When the Communists captured northern Vietnam, Catholics fled to the south and…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Margaret Of Scotland

By CAROLE BRESLIN Quite frequently saints have left their home country and died in another country, but most of them died in a foreign land because they left to serve as missionaries to Asia, Africa, or America. The land of Hungary, however, has seen a few saints depart because they were of royal families, including St. Elizabeth of Hungary, who…Continue Reading