Sunday 18th February 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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Pope Francis says Paul VI will be canonized this year

Vatican City, Feb 17, 2018 / 08:53 am (CNA/EWTN News).- During his annual Lenten meeting with the priests of Rome last week, Pope Francis confirmed that Blessed Pope Paul VI will be made a saint sometime this year. “Paul VI…Continue Reading

Pope reappoints O’Malley to head further work of safeguarding commission

Vatican City, Feb 17, 2018 / 05:10 am (CNA/EWTN News).- On Saturday the Vatican announced that Pope Francis has reconfirmed Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston as head of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, also reconfirming seven members…Continue Reading

The Latest: Trump to visit Florida after school shooting

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on President Donald Trump’s response to the Florida school shooting (all times local): 11:36 a.m. President Donald Trump says he’ll visit Parkland, Florida, the site of Wednesday’s shooting that killed 17 people. Trump said from…Continue Reading

U.S. bishops: federal budget should not be balanced ‘on backs of the poor’

WASHINGTON, D.C. – In response to the Trump administration’s 2019 federal budget proposal on Monday, the U.S. Catholic bishops are urging for a budget that shows greater concern for “‘the least of these” and warning that the U.S. “must never seek…Continue Reading

Planned Parenthood sticker stirs controversy at Connecticut Catholic high school

A Connecticut high school student may have to decide whether to remove a Planned Parenthood sticker on her laptop or leave her Catholic school after administrators told her to remove it, her parents said. Sophomore Kate Murray’s parents told the Greenwich Time that…Continue Reading

Fr. James Martin: ‘People take the Bible…out of context’ on homosexuality

February 8, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The Bible’s condemnation of homosexual acts should be taken in “context” with Biblical times, Jesuit Father James Martin toldGeorgetown University students recently. Martin said as well that Catholics who support gay “marriage” should have no problem…Continue Reading

Mississippi state house votes to ban abortion after 15 weeks

JACKSON, Mississippi, February 2, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A bill banning abortion on babies more than 15 weeks old passed the Mississippi state House today 79-31. House Bill 1510 would make Mississippi the state with the most pro-life laws if it…Continue Reading

All But Three Democrats Voted to Allow Unlimited Abortions Up to Birth

Just three Democrats in the U.S. Senate supported a bill on Monday that would prohibit abortions after 20 weeks when unborn babies are capable of feeling pain. The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which has strong public support from Republicans…Continue Reading

Athanasius Schneider invites world’s bishops to sign Profession of Immutable Truths

ROME, January 30, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – In an exclusive interview two weeks after issuing a profession of immutable truths about sacramental marriage, Bishop Athanasius Schneider is inviting his brother bishops around the world to join in raising a common voice…Continue Reading

Cardinal Eijk Asks Pope to Clarify Questions About “Remarried” Divorcees

As Katholisch.de, the official website of the German bishops, reports today, Cardinal Willem Eijk, the Dutch cardinal and Metropolitan Archbishop of Utrecht, requested that Pope Francis bring light into the confusion concerning the question as to how to deal with…Continue Reading

Where are all the Catholics at the nation’s largest Catholic school

When Selena Miller, a practicing Catholic, applied to DePaul, she had no idea it was a Catholic university. Damita Meneves, another practicing Catholic, said she has met only one other Catholic student in her first year at DePaul. DePaul is…Continue Reading

Cardinal Burke: It is a “source of anguish” to hear suggestions “that I would lead a schism”

His Eminence, Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, spoke recently with Thinking with the Church, hosted by Chris Altieri, who is also a regular contributor to Catholic World Report. Cardinal Burke responds to questions regarding the interpretation and reception of the post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation, Amoris…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 . . .

Planned Parenthood Sues President Trump After He Defunded Its Programs Pushing Sex on Kids

There’s nothing, it seems, that the abortion chain Planned Parenthood won’t sue over. On Thursday, affiliates of the abortion chain in seven states sued the Trump administration for cutting funding for their questionable teen pregnancy prevention programs. The Daily Nonpareil reports the lawsuits argue that the Trump administration wrongly cut their funding prematurely and without cause. Nine groups, including Planned Parenthood affiliates in Washington, Iowa, North Carolina, South C

Scholar stumps Cardinal Cupich, asks if Pope’s ‘paradigm shift’ means ‘radical’ doctrinal change

CAMBRIDGE, England, February 15, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A respected Catholic historian and philosopher challenged Cardinal Blase Cupich during a lecture last week about Pope’ Francis so-called “revolution of mercy” that has caused what many are defending as a “paradigm shift” in Catholic practice. Professor John Rist, after listening to a February 9 lecture at Cambridge Universityin which Cardinal Cupich praised Pope Francis’ “paradigm shift” in Catholic practice, asked the Cardinal at the end of the lect

Cardinal Schönborn outraged at bishop’s critique of blessings for homosexual unions

VIENNA, Austria, February 14, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Austria’s bishops, led by Vienna’s Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, are indignant over a retired bishop’s passionate defense of Catholic teaching in opposing Church “blessings” for homosexual unions. After Bishop Andreas Laun, the retired Auxiliary Bishop of Salzburg, Austria, published Monday his strong rebuke of the German bishops for proposing to bless homosexual couples, there has been an inten

The Clarity of Cardinal Cupich

Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago is all for clarity. It has been a consistent theme, as when in September of 2017 he issued a decree banning guns in all parishes, schools and other facilities across the archdiocese “so there would be absolute clarity on our position.” His official statement put “clarity” in italics. When he was bishop of Rapid City, he called for “civility and clarity” in discussing legislation that would limit abortion, but he…Continue Reading

Catholics warn of church schism if Vatican makes a deal with China

BEIJING — A group of influential Catholics published an open letter Monday express their shock and disappointment at report that the Vatican could soon reach a deal with the Chinese government, warning that it could create a schism in the church in China. The Holy See has been in negotiations for several years with the Chinese Communist Party and is now belie

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President Trump Bans U.S. Aid for International Abortions

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Within a week of taking office on January 23, 2017, President Trump reinstated and expanded the Mexico City Policy, now called the Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance, which bans U.S. funding for abortions overseas. The expanded policy prohibits $9 billion in U.S. taxpayer money from funding foreign organizations that perform or…Continue Reading

Approval Of Miracle Opens Door To Paul VI’s Canonization

By HANNAH BROCKHAUS VATICAN CITY (CNA/EWTN News) — The Congregation for the Causes of Saints has approved the second miracle needed for the canonization of Blessed Pope Paul VI, allowing his canonization to take place, possibly later this year. According to Vatican Insider, the Congregation for the Causes of Saints approved the miracle by a…Continue Reading

Neither Left Nor Right, But Catholic… A Catholic Reaction To Trump And The Media

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

Priest Says… Excommunicate 14 Catholic Senators Who Voted Against Late-Term Abortion Ban

By LISA BOURNE (Editor’s Note: LifeSiteNews ran this story on February 5.) + + + A Catholic priest is calling on bishops to excommunicate the 14 Catholic-identifying U.S. senators who voted two weeks ago against banning late-term abortions. He is also calling on priests to deny the Catholic pro-abortion senators Holy Communion. “Today is the…Continue Reading

Limbo And Eastern Orthodoxy

By JAMES LIKOUDIS The centuries-old theological debate concerning the existence of Limbo for unbaptized babies (the limbo puerorum as a state of natural happiness) led to the 2007 publication of the document The Hope of Salvation for Infants Who Die Without Being Baptized by the International Theological Commission (ITC). The commission concluded there are “serious…Continue Reading

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Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

The Effects Of The Sacrament Of Matrimony

By DON FIER For a variety of reasons (a defect of consent, a diriment impediment, or a defect of the required form), many supposed modern-day marriages entered into by Catholic persons are invalid from their origin in the eyes of God and the Church. However, as we saw last week, depending on the circumstances, the Church has procedures by which…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Q. Concerning what our Blessed Mother said in Fatima about the rosary, I am confused as to whether or not she meant us to meditate on the mysteries while we are praying the Hail Marys or whether she meant us to meditate on the mysteries right before we say the Hail Marys. The consensus seems to be that we are…Continue Reading

Abraham Had To Be Tested

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Second Sunday Of Lent Readings: Gen. 22:1-2, 9a, 10-13, 15-18 Romans 8:31b-34 Mark 9:2-10 In the first reading today we hear about Abraham’s nearly incomprehensible act of faith and love for God shown in his willingness to sacrifice his own son. We have to be careful not to read this in a vacuum. This test, which…Continue Reading

Questioning Humanae Vitae?… The Vatican Has Already Had Its Say

By ANDREA GAGLIARDUCCI (Wanderer Editor’s Note: Catholic News Agency on February 3 published a commentary concerning a 1989 Vatican response to dissent against Humanae Vitae. Below is an excerpted version of that commentary. Following that, we reprint the full text of the 1989 Vatican response, which, as the CNA commentary explains, is now available on the Vatican’s website. Please also…Continue Reading

A Leaven In The World… Bishops Promote Sin “In Some Cases”

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK A joke sometimes recounted among clergy goes along these lines: Someone greets a wise old priest by asking, “What’s new?”, and he responds, sagely, “Christ is risen!” The humor here is less about what’s new than about the fact that everything, other than the only true revolution of Christ’s Incarnation and triumph over death, is…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Margaret Of Cortona

By CAROLE BRESLIN Great sinners make great saints. It takes a strong-willed child to become a saint. These are statements which would easily fit saints such as Mary Magdalene and St. Augustine. In the thirteenth century, a young lady free in spirit and strong in will led such a life that she was essentially driven from her home village, but…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… Blessed Joseph Allamano

By CAROLE BRESLIN In the lives of the saints one thing is very common: They have such a strong desire to do God’s will that nothing will hinder their work. Many saints, despite illness, weak health, or many other obstacles achieved their goals. Frequently the amount of work accomplished by such individuals seems humanly impossible — and, of course, it…Continue Reading