Wednesday 21st February 2018

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February 9, 2018 Our Catholic Faith No Comments

Editor’s Note: In a recent reply about the Alpha program, we said that all we knew about it was what appears on the Alpha website, namely, that it is a 10-week course about basic Christian teachings, with small groups usually facilitated by a layperson, and that it includes a retreat. It claims to serve “as a refresher course for practicing Catholics and a point of re-entry for lapsed Catholics.” We said that the value of such courses would depend on the materials used and the knowledge and orthodoxy of the facilitators conducting the sessions.
We have since received some very thoughtful comments from a woman who took part in the Alpha program in her Catholic parish in Michigan and who did not think it was of much help either to practicing or lapsed Catholics. We thank her for her insights:
“I attended the Alpha program here. The hype for several months was as you had written and more. It sounded good to about 125 of us, including a few Protestants. In the offering was the ability to increase our knowledge of the Catholic faith. The program was presented by a ‘Church of England’ minister, usually clad in jeans and a sweatshirt. He was friendly enough, but the red flag was why a Protestant. The Bible quoted from was the New International Version, which is the Protestant version of the Bible, stemming from the King James Bible.
“We were broken up into groups, with a facilitator at each table ready with a list of questions to encourage discussion. This was absolutely the best part. As Catholics, we were able to share experiences of our faith in our lives, how Jesus, His Mother, the angels and saints, the rosary, etc., helped us in difficulties, self-improvement, and anything else life can throw at you. It was great. Protestants were learning more about the Catholic faith just by listening to us! There were so many wonderful stories. The leader would try to get us ‘back on track’ with the questions provided, but to no avail. The questions were in no way as stimulating as the stories. One led to another. Everyone was sharing and developing a closeness.
“The weekend retreat was rather ‘sprung’ on us at the first or second session we attended. The sign-up for the program had pretty much committed us to attend. One of the major enticements was free food. The retreat was similar to a charismatic experience with laying on of hands for healing and speaking in tongues. No priest was involved. It was supposed to be a walk with the Holy Spirit.
“But to continue with the Alpha program itself. If I were to follow it as directed, I would soon believe that I need only go to Jesus directly to confess my sins and, as long as I had a relationship with Him, I was a shoo-in for Heaven, according to the minister and the films. As a Catholic, if I followed this program, I would wonder what would be the need for the confessional, or an altar, a Victim, and a sacrifice. Where does the priest fit in? Protestants weren’t learning anything different from the program than what they already knew, except from the questions we answered at the table.
“Those Catholics who went the first time, oblivious to the traditions and the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and not seeing what was happening, signed up to go again. The door pretty much hit them in the face when they were told after the first couple of sessions that there would be no more sharing of stories, that the questions needed to be followed. Many left.
“I believe it was deceitful that the advertising left out the fact that it was a Protestant program. On questioning the Catholicism of the program, we were told that a priest has designed such a program for Catholics down in Detroit and that the last session will be all for Catholics. Well, the last session was our priest speaking for five minutes on we are Catholics with a little ‘c’ and receive Sacraments with a little ‘s,’ and then back to a usual session.”

Q. There was a recent article in The Wanderer about a priest who revealed to his congregation at Sunday Mass that he was “gay.” Celibate but “gay.” And his bishop approved his actions. What does this mean? — J.P.H., Pennsylvania.
A. It means that the homosexual lobby has gained another Catholic priest who is a critic of Catholic teaching on homosexuality, one who not only “came out” to his parishioners but then wrote a lengthy defense of his stand in the National Catholic Reporter, a newspaper that is anything but “Catholic” and is only too happy to promote those who dissent from the Church’s moral code. In his NCR article, the priest falsely claimed that God creates people to be homosexual and said that by taking this step, “I promise to be my authentically gay self. I will embrace the person that God created me to be. In my priestly life and ministry, I, too, will help you, whether you are gay or straight, bisexual or transgendered, to be your authentic self — to be fully alive living in your image and likeness of God.”
Having a same-sex attraction is not a sin, and those struggling with this attraction deserve “respect, compassion, and sensitivity,” in the words of the Catechism (n. 2358). But “homosexual persons are called to chastity” (Catechism, n. 2359), as is every person who has an attachment to any sexually disordered behavior, whether heterosexual or homosexual. Notice that it is the behavior that is disordered, not the person, and the person, of whatever sexual persuasion, is “called to fulfill God’s will in their lives and…to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition” (n. 2358).
Where in this supposedly courageous declaration of his sexual attraction did the priest call for chastity or a renunciation of sinful behavior? The word “sin” was not mentioned at all, not even when referring to “bisexual or transgendered” people. Oh, the bishop, in supporting the priest’s “telling his story,” did say that the story “reminds each of us of God’s call to continue to grow in understanding and to live holy, chaste lives,” but that was drowned out in the applause for the priest. Might those listening to this priest come to the conclusion that they can act on their inclinations in order to be their “authentic selves”?
What could the bishop have done to defend Church teaching when one of his priests publicly declares himself to be “gay”? He could have invoked “immutable Christian moral principles,” said Fr. Jerry Pokorsky of St. Catherine of Siena Parish in Great Falls, Va. In an article in The Catholic Thing, he listed the following principles:
Acknowledge that he is afflicted with “same-sex attraction” (SSA).
Admit that SSA is an inclination toward mortal sin that if not restrained will lead him and others to eternal damnation.
Identify and renounce any physical expression of SSA.
Properly define celibacy to include Christian chastity that precludes all sexual activity in thought, word, or deed.
Invoke scriptural references condemning sodomy (cf. Genesis and St. Paul).
Renounce the use of the word “gay” because it is a political term that has its roots in the homosexual subculture.
Apologize for encouraging others to publicly reveal their mortally sinful inclinations (the Eighth Commandment protects natural secrets).
After a careful inquiry, said Fr. Pokorsky, “the superior should release a public statement of clarification, prohibiting the priest from his homosexual activism and taking further personnel action according to the demands of Catholic morality and canon law. Would a media firestorm ensue? Probably. But the superior would courageously confirm that the studied ambiguity of the gay agenda promoted by the priest is a lie.”
Noting that during the Rite of Ordination for priests, the bishop says, “May God who has begun the good work in you bring it to fulfillment,” Pokorsky said that “priests — and everyone — are in a constant state of change, for the better and for the worse. Fulfilling the duties of Holy Orders or any Christian vocation with true moral integrity is a lifelong task.
“If we are going to find our true and final happiness in Christ, we must not only recognize and understand our sinful inclinations, but make firm and constant efforts to overcome them. ‘Celebrating’ those inclinations simply makes no sense — whether the inclination is same-sex attraction or any other deviation from God’s plan for us.”

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FRENCH CATHOLICS TO PRAY NATIONAL ROSARY

PARIS (ChurchMilitant.com) – Catholics in France are rallying for a nationwide Rosary on April 28. In the past five months, Church Militant has reported on about a half dozen national Rosary rallies organized in countries such as Poland and Ireland. Inspired by…Continue Reading

Told he has not long to live, Catholic Studies founder Don Briel reflects on dying well

Don Briel, founder and longtime director of Catholic Studies at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, was diagnosed in mid-January with two forms of acute leukemia. He was told the cancers were untreatable and he had a month…Continue Reading

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

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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 . . .

Catholics urged to affirm ‘liberating truth’ of Humanae Vitae

The document ‘defended the integrity of married love and warned us against the danger of reducing sexuality to a source of pleasure alone’ The “liberating truth” of Blessed Paul VI’s encyclical “Humanae Vitae” is as relevant today 50 years after its promulgation, and maybe even more so, said Archbishop of Denver Samuel Aquila in his new pastoral letter, “The Splendor of Love.” “The 50th anniversary of ‘Humanae Vitae’ is an occasio

Correcting Fr. James Martin

Fr James Martin SJ has tweeted his rage against the firing of a gay teacher from a Catholic School. The story is here in the New York Times. It concerns a female Catholic school teacher who “married” her girlfriend and was then dismissed from her job. Fr Martin tweets: Again, where are the comparable firings of straight employees who do not follow Catholic church teaching? Men and women living together before being married? Divorced and remarried without…Continue Reading

Dozens of U.S. bishops sign up for Amoris Laetitia seminars at dissident Catholic colleges

CHICAGO, February 14, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — Chicago’s Cardinal Blase Cupich, a key promoter of the progressive agenda advanced under Pope Francis, has invited American bishops to a series of conferences about Amoris Laetitia in February. Catholic News Agency reported this week that it had “obtained” a letter by the Archbishop of Chicago about the seminars. Called “New Momentum Conferences on Amoris Laetitia”,  the series is advertised as a “tailor-made program that goes from why Amoris Laetitia provides New Momentum for Moral…Continue Reading

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

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Notre Dame Professor… Criticizes University’s Provision Of “Simple Contraceptives”

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (CNA/EWTN News) — After the University of Notre Dame announced it would fund “simple contraceptives” in its insurance plan, one Notre Dame professor has criticized the move, calling it “a giant leap into immorality.” “Now the University [of Notre Dame] is to be sole funder and proprietor of a contraception giveaway,” wrote…Continue Reading

Fulton Sheen’s Final Resting Place Not Yet Final

NEW YORK (CNA/EWTN News) — Archbishop Fulton Sheen’s niece has said her uncle’s remains belong in Peoria, Ill., but a lawsuit seeking his internment there has been returned to a lower court for further consideration. “I just hate that this is dragging on and on and on,” Joan Sheen Cunningham said, according to The New…Continue Reading

Blessed Paul VI Revisited

By DONALD DeMARCO Unlike the daily news, papal statements are news that stay news. On January 1, 1977, Pope Paul VI delivered a Day of Peace message entitled, If You Want Peace, Defend Life. The need to conjoin peace with life is more relevant today than it was better than forty years ago and warrants…Continue Reading

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

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Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

A Leaven In The World… The “Inner Room” Of Lent

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK “Go to your inner room and pray to your Father in private.” Another Lent is upon us. With the Mass of Ash Wednesday we hear once again the Lord’s call to grow into a deeper awareness and love of the Father who is always lovingly aware of us. The tasks of Lent in prayer, fasting,…Continue Reading

The Sacraments Instituted By Christ . . . Delving Into The Great Mystery Of The Eucharist

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM Part 16 The Holy Eucharist is the greatest Mystery left to our faith by Our Divine Redeemer. Thus, to delve into it is something we do on our knees, as it were, spiritually speaking, since we are considering the Presence of a Divine Person under the appearances of bread and wine. We have His word…Continue Reading

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

Catholic Heroes… St. Agnes Of Bohemia

By CAROLE BRESLIN In the thirteenth century, many alliances were solidified by a marriage between members of royalty from other nations. There were also quite a few royal persons who were known for their holiness by following Christianity, including St. Elizabeth of Hungary and St. Ludmila and St. Wenceslaus of Czechoslovakia. Related to all of these saints, Princess Agnes also…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