Wednesday 18th July 2018

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June 15, 2018 Our Catholic Faith No Comments

Q. Can you tell me the difference between a basilica and a cathedral? — M.N., California.
A. A basilica is a title of honor given to certain churches which may be classified either as major basilicas or minor basilicas. The only four major basilicas are located in Rome. They are St. John Lateran, St. Peter, St. Paul Outside the Walls, and St. Mary Major. Some churches outside of Rome have been designated minor basilicas and enjoy some of the privileges of the major basilicas.
A cathedral is the official church of the bishop, where his permanent episcopal chair is located and where he usually officiates. It is the mother church of all the other churches in the diocese and is usually located in the city for which the diocese is named.

Q. In his book Purgatory and the Means to Avoid It, Martin Jugie asserts that at the second Fatima apparition, our Lady said, “After each decade of the rosary, you will say, ‘My Jesus, pardon me my offenses. Keep me from the fire of Hell and console the souls in Purgatory, especially the most abandoned’.” Have you ever heard of this? – M.L., Arizona.
A. Yes, but not in those exact words. According to what we have read, the Blessed Mother, during her third apparition on July 13, 1917, showed the three shepherd children a frightening vision of Hell, with demons and souls in human form shrieking and groaning as they floated in a sea of fire.
“You have seen Hell where the souls of poor sinners go,” said our Lady. “To save them, God wishes to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart. If what I say to you is done, many souls will be saved and there will be peace.”
After this scary vision, our Lady taught the children a prayer to be said at the end of each decade of the rosary: “O my Jesus, forgive us our sins. Save us from the fire of Hell. Lead all souls to Heaven, especially those in most need of thy mercy.”
This is a very important prayer and it should be said at the end of each decade of the rosary, or it could be said apart from the rosary in an effort to get hardened sinners to repent and seek the mercy of God.

Q. At a priestly Ordination recently, someone mentioned a poem about the “Beautiful Hands of a Priest.” Do you have the words for this poem? — F.A., via e-mail.
A. The poem originated in Ireland many decades ago and has been passed down in poetry and song. Here are the words:

The Beautiful Hands Of A Priest

We need them in life’s early morning, / We need them again at its close;
We feel their warm clasp of true friendship, / We seek them while tasting life’s woes.
When we come to this world we are sinful, / The greatest as well as the least.
And the hands that make us pure as angels / Are the beautiful hands of a priest.

At the altar each day we behold them, / And the hands of a king on his throne
Are not equal to them in their greatness. / Their dignity stands alone.
For there in the stillness of morning / Ere the sun has emerged from the east,
There God rests between the pure fingers / Of the beautiful hands of a priest.

When we are tempted and wander / To pathways of shame and sin,
‘Tis the hand of a priest that will absolve us / Not once but again and again.
And when we are taking life’s partner, / Other hands may prepare us a feast,
But the hands that will bless and unite us, / Are the beautiful hands of a priest.

God bless them and keep them all holy / For the Host which their fingers caress.
What can a poor sinner do better, / But to praise Thee who chose thee to bless.
When the death dews on our eyes are falling, / May our courage and strength be increased
To see, raised above us in blessing, / The beautiful hands of a priest.

Q. My wife and I are asking if we are in sin from viewing movies involving nudity and adult language. When we grew up, there was a Legion of Decency that advised of movies that were acceptable. As we all know, times are changing in the movie theater, and the rating system seems more complicated. When we bring this up in Confession, we receive the advice that if we are mature enough and it doesn’t lead into further sin, it is a venial sin. Is this good moral advice or not? — A.B., via e-mail.
A. Jesus says that we are to be holy as His Father in Heaven is holy. Holiness means being close to God. So does viewing films with nudity and adult language bring you closer to God? Or do the images on the screen crowd God out of your mind and replace Him with thoughts that are far removed from Him? Do these films portray sex as a beautiful gift from God that belongs only in the context of a faithful, fruitful marriage between one man and one woman? Or do they glorify sinful activity, such as fornication and adultery?
As for adult language, you probably have the decency not to pepper your conversations with the “F” word, but have you noticed how many people, especially the younger generations, can’t put a sentence together that does not contain that word? What else but “adult” movies and TV programs are responsible for this coarsening of our culture? But it’s only a venial sin, some say, but venial sins are still sins — thoughts, words, or deeds that weaken our relationship with God and could pave the way for mortal sins, which break our relationship with God. It’s like saying that a little poison in our system is okay since it won’t kill us.
In the section of the Catechism of the Catholic Church entitled “Offenses against chastity,” we find these words:
“Pornography consists in removing real or simulated sexual acts from the intimacy of the partners, in order to display them deliberately to third parties. It offends against chastity because it perverts the conjugal act, the intimate giving of spouses to each other. It does grave injury to the dignity of the participants (actors, vendors, the public), since each one becomes an object of base pleasure and illicit profit for others. It immerses all who are involved in the illusion of a fantasy world. It is a grave offense. Civil authorities should prevent the production and distribution of pornographic materials” (n. 2354).

Q. In Mark’s Gospel, Jesus curses a fig tree and causes it to wither and die because He could not find any fruit on it. But Mark says that it was not the time for figs to be ripe. So what was the point of Jesus’ action? — J.N., Oklahoma.
A. If you look at chapter 11 of Mark, you will see that this incident was followed by the Lord’s cleansing of the Temple in Jerusalem. In his commentary on Mark (Bringing the Gospel of Mark to Life), George Martin said that “Mark, by weaving together his accounts of the fig tree and the Temple, indicates that the two incidents are to be understood in light of each other. In both cases, Jesus went somewhere with a hunger or an expectation: to the fig tree with physical hunger (11:12) and to the Temple with spiritual hunger for the establishment of God’s reign. In both cases, Jesus knew that His expectations would be disappointed.”
Martin explained that Jesus realized “that he would not find any edible figs on the tree, despite its leaves, for it was not the season for figs to be ripe (11:13). He knew that he would not find God’s reign properly manifested in the Temple, despite its magnificent trappings, for he had previously gone to the Temple and seen what was happening there (11:11). Jesus pronounced the end of a fig tree as a sign of the end of a Temple that had become a profit center and an architectural showcase. It wasn’t the fig tree’s fault that it was fruitless…but those who controlled the Temple were responsible for what they had done with it” (p. 299).
This lesson has application in our own time as well. How many today put on an outward show of religiosity, but their hearts are far from God? We know with much more certainty today that Jesus is the Messiah, but how many of us live as if He had never come?

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Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter Elects New Superior General

LINCOLN, Neb. — The general chapter of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter, a society of apostolic life that celebrates the extraordinary form of the Roman rite, Monday elected Father Andrzej Komorowski as its next superior general. The July 9…Continue Reading

Catholic-heavy Supreme Court moves right as the church moves left

(RNS) — With his nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to replace the retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy, President Trump has succeeded in doing for the judicial branch what he has often failed or neglected to do in his administration: acting efficiently…Continue Reading

Election of the Superior General . . . Society of Saint Pius X

Election of the Superior General On July 11, 2018, Father Davide Pagliarani was elected Superior General, for a mandate of 12 years, by the 4th General Chapter of the Society of Saint Pius X. The new Superior General is 47…Continue Reading

Paradoxes and indicators of Capella’s and McCarrick’s cases

These days we will find out whether Monsignor Carlo Alberto Capella, the former advisor to the Washington nunciature that the Vatican sentenced to five years’ imprisonment for possession and distribution of “large quantities” of child pornography, will present an appeal…Continue Reading

Diocese led by pro-gay bishop says it’s ‘up to each parish’ whether to promote homosexuality

LEXINGTON, Kentucky, July 3, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A Catholic church in the heart of Appalachia has attracted media attention for the Gay Pride Month banner stretched across its front lawn. The local ordinary, Bishop John Stowe, has a record of collaborating with a…Continue Reading

Al Gore: Pope Francis a ‘moral force’ for solving climate crisis

(Vatican.news) Nobel Peace Prize Winner and former U.S. Vice President, Al Gore, is one of the world’s most vocal defenders of the environment. His 2007 documentary film, “An Inconvenient Truth”, won an Oscar and his Climate Reality Project recently hosted…Continue Reading

Catholic bishops heading to border to tackle family separation issues

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) — A delegation of Catholic bishops from across the country are heading to the border on Monday. Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, will lead the delegation in its visit to the…Continue Reading

Catholic Church teaching on homosexuality ‘evil’, McAleese says

The Catholic Church’s teaching on homosexuality is “evil”, former president Mary McAleese has said. Speaking ahead of her inaugural participation in the Dublin Pride event on Saturday, where she will march with her son Justin and his husband, the former…Continue Reading

Senate Will Vote Before Elections on Replacing Pro-Abortion Justice Anthony Kennedy

The United States Senate will vote before the elections this November on a replacement for pro-abortion Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made that announcement today shortly after the surprising but welcome announcement that the longtime abortion…Continue Reading

Cardinal Burke, Bishop Schneider respond to Pope Francis’ inflight intercommunion comments

ROME, June 27, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — The reception of Holy Communion in the Catholic Church — even in exceptional cases — by a Protestant or other non-Catholic constitutes a “lie” that betrays the Apostolic tradition and the Church’s constant practice…Continue Reading

German Bishops Publish Intercommunion Handout with a Rhetorical Trick

Today, the German bishops have published their very controversial pastoral handout which allows Protestant spouses of Catholics, in certain cases, to receive Holy Communion. Since Pope Francis, on 21 June, objected to a national bishops’ conference publishing such an official text, the…Continue Reading

Vikings host ‘LGBTQ summit’ to promote ‘inclusion’ in sports

EAGAN, Minnesota, June 21, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The Minnesota Vikings are hosting a conference and fundraiser today for “LGBTQ inclusion in sports,” the first of its kind in the National Football League (NFL). The event will include speeches, interviews, and…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 . . .

British pro-lifers say abortion clinic ‘buffer zones’ harm women and children

London, England, Jul 12, 2018 / 12:49 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- After a decision from the United Kingdom’s High Court, two women are attempting to overturn a ban on prayer and public discussion of abortion near a British abortion clinic. On July 2, the High Court of England and Wales upheld a “buffer zone” imposed by Ealing Council, west London, around a Marie Stopes abortion clinic. The zone prevents any pro-life gathering or speech, inc

Calligraphers face jail time for not promoting same-sex ‘weddings’

PHOENIX, Arizona, July 13, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — Two Arizona calligraphy artists faced with fines and jail time for declining to take part in promoting gay “weddings” are asking the state’s Supreme Court to hear their challenge to the city of Phoenix’s law that compels them create artwork that violates their religious beliefs. Joanna Duka and Breanna Koski, owners of Brush & Nib Studio, face up to six months in jail, $2,500 in fines, and three

Bishop Paprocki disagrees with US bishops’ support for unions that fund abortion, LGBT

SPRINGFIELD, Illinois, July 11, 2018, (LifeSiteNews) – Hailed by free speech and religious liberty advocates alike, the United States Supreme Court recently ruled that public sector employees can no longer be required to pay mandatory fees to support unions which promote causes and political activities – including abortion – to which they are opposed. The ruling has also exposed a significant rift among the nation’s Catholic bishops. Despite public sector unions’ unabashe

Trump nominates Brett Kavanaugh to Supreme Court

WASHINGTON, D.C., July 9, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Brett Kavanaugh is Donald Trump’s choice to succeed the pro-abortion, pro-gay Justice Anthony Kennedy on the U.S. Supreme Court, the president announced Monday night. Trump praised Kavanaugh’s committment to “equal justice under the law” and called him a “brilliant jurist with a clear and effective writing style.” He is “universally regarded as…one of the finest legal minds of our time.” Kavanaugh formerly clerked for Kennedy. “Justice Kennedy devoted his career to…Continue Reading

Prof fired by Catholic university for defending marriage has huge court win

MILWAUKEE, Wisconsin, July 6, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The professor forced out by a Jesuit-run Catholic university for blogging about an undergrad student being assailed by his teacher for his having voiced defense of marriage has won in court. In a landmark decision Friday the Wisconsin Supreme Court said Marquette University violated John McAdams’ right to free speech when it suspended him for writing the blog post, and it ordered the University to restore McAdams immediately with his full rank,…Continue Reading

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Neither Left Nor Right, But Catholic … Old And New Tyrannies Borne Of Lust

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 Book Review… What Man Does Not Reverence, He Will Profane

By MITCHELL KALPAKGIAN Society and Sanity, by Frank Sheed (Ignatius Press: San Francisco, 2013), 261 pp. $17.95. Available from www.ignatius.com or at 1-800-651-1531. This new edition of Sheed’s 1953 classic work of apologetics brings to mind the famous myth of Procrustes’ bed. The wicked king captures his victims then tortures them if their legs do…Continue Reading

How Vice Can Absorb Virtue

By DONALD DeMARCO Just as the Devil is at war with God, so too, vices are at war with virtue. The Devil wants people to believe that God does not exist. He also wants people to believe that neither does virtue exist. He would like to demolish virtue. One way of achieving this is to…Continue Reading

Henan, China… New Limits Imposed On The Religious Freedom Of Catholics

BEIJING (AsiaNews) — The Chinese government is approving increasingly restrictive measures against Catholics in the central province of Henan. As Eglises d’Asie reports, five new rules have been imposed which include the requirement of religious working in the province to collect data and information on their faithful. A priest from the Diocese of Zhengzhou reports…Continue Reading

A Book Review… Solzhenitsyn Remembered

By JUDE DOUGHERTY Congdon, Lee. Solzhenitsyn: The Historical-Spiritual Destinies of Russia and the West. DeKalb, Ill.: NIV Press, 2017; 163 pp. This book is descriptive of the prophetic voice of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (1918-2008), who was convinced that the West has set out on a road similar to that which “led Russia into the abyss.” Solzhenitsyn…Continue Reading

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Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

Sheep Without A Shepherd

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Sixteenth Sunday In Ordinary Time (YR B) Readings: Jer. 23:1-6 Eph. 2:13-18 Mark 6:30-34 In the first reading today, God speaks a word of woe through the Prophet Jeremiah to the shepherds who mislead the Lord’s flock entrusted to their care. God says that these shepherds scattered the flock and drove them away and did not…Continue Reading

A Leaven In The World . . . In Death The Church Gives Everything

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK Funerals, as many priests have learned, can often be pastorally challenging and problematic episodes. Grieving family members who are not dealing with death on a regular basis by practicing their faith are suddenly confronted with its reality upon the passing of a parent or other family member. Parents who have to bury a child sometimes…Continue Reading

Martin Luther… The Man And The Myth

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM Part 2 (Editor’s Note: As this October marks the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s nailing his 95 theses to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Raymond de Souza is taking a break from his usual apologetics to correct the popular image of Luther.) + + + In the last article, I quoted from…Continue Reading

The Anatomy Of A Moral Act

By DON FIER Last week, as we considered the role that human freedom plays in the economy of salvation, it was immediately acknowledged that “man’s freedom is limited and fallible” (Catechism of the Catholic Church [CCC], n. 1739). Free will, so wondrously bestowed upon man as an essential element of his great dignity of being created “in the image and…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Q. What can one say to a teenage daughter or granddaughter who wears skimpy bathing suits? I know that is the “style” these days, but it seems wrong for many reasons. — M.M., Virginia. A. When our five daughters were teens, my wife and I ruled out the wearing of skimpy bathing suits, as well as skin-tight jeans or shorts…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Veronica Giuliani

By CAROLE BRESLIN In July, the month of the Precious Blood, the Catholic Church remembers saints by the name of Veronica. On July 12, the memorial of Veronica (meaning “true image”), the saint from the first century who presented her veil to wipe the face of Jesus, is celebrated. Three days before that, on July 9, St. Veronica Giuliani is…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati

By CAROLE BRESLIN Our Lord had a special love for the poor when He walked this earth. At one time He rebuked one of the apostles, saying, “The poor you will always have with you” (Matt. 26:11). Rather than avoiding the destitute or shun the homeless, Christians are called to love them as we love ourselves. At the beginning of…Continue Reading