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June 27, 2014 Our Catholic Faith No Comments

Q. A Catholic friend recently gave me a copy of the magazine Signs and Wonders for Our Times. It contained some very interesting articles. Are you familiar with this publication and, if so, what do you think of it? — D.M., Virginia.
A. We were not familiar with the publication until a Catholic friend recently gave us a copy of the 80-page spring 2014 issue, which we read from cover to cover. It is published by the Signs of the Times Apostolate in Herndon, Va., and the editor-in-chief and publisher is Maureen Flynn, author, with Ted Flynn, of the book The Thunder of Justice, which discusses “The Warning, The Miracle, The Chastisement, and The Era of Peace,” and author herself of a new book entitled Signs, Secrets and Prophecies.
As you might guess, the magazine is full of apocalyptic information that is very professionally and attractively presented, with eye-catching color photographs and full-page ads for similar materials. A dedication page says that the Signs of the Times Apostolate, Inc., “is a group of lay and religious Catholics whose primary objective is to live and spread Our Lady’s messages of prayer, fasting, faith, conversion, and peace. We distribute literature, including books, audio and video materials, on the Catholic faith.”
The dedication also says that “articles published in this magazine regarding apparitions do not reflect the editor’s or the apostolate’s preference, nor importance of one apparition over another. It is simply the wish of this Organization to inform the readership of approved apparitions, and specific apparitions and locutions currently being investigated. . . . We respectfully recognize and accept that the final authority regarding apparitions and locutions presently reported around the world rests with the Holy See in Rome, to whose judgment we humbly submit.”
Before commenting on that last sentence, we should point out that there are some good articles in the magazine. For example, there is one about Our Lady: Undoer of Knots and a novena to her. This devotion has been revived by Pope Francis, and we wrote favorably about it in our column dated February 20, 2014. There is a summary of the “Great Rosary Victories of Our Lady,” including the Battle of Lepanto in 1571, and a good article by Fr. Dermot Roache, SMA, on “The Consecration of the Family to the Divine Mercy.”
There are some powerful testimonies as well, including an excerpt from the book I Just Came for Ashes, in which Robin Beck tells of her conversion after 30 years in the “gay community,” and the story of Sean Corrigan’s long battle back from drugs through immersion, along with his wife Elaine, in the Comunita Cenacolo.
There is a lengthy article about the Cenacle, which was founded in Italy in 1983 by Mother Elvira Petrozzi and now has many houses, including one in Jacksonville, Fla., where young people caught up in a variety of addictions can get their lives back through a simple, disciplined family style of life based on prayer, work, sacrifice, and faith in Jesus. The Cenacle describes itself as a “School of Life” consisting of consecrated religious brothers and sisters, married couples, single men and women, and children.
But in the magazine there are also pages of “Catholic Prophecies,” containing alleged messages from our Lady to a Pedro Regis, and the most problematic article of all — the one entitled “Now Is the Time for the Consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart in Union with All the Bishops of the World.” That article said that Pope John Paul II did not consecrate Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary in 1984, but the consecration will be done by the Pope after Benedict XVI (Pope Francis?), according to “Locutions to the World” given in Scranton, Pa., from December 2010 until the present day.
The locutions allege that the Pope who consecrates Russia will also move the papacy from Rome to Jerusalem, and two men will claim to be Pope, one in Rome and one in Jerusalem. The true Pope will die quickly, according to the locutions, but his death will usher in a time of peace for the whole world, and especially for Jerusalem.
The magazine then quotes at length from Fr. Paul Kramer, who has long contended that Pope John Paul did not reveal the entire Third Secret of Fatima in 2000, that he left out the alleged part about terrible wars and devastating natural disasters, fire falling from the sky, and a great apostasy in the Church. An editorial note says that “many current Marian devotees believe the 100 years granted by God to Satan [in Pope Leo XIII’s vision of 1886] to try to destroy the Church will end in 2017, 100 years after the Fatima visions in 1917.”
In the Signs and Wonders dedication, the magazine’s staffers said that they would humbly submit to the judgment of the Holy See on the matter of apparitions and locutions. But the Holy See, in the judgment of Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, the future Pope Benedict XVI, said in 2000 that the entire Third Secret of Fatima had been revealed and that “those who expected exciting apocalyptic revelations about the end of the world or the future course of history are bound to be disappointed. Fatima does not satisfy our curiosity in this way.”
That is the official judgment of the Holy See, and readers of books and magazines like Signs and Wonders ought to be prudent and, in the magazine’s own words, “respectfully recognize and accept that the final authority regarding apparitions and locutions presently reported around the world rests with the Holy See in Rome.”

Q. Do you have any information on the book The Holy Longing by Ronald Rolheiser? Our parish has selected the book for a discussion group, and I wonder if it reflects Catholic teaching. — M.K., via e-mail.
A. Fr. Rolheiser is a Catholic priest and member of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate. He is a popular speaker, writer of a syndicated column carried in more than 50 newspapers worldwide, and author of many books, including The Holy Longing: The Search for a Christian Spirituality, which was published in 1999. We have not read the book and can only pass along the following comments from one reviewer:
“This book is for those searching to understand what Christian spirituality means and how to apply it to their own lives. Rolheiser explains the non-negotiables — the importance of community worship, the imperatives surrounding social action, the centrality of the Incarnation, the sustenance of the spiritual life — and how spirituality necessarily impacts every aspect of human experience. At the core of this readable, deeply revealing book is an explanation of God and the Church in a world that more often than not doubts the credibility of both.”
Another reviewer, Dan Burke, founder of Catholic Spiritual Direction and a writer for the National Catholic Register, took a look at Fr. Rolheiser’s book Prayer: Our Deepest Longing and said that the author “seems to have a sincere desire to help and encourage those on the edge of faith but who are still seeking answers. It seems important to him to convey to people that God loves them and will accept them where they are.” However, there are some problems with his approach, said Burke. For example, there is this quote from page 53 of the book:
“Is Satan, the devil, to be conceived of as a personified force, a fallen archangel, Lucifer? Or is Satan a code name for that vast range of inner disturbances (addictions, scars, paranoia, fear, bitterness, and sexual wounds) that habitually torment us? What exactly are the principalities and powers that are beyond us?”
On November 15, 1972, Pope Paul VI made clear how we are to conceive of the Devil. He described him as “a living, spiritual being, perverted and perverting. A terrible reality. Mysterious and frightening….He is the enemy number one, a tempter par excellence. So we know that this dark and disturbing spirit really exists, and that he still acts with treacherous cunning; he is the secret enemy that sows errors and misfortunes in human history.”
This small sample of Fr. Rolheiser’s opinions makes it difficult to determine whether his writings are always faithful to Catholic teaching. Perhaps one of our readers has read The Holy Longing and could offer additional insights into this book.

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Angola: Catholic Priest Refutes Criticism of Church Practices

Lubango — The Southern Huila province?s Lubango city emeritus archbishop, Zacarias Kamwenho, rejected as false the claim that Catholic Christians worship images. Speaking on Sunday in the Muxima Diocese, in Lubango, the archbishop explained that Catholic Christians worship God instead,…Continue Reading

Ave Maria School of Law Wins Its HHS Mandate Case in Federal Court

The Obama Administration has suffered another defeat in its quest to force Catholics and people of faith to pay for abortion-causing drugs, as required by the HHS Mandate. Today the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida came down…Continue Reading

Catholic Educators Appeal to Obama Administration for Relief from HHS Mandate

Today a coalition including The Cardinal Newman Society, leaders of Catholic schools and colleges, and the expert attorneys of the Alliance Defending Freedom told the Obama administration that its latest rule mandating insurance coverage for sterilization and contraception, including abortion-causing…Continue Reading

Toronto schools hosting ‘LGBTQ’ conference for students as young as 11

The Toronto District School Board (TDSB) is hosting three student conferences within the span of eight days for the purpose of LGBTQ activism.  The conferences, which have been organized in collaboration with Jer’s Vision, will take place on October 28,…Continue Reading

The Synod and the Media: Culpable Naïveté or Shrewd Calculation?

Upon becoming director of media relations for the American bishops in late 1969, I quickly made a crucial discovery about my new employers. With just a handful of exceptions, the bishops were painfully naïve about the news business, yet convinced…Continue Reading

Chaldean Catholic patriarch suspends 10 priests, including 1 from El Cajon

SAN DIEGO – The head of the Chaldean Catholic Church has suspended 10 priests, including one from El Cajon. Chaldean Catholic Patriarch Louis Sako issued a decree a month ago, demanding the priests return to Iraq or be suspended. Wednesday…Continue Reading

Retired Pope Says Interreligious Dialogue No Substitute For Mission

VATICAN CITY – Retired Pope Benedict XVI said dialogue with other religions is no substitute for spreading the Gospel to non-Christian cultures, and warned against relativistic ideas of religious truth as “lethal to faith.” He also said the true motivation…Continue Reading

California Forces Churches to Directly Fund Abortions, Churches Refuse to Comply

To the dismay of California’s people of faith, the California Department of Managed Health Care has reclassified abortion as a “basic health service” under the Affordable Care Act and ordered all insurance plans in the state to begin covering surgical…Continue Reading

Relax. God’s Still In Charge.

It’s an enormous challenge to maintain pristine doctrinal purity while at the same time respond to the experiential, personal, and difficult needs of married couples and families. Behind every arcane discussion of gradualism and natural law there are parents and…Continue Reading

Cardinal Burke: The “Relatio Synodi” Is “A Significant Improvement Over The Text Of The ‘Relatio Post Disceptationem'”

In a third short interview with CWR, conducted by e-mail late yesterday, Cardinal Raymond L. Burke, the Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, offers his impression of the Relatio Synodi, comments on reports that the Synod has…Continue Reading

Synod Final Document Reaffirms Church Teaching

The final document of the Extraordinary Synod was released Saturday as the Synod Fathers voted to approve all 62 paragraphs, but with three paragraphs not receiving the normally required two-thirds majority vote. The three paragraphs, which in the past would…Continue Reading

Catholic Synod: Gay Rights Groups ‘Disappointed’

Catholic gay rights groups say they are disappointed after bishops rejected proposals for wider acceptance of gay people, which had the Pope’s backing. The call to “accept and value” homosexuals was in a draft report, but failed to win the…Continue Reading

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Today . . .

Pope At Mass: Christian Life Is A Continuous Battle Against The Devil

(Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis described Christian life as a continuous battle being waged against Satan, the world and the passions of the flesh. His comments came during his homily at Mass celebrated on Thursday morning at the Santa Marta residence. He stressed that the devil exists and we must fight against him with the armour of truth. Pope Francis’s reflections…Continue Reading

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI Writes Personal Ordinariate Of Our Lady Of Walsingham

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(Vatican Radio) Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI has sent a message to the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, which was established for former Anglicans in England in 2011.  The message was on the fifth anniversary of Pope Benedict’s apostolic constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus, which was released on November 4th 2009. The Pope Emeritus was responding to a letter he received…Continue Reading

Pope At Audience: The Church Visible And Spiritual

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(Vatican Radio)  “Often, we hear people say: the Church doesn’t do this …the Church doesn’t do that!’ ‘Tell me who is the Church? – ‘Well the Church is the priests, the bishops, the Pope …’ We are all the Church! All of us all of us Baptized! We are the Church, the Church of Jesus’”. This was the message at…Continue Reading

Pope At Angelus: Love Of God And Neighbour Are Inseparable

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis prayed the Angelus with pilgrims and tourists gathered in St Peter’s Square beneath the window of the Papal apartments in the Apostolic Palace at the Vatican on Sunday. In remarks ahead of the traditional prayer of Marian devotion, the Holy Father offered some reflections on the Gospel reading of the day, which was taken from Gospel…Continue Reading

Culture Of Life 101 . . . “Does Contraception Lead To Abortion?”

By BRIAN CLOWES Part 2 (Editor’s Note: Brian Clowes has been director of research and training at Human Life International since 1995. For an electronic copy of chapter 21 of The Facts of Life, “Contraception,” e-mail him at bclowes@hli.org.) + + + We have seen that contraception fails frequently and so often leads to abortion.…Continue Reading

Pass-Fail Grading: For The Professors’ Benefit?

By JAMES K. FITZPATRICK S.M. writes to offer some observations about the proposal to introduce a “pass-fail” grading system for freshmen at Princeton University. The possibility of doing that was discussed in the October 9 edition of First Teachers. He sees the idea as a “form of grade inflation that is solely intended to accomplish…Continue Reading

Contemporary Culture Encapsulated In A Single Sentence

By DONALD DeMARCO It is remarkable how much a single sentence can reveal about the temper of a culture, even when its author is trying to be withholding. Jacalyn Duffin, a historian and practicing hematologist, is the author of History of Medicine (University of Toronto Press, 2000). It is a 243-page tome that was produced…Continue Reading

Synod Document Of October 13, 2014

By JOHN F. KIPPLEY (Editor’s Note: John F. Kippley is the author of Sex and the Marriage Covenant: A Basis for Morality and other books and articles. With his wife Sheila, he is a coauthor of Natural Family Planning: The Complete Approach and cofounder of NFP International. This commentary appeared on his blog [johnkippley.com] of…Continue Reading

Elite Judges Think The Highest Judge Never Will End Their Misrule

By DEXTER DUGGAN Today people worry about globe-trotting terrorists, the transmission of the deadly Ebola virus, and the way contagions can cross borders when the government insists borders must be open for everyone’s alleged benefit. Meanwhile, unaccountable U.S. judges continue their contagion of immorality, as if God’s judgment never will come, maybe in little germs,…Continue Reading

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Catholic Replies

Editor’s Note: Regarding our recent column on advanced medical directives and particularly the Physician Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment (POLST), A.M.V. of Florida writes to say that the American Life League provides individuals with a document called the “Loving Will,” which corresponds to Catholic teaching. She said that this document was “crucial with my mom’s situation” when she was admitted…Continue Reading

Temples Of The Holy Spirit

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Feast Of The Dedication Of St. John Lateran In Rome Readings: Ezek. 47:1-2, 8-9, 12 1 Cor. 3:9c-11, 16-17 John 2:13-22 Today we celebrate the feast of the dedication of a church building that many people have never heard of and also have no idea of its significance. In Rome, there are four major basilicas; the…Continue Reading

Message Of The Extraordinary Synod Of Bishops . . . We Ask You To Walk With Us Toward The Next Synod

(Editor’s Note: Below is the text of the concluding message of the Extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the Family, held October 5-19. This message was released on October 18. (See Fr. Kevin M. Cusick’s column in this issue, p. 2B, and the front page for reporting and commentary on the separate final document of the Extraordinary Synod.) + + +…Continue Reading

A Leaven In The World… Redefining Marriage: Not About The Kids And The Picket Fence

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK Following the Extraordinary Synod and the rollback on confusing language about same-sex attraction and the divorced and remarried in the final version of the Relatio Synodi document, the predictable reactions are coming in. Those who continue to hold Church teaching that marriage is only between a man and a woman are labeled as “bigots,” while…Continue Reading

Debunking The Sola Scriptura Myth… True Tradition And False “Tradition”

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Cast A Gauntlet – Sola Scriptura: Part 1

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Wolfgang

By CAROLE BRESLIN October 31 has come to be yet another Christian holy day corrupted by our secular society. All Hallows Eve, Halloween, is now celebrated with emphasis on evil and horror. Corn mazes with frightening objects around the corner, haunted houses to terrify even the bravest of persons, glorification of vampires, and decorations of death and witches — these…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Anthony Mary Claret

By CAROLE BRESLIN St. Anthony Mary Claret has something in common with at least three other saints. Like St. Peter Claver, he was born in northeastern Spain — over 200 years later. Like St. Pio of Pietrelcina, when he heard Confessions, he frequently could read the souls of the penitents, asking them about a sin that they had not confessed.…Continue Reading

A Powerful Weapon: 15 Quotes on the Holy Rosary

We live in evil times. I hardly need elaborate the multitude of crises that fill the globe. Sadly, many are being swept away by this flood of evil and are succumbing to an overwhelming anxiety and discouragement. But no matter how tempting it is, we must not shrink back. We must pray and fast with a living faith and a firm confidence—and there is no better way to…Continue Reading

12 Ways to Become a Committed Catholic Man

There is a Catholic “man-crisis.” Large numbers of men who were baptized Catholic have left the Church and the majority of those who remain are “Casual Catholic Men”, men who do not know the Catholic faith and don’t practice it. This large-scale failure of Catholic men to commit themselves to Jesus Christ and His Church has contributed to the accelerating…Continue Reading