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January 2, 2014 Our Catholic Faith No Comments

Q. Within the context of exhorting Catholics ever deeper into the ecumenical program, Pope Francis says: “We hold the Jewish people in special regard because their covenant with God has never been revoked, for ‘the gifts and the call of God are irrevocable’ (Romans 11:29). The Church, which shares with Jews an important part of the Sacred Scriptures, looks upon the people of the covenant and their faith as one of the sacred roots of her own Christian identity (cf. Romans 11:16-18). As Christians, we cannot consider Judaism as a foreign religion; nor do we include the Jews among those called to turn from idols and to serve the true God (cf. 1 Thess. 1:9). With them, we believe in the one God who acts in history, and with them we accept His revealed word.” I do not understand this papal statement. If the covenant has not been fulfilled, does that mean they can stand at Judgment, deny Christ, and gain salvation? This is confusing to me. I suspect the discussion needs to be reopened. — S.M., Minnesota.
A. In his recent apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, Pope Francis did not say that the covenant has not been fulfilled; he knows that it was fulfilled with the coming of Jesus. What he did say, in quoting from St. Paul’s Letter to the Romans, is that the covenant God established with the people of Israel cannot be revoked. That covenant, the Vatican II document Lumen Gentium explained, was a preparation for the “new and perfect covenant which was to be ratified in Christ. . . . Christ instituted the New Covenant, that is to say, the New Testament, in His Blood (cf. 1 Cor. 11:25) by calling together a people made up of Jew and Gentile, making them one, not according to the flesh but in the Spirit. This was to be the new People of God” (n. 9).
In Evangelii Gaudium, Pope Francis also said that “while it is true that certain Christian beliefs are unacceptable to Judaism and that the Church cannot refrain from proclaiming Jesus as Lord and Messiah, there exists as well a rich complementarity that allows us to read the texts of the Hebrew Scriptures together and to help one another to mine the riches of God’s word” (n. 249).
Writing about this matter and about her own conversion some years ago (cf. This Rock, October 2002), Rosalind Moss said that “in becoming a Christian, my Jewish faith was not absorbed into Christianity. It was transformed into the fullness of what was promised to the Jews by the One who promised. Often, as I travel and teach our glorious faith, I tell people that the most Jewish thing a person can do is to become Catholic.”

Q. What is your take on Richard Rohr, O.F.M., who runs the Center for Action and Contemplation in New Mexico? He has authored several books promoting his ideas. Some of my Catholic friends speak well of him; others say that his views are in conflict with the Magisterium of the Church. Can you enlighten us? — C.P., New York.
A. Richard Rohr is a Franciscan friar who was born in 1943 and ordained to the priesthood in 1970. He is an internationally known speaker and author who has published numerous talks and books. In 1986, Rohr founded the Center for Action and Contemplation in Albuquerque, and he currently serves as its founding director and as academic dean of the Living School for Action and Contemplation, which is part of the Rohr Institute and is located at the Center for Action and Contemplation. According to the web site of the CAC, the mission of the Rohr Institute “is to produce compassionate and powerfully learned individuals who will work for positive change in the world based on awareness of our common union with God and all beings.”
Writing in the pages of The Wanderer back in 1997, Stephanie Block pointed out that the CAC had become a hub for “progressive Catholics,” with retreats and workshops promoting Call to Action personalities, such as Rosemary Radford Ruether and other radical feminists; the Enneagram, which Fr. Mitch Pacwa exposed in his book Catholics and the New Age; Albuquerque Interfaith, an affiliate of Saul Alinsky’s Industrial Areas Foundation in Chicago (Alinsky dedicated his book Rules for Radicals to “the first radical known to man who rebelled against the establishment and did it so effectively that he at least won his own kingdom — Lucifer”); and the Bridge Building Community’s gatherings that “have addressed the homosexual’s role in the Church, celebration of the gift of homosexuality, coming out, and spirituality; and relationships, commitment, and roles.”
In the conclusion of her article, Mrs. Block said that “it is apparent that the Center for Action and Contemplation has become a magnet for the dissenting elements of the Catholic Church, particularly in Albuquerque.” She said that parishioners at Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary Church had circulated a petition challenging the parish’s distribution of the CAC publication Radical Grace on church property. “Petitioners,” she reported, “were extremely disturbed by elements of the publication which they perceived as a distortion of Scripture, an affront to doctrine, and a perversion of their Catholic call to holiness. They referred specifically to the Enneagram, to the We Are Church referendum, and to the teaching that Scripture does not condemn homosexuality, all of which they had read within the pages of Radical Grace.”
In January of 2006, Mitch and Barbara Kralis of the Jesus Through Mary Foundation in Texas wrote to Bishop Charles Grahmann of Dallas asking him to cancel a scheduled retreat in the diocese by Fr. Rohr because of his support in 2000 for Soulforce, a homosexual advocacy group. The Kralis letter cited a column by Fr. Bryce Sibley, S.T.L., of the Diocese of Lafayette, LA, who wrote:
“Fr. Rohr’s support of Soulforce and its goals is rooted in his interpretation of Jesus’ all-inclusive love. He writes that the Church has failed to live up to the Gospel values by alienating and condemning homosexual acts and homosexual marriage. He writes: ‘At last we have a group of dedicated Christians who are willing to use disciplined and Christian means of nonviolent protest against its Church’s failure to live the Gospel.’ He hopes that the Church will realize the error of her ways, but until she does he hopes that Soulforce will maintain its loving inclusive position because ‘our gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered brothers and sisters have been left outside of his realm of grace for far too long.’ ”
The Kralis letter also mentioned Fr. Rohr’s “Wild Man Retreats,” where men take their clothes off. The Franciscan priest has said that he does not encourage nakedness at these retreats, that “this nudity occurs spontaneously” as the men seek to get rid of “all this stuff you have to live up to — you pay a big price for being a patriarch. And feminism has sometimes not been sympathetic enough with that. You pay a big price for having roles and titles and importance and power and significance, and the male is just finding every way he can to take it off, to take it off. They always tell me they had to do it, and it’s amazing how often some wonderful things happen in this sitting there in the sunlight naked — exposed, as it were.”
Commenting in May 2012 about the Vatican’s attempt to reign in nuns who had long dissented from Church teachings, Fr. Rohr said that “the Roman patriarchy, a closed system that allows no prophetic critique, and their branch appointed officers (bishops) are step by step rolling back both the spirit and the letter of the Vatican II reforms, while pretending and saying they are not.” He then made this demonstrably false statement:
“No group accepted the reforms and tried to renew itself following the council like the American Sisters. Yes, they made their mistakes, and also enjoyed certain matriarchal benefits over the laity. Nevertheless, this cruel, humiliating, and intimidating attempt by the Roman Curia . . . to punish and control the American Sisters is being seen for what it is, and what it is not: It is male patriarchal control, hurt feelings because they are not that much in control any more, and it is certainly NOT anything like Jesus or the Gospel. Patriarchal systems normally engineer their own demise by such gross misuse of power. We need to sincerely pray and speak much-needed Gospel to very worldly power.”

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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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Cardinal Burke Confirms: Yes, Pope Has Demoted Me.

“Pope has done a lot of harm by not saying openly what his position is” Synod “designed to change Church’s teaching“ We post here for the record of current events all the quotes published by BuzzFeed from their interview with…Continue Reading

Cardinal Burke’s Major Interview to Il Foglio on the Synod

The world likes Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke very little or not at all.  And , if it is possible, the Church likes him even less than does the world.  On the other hand, this 66-year-old American from Richland Center, Wisconsin,…Continue Reading

Pope Paul VI to be beatified Oct. 19, 2014

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Pope Francis will officially declare Pope Paul VI Blessed on Sunday, Oct. 19, during the closing ‎Mass of the 3rd Extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the family.  Pope Paul VI was cleared for ‎beatification when Pope Francis on May 9…Continue Reading

Church Militant . . . Synod On The Family

Houston, we have a problem

Angry over voter lawsuit, city demands to pick through sermons, other communications from pastors who aren’t involved Monday, October 13, 2014 HOUSTON – Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys have filed a motion in a Texas court to stop an attempt by…Continue Reading

Cardinal Burke: Synod’s mid-term report “lacks a solid foundation in the Sacred Scriptures and the Magisterium”

Yesterday’s presentation of the mid-term report (Relatio post disceptationem) of the Extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the Family was met with a remarkable level of interest among both Catholic and non-Catholic media outlets. The Vatican Radio site, in its introduction to…Continue Reading

Having Patience for the Sausage-Making Synod

The midterm report on the deliberations of the Synod on the Family has appeared and there is a fair amount of hysteria all around. John Thavis, a veteran Vatican reporter who should know better, has declared this statement “an earthquake,…Continue Reading

Advice for the Pope in Light of the Synod

The Holy Father has been very good in lecturing priests and telling us what to do. We are to go out into the world and “make a mess.” We are to “smell like the sheep.” We are to welcome all…Continue Reading

Catholic Church in Minnesota Settles Sex-Abuse Claim

MINNEAPOLIS—The Catholic Church in Minnesota and a lawyer for victims of sexual abuse on Monday announced the settlement in the first-of-its-kind lawsuit claiming that clergy abuse and subsequent inaction by church leadership constituted a “public nuisance.” The settlement also laid…Continue Reading

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Today . . .

Pope Francis: Middle East Without Christians Unthinkable

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(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis convened a Consistory of Cardinals on Monday morning in the Vatican. Originally scheduled in order to proceed with the causes of candidates for beatification, the Holy Father expanded the agenda of the meeting to include discussion of the ongoing crisis in the Middle East. In remarks to the gathered Cardinals at the morning session of the…Continue Reading

At Closing Mass For The Synod Pope Francis Beatifies Paul VI

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(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Sunday celebrated the Closing Mass for the Extraordinary Synod on the Family. During the Mass in Saint Peter’s Square, the Holy Father beatified his predecessor, Pope Paul VI, whom he described as a “great Pope,” a “courageous Christian” and a “tireless apostle.” Below, please find the complete English text of Pope Francis’s homily for the…Continue Reading

Pope At Santa Marta: Heaven In Our Hands

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(Vatican Radio) The Holy Spirit is the “seal” of light with which God has placed Heaven in Christians’ hands. Often, however, Christians avoid this light in preference of a life spent in the shadows, or worse still, in a false light, that sparkles with hypocrisy. Pope Francis’ homily at Mass Friday morning, followed the First Reading from St. Paul who…Continue Reading

Synod: Working Groups Call For More “Christ-centric” Focus On family

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(Vatican Radio) The vision of the world, and above all of the family,  must be one which “passes through the lens of the Gospel, to encourage men and women to the conversion of the heart”.  In short there must be a more “Christ-centric” focus on the family. This – in summary – is the conclusion reached by the ten Small…Continue Reading

Our Judicial Dictatorship

By PATRICK J. BUCHANAN Do the states have the right to outlaw same-sex marriage? Not long ago the question would have been seen as absurd. For every state regarded homosexual acts as crimes. Moreover, the laws prohibiting same-sex marriage had all been enacted democratically, by statewide referenda, like Proposition 8 in California, or by Congress…Continue Reading

The Government And Freedom

By ANDREW P. NAPOLITANO This past week, FBI Director James Comey gave an interview to 60 Minutes during which he revealed a flawed understanding of personal freedom. He rightly distinguished what FBI agents do in their investigations of federal crimes from what the NSA does in its intelligence gathering, when the two federal agencies are…Continue Reading

Religious Freedom In Belarus . . . Strict Controls, “An Invisible Ghetto,” Continue

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Culture Of Life 101 . . . “The Crisis Pregnancy Center Movement”

By BRIAN CLOWES (Editor’s Note: Brian Clowes has been director of research and training at Human Life International since 1995.) + + + “Speak, yourself, on behalf of the dumb, on behalf of all the unwanted; speak, yourself, pronounce a just verdict, uphold the rights of the poor, of the needy” (Prov. 31:8-9). + +…Continue Reading

Famed Dancer’s Daughter . . . Reflects On A Century Of Her Father’s Tradition-Breaking Legacy

By DEXTER DUGGAN PHOENIX — Before international fame shone on Pope Francis, he was an easily ignored man wearing a Roman collar, seated on the everyday benches of the Buenos Aires subway. A spotlight, when switched on, confers instant celebrity. But when the light’s not being brilliant, who knows who’s there in the next seat?…Continue Reading

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Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

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Debunking The Myth… Sola Scriptura Is Unscriptural

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Divine Revelation: Gradual And Progressive

By DON FIER We left off last week reflecting on God’s motive for revealing Himself to us in a supernatural manner. In a word, His sole motive was that of boundless love for mankind. God gratuitously and unconditionally chose to “communicate His own divine life to the men He freely created, in order to adopt them as His sons in…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

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Union With The Afflicted

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Cast A Gauntlet – Sola Scriptura: Part 1

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Ignatius Of Antioch

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Catholic Heroes . . . St. Denis, Patron Of France

By CAROLE BRESLIN On the hill of Montmartre, the French have built a Basilica of the Sacred Heart, Sacré-Coeur de Paris. Since 1885, this church has held perpetual adoration; the practice began before construction on the church was completed in 1914. As tourists quietly walk through the church to admire the beautiful mosaics and woodwork, high above on the altar…Continue Reading

What to Do If Your Boyfriend Wants You to Get an Abortion?

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It’s Time to Build Schools, from the Ground Up

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Why I am Pro-Life

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Fathers . . . The Essential Role of the Father

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How Much is One Billion Dollars?

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Planned Parenthood

This article appeared in The Wanderer, April 3, 1941.  (WOW, Look what we have 70 years later.) A group which calls itself the National Committee for Planned Parenthood has begun a nationwide campaign to have the promotion of birth control included in State and national health programs. The committee—which, according to propaganda sheets reaching our desk has a branch in…Continue Reading

Questions of Non-Catholics . . . Answered by Father Richard Felix, O.S.B.

Reprinted from The Wanderer April 10, 1941 Why Does God allow us to be tempted? God allows us to be tempted so that we may prove our attachment to him and merit a higher place in heaven. Temptations are the lot of all men; they are the battle ground upon which heaven is won or lost. “The kingdom of heaven…Continue Reading