Sunday 24th October 2021

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Who Can Unite It? . . . Joe Biden Has Divided The Country

October 23, 2021 Frontpage Comments Off on Who Can Unite It? . . . Joe Biden Has Divided The Country


Since the 2020 presidential campaign, Democrats have consistently depicted supporters of Donald Trump — Hillary Clinton’s “Deplorables” — not as the competition but as the enemy.
When the China Virus first appeared, Nancy Pelosi’s House Democrats were busy trying, and failing once again, to impeach Donald Trump. Then came the lockdowns, the most severe of which were imposed by Democrat governors. Their policies failed to curb the virus but succeeded and destroying hundreds of thousands of small businesses and millions of jobs, while inflicting profound and lasting damage on tens of millions of American children of school age.
And destruction has been the watchword ever since.
The violent summer of 2020, ignored by the media and dismissed by Democrats as “a myth,” enriched the leaders of Black Lives Matter but impoverished millions of inner-city blacks whose neighborhoods were destroyed. Unfortunately, the Race Industry did not pause to curb or even to lament those riots. Instead, hucksters played their part in Pelosi’s efforts to drive deeper the wedge between the people and the Elites whom Angelo Codevilla aptly identified as America’s “Oligarchs.”
In July 2020, Pelosi pushed even harder, declaring that the China Virus should be renamed the Trump Virus. This not only intensified her attacks on his supporters; it was also designed to deflect from the roiling scandal surrounding Cong. Eric Swalwell, a prominent California Democrat. Swalwell, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, had been identified as the “companion” of Christine Fang, an attractive female and a Communist Chinese spy who was mysteriously able to flee the U.S. just days before U.S. authorities caught up with her in 2015.
Swalwell, who later became prominent as a leader in the Trump-Russia farce, will not say whether or not he was intimate with Fang. Nonetheless, Pelosi refuses to remove him from his sensitive committee post, which enables him to view the government’s most sensitive classified material.
While Pelosi was dividing, Joe Biden was running as a uniter.
“There are three basic reasons why I’m running for president of the United States,” he said in his first address as a candidate on April 29, 2019. “The first is to restore the soul of the nation. And the second is to rebuild the backbone of this nation. (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE). BIDEN: And the third is to unify this nation. We always do better when we act as one America” (per CNN Transcripts).

Can Joe Pull It Off?

Since his inauguration in January, Joe Biden has done his best not only to divide the country, but to punish it. He has raised the price of gas and oil by over 30 percent. Rising energy costs will hurt the poor, most, of course, but vaccination policy, taxes, regulations, and manifestly absent border policy will by design exacerbate the chaos even more.
The list is endless. And yet, there is one policy that Joe Biden could embrace that would unite Americans like no other. It would also free Biden from the weight of allegations burdening his every move and weakening his policies both domestic and foreign.
Biden should unite all Americans against Communist China, our common enemy. Such a move would also unite the countries of the free world with a vigor and purpose that the international community has not experienced in years.
Immediately, Joe Biden should pull back the curtain on China’s role in producing and exporting to the world the deadly COVID-19 Coronavirus.
This move would demonstrate to Biden’s critics that he is indeed willing to confront the Communist Party of China and recognize “Dear Leader” Xi Jinping as the mastermind of an anti-American, anti-free world effort to make China the most prominent power in the world, with the Communist Party (CCP) firmly in the lead.
By doing this, Biden could also dispel accusations that he is “in China’s back pocket” because of allegations that his family has been on the take from sources controlled by the CCP for years.
China’s development of bioweapons in its Level-Four lab in Wuhan is undeniable. But there is much more. China is collecting data from the thousands of American servers located in the country, as well as data from various “free” genealogy programs stored there. That data will allow Chinese biological weapons developers to focus on certain races and regions worldwide in their development of targeted deadly viruses.
American businesses, especially the largest, and including the tech giants, have become totally dependent on the goodwill of the Communist Chinese. The same is true of America’s education community, concentrated in higher education but reaching down to the grade school level with the Chinese programs that are being offered to various states and communities masquerading as “educational materials.”
Here we must remember the rule of Sun Tzu: “The greatest victory is that which requires no battle.”
That is the strategy of Communist China today. Joe Biden can counter it with an America First, Peace Through Strength policy that will stop Xi Jinping in his tracks.
Will Joe Biden confront the challenge and accept it?


Pete Buttigieg, my former hometown mayor and now secretary Of Transportation in the Biden administration, has just returned from two months of “paternity leave.” Buttigieg and his homosexual partner Chasten have apparently “adopted” (if that is the proper term) two infants and are “raising them” in the home which the couple shares. The mother(s) of the children were not mentioned in the news coverage.
What was mentioned is the obvious: As mayor of South Bend, Ind., Buttigieg was scarcely able to fill a pothole, much less properly to manage even a modestly sized city’s infrastructure. Today, as our country faces drastic and almost unprecedented peacetime shortages, inflation, backups, and supply line choke points, Buttigieg simply went AWOL.
That’s the way it was meant to be. Buttigieg’s entire career, ever since he graduated from St. Joseph’s High School in South Bend, has been devoted to Buttigieg. Service to others has never been in the picture. His candidacy for president in 2020 was never designed to win; rather its goal was to amass the most effective and financially lucrative mailing list that could be used to reach out to every homosexual and homosexualist worldwide. The scheme was phenomenally successful, and its true purpose has been demonstrated in the fact that Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg took two months off from work and nobody noticed.

Memory Hole Redux

While those charged with trespassing on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol on January 6 are still being held in solitary confinement ten months later, the Biden administration’s bipolar justice system decided this week to exonerate one of the Deep State’s most entrenched operatives for years.
Andrew McCabe was the deputy director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation under Director James Comey when he lied repeatedly during a sensitive investigation conducted by the FBI’s inspector general. On those grounds, Attorney General Jeff sessions fired McCabe; this week, Attorney General Merrick Garland reversed that decision, and restoring for McCabe with all of the emoluments of not only a generous pension, but all of the attendant honors due to a high-ranking federal retiree.
Not only is Orwell’s Memory Hole hard at work here, but so is Room 101, the torture chamber in the Ministry of Love. It is truly unfortunate that these literary symbols of tyranny have become required vocabulary for understanding today’s disintegrating political reality.
In 1984, Winston went to work every day at the Ministry of Truth to rewrite the past. In Orwell’s fictional situation, as in America’s unsettling reality, such rewrites are not single incidents: They represent ongoing government policy.

Catholicism And Cannibalism

October 22, 2021 Frontpage Comments Off on Catholicism And Cannibalism


The other day, my wife was having a discussion with one of her friends, who just happens to be an anti-Catholic Protestant Fundamentalist. When the topic turned to the Most Holy Eucharist and Communion, the lady dismissively said, “That’s cannibalism.” Her reaction is wrong, sounds crude, is an insult to any Catholic listening, but a reaction that is actually older than the Eucharist Itself.
Before I craft an answer to her accusation, let’s begin by defining what the Catholic understanding of the Most Holy Eucharist is. Catholics in communion with the Church believe that Jesus gives us Himself under the appearances of bread and wine, fully and completely; He is truly present in His Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity, in order to give Himself to the Father for our salvation, and to give Himself to us as divine nourishment for our souls. In other words, the Most Holy Eucharist is Jesus Christ!
Belief in receiving the Eucharist is cannibalism is older than the Eucharist Itself, and it’s found in the Bible. Let’s look at excerpts from the sixth chapter of St. John’s Gospel.
The sixth chapter of St. John’s Gospel (verses 22-24) shows the crowds gathered around Jesus the day before seeking Him out at a different place. When they told Him they were seeking Him out, Jesus cut right to the chase so He could get directly to His message: “Truly, truly, I say to you, you seek me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves” (a reference to miraculously feeding 5,000 of them [v. 10] the day before; v. 26). Then He went on to tell them that He will give them a food that will not perish and will lead to eternal life.
The Jews were incredulous that He said He’d lead them to eternal life, that He couldn’t possibly top manna in the desert. But Jesus replied, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to me shall not hunger, and he who believes in me shall never thirst” (v. 35). He went on to explain through verse 40 that He was the bread sent from Heaven by the Father.
Up to this point, Jesus’ followers understood Him to be speaking symbolically, but He took that misconception right away from them. He went on to tell them that He was the bread they would have to eat to inherit eternal life.
Here is where the misunderstanding of cannibalism came in. “The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, ‘How can this man give us his flesh to eat?’ So Jesus said to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you; he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats me will live because of me’” (v. 52-57)
Now Jesus’ followers understand Him to be speaking literally. He said, “…my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed” (v. 55); the word “indeed” made His statement imperative. Plus, He prefaced His statement with the phrase “truly, truly,” which He always used to emphasize the importance of what He was about to teach.
It’s no wonder that Jesus’ followers became indignant, as they were repulsed because they thought He was talking about cannibalism! “After this many disciples drew back and no longer went about with Him” (v. 66). If they misunderstood Jesus by taking Him literally, why didn’t He stop them and explain what He really meant? Since this all dealt with eternal issues, didn’t He have a moral obligation to explain Himself?
Every other time they misunderstood Him, Jesus explained Himself so there would be no misunderstanding. Why not now? Because Jesus meant to be taken literally! It’s just that they thought he did indeed mean a literal cannibalism. But that isn’t at all what He meant.
Peter handled it the way the others should have. When the others decided it was wise that they “no longer went about with him,” Jesus turned to the apostles and asked, “Will you also go away?” Speaking for the twelve, Peter said, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life; and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God” (v. 68-69). In other words, what Peter was saying was that he didn’t know how Jesus was going to do what he said, but he knew it wasn’t going to be an immoral act like cannibalism, and that Jesus would expose it in His own good time.
Peter wasn’t to be disappointed. In Luke 22:15 Jesus said, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.” Imagine that! Jesus knows He is about to die, yet He earnestly desires to eat His last meal. If you were on death row, knowing you were about to die, would you be anxious for your last meal? Certainly not! That would be insane…unless you were about to do something infinitely more important than your impending death. And that’s what happened. The first Mass was said and Jesus fulfilled His promise when He said, “This is my body which is given for you” (Luke 22:19). He completed it when He said, “This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood” (v. 20). Far from cannibalism, Jesus gave us His Real Presence in the Holy Eucharist.
Our detractors tell us John chapter six and the various accounts of the Last Supper are merely symbolic. Are they right? Let’s see.
After talking about the Last Supper and the Mass in the 11th chapter of 1 Corinthians, Paul wrote, “Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself” (v. 27-29).
Now if the Eucharist is just a symbol, how in the world can you profane the Body and Blood of the Lord and eat and drink judgment on yourself? To receive Communion unworthily is the mortal sin of sacrilege, in addition to the sin(s) that made you unworthy.
(By the way, this is why it’s enshrined in both Canon Law and the Catechism of the Catholic Church that you must be free of mortal sin before you can receive Holy Communion. If you don’t know what mortal sins are, you’d better learn; it would be dreadful to learn about them when you’re standing before God for your judgment!)
So, you decide. Are Catholics cannibals because we receive the Body and Blood of Christ in Holy Communion, or are we receiving the greatest gift ever bestowed on mankind by a good and loving God?
Got further questions about the Most Holy Eucharist? Contact me at And learn even more by listening to The Cantankerous Catholic podcast, available wherever you get your podcasts. And it’s free!

St. John Paul II’s Advice… Session On Vatican II Documents Looks At Religious Freedom And Priestly Life

October 21, 2021 Frontpage Comments Off on St. John Paul II’s Advice… Session On Vatican II Documents Looks At Religious Freedom And Priestly Life


PHOENIX — As a presentation concluded here that examined Vatican II statements for more than two hours, some advice from St. John Paul II was offered: “Get back to the documents. Get back to the documents.”
Bill Marcotte, assistant director of the Institute of Catholic Theology (ICT), recalled those papal words as he pointed to the importance of knowing what the Second Vatican Council actually taught, not what had been “hijacked.”
The ICT is an evangelization program based here at St. Thomas the Apostle Church. Its fall program is examining Vatican II decrees and declarations. On October 9 it took up religious freedom and priestly life and formation.
Eric Westby, Ph.D., director of the ICT, seconded Marcotte and said the laity need a guide, but, “The laity are smart. They can understand it.”
Westby began the morning by saying a lot of time could be spent talking about how the documents were implemented, but this is about “what’s in them.”
Rick Perry, a theology teacher at the local St. Mary’s High School, dealt with the Council’s Declaration on Religious Freedom: Human Dignity. It addresses “the right of the person and of communities to social and civil freedom in matters religious.”
Perry holds two master’s degrees in theology, from the Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio, and KU Leuven, the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, in Belgium.
He said the declaration deals with such questions as what should be the relationship between the Church and state, on what basis does the Church promote religious liberty, and the difference between coercion and conversion in belief.
“You cannot coerce anyone into faith,” Perry said, adding a little later, “There must be a free act of faith.”
The declaration builds on the teaching of Popes, including Leo XIII, Pius XI, and John XXIII, he said, pointing out that Pius XI wrote Mit Brennender Sorge, the encyclical addressed to the German people in 1937 that expressed dismay at what was happening under the government of Adolf Hitler.
Unlike the customary use of Latin, this encyclical was released directly in German. Its title meant, “With burning concern.” And unlike encyclicals that deal with wider topics, this one focused on German events.
Perry didn’t examine this encyclical during his presentation, but it’s a useful review of events of that time. It makes plain the Church was not somehow friendly to that era’s National Socialist dictatorship.
To take just one example, Number 21: “In your country, Venerable Brethren, voices are swelling into a chorus urging people to leave the Church, and among the leaders there is more than one whose official position is intended to create the impression that this infidelity to Christ the King constitutes a signal and meritorious act of loyalty to the modern State.”
Perry cited the Vatican II declaration on religious liberty to note how it’s being violated in Communist China now, with the Beijing government selecting and appointing clergy to suit itself rather than deferring to ecclesiastical authority.
Furthermore, Perry said, the Vatican document recognized that some governments proclaim constitutional recognition of freedom of religion but don’t honor it.
“The further fact is,” the declaration said, “that forms of government still exist under which, even though freedom of religious worship receives constitutional recognition, the powers of government are engaged in the effort to deter citizens from the profession of religion and to make life very difficult and dangerous for religious communities.”
Westby, the ICT director, spoke on the Vatican II Decree on The Ministry and Life of Priests: Presbyterorum Ordinis. He said it came out at the end of the Council, when it was promulgated by Pope Paul VI in December 1965, and addressed what a priest could do that others could not, “what made him a priest . . . his unique ability.”
He said the decree noted “a strong connection between the priesthood and the laity” in which priests “are to live as good shepherds that know their sheep.”
He cited Number 3, which said in part: “Priests of the New Testament, by their vocation and ordination, are in a certain sense set apart in the bosom of the People of God. However, they are not to be separated from the People of God or from any person; but they are to be totally dedicated to the work for which the Lord has chosen them. . . .
“They cannot be ministers of Christ unless they be witnesses and dispensers of a life other than earthly life,” the decree said. “But they cannot be of service to men if they remain strangers to the life and conditions of men. . . . Their ministry itself, by a special title, forbids that they be conformed to this world; . . . yet at the same time it requires that they live in this world among men. . . .
“To achieve this aim, certain virtues, which in human affairs are deservedly esteemed, contribute a great deal: such as goodness of heart, sincerity, strength and constancy of mind, zealous pursuit of justice, affability, and others,” it added.
The document recognizes that “the priesthood has difficulties, it can be a lonely job,” Westby said, but priests must realize “the Lord is always with them, that they’re never alone.”
People lined up at church after Mass to speak with the priest aren’t necessarily a fun experience, he said, because they may tell the priest what they thought of his homily.
The priest is to be “a herald of the Gospels,” Westby said.
Taking questions after his talk, Westby said that after Vatican II, there was a discrepancy between what its documents said and what many theologians were saying, including on the priesthood.
One was that the priest was just like a community leader, he said, which “really changes the identity of what makes a priest a priest. . . .
“The lines got blurred after the Council,” he said, and included “the clericalization of the laity.”
The universal call to holiness is foundational to everybody, Westby said.
Following the Council, he added later, there was widespread disagreement about what “pastoral” means. It shouldn’t just be, “by being pastoral, I’m being kind to people.”
Westby noted that generations affect those who come after them, and just as people in the 1950s impact people now, the current generation will affect people 40 or 50 years from now.
That’s quite a thought, and a responsibility. What you do today will influence people still unborn. It has always been that way.

In October . . . Remember The Power Of The Rosary

October 20, 2021 Frontpage Comments Off on In October . . . Remember The Power Of The Rosary


October is the month which the Church has traditionally assigned to the rosary, and it is worth noting that this is the only such month devoted to a sacramental, an object, rather than a holy person or theme connected with them, as for example June is the month dedicated to the Sacred Heart.
Strangely enough, there is no month dedicated to the cross of Christ, which is the by far the holiest devotional object for Catholics, and which is infinitely more sacred than any sacramental.
Of course, Lent is the season which could be described as being dedicated to the cross, but it is still intriguing to realize that the rosary is regarded so highly by the Church, and is thus clearly in a very special category of its own as regards sacramentals.
This is no doubt due to its wonderful effects both for the individual who prays it and for the Church and the world generally. This can be seen from the fact that we have recently celebrated, on October 7, the Feast of the Holy Rosary. This originated following the Battle of Lepanto, the victory of the Holy League — a coalition of Catholic forces inspired by Pope St. Pius V — against an invasion fleet of the Ottoman Empire. This battle took place in the eastern Mediterranean, on October 7, 1571, exactly four hundred and fifty years ago.
The Pope had asked for the rosary to be prayed by Catholics for victory against the Ottoman forces, and the result was a great and unexpected triumph for the Holy League, a triumph which was miraculously revealed to Pope Pius in Rome, hundreds of miles away.
Nor was this an isolated incident, since the power of the rosary has been repeatedly demonstrated since that time. This was certainly the case in the 1950s, following the preaching of Fr. Petrus Pavlicek, a Franciscan, who organized a Rosary Crusade in Austria from 1946 onward, with the aim of obtaining peace for the country. He also organized candlelit processions in Vienna with a pilgrim Virgin statue of Our Lady from Fatima.
Austria, like Germany, with whom it was allied during World War |II, was divided into four zones of occupation by the Allies, with the Eastern zone, which included Vienna, being held by the Soviets. In answer to this, Fr. Pavlicek eventually managed to get ten percent of the Austrian population praying five decades of the rosary daily for an end to the Communist occupation.
The result of all those prayers was that on May 13, 1955, the 38th anniversary of the first apparition at Fatima, the Russians announced that they were willing to sign a peace treaty and withdraw from Austria. This was the only time in the history of the Soviet Union that the Red Army voluntarily withdrew from a country it had occupied. We can contrast this with the attempted revolutions in Hungary, in 1956, and Czechoslovakia, in 1968, which were brutally put down by the Communists.
The most obvious spiritual reason for this is surely that those Austrian Catholics had prayed the rosary for this intention, and that their number and fervor were sufficient to obtain the grace of a peaceful withdrawal by the Soviets.
Over the centuries, the Popes have been great supporters of the rosary, and particularly Pope Leo XIII (1878-1903), who wrote a large number of encyclicals in support of the devotion. He encouraged praying it during the month of October, and saw the rosary as the best way to combat the evils the Church was facing in the nineteenth century. He also added the invocation “Queen of the Most Holy Rosary” to the Litany of Loreto.
More recent Popes, too, have been very supportive of the rosary, and strongly encouraged its recitation by the faithful as a way of strengthening the faith of believers and combating the more modern array of evils which threaten society.
When Pope John Paul II went to Fatima in 1982, during his homily on May 13, he described the rosary as our Lady’s prayer, before going on to say, “Take care of your inheritance of faith . . . do you want me to teach you the secret of keeping it? It is simple: Pray, pray very much, pray, recite the rosary every day.”
In speaking of Fatima, of course, we are dealing with events which are intimately linked with the rosary. During each of her six apparitions, the Blessed Virgin specifically requested that the rosary be said daily.
At the first apparition, on May 13, 1917, she said: “Pray the rosary every day to obtain peace for the world and an end to the war.” On both June 13 and July 13 she made a similar appeal, and the same was true regarding the August and September apparitions. On October 13 she definitively linked herself to the rosary when she said: “I am the Lady of the Rosary. Continue always to pray the rosary every day.”
This self-chosen title is significant because when she appeared at Lourdes our Lady described herself as the Immaculate Conception; but at Fatima she was so keen to emphasize the importance of the rosary that she designated herself as the “Lady of the Rosary,” thus identifying her very person with the praying of the rosary.
October is not only the month dedicated to the rosary, but it was also during the October 1917 apparition that the great miracle of the sun set the seal on the events at Fatima. And in fact, while the immense crowd in the Cova da Iria saw the awesome solar miracle, the seers saw a tableau of visions of the Holy Family representing the mysteries of the rosary, thus further emphasizing its importance and acting as an encouragement for all to pray it with devotion.

The Era Of Peace

Another point worth noting about the October 1917 apparition is what our Lady said before she went back to Heaven. Her final words to the children were, “Do not offend the Lord our God anymore, because He is already so much offended.”
This saying tends to get overshadowed by the miracle of the sun and the rosary apparitions, but it is surely highly significant that she should focus on offenses against God rather than, for example, the need for more prayers, or greater penance, or more good deeds.
We know from Sr. Lucia’s Memoirs that both Francisco and Jacinta were deeply moved by the realization that God was offended and saddened by the sins of mankind.
Francisco, in fact, said to Lucia that God was “very sad because of so many sins.” He had presumably received a heavenly revelation on this point when the young seers experienced the light from our Lady’s hands which penetrated their hearts. Francisco revealed that he had also seen Christ in that light.
And if our Lord was very sad at the sins of that era, what must his feelings be now as He looks down on the modern world, a world in which sin has surely increased a thousand-fold since 1917.
The situation in the world today regarding sin is very grave, but perhaps the best way we can respond to this is to live out the Fatima message in our daily lives and particularly focus on the daily rosary. This is what our Lady most emphatically asked for, and she certainly knew what she was talking about.
The month of October, then, is the ideal time to renew our devotion to the rosary, and to endeavor to pray it with more fervor. If we do that we will call down God’s blessings on the world, and hasten the day when our Lady’s Immaculate Heart will triumph and the long awaited period of peace is finally granted to mankind.

  • + + (Donal Anthony Foley is the author of a number of books on Marian Apparitions, and maintains a related website at His updated book on this topic, Medjugorje Complete, has recently been published by Angelico Press. He has also written two time-travel/adventure books for young people, and the third in the series is due to be published shortly — details can be seen at:

A Beacon Of Light… He Frees Us From The Yoke Of Sin And Death

October 19, 2021 Frontpage Comments Off on A Beacon Of Light… He Frees Us From The Yoke Of Sin And Death


(Editor’s Note: Fr. Richard D. Breton Jr. is a priest of the Diocese of Norwich, Conn. He received his BA in religious studies and his MA in dogmatic theology from Holy Apostles College and Seminary in Cromwell, Conn.)

  • + + Welcome back to our survey of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. We have arrived at the final lines of the profession of faith where we will examine the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting. This week we will complete the first pillar of the Catechism which is the Creed.
    Each week we profess our belief in the forgiveness of sins. This is such a profound statement for us to make because it is precisely why Christ came: to free us from the yoke of sin and death. Without a belief in the forgiveness of sins, we forfeit the possibility of eternal life. It was for this purpose that Christ was born, to redeem us.
    How does this happen? In order to answer this, we must return to the moments immediately following the Resurrection. It was in the Upper Room, gathered with the apostles, that the Risen Lord conferred the Sacrament of Reconciliation upon them.
    The Catechism reminds us of this in n. 976, when it quotes the Gospel of St. John: “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.” Having been given the authority to forgive sins, the new priests of the Church, begin to proclaim repentance and forgiveness of sins.
    The apostles, having begun their missionary responsibility, began to teach the people about the Christian faith. This teaching included the primordial importance of Baptism. In order to receive the forgiveness of sins, Jesus instructs us that Baptism is the first moment of forgiveness and it is necessary in order to receive the other sacraments of forgiveness.
    The Catechism offers further clarification when it says: “When we made our first profession of faith while receiving holy Baptism that cleansed us, the forgiveness we received then was so full and complete that there remained in us absolutely nothing left to efface, neither original sin nor offenses committed by our own will, nor was there left any penalty to suffer in order to expiate them. . . .
    “Yet the grace of Baptism delivers no one from all the weakness of nature. On the contrary, we must still combat the movements of concupiscence that never cease leading us into evil” (CCC, n. 978).

A New Creation

With this having been said, I think it is appropriate to mention here the struggle that exists in the lives of all Christians, the struggle between good and evil. Having received the graces of Baptism, and having been grafted to Christ, that opens us up to the cunnings of the evil one. The evil one places temptation in our way with the focus of causing us to fall from grace. We the baptized, however, have received the greatest gift from Christ, the gift of a continual opportunity for the forgiveness of sins.
Here the Catechism turns to the Church Fathers who have called penance “a laborious kind of Baptism.” By this we mean the path to everlasting life will be the work of our labors and the ability to maintain “baptismal grace.” Though the effects of original sin incur for us an inclination to sin, the Sacrament of Penance reverses this and the graces of forgiveness are bestowed on us. So, when we say that we believe in the forgiveness of sins, we believe that God has given us the means of attaining heavenly grace.
In the next line of the Creed we profess our belief in “the resurrection of the body.” Why is this important? This is crucial to our understanding of the faith because it is precisely why Christ came, to free us from the yoke of sin and death, calling us back to the original holiness that was lost in disobedience.
On the day of our Baptism we became a “new creation” and are made sons and daughters of Christ. This new creation is signified in the white garment we receive. The white garment sets us apart as members of the Lord’s family. Furthermore, in Baptism we receive the Holy Spirit and our bodies become temples where the Spirit dwells. This in-dwelling of the Spirit promises us a share in the Resurrection.
This is why we celebrate the Mass of Christian Burial, or funeral Mass. The funeral Mass recalls for us the dignity of the person, particularly, the body that was the temple of the Holy Spirit. This is why the Church encourages us to bring the body of our loved ones to Church. It is a sign of the great respect given to the temple that once housed the Holy Spirit.
I remember during my time as a hospital chaplain seeing other religions taking great care of their loved one’s body after death. In one instance, I recall the custom of the Muslim people. In Islam the deceased are buried as soon as possible, and it is a requirement that the community be involved in the ritual. The individual is first washed and then wrapped in a plain white shroud called a kafan. Next, funeral prayers are said followed by the burial. The shrouded dead are placed directly in the earth without a casket and deep enough not to be disturbed. They are also positioned in the earth, on their right side, facing Mecca, Saudi Arabia.
The final line we profess in the Creed is: I believe in life everlasting. By professing these lines we affirm our belief in life after death. Alone death is final, but for a person who has faith in the Resurrection of Christ, death is not the end. For believers, life everlasting is what keeps us going. It is the culmination of our entire life’s journey. The journey began in Baptism when we were made children of Christ, and it finds its culmination in life after death.
This belief also includes the understanding that we will undergo the “particular judgment.” Particular judgment is the evaluation of both our works and our faith as they were lived on Earth.
For at the moment of our death, when we breathe our last breath, we will be judged by the Lord. This judgment will end in three ways. First, there is the possibility of immediate entrance into the heavenly kingdom. Second, there is immediate entrance into the state of purification before entering Heaven. This is what we call Purgatory. This “Purgatory” is a kind of cleansing whereby we are better prepared for the illumination of God. Finally there is immediate everlasting damnation. This is where we find the Devil and his minions along with those who had a total disregard for the Lord. All of these are the consequences of how we lived our lives on Earth.
The Church reminds us of this every time the Roman Canon, or the First Eucharistic Prayer, is prayed: “Father, accept this offering from your whole family. Grant us your peace in this life, save us from final damnation, and count us among those you have chosen” (CCC, n. 1037).
There is, however, what we know as the Last Judgment. The time and the hour of this judgment are not known, except by God Himself. When Christ will come “in his glory, and all the angels with him…before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate them one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and he will place the sheep at his right hand, but the goats at the left…and they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life” (Matt. 25:31, 32, 46).
Thus, our belief in life everlasting includes desire and hope for a “new heaven and a new earth.” This new heaven replaces the garden lost in the disobedience of our first parents, Adam, and Eve. For through Mary as the “new Eve” and Jesus being the “new Adam,” we are restored to the original innocence of creation.

I Believe

Finally, we arrive at the last word of the Creed. Our “Amen” affirms the first words we spoke of the Creed, our “I Believe.” The Catechism beautifully expresses this: “Thus the Creed’s final ‘Amen’ repeats and confirms its first words: ‘I believe.’ To believe is to say ‘Amen’ to God’s words, promises, and commandments; to entrust oneself completely to him who is the ‘Amen’ of infinite love and perfect faithfulness. The Christian’s everyday life will then be the ‘Amen’ to the ‘I believe’ of our baptismal profession of faith’” (CCC, n. 1064).
We have come to the conclusion of the first pillar of the Catechism dedicated to the Creed. I am reminded of the following words of St. Augustine regarding the importance of the Creed in our lives: “May your Creed be for you as a mirror. Look at yourself in it, to see if you believe everything you say you believe, and rejoice in your faith each day” (St. Augustine, Sermo 58, 11, 13: PL 38, 399).
Next week we will begin the Second Pillar of the Catechism, the celebration of the Christian mysteries.

Has Mr. Biden Finally Poked The Bear?

October 18, 2021 Frontpage Comments Off on Has Mr. Biden Finally Poked The Bear?


I don’t think you need to know much about wild life to know that one place you never want to be is between a mama bear and her cub.
Everyone knows that, except, apparently, Joe Biden.
During the past nine months we have suffered through an amazing display of arrogance, lies, incompetence, and stupidity on behalf of the president; but no matter how deep the crisis du jour, the border, Afghanistan, vaccination mandates, out of control crime, Mr. Biden, even with dwindling poll numbers, continues to say he is following the moderate policies on which he claims to have campaigned.
And, for the most part, his obedient shills in the media and the Progressive Left of his party have done their best to keep his flaws under wraps so as not to unnecessarily stir up the average low information voter. But this month he may have gone too far in trying to crack down on issues in which the president normally doesn’t have any interest: school masks and history curriculum.
And, for the mother bears among us, Mr. Biden has not only gotten between mama and her cub, but he has poked mama with a stick. This he will live to regret.
During the past two years as we have tried to deal with the COVID pandemic, two issues have come to the surface, both courtesy of the teachers’ unions. In an effort to keep schools closed as long as possible, the unions have worked with the new administration to erect barriers to reopening schools which have created hardships for parents who had depended on schools as a much needed care facility for their children allowing them to return to work.
The hardship of the closings and the collateral damage that was done to many children was regularly ignored by the politicians and pooh-poohed by the press. Yet even when the schools opened, too many, without any real medical logic, required students to wear masks in class, and some even required masks during recess. That set off another round of collateral damage that only the parents seemed to appreciate.
But school administrators and the unions soon came up with the idea of online classrooms, claiming that it was just as good as in-person instruction. That satisfied some, especially parents who were able to monitor the kiddies’ classes. And what they found was oft-times not teaching but indoctrination, especially in the area of race relations taught under the guise of Critical Race Theory or the 1619 Project.
Both, of course, had been complained of, but again this too was pooh-poohed and simply called teaching true history to include marginal groups. Of course that was false and the parents who actually saw the lessons delivered over the Internet were outraged. Throw in a student mask requirement and a fire was lit under mama bear.
She was finally awakened to the dangers presented to her cubs. Mama bear was none too happy. Mama bear then did something she normally would not do; she attended a school board meeting and with other moms who were pricked by school policies, once the bleeding started it did not stop. Everything from pornographic library books to sexual fluidity to cultural Marxism came pouring out and the fire that was already lit exploded.
Angry parents stormed their school board meetings with complaints and arrogant local officials turned a deaf ear to them shutting off their microphones, sometimes only for improperly wearing their masks, then finally adjourning meetings or shutting off public comment periods in a manner that seemed to challenge the mama bears.
Then the debate started: Who is primarily responsible for the education of your kids, you or school officials? And, how much input should parents be allowed?
School officials cried foul and using their political connections raised an alarm with the administration. Claiming that these uppity parents were a threat to the proper administration of the schools by “threats or actual acts of violence” against school leaders and teachers and that they have “incited chaos” during school board meetings, they have asked Mr. Biden for help. Send in the FBI, they said, arguing these parents may be domestic terrorists.
“As these acts of malice, violence, and threats against public school officials have increased, the classification of these heinous actions could be the equivalent to a form of domestic terrorism and hate crime,” they said in a letter to the administration, urging it to use such laws as the Patriot Act and to employ the Postal Service to “filter threatening letters,” all to curb these unruly parents.
Now instead of simply replying that the local police are perfectly capable of handling any violent confrontation at a public meeting, Mr. Biden did what the local school officials wanted. He turned the matter over to the Justice Department where the obedient Merrick Garland, masquerading as a competent arbiter of justice, ordered the FBI to crack down on parents who protest against school officials over mask requirements and their indoctrination of the curricula.
Garland, President Obama’s unsuccessful Supreme Court nominee (glad he didn’t get that!), now Mr. Biden’s attorney general, said in an announcement that he will “address the rise in criminal conduct directed toward school personnel” by creating a task force of agents from the department’s “criminal, civil rights, and national security divisions.”
Interestingly, it turns out that Mr. Garland and his family actually have a financial “conflict of interest” when it comes to the issue of Critical Race Theory. His daughter is married to a man who co-founded and runs an education group that supplies Critical Race Theory materials to schools.
Got all of this, Mama Bear? You are going to be investigated for criminal behavior, civil rights violations, and as a national security threat if you dare raise your voice in protest. After all, you may be a domestic terrorist because your interest in your children’s education can be considered subversive in this the Era of Biden. You are warned, we will brook no resistance to our enlightened decisions, after all, it takes a village and Papa Joe and his minions are now the village.
Garland, in his announcement, claims that free-speech must yield when they represent “efforts to intimidate individuals based on their views.”
Sounds good, right? Except that Senators Sinema and Manchin might not agree. But I do wonder why nobody ever thought of that when Maxine Waters was telling her supporters how to intimidate Trump officials in public. Maybe somebody will ask her.
In the meantime we’ll see how docile mama bear becomes when she is threatened by the Biden Gestapo. My money is on mama; if our kids aren’t worth fighting for, all just might be lost.

  • + + (You can reach Mike at: and listen to him every Thursday at 10 a.m. CT on Faith On Trial on

What’s Up, Anyway?. . . Pope Beams At Pelosi And Bishops Can’t Grasp Border Tragedy

October 17, 2021 Frontpage Comments Off on What’s Up, Anyway?. . . Pope Beams At Pelosi And Bishops Can’t Grasp Border Tragedy


Imagine that your girlfriend, a prominent figure known throughout your state, is admired for a high-quality reputation and public record.
A different widely known state figure is a brutal blowhard who never misses a chance to kick a dog, hit a child or beat a woman. He never expressed any contrition for his behavior. Instead, he says people who irritate him deserve what they get.
Promoting abortion is his favorite cause.
One day there’s a scheduled public event where your girlfriend gives her blessing to this brute’s announced political campaign. She doesn’t seem a bit uncomfortable in his presence. Instead, she smiles widely, keeps shaking his hand for the photographers, and even gives him a big hug.
Would you change your opinion of the unrepentant brute and think he’s probably a good guy after all? Or would you wonder what has become of your girlfriend’s mind and think you’d better talk over her bad judgment with her?
Then you discover she has been visiting other states and endorsing downright political cads there, too. Maybe it’s time for you to reconsider your close relationship with her?
On October 9 Pope Francis received House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) at the Vatican. Pelosi acted like a faithful daughter of the Church delighted to meet its leader, and the Pope seemed equally pleased at her presence. No stern glances or disapproving gestures by him.
However, both Pelosi and Francis knew that she, one of the most politically powerful so-called Catholics in the world, is a pro-abortion fanatic committed to the deaths of tens of millions of preborn babies, as is bad Catholic Joe Biden, who is scheduled to visit the Vatican soon.
In her own words, Pelosi regards permissive abortion as key to women’s basic dignity and rights, the effusions of a committed radical who helps set the tone of the Democratic Party of Death and Depravity. This is no more the party of the lunch-bucket working class than it would be if it fed poison to kindergarteners every day.
If the Pope intended to tell Pelosi quietly that she needed to hurry up and make a good Confession, one would hope his public manner would have been more serious and reserved. Or that he would have not met publicly with her at all.
Only two weeks before greeting the Pope, Pelosi led the House of Representatives on an almost entirely party-line vote to approve a radical abortion bill that would crush whatever pro-life laws the individual states had been allowed by courts to enact.
Nor was Pelosi the first strong pro-abortionist welcomed at the Vatican. A procession of abortion advocates and population controllers and even left-winger Italian politician and previous abortionist Emma Bonino marched right in.
Francis repeatedly flatly has described abortion as “murder.” But as long as the murders are enabled by his left-wing political pals, Francis appears untroubled. To him, apparently, pushing left-wing politics comes first — even though permissive abortion has become a worldwide left-wing priority.
The Wanderer asked national conservative commentator Quin Hillyer for his reaction to Francis receiving Pelosi. Hillyer replied on October 11: “I defer to the Pope on his knowledge of Catholicism, but he certainly sends a very, very confusing message when he receives Nancy Pelosi without the slightest public mention of her massive and obvious apostasy on abortion.
“One would think even if he otherwise graciously receives her as a top leader of the world’s most important government,” Hillyer said, “a Pontiff would want to reinforce crucial Church doctrine. A failure to do so sends the signal that the doctrine isn’t very important after all — and it is a dangerous and tragic signal.”
This newspaper posed the same question to Mary Ann Kreitzer, who runs the Virginia-based Catholic blog Les Femmes — The Truth. Kreitzer replied on October 11: “I thought the timing of the meeting between Pelosi and Pope Francis was interesting. Her bishop launches a prayer crusade for her conversion and the Pope gives her a private audience and major photo op right after.
“I think he belongs to the ‘I’m okay, you’re okay’ school of philosophy,” Kreitzer said. “She calls herself ‘devout,’ and he has the same level of devotion. She worships power and money. He brought an idol into St. Peter’s for worship. She talks about protecting the weak and those who are left out while she champions the murder of God’s least ones.
“He honors her along with abortionists, euthanasia proponents, and population controllers,” Kreitzer said. “Some wag called them two P’s in a pod: and that’s exactly right. Pelosi and the Pope: enablers of abortion, enemies of Church doctrine, liberals who put climate change above human life and the salvation of souls. This is not likely to end well for either of them.”
Kreitzer’s reference to Pelosi’s bishop’s prayer crusade meant San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone’s recent request for people’s fasting and prayer for her conversion of heart. Cordileone said in part on September 29:
“A conversion of heart of the majority of our congressional representatives is needed on this issue, beginning with the leader of the House, Speaker Nancy Pelosi. I am therefore inviting all Catholics to join in a massive and visible campaign of prayer and fasting for Speaker Pelosi: commit to praying one rosary a week and fasting on Fridays for her conversion of heart.
“Please sign up for the ‘Rose and Rosary for Nancy’ campaign at, and a rose will be sent to her as a symbol of your prayer and fasting for her,” he said.
The prayers and sacrifices of others are welcome as well.
Last May the Daily Caller News Foundation reported that Cordileone said he had “conversations” with Pelosi about abstaining from receiving the Eucharist as a pro-abortion Catholic.
The story said Daily Caller writer Mary Margaret Olohan “asked Cordileone whether the archbishop would give Communion to President Joe Biden or Pelosi if either pro-abortion politician were to show up in his Communion line at Mass.
“Cordileone noted that in [his teaching document] Before I Formed You In The Womb, I Knew You, he discussed the need for conversations to take place between pastors or bishops and the individual in question ‘so they can understand the error of their ways’,” the story said.
However, the Daily Caller story said, if the politician didn’t heed this counsel and still came up to receive the Eucharist, according to Cordileone, “Because we are dealing with public figures and public examples of cooperation in moral evil, this correction can also take the public form of exclusion from the reception of Holy Communion.”
It often may seem easier to put off a problem until later, or hope it simply goes away. This would be the reason many passive bishops brought the Church to the current day, where flagrantly defiant Catholics like Biden and Pelosi have learned to act as if it’s their right to commit sacrilege.
Cordileone wasn’t one of these weak-willed prelates. Even back when he was auxiliary bishop of the San Diego Diocese, he spoke up for Eucharistic coherence, and The Wanderer interviewed him in his office about it. But many other bishops weren’t equally forthright.
Another example of failing to stand up has been the issue of massive illegal immigration. The United States has been generous about welcoming others, but they still were expected to come through the door, not sneak through the windows or jump over the back fence and expect the homeowner to provide for their every demand.
Not so long ago, even liberal Democratic politicians like Bill Clinton and Barack Obama — as well as a Latino activist like Cesar Chavez — publicly opposed illegal immigration. They knew, for instance, how their own poorer constituents were hurt by new unlimited, unauthorized arrivals.
But when left-wing extremism started to drive so many traditional Democrats out of that party, Democrat leaders decided their future power depended on how many illegal immigrants they could rush into the U.S.
Unfortunately, the Catholic bureaucracy acquired a taste for the gushing federal funds it could receive as a social-service agency for illegal immigrants. And a widespread attitude among bishops grew that rather than demand foreigners improve their own countries, they should be welcomed here unquestioningly, even though unvetted and unlimited.
Thus the Marxist-poisoned Biden administration goes forward with utter contempt for border protection, gleefully bringing in anyone by the millions, including terrorists, drug pushers, gang members, and COVID-diseased people free to travel wherever they please.
One might think every bishop would have paused at seeing the lessons of this chaos, but not so.
Even the Catholic Diocese of Phoenix, a short drive from the Mexican border, distributed a flier inviting participation at its October 11 “Prayer Vigil for Migrant Justice” at its St. Mary’s Basilica, led by Bishop Thomas Olmsted and Auxiliary Bishop Eduardo Nevares.
It was co-sponsored by the Catholic Coalition for Migrant Justice, and was to last for two hours, including recitation of the rosary.
There was no word on the flier about praying for the welfare of all the people of the United States, or questioning the chaos the open border has caused. It was only about more “immigration.”
The flier boldly said the “Purpose of the Vigil” is “To support our Catholic Church’s moral authority on immigration; to spur Arizona’s Catholic community to embrace the Catholic Church’s social teachings in support of our immigrant brothers and sisters; to promote immigrants’ human dignity; to pray for our immigrant brothers and sisters, their hopes, dreams and struggles as they seek a new life in the United States.”
Olmsted was to preach a long homily including this passage: “Born of all this, then, is a crisis within, characterized by division, fear, and suspicion that dominate our discourse on immigration. There has been a lamentable rise in anger towards migrants that is unbecoming of a nation of immigrants with such a clear and defined Christian heritage.
“If we are honest with ourselves,” Olmsted said, “we can recognize that prejudice is a driving factor behind much of our political discourse. The most troubling aspect behind the debate on immigration is that we, as Catholics, no longer see the strangers among us as our brothers and sisters in Christ, but only as thieves or criminals or a means to an end. This is our ‘crisis within’.”
In 2006 Olmsted had authored a pamphlet on the responsibilities of “Catholics in the Public Square.” It said absolutely nothing whatever about supposed Catholic responsibilities to welcome unlimited illegal immigrants. That idea was to come later — as it also did for Democratic Party leaders.
For Olmsted to suggest that bigots simply have dreamed up the idea there’s a serious issue of criminals flooding across the border is to make Catholics despair of such prelates’ grasp of this crisis.

Trump Calls Border A “Wreck”

On the other hand, Arizona GOP Cong. Andy Biggs told the Travis & Sexton national radio program on October 5 that the Biden administration has hung out a welcome mat for the entire world, intended to change the political landscape here.
Or, as Donald Trump said in an email blast on October 12: “Our border has gone from the safest and most secure in history, by far, to a broken, dirty, and disgusting wreck with thousands of unknown people from unknown countries, including from their now-emptied prisons all over the world, unsustainably pouring in.
“No country has ever seen anything like what is happening on the southern border of the United States — and no country is stupid enough to allow such a thing to happen,” Trump said. “Crime will go up at levels that the U.S. has never seen before (it is actually already there), and terrorism will be the next big wave to lead the way.”

Pelosi And The Popes . . . Two Meetings, Two Versions

October 16, 2021 Frontpage Comments Off on Pelosi And The Popes . . . Two Meetings, Two Versions


House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Rome last week to participate in a meeting of international legislators preparing for the UN Climate Change Conference in Scotland next month. During the Rome meeting, she took the opportunity to meet privately at the Vatican with Pope Francis, who was scheduled to address the meeting the next day.
Videos released after the meeting show Pelosi as she entered the room and greeted the Pope, holding his hand while the cameras rolled. Pelosi later released a statement on her official website which read in part, “His Holiness’ leadership is a source of joy and hope for Catholics and for all people, challenging each of us to be good stewards of God’s creation, to act on climate, to embrace the refugee, the immigrant and the poor and to recognize the dignity and divinity in everyone.”
“It would be a dereliction of duty for us not to go into the future in a green way and (one) that responds to the urgency of the climate crisis,” she wrote. “We will leave them a world where they can be healthy, where they can thrive and reach their fulfillment.”
“It’s all about the children,” Ms. Pelosi added — but which children? Did she mean the unborn? No…but perhaps Pope Francis did. We’ll never know for sure, because the Vatican, following its usual protocols, did not release a statement after the meeting.
In his address to the assembly the next day, Pope Francis reaffirmed Pelosi’s call for “change” in policies regarding the environment. “This demanding change of direction will require great wisdom, foresight, and concern for the common good: in a word, the fundamental virtues of good politics,” he said.
“As political leaders and legislators, you are responsible for influencing people’s actions by those means provided by the law, which lays down rules for admissible conduct in the light of the common good, and with respect for such other fundamental principles as the dignity of the human person, solidarity, and subsidiarity.”
Pope Francis knows that the UN climate crowd is strongly pro-abortion. His appearance before the assembly offered him a unique opportunity to defend the right to life, but he did not take advantage of it.

The Vatican’s Long Memories

Rome watchers have remarked that Pelosi’s visit was reminiscent of an earlier occasion, when she met with Pope Benedict XVI in February 2009. There were no cameras at that meeting, but Ms. Pelosi did release a statement afterwards:
“It is with great joy that my husband, Paul, and I met with his Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI today,” she wrote on her official website. “In our conversation, I had the opportunity to praise the Church’s leadership in fighting poverty, hunger, and global warming, as well as the Holy Father’s dedication to religious freedom and his upcoming trip and message to Israel. I was proud to show his Holiness a photograph of my family’s Papal visit in the 1950s, as well as a recent picture of our children and grandchildren.”
She did not mention at all Pope Benedict’s message to her. And we note with interest that, in the statement after her visit with Pope Francis last week, she praised “His Holiness’ leadership,” while after her meeting with Pope Benedict twelve years ago, she praised “the Church’s leadership.”
Why not Benedict’s leadership?
Veteran Vatican-watcher Phil Lawler gives us a hint: Pelosi said that she had “spoken to the Pontiff about world hunger and global warming. Perhaps those topics were on her agenda, but it is significant that they were not mentioned in the terse Vatican statement. There was no happy-talk from the Holy See: no mention of shared concerns and mutual interests, nothing that would distract attention from the one essential point that the Pope wanted to make.”
And what was Pope Benedict’s “essential point”? The Vatican issues statements after such visits only rarely, so this one was clearly designed to send a message:
“His Holiness took the opportunity to speak of the requirements of the natural moral law and the Church’s consistent teaching on the dignity of human life from conception to natural death which enjoin all Catholics, and especially legislators, jurists, and those responsible for the common good of society, to work in cooperation with all men and women of goodwill in creating a just system of laws capable of protecting human life at all stages of its development.”
In the two meetings that Pelosi had with the Supreme Pontiffs, Pope Benedict reiterated the Church’s timeless teaching on life both in private and in public. Pope Francis, on the other hand, might well have addressed it in private, but was silent about it in public, both after Pelosi’s visit and during his public address the next day.
But there were other messages as well. Vatican regulars have long memories. The Pope’s PR flaks were well aware of the optics surrounding the 2009 meeting: no cameras to portray a smiling Pelosi holding Pope Benedict’s hand; and a frankly blistering public Vatican statement following the meeting.
Last week the optics were reversed. Pelosi was intent on getting that picture that Pope Benedict hadn’t allowed, and Pope Francis generously provided it.
What message was Pelosi sending to San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone with that picture, showing her gripping Pope Francis’ hand so tightly that he couldn’t let go?
And what message was Pope Francis sending to Archbishop Cordileone, and to the American hierarchy, when the bishops meet next month at the USCCB’s annual meeting in Baltimore?
In Richard Nixon’s memorable phrase, Pelosi, for her part, was making one thing perfectly clear: She was challenging Archbishop Cordileone to back off.
The archbishop is in a perilous bind; his recent public plea for prayers for Pelosi’s conversion should have been resonated with a resounding and unanimous “Amen!” from his brother bishops. It wasn’t.
That means that, however the USCCB addresses the issue of Biden and the Eucharist next month in public, the conference’s influential cadre of Biden supporters will privately point to that Rome photo-op as a signal to the bishops from Pope Francis to cease and desist from all efforts to clarify and apply the Church’s teaching regarding the worthy reception of the Eucharist.
That’s certainly the way Pelosi sees it. And whatever the bishops do, our long experience with the Pelosis of the world has taught us one hard lesson: The Left never backs down, and neither should we.

There Goes Another
“Catholic Joe”

Joe Biden has put forward the name of former Indiana Representative and Senator Joe Donnelly to serve as the next U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See.
Readers might recall that, as a member of the House of Representatives in 2009, Donnelly voted in support of Obamacare, the legislation that produced taxpayer funding of abortion as well as the onerous HHS “Contraceptive Mandate.”
At the time, Donnelly was one of about ten Catholic members of the House of Representatives who were wavering on the vote. Obama assured them that it would not fund abortion, and the group ultimately supported the bill. One of them later said in private that he knew Obama was lying, and grimly remarked that the “Chicago crowd” used its usual tactics to get them in line.
After supporting the bill, Donnelly publicly said that he had been initially uncertain about how to vote. A Notre Dame graduate, Donnelly recounted how he had looked to Fr. Ted Hesburgh, CSC, longtime president of the university, for counsel.
“Just follow your conscience,” said Fr. Hesburgh, according to Donnelly’s account.
Donnelly went on to serve one term in the U.S. Senate. After losing his seat to Republican Mike Braun in the election of 2018, he became a lobbyist at Akin Gump, one of Washington’s most prominent and profitable influence peddlers.
“Catholic Joe” Donnelly’s conscience has indeed served him well.

“If This Is The Way You Treat Your Friends . . . ”

October 15, 2021 Frontpage Comments Off on “If This Is The Way You Treat Your Friends . . . ”


St. Teresa of Avila, the Carmelite Doctor of the Church, was once crossing a shallow ford in the river on her donkey. Suddenly, the donkey bucked and she fell into the water, along with all her belongings. Sitting in the river, the saintly mystic looked toward Heaven and quipped, “If this is the way you treat your friends, I can understand why you have so few.”
Being a saint doesn’t mean you’re drab, humorless, and have an ideal life. Quite the contrary, none of the saints in the Church’s history have been sad or lacking in a sense of humor. Indeed, the saints have always been souls other people were attracted to and enjoyed being around. However, that doesn’t mean they have idyllic lives.
St. John Bosco was under constant threat of death from the Masons, having made numerous attempts on his life. St. Anthony of Padua and St. Francis of Assisi both died young men after long and painful illnesses. St. Bernadette died at a young age from an exceedingly painful tuberculosis of the bone. St. John Paul II survived several attempts on his life (more than just the assassination attempt in St. Peter’s Square), and suffered Parkinson’s disease throughout the last half of his pontificate.
So what does all this mean? Well, it means that if you’re trying to become a saint (which is one of our two major obligations as Catholics), you’ll find yourself suffering. The question is, why does someone striving for sanctity have to suffer? It all boils down to perfection.
In life, every action has a consequence. Our parents have told us this since we were old enough to understand. Anything we do, good or bad, has consequences. Every sin, no matter how minor, requires payment to the one being offended, who is God. So you can count on it, everything from using God’s name carelessly and telling a “white lie” to the commission of every mortal sin, is something we’ll have to pay for. The problem with being human is that we’re so prone to sin that we’d never have a moment’s peace if we paid for everything in this life. So we have to pay for our sins in Purgatory.
The problem with Purgatory, though, is that it’s incredibly painful and even though the duration may or may not be short, it’s incredibly intense. The reason for the intensity is, there is no grace in Purgatory. Therefore, those who are striving for holiness are being rewarded with infinite love from God.
Yes, suffering really is God showing infinite love. We’re being shown love and mercy in Purgatory, despite the pain; without Purgatory we would all by necessity end up in Hell. But suffering in this life is earning grace and is sort of like being paid triple or quadruple time by our Employer — getting three or four times the “pay” for the same work. Suffering in this life isn’t nearly as hard as Purgatory, but it’s still very difficult and painful. But you see, suffering has great value in the scheme of things, because “nothing unclean shall enter heaven” (Rev. 21:27), and an unpaid debt for previous actions (whether forgiven and unforgiven venial sin or forgiven mortal sin) makes us “unclean,” so unworthy to enter Heaven.
So by suffering in this life and offering that suffering back to God as a gift in reparation for our sins and the sins of the world, we purify ourselves to be made worthy of Heaven. In other words, if we accept our suffering as a gift from God, offer it back to Him as a gift, avoiding grumbling about the suffering, then we can go straight to Heaven without a stop-off in Purgatory. And believe you me, suffering in this life beats purgatory by a thousand miles! Try reading the book Purgatory by Fr. F.X. Schouppe (available from TAN Books). I read that book almost thirty years ago, and it had such an impact on me that I’ve never forgotten a bit of it.
So what constitutes a suffering that we can offer up to God? Well, since suffering in this life earns grace, any sort of suffering will do nicely. Got a cold? Offer it up! Had to pay for an unexpected car repair? Offer it up! Anything, whether big or small, extraordinary or mundane, can and should be offered up to God as a gift in reparation for your sins and the sins of the world. Since the reality is that we don’t ordinarily shoot straight to Heaven when we die, offering up your sufferings — big and small — will lessen your time in Purgatory.
Let’s get back to sanctity. If you’re striving for holiness — i.e., becoming a saint (and I hope you are) — then suffering slips into a higher gear. The only person’s experience I can credibly talk about is my own, so let’s examine my life.
Ordinarily, when we ask God to make us a saint, we actually look for things to offer up in reparation for our sins. That’s why we traditionally give up something during Lent — an act of penance for our sins. People seeking sanctity usually look for lots of Lenten sacrifices all year long. But I’m one of those weak souls who doesn’t do well with voluntary penances. I can’t seem to maintain the resolve to keep them. Well, for folks like me, God has a remedy for that. Does the name Job come to mind?
Since I’m weak and don’t do voluntary penances well, God permits me to be treated a lot like Job. The severity of my sufferings isn’t nearly as strong as Job’s, but the suffering sure seems like it at the time. The last few years, for example, have been a real wild ride. First, one of my sons returned from his second tour in Iraq a virtual vegetable — he doesn’t even know me, so for all intents and purposes I’ve lost him. Second, a trusted friend and adviser stole our identities and all our money, placing us in financial ruin. Next, another of my sons suddenly died, the result of his naval service about 15 years before finally catching up with him. And just when you think things can’t get worse (never say that, because I will tell you they will), I suffered a stroke that nearly killed me and left me in a wheelchair and homebound.
What will happen next? I don’t know. I only cringe and wait, but the fact that I cringe shows you how weak I am. If I weren’t weak, I’d face these things with long-suffering and fortitude. But at the end of the day, I know all of this is in the permissive will of God for my sanctification — a gift of infinite love!
So what’s my point? The point is, it really doesn’t matter what you do, you’re going to suffer for your sins — forgiven or unforgiven, in this life or the next. There’s no escaping God’s justice! If you die free of mortal sin, and if you don’t make reparation in this life, you’ll do so in Purgatory. The only differences between Purgatory and Hell is that Purgatory eventually gets easier, and it doesn’t last forever.
According to Our Lady of Fatima and countless mystics and saints, many of us will stay in Purgatory until the end of time. I suspect that I’m one who would end up there until the end of time, if not for offering up my sufferings now. What about you?
So make up your mind to do penance in this life, set your sights on Heaven and not Purgatory, and give God His due…before He decides to collect in the afterlife where reparation is a lot worse.
Got a question about this or something else about the faith? Contact me at And be sure to listen to The Cantankerous Catholic podcast to get more orthodox Catholicism.

St. Irenaeus . . . A Little-Known Saint Who Gave The Early Church Important Guidance

October 14, 2021 Frontpage Comments Off on St. Irenaeus . . . A Little-Known Saint Who Gave The Early Church Important Guidance


PHOENIX — St. Irenaeus is “one of the more obscure guys or women we’re looking at,” a religious-education director told a continuing program here about the lives of saints, but this saint played an important role in the early Church.
Irenaeus, the last living connection to the apostles, was born around 120 to 140 AD, engaged in patristic apologetics and became a bishop, then died about 202 AD, Larry Fraher, Ph.D., told the October 2 session of the Institute of Catholic Theology (ICT) here.
Fraher said he discovered Irenaeus during a master’s university program and found him “to be extremely profound” for current times.
The ICT is an evangelization program based here at St. Thomas the Apostle Church. As pandemic restrictions have eased, its presentations have resumed in an on-campus classroom as well as continuing by Zoom.
Fraher is director of faith formation at Blessed Sacrament Parish in nearby Scottsdale and is on the faculty of Mary College at Arizona State University, part of the University of Mary, which also has locations in North Dakota, Montana, Kansas, and Rome.
The University of Mary website says Fraher earned his Ph.D. in art and religion from the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, Calif., after two degrees from St. John’s University in Collegeville, Minn., an MA in systematic theology and a B.A. in theological studies, and has held posts with the Diocese of Phoenix since 1989.
Born in Smyrna, Asia Minor, Irenaeus heard the preaching of St. Polycarp, Fraher said — who in turn was said to have heard St. John the Evangelist, the Gospel author.
Irenaeus was “really the first systematic theologian, if you will,” of the Church, meaning someone who understood the opposing system he was arguing against, Fraher said, and helped form patristic apologetics — the early Church fathers’ defense of Christianity.
This teaching viewed God as always being the Trinity and active at the time of Moses and the prophets, Fraher said — instead of lacking the Second Person until Jesus became material on Earth.
About 177 AD Irenaeus became the second bishop of Lyons, France, after the first bishop there, St. Pothinus, was martyred, he said.
Salvation history is a process, and Revelation is progressive, he said — just as people don’t start off as adults but first as infants who become children then adolescents. God “gave us the fullness of Revelation when we were ready, as adults. . . .
“Christ comes at that moment in history when we were prepared for that,” Fraher said, adding that the Roman occupation of Israel was followed by the fall of the Temple and the dispersion of the Jews.
If these events hadn’t happened, Christianity may have remained a Mideast sect, he said. “Christianity wouldn’t have exploded as it did.”
In Irenaeus’ Christology, Jesus gives people “a share in the divine life. . . . That God would become material is the scandal of the Incarnation,” Fraher said.
He recalled the Gospel account of the apostles asking Jesus whose sin was responsible for a man who was born blind, and He replied no one’s except that the glory of God may be revealed, then He put some mud on the man’s eyes.
Because the man was blind from birth, “He’s got nothing there” — no optic nerve that was being restored — so Jesus giving him vision was the work of “the hand of God. . . . He never had sight to begin with,” Fraher said.
This shows “He is the agent of creation. . . . Jesus Christ creates sight from nothing,” Fraher said, adding that as Adam was the first head of the human race, “Christ re-heads human nature. . . . God became what we are.”
All Marian theology is Christology, “Mary as the new Eve,” Irenaeus said, but she is not a Fourth Person of the Blessed Trinity, Fraher said.
Irenaeus articulated the importance of tradition, the primacy of Peter and Paul, and of unity with Rome, he said.
Early Christian churches exhibited a preference for one certain Gospel or another, but Irenaeus showed the importance of all four of them, Fraher said.

The Earliest Witness

The entry for Irenaeus at Wikipedia expands on this: “Before Irenaeus, Christians differed as to which gospel they preferred. The Christians of Asia Minor preferred the Gospel of John. The Gospel of Matthew was the most popular overall. Irenaeus asserted that four Gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, were canonical Scripture.
“Thus Irenaeus provides the earliest witness to the assertion of the four canonical Gospels, possibly in reaction to [the heretic] Marcion’s edited version of the Gospel of Luke, which Marcion asserted was the one and only true Gospel,” Wikipedia says.
Responding to a question from the audience, Fraher said the Trinity was active, “even back with Moses,” instead of coming to fruition at a later time.
God calls everyone to “a covenant of obedience,” Fraher said, recalling warnings by the prophets if people weren’t faithful to this covenant.
Little is reportedly known of St. Irenaeus’ later years.
God’s ways are mysterious indeed. One can only imagine what the second-century future saint would have thought if he had known churches bearing his name would grow up around the wide world, including one in the southern California city of Cypress, near Knott’s Berry Farm and Disneyland.

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