Saturday 16th October 2021

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

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

By CHRISTOPHER MANION

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 . . . ”

By JOE SIXPACK

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 Joe@CantankerousCatholic.com. 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

By DEXTER DUGGAN

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.

Justice Department Declares War On Millions Of Families

October 13, 2021 Frontpage Comments Off on Justice Department Declares War On Millions Of Families

By CHRISTOPHER MANION

Last week, the National School Boards Association (NSBA) which calls itself “The leading advocate for public education,” wrote Joe Biden to request that the federal government launch a war against American families who oppose the massive efforts of the Left to radicalize government school classrooms nationwide.
School board members are “facing physical threats because of propaganda purporting the false inclusion of critical race theory (CRT) within classroom instruction and curricula,” the NSBA writes, insisting that CRT doesn’t even exist in government schools.
It reminds us of the time when House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D., N.Y.) insisted last year that the riots fomented throughout the country by Black Lives Matter Marxists and Antifa anarchists were a “myth.”
So CRT is a myth, and millions of parents have nothing to worry about, so shut up and go home, says the NSBA. Our opposition to CRT, “gender equity,” pornographic textbooks, and other classroom outrages has no foundation in fact. In NSBA’s version of reality, the parents’ objections constitute “acts of malice, violence, and threats against public school officials [that] have increased…these heinous actions could be the equivalent to a form of domestic terrorism and hate crimes.”
Since these millions of parents are all potential terrorists, the NSBA tells Biden just what he has to do:
“Given this, NSBA requests a joint expedited review by the U.S. Departments of Justice, Education, and Homeland Security, along with the appropriate training, coordination, investigations, and enforcement mechanisms from the FBI, including any technical assistance necessary from, and state and local coordination with, its National Security Branch and Counterterrorism Division, as well as any other federal agency with relevant jurisdictional authority and oversight.”
“Given this” indeed.
The NSBA’s tirade is one of literally thousands of other overwrought overtures that lobbyists deliver in Washington every day. They are routinely tossed into the round file, while the clients celebrate their indispensable contribution to the democratic process.
Not this time. Five days later, Biden Attorney General Merrick Garland wrote to the director of the FBI and U.S. attorneys throughout the country repeating almost verbatim the allegations in the NSBA letter:
“In recent months, there has been a disturbing spike in harassment, intimidation, and threats of violence against school administrators, board members, teachers, and staff who participate in the vital work of running our nation’s public schools. . . . Threats against public servants are not only illegal, they run counter to our nation’s core values. . . . The Department takes these incidents seriously and is committed to using its authority and resources to discourage these threats, identify them when they occur, and prosecute them when appropriate.”
Clearly, this exchange was carefully organized far in advance. What’s going on?
Some observers have noted that NSBA’s CEO is not an educator, but a longtime senior Democrat operative. Moreover, investigative reporters at The Conservative Treehouse reported within a day of Merrick’s memo that his son-in-law, Xan Tanner, “is the current co-founder of a controversial education service company called Panorama Education. Panorama Education is the ‘social learning’ resource material provider to school districts and teachers that teach Critical Race Theory’.” And Panorama rakes in millions from those programs.
Well. Is this just one more instance of political hacks and grifters cashing in? Admittedly, the majority of such back-scratching operations are just that: It’s the “Washington Way.”
But there is a deeper dimension here that goes beyond the love of money to the love of power — a lot of power. We recall that Garland said last June that “In the FBI’s view, the top domestic violent extremist threat comes from racially or ethically motivated violent extremists, specifically those who advocate for the superiority of the white race.” Now he has specifically targeted parents who reject the reverse racism of Critical Race Theory as potential criminals, if not terrorists.
And Garland’s Thought Police will use their “authority and resources to discourage” dissenters.
And why not? After all, if parents reject CRT’s branding of whites as “racists,” those parents must “advocate for the superiority of the white race.”
Case closed.
And what about the real domestic terrorists? The ones who have wrought billions of dollars of damage and dozens of deaths nationwide? Well, last week, Timothy Langan, the FBI’s assistant director of counterterrorism, told the House Committee on Oversight and Reform that the FBI did not track terrorists operating within Antifa and Black Lives Matter at all.
The FBI isn’t doing anything to curb the Coyote sex-drug-and illegal-alien traffickers on the border either, but all of its 56 field offices in the U.S. and Puerto Rico that have already been ordered to track down white supremacists, will now be recruiting informants to spy on school board meetings in every district in the country.
And they’ll be taking names. Just following orders, of course.

What’s going on here?

Virginia will elect a new governor next month, and Republican Glenn Youngkin has made strong inroads in Democrat strongholds near Washington, D.C.
Why?
In recent months parents’ groups of all political stripes have gained strong public support for challenging radical school board policies. Democrat candidate Terry McAuliffe insists that parents should have no role in deciding what is taught in the classroom, while Youngkin has supported a “families first” approach that prioritizes parental involvement.
McAuliffe is the poster boy for the entire Democrat establishment. If he loses, the festering “Prairie Fire” might finally be ignited by millions of families nationwide.
And it’s been a long time coming.
Ever since the China Virus came to our shores, Americans have been hammered with one oppressive mandate after another. We were locked down in our homes and locked out of our churches. We were masked, and distanced, and traced, and generally bossed around by bureaucrats who insisted that they were just “keeping us safe.” Government schools and other offices closed, and their employees were paid with taxpayer dollars — Even those who had no work to do.
When private businesses closed, nobody got paid. Millions of private jobs were lost. But the mandates just kept on coming, and when we complained, we were admonished to “just follow the science,” which seemed to change whenever it was found to be convenient.
Our economy, our culture, and our neighborhoods were trashed. And yet, we were intimidated, and the intimidators knew it.
So the intimidations kept coming. First the mask mandates and then the vaccination mandates, and then the passports, and then the threats: no job, no travel, no medicine, no school. With every step, Democrats became more strident, more punitive, and more hostile.
Nancy Pelosi built a stockade around Capitol Hill, symbolizing the Democrat Party’s contempt for the rest of the country. Meanwhile, Garland’s Justice Department is devoting more manpower to harassing the January 6th Capitol trespassers than it has to address the nation’s exploding crime rate, the murders of thousands of blacks in inner cities, and the real Islamic terrorists inspired by Biden’s disastrous failure and the fall of Afghanistan to the Taliban.
The bottom line for the Biden administration is simple: distract us with one attack after another from their strategic takeover of the country. See it, understand it, oppose it, and we’re the terrorists.
Merrick Garland’s latest attack aims at the heart of our Faith and our culture — the family. His nationwide Stasi-style operation constitutes a crude and brutal threat to the American public: opposing the Left carries a heavy price — and it will get more expensive every day.
And like all leftists, they will not stop until they are stopped.
So we fight back.

A Beacon Of Light . . . One, Holy, Catholic, And Apostolic

October 12, 2021 Frontpage Comments Off on A Beacon Of Light . . . One, Holy, Catholic, And Apostolic

By FR. RICHARD D. BRETON JR.

(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.)

  • + + For the last three weeks we have surveyed the first pillar of the Catechism which invited us to consider the Profession of Faith. We explored our belief in God, in particular, we reflected on God as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Basically, we were reminded of our belief in the Blessed Trinity.
    Remembering these points, today we will begin to look at the final section of the Creed. We will look at what it means when we say: “I believe in One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.”
    So that we may have a starting point from which we can expand our discussion, it is important for us to return to the Second Vatican Council’s document entitled, Lumen Gentium. Lumen Gentium, or the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, begins by explaining this in its opening lines: “Christ is the light of humanity…being gathered together in the Holy Spirit, that, by proclaiming his Gospel to every creature, [the Second Vatican Council] may bring to all men that light of Christ which shines out visibly from the Church” (Lumen Gentium, n. 1).
    If the Church’s mission is to be the “lighthouse” from which the light of Christ is to shine out and reach all humanity, then it is vitally important that we profess our belief in the true Church of God. Christ founded the Church as a perfect means of salvation for man. We say the Church is one because it exists only through Christ:
    “The Church is one because of her source: ‘the highest exemplar and source of this mystery is the unity, in the Trinity of Persons, of one God, the Father and the Son in the Holy Spirit.’ The Church is one because of her founder: for ‘the Word made flesh, the prince of peace, reconciled all men to God by the cross,…restoring the unity of all-in-one people and one body.’ The Church is one because of her ‘soul’: ‘It is the Holy Spirit, dwelling in those who believe and pervading and ruling over the entire Church, who brings about that wonderful communion of the faithful and joins them together so intimately in Christ that he is the principle of the Church’s unity’” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 813).

Unity And Diversity

In order to do this, however, the Lord had to include workers in this process of His divine love for us. These workers we know as the apostles, bishops, priests, and the entire people of God; co-workers in the Church’s mission of spreading the Gospel message. The Catechism beautifully expresses this in n. 814:
“From the beginning, this one Church has been marked by a great diversity which comes from both the variety of God’s gifts and the diversity of those who receive them. Within the unity of the People of God, a multiplicity of peoples and cultures is gathered together. Among the Church’s members, there are different gifts, offices, conditions, and ways of life.
“‘Holding a rightful place in the communion of the Church there are also particular Churches that retain their own traditions.’ The great richness of such diversity is not opposed to the Church’s unity. Yet sin and the burden of its consequences constantly threaten the gift of unity. And so the Apostle has to exhort Christians to ‘maintain the unity of the Spirit in bond of peace’.”
To say the Church is one implies that we are participants fully engaged in the same work of bringing about the salvation of all.
If the Church is called “one,” being united together, how does this happen and how does it continue? This is possible by the next word we profess in the Creed when we say the Church is Holy. This holiness that exists within the Church is not taken on by herself, but it is bestowed on her by Christ:
“The Church . . . is held, as a matter of faith, to be unfailingly holy. This is because Christ, the Son of God, who with the Father and the Spirit is hailed as ‘alone holy,’ loved the Church as his Bride, giving himself up for her so as to sanctify her; he joined her to himself as his body and endowed her with the gift of the Holy Spirit for the glory of God. The Church, then, is ‘the holy People of God,’ and her members are called ‘saints’” (CCC, n. 823),
In recent times the idea of the Church being Holy has been challenged by many as a consequence of the clergy abuse scandal. I often find myself reminding the faithful that the actions of a few priests among many in no way spoils or hinders the holiness that exists in the Church. We need to remind the faithful that if we believe that the Church is divinely founded by Christ, then, the holiness that exists through her remains. This holiness has no meaning if it does not rest on the foundation of love and charity. Charity is the soul of holiness to which the Church is endowed. Similarly, charity is also the soul of the holiness of the faithful “that governs, shapes and perfects us in sanctification.” The Catechism expresses this beautifully when it says:
“If the Church was a body composed of different members, it couldn’t lack the noblest of all; it must have a Heart, and a Heart burning with love. And I realized that this love alone was the true motivational force which enables the other members of the Church to act; if it ceased to function, the Apostles would forget to preach the gospel, the Martyrs would refuse to shed their blood. Love, in fact, in the vocation which includes all others; it’s a universe of its own, comprising all time and space — it’s eternal” (CCC, n. 826; the above quotation is from St. Therese of Lisieux).
We also experience the holiness of the Church through the example of the saints. Throughout the great history of the Church, there have been many saints who are examples of the holiness that exists in the Church and her faithful for those who believe.

The Eternal Shepherd

In 1995, I had the privilege of meeting St. Teresa of Calcutta. St. Teresa was a true model of holiness for all. Her humble demeanor and approachableness were contagious and many, both believers and nonbelievers, were brought closer to Christ. The Church is Holy because she has Christ as her Head!
What do we mean when we say the Church is apostolic? By this we mean she is founded on the apostles. This happened the moment Jesus chose Peter on whom the foundation would lie. Remember in the Sacred Scripture when Jesus asks the apostles: “Who do people say I am?” It was Peter who recognized Jesus as the Messiah and because of this Jesus exclaimed: “You are Peter and upon this rock I will build my Church.” It was through this divine commission that the apostles have their foundation.
Thus, the Church’s apostolic character is maintained in three ways. First, because she is founded upon the apostles then and now. The apostles are witnesses sent out into the world to preach the message of the Kingdom of God. Second, this apostolic character is maintained through the Holy Spirit, who continually hands on the Deposit of Faith. Third, the Church is continually taught, sanctified, and guided through the unbroken line of apostolic times. This means apostolic succession is maintained through the College of Bishops with priests acting as co-workers in this endeavor. None of this is possible, however, except through the Supreme Pontiff who is the Successor of St. Peter himself.
The document Lumen Gentium offers the following prayer to help us understand this responsibility: “You are the eternal Shepherd who never leaves his flock untended. Through the apostles you watch over us and protect us always. You made them shepherds of the flock to share in the work of your Son” (Lumen Gentium, n. 8).
Having discussed the Church as being, one, holy, catholic, and apostolic, the question that remains is this: How is this accomplished, or how are these three characteristics exercised in the world today? The answer is really quite simple. These are carried out in the apostolic works of the Church. The Church has the divine responsibility to spread the Gospel message far and wide. This is accomplished through the involvement of all the faithful. It is the College of Bishops, priests, and the laity who participate in the mission of the Church.
The Catechism does a good job of further explaining this:
“The Church is ultimately one, holy, catholic, and apostolic in her deepest and ultimate identity, because it is in her that ‘the Kingdom of heaven,’ the ‘Reign of God,’ already exists and will be fulfilled at the end of time” (CCC, n. 865)
Next week we will finish the Creed by examining the final lines where we show our belief in the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, and the Resurrection of the body.

Forced Speech Is “Free” Speech?

October 11, 2021 Frontpage Comments Off on Forced Speech Is “Free” Speech?

By DEACON MIKE MANNO

Okay, how can it be that forced speech is free speech, or even that suppressed speech is also free speech? Well, that’s the brainchild of Judge Mary Briscoe, a Clinton appointee to the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, which is now being airmailed to the United States Supreme Court.
The case comes from Colorado and arises out of the state’s public accommodation law, the same one that the state Civil Rights Commission used to try to punish Masterpiece Cakeshop owner Jack Phillips for refusing to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex wedding. This one has similar issues except it involves wedding promotional videos.
Lorie Smith is a web designer and graphic artist who works out of her own studio, 303 Creative. Smith, the sole owner of 303 Creative, sincerely believes that same-sex marriage conflicts with God’s law and as such violates her deeply held Christian beliefs. As a result she will not offer her services to create wedding websites to celebrate those weddings.
In addition, she plans to publish a statement on her website explaining her religious objections and her policy against “creating websites promoting and celebrating ideas or messages that violate my beliefs.”
Colorado’s law, however, prohibits discrimination in two areas of concern for Ms. Smith:
First is what is referred to as the Accommodation Clause: “It is a discriminatory practice and unlawful for a person…to refuse, withhold from, or deny to an individual or a group, because of disability, race, creed, color, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, or ancestry, the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services . . . or accommodations of a place of public accommodation.”
And a companion provision forbids any public notice “that indicates that the full and equal enjoyment of goods, services…or accommodations…will be refused, withheld or denied,” referred to as the Communication Clause.
Thus before she went public with her plans, she filed a pre-enforcement action against the state seeking to adjudicate her rights and to prevent the state from enforcing either clause of the public accommodation law against her.
She lost in the district court and on appeal the two Clinton appointed justices, Mary Briscoe and Michael Murphy, ruled against her while the Bush-appointed Timothy Tymkovich, serving as chief judge, penned a fiery dissent.
The court’s majority decision starts off well enough for Smith clearly rejecting the state’s arguments that she lacks standing or an injury; the court found that she has a reasonable basis for concluding that if she moves ahead with her plans she will be prosecuted.
It wrote that while Smith’s goal may be to only discriminate against same-sex marriage, it is actually discrimination against same-sex couples and would expose her to liability under the state law, noting that the law, while providing some exceptions, did not provide a religious exception.
Turning to the question of Smith’s free speech rights, the court did recognize her argument that the creation of wedding websites is pure speech and cited several cases where wedding videos and invitations have been held as speech. And it recognized that the First Amendment has protections against compelled speech and that those protections apply to unsophisticated expressions as well as those by professional publishers.
But then it turned to a key question. In order to show that such a restriction is legal and meets the constitutional test of strict scrutiny, the government must show a compelling interest for the statute to survive constitutionally. “Here, Colorado has a compelling interest in protecting both the dignity interest of members of marginalized groups and their material interests in accessing the commercial marketplace.”
“The Accommodation Clause is, however, narrowly tailored to Colorado’s interest in ensuring ‘equal access to publicly available goods and services.’ When regulating commercial entities, like Appellants, public accommodations laws help ensure a free and open economy. Thus, although the commercial nature of Appellants’ business does not diminish their speech interest, it does provide Colorado with a state interest absent when regulating noncommercial activity . . . recognizing the changing nature of the American economy and of the importance, both to the individual and to society, of removing the barriers to economic advancement and political and social integration that have historically plagued certain disadvantaged groups.”
The court then compared Smith’s services to a monopoly in upholding the Accommodation Clause restrictions in the Colorado law:
“Excepting Appellants from the Accommodation Clause would necessarily relegate LGBT consumers to an inferior market because Appellants’ unique services are, by definition, unavailable elsewhere…our analysis emphasizes the custom and unique nature of Appellants’ services….LGBT consumers may be able to obtain wedding-website design services from other businesses; yet, LGBT consumers will never be able to obtain wedding-related services of the same quality and nature as those that Appellants offer. Thus, there are no less intrusive means of providing equal access to those types of services.”
Then turning to the Communication Clause the court held that the First Amendment does not protect the statement Smith wants to place on her website explaining her belief in traditional marriage and the reasons why she would refuse work for same-sex weddings.
The court wrote, “Having concluded that the First Amendment does not protect Appellants’ proposed denial of services, we also conclude that the First Amendment does not protect the Proposed Statement. Yet, the Proposed Statement also expresses an intent to deny service based on sexual orientation — an activity that the Accommodation Clause forbids and that the First Amendment does not protect. Thus, the Proposed Statement itself is also not protected and Appellants’ challenge to the Communication Clause fails.”
The dissent pounced: “The majority takes the remarkable — and novel — stance that the government may force Ms. Smith to produce messages that violate her conscience. In doing so, the majority concludes not only that Colorado has a compelling interest in forcing Ms. Smith to speak a government-approved message against her religious beliefs, but also that its public-accommodation law is the least restrictive means of accomplishing this goal. No case has ever gone so far. . . .
“Indeed, this case represents another chapter in the growing disconnect between the Constitution’s endorsement of pluralism of belief on the one hand and anti-discrimination laws’ restrictions of religious-based speech in the marketplace.
“It seems we have moved from ‘live and let live’ to ‘you can’t say that.’ While everyone supports robust and vigorously enforced anti-discrimination laws, those laws need not and should not force a citizen to make a Hobson’s choice over matters of conscience. . . . But what Colorado cannot do is turn the tables on Ms. Smith and single out her speech and religious beliefs for discriminatory treatment under the aegis of anti-discrimination laws.
“The First Amendment prohibits states from ‘abridging the freedom of speech’ or the ‘free exercise’ of religion. And the freedom to speak necessarily guarantees the right to remain silent. So the majority ushers forth a brave new world when it acknowledges that [the state law] compels both speech and silence — yet finds this intrusion constitutionally permissible. [It] forces Ms. Smith to violate her faith on pain of sanction both by prohibiting religious-based business practices and by penalizing her if she does speak out on these matters in ways Colorado finds ‘unwelcome’ or ‘undesirable’.”
The appellate court made “a very disturbing decision that what Lorie does is custom art and is speech that should be given the highest protection under our Constitution and yet the Tenth Circuit held that Colorado can force her to create messages that violate her beliefs,” ADF senior counsel Kate Anderson told my radio audience.
“What they are trying to force her to do is to violate her religious beliefs by promoting a view of marriage that is not in accord with her beliefs then telling her she cannot promote her view of marriage on her own website,” she added.
Now, on to the Supreme Court.
(You can reach Mike at: DeaconMike@q.com and listen to him every Thursday at 10 a.m. CT on Faith On Trial on IowaCatholicRadio.com.)

Airborne Sinema Not Only Victim . . . How To Stop A Political Hijacker If He Rules White House Cockpit?

October 10, 2021 Frontpage Comments Off on Airborne Sinema Not Only Victim . . . How To Stop A Political Hijacker If He Rules White House Cockpit?

By DEXTER DUGGAN

PHOENIX — The cover page of the German news magazine Der Spiegel showed a photo of the Alps as seen looking out an airliner window.
Nothing startling about that, although you expect powerful illustrations to catch your eye at the newsstand. Except this photo was chilling for what it didn’t shriek out, but was all too well understood back when it hit the racks in 2015.
The young co-pilot of a Germanwings commercial jet had just intentionally crashed a planeload of people into the French Alps, on March 24, 2015. Such a view from the window may have been one of the last sights doomed passengers saw. They had no reason to expect looming tragedy on the morning flight from Barcelona to Dusseldorf.
The apparently mentally troubled co-pilot, Andreas Lubitz, earlier had trained at a flight school near Phoenix, popular with foreign airline companies because of the good weather and easily accessible airspace here for their learners.
While Europeans likely wouldn’t have expected hijackings with twenty-first century airport security — and who would have thought the threat would be in command right in the cockpit? — both Europeans and Americans have learned that perilous political instability these days can be let loose by globalists.
And how do you guard against a political hijacking if the bad guy is in the big seat at the White House?
Mass demonstrations against COVID lockdowns broke out around the world, but you don’t see frenzied dominant-media coverage that might give you the idea lockdowns universally are being rejected by people fed up with the Democrat Joe Biden-Tony Fauci type of borderless dictatorship.
Hey, just like chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley has pals in the Chinese military leadership, so does Fauci among Wuhan’s ghouls with test tubes.
Biden’s administration created one disaster after another. How much longer before the breaking point arrives for unbearably provoked citizens?
In early October Merrick Garland, the puppet attorney general of Marxist puppet Biden, threatened federal action including by the FBI against parents who dared complain to school boards about left-wing indoctrination of their children.
Justified parental outrage against widespread so-called Critical Race Theory and other schoolhouse propaganda was proving to be another strong rallying point against the insensate ruling elite. Rather than listen to people’s legitimate complaints, the ever-ready federal fist was waved against them. How’s that for lowering temperatures?
Fox News reported on October 6 that House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R., Calif.) said, “President Biden’s latest decision is part of a disturbing trend in the Democrat Party to silence parents. We should encourage family participation in our schools, not baselessly attack opposing views because leftist groups want control over curriculums.”
Disgust against Biden grew so deep that Cong. Andy Biggs (R., Ariz.) said Biden should resign or else be removed from office.
In his opinion column headlined, “Biden is the wrong leader for America,” Biggs posted October 5 at the Washington Examiner: “Across the political and demographic spectrum, Americans wonder not if the ‘American Moment’ has passed but whether the United States will survive President Joe Biden’s dismantling of the country.”
Biggs concluded: “This president is incapable of pulling us up because he is only adept at pulling us down. He is unfit to lead. He ought to resign. He should be removed.”
Meanwhile, in early October 2021, more than six full years after the Germanwings crash, looking out a jetliner window didn’t presently occupy U.S. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D., Ariz.) as she flew from Phoenix back for more political tussling in Washington, D.C.
But Sinema got another sharp reminder that Biden’s radicals won’t give anyone a minute of peace when there are grievances to grind. Apparently catching up on reading, Sinema was confronted by an illegal-alien activist who walked down the airliner aisle and stood right next to the senator’s seat to urge political acquiescence.
Although we often read about flight attendants quick to spring into action against passengers deemed guilty of some COVID mask-wearing violation or other, this activist was free to stand right by the senator to repeat her plea, although Sinema wasn’t interested in debating.
One imagines that flight crews are informed quietly when U.S. senators are among their passengers, and this senator had some stationary stranger out in the aisle right next to her. Was a terrorist about to do injury? No attendant seemed eager to see.
And think of this. Are pro-Biden illegal-immigrant activists on all the flights from Phoenix, with the happy expectation that they just may happen to run into an airborne senator they can implore? Are they sort of like omnipresent sky marshals ready to take their own sort of action?
Or, on the other hand, does it just happen that this sort of activist is privy to the senator’s exact itinerary and can count on buying a last-minute ticket to be aboard with her? A ticket at a premium price, paid with Sugar Daddy George Soros’ money? And guaranteed availability; no sold-out problems?
After all, kindred pro-Biden activists had just gained forbidden access to instructor Sinema’s classroom back at Arizona State University, then followed her into the university bathroom to videotape and harass her.
And once Sinema landed at Reagan National Airport, she was confronted as she walked along the concourse by more pleas to cave to Biden. Any coincidence that bad Catholic Biden delivers deviltry if you’re not with his program?
Speaking of itineraries, Vice President Kamala Harris made a quick trip to Palm Springs at the beginning of October without disclosing why, and Press Secretary Jen Psaki affirmed that during his frequent trips back to Delaware, Biden won’t release visitor logs for his residences. Talk about the ruling elite.
When Biden was asked about Sinema’s unpleasant early-October adventure, he replied without much concern, “I don’t think they’re appropriate tactics but it happens to everybody.”
And what about harassment against the other Democratic senator who doesn’t agree to Biden’s astronomical spending bills, Joe Manchin, of West Virginia? Said Biden: “The only people it doesn’t happen to are people who have Secret Service standing around. So it’s part of the process.”
Given another Biden mess to try to clean up, Psaki was asked about his degree of concern over Sinema’s mistreatment. Psaki said maybe Biden just “shorthanded” what he meant to say.
It just so happens that Biden has more than enough Secret Service protecting him, so what does “Empathy Joe” care about others? He certainly didn’t grant any meeting time to Republican governors calling to sit down with him to try to fix the border catastrophe that he personally created.
Citing Biden’s shrugging off Sinema and Manchin, Republican consultant David Winston posted at The Hill political site on October 6: “When your political strategy isn’t working, the answer isn’t to dig in and double down but to rethink your strategy and the policies driving it.
“But our current president and his Democratic Congress don’t seem capable of rethinking much of anything,” Winston added, “much less considering the possibility that the extreme liberal agenda they’re pushing doesn’t actually reflect the country they were elected to govern.”
As for Merrick Garland threatening heavy federal action against parents who stand up for their kids before local school boards, the national religious-liberty organization Alliance Defending Freedom advised Garland to reconsider in a letter dated October 6.
“Parents expressing concern over Critical Race Theory, gender theory, and COVID-related mandates in public schools do not qualify as domestic terrorists,” wrote ADF general counsel Kristen Waggoner. “Their protests do not warrant the involvement of federal law enforcement or the application of federal laws aimed at stopping, among others, transnational terror organizations.
“Employing those powerful national-security tools against frustrated parents is a misuse of federal power,” Waggoner said. “It vilifies largely peaceful, well-intentioned citizens who are seeking nothing more than to protect and promote the well-being of their children. And it chills the constitutionally protected speech of those who rightly object to ill-considered policies on our nation’s schoolchildren.
“Many parents . . . are rightly concerned that the government has violated their fundamental right to direct the upbringing, education, and care of their children,” she said. “They want school boards to remove politics from the classroom and get back to academics. They have the right to express those concerns to elected officials and shouldn’t live in fear of government punishment for doing so.”

A Sick Society

The Wanderer asked former Washington, D.C., conservative strategist Seth Leibsohn, now a talk host at Phoenix-based KKNT (960 AM), for his reaction regarding Sinema. He replied: “What recently happened to Sen. Sinema should be an outrage — but a lot at ASU should be an outrage, including two students assaulting two other students in what can only be called a racial assault in a multicultural center.
“If one lacks understanding in how far left-wing the Democratic Party has become, never mind our political center, it’s important to know the president of the United States gave a pass to those who harassed Sen. Sinema in a restroom, including breaking the law, and called it ‘part of the process’,” Leibsohn said.
“This, while his attorney general was writing a memo weaponizing the FBI against parents showing up at school board meetings to challenge racialist doctrine and public-health dictates that make little sense but have great potential to cause great harm to their children,” he said.
“It’s a sick society that allows the government to harass children and their parents to comply with the party line while ignoring (if not, sotto voce, encouraging) actual invasions of privacy and harassment so long as it is in the name of left-wing ukase,” Leibsohn said.
Also asked about Sinema, Arizona-based conservative GOP political consultant Constantin Querard told The Wanderer: “It really isn’t anything more than math and some political calculations. In a closely divided Senate, and you can’t get closer than today’s 50-50, any one senator becomes very powerful.
“When you take a senator like Joe Manchin, you have a center-right Democrat representing a state that votes overwhelmingly Republican, so he is most likely to be the critical swing vote,” Querard said.
“Someone like Kyrsten Sinema is similar in that, while she is by no means center-right or even moderate, she does represent a Republican state she barely won in 2018 in spite of a huge Blue Wave election, and so she has made the political calculation that she can’t just rubber-stamp insane left-wing proposals,” he said.
“If the Democrats had a 53-47 majority, Manchin and Sinema wouldn’t matter and they could vote politically instead of ideologically, without the left-wing base caring,” Querard said.

Catholic “Social Justice” Alliance Is All-In For Biden

October 9, 2021 Frontpage Comments Off on Catholic “Social Justice” Alliance Is All-In For Biden

By CHRISTOPHER MANION

In December 1971, a group of Catholic sisters creates a nationwide “network” of women religious who would trade the spiritual charisms of their communities for a life of political activism devoted to “Social Justice.”
The Network Lobby’s first newsletter addressed several specific issues: “international poverty, congressional reform, minimum wage, child care, consumer protection, the environment, farmworker rights, healthcare, opposition to the Vietnam War, prison reform, tax fairness, welfare reform, and women’s rights.”
This was the unfortunate reflection of the collapse of religious life throughout much of the West.
Not long afterward, Mother Mary Elise, SND, and several valiant coworkers formed the Consortium Perfectae Caritatis. The Consortium welcomed women who sought to preserve the spirit and charisms of their communities, in spite of the wave of Social Justice activists who had emptied their convents, demanding that the contemplatives “get off your knees and do something.”
At the time, many good sisters found themselves robbed of the spiritual life and rule that they had embraced. For them, the Consortium was a tremendous gift, offering inspiration and support as they endeavored to live up to their vows in an increasingly secular and often hostile environment.
In the years since, membership in many of the orders that have concentrated on “going out into the world” has dwindled. Meanwhile, communities that pursue contemplative life in community have flourished — in some cases burdened with severe measures emanating from Rome to discourage their growth.
While members of these communities earnestly pray quietly for their very survival, what remains of the “Liberated Religious Left” rolls on, politicking loudly for the agenda of the Biden administration.
And abortion? Silence. Last year, Sr. Simone Campbell, executive director of the Network Lobby, offered a prayer at the Democratic National Convention. At the time, the Catholic News Agency (CNA) reported that Campbell, an honors graduate of UC-Davis School of Law, “declined to take a stand” on laws regarding abortion. “That is not our issue. That is not it. It is above my pay grade,” Campbell said. (CNA also reports: “During a 2016 interview with Democracy Now, Campbell said more directly that ‘From my perspective, I don’t think it’s a good policy to outlaw abortion’.”)
Last week the Network Lobby sponsored a statement signed by over a hundred groups including dozens of communities of Catholic women religious. The statement aims to convince the Biden administration to reverse Donald Trump’s immigration policies at the border.
As if Biden hadn’t done enough damage already. But the statement also pretends to embellish its political message with a religious wrapping featuring an official “Catholic” label.
And the Network lobbyists are not alone.

Bishops and Their NGOs
Endorse Biden’s Border Policies

Abortion isn’t Network’s issue, but immigration is, and the more, the better. And there, Network has important allies in the hierarchy as well. Last week immigration advocates at the USCCB and Catholic Charities, USA issued a statement urging “humane treatment of Haitians” and other migrants at the border. Like the Network Lobby, the duo supports reversing the Trump administration’s policies (full disclosure: both USCCB and CCUSA receive tens of millions of taxpayer annually funding for their work with immigrants and refugees, at the border and after they are admitted into the U.S.).
While the joint statement was issued on the occasion of “National Migration Week 2021,” it also came as Panama’s Foreign Minister Erika Mouynes warned that some sixty thousand (60,000) Haitians had already left Panama heading for the U.S. border, while another thirty thousand (30,000) Haitians would soon follow them.
Minister Mouynes said that the Biden administration had not responded to her warning, but White House deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Tuesday that the administration was “working” with Texas Gov. Greg Abbott to prepare for the unprecedented and well-coordinated offensive.
Although the USCCB, Catholic Charities, and Network are unanimous regarding opening the border more widely, there are few voices in the hierarchy calling out the Biden administration for its savage attacks on life — not just its attack on the Hyde Amendment, but its reversal of Donald Trump’s historic pro-life policies across the board.
These lonely voices aren’t getting much help from Rome. Peter Cardinal Turkson, prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, was interviewed by Mike Allen this past Sunday on HBO’s Axios program.
Allen asked the cardinal if he agreed with the phrase often employed by Bishop Robert W. McElroy of San Diego and other defenders of Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi, and other pro-abortion Catholic politicians: “The Eucharist is being weaponized.”
“The Eucharist should not in any way become a weapon,” said Cardinal Turkson.
“Do you have any question that President Biden is a Catholic in good standing?” Allen asked. “Should he be served Communion?”
Cardinal Turkson responded: “If you say somebody cannot receive Communion, you are basically doing a judgment that you are in a state of sin.”
“It sounds like you don’t think that should happen in the case of President Biden,” said the interviewer.
“No,” Turkson answered, although it might be possible in an “extreme case,” like a known murderer.

Humanae Vitae Won’t Be On The Agenda

The timing of Cardinal Turkson’s statement is unfortunate; is it deliberate?
The USCCB meets next month to consider a draft of a document on the Church’s teaching on the Eucharist; such a document might include the application of Canon 915 in the context of the Church’s teaching.
Was Cardinal Turkson’s comment designed to influence the bishops’ deliberations in Baltimore?
In 2019 the USCCB vote on making abortion the conference’s “preeminent” political issue in 2020 was two to one in favor. The bishops’ permanent bureaucracy immediately shelved the directive, but next month’s agenda will once more resuscitate the issue. When it does arise, Cardinal Turkson’s statement might well serve as a signal to wavering bishops whose silence might nudge that balance in the conference’s membership closer to an even split.
Unfortunately, that might leave outspoken defenders of the Church’s teaching on abortion and the Eucharist — for instance, Archbishops Cordileone and Naumann — “twisting slowly in the wind,” and Cardinals Cupich and Tobin — the only two American members of the Vatican office that recommends bishop candidates to the Pope — ever more firmly in charge.
As things now stand, the bishops’ social program, minus abortion and euthanasia (but not contraception), is Biden’s social program.

Humanae Vitae Gathers Dust On The Shelf

And contraception? Historian Donald Critchlow once searched the USCCB records since 1967. His research found that the bishops had privately discussed over several years whether or not to oppose federal funding of “family planning” in LBJ’s “Great Society” programs. However, they could never reach a firm decision and, thus, they never made a public statement for or against taxpayer funding of contraception, even after Humanae Vitae challenged them to do so.
Critchlow cited attorney William Ball, a brilliant lawyer (and my father’s last editor-in-chief of the Notre Dame Law Review in 1952). While speaking to a Catholic assembly in Pennsylvania in 1967, Ball explained that Church teaching required the bishops’ opposition to taxpayer funding of family planning. An unnamed Church official at the meeting contradicted Ball’s assertion: that was not the Church’s teaching, the official told the audience.
Since then, the USCCB and its NGOs have routinely lobbied for full funding of federal “family planning” programs that include contraception. During Democrat administrations, they have endorsed, and benefited from, broader programs with components that include abortion funding.
That is also the case today under the Biden administration. Yet, the discussion at the USCCB’s meeting next month will focus on abortion. Humanae Vitae will not be on the agenda. In fact, it hasn’t been for over half a century.

How Should We Treat The Remains Of The Dead?

October 8, 2021 Frontpage Comments Off on How Should We Treat The Remains Of The Dead?

By JOE SIXPACK

Recently, I was asked what should be done with the remains of our cremated loved ones. More specifically, the questioner realized he knew someone who was keeping the remains and not disposing of them. Let’s deal with that.
Just what is a Catholic’s obligation regarding the remains of the dead? Well, let’s give a brief history, then talk about ordinary burial, then talk about cremation.
Historically, Christians followed the Jews in disposing of corpses by burial rather than by cremation. The Christian thought was that cremation was an unnatural and violent destruction of the human body, the repository of the Holy Spirit for Catholics who had been baptized. But since no principle of faith would be jeopardized by cremation, it has always been allowed with permission when public health required it.
However, for centuries cremation wasn’t allowed, except in cases of public health. The reason for this is that there were certain heretics who promoted cremation as a way of denying the bodily Resurrection at the end of time — when every human being will be raised from the dead; the condemned as they had been in life and the saved in their glorified bodies. The Church’s wisdom was to combat the heresy by outlawing cremation. In more recent times, though, the Church has legalized cremation again, provided the cremation isn’t being used to deny the Resurrection.
Now, the average Catholic in modern times doesn’t realize that the Church still has laws regarding the disposal of human remains. Does the Church have the right to declare laws regarding what we do with our loved ones when they die? Of course she does! To begin, as history has already demonstrated, the mind of the Church is that the body of a deceased loved one has to be treated with respect, as it was Home to the Holy Spirit in life. Indeed, the Church still prefers burial over anything else.
Apart from the respect factor, we have to remember that the burying of the dead is one of the seven corporal works of mercy. All Catholics are obliged to perform all seven of the corporal works of mercy — not just the ones we like.
According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, “The bodies of the dead must be treated with respect and charity, in faith and hope of Resurrection. The burial of the dead is a corporal work of mercy; it honors the children of God, who are temples of the Holy Spirit.” It goes on to state, “The Church permits cremation, provided that it does not demonstrate a denial of faith in the resurrection of the body” (n. 2301).
Canon Law also tells us: “If a parish has its own cemetery, the faithful departed are to be interred in it unless another cemetery has been legitimately chosen either by the departed person or by those who are responsible to arrange for his or her interment.”
Let’s quote Canon Law just a little bit more. “The Church is to have its own cemeteries wherever this can be done, or at least spaces in civil cemeteries destined for the faithful departed and properly blessed. If however, this cannot be achieved, individual graves are to be properly blessed as often as needed.”
In short, the Church is very lenient when it comes to burying our dead, but still governs it.
Now let’s put it all together. Okay, let’s say you have a loved one pass away, but you like a civil cemetery that does not have a “Catholic” section. Is that where you can bury your loved one? Well, not as long as something else is available where there is hallowed ground. In other words, it would be against canon law (a sin) to bury a loved one in unhallowed ground. And unless there are special circumstances, the bishop cannot and will not hallow a gravesite when there is hallowed ground available.
So what about the remains of a loved one we had cremated? It’s quite popular these days to put the bodily remains urn on the mantle at home to keep the loved one near us. However, it’s the heart and mind of the Church that “the faithful departed are to be interred” unless it is otherwise impossible to do.
Now I realize that a lot of people reading this are in technical violation of canon law. That means those persons are objectively committing sin. However, you can only be guilty of sin when you know you’re sinning. Unlike civil law, you can’t be accountable for ignorance of law. So those of you who’ve buried loved ones in unhallowed ground, your remedy is simple: Simply tell your priest you would like to have the grave of your loved one properly blessed.
For those of you who’ve kept the remains of your cremated love ones, you simply need to arrange a place of interment; i.e., inter the remains in a tomb or a blessed gravesite.
This may not seem like an important issue to most people; however, it really is. You see, we Occidental Americans have been numbed in our consciences when it comes to respect for the human body. After all, it’s become fashionable to tattoo our entire bodies and poke holes in the most immodest places to wear jewelry. This demonstrates a lack of self-respect as well as of bodily respect. So you can see why people have lost their sense of respect for the human body. When it comes to woefully inadequately catechized Catholics (about 99.5 percent), we find that we’re more in-tune to the modern culture than to the heart of the Church.
This should demonstrate to us the need for a strong consideration of our rejection of modern culture and reacquaint ourselves with the heart and mind of the Catholic Church. Think about it.
Got questions? Contact me at Joe@CantankerousCatholic.com. I’ll answer all your questions in a timely manner. If I don’t know the answer, I’ll research and get it.

UN Assembly Drones On

October 7, 2021 Frontpage Comments Off on UN Assembly Drones On

By JOHN J. METZLER

One of the rites of autumn has been playing out in New York, as the annual UN General Assembly meeting plowed through its list of 193 speakers in under a week.
Just before the session started, the South Korean boy band BTS put on a K-pop song and dance routine inside the cavernous Assembly hall.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres opened the debate with a stark challenge, “We are on the edge of an abyss, and moving in the wrong direction. Our world has never been more threatened.”
While presidents and prime ministers droned on in the majestic Assembly hall, the audience was often sparse and not particularly engaged. All the more reason why so many speakers took advantage of the recorded Video link option to address the Assembly. China, Australia, Indonesia, and Malaysia were among them.
COVID, Climate Change, and Calamity underscored the session which nonetheless had few memorable moments or obvious rhetorical flare-ups. Speakers duly genuflected before the sacred mantras of Sustainable Development and Climate Change.
Nonetheless, the deep waters of the unexpected U.S. diplomatic conflict with France, over the Biden Administration’s curt and clumsy miscommunication with the French, concerned a nuclear submarine deal with Australia. The shipbuilding contracts which were originally signed by Australia with France were abruptly switched without telling the French government.
Paris withdrew its ambassador from Washington and the French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian strongly condemned the Australia-UK-US alliance, calling AUKUS “a stab in the back.” And this from America’s oldest ally!
U.S. President Biden’s first speech before the Assembly offered a rambling address long on platitudes, but short on substance or reassurances to allies; there was not a mention of China or of Russia!
Biden underscored America’s commitment to provide more COVID vaccines to the developing world, tackling climate change, and surging what he called “relentless diplomacy” to avoid new conflicts.
One of the session’s most contentious moments came when Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan, addressing a near empty hall by video link, launched a rhetorical attack on neighboring India.
He warned, “The worst and most pervasive form of Islamophobia now rules India. The hate-filled ‘Hindutva’ ideology, propagated by the fascist RSS-BJP regime, has unleashed a reign of fear and violence against India’s 200 million strong Muslim community.”
Prime Minister Khan added, “New Delhi has also embarked on what it ominously calls the ‘final solution’ for the Jammu and Kashmir dispute,” and underscored a litany of Indian actions which are, in Khan’s opinion, aiming to transform the disputed region “from a Muslim majority into a Muslim minority.”
The prime minister saved his best for the situation in Afghanistan, a country bordering Pakistan which has faced near continuous conflict since the former Soviet Union invaded and occupied the country in the 1980s. While there is no question Pakistan has borne the brunt of refugee outflows, and still does, at the same time the Islamabad government has played a double game in supporting some factions of the Taliban as a cat’s pat to promote its interests.
Now, following the Taliban takeover and return to power in Afghanistan, Premier Khan advised, “A destabilized, chaotic Afghanistan will again become a safe haven for international terrorists, the reason why the U.S. came to Afghanistan in the first place. . . . Therefore, there is only one way to go. We must strengthen and stabilize the current government, for the sake of the people of Afghanistan.”
Khan implored, “What have the Taliban promised? They will respect human rights. They will have an inclusive government….If the world community incentivizes them, and encourages them to walk this talk, it will be a win-win situation for everyone.”
Wishful hyperbole indeed!
India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi did not take the political bait, but in a speech the following day he recounted India’s democratic credentials, yet warned obliquely, “The country that uses terrorism as a political tool must also understand that it will also suffer from the same tool that they are inflicting on others.”
This was a clear reference to Pakistani policy of supporting Taliban factions. Modi added, “It is absolutely essential to ensure that Afghanistan’s territory is not used to spread terrorism.”
Few of the speeches were noteworthy; most of the diplomatic sound bites were either awkward or quickly forgettable, and little of the weeklong debate ritual was memorable.
Mind you the UN Assembly, still behind masks and COVID regulations and protocols, seems to have lost most of its buzz, vibe, and political mojo. It has moved to tepid and polite applause.
(John J. Metzler is a United Nations correspondent covering diplomatic and defense issues. He is the author of Divided Dynamism: The Diplomacy of Separated Nations: Germany, Korea, China.)

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