Sunday 31st May 2020

Home » Frontpage » Currently Reading:

A Potpourri… The Temptation In The Desert, Death, And Other Matters

March 25, 2020 Frontpage No Comments


There is one central event in the life of Christ which I have often thought should have a place among the mysteries of the rosary, but which has been omitted — the temptation of Jesus in the desert. My way of including it has been to link it with the First Luminous Mystery — the Baptism of Jesus. They, of course, belong together.
After the Baptism, Jesus comes up out of the water, and the voice of the Father is heard proclaiming that “this is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” With that proclamation, we have the definitive beginning of Jesus’ mission for the salvation of the world. And then what follows is His first battle with Evil One.
The history of salvation often seems to be like a kind of chess game played by God and Satan, where God makes a move and Satan makes a countermove, then God makes a countermove, and so on until the end of time. I can just imagine Satan saying to himself in response to the announcement of the coming of the Messiah, “I gotta get ahold of this guy and corrupt him so he will serve my kingdom.”
And that is just what he tried to do, tempting Jesus to use His power to create an earthly kingdom under his (Satan’s) control to enslave us rather than free us. And he, of course, failed miserably, but did not give up, unfortunately. I think here of the Prologue of St. John’s Gospel, which tells us that “the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness cannot overcome it.” Christ is the light, and Satan is the darkness that tries to overcome the light there in the desert, but cannot, and never will.
Living in a nursing home as I do, I am very aware of what a constant presence death is here. A large number of our residents are in their 90s or beyond (a delightful lady I know named Eleanor, who just celebrated her 103rd birthday, falls into the beyond category), so the death rate is naturally very high. Yet it is a somewhat taboo subject. When a resident dies, the staff are not supposed to tell the other residents. Of course, word gets out, because a nursing home is a lot like a small town, and few things remain secret for long.
I notice, too, that if I am so indiscreet as to suggest to one of the staff that, at 78, I kind of expect to be shuffling off this mortal coil one of these years, I get a response along lines of, “Oh, don’t be morbid, you’re young yet, you’ll be around for a long time!” There actually seems to be sort of a notion that actually everyone is young, a notion that would render the word meaningless.
Behind such thinking is the fact that fewer and fewer people have any very serious belief in God, which means that they are unlikely to have any notion of a life beyond death. As a result, while everyone acknowledges that we will all die, the answer so many people give to this reality is, “Try not to think about it.”
What a contrast that is to the Church’s idea that Christians should meditate on death every day. But if you are trying not to think about death, you will need to find ways to distract yourself from it — things like material success, power, careers, and diving headfirst into the fast pace of modern city life. These are the things Pascal called divertissements, diversions, distractions, by which we try to shut out the reality of our condition. How much less trouble it is to just wake up and accept that condition with faith in Christ’s promise of resurrection and eternal life.

+ + +

We need to be on guard when we hear people with pretensions to being “intellectuals” telling us that such and such is nothing more than this or that, that the latter is what is real and that everything else, including the things we think we see and hear and touch and interact with are an illusion — “mere appearance.”
This is the fallacy known as reductionism, one which has done a huge amount to distort the thinking of the modern world. There seems to be a great deal of it in the thinking of Bill Bryson, author of A Short History of Nearly Everything, and The Body, both well written and quite interesting volumes of popular science — the first focused on the history of the universe as science today sees it, the second on our current knowledge of the incredible complexity of living organisms, especially the human body.
Unfortunately, he is very quick to do such things as assert that the teeming underworld of fundamental particles and such which are the components of matter are the only reality, and we only think we sees trees and people and houses, and so on.
What he doesn’t understand is that all these fundamental components are the underpinnings, the infrastructure, if you will, of the things we see and grasp, the trees and people and houses. The latter are the whole point of all the components, their end to which they are ordered. This is what the modern mind produced by the so-called Enlightenment cannot tolerate, because it would require science to make some room for final causality, and that is taboo. The thing that appears is the thing that is.
The thing is, the many components of the final product, whether a rock, or an animal, or a human being, are, in the process of its coming into being, intricately coordinated with one another in a process which is complex beyond anything we can imagine. And that coordinated process is, as a whole, ordered to the complete, finished being, which is the final cause. Sooner or later, science will have to come to terms with the reality that for the universe to be intelligible, final causality is essential.

+ + +

Euthanasia advocates are generally grounded in an atheistic ideology or something close to it (like agnosticism), an ideology which would deny the possibility of any kind of existence after death. That means that, once you die, you no longer exist, and the worms have a feast on your remains. Now, the idea behind euthanasia is that, when someone is suffering from terrible pain, a compassionate person can free that person from pain by ending his life. Now if I am in pain and a doctor gives me a pain-killing medication and the pain stops, then I enjoy a sense of relief and pleasure from the cessation of the pain. This makes perfect sense when the person’s pain ends but the person does not.
But if the atheists are right and I cease to be with death, then there is no me to enjoy the relief of being pain-free. So there is no relief. So all the person who does the euthanizing accomplishes is to kill someone but no pain relief follows, because there is no one there to be relieved.

+ + +

Pope Francis has been telling people that if you try to use speech to persuade people to become Christians, you are not a disciple of Christ. He seems to be saying that we should witness to Christ only by our example, speaking to people about Him only when they come to us with questions about our faith.
This is bizarre. First of all, Jesus, during His public ministry, consistently acted contrary to what the Pope is saying, preaching to people without waiting for them to come to Him.
Secondly, it flies in the face of Jesus’ explicit command to His disciples: “Go, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to do all things that I have commanded you.” This is known as the Great Commission, given to us by Christ Himself, who is God incarnate. No one, not even the Pope, has the authority to abrogate this Commission.
The Pope thinks that we should only preach the Gospel to people when they ask us about it. But this isn’t how the Church has carried out her missionary activities for 2,000 years. St. Paul got up in Athens and started preaching to the Athenians, right out of the blue. Likewise, he went into synagogues and preached, without waiting to be asked.
By the Pope’s criteria, none of the great missionaries in the Church’s history were actually disciples of Christ. He seems to want to rewrite the Great Commission as, “Go and give a good example to all nations, then teach them if they ask you to, but not otherwise.”
The Pope also conflates trying to persuade people through speech with forced conversion. These are two different things. One involves persuasion, which seeks to elicit the person’s free consent, the other coercion. One respects the freedom of the person, the other does not.
(© 2020 George A. Kendall)

Share Button

2019 The Wanderer Printing Co.

Twitter Feed


Supreme Court rules 5-4 AGAINST a California church that challenged Gavin Newsom’s unconstitutional public gathering restrictions

Why is it “legal” to burn our cities but officially illegal to go to church in CA?

John Roberts disappoints again

What a disgrace.


Minneapolis Mayor Frey, the poster boy of liberal progressive Democrat leadership literally gave one of his police stations to the looters last night.

Load More...

US bishop reverses plan to ban Communion on tongue as churches reopen

LAFAYETTE, Louisiana, May 15, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Bishop Douglas Deshotel has revised his decision to allow only reception of the Eucharist in the hand amid the coronavirus pandemic. He credited guidelines issued by the Thomistic Institute for correcting his previous…Continue Reading

Sainthood causes open for St John Paul II’s parents

A ceremony launching the causes of the Wojtyłas took place at the Basilica of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Wadowice, John Paul II’s birthplace. At the ceremony, the Kraków Archdiocese officially formed the tribunals that will seek…Continue Reading

President Trump on National Day of Prayer: “Never Forget That All Things are Possible With God”

On this National Day of Prayer, Americans reaffirm that prayer guides and strengthens our Nation, and we express, with humility and gratitude, our “firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence.”  As one Nation under God, we share a legacy…Continue Reading

Coronavirus In Minnesota: Archbishop Hebda Gives Guidelines For Reopening Catholic Churches

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Archbishop Bernard Hebda, head of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, says he anticipates reopening churches on May 18, which is when the state’s current stay-at-home order expires. In a letter to Catholics, he outlined strict guidelines…Continue Reading

Joe Biden Calls Killing Babies in Abortions “Essential Health Care That Cannot be Delayed”

Today, presumed Democratic presidential nominee and former Vice President Joe Biden stated that abortions are “essential health care that cannot be delayed” during the COVID-19 pandemic. Biden’s statement was in response to a question during a virtual town hall in which pro-abortion…Continue Reading

Archbishop Viganò: Third Secret of Fatima has not yet been fully published

April 22, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – In a stunning new interview, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, the former papal nuncio in Washington, D.C. and the prelate who accused Pope Francis of covering up the crimes of Theodore McCarrick, has now publicly stated…Continue Reading

George Pell: In the suffering, we find redemption

Every person suffers. None escapes all the time. Everyone is confronted with a couple of questions. What should I do in this situation? Why is there so much evil and suffering? And why did this happen to me? Why the…Continue Reading

Covid-19: First Catholic bishop dies of coronavirus

Ethiopia’s Apostolic Vicar, Bishop Angelo Moreschi, has died. He is the first Catholic Bishop to succumb to the coronavirus pandemic. By Fr. Benedict Mayaki, SJ Italian missionary and Apostolic Vicar to Ethiopia’s Gambella Vicariate, Bishop Angelo Moreschi, SDB, died on…Continue Reading

Catholic church offers curbside confessions during coronavirus outbreak

STILLWATER, Minn. — Drive-thrus, curbside pick-up, contactless methods. We’re becoming best buds with terms like these as we try our best to stay home, and flatten the curve of the coronavirus outbreak. However, today, we’re not talking about food or…Continue Reading

All priests, half of seminarians at traditional Catholic order infected by coronavirus

OPFENBACH, Germany, March 20, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Almost all priests and roughly half of the seminarians currently at a German seminary of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter (FSSP), a traditionalist community of priests and seminarians, have been infected by…Continue Reading

Catholic Herald US to shut down offices

The Catholic Herald’s U.S. edition is shutting down its offices in Washington, D.C., after less than two years of publication, people familiar with the matter told the Washington Examiner. The magazine, which claims to be “America’s only national Catholic weekly…Continue Reading

Middle school hangs LGBT flag in cafeteria, bans flag of traditional family

MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota, March 6, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – A small town Minnesota school has become a center of controversy because of a LGBT pride flag hanging in its cafeteria. Following several weeks of parental and community concern, packed school board meetings, and…Continue Reading

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for 150 years in our weekly print edition.

  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to su
bscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 150 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

Interview With Cardinal Burke . . . Discriminating Mercy: Defending Christ And His Church With True Love


  By DON FIER (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta and Founder of the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Wis., graciously took time out of his busy schedule to grant The Wanderer a wide-ranging interview during a recent visit to the Shrine. Included among the topics…Continue Reading

Developing Lives Of Peace After The Heart Of Mary

By RAYMOND LEO CARDINAL BURKE (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke delivered the address below at the 32nd Annual Church Teaches Forum, “The Message of Fatima: Peace for the World,” Galt House, Louisville, Ky., July 22, 2017. The address is reprinted here with the kind permission of Cardinal Burke. All rights reserved. This is part one of the…Continue Reading


Today . . .

Supreme Court rejects challenge to limits on church services; Roberts sides with liberals

WASHINGTON — A divided Supreme Court on Friday rejected an emergency appeal by a California church that challenged state limits on attendance at worship services that have been imposed to contain the spread of the coronavirus. Over the dissent of the four more conservative justices, Chief Justice John Roberts joined the court’s four liberals in turning away a request from the South Bay United Pentecostal Church in Chula Vista, California, in the San Diego area.

Twitter censors Trump hours after he signs executive order combatting social media censorship

UNITED STATES, May 29, 2020  (LifeSiteNews) — Twitter has censored a new post by President Donald Trump within 24 hours of him signing an executive order to combat social media censorship. The social media giant covered a tweet published by Trump earlier today with the words: “This Tweet violated the Twitter Rules about glorifying violence. However, Twitter has determined that it may be in the public’s interest for the Tweet to remain accessible.”

Catholic Bishops Pander To Washington State Politics Rather Than Defend Their Faith

Washington state Catholic leaders would rather stick it to the president than let him defend their right to celebrate Mass. Following President Donald Trump’s direction on Friday for states to allow houses of worship to reopened and to declare public worship as essential, Gov. Jay Inslee immediately thumbed his nose, and Washington bishops quickly follow suit. In a disappointing response, the bishops demonstrated that rather than stand up for their flock and acknowledge the president’s commitment to religious…Continue Reading

Book calling for Catholic blessing of homosexual couples was requested by Austrian bishops’ conference

CNA Staff, May 26, 2020 / 11:02 am MT (CNA).- A book considering how homosexual couples might receive a formal, liturgical blessing of their union in the Catholic Church was written in response to a request from the liturgical committee of the Austrian bishops’ conference, according to the book’s principal author. The work includes contributions by a number of German speaking theologians and a liturgical section, including a suggestion for how such a Church blessing…Continue Reading

Trump announces that houses of worship are ‘essential,’ calls on governors to open them up

President Trump on Friday announced that new Centers for Disease Control guidance will classify houses of worship as “essential,” as he called on governors to allow them to open “right now” after being closed during the coronavirus lockdowns. Trump announced the policy for churches, synagogues and mosques, during a short briefing at the White House. BALTIMORE PASTOR RIPS UP CEASE-AND-DESIST LETTER MID-SERMON: ‘WE’RE GONNA DO IT GOD’S WAY!’ “The governors need to do the right thing and allow…Continue Reading


Does Life Have Any Meaning?

By DONALD DeMARCO W. Somerset Maugham was among the most popular writers of his era and reputedly the highest-paid author during the 1930-40s. His most popular novel, The Razor’s Edge (1944), which was made into a most successful movie two years later, is about the search for meaning. It takes as its theme the Zen…Continue Reading

Jinping Takes Up The U.S. Challenge

By PATRICK J. BUCHANAN Is the U.S. up for a second Cold War — this time with China? What makes the question newly relevant is that Xi Jinping’s China suddenly appears eager for a showdown with the United States for long-term supremacy in the Asia-Pacific and the world. With the U.S. consumed by the coronavirus…Continue Reading

Man Who Smeared Wartime Pope Dies

By RONALD RYCHLAK (Editor’s Note: Ronald Rychlak is a distinguished professor of law at the University of Mississippi Law School. He also serves on the Board of Advisors of the Catholic League, which distributed this article on May 15.) + + + Rolf Hochhuth has passed away in Germany at the age of 89. He…Continue Reading

Pope Francis . . . Merges Two Alaska Dioceses Into New Archdiocese

(CNA) — Pope Francis merged two dioceses in Alaska on May 19, creating the new Archdiocese of Anchorage-Juneau which will cover a territory larger than Montana. The Pope appointed Bishop Andrew E. Bellisario as the metropolitan archbishop of the newly formed archdiocese in southern Alaska. The Diocese of Juneau, located on the Alaska’s southeastern panhandle,…Continue Reading

Does Pelosi Believe A Baby Has A Right To A Mother?

By TERENCE P. JEFFREY (Editor’s Note: Terence P. Jeffrey is the editor in chief of Creators Syndicate distributes his column.) + + + When House Speaker Nancy Pelosi appeared on CNN with Anderson Cooper on Monday, May 18, she started the interview with an effusive statement about Cooper’s “new baby.” “Well, first let me…Continue Reading


Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

Catholic Replies

Q. You recently wrote about Reiki as something not in accord with Church teachings. What about yoga? — L.S., via email. A. In his book Catholics and the New Age, Fr. Mitch Pacwa said that the word “yoga” is Sanskrit for “yoke” or “union” and, in Hinduism, it describes “the general category of various kinds of disciplines meant to unite…Continue Reading

A Leaven In The World . . . Pandemic Brings Unseen Into View

By FR KEVIN M. CUSICK The Church and her work for souls, unseen and unknown so often by so many in a world which has made God so invisible, has in some ways become more tangible in these months when so much of “normal” life has ground to a halt. Many of our physical activities and concerns, our business and…Continue Reading

Manifest The Gifts Of The Holy Spirit

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Solemnity Of Pentecost (YR A) Readings: Acts 2:1-11 1 Cor. 12:3b-7, 12-13 John 20:19-23 In the second reading, St. Paul tells us: “There are different kinds of spiritual gifts but the same Spirit; there are different forms of service but the same Lord; there are different workings but the same God.” In these verses, St. Paul…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Q. While I’ve read letters in religious publications from prisoners begging for Catholic materials, I have never had any success making contact with Catholic chaplains who might have requests for certain items. I’ve tried both prison and diocesan addresses, and no one responds. Any suggestions? — N.D., Illinois. A. Perhaps readers who are involved in prison ministry can recommend places…Continue Reading

A Leaven In The World… A Pope Francis Primer

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK We are immersed in cultural and political wars, with opposing parties engaged in perpetual bickering and posing for effect. On the political front we are faced daily with the spectacle of elected officials who don’t want to work. Instead, they go on the attack and attempt to impeach the reputations of others. False criminal accusations…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . Blessed Titus Zeman

By DEB PIROCH “Even if I lost my life, I would not consider it wasted, knowing that at least one of those that I helped has become a priest in my place” — Slovak priest, Blessed Titus Zeman. + + + Czech Communists attempted to eliminate the Catholic Church in Czechoslovakia, beginning in 1945, Prime Minister Klement Gottwald working hand-in-hand…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Louis Marie Grignion De Montfort

By DEB PIROCH During the month of Mary, we turn to St. Louis Marie de Montfort (1673-1716), a saint inseparable in devotion to Christ’s Blessed Mother. His feast falls on the anniversary of his death, April 28, as if he is joyfully pointing us to the Marian month ahead. Many are familiar with Pope St. John Paul’s personal motto, “Totus…Continue Reading