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September 22, 2017 Our Catholic Faith No Comments

Q. At Our Lady’s July 1917 appearance at Fatima, she stated that a war greater than World War I would break out during the pontificate of Pope Pius XI. Ambrogio Ratti chose the name Pius XI when he became Pope in 1922. No doubt Our Lady knew he would be known as Pius XI, but why didn’t she say “the next Pope” instead of, it would seem, picking a name for him? Was Ratti free to choose his own papal name or was he somehow bound to be known as Pius XI? — J.F.H., Illinois.
A. We would think that Cardinal Ratti was certainly free to choose the name Pius XI, and Our Lady of Fatima knew what name he would choose. Her foreknowledge did not take away his freedom. Furthermore, it is doubtful that he knew of the July 1917 vision since Lucia did not make the Blessed Virgin’s statement about a future Pope publicly known until she wrote her third account of the Fatima apparitions in 1941, two years after the death of Pius XI.

Q. An 84-year-old married man feels that watching Internet pornography is not a sin as long as he only watches it. Please comment. — Name and State Withheld.
A. Watching pornography is sinful for a variety of reasons. Start with Jesus’ admonition that “everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matt. 5:28). The Lord went on to say that “if your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one of your members than to have your whole body thrown into Gehenna” (Matt. 5:29). If the Lord were here today, He might say, “If your remote control causes you to sin, throw it away.”
Anyone who thinks he can watch pornography and not be affected by it is kidding himself. Pornography burns images into the brain that cannot be easily erased. It creates false images of women and sex, saying that what God intended to be beautiful and private and exclusively for married couples who are open to life can be ugly, public, and open to the most perverted and cruel sexual acts. Women are abused and degraded and treated not as persons made in the image and likeness of God, but as the objects of bizarre and even inhuman actions.
Pornography is “a civil rights issue for women … because it turns women into subhuman creatures,” Andrea Dworkin told the U.S. Attorney General’s Commission on Pornography, which held hearings in six American cities some years ago and heard testimony from 1,000 persons. She said that pornography is wrong because “it is a systematic exploitation of a group of people because of a condition of birth. Pornography creates bigotry, hostility, and aggression toward all women, without exception.”
Pornography is toxic waste that can be addictive and can lead those caught up in it to become increasingly desensitized to acts and scenes that might once have revolted them. Furthermore, the pornography industry is controlled by organized crime, and it brings into their coffers billions of dollars a year. So when you visit the ubiquitous porn sites on the Internet, you not only jeopardize your spiritual life, but you also contribute to organized crime.
We have been taught since childhood to resist impure thoughts firmly and vigorously, to think about something else, and to do something different to clear our minds. We have been taught to pray to the Blessed Virgin Mary, the model of purity, to help us get rid of these thoughts. We have been taught to take advantage of the sacraments of Penance and the Holy Eucharist to make us strong enough to say no to temptations against purity and chastity.
It’s bad enough for people much younger than the man in question to become addicted to pornography, but to go down this dangerous and sinful path at the age of 84 is very troubling. This man is not going to live much longer and should be preparing to meet Jesus on Judgment Day. His last thoughts should be of sorrow for his sins and the joy of everlasting bliss in Heaven, and not of revolting sex acts. We will ask our readers to pray for this man and others who find themselves enmeshed in the degrading and disturbing porn culture.

Q. Pope Francis was recently quoted as saying that people have a “moral responsibility” to do what they can to halt “climate change.” He said that “if someone is a bit doubtful … ask the scientists. They are very clear. They are not opinions on the fly. They are very clear. Then decide and history will judge the decision.” But aren’t there scientists who question the scare propaganda about climate change? — C.K., North Carolina.
A. Yes, there are, but you wouldn’t know it from the mainstream media, or from some of the Pope’s advisers. According to the September 4th issue of The New American, for example, atmospheric scientist Dr. Richard Lindzen, professor emeritus at MIT, sent a letter on climate change to President Trump on February 23 of this year. The letter was accompanied by a petition signed by “more than 300 eminent scientists and other qualified individuals from around the world . . . urging you to withdraw from the ill-advised United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).” The petition said that “carbon dioxide, the target of the UNFCCC, is not a pollutant but a major benefit to agriculture and other life on earth.”
The signers of the petition included Dr. Wei-Hock (Willie) Soon, an astrophysicist associated with the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, MA; J. Scott Armstrong, author, forecaster, and marketing expert at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania; William Briggs, data philosopher, epistemologist, and bioethicist; Hermann Hardee, professor emeritus of physics and material science at Helmut Schmidt University in Hamburg, Germany; David R. Legates, professor of climatology at the University of Delaware; Istvan Marko, professor of organic chemistry at Catholic University in Louvain, Belgium; and Christopher Monckton, former special adviser to British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.
On June 2 of this year, Massachusetts Institute of Technology President Dr. Rafael Reif sent a letter to the MIT community disagreeing with President Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate agreement. He said that “the scientific consensus is overwhelming: as human activity emits more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, the global surface temperature will continue to rise, driving rising sea levels and extreme weather.” Not so, said Dr. Willie Soon, who noted that “doubt is the essence of science. Consensus is a political notion.” He quoted the late author Michael Crichton as saying that “in science consensus is irrelevant. . . . There is no such thing as consensus science. It’s consensus, it isn’t science. If it’s science, it isn’t consensus. Period.”
Soon also said that the alleged consensus “is nothing more than an agreement that temperatures have generally increased since the end of the Little Ice Age [circa 1650 to 1850]. That agreement among most scientists glosses over the fact that the amount of any warming is a matter of heated debate among climatologists. Moreover, measuring global temperature is a statistical exercise that is subject to errors, biases, missing data, judgmental adjustments, and so on.” He said that the alarming projections coming from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which are widely quoted by the mainstream media, are not supported by the facts. He explained that the IPCC’s climate models project temperature increases that are more than two times the actual data measured, and the truth is that “the global average surface temperature has remained essentially constant” over the past 20 years.
As for the threat of rising sea levels, Dr. Soon said that “the average sea-level rise since 1870 has been in the range of 1.3 to 1.5 mm (0.05 to 0.06 of an inch) per year. Professor Nils-Axel Morner, a renowned sea-level researcher who has published over 500 peer-reviewed articles on this topic, has been unable to find observational evidence that supports the projection of dramatically accelerating sea-level rise from the climate models relied upon by the IPCC.”
As for carbon dioxide being a problem, Soon said that it is not a pollutant, but is rather “a colorless, odorless gas that is not toxic to humans and other animals even at concentrations much higher than we are currently experiencing.” He said that “rather than a problem, carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is the prime nutrient for plants” and that its current concentration “is low compared to the levels that have been experienced for much of the history of our planet.” The human contribution to atmospheric carbon dioxide, Soon added, “is indistinguishable from natural fluctuations, and the available data provide no basis for determining whether or not it has any marginal influence on climate. The professor’s [Dr. Reif] assertion that global temperatures can be controlled by an international agreement on human-originated carbon dioxide emissions is, therefore, at odds with scientific knowledge on cause and effect.”

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