Friday 19th April 2019

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April 5, 2019 Our Catholic Faith No Comments

Editor’s Note: Writing in his parish bulletin (Church of St. Michael in New York City) on the feast of St. Patrick, Fr. George Rutler discussed the distressing situation in Ireland. He said that “the majority of Irish people failed to heed the warnings of St. John Paul II when he became the first pontiff to set foot on the soil of Eire in 1979. He preached to 1.25 million faithful at a Mass in Phoenix Park, Dublin. Last year, Pope Francis offered Holy Mass in the same place, and fewer than 130,000 showed up. Four months later, the Druids returned and defiantly danced in the streets when abortion was legalized. The Taoiseach (Prime Minister) was elected while publicly living in perverse contempt of the sacrament of Holy Matrimony.”
Fr. Rutler said that “the chief seminary of Maynooth has the lowest numbers of students since its foundation in 1795. Its rector of fifteen years abandoned the Faith and now conducts an esoteric cult in Arizona. An Irish commentator and playwright recently called Ireland ‘the most anti-Catholic country on planet earth.’ This would seem to be hyperbolic given persecution in Muslim lands, China, and North Korea, but it bespeaks the adolescent rebellion of a population moved by an anger unlike the cool detachment of calculating governments. This is a warning to Catholics in the United States because such is what happens when religion is only a political and ethnic sentiment.”

Q. When I meditate on the mysteries of the rosary, I go to the Gospels for more information. But I come up empty when the mystery is the Assumption of the Blessed Mother into Heaven. Can you answer the following questions about that mystery? — T.G., via e-mail.
A. You are correct that the Fourth Glorious Mystery is not in the Gospels. However, it is a revealed truth stemming from what we know of the sinless Virgin’s life. When the Angel Gabriel addressed Mary as “full of grace,” he was affirming that she was free from all taint of sin, including original sin, for how could she be “full of grace,” that is, full of God’s divine life, if she were guilty of sin? This privilege we call her Immaculate Conception, and it is closely bound to her Assumption.
According to the first book of the Bible, the consequences of original sin include death and corruption of the body in the grave (cf. Gen. 3:19). But if Mary did not have original sin, then her body would not be subject to decay after death. The Church has never officially pronounced whether the Blessed Mother died, but the virtually unanimous consensus of the Church’s great saints and theologians is that she did die, but was immediately taken up into Heaven, body and soul.
There is also a negative proof for her Assumption in that neither her tomb nor her remains were ever found. It was commonplace in the early Church to venerate the bones and the resting places of the saints, but there is no record of such veneration of the Virgin Mary. This is because there were no bodily remains to venerate, and the faithful knew that from the earliest days of the Church.
As for your questions: Where was Mary living when she went to sleep, and where was St. John, whom Jesus had asked to take His Mother into his home? Tradition has it that Mary lived for a while with John in Ephesus. How long did Mary live after the death and Resurrection of Jesus? The Blessed Mother would have been close to 50 years old when Jesus ascended into Heaven, but we don’t know how much longer she lived. How long did John live after the death of Jesus, and where did he live? Tradition has it that John lived almost to the end of the first century, which would have put him in his nineties. He lived for a time in Ephesus and also in exile on the island of Patmos, where he received the visions that became the Book of Revelation.
When did St. Joseph die, and how old was he? Since Joseph is not mentioned in the Gospels after the finding of Jesus in the Temple when He was 12, Joseph must have died somewhere between that time and when the Lord began His public ministry about the age of 30. According to Jewish custom, Joseph would have been in his mid-twenties when he married Mary, so he would have been a relatively young man when he died — more than, say, 37 (25 plus 12), but less than 55 (25 plus 30). How old was Jesus when He performed His first miracle at the wedding in Cana? Around 30.

Q. We agree that all humans are flawed because of original sin, and we have the Sacrament of Baptism to clear that away. But aren’t all humans bound to commit mortal sin in the course of their lifetime? For example, using the Lord’s name in vain. Jesus told Peter and the apostles that whatever they bound on Earth is bound in Heaven, and whatever they loosed on Earth is loosed in Heaven. God makes His great mercy available to us, but if I do not go see a priest in Confession, don’t my sins remain in me and could damn me to Hell? How does a Protestant, who does not believe in confessing his sins to a priest, get around this? — D.M.D., via e-mail.
A. Yes, we are all flawed because of original sin. Even though Baptism takes away that sin, we still suffer from the effects of original sin. Those effects include a darkened mind, so that we don’t always recognize evil, and a weakened will, so that we don’t always have the fortitude to resist temptation. Remember St. Paul saying that he found it easy to do the wrong thing and hard to do the right thing (cf. Romans 7:15). We can all relate to that.
Are all humans likely to commit mortal sin during their lifetime? We would say no if you are talking about engaging in grave matter with full knowledge and deliberate consent. While some of the saints were reformed sinners (e.g., St. Augustine), many were people of such heroic holiness that it is highly unlikely that they ever succumbed to mortal sin. St. Teresa of Calcutta was once asked what was wrong with the world. She replied, “I’m what’s wrong with the world.” What do you mean?, asked the startled questioner. “I am a sinner,” she said. Yes, even Mother Teresa was a sinner, like the rest of us, but can you imagine her committing a mortal sin?
Using the Lord’s name in vain could be a mortal sin if one with full knowledge deliberately decides to break the Second Commandment, but how many people who misuse the Lord’s name are even conscious that they are doing something wrong? We’re not excusing them for their careless use of the name of God and Jesus, and we have on many occasions called attention to this irresponsible behavior, but it is more likely a venial sin in many cases.
If you are conscious of committing a mortal sin, and you deliberately avoid Confession and die with that sin unforgiven, then by your own choice you are indeed damned. However, it is possible to beg God’s forgiveness at the last moment, like the Good Thief on the cross, and escape Hell.
There is a true story about a woman whose brother committed suicide by jumping off a bridge. She went to St. John Vianney and asked him if her brother was in Hell. No, said the Curé of Ars, he’s in Purgatory. How is that possible?, the woman asked. The saint responded that between the time the man jumped, and the time he hit the water, he begged for, and was granted, God’s forgiveness.
Protestants can get to Heaven by being truly sorry for their sins, even if they don’t avail themselves of the Sacrament of Penance.

Q. In recent years, supposed experts have speculated that when Jesus was crucified, the nails were placed through His wrists rather than through His hands because they claim that nails through the hands could not possibly support the body of a crucified man. The Romans may have been brutal and cruel, but they were not stupid. They would have realized that nails through the hands could not support the weight of the body and would have taken appropriate measures to prevent His hands from tearing through the nails. To support this conclusion, I quote from the writings of Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich and Venerable Mary of Agreda. You may recall that Mel Gibson’s movie The Passion of the Christ was based almost entirely on the mystic visions of Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich. I would appreciate your thoughts on this. — H.D.G., Wisconsin.
A. We are familiar with the visions of Blessed Anne and Venerable Mary, but find the conclusion of Dr. Pierre Barbet (cf. his book A Doctor at Calvary), that the nails went through the wrists of Christ, more plausible. Barbet and those who agree with him have based their conclusions on a careful study of the Shroud of Turin, which seems very likely to have been the burial shroud of Jesus. The image on the cloth of a crucified man, and the pattern of the bloodstains, particularly those around the wrist, confirms the thesis of Barbet. He discovered through experimentation on corpses that a nail placed in the spot where the palm met the wrist would take a nail and would support the body of a man.
His most startling finding was that when a nail pierced this spot, it partly severed the median nerve, causing unbelievable pain but also causing the thumb to jerk inward against the palm. This corresponded exactly to the bloodstain on the Shroud of Turin. Not only did the bloody wound appear on the back of the wrist in the pictures of the crucified Man on the Shroud, but the image of the hands, with the palms downward, showed no sign of thumbs.
Finally, while Pierre Barbet was the pioneer in this research, his conclusions have been affirmed by many others. They include Ian Wilson, author of The Turin Shroud and The Blood and the Shroud; Gilbert R. Lavoie, author of Unlocking the Secrets of the Shroud; C. Bernard Ruffin, author of The Shroud of Turin; and John Walsh, author of The Shroud.

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Fr. James Schall passed away today. A Jesuit priest & Georgetown professor, he served as mentor & model to a numberless many (including me). With penetrating insight & wit, he pointed us to Christ & those great Catholic minds we mustn't forget.

Fr. Schall, requiescat in pace.

Please pray for Raymond DeSousa today, who is a weekly Wanderer columnist who is undergoing serious surgery today.

We ban God from the public square. We murder His most innocent. We deny Him on the Sabbath. We disregard his commandments. Is it any wonder?

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Fr. James V. Schall, S.J., has died at the age of 91

Fr. James V. Schall, the prolific and much-beloved Jesuit, professor and author, died earlier today. His family states that “he was comfortable and at peace” at the time of his death. He was born in Pocahontas, Iowa, January 20, 1928.…Continue Reading

North Carolina Gov. vetoes bill requiring care for babies born alive after failed abortion

RALEIGH, April 18, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – North Carolina Democrat Gov. Roy Cooper vetoed legislation Thursday morning that would require abortionists to provide basic medical care to newborns who survive failed abortions, just days after the measure cleared the state legislature.…Continue Reading

How Cardinal Wuerl Misled the Papal Foundation

In 2017, Cardinal Donald Wuerl provided false and misleading information to the board of the Papal Foundation to secure a $25 million grant for the Istituto Dermopatico dell’Immacolata (IDI), a scandal-plagued hospital in Rome. Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro…Continue Reading

Since “Unplanned” Movie Released, 94 Abortion Clinic Workers Have Said They May Quit Their Jobs

Abby Johnson’s powerful conversion story is moving hearts inside the abortion industry. Chuck Konzelman, who is a co-writer/co-director of “Unplanned,” the new film detailing Johnson’s life, said nearly 100 abortion workers have reached out to them in the past few…Continue Reading

Franciscan University president resigns

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Alumni of Mount St. Mary’s University in Emmitsburg, Maryland and the Cardinal Newman Society are voicing their outrage at the school’s selection of Mark Shriver to deliver the 2019 commencement address while also receiving an honorary doctorate of humane letters. Shriver is president of the Save the…Continue Reading

Emails show Planned Parenthood behind California rule to make churches pay for abortions

Sacramento, Calif., Apr 5, 2019 / 03:01 pm (CNA).- A 2014 California rule forcing religious groups, including churches, to cover elective abortions for employees was the result of direct pressure from Planned Parenthood, internal emails have shown. On April 4,…Continue Reading

Notre Dame’s Catholic duty

On Wednesday, the LGBT Law Forum at the law school hosted an event featuring Jim Obergefell, Greg Bourke and Michael DeLeon, plaintiffs in the Supreme Court caseObergefell v. Hodges, which mandated that every state recognize same-sex marriage. The talk was co-sponsored…Continue Reading

Catholic priests in Poland burn alleged sacrilegious books including ‘Harry Potter,’ condemn magic

Polish Catholic priests condemning magic burned dozens of books they considered to be sacrilegious, including works from the “Harry Potter” series. The SMS from Heaven Foundation – an evangelical group – posted photos of the burning at Gdansk’s Mother of…Continue Reading

Vatican Life Academy: Parents must vaccinate, even if vaccines come from aborted babies

VATICAN CITY, March 26, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — In a stunning declaration, the Pontifical Academy for Life — now populated entirely with Pope Francis appointments — has urged parents to vaccinate their children, even if the vaccines are derived from aborted…Continue Reading

Cardinal DiNardo discharged from hospital, expected to make full recovery

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Montreal priest stabbed at Mass ‘eager’ to return

Montreal, Canada, Mar 23, 2019 / 03:19 pm (CNA).- Father Claude Grou is out of the hospital and grateful for the groundswell of support he received after he was stabbed by an assailant while celebrating a televised Mass at St.…Continue Reading

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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


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Today . . .

Cardinal Tobin: Catechism language ‘very unfortunate’ on homosexuality

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Paris’ Notre Dame cathedral goes up in flames

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Medical students in Africa outraged over U.S. based org enticing them to become abortionists

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Full text of Benedict XVI essay: ‘The Church and the scandal of sexual abuse’


Vatican City, Apr 10, 2019 / 04:23 pm (CNA).- The following is a previously unpublished essay from Pope emeritus Benedict XVI: On February 21 to 24, at the invitation of Pope Francis, the presidents of the world’s bishops’ conferences gathered at the Vatican to discuss the current crisis of the faith and of the Church; a crisis experienced throughout the world after shocking revelations of clerical abuse perpetrated against minors. The extent and gravity of…Continue Reading

“Unplanned” Movie Stays in Top 10 With Surprisingly Strong 2nd Week at Box Office

The pro-life movie “Unplanned” finished in the Top 10 after a surprisingly strong 8th place finish at the box office this weekend. The film, which opened in theaters nationwide last week, follows the true story of Abby Johnson, a former Planned Parenthood director who became pro-life after watching a baby be aborted on an ultrasound screen. Despite a media blackout, a ‘R’ rating designed to discourage viewers and little coverage outside conservative media circles, “Unplanned” opened in 4th…Continue Reading


Dispute Over Papal Foundation’s $25 Million Grant Approval Continues

By KEVIN JONES VATICAN CITY (CNA) — Scrutiny continues for the U.S.-based Papal Foundation, amid questions of whether some of its grant activity was motivated by a desire to secure leniency for disgraced former cardinal Theodore McCarrick. The ongoing controversy surrounds the foundation’s decision to make an unprecedented grant to a leading Italian hospital whose…Continue Reading

First Time In 300 Years… Rome’s Holy Stairs Are Uncovered

By HANNAH BROCKHAUS ROME (CNA) — The bare, white marble of Rome’s “Scala Sancta,” which are believed to be the stairs trod by Christ on the day of His trial and death, are now exposed and visible to pilgrims for the first time in almost 300 years. The stairs, encased in wood since the 1700s,…Continue Reading

A Book Review . . . St. Peter Of Alcantara Tells Us How To Pray And Meditate

By DONAL ANTHONY FOLEY Treatise on Prayer and Meditation, by St. Peter of Alcantara (212 pages, TAN Books & Publishers Inc., paperback and Kindle). Visit, or call 1-800-437-5876. St. Peter of Alcantara (1499-1562) was born in Spain, and became a Franciscan friar in a strict observance friary. He was ordained in 1524, and went…Continue Reading

Liberty Counsel Says Counseling Ban Violates Free Speech

ATLANTA — Liberty Counsel filed a brief April 11 in the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, in an appeal challenging the constitutionality of ordinances enacted by the City of Boca Raton and Palm Beach County, which prohibit minors from receiving voluntary counseling from licensed professionals to reduce or eliminate unwanted same-sex attractions or behaviors, or…Continue Reading

Talking About Pro-Life Progress

By FR. SHENAN J. BOQUET (Editor’s Note: This article is reprinted with permission of Human Life International, It first appeared at on April 8, 2019. Fr. Boquet is the president of HLI.) + + + “To claim the right to abortion, infanticide and euthanasia, and to recognize that right in law, means to…Continue Reading


Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

Catholic Replies

Editor’s Note: It is easy to get discouraged at the state of the Church these days, particularly at the decline in the number of Religious sisters from 181,000 in 1965 to about 47,000 today, which Fr. George Rutler blames partly on those orders which “accepted bad advice from misguided and misguiding theologians and leaders. Bishops often have been at fault,…Continue Reading

Holy Father . . . Approves Decrees Regarding Eight Candidates For Sainthood

By DEBORAH CASTELLANO LUBOV ROME (ZENIT) — Pope Francis on April 6 received in audience Angelo Cardinal Becciu, prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. During the audience, the Supreme Pontiff authorized the same congregation to promulgate the decrees regarding: — The miracle attributed to the intercession of the Venerable Servant of God Donizetti Tavares de Lima, diocesan…Continue Reading

Faith In The Person Of Jesus

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Easter Sunday (YR C) Readings: Acts 10:34a, 37-43 Col. 3:1-4 John 20:1-9 Today we celebrate the most important day in the Church’s year. We know our Lord told His disciples that it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and so enter into His glory. St. Peter speaks of this in the first reading and also…Continue Reading

A Leaven In The World… Benedict XVI: “God Is Absent”

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK Benedict XVI released a statement in German last week on the abuse crisis (see text elsewhere in this issue). It shows the extent of the crisis that, although he seeks to live in prayer and contemplation, he has chosen to speak out on this topic with the okay from Pope Francis. People are craving clear…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Editor’s Note: For those parents and grandparents looking for good advice on how to educate children and young people about the tough moral issues of the day, may we recommend the book Made This Way by Leila Miller and Trent Horn. The chapter headings deal with Sex Outside of Marriage, Same-Sex Marriage, Divorce, Contraception, Abortion, Reproductive Technologies, Modesty, Pornography, Transgender…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Peter Of St. Joseph De Betancur

By CAROLE BRESLIN The Catholic Church is the largest provider of health care in the world. As of 2013, more than 40,000 hospitals, clinics, and homes for the elderly were run by the Catholic Church throughout the world. The pioneering work of many devout saints for centuries provided care for the sick and the homeless. To care for the sick…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Hugh The Great

By CAROLE BRESLIN In the 11th century, over 150 years before St. Francis of Assisi received the order from our Lord to “repair my house, which as you see is falling into ruin,” the secular rulers sought to control the appointment of bishops, abbots, and even the Pope. During this period of simony and conflict, St. Hugh the Great entered…Continue Reading