Monday 6th April 2020

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March 20, 2020 Our Catholic Faith No Comments

Q. In today’s Gospel (Matt. 6:7-15), the text specifically has Jesus stating, “If you forgive men their transgressions…but if you do not forgive men….” The priest at Mass changed “men” to “people” in the first instance and to “them” in the second. I am not sure if this was an intentional effort to conform to the modern concepts of gender neutrality, which I would find especially distasteful as an act of retooling the words of Christ, or if I am simply unaware of various translations that may alter syntax. Can you help? — R.B., Wisconsin.
A. The official Gospel reading for that day says “men” in both instances, and the priest should have used the approved translation, regardless of his personal preference. This translation comes from “the Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States of America, second typical edition © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1970, Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, D.C.”
However, the New American Bible we have in front of us, with a New Testament that was revised in 1986, translates that passage this way: “If you forgive others their transgressions…but if you do not forgive others….” That translation may make its way into the Lectionary in the future, but for now the preferred word is “men.”

Q. In an adult Confirmation class, we were talking about the four Last Things and one of the participants said that he believed in the “Rapture.” What was he talking about? — M.R., Massachusetts.
A. The idea of the “Rapture” comes from St. Paul’s First Letter to the Thessalonians, where he says that at the Second Coming of Christ, “the Lord himself, with a word of command, with the voice of an archangel and with the trumpet of God, will come down from heaven, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air” (1 Thess. 4:16-17).
The word “Rapture” does not appear in the Bible, but some Fundamentalists have interpreted these words of Paul to mean that Christ will secretly snatch certain true believers out of homes, cars, and planes to meet the Lord in the air. Once these lucky folks are gone, the theory goes, the Devil will be free to take control of the world through his puppet, the Antichrist. Frightening horrors and catastrophes will be followed by the “great tribulation,” after which Christ will come back once more to defeat the powers of evil and bring history to a close.
The problem with this fantastic scenario is that there is nothing in the Bible to support it. Catholics believe that Paul was talking about the final coming of Christ at the end of time and the resurrection of the dead (see nn. 997-1001 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church). Furthermore, the Second Coming is not going to be a secret or invisible event. On the contrary, the Bible describes it as universally visible, glorious, and full of splendor.
Christ will return on magnificent clouds of glory with brilliant angels and saints and a trumpet blast announcing their arrival. Everyone in the world will know that Christ has returned, and those who refused to believe in the Lord will be terrified at the sight and at the fate that awaits them. When will this occur? No one knows, except God, and it is foolish to listen to any theories advanced by, say, the fictional books entitled Left Behind. These books were authored by Protestant evangelicals Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins.
Stay away from these books. They are filled with flawed history, faulty theology, and twisted interpretations of Scripture. They will lead you astray in matters of eternal importance. For books demonstrating the absurdity of the Rapture theory, see Rapture by David B. Currie and The Rapture Trap by Paul Thigpen.
But aren’t all the earthquakes, tsunamis, tornadoes, and pandemics, as well as wars and terrorism, signs of the end of the world? Not according to Jesus, who said that we should not be alarmed at “wars and reports of wars” or “famines and earthquakes” because “it will not yet be the end….All these are the beginning of the labor pains.”
He said that “many false prophets will arise and deceive many; and because of an increase of evildoing, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who perseveres to the end will be saved,” and the end will not come until “this gospel of the kingdom will be preached throughout the world” (Matt. 24:6-14).
So “be not afraid.” Persevere through prayer and the sacraments and live each day as if it were your last day on Earth. Then you will be ready to meet the Lord.

Q. I would appreciate your writing about the significance of Luisa Piccarreta and her religious writings. — E.J.F., New York.
A. Servant of God Luisa Piccarreta was a pious Italian woman who was under the care of confessors appointed by her bishop from 1884 until her death in 1947. Her cause for sainthood was completed at the diocesan level in October 2005 and sent to the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints in Rome. In 2007, the Most Rev. Giovan Battista Pichierri, the archbishop of Trani, Italy, where Luisa lived and died, issued a letter about the process of beatification and canonization of Luisa and said that no individuals or groups should publish, in print or on the Internet, any of her writings until they had been studied and approved by the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints.
The archbishop said that those anywhere in the world who are “inspired by the spirituality of Luisa Piccarreta must keep constantly in touch with the bishops of their own dioceses in order to submit to their discernment any of their activities, such as conventions, days of retreat, or prayer meetings. Their authorization will bring serenity to the participants by guaranteeing each meeting with the proper ecclesial character.”
Luisa wrote two small books, The Hours of the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ and Life of the Blessed Virgin, and some 36 numbered manuscripts, all of which are being studied by the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. In a 2003 letter to the Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN), the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith said:
“The writings of Luisa Piccarreta have not been judged by this Dicastery; as such, they enjoy neither the official approbation, nor the official condemnation, of this Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. In fact, they are currently being studied, by reason of competence, by the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, after this Servant of God, independently of the content of her writings, received the nihil obstat of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith regarding her cause for beatification. As such, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith makes, at this time, no pronouncement on the writings in question.”
As for judging Luisa’s writings, EWTN said that “the Servant of God’s writings should be interpreted according to the mind and teaching of the Church. Even if they are ultimately judged to be of supernatural origin, they necessarily correspond also to a mystic’s own mentality, which was that of a simple pious person and not a theologian. In keeping with Catholic theology, this must be taken into account in judging what she wrote down of her mystical experiences. At this stage in the Process, there is no definitive interpretation of her work. The Diocesan Process judged only her life and heroic virtues and prepared a critical edition of the writings with commentary for the review of the Holy See, which alone can give a definitive judgment and explanation.”

Q. I was called to our parish by a monsignor, who is a canon lawyer. He told me that there was a complaint filed against me by a fellow parishioner and that I could only go to church, not talk to anybody, and leave right after Mass. When I asked what the complaint was, and who filed it, I was told he didn’t have to tell me according to canon law. Don’t they have to tell the nature of the complaint and who filed it? — R.W., Michigan.
A. Of course they do. Canon 221 says that the Christian faithful have a right to due process, to defend their rights, “to be judged in accord with the prescriptions of the law to be applied with equity,” and “not to be punished with canonical penalties except in accordance with the norm of law.”

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On this painful Palm Sunday I pray that we can all cling to the joy that the Lord Jesus is keeping His Promise, He is still with us. It is excruciating not to receive Him in Communion but He awaits us “in the room next to us” May Spiritual Communion place us in His Real Presence

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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

Pope cancels visit with Rome priests for ‘slight’ illness

ROME – Pope Francis is sick and skipped a planned Mass with Rome clergy across town on Thursday, officials said. The Vatican said the 83-year-old pontiff had a “slight indisposition” and would proceed with the rest of his planned work…Continue Reading

Rush has lung cancer. Catholics owe him BIG TIME. Wherein Fr. Z rants. ACTION ITEM!

Rush Limbaugh has advanced lung cancer.  He made the sad announcement yesterday. ACTION ITEM: Please pray for a complete, swift, durative miraculous cure for him, perhaps through the intercession of Ven. Augustus Tolton. Every reader here, every committed conservative, faithful…Continue Reading

Catholic parish will not host Episcopalian consecration

Richmond, Va., Jan 17, 2020 / 11:30 am (CNA).- The Episcopal Diocese of Southern Virginia will no longer hold a bishops’s consecration at a Catholic parish in Williamsburg, after an internet petition objecting to the event drew national attention. “It…Continue Reading

Cardinal Dolan conducting ‘Vos estis’ investigation into Brooklyn’s Bishop DiMarzio

New York City, N.Y., Jan 18, 2020 / 09:05 pm (CNA).- Cardinal Timothy Dolan is conducting an investigation into Brooklyn Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio, following an allegation of sexual abuse. The investigation is being conducted under the provisions of Vos estis lux…Continue Reading

Theodore McCarrick has moved from Kansas friary

Denver, Colo., Jan 7, 2020 / 11:00 am (CNA).- The disgraced former cardinal Theodore McCarrick has moved from the Kansas friary where he had been living since 2018. A spokesman for the Capuchin Franciscan Province of St. Conrad told CNA…Continue Reading

Vatican Archbishop: those who say Judas is in hell are ‘heretics’ and priests may ‘accompany’ assisted suicides

ROME, December 11, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — In a statement difficult to reconcile with Scripture and Tradition, Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, President of the Pontifical Academy for Life, has claimed on behalf of the Catholic Church that anyone who says Judas Iscariot is in…Continue Reading

Buffalo’s Bishop Richard Malone resigns after year of scandal

Vatican City, Dec 4, 2019 / 04:01 am (CNA).- Pope Francis Wednesday accepted the resignation of Buffalo’s embattled Bishop Richard Malone. The Diocese of Buffalo will be administered by Albany’s Bishop Edward Scharfenberger until a permanent replacement for Malone is…Continue Reading

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

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  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 . . .

See What the End Shall Be – A Homily for Palm Sunday

The Passion, which we read in the liturgy for Palm Sunday, is too long to comment on in detail, so we will only examine a portion of it here. It may be of some value to examine the problems associated with the more moderate range of personalities involved. The usual villains (the Temple leaders, Judas, and the recruited crowd shouting, “Crucify him!”) are unambiguously wicked and display their sinfulness openly. But there are others involved…Continue Reading

Vatican theologian: Pandemic is God’s chastisement for ‘infidelity’ of top Catholic shepherds

April 3, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Italian priest and theologian Nicola Bux has identified both the sins within the Church as well as the sins of the world as the root of the current pandemic and its effects on the daily life of Catholics. Like Archbishop Viganò and Bishop Schneider, the former consulter of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith characterized COVID-19 as a chastisement from God. In a lengthy statement published as a video on YouTube March 24,…Continue Reading

John Paul II embraced his suffering with love: Cardinal reflects 15 years after saint’s death

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Vatican City, Apr 2, 2020 / 11:00 am (CNA).- Pope St. John Paul II embraced suffering with love, even during his illness, a cardinal and the archpriest of St. Peter’s Basilica said on the 15th anniversary of the saint’s death. The spread of the coronavirus pandemic, and the growing number of infected and dying people “has fallen on an unprepared society, highlighting the spiritual emptiness of many people,” Cardinal Angelo Comastri told Vatican News April…Continue Reading

A votive Mass “in time of pandemic” and a new prayer for Good Friday

The Congregation for Divine Worship adds an intention to the Solemn Intercessions during the Celebration of the Lord’s Passion and proposes a votive Mass taking into consideration the crisis in which the world is living By Vatican News The Congregation for Divine Worship has issued a votive Mass for this time of pandemic, and a new intention for the Solemn Intercessions during the Celebration of the Lord’s Passion on Good Friday. The new liturgical texts…Continue Reading

IN THIS TIME OF CRISIS . . . A STATEMENT FROM BISHOP JOSEPH STRICKLAND OF THE DIOCESE OF TYLER, TEXAS

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On Sunday, March 29, 2020, the Fifth Sunday of Lent, I offer this statement concerning the “Statement on Scarce Healthcare Resources” issued by the Texas Conference of Catholic Bishops” on March 27, 2020.  I offer it out of prayer and with a sincere heart. I appreciate the effort of my brother Bishops in Texas to apply sound bioethical principles, as well as their concern that health care professionals are not held to an impossible standard…Continue Reading

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But What Is The Real Answer? Trump Warns Of Drugs, Depression, Suicides

By BILL DONOHUE (Editor’s Note: Catholic League President Bill Donohue commented March 30 on remarks made by President Trump on the social effects of coronavirus.) + + + In his March 29 briefing on coronavirus, President Donald Trump alluded to the social consequences of not taking seriously the threat it poses. He mentioned the “massive”…Continue Reading

The Power Of For

By DONALD DeMARCO One of the most agreeable phrases in the English language is, “This is for you.” A certain brewery has capitalized on the expression with the words, “This Bud’s for you.” A most welcomed phrase for me is “There is mail for you.” It brings to mind that the entire postal system is…Continue Reading

Is The Pandemic Killing Biden’s Bid?

By PATRICK J. BUCHANAN “This is the question that is going to dominate the election: How did you perform in the great crisis?” So says GOP Cong. Tom Cole of Oklahoma in the March 31 New York Times. GOP National Committeeman Henry Barbour of Mississippi calls the crisis “a defining moment. . . . The…Continue Reading

Prayer In Times Of Collective Crisis

By LAWRENCE P. GRAYSON Pope Francis said in his weekly angelus message on Sunday, March 22, that he would deliver a special “Urbi et Orbi” (to the city and the world) blessing that Friday evening, March 27 as a response to the coronavirus. Normally given only at Christmas and Easter, his decision to give this…Continue Reading

Bishop Strickland . . . The Return Of Proportionalism Threatens The Church

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By MOST REV. JOSEPH STRICKLAND I have been discussing Catholic Moral Teaching in the last two columns. The authentic Magisterium of the Catholic Church affirms that there are intrinsically evil acts which can never, ever, ever be chosen. A clear summary of this teaching is found in paragraph 80 of the encyclical letter of Pope…Continue Reading

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Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

Dutch Cardinal . . . Only Orthodox Teaching And Worthy Liturgy Will Attract Catholics

By JEANNE SMITS (LifeSiteNews) — The French-based association for the promotion of the Traditional liturgy of the Latin Church, Paix Liturgique (“Liturgical Peace”), recently published an interview in French with Willem Jacobus Cardinal Eijk, archbishop of Utrecht in the Netherlands regarding the future prospects of the Church in that deeply secularized country. Cardinal Eijk spoke frankly about the decline of…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Editor’s Note: We are in the process of reducing our supply of books and are offering them to interested readers at a substantial discount. The books available, all in mint condition, are Catholic Replies, Catholic Replies 2, All Generations Will Call Me Blessed, Who Do You Say That I Am, Catholicism & Reason (Apologetics), Catholicism & Scripture (Salvation History), and…Continue Reading

A Leaven In The World… A Chance To Strengthen Catholic Identity

By Fr. KEVIN M. CUSICK Never let a crisis go to waste. This is true for cynical politicians and unscrupulous business types. Should it be true for the Church as well? I think so. Weeks ago, dioceses nearly worldwide, in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic, have ordered public Masses canceled. Bishops have stipulated that these not be replaced by…Continue Reading

The Meekness And Humility Of The Lord

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Palm Sunday (YR A) Readings: Matt. 21:1-11 Isaiah 50:4-7 Phil. 2:6-11 Matt. 26:14-27:66 Today we remember the remarkable change of perspective that took place among the people between the time Jesus came into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday and the attitude of the people only five days later as they called for our Lord’s crucifixion. However, in…Continue Reading

The Stations Of The Cross… Follow The Final Earthly Journey Of Christ

By FR. EDWARD McNAMARA (Editor’s Note: Following is a question on whether or not stations of the cross are liturgical or not, answered by Legionary of Christ Fr. Edward McNamara, professor of liturgy and dean of theology at the Regina Apostolorum university. (Fr. McNamara writes the “Liturgy Q-and-A” column for ZENIT News Agency, which provided this text in 2016. All…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Magdalena Of Canossa

By CAROLE BRESLIN There is a palace overlooking the Adige River that twists through Verona, Italy — about 75 miles east of Venice. In 1527 the Marquises of Canossa commissioned Michele Sanmicheli to build it, and it still stands today, having had such prominent guests as Alexander I of Russia, Napoleon Bonaparte, and Francis I of Austria. Although you cannot…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Anselm

By CAROLE BRESLIN St. Anselm was born in France near the Swiss Alps around 1033. At the age of 15, he wished to enter religious life by joining a monastery. Sadly, his influential father was so against it that the monastery refused to accept him. This so discouraged the youth that he drowned his sorrows in worldly pursuits. He deeply…Continue Reading

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