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November 6, 2020 Our Catholic Faith No Comments

Q. Can the reasonableness of bilocation be explained using scholastic philosophic terms? — R.M.V., North Carolina.
A. Bilocation is a special gift of God that allows a person to appear in two places distant from each other at the same time. Catholic philosophers have explained this phenomenon with terms like “phantasmal replications” and “aerial materializations,” but whatever the explanation, it’s simpler to recount the experiences of many saints who were reported to have this gift.
For example, St. Alphonsus Liguori (d. 1787), after saying Mass one morning, reclined in his room for a day and night. When he finally came out of his room, he said that he had been in Rome assisting Pope Clement XIV on his deathbed.
St. Joseph of Cupertino (d. 1663), while living in Assisi, was seen in Cupertino assisting his mother as she was dying. St. Martin de Porres (d. 1639) spent his life in a monastery in Peru, yet, according to reliable witnesses, he was seen at different times in Mexico, China, Japan, Africa, and the Philippines. Venerable Mary of Agreda (d. 1665), a nun who spent 46 years at a convent in Agreda, Spain, was known to have traveled many times to what is now the American Southwest and instructed a tribe of Indians about Jesus Christ. They referred to her as the “Lady in Blue” because of the blue mantle she wore over her habit. When missionaries arrived there years later, they found the Indians well versed in Christianity and baptized an entire tribe.
While preaching one day to a large congregation in the Cathedral of Montpellier, St. Anthony of Padua (d. 1231) remembered that he was supposed to sing at a solemn High Mass at a neighboring monastery. He drew the cowl of his habit over his face, sank back in the pulpit, and remained silent for a long time. Although visible to the congregation, Anthony appeared in the monastery choir and, then at the close of that service, he resumed and completed his sermon in the cathedral.
While in Turin, Italy, St. John Bosco (d. 1888), the founder of the Salesian Order, bilocated to a Salesian college in Spain and instructed the head of the college, a Fr. Branda, to expel three dangerous boys who were pretending to be righteous students. Fr. Branda hesitated a few days and, just as he began to celebrate Mass one morning, he heard a voice murmuring, “If you fail to carry out the order, this is your last Mass.” The three boys were quickly expelled.
Coming closer to our own time, we have many reports about bilocation by St. Pio of Pietrelcina (d. 1968). One incident involved a family who had known Padre Pio since childhood in Italy and later immigrated to America. While the family was gathered at the bedside of the dying grandfather in 1960, there was a knock on the door. A Capuchin monk entered the room wearing a brown habit and sandals on a cold and snowy day. The monk led the family in prayer and gave the grandfather the Last Rites. The granddaughter watched him walk up the street until he disappeared in the darkness.
When she asked her father why he appeared so shaken, the father replied, “It was Padre Pio, and he looked exactly like I remember him when I used to deliver eggs to him in Pietrelcina.”

Q. Pope Francis’ October prayer intention was that “by the virtue of Baptism, the laity, especially women, may participate in areas of responsibility in the Church.” I feel that women are now abundantly participating in the responsibility of the Church, but I have the horrible feeling that Pope Francis is contemplating trying to ordain women to the diaconate and later to the priesthood. A friend of mine says that God would never allow such a thing to happen and to stop worrying about it. Is there something in the Bible where Jesus said this could not happen? — W.B., via e-mail.
A. Jesus said that the gates of Hell would never prevail against His Church, but He did not say that individual Popes would never say or do anything contrary to His will. Pope Francis has said a number of things that call into question settled teachings of the Church. For example, his recent endorsement of homosexual civil unions, which contradicts the 2003 declaration of the Vatican’s Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
The CDF, under the leadership of Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, said that “legal recognition of homosexual unions or placing them on the same level as marriage would mean not only the approval of deviant behavior, with the consequence of making it a model in present-day society, but would also obscure basic values which belong to the common inheritance of humanity.”
As for the ordination of women, Pope St. John Paul ruled that out in his 1994 apostolic letter Ordinatio Sacerdotalis when he made the following infallible pronouncement:
“Wherefore, in order that all doubt may be removed regarding a matter of great importance, a matter which pertains to the Church’s divine constitution itself, in virtue of my ministry of confirming the brethren (cf. Luke 22:32), I declare that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church’s faithful” (n. 4).
Yes, there are those who continue to cast doubt on the definitive nature of this doctrine, saying, for example, that because it was not defined ex cathedra (“from the chair” of Peter) it could be reversed by a future Pope or council. Not so, said Luis Cardinal Ladaria, SJ, prefect of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. In a letter published May 29, 2018 in the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano, Cardinal Ladaria said:
“It is important to reaffirm that infallibility does not only pertain to solemn pronouncements of a council or of the Supreme Pontiff when he speaks ex cathedra, but also to the universal and ordinary teaching of bishops dispersed throughout the world when they propose in communion among themselves and with the Pope the Catholic doctrine to be held definitively.
“John Paul II referred to this infallibility in Ordinatio Sacerdotalis. In this manner he did not declare a new dogma, but with the authority conferred upon him as the Successor of Peter, he formally confirmed and made explicit, so as to remove all doubt, that which the ordinary and universal Magisterium has long considered throughout history as belonging to the Deposit of Faith.”
The cardinal noted that the impossibility of ordaining women priests was reaffirmed by Pope Benedict XVI on April 5, 2012, when he said that John Paul had set this doctrine forth “in an irrevocable manner.” During a press conference while returning from a trip to Sweden on November 1, 2016, Pope Francis was asked about the possibility of ordaining women. He replied that “the last word was clearly given by St. John Paul II, and this remains.”

Q. Here is a hard question. In the Fatima messages, the Blessed Mother said that many souls go to Hell because there is no one to pray for them. But how can this be? Jesus wants all souls to get to Heaven, but many go to Hell because of their own unrepented mortal sins. Can we believe that Christ’s great suffering for sinners missed the mark because some sinners (you and me) failed to pray for these culprits? Are we saying that a few more prayers could have tipped the scales and accomplished what Christ could not do? — C.E., via e-mail.
A. In her appearance at Fatima on July 13, 1917, our Lady showed the children a vision of Hell and said that “you have seen Hell where the souls of poor sinners go. To save them, God wishes to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart. If what I say to you is done, many souls will be saved and there will be peace.”
The Virgin Mary also told the children to say after each decade of the rosary, “O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fire of Hell. Lead all souls to Heaven, especially those in most need of your mercy.”
Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross was sufficient to provide salvation for every person who ever lived. However, not everyone is motivated to follow Jesus and to repent of their sins so as to get to Heaven. The Lord wants us to assist Him in the work of salvation with our prayers and good works to conform ourselves more closely to Him and to help Him in saving souls from Hell.

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Its no wonder < 30% of Catholics believe in the Real Presence - when a bishop of the Church publicly proclaims communion for a baby killer.

Cardinal Zen could not get a meeting with the Pope about the religious persecution of the faithful in China, but…. (And no masks at the Vatican?)

In the days ahead this nation will test the rule of law - the likes of which haven't been seen in modern time. Our country is at risk.

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Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

Catholic Replies

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