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COMPLETE 3 PART Interview With Cardinal Burke . . . Insights On The State Of The Church In The Aftermath Of The Ordinary Synod On The Family

January 25, 2016 important No Comments

By DON FIER

Part 1

(Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, recently traveled from Rome to the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Wis., a magnificent place of worship which he founded and dedicated.
(His Eminence graciously granted an extensive interview to The Wanderer during which he shared his insights on a variety of topics, including the recently concluded Ordinary Synod of Bishops on the Family and his recommendations for how we should contend with the uncertainty and confusion that is currently prevalent among the clerical and lay faithful.)

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Q. Several weeks have passed since the Synod on the Family, and I presume you have now had time to study carefully the final report. In your view, what are the main fruits of the Synod, and how best can the Church take advantage of them?


A. The final report is a complex document and is written in a way in which it is not always easy to understand the exact import of what is being affirmed. For example, three paragraphs (nn. 84-86) suggest that the last session of the Synod found a way whereby people who are in irregular matrimonial unions can still receive the sacraments. To address the lack of clarity in the document, I have written a brief commentary on those paragraphs to clarify what the Church actually teaches.
Since the close of the Synod, Fr. Antonio Spadaro, a Jesuit who was one of the Synod Fathers and on the drafting committee of the Synod, has published an article in which he gives as a central highlight of this Synod something the prior one was unable to accomplish, namely, to open up a way for reception of Holy Communion and Penance by those who are divorced and civilly remarried. In conscience, I felt I had to publish a clarification about what he wrote.
There are many good things in the final report, but there are many other things that I intend to write about, in order to make clear the Church’s teaching. For example, I do not think the statement about parental responsibility for education is adequately stated. It could give the impression that parents are not the first ones who are responsible for the education of their children.
Overall, as made evident in Fr. Spadaro’s article, there is a philosophical presupposition to the reasoning in the document which, first of all, is simply not correct. Secondly, it is very inimical to Catholic teaching. For instance, it is claimed that there are the truths of the Faith and also what are referred to as “the truths of history” (i.e., of the changing times).
We understand that times change, and we face new developments, but we also understand that the substance of things remains the same. There is a truth against which we must measure the changes that we encounter in time. This is not clear in the Synod’s final document, especially if Fr. Spadaro’s article is meant to be a true representation of the thinking of the Synod. If it is, there are some serious clarifications that must be made.
For my own part, I think the best thing would be for the final report to be continued to be studied by true teachers of the Faith. I trust that there will not be any further action taken on the controversial matters treated in the final report, since they touch upon the very foundations of our Catholic Faith.
Fr. Spadaro’s article, for instance, gives the impression that there is some kind of resolution to the situation of persons in an invalid marriage union which would permit them to receive the sacraments apart from what the Church has always understood: the decision, in conscience, to live as brother and sister, if the parties cannot separate, and, then, to receive the sacraments in a place where they will not create scandal because people see that they are living together and know they are bound by a prior union.
To give an impression that there is another solution in the internal forum is false and creates false expectations in people, confusing them with regard to the nature of conscience and the moral truth to which our conscience is always to conform itself.
Obviously, there are good fruits from the Synod such as its emphasis on marriage preparation and its critical importance. For my own part, I would like to have seen more emphasis on the preparation for marriage, both remote and immediate.
I think the fundamental question with regard to the pastoral care of those called to marriage and of families today is catechesis. We have generations of Catholic who do not understand much about their Catholic Faith, and that includes the Church’s teaching on the sacramental nature of marriage and on the family. That teaching should be emphasized above all, beginning with children.
When I was a child being catechized with the Baltimore Catechism, some of the first definitions I learned had to do with the sacrament of marriage. This is not taught anymore. Young people, at the time they are preparing for marriage, should receive an intense catechesis. However, it should be an intensifying of what they already know. Also, we need to educate the faithful in general, many of whom are poorly catechized and are actually being led into confusion about these matters.


Q. The Synod’s final report did offer praise for large families, affirmed openness to life, and encouraged the “rediscovery” of magisterial documents that promote a culture of life (e.g., St. John Paul II’s Familiaris Consortio and Blessed Paul VI’s Humanae Vitae). In a culture in which well more than 50 percent of the laity do not accept the Church’s teaching on contraception (if polls are to be believed), how can this be effectively translated into lived faith at a parish level?


A. Here too, it is a question of catechesis. Documents such as Humanae Vitae and Familiaris Consortio cannot be referenced in just a general way, almost like waving a banner. They must be thoroughly studied in parishes, and priests need to preach about them so as to illustrate the truths that these documents set forth in such a wonderful way.
If we know — as surely we do — that the culture is completely opposed to the teaching contained in these two documents, if we know — as surely we do — that many of the faithful are not well catechized and will tend to go along with what the culture thinks rather than what the Church teaches, then we must realize that it is incumbent upon us to evangelize with regard to marriage and family as if for the first time. In my judgment, that is the sole answer.
An important reason for trying to assist married couples to live the truth of marriage is because little ones learn the fundamental truths about marriage in the home from observing the relationship between their parents.
Children know — even if their parents do not talk about it — when their parents are contracepting; they know if their parents are not fully loving with each other. We need to emphasize, too, the home as the primary locus of evangelization regarding marriage and the family. We need to help those who are striving to live the truth of their marriage commitment to persevere and get stronger. And for those who are having struggles, we must recognize their need for conversion of life and try to lead them to the truth in a loving manner.

Deceptive In A Serious Way

Q. The Synod Fathers, in quoting part of paragraph 84 of Familiaris Consortio, stopped short of including an important sentence: “The Church reaffirms her practice, which is based upon Sacred Scripture, of not admitting to Eucharistic Communion divorced persons who have remarried.” This omission must have been disheartening for you, particularly in view of the recent release of the Italian translation of your book on the Eucharist entitled Divine Love Made Flesh.
In your judgment, why was this teaching omitted from the final report? Does not its omission make it appear as if the Church is opening herself up to changing one of her unchangeable dogmatic teachings?


A. Of course it does; there is no question about it. The final report’s paragraph on this topic is deceptive in a very serious way. It gives the false impression of presenting the teaching of Familiaris Consortio, a teaching which is also illustrated in a document by the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts [to which the final report also refers]. The Synod’s final report suggests that Familiaris Consortio and the Pontifical Council’s document open a way for access to the sacraments by people in irregular matrimonial unions. It is just the opposite.
I was truly disheartened that the final report stopped short of presenting the full teaching of Familiaris Consortio in the matter. First of all, the truth as presented by St. John Paul II in Familiaris Consortio was misrepresented in the Synod’s document as was the truth as illustrated and underlined in the Pontifical Council’s document. That in itself discouraged me very much, especially in consideration of the fact that it was done at the level of a Synod of Bishops.
At the same time, I was also disturbed because I knew this would be used by individuals like Fr. Spadaro and others to say that the Church has changed her teaching in this regard, which, in fact, is simply not true.
I really believe that the whole teaching in Familiaris Consortio should have been addressed through the final document of the Synod. During my experience of the 2014 Extraordinary Synod of Bishops, it was as if Pope John Paul II never existed. If one studies the Synod’s final document, the richness of the magisterial teaching of Familiaris Consortio, which is such a beautiful document, is not there.
This would have been the ideal time to recover it and present it again in all its richness. One gets the strong impression that, even though it was repeatedly claimed that the Synod was not about relaxing the Church’s teaching or discipline regarding the indissolubility of marriage, this was indeed, in the end, what was driving everything.
For Fr. Spadaro, considering all the things contained in the final document, to point to the notion that this Synod accomplished what the other session could not, is very troubling. We have to be honest with one another about this. Something here is not right.

Conscience And Truth

Q. “Inviolability of conscience” was emphasized by some of the Synod Fathers when speaking about controversial topics (e.g., Holy Communion for divorced/civilly remarried couples). However, it seems as if little was said about the necessity of properly forming one’s conscience in objective truth. I vividly recall a moral theology professor under whom I once studied often repeating: “We are culpable for everything we could have and should have known.” Please illuminate readers on the precise teaching of the Church on formation of conscience.


A. It is true that the conscience is, as John Henry Cardinal Newman called it, the “primordial Vicar of Christ.” In other words, it is the voice of God speaking to our heart from the very first moment of creation about what is right and wrong, what is good and evil, what is in accord with His plan for the world and what is not.
Newman goes on to explain that conscience, in order to exercise its critical role, has to be formed in accordance with truth. The conscience is not some kind of subjective faculty where your conscience tells you one thing and my conscience tells me the opposite. It is something that unifies us because both of our consciences, if they are conformed to the truth, are going to tell us the same thing.
Newman went on to say that the Lord instructs our conscience through faith and reason and through His visible representatives on earth (the Popes and the bishops in communion with him, that is, the Magisterium). So it is not a subjective thing at all. We must act according to our conscience, but it can be an infallible guide for us only if it is formed both by reason itself and by the truths of our Faith, which are always in agreement with one another.
A magnificent catechesis on the conscience was given by Pope Benedict XVI in an address to the Roman Curia just before Christmas 2010. Pope Benedict does his catechesis in terms of the teaching of Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman, who is one of the Church’s greatest teachers about conscience. [Cardinal Burke gives a thorough presentation of this address in one of his talks, which The Wanderer will publish in a future issue.]


Q. On a related topic, according to a Catholic News Agency report dated October 16, 2015, a leading prelate was quoted as saying that it is “questionable whether sexual actions can be judged independent of the lived context” and suggested that it is unrealistic for the divorced-and-remarried to refrain from sexual activity (a stance that was strongly rebutted by Francis Cardinal Arinze in an interview with LifeSiteNews as reported in an article on October 21, 2015). Please comment on the role that “lived context” might play in judging objectively sinful actions.


A. The “lived context” is the context in which we live the truth. In other words, we are to follow Christ by doing the Father’s will in every context of life. You cannot judge moral truths on the basis of context — this is what is classically referred to as proportionalism or consequentialism.
This mode of thinking says, for example, that, although it is always wrong to abort, if you are in a situation where you are under a great deal of pressure, it could be permissible in that particular circumstance. That is simply false. We are called to live our Catholic Faith heroically. Even the weakest person receives the grace from Christ to live the truth in love.
We judge the lived context in terms of the truth of Christ. If someone was ignorant of the moral evil involved in a certain action which is objectively gravely evil, it is possible that he or she is not culpable in the sense they have committed a sin (to commit a mortal sin, you must know it is a sinful act and nonetheless freely choose to go ahead).
However, the objective morality of the action is not in any way changed by the lived context. It is the objective truth which calls the “lived context” to a radical transformation.
To say to people who are living together in an irregular union that they are called to live chastely as brother and sister is to say to them that they will be given the grace necessary to live in a chaste manner. That grace comes from the marriage to which they are truly bound. That is precisely what is expected of us.

Part 2

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Q. It appears that proposals are under consideration for decentralization in the hierarchical structure of the Church’s governance. In other words, Conferences of Bishops and diocesan ordinaries would be given more authority to deal locally with pastoral practices on some of the hot-button topics addressed by the Synod. Please offer your comments as to the possibility of this happening. Are fractures in unity or even schisms (as some media outlets suggest) on the horizon?


A. I think it is a real danger. “Decentralization” is a word taken from the secular world and is really not appropriate to conversations about the Church. What is required is to return to the Gospels and to the Church as Christ constituted her. From the very beginning of His public ministry, He called the Twelve, He set them apart, and He prepared them to exercise His pastoral governance of the Church in every time and every place.
To fulfill this responsibility, Christ established Peter as the head of the apostolic college, as the principle of unity among all the bishops and among all the faithful. It is very clear in His words at Caesarea Philippi to Simon Peter: “You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it” (Matt. 16:13).
This is the Divine Gift given; this is what is of Divine Law in the Church: It is the apostolic office of the Roman Pontiff and of the bishops in communion with him. They have the responsibility for governance.
The Conference of Bishops is a man-made construct to help coordinate pastoral activity and to promote fellowship among bishops. Our Lord did not ever teach anything about it, nor is there anything in the Church’s tradition that would give Conferences of Bishops the authority to make decisions about pastoral practices which would involve a change in Church teaching. Let us recall that every pastoral practice is tied to a doctrinal truth.
[Jesuit] Fr. [Antonio] Spadaro says in his article that a pastoral practice in Germany might be radically different than a pastoral practice in Guinea. How can that be if one is referring to the same doctrine and the same truth of Christ? I find this whole notion very troubling.
The diocesan bishops are the teachers of the Faith in their dioceses. However, the bishops — and even more so the Roman Pontiff — are held to the highest level of obedience to Christ and to the living tradition by which Christ comes to us in His Church. We cannot make up the Church in every era or according to local ideas.
From my own experience with regard to Conferences of Bishops, they can be very helpful but can also have a very damaging effect in the sense that the individual bishop no longer takes as seriously as he should his own responsibility to teach the Faith and to govern in accordance with that teaching. The idea can develop that the teaching and governance of the Bishop is supposedly going to be determined by the Conference of Bishops.
When you talk about a Conference of Bishops like the one in the United States (which has so many bishops), it is clear that it is not an effective instrument to deal with pastoral questions which touch upon the truths of the Faith. If such a thing were to happen where, for instance, the pastoral practice for those who were in irregular matrimonial unions was said to be at the discretion of the Conference of Bishops or of the individual diocesan bishop, we would end up with another Protestant denomination.
We are one Church throughout the whole world: one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church. These four marks need to be greatly emphasized in the times in which we live.


Q. The recently released documents (issued motu proprio) by Pope Francis on the declaration of nullity process have led many to believe that the Church is relaxing her teaching on the indissolubility of marriage and that it will soon be easier to obtain a declaration of nullity. Please expound on what the changes will actually mean at the pastoral level.


A. I find it practically impossible to see how the changes which were mandated by the motu proprio pronouncements can be implemented by December 8. They are radical, and they touch upon the very heart of the matrimonial nullity process as the way to arrive at the judgment of truth regarding a claim of nullity. For instance, the idea that there are many cases that can be easily judged, so that a party could come to the bishop and receive a judgment within 45 days, simply goes against the realistic situation of matrimonial nullity.
Most claims of matrimonial nullity are very complex — the breakdown of a marriage is normally a very complex situation. There are a few cases when someone deceived another person about the fact that he or she was bound by a prior matrimonial union. The innocent party thought it was a valid marriage, but it could not be because the other party was already bound by another union. That is easily demonstrated by documents.
For the most part, and I have a long experience, these cases are very complex and require a careful examination by those who are prepared to do this work. A number of bishops, very honestly and through no fault of their own, have told me:
“I am not prepared to judge marriage nullity cases. Other than basic studies in canon law, I have not studied this. That is why I send priests away for a number of years to be prepared to be able to do this.”
My response to these bishops is: “The law can never oblige you to do something of which you are not capable; in other words, something that you cannot honestly do.” Therefore, the response to be given to the faithful is: “I am not prepared to give this judgment, and therefore I am remanding your case to the matrimonial tribunal which is prepared to give a just judgment.”
I think this whole matter of the reform of the matrimonial nullity process is in need of a very serious review, especially with regard to some of the most critical issues. For instance, it is now no longer necessary to have a second conforming affirmative decision in order to execute a declaration of marriage nullity.
The argument is often used that this was only introduced in the 18th century by Pope Benedict XIV, and indeed it was. But he introduced it for a very serious reason: There were abuses, even at that time, in the granting of declarations of marriage nullity.
But, even at that time, before he introduced the requirement of a double-conforming sentence, the marriage nullity cases were judged by a college of judges. Three to five judges (and even more) studied the cases and gave a judgment regarding the claim of nullity. In order that a declaration of nullity be granted, a majority of the judges had to be in favor of the nullity. Now, in many dioceses, the marriage nullity cases are judged by a single judge.
So we have a situation in which a claim of marriage nullity can be judged affirmatively by one man only without any mandatory check on his judgment. This is not right; it is not a serious process for judging a matter touching on the very foundation of the life of society and of the Church!
Not only does it not treat the case in a serious manner, but also places a burden on the judge which is unjust. For my part, if I were a judge, I would not accept responsibility for judging these cases. I do not believe that a single judge’s decision gives a sufficient guarantee of the defense of the sanctity of marriage; my judgment alone is not sufficient in such a serious matter.
If someone has ever worked in a tribunal, he will understand. There is this idea which is very naive and sentimentalist. It centers just on the person who has come forward and said, “My marriage was null, and I ask the Church to give a judgment so I can enter into marriage.” That person should be treated with great compassion, but his or her marriage is a public state of life in the Church which, therefore, involves a partner and a whole series of relationships within the family, usually including children.
To center our attention simply on trying to find a quick fix for that individual, so that he or she can either enter into a marriage (or have a marriage blessed which has already been attempted) creates tremendous harm to a whole series of people who are involved with that marriage, and not incidentally or in some kind of pharisaical manner. It is a real involvement and affects many people: parents, children, siblings, friends, and so forth. It has to do with that which we hold most sacred in our lives.

God’s Mercy

Q. As we enter the Year of Mercy as proclaimed by Pope Francis, it is important to recognize that the Synod Fathers discussed, on an in-depth basis, the need of mercy and love for those who live outside the Church’s precepts. However, must we not guard against a false compassion where the sin — as well as the sinner — is accepted and condoned?


A. Yes, this is exactly the point. God’s mercy is a response to repentance and a firm purpose of amendment. The prodigal son came back to his father after repenting for what he had done. He said to his father that he was no longer worthy to be his son and asked to be accepted back as a slave. He understood what he had done and repented — the father’s mercy was a response to that. He saw that his son had experienced a conversion of heart.
So, too, if people are living in gravely sinful situations and come to the Church, we embrace them with love. We always love the sinner, but we have to see that the person recognizes the sin and is striving to overcome it, that he is repenting and making reparation for the harm the sin has caused. Otherwise, mercy becomes cheapened and meaningless.
I have fear that people are saying “mercy, mercy, mercy” without understanding it. Yes, God is the God of mercy. But mercy is a very substantial concept — it has to do with our intimate relationship with God and our recognition of the infinite goodness of God, of our own sinfulness, and of our need for confession and repentance. We throw ourselves upon God’s mercy, but also beg for the grace to change our lives and to be true to our purpose of amendment.
We see this in the Gospels in Our Lord’s encounters with sinners. He is very compassionate, but He is always very clear with them. He told the woman caught in adultery to go her way and to sin no more (cf. John 8:11). Similarly, when He encountered the Samaritan woman at the well of Jacob, He asked her about her husband. When she replied, “I have no husband,” He said to her, “You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband’; for you have had five husbands, and he whom you now have is not your husband” (John 4:17-18).
To divorce mercy from truth is to betray mercy and to make it not what it is in essence: an expression of God’s charity.

 

Part 3

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Q. Do you have any words for faithful priests who find themselves discouraged by the current ecclesiastical atmosphere of doctrinal confusion and subversion?
Also, what about lay people? If faithful members of the laity find themselves in parishes (or dioceses) where aberrant practices contrary to authentic Church teaching are taking place, what is the proper response?
To whom does the laity turn if those in leadership positions in the magisterial office of the Church espouse pastoral practices that are in opposition to her unchangeable doctrine?


A. I hear this from many good priests; even bishops talk to me about the difficulty of dealing with confusion when they present the Church’s teaching. They are told they are not in step with the current practice of the Church or even that they are against the Pope.
One archbishop said to me, “How is it that those of us who teach what the Church has always taught are now called enemies of the Pope by the media and others?”
My response is this: “We know what the Church teaches. It is memorialized in the Catechism of the Catholic Church; it is in the magisterial statements with regard to marriage and family. Go to Familiaris Consortio, go to Casti Connubii, go to Humanae Vitae! We know what the Church teaches and we hold firm to that.”
We cannot allow ourselves to be discouraged. The situation of pervasive confusion is disheartening. I understand that and know that. It is difficult because the faithful are reading the newspaper and various reports and are saying to the priests: “You are not up with the times,” or “you are not following Pope Francis.” The Pope cannot teach us or urge us to do anything other than what the Church has always taught and practiced.
It is discouraging for me, too, to observe so much confusion. It can be disorienting and there can be the temptation simply to be silent and let all this go on as somehow being the will of God, which it cannot be. I have reflected on this and said, “No, we priests and bishops are true teachers of the Faith. The Deposit of Faith is given to us by the Church and we must stick to that. We do not betray or abandon it by following all kinds of popular trends.”
There is a wonderful passage in Pope John Paul II’s Novo Millennio Ineunte which says that people are always looking for some magic formula or some new program for the pastoral practices of the Church. But John Paul II says, “No, the program is the same as ever: it is Jesus Christ in the living tradition” (cf. n. 29).
With regard to the laity, everywhere I go I strongly encourage lay movements, organizations, and associations to sponsor “Days of Reflection” during which the truths of the Faith are presented by good solid speakers, and even more so, days of prayer connected with them. The laity needs to write about these things. If we remain silent, it gives the impression that we, too, are going along with all of this confusion and error. That, we know, is the work of the Devil — he is the master of confusion and error.


Q. Please offer your thoughts on the confusion that has resulted from recent remarks made Pope Francis during a Q&A session at Rome’s Evangelical Lutheran Church (as reported in the National Catholic Register on November 16, 2015). The Holy Father’s comments appear to suggest — unless read very carefully — that the Lutheran wife of a Catholic man is allowed to receive Holy Communion in the Catholic Church.


A. First of all, Pope Francis’ remarks were offered completely spontaneously. In my judgment, as I read them, it was not clear what the Holy Father was saying. However, the impression was given that a non-Catholic may approach the altar to receive Holy Communion if he or she decides in his or her heart that it is all right to do so.
The bottom line is this: the Pope cannot teach anything that the Church has not always taught with regard to reception of the Holy Eucharist. One who does not have Catholic Faith in the Eucharist may not approach to receive the sacrament. Moreover, the faith required to receive the Eucharist is not something one can decide on his or her own. Rather, it requires that a person be prepared through catechesis to embrace fully the Catholic Faith, and then enter into communion with the Church. Full communion is then accomplished when one receives Holy Communion — the required steps cannot be short-circuited. It is in this way that the Holy Father’s comments must be interpreted.


Q. Likewise, can you offer any comments on the Holy Father’s recent ad limina address to the German bishops during which he expressed his concern about the “erosion of the Catholic Faith in Germany”? The Holy Father noted “a sharp drop in participation at Sunday Mass, as well as in the sacramental life” (as reported by CNA/EWTN News on November 20, 2015).


A. Yes, I am familiar with the address given by Pope Francis. It appears to be very solid and to give good direction. In my estimation, it seems to be a message that is desperately needed in Germany. Some of the public declarations of the Church leadership in that country, including that of the Conference of Bishops, are scandalous.
Those who have the responsibility to lead the Church have been major proponents of the breakdown of her discipline regarding the indissolubility of marriage. They must look very seriously at the sad fact that people are not practicing the Faith and that they are not going to church and frequenting the sacraments.
There has been a great loss of faith in Germany, a country which — in the past — has practiced the Catholic Faith to a heroic degree. There is clearly a dire need for a New Evangelization. And I take it that Pope Francis’ address is precisely a call to that.
I also believe that Catholic leaders in Germany cannot take the position that the Church in their country is different than the Church in Guinea, the Church in the United States, or the Church anywhere else — and that they can therefore have different pastoral practices. No, the Church founded by Christ is the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church as it always has been and always will be.


Q. One of the charisms of the Knights of Malta is defense of the Faith. Do you foresee the Knights (and Dames) taking a leadership role in teaching and defending the Church’s teachings on sexuality, marriage, and family? Are any projects currently underway?


A. Clearly, the Knights and Dames of Malta face the same situation that good priests and lay faithful are experiencing with regard to confusion. This is of particular concern for the Knights because their primary purpose is the defense of the Faith and the care of the poor (Tuitio Fidei and Obsequium Pauperum).
In fact, the two are inseparable. You cannot have true care of the poor which is not informed by a coherent defense of the Faith. In my meetings with the Grand Master and on every occasion I am asked to speak with the Knights, I urge them to embrace their responsibility in the present state in which the Church finds herself by becoming leaders in defending the truths of the Faith.
Our model in this endeavor should be St. Paul, the heroic Apostle to the Gentiles, who faced all manner of trial and difficulty. At the end of his life he was able to write to St. Timothy: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (2 Tim. 4:7).
I, likewise, urge the Knights to fight the good fight in this present situation where we are faced with rampant confusion: we must be leaders. If one accepts the great honor of being a Knight or Dame of Malta, one must also accept the responsibility to be a defender of the Faith.

Pray The Rosary

Q. In closing, it must be with great joy that you are able to spend this week at the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse and to celebrate a Pontifical High Mass on her great feast day on December 12. During these tumultuous times in the Church, please comment on how Our Lady, Star of the New Evangelization, is our beacon of hope on whom we can most surely depend.


A. I so much look forward to this occasion each year with great joy. First of all, this is truly a holy place — it is a place that is suffused with prayer and devotion. And Our Lady is leading it all and directing it to her Divine Son. The Mass on her feast day is the culmination of a whole year of spiritual activities which inspires us. She is truly our beacon of hope.
In the midst of all this confusion, people sometimes get very discouraged and even fear that the apocalypse is upon us. But if we put ourselves into the maternal arms of the Blessed Mother, she will keep us close to her Son. She tells us, as she told the wine stewards at Cana who were in such a desperate situation, “Do whatever he tells you” (John 2:5).
Mary is the beacon who is drawing us back to the tradition, to the foundations of our Faith. She will not let us get carried away by so-called “new ideas” which are secular and are not true to our Faith. We need to pray the Rosary ever more fervently, asking for her intercession for the Church in our time.
In addition to being the Mother of the Church, she is the Mother of our continent and the Star of the New Evangelization. What did she do when she came? Fundamentally, she asked that a chapel be built in which she could manifest the mercy of God. How does she do that but in a chapel in which the Holy Eucharist is celebrated, in which the faithful can make a good Confession, and in which they can pray and offer their acts of devotion.

 

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CNA Staff, Jan 1, 2021 / 10:42 pm MT (CNA).- A Catholic bishop in Nigeria, who was kidnapped on Sunday, has been released unharmed, according to the Archdiocese of Owerri. The diocese, which is in southeastern Nigeria, announced in a social…Continue Reading

More GOP senators vow to challenge Biden’s win

WASHINGTON – A last-ditch effort by President Donald Trump and his allies to overturn the election thrust Washington into chaos Saturday as a growing coalition of Republican senators announced plans to rebel against Senate leaders by seeking to block formal…Continue Reading

Underground Catholic bishop dies in China

CNA Staff, Dec 31, 2020 / 03:25 pm MT (CNA).- According to the Catholic outlet AsiaNews, headquartered in Rome, Bishop Andrea Han Jingtao, 99, a leader in the underground Catholic Church in China, died Dec. 30. Han Jingtao was the…Continue Reading

‘All-star,’ ‘brilliant jurist’: Pro-life leaders thrilled Trump nominated Barrett to Supreme Court

September 26, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Supreme Court nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett is “an absolute all-star” and “a judicial role model for the next generation,” pro-life leaders said today.  If confirmed, Barrett will replace pro-abortion Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died just…Continue Reading

Farewell, Uncle Di: Father Paul Mankowski, RIP

My editorial career has brought me into close contact with quite a few impressive thinkers. I have worked with famous authors, with noted theologians and philosophers, with canny political strategists, with at least a half-dozen Nobel Prize winners. Among them…Continue Reading

VIDEO: BLM mob threatens, chases Rand Paul down streets of DC

WASHINGTON, D.C., August 28, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky found himself the target of left-wing violence yet again Thursday night as protesters swarmed him as he was leaving the White House, chasing him and his wife…Continue Reading

Planned Parenthood acknowledges Margaret Sanger’s ‘racist legacy’, continues abortions

CNA Staff, Jul 21, 2020 / 11:05 am MT (CNA).- The New York affiliate of the nation’s largest abortion provider said Tuesday it will remove the name of its founder, Margaret Sanger, from its Manhattan building because of her support…Continue Reading

Statue of Virgin Mary beheaded at Tennessee parish

CNA Staff, Jul 15, 2020 / 10:40 am MT (CNA).- A statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary was attacked this weekend at a parish in Chattanooga, Tennessee, the third reported incident against a statue of Mary occuring in the same…Continue Reading

21 doctors tell bishops Communion on tongue ‘safer’ than in hand

June 26, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Twenty-one Austrian doctors have authored a letter appealing their country’s Bishops’ Conference to lift the de facto ban on receiving Holy Communion on the tongue, which has been enforced since Communion in the hand was…Continue Reading

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Catechism

Today . . .

USCCB has ‘nothing in the works’ on Biden and Communion (See Story Below)

Recent reports that the US Conference of Catholic Bishops may at their spring general assembly press pro-abortion Catholic politicians not to receive Communion are unfounded, and at best ignorant of ecclesial structure, a source close to the conference has told CNA. A source close to the USCCB told CNA April 29 that they believe such reports from the AP and the Washington Post are either “just totally ignorant of the Church’s structure,” or meant “to…Continue Reading

Catholic Bishops to debate calling on Biden to stop taking communion

Catholic bishops are debating calling on President Biden to stop taking communion due to his stance on abortion. The Committee on Doctrine for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is working on a document that would say politicians who are pro-abortion rights or publicly advocate for abortion rights should not take communion, The Associated Press reported. The national meeting will be held in June and will be the first meeting since Biden, the second…Continue Reading

Oklahoma governor signs laws to ban virtually all abortions

OKLAHOMA CITY, April 26, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) – Oklahoma’s Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt signed into law Monday three new measures “protecting the lives of the unborn” from effectively all abortions, though at least two of the laws are likely to be put on hold by the courts before taking effect. KOKH reports that the first law makes it a homicide to abort any baby with a detectable heartbeat. The second la

Cardinal Cupich asked Archbishop Aquila for ‘public clarification’ over Eucharistic doctrine

Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago wrote to Denver Archbishop Samuel Aquila last week to express “a number of concerns,” after Aquila published an essay on theological and pastoral issues concerning the reception of Holy Communion. Cardinal Cupich urged the archbishop to offer a “public clarification” of his arguments.

‘Cleanse our land’: U.S. bishops call for prayer, action to end racism after Chauvin verdict

Bishops across the United States on Tuesday and Wednesday responded to the guilty verdict for former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, in the trial for the murder of George Floyd. Two chairs of committees at the U.S. bishops’ conference (USCCB) issued a joint statement on Tuesday evening, after a jury found Chauvin guilty of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter. “The death of George Floyd highlighted 

After Vatican Says No To Same-Sex Blessings . . . Cardinal Ruini Sees “Risk Of Schism” In Germany

By HANNAH BROCKHAUS ROME (CNA) — Italian Cardinal Camillo Ruini has said that he is praying there will be no schism in Germany, as priests and bishops in the country announce their disagreement with a document from the Vatican saying the Church cannot bless same-sex unions.In a May 4 interview with the newspaper Il Foglio,…Continue Reading

Catholic Schools . . . Beat Public Schools In Reading And Math Scores

By TERENCE P. JEFFREY Here is one demonstrable fact about the difference between Catholic and public schools: Students who study at Catholic schools do better in reading and math.We know this because students who attended Catholic elementary schools in 2019 tested better in mathematics and reading than students who attended public schools.The latest issue of…Continue Reading

Archbishop Cordileone’s Letter On Abortion… Is This Nancy Pelosi’s Last Warning?

By PHIL LAWLER (CatholicCulture.org) — With his pastoral letter powerfully reaffirming the importance of the Church’s teaching on the dignity of human life, San Francisco’s Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone has issued a serious challenge: to all Catholics, certainly, but to his brother bishops in particular, and especially to the prominent Catholic politicians who support legal abortion…Continue Reading

The Problem With Love

By DONALD DeMARCO Love is the will to promote the good in another. Because love operates on the plane of reality, it needs the truth of the other in order to do its work effectively. Love is not blind; its guiding light is the truth about the one who is loved. “Love is not blind,”…Continue Reading

Biden Vs. Biden On “Is America A Racist Country?”

By PATRICK J. BUCHANAN “Hear me clearly: America is not a racist country.”So declared Sen. Tim Scott, a Black Republican, in his televised rebuttal to Joe Biden’s address to Congress.Asked the next day what he thought of Scott’s statement, Biden said he agrees. “No, I don’t think the American people are racist.”Vice President Kamala Harris…Continue Reading

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Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

The Peace Not Of This World

By Fr. JAMES ALTMAN Dear family, when you depart from every Holy Sacrifice of the Mass you should have within you Peace.Not as the world gives peace, but as Jesus gives peace. When the storms of the world threaten to sink your boat, when you try to step out of it in faith and start to sink, when it looks…Continue Reading

Live According To The Lord’s Words

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Seventh Sunday Of Easter (YR B) Readings:Acts 1:15-17, 20a, 20c-261 John 4:11-16John 17:11b-19 In the first reading today, St. Peter speaks of two necessities regarding Judas. The first, he says, the Scripture had to be fulfilled when David spoke concerning the one who would hand over the Messiah. Second, St. Peter says it is necessary, based…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Editor’s Note: Due to the pandemic, we were unable to hold weekly classes for 22 tenth-grade Confirmation students. So instead of using our regular text, Catholicism & Life, which covers the Commandments and Sacraments, we prepared a series of 14 lessons on the material, with a summary of each commandment and sacrament along with some questions to answer, and sent…Continue Reading

Church Corruption Rooted In Crisis Of Authority

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK “But Jesus called them to him and said, ‘You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them’” (Matt. 20:25).The year of St. Joseph gives an opportunity for contemplating the proper role and nature of authority in the Church at a time when it is…Continue Reading

The Good Shepherd, Judas, And Non Timebo Mala

By FR. JAMES ALTMAN Dear family, in the Novus Ordo, this past Sunday was Good Shepherd Sunday. We heard how Jesus said, “I am the good shepherd. A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” Jesus then described what it meant to be a bad shepherd. “A hired man, who is not a shepherd and whose sheep are…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . Righteous Anger Against Injustice

By DEB PIROCH Anger in itself is not a sin. It is how we as humans implement that anger that can lead to sin. If anger itself is rooted in love, it may be used to correct evil. Witness the excerpt from the Gospel of Matthew, when Christ was angered by the misuse of His house:“Jesus went into the temple…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Fidelis Of Sigmaringen

By DEB PIROCH There aren’t too many saints that started off in life as lawyers, and ended up as martyrs. St. Thomas More comes to mind. But the saint today, St. Fidelis of Sigmaringen, Germany (1577-1622)? After getting his doctorate in law at Freiburg, he found he was seeking to help the poorest clients, refused to detract from the characters…Continue Reading

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