Tuesday, October 25, 2016


This morning, and it is early, I read some despicable things concerning the manner in which this terror group sadistically murdered some men and children. We grow immune to what is actually being done thinking it is just another sort of reality show.

I wrote that I confessed my guilt about liking "The Walking Dead" an AMC television series that is one of the most popular shows on cable TV. I liked the fact it is filmed in Georgia. Its writing is very good and the acting is excellent.

I see it as a metaphor for the "zombies" that the terrorists are, mindless people who act in mindless ways with no sense of empathy, guilt or feelings. They are like crocodiles who devour their booty without thinking for they can't think.

Thus the gratuitous violence of this TV show when directed to the mindless zombies can be overlooked as just one aspect of what horror shows do to instill fear in the audience.

But the Walking Dead has taken gratuitous violence to a new level on television far beyond what the hacker and slashers shows of  another generation accomplished in full view. Nothing is left to the imagination, all is in full view.

Violence and sex become pornography when what is watched titilates, fasicnates and pulls one toward the perversion depicted rather then repels.

I fear The Walking Dead did this precisely in its first show of its new but short season. It was pornography and hard core at that but with sex but with violence. Of course the violence that is depicted isn't actually happening to the actor experiencing it. It is make-believe unlike what Isis does or when a murderer films his acts of real violence and murder.

The Walking Dead has shown how one might survive in a world that is nuts. And while the living act in a concerted and thought out way to perpetrate their violence towards other living, it was often justified in terms of the warfare taking place to survive. The vivid images of zombies being stabbed in the head, decaptiated and the like or the zombies eating the instestines of their victims in full view is what zombies do but they don't do it consciously but like crocodiles.

Sunday night's episode showed a non zombie doing zombie like things and it was graphic and pornographic. But isn't there a moral here and a warning?

But will some  in real life now think that they can imitate what they see in art or porn (you decide what the new episode of The Walking Dead is).

We live in violent times where reality and fantasy are imitating one another. It is scary!


Granted, what I reproduce below from "The Vatican Insider" is a reporter's story of what Pope Franics said often in his famous "off-the-cuff" ways which I would say is a new "low" (of-the-cuff-statements) in terms of how seriously we as Catholics should take what the pope is saying. It ain't infallible in other words. But the pope only speaks infallibly in the extraordinary magisterium of the Church which is, well, extraordinary. Most of what any pope teaches is ordinary or below that.

What Pope Francis imprecisely articulates is a "pastoral theology" which began to take shape as named in the late 1960's and 70's. In fact, Pope Francis has brought us back to this period as His Holiness must see this period of time as a "golden age" for the Church. Pastoral theology was meant to help priests to deal with the messiness of their parishioner's lives. Much of it is well advised.

Priests can live in a world very different than what most lay people live and when marriage and sex are integral to their lives, even if there is no marriage, priests sometimes can exhibit arrested development in terms of what normal laity have experienced at different levels of their lives. Many priests have a sort of ideal view of sexaulity on the academic level although deep down they know how conflicted it is for so many people and where perfection is seldom or ever attained.

So the messiness of lives, Pope Francis believes, means cutting people some slack but leaving the door open for conversion. I agree with His Holiness. We cannot control people. We are not moral poloicemen and morality is about liberation from sin and death not oppression by the Church.

Canon Law and the legal aspects of the Church should be respected. However, even in the so-called more legalistic or rigid days prior to Vatican II, the Church always allowed dispensations from certain aspects of the law. Sometimes this leads to a sense of arbritrianism. When I was a child in the pre-Vatican II Church and in peace time, military families were dispensed from the Friday abstinence! Why?

So here is another example of our pastoral pope raising more questions than he answers and seeking a more realistic Church when it comes to how people live their lives. He could have said this in an academic, uncontroversial way but then who would being reading it or discussing it?
On Thursday, Francis  inaugurated the annual Ecclesial Convention of the Diocese of Rome. In his speech, he talked about the demographic crisis resulting from a “cursed economic wellbeing”, preparation for marriage, the children of teen mothers and Cardinal Müller
Francis opens the Convention of the Diocese of Rome at St. John the Lateran.

A “rigid morality” is to be avoided but so are laxism and rigorism. Everyone must be accompanied, even sinners, leaving them space for conversion, because “morality is an act of love always, love for God, love for one’s neighbour”. Pope Francis spoke about the family at the inauguration of the annual Ecclesial Convention of the Diocese of Rome at St. John the Lateran. First he gave a speech that picked up on points discussed at the double Synod of 2014 and 2015, then he responded to three questions from faithful, touching on a diverse array of family issues, from Italy’s falling birth rates which are the result of a “cursed economic wellbeing”, the “cruelty” of not baptising the children of teen mothers, the childish faces parents pull at their new-born children – which Francis imitated – similar to God’s attitude towards humans, the need for a solid preparation for marriage that is able to counter the current “culture of precariousness”, superstitions and cultural prejudices and the consumerist tendency to focus on the celebrations and the wedding bombonieres rather than the beauty of the sacrament. The Pope’s speech was sprinkled with punchlines, personal memories and jokes that drew laughter and applause from his audience of faithful, for example, when he said: “Don’t go telling on me to Cardinal Müller”, the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

“Neither rigorism, nor laxism are the truth, the Gospel chooses another way,” Francis said in answer to a woman’s question on how to avoid a “double morality” between rigorism and laxism. “Welcome, accompany, integrate and discern… without sticking your noses in the moral lives of people”. The Pope recalled that in his Apostolic Exhortation on the Family, the “Amoris Laetitia”, as Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, a “great theologian”, said, “everything is Thomist, from start to end, it is irrefutable doctrine. But,” he continued, “we often want irrefutable doctrine to have a mathematical certainty, which does not exist, both with laxism, open-handedness and rigidity.” The Pope referred to some examples from the Gospel, first the adulterous woman (“Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her”), then the Samaritan (who, Francis said, making faithful laugh, “had lots of medals for adultery, a very decorated woman…”): “Let us go towards the Gospel, let us go towards Jesus. This does not mean throwing the water out with the child, no, it means seeking the truth: morality is an act of love always, love for God and for one’s neighbour, it is an act that leaves space for the conversion of the other, it is not quick to condemn”. The Pope then talked about a piece of advice given to him by a predecessor of his – Juan Carlos Aramburu – in Buenos Aires: when you discover that your priest has a double life, the cardinal said, call him, tell him and then send him home, telling him to come back in 15 days. At first he will deny what you say, then he will have time to reflect, repent, admit to his own sins and ask for help.

“This man celebrated in moral sin for 15 days, according to morality: but what is better?” the Pope said, “that the bishop had the generosity to give him 15 days to think things over or a rigid morality?” Francis went on to talk about a fellow course mate at university, who gave a very theoretical answer in an exam on confession, saying: “This is found in books, not in reality”: “But speaking of this, please don’t go telling on me to Cardinal Müller!”

Individualism, the Pope said, in response to the first question, “is the axis of this culture”, “it has many names and one selfish root”. It means “not taking others, other families into account” and can even go as far as “pastoral cruelty”, Francis continued, mentioning his experience in another diocese when he was Archbishop of Buenos Aires: “Some parish priests didn’t want to baptise the children of teen mothers and treated them like animals.” Individualism also taken on hedonistic traits, “I was about to use a strong phrase but I’ll say it in inverted commas,” he continued, that “cursed economic wellbeing” which has caused us so much harm. Italy today is witnessing a fall in birth rates, I think it’s below zero: this started with that culture of economic wellbeing 20 years ago. I met many families who preferred – but please don’t go to animal lovers telling on me, I don’t want to offend anyone – to have two or three cats or a dog instead of a child,” the Pope said. “Because having a child is not easy,” “you give life to a person who will become free” and while “a cat and a dog will give you an affection that is preset and not free,” children will be free, they will have to face life with all its risks and this is the challenge that scares people”. But sometimes “we are afraid of freedom, even when it comes to pastoral care” and if you go along with a “clean-hands type of pastoral care, like the Pharisees, where everything is clean, everything is in order, everything is great,” you do not realise “how much misery there is outside this environment, how much pain, how much poverty, what a lack of opportunities for development”.

“Hedonistic individualism is afraid of freedom, it is an… individualism that traps you, it locks you in a cage and won’t let you fly,” Francis said. Instead, we need to “take risks”. And we need to show tenderness: “This is God’s caress. In a synod I attended years ago, a suggestion was made “to revolutionise tenderness” but some fathers said it didn’t sound right… today, however, we can say it: tenderness is lack, we need to offer caresses, not just to the sick but also to sinners. Tenderness is a language for the youngest among us, those who have nothing, children for example. I like to hear mothers and fathers become children and talk like this,” the Pope continued pulling a child-like face, “this is tenderness, lowering myself: this is the path Jesus laid, he did not see being God as a privilege, he lowered himself and spoke our language, using our gestures”.

As far as preparation for marriage goes, “I remember I once called a boy here in Italy whom I had met a while back, at Ciampino and he was getting married,” the Pope said, answering the last question put to him. “I called him: your mum said you’re getting married. To which he replied: we’re looking for a church that’s suitable for my girlfriend’s dress and then there are so many other things, the bombonieres, finding a restaurant that isn’t too far away. Are these the concerns of future spouses?” The Pope criticised the way in which marriage is seen as a “social event” but at the same time urged the Church not to shut its doors but to concentrate “patiently” on the solid preparation of young couples for marriage: “Preparation for marriage must be done by showing closeness, without fear, slowly: there are boy and girls who are immensely pure and have a great love, but there are few of them. There are good young people in today’s culture but they have to be guided until they are mature enough. That is when the sacrament is celebrated with joy. It takes a lot of patience, without getting scared.” During the speech he gave off the cuff, the Pope attracted laughter and applause from faithful on various occasions. For example, when he talked about a “superstition” that established itself in north-eastern Argentina, where couples start off by having children, then then get married in a civil ceremony and finally, when they are elderly, they get married in Church because, they claim, “having a religious wedding scares off the husband… we need to find against these kinds of superstitions too, these cultural facts”. Then there is the complexity of families, the presence of in-laws… “I heard something beautiful…women will like this: when a woman hears from the ecographer that she is pregnant with a boy, that’s when she starts learning to be a mother-in-law.” 

During his speech, before answering questions, instead of focusing on the “Amoris Laetitia”, the Pope underlined some questions that emerged during the Synod that preceded the Apostolic Exhortation, identifying three points in particular. Firstly, that the “life for every person, the life of every family needs to be treated with a great deal of respect and care”: we cannot “speak in abstract terms” or “ideologise”, not for the sake of being “politically correct” but out of respect for real life situations: “This forces us to leave behind statements of principles and instead enter the beating heart of Rome’s neighbourhoods, where like craftsmen, we can mould God's dream into this reality, something only people of faith can do, i.e. those who do not close the gate onto the action of the Spirit.”

Secondly, “let us beware of implementing a pastoral plan of ghettoes and for ghettoes”: evangelical realism, he said, “does not mean not being clear in terms of doctrine”; “It does not mean not putting the evangelical ideal forward, on the contrary, we are invited to experience this in history, with all that it entails”. In relation to this, the Pope spoke about an ancient medieval capital depicting Judas on one side and Jesus carrying the traitor on his shoulder on the other: “Don Primo Mazzolari gave a beautiful speech on this, he was a priest who understood the complexity of the Gospel’s logic well: getting one’s hands dirty like Jesus did, he was not clean, he went and met people and accepted people as they were, not as they should be”.

Finally, Francis talked about the elderly: “As a society, we have deprived our seniors of their voice. This is a social sin, of our time,” he said, stating: “This is the time for the dreams of the elderly”, which young people can turn into a reality. The Pope urged faithful to “stay away from ‘niches’ which shelter us from the maelstrom of human misfortune and enter instead into the reality of other people’s lives’ so as to know the power of tenderness”. Francis, accompanied by Cardinal Agostino Vallini, began his reflection by remarking that “the five aisles are full, there’s clearly a willingness to work hard!” 

Sunday, October 23, 2016


Clarity of thinking in the Catholic prophetic tradition is witnesses by so few in our order of bishops yet there are shinning lights! ARCHBISHOP CHAPUT is one of them:
At Notre Dame, Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia said that “a smaller, lighter Church” of fewer but holier believers is preferable to one that promotes inclusion at the expense of orthodoxy, and suggested that many prominent Catholics are so weak in their faith that they ought to leave the Church.


In a stark prognosis for contemporary Catholicism, a leader of the conservative wing of the U.S. hierarchy has said that “a smaller, lighter Church” of fewer but holier believers is preferable to one that promotes inclusion at the expense of orthodoxy.
In a speech delivered Oct. 19 at the University of Notre Dame, Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput also suggested that many prominent Catholics are so weak in their faith that they ought to leave the Church.
Chaput singled out Democrats such as Vice President Joe Biden and vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine for special criticism, linking them to the concept of a “silent apostasy” coined by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI and saying Catholics who do not champion the truth of Church teaching are “cowards.”
“Obviously we need to do everything we can to bring tepid Catholics back to active life in the Church,” Chaput told a symposium for bishopsand their staff members at the South Bend, Ind. campus.
“But we should never be afraid of a smaller, lighter Church if her members are also more faithful, more zealous, more missionary and more committed to holiness.
“Losing people who are members of the Church in name only is an imaginary loss,” he continued. “It may in fact be more honest for those who leave and healthier for those who stay. We should be focused on commitment, not numbers or institutional throw-weight.”
Chaput’s ideas channeled a lively and long-standing debate in Church circles - intensified by Pope Francis’s open-arms approach to ministry - about whether Catholicism should be a smaller and more tradition-minded community, or a larger and more inclusive Church of imperfect believers at various stages in their spiritual pilgrimages.
In the context of the coming presidential vote, Chaput’s speech was also the latest in a series of pronouncements by conservative bishops and Catholic activists who have blasted Democrats as Election Day draws closer.
For many observers, a chief focus of the current campaign has been the crass and increasingly threatening language of Republican nominee Donald Trump, who has bragged about demeaning and groping women. In the third and final presidential debate on Wednesday, Trump also reiterated that he believes the Nov. 8 election has been “rigged” and that he might contest any result that did not favor him.
But the U.S. bishops have been virtually silent on those topics, while some have continued to highlight the centrality of opposition to abortion and gay marriage.
In his talk at Notre Dame, Chaput, who is known for his conservative political views and his firm stances on doctrine, said both candidates were obviously flawed - though he did express admiration for Trump’s “gift for twisting the knife in America’s leadership elite and their spirit of entitlement, embodied in the person of Hillary Clinton.”
Chaput’s main focus, however, was on the wider threat posed by what he said was a secularizing culture and a progressive political agenda that “bleaches out strong religious convictions in the name of liberal tolerance.”
Too many Catholics are guilty of cooperating with that process, he said, transferring “our real loyalties and convictions from the old Church of our baptism to the new ‘Church’ of our ambitions and appetites.”
He named Biden, Kaine and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi as prime examples of this phenomenon, as well as Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, a Catholic and Republican appointee whose deciding vote in the landmark 2015 gay marriage case made him anathema to many social conservatives.
The politics of the U.S. hierarchy are in flux largely because Francis, who was elected in 2013, has begun naming and promoting bishops who embrace his outgoing approach to ministry and evangelization.
That trend away from the “culture warrior” bishops who came to dominate the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops over the past three decades was evident in the men Francis chose this month as his first American picks to be cardinals.
The three - the archbishops of Chicago and Indianapolis and the former bishop of Dallas - are known for their moderate tone and pastoral style while hard-liners like Chaput, who in a previous era might have been a strong candidate for a red hat, were passed over.
But Chaput, 72, and other conservatives in the U.S. hierarchy have been speaking out with greater frequency about the election. They tend to lament Trump’s obvious faults while singling out the Democratic ticket for special criticism and noting that opposition to legal abortion - which is part of the Republican platform and a Trump campaign promise - overrides every other policy consideration.
For example, Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City, Kan., last week devoted a column to criticizing Kaine’s faith and his position in support of abortion rights, calling him an “orthodox” Democrat and a “cafeteria Catholic” who is “picking and choosing the teachings of the Catholic Church that are politically convenient.”
The WikiLeaks dump of Democratic emails this month provided another opening because they included a few exchanges among Clinton advisers complaining about conservative Catholics misusing the faith for their own agendas and discussing how they could promote a “Catholic Spring” to move the Church in a more progressive direction.
Conservative activists and the Trump campaign jumped on the emails as evidence of an endemic anti-Catholicism among Democrats and demanded that Clinton fire the advisers and apologize.
Leaders of the USCCB also criticized the Clinton campaign for interfering “in the internal life of the Church for short-term political gain.”
New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan, who hosted Clinton and Trump at the Al Smith charity dinner on Thursday, called the email exchanges from 2011 and 2012 “extraordinarily patronizing and insulting to Catholics.” He said Clinton would have apologized in minutes if those things had been said about Jews or Muslims.
Other Catholics pointed out that the participants in the back-and-forth were mainly Catholics themselves and they dismissed the exchanges as the sort of internal Church arguments that Catholics engage in publicly all the time. They also said the comments were not as harsh as remarks Trump himself has made about Francis.
Chaput has blasted the emails as “contemptuously anti-Catholic” and he criticized the Democrats for them again in his talk this week.
But his central theme was how Catholics should respond to this cultural shift.
He said that despite his “long list of concerns with the content of Islam” he admired  Muslim women who proudly wear the hijab and said Catholics could learn from that as they seek to “recover their own sense of distinction from the surrounding secular meltdown.”
He also praised Francis’s emphasis on “accompaniment” as the way to draw people to the Church and keep them there.
But he said that term has also been misused and too often means “accompanying someone over a cliff” by not insisting on the need to follow Church teachings.
The same, he said, goes for the term “inclusive.”
“If ‘inclusive’ means including people who do not believe what the Catholic faith teaches and will not reform their lives according to what the Church holds to be true, then inclusion is a form of lying,” he said.
“And it’s not just lying but an act of betrayal and violence against the rights of those who do believe and do seek to live according to God’s Word.”


This is a  photo I took as our bus crossed from the living to the so-called walking dead in Palestinian controlled area. This is Hebron:
On our way back, Israeli soldiers with machine guns drawn entered our bus to make sure none of us were the walking dead!

The Walking Dead premiers its new episodes today on AMC. It is horribly violent but has good acting, is filmed in Georgia, so how can you go wrong with that?  It is metaphorical and brings religion into the apocalypse of zombies, the walking dead, who have no conscience, just a voracious appetite for the living flesh of humans.

But what is the metaphor? What caused the actual apocalypse? No one knows, and the writers aren't telling, but I will venture a guess on the metaphorical part of the two questions.

I think it is a metaphor for the mindless terrorism we experience in the world and those who perpetuate it are the walking dead. The living must be as ruthless as they to protect themselves. The living become an image of the walking dead in their treatment of others who are living in order to survive.

What do you think?


I think this is the first major talk and question and answer session that Monsignor Guido Marini has given since Pope Francis was elected.

It is very good and every member of the Church, clergy and laity alike, should read and study it!

Msgr. Guido Marini, papal master of ceremonies, assists Pope Francis during a Marian vigil in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican Oct. 8. (CNS/Paul Haring)
Msgr. Guido Marini, papal master of ceremonies, assists Pope Francis during a Marian vigil in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican Oct. 8. (CNS/Paul Haring)
By Carol Glatz
Catholic News Service
VATICAN CITY (CNS) — When a choir director and parish priest differ over liturgical music, the choir should follow in good faith the wishes of the priest for the sake of unity, said the papal liturgist.
When it comes to celebrating the liturgy, “we should never fight,” Msgr. Guido Marini told choir members, directors and priests. “Otherwise, we distort the very nature” of what the people of God should be doing during the Mass, which is seeking to be “one body before the Lord.”
The papal master of liturgical ceremonies spoke Oct. 21 at a conference opening a three-day jubilee for choirs. Hundreds of people involved in providing music for the liturgical celebrations in Italian dioceses and parishes — such as singers, organists and musicians — attended, as did directors of diocesan liturgy offices and schools of sacred music.
During a brief question-and-answer period after his talk on the role of the choir, a participant asked Msgr. Marini what she termed “an uncomfortable, practical question.”
“Many times, in our parishes, the priest wants the choir to perform songs that are inappropriate, both because of the text” and because of the moment the song is to be performed during the service, she said.
“In these situations, must the choir master follow the wishes of the priest even with the knowledge that by doing so, the choir is no longer serving the liturgy, but the priest?” she said to applause.
Asked for his advice, Msgr. Marini smiled, cast his eyes upward and rubbed his chin signaling his awareness that it was a hot-button topic. He said he felt “sandwiched” “between two fires, between priests and choirs.”
Acknowledging the difficulty of such a situation, he said he sided with the priest.
There are situations where priests may not be giving completely correct guidance, he said, and there are directors that could be doing better. But in either case, conflict and division should be avoided and “humility and communion be truly safeguarded,” he said.
This, like with all disagreements, he said, requires that all sides be very patient with each other, sit down and talk, and explain the reasons behind their positions.
But if no conclusion or final point is reached, then “perhaps it is better also to come out of it momentarily defeated and wait for a better time rather than generate divisions and conflict that do no good,” he said to applause.
Live the path of communion and unity in the parish “with lots of goodness, cordiality and sometimes the ability to sacrifice something of oneself, too,” Msgr. Marini advised.
Just like the grain of wheat, he said, “sometimes all of us must die in something” knowing that it will bear future fruit.
Msgr. Marini responded to the question after delivering a 50-minute speech, in which he received a standing ovation.
Titled, “The Role of the Choir in Liturgical Celebrations,” the monsignor outlined five fundamental elements of the liturgy and how choirs should help serve each of those aspects.
The liturgy is the work of Christ and it should express the Savior’s living presence, he said. Choir members, therefore, must be people who have Christ present in their hearts.
While much care must be given to the artistic and technical aspects of liturgical music’s performance, the hearts of those who perform must be cared for as well so that they are men and women of faith who feel “a burning love for Christ” and find their life’s meaning in him, he said.
The liturgy also must evoke the church’s universality, where there is a harmonious union of diversity and continuity between tradition and newness, he said. This means that the choir must never be “front and center” or seem separate from the faithful because they are part of the assembly.
Pope Francis has insisted that liturgical music for papal liturgies “never go beyond the rite” and force celebrants and the assembly to wait for the singing to finish before proceeding on to the next moment of the Mass, he said. “Song integrates itself into the rite,” serving the ceremony and not itself.
He also asked that choirs help the liturgy in its purpose of gathering everyone together to conform themselves more closely to God and his will.
The Mass is about overcoming individual distinctions so that “it is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me,” he said. That means the choir should help everyone in the assembly be an active participant during the moments of song including by stirring people’s emotional or spiritual feelings.
Choirs must help the liturgy by inviting all of creation to lift its gaze toward God on high, he said. People should feel elevated and pulled out of the mundanity of the ordinary and everyday — not to escape from it, but so as to return renewed to one’s everyday life after Mass.
If song is not “a bridge over eternity” then it is not doing its job, he said. Song must not be worldly and unworthy, but must in some way be the “song of angels.”
Lastly, he said, choirs must be missionary like the church and the liturgy by way of attraction, which it does by revealing God’s beauty, wonder and infinite mercy.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016


This is from a retired bishop but should not be understood as controversial if applied in a generic way!
Most Catholics are unaware that there have been instances in Church history when a pope either taught heresy, or failed in his duty to suppress heresy. And if it happened before, it can happen again.
For example: Pope Nicholas I said that baptism was valid whether administered in the name of the Three Persons of the Most Holy Trinity or in the name of Christ only. In this Pope Nicholas was mistaken. Baptism in the name of Christ only is not valid.
Pope Honorius, in order to justify a compromise with heretics, said in 634: ‘We must be careful not to rekindle ancient quarrels.’ On this argument, the pope allowed error to spread freely, with the result that truth and orthodoxy were effectively banished.
St. Sophronius of Jerusalem, almost alone, stood up to Pope Honorius and accused him of heresy. Eventually the pope repented, but died without repairing the immeasurable harm he did to the Church due to his compromising principle. Thus, the Third Council of Constantinople cast its anathema upon him, and this was confirmed by Pope St. Leo II.
Pope John XXII said at Avignon, on the feast of All Saints, 1331, that the soul does not enter the beatific vision until the resurrection of the body, at the last day. After which, the pope was rebuked by the theologians from the University of Paris. They rebuked the pope because they knew that this theory of the pope was a heresy. It wasn’t until shortly before John XXII died in 1334 that he recanted his error.
A pope enjoys the full infallibility promised by Christ only when he fulfills all of the following conditions:
  • Teaches on a matter of faith and morals
  • Teaches to the whole world
  • Teaches after lengthy consultation with the bishops and theologians
  • Proclaims his teaching in a solemn manner before a large assembly of cardinals, patriarchs, bishops, priests and laity
Otherwise, he is merely giving a press conference and enjoys little if any of the infallibility promised by Christ.

Originally published at Renew America

Monday, October 17, 2016


I found two interesting articles on Praytell this morning. (I returned to Rome from Israel last night, only a three hour or so flight and one hour difference, ahead of us).

Both are balanced articles on the liturgy and the sort of the "reform of the reform" or what I prefer, mutual enrichment of the contrived liturgy Pope Paul VI gave us in 1970.

One writer comments on interpreting Cardinal Sarah correctly. This is what he writes:

But it is worth it to read accurately what drives him, and not let oneself be scared away by ecclesio-political geography that divides everything into “right” and “left.” Sarah critiques a liturgy that is too wordy, too explanatory, too rational, and yet is too sensitive. “We risk reducing the holy mystery to good feelings,” he says in an interview with the French traditionalist monthly magazine La Nef.
One need not share Sarah’s enthusiasm for eastward liturgical orientation [ad orientem] to find this critique plausible: Worship services in which every step is explained because one does not trust the worshiping community to celebrate actively and responsibly. Worship services that trust the liturgy so little that symbolic rituals are invented. Worship services that trust Scripture so little that touchy-feely children’s books, from “The Little Prince” to “Rainbow Fish,” are lifted up to be readings.

The other is a good progressive deacon who sometimes comments here, Deacon Fritz, who writes:
Many of the liturgical reformers of the post-conciliar period were not particularly attentive to these liturgical neighborhood people. Tending to be cosmopolitans themselves, the reformers seemed not to understand how a tacky shrine or some badly warbled chant from the Requiem Mass or saccharine devotions to Our Lady of Wherever could actually be central to the religious life of the neighborhood people. The anthropologists Mary Douglas and Victor Turner were voices crying in the wilderness in the post-conciliar period, warning against the vandalism being carried out by the cosmopolitan reformers against the religious sensibilities of the neighborhood people.
I do not think, however, that what the liturgical neighborhood people of today want or need is for someone to come along an put things back “the way it was.” First, because such a thing is not really possible; unless the liturgy is thought of as a zone hermetically sealed off from the rest of life, we cannot recreated the liturgical experience of the immigrant Church of the first half of the twentieth century. But, second, the neighborhood people have moved on. Some, alas, have moved on out of the Church. But others have adapted, willy-nilly, and have made themselves a home in the reformed liturgy, and love it as “the particular patch where they were raised” spiritually. 
In an odd twist—the sort that history so often provides—it is now those who would replace Eagles Wings or Amazing Grace with the chants of the traditional Requiem who are the cosmopolitans that seem unaware of or unconcerned with how deeply these songs have sunk their roots into the lives of the liturgical neighborhood people. The neighborhood people are offended when Mrs. Murphy, who has served as a “Eucharistic Minister” (as they ignorantly call the Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion) for thirty years and brought communion to Pop when he was in the nursing home, is told by the new pastor that now only he and the deacon will be distributing Holy Communion at Mass, because this is more traditional. They feel shunned when the new young priest, fresh from the seminary, turns his back on them during Mass to pray the Eucharistic prayer, not only making them feel cut off from what is going on, but also blocking their view of the consecrated elements. They don’t care if this is the recovery of a very ancient practice; it is not a practice that they have ever experienced.

We should keep in mind that the good deacon is mixing apples and oranges. The progressives were vicious in attacking all things Catholic, not just liturgy, to make the Church an ecumenical marshmallow, more Protestant than Catholic. They almost succeeded if not for St. Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict. Any return to the 1970's that we are experiencing now I firmly believe is the final battle between those represented by Pope Benedict (of his age I mean) and those of Pope Francis' age. They represent the two schools of thought of the 1970's, one of rupture and seeing rupture as moving forward and the other of continuity and seeing continuity as remaining faithful to the Deposit of Faith and even the culture of Roman Catholicism which includes the patrimony of the Liturgy that begins before 1970.
Progressives were vicious in destroying the devotional and doctrinal faith of the neighborhood people, meaning those who weren't as smart as they (academic clericalism which I so often express to you). 
And now the academic clericalists are crying crocodile tears because they know better than the new cosmopolitans but don't have the same control over them they once had in their arrogance. 

They don't want to have happen to them what they did to the Faith of the Church. They want their corrupted views and practices to be protected. 

Time is running out on the two schools of the age I speak of above. Somehow common sense tells me that Catholic identity in its fullness as represented by Pope Benedict will win the day in the very near future. 

Friday, October 14, 2016


FROM RORATE CAELI: (Cool if they are completely regularized while I am in Rome. The progressives in the Church must be apoplectic to say the least! This could not have happened in the 1970's, the heyday of hatred for all things pre Vatican and the marginalization of those with SSPX sensibilities !

IMPORTANT: SSPX Superior-general Bp. Fellay met Pope and CDF yesterday

Bp. Fellay, the Superior-general of the Society of St. Pius X (FSSPX / SSPX) met Pope Francis yesterday, October 13, in Casa Santa Marta.

Afterwards, he held a meeting with the highest authorities of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), Card. Müller, Prefect, and Abp. Ladaria Ferrer, Secretary. Bp. Fellay was joined by his two assistants, Fr. Nély and Fr. Pfluger.

According to the SSPX General House, the CDF meeting, "foreseen for a long time," "is the second one since September 13, 2014", and "is part of the framework of relations that the Society of Saint Pius X has always had with the Roman authorities, in particular in these past few years, by the doctrinal visitations that took place in the several seminaries of the Society, and that will continue in the upcoming months."

[Source: DICI, via La Porte Latine (District of France) - en français]

Thursday, October 13, 2016


I am currently at Pilgerhaus Tabgha, a retreat house run by German Benedictines on the Sea of Galilee in Tiberius, Israel.

We've been in Jerusalem and the dangerous areas of Palestine since Monday. We've had Israeli troops with machine guns board our bus twice as we departed Palestine controlled areas. And signs warn Israelis that if they enter Palestine areas, it will be dangerous to their lives.

I am conflicted about the Palestine and Israel perspectives on things political. The Palestinians, many are Christians, not all are Muslims, are treated like dirt on their own soil.

The Christian Palestinians are the ones leaving because they can trust no one, Jews or Muslims. Everyone is a fault for the problems in the Land of Jesus, the Holy Land.

But at least I don't have to hear about Hilary and the Donald. The American election in Europe and Israel is viewed as a joke this time around and the Donald is seen as American Berlusconni.

Posting is sporadic as I am on the road and WIFI is limited.


Cardinal Sarah is not a throwback to the 1950's. He doesn't want to return the Church prior to the Council but want the Second Vatican Council to be interpreted properly. I would suspect too, that His Eminence understands too, that Vatican II is a bit of a time capsule and that its pastoral theology is a bit dated. He understands too that pastoral theology is not doctrine and certainly not dogma, although many in the Church speak of the pastoral theology of Vatican II (which is in the same category as the theology on Limbo, neither right or wrong, but just not doctrine) as though it is dogma. They have replaced Jesus Christ, Scripture and Tradition with Vatican II says this, that and the other.

When it comes to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, Cardinal Sarah wants Vatican II implemented from the highest levels of the Church. It hasn't been, only a particular ideology has been and this ideology came from the "liturgical experts" of the Church who are the kinds of academics Pope Francis has such disdain. It did not come from the faith of grandmothers in other words.

Cardinal Sarah hits the nail on the head in diagnosing the dark hole the liturgy has descended in so many parishes throughout the world. But liturgists, those experts in the field, (and liturgists are not known for humility) insist that the "renewal" that has taken place is renewal. Delusional to say the least.

When it comes to mega Masses at St. Peter's Square and the truly million mega Masses elsewhere, Cardinal Sarah makes very valid points and he needs to rock that boat and rock it hard! I concelebrated Mass at St. Peter's Square last Sunday with Pope Francis. I held a ciboria. But I consecrated it to be sure along with the Holy Father. Others distributed Holy Communion from Hosts consecrated at other Masses.

I would agree that only one section of these mega Masses should include Holy Communion to the congregation. I would recommend that no more than 2000 hosts ever be consecrated at any single Mass. Or maybe 5000 to keep the Biblical imagery of the multiplication of the loaves.

Yes at the Vatican Masses in St. Peter's and certainly in the Square, many non Catholics, non Christians and non Believers are receiving Holy Communion and many are taking the Host home as a  relic of their time in Rome as tourists.

Here is a portion of Cardinal Sarah's, truly a doctor of liturgy, making the right diagnosis of the cancer that has been eating the liturgy of the Church since about 1966:

The Reform of the Reform “Will Happen.” The Pope Wants It, Too

This is what Francis has said in private to Cardinal Sarah, only to deny the whole thing afterward in a statement. But the prefect of the liturgy is promising it once again, in a book of his that goes on sale today, entitled “The Power of Silence”

by Sandro Magister

ROME, October 6, 2016 – With Cardinal Robert Sarah Pope Francis cultivates a relationship with two distinct profiles. Benevolent up front, hostile at a distance.

Sarah is presumed to be one of those churchmen with a “heart of stone” against whom the pope often lashes out without naming names, for example in the address at the end of the synod last October 24:

> "The closed hearts which hide behind the Church’s teachings…"

And it was Sarah, this time with first and last name, in his capacity as prefect of the congregation for divine worship, who was the target of an unprecedented, humiliating statement from the press office of the Holy See this summer, against his aims for a “reform of the reform” of the liturgy:

> Jesus Will Return From the East. But at the Vatican They Have Lost the Compass (14.7.2016)

“But who can touch him? He is African, and he enjoys great popularity,” they murmur in the court of Pope Francis.

In effect Cardinal Sarah, 71, an African from Guinea, is a figure of the first rank in today’s Church, who has risen to extraordinary notoriety and universal admiration thanks to a book he published last year that is both autobiography and spiritual mediation, in the style of the “Confessions,” entitled “Dieu ou rien,” God or nothing: 335,000 copies sold in thirteen languages:

> A Pope from Black Africa (10.4.2015)

And now Sarah is returning to the field with a major new book: “La force du silence,” the power of silence. It is edited, like the one before it, by Nicolas Diat and concludes with a poignant conversation between the cardinal and the abbot of the Grande Chartreuse in the French Alps, dom Dysmas de Lassus.

The book goes on sale today, the feast of Saint Bruno, founder of Carthusian monasticism, for now only in a French edition by Fayard, but it will be released soon in Italian, English, and Spanish, published respectively by Cantagalli, Ignatius Press, and Palabra.

“Contre la dictature du bruit,” against the dictatorship of noise, the subtitle says. And in effect the deafening noise of modern society, with has even penetrated into the Church, is the soundtrack of that “nothing” which is forgetfulness of God, the focus of the previous book.

While vice versa it is only silence that allows one to “hear the music of God.

“The reform of the reform will happen, the future of the Church is at stake”

by Robert Sarah

From “"La force du silence", Fayard, 2016


Some priests today treat the Eucharist with perfect disdain. They see the Mass as a chatty banquet where the Christians who are faithful to Jesus’ teaching, the divorced and remarried, men and women in a situation of adultery, unbaptized tourists participating in the Eucharistic celebrations of great anonymous crowds can have access to the body and blood of Christ, without distinction.

The Church must urgently examine the ecclesial and pastoral appropriateness of these immense Eucharistic celebrations made up of thousands and thousands of participants. There is a great danger here of turning the Eucharist, “the great mystery of Faith,” into a vulgar revel and of profaning the body and the precious blood of Christ. The priests who distribute the sacred species without knowing anyone, and give the Body of Jesus to all, without discernment between Christians and non-Christians, participate in the profanation of the Holy Sacrifice of the Eucharist. Those who exercise authority in the Church become guilty, through a form of voluntary complicity, of allowing sacrilege and the profanation of the body of Christ to take place in these gigantic and ridiculous self-celebrations, where one can hardly perceive that “you proclaim the death of the Lord, until he comes” (1 Cor 11:26).

Priests unfaithful to the “memory” of Jesus insist rather on the festive aspect and the fraternal dimension of the Mass than on the bloody sacrifice of Christ on the Cross. The importance of the interior dispositions and the need to reconcile ourselves with God in allowing ourselves to be purified by the sacrament of confession are no longer fashionable nowadays. More and more, we obscure the warning of Saint Paul to the Corinthians: “For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For any one who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself. That is why many of you are weak and ill” (cf. 1 Cor 11:27-30).


At the beginning of our Eucharistic celebrations, how is it possible to eliminate Christ carrying his cross and walking painfully beneath the weight of our sins toward the place of sacrifice? There are many priests who enter triumphantly and go up to the altar, waving left and right in order to appear friendly. Observe the sad spectacle of certain Eucharistic celebrations. . . Why so much frivolity and worldliness at the moment of the Holy Sacrifice? Why so much profanation and superficiality before the extraordinary priestly grace that makes us capable of bringing forth the body and blood of Christ in substance by the invocation of the Spirit? Why do some believe themselves obliged to improvise or invent Eucharistic prayers that disperse the divine phrases in a bath of petty human fervor? Are the words of Christ so insufficient that a profusion of purely human words is needed? In a sacrifice so unique and essential, is there a need for this subjective imagination and creativity? “And in praying do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard for their many words,” Jesus has cautioned us (Mt 6:7).


We have lost the deepest meaning of the offertory. Yet it is that moment in which, as its name indicates, the whole Christian people offers itself, not alongside of Christ, but in him, through his sacrifice that will be realized at the consecration. Vatican Council II admirably highlighted this aspect in insisting on the baptismal priesthood of the laity that essentially consists in offering ourselves together with Christ in sacrifice to the Father. [. . .]

If the offertory is seen as nothing other than a preparation of the gifts, as a practical and prosaic action, then there will be a great temptation to add and invent ceremonies in order to fill up what is perceived as a void. I deplore the offertory processions in some African countries, long and noisy, accompanied with interminable dances. The faithful bring all sorts of products and objects that have nothing to do with the Eucharistic sacrifice. These processions give the impression of folkloric exhibitions that disfigure the bloody sacrifice of Christ on the Cross and distance us from the Eucharistic mystery; but this must be celebrated in sobriety and recollection, since we are immersed, we too, in his death and his offering to the Father. The bishops of my continent should take measures to keep the celebration of the Mass from becoming a cultural self-celebration. The death of God out of love for us is beyond all culture. 

“FACING EAST” (par. 254)

It is not enough simply to prescribe more silence. In order for everyone to understand that the liturgy turns us interiorly toward the Lord, it would be helpful during the celebration for us all together, priests and faithful, to face the east, symbolized by the apse.

This practice remains absolutely legitimate. It is in keeping with the letter and the spirit of the Council. There is no lack of testimonies from the first centuries of the Church. “When we stand up to pray, we face the east,” says Saint Augustine, echoing a tradition that dates back, according to Saint Basil, to the Apostles themselves. Churches having been designed for the prayer of the first Christian communities, the apostolic constitutions of the 4th century recommended that they be turned to the east. And when the altar is facing  west, as at Saint Peter’s in Rome, the celebrant must turn toward the orient and face the people. 

This bodily orientation of prayer is nothing other than the sign of an interior orientation. [. . .] Does the priest not invite the people of God to follow him at the beginning of the great Eucharistic prayer when he says” “Let us lift up our heart,” to which the people respond: “We turn it toward the Lord”?

As prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, I am intent upon recalling once again that celebration “versus orientem” is authorized by the rubrics of the Missal because it is of apostolic tradition. There is no need for particular authorization to celebrate in this way, people and priest, facing the Lord. If it is physically not possible to celebrate “ad orientem,” a cross must necessarily be placed on the altar, in plain sight, as a point of reference for all. Christ on the cross is the Christian East.


I refuse to waste time in opposing one liturgy to another, or the rite of Saint Pius V to that of Blessed Paul VI. What is needed is to enter into the great silence of the liturgy; one must allow oneself to be enriched by all the Latin or Eastern liturgical forms that favor silence. Without this contemplative silence, the liturgy will remain an occasion of hateful divisions and ideological confrontations instead of being the place of our unity and our communion in the Lord. It is high time to enter into this liturgical silence, facing the Lord, that the Council wanted to restore.

What I am about to say now does not enter into contradiction with my submission and obedience to the supreme authority of the Church. I desire profoundly and humbly to serve God, the Church, and the Holy Father, with devotion, sincerity, and filial attachment. But this is my hope: if God wills, when he may will and how he may will, in the liturgy, the reform of the reform will take place. In spite of the gnashing of teeth, it will take place, because the future of the Church is at stake.

Damaging the liturgy means damaging our relationship with God and the concrete expression of our Christian faith. The Word of God and the doctrinal teaching of the Church are still listened to, but the souls that want to turn to God, to offer him the true sacrifice of praise and worship him, are no longer captivated by liturgies that are too horizontal, anthropocentric, and festive, often resembling noisy and vulgar cultural events. The media have completely invaded and turned into a spectacle the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the memorial of the death of Jesus on the cross for the salvation of our souls. The sense of mystery disappears through changes, through permanent adaptations, decided in autonomous and individual fashion in order to seduce our modern profaning mentalities, marked by sin, secularism, relativism, and the rejection of God.

In many western countries, we see the poor leaving the Catholic Church because it is under siege by ill-intentioned persons who style themselves intellectuals and despise the lowly and the poor. This is what the Holy Father must denounce loud and clear. Because a Church without the poor is no longer the Church, but a mere “club.” Today, in the West, how many temples are empty, closed, destroyed, or turned into profane structures in disdain of their sacredness and their original purpose. So I know how many priests and faithful there are who live their faith with extraordinary zeal and fight every day to preserve and enrich the dwellings of God.


The book:

Robert Sarah avec Nicolas Diat, "La force du silence. Contre la dictature du bruit", Fayard, Paris, 2016.


English translation by Matthew Sherry, Ballwin, Missouri, U.S.A.