Tag Archive for: Catholic Church

Federal Court Rules in Favor of Catholic School Upholding Biblical View of Marriage

In a decision hailed by religious liberty advocates, a federal court is upholding a Catholic school’s right to require employees to conform to Catholic teachings when it fired a teacher for entering into a same-sex marriage.

The U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on Wednesday that a North Carolina Catholic school was within its rights to dismiss Lonnie Billard, a drama teacher and substitute English teacher at Charlotte Catholic High School (CCHS), after he announced he would be marrying another man. The court’s ruling said that “because Billard played a vital role as a messenger of CCHS’s faith,” the school could dismiss him from his position for contradicting Catholic moral teaching.

Billard announced on social media in 2014 that he intended to marry another man, shortly after the state legalized same-sex marriage. In response, CCHS dismissed Billard from his position for violating the Catholic Diocese of Charlotte’s employee policy prohibiting actions contrary to Catholic moral teaching. Billard and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) sued CCHS, the diocese, and Mecklenburg Area Catholic Schools for alleged Title VII violations. A district court ruled in favor of Billard in 2021, but that decision was reversed by Wednesday’s ruling.

Fourth Circuit Court Judge Pamela Harris, an Obama appointee, wrote Wednesday’s majority opinion. She found, “Although CCHS offers separate secular and religious classes, religion infuses daily life at the school.” She noted that the school is expressly devoted to teaching and furthering Catholic principles, citing the school’s motto and mission statement, as well as the diocesan mission statement. “CCHS’s expectations of its teachers extend beyond the classroom,” Harris wrote. “It does not require all its employees to be Catholic. But, Catholic or not, it requires its employees to conform to Catholic teachings: CCHS prohibits employees from engaging in or advocating for conduct contrary to the moral tenets of the Catholic faith, including the Catholic Church’s rejection of same-sex marriage.”

Although Harris said that, as an English and drama teacher, Billard “did not have a responsibility to educate his students explicitly in the Catholic faith,” she did note, “CCHS’s commitment to integrating faith throughout its curriculum meant that Billard had to account for religion in his classes.” CCHS had previously made numerous and even novel legal arguments to defend its actions, but Harris ultimately found that the school’s dismissal of Billard was protected by the “ministerial exception” to Title VII. “Because we conclude that Billard’s role at CCHS was ‘ministerial’ for purposes of the ministerial exception, we resolve the case on that ground,” she wrote.

The ”ministerial exception” bars the application of certain anti-discrimination laws to religious institutions when dealing with the hiring of its “ministers.” Of note, Harris stated, “The ministerial exception does not protect the church alone; it also confines the state and its civil courts to their proper roles.” Noting that certain religion-oriented disputes are beyond the authority of the courts, she wrote, “The First Amendment’s Religion Clauses … ‘bar the government from interfering’ with ministerial employment decisions or involving itself in ecclesiastical matters.” She clarified, “That means civil courts like ours are ‘bound to stay out’ of employment disputes involving ministers — those ‘holding certain important positions with churches and other religious institutions.’” Relying on U.S. Supreme Court precedent, Harris wrote, “We conclude that the school entrusted Billard with ‘vital religious duties,’ making him a ‘messenger’ of its faith and placing him within the ministerial exception.”

In response to the court’s decision, Arielle Del Turco, director of the Center for Religious Liberty at Family Research Council, told The Washington Stand, “It’s encouraging to see this decision from the appellate court. No religious schools should be required to employ individuals whose actions and advocacy violate the school’s core religious beliefs.” She continued, “The main point of sending your child to a religious school is for them to be formed in their faith and taught their classes through the lens of their faith. As such, it’s important for such schools to hire teachers that share and affirm that faith, inside and outside the classroom.”

Meg Kilgannon, Family Research Council’s senior fellow for Education Studies, agreed. “This decision is important for many reasons, but especially for parents and families who are seeking an educational setting outside the home that reflects their faith and values. In our secular society, that is increasingly difficult to find, even in ostensibly Christian organizations,” she told TWS. “Decisions like this one that reaffirm the school’s right to expect and demand agreement with major doctrinal questions are much appreciated. And as a parent, I would hope that Catholic schools would strive to have faithful and practicing Catholic teachers in every class, not just religion class.”

Kilgannon added, “This situation also reminds us of the important relationship teachers have with their students/our children. Even in a substitute teacher setting, the influence of adults on children is profound.” In fact, the court also addressed that point. Harris wrote that a religious institution’s instruction that employees abide by particular religious moral codes does not automatically place all employees within the ministerial exception. But, she added, “teachers are different.” Quoting the Supreme Court, she explained, “’[E]ducating young people in their faith, inculcating its teachings, and training them to live their faith are responsibilities that lie at the very core of the mission of a private religious school’ like CCHS.”

AUTHOR

S.A. McCarthy

S.A. McCarthy serves as a news writer at The Washington Stand.

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EDITORS NOTE: This Washington Stand column is republished with permission. All rights reserved. ©2024 Family Research Council.


The Washington Stand is Family Research Council’s outlet for news and commentary from a biblical worldview. The Washington Stand is based in Washington, D.C. and is published by FRC, whose mission is to advance faith, family, and freedom in public policy and the culture from a biblical worldview. We invite you to stand with us by partnering with FRC.

Pope Francis Wants Everyone Except the Men Protecting Him to Give Up Their Weapons

“Rome will be conquered in the near future, Allah willing.”

Great. It’s time for another call for “peace” that will be achieved by giving up all our weapons.

Pope Francis on Monday blasted the weapons industry and its “instruments of death” that fuel wars as he made a Christmas Day appeal for peace in the world and in particular between Israel and the Palestinians…

“It should be talked about and written about, so as to bring to light the interests and the profits that move the puppet strings of war,” he said. “And how can we even speak of peace, when arms production, sales and trade are on the rise?”

If he’s going to give up weapons, maybe start with telling the Swiss Guard to give up its “instruments of death”?

“For their protection and guard functions, the guards are equipped with Glock 19 and 26 automatic pistols, SIG 550 assault rifle (Stgw 90 ) and SIG 552 assault rifle (Commando), both in 5.56 mm x 45 caliber, OC-Spray and destabilizing devices (Taser X2). modernization of the already aging Stgw 90 (which was donated by the Swiss Army at the time), currently B&T APC 556 assault rifles and B&T APC 9 submachine guns are used.”

Beyond these, the only reason Vatican City isn’t overrun by guys with machine guns mounted on pickup trucks howling, “Allahu Akbar” is because there still is an Italian military, under the Lateran Treaty, such as it is, armed with some of those “instruments of death”.

Beyond it there’s the larger European community, NATO and the United States and all their instruments of death which serve as a guarantor of the security of the Vatican.

This is not a theoretical question.

Jihadists are obsessed with the idea of invading and conquering Rome to fulfill some of the genocidal prophecies of their cult.

On January 17, 2020, a video was uploaded to the Internet of an event at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem on the anniversary of the 1453 AD capture of Constantinople by the Ottoman Empire. The event was held by Hizb ut-Tahrir. Palestinian preacher Nidhal “Abu Ibrahim” Siam spoke before the crowd and said that the anniversary of the fall of Constantinople brings tidings that Rome will be conquered in the near future.

Nidhal Siam: “Oh Muslims, the anniversary of the conquest of Constantinople brings tidings of things to come. It brings tiding that Rome will be conquered in the near future, Allah willing.

Samir Zaqout, the head of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad’s Political Bureau in Gaza, said in a June 8, 2023 show on Al-Quds Al-Youm TV (Palestinian Islamic Jihad – Gaza) the Muslims will conquer Rome and Europe as the Prophet Muhammad foretold in the Hadith.” He said that this will happen “at its destined time.”

In a Friday sermon that aired on Hamas’ Al-Aqsa TV on April 11, 2008, Hamas MP and cleric Yunis Al-Astal said: “Very soon, Allah willing, Rome will be conquered, just like Constantinople was, as was prophesized by our Prophet Muhammad. Today, Rome is the capital of the Catholics, or the Crusader capital, which has declared its hostility to Islam, and has planted the brothers of apes and pigs [i.e., the Jews] in Palestine in order to prevent the reawakening of Islam – this capital of theirs will be an advance post for the Islamic conquests, which will spread through Europe in its entirety, and then will turn to the two Americas, and even Eastern Europe.

While Pope Francis encourages the Muslim migrants swarming into Europe to complete these genocidal “prophecies”, the only thing standing between Vatican City and an invasion are brave men armed with some of those “instruments of death.”

AUTHOR

EDITORS NOTE: This Jihad Watch column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Cardinal Convicted By Vatican Court In Historic First

The first cardinal to be successfully prosecuted by the Vatican criminal court was convicted of embezzlement and sentenced to over five years in prison Saturday, according to the Catholic News Agency.

Cardinal Angelo Becciu, the pope’s former chief of staff, was charged with embezzlement, abuse of office, conspiracy and witness tampering in July 2021 after he purchased a London investment property worth 350 million-euros (almost $382 million), according to the Catholic News Agency.

The 75-year-old cardinal, however, was only found guilty on several counts of embezzlement, with the Vatican court absolving the other charges, CBS News reported.

The trial, which lasted nearly two and a half years, sat for 86 sessions, with the Vatican’s court president Giuseppe Pignatone reading aloud the cardinal’s verdict Saturday, according to the Catholic News Agency. Along with Becciu’s sentencing to five and a half years in prison and a fine equivalent to $8,700, he will be permanently disqualified from holding public office, the outlet reported.

Becciu had reportedly used the London investment property to develop a former Harrods warehouse into luxury apartments, according to CBS News. Prosecutors accused Vatican clergy, including Becciu and brokers of cheating the Holy See out of tens of millions of euros, extorting the Vatican government for 15 million euros to control the building, the outlet reported.

Originally seeking prison terms from three to 13 years as well as damages of over 400 million euros, prosecutors in the case additionally accused the cardinal of sending 125,000 euros from the Vatican government’s fund to a Sardinian charity operated by his brother, CBS reported.

Along with Becciu, five others who were involved with the transactions regarding the investment property were sentenced to jail. Former Vatican employee Fabrizio Tirabassi was convicted of extortion and money-laundering, as well as Vatican financial consultant Enrico Crasso, who was found guilty on several charges, according to the Catholic News Agency.

The Italian businessman who brokered the last stages of the investment property, Gianluigi Torzi, was found guilty of extortion, and received a six-year sentence, the Catholic News Agency reported. The investment manager who had owned the London property, Raffaele Mincione, was also convicted of embezzlement and money laundering, receiving five years and six months of jail time, the outlet reported.

The final sentencing of three years and nine months was to security consultant Cecilia Marogna, who had been hired by the cardinal, according to the Catholic News Agency. Additional Vatican officials suspected of charges that included fraud, corruption and money laundering, were acquitted within the trial, the outlet reported. Overall, the Vatican court ordered the confiscation of the equivalent of more than $180 million, as well as a civil damages payment of more than $200 million from the defendants, the Catholic News Agency reported.

Becciu’s attorney, Fabio Viglione, confirmed they will be appealing the ruling.

AUTHOR

HAILEY GOMEZ

General assignment reporter.

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EDITORS NOTE: This Daily Caller column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Pope Francis’ Silence On Hamas

Pope Francis, terminally naïve about Islam, believes he has a true understanding of the faith based partly on the reassurances given him by his new friend, the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb. “War is deceit,” says Muhammad in a famous hadith, and Al-Tayeb has been cheerfully deceiving the Pope every chance he gets. Pope Francis has learned a lot from Al-Tayeb. He insists in his new book, Non Sei Solo: Sfide, Risposte, Speranze (You Are Not Alone: Challenges, Answers, Hopes), that “either you are a terrorist or you are a Muslim.” A “true” Muslim, he thinks, cannot be a terrorist. No one has pointed out to the Pope that Muhammad himself says in another hadith that “I have been made victorious through terror.” (Bukhari 4:52.220) And Muhammad is the Perfect Man and the Model of Conduct, whose behavior is to be emulated by Muslims.

Islam talks about peace, all right — the peace that will prevail once Islam everywhere dominates, and Muslims rule, everywhere. Until then war must be made on the Infidels, who when conquered must be either killed, or made to convert to Islam, or to accept the inferior status of dhimmis, enduring a host of social, political, and economic disabilities, including payment of the extortionate jizyah tax. In his infinite wisdom, the Pope has declared on many occasions, and in his latest book, too, that “Islam, in truth, is a religion of peace and the majority of its members are peaceful.” He’s wrong, of course. He need only look around the world at the Muslim terror groups that have been waging war against Infidels, and even against less fanatical Muslims, in recent years: the Islamic State, Al Qaeda, Hamas, Hezbollah, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Sipah-e-Sahaba, Boko Haram, Al-Shebaab, and so many more. Muslims have committed more than 44,000 terror attacks around the world since 9/11. The Qur’an is filled with verses about violence and waging war on Infidels. The Believers are instructed to “kill them [the Infidels] wherever you find them” (Qur’an 2:191, 4:89, cf. 9:5). But one has the distinct impression that the Pope has never read the Qur’an. Why should he bother to do so, when such authoritative experts on Islam like Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayyeb assure him that Islam is all about peace?

Given the Pope’s affection for Islam, it is not surprising that he has been circumspect in his remarks on the atrocities carried out by Hamas on October 7. More on his failure to forthrightly condemn those attacks, which is risking the Vatican’s relations with the Jewish world, can be found here: “The Vatican is risking its relationship with the Jewish world,” by Vittorio Mascarini, JNS, November 16, 2023:

Relations between Israel and the Vatican have become tense in recent weeks.

In the immediate aftermath of the Oct. 7 Hamas massacre, the Patriarchs and Heads of the Churches in Jerusalem, an ecumenical group of Christian leaders that includes the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, Cardinal Pierbattista Pizzaballa, issued a joint statement in which they made no explicit mention of the Hamas atrocities. They included only a vague condemnation of any act that targets civilians.

The Israeli embassy to the Holy See criticized the statement’s “immoral linguistic ambiguity,” which failed to be clear about “what happened, who were the aggressors and who the victims. … It is especially unbelievable that such a sterile document was signed by people of faith.”

This controversy is only the latest in the fraught history of Israel-Vatican relations, which were officially established in Dec. 1993. Besides the Catholic Church’s historical antisemitism, the Vatican was long reluctant to formally recognize Israel for several reasons: Israel did not have internationally recognized borders, the status of Jerusalem and access to its holy sites had not been internationally guaranteed, and Catholics and their institutions were, the Church claimed, not adequately protected under Israeli law.

In addition, the Vatican had concerns about the treatment of Palestinians in the disputed territories and feared that relations with Israel could have negative repercussions for Catholics in Islamic countries.

This may explain why, to date, Pope Francis has not labelled Hamas a terrorist organization and has not met with families of Israeli hostages. The latter has not gone unnoticed, especially because the families were received by many leading national figures, including Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni.

According to the Catholic news site Cruxnow, the pontiff’s behavior can be explained as “positioning the Vatican potentially to play a mediating and peace-making role.” In addition, “The bulk of the Christian population in the Holy Land is Arab and Palestinian, so Middle Eastern bishops and clergy tend to be strong supporters of the Palestinian cause.”

Given the deplorable treatment of Israel by the Vatican — of which the failure to condemn Hamas is just the latest example, it is doubtful that Jerusalem would accept the Vatican as a mediator between the Jewish state and those who would destroy it.

Moreover, Cruxnow sees a historic shift underway in terms of the Vatican’s interfaith priorities: “Since the Second Vatican Council in the mid-1960s, Judaism has been the Church’s primordial relationship, unquestionably the highest priority in inter-religious dialogue. Under history’s first pope from the developing world, that’s no longer necessarily the case, as other relationships, especially the dialogue with Islam, have become at least an equally compelling perceived priority.”

Given this, it is not surprising that, since war broke out, Pope Francis has spoken with numerous world leaders, including U.S. President Joe Biden, but there are no reports that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been among them.

Wouldn’t you think that after the worst attack on Jews since the Holocaust, the Pope would have wanted to speak with the leader of the Jewish state, if only to express his solidarity and understanding? But though the Pope has spoken with many world leaders about the ongoing war in Gaza, he has apparently snubbed the Israeli President. How does he hope to ever be a mediator if he will not talk to the Israeli prime minister?

The larger Catholic world has shown equal ambivalence towards the war. Among Eastern Catholic leaders, the Latin Catholic and Eastern churches in communion with Rome have issued what Israel deems a lukewarm and insufficient condemnations of Hamas. Their first communiqué, issued on Oct. 8, contained a generic statement “against any acts that target civilians, regardless of their nationality.” The next, on Oct. 13, decried the humanitarian situation in Gaza and called for de-escalation. It singled out only Israel in connection with humanitarian issues….

Instead of deploring the Hamas atrocities, the Eastern Catholic leaders uttered a generic condemnation “against any acts that target civilians.” They were afraid of the Muslim reaction if they singled out Hamas — as they should have — which would, however, make the lives of Catholics in the Arab countries more difficult. And just like Pope Francis, they did not mention the 240 hostages held by Hamas, or call for their release.

The Pope has to understand that the Jews of Israel now deserve his unambiguous support as they fight to destroy a murderous enemy that has pledged not only to destroy the single Jewish state and replace it with a twenty-third Arab one, but to kill Jews everywhere. No moral equivalency should be allowed. And he must also denounce, as he has not yet done so, the tidal wave of antisemitism, prompted in part by the war in Gaza, that threatens to engulf much of the world. He needs first to unambiguously denounce Hamas and all those who support the terror group. But will he? The signs from this Pope, who believes “Islam is all about peace,” are not good.

So far, Pope Francis has been weighed and found wanting.

AUTHOR

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EDITORS NOTE: This Jihad Watch column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Pope Francis Declares ‘Gender Ideology’ As ‘Dangerous’ To Civilization

Pope Francis said in an interview published Friday that “gender ideology” is among the “most dangerous ideological colonizations” today, according to a recent interview with La Nacion, an Argentinian media outlet.

The pope has made waves recently with some of his comments on LGBTQ issues, most recently saying that homosexuality, while a sin, should not be criminalized. Francis said that “gender ideology” has created one of the most “dangerous” ideologies in recent history because of the way it blurs the lines between men and women, according to a translation of his remarks to La Nacion by the Catholic News Agency.

Francis explained that “all humanity is the tension of differences” and worried about how “gender ideology” had virtually eliminated those differences between men and women.

“Why is it dangerous?” Francis said. “Because it blurs differences and the value of men and women. The question of gender is diluting the differences and making the world the same, all dull, all alike, and that is contrary to the human vocation.”

The pope said that the idea of allowing people to identify as male, female or nonbinary reminded him of a 1907 book titled “Lord Of The World” by Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson. Francis explained the book showed a future where “differences are disappearing” and all things become “uniform.”

Francis also dispelled rumors that he had been asked to write a document on the topic of gender, noting that he “always distinguish[es] between what pastoral care is for people who have a different sexual orientation and what gender ideology is,” according to La Nacion. The pope called people who believe that radical gender ideology is “the path of progress” rather “naive.”

Francis has been criticized in the past due to remarks he has made about transgenderism and acceptance of same-sex marriage, according to the Catholic News Agency. In 2020, the pope said that he would be in favor of a “civil union law” for same-sex couples, and in January 2022 encouraged parents to not “condemn” their children over sexual orientation.

Most recently, he criticized the Church for becoming caught up in political debates, warning that the “Gospel is not an ideology.”

“[T]he Gospel is a proclamation that touches your heart and makes you change your heart, but if you take refuge in an idea, in an ideology, whether right or left or centre, you are making the Gospel a political party, an ideology, a club of people,” the pope said.

The Vatican did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

AUTHOR

KATE ANDERSON

Contributor.

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EDITORS NOTE: This Daily Caller column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.


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Repentance for Sin and Sacramental Absolution

Thomas G. Weinandy, OFM, Cap.: We need evermore deeply to repent of our sins, confess them humbly, and resolve more ardently never to commit them again.


It’s been widely reported that Pope Francis told seminarians from Barcelona, Spain, in an unscripted talk, that they must not “be clerical, to forgive everything.”  Such must be the case even “if we see that there is no intention to repent, we must forgive all.”  In denying “absolution” to someone who is unrepentant, “we become a vehicle for an evil, unjust, and moralistic judgment.”  Priests who withhold absolution to the unrepentant are “delinquents.”

At one point, Francis referred to such priests, whom he finds detestable, in a crude and obscene manner. (For an example of the reporting, click here.)

The scenario, as portrayed by Francis, of an unrepentant sinner going to Confession is extremely rare.  It does, nonetheless, pose an important doctrinal issue.

The sacrament of Penance or Reconciliation is a sacrament of God’s mercy.  Although baptism cleanses the faithful from all sin, it is readily evident that we continue to sin, and sometimes we may commit mortal sins, which separate us from God.  To obtain God’s merciful forgiveness for such serious sins, we are obliged to confess our sins within the sacrament of Penance.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church states: “Christ instituted the sacrament of Penance for all sinful members of the Church: above all for those who, since Baptism, have fallen into grave sin, and have thus lost their baptismal grace.” (¶ 1446).  God’s mercy is always present within the sacrament of Reconciliation.

That being said, there is, nonetheless, a prerequisite condition on the part of the sinner for obtaining God’s merciful pardon – the need for sorrowful repentance and the desire not to sin again.  Quoting the Council of Trent, the Catechism declares: “Among the penitent’s acts contrition occupies first place.  Contrition is ‘sorrow of the soul and detestation for the sin committed, together with the resolution not to sin again’” (¶1451).  Moreover, The Code of Canon Law states that, for penitents to receive “the saving remedy of the sacrament of penance, they must be so disposed that, repudiating the sins they have committed and having the purpose of amending their lives, they turn back to God.” (Canon 987)

Pope Francis’s impromptu declaration that absolution should be given even to those who are unrepentant is absolutely contrary to the Church’s living apostolic tradition, one that is found in the Catechism, and has been defined by the Council of Trent and enshrined in Canon Law.

The question can, nonetheless, be asked: Why is repentance (and the intention not to sin again) necessary for receiving sacramental absolution by the ministry of the priest?  Is there an intrinsic inter-relationship between repentance and absolution?  Or is the need for repentance merely an arbitrary law instituted by the Church, and so not essential to receiving sacramental absolution?

Pope Francis, it would seem, affirms the latter.

If a person were not sorry for his/her sins, it would seem obvious that sacramental absolution could not be given.  The desire for sacramental absolution implies and presupposes that penitents recognize that they have sinned and now wish that God, in his compassionate mercy, will forgive them.

God’s merciful forgiveness is ever-present within the sacrament of Reconciliation, and the priest is ever-willing to absolve sins, most of all, mortal sins.  Yet, it is sacramentally impossible to obtain God’s loving and merciful forgiveness, if one is not repentant for the sins committed.

While Francis may want to be merciful by suggesting that unrepentant sin be absolved, he is, nonetheless, morally “delinquent,” since the person continues to remain guilty of the sins that he or she committed.  Such is particularly the case, if one is in mortal sin.  Thus, the pope’s exhortation is pastorally irresponsible and could be spiritually deadly, for unrepentant persons may think they were absolved when, in fact, they were not.

The Scriptures bear witness to the obligatory relationship between repentance and forgiveness.  Mark’s Gospel tells us that after John had been arrested, Jesus went into Galilee and proclaimed: “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent, and believe in the gospel.” (Mk. 14-15)  Repentance is requisite for entering into God’s kingdom, for it is a kingdom of God’s merciful forgiveness and the source of a holy life.

In Luke’s Gospel, Jesus narrates the parable of the Prodigal Son.  The younger son asks for his share of his father’s inheritance.  Having received it, he goes off into a far country where he lives a profligate sinful life.  When he came to his senses, he realizes that he needs to repent and return to his father, “I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him. ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you.’” (Lk. 15:18)

Upon seeing his son at a distance, the merciful father rushes out to greet him, and lovingly, with rejoicing, takes him back into his household.  Yes, the father was merciful, but the father could only manifest his mercy when his delinquent son returned to him in repentance.  If he had not returned, the father would have never been able to enact his ever-compassionate mercy.

The same is true with regard to God our Father.  Unless we return to him in repentance, he is incapable of enacting his merciful pardon by means of the sacrament of forgiveness.  Pope Francis, by separating the human act of repentance from the divine act of forgiveness, has made God’s mercy null and void.

In light of all of the above, the lesson for all of us is that we need evermore deeply to repent of our sins, confess them humbly, and resolve more ardently never to commit them again.  In so doing, the sacramental absolution of the priest will marvelously manifest to us the ever-present abundant mercy of God the Father, made visible in Jesus Christ his Son, and sealed in the love of the Holy Spirit.

You may also enjoy:

David W. Fagerberg’s A Good Death

Fr. Timothy V. Vaverek’s Without ‘Metanoia’ We Perish

AUTHOR

Fr. Thomas G. Weinandy, OFM, Cap.

Thomas G. Weinandy, OFM, a prolific writer and one of the most prominent living theologians, is a former member of the Vatican’s International Theological Commission. His newest book is the third volume of Jesus Becoming Jesus: A Theological Interpretation of the Gospel of John: The Book of Glory and the Passion and Resurrection Narratives

Iraqi government blocked Jews from attending pope’s interfaith service, Vatican silently went along

Associated Press reported Saturday: “The Vatican said Iraqi Jews were invited to the event but did not attend, without providing further details.”

Now we know the rest of the story. And so it is clear yet again: interfaith outreach and dialogue all go one way, and result in the Christian side becoming mute about Muslim persecution of Christians, and ultimately becoming less Christian altogether, and more accepting of Islamic mores it should know better than to accept, such as deeply-rooted Islamic antisemitism. The pope didn’t dare say anything about this, because speaking out might have jeopardized his meeting with Sistani and whole visit to Iraq. So what did that visit accomplish? Nothing and less than nothing.

“Iraq Bars Jews From Pope’s Interfaith Event,”

by Jules Gomes, Church Militant, March 8, 2021 (thanks to Tom):

NASSIRIYA, Iraq (ChurchMilitant.com) – Jewish leaders are slamming Pope Francis’ silence on Iraq’s anti-Semitic policies after it emerged that the Iraqi government blocked Jews from attending the pontiff’s interfaith service at the birthplace of Abraham.

A delegation of Jews was unable to attend the “Abrahamic” event even though the Vatican had invited the representatives to be present because “the Iraqi government stymied efforts for any Jews to travel to Iraq,” the Jerusalem Post reported Sunday.

Multiple Jewish sources confirmed to Church Militant the veracity of the Jerusalem Post’s report explaining that Iraq may have barred the Jewish delegation because Iraq does not officially recognize Israel and there are no relations between the two states.

Vatican Questioned for Its Silence

Freddie Dalah, an Iraqi Jew who fled Iraq for Britain years ago, asked Church Militant why “the pope, using this great opportunity, did not take the Iraqi government to task regarding the conspicuous absence of any prominent Jews as a delegation for their community?”

“The absence of Jews from the event confirms the Vatican’s historic silence when it comes to the ethnic cleansing of the Jews not only from Europe but from the Middle East as well,” Dalah observed. “Sincerely, a bit more shrewdness in managing the diplomatic situation regarding the absence of the Jewish community would not have gone amiss.”

Speaking to Church Militant, Iraqi-born Edwin Shuker, vice president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, said he “genuinely believed that the Vatican was misled by the Iraqi government into thinking that there will be a Jewish presence in Ur.”

“The Iraqi government, who intended to do so, recently changed their mind in case the Jewish delegation has links with Israel,” Shuker said, “but they could not find local Jewish representatives and ended up with a wasted opportunity.”

Shuker and his family fled to the United Kingdom in 1971 amid rising tensions, with dozens of Iraqi Jews executed on spurious charges, but regularly travels back to Iraq, working to preserve Jewish shrines and sites to maintain links between Iraq and its displaced Jewish community.

The Vatican “made it a point of telling journalists” that it had invited representatives of Iraq’s Jewish community to attend “despite the fact that Muslims violently purged the Jews from the country decades ago,” wrote Yakir Benzion.

“The Vatican didn’t bother telling the reporters why none showed up,” remarked Benzion, from United with Israel — the world’s largest pro-Israel online community.

“I am sad that the Iraqi government prevented Jews, Abraham’s children, from participating in what was meant to be a prayer for peace,” lamented well-known Rabbi Elchanan Poupko of the Rabbinical Council of America.

Asking why a rabbi was not present at the birthplace of Abraham as part of the papal event, Middle East analyst, writer and peace activist Yoni Michanie said Francis should have spoken up and also remembered the “tens of thousands of Iraqi Jews who were ethnically cleansed in the late 1940s.”

On Saturday, Church Militant reported the conspicuous absence of Jews from the Ur event, quoting Jewish anthropologist Karen Harradine, who said she found it “insulting to us Jews that we were not included by those who used the birthplace of our first patriarch, Abraham, to virtue signal and mumble meaningless platitudes about healing.”…

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EDITORS NOTE: This Jihad Watch column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Vatican conference to promote Mary as ‘model for faith and life for Christianity and Islam’

Does the Vatican really think that this will increase harmony and mutual respect between Muslims and Christians? Vatican top dogs should consider a statement of the Muslim Brotherhood theorist Sayyid Qutb:

“The chasm between Islam and Jahiliyyah [the society of unbelievers] is great, and a bridge is not to be built across it so that the people on the two sides may mix with each other, but only so that the people of Jahiliyyah may come over to Islam.”

Dialogue, in other words, is all too often for the Islamic side a means of dawah, Islamic proselytizing, not a genuine discussion. In the Qur’an, the Virgin Mary gives birth to Jesus, but it is stated that he is not the Son of God (19:35), not divine (5:17), and was not crucified (4:157), and thus could not be and is not the savior and redeemer of the world. Do these Vatican officials really think that their Muslim interlocutors will discard what the Qur’an tells them and move closer to the Christian view? Or are they discarding the Christian view of Mary (and hence of Jesus) themselves, so as not to offend their “dialogue” partners? Almost certainly.

“Leave them; they are blind guides. And if a blind man leads a blind man, both will fall into a pit.” (Matthew 15:14)

“Vatican to organize conference promoting Mary as ‘model for faith’ for both Christianity and Islam,” by Jeanne Smits, LifeSite News, February 16, 2021:

February 16, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) — “Mary, a model for faith and life for Christianity and Islam:” is the title of an upcoming series of online webinars presenting Our Lady as a bridge between Catholicism and Islam organized, among others, by the Pontifical Academy of Mary (Pontificia Academia Mariana Internationalis or PAMI).

Starting on February 18, ten weekly conferences will be given jointly by Catholic and Muslim speakers who will seek “dialogue, knowledge and cooperation” regarding themes such as “Mary, a woman of faith,” “God who is love and faith,” prayer, purity, hospitality and non-violence, fasting and penitence, fraternity and citizenship.

The Franciscan pontifical University of Rome, the “Antonianum,” is another co-organizer of the event through its Duns Scot Chair of Mariological Studies as well as the International Islamic-Christian Marian Commission and the Grand Mosque of Rome and its Islamic Cultural Center of Italy.

The Italian weekly Famiglia Christiana presented the event in the light of the Abu Dhabi declaration, illustrating its article on Saturday with a photo of Pope Francis signing the Human Fraternity Document together with Imam al-Tayyeb of the Al-Azhar University of Cairo.

Quoting at length from the Document, Gian Matteo Roggio commented: “The course of these webinars is therefore aimed at active, free, conscious, solidary and popular participation in the opening of this space of intersection, interconnection, hospitable reception, thus meeting the explicit requests of Pope Francis and the Grand Imam of Al-Azahr, the noble Sheikh Ahmad Al-Tayyeb.”

Readers of Famiglia Christiana in Italy are being asked to believe this: “The figure of Mary, a Jewish, Christian and Muslim woman, belongs by right and by fact to the path, the processes and the experiences that contribute to the generation of such an educational path, which makes a positive and confident wager on the embrace between generations and on a new politics and economy, where countries do not need to build their identity on contempt and on systematic negation, whether overt or covert, of the other and of others: an identity, that is, at the expense of the dissimilar and ready to identify in the other the cause of all the ills, failures, limitations and problems that instead have their multiple causes elsewhere. Belonging to these three religious and multi-cultural worlds (Judaism, Christianity, Islam), the figure of Mary is in itself a pressing and constant invitation to intersect and interconnect these same worlds, even making them a model of plural coexistence where the boundaries of each are made to allow communication, passage, exchange; and not to be closed, according to the many figures of exclusion that have, as their fruit, the culture, psychology, politics and economics of war, hatred and inhumanity.”

In the same grandiloquent style, Roggio added: “The webinars will end during the month of Ramadan with ‘the dates of Mary’ in the Conference Hall of the Great Mosque of Rome (health situation permitting): in memory of what is stated in the Holy Quran (Sura 19,22-26), namely that after giving birth near the trunk of a palm tree, she was called by the newborn child who told her ‘Do not be sad […] shake the trunk of the palm tree towards you and it will drop fresh and ripe dates on you. So eat them,’ a meal of friendship and fraternity will be shared once the sun goes down, as a tangible pact of alliance for the service to the common good of all, no one excluded, in obedience to the ‘understanding of the great divine grace that makes all human beings brothers’ (Document on human brotherhood for world peace and common coexistence).”

Roggio, the author of these very pro-Islamic lines, is not simply a journalist, he is a member of the religious order, the Missionaries of Our Lady of La Salette. He studied Mariology at the Pontifical Academy of Mary and is now a professor at the same institution. Roggio will be giving the lecture on “God who is love and mercy” on February 25, together with Islamic theologian Shahrzad Houshmand Zadeh, who teaches at the Gregoriana Pontifical University.

Roggio’s words therefore clearly express the spirit of the coming Islamo-Christian webinars: a spirit of profound relativism and misleading equation between the Catholic faith and Muslim beliefs.

The real question is this one: is the Virgin Mary whom we Catholics honor as the Mother of Jesus, only Son of God and the Word Incarnate, the same person as the woman named “Miriam” by the Quran? Is her son, Îssa, the Quranic equivalent of Jesus? He would then be a “Jesus” who could not in any way be the Son of God, because, the Quran proclaims, such an idea is “something monstrous” and that “it is not fitting for the Most Merciful to have a son.”…

EDITORS NOTE: This Jihad Watch column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

On the Nature of Complicity

Randall Smith: In the future, will America’s bishops renounce their failure to condemn politicians who support abortion as German bishops have recently done for their former support of Nazism?


In a column last year titled “Politicizing the Eucharist?” I pointed out that no one now claims that when Archbishop Rummel of New Orleans excommunicated three Catholics for publically encouraging people to defy his order to de-segregate the Catholic schools, he was “politicizing the Eucharist.”  Rather, Rummel is now praised highly for his singular courage, especially since his condemnation was so contrary to the more “accommodating” views of many of his fellow southern Catholics.

I also mentioned Cardinal Adolf Bertram, the ex-officio head of the German episcopate in the 1930s, who ordered Church bells rung in celebration of Nazi Germany’s victories over Poland and France and who sent greetings to Hitler on his 50th birthday in the name of all German Catholics, an act that angered his fellow bishops Konrad von Preysing and August von Galen.

The subject of whether the bishops should speak out publically against the treatment of the Jews arose at a 1942 meeting of the German bishops at Fulda. The consensus was “to give up heroic action in favor of small successes.”  In the 1933 Reichskonkordat between the Holy See and the German government, Church leaders pledged to refrain from speaking out on issues not directly related to the Church.  Repeated violations of the Konkordat on the part of the government, including closing churches and church schools, did not change their minds. And it also didn’t keep bishops like Bertram from endorsing government actions they favored, such as opposition to communism and the subjugation of Poland.

If you imagine I am being too tough on these German bishops, then perhaps you should read the twenty-three-page report made public last May by Germany’s Council of Catholic Bishops in which they admitted “complicity” by their predecessors who did not do enough to oppose the rise of Nazi regime and its mistreatment of Jews.

In eighty or ninety years, will future U.S. bishops be submitting a similar document of their own, confessing the “complicity” of their predecessors who did not do enough to oppose the abortion regime?  Will Catholics of that time be as baffled about our present bishops and prominent Catholic politicians as we are about the accommodationist Catholics of Nazi Germany?

How could Catholics of that time have failed to understand the evil staring them in the face? And why did they “accommodate” a regime that had labeled Christianity, and Catholics in particular, as “enemies of the state”?  Was it perhaps because so many leaders of the regime had been raised Catholic and some were still rosary-carrying church-goers?

Who, in retrospect, would not look back in shame at a German bishop who called questioning the Catholic commitments of Catholic Nazi leaders “offensive because they constitute an assault on the meaning of what it is to be Catholic.” Because “being Catholic means loving the Church; being Catholic means participating in the sacramental life of the church; being a Catholic means trying to transform the world by the light of the Gospel”?

And yet those are the words of our own Bishop McElroy of San Diego about those who question Joe Biden’s Catholicism.

And we transform the world in the light of the Gospel how?  Is it not by opposing the killing of innocent human beings?

In retrospect, we would suspect that a bishop who had said about the treatment of Jews, as Bishop McElroy has about abortion, that “To reduce that magnificent, multidimensional gift of God’s love to a single question of public policy is repugnant and should have no place in public discourse” had little or no serious concern for the lives being lost.  “Sure, abortion is bad, but what about global warming!”  “Sure the ill-treatment of Jews is unfortunate, but what about the future of Europe!” Wouldn’t we consider that to be repugnant?

What would anyone say now about a Catholic politician as prominent as Mario Cuomo if, during the 1930s in Germany, he had said:  “I accept the Church’s teaching about Jews, but must I insist others do so?  Our public morality. . .the moral standards we maintain for everyone, not just the ones we insist on in our private lives – depends on a consensus view of right and wrong.  The values derived from religious belief will not and should not be accepted as part of the public morality unless they are shared by the pluralistic community at large by consensus.” That statement would have worked equally well for Catholic segregationists in the American South.

If that Catholic politician in 1930s Germany had available to him the “seamless garment” argument used by Mr. Cuomo, he might have said, “I grant that the treatment of Jews may have a unique significance but not a preemptive significance.”  “The Jewish question is an important issue for Catholics, but so is the question of the injustice of the reparation payments we have been forced to make along with all the resulting hunger and homelessness and joblessness, all the forces diminishing human life and threatening to destroy it.”

All the forces diminishing human life and threatening to destroy it?  Like . . . oh, I don’t know . . . abortion?

Who, in retrospect now, wouldn’t find such a “Catholic” politician either an obvious liar or a delusional hack?

If you find my comparison between the Catholics who enabled the Nazis and modern Catholics who enable abortion troubling, perhaps you should read Anne Applebaum’s article in The Atlantic titled “History Will Judge the Complicit.” Take out all the tendentious stuff about the numbers at Trump’s inauguration and a phone call with the Ukrainian ambassador and replace it with Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden’s support for abortion and for policies that result in the closure of faithful Catholic institutions, and then change the title to “On the Nature of Complicity: Abortion’s Catholic Enablers and the Judgment of History.”

That judgment is unlikely to be any kinder to them than it has been to their German predecessors.

COLUMN BY

Randall Smith

Randall B. Smith is a tenured Full Professor of Theology. His book Reading the Sermons of Thomas Aquinas: A Guidebook for Beginners is available from Emmaus Press. And his book Aquinas, Bonaventure, and the Scholastic Culture at Paris: Preaching, Prologues, and Biblical Commentary is due out from Cambridge University Press in the fall.

EDITORS NOTE: This The Catholic Thing column is republished with permission. © 2020 The Catholic Thing. All rights reserved. For reprint rights, write to: info@frinstitute.org. The Catholic Thing is a forum for intelligent Catholic commentary. Opinions expressed by writers are solely their own.

VIDEO: The Vortex — Gay Democratic Bishops

Actual honesty would be refreshing.

TRANSCRIPT

It’s not really shocking that, in a political landscape dominated by identity politics, certain “types” would gravitate around one party or another, one candidate or another. It’s not really hard and fast — or a guarantee — but the Marxist media assures us it is the case, so it must be true. Remember, even a blind squirrel finds a nut every now and then.

So, buzzing around the Biden-Harris ticket are child-murderers; homosexual activists; climate-change fanatics; illegal-immigration, open-border enthusiasts; poorly catechized Catholics and so forth. You know — the Marxists. Trump, of course, has pretty much the other end of the spectrum: Patriots, pro-lifers, religious-minded and so forth. You know — actual Americans.

There is some crossover (but not much, particularly in the increasingly polarized society). But there’s another group that kind of gets to fly under the radar, but which really bears much closer scrutiny. That group is the U.S. bishops. And that body deserves much scrutiny because of the disproportionate influence they have over voters.

It’s not that the individual Catholic voter hangs on every word emanating from the U.S. hierarchy (thank God), but they have created an environment through decades of deceit, deception and distortion that gives the impression that the Catholic Church aligns better with the Democratic Party than Republicans.

But it doesn’t. Not even close. The Democratic Party platform supports outright intrinsic evils while also denying natural law. But there are bishops in the U.S. who are all down with that evil, and Church Militant thinks that those bishops should just come clean and stop hiding behind each other’s skirts.

We all know that a sizable number of clergy are homosexual. Even James Martin admits that. Heck, he even upbraided them and said they all need to come out of the closet and fess up. You’ll rarely hear this out of Church Militant’s mouth, but we agree with Martin. He should start with himself: Admit it or deny it, Father — come on.

But he is certainly not alone. How about Lexington, Kentucky bishop John Stowe. How about it Bishop? Are you a homosexual? We mean, why should you get to abuse your office to promote all kinds of moral filth, pretending you don’t have a dog in the fight. You house the anti-Catholic “Fortunate Families” outfit in your diocese, you speak at gay conferences like New Ways Ministry and you even share the stage with known homopredator clerics. But that sexual abuse is okay, right — because it’s all in “the family”?

Look, if you’re a big, ol’ queen, fine. We can use that as a jumping-off point to start talking about all this. But until you come clean, you can’t be taken seriously because you’re fundamentally dishonest and untrustworthy. And is there anything else that can be said more disgraceful of a successor of the Apostles?

So when you publish social media posts about how evil President Trump is, why should anyone listen? You haven’t shown your cards — and we suspect you may have two or three queens. Speaking of gay bishops, how about Joseph Bambera of Scranton, Pennsylvania who has had James Martin in the diocese so many times to promote sodomy that it raises questions about what’s really going on there.

Bambera is so effeminate that some of his own clergy call him “Bambi,” and Bambera has been outed previously by Church Militant as a registered Democrat. You know, a card-carrying member of the party that hacks up little children and sells their pieces for profits and also promotes gay sex like nobody’s business.

Giving Bambi the benefit of a doubt in presuming he doesn’t actually support the chopping up of little babies, whatever could be his reason for remaining in the party? While abortion is the religion of the Marxists, taxpayer-supported, non-stop, constitutionally protected gay sex is a really close second. So why would any bishop be a Democrat and throw his support behind child murderers and gay sex? To protect the spotted owl? Seriously? Come on!

These exact same questions can be asked of Cupich in Chicago, McElroy in San Diego, Tobin in Newark and in quite a number of other places, some of which might escape scrutiny the first time around. The question is simple: Are you gay? Yes or No? Given the current climate in the Church and the world, every single Catholic has a right to know that.

Long gone are the days when bishops could be trusted — many of them even admit that. Good. At least that’s a start. We won’t go into the reasons we can’t believe you or trust you; the list would need two eternities to be read aloud in its entirety. But a major reason you can’t be trusted is because so many of you are homosexuals in hiding, working to destroy the Church from within. And you need to say out loud, all of you (which I suspect is a pretty sizable number, if you are homosexual.

A simple “yes” or “no” would do. But of course, that will open up another set of questions for those of you who are gay. For example, how much do you let your sexual inclinations and attractions influence your politics, doctrine and well, frankly, your personal lives? It’s abominable, given your track record, that you think we don’t have a right to know this.

Of course we do. Faithful Catholics should be picketing your residences and chanceries demanding to know if you are homosexual. Much of the gay world supports the Democratic Party and brain-dead Biden. But you already know that, of course. You hate the religious air that surrounds the Republican Party, even if it is thin, questionable or even somewhat imagined.

You gay bishops hate God. You hate Scripture. James Martin even tweeted out that the Bible does say homosexuality is wrong and bad and all, but he added the Bible is wrong. Most importantly, you hate the Church. Admittedly, some of you have this love-hate relationship with the Church — you live with a tortured conscience, longing to have sex with men, maybe even actually doing so, but also knowing it’s wrong. And you are unable to come to terms with the inner conflict.

You need to resign. You need to get out now and save your soul. And if you need a little help, then call on the laity. You all may not like it but what the Era of Trump has caused is the great unmasking — pun intended. Everyone is now learning where everyone else stands on everything, and as a result, everyone is realigning themselves.

We think that all you bishops should join the party. Come out of the closet. Like you buddy Jimmy says, come screaming out and declare what you are. It’s probably safe to say that — while there would be a few surprises — most of you aren’t gonna shock any of us. We already know who you are by the way you direct your politics.

We know many of you ran deep into the closet in seminary and have made a pretty comfortable life for yourselves. Well, time’s up. Many of you are gay Democrats, which admittedly is kind of redundant. But regardless, your people need to start asking you. They need to go up to you after Mass (whether it’s in Detroit, New York, Washington, D.C. or Fort Worth, and flat out ask you, “Are you gay?”

If there was ever a time for total exposure in the Church, this is the time. What the faithful need to understand is a large number of these men are more gay than they are Catholic, and they are doing everything they can think of to get you to vote Democrat. It’s just helpful to know where a person stands. Nothing wrong with that, right your excellencies? A little actual honesty would be refreshing.

EDITORS NOTE: This Church Militant video is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

The Vortex — Directly Over the Target — Bombs away!

TRANSCRIPT

Church Militant (a 501(c)4 corporation) is responsible for the content of this commentary.

The old expression “the enemy only fires back when you are directly over the target” would mean that the Marxists in the Church — especially in the hierarchy — are getting bombed right now. These crooks have decided to give fake-Catholic Biden a pass on his evil and the wickedness of the entire Democratic establishment, and the real Catholics are ticked off and letting them know.

In truth, there’s no doubt some of the bishops are actually scared — terrified — of ticking off the Harris-Biden ticket, and yes, we all know: That is the actual order of the ticket. Even Biden says it. And so did Harris. The bishops are scared because the ground is shifting considerably as Catholics begin to wake up. Within the ranks of bishops, the word is going out that the rebellion against their tyranny must be put down.

This explains the massing of forces of Marxist Catholics to throw down for Biden. The so-called Catholics for Biden initiative is a rogues’ gallery of phony Catholics like Carolyn Woo. Woo used to head up the leftist-posing-as-Catholic “Catholic Relief Services” (CRS).

We caught up with her a few years ago after she gave a brainwashing session at an Ohio parish, duping ignorant laity. For some reason, she didn’t want to answer our questions, and her handlers tried (unsuccessfully) to sneak her out a side door.

CRS, a favorite of the U.S. hierarchy, takes gobs of your tax dollars and spends them on projects around the world, partnering with abortion providers and contraceptive providers in Third World countries, pretending it’s all about poverty.

Well, it sort of is. Their philosophy is to eliminate poverty by eliminating the poor. So it really is altogether fitting that such a woman would sit on the board of Catholics for Biden. But she’s just one of many in the Marxist Catholic establishment throwing their weight around, lying about Biden being acceptable to Catholics. He’s not.

A couple evenings ago, Newark cardinal Joesph Tobin came out swinging for Biden. And just a recap as some of His Eminence’s highlights, he got caught tweeting out the now famous, “Nighty nite baby. I love you” tweet to his general account by accident, later claiming it referred to his sister.

Remember, Tobin owes his appointment to Newark to homosexual molester Theodore McCarrick, as testified to by Abp. Viganò. And then there was the revolting case of a known gay Italian model who was living in his residence — paid for by collection-plate money — who bolted back to Italy as soon as Church Militant and others exposed it.

When questioned about why he was living with Cdl. Tobin, the official response was he was a foreign student studying English at Seton Hall. When questioned about why he couldn’t live with the thousands of other students on campus, no response.

This man came out with his thinly veiled support for Biden — another supporter of sodomy-as-marriage — on a Zoom conference hosted by Boston College. Birds of a feather really do flock together, don’t they?

Trump really is remarkable. In less than four years, he has managed to get every one of these snakes to slither out from under their rocks and completely reveal themselves. It’s very important to know who the enemy is. Thank you, Mr. President.

The forming of all these phony Catholic groups, the actions of Marxist bishops trying to suppress good priests — all of this is attributable directly to Trump. Although mischaracterized, even the student paper at homosexuality loving Jesuit Fordham University in New York admits this in a recent op-ed entitled, “Trump Creates a Schism in the Catholic Church.”

That’s a real knee-slapper. Trump did not create the schism in the Church (which is very real) any more than Church Militant caused the division in the Church that bishops love to accuse us of. Both Trump and Church Militant have only brought to light the existing formerly-in-the-shadows reality. Good working with you, Mr. President. Thanks for the help. Let us know if we can help you.

Still, the media cannot keep their paws out of this story. A headline from just the day before last from a Minnesota outlet reads, “Two Renegade Priests: One Calls COVID Sham, One Says Dems Face Hell.” Notice how they can’t resist labeling them “renegade” for calling out the truth?

Imagine how life would be under that Harris-Biden administration for actual Catholics. We were all sitting around talking here in the studios a short while ago, and I was saying, “I’ve been doing this kind of work all my life, and I have never seen this level of engagement by the Catholic apostate, heretic, Marxist, dissident crowd.”

They are losing control of the narrative. And what’s more, they know it. However, their narrative has always been built on lies. And truth — that pesky little thing — it always finds a way of coming out. And, moreover, once it gets out, look out. It changes everything.

The Tobins, Martins and Woos of the world, along with all their other evil allies, have brought about the almost-complete destruction of the Church through a series of lies and lies built on lies. And now, truth is coming out, and they have become desperate. And it is looking more and more like the truth is busting out everywhere and being reflected all over the political world.

Trump rallies are, once again, the hottest ticket in town with thousands showing up. The Marxist media continues to lie, almost to the point of hysterical. In a Twitter side-by-side posting, you see on the right a picture from Latino voters at a Trump event. The other side shows that CBS grabbed the picture and captioned it as Biden appealing to Latino voters while campaigning in Florida.

The actual picture — before CBS cropped it — showed loads of Trump people in the crowd. Who knew so many MAGA people showed up at Biden rallies? If it weren’t so evil, you’d be rolling in the aisles. But when evil is pushing back this hard — and the Marxists in the Church are linked arm in arm with them — you just know that you are right over the target.

A month ago, the Marxist polls were showing a virtual blowout for Harris-Biden. Then, right after the conventions, their lies had to start being rolled back because Judgment Day, Nov. 3, will expose all. So after being told for months that Biden was going to crush Trump — after racism, COVID, injustice, climate, impeachment, economy, you name it — all of a sudden, the Marxist media had to start saying the polls were tightening (especially in battleground states).

Amazing how Trump came storming back out of nowhere to draw to a tie all over the map. That, of course, is if he really was ever that far behind. And then came the bombshell (and what has created ulcers at Marxist headquarters at the Democratic People’s Party).

A new poll came out from the outfit that has proved the most reliable (and the one that really can’t be ignored), Rasmussen. For the first time ever, Trump pulled into the lead over Biden after trailing Biden by five two weeks earlier.

Yes, this is a gigantic clash of the ages. Every last weapon is being pulled out by both sides, but the biggest weapon, truth, is only held by one side.

You just have to pick it up and actually use it.

EDITORS NOTE: This Church Militant video is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

VIDEO: The Vortex — A Great Realignment. And it’s a good thing.

TRANSCRIPT

As you know, Church Militant is always helping you understand the connections between the culture and the Church, the crossover between both worlds. Those two worlds parallel each other in many ways — they’re practically mirrors. And, theologically, it makes sense. As Bp. Sheen used to say, the world is the theater of redemption: It’s where the great spiritual war rages.

So as we look out on all of this, we see something happening in each arena. There is a great realignment occurring, in the Church and in the culture. In many ways, the old labels, which used to categorize things neatly, no longer apply. Consider, for example, “conservative” and “liberal.” There’s so much confusion over those classifications — especially liberal — that no one really knows what they mean.

The old labels are so ineffective at describing the new realities that, oftentimes, you find adjectives popping up in front of them which pretty much redefine them. So the old word is used, but there is a totally different meaning behind the word.

For example, there aren’t just plain old Republicans anymore. But now there are actual Republicans and then there are RINO Republicans — Republicans in name only. Notice, to bring up the point of the crossover between culture and State, we also no longer have just Catholics, but “CINOs”: Catholics in name only.

And, of course, we have not just Catholics but “cafeteria Catholics.” All these adjectives are now necessary because the terms no longer mean what they used to mean. All of this redefining is going on because there is, underneath it all, a massive realignment going on — in the culture and the Church.

In the political world, Donald Trump has become the symbol of all that, not to mention also a precipitating cause. Tens of millions of Americans were beginning to sense a political shift, a new paradigm emerging where they, as individuals, no longer mattered.

They sensed correctly that the world they knew was being buried under a mountain of globalist Marxism. In the Church, faithful Catholics likewise sensed a major shift happening. They couldn’t put a finger on it, but they knew something was up, something was off.

So they began realigning themselves, leaving the Church of Nice and hunting out the actual Faith. It’s like a Catholic version of the Walkaway movement that is rippling through the Democratic Party — a movement of Democrats who have woken up and realized the party no longer represents them. And so they are walking away from it.

There is a huge ideological shift, an enormous immigration, a mass migration where people are seeking out like-minded individuals and associating themselves with them. It’s all over social media. It’s all over politics. It’s all over the Church. It’s all over the place.

People are choosing sides, and in that choosing up sides, some people are waking up and realizing that the folks they thought they had a lot in common with, they really didn’t. So they cut ties and are establishing new ones.

Now, some people find this upsetting. They bemoan the division, they lament the lack of unity. Frankly, that’s a stupid response. There can be unity only if it’s a unity around truth. In fact, this entire realignment is about the truth.  Some waking up to it, others wanting to destroy it.

But truth is the cause. When truth is present, there are only two responses. It is either embraced or raged against. The Marxist Left, up until the arrival of Donald Trump, was able to keep the truth of its agenda under wraps, to conceal the truth.

But now, it’s all out there. Nothing is hidden. And people are making choices. And that’s a good thing. Even on the side of evil, it’s good to know who’s who. For Catholics and other Christian denominations — remember, this is how things will be at the end of the world. Truth will cause one great, final realignment — and it will be final.

EDITORS NOTE: This Church Militant video is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Banish Sin, Transform the Church

David G. Bonagura, Jr.: Detractors say trivializing sin was part of Vatican II’s spirit and is still in the post-conciliar Church. But the perennial problem is really sin itself.


The Second Vatican Council is back in the news lately, with two prominent, tradition-minded bishops revisiting well-known arguments of conciliar interpretation in light two recent Vatican documents, Amoris Laetitia and the Abu Dhabi statement on world religions. Their analyses of the Council, the difficulties in reconciling certain expressions with tradition, and the frightening breakdown of the Church that followed – a breakdown that some even justified under the Council’s nebulous “spirit” – are serious, though faithful Catholics will find their premises and conclusions worthy of debate.

Yet their analyses are now also very familiar. Blaming the Council for the Church’s ills has been a hobbyhorse for 55 years now. At this point, when it comes to arguing about the Council, Ecclesiastes’ tired observation comes to mind: “There is nothing new under the sun.”

Just weeks earlier, as public Masses were resumed after the coronavirus suspension, a little-noticed controversy impressed on me that the problems in the Church today stem from something far more fundamental, and simple, than the formulation of documents that few know about and fewer have read. When the proposal circulated of having Mass without reception of Holy Communion, some faithful and some clergy blanched. Their issue was not solely the deprivation of union with our Lord. It was that they did not see the point of having Mass at all without reception.

Such a thought stems from a profound misunderstanding what the Mass – and the sacrifice that it represents – is for: the salvation of souls. And there is no wonder the goal of salvation has been forgotten, since sin, the tyrannical reality from which we must be saved, has itself been deliberately banished from view, trivialized as a human psychosis, or written off as an obsession of earlier, unenlightened times.

It is the marginalization of sin, more than Vatican II or anything else, that has transformed the life of the Church as we know it in the last half-century. Our entire faith and the structure of the Church rest on three acts: creation, fall, and redemption. By dismissing the fall, and every sin that has come after it, the understanding of redemption necessarily takes on new meaning.

If Jesus did not need to redeem us from sin, then essential doctrines and the sacramental economy have to be reconceived. Consider:

* Jesus Christ ceased to be emphasized as our Savior who sacrificed His life to atone for our sins. Instead, images of “Jesus is my homeboy” became popular. Without a message of salvation, Jesus was reduced to a “great moral teacher” on par with Socrates.

* Shifting the view of the Savior and salvation caused worship to shift as well. Witness how few people today know the phrase “the holy sacrifice of the Mass.” We know from the work of Dr. Lauren Pristas and Father John Zuhlsdorf that, after the Council, the formal prayers of the Mass were deliberately reworked to eliminate references to sin. The turning of the altars to face the people, never mentioned by the Council, heightened a new experience of a community celebrating itself above the sacrifice of Calvary. The general desacralizing of Catholic worship made the Mass seem as it were of no consequence rather than the enduring basis of our salvation.

* Sacramental Confession was abandoned by nearly all the faithful. There is no need to confess if we have not sinned. And if we do not need to confess, then surely there is no need for acts of penitence or reparation. Eight days of the year that still call for abstinence from meat is all that is left of Catholic penitential practice.

* If there is no sin, then everyone goes to Heaven, Catholic or not, virtuous or not. Funerals became canonizations, and Hell was dismissed as a tactic to coerce good behavior. Catholicism became just another world religion on par with the others, since it no longer had anything unique to offer.

* If people do not need to be saved from sin, then there is no need for priests to give up their lives in service of those seeking redemption. The collapse of vocations is a direct result of the banishment of sin.

* Catholic theology, morality, and education all took turns for the worse after this constitutive understanding of sin and redemption was morphed.

Were there other causes of the Church’s post-Conciliar malaise? Yes, of course. But it is not an oversimplification to home in on the trivialization of sin as the root cause of it all. Throughout Church history, lying at the root of heresy is not an intricately woven system, but a misunderstanding of the first principle of revelation. To minimize sin alters the view of God’s entire plan of salvation, from the covenant with Abraham, to the redemption by Christ, to the role of the Church in perpetuating His salvation.

Vatican II’s perpetual detractors will argue that the trivialization of sin was part of the Modernist spirit that infiltrated conciliar documents and the post-conciliar Church. Yet that implies the Council itself is not the definitive problem; the Council and its “spirit” have been invoked to cloak a deeper issue.

It is, therefore, this deeper issue of properly understanding sin and the need to be saved from it that requires our attention above all. For Benedict XVI’s hermeneutic of continuity to have the final word on interpreting the council, sound Catholic doctrines – Creation, Fall, Redemption – must first be restored to their proper place.

COLUMN BY

David G Bonagura, Jr.

David G. Bonagura Jr. teaches at St. Joseph’s Seminary, New York. He is the author of Steadfast in Faith: Catholicism and the Challenges of Secularism (Cluny Media).

EDITORS NOTE: This The Catholic Thing column is republished with permission. © 2020 The Catholic Thing. All rights reserved. For reprint rights, write to: info@frinstitute.org. The Catholic Thing is a forum for intelligent Catholic commentary. Opinions expressed by writers are solely their own.

Here’s Why Sen. Kamala Harris Held Up An Attempt To Rescue A Struggling Catholic Hospital

  • A California judge granted Sen. Kamala Harris qualified immunity in 2017 after a healthcare company sued her for allegedly holding up its acquisition of a financially struggling hospital network. Qualified immunity is a legal doctrine shielding public officials from liability if they violate citizens’ rights. 
  • The lawsuit came years before Harris introduced a resolution in June alongside other Senate Democrats to eliminate the legal protection from law enforcement officers. 
  • Former Vice-President Joe Biden selected Harris as his running mate as he prepares for a bruising general election fight with President Donald Trump. 

A judge once gave Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris qualified immunity after a healthcare company sued the former California attorney general for allegedly blocking the company’s attempt to purchase a financially struggling Catholic hospital.

Prime Healthcare Services sued Harris for supposedly imposing strict conditions on the sale of the Daughters of Charity Health System in exchange for millions of dollars in contributions.

Prime scuttled the deal and claimed in the 2015 lawsuit that executives at Daughters told the company that Harris would block the sale if Prime did not agree to unionize Daughter’s network of six hospitals. The lawsuit alleges Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West (SEIU-UHW) in return promised to support Harris with $25 million in contributions.

The Wall Street Journal Editorial Board reported on the lawsuit in a post Wednesday, noting also that Judge Gonzalo Curiel in San Diego rejected Prime’s claim in 2017 and gave her qualified immunity.

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden selected Harris as his running mate Tuesday as he prepares for what will likely be an intense general election.

Qualified immunity is a legal doctrine that shields public officials from liability for violating citizen’s constitutional liberties. Harris, a former California prosecutor, introduced a Senate resolution in June alongside Sens. Ed Markey of Massachusetts and Cory Booker of New Jersey to eliminate qualified immunity for law enforcement officers.

Their bill came amid protests following the death of George Floyd, a black man who died in May after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for several minutes, video of the incident shows.

Harris “abused her constitutional authority by placing her need for political financial support over the health-care needs of the people,” Troy Schell, general counsel for Prime, said in a 2015 statement. Prime alleged that Harris effectively “forced the company to withdraw its offer for the DCHS hospitals, jeopardizing health care in these underserved communities.”

Daughter’s board of directors selected Prime to take over the hospitals in 2014, HealthCare Finance reported in 2015. Prime’s $843 million offer far exceeded all other proposals and allowed Daughters Charity’s healthcare mission to continue. The deal also would have protected the unfunded pensions of the hospital network’s then-17,000 staff, according to HealthCare’s report.

Harris imposed several “poison pills” to the deal, The WSJ Editorial Board noted in the Wednesday report. These included a condition forcing Prime to continue hospital operations unchanged for 10 years — the “requirement that would have made it impossible to save the hospitals,” according to Prime’s lawsuit.

Harris, who at the time was responsible for approving such acquisitions, also required Prime to maintain 24-hour nursing at the hospital, as well as surgery, anesthesia, laboratory, radiology and pharmacies for five years. In addition, she mandated that hospitals offer 12 to 18 services such as orthopedics for 10 years. “These conditions were unprecedented,” The WSJ Editorial Board noted.

Integrity Healthcare took over the hospitals in July 2015 before going bankrupt in 2018 due in part to the expense of managing the network, the Los Angeles Times reported in 2018. Verity Health, which is managed by Integrity, had more than $1 billion of debt from bonds and unfunded pension liabilities as a result of taking on Daughters.

Santa Clara County, California bought two of the six hospitals in 2019, according to Mercury News. Prime Healthcare purchased another hospital in April, with California hospital operator AHMC Healthcare buying the remaining two in March, media reports show. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, Harris’s successor, approved both the AHMC and Prime deals in July.

Harris has not responded to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment about the lawsuit and Prime’s claims.

COLUMN BY

CHRIS WHITE

Tech reporter.

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Catholic and “catholic”

Fr. Paul D. Scalia: The Church’s children should resemble her. We ought to strive to be catholic (universal) in our zeal, our mercy, and our embrace of Truth.


In today’s Gospel, our Lord likens the Kingdom of heaven to “a net thrown into the sea, which collects fish of every kind.” (Mt 13:44-52) This net, which gathers not just one kind of fish but fish of every kind, serves as a good description of what we confess every Sunday: the Church is catholic.

Now, most people probably think of “Catholic” as the brand name of a particular Christian denomination. Yes, we speak colloquially of the Catholic Church as distinct from the Lutheran, Episcopal, Methodist churches, etc. But that’s a fairly recent designation, only since the Reformation. Before the Church was “Catholic” she was already “catholic.” It’s a truth we find expressed in the Church’s earliest years. The word “catholic” means universal, embracing and bringing all things together into a unity (from the Greek kata holos, “according to the whole).

Now, the distinction and relation of “Catholic” and “catholic” is important: one cannot be Catholic without also being catholic. To be a member of the Church means to share in her catholicity. So, what does that entail?

First, the Church is catholic – universal – in the most obvious sense: for all people. “Here comes everybody” is James Joyce’s famous description of the Church. She welcomes all comers, embraces and incorporates all people – “from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and tongues, all peoples, of every race, nation, and country throughout the world.” (Rev 7:9) She leaves no group or kind of people beyond her mission and solicitude.

Now, catholic in this sense does not mean everyone thrown together willy-nilly, as you might toss all your clothes into the closet. Rather, it means all people brought together as one, as a unified whole. In the United States, we are now witnessing what happens to a society when its various peoples have lost their principle of unity. The Church, however – and, in the end, only the Church – is truly universal because she both embraces all people and makes them one body in Christ.

The implications of this universality should be clear. It means, first, that we welcome all people into the Church. Anyone who repents and believes is welcome regardless of any accidental qualities.  Further, this catholicity requires that we actively seek to bring the Gospel to all peoples, and all peoples to the Church.

Second, the Church is catholic in the sense that she forgives all sins. This is a consequence of her being the continuing presence of Christ Himself in the world.  Our Lord has authorized her to act and speak in His Name. He entrusted to her ministers His own power to forgive, a power limited only by a person’s desire to be forgiven.

Through the ministry of the Church, any of our sins, from the most trivial to the most severe, can be forgiven when we repent and ask forgiveness. Which also means that we should desire the extension of that forgiveness and reconciliation. Indeed, we should participate in the Church’s ministry of reconciliation. As such, our own personal forgiveness should extend as far as the Church’s, from the most trivial slight to the gravest sin against us. As regards forgiveness we can never say, “thus far and no further.”

Throughout her history, from Tertullian to Calvin, the Church has seen plenty of rigorists who would like to shorten the reach of her mercy. Like the slaves in the parable of the wheat and tares (Mt 13:24-43), they want a Church of saints not sinners. In the current “cancel culture,” the mobs of secular rigorists give us a sense of just how brutal a society is that desires pure justice (or what passes for it) and no mercy.

Finally, the Church is catholic in the sense that she possesses all truth. Everything necessary for salvation is found within her doctrine. All religions possess some aspects of the truth. Only Christ’s Church possesses the fullness of the truth.

Notice that the net in the parable brings in “all kinds of fish,” both the desired and the undesired. Similarly, the Church holds both pleasing truths (human dignity, forgiveness, heaven) and hard truths (sin, judgment, hell). To be Catholic means to assent to all that the Church teaches – not just to the parts we like.

The Church’s history is littered with heresies, a word that indicates the choosing of one truth to the exclusion of others (Greek again haerisis, not kata holos). Those who do so cease to be catholic, because they are embracing not the fullness of the truth but only the parts they like. If we call ourselves catholic, we must show ourselves to be truly catholic, embracing all truths — not just the convenient ones.

Mother Church’s children should bear a resemblance to her. So it is that we ought to strive to be catholic in our zeal for souls, in the reach of our mercy, and in our embrace of the truth.

COLUMN BY

Fr. Paul D. Scalia

Fr. Paul Scalia is a priest of the Diocese of Arlington, Va, where he serves as Episcopal Vicar for Clergy. His new book is That Nothing May Be Lost: Reflections on Catholic Doctrine and Devotion.

EDITORS NOTE: This The Catholic Thing column is republished with permission. © 2020 The Catholic Thing. All rights reserved. For reprint rights, write to: info@frinstitute.org. The Catholic Thing is a forum for intelligent Catholic commentary. Opinions expressed by writers are solely their own.