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VIDEO: Election Day Sermon for 2020 — ‘Church in America, Wake Up!’

Watch an Election Day Sermon for 2020:

Tomorrow Americans are granted the privilege to choose a leader who will either steer us toward our founding principles, or one who will clearly continue to push our Nation away from our founding principles. John Winthrop was a Puritan who led a massive movement of immigrants from England to America. Winthrop wrote to the new immigrants settling in Massachusetts his vision of this new land; “this new land is established for the will and purposes of God; it will be a unique civilization, one in which all the nations of the world would look. For we must consider that we shall be as a city upon a hill. The eyes of all people are upon us.” The image Winthrop speaks is from Matthew 5:14. It implies that America is to be lifted up among all other nations and was (is) to be exemplary, a model other countries would seek to emulate, a nation called to extend its’ light to the world. Ponder this…America was so blessed by God to be the head of ALL nations, the very heart of the present world order. America was ordained to be a guiding light , to stand on behalf of all other nations. What happens to America touches all nations. Our Forefathers made a covenant with God to accomplish this, and seek God’s blessings and provisions for our land. My quick reading booklet “Our Forefathers Truly Appealed to Heaven” Amazon Kindle will take you behind the curtain so you may appreciate the covenant made by our founders with God, and what happens when a covenant with God is broken and deliberately cast aside.

America has turned away from God, and has not only violated the covenant made, but has done thus with growing intensity toward rebellion even denying God! Inasmuch as our country followed the ways of God and kept the covenant to submit (cooperate) with the Lord, America was blessed among all nations, more so than any other nation. But the near removal of God from our Land has brought calamity and a series of discipline with the intent to humble this country and have it return to its’ foundation. When a people or nation turns away from God and the very foundations from which it was established, rapidly you will experience a change of values, the removing of standards, laws, customs, heritage. Furthermore that which was considered right and just will be abolished, and labeled evil, and that which had long been opposed as evil will be touted as good; what was once viewed as immoral will be celebrated, and what once was viewed and taught as wrong and evil will be raised up and championed. Same will be true for those who oppose God, they will be viewed as learned and to be emulated, while those who uphold God’s ways will be persecuted.

As I have previously written the pastors of early America were clear advocates of not only the Gospel of Christ, but defenders of the heritage and foundational principles of America. From their pulpits these pastors did not mince words about either topic. The pastors of early America even to the mid-1960’s, spoke clearly, eloquently, with strong conviction about standing up for America, her heritage and founding principles, and God who gave us this exceptional nation. Below is an “Election Day Sermon” from a pastor who would have fit right perfect with the early pastors of America. Listen and watch as Pastor Gary Hamrick in Leesburg, Virginia speaks truth!

On Friday, I listened to a remarkable “Election Day Sermon” for 2020 and I am sharing it with you. It was delivered by Gary Hamrick of Cornerstone Chapel in Leesburg, Virginia.

Copyright Lyle J. Rapacki, Ph.D. All rights reserved.

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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.

New Islamic State Hit List Targets 1,700 Church and Synagogue Members in the U.S.

The list consists of 1,700 names with instructions to Islamic State followers to ‘kill them all.’

The Islamic State has released yet another “hit list,” this time targeting members of Christian churches and synagogues in the U.S.  The list consists of 1,700 names with instructions to Islamic State followers to “kill them all.”

Islamic-State-Caliphate-Cyber-Army-IP_0The list, posted by United Cyber Caliphate — the Islamic State’s (ISIS/ISIL) hacking division — was first published on July 3, as noted by SITE, an intelligence analyst group. It was subsequently deleted but reappeared three days later with more than two dozen links uploaded to separate servers.

Although the FBI doesn’t necessarily notify those on kill lists, a report by a local station in Tennessee says that the bureau had been in touch with a number of residents of Nashville to inform them that they are on the list.

“When we find information like this, we’re always doing our best to contact the public, let them know, even if we don’t understand why necessarily that information was out there or compromised,” said FBI assistant special agent-in charge Matthew Espenshade, as quoted in the International Business Times.

According to SITE, the relatively new tactic of putting ordinary citizens on kill lists – as opposed to prominent political or military figures — is indicative of a new strategy involving the “designation of seemingly random targets.” The lists are meant to stimulate lone wolf attacks and promote “widespread fear,” a known tactic of terrorism used to wear down a civilization into submitting to the demands of the terrorists.

Although fighting against ISIS’ cyber division may sound daunting, the information is not necessarily hacked. Rather, said Espenshade, the group often is publishing information that can be accessed online.

“So it’s a matter of not necessarily hacking but really searching,” he explained.

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EDITORS NOTE: India Ashok from IBTimes reports, “A separate, yet related report by WSMV, highlights that the FBI has been notifying some residents in the Nashville area, alerting them about having been included in the kill list.

VIDEO: What caused the religious orders to fall apart?

TRANSCRIPT

Ninety percent fewer seminarians; 35 percent fewer priests, and many are old; 92 percent fewer religious brothers; 90 percent fewer nuns and sisters — all in the space of just 50 years.

The drop in the numbers of men and women willing to give their lives for the Church has been beyond dramatic. Certainly, it isn’t news that there are enormously fewer numbers of priests, sisters and brothers than in days gone by, but what needs to be understood is why this happened.

It isn’t enough to just make it a simple, overly broad answer like “Vatican II caused it.” To whatever degree, the Second Vatican Council is involved, it only provided the means. It wasn’t gradual; it was a spiritual meteorite that hit the Church in the late 1960s. What we are feeling today is the lingering effect of it.

If the Church is going to rebuild Herself, we need to ensure that the same mistakes are not repeated. Facts have to be faced and examined objectively. Something was already present in the Church before Vatican II that allowed for the implosion of the Faith.Never forget that every bishop at Vatican II who signed the documents had been born, baptized, confirmed and ordained in the Old Rite. So the notion that the Old Rite — meaning the Traditional Latin Mass — is a cure-all is not well thought out.

The Church imploded when the TLM was the normal, usual routine. Something was already stirring in the souls of many laity and religious prior to the Council. Mass attendance before the Council was already on the way down before the Council, across the West. Obviously, it got a lot worse after Vatican II, but the dynamite was already laid.

The state of the Church in those days running up to the Council may very well have been a case of a mile wide and inch deep, in other words, the termites had already been at work for some time, so when the strong wind blew, it didn’t take much to bring the whole house down.

The same was true of religious orders at the time. They were burgeoning, busting at the seams. How did the convents and monasteries empty out so fast? Remember, it was not just the case that people stopped coming. It was the case that people stopped coming secondarily. The primary disaster was that the already professed left in droves.

So what was wrong just below the surface with all these vocations? That many would not ever come, while sad, is not shocking. What is shocking is those that had already dedicated themselves to the religious life, made vows, took oaths and so forth — that these would just chuck their vows aside.

And more to the point, as the Church tries to resurrect from this implosion, we need to be certain that we aren’t laying the groundwork for the same thing to happen again, if not at this moment, then somewhere shortly down the road.

All of this is the topic for this week’s “Mic’d Up,” a fantastic discussion about the collapse and resurrection of the religious orders.

WATCH NOW

What is needed in any vocation is love for the Faith. And it has to surpass the love of evil that enemies of the Church have. The zeal for evil among Planned Parenthood supporters, for example, is enviable. The degree of constancy and conviction that those dedicated to the destruction of the Faith have is astounding.

Venerable Bp. Sheen used to say: “The Communists have all zeal and no truth, and we Catholics have all truth and no zeal.” The religious orders ultimately fell apart because they fell out of love with Our Lord and His Holy Catholic Church. When the opportunity presented itself, and there became a choice between Our Lord and His Holy Bride, they looked at each and chose the lesser.

That can happen to any one of us, religiously professed or lay person. People have to love; their relationship with truth, with the Faith, must be enhanced and advanced daily. They must have a sense of mission; we must have a sense of mission.

The problem facing the Church today is that the sense of mission has been reduced to a watered-down emotionalism where the mission is your feelings. That’s not mission; that’s ego. We must be in love with Our Lord in His Church — not some in love with some imaginary feeling of being in love.

Love compels greatness; it compels sacrifice; it compels a vocation.

As an early “religious” once said, “If I have not love, I am a noisy gong and clanging symbol” (1 Cor. 13:1).

EDITORS NOTE: Originally published at ChurchMilitant.com.

‘Welcoming’ churches getting shaky over the Muslim migrant invasion

Invasion of Europe news….

When do the numbers get so high that even the religious do-gooders start to worry?  I guess we are seeing their limit now after a million migrants have invaded Germany.

How many is too many?

Next time you get into an argument with an Open Borders ‘humanitarian’ here in America (or anywhere actually) ask them what is their limit.  What is the number that would be too many for even them?  I bet you get a deer-in-the-headlights look!  If they say there should be no limits and no borders you know you are dealing with an anarchist and not a humanitarian!

So now we are beginning to see the extent of the German “welcome.”  They are coming to their senses, but of course the big question is:  Is it too late?

We told you about the German Catholic Bishop (Marx) here recently, now the Lutherans are getting worried.

From Religion News Service:

PARIS (RNS) Germany’s Christian churches, long the most positive voices greeting waves of Middle Eastern refugees pouring into the country in recent months, have begun to admit the need to limit the flow now that public opinion towards the newcomers has turned from welcoming to wary.

Catholic and Protestant church leaders fully backed Chancellor Angela Merkel’s original open-door policy announced on Sept. 4, framing it as wealthy Germany’s Christian duty to offer refuge to all Syrians and others fleeing civil war in their home countries.

They continued preaching this through Christmas and New Year, saying Germany could not set an upper limit to its hospitality, even though Merkel gave in to rising criticism and falling poll ratings in mid-December to say that she would “noticeably reduce the number of refugees.”

Then came the New Years Eve sex attacks.

After a few weeks’ delay, the heads of both the Catholic and Protestant churches have shifted their focus and begun to speak about controlling the number of arrivals.

[….]

Heinrich Bedford-Strohm, Bavaria’s Lutheran bishop and head of the Evangelical Church in Germany, said it was “clear that we have to want” a reduction in refugees. He warned against debates about which immigration policy was more moral.

It is unclear to me what Bedford-Strohm means here about not debating the morality of immigration policy, but maybe he is getting at the idea of reality (German practicality!) trumping humanitarian zeal.

See our entire ‘Invasion of Europe’ archive here, and go here for much much more on dear old Deutschland.

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I WILL NOT KEEP SILENT: This Lent, pray to become a prophet

Here’s something we can all do for Lent.

Catholics are very familiar with sins against charity by saying things we should not say: gossip, calumny, detraction and the like — serious sins. But not holding your tongue when you should say something is just as evil. To not say what needs to be said when it should be said is a sin against justice and is a cooperation with evil. You can sin in two methods involving your speech.

The prophet Isaiah, for example, cries out: “For Zion’s sake I will not be silent; for Jerusalem’s sake I will not keep quiet, until her vindication shines forth like the dawn and her victory like a burning torch” (Isaiah 62:1).

It is almost a certainty when you come across a reference to Jerusalem or Zion in the Old testament that what is being spoken of in its fullest sense is the Catholic Church. And it is for this that we must speak up, cry out, abandon silence; we are at pains to bring about Her vindication until all nations behold Her victory like a burning torch.

This is powerful language. It describes the arduous lengths a lover will go to achieve victory and honor for his beloved — his beloved who has been made a mockery of, belittled before every living creature. This much is made clear when Isaiah continues that “Nations will behold your vindication and all kings your glory. No more will men call you forsaken and your land desolate” (Isaiah 62:2).

If this isn’t a prophecy of the current agony of Holy Mother Church, nothing is. True, it had more immediate reality regarding Israel, but what is Israel other than a type of the Church?

We Catholics have got to understand the great love required from us, demanded from us, in this current hour of the Church’s agony. We cannot keep silent. We must shout from the rooftops. Even St. Paul tells us “Woe to me if I do not preach the Gospel!” (1 Cor. 9:16). When you see the word “woe” make its way into a Scripture passage, you need to sit up and fixate on it. It is a word used in reference to damnation, to going to Hell.

Our Blessed Lord used it in reference to Judas: “But woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed; it would be better for him had he never been born” (Matt. 26:24). (Are you “reasonable hope” people listening?)

Our Blessed Lord used it seven times in reference to the Pharisees during His indictment of them. Saint Paul used it in reference to himself, as we said: if he did not preach the Gospel.

So whom is the word “woe” reserved for? Traitors, hypocrites, cowards — in short, all those who do not profess Christ to the world. And this is not a crowd you want to get lumped in with. It takes prophecy to proclaim truth to a world that does not want to hear it.

And this is exactly the point. It is what God commands. Our earthly fate is not a consideration. What is a consideration is the peril of souls.

Why did Our Lord foretell the damnation of Judas and the Jewish leaders? Why did St. Paul lay out the possibility of his own damnation? Because they cared more for themselves than the salvation of others. They cared, for money, prestige, reputation more than they cared for the things of God. And their concern for their own comforts prevented them from opening their mouths for the truth.

We need to understand the great peril we are all in by keeping quiet about the Faith, the truth and glory and majesty of the One True Faith. We do not get to keep quiet in the face of family and friends. We do not get to stay silent because of fear of losing respect or friendship. We mustproclaim Her glory, Her truth, until everyone we know has heard in no uncertain terms the glory of God in His Holy Catholic Church.

This includes speaking to clerics who have lost their zeal, their first love, their passion for God and His Holy Bride, perhaps even their supernatural faith. You must speak out — to anyone who will hear you.

As a result of your baptism, you share in Our Lord’s prophetic mission. What matters is truth, nothing else.

Truth is a Person. Jesus Christ is Truth. The resurrected Jesus Christ breathed life into His Bride so that She would continue His mission among men until the end of time.

We are either on board with this mission or we are damned. And that shouldn’t be shocking; after all, what is it to be damned? It is to love self more than God.

If we love God, we will prove it. Love is, after all, an act of the will, not an emotion. And we will prove it by declaring the rightness and truth of the Holy Catholic Church. We will not accommodate Her truth for the sake of politeness or ecumenism or any other thing on earth.

Our cry needs to be that of Isaiah: No, I will not keep silent. For Her sake I will not keep silent; for the Church’s sake I will not be quiet — until Her vindication shines forth like the dawn and Her victory shines like a burning torch.

This Lent, pray to become a prophet.

EDITORS NOTE: Originally published at ChurchMilitant.com.

Roman Catholic Archdiocese of L.A. Wants ‘Greater Solidarity with Islam’

In PJ Media today I discuss more foolish wrongheadedness and disastrously suicidal naivete from today’s Catholic Church:

The contemporary Catholic Church has wholeheartedly endorsed the ideas that Islam is a religion of peace and that Muslims are the first victims of jihad terrorism.

This proposition is enforced as an iron dogma, the one non-negotiable point in today’s comfortable suburban Church: anything goes, everything is winked at, moral teaching is discarded or ignored left and right — but whisper that Islamic jihadists point to the texts and teachings of Islam to justify violence and supremacism, and you’ll be the new Jan Hus.

A recent piece in the Los Angeles archdiocesan newspaper entitled “Our Muslim Brothers and Sisters” is just one example of the endless barrage of nonsense that comes from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops on this issue — but this example is noteworthy in being particularly counterfactual. It spends a great deal of time admonishing us that the first victims of Islamic jihad terror groups are other Muslims. Its author, Fr. Ronald Rolheiser, apparently believes — along with Barack Obama and numerous other Western leaders — that this proves that the Islamic State, al-Qaeda, and the rest are un-Islamic.

In fact, this point only establishes that they believe their Muslim opponents to be un-Islamic — and because Islam mandates death for heresy and apostasy, they kill those opponents.

Rolheiser also says:

But the Muslim religion is not to blame here. There is nothing inherent in either the Koran or in Islam itself that morally or religiously undergirds this kind of violence.

Apparently Rolheiser has overlooked many passages from the Qur’an, including:

2:191-193: “And slay them wherever you come upon them, and expel them from where they expelled you; persecution is more grievous than slaying. But fight them not by the Holy Mosque until they should fight you there; then, if they fight you, slay them — such is the recompense of unbelievers, but if they give over, surely Allah is All-forgiving, All-compassionate. Fight them, till there is no persecution and the religion is Allah’s; then if they give over, there shall be no enmity save for evildoers.”4:89: “They wish that you should disbelieve as they disbelieve, and then you would be equal; therefore take not to yourselves friends of them, until they emigrate in the way of Allah; then, if they turn their backs, take them, and slay them wherever you find them; take not to yourselves any one of them as friend or helper.”

5:33: “This is the recompense of those who fight against Allah and His Messenger, and hasten about the earth, to do corruption there: they shall be slaughtered, or crucified, or their hands and feet shall alternately be struck off; or they shall be banished from the land. That is a degradation for them in this world; and in the world to come awaits them a mighty chastisement.”

8:12: “When thy Lord was revealing to the angels, ‘I am with you; so confirm the believers. I shall cast into the unbelievers’ hearts terror; so smite above the necks, and smite every finger of them!’”

8:39: “Fight them, till there is no persecution and the religion is Allah’s entirely; then if they give over, surely Allah sees the things they do.”

8:60: “Make ready for them whatever force and strings of horses you can, to terrify thereby the enemy of Allah and your enemy, and others besides them that you know not; Allah knows them. And whatsoever you expend in the way of Allah shall be repaid you in full; you will not be wronged.”

9:5: “Then, when the sacred months are drawn away, slay the idolaters wherever you find them, and take them, and confine them, and lie in wait for them at every place of ambush. But if they repent, and perform the prayer, and pay the alms, then let them go their way; Allah is All-forgiving, All-compassionate.”

9:29: “Fight those who believe not in Allah and the Last Day and do not forbid what Allah and His Messenger have forbidden — such men as practise not the religion of truth, being of those who have been given the Book — until they pay the tribute out of hand and have been humbled.”

9:111: “Allah has bought from the believers their selves and their possessions against the gift of Paradise; they fight in the way of Allah; they kill, and are killed; that is a promise binding upon Allah in the Torah, and the Gospel, and the Koran; and who fulfils his covenant truer than Allah? So rejoice in the bargain you have made with Him; that is the mighty triumph.”

9:123: “O believers, fight the unbelievers who are near to you; and let them find in you a harshness; and know that Allah is with the godfearing.”

47:4: “When you meet the unbelievers, smite their necks, then, when you have made wide slaughter among them, tie fast the bonds; then set them free, either by grace or ransom, till the war lays down its loads. So it shall be; and if Allah had willed, He would have avenged Himself upon them; but that He may try some of you by means of others. And those who are slain in the way of Allah, He will not send their works astray.”

Think the Bible is full of violence, too? Sure, but there is actually nothing in the Bible remotely equivalent to the Qur’an’s open-ended and universal commands to wage war against and subjugate unbelievers. Nor will you find calls to violence being taught from authoritative sources of Judeo-Christian religion.

But you will find them coming from the authoritative sources in Sunni Islam, the schools of Sunni jurisprudence (madhahib):

Shafi’i school: A Shafi’i manual of Islamic law that was certified in 1991 by the clerics at Al-Azhar University, one of the leading authorities in the Islamic world, as a reliable guide to Sunni orthodoxy, stipulates about jihad that “the caliph makes war upon Jews, Christians, and Zoroastrians … until they become Muslim or pay the non-Muslim poll tax.” It adds a comment by Sheikh Nuh Ali Salman, a Jordanian expert on Islamic jurisprudence: the caliph wages this war only “provided that he has first invited [Jews, Christians, and Zoroastrians] to enter Islam in faith and practice, and if they will not, then invited them to enter the social order of Islam by paying the non-Muslim poll tax (jizya) … while remaining in their ancestral religions.” (‘Umdat al-Salik, o9.8).Hanafi school: A Hanafi manual of Islamic law repeats the same injunctions. It insists that people must be called to embrace Islam before being fought, “because the Prophet so instructed his commanders, directing them to call the infidels to the faith.” It emphasizes that jihad must not be waged for economic gain, but solely for religious reasons: from the call to Islam “the people will hence perceive that they are attacked for the sake of religion, and not for the sake of taking their property, or making slaves of their children, and on this consideration it is possible that they may be induced to agree to the call, in order to save themselves from the troubles of war.”

However, “if the infidels, upon receiving the call, neither consent to it nor agree to pay capitation tax [jizya], it is then incumbent on the Muslims to call upon God for assistance, and to make war upon them, because God is the assistant of those who serve Him, and the destroyer of His enemies, the infidels, and it is necessary to implore His aid upon every occasion; the Prophet, moreover, commands us so to do.” (Al-Hidayah, II.140)

Maliki school: Ibn Khaldun (1332-1406), a pioneering historian and philosopher, was also a Maliki legal theorist. In his renowned Muqaddimah, the first work of historical theory, he notes that “in the Muslim community, the holy war is a religious duty, because of the universalism of the Muslim mission and (the obligation to) convert everybody to Islam either by persuasion or by force.” In Islam, the person in charge of religious affairs is concerned with “power politics,” because Islam is “under obligation to gain power over other nations.”

Hanbali school: The great medieval theorist of what is commonly known today as radical or fundamentalist Islam, Ibn Taymiyya (Taqi al-Din Ahmad Ibn Taymiyya, 1263-1328), was a Hanbali jurist. He directed that “since lawful warfare is essentially jihad and since its aim is that the religion is God’s entirely and God’s word is uppermost, therefore according to all Muslims, those who stand in the way of this aim must be fought.”

This is also taught by modern-day scholars of Islam.

Majid Khadduri was an Iraqi scholar of Islamic law of international renown. In his bookWar and Peace in the Law of Islam, which was published in 1955 and remains one of the most lucid and illuminating works on the subject, Khadduri says this about jihad:

The state which is regarded as the instrument for universalizing a certain religion must perforce be an ever expanding state. The Islamic state, whose principal function was to put God’s law into practice, sought to establish Islam as the dominant reigning ideology over the entire world. … The jihad was therefore employed as an instrument for both the universalization of religion and the establishment of an imperial world state. (P. 51)

Imran Ahsan Khan Nyazee, Assistant Professor on the Faculty of Shari’ah and Law of the International Islamic University in Islamabad. In his 1994 book The Methodology of Ijtihad, he quotes the twelfth century Maliki jurist Ibn Rushd:

Muslim jurists agreed that the purpose of fighting with the People of the Book … is one of two things: it is either their conversion to Islam or the payment of jizyah.

Nyazee concludes:

This leaves no doubt that the primary goal of the Muslim community, in the eyes of its jurists, is to spread the word of Allah through jihad, and the option of poll-tax [jizya] is to be exercised only after subjugation [of non-Muslims].

Blissfully or willfully ignorant of all this and much more, Rolheiser says:

It’s time to establish a greater solidarity with Islam.

With Islam, mind you — not with Muslims who genuinely reject all this and want to live in peace with non-Muslims as equals in a secular society without trying to gain hegemony over them….

Read the rest here.

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The Decline and Fall of the Catholic Church in America

CatholicGraphs_gendividePope Francis is coming to America this week and will be addressing the U.S. Congress at the invitation of Speaker of the House Representative John Boehner. Pope Francis starts his visit to America on Tuesday, September 22nd and plans to stop in Washington, D.C., New York City and Philadelphia.

Indications are that Pope Francis will be talking about several issues including climate change and the refugee crisis in the Middle East. But there is one topic Pope Francis may not be talking about – spiritual matters important to American Catholics.

Perhaps Pope Francis should be using this opportunity to address how to stop the decline and fall of the Catholic Church in America?

In his seminal five volume work History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire published in 1782, Edward Gibbon, Esq. wrote:

After a diligent inquiry, I can discern four principal causes of the ruin of Rome, which continued to operate in a period of more than a thousand years. I. The injuries of time and nature. II. The hostile attacks of the Barbarians and Christians. III. The use and abuse of the materials. And, IV. The domestic quarrels of the Romans.

The Roman Empire has gone with the wind. Will the Catholic Church in America suffer the same fate?

Let us look at each of these four principal causes of the ruin of Rome and compare them to the Vatican and American Catholics.

I. The art of man is able to construct monuments far more permanent than the narrow span of his own existence; yet these monuments, like himself, are perishable and frail; and in the boundless annals of time, his life and his labors must equally be measured as a fleeting moment.

The Catholic Church is witnessing a reduction of its monuments in the United States.

According to the non-profit Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) at Georgetown University, in 1990 there were 19,620 parishes in the U.S. In 2014 there were 17,483 parishes or a loss of nearly 11%. As parishes closed so did other Catholic monuments: churches, schools and hospitals.  In 1965 there were 10,667 Catholic Elementary Schools, in 2014 that number was 5,368 (a 50% loss of Catholic Elementary Schools). Catholic Secondary Secondary Schools went from a high of 1,986 in 1970 to 1,200 in 2014 (a 40% loss). Even Catholic Colleges and Universities declined from 305 in 1965 to 225 in 2014 (a 26% loss).

Time and nature has taken its toll on Catholic Churches in the U.S. As the Catholic population ages, parishes close. CARA notes, “As the largest religion in the U.S., Catholicism has the largest number of former members (some later return as reverts). Catholicism has a higher retention rate than most other religions in the U.S. (including all Protestant denominations).

It is the institutions that must survive to carry on the word of the Gospel. As the institutions decline so does the Catholic Church in America.

II. The hostile attacks of the Barbarians and Christians.

Today the hostile attacks are coming from the “new Barbarians”: Collectivists, Marxists, the Communist Party USA, atheists, the pro-choice movement, the feminist movement, homosexuals and government.  Today it is the followers of Mohammed who are attacking the people of the Cross globally and in America.

There is a coalition within America that is anti-Catholic, anti-Christian and anti-Semitic. Their tactics and strategy are to diminish the role of religion by removing God from the public square. As that has happened in America we now have Collectivists, atheists, abortionists, homosexuals (some of whom are practicing witchcraft) and the U.S. government taking positions and implementing policies which are anti-Catholic, anti-Christian and anti-Semitic.

As Sandy Ikeda in his article “Progressivism Is Illiberal” writes, “Progressivism [Collectivists] today goes beyond the liberal position that, for example, same-sex marriage should have the same legal status as heterosexual marriage, to the belief that the state should threaten physical violence against anyone who refuses to associate or do business with same-sex couples.”

In the Middle East Catholic Churches are being burned to the ground, Christians slaughtered, Christian children sold into sex slavery and Christians crucified as was done in ancient Rome.

The attacks against Catholicism are real and palpable. Daily news reports tell us that a unholy war is being conducted against the Catholic church.

III. The use and abuse of the materials.

Materialism is the God of many in America. The quest for power and riches outweigh the need for God and redemption. Collectivists demand submission to the state as does Islam, which literally translated means “to submit.” Government becomes God and by doing so restricts what the individual can and cannot do.

As Ayn Rand wrote, “The basic issue in the world today is between two principles: Individualism and Collectivism.” In a short 19 page paper Rand wrote:

“A great many people today hold the childish notion that society can do anything it pleases; that principles are unnecessary, rights are only an illusion and expediency is the practical guide to action.

It is true that society can abandon moral principles and turn itself into a herd running amuck to destruction. Just as it is true that a man can cut his own throat any time he chooses. But a man cannot do this if he wishes to survive. And society cannot abandon moral principles if it expects to exist.”

In America corn is used to produce Ethanol, a gasoline additive. Over 50% of the corn produced in America goes toward the production of Ethanol. According to the World Food Programme, “Some 795 million people (1 in 9) in the world do not have enough food to lead a healthy active life.”

Using food for fuel is immoral.

The use and abuse of materials and the people is the greatest threat to Catholics and the Church. For whenever the individual is diminished so to is the role of the Catholic Church. Jesus was an individualist who fought government. Many question why won’t the Catholic Church follow in Jesus’ footsteps and fight against government and defend individual rights including religious liberty.

IV. The domestic quarrels of the Romans.

The United States was founded on Judeo/Christian beliefs and values. Today the various Christian denominations are quarreling amongst themselves about social and political issues. This quarreling is occurring while all Christian and Jewish organizations are under attack from the new barbarians and the followers of Mohammed (see item II above).

CatholicGraphs_decline

Perhaps it is time for pastors, priests and rabbis to unite in one cause – to preserve their belief in God and the Judeo/Christian way of life.

The American way of life has led to great happiness and prosperity both in the homeland and throughout the Western world. A way of life that insures life, liberty and pursuit of happiness as guaranteed by United States Constitution. A way of life that celebrates life over death. A way of life that insures salvation and the return of the Kingdom of God to this earth.

There are lessons to be learned, for if we forget the history of the decline and fall of Rome, we are doomed to repeat it.

Perhaps Pope Francis would better serve the Church if he addressed Catholic persecution by the new barbarians and Muslims in America?

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The Marriage Between the Church and the United States of America

The Christian Church and the USA have been “married” from day one. Time to get it back on track.

As William Lane Craig, noted Christian apologist wrote, “God has necessarily decreed that human beings are to be treated as ends in themselves rather merely as means to ends.” It is the individual that controls government, not the other way around.

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Eco-Catholics, Eco-pessimism and the Decline of Confidence in Religion

Cathy Lynn Grossmann in USA Today writes:

Americans have less confidence in organized religion today than ever measured before — a sign that the church could be “losing its footing as a pillar of moral leadership in the nation’s culture,” a new Gallup survey finds.

“In the ’80s the church and organized religion were the No. 1″ in Gallup’s annual look at confidence in institutions, said Lydia Saad, author of the report released Wednesday.

Confidence, she said, “is a value judgment on how the institution is perceived, a mark of the amount of respect it is due.”

Why has respect for the moral leadership of the Church declined?

Perhaps religion in general and the Catholic Church in particular, under the leadership of Pope Francis, are to blame?

Mitchell C. Hescox in the National Catholic Reporter wrote:

Pope Francis’ increasingly powerful statements on global warming highlight that climate action is becoming a growing moral imperative for all people of faith. Why? Because climate action is about saving people.

[ … ]

Every child, born and yet-to-be born, deserves the promise and holy covenant of clean air and a healthy climate. What’s more, every child deserves to reach the fullness of his or her God-given intellectual abilities. If we continue to rely on toxic mercury-emitting, coal-burning power plants, we risk harming our children’s achievements.

[ … ]

Action to slow warming will protect future generations’ mental development and potential, by assuring that human development is healthy and sustainable as we move from dangerous, polluting and highly subsidized fossil fuels to clean, affordable renewable energy. This transition will turn energy poverty into energy prosperity.

The Catholic Church, aligning itself politically with the Obama administration, has declared war on coal, oil and natural gas. But will eliminating coal, oil and natural gas as energy sources truly help children “reach the fullness of his or her God-given intellectual abilities”? Will the move away from fossil fuels “turn energy poverty into energy prosperity”?

The short answer is no.

Julian Simon nailed his theses to the door of the eco-pessimist church by publishing his famous article in Science magazine: “Resources, Population, Environment: An Oversupply of False Bad News.” Thirty five-years ago Simon recognized the dangers of eco-pessimism. In his article he wrote:

False bad news about population growth, natural resources, and the environment is published widely in the face of contradictory evidence. For example, the world supply of arable land has actually been increasing, the scarcity of natural resources including food and energy has been decreasing, and basic measures of U.S. environmental quality show positive trends.

The aggregate data show no longrun negative effect of population growth upon the standard of living. Models that embody forces omitted in the past, especially the influence of population size upon productivity increase, suggest a long-run positive effect of additional people.

Prosperity is based on the availability of cheap reliable power. There are no such things as wind and solar power. There is wind-fossil fuel power and solar-fossil fuel power. This is because wind and solar are costly and unreliable sources of energy and require backup power generation, e.g. when the wind stops blowing and the sun sets.

In his column “The Poor Need Affordable Energy” Iain Murray writes:

Affordable energy is fundamental to what economist Deirdre McCloskey calls the “Great Fact” of the explosion of human welfare. It remains central to the reduction of absolute poverty. Yet, some Western governments are working to increase energy costs, purportedly to combat global warming.

What they are really combating is prosperity.

This is perverse and regressive. In America and Europe, energy takes up a much larger share of poor households’ budgets compared to other income brackets. For instance, a household with an annual income between $10,000 and $25,000 spends well over 10 percent of its budget on energy, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. And a January 2014 study for the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity found that “households earning $50,000 or less spend more on energy than on food, spend twice as much on energy as on health care, and spend more than twice as much on energy as on clothing.”

Increasing the cost of energy also harms people’s health. That’s because energy use is so fundamental to modern life that it can take precedence over other household expenses — including health care. The National Energy Assistance Directors’ Association found that an increase in energy costs led 30 percent of poor households to reduce purchases of food, 40 percent to go without medical care, and 33 percent to not fill a prescription.

As Erick Erickson notes in his column “Ecology Theology“:

[T]he Bible does have an ecology theology in it.

And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” Gen. 1:28 (ESV)

There are five imperatives in Genesis 1:28

(1) Be fruitful and (2) multiply and (3) fill the earth and (4) subdue it, and (5) have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.

  1. Procreation. Man is told to be fruitful and multiply again after the flood.
  2. Colonization. There is a frontier mentality. Don’t simply stay in paradise or within sight of it, but go to every corner of the earth. There is a civilization component.
  3. Fill the earth.
  4. Work and keep the earth.
  5. Subdue and have dominion. This is a royal figure of speech “to have dominion, to subdue, and to rule.” Man is a representative of God. This is a world and life directive including culture and spiritual realms. Man is to be the earthly overseer.

The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. Gen. 2:15 (ESV)

The great danger is when the church and state become one and the same. When the Church mimics the policies of the state confidence in both organizations declines.

If the Catholic Church wants to truly reduce poverty, then it will support efforts to provide cheap and reliable energy to every child. That means using more, not less, fossil fuels.

RELATE VIDEO: The moral case for fossil fuels.

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Leaving the Church of Environmentalism

In March 2009 while the Environmental Protection Agency was rushing to fulfill a presidential campaign pledge to document that carbon dioxide (CO2) and five other greenhouse gases endangered public health and the environment, a longtime employee, Alan Carlin, put out a 93-page report challenging the science being cited and the drift of the agency from its initial role to one captured by fanatical activists and alarmists, treating environmentalism more as a religion than based in science.

At the time Carlin was a 72-year-old analyst and economist who, as The New York Times put it, “had labored in obscurity in a little-known office at the Environmental Protection Agency since the Nixon administration.” His EPA career would span 38 years.

Cover - Environmentalism Gone MadThe website for his new book, “Environmentalism Gone Mad” says, “Dr. Alan Carlin is an economist and physical scientist with degrees from Caltech and MIT and publications in both economics and climate/energy, who became actively involved in the Sierra Club in the 1960s as an activist and Chapter Chairman. This led to a career as a manager and senior analyst at the Environmental Protection Agency.”

As he says in the preface “The purpose of this book is to explain why I changed from my lifelong support of the environmental movement to extreme skepticism concern their current primary objective of reducing emissions of carbon dioxide.”

“Although I and the many other climate skeptics are now referred to as ‘deniers’ by the climate alarmists, that does not change the science—and there is no valid scientific basis for the alarmists’ catastrophic climate predictions—or justify their fantastically expensive and useless ‘solution.’”

Carlin went from being a dedicated environmentalist, based on its initial philosophy of conservation, to an observer of the movement that was taken over and distorted to advocate falsehoods about global warming and a transition from fossil-fuels to “clean energy” meaning wind, solar and bio-fuels. As an economist he understood how absurd it was to suggest rejecting fossil-fuels, the key element of modern industry and society.

“The climate alarmists,” says Carlin, “have now been making their apocalyptic predictions for almost thirty years and it is now possible to compare their predictions with actual physical observations.” Suffice to say all the predictions of a significantly higher temperature—the warming—have been wrong.

In fact, the Earth has been in a natural cooling cycle since 1998 and shows no indication of warming

Predictions about the North and South Poles melting, a major rise in ocean levels, increased hurricanes and other climate events have been wrong along with countless other climate-related apocalyptic predictions.

Having observed how the EPA has functioned for more than three decades, Carlin warns that its current “environmental policy has been hijacked by radicals intent on imposing their ideology by government fiat on the rest of us whether we like it or not…If environmental policy is based on government fiat or ‘green’ policy prescriptions the results have been and are very likely to continue to be disastrous.”

At 625 pages, Carlin’s book takes the reader from his early days as a Sierra Club activist and chapter leader to being an EPA outcast, denounced for telling the truth about the false claims of global warming, climate change, and what is now being called extreme weather.

As an economist, Carlin is particularly upset that “the Obama Administration’s climate/energy policy is wasting very large sums on non-solutions to minor or non-problems.” The book has come along as President Obama has been flogging “climate change” as the greatest threat to the nation and the world.

“It has been long recognized that weather is chaotic,” says Carlin. While we operate within the four seasons, the weather that occurs can only be predicted in the most general terms. Suggesting that humans actually have any effect on the weather is absurd.

That is why the predictions made by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and all the others based on computer models are, by definition, worthless. Computer models cannot predict anything about the vast chaotic global climate system. Even today, meteorologists are mystified by the actions of clouds which can form and disappear in minutes.

It’s useful to keep in mind that climate is measured in centuries, while the weather is reported as what is occurring today and forecast, at best, for no more than a week. Weather records are maintained for purposes of comparison and within the larger context of determining the Earth’s climate cycles. Like those in the past, the present cooling cycle is based on a comparable one of the Sun that is producing lower levels of radiation. You don’t need a Ph.D. in meteorology to understand this.

Carlin does not hesitate to excoriate the blather put forth by the alarmists; particularly their claims that the weather is affected in any significant fashion by human activity and development in particular. “There is simply no evidence thus far that the normal activities of man have or will result in catastrophic outcomes for either man or nature.”

The actions the alarmists call for do nothing to enhance and benefit our lives. They drive up the cost of energy and food. They ignore how dependent modern life is on the use of fossil fuels.

“Despite all the lavish funding by liberal foundations and the federal government on their global warming doctrine-inspired programs, the radical environmental movement has long since gone so far beyond rationality that it is counter-productive in achieving its own ends.”

So long as it remains heavily funded and backed by the federal government, we must, like Carlin, speak out against environmental extremism. We must elect new people to govern in a more realistic, science-based fashion. We must urge our current legislators to rein in the rogue Environmental Protection Agency.

© Alan Caruba, 2015

EDITORS NOTE: Earlier this month, the Media Research Center released a report exposing the media’s cover-up of Hollywood’s hypocrisy revolving around one of the Left’s favorite pet causes: climate change. If you haven’t seen this report yet, you can download your free copy here. The featured image is by Kate Bunker.

Who is Pope Francis? Perhaps his ‘Transformation on 9/21/53’ may help us understand him better?

Today’s million dollar question: Who is Pope Francis?

I refer to our Holy Father as a Holy Catholic Enigma.

Hope all is well on this day after “Pope Francis’ 61st Anniversary of his Conversion & Call to Religious Life”. Yes, it occurred in Buenos Aires, Argentina on the Feast Day of St. Matthew (September 21st, 1953), some 61 years ago, when a troubled, 16 year old Jorge Mario Bergoglio walked into church for confession. The rest is history…and, the rest is a bit confusing and perplexing – especially the last year year and a half of his 77 years here on earth.

Pope Francis has been at it for 18 months now, as our Holy Father – CEO of 1.2 billion Catholics world-wide. He hit the Vatican ground running on that Feast Day of St. Joseph (March 19th, 2013), as he took the baton from our beloved Pope Benedict XVI Emeritus, who thought it was wiser to resign from his post at age 85, allowing the younger cardinal from Buenos Aires to take it from there. First time we have seen that in the Vatican in 600 years, since Pope Gregory XII resigned in 1415. Wise move from a very wise retiring pope, who gave it his all in his nearly 8 years as our 265th pontiff.

And, if we were to take a national survey today – 61 years after Jorge Mario Bergoglio’s confession & conversion – we would probably see a wide assortment of answers when asked that million dollar question: “Who is Pope Francis”?

Friends: Where does one begin? How does one describe what you have seen, heard and watched from Pope Francis in his short, 18 month tenure so far? Why is it that this pope has caught the attention of billions (as in B) all over the world, as in a stark contrast to his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, who quietly took over after Pope John Paul II’s incredible 27 years? Is it because Pope Francis was elected so quickly by the 121 cardinals and because it was after the resignation of a pope, which we have not seen in 6 centuries? Is it because this pope is from the Americas – South America – of all places? Is it because he has a “chip on his shoulders” and wants to embrace the entire world to the religion of Catholicism like it was meant to be – just like Jesus ordained it to be over 2,000 years ago?

Or is it because this is what GOD ordained and what GOD considers part of the Big Plan? If I had a dollar for every time I have been asked “Willy, what is your take on Pope Francis”, I would be able to buy new text books for all 100 Catholic dioceses in this country who unforgivably adopted the Curse of Common Core and I would get the curse out of every one of those schools immediately.

Friends: Keep in mind that every time Pope Francis answers a question from the media, it is interpreted hundreds of different ways in hundreds of different languages. And, that is why the secular, liberal media love this guy. They get to twist & turn every one of his words and they, for some reason, always take his comments way out of context. That is one reason why he was voted “Person of the Year” last year and why he appeared on the front cover of “Rolling Stone” magazine…not “Roll away the Stone” magazine…The secular media see Pope Francis as a rock star…but, millions of faithful, die-hard Catholics all over the world do not.

And, that is where it gets sticky, confusing, perplexing, frustrating, and some times, down right excruciating. The “old school” Catholics don’t care for the pope being named Person of the Year. They don’t read Rolling Stone magazine. But, they do read the interviews on the pope. They do read his comments on abortion, contraception, same sex marriage and wealth vs. poverty. They saw him wed 20 different couples at St. Peter’s Basilica two Sundays ago (hearing that several of those couples had lived together and a few had babies out of wedlock).  And, the majority of people in this country, alone, still do not know what to make of his ever-famous quote given 3,000 feet up in the air on his return trip from Rio de Janeiro after World Youth Day when our Holy Father uttered his “famous last 5 words”:

WHOM AM I TO JUDGE?

So, with all this being said and with this “enigma-laced” question above still dangling for everybody to interpret – “Who is Pope Francis” – what do we make of all this? Like I told the Palm Beach Post almost a year ago when they interviewed me: “Pope Francis is doing a ‘Global Open House’, where he is inviting EVERYBODY to the table – the haters, the sinners, the homosexuals, the atheists, the outcasts, etc., and is simply getting their attention to be able to sit them all down at one time in about another year and show them what Catholicism teaches – what the Holy Catholic Church truly teaches”…I pray that I am right.

This has been my prayer ever since I heard his interview when he told the reporters “Who am I to Judge”? Believe me, friends, those 5 words do not sit well with me because like I said last year in that same interview – they can be interpreted a million different ways…and, they have been. It sent out mixed messages and truly confused the Catholic faithful. The pope opened up more than a can of worms when he uttered those 5 simple words and many of the Catholic die-hards lost it about then. And, many left the Church and refuse to come back.

And, while Catholic lay evangelists like Matthew Kelly, Dr. Scott Hahn and Tom Peterson are trying their best in “Calling Catholics Back Home”, damage has been done and those “old school” Catholics who were not patient enough to see when Pope Francis is going to elaborate on all of these “new school” expressions (not Catholic doctrine or teachings), may have left prematurely as the Church has lost numerous patrons who said they had seen enough.

And, Catholics are stubborn by nature…So, to ease your minds, please take a good look at this article below, which makes a ton of sense when speaking about Pope Francis. It honestly allowed me to relax a bit and not be so impatient with the pope. It gave me a different perspective on the pope’s perspective. The sections on “personal encounters” and “forgiveness” says a lot about our Holy Father and gives you the sense that he truly does believe in compassion and embracing even those who transgress us. Deep down, I honestly believe that the pope is simply trying to follow in the footsteps of our Lord & Savior, Jesus Christ, but, he does add a bit of flair and drama to his evangelization and preaching, thus, keeping everybody honest and a bit off balance…some more than others.

Enigma: Look it up on Google and see if it says “Pope Francis” under synonyms…He is like the Holy Rosary…a mystery to so many Catholics…a joyful one, though.

All Eyes on Francis

September 18, 2014

All eyes are on Pope Francis.

People around the world are watching what he is saying and doing and trying to understand what it means.

A friend called today from Switzerland: “What do you make of this alleged ‘irritation’ of the Pope over the new book defending traditional Catholic teaching on marriage?” he asked. “And his allegedly asking Cardinal Mueller not promote the book? What’s going on?”

Another friend emailed from New York. He had just spoken with an Orthodox Jewish Rabbi who is well-known in the pro-life movement. “I have been talking to a mutual friend — Rabbi Yehuda Levin, who spoke at the March for Life for several decades. He is a strong supporter of the Catholic Church’s stand against abortion, and for traditional man-woman marriage, etc. He is a spokesman for the Rabbinical Alliance of more than 800 Orthodox Rabbis. He feels that if the Church waffles or retreats on abortion or homosexuality or marriage at the upcoming Synod, this will have an adverse effect on Orthodox Judaism and other strong family religions. He is very concerned about the upcoming Synod.”

And another friend wrote, in response to my email of yesterday: “Excellent run down on the issue and cardinals involved. Prelates encouraging or advocating change are gradually ruining the authentic true Catholic Faith. The Roman Catholic Church is not supposed to be a ‘feel good’ Church, waxing and waning to current social issues. It is tragic, that the once prestigious Roman Catholic Church, is now dysfunctional, divided, depleted, contentious and infiltrated.”

And another reader wrote: “Many thanks — was hoping for more clarification on this issue! Will watch this space. Any comment on Cardinal Burke’s new job?” (Note: There have been unconfirmed reports that Pope Francis has decided to move the American Cardinal Raymond Burke from his post in the Roman Curia, as head of the Apostolic Signatura, to a post outside the Curia, as head of the Sovereign Order of the Knights of Malta: see the report on this by Sandro Magister, the Italian Vaticanist, at link).

So many Catholics, and some Orthodox Jewish rabbis, in many countries around the world, are watching Pope Francis, and wondering what he is doing, and what he will do next…

Understanding Francis

Pope Francis, I think, is attempting to make a slight adjustment in the Church’s pastoral focus.

Not to change Church doctrine, but to review and reform how the Church deals with, and cares for, fallen human beings.

This attempt is rooted in both personal experience, and in theological conviction.

Francis is persuaded there is a need to reach out to suffering, wounded, disoriented sinners in part because of a personal experience.

He had a personal, life-changing experience, a mystical experience, of God’s forgiveness of his sin.

It came after he went to confession, at the age of 16, in a church in Buenos Aires.

He has even told us the date: on September 21, 1953 — the Feast of St. Matthew (for this reason, Francis is fascinated by the painting of Caravaggio called The Calling of St. Matthew in the Church of St. Louis of the French near Piazza Navona in Rome; in past years, he often would go there when visiting Rome). This is how the Vatican put it in a biographical sketch published at the time of the Pope’s election last year: “Following a confession, he felt his heart touched and sensed the descent of the mercy of God, who with a look of tender love, called him to the religious life, following the example of St. Ignatius of Loyola.” In these few, spare words, we are told of an experience which transformed the life of young Jorge Mario Bergoglio. He felt his heart “touched” and he “sensed” the “descent of the mercy of God.” He felt, “in a very special way,” the “loving presence of God in his life.”

This experience is part of the reason the Francis wishes to deal with human frailty and sin, not through a restatement of why the sinner is in sin, or in a recitation of the Church’s judgment that the sinner’s choices and actions are sinful, but with mercy, with forgiveness, and so, with an opening out to new life.

There are also theological convictions at the base of Francis’ vision for the pastoral care of Christians — and for all human beings.

Francis is persuaded that the Church is a Mother, that the Church nourishes and protects and supports her children.

He is persuaded that the Lord Jesus, Founder of the Church, still present in the Church, in the Eucharist, in His Word, in his ministers and disciples, and in the love of the members of the Christian community for one another, wishes — as He did when He walked on this earth — to pardon sinners, to forgive them and heal them, not to condemn them and cast them out.

Francis believes in the “personal encounter” — with persons, with a “Mother”… a “Father”… a “Brother” who walks beside us, with us.

And he regards a certain type of “moralism,” which can seem to set laws and precepts and anathemas above such a “walking with,” as something to be avoided, a possible trap for believers.

He doesn’t want to “change the rules” about what is good and evil. Rather, he wishes to forgive those who transgress those rules, and repent, and seek forgiveness.

And he senses that he must privilege this attitude, and this action, or he may lose many souls, who will, sadly, perhaps in despair, turn aside from the way of the Christian faith, unless the Church reaches out to them with arms to embrace and forgive.

And precisely today, Francis spoke about this very personal vision of human life, human morality, and human sin, in his morning homily at Mass in the chapel at his residence, the Domus Santa Marta.

In his homily at Casa Santa Marta, Pope Francis said that it is precisely in one’s sins where one meets Jesus. (Here is a link to a Rome Reports video of parts of the homily: Link)

The Pope said that in recognizing our sins, we are able to experience Christ’s loving forgiveness. He said: “This is why the ability to acknowledge our own sins, to acknowledge our misery, to acknowledge what we are and what we are capable of doing or have done, is the very door that opens us to the Lord’s caress, His forgiveness, to His Word ‘Go in peace, your faith has saved you!” The Pope concluded his homily saying that those who feel themselves sinners open their hearts in confession and experience the mercy of God.

Vatican Radio provided these further excerpts: “He (Christ) only says the word salvation — ‘Your faith has saved you’ — to the woman, who is a sinner.

“And he says it because she was able to weep for her sins, to confess her sins, to say ‘I am a sinner’, and admit it to herself.

“He doesn’t say the same to those people, who were not bad people: they simply did not believe themselves to be sinners.

“Other people were sinners: the tax collectors, prostitutes… These were the sinners. Jesus says this word — ‘You are saved, you are safe’ — only to those who open their hearts and acknowledge that they are sinners.

“Salvation only enters our hearts when we open them to the truth of our sins.”

“This is why the ability to acknowledge our own sins, to acknowledge our misery, to acknowledge what we are and what we are capable of doing or have done is the very door that opens us to the Lord’s caress, His forgiveness, to His Word ‘Go in peace, your faith has saved you!’, because you were brave, you were brave enough to open your heart to the only One who can save you.”

One can see clearly in these words the influence of the Pope’s personal experience of September 21, 1953, which continues to shape his understanding of how he should deal, as Pope, with the issue of moral evil and sin, and with the reality of God’s loving mercy which can forgive such sin.

The Tale of Two Catholic Cardinals: Chicago’s Francis George & New York’s Timothy Dolan

Hope all is well on this “Feast Day of Our Lady of Sorrows” as we bring you a very interesting e-mail here for you – a look at the two former Presidents of the USCCB – Cardinal Francis George (pictured above) and Cardinal Timothy Dolan – a stark comparison of two completely different men; two different types of cardinals; and two leaders of large and popular archdioceses in our country.

Cardinal George closely oversees the archdiocese of Chicago with two keen eyes while Cardinal Dolan nonchalantly watches over New York City with a very sleepy eye. Both archdioceses have their fair share of crime; the abortion rates are high and both cities are always under the spotlight. But, while Cardinal George takes pride in preaching boldly from the Gospels and getting out in the streets to fight crime and the other evils of a big city like Chicago – without looking for the limelight – Cardinal Dolan plays it safe – hangs out with the Pro-abortion politicians, ministers Holy Communion to them, has taken the title of the grand Marshall at the controversial St. Patrick’s Day Gay parade – and lives for the limelight…Two completely different men – both cardinals, both archbishops. Both walking in different directions.

Friends: Please take a look at the below article from the bold and courageous Cardinal George as his views on Gay marriage, Obamacare and abortion – to name a few – are quite different than this successor, Cardinal Dolan.

Cardinal George’s comments are right on target and what the Catholic faithful should consider as Catholic doctrine, Catholic teachings. He has no problem telling it like it is, has the courage to back it up and goes as far as referring to those Catholics who do not adhere to these Catholic Church teachings as the “fake church”. A devout supporter of the “Holy Roman Catholic Church”, he could not have said it any better as I refer to this new church-goer as the Progressive American Catholic – a member of this fake church that the cardinal is referring to and the church-goer that Cardinal Dolan has catered to and is actually in the process of creating, as we speak…

This “Progressive American Catholic” is completely different than the “Holy Roman Catholic” and that is the crux of the problem in the United States today.

The Catholic Church has become divided. One comes from the liberal “church of nice” – where everything is relative and everything is accepted. The other comes from the Holy Catholic Apostolic Church – the one that Jesus built upon Peter, the Rock, whose foundation is solid and will last throughout eternity. Those are the Catholic Church teachings that Cardinal George relies on and lives by. Cardinal Dolan, on the other hand, finds himself in that “politically correct” church of nice – where mostly anything goes and being in front of the media is more important than saving souls. Again, two completely different church leaders with two different agendas and two different approaches – but, yet, represent the same Holy Catholic Church and the Vatican in Rome.

It will be very interesting to see what happens with these two different schools of thought as I for one, have had more than enough of Cardinal Dolan and the liberal controversies that he has brought to our beloved Catholic Church. Dolan has disgraced our Church way too many times and millions of Catholics around the country have also had enough and even many of Cardinal Dolan’s colleagues have not been too keen on his latest attention-getting shenanigans.

Meanwhile, keep focused on what Cardinal George is preaching and bringing to the pulpit. This is the type of church leader – courageous cardinal – that the Holy Catholic Church needs today. If more cardinals and bishops spoke and acted like this Holy Man of GOD, the Catholic Church would not be in the trouble it is in today. If they all spoke from the pulpits like Cardinal George and Cardinal Burke have been doing for years, then the Catholic Faithful would know what to follow, what church doctrine really is and what the real Holy Roman Catholic Church is all about. It’s time we all boldly stand together as One Body in Christ and bring our Church back to where it is supposed to be – the One Holy Catholic Apostolic Church that Jesus founded over 2,000 years ago…Like EWTN’s fired up Catholic evangelist, Tom Peterson, said this past Wednesday evening at St. Jude Church in Tequesta:

CATHOLICS COME HOME…MAY MORE CATHOLIC CHURCH LEADERS LIKE CARDINAL GEORGE STEP UP AND LET THEMSELVES BE HEARD LOUD & CLEAR WHEN THEY SPEAK NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH! MAY CATHOLIC CHURCH LEADERS LIKE CARDINAL DOLAN STOP THEIR SELFISH & BLATANT ANTICS THAT CONTINUE TO DISGRACE OUR BELOVED HOLY CATHOLIC CHURCH!!

Cardinal: U.S. ‘Creed’ on Gay Marriage Like Sharia Law

September 10, 2014 – 2:07 PM

By Michael W. Chapman

cardinalgeorge

Cardinal Francis George, head of the Catholic archdiocese of Chicago and a former president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. (AP)

(CNSNews.com) – Cardinal Francis George, head of the Catholic archdiocese of Chicago, said the levers of power in government, education, entertainment, and media are enforcing a “public creed,” a “fake church” that requires all citizens to approve of gay marriage and related sexual anomalies or be punished by the State, just “as Christians and Jews are fined for their religion in countries governed by Sharia law.”

Cardinal George, who was president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) in 2007-10, made his remarks in his Sept. 7 column for the archdiocesean newspaper. In his commentary, the cardinal explains that America , despite social frictions at certain times, had always strived to ensure religious freedom and respect for different religions.

The State, in the past, had “kept its promise to protect all religions and not become a rival to them, a fake church,” said the cardinal.

But that has now changed, he said. “In recent years, society has brought social and legislative approval to all types of sexual relationships that used to be considered ‘sinful,’” he continued.  “Since the biblical vision of what it means to be human tells us that not every friendship or love can be expressed in sexual relations, the church’s teaching on these issues is now evidence of intolerance for what the civil law upholds and even imposes.”

“What was once a request to live and let live has now become a demand for approval,” said Cardinal George, whose archdiocese includes about 2.2 million Catholics.  “The ‘ruling class,’ those who shape public opinion in politics, in education, in communications, in entertainment, is using the civil law to impose its own form of morality on everyone.”

“We are told that, even in marriage itself, there is no difference between men and women, although nature and our very bodies clearly evidence that men and women are not interchangeable at will in forming a family,” he said.  “Nevertheless, those who do not conform to the official religion, we are warned, place their citizenship in danger.”

The cardinal then noted that Americans who objected on religious grounds to the Obamacare mandate on contraceptives, sterilizations, and abortion-inducing drugs, were chastised by many in the media, including the liberal Huffington Post, which claimed the opposition, and the six Catholic judges on the Supreme Court, raised “concerns about the compatibility between being a Catholic and being a good citizen.”

This was not the anti-Catholic voice of nativists, or the Know-Nothing Party, or the Ku Klux Klan, said the cardinal, but, “rather, the self-righteous voice of some members of the American establishment today who regard themselves as ‘progressive’ and ‘enlightened.’”

“The inevitable result is a crisis of belief for many Catholics,” said Cardinal George.  “Throughout history, when Catholics and other believers in revealed religion have been forced to choose between being taught by God or instructed by politicians, professors, editors of major newspapers and entertainers, many have opted to go along with the powers that be.

”This reduces a great tension in their lives, although it also brings with it the worship of a false god,” he said.  “It takes no moral courage to conform to government and social pressure. It takes a deep faith to ‘swim against the tide,’ as Pope Francis recently encouraged young people to do at last summer’s World Youth Day.”

The cardinal continued, “Swimming against the tide means limiting one’s access to positions of prestige and power in society. It means that those who choose to live by the Catholic faith will not be welcomed as political candidates to national office, will not sit on editorial boards of major newspapers, will not be at home on most university faculties, will not have successful careers as actors and entertainers.” “Nor will their children, who will also be suspect,” he said.

“Since all public institutions, no matter who owns or operates them, will be agents of the government and conform their activities to the demands of the official religion, the practice of medicine and law will become more difficult for faithful Catholics,” said Cardinal George.  “It already means in some States that those who run businesses must conform their activities to the official religion or be fined, as Christians and Jews are fined for their religion in countries governed by Sharia law.”

Cardinal George went on to argue that U.S. civil law has done much to weaken and destroy the family, which in turn has forced the State to impose more and more restrictions on people and their activities that are unloosed from the “internal restraints that healthy family life teaches.”

He also says that many of the “tenets of the official State religion” are largely dictated by elements of a certain social class, noting that “’same-sex marriage,’ as a case in point, is not an issue for the poor or those on the margins of society.” How the situation may end, said the cardinal, is unclear because there are many Americans, “even among the ruling class, who do not want their beloved country to transform itself into a fake church.”

Catholics and traditional Christians know by faith, said Cardinal George, thatChrist will return to judge the living and the dead and the church “will be there to meet Him.”

However, “[t]here is no such divine guarantee for any country, culture or society of this age or any age,” concluded Cardinal George.

The archdiocese of Chicago, established in 1843, serves about 2.2 million Catholics through 356 parishes, and with more than 1,400 priests and 1,600 women religious. The archdiocese operates 44 schools and 5 colleges, the latter educating 49,000 students. The archdiocese also oversees 17 Catholic hospitals, assisting 2.6 million people a year, and helps another 1.2 million people through 150-plus different charities.

Bullwhips and Churches!

Bullwhips as a ministry tool?  What would Jesus do?  Hmmm… seems like he put a whip to good use on one occasion. After being told I should be more Christ like, I find a very interesting story about Jesus.

[youtube]http://youtu.be/hTf8VKbBUGI[/youtube]

 

EDITORS NOTE: The featured photo is courtesy of ThoughtsPrayersandSongs.com.