Showing posts from April, 2017

Developments in the Order of Malta

I haven't written much comment on the ongoing debacle with the Knight's of Malta, except to mention Cardinal Burke's appointment here. This is because there is a great job being done by a number of others in this regard.

Edward Pentin has been particularly informative and if you are unfamiliar with the backstory, you may find this article very useful.

A couple of days ago, The Catholic Heraldreported the shocking news that a leaked report had concluded that Order of Malta projects distributed abortifacients.

Yesterday, this appeared on the internet and this morning there is a barrage of posts following the news that the last previous Grand Master of the order, who had been told he could attend the election of the next Grand Master and was then told that he could not, had decided to go to the election in any case. Dr. Joseph Shaw sums the current situation up very well in this post which I duplicate below, and also includes a useful collection of links to various sites who…

When Cardinals don't understand the Bible

Leaving aside the arguments about reduced culpability for a moment, I would like to post, for the record, some of my more fundamental concerns regarding the Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia.

Reading this document was, I found, not like reading anything else promulgated by the Church, and I have read a lot of Church documents!

Even a perfunctory reading left me feeling uneasy with simple and obvious errors contained therein, it felt like it was a different faith!

As I cited in this post, the Professor who taught me Moral Theology has pointed out some of these glaring and obvious errors with respect to the misrepresentation of Magisterial texts:
Magisterial texts in AL are distorted when quoted selectively or ignored almost completely. Repeatedly presenting conscience as the sanctuary where man finds himself alone with God (Gaudium et spes, 16) suggests it is only a private matter between the individual and God, while references to invincible ignorance and to other factors reducing…

From Christian to Atheist & Back Again.

My attention was drawn today to this rather stunning piece on Atheism & conversion in The New Statesman which you can read for yourself here.

Its author is A. N. Wilson, an English writer and newspaper columnist, known for his critical biographies, novels, works of popular history.

In the early 1990s, Wilson stated publicly that he was an Atheist and published a pamphlet Against Religion in the Chatto & Windus CounterBlasts series; however, religious and ecclesiological themes continue to inform his work. He claims to have lost his Christian beliefs while working on his 1990 biography of C.S. Lewis. For nearly 20 years he continued to be both a sceptic, and a prominent atheist. It was during his period of nonbelief that he wrote biographies of Jesus, St. Paul, and a history of atheism in the 19th century entitled God's Funeral, the latter describing the growth of atheism as due to combination of many influences ranging from David Hume to Sigmund Freud. These and many othe…

Why Papal Silence Might not be a Bad Thing

Lots of people think that in the name of truth and with the mission of clarity in proclaiming that truth which is an essential facet of the papacy, Pope Francis should answer the Cardinal's dubia about Amoris Laetitia. Pope Francis is after all the final and magisterial arbiter of doctrinal contention. It would be very powerful if he answered them by reaffirming the teaching of Christ.

However, in this recent post, Dom Hugh argues that the papal silence in this regard, especially if it is true that Pope Francis thinks this teaching should be changed (and that is still a big if at the moment), might not be such a bad thing after all!

In defence of this position he quotes Sheed:
Infallibility means that the Pope cannot (in the appropriate circumstances) give the wrong answer—the Holy Spirit will not let him. That leaves him with two possibilities as against our three—he can give the right answer, or no answer. What decides? Whether he knows: infallibility does not in itself mean ins…

Architectural News from Norcia

Some rather depressing news from Dr. Robert Moynihan, who, in his latest letter reports news from the Monks of Norcia / Monaci di Norcia:

"They told me that the archbishop of Spoleto, Renato Boccardo, age 64 -- who has jurisdiction over Norcia -- has decided that he will rebuild the Basilica of St. Benedict in a modern style of architecture. He will also take possession of the quarters where the monks had been living from the year 2000 until October 2016. He will use the quarters as a part-time episcopal residence.

"So the Benedictine monks of Father Cassian will not return to the center of Norcia, to the spot where St. Benedict and his twin sister St. Scholastica were born. That period of the monastery's life is over now, it seems. The monastery will now be built on the hillside above the city, about two miles outside of the city walls."

Evangelisation is not a Protestant thing

Evangelisation is not a Protestant thing, but part of our task as Christians.

The Twelve Apostles of Mexico were twelve hand-picked Franciscan friars who arrived in New Spain in 1524 and become known for their extraordinary dedication and self-sacrificing labors. The local Indians said of the twelve Franciscans after some years
"Because they were poor and barefoot, as we are, they eat what we eat, they sit on the ground as we do, they converse in humility with us, they love us as their children, we love and seek them as fathers." It was estimated that 11 years later, they had baptised 5 million new Mexican Christians!!!!

This drawing of the friars is from the wall of a early colonial (1535) Franciscan monastery just outside Puebla, Mexico.

Forgiveness: Muslims Moved as Coptic Christians Do the Unimaginable

Image: Mohamed Abd El Ghany / Reuters Coptic Christians gather outside Tanta's Mar Girgis Church after bomb disrupts Palm Sunday service.
This is an interesting post about the Coptic response to ISIS attacks in Egypt and the effect it is having on society there:

Martrydom and forgiveness is fuelling curiosity among Muslims and repentance and revival of faith among Copts in Egypt.

...But even in death, the Copts forgive.
"For example, the night of the bombings, Orthodox priest Boules George said he thanks and loves those who did this crime. Speaking to a congregation in Cairo’s Cleopatra neighborhood, his words were broadcast on the popular Coptic TV station Aghaby.
“I long to talk to you about our Christ, and tell you how wonderful he is,” said George, addressing the terrorists. But then turning to the church, he said, “How about we make a commitment today to pray for them?
“If they know that God is love and experience his love, they could not do these things—never, never, never.” S…

The Anatomy of Discipleship

In this post, Ann Yeong who blogs at sets out to analyse how we become an effective Evangelist. I think she succeeds in describing the anatomy of discipleship. It is not through our efforts, but by the power of the Holy Spirit, that anyone finds God. But we should be aware that everyone is seeking God, whether they are aware of it or not, and the conduit for their discovery is the way they see Christ reflected in us and our lives.

For this reason we need to be aware at all times how we live out our faith aware that Christianity is not austere and burdensome, but life giving and fulfilling!

Ann's post provide a valuable route map that provides useful reminders of our focus on the interior life; that is, the call to personal holiness. We have to be working on changing ourselves as I have posted before. We need a sense of progress and development in our lives. We need joy and peace to flow into our society. I'm not talking about material things, but rather spiritual …

Pope Francis is Speaking about Retirement...

According to Damian Thompson & the new Spectator's religion podcast, rumours from Rome are that the Pope has spoken to numerous people about his intention to follow Pope Benedict and retire in the next few years, but only after several consistories have suitably stacked the deck in favour of liberal progressive Cardinals.

According to the discussion, Cardinal Tagle is already campaigning to be 'the next Francis'!

You'll note Cristina Odone's lavish praise of the pope for his appeal to popularism. But the fact that he is popular among non-Catholics and among those who are at odds with Catholic teaching in some way speaks volumes about the failure of the modern Church to preach the Gospel of Christ, the Gospel which challenges us to change and conform our lives to God.

For me it seems clear that the more the Church conforms to the world, the less relevant it will become.

Arguments for reduced culpability: A dialogue.

Scott has responded to my post on his apologia for Amoris Laetitia.

I can't say I'm enjoying this much as I didn't do well in my moral theology exams! Anyway, back to the books to try and figure out what this new argument is about. I am finding it a little confusing at this point, which is one of my main gripes about Amoris Laetitia in the first place (it is overly long and convoluted).

I thought this was a dialogue well worth engaging in, because I hoped it would help me to understand more clearly what Amoris Laetitia argues, the value to that argument, or at least what Scott says it argues (by his own admission it is not explicit in the document itself). At this stage I would say that, the reading it is prompting me to do is doing nothing other than increase my concern about the document and affirm my instinct that it is error.

To the best of my understanding, Scott is saying the debate rests on one question which he frames: how culpability can then be reduced for the d…

More Foxes in the Vatican Henhouse

A week or so ago Fr Dwight Longnecker posted this blog.
It's one of those posts that contains so much truth I felt it was well worth sharing here.

It's on stuff that makes me shake my head. It seems really obvious. But the powers that be seem completely blind to this reality, why? I can not say.

He's talking about the failure within the Church of England to maintain any integrity with respect to their promise to maintain a kind of two party settlement within the communion. I blogged about the ousting of the Anglican Bishop Philip North here a little while back. Fr Dwight sees this as a definitive moment for Anglicanism and the betrayal of that two party compromise. He is not alone in this observation as many others have noted. But he also sees that this is a frequently occurring modern malaise when we compromise truth in order to be 'inclusive'.

With the recent appointment of Fr James Martin SJ to the Vatican communications team, Fr Dwight smells the same kind of …

Can Pope's Heretical Direction Be Plausibly Denied?

By Heinrich Hofmann - Riverside Church, New York, Public Domain, Link
So last week we found out for sure that anyone who is trying to advance an orthodox interpretation of Amoris Laetitia is at odds with the Pope.

Edward Pentin noted that ++Baldisseri has written on behalf of Pope Francis to thank Malta's bishops for their guidelines on Ch. 8 of Amoris Laetitia.
Still think Pope Francis isn't trying to undermine Church teaching?

Last week I had a discussion on Twitter with Scott Smith, an Australian Blogger and Fr Paul Keller, a Tanzanian Priest, who were both trying to convince me that a). The Pope does clearly want to change Church teaching and b). There is a legitimacy to his direction (in other words it can be accepted as an orthodox direction).

This discussion was interesting because it differed from the usual conversations around criticism of Pope Francis in that the usual pro-Francis advocate argues that the Pope is not trying to change Church teaching. I felt that th…

This Easter Seek Afresh the Jesus Who bursts Forth From the Tomb!


The Donkey

When fishes flew and forests walked  And figs grew upon thorn,  Some moment when the moon was blood  Then surely I was born.

With monstrous head and sickening cry  And ears like errant wings,  The devil’s walking parody  On all four-footed things.
The tattered outlaw of the earth,  Of ancient crooked will;  Starve, scourge, deride me: I am dumb,  I keep my secret still.
Fools! For I also had my hour;  One far fierce hour and sweet:  There was a shout about my ears,  And palms before my feet.
GK Chesterton, The Donkey

Image: Christ's Entry into Jerusalem
Artist: Jean-Hippolyte Flandrin (March 1809 – March 1864) was a 19th-century French painter
Date: 1846
Location: Church of Saint-Germain-des-Prés, Paris

Matthew 21:5 relates Jesus' entry into Jerusalem
21:5. ”Tell the daughter of Zion: Behold your king comes to you, meek and sitting upon a donkey and a colt, the foal of her that is accustomed to the yoke.” to Zechariah 9:9:
9:9. Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion, shout for …

Scicluna the Betrayer!

It's been a busy old week for Archbishop Charles Scicluna in Malta. Well there's lots to do when you are tasked with the dismantling of the Catholic Faith you know!

This week the pint-sized prelate has:

Capitulated on contraception
Welcomed Islam to Malta in a manner which has even stunned the Muslims! 
And was thanked by Pope Francis for his wonderful guidelines on Chapter 8 of Amorous lacivious 

Footnote: Minions are small, yellow creatures who have existed since the beginning of time, evolving from single-celled organisms into beings who exist only to serve history's most despicable masters.

Catholic Youth Ministry's No. 1 Myth

Catholic Youth Ministry's No. 1 Myth: Because Teens hate their parents, Catholic Youth Ministry must offer an environment free from the presence of parents.

In reality, study after study has conclusively shown that parents, hands down, have a far greater impact on the spiritual life and faith practice of their own children than any youth minister could ever hope to have. This is the case even for teens who get involved in Youth Ministry efforts, mission, trips, and short-term service experiences. In the long run, teens will mimic their parents' faith practice.

This is why stuff like this initiative from the CBEW is just straight up nonsense. We don't need to ask kids what they think, we need to teach them the faith - something that has been neglected for over forty years in this country.

Catholic Youth Ministry needs to wake up and smell the coffee. It is complicit in a series of fundamental myths about teens, and because of this the teen retention rate is a complete disa…

In War Innocent People Die.

I'm struggling a bit with the sudden crescendo of rage over the use of chemical weapons in Syria.

Yes there are rules about chemical weapons, yet before chemical weapons were outlawed by the Geneva Protocol of 1925, the British government approved the use of poison gas against rebel tribesmen in Iraq and Afghanistan. 
All these rules and regulations about which weapons are allowed are simply a means to alleviating and preventing the humanitarian suffering that we've been seeing - in this instance - for seven years now. Also these rules apply to cluster munitions, incendiary weapons, and explosive weapons in populated areas, as well as chemical weapons.
According to the highly reputable organisation Airwars, the UK has declared 1,280 air-strikes in Iraq & Syria dating back to 2014. Airwars have tracked 1,700 alleged Coalition civilian deaths for this March alone! Let that sink in for minute!
I don't know why people seem to be suddenly screaming for action given the year…