Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Vis a vis Pope Francis, Don't Be the Older Brother of the Prodigal Son


Dr. Robert Moynihan via icontactmail4.com to me





November 18, 2014, Tuesday — "Tu es Petrus"

"The bishop is the center of unity, visible unity — the Holy Spirit is the center of invisible unity in the Church — so you try to keep people together for the sake of the mission. Whatever is necessary for that purpose is what I’ve tried to do. How you do it? Well, some of it presents itself. You have to make priest personnel changes. You have to take care of the financial situation. You have to manage the institutions in different ways. You’ve got to appear at certain events. You’ve got to be part of different meetings. All of that sets your schedule. It’s what you do. But in back of it is this purpose of how you can make all of that serve the unity of the Church for the sake of the mission. That’s the spiritual development of the people." —Cardinal Francis George of Chicago, recent interview with Catholic New World, the Catholic newspaper of the Archdiocese of Chicago


================

This is not a time for too many words.

It is a time to recognize that there is a danger to the faith that is just as grave as the danger of modernism and relativism, and that is the danger of division and schism.

We must remain united.

In the present crisis of our world, with enormous efforts being devoted to transform and assimilate all traditional societies into a "new world order" with a "gender agenda" that is inimical to the traditional family, our lack of unity, our focus on what divides us rather than what unites us, is a clear and present danger.

Francis is Peter.

This does not mean that Francis must not be criticized. Catholics are not slaves of the Pope. Of course not. Catholics are not like courtiers, lying shamelessly, saying a naked Emperor is well-clothed. That would be servility. The Pope needs friends and colleagues and brothers, not slaves and courtiers.

But when we criticize Peter, when we "withstand him to his face," as Paul did to Peter in Jerusalem, at the first Council of the Church, a Council that decided that non-Jews could become Christians (and therefore shattered the ethnic basis of the covenant with God, something extraordinarily difficult for the first Christians, all of whom were Jews, including Peter, to understand), we do so as his brothers and his sons in the family of the faith.

The Pope does know well the story-line of Robert Hugh Benson's Lord of the World. He knows that the proposal for a world without Christ is being made, with marvelous seductive power, by the present order of the world.

And no Catholics more so than "traditional" Catholics -- I might call them "ordinary Catholics" because what traditional Catholics believe is ordinary Catholicism -- know that remaining with Peter is an essential element of being Catholic.

We might compare these Catholics to the "elder bother" in the parable of the prodigal son, the one who stayed home while the "younger brother" went to Babylon, that is, strayed from traditional Church teaching.

They stayed home, close to their father, and close to their faith, while their "younger brothers" journeyed far and abandoned much.

Now that the "prodigal son" is being invited home, they are -- perhaps -- feeling taken for granted, overlooked, unjustly treated.

Not so. They have been close to the Church's life all these years. They have avoided much confusion and misery. They have kept the faith, which is itself a profound joy.

So, if some who have been away can change course, and return, or even express a desire to return, they must be greeted with open arms -- as Francis has said over and over and over again.

And this was the profound meaning of his "Who am I to judge?"

He was not speaking about someone still in Babylon, but about someone who had decided that he wished to return home.

We are in a strange age a confusing age. And woe to us if our confusion divides us from Peter.

We may criticize a prudential choice -- and suggest a better course. But we must not break with Peter.

The bishop is the center of unity in his diocese, and the Bishop of Rome is the center of unity in the world.

The Church is characterized by four signs: she is one, she is holy, she is catholic, and she is apostolic. Unam, sanctam, catholicam et apostolicam...

She cannot be the Church of the Creed if she is not one.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

John Allan Interview with Cardinal Francis George about Pope Francis: What ‘America’s Ratzinger’ would like to ask Pope Francis


By John L. Allen Jr.
 November 16, 2014

Cardinal Francis George of Chicago will turn over the reins to his successor, Archbishop Blase Cupich, on Tuesday. George has long been seen as a leading intellectual light among America’s Catholic bishops, and even now, as he fights for his life, his mind remains remarkably nimble.
As it turns out, one thing occupying his mind these days is Pope Francis.
Now 77, George is currently undergoing experimentaltreatment intended to stimulate his immune system to fight off the cancer spreading from his bladder, liver, and kidneys through the rest of his body. If it fails, he’ll likely be looking at palliative care ahead of the inevitable.
I’ve described George before as the “American Ratzinger” for his blend of intellectual chops and tenacious commitment to Catholic tradition, in the spirit of the former Joseph Ratzinger, the man who became Pope Benedict XVI. (For the record, George shuns the label, insisting he’s not of Benedict’s intellectual caliber. He is, in any event, the closest thing to it on these shores.)
George sat down for an exclusive interview on Friday. A fuller account will appear Monday on Crux, but for now, one fascinating element is this: If time and health allow, George would really, really like to have a heart-to-heart with Francis.
Aside from the sheer fun of knowing what one of America’s best Catholic minds wants to ask the pope, George’s dream Q&A has political relevance because he remains a point of reference to the Church’s conservative wing. These aren’t just his questions, in other words, but what a large and influential Catholic constituency would like to know.
So, what’s on his mind?
To begin, George said he’d like to ask Francis if he fully grasps that in some quarters, he’s created the impression Catholic doctrine is up for grabs.
Does Francis realize, for example, “what has happened just by that phrase, ‘Who am I to judge?’ ”
Top of Form
Bottom of Form
Francis’ signature sound-bite, George said, “has been very misused … because he was talking about someone who has already asked for mercy and been given absolution, whom he knows well,” George said.
(Francis uttered the line in 2013, in response to a question about a Vatican cleric accused of gay relationships earlier in his career.)
“That’s entirely different than talking to somebody who demands acceptance rather than asking for forgiveness,” George said.
“Does he not realize the repercussions? Perhaps he doesn’t,” George said. “I don’t know whether he’s conscious of all the consequences of some of the things he’s said and done that raise doubts in people’s minds.”
“The question is why he doesn’t he clarify” these ambiguous statements, George said. “Why is it necessary that apologists have to bear the burden of trying to put the best possible face on it?”
He said he also wonders if Francis realizes how his rhetoric has created expectations “he can’t possibly meet.”
I don’t know whether he’s conscious of all the consequences of some of the things he’s said and done that raise doubts in people’s minds.”

 “That’s what worries me,” George said. “At a certain moment, people who have painted him as a player in their own scenarios about changes in the Church will discover that’s not who he is.”
At that stage, George warned, “He’ll get not only disillusionment, but opposition, which could be harmful to his effectiveness.”
Second, George said he’d like to ask Francis who is providing him advice — which, he said, has become the “big question” about this pope.
“Obviously he’s getting input from somewhere,” George said. “Much of it he collects himself, but I’d love to know who’s truly shaping his thinking.”
Third, George noted that Francis often makes references to the Devil and the biblical notion of the end-times, but said it’s not clear how that shapes his vision and agenda.
Among other things, George recalled that one of Francis’ favorite books is “The Lord of the World” by Robert Hugh Benson, a converted Catholic priest and son of a former Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury. It’s an apocalyptic fantasy, written in 1907, culminating in a showdown between the Church and a charismatic anti-Christ figure.
George said he’d like to ask Francis a simple question: “Do you really believe that?”
“I hope before I die I’ll have the chance to ask him how you want us to understand what you’re doing, when you put [the end-times] before us as a key to it all,” he said.
Perhaps, George said, the sense that the end is near explains why Francis “seems to be in a hurry.”
So far, George said, he hasn’t been able to talk these things out with the new boss.
“I didn’t know him well before he was elected, and since then I haven’t had a chance to go over [to Rome] for any meetings because I’ve been in treatment,” he said.
Getting some quality time, as George describes it, wouldn’t be just about indulging his personal curiosity, but also being a good bishop.
“You’re supposed to govern in communion with the successor of Peter, so it’s important to have some meeting of minds,” he said. “I certainly respect [Francis] as pope, but I don’t yet really have an understanding of, ‘What are we doing here?’ ”
Enter Blogger: Suggestion: Francis is about the business of raising Church and world consciousness to an experience of Christ as the Revelation of God in the flesh. Karol Wojtyla (St. John Paul II) said it in the most straightforward terms philosophical terms: In his opening sentence to “The Acting Person,” Wojtyla wrote: “The inspiration  to embark upon this study came from the need to objectivize [conceptualize, putting into words] that great cognitive process which at its origin may be defined as the experience of man: this experience, which man has of himself, is the richest and  apparently the most complex of all experiences accessible to him. Man’s experience of anything outside of himself is always associated with the experience of himself, and he never experiences anything external without having at the same time the experience of himself.”  The burden of Wojtyla’s “The Acting Person” is to show phenomenologically how the human person as subject, as “I,” is the Being that is the prius of the metaphysics of St. Thomas Aquinas. And although the “I” is the only subject experienced by man, it is cognized by the human intellect and handled as an object without losing its subjectivity.
            This philosophy of Wojtyla is present in the theological epistemology of Joseph Ratzinger when it is activated in prayer as “I-gift” in relation to the Father with Jesus Christ. Since Christ’s “I” is pure Self-gift to the Father, when Simon in Lk 9, 18 prays with Christ, he experiences in himself what Christ experiences in Himself as Son. He becomes “another Christ;” and since “like is known by like,” Simon is able to say, because he experiences the Christ that he is becoming: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Mt. 16, 16). That is, one “knows” God by experiencing self becoming God, or as it was quoted in Aparecida by the pope to be: “Only God knows God” (cf. Mt. 11, 27). This is all Augustine, Bonaventure, Benedict XVI and Francis. It is knowing God on the level of experience, and as “I.” It is “narrative” not doctrine.
            Robert Barron says it so well: “…(T)he first of the Gospels commences with this simple declaration: ‘The beginning  of the good  news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God’ [Mk. 1, 1]. The first telling of the evangelion is a presentation in narrative form of Jesus as the Christ,…’”[1] It is a story in the first person singular. It is the most profound communication of Christ. It is Kerygma. Barron goes on to give an anecdote: “Ludwig von Beethoven once played one of his piano concertos to a small audience. After the performance, one of the listeners said, ‘But what does it mean?” Indignant, Beethoven sat down and played it through again. It meant precisely wht it was, nothing more or less.”[2] Ratzinger explains in depth: “As faith understood the position, Jesus did not perform a work that could b distinguished form his ‘I’ and depicted separately. On the contrary, to understand him as the Christ means to be convinced that he has put himself into his word. Here there is no ‘I’ (…) which utters words: He has identified himself so closely with his word that ‘I’ and word are indistinguishable: he is word.  In the same way, to faith, his work is nothing else than the unreserved way in which he merges himself into this very work; he performs himself and gives himself; his work is the giving of himself.”[3]
            The meaning of man is Jesus Christ, the Prototype. Hence, the work and word of man must be moving always in the direction of the attitude  of self gift. The adviser of Francis is Benedict XVI.





[1] Robert Barron, “The Priority of Christ” Brazos (2007) 48.
[2] Ibid 49
[3] J. Ratzinger, “Introduction to Christianity” (1990) 150.

THE POPE: His role, responsibility, mission and the best attitudes towards him




1. What do we believe about the Pope?

We call the Pope “Father”, just as Catholics call their priest “Father”, because the Pope represents God as our Father, who loves us, who made us, and who sent his Son to die on the cross for us. The Pope represents God our Father in a special way, because like a good parent he guards the truth of the revelation which Jesus Christ handed on to his apostles (followers), the chief of whom was Simon whom Jesus called in his own language Cephas, meaning “Rock”. We believe that the present Pope is the successor of Peter, the Fisherman.
During his lifetime, Jesus made Peter the leader of his church on earth, to take over when Jesus died, rose again from the dead, and went to be with his Father in heaven. He said to Peter, after Simon had named Jesus as “the Son of the Living God”:
Simon, Son of John, flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father in heaven. And I say that you are Peter (the Rock) and on this Rock I will build my Church; and the gates of hell will not triumph against it. Whatever you shall bind on earth you shall bind in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven”. [Matthew 16:17-19] (CATEW FAQ)

2. What is the Pope’s responsibility?
As successor of St. Peter and head of the college of bishops, the Pope is the source and guarantor of the Church’s unity. He has the supreme pastoral authority and the final authority in doctrinal and disciplinary decisions.  

Jesus gave Peter a unique position of preeminence among the apostles. This made him the supreme authority in the early Church. Rome - the local Church that Peter led and the place of his martyrdom - became after his death the internal reference point of the young Church. Every Christian community had to agree with Rome; that was the standard for the true, complete, and unadulterated apostolic faith. …

Only in this capacity is the Pope "Christ's Vicar on earth." As the highest pastoral and doctrinal authority, he watches over the transmission of the true faith…Unity in matters of faith and morals, which is guaranteed by the Church's Magisterium, or teaching authority, with the Pope at the head, is one reason for the remarkable resilience and influence of the Catholic Church. (YOUCAT 141)
3. What is the biblical basis for calling the Pope “Vicar of Christ”?

Jesus, who is the Good Shepherd, told Peter “Feed my sheep, feed my lambs.” (Jn 21:15-17)  It was upon Simon Peter alone that Jesus after his Resurrection bestowed the jurisdiction of chief pastor and ruler over all his fold. (Pastor aeternus)

4. What is the mission of the Catholic Church led by the Pope?

The mission of the Church is to proclaim and establish the Kingdom of God begun by Jesus Christ among all peoples. (Compendium 150) 
The Church's first purpose is to be the sacrament of the inner union of men with God. Because men's communion with one another is rooted in that union with God, the Church is also the sacrament of the unity of the human race. (CCC 775; italics in the original)
5. What are the best attitudes towards the Pope?

a. See Christ in the Pope. Love for the Roman Pontiff must be in us a delightful passion, for in him we see Christ.

b. Love, obedience, affection. Your deepest love, your greatest esteem, your most heartfelt veneration, your most complete obedience and your warmest affection have also to be shown towards the Vicar of Christ on earth, towards the Pope. We Catholics should consider that after God and the most Holy Virgin, our Mother, the Holy Father comes next in the hierarchy of love and authority.

c. Know his thought and live it. Faithfulness to the Pope includes a clear and definite duty: that of knowing his thought, which he tells us in Encyclicals or other documents. We have to do our part to help all Catholics pay attention to the teaching of the Holy Father, and bring their everyday behavior into line with it.

d. Pass on his words. Welcome the Pope’s words with a religious, humble, internal and effective acceptance. And pass them on.  (Replies a-d, from St. Josemaria)
By Dr. Raul Nidoy. Doctor of Theology. Permission to copy is granted. Please generously share with others. Online copy: http://primacyofreason.blogspot.com/2014/11/l

Monday, November 17, 2014

Pope: Family Isn't About 'Conservative or Progressive'


Says Complementarity of Man and Woman Is Not Just Good But Beautiful
By Staff Reporter

VATICAN CITY, November 17, 2014 (Zenit.org) - Family is an anthropological fact, says Pope Francis, not something that can be qualified by "ideological" or "conservative or progressive notions."
The Pope said this today as he opened a colloquium being sponsored at the Vatican by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and other curial groups on the complementarity of man and woman.
Speaking of the theme, the Holy Father quipped at the beginning of his address: "You must admit that 'complementarity' does not roll lightly off the tongue!"

But, he said, to "reflect upon 'complementarity' is nothing less than to ponder the dynamic harmonies at the heart of all Creation. This is a big word, harmony. All complementarities were made by our Creator, so the Author of harmony achieves this harmony."

Pope Francis described the complementarity of man and woman as a "root of marriage and family."
"For the family grounded in marriage is the first school where we learn to appreciate our own and others' gifts, and where we begin to acquire the arts of cooperative living," he said.
Family generally "provides the principal place where we can aspire to greatness as we strive to realize our full capacity for virtue and charity," the Pontiff reflected. Families give rise to tensions but "also provide frameworks for resolving such tensions. This is important."

Pope Francis said that in this context, complementarity is not understood as a "simplistic idea" where the "roles and relations of the two sexes are fixed in a single, static pattern."
"Complementarity will take many forms as each man and woman brings his or her distinctive contributions to their marriage and to the formation of their children -- his or her personal richness, personal charisma," he said. "Complementarity becomes a great wealth. It is not just a good thing but it is also beautiful."

Children's rights
Pope Francis spoke of marriage and family today as "in crisis."
"We now live in a culture of the temporary, in which more and more people are simply giving up on marriage as a public commitment," he observed. "This revolution in manners and morals has often flown the flag of freedom, but in fact it has brought spiritual and material devastation to countless human beings, especially the poorest and most vulnerable."
The Holy Father spoke of the crisis in family as something that demands a "new human ecology," saying it's now understood that the natural environment has to be protected, but that "we have been slower to recognize that our fragile social environments are under threat as well."

"It is necessary first to promote the fundamental pillars that govern a nation: its non-material goods," he stated. "The family is the foundation of co-existence and a remedy against social fragmentation. Children have a right to grow up in a family with a father and a mother capable of creating a suitable environment for the child's development and emotional maturity. That is why I stressed in the Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium that the contribution of marriage to society is 'indispensable'; that it 'transcends the feelings and momentary needs of the couple.'"

Longings of the heart

Pope Francis concluded with a request that those in the colloquium emphasize "yet another truth about marriage: that permanent commitment to solidarity, fidelity and fruitful love responds to the deepest longings of the human heart."

He asked them to help youth so that they don't "give themselves over to the poisonous environment of the temporary, but rather be revolutionaries with the courage to seek true and lasting love, going against the common pattern."

"Do not fall into the trap of being swayed by political notion," he said. "Family is an anthropological fact - a socially and culturally related fact. We cannot qualify it based on ideological notions or concepts important only at one time in history. We can't think of conservative or progressive notions. Family is a family. It can't be qualified by ideological notions. Family is per se. It is a strength per se.

"I pray that your colloquium will be an inspiration to all who seek to support and strengthen the union of man and woman in marriage as a unique, natural, fundamental and beautiful good for persons, communities, and whole societies."
--

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Robert Moynihan: Apologia pro Vita Sua - Truthful Realist

November 16, 2014Sunday — The Choice

Emails regarding my two most recent letters on the Bishops' Synod on the Family have continued to flood in — some 300 of them, more than on any other letters over the past eight years since I began sending out these reports.

Many are very critical.

Others are supportive.

Here (below) is a sampling of the letters.

So what is the bottom line?

We are now at a crossroads.

We are at a moment of crisis, a moment of decision.

We have to choose between Pope Francis and his critics.

One critic wrote to me: "You are a relativist. You are more about yourself and your career than the Truth."—Mary

I would like to set forth my position clearly and without equivocation.

I am not a relativist.

I am a writer.

I am a person who constructs phrases out of words.

My career is of no interest to me. I have no career, just a magazine and a newsletter, in order to write.

Why? I have one aim: to convey facts, insights, information and, in so far as possible, truth. 

How? I write tonight on a laptop computer from a particular place — Rome, or, more precisely, Vatican City — and from a particular time — early in the third millennium following the coming of Christ, about 50 years after the Second Vatican Council (1962-65), almost two years after the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI, and nearly two years into the pontificate of Pope Francis.

When? I write on a Sunday. The day began standing before the altar of the Chair of St. Peter, in St. Peter's Basilica, next to a choir from Salt Lake City, Utah, about to hear a sermon in Italian about the parable of the talents. I then heard the choir sing "Sanctus, sanctus, sanctus" — the "thrice holy"...  Later, I listened to Pope Francis under a blue sky as he prayed his noon Angelus. Later still, I attended vespers at the chapel of the North American College on the Gianicolo, where more than 200 seminarians, all solemn, all serious, sang the great hymn of Thomas Aquinas, "Tantum ergo..."

I returned on a drizzly evening in November to read emails, and to think: how can I write something useful?

Words are inadequate. They cannot suffice. Silence would be better.

But perhaps a few phrases can hint at a mystery.

A true mystery.

Am I a relativist? No.

I hold that there is one truth, one saving truth.

And I hold that that truth is Christ.

But what does that really mean, in an age when words seem to have worn out, when they skip across the surface of our minds like slender stones skipped across a pond...?

Perhaps a different approach...

I hold that the secret at the heart of the universe, the secret meaning veiled under all phenomena of space and time, is a divine reality.

It is a reality so real that it makes the entire structure, fabric and content of the physical universe — the quasars and dark matter and black holes and supernovas, and even the soil and sand and snow of this beautiful earth, which takes one's breath away with its unutterable splendor — seem unreal, fragile as a soap bubble, passing away as in a dream.

In other words, there is something real, truly, and it is at the heart and source and end of all "things," below and above and beneath and within all things.

And that divine reality is... holy.

That is the best word we have, to express what it's "is-ness" is.

We have another word: sacred.

The essence, the nature, the being, of reality is holiness.

Sacredness.

I would dare to say that it's "holiness" precedes it's "being-ness."

Holiness is the essential reality, deeper even than being itself.

But the "news" — ! — is that this reality, this holiness, has, in fact, a face.

This hidden reality, this "hidden divinity" ("Deus absconditus"), can, therefore, be seen, and known, and conversed with, and questioned, and contemplated, gazed upon — as a mother gazes into the eyes of her child, as a child gazes into the eyes of his mother — communed with.

And here is core of the matter: that face is the face of one person, a person who actually lived, in space and time, in a certain space and at a certain time: the carpenter of Nazareth, Jesus.

And yet, and yet... that face is not simply the face of Jesus, for, as we have been told, that face can be glimpsed in the faces of others, of children, of old people,  of sinners, of saints — especially of those saints who have passed through the sad and painful crucible of their own hated-yet-desired sin.

That is to say, the ultimate reality — I would almost say, the only reality, but this world is so close and alluring that I cannot completely discount its existence, though no thing perceived by the senses remains over time (Chronosconsumes all his children) — is personal.

Personal, and holy.

The personal is a higher category than the electric, or magnetic, or radioactive, deeper than weight, or size, or number, or measure, or time.

In other words, all that seems real to our senses and to our highly refined instruments — through which we look out upon the universe — is of an order of reality that is less profound, less real, than what is personal.

The personal is the essential, underlying reality.

And being personal, it has a name, an identity: the God of Abraham, of Isaac and of Jacob.

And all things that are were made through the Logos, the Word, of this holy being.

And the Logos, the Word of God, became flesh, walked among us, and then... was executed.

And then rose.

And we can be in communion with this Logos, this source and mediator of all being, this end of all our longing, through... the Church.

His body.

And so I hold, with the Fathers of the Church, with St. Ambrose of Milan, "ubi Petrus, ibi ecclesia." This means: "Where Peter is, there is the Church."

And so I hold that we should stand with Peter, that is, with Pope Francis, as the shadows lengthen...

=========================

Letters received in the last 24 hours

"I would like to thank you for all your objective services, always the best ones on the issues of the Vatican and now on the Family Synod." —Jesuit priest
 
"So the Pope says that the desire to defend traditional doctrine can lead to a type of 'rigorism' and 'legalism' which 'places heavy burdens on consciences.' Now I understand. We don't want to be rigorists or legalists or place heavy burdens on consciences, so let's not defend traditional doctrine. Mind you, we are not going to change traditional doctrine, just not defend it or advert to it. I don't want to speak rudely or uncharitably to you, especially on Sunday. God bless you, but if you cannot see what is going on in front of you, take me off your mailing list."—Alan

"I did like your letter. Never imagined that it would arouse controversy, and least of all, Pope Francis' words at the end of the Synod. What I really believe is that the devil is working among the faithful, confusing, being skeptical, tempting. I see prudence in Francis, and people are on edge hurrying answers."—María (Buenos Aires, Argentina)

"Robert, Don’t take me off the list. I thank God for the work you are doing. I was especially encouraged by your suggestion that  the Holy Father’s listening and demeanor and his closing remarks bespeaks an approach to conciliarity andsobornost that might help bring Orthodox and Catholics together. May it be blessed.
"It seems that the traditionalist Catholics (and I am strongly committed to Tradition) might be less insistent on their narrow interpretation of our Lord’s teaching on marriage and divorce... The idea that remarriage after (civil) divorce (without an annulment) amounts to serial adultery may be too rigorous and not implied by Christ’s teaching. One may infer His teaching to say this; but one may be wrong... I do think the priest who warned that changes in discipline evince inchoate changes in doctrine is worth hearing: Lex orandi, lex credendi.
"What has concerns me more, however, is the careless language used by some in the Synod to speak of the special gifts of homosexual persons. This is dangerous language. One should not speak of heterosexual persons any more than homosexual ones. Human beings are sexual persons, male and female... We should not speak of the gift of homosexual persons, but the gifts of every person whomsoever..." —Leo

"I suppose you don't really want to read another letter critical of Letter #33, but here are my thoughts. I hope they will help you. I pray for you.
"First, I was extremely disappointed in your slant on the story and totally unimpressed that Cardinal Kasper means anything besides what he has been pushing for, for the last who knows how long. 
"He, and possibly Pope Francis, will keep pushing for change in practice instead of change in doctrine. It takes no imagination to see that this has been the modus operandi of both centrist and especially progressive (liberal) thinkers since Vatican II. 
"This camel's nose under the tent approach is quite effective in accomplishing whatever deviance is desired. It is the Evil One's favorite tool, or the one he uses the most often at least. 
"Pope Francis is very shrewd in using this approach. It seems he was not at all disturbed by the relatio, but let the chips fall where they may. [My note: We do not know that this was the case.] The cardinals involved were allowed to take the brunt of the resistance, while Pope Francis, very much the Jesuit, sat back and 'listened.'
"I suspect he was not surprised in the least, but expected to happen exactly what happened, but this way he can appear personally, not to be controlling or demanding of the change he seems to desire. [Note: Again, we do not know this.]...
"Letter #33, I am afraid, made us all painfully aware  that you are no longer an insider, but trying very much to regain that ground. Your problem is, that the audience you have played to so admirably in the past, has been confused and pushed away by this Pope who seems to be allergic to making himself clear on anything, and now it seems that you are desperately trying to be his apologist, but unsuccessfully. 
"I am embarrassed for you, and hope you will consider what your true role should be. 
"We look to a few people who we hope are on the 'inside,' to either straighten things out for us, or to confirm what we suspect, that Pope Francis is a master of getting things done the way he wants them done, with as little of the dirt on his hands as possible....
"The only question we must each answer, from Pope to peon, is: Which 'side' am I on? Will I be a champion of Truth (Christ) or of Anti-Truth (the Evil One)? 
"St. John Paul II once said: 'We are now standing in the face of the greatest historical confrontation humanity has gone through. I do not think that wide circles of the American society or wide circles of the Christian community realize this fully. We are now facing the final confrontation between the Church and the anti-Church, of the Gospel and the anti-Gospel. This confrontation lies within the plans of divine providence. It is a trial which the whole Church… must take up” (Cardinal Karol Wojtyla (St. John Paul II) to the American bishops in 1976, quoted in the Wall Street Journal, Nov. 9, 1978 (three weeks after his election as Pope)...
"You left us wondering, man — just where do you stand? And why?" —June


"Pope Francis, Cardinal Kasper and their liberal, modernist, minions, are not fooling anyone about their Agenda, especially traditional Roman Catholics. Vatican II damaged the authentic traditional apostolic Church enough, but not enough for them. They, led and encouraged by this Pope, are damaging the Church more than it already has been.
Cardinal Kasper and those associated with him, are heretics. If this Pope and the Kasper types keep it up, there most definitely will be a Schism.
Traditional Catholics, both laity and clergy worldwide, are infuriated with recent events in the Vatican." —Victor from Florida

"Thank you for taking the time to explain the current controversy in Rome. I support the Vicar of Christ Pope Francis fully and also you in your analysis." —Jeffrey

"Perhaps you should remind the people who unsubscribed that Jesus himself said he came to call sinners! Maybe they should ask themselves what would Jesus do? I think he would show mercy which is exactly what Pope Francis is asking us to do! Looking forward to your next letter." —Paula

"I am certain that you understand the frustration of so many Catholics who have seen their religion under attack from within as well as from outside forces. It is hard to discern just what is happening. This uncertainty is heightened by a faction within the Church that, in concert with a media that not only heightens conflict but willfully misrepresents the stories it covers, and a Pope who either does not realize or care about the way things look to the public at large.
"It would be a massive victory for the forces arrayed against the Church if the leadership was to alter in any way the core teaching. They would not report that each and every Catholic would have not only the right but the duty to correct the Holy Father, cardinals, bishops, priests and laity regarding their error. Instead, they would stoke the fires, play up the differences, and push the Church closer toward open schism. Sadly, the synod on the family showed that there are those inside the Church who are more than willing to play this game... Stir in the demotion of Cardinal Raymond Burke — a strong voice against the sexually disordered life — and you have a recipe for widespread fear and anger. He spoke for many when he characterized the Pope’s leadership as 'a ship without a rudder.' If his demotion came as a result of his public questioning of the Pope’s motives, the demotion is somewhat understandable, though a stern reprimand would have been just as effective. Cardinal Burke, like any Catholic, has the duty to point out the Pope’s errors. Doing so to the media first, however, is neither constructive nor proper. It is a move that comes only after all other avenues have been blocked, and all previous attempts ignored. Even then, it must be done with humility and respect, as well as firmness. In this, the cardinal erred...
"Pope Francis needs our prayers and fortitude to overcome the spirit of the world... The Holy Spirit is in charge of the life of the Holy Church, not men. I am waiting prayerfully on the Lord." —Joseph

"I appreciate your work of writing to us, giving us the most important discussions that occurred at the Bishops' Synod. To hear all sides of a situation is the only way to ascertain what is true. Please keep writing the letters." —Elaine
 
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Final Note: Pope Francis on Abortion and Euthanasia

Yesterday, Pope Francis gave one of the most powerful, clear, unequivocal "pro-life" talks of his pontificate.

The talk was covered in the press, but was not given the headlines that were given to the mid-term relatio at the Synod.

So, the major media often do not give a balanced coverage to news about or concerning Pope Francis.

So, it is fair, to note this talk and to remember it.

Here are excerpts from a Catholic News Agency report by Elise Harris on the Pope's dramatic talk. (Link: http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/pope-francis-blasts-abortion-euthanasia-as-sins-against-god-70913/)

Pope blasts abortion, euthanasia as 'sins against God'

by Elise Harris

Vatican City, Nov 15, 2014 (CNA/EWTN News).- Pope Francis has told a group of Catholic doctors that “playing with life” in ways like abortion and euthanasia is sinful, and he stressed that each human life, no matter the condition, is sacred.

“We're are living in a time of experimentation with life. But a bad experiment… (we’re) playing with life,” the Pope told an audience of 4,000 Catholic doctors gathered in the Vatican’s Paul VI Hall on Nov. 15.

“Be careful, because this is a sin against the Creator: against God the Creator.”

Pope Francis offered his words in an address given to members of the Italian Catholic Doctors Association in celebration of their 70th anniversary.

He recalled that many times in his years as a priest he heard people object to the Church’s position on life issues, specifically asking why the Church is against abortion.

After explaining to the inquirer that the Church is not against abortion because it is simply a religious or philosophical issue, he said it’s also because abortion “is a scientific problem, because there is a human life and it's not lawful to take a human life to solve a problem.”

Regardless of the many objections he has heard saying that modern thought has evolved on the issue, the Pope stressed that “in ancient thought and in modern thought, the word ‘kill’ means the same!”

“(And) the same goes for euthanasia,” he explained, observing that as a result of “this culture of waste, a hidden euthanasia is practiced on the elderly.”

This, he said, is like telling God: “‘at the end of life I do it, like I want.’ It's a sin against God. Think well about this.”

The belief that abortion is helpful for women, that euthanasia is “an act of dignity,” or that it’s “a scientific breakthrough to ‘produce’ a child (who is) considered a right instead of accepted as a gift” are all part of conventional wisdom that offers a false sense of compassion, he said.

And this includes “(the) use of human life as laboratory mice supposedly to save others,” the Pope continued, saying that on the contrary, the Gospel provides a true image of compassion in the figure of the Good Samaritan, who sees a man suffering, has mercy on him, goes close and offers concrete help...

“In reality, in the light of faith and of right reason, human life is always sacred and always ‘of quality’,” he said.

“No human life exists that is more sacred that the other, just like there is no human life qualitatively more significant than another solely in virtue of resources, rights, economic opportunities and higher social status.”

Pope Francis told the group that as Catholic doctors, it is their mission to affirm the sacredness and inviolability of human life, which “must be loved, defended and cared for,” through word and example, each in their own personal style...

By remaining faithful to the Gospel of Life and respecting life as a gift, difficult decisions will come up that at times require courageous choices that go against the popular current, the pontiff noted, saying that this faithfulness can also lead “to conscientious objection"...

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The Anthropological Question

"You live in a deranged age, more deranged than usual, because, in spite of great scientific and technological advances, man has not the faintest idea of who he is or what he is doing." —Walker Percy (1916-1990), American Catholic convert and writer, author of The Message in the Bottle and Lost in the Cosmos

Pope Francis blasts abortion, euthanasia as 'sins against God'

Pope Francis greets pilgrims in St. Peter's Square during the Wednesday general audience May 28, 2014. Credit: Daniel Ibáñez/CNA.
Pope Francis greets pilgrims in St. Peter's Square during the Wednesday general audience May 28, 2014. Credit: Daniel Ibáñez/CNA.
.- Pope Francis has told a group of Catholic doctors that “playing with life” in ways like abortion and euthanasia is sinful, and he stressed that each human life, no matter the condition, is sacred.

“We're are living in a time of experimentation with life. But a bad experiment… (we’re) playing with life,” the Pope told an audience of 4,000 Catholic doctors gathered in the Vatican’s Paul VI Hall on Nov. 15.

“Be careful, because this is a sin against the Creator: against God the Creator.”

Pope Francis offered his words in an address given to members of the Italian Catholic Doctors Association in celebration of their 70th anniversary.

He recalled that many times in his years as a priest he heard people object to the Church’s position on life issues, specifically asking why the Church is against abortion.

After explaining to the inquirer that the Church is not against abortion because it is simply a religious or philosophical issue, he said it’s also because abortion “is a scientific problem, because there is a human life and it's not lawful to take a human life to solve a problem.”

Regardless of the many objections he has heard saying that modern thought has evolved on the issue, the Pope stressed that “in ancient thought and in modern thought, the word ‘kill’ means the same!”

“(And) the same goes for euthanasia,” he explained, observing that as a result of “this culture of waste, a hidden euthanasia is practiced on the elderly.”

This, he said, is like telling God: “’at the end of life I do it, like I want.’ It's a sin against God. Think well about this.”

The belief that abortion is helpful for women, that euthanasia is “an act of dignity,” or that it’s “a scientific breakthrough to ‘produce’ a child (who is) considered a right instead of accepted as a gift” are all part of conventional wisdom that offers a false sense of compassion, he said.

And this includes “(the) use of human life as laboratory mice supposedly to save others,” the Pope continued, saying that on the contrary, the Gospel provides a true image of compassion in the figure of the Good Samaritan, who sees a man suffering, has mercy on him, goes close and offers concrete help.

With today’s rapid scientific and technological advancements the possibility of physical healing has drastically increased, the Pope observed. However, the ability to truly care for the person has almost gone in the opposite direction.

Some aspects of medical science “seem to diminish the ability to ‘take care’ of the person, especially when they are suffering, fragile and defenseless,” he said, explaining that advancements in science and medicine can only enhance human life if they maintain their ethical roots.

“Attention to human life, particularly to those in the greatest difficulty, that is, the sick, the elderly, children, deeply affects the mission of the Church,” the Bishop of Rome continued, saying that often times modern society tends to attach one’s quality of life to economic possibilities.

Frequently the quality of a person’s life is measured by their physical beauty and well-being, he observed, noting how the more important interpersonal, spiritual and religious dimensions of human life are often forgotten.

“In reality, in the light of faith and of right reason, human life is always sacred and always ‘of quality’,” he said.

“No human life exists that is more sacred than the other, just like there is no human life qualitatively more significant than another solely in virtue of resources, rights, economic opportunities and higher social status.”

Pope Francis told the group that as Catholic doctors, it is their mission to affirm the sacredness and inviolability of human life, which “must be loved, defended and cared for,” through word and example, each in their own personal style.

He encouraged them to collaborate with others, including those with different religions, in seeking to promote the dignity of the human being as a basic criterion of their work, and to follow the Gospel’s instruction to love at all times, especially when there is a special need.

“Your mission as doctors puts you in daily contact with so many forms of suffering,” he said, and he encouraged them to imitate the Good Samaritan in caring for the elderly, the sick and the disabled.

By remaining faithful to the Gospel of Life and respecting life as a gift, difficult decisions will come up that at times require courageous choices that go against the popular current, the pontiff noted, saying that this faithfulness can also lead “to conscientious objection.”

“This is what the members of your association have done in the course of 70 years of meritorious work,” the Pope observed, urging the doctors to continue implementing the teachings of the Magisterium into their work with trust and humility
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