Tag Archives: Pope Francis

Because we’re the smallest parish

img_20180813_152132985~285970523032869708..jpg

Larger parishes send in much more, of course. They send it in through their (arch)dioceses. They don’t get letters like this since it’s all done bureaucratically. Monsignor Borgia must have loved sending this letter out. Thanks, Monsignor! Blessings upon you.

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Catechetical Capital Punishment: Anti-Catholics burn Pope Francis [Update]

wolf angry

The anti-Catholic “katholics” not so kryptically klaim that Pope Francis has “changed church doctrine” in the Catechism of the Catholic Church with a rescript of paragraph 2267 on capital punishment. Those who make the klaim that he changed Church doctrine are well aware that there would be no Catholic Church if doctrine can be changed. They know they scandalize the faithful. They revel in coprophiliac self-congratulating fake-news popularity as heroes, self-proclaimed saviors of the Church and the world.

But, of course, Pope Francis has done nothing even remotely like changing Church doctrine. Not at all. Quite the opposite. He’s reaffirmed it. Let’s do something pretty much no one does. Let’s actually analyse the new paragraphs for 2267 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church with my emphases in bold and [[my comments in red]].

Nuova redazione del n. 2267 del Catechismo della Chiesa Cattolica sulla pena di morte – Rescriptum “ex Audentia SS.mi”, 02.08.2018

The death penalty

2267. Recourse to the death penalty on the part of legitimate authority, following a fair trial, was long considered an appropriate response to the gravity of certain crimes and an acceptable, albeit extreme, means of safeguarding the common good.

Today, however, there is an increasing awareness that the dignity of the person is not lost even after the commission of very serious crimes [[I’m not aware of that truth being lost on those of the past, by the way, but that is beside the point.]]. In addition, a new understanding has emerged of the significance of penal sanctions imposed by the state [[This refers to debate on a deterrent or exacerbating effect of the death penalty.]]. Lastly, more effective systems of detention have been developed [[“been developed”: directly to the point.]], which ensure the due protection of citizens [[“ensure the due protection”: directly to the point.]] but, at the same time, do not definitively deprive the guilty of the possibility of redemption [[This is beside the point as this may also come about because of imminent death.]].

Consequently [[“pertanto” “quapropter”: that is, considering these ever changing conditions, the present conditions, generally speaking – and which can revert back to something more primitive in future – are such that right now, for these particular conditions…]], the Church teaches, in the light of the Gospel, that “the death penalty is inadmissible [[…in present circumstances…]] because it is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person”,[1] [[“inviolability” … “dignity”: these absolute statements are actually relative to things like “self-defense”, right? So, there’s no there there.]] and she works with determination for its abolition worldwide. [[Fine.]]

[1] Francis, Address to Participants in the Meeting organized by the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization, 11 October 2017: L’Osservatore Romano, 13 October 2017, 5. [[This citation is incorrect. It is the last paragraph on page 7 which then continues on page 11. See the PDF of this edition of the Vatican newspaper from the Vatican website:

http://www.osservatoreromano.va/vaticanresources/pdf/ING_2017_041_1310.pdf

Anyway,there are plenty of ambiguous statements in that footnoted private address which is not directed to the universal Church, nor can it be said that everything in that private address to now canonized, as it were, because it is noted for whatever reason, for instance, to let us know more about not so much the doctrine of the Church but as an indication of Pope Francis’ concern, and to show that he has now brought to completion what he had intended to do for quite a while. There’s no there there. That address is NOT the Catechism no matter how much the mere fact of its publication is noted.]]

=======/// In other words, the doctrine stays in place, and this is simply a comment on the proper application of the doctrine in present conditions, generally speaking. Mind you, the prudence of the Church hasn’t changed one bit. This is a faithful rendition of not only of the doctrine but also of the prudent application of the Church from all ages. This is the judgment for the present time, generally speaking.

The method is crystal clear in examining ever changing circumstances. See the words “developed” and “ensure” and “consequently”?

Get it? This is not hard. In fact, it is so easy that one is tempted to think that there is real malice in those who attack to quickly, so easily, with manipulation.

I, for one, think that we need to support Pope Francis with prayer.

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Filed under Death, Law enforcement, Missionaries of Mercy, Pope Francis, Prison

Papal infallibility’s worst heresy

pope francis asperges

You have heard that it was said, the papacy is basically somehow just like you know kind of like an “office”, a “function”, stuff to do or not more or less than any other bishop, but just a bishop with another mandate that he can ignore or put into action, but it’s no big deal unless he’s wrong, we think, because we’re all more infallible than him, and then we just say that his “office” has been taken away, you know, like Judas, so that he continues to be a bishop, but just removed to say, some island, like, I don’t know, Corsica or something.

But Peter is not Judas. The papacy is not a mere office. Infallibility resides not in an “office”, but in the very person of the successor of Peter. In all of this, he is expendable according to the decision of the one who has already established in the heavens what Peter had better agree to on earth. It’s not our decision. It’s all quite glorious, or quite violent. Witness the death of Sixtus V. Yikes!

Infallibility only comes into play in restricted conditions, that is, when the Bishop of Rome precisely as the Successor of Peter teaches on faith or morals to the universal Church especially deciding a controversy. It does NOT come into play with throw-away baitings of what is expressly defined by the Holy Father as being mere DIALOGUE. Why is that so difficult, except for hatred? Has Pope Francis ever said anything in infallible mode up to the time of this writing? No, he has not. So, as I’ve always said and now repeat:

We are to stand in solidarity with the Holy Father. We are to pray for him. We are to defend the papacy in the very person of the Pope, for this is where the papacy resides, in the person of Peter, not just some loosely defined “office” of Peter. Get it?

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To hell with the Pope! x3 Eyewitness Analogy: Gerard Manley Hopkins SJ

Holy Spirit Saint Peter Window

I knew a wonderful old school Jesuit I think in his 90s in the 1970s, which means he was a kid when the famous Father Gerard Manley Hopkins, SJ, was still alive. He might have been an altar-boy at a certain Mass at which Father Hopkins was preaching. This old Jesuit I knew was in an apartment, alone, not far from death, ostracized, it seems, marginalized, beyond the peripheries, by the more knuckleheaded crowd of the Society in the greater metropolitan area where I was at that time in my life. I would go over to visit him just to do it. He had massive bibliographies to publish, incredible stories to tell, a priest’s priest, an inspiration for a kid like me.

If memory serves me well [meaning: I stand to be corrected], I recall one such story, the details of which I have not been able to find on the internet outside of the words of Father Hopkins: “To hell with the Jesuits.” Here’s the rest of the story as I know it. Oral tradition. That’s the best kind, of course.

Father Hopkins (1844-1889) was the appointed preacher at a Mass opening up a General Chapter of the Society of Jesus in which some important voting was to take place, meaning he had all the upper echelon of the Jesuits of his day in front of him. He began his intervention by stating rather loudly, rather boisterously: “To hell with the Jesuits!” He repeated that thrice with appropriately ponderous pauses, staring down his colleagues sternly. With the church fuming, just where he wanted them, he then added lightheartedly: “So say the enemies of the Jesuits.” And on he went to give a rousing sermon waking everyone up to greater love of God, of neighbor and of the Society of Jesus. Ha ha ha.

Today we have a Jesuit Pope. And this time that rhetorical device of Hopkins is used once again but this time against the Pope – “To hell with the Pope!” – but for real, meaning, only the first part is reiterated without the disclaimer of “So say the enemies of the Pope.”

This has gotten so out of hand that those who say that the Pope is a heretic privately are now musing that the Pope is likely to be a heretic publicly, you know, in an ex-Cathedra Infallible pronouncement as the Bishop of Rome, the Successor of Peter, on a matter of faith or morals, to the universal Church, deciding a controversy dividing the Church.

This is already a wild-eyed heresy on their part – as the dogmatic definition on infallibility means that that just can’t happen – but as to whether these musers are merely materially or actually formally heretics I don’t know. They are pretty smart, I must say. They could just be baiting people, perhaps as Pope Francis is also doing. Or it’s all a purposed parody for the sake of humor making fun of idiots all around. It all gets a bit messy when not even really intelligent people can figure out if its all humor and parody, right? I don’t agree with baiting on faith itself or morality itself, whatever about baiting people to help them see where they are at themselves with faith and morals. Again, pushing people with irony and sarcasm and even name calling is all within the bound, you know, depending, but not risking people being mislead.

Some think that the Pope could actually fail in infallibility and be wrong, but that that’s O.K. as we could just say after the fact that he was no longer Pope when he did that because he was doing that. But infallibility means unfailing. The Pope cannot be wrong when he is speaking with infallibility, you know, as Bishop of Rome, Successor of Peter, on faith or morality to the universal Church, deciding a controversy dividing the Church. The level of ignorance these days is stunning. People flaunt their ignorance. And they are respected as great teachers of orthodox faith. (Vomit here.) The recipe is this: be strident in hatred and win the praise of haters. That’s all they have to bring into eternity.

But some even go on to muse about a solution. It is conjectured that one can gnostically somehow know what God thinks, and then make one’s own pronouncement that the Pope is no longer the Pope because he might someday try to pronounce something that would offend against infallibility. They conjecture that this would be more reasonable if, say, a majority of the Cardinals would speak with such gnosticism, or that a Council called together without the Pope for the same end of pronouncing the Pope now to be an anti-Pope would speak with such gnosticism, speaking, indeed, they think, for God, saying that God Himself has pronounced on this to them, you know, because they just somehow know, gnostically, don’t you know? It’s kind of magic, I guess, like “seeing” something in the old crystal ball or in Tarot cards, or “hearing” spirits from the great beyond speak. Riiiiiight. Suuuuuure.

There is no fessing up to a parody being made. It all just sits there. So: fail. And that makes it all a scandal. Being a heretic is no way to attack heresy. The dogma of infallibility is important. One can’t just throw it away.

So, corrections come in, kind of, with, you know, violence, because might makes right, right? Some answer those musers to say that – Hey! – if God provided for there to be a sign, a physical sign that the Pope was no longer to be the Pope, then – Hey! – it would all be O.K. to just remove him, whatever it takes.

Now it’s getting dangerous. What’s that sign to be? A bullet? Is this a call for assassination of the Holy Father? People should be careful in their heresy. Mind you, historically, heretics are often extremely violent.

We are to stand in solidarity with the Holy Father. We are to pray for him. We are to defend the papacy in the very person of the Pope, for this is where the papacy resides, in the person of Peter, not just some loosely defined “office” of Peter. Get it? That doesn’t mean that we have to agree with whatever throw away sayings of some “dialogue”. I don’t. What it means is that – let me repeat this to be clear – we are to stand in solidarity with the Holy Father, praying for him, defending his very person.

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Heresies about Papal Infallibility

World Youth Day 2016 Pope Francis and Jesus

A preliminary heresy that must be stated is shared by ideologists on the left and right who mimic each other, always. Neither are of Tradition but rather push their own agendas. They both dismiss the availability of Sacred Scripture as a viable source of Revelation. The filthy left says that it is out of date because we’re nice and we live today. The right, who I nickname the ultra-tradition-al-ism-ists, blaspheme the Holy Spirit to say that Sacred Scripture is utterly useless, that we can use Saint Thomas Aquinas and Sacred Tradition with already established solemn interventions of the Sacred Magisterium, things that have been believed everywhere and by all, while meanwhile ignoring Sacred Scripture as idiocy. The problem for both is that when the Holy Spirit is blasphemed and the Sacred Scriptures thrown out, there can be no understanding of the Living Truth. Mind you, I’ve heard some of the very best theologians (you know, the orthodox crowd at the top of their game) openly blaspheme in this way. No, really. For a really pedantic examination of what is in Sacred Scripture, which I’ve never seen anyone else do, see my article:

Papal Infallibility: The Gospel Truth (Matthew 16:19 and Matthew 18:18)

That article is the basis for which I state that the following are some of the heresies over against papal infallibility:

  • The Pope, when speaking not as a merely private individual but in fact as the Bishop of Rome, the Successor of Peter, pronounces and declares upon faith or morality to the universal Church especially in deciding a controversy, can fail in his infallibility. The “right” thinks he has done this with Amoris laetitia even though it is said in the very document to be a mere dialogue and not any kind of teaching. The left thinks he can can fail in infallibility on contraception, abortion, homosexuality, women’s ordination, and so on. That infallibility can fail is a heresy. Neither the Pope nor God can change the truth. God is truth. The pope is the servant of Truth. To think and do otherwise, making up the truth as one goes along (ignoring the word “dialogue” etc), so as to effectively make oneself pope, is rather self-referentially congratulatory.
  • The Church is “indefectable” over against the Pope who can fail in his infallibility, and that makes it all good in the long run, because, you know, Jesus is nice. This is the heresy of disgraced “Catholic” “Theologian Father Hans Küng. Mind you, his thoughts on this were taken up explicitely by an ultra-tradition-al-ist crowd in Winona, Minnesota, years ago, with their publishing of a super-fancy, super-clever, fold-up poster providing apologetics for their place in the Church. Hey! they said, We’re with Hans!” That the Church is “indefectable” over against the Pope who can fail in his infallibility is a heresy. The arrogance, the mockery is stunning.
  • It is actually the not the Pope, but a council against the Pope, which is infallible even while it excludes the Pope, so that the members of that council can take the Pope to task and simply declare him to be an anti-Pope after he fails in his infallibility. This is to ignore that Jesus chose Peter alone over against the other Apostles to bear the burden of infallibility. This is to reject Jesus. That the successors of the Apostles can take over the infallibility which falls only to the successor of Peter is a heresy. The right falls into this heresy continuously as does the left. Examples of both are rife. The ignorance and rejection of Jesus is stunning.

The list could continue. The examples are innumerable and jaw dropping, and scandalous.

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Why are you in *that* parish, thus removed from the life of the diocese?

Holy Redeemer church

You have heard that it was said that bishops should politicize appointments of priests by capitalizing talk of “plum parishes” and “difficult parishes,” blah blah blah. And some bishops do that, moving priests to punish or reward them. Sometimes people our ask our great bishop why a certain priest is in a certain parish, city or mountain, proximate or remote, with a strained history or not, and his invariable answer is that he puts his best priests into such parishes, all of them.

Before I was assigned to any parish in the diocese I had quite an extended discussion with the bishop about the state of affairs in this most remote vicariate being that I had some years of experience here before I belonged to the diocese. I was, then, of course, assigned to this most remote of parishes in this vicariate. Before it was something made popular by Pope Francis, who said that the best priests should be assigned to the most remote parishes, I said that the best priests should be assigned to the most remote parishes. I’m not the best priest, but the bishop appreciates irony. And, as I say, his forever-response to such things is to say that he puts his best priests in all his parishes, never distinguishing a parish as being this or that. Indeed, the *life* of the diocese is fully to be found in every corner of the diocese. I fully agree.

It’s true that the personnel committee that assists the bishop in placement of priests sends out a questionnaire to all the priests every year asking them if they like parishes with no other priests or with many priests, parishes in a city or away from a city, with hospitals, schools, nursing homes or not, etc. My one time answer was that I love all aspects of priestly ministry and have done pretty much every ministry imaginable as a priest in pretty much all conditions. The members of the Body of Christ are everywhere in all conditions and I’m available for that. Here, I spend really a lot of time bringing parishioners to the hospitals round about. Most hospitals in the area are not certified to do pretty much of anything. These parishioners are old with no family and no finances. All the real hospitals are two hours away, some out of state in Georgia and Tennessee. Though some in Asheville or between Asheville and Hendersonville. This was especially fun in the 1987 Toyota pickup:

toyota pickup

So, here I am and I’m loving it all. This is not a typical parish but, then again, there is no typical parish. When some people ask the question – “Why are you in that parish?” – they mean it as a kind of back-handed compliment, you know, the old you have so many talents BUT you’re way (the hell) out there and therefore you must have done something to get some people disgruntled with you! Well, that is absolutely certainly true. I never hesitate to participate in the old speak truth to power thing, enough to make priest friends really, really, really upset with me, telling me what the results will be and telling me what a fool I am. Whatever. I can’t be hurt no matter what retaliation is brought to bear wherever I happen to be in world at any given time, in Oceania, in the Middle East, in western Europe, in eastern Europe, in Central or South or, for that matter, North America. I love everyone and everything everywhere. So, is it a punishment to be put somewhere, anywhere? Gosh! I just never noticed, ever. And, anyway, I’m a priest forever, and that can’t be taken away, not ever. So, what do I care about anything in this life except that I myself try to do the will of God wherever and however I happen to be?

And then there are the priests who call me up to tell me of all the dramas they have in their parishes and I tell them that I’m so happy to be in my little parish! But, of course, as I say, I would be most happy to be in those parishes as well. It is what it is in this world, wherever we are in whatever circumstances with whatever people wherever they are in their lives. Because that’s what Jesus does when He’s up on the cross: “When I am lifted up on the cross I will draw all to myself.”

UPDATE: A comment came in that I was bidden not to publish (that’s the case with lots of comments and emails etc). But I can’t resist saying that the person said that I was, in fact, perfect for this parish in every way. Meanwhile, just to say, when I covered the Cathedral alone for nine days some years ago now, it was told to our great Bishop right in front of me that the Cathedral parish would be perfect for me. Meanwhile, I think pretty much any priest is perfect for any parish if he simply tries to let the priesthood of Jesus shine through, so that like John the Baptist, the priests recedes so that all can see Jesus alone. I wish I were more like that: All Jesus! All Jesus! All Jesus!

 

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Francis: A Pope from the New World [Documentary K of C]

  • I was impressed by the timing of youngster Jorge’s call to the priesthood from Jesus.
  • I knew I would instantly have been friends with seminarian Jorge, as I can relate similar stories I learned from this documentary. Happiness. Joy. Service. Very cool.
  • There were things which made me laugh out loud that I didn’t know about Father Jorge, I guess because they had such resonance in my heart and soul. Indeed, I thought immediately of various things in my life as a priest that were parallel. No, really, many things indeed. Yikes.
  • There were some things which put the fear of God in me about Bishop Bergoglio because I immediately thought, “Yes, of course. Absolutely. Perfect. Well done.”
  • Then, when it comes to Pope Francis in the documentary, well, I’ll stop here! I know too much in other ways. But I’ll say this. This man does impress me. And I’m learning from him in ways I totally never expected.

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“Pope Francis – A Man of His Word” – Take of “ultra-tradition-al-ism-ists”

The movie is released in theaters wherever it is today, May 18, 2018. The Trailer seems innocent enough. I haven’t seen it. I don’t think it will be carried in theaters in the back mountain ridges here where there are literally only a handful of Catholics.

I only do this once every year or two or three, but I looked at a couple of the video responses of the ultra-tradition-al-ism-ists, that is, until I didn’t. I could only stand a few seconds of each:

(1) The first I looked at for a few seconds immediately cut to sleazy soft-porn excerpts of other films which have nothing whatsoever to do with this film. So, yuck. No. That’s just so incredibly dishonest, lacking in integrity, soooo impure. Just. No. Never again. Again, all of that rubbish had nothing whatsoever to do with this film. So dishonest.

(2) The second one I looked at, presenting itself more as a documentary, opened with some video of the magnificent and traditional and indeed chanted-in-Latin with the traditional text Exsultet, you know, that long and glorious piece sung at the beginning of the Easter Vigil by the priest or deacon. The scenes in this case were from Saint Peter’s in more recent years, but still the Exsultet of old, beautifully chanted in Latin. The video kept flashing on the screen some of the final words of the Esxultet which twice include the word “lucifer,” used, however, not as the name of the fallen angel, but for what it actually means in Latin, which refers to the Easter Candle, which refers to Christ: “lucifer” literally means “light-bearer” in Latin much like “Christopher” means “Christ bearer.” The idea of the video was to make it seem that under Pope Francis the Catholic liturgy is singing to the fallen angel Lucifer, but that is not at all the case. That’s just so incredibly dishonest, lacking in integrity, sooooo impure. Just. No. Never again.

But, I’ll tell you this, those kind of presentations are about the only ones that conservative Catholics (I know; “conservative” is a mere political term, but is appropriate in this context)…. those kind of presentations are about the only ones that “conservative” Catholics will follow on the internet. If what is presented is full of hatred and vitriol and lies, that is exactly what will be followed. It’s says more about the “reporters” and their avid followers than about who the report is supposed to be on.

And, yes, I am also dissed and mocked by the ultra-tradition-al-ism-ists because – even if very rarely – I call them out on this kind of hatred which smells of the evil one.

Anyway, I’m guessing that this is NOT a documentary on Pope Francis. It simply amounts to whatever personal take it is that the director has. So, whatever. It’s not infallible, is it? No. I’m sure there are inspiration shots of meeting up with those who are suffering, who are in the darkest of existential peripheries, but even that kind of thing is totally mocked by the ultra-tradition-al-ism-ists. Why?

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Pope Francis out-politics Germans on faith. Why Amoris laetitia is dialogue.

eucharist pope francis

So, most of the German bishops, mere politicians that they are, are pushing for NON-Catholic spouses to receive Holy Communion. Seven German bishops complained about this, asking the Holy See to intervene and, you know, kick those other bishops in the kiester. So, that makes the ol’ Vatican the bad guy bully even while the failed majority of bishops become the heroes of the oppressed Masses up to now not receiving Holy Communion. Meanwhile, priests will be brow-beaten into giving Holy Communion to spouses of Catholics anyway, and everyone is that much closer to total and declared apostasy. The seven bishops in the minority, believers that they are, nevertheless just don’t get the politics. You just can’t out-politic Pope Francis.

In a coup for the faith, Pope Francis had a message delivered by messengers. Hah. And all he said was that the whole conference of bishops was to come up with a unanimous solution, knowing, of course, that the seven bishops aren’t going to budge. So, this was an effective intervention of Pope Francis over against the heretic bishops of the majority done in such a way that they couldn’t at all make themselves heroes with “the people” and moreover would be shown what total idiots they are with the faith, unable to agree among themselves.

Mind you, even if the seven bishops were to cave to the majority, stupidly, it still couldn’t be accepted by the Holy See, by Pope Francis, for the rule of the process is that they are to come up with a solution ” in the spirit of ecclesial communion.” Hah. The only way that comes about is fidelity to Mary’s dearest Son, Jesus, our Lord and Savior. Hah. And even with the entire conference going heretical, they wouldn’t be heroes, for this would look like they were doing this in bad faith, merely for self-congratulation.

In doing this, Pope Francis has actually just insisted against “decentralization”. Are pundits really unable to see this?

The point is that we are not to use the successor of Peter to beat up on others in a first instance, but we are to evangelize ourselves, but always with the idea that the bishop of Rome (who can only be the Successor of Peter for theological neophytes) is the Supreme Pontiff. The seven bishops say that the faith shouldn’t be decided by a national bishops conference. Right. Well… Pope Francis never said that it should, did he? No. He didn’t.

Then, in a huff, all upset, ALL those bishops will complain by saying:

“That’s terrible. Because then we’ll like, you know, have to pray together, and like, pray, and stuff. And use real reason. And pray, and, like, stuff.”

I think I get Pope Francis now.

If he were to make an ex-Cathedra statement about marriage and the family as he said he would during his speech on the 50th anniversary of the Synods of Bishops, this would be nice, but it would stop the sinking in of the conclusion that we have to pray and help each other in the faith. Or am I totally totally wrong?

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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (Papist edition, again, edition)

img_20180419_190311637_hdr~21944854233..jpg

Sunshine yellow, one of the colors of the Holy See, of the Supreme Pontiff, you know, flag-waving and all that:

I received this in an email:

Dear Fr George, I have today received an email from […] (which I subscribe to) which states that Pope Francis is on a mission to radically change the Church. Please tell me this is not true.  I don’t think I could face any more drastic changes. There is so much pessimism on the Catholic blogs I follow but you have always been a positive voice for Pope Francis and after your recent meeting you must know him well.

Here’s the deal: I don’t care if anyone, including the Supreme Pontiff, the Vicar of Christ, the Bishop of Rome, the Successor of Saint Peter (on and on) is on whatever kind of mission to change the Church radically (watch that Queen’s English splitting of infinitives!). No one can radically, that is, from the root and foundation, change the least iota about the Church, not about infallibility, not about the sacraments, not about anything that belongs to the root and foundation of the Church. That would be like saying we can change God or some stupid thing like that. We can’t. To frighten people by saying that someone, anyone, say, like the Pope, can change radically the Church is a disservice to people. Christ Jesus is not amused. We might want to take notice that what we do or don’t do for others we do or don’t do for Christ Jesus Himself. Anyone trying to get internet popularity by way of scaremongering, destroying people’s faith, reducing the faith to the whims of whomsoever, is truly bad and evil. Jesus is not amused.

Rest assured, dearest reader, that whatever the Holy Father may or may not want to do, the Church will go on to the end of the world, and Jesus will be with us, as He Himself promised. And Jesus, the Divine Son of the Immaculate Conception, is NOT a liar. Anyone who makes Jesus out to a liar and calls Him such is to deny Him. He who denies Jesus will be denied by Him. Such tradition-al-ism-ists, who have nothing to do with the Holy Spirit of God who brings the faith to us in a univocal manner (see Cardinal Siri), thus bringing us Sacred Tradition such as it is.

Just as Jesus is ferociously indignant upon undue attacks on His own, so is Jesus’ good mom. After all, she intercedes for us. She doesn’t look benignly upon those who waste their time destroying the faith when they could, instead, build it up. Thus, some papist flowers for the Immaculate Conception.

Having said all that, one doesn’t have to agree with that which is NOT of the universal Magisterium of the Church. And if it’s NOT of the universal Magisterium of the Church, really, such pundits need to get a life. And go to Confession. Use the Keys!

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Rome airport security stops this Jewish prodigal son on his way home

Though I’m a Catholic priest, I’m also Jewish. I’m also a prodigal son. In all my travels, I’ve never been stopped by airport security, being given a different kind of treatment. We’ll, I take that back. The Israeli military did stuff to my laptop computers and computer junk like Hebrew keyboards throughout the decades, sometimes in front of me, with, say, flash drives[!] sometimes taking them away to work on them in private. As I say, the life of this Jewish Catholic priest has always been an open book. ;-)

Other than that – which was for stuff- I myself have never been an SSSS (Secondary Security Screening Selectee). But now I’ve seen a fellow Jewish prodigal son unceremoniouly pulled out of line right in front of me. Poor fellow. He was stripped down and given the full going over.

It’s all Pope Francis’ fault, of course, giving us those heavy bronze castings pictured above (a detail of the Holy Door at Saint Peter’s Basilica). The lady security officer rendering the examination said (my translation): “Awwww, that’s so good of Pope Francis.”

prodigal-son-maze

Feeling footloose, fancy-free and frisky, this feather-brained fellow finagled his fond father into forking over his fortune. Forthwith, he fled for foreign fields and frittered his farthings feasting fabulously with fair-weather friends. Finally, fleeced by those folly filled fellows and facing famine, he found himself a feed flinger in a filthy farm-lot. He fain would have filled his frame with foraged food from fodder fragments. “Fooey! My father’s flunkies fare far fancier,” the frazzled fugitive fumed feverishly, frankly facing fact. Frustrated from failure and filled with forebodings, he fled for his family. Falling at his father’s feet, he floundered forlornly. “Father, I have flunked and fruitlessly forfeited further family favors…” But the faithful father, forestalling further flinching, frantically flagged his flunkies to fetch forth the finest fatling and fix a feast. But the fugitive’s fault finding frater , faithfully farming his father’s fields for free, frowned at this fickle forgiveness of former falderal. His fury flashed, but fussing was futile. His foresighted father figured, “Such filial fidelity is fine, but what forbids fervent festivities? The fugitive is found! Unfurl the flags! With fanfare flaring, let fun, frolic and frivolity flow freely, former failures forgotten and folly forsaken. Forgiveness forms a firm foundation for future fortitude.” – Originally composed by Rev. W. O. Taylor

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“You’re nothing special” – Pope Francis to Missionaries of Mercy

“Moreover, be sure you understand well that you’re nothing special, you Missionaries of Mercy.” – Pope Francis

That’s right. What weak and sinful man can forgive sin? So, it’s all about Jesus. He’s the One. He’s the only One.

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How prodigal of Pope Francis! Thank you Holy Father.

A solid bronze replica (weighs a ton) of this detail of the Holy Door at Saint Peter’s.

The Holy Father commissioned one for each Missionary of Mercy.

My licentiate thesis at the Pontifical Biblical Institute was on this scene of Luke 15.

I am deeply touched by this gesture of his thanks to us. Thank you, Holy Father.

Btw: that’s a donkey with his ears laid way back, right?

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About those wounds

A priest I met at the bus stop.

We had a good conversation about Jesus and the cynicism of the world. He said that people have so many wounds that a few more on Jesus isn’t going to affect them one bit. He spoke of how terribly difficult the mission is. He didn’t blame the modern world, but recognized that all times are quite the same.

Now I go one step more…

Having priests start going to Confession so that they bring this Sacrament once again to their parishes isn’t good enough. We have to be willing to rejoice that we are in humble thanksgiving before the Lord. So, let me change that all too set in stone saying of mine to…

Humble, joyful thanksgiving.

Pope Francis says it best:

“Joy greater than any doubt.”

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A day with Pope Francis

First we’ll have a conference with Archbishop Fisichella, then another by Pope Francis, then just us for Mass with Pope Francis at the altar of the Chair of Saint Peter, then lunch, then…

So, off to the gate into Vatican City called the Petriano, which isn’t actually called that according to the Swiss Guards, who call it what I’ve called it all the decades, “Porta di Sant’Ufficio.”

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Pope Francis’ awesome Mercy Sunday homily

We have a great Bishop in Charlotte; he very much enjoys being with his priests. And vice versa. This is rare for bishops and priests. I witnessed this same joy after Mass today out front of Saint Peter’s as in the picture I took above.

There was a phrase from his homily that was like a lightning bolt and it immediately burned itself into my memory:

Gioia più grande d’ogni dubbio. “Joy greater than any doubt.”

He explained this as an encounter with the Incarnate Lord Jesus, risen, with the wounds He would have us see.

And we can see with the eyes of faith, with the Eucharist.

“My Lord and my God!”

That’s not an arrogant possessiveness, he said, but rather speaks to the goodness and kindness of Jesus.

Great insights, really.

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THE highlight of my trip to Rome. My visit with, you know…

After all was said and done, well over an hour I think, I headed back down alone from…

We covered a lot of topics. There were many I didn’t get to. I was promised cooperation for a certain […]. Finally, I was given some handmade rosaries that are given by the Holy Father only to Cardinals (red) and Archbishops (green). Ten each. That’s as close as I’ll get to that, of course. I’ll have to be careful as to whom I give these to. I may be quizzed as to names later. ;-) I would like to get one to Fr Gordon MacRae (About). It would be a red one. It’s happened before. Remember St John Fisher?

This was a most extraordinary meeting, utterly candid. Zero politics. The exactitude of theological reasoning was stunning, exhilarating. I think the angels rejoiced.

I can only say that many have the wrong idea about many things. Whenever there is bitter, hateful cynicism, an exam of conscience must be made.

This meeting was worth the entire trip by far, and the reason for which I came hasn’t yet started. I will have much to do about […] when I return to the parish, please God.

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Re-post from 2017: My meditation on hell. Thanks go to Pope Francis for his words on hell.

moloch

My favorite meditation is perhaps presumptuous, but it is about going before Jesus at the gates of heaven, falling down in reverence before him, crying my eyes out not in supplication, but rather in humble thanksgiving and joy: look at those wounds my sin engraved in his hands and feet and side, his Heart. Thank you for bringing even me to heaven, Jesus.

But that mediation has a backdrop, the all too real possibility of going to hell. Jesus spoke of it, so must we. Pope Francis speaks about it perhaps more than all other Roman Pontiffs put together. He doesn’t want us to go there. The very homily which the fake-news mongers claim to be the smoking gun in which Pope Francis denies hell and the pain of hell is the very homily where he underlines the horrific and eternal nature of hell, namely, distance from God and frustration. It deserves some extra commentary. So, just some notes:

In Mark 9:48, Jesus speaks of those who go to hell, that is, analogously, Gehenna, the valley below the temple mount where children were burned alive on a hollowed out bronze statue-stove of Moloch, Satan. Quite the image of suffering and, in the time of Jesus, the symbol of judgment regarding eternal damnation. How fitting that it’s below the “Dung Gate.”

Anyway, Jesus says that their worm dies not, that is, their σκώληξ, that is, that kind of worm which feeds on corpses, that is, a maggot. Jesus’ justice is only outdone, as it were, by his mercy, for it is based on his justice. Thus:

Psalm 22, which speaks of the future crucifixion of Jesus, puts these words in the mouth of the Suffering Servant: “I am a worm and no man” (Ps 22:6). That worm bit is again σκώληξ, maggot, in the Septuagint, and, in the Hebrew, תוֹלַעַת, that is, maggot. Jesus cites the beginning of Psalm 22 from the cross. Jesus took our place on the cross as a maggot in hell so that he might have the right in his own justice to have mercy on us so that we might not go to hell. That‘s how much he loves us.

saraph-serpent

The maggot-worm in hell, that is, therefore, the fire-serpent, recalls Jesus speaking of himself as the fiery saraph-serpent: “Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, even so must the Son of man be lifted up” (John 3:14). You’ll recall that the fiery saraph-serpents were killing the people in the desert during the exodus, and that Moses made an image of such a serpent in bronze, raising this up on a stake, a cross, so that all who might look at it might be healed. Jesus came among us looking like us, we who kill each other in sin, and he was raised up on a stake, on a cross, that all who look to him might be healed of the eternal death that the fiery serpent Satan intends for us. He takes our place that he might have the right in his own justice to have mercy on us so that we might not go to hell. That‘s how much he loves us.

But Jesus speaks of their worm dying not. Let’s drill down into this “worm” and “not dying” bit.

The part about the worm is actually about Satan back in Genesis, that fallen monster angel who deceived Adam through his wife. The ill-advised translation about his being cursed is that he will go about on his belly. What a stupid translation into ultra-derived meanings. Why not just translate what it says?… “You will go about on your writhingness.” This “writhingness” refers to frustration. Have you ever seen someone super-frustrated, throwing a tantrum, going about on their writhingness?

Here’s a sad bit about a woman who missed her flight. What might it be to miss one’s flight to heaven and end up in hell forever?

Now, couple that writhingness not with repentance for having been late, as it were, but with belligerent arrogance and hatred of all and not being repentant at all. This is a fire worse than any fire a match could light. This is internal, intellectual frustration. Horrific. Pope Francis has it right. Intellectual frustration coupled with hatred is worse than any torture chamber we might think is in hell.

There is that kind of thing of course, with those in hell harassing each other, with the fallen angels harassing all. It’s a place of hatred, after all, forever and ever. Why go there? Go to confession. Go to heaven! I want to go to heaven.

Meanwhile, some fun with writhing worms, except if they’re you in hell forever:

So, maybe this is more on target:

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“Pope Francis is cute!”

img_20180322_125458516713822294.jpg

The end of the world for the Diocese of Charlotte, North Carolina, beyond the peripheries, is beautiful. There are also some of the worst problems in the world with drugs and alcohol and violence and corrupt politics. Very close to where this picture is taken my Missionary of Mercy duties have me visit the elderly who are sick and dying, as well as this 92-year-old who thinks Pope Francis is cute:

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Pope Francis & The Snake – Fake News

The Snake by Al Wilson

On her way to work one morning
Down the path along side the lake
A tender hearted woman saw a poor half frozen snake
His pretty colored skin had been all frosted with the dew
“Poor thing, ” she cried, “I’ll take you in and I’ll take care of you”
“Take me in tender woman
Take me in, for heaven’s sake
Take me in, tender woman, ” sighed the snake

She wrapped him up all cozy in a comforter of silk
And laid him by her fireside with some honey and some milk
She hurried home from work that night and soon as she arrived
She found that pretty snake she’d taken to had been revived
“Take me in, tender woman
Take me in, for heaven’s sake
Take me in, tender woman, ” sighed the snake

She clutched him to her bosom, “You’re so beautiful, ” she cried
“But if I hadn’t brought you in by now you might have died”
She stroked his pretty skin again and kissed and held him tight
Instead of saying thanks, the snake gave her a vicious bite
“Take me in, tender woman
Take me in, for heaven’s sake
Take me in, tender woman, ” sighed the snake

“I saved you, ” cried the woman
“And you’ve bitten me, but why?
You know your bite is poisonous and now I’m going to die”
“Oh shut up, silly woman, ” said the reptile with a grin
“You knew damn well I was a snake before you took me in
“Take me in, tender woman
Take me in, for heaven’s sake
Take me in, tender woman, ” sighed the snake

Songwriters: Robert S. Kelly / Darian Morgan / The Snake lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

Then there’s this from Pope Francis some weeks ago (reported by The Guardian)

Pope Francis has denounced fake news as evil, comparing it to the snake in the Garden of Eden, and urged journalists to make it their mission to search for the truth.

He said the first fake news dated from the biblical beginning of time, when Eve was tempted to take an apple from the Garden of Eden based on disinformation from the serpent. “The strategy of this skilled ‘Father of Lies’ is precisely mimicry, that sly and dangerous form of seduction that worms its way into the heart with false and alluring arguments,” he said of the snake. He called for a shared commitment to rediscovering the “dignity of journalism” and for reporters to speak the truth with work that was “truthful and opposed to falsehoods, rhetorical slogans, and sensational headlines”.

//// Yesterday, the Feast of the Chair of Saint Peter (his magisterial authority) I offered Mass for Pope Francis. Today is the Memorial of Saint Polycarp, Bishop and Martyr. I offered Mass for Bishop Jugis (not that he’s going to end up like Polycarp in his death, burned at the stake), but so that he ends up like Polycarp in heaven.

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