Monday, July 28, 2014

Pope Francis Becomes First Pope To Visit A Pentecostal Church In Outreach To Evangelicals

VATICAN CITY (AP) - Pope Francis has become the first pope to visit a Pentecostal church, pressing his outreach to evangelicals who represent Catholicism's greatest competition for Christian souls around the globe.

Francis flew by helicopter Monday to visit the under-construction Pentecostal Church of Reconciliation in the southern city of Caserta. He met privately with a Pentecostal preacher who is an old friend, Giovanni Traettino.

Speaking to some 350 Pentecostal faithful in the church, Francis apologized for Catholic persecution of Pentecostals during Italy's fascist regime and stressed that there was unity in diversity within Christianity.

He acknowledged the remarkable nature of his visit, saying: "Someone will be surprised: 'The pope went to visit the evangelicals?' But he went to see his brothers."

Francis has met unofficially with several Pentecostal and evangelical preachers recently.


Priest Claims Hate Texts Are From Demon Spirit

(Austrian Times) A Polish priest claims he has been getting hate texts - from a demon.

Parish priest Father Marian Rajchel from Jaroslaw, a town in south-eastern Poland, said he started getting the texts after carrying out an exorcism on a teenage girl.

But he said that the attempt to drive out the devil from the girl's soul clearly failed, and that it was now using the teenager to attack him by using mobile phone messages.

He told local media: "The author of these texts is an evil spirit who has possessed her soul."

He said that the devil and his followers were not shy about using modern technology but that in many cases their actions were not identified as being the work of evil.

He said: "Often the owners of mobile phones are not even aware that they are been used like this, however in this case it is clear."

He said one of the text messages read: "She will not come out of this hell. She’s mine. Anyone who prays for her will die."

He said however that he had prayed for her and sent back another text message, getting the message in return: "Shut up, preacher. You cannot save yourself. Idiot. You pathetic old preacher."

He added: "Clearly this young girl has been possessed, and needs further help."


Monday, July 21, 2014

No Mass said in Mosul for first time in 1,600 years, says Archbishop

(Christian Today) The Chaldean Catholic Church's Archbishop Bashar Warda of Erbil, in Kurdish-governed northern Iraq, is reported as saying that for the first time in 1,600 years there was no Mass said in Mosul on Sunday June 15. This is the city taken over days before by ISIS forces.

Reports say the estimated 3,000 or so Christians still there - from about 35,000 in 2003 - all fled ahead of the militias' takeover of control, although some families were reported to have returned. They cited lack of job prospects and shelter once they'd become internally displaced, or refugees in Kurdish Iraq.... (continued)


Sunday, July 20, 2014

Delhi’s 30,000 unruly monkeys steal stuff, terrorize people and even kill

By James Tapper

(GlobalPost) NEW DELHI, India — Madi is a bully. He has three-inch canines that glisten when he snarls.

And that’s a good thing, says his owner, Niraj.

Madi is a langur — a large, grey monkey with a black face and ears, endemic to South Asia.

Big and menacing, he’s able to scare off this city’s 30,000 smaller, red-faced rhesus monkeys, to protect the local human population from their naughty and dangerous antics.

Niraj earns his living hauling Madi around India’s capital on his bicycle to scare away monkeys that hang around parks, rob offices (really) and terrorize people.

It’s hard to over-emphasize this point: India’s rhesus monkeys are derelicts. They regularly steal food, alcohol, glasses, medical equipment, and clothes. They even break into cars... (continued)


Patriot Actress Skye McCole Bartusiak Dies at Age 21

(US Weekly) Skye McCole Bartusiak, who played Mel Gibson's young daughter in 2000's The Patriot, died at the age of 21 on Saturday, July 19. She was found at her home in Houston, Texas, but a cause of death has not been determined, CNN reports.

Bartusiak's mother Helen McCole Bartusiak told CNN that her daughter had been suffering from epileptic seizures recently, and her boyfriend found her sitting up in her bed.

"We think she had a seizure and choked and nobody was there," her mother said. "They were working on her for 45 minutes and could not get a heartbeat."

Bartusiak began her career in 1999 at the age of six in The Cider House Rules. She also played the daughter of Michael Douglas' character in 2001's Don't Say a Word.

Her mother said that more recently she had been working on producing and directing her first feature film.


Thursday, July 17, 2014

The Most Misunderstood Pope in History

By Michael Voris

(ChurchMilitant.TV) Hello everyone and welcome to The Vortex where lies and falsehoods are trapped and exposed. I’m Michael Voris.

Did you hear the reports saying the Pope said God doesn’t REALLY exist? Or did you see the headline that said the Pope said all that matters is overthrowing world economic markets?

Those might as well be the headlines, because they are just about as valid as any of the other stuff being trotted out under the banner “WHAT THE POPE SAID TODAY”.

Really, this nonsense has got to stop. From Rome on down to the Catholic blogasterium, to the secular press to Catholics on Facebook and so forth.

This pope has an off-handed way of talking. Ok. Does he guard his every word and consider that he should be much more circumspect in what he says and to whom? It’s clear its not his style. No, he doesn’t do that.

He talks a lot – and that’s who he is. And he has perhaps in little more than a year, become the most ill-quoted and misrepresented Pope in the history of the Church.

Does he need to stop talking to so many people in such an off-handed fashion. That argument could be made somewhat easily. But face it, he aint gonna do that.

So, Catholics around the world need to stop going crazy and just ignore much of this reporting until a few days have gone by after a reported strange comment.

Consider that in just one 24 hour period earlier this week, the Vatican had to release not one but two statements clarifying that Pope didn’t say that, or this is what he meant to say.

One was about the “interview”, which the Vatican said wasn’t really an interview at all with Italian atheist journalist Scalfari, in which Scalfari said that the Pope said there were pedophile cardinals and bishops.

Now whether that is true or not isn’t the point. It wouldn’t be surprising, but the larger point is that the Vatican said , hold on a minute, that’s not entirely accurate about what the pope said.

Then less than a day later, a Vatican official issued yet another clarification saying the Pope is not against market economies like is being reported all over the place.

Then of course there is the report from a Protestant minister in Rome who says that the pope says they – the protestant congregation – are deserving of an apology from the Catholic Church for being so overbearing with the Catholic presence in Rome.

The list of this someone says that the pope says (fill in the blank) is growing monotonous.

What’s growing even more monotonous in the third rate uninformed chatter on the blogs about all this.

Some people go crazy thinking a heretic is one the throne of Peter AND then the Church of Nice crowd feels the need to be even more imbecilic and provide a non-stop treatment of “THIS is what the Pope really means”.

And frankly, both sides are being ridiculous. Why?

Because, even the VATICAN ITSELF doesn’t know what the pope said and then has to run around and try to find out and put out all kinds of fires, whipped up in part by Catholics.

For example, a few months ago – in an interview the Pope was asked a question by an Italian journalist about the issue of civil unions.

Now the term “civil unions” has an ENTIRELY different meaning in Italy and other parts of Europe than it has in the English speaking world – especially America. Here of course, someone says civil unions and everyone thinks – homosexuality.

But in Europe it refers to the rather common practice of a heterosexual couple being married civilly by the state BEFORE being married in the Church. In the US, the priest is BOTH a witness for the Church AND an agent of the state – which is why the wedding license is signed quietly just before the ceremony.

The secular press ran giant headlines. The blogs went wild, repeating the secular headlines saying the Pope was okaying homosexuality. The Church of Nice went wild back, offering horribly reasoned defenses of what the Pope was “really saying” and finally the Vatican had to issue YET ANOTHER clarification – saying everyone had gotten it wrong.

What’s the moral of the story. Forget the headlines, forget the blogs by the Church of Nice crowd, forget the knee jerk stupidity and just chill out and wait for the ACTUAL facts, or correct translation, or appropriate clarification to be issued.

GOD Love you.

I’m Michael Voris.


Malaysia Airlines passenger jet reportedly shot down in Ukraine

(Fox News) Malaysia Airlines confirms an incident following reports that a passenger plane was shot down by a surface to air missile in Ukraine near the Russian border, according to Sky News.

An adviser to Ukraine's Interior Minister told The Associated press that the plane, carrying 280 passengers and 15 crew people onboard, was shot down.

The adviser also told Russian news agency Interfax that all onboard have been killed.

The plane – believed to be a Boeing 777 -- was flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur with, Sky News reports, citing Interfax.

A spokesman for Malaysia Airlines confirmed “an incident” on board one of its flights and is expected to release a statement soon.

“Malaysia Airlines has lost contact of MH17 from Amsterdam. The last known position was over Ukrainian airspace. More details to follow,” read a tweet from Malaysia Airlines’ account.


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Traditional Catholics Love God, But Also Fear God

By Father Peter Carota

Most of us, when we are going over the speed limit and see a Highway Patrol, we automatically fear him because he may give us a ticket.  But when it comes to fearing God and His ticket, we just go right on breaking His laws and have, from none, to very very little fear of His punishment.

Progressive, liberal Catholics teach that we should not fear God.   They teach that God is Love.
 Therefore we should not fear Him, but love Him.  All this is true, but only part of what the Bible says.  I have quoted a few of the Biblical passages for you to read and meditate on.  You may disagree with them, but that does not make you right and God wrong.  The Bible is the Word of God.  Your opinion is the word of man.

Jesus says; “And fear ye not them that kill the body, and are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him that can destroy both soul and body in hell.”  Matt. 10:28.

This passage form St. Matthew is very strong.  It says it all.  Do not fear man who can only persecute you, hurt you, steal from you, ridicule you, and kill you, here and now.  It is over with here.  No, fear God, who can not only take your life, but also put you in Hell for all eternity.  Jesus is the one who is saying this.  We have better take it very very seriously... (continued)


Pope's hints on married priests trouble Vatican

By Olivier BAUBE

Vatican City (AFP) - Pope Francis's hints about a possible opening on the issue of married priests are sowing confusion in the Vatican and among Catholic reformists and conservatives alike.

Twice in three months, Francis has talked about changes to the tradition of celibate priests -- although he has never been precise about how exactly this could be reformed.

On a flight back from his trip to the Middle East, Francis pointed out that there were already married priests in the Ukrainian Greek Catholic and Coptic Catholic churches.

"The door is always open but we are not talking about it now as the order of the day," the Argentine pontiff said.

It is a priority, however, for the dozens of campaign groups that have sprung up -- many formed by men who have been forced to leave the priesthood to get married.

The European Federation of Married Catholic Priests estimated more than 100,000 former Catholic priests have got married over the years -- a figure which would make up around a quarter of the number of current priests.

Earlier this year, 26 women who said they were in love with priests living in Italy, wrote an open letter to the pope asking for a Vatican audience and speaking of their "suffering" because of the secret lives they have to lead.

- New bombshell -

Vatican expert Andrea Tornielli said at the time that Francis was particularly sensitive to the issue as, when he was the archbishop of Buenos Aires, he was close to an Argentine bishop who renounced the priesthood for love.

The pope's comments over the weekend have had the effect of a new bombshell after La Repubblica daily in an interview quoted him as saying on priestly celibacy: "There are solutions and I will find them."

The comments were immediately denied by Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi who said that the interviewer -- the newspaper's 90-year-old founder, Eugenio Scalfari -- had not written down the exact quotations.

"This is not at all an interview in the normal sense of the word," Lombardi said of the one-to-one conversation between Francis and Scalfari, even accusing the newspaper of manipulating "naive readers" with inaccuracies.

It was the second time that a papal interview with Scalfari has raised some hackles in the Vatican, leading to the question of whether the pope could be using these conservations as a way of bypassing traditional Vatican communications.

Father Papas Jani Pecoraro, an Italy-based married priest from the Greek Byzantine church, which is under Vatican authority, welcomed the pope's reported comments.

Speaking to La Repubblica, he said: "The issue could not only change the relationship between the Catholic Church and the lay world but also with other churches."

"We have to read the times and there is no doubt that today's society raises questions that a married priest is definitely better able to cope with," he said.

A Vatican expert, speaking to AFP on condition of anonymity, said that as a whole Francis was seen as "an open pope".

"With his arrival, the progressives in the Church have regained hope," he said.

But a Vatican source said that merely pointing out that priestly celibacy is not a dogma was "no great discovery" and called for greater caution on over-interpreting papal comments.

The source said: "Some questions have been raised but this should not be seen as messages being passed on."

In the Repubblica interview, Francis pointed out that the ban on married priests was only instituted in the 10th century -- nine centuries after the death of Jesus Christ.

"The pope is sensitive to the issue," said the Vatican expert, although many observers are puzzled as to what kinds of "solutions" the pope could have in mind and few are expecting major changes any time soon.


"Weird Al" Yankovic - FOIL

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Pope Francis prepares encyclical on the Ecology for start of 2015

(Rome Reports) Pope Francis has reportedly spent months drafting his new encyclical on Creation, and respect for the environment.

In March, during an audience with superiors from the Franciscan order, the Pope expressed how much this topic concerns him, and asked them for advice.

Minister General, Order of Friars Minor
"The Pope himself brought up the issue of the environment. And he talked about his deep concern that we need, the Church needs, to find the way to respond, using the best of science. But also using the best of goodwill of all of humanity, to bring together a consensus on trying to respond to the crisis, the ecological crisis.”

To help him reflect on this issue, the Franciscan leaders gave him a copy of their "Franciscans for Ecology” text. In it, they cite several initiatives within this field that the Order has promoted, alongside people of other faiths.

Minister General, Order of Friars Minor
"I was in the Amazon region in February. I've been there three times in the last year, and every time I go I see greater deforestation. FLASH And I was just in Eastern Congo where there's also  conflict over the mineral resources there, and the impact that that is having on the social climate.”

But, the Franciscan Minister General said he believes the world will have to wait to read the encyclical. Vatican sources point to early 2015.

Minister General, Order of Friars Minor
"Keep in mind that the Pope, the Church, in October, will have a Synod on family life. There will be a pre-Synod and then the Synod. So the Pope is gonna be very busy preparing for that Synod. So, some time after October, maybe November. He might wait until the beginning of the new year.”

Fr. Michael Perry highlighted that looking after the environment is an issue that all people, believers and non-believers, should work for.

The Pope also turned to other figures like Erwin Kräutler, bishop of Xingu, a diocese in the Amazon greatly affected by deforestation.

"Weird Al" Yankovic - Word Crimes

Craig Ferguson's Monologue - Two Popes and the World Cup


From Ann Barnhardt:

"May I be permitted to make a Xenomorph analogy?  It’s like Aliens.  The Latin Mass people are like the Colonial Marines.  We certainly have the tools, but there is definitely a lack of… discipline.  And cohesion.

(As an aside, yes, absolutely, I wanna be Vasquez.  Not Ripley.  VASQUEZ.  One of the great movie lines of all time…"


Sunday, July 13, 2014

Pope Francis: 'About 2%' of Catholic clergy paedophiles

Earlier this month the Pope begged forgiveness from victims of child abusers within the Church

(BBC) Pope Francis has been quoted as saying that reliable data indicates that "about 2%" of clergy in the Catholic Church are paedophiles.

The Pope said that abuse of children was like "leprosy" infecting the Church, according to the Italian La Repubblica newspaper.

He vowed to "confront it with the severity it demands".

But a Vatican spokesman said the quotes in the newspaper did not correspond to Pope Francis's exact words.

The BBC's David Willey in Rome says there is often a studied ambiguity in Pope Francis' off-the-cuff statements.

Analysis: David Willey, BBC News, Rome

He wants to show a more compassionate attitude towards Church teaching than his predecessors, but this can sometimes cause consternation among his media advisers, our correspondent adds.

When is a papal interview not an interview? Sunday's edition of La Repubblica devotes its first three pages to an account of a conversation between Pope Francis and editor Eugenio Scalfari, which took place last Thursday. Papal spokesman Federico Lombardi said in a sharp note that it was not an interview in the normal sense of the word, although he admitted it conveyed the "sense and the spirit" of the conversation.

Mr Scalfari does not use a digital recorder, and Father Lombardi said Pope Francis never checked the accuracy of the interview.

Until now, the Vatican has declined to quantify the extent of clerical sexual abuse scandals in the worldwide Church. Statistics are usually available only for countries in the developed world. In the developing world, information is usually only sketchy.

In the interview, Pope Francis was quoted as saying that the 2% estimate came from advisers. It would represent around 8,000 priests out of a global number of about 414,000.

While the incidence of paedophilia as a psychiatric disorder in the general population is not accurately known, some estimates have put it at less than five percent.

"Among the 2% who are paedophiles are priests, bishops and cardinals. Others, more numerous, know but keep quiet. They punish without giving the reason," Pope Francis was quoted as saying.

"I find this state of affairs intolerable," he went on.

Above the interview La Repubblica ran the headline: "Pope says: Like Jesus, I shall use a stick against paedophile priests."

Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi denied that Pope Francis had said that there were cardinals who were paedophiles.

Last year Pope Francis strengthened the Vatican's laws against child abuse and earlier this month begged forgiveness from the victims of sexual abuse by priests, at his first meeting with victims since his election.

Many survivors of abuse by priests are angry at what they see as the Vatican's failure to punish senior officials who have been accused of covering up scandals.

Asked in the same La Repubblica interview about the celibacy rule for priests, Pope Francis recalled that it was adopted 900 years after the death of Jesus Christ and pointed out that the Eastern Catholic Church allows its priests to marry.

"The problem certainly exists but it is not on a large scale. It will need time but the solutions are there and I will find them."

Father Lombardi also denied that these were the Pope's exact words.

Pope says about two percent of priests are pedophiles: paper

ROME (Reuters) - About two percent of Roman Catholic clerics are sexual abusers, an Italian newspaper on Sunday quoted Pope Francis as saying, adding that the pontiff considered the crime "a leprosy in our house".

But the Vatican issued a statement saying some parts of a long article in the left-leaning La Repubblica were not accurate, including one that quoted the pope as saying that there were cardinals among the abusers.

The article was a reconstruction of an hour-long conversation between the pope and the newspaper's founder, Eugenio Scalfari, an atheist who has written about several past encounters with the pope.

"Many of my collaborators who fight with me (against paedophilia) reassure me with reliable statistics that say that the level of paedophilia in the Church is at about two percent," Francis was quoted as saying.

"This data should hearten me but I have to tell you that it does not hearten me at all. In fact, I think that it is very grave," he was quoted as saying.

The pope was quoted as saying that, while most paedophilia took place in family situations, "even we have this leprosy in our house".

According to Church statistics for 2012, the latest available, there are about 414,000 Roman Catholic priests in the world.

The Vatican issued a statement noting Scalfari's tradition of having long conversations with public figures without taking notes or taping them, and then reconstructing them from memory. Scalfari, 90, is one of Italy's best known journalists.

While acknowledging that the conversation had taken place, Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi issued a statement saying that not all the phrases could be attributed "with certainty" to the pope.

Lombardi said that, in particular, a quote attributed to the pope saying cardinals were among the sex abusers was not accurate and accused the paper of trying to "manipulate naive readers".

Last week, the Argentine pope held his first meeting with victims of sexual abuse by priests.

He told them the Church should "weep and make reparation" for crimes that he said had taken on the dimensions of a sacrilegious cult. He vowed zero tolerance for abusers and said bishops would be held accountable if they covered up crimes by priests in their diocese.

(Reporting By Philip Pullella; Editing by Rosalind Russell)


Burger King and its gay burger!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Vatican makes 'new generation' cardinal head of key German archdiocese

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - The Vatican has appointed the archbishop of Berlin, seen by German media as part of a "new generation" of less dogmatic clergy, to take over the Cologne archdiocese, the largest and richest in Germany, it said on Friday.

The move makes Rainer Maria Woelki, who turns 58 next month, one of the most influential Roman Catholic cardinals and is an indication of the type of person Pope Francis wants to see in prominent Church roles.

Berlin's Tagesspiegel newspaper called him "the prototype of a new generation of bishops ... not grumpy and dogmatic ... these men speak of mercy and mean it. They're open to people, even their critics, to a point and have a heart for the disadvantaged. Still, they're theologically conservative."

Woelki is a Cologne native and served there for years under his retired predecessor, the staunchly conservative Cardinal Joachim Meisner, before becoming bishop of Berlin in 2011.

When his Berlin appointment was announced, some politicians and Catholics in Berlin said he was too conservative for a city with such a large gay community, pointing to comments he had made that homosexuality was against “the order of creation”.

They also noted that he did his doctorate in theology at a pontifical university in Rome run by the conservative Catholic movement Opus Dei.

But Woekli surprised Berliners by saying he respected all people and would gladly meet with gay activists.

A year later, in 2012, he said: "If two homosexuals take responsibility for each other, if they are loyal to each other over the long term, then one should see this in the same way as heterosexual relations."

Berlin's Alliance against Homophobia nominated him for its Respect Prize that year, an honor he politely declined by saying it was normal for a Christian to respect all people so he should not receive an award for it.

In July 2013, the newly elected Pope Francis changed the tone of Vatican comments on homosexuality in comments on the plane returning from a visit to Brazil, saying, "If a person is gay and seeks God and has good will, who am I to judge him?"

The German Catholic Church is one of the richest in the world and helps fund Vatican activities as well as missionary work in poor countries.

Its financial strength and long history of theologians and leading Church personalities, including the now retired Pope Benedict, give it considerable influence in the Vatican.

Cardinal Reinhard Marx, head of Germany's other powerful archdiocese, Munich, is a member of the pope's group of cardinals working out proposed reforms for the worldwide Church.


Friday, June 20, 2014

Pope Francis to Venture Into Mafia Stronghold

The funeral for a 3-year-old allegedly killed by the Mafia in January. European Pressphoto Agency

Pope to Visit Southern Italian Region of Calabria 

By and Giada Zampano

(The Wall Street Journal) When Pope Francis visits the southern region of Calabria on Saturday, he will venture into the stronghold of one of the world's biggest criminal organizations—one whose tentacles allegedly extend into local churches there, according to Italian prosecutors.

The pope will visit the small town of Cassano Jonico, where a 3-year-old child, Nicola "Coco" Campolongo, was killed along with his grandfather in January, allegedly by Calabria's Mafia, known as the 'Ndrangheta.

Born in one of Europe's poorest regions, the 'Ndrangheta has proved far harder for prosecutors to crack than the better-known Sicilian Mafia.

Tight family ties and a low profile have helped it proliferate in Italy and abroad, resulting in an estimated annual turnover of €53 billion ($72 billion), or about 3.5% of the Italian economy, according to the research firm Demoskopika.

Pope Francis has followed his predecessors in denouncing the Mafia. But his visit also throws a light on the relationship between the Catholic Church in Italy and the country's deeply rooted organized crime.
Pope Francis in Rome on Thursday. Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

Traditionally 'Ndrangheta bosses proudly professed their Catholic faith, looking to "exploit the bond between the church and large swaths of populations in southern Italy," says Giuseppe Pignatone, a prosecutor who investigated Mafia cases in the region.

Mob bosses often requested that parish processions stop in front their homes as a way to thank them for paying for the celebrations, according to evidence gathered by magistrates for trials of alleged 'Ndrangheta members.

"For too long the church has pretended not to see, allowing Mafia affiliates to raise money, build churches, organize the processions," said Mafia expert Antonio Nicaso. "If this pope wants to turn the page he has to make a firm decision and draw a straight line. Only in this way he will keep Mafia members out of the church and will mark a real change from the past."

Calabrian bishops issued a document in April in which they condemned Mafia as a "cancer...that tramples on the highest values and the most sacred aspects of life." They also renewed the church's appeal for Mafia members to repent.

In a statement Thursday, Bishop Giuseppe Fiorini Morosini said the church should work harder to overcome the divide between faith and day-to-day behavior. "However all italian institutions should examine their consciences," he said, and not just priests who have made mistakes.

Investigations by Italian prosecutors have found that the 'Ndrangheta has over the decades infiltrated the local church and other institutions.

According to evidence presented during mob trials, 'Ndrangheta bosses gathered every Sept. 3 in a Catholic church high in the mountains, Santa Maria di Polsi, to "baptize" new members, discuss strategies and pray until at least 2009.

Nicola Gratteri, chief prosecutor in the Calabrian capital of Reggio Calabria, says he believes the meetings started during the 1890s and still occur. Images of the Madonna in the church have been found on many people arrested for 'Ndrangheta association.

Pino Strangio, who has headed the sanctuary for 15 years, says he has never seen mob bosses meeting there.

"We as the church strongly condemn the 'Ndrangheta and any other organized crime," he said. He says he was never involved in any investigation or called to testify.

Some priests have been investigated for 'Ndrangheta association. In one ongoing trial, a local prelate and police chaplain, Nuccio Cannizzaro, stands accused of making false statements and helping Mafia bosses.

Prosecutors say they have recordings of him, obtained through wiretaps, offering to use his Mafia ties to do favors for locals, such as skipping hospital waiting lists. "Nothing happened without [Father] Cannizzaro knowing," said Stefano Musolino, the prosecutor on the case.

Father Cannizzaro denies the allegations, his lawyer said, and says that they are based on a misunderstanding. When the priest was indicted, local residents staged angry protests. A verdict could arrive next month.

Another priest, Salvatore Santaguida, is under investigation in a separate case for allegedly providing 'Ndrangheta bosses with police information. The priest, who has been suspended as pastor of the local church, says he is innocent, his lawyer said.

Pope John Paul II took a strong public stance against organized crime. "Repent!" he said in Sicily in 1993. "God's judgment will come." Pope Benedict XVI called on young people not to give in to the Mafia's promises.

Pope Francis has also called on Mafiosi to "change your life, convert, stop doing harm," and voiced support for priests who refuse funeral rites for Mafia associates.

He became emotional when denouncing the killing of the Calabrian toddler Coco, who was caught up in an alleged mob hit. The car with the two bodies was then burned.

In March the pope prayed with the families of nearly 1,000 people allegedly killed by Italian organized crime. The Italian Catholic Church recently decreed that seminarians in Calabria must study the 'Ndrangheta, so that they can fight it more effectively.

Giacomo Panizza, a priest who has lived in Calabria for 40 years, says he was threatened and shot at when he used a home confiscated from the 'Ndrangheta as a center to help disabled.

For years, Father Panizza felt alone in fighting the Mafia in Calabria, he says, with local priests dismissing his concerns in the 1990s. "They used to say that I couldn't understand because I was not born there," recalls Father Panizza, who is originally from a northern Italian town.

"I feel safer today," he says. "It's harder to shoot a priest if the whole church is behind him."


Why is a thriving parish getting the ax in NYC?

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Why Is Pope Francis Canceling Events?

By Barbie Latza Nadeau

(The Daily Beast) No one can argue that Pope Francis deserves a little break. Since taking office in March 2013, the 77-year-old Argentinian has been on the move almost nonstop greeting his adoring public and reforming the Vatican’s many troubled institutions.

But an announcement by the Vatican’s news service on Monday that the pope will be drastically curtailing his schedule by suspending his popular Wednesday audiences in July and skipping his daily mass at the Casa Santa Marta, where he lives, has many in Rome wondering if the pope is really ok.

Many people already have tickets for the July audiences, which implies that the decision to suspend them was spontaneous, not preplanned. Several Vatican insiders have also noted that the pope is gaining weight and breathing harder than usual, which has caused some of his close associates to warn him to slow down. “Some in the Holy See are beginning to openly discuss concerns about Francis’ condition and asking if the Holy Father is overtaxing himself,” long-time Vatican correspondent Edward Pentin wrote after the surprising changes to his schedule.

The worries began last week, when the pope spontaneously cancelled his Monday and Tuesday engagements after his historic trip to the Holy Land and Peace prayer with leaders from Israel and Palestine, sending the Vatican press corps in Rome had a minor moment of panic. This week’s announcement of his amended schedule has only added to the speculation that the pope’s health is suffering.

Francis, who only has one functioning lung after having part of his other lung removed due to an infection when he was younger, has been noticeably tired in recent weeks. “Close observers are noting that the Pope’s physical body may be failing to keep up with his youthful energy and vigor, especially considering he only has one fully functioning lung,” says Pentin.

By some estimates, Francis has gained as much as 20 pounds since taking office, likely because his physical activity has diminished, even though his scheduled has intensified. “His repeated fatigue reports and weight gain suggest he may be slipping into a form of chronic heart failure common among victims of significant lung disorders,” Dr. Peter Hibberd told Newsmax. “His immunity will be challenged when under stress, and more frequent pauses to recover from otherwise small insults—such as colds, sore throats, and minor injuries—can be expected to increase in the future unless he paces himself.”

There are no reports whether the pope has been forced to use an inhaler or take extra oxygen to help him breathe in Rome’s stifling humid summer weather, but there is rampant speculation in Rome that part of the reason he is going undercover in July is because whatever is ailing him can’t easily be hidden. Papal confidante Cardinal Telesphonre Placidus Toppo of India told Italy’s Libero newspaper that he found the pope “very tired and fatigued” after spending time with him. “I honestly do not know how long he might be able to sustain this pace that he’s certainly not accustomed to,” Toppo told the paper.

The Vatican has played down concerns for the pope, saying last week the pope cancelled his appointments due to a slight “indisposition” and that it was “not serious.” Unlike his predecessors John Paul II and Benedict XVI, Francis will not be spending the summer in Castel Gandolfo outside of Rome, but will instead be working from his offices in Vatican City, albeit out of the public view except on Sundays when he will continue to bless the crowds who gather in St. Peter’s square at noon for his weekly Angelus—a practice that even the ailing John Paul II was able to manage until the final days of his life. Francis’s next major public appointment is now a trip to South Korea scheduled for August 13—18.

The Vatican may be brushing off concern, but even Francis seems to be fully aware of his immortality. During an a visit to the Sant Egidio charity in Rome’s Trastevere district on Sunday, the pope braved torrential rainstorms to greet the poor, and finished the event by asking the crowds to pray for him. “My work is unhealthy, extraordinary work and I need prayer,” he said.

And last week, when he was asked he took risks by traveling through massive crowds without the bullet-proof “sardine can” pope mobile during an interview with Spanish newspaper La Vanguardia , he said he left his fate in God’s hands. “It’s true that anything could happen,” the pontiff replied. “But let’s face it, at my age I don’t have much to lose.”


Monday, June 16, 2014

Phoenix police confirm arrest in priest murder

The Republic |

Phoenix police confirmed the arrest of a suspect in the murder of Father Kenneth Walker, a Phoenix police spokesman said Monday morning via social media.

A Phoenix police spokesman confirmed that investigators arrested a 54-year-old man with a history of aggravated assault and misconduct involving weapons on suspicion of killing the 28-year-old priest found dead in a rectory near downtown Phoenix last week.

The spokesman confirmed the arrest of Gary Michael Moran hours before Valley residents honored Walker with a requiem Mass.

Moran was released from prison in April after having served the majority of a 10-year sentence for burglary and aggravated assault, according to court records.

Walker was murdered late Wednesday night in the rectory of a Catholic parish west of downtown Phoenix.

Phoenix police collected physical evidence from the Catholic church Walker was killed and another critically injured Wednesday night, but investigators spent the weekend developing more information about the crimes.

Walker, 28, was shot and killed and Father Joseph Terra, 56, was wounded at a Catholic church Wednesday night near the state Capitol, a Phoenix police spokesman said.


Friday, June 13, 2014

Please Pray for the Two Phoenix FSSP Priests – One Murdered, One in Critical Condition

By Ann Barnhardt:

...In your charity, please pray for the repose of the soul of young Fr. Kenneth Walker, and for the healing of Fr. Joseph Terra, and for their families.

Oremus: O God, Who didst give to thy servant, Kenneth, by his sacerdotal office, a share in the priesthood of the Apostles, grant, we implore, that he may also be one of their company forever in Heaven. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Requiem Aeternam dona ei, Domine.
Et lux perpetua luceat ei.
Requiescat in pace.

Fr. Kenneth Walker celebrating his first Mass in June 2012.


The Catholic Beltway

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Priest killed, another one injured in attack at Catholic church in Phoenix

By Mariano Castillo and Faith Karimi, CNN

(CNN) -- A priest was killed and another critically wounded in an attack at a Catholic church in Phoenix, police said early Thursday.

The Rev. Kenneth Walker was fatally shot, and the Rev. Joseph Terra is hospitalized in critical condition, police and church officials said. It was not clear what type of weapon was used to attack Terra, Sgt. Steve Martos of the Phoenix Police Department said.

A 911 call came in about 9 p.m. Wednesday (12 a.m. ET Thursday) from the Mater Misericordiae (Mother of Mercy) Mission Catholic Church, Martos said.

The emergency call to police was for a burglary and was made by Terra, Martos said. It was unclear if Terra made the phone call before or after he was injured.

When police arrived, they found the two priests badly injured. Walker died at the hospital.

Terra, the injured priest, was only able to minimally speak with authorities about what happened, Martos said. The priority is for him to be treated.

"Hopefully, once that individual receives treatment and is able to pull through, we can gather more information," Martos said.

The church, in a statement on its website, referred to more than one armed burglar breaking into and entering the property. Police have not confirmed or denied that assertion, saying only that it is not an official police statement.

A green 2003 Mazda Tribute was stolen from church property, police said, and it was found abandoned.

The vehicle is being examined for clues, but as of Thursday morning, nothing significant had been found, Martos said.

"The police are still gathering information and trying to sort through the details of this senseless act of violence," the Diocese of Phoenix said in a statement. "We ask that people offer prayers for both priests, the religious community, their families and the parish."

Investigators have gathered physical evidence at the crime scene, but they lack witness information, police said. Authorities asked for anyone with information to call in tips to police.

Walker, 29, was a member of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter, a small community of priests founded in 1988 and dedicated to reviving the traditional Latin Mass. Terra, 56, is also a member.

A Catholic blog, Rorate Caeli, said Walker was born in upstate New York in a family that became intrigued by the traditional Latin Mass. He was ordained as a priest two years ago.

The blog described the area around the church in downtown Phoenix as "deserted and dangerous at night" but asked followers to avoid speculation about a motive for the crime. It suggested prayer instead.

"May justice be done," the blog said.


Wednesday, June 11, 2014

House Majority Leader Cantor defeated in primary

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -- In an upset for the ages, Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia, the second-most powerful man in the House, was dethroned Tuesday by a little-known, tea party-backed Republican primary challenger carried to victory on a wave of public anger over calls for looser immigration laws.

"This is a miracle from God that just happened," exulted David Brat, an economics professor, as his victory became clear in the congressional district around Virginia's capital city.

Speaking to downcast supporters, Cantor conceded, "Obviously we came up short" in a bid for renomination to an eighth term.

The victory was by far the biggest of the 2014 campaign season for tea party forces, although last week they forced veteran Mississippi Sen. Thad Cochran into a June 24 runoff, and hope state Sen. Chris McDaniel can prevail then.

Cantor's defeat was the first primary setback for a senior leader in Congress in recent years. Former House Speaker Thomas Foley of Washington and Senate Democratic leader Tom Daschle of South Dakota both lost their seats at the polls in the past two decades, but they fell to Republicans, not to challengers from within their own parties.

The outcome may well mark the end of Cantor's political career, and aides did not respond Tuesday night when asked if the majority leader, 51, would run a write-in campaign in the fall.

But its impact on the fate of immigration legislation in the current Congress seemed clearer still. Conservatives will now be emboldened in their opposition to legislation to create a path to citizenship for immigrants living in the country illegally, and party leaders who are more sympathetic to such legislation will likely be less willing to try.... (continued)