Thursday, August 27, 2015

Church Inquiry May Pit Pope Against a Popular Bosnian Shrine

Roman Catholic pilgrims on the hill above the small Bosnian town of Medjugorje, where in 1981 a group of six youths said the Virgin Mary appeared to them. Three say they still see her daily. Credit Ziyah Gafic for The New York Times


(The New York Times) MEDJUGORJE, Bosnia and Herzegovina — At exactly 6:40 p.m. one sultry day this month, the peal of church bells rang though the main square of this town, bringing countless pilgrims instantly to their knees.

The ringing marked the moment, 34 years ago, when a group of six youths say the Virgin Mary appeared to them. Three of them say she has continued to do so, usually at the same time, every day since.

Over that period, the scheduled apparitions have drawn millions of believers to this small town, and a good dose of suspicion from skeptics, including, perhaps, Pope Francis. In what was interpreted as a thinly veiled jab at the claims, he recently joked during a morning homily about “visionaries who can tell us exactly what message Our Lady will be sending at 4 o’clock this afternoon...”

Already, since the pope announced in June that a decision was imminent, the numbers of Italians — once the bulk of the pilgrims here — have fallen by half.

“Whatever the verdict turns out to be, this wait is creating a state of uncertainty for the pilgrims, and that affects the season,” said Sante Frigo, an Italian married to a pilgrim guide in Medjugorje.

“From the point of view of the pilgrimage supply chain,” he added, “it’s been a catastrophe.”

Faith aside, for the residents of a town that once barely survived on tobacco plantations and vineyards, the claims of apparitions have been an irrefutable blessing...

Doubters accuse the visionaries of blurring the line between the spiritual and the material by capitalizing on the apparitions through global speaking tours and investments in the local tourism industry.

“You have to bear in mind that the visionaries have built economic interests here,” said one skeptic, Marco Corvaglia, a high school teacher who chronicled what he claims are the visionaries’ conflicts of interest on his blog.

He started his blog, he said, out of concern that millions were being duped by the collective power of suggestion. The Medjugorje apparitions, he and other skeptics believe, are nothing other than an “instrument of mass manipulation...”

On a recent afternoon, one of the three who still claims to see the Virgin daily, Ivan Dragicevic, 50, took to a stage built behind the parish church — with outdoor seating for about 9,000 — to share his experiences with pilgrims braving the heat.

Mr. Dragicevic, who lives in Boston and in Medjugorje, spoke of his conversations with the Virgin, as pilgrims from around the world listened to a simultaneous translation broadcast on various radio frequencies. A group of Frenchwomen took copious notes.

Once he had finished, he quickly left, brusquely declining requests for an interview.

At Magnificat, a guesthouse built three years ago by one of the daily seers, Marija Pavlovic, also 50, graciously greeted pilgrims, offering words of comfort and blessings.

The hotel itself has been a source of controversy. While Ms. Pavlovic describes it as a “center of spirituality,” it is actually a “luxury hotel,” Mr. Corvaglia and other critics say.

Ms. Pavlovic, who divides her time between Italy and here, also declined to be interviewed. “We don’t want to throw fuel on the fire,” she said. “We want to wait until the waters calm down...” (continued)


Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Mark Zuckerberg - why are you picking on priests while apologizing to "others"?

By Sarah Palin

Hey Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook - why are you picking on priests while apologizing to "others"?
Friends, have you heard about this? Facebook is forcing members of religious orders to remove their titles – their spiritual and vocational identities like "Monsignor" and "Father" – when using the social media monopoly, while permitting everyone else to use titles like "Father". In fact, Facebook just publicly apologized "to drag queens, drag kings... ," etc. for any confusion regarding THEIR allowance to use whatever names and titles they choose on Facebook, like "Father"! Surely this is just a management oversight, eh? Granted, they're a monopoly, but if enough of us speak up about their intolerance, then let's hope they get the message and allow freedom of religion. If not, there's not much point in any of us hanging in there with Facebook, right? Here's my coverage of the issue in One America News Network:


Tuesday, August 4, 2015

This Guy Reacting to Chris Christie’s ‘I’ve Used Birth Control’ Comment Is All of Us

(Mediaite) Listening to New Jersey Governor Chris Christie talk about his sex life isn’t exactly anything anyone wants to hear right now. Unfortunately, potential voters in a New Hampshire restaurant had to hear all about it on Tuesday morning.

Christie is just one of the many GOP candidates who have made stops in the New England conservative state. While discussing his Catholicism and whether or not religion had a place in politics, the governor addressed the often touchy subject of contraception:
“I’m a Catholic, but I’ve used birth control, and not just the rhythm method, okay?”
That’s when a man seated in front of Christie, wearing a white shirt and a red tie, dropped his head in his hands in the hopes of disguising his smirk. We don’t know his name or who he is, but he just became our nation’s everyman:

The New Jersey governor continued, arguing his “church has a teaching against birth control,” but his use of contraceptives doesn’t make him “an awful Catholic.”


Friday, July 31, 2015

German Protestants apologise for Reformation iconoclasm

By Christa Pongratz-Lippitt

(The Tablet) The German Protestant Church (EKD) has apologised for the widespread destruction of religious images during the Reformation.

“The Protestant Church rejects the destruction of images. Images have long since become an expression of Protestant piety,” Protestant Bishop Petra Bosse-Huber underlined at a meeting of delegations from the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople and the EKD. The clerics met in Hamburg to discuss the word “image” from the Orthodox and Protestant points of view. Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and EKD chairman Bishop Heinrich Bedford-Strohm sent greetings and blessings to the Hamburg meeting.

Destroying image was most common in the immediate aftermath of the Reformation. In the first half of the sixteenth century, statues of the Virgin and the saints, stained-glass windows, organs and any objects associated with miracles and the supernatural were removed from Catholic churches and wayside chapels and in many cases destroyed. Switzerland, the Netherlands, England and southern Germany suffered particularly... (continued)


Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Scott Walker backtracks on reaction to gay Boy Scout leaders

By Adam B. Lerner

(Politico) Scott Walker stumbled over his own prior comments Wednesday, saying that when he called on the Boy Scouts to reinstate a ban on gay leaders because it “protected children,” he meant the ban protected them from media scrutiny.

“The protection was not a physical protection,” Walker said Wednesday at an event in South Carolina, according to The New York Times. Rather, the Wisconsin governor continued, he was referring to “protecting them from being involved in the very thing you’re talking about right now, the political and media discussion about it, instead of just focusing on what Scouts is about, which is about camping and citizenship and things of that nature.”

The Wisconsin Republican added that, ultimately, whether or not to reinstate the ban is “up to the Boy Scouts.”

The comments came after the Independent Journal Review, in a report Tuesday, quoted Walker as saying he supported the Boy Scouts’ previous membership policy “because it protected children and advanced Scout values...” (continued)


Saturday, July 11, 2015

Medjugorje Restrictions Confirmed by Alleged Visionary Marija Pavlovic

UPDATE from Silvia Bergamin at Mattino Padova (Google translation):
CITTADELLA. In 600 they expected for the entire afternoon, but the Medjugorje visionary Marija Pavlovic in Cittadella has held only a handful of minutes. "My presence in Cittadella has all hell broke loose," he said the woman, "The curia of Padova has warned the organizers to let me pray with you. I decided to meet you anyway. I'm not a visionary, I am a quiet person. I will not disobey the Church, but I think that prayer does not hurt. My journey continues, I come to Medjugorje. I can not pray with you, I can not bear my testimony, but no one can stop me from praying in my heart. "
The words of Marija have raised more than a little disappointment among the hundreds of faithful gathered in Villa Rina to live a moment of reflection and prayer. "It's a shame," the general comment, "Why do Muslims have the right to pray at the Citadel, while Christians not?". The diocese said in a letter the reasons for no: "The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith points out that, pending further provisions by the Holy See, the Christian communities - bishops, priests and faithful - are required to observe the already established by the bishops of the former Yugoslavia in the Zadar Declaration of April 10, 1991: "On the basis of investigation up till now it is not possible to say whether it's supernatural apparitions or revelations". It is therefore not allowed to the clergy and faithful of the diocese to participate in any meetings, conferences or public celebrations in which would be taken for granted as to their credibility... " (continued
Original post:

From Guarda Con Me:
As announced, this afternoon held a meeting in Cittadella, province of Padua, with the participation of Marija Pavlovic, visionary of Medjugorje.

Organized by her friend and nurse with the support of local authorities, the intention was to offer a moment of prayer and meditation for all the loyal guests of the council chamber, made available by the town Padua.

The visionary occurred appointment but did not offer its usual testimony, pointing out instead that "I just came to say goodbye, because I had promised my friend.  I received a letter in which I was asked not to attend public meetings".

At this point, considering the information coming from Medjugorje from people you trust, we have to admit that the recent rumors regarding restrictions on the visionaries of the country of Herzegovina, are reliable:  the visionaries no longer have to appear publicly, nor to testify, nor let alone for the appearances, remaining "confined" to their homes...  (continued)


Friday, July 10, 2015

Pope gives hammer and sickle crucifix to Mary

From Andrea Tornielli:

“Mother of the Saviour and our Mother,” Francis prayed, “You, Queen of Bolivia, who from the height of your Shrine in Copacabana attend to the prayers and needs of your children, especially the most poor and abandoned, and protect them: Receive as a gift from the heart of Bolivia and my filial affection the symbols of affection and closeness that – in the name of the Bolivian people – Mr. President Evo Morales Ayma has bestowed on me with cordial and generous affection, on the occasion of this Apostolic Journey, which I entrusted to your solicitous intercession...”


Oklahoma Governor: 10 Commandments Here to Stay

By Christine Niles @ Church Militant:

In a remarkable and rare move, a state governor is defying the order of its highest court. Governor Mary Fallin of Oklahoma is resisting last week's state Supreme Court ruling holding the Ten Commandments monument an unconstitutional violation of separation of Church and State, and Fallin claims the monument is here to stay — at least for now...

The governor says outright that "the court got it wrong." In a statement Tuesday, Fallin said:
The Ten Commandments monument was built to recognize and honor the historical significance of the Commandments in our state's and nation's systems of laws. The monument was built and maintained with private dollars. It is virtually identical to a monument on the grounds of the Texas State Capitol which the United States Supreme Court ruled to be permissible.  It is a privately funded tribute to historical events, not a taxpayer funded endorsement of any religion, as some have alleged.
Nevertheless, last week the Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled Oklahoma's Ten Commandments monument was impermissible. Their decision was deeply disturbing to many in our Legislature, many in the general public, and to me.
Oklahoma is a state where we respect the rule of law, and we will not ignore the state courts or their decisions. However, we are also a state with three co-equal branches of government. At this time, Attorney General Scott Pruitt, with my support, has filed a petition requesting a rehearing of the Ten Commandments case. Additionally, our Legislature has signaled its support for pursuing changes to our state Constitution that will make it clear the Ten Commandments monument is legally permissible. If legislative efforts are successful, the people of Oklahoma will get to vote on the issue. 
During this process, which will involve both legal appeals and potential legislative and constitutional changes, the Ten Commandments monument will remain on the Capitol grounds.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Jindal To Slam Republicans Who Want to ‘Silence’ Pro-Life Base at National Right To Life Convention

Presidential contender Bobby Jindal will deliver the keynote address Thursday at the National Right to Life Convention in New Orleans.

By Dr. Susan Berry

(Breitbart) According to a press release containing some of Jindal’s prepared remarks, the Republican governor of Louisiana – which has been named as the most pro-life state in the nation – will blast the Republican Party “smart guys” for failing to adhere to a commitment to pro-life policies, portraying the pro-life base, instead, as a “distraction.”

“The Republican smart guys in Washington see cultural issues such as protecting life as a side issue and a distraction,” Jindal plans to say. “They urge us to minimize discussions of such things that they fear will alienate voters.”

Referring to Republicans of this mind-set as “spineless,” Jindal will assert, “Hear me on this – we will not hide our lamp under a bushel. If the Republican Party cannot make defending the defenseless into a winning issue, they should just close up shop...” (continued)


Gene therapy restores hearing in deaf mice

(Medical Press) Using gene therapy, researchers at Boston Children's Hospital and Harvard Medical School have restored hearing in mice with a genetic form of deafness. Their work, published online July 8 by the journal Science Translational Medicine, could pave the way for gene therapy in people with hearing loss caused by genetic mutations.

"Our protocol is not yet ready for clinical trials—we need to tweak it a bit more—but in the not-too-distant future we think it could be developed for therapeutic use in humans," says Jeffrey Holt, PhD, a scientist in the Department of Otolaryngology and F.M. Kirby Neurobiology Center at Boston Children's and an associate professor of Otolaryngology at Harvard Medical School...

To deliver the healthy gene, the team inserted it into an engineered virus called adeno-associated virus 1, or AAV1, together with a promoter—a genetic sequence that turns the gene on only in certain sensory cells of the inner ear known as hair cells. They then injected the gene-bearing AAV1 into the inner ear, with these findings:
  • In the recessive deafness model, gene therapy with TMC1 restored the ability of to respond to sound—producing a measurable electrical current—and also restored activity in the auditory portion of the brainstem. 
  • Most importantly, the deaf mice regained their ability to hear. To test hearing, the researchers placed the mice in a "startle box" and sounded abrupt, loud tones. "Mice with TMC1 mutations will just sit there, but with gene therapy, they jump as high as a normal mouse," says Holt. (The force of their jump was measured by a plate on the floor underneath them; it was detectable at sounds beginning around 80 decibels.)
  • In the dominant deafness model, gene therapy with a related gene, TMC2, was successful at the cellular and brain level, and partially successful at restoring actual hearing in the startle test...(continued)


Monday, July 6, 2015

O’Reilly: Trump Right About Border Wall, San Francisco Officials ‘Directly Responsible’ for Steinle Murder

By Jeff Poor

(Breitbart) On Monday’s broadcast of “The O’Reilly Factor,” host Bill O’Reilly took real estate mogul and GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump’s side in the immigration.

O’Reilly said Trump was correct on two calls – the wall on the southern border he had proposed and who was responsible for the death of Kate Steinle, which was the result of murder by an illegal immigrant that had been deported five times.

“So Trump is correct in saying that only a massive wall will stop the chaos and even then drugs and people will get through although not to the extent they do now,” O’Reilly said.

“Apparently Sanchez has seven felony convictions,” he later added. “[He] has been deported five times. Yet, he’s still walking around the streets of San Francisco, this guy. That’s because Mayor Ed Lee and the 11 members of the San Francisco City Supervisors refuse to cooperate with the federal government on criminal aliens.”

“The feds asked the city of San Francisco to keep Sanchez in custody,” O’Reilly continued. “The city refused. Ms. Steinle paid for that irresponsible and unconstitutional decision with her life. San Francisco is a sanctuary city and proud of it. And violent crimes committed by criminal aliens have happened there before. City authorities refuse to say how many because they know it’s a huge scandal, a black mark on the history of San Francisco, the most tolerant of cities. The family of Kate Steinle asking for calm, not vengeance, but ‘Talking Points’ is not as charitable.”


Friday, July 3, 2015

The USA will have its first martyr

From Father Carlos Martins (via Facebook)
"In case you didn’t already know, the USA will have its first martyr. Father Stanley Rother’s death has been accepted by the Theological Panel of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints as a martyrdom, clearing the largest obstacle for his beatification. While normally there is a miracle required for beatification, martyrdom is the ultimate witness and imitation of Jesus Christ. As what the Church calls the “Baptism by Blood”, a martyrdom (death in witness to Christ and because of Him) washes away all sin, even mortal, should the martyr be in such a state at the time of the martrydom.
A diocesan priest from the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City, Fr. Stanley was a hero to the Guatemalan people. When the rebels put him on a death list he fled Guatemala and returned to his native Oklahoma. However, he grew more and more distraught, and felt like he had abandoned his sheep. He returned, knowing that he was probably be shot, like so many others had. That is exactly what happened.

His case now moves on to a panel of cardinals and archbishops, and then on to the Pope. But these are more or less rubber stamps. The tough part of the investigation is now over. In the words of a little bird within the Congregation, “Go ahead and print the holy cards.”

Though 9 years old, there's a great article about his life and death here:

From Day by Day with María:

Please join me and the Church in Oklahoma and Guatemala in praying for the canonization of this faithful priest and martyr:

Heavenly Father,
source of all holiness,
in every generation you raise up
men and women heroic in love and service.

You have blessed your Church
with the life of Stanley Rother,
priest, missionary, and martyr.

Through his prayer, his preaching,
his presence, and his pastoral love,
you revealed Your love and Your presence
with us as Shepherd.

If it be your will,
may he be proclaimed
by the universal church
as martyr and saint,
living now in your presence
and interceding for us all.

We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen

Second World War tank and anti-aircraft gun found hidden in basement of villa in Germany

By Melanie Hall, Berlin

(The Telegraph) German soldiers grappled for nine hours with an unusual task: trying to remove a Second World War tank found in the cellar of a villa.

Almost 20 soldiers struggled to remove the tank from a villa on Thursday in a wealthy suburb of Kiel in northern Germany, after police searching the property discovered the tank, a torpedo, an anti-aircraft gun and other weapons in the cellar on Wednesday.

Police raided the home in the town of Heikendorf under instructions from prosecutors, who suspected that the villa's 78-year-old owner held the weaponry illegally under a law controlling the possession of instruments of war.

The army was called in to try to remove the 1943-vintage Panther tank, and struggled for nine hours to tow it out using two modern recovery tanks designed to haul damaged battle tanks off the field.

The soldiers ended up having to build their own wooden ramp in order to free to tank.

Ulrich Burchardi, an army spokesman, described the difficult task of removing the tank without damaging the house as “precision work.”

Prosecutors in Kiel were alerted to the existence of the weapons by the authorities in Berlin, who had previously searched the villa for stolen Nazi art around a month earlier, national newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung reported.

But Peter Gramsch, lawyer for the villa’s owner, claimed that the tank and the anti-aircraft gun could no longer fire their weapons and were therefore not breaking any law.

He told the newspaper there was even a note from the responsible district office from 2005 stating that the tank had lost its weapons capability.

Mr Gramsch now wants to take legal action against the seizure and also for compensation for his client.

“I assume that the tank was damaged in the process,“ he said... (continued)


Catholic School Teacher Fired for Same-Sex Marriage Files Federal Lawsuit

(The Cardinal Newman Society) A Catholic school in Macon, Ga., is facing a federal discrimination lawsuit from a former teacher whose employment was terminated in 2014 after the school found that he would be legally marrying his same-sex partner.

“The argument being made in this suit—that a Catholic school’s commitment to upholding Catholic teaching on marriage is discriminatory toward homosexual employees—is a grave threat to Catholic education,” said Patrick Reilly, president of The Cardinal Newman Society.

“A Catholic school exists for the very purpose of teaching the faith and forming young people for God,” he continued. “The implication is that our religion itself, rooted in love and true concern for the good of the person and the common good, is discriminatory because it upholds standards of morality and natural law.”

The teacher, Flint Dollar, taught music at Mount de Sales Academy for three years before his termination on May 21, 2014. The Telegraph reported that Dollar informed the school of his upcoming same-sex marriage when he signed the contract for the 2014-2015 term on May 1, 2014.

According to Breitbart, Dollar argued that “he was fired because of his marriage plans and [because] he didn’t comport with the school’s ‘traditional gender stereotypes.’” An investigation by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission reportedly determined “that ‘there is reasonable cause to conclude’ that Dollar had been discriminated against based on his sexual orientation.”

“The suit seeks a jury trial, saying that the school acted with malice or reckless indifference to Dollar’s federally protected rights. Dollar seeks back pay, reinstatement to his job, compensation for his emotional pain and suffering, and attorney’s fees,” reports Breitbart.. (continued)


Wednesday, July 1, 2015

SSPX Bp. Fellay: “we are on the eve of important events that we cannot yet define”

From via WDTPRS:
Where is the Society today? What are its strong points and its weak points? What future do you foresee for it?

I see a peaceful future. It is a work that has been entrusted to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary; all we have to do is remain faithful to their will. This Church is the Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ, who remains her head and will not allow her to be destroyed.
The Society’s weaknesses? The risk of separation is serious. Look at the caricature of Tradition that calls itself the “Resistance”, for example: it is a non-Catholic spirit that is almost sectarian. We wish to have nothing to do with it; it is a movement that is withdrawn into itself, with people who think that they are the only good and just men on earth: that is not Catholic. It is an objective, but relative danger. Most of the Society is healthy and will not fall into these illusions. This encourages us to rely upon supernatural means. God will show us what He wants of us; He will speak through circumstances.

The strong points? The living fidelity that bears fruit and shows the world today that the Catholic life, even with all its requirements, is possible. But—another weak point—we are men of our times, and it would be a dream to pretend that we are immunized against the influence of the modern world. To be more precise, we must avoid the caricature of wishing for a Church without wrinkles or stains here below: that is not what the good Lord promised us on this earth. That is not what the “Holy Church” means; it means that she is capable of sanctifying using the means given by Our Lord: the sacraments, the Faith, discipline, religious life, the life of prayer... (continued)


Saturday, June 27, 2015

Bobby Jindal: ‘Let’s just get rid of the court’

(MSNBC) In the wake of Friday’s historic Supreme Court ruling on marriage equality, Republicans did not hold back their rage – but few politicians went as far as 2016 candidate Gov. Bobby Jindal.

The Louisiana Republican, who launched a longshot bid for the presidency last week, suggested that the 5-4 ruling, which made same-sex marriage legal throughout the nation, was cause for disbanding the entire Supreme Court.

“The Supreme Court is completely out of control, making laws on their own, and has become a public opinion poll instead of a judicial body,” Jindal said in a statement on Friday“If we want to save some money, let’s just get rid of the court.” 

“Marriage between a man and a woman was established by God, and no earthly court can alter that,” he added... (continued)


Supreme Court Decision on Marriage “A Tragic Error” Says President of Catholic Bishops’ Conference

(USCCB) WASHINGTON—The U.S. Supreme Court decision, June 26, interpreting the U.S. Constitution to require all states to license and recognize same-sex “marriage” “is a tragic error that harms the common good and most vulnerable among us,” said Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).
The full statement follows:

Regardless of what a narrow majority of the Supreme Court may declare at this moment in history, the nature of the human person and marriage remains unchanged and unchangeable. Just as Roe v. Wade did not settle the question of abortion over forty years ago, Obergefell v. Hodges does not settle the question of marriage today. Neither decision is rooted in the truth, and as a result, both will eventually fail. Today the Court is wrong again. It is profoundly immoral and unjust for the government to declare that two people of the same sex can constitute a marriage.

The unique meaning of marriage as the union of one man and one woman is inscribed in our bodies as male and female. The protection of this meaning is a critical dimension of the “integral ecology” that Pope Francis has called us to promote. Mandating marriage redefinition across the country is a tragic error that harms the common good and most vulnerable among us, especially children. The law has a duty to support every child’s basic right to be raised, where possible, by his or her married mother and father in a stable home.

Jesus Christ, with great love, taught unambiguously that from the beginning marriage is the lifelong union of one man and one woman. As Catholic bishops, we follow our Lord and will continue to teach and to act according to this truth.

I encourage Catholics to move forward with faith, hope, and love: faith in the unchanging truth about marriage, rooted in the immutable nature of the human person and confirmed by divine revelation; hope that these truths will once again prevail in our society, not only by their logic, but by their great beauty and manifest service to the common good; and love for all our neighbors, even those who hate us or would punish us for our faith and moral convictions.

Lastly, I call upon all people of good will to join us in proclaiming the goodness, truth, and beauty of marriage as rightly understood for millennia, and I ask all in positions of power and authority to respect the God-given freedom to seek, live by, and bear witness to the truth.
Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz, Supreme Court, religious freedom, marriage, same-sex, Obergefell v. Hodges, Roe v. Wade, Pope Francis, integral ecology, encyclical
# # #
Norma Montenegro Flynn
O: 202-541-3202


Thursday, June 25, 2015

Medjugorje: Vatican Rejects the Apparitions

Update July 11, 2015: Medjugorje Restrictions Confirmed by Alleged Visionary Marija Pavlovic

This according to Gianluca Barile:

(via Google translate)

The only concession is to Medjugorje, which is recognized as a place of prayer, because God knows where they also collect seeds, the Cardinal explained Gerhard Ludwig Müller, Prefect of the Doctrine of the Faith, during the Plenary Assembly of the Congregation that, yesterday, met for express the authenticity of the alleged apparitions of the Madonna to the six "seers" of this small town in Bosnia-Herzegovina, who claim to have receive periodic messages from "Lady" for 34 years running. For the rest, the trial of the former Holy Office, which is expressed on the basis of the final report of the "Commission Ruini", composed by Benedict XVI to shed light on these phenomena, it was absolutely negative.

"But why so much severity by the Vatican? Firstly for the inconsistency theological message, then the economic interests of the "seers" who have invested in hotels and travel agencies, so the rivalries that have divided some of them and for disobedience is shown to the Bishop of Mostar..." - Gianluka Barile
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, in fact, the "apparitions" do not consist of any supernatural, therefore it is forbidden to the faithful to participate in the "ecstasy" of the six "seers" and the latter is allowed to disclose the texts of the messages that they would receive from the Madonna.

Another NO regards the Medjugorje parish, dedicated to San Giacomo, who will become the Marian Shrine, as it would have liked to own the six "seers". But not only the bishops in their dioceses should not receive the "seers" for public meetings and testimonies, as was the case until now, but merely to ensure accompanied by a priest, the pilgrims who come to Medjugorje. Pilgrims themselves, going to Medjugorje, will not have to recognize, by their presence, the authenticity of the apparitions and avoid any contact with the "seers", focusing only on prayer and on the approach to the sacraments.

But why so much severity by the Vatican? Firstly for the inconsistency theological message, then the economic interests of the "seers" who have invested in hotels and travel agencies, so the rivalries that have divided some of them and for disobedience is shown to the Bishop of Mostar, their diocese, both to the Pope, that through the "Commission Ruini" had ordered him, in vain, to deliver the ten secrets that they would receive from "Our Lady".

One of the key aspects that prompted the Vatican to use an iron fist, is just what the money: they had never seen true visionaries who lucrassero on their own appearances.

Lawful, at this point, doubt: the six "seers" of Medjugorje claim to see and talk to Madonna because the alleged apparitions are real or just to draw the largest number of pilgrims from traveling to their agencies and to be placed in their hotels?

The last word goes to Pope Francis, who soon will issue a special decree, but it is difficult to think that the Pope, may change the conclusions of the Doctrine of the Faith, because many times, himself, expressed more or hand clearly, the skepticism about the quality of what is happening in Medjugorje. It is, therefore, to a resounding "black smoke".

UPDATE: Click here for an English translation by Richard Chonak.

UPDATE 6/26/15:

From Edward Pentin:
"VATICAN CITY — The Vatican said Friday that contrary to reports in Italian media, no decision has been made regarding certain doctrinal and disciplinary aspects of alleged Marian apparitions at Medjugorje..."
UPDATE 6/26/15:

From Andrea Tornielli
"No decision has been taken regarding the Medjugorje apparitions, which began in 1981 and have not yet come to an end. The institutional bodies of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith have not yet met to examine the case along with the conclusions of the lengthy and important study carried out by the commission headed by Cardinal Camillo Ruini, which concluded its work last year."
UPDATE 6/26/15Gianluca Barile responds:

(via Google translation):
"About the article of "Vatican Insider", entitled "Medjugorje, no decision", published in the online edition of today, confirm the guidelines adopted by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, in the person of the prefect Gerhard Ludwig Müller , based on the work done in recent years, the so-called "Commission Ruini". Such guidelines have already been delivered to Pope Francis, the only one which takes the final decision, as I have always specified. The meeting and / or the vote of the Plenary of the CDF is a marginal, having been the Pope, the last word. Therefore, the guidelines given to the Holy Father, are as follows: The appearances, and because it is still in progress for some contradictions of the "seers", "not constat de sopranaturalitate"; The "message" of "Our Lady", except those of the very first years, are inconsistent and sometimes trivial, from a theological perspective; The "messages" will no longer be made public, as at present, but be transmitted, in confidence, to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, to be screened; The "visionaries" will retire to private life and not hold more public meetings, both in Medjugorje than anywhere else in the world. To this end, the diocesan Bishops are called to the utmost vigilance; The "seers" have to give up their economic interests in hotels and travel agencies that have emerged during the investigation of the "Commission Ruini", thus stop a blatant conflict of interest; The "seers" should submit without objection and with the utmost obedience to the decisions of the Church; Medjugorje will be recognized as a place of prayer, but the pilgrims, with their presence, will not have to authenticate the "appearances"; The parish of Medjugorje will remain dedicated to St. James and will not become the Marian shrine dedicated to the "Lady".
UPDATE 6/26/15:

From Diane Korzeniewski: Who needs football when you can watch Italian journalists spar over Medjugorje:
"As Republica also reported (Italian), the biggest clincher in all of this was the money factor and how the alleged visionaries are raking in bucks connected to tourist gigs and hotels.  Along with that are theological inconsistencies and disobedience to the local bishop, to the diocese, and to the Pope himself (when ordered through the commission to disclose the 10 secrets and they did not).

So, everyone can have their fun speculating "when" but the most important part is the "what".  No one seems to be denying some very devastating consequences coming down on the alleged visionaries, and the ripple effect to devotees.

Update: I'd like to remind people to that Tornielli is hardly unbiased in his reporting on anything related to Medjugorje." 

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Pope Francis Indicates That Seers of Medjugorje Have Psychological Problems

From  Medjugorje Hoje Brasil  via Google Translate:
In an interview given in 2014 on the occasion of World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro, the Pope Francis clearly expressed his personal opinion about the apparitions of Our Lady in Medjugorje...

In the book published by editions Loyola in 2014, in an interview with Father Alexander Awi Mello, Pope Francis rejects any hypothesis that one has apparitions of Our Lady.
  On pages 235 and and 236 Pope spends his personal opinion about the apparitions of Our Lady in Medjugorje:
"In relation to Medjugorje," the Pope Francis continues, "I forbid that a meeting did while we were here at the Conclave. So they knew I did not agree. " He (the Pope) explained to me that one of the Medjugorje visionaries would be in the Archdiocese for a meeting would happen in a church. Then he told me why he had opposed the meeting, without, however, issue an opinion on the authenticity of the apparition:
"F iz this because one of the visionaries would speak and give some explanations and then at four-thirty Our Lady would appear! That is, it has the agenda of Our Lady! So I told them, no; look, that kind of thing I do not want here. He said no. Not in the Church "the Pope concludes reinforcing below:
"But we must distinguish that in Medjugorje, God makes miracles, you know? So in the midst of human follies, God continues working miracles, is not it? Maybe there are more personal phenomena. Reach me some letters, but you see that are more psychological issues ... We have to distinguish good things ... "
At another time, when we were already walking the Apostolic Palace, Francisco returned to the subject, as if the question were working inside: "The theme of the apparitions, to be clear. Try to see the side of the locution. So, as I said, it will be from one extreme to another. Sometimes this phrase almost physically embodies a vision and can sometimes be mere inspiration, "says the Pope seeking concepts to express what you think about these phenomena. "For example," he continues, "those people who feel that Our Lady tells you something has a voiceover in prayer and then said: Our Lady told me that ... Of course. They express in a way that it seems that it appeared to them ... But to that seers are protagonists and organize a scheduled appearances ... this is the sin that can accompany a great grace. "
Another version via Microsoft Translate:
In an interview given in 2014 on the occasion of world youth day in Rio de Janeiro, the Pope Francisco expressed clearly his personal opinion about the apparitions of our Lady at Medjugorje...
In the book published by edições Loyola in 2014, in the interview granted to Father Alexander Awi Mello, Pope Francisco rejects any chance that someone has apparitions of our Lady.
On pages 235 and 236 and the Pope spends his personal opinion about the apparitions of our Lady in Medjugorje:
"In relation to Medjugorje", continues the Pope Francis, "I forbid to a meeting while we were here in the Conclave. So they knew I wasn't in agreement". He (the Pope) explained that one of the visionaries of Medjugorje was going to be in the Archdiocese for an encounter that would happen in a church. Then told me the reason was opposed to the meeting, without, however, speak about the authenticity of the apparition:

"Fiz this because one of the psychics was going to speak and give some explanations and then at 4:30 our lady would appear. That is, it has the agenda of our Lady. So, I told them: no; look, this kind of stuff I don't want here. Said no. Not in the Church"the Pope concluded by reinforcing then:

"But we must distinguish that in Medjugorje, God makes miracles, you know? So, in the midst of the madness, God is still doing miracles, isn't it? Maybe there are more personal phenomena. Reach me some letters, but if you see are psychological issues. We have to distinguish things..."
In another moment, when we were walking in the Apostolic Palace, Francisco returned to the theme, as if the question were working inside: "the theme of the apparitions, to be clear. Check the side of interior locution. So, like I said, you go from one extreme to the other. Sometimes this locution almost materializes in a vision and sometimes physically can be mere inspiration, "says the Pope seeking concepts to express what you think about these phenomena. "For example," continues, "those people who feel that our Lady tells you something in prayer has a voiceover and then says: our lady told me this ... Of course. Express in a way that looks like she appeared to them. But then the fortunetellers are protagonists and organize some scheduled appearances ... This is sin that can accompany a great grace."

Friday, June 19, 2015

Shooting victims’ families forgive gunman in court

Nadine Collier (L) is the daughter of church shooting victim Ethel Lance. Photo: Getty

By Bob Fredericks at the New York Post

Hate won’t win.

In a heartwrenching display of strength and mercy Friday, relatives of the men and women massacred at a black church in South Carolina told the racist madman who murdered their loved ones that they forgave him.

“Although my grandfather and the other victims died at the hands of hate, this is proof — everyone’s plea for your soul — that they lived in love and their legacies will live in love. So hate won’t win, and I just want to thank the courts for making sure that hate isn’t winning,” said a granddaughter of retired pastor Daniel Simmons, 74.

“I just want everybody to know, to you, I forgive you,” said Nadine Collier, a daughter of victim Ethel Lance, 70.

“You took something very precious away from me. I will never talk to her ever again, I will never be able to hold her again. But I forgive you. And have mercy on your soul. You hurt me, you hurt a lot of people. But God forgives you, and I forgive you.”

Outside court, she added, “She’s in a better place now, and we’re all trying to get there. But God knows the Lance family.”

Admitted killer Dylann Storm Roof, 21, who appeared in the Charleston County courtroom on video, stood expressionless in light blue prison garb as she and several other family members spoke of their pain and loss, but also of love and forgiveness.

“I would just like you to know that, I forgive you and my family forgives you. But we would like you to take this opportunity to repent. Repent, confess, give your life to the one that matters the most — Christ — so he can change it, change your ways no matter what happened to you. Do that and you’ll be better off than you are right now,” said Anthony Thompson, son of victim Myra Thompson, 59... (continued)


The Resurrection of Sacred Architecture

By Michael Tamara

(Crisis Magazine) The Basilica of Santa Maria in Trastevere in Rome is one of the oldest churches in the city and in the world. Originally constructed in 340 by Pope Julius I, it replaced an earlier house church that had been established on the site by Pope St. Callixtus I in 220. As one of the original twenty-five parish churches of Rome, it is possibly the place of the very first open celebration of Mass.

When walking through the nave of the current church, which was rebuilt on the foundations of the Julian church in 1140 by Pope Innocent II, the observant eye will notice an odd discrepancy between the sizes and styles of the columns lining the side aisles. This is because they predate the building by centuries, having been salvaged from the ruins of either the Baths of Caracalla—from whence also comes the church’s main portico—or the Temple of Isis on the adjacent Janiculum Hill, or both.
History is replete with such examples of “dead” buildings and their parts being sacrificed in order to reemerge in some form in a newly glorified body, so to speak. The logic is simple: why go far away for materials, and expend the time and labor needed to fashion them into a desired object, when ready-made versions of that object stand unused and within easy reach, otherwise left to deteriorate and fade into oblivion?

This way of thinking largely tapered off with the dawn of industrialization, when thrift and practicality in construction became less and less of an issue due to easier and more economical ways of obtaining, transporting, and processing materials. As a result, in predominantly industrial and post-industrial cultures, we seldom see many new buildings made from the remnants of earlier buildings.

Still, this idea of reclamation and reuse of whole parts of buildings is one that’s very much at home within the Catholic tradition. And, given the current demographic challenges faced by the Church in many regions of the United States, might it be worth rekindling such creative thinking and problem solving in order to address twenty-first century needs?

A parish in the Archdiocese of Chicago has been doing just that since its founding eight years ago. St. Raphael the Archangel in Old Mill Creek, Illinois, was canonically established as a parish in 2007 to accommodate a growing population at the northernmost boundary of the archdiocese. Fr. John Jamnicky, the founding and current pastor, recalls that in those early days, the parish began its sacramental life by renting a farm and gathering in a barn for the celebration of Mass.

However, this was not just another barn. “We were trying to beautify it, even temporarily,” says Fr. Jamnicky, “so we chose furnishings from diocesan warehouses.” These diocesan warehouses are a treasure-trove of priceless works of art and craftsmanship, accumulated from over one hundred churches from within the archdiocese that closed about three decades ago due to changing demographics. The massive closures meant that many churches were either sold to Protestants or left deserted to fall into ruin.

On September 29, 2007, four weeks after the temporary barn-made-church was opened, it was visited and formally blessed by Francis Cardinal George, who, in the words of Fr. Jamnicky, was thoroughly “knocked off his feet,” and said it was the most beautiful temporary church he had seen. Jokingly, the cardinal then said, “I should give you St. John of God Church!” Father’s response was, simply, “Your Eminence, we’ll have to get back to you on that.” St. John of God, a once-magnificent Polish church built in 1918 on the south side of Chicago, had been closed and standing empty and neglected for nearly a quarter century.

Despite Cardinal George’s humor, little did he know that Fr. Jamnicky and the man to whom he refers as his “Michelangelo”—parish business manager, construction manager, and close friend and advisor Dr. Richard Gambla—had already been talking about mining the archdiocese’s rich architectural reserves on a grander scale. In the year-and-a-half that followed, a survey of parishioners was conducted, and not surprisingly, it found that the vast majority wanted a “church that looks like a church.”

The topic of using St. John of God Church was then broached with Cardinal George as a serious proposal. The original idea was to disassemble the entire building and reconstruct it at a new location. However, it was found to be such a structural disaster upon further inspection, that the idea of reusing the whole thing was shelved. Instead, it was decided that only the prime salvageable elements would be used: the façade, twin bell towers, doors, hardware and four rotundas. Around the same time, the parish was made aware of the availability of a second vacant church in Chicago, St. Peter Canisius, whose interior furnishings were in very good condition.

The result was the incorporation of the essence of two “dead” but still beloved inner-city churches into a brand new building forty miles away in Old Mill Creek, guided by the careful hand of architect Simon Batistich. Behind the reconstructed and steel-reinforced St. John of God façade sits a brand new state-of-the-art traditional church shell, filled with the interior—altars, statues, windows, stations of the cross, and even pews—of St. Peter Canisius... (continued)


Monday, June 15, 2015

Archbishop Neinstedt

From The Tenth Crusade:
In another peculiar development coming from Rome, the other day I read about a 'tribunal for bishops in sex abuse cases' and thought to myself, Gee, I hope they don't use this kangaroo court to remove bishops who are opposed to the Roman Mapplethorpe they are building. I mean, they wouldn't sink that low, would they?... (continued)


Pope Francis’ Climate Change Encyclical Leaked Four Days Early by Italian Magazine

The 192-page document is Pope Francis' first major teaching letter on climate change and its effects on the planet's poor

(Time) Italian Magazine L’Espresso leaked Pope Francis’ hotly anticipated encyclical on climate change on its website on Monday, breaking an embargo on the document set for Thursday.

The 192-page document is Pope Francis’ first major teaching letter on climate change and its effects on the planet’s poor. Hailed by some as the “pope of the poor,” Francis’ linkage of environmental and economic issues puts the Vatican out front on a closely watched topic.

A Vatican official told Bloomberg News that the leak was a “heinous act.”

“An Italian text of a draft of the Pope’s Encyclical ‘Laudato Si’ has been published. Please note that it is not the final text, and that the rules of the Embargo remain in place,” read an official statement from the Vatican. “We ask journalists to respect professional standards, which call for waiting for the official publication of the final text.”