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
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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.”


Archbishop John Nienstedt Resigns after archdiocese charged with coverup

VATICAN CITY (AP) — The archbishop of St. Paul, Minnesota, and a deputy bishop resigned Monday after prosecutors there charged the archdiocese with having failed to protect children from unspeakable harm from a pedophile priest.

The Vatican said Pope Francis accepted the resignations of Archbishop John Nienstedt and Auxiliary Bishop Lee Anthony Piche. They resigned under the code of canon law that allows bishops to resign before they retire because of illness or some other "grave" reason that makes them unfit for office.

Earlier this month, prosecutors charged the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis as a corporation of having "turned a blind eye" to repeated reports of inappropriate behavior by a priest who was later convicted of molesting two boys. No individual was named in the indictment.

The resignations came just days after Pope Francis approved the creation of a new tribunal inside the Vatican to hear cases of bishops who failed to protect children from sexually abusive priests. Francis' decision followed years of criticism that the Vatican had never held bishops accountable for having ignored warnings about abusive priests and simply moved them from parish to parish rather than report them to police or remove them from ministry.

In April, Francis accepted the resignation of U.S. bishop Robert Finn, who had been convicted in a U.S. court of failing to report a suspected child abuser.

The criminal charges against the archdiocese stem from its handling of Curtis Wehmeyer, a former priest at Church of the Blessed Sacrament in St. Paul, who is serving a five-year prison sentence for molesting two boys and faces prosecution involving a third boy in Wisconsin.

Prosecutors say church leaders failed to respond to "numerous and repeated reports of troubling conduct" by Wehmeyer from the time he entered seminary until he was removed from the priesthood in 2015. The criminal complaint says many people — including parishioners, fellow priests and parish staff — reported issues with Wehmeyer, and many of those claims were discounted.


Saturday, June 13, 2015

Pope calls for agreement on a single date for Christians to celebrate Easter

Francis had invited Bartholomew to present his encyclical on ecology. Zizoulas, one of the greatest Orthodox theologians, will do it in his place. “Mary is much more important than the apostles.” Forcing migrants back in Asia is not an attitude inherent to a continent that “has a mystical treasure-trove”. Similarly, “the fundamentalism found in some parts of Pakistan where Christians were burnt alive for bearing the Gospel is not inherent”.

Rome (AsiaNews) – Pope Francis today proposed that all Christians celebrate Easter at the same time. He did so, noting that “The Catholic Church has been willing since Paul VI to set a date and give up the first solstice after the full moon in March" by which Easter is established.

He must the proposal to find an agreement during a highly ecumenical meditation pronounced in Spanish during the third world retreat for priests, which brought together in the Basilica of St John Lateran about a thousand priest from 90 countries and 5 continents.

With ecumenical goals in mind, the pope said that he had invited the Orthodox ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew to present his encyclical on ecology. "We are friends,” he said, “ but he had a commitment, and so sent the Archbishop of Pergamum Zizoulas. This way, the encyclical will be presented by one of the greatest Orthodox theologians.

Ex oriente lux, former occidente luxsus,” said the pope in relation to Orthodox Christians. "From the Orthodox East and its Asian part comes the light" of spirituality, while the West exports "luxury, hedonism, consumerism," all things that are causing "decadence," said the pontiff. Indeed, he emphasised Asia’s “spiritual reserves,” noting the cultural and pastoral contributions from the Churches in Japan, Korea, Thailand, and others

Citing the fate of migrants in the Indian Ocean faced with refoulement, he warned that forcing back migrants is a “sin”. What is more, this “kind of attitude in a continent that has a mystical treasure-trove is not inherent, it comes from another part. [. . .] Likewise, the fundamentalism found in some parts of Pakistan where Christians were burnt alive for bearing the Gospel is not inherent. [. . .] There are problems, but Asia is a promise, a future, full of spiritual reserves."

The long meeting gave the pope an opportunity to announce that he would travel to Uganda and the Central African Republic in November. Kenya could be added but it is an idea that is only a possibility. In response to a question from an African priest, Francis said that “Africa is generous with the world, but the world is not generous with Africa, because it uses and treats it as a land to be exploited.”

The pope spoke again about the homily. “In homilies,” he said, "have pity on the people of God. [. . .] People cannot bear more than eight minutes, then they turn off. They want you to speak to the heart. An idea, an image, a feeling is what a homily must have”. Thus, "it is not a lecture or a lesson in catechesis;" it is "positive, not restrictive language..." (continued)


Friday, June 12, 2015

Medjugorje Decision Will Take ‘Months’, says Vatican Spokesman

By Edward Pentin

(National Catholic Register) VATICAN CITY — The Vatican downplayed intense speculation that Pope Francis will decide very soon on the authenticity of alleged Marian apparitions at Medjugorje, saying it will most probably take months rather than days or weeks.

In comments to the Register June 11, Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said it is “hard to say” when a ruling might be made, but that it’s certainly not likely before the Vatican’s summer break.

He noted that there has not yet been a feria quarta (a monthly meeting of cardinal and bishop members of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith) on the subject and that he doubted there would be one before the summer break.

“So if you ask me: days, weeks or months? I think it would be safest to say a few months,” Father Lombardi said, and warned against feeding expectations that an announcement is “very imminent...”


A “still small voice” that does not fade away

By Father George Rutler

A young city boy on his first camping trip awoke his father at dawn and said, as he gazed out of his tent, “Look, Dad, the sun is rising just like on TV.” Our present generation, of which we are privileged to be a laggard part, does not find it easy to distinguish actuality from artifice. In the background is a reluctance to acknowledge that an impression of reality is not the same as reality itself. This is symptomatic of what Pope Benedict XVI called the “dictatorship of relativism.”

By that he meant the notion absorbed by people bereft of logic, that what one wants something to be, comes to be simply by the wanting. This has immediate and desultory influence on moral conduct. So, like the little boy who thought that the real sun looked like the cartoon sun on television (or, like the nice woman who told me that the altar flowers were so lovely that she though they were artificial), people may reject the concrete facts of nature and posture that their desires are legitimate just because they are desired. A lurid example of this is the redefinition of marriage to make that organic and divine institution nothing more than a fantasy of one’s arrested emotional development, the product of a plebiscite, and the opinion of judges in solemn robes. Polls and parliaments are willing tyrants when the mob consents to be tyrannized by their opinions and decrees.

G.K. Chesterton gently slapped his readers back to reality from egoistic comas when he wrote in his A Short History of England: “To have the right to do a thing is not at all the same as to be right in doing it.” So when someone says, “I am free to do what I want with my body,” you may be impelled by charity and justice to reply that he is indeed so free, but if he defies the law of gravity, the pavement quickly will be of a different opinion, and if he says there is no difference between a man and a woman, two shades named Adam and Eve will rise up with mocking smiles.

Those who have long sipped the intoxicating nectar of false perception may hesitate to draw a line between desire and dogma, fabrication and fact. If reality is nothing more than the visible costume of an impression, impressive tyrants will orchestrate that fantasy from their balconies, with rhetoric to mold malleable minds. The long legacy of demagoguery attests that weak points persuade people if the points are shouted loudly enough to overwhelm reason. Opinion polls shout, and network “talking heads” shout, and Internet pundits shout, but then there is a “still small voice” that does not fade away: the long and logical echo of “Fiat Lux” uttered by the real Creator of the real universe.


Thursday, June 11, 2015

Scotch eggs branded junk food and confiscated from children's packed lunches

By Dan Hyde, Consumer Affairs Editor

(Telegraph) They were created almost 300 years ago by Fortnum & Mason as a pocket-sized snack for aristocrats travelling by horse-drawn carriage.

But now the scotch egg has been labelled a junk food and is being removed from children's lunch boxes by schoolteachers.

The traditional dish – a hard-boiled egg wrapped in sausage meat and coated in breadcrumbs – is seen as too unhealthy to be part of a balanced diet at Cherry Tree Primary School in Colchester.

The school has taken the unusual step of asking teachers to look through pupils' lunch boxes and remove items that are deemed inappropriate.

Along with Peperami sausages, scotch eggs are being confiscating until the end of the day, at which point the teacher replaces the item, adding an explanatory note for parents... (continued)


House votes to repeal country-of-origin labeling on meat


WASHINGTON (AP) — Under threat of trade retaliation from Canada and Mexico, the House has voted to to repeal a law requiring country-of-origin labels on packages of beef, pork and poultry.

The World Trade Organization rejected a U.S. appeal last month, ruling the labels that say where animals were born, raised and slaughtered are discriminatory against the two U.S. border countries. Both have said they plan to ask the WTO for permission to impose billions of dollars in tariffs on American goods.

The House voted 300-131 to repeal labels that tell consumers what countries the meat is from — for example, "born in Canada, raised and slaughtered in the United States" or "born, raised and slaughtered in the United States."

The WTO ruled against the labels last year. The Obama administration has already revised the labels once to try to comply with previous WTO rulings. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has said it's up to Congress to change the law to avoid retaliation from the two countries.

The law was initially written at the behest of northern U.S. ranchers who compete with the Canadian cattle industry. It also was backed by consumer advocates who say it helps shoppers know where their food comes from. Supporters have called on the U.S. government to negotiate with Canada and Mexico to find labels acceptable to all countries.

Rep. Marcy Kaptur, D-Ohio, said repeal would be premature, adding, "Our people deserve a right to know where their food is produced and where it comes from..." (continued)


Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Vatican Cancels Another Medjugorje Event

by Christine Niles

(Church Militant) The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has once again stepped in and canceled another Medjugorje event.

Cardinal Gerhard Müller, Prefect of the CDF, prohibited a parish in Sestola, Italy from holding a prayer meeting scheduled for June 21 where Vicka Ivankovic-Mijatovic, one of the Medjugorje seers, was to offer her testimony and possibly have a vision. Vicka has attended the same event over the past two years and reportedly had visions during her time there.

Last year, Mueller had to remind two Italian dioceses they could not sponsor events for Medjugorje visionaries. In March, in light of a scheduled conference with Ivan Dragicevic at a parish in St. Louis, Missouri, Archbishop Robert Carlson issued the following statement:
I have received a request from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to remind everyone that they are not to participate in events that promote the so-called visionaries of Medjugorje and in particular Mr. Ivan Dragicevic.
And just last month, another scheduled event with Ivan Dragicevic in Padua was called off after Müller intervened.

It was in response to a speaking tour by Dragicevic in 2013 that the CDF issued a letter to be sent to every American diocese forbidding the faithful to participate in any events where "the credibility of such 'apparitions' would be taken for granted." The letter also reaffirmed the findings of the 1991 Yugoslavian Bishops' Conference, which concluded that "it is not possible to state that there were apparitions or supernatural revelations" at Medjugorje.

So far, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has issued letters forbidding Medjugorje-themed events in the United States, Italy and Spain.

For our FAQ on Medjugorje, visit our resource page.

Watch Michael Voris' presentation on Medjugorje here.


Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Pope Dismisses 'Visions' as Medjugorje Decision Nears

From the Associated Press via ABC News:


VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis gave a hint Tuesday about his take on the reported apparitions of the Virgin Mary at the Medjugorje shrine in southern Bosnia, dismissing a reliance on regular visions of the Madonna as mere "novelty-seeking" for the faithful.

Francis spoke during his morning homily, three days after making a day trip to Sarajevo. En route home, Francis told reporters the Vatican would soon decide whether to formally recognize the Medjugorje phenomenon as authentic.

In his homily, Francis dismissed those "who always need novelty in their Christian identity" and say: "But where are the visionaries who tell us today about 'The letter that the Madonna will send tomorrow at 4 p.m.?'"

"This isn't Christian identity," he said. "God's last word is called Jesus and nothing more."

The Medjugorje apparition has been disputed since 1981, when six youths said they had regularly seen visions of the Virgin there. Unlike Fatima in Portugal or Lourdes in France, the Vatican has been cautious about calling the sightings authentic. Neither Rome nor the local diocese has approved Medjugorje as an official shrine site and the Vatican has told dioceses not to organize official pilgrimages there.

That hasn't stopped the remote village 70 miles (110 kilometers) southwest of Sarajevo from thriving from the financial boost brought by more than 30 million faithful who have visited since 1981.

The local church itself has cast doubt on the sightings, in part because one of the visionaries says the apparitions have continued regularly for over a quarter century.

In 2010, then-Pope Benedict XVI formed an international commission to study the Medjugorje phenomenon. On Saturday, Francis said commission's report had been taken up by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, although the Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, said it hadn't yet been discussed.

Lombardi acknowledged that Francis was probably referring to Medjugorje in his homily but he stressed that his brief mention was not the Vatican's final word. Francis' off-the-cuff comments "are not an official pronouncement that gives a wide-ranging and articulated doctrinal or pastor indications," he said.


Pope Francis: Don’t live your lives according to what seers tell you

By Domenico Agasso Jr.

(La Stampa)  At this morning’s mass in St. Martha’s House, Francis urged faithful not to turn to those “who can tell us exactly what message Our Lady will be sending at 4’o’clock this afternoon”, because “this identity is not Christian”. He urged against “watering down” the Christians identity so that is becomes a “soft” religion. He stressed that another risk which the testimony of those faithful to Jesus faces, is the worldliness of those who “broaden their minds” so much that they let everything in.

The Pope took the words of St. Paul to the Corinthian about the identity of Jesus’ disciples, as his cue for today’s homily.  It is true, he said, that “in order to reach this Christian identity”, God “made us go on a long journey through history” before he sent his Son. “In our lives, we must also go on a long journey in order to make our Christian identity strong” and so that we may bear “witness” to it.

“It is true, there is sin” he said, “and sin makes us fall, but we have the strength of the Lord to get up and go forth with our identity. But I would also say that sin is part of our identity: we are sinners, but sinners with faith in Jesus Christ. And it is not just a faith of knowledge, no. It is a faith that is a gift of God and entered us through God. It is God himself who confirms us in Christ. And he has anointed us, he has placed the seal on us, he has given an earnest penny, the seal of the Holy Spirit in our hearts. It is God who give us this gift of identity.”

It is crucial “to remain faithful to this Christian identity and to let the Holy Spirit – which is a guarantee, a seal in our hearts – help us move forward in our lives.”

Christians are not he kind of people that follow “a philosophy”, he warned. We are “anointed” with “the seal of the Holy Spirit”. “It is a beautiful identity,” he underlined, “which can be seen through testimony. Hence Jesus speaks to us about testimony as the language of our Christian identity.” And this despite the fact that our Christian identity “is tempted due to the fact that we are sinners: temptations will always come our way” and our identity “can be weakened or lost”.

The Pope warned against taking certain dangerous paths: “Firstly, moving away from testimony and toward ideas, watering down our testimonies. ‘Yes, I am Christian. Christianity is a nice idea. I pray to God.” It is this way that we move away from Christ who is concrete – because Christian identity is concrete, we read this in the Beatitudes and this concreteness is also found in Matthew 25: Christian identity is concrete – to a religion that is a bit soft, along the same lines as Gnosticism. Scandal lies behind this. This Christian identity is scandalous. And the temptation is: ‘No, no, no scandal”.

“The cross is a scandal,” Francis explained, and so there are those who seek God “with these slightly ethereal Christian spiritualties”, modern gnostics”. Then, Francis warned, there are always those “who constantly need Christian identity to be renewed”, “forgetting that they were chosen, anointed,” that “they have the seal of the Holy Spirit” and they go in search of seers, asking: 'Where are the seers who can tell us exactly what message Our Lady will be sending at 4’o’clock this afternoon?' And their lives depend on this. This identity is not Christian. God’s final word is “Jesus” and nothing else.”

Another way to backtrack on our Christian identity, is worldliness: “Broadening our minds to fit everything in. ‘Yes, we are Christians, but this is ok…’Not only morally but also humanly. Worldliness is human. This is how salt loses its taste. And we see Christian communities and Christians call themselves Christians, when they are unable or do not know how to bear witness to Jesus Christ. And so they gradually lose their identity and this worldly nominalism we see everyday. In the history of salvation, God, with the Father’s patience, has brought us from ambiguity to certainty, to the concreteness of the incarnation and redeeming death of his Son. This is our identity.”

St. Paul, he concluded, praises the Son of God who “was made man and died out of obedience,” “this is identity and that is testimony”; it is a grace that “we must ask the Lord for: that he may always grant us this gift of an identity which does not try to adapt to things” to the point of “losing the taste of the salt”, becoming insipid.


Monday, June 8, 2015

US Woman to Marry Swiss Guard in Rome; Pope Tells Them ‘Have a Lot of Children’

How a Novena and God’s Providence Led to the Blessed Meeting — and Engagement


(National Catholic Register) Huntington Beach, Calif. — She was 29 years old with a dream to see Italy before she turned 30.

So Miranda Emde convinced her mother, Martha, to go with her, and off they went. In October 2013, they toured Rome, Milan, Venice and Assisi for three weeks. But Miranda fell in love with Rome. She went to Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica every day while she was there — and she didn’t want to leave.

The day before they were to return home to California, Miranda had an idea. “I’m single still. What if I could live here [in Rome] for six months and do something for the Vatican?”

She and her mom asked around, but ended up wasting a few hours without finding out how to get a job at the Holy See. At that point, Miranda wanted to give up. “I said, ‘Let’s just go back to the hotel.’ My mom said, ‘No we are getting the information before we leave. We are going to walk by St. Anne’s Gate. Talk to the Swiss Guard who is there.”

When “she feels strongly about something, you just listen to her,” Miranda said of her mom. Father Angelo Sebastian, who aids orphanages in his native India and is a friend of Miranda and her family, describes her as “St. Martha” who prays several Rosaries a day and is a “very faithful and holy woman.”

“So I’m like, ‘Okay.’ As I’m just looking over, I see Jonathan,” Miranda recalled. So she went over to Jonathan Binaghi, a Vatican Swiss Guard, introduced herself, and asked, “I’m visiting Rome and curious about opportunities at the Vatican in marketing and communications.”

They only talked a few minutes, as he was busy talking with other people as part of his duties. But he was extremely helpful and gave her contact information of several individuals who could help her with her job search.

“I could tell he wanted to talk more. Towards the end, he said, ‘I get off work at 8. Can you meet for dinner?’ And I turned him down. I said, ‘Sorry, we have to be up so early [for our flight.]’ He wrote down his contact information.”

The helpful Swiss Guard made quite the impression on her. “We felt a spark [and] observing him in those couple minutes, I picked up something different — how he handled people,” she recalled.  “He’s so kind — very kind and dignified. His presence is just not what you see all the time.”

Miranda remembers walking away and joking with her mom, “Oh, I think I just fell in love! What are the chances?” (continued)


Saturday, June 6, 2015

Medjugorje Ruling - "We are about to make decisions" says Pope Francis

Pope Francis waves to the crowd as he arrives to celebrate a Mass at the Kosevo stadium, in Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Saturday, June 6, 2015. Pope Francis urged Bosnia's Muslims, Orthodox and Catholics to put the "deep wounds" of their past behind them and work together for a peaceful future as he arrived in Sarajevo on Saturday for a one-day visit to encourage reconciliation following the devastating three-way war of the 1990s. (AP Photo/Amel Emric)

ABOARD THE PAPAL PLANE (Reuters) - The Vatican is close to making a ruling on the alleged apparitions of the Madonna in the Bosnian town of Medjugorje, one of the most controversial cases in the Roman Catholic Church, Pope Francis said on Saturday.

Six children first reported visions of the Virgin Mary in the once obscure town in 1981. It has since become a major pilgrimage site, giving many a new sense of spirituality and locals a steady source of much-needed revenue.

Many others, however, believe the alleged apparitions are a hoax.

While flying back to Rome from his visit to Sarajevo, the pope was asked about the status of a Vatican investigation into the alleged apparitions, which have divided the Catholic Church.

"We are about to make decisions and then they will be communicated," he said, adding that he recently received a long study by a Vatican commission and that the case was now before the Holy See's doctrinal department, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

In recent years, the town has experienced a building boom of hotels and shops catering to pilgrims.

Some of the alleged visionaries, now adults, say they still experience apparitions every day and that the Madonna has told them secrets.

The Church has so far been cautious, saying dioceses should not organize official pilgrimages to the town. But many parish groups are among the more than a million visitors a year to the site.

(Reporting By Philip Pullella; Editing by Alan Crosby)

UPDATE IV: (June 9, 2015) At this morning’s mass in St. Martha’s House:

Pope Francis: Don’t live your lives according to what seers tell you

Francis warned, there are always those “who constantly need Christian identity to be renewed”, “forgetting that they were chosen, anointed,” that “they have the seal of the Holy Spirit” and they go in search of seers, asking: 'Where are the seers who can tell us exactly what message Our Lady will be sending at 4’o’clock this afternoon?' And their lives depend on this. This identity is not Christian. God’s final word is “Jesus” and nothing else.”

The Vatican's English translation:
Pope Francis:

In regard to the issue of Medjugorje, Pope Benedict XVI at the time convened a committee presided over by Cardinal Camillo Ruini; there were other Cardinals, theologians and specialists on the committee as well. They did an investigation and Cardinal Ruini came to me and gave me the study they did, after many years of labour, I don’t know, maybe three of four years, more or less. They did a fine job, a fine job indeed. Cardinal Müller (Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith) told me that he would be having a feria quarta (a meeting dedicated to this specific question) at the right time; I think it was done on the last Wednesday of the month. But I am not sure… We are close to coming to a decision. And then the results will be communicated. For the moment, all that is being done is to give guidelines to the bishops, but along the lines that will be taken. Thank you!

Richard Chonak's translation:

Now that I’ve seen a video clip (alas, only partial) and some other reporters’ versions of the Pope’s words, here’s a more detailed rendition:
“On the problem of Medjugorje, Pope Benedict XVI, in his time, set up a commission, presided over by Cardinal Camillo Ruini. There were other cardinals, theologians, specialists, who made a study. Ruini came to me and presented the study, which took three or four years; they did a good job. Cardinal Gerhard Müller told me he would be doing a ‘feria quarta’ at that time: I think it took place the last Wednesday of the month, but I’m not sure. But we’re ready to make decisions, and then they’ll be stated. Only a few directives are being given to bishops about the direction we’re taking.”

There is a big interest surrounding the phenomenon of the Medjugorje apparitions. What can you tells us about this? 

“When Benedict XVI was Pope, he set up a commission on Medjugorje that was headed by Cardinal Ruini and composed of other cardinals and theologians. They prepared a study and Ruini delivered it to me after a few years of work. They did a good job. Cardinal Müller (Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Ed.) told me that he was going to hold a dicastery meeting on this; I think it was held on the last Wednesday of the month. We are about to take some decisions and these will then be communicated. For now, bishops are just being given some indications.” - Pope Francis
Catholic News Agency's translation (Elise Harris and Alan Holdren):
Pope Francis: The problem of Medjugorje … Benedict XVI in his time created a commission presided over by Cardinal Camillo Ruini and there were other cardinals and theologians, specialists. They made a study and Cardinal Ruini came to me and consigned the study to me after many years. I don’t know, three or four years, more or less. They did good work, good work … and Cardinal Mueller told me that he would do a “feria quarta,” in these times, eh. (Editor’s note: “feria quarta” is a once-a-month meeting in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith during which current cases are examined) I believe that it has been done the last Wednesday of last month, but I’m not sure. But, we’re at this point of making decisions … and then they will be announced… but only some guidelines will be given to bishops on the lines they will take.

Head Liturgist In Charge Of Music For Pope Francis' Philadelphia Mass Resigns Over Dispute With Archbishop

 |  By David Gibson
(RNS) The head of liturgical music for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, who was also to play a key role orchestrating the huge outdoor Mass concluding Pope Francis’ trip to the U.S. in September, is resigning his post over long-standing differences with Archbishop Charles Chaput.

John Romeri, who has headed the archdiocesan liturgical music office for five years, said that he will resign effective June 30 because “there are simply irreconcilable differences” with Chaput over the role and style of music at Mass.

Romeri did not respond to requests for comment, and it was unclear whether he would still play a role in preparations for the papal visit.

A spokesman for Chaput, Kenneth Gavin, said in an email that he could not comment on personnel matters and “there are no additional updates.” But he said that the archdiocese “will be prepared for the visit of the Holy Father on all fronts, including music for the Mass on the Parkway.”

The Ben Franklin Parkway, which runs through Philadelphia, will be closed to accommodate the more than 1 million pilgrims expected to attend the Sept. 27 papal Mass. It is part of what officials say will be the largest series of public events in the city’s history.

In his resignation announcement, which he buried in a list of liturgy news last month, Romeri indicated that he and Chaput had clashed almost from the time Chaput was appointed to Philadelphia in 2011, a year after Romeri arrived.

Romeri wrote that these “several years of discontent” on Chaput’s part culminated with the music Romeri arranged this April for Holy Week and Easter. The approach, he said, “was not well received by the archbishop.”

“While at this point, I am not sure just what my next musical adventure looks like, it is absolutely the right thing for me to leave this present situation,” Romeri wrote. He said he would remain as music director for Philadelphia’s Cathedral Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul through the summer.

The resignation quickly sparked an intense online debate in the beehive world of Catholic liturgists, where even the smallest tweak to a rubric can become a source of extended discussion.

But it also has a wider resonance because Romeri is vice chair of the two committees organizing the music and rites for various events during the Philadelphia leg of the Sept. 22-27 papal visit.

Francis is to visit Washington, D.C., first, then New York. He is scheduled to end the trip by spending two days in Philadelphia to close the church’s World Meeting of Families.

“A change like this ahead of the papal visit must be causing a mini-meltdown in the Archdiocese,” Nathan Chase wrote in a post at a well-known Catholic liturgy blog, Pray Tell.

A clash over liturgy so close to such a major papal event, and one in which the liturgy plays such a central role, could complicate what is already a huge undertaking for the Philadelphia Archdiocese and the Vatican.

But such hurdles are hardly unprecedented.

Papal visits are tremendously complex, stressful and expensive projects for the dioceses hosting the pope. There is intense jockeying among bishops to try to host the pontiff, and much maneuvering within a host diocese over where the pope will visit and who will get to meet him — and how each papal event will be organized.

Then everything must be run through a committee, and approved by the Vatican. The process almost guarantees arguments, especially over liturgies, which are often flashpoints for internal church battles.

Outdoor papal Masses also tend to be huge events that must communicate a sacred rite in broad strokes to a diverse assemblage. So the music and design often have a popular, modern style that can irk liturgical traditionalists.

Many speculated that this difference in liturgical tastes might have contributed to the falling out between Chaput and his music director.

Romeri is said to have more of a “high church” sensibility in liturgy than Chaput, who has expressed a preference for the newer Mass in English and simpler styles of worship.

While Chaput is often described as a doctrinal and cultural conservative, in the Catholic Church, that does not necessarily equate with liturgical traditionalism, which is its own distinct — and proud — brand.