Sunday, December 18, 2016


From Fr. John Zuhlsdorf:

"I received some sad news today.  The woman who made the most beautiful rosaries I have ever seen or used died, under tough circumstances.

I spoke with her daughter tonight and told her that I would ask for prayers.  I ask the entire readership now, please, to stop and to say a pray for Gayle.

Eternal rest grant unto her, O Lord.
And let perpetual light shine upon her.  
May she rest in peace.  
May her soul and all the souls of the faithful departed rest in peace.

I am sure that, despite all the hard things towards the end, Our Blessed Mother will have held her protecting mantle over Gayle.  A small thing brings this to a strong surety in me, which I can relate..."


Saturday, December 17, 2016

Cardinal Burke defends dubia signers in blockbuster EWTN interview

By Claire Chretien

December 16, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – On Thursday's "The World Over with Raymond Arroyo," Cardinal Raymond Burke responded to those within the Church who are criticizing him and three other cardinals for asking for moral clarification on Amoris Laetitia. He said the cardinals are not creating division, but "address[ing]" existing division within the Church. He also insists that he will "never" be part of a schism for defending the Catholic faith, and that attacks on marriage destabilize the Church and society.

Burke directly responded to the claims that close papal collaborator Father Anthony Spadaro and Cardinal Christoph Schönborn have made about Amoris Laetitia. In particular, he addressed Spadaro's claim that Pope Francis already answered the dubia of four cardinals by approving guidelines issued by the bishops of Buenos Aires allowing Communion for the divorced and remarried. Burke also responded to Pope Francis saying people who are overly "rigid" about defending doctrine suffer from a kind of "condition."

Responding to Spadaro's claim that Burke and the other three cardinals are trying to "ramp up" division and tension in the Church, Burke said, "In fact, we’re trying to address the division which is already very much ramped up, to use his phrase."

"Only when these questions, which we have raised according to the traditional manner of resolving questions in the Church which have to do with very serious matters, only when these questions are adequately answered will the division be dissipated," said Burke. "But as is happening right now, as long as this continues, the division will only grow and of course the fruit of division is error. And here we’re talking about the salvation of souls, people being led into error in matters which have to do with their eternal salvation. And so Father Spadaro is very much in error in that affirmation..." (continued)


Thursday, December 1, 2016

Lessons on the Sanctity of Marriage from Ronald Reagan and Jane Wyman

By Ann Barnhardt

I always knew that Ronald Reagan had been “married” before Nancy to the actress Jane Wyman. And as I learned about and converted to Catholicism, I assumed that sadly, President Reagan and Nancy were probably not really married, which seemed especially sad given the strength of their bond and devotion to one another. But, objective reality and truth trumps mere sentiment.

But I was wrong about the validity of Ronald and Nancy Reagan’s marriage.

It turns out that Reagan’s “marriage” to Jane Wyman was, in fact, null.  Our Lord never joined them together because Jane Wyman had been validly married and then civilly “divorced” (remember, civil divorce is a fiction) before Reagan in the 1930s.  Jane Wyman converted to Catholicism in ARSH 1954, and thus had her marriage to Reagan formally declared null by The Church, as it should have been.  Jane Wyman was great friends with the devout Catholic Hollywood actress Loretta Young, who was almost certainly instrumental in Wyman’s conversion to The One True Faith.  Jane Wyman eventually became a Third Order Dominican, and was, in fact, buried in the habit of a Dominican nun. She attended President Reagan’s funeral, and of him said this:

“America has lost a great president and a great, kind, and gentle man.”
-Mrs. Jane Wyman, O.P.L.

So, President Reagan and Nancy Davis were, in fact, validly married. This makes me especially happy.

Now, to President Reagan himself.  I came across a letter that Reagan wrote to his son, Michael (whom he had adopted with Jane Wyman) in ARSH 1971 on the occasion of Michael’s marriage, over at Ace of Spades last week.

Reading this letter, it becomes clear that President Reagan was not only capable of love, but loved deeply, and thus, we can know, was NOT a Diabolical Narcissist.  He was probably the last decent, good man to hold that level of power. He wasn’t perfect. Neither was Nancy. No one is.  But, President Reagan was NOT a monster. In short, he was a normal, decent man... (continued)


Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Space could leave you blind, and scientists say they've finally figured out why


(Science Alert) A mysterious syndrome has been impairing astronauts’ vision on the International Space Station, causing untreatable nearsightedness that lingers for months even after they’ve returned to Earth.

The problem is so bad that two-thirds of astronauts report having deteriorated eyesight after spending time in orbit. Now scientists say they finally have some answers - and it’s not looking good for our prospects of getting to Mars.

"Nobody’s gone two years with exposure to this, and the concern is that we’d have loss of vision," Dorit Donoviel from the US National Space Biomedical Research Institute told The Guardian. "That is catastrophic for an astronaut."

Earlier this year, NASA reported that something in space has been messing with its astronauts’ perfect eyesight, causing long-term impairment to their quality of vision.

Astronaut Scott Kelly, whose exceptional vision was part of the reason he was selected to be America’s first astronaut to spend a full year in space, says he's been forced to wear reading glasses since coming home.

John Phillips, who spent time on the International Space Station (ISS) in 2005, brought his sudden bouts of blurry vision home with him, and during his post-flight physical, NASA confirmed that his vision had gone from 20/20 to 20/100 in just six months.

NASA suspected that the condition - called visual impairment inter cranial pressure syndrome, or VIIP - was caused by the lack of gravity in space.

The hypothesis was that the microgravity of the ISS was building up pressure in astronauts’ heads, causing roughly 2 litres of vascular fluid to shift towards their brains.

They say that pressure was responsible for the flattening of eyeballs and inflaming of optic nerves observed in returned astronauts.

"On Earth, gravity pulls bodily fluids down toward the feet. That doesn’t happen in space, and it is thought that extra fluid in the skull increases pressure on the brain and the back of the eye," Shayla Love reported for The Washington Post.

Now, a team from the University of Miami has conducted the first study to actually test this idea, and found that something else has been causing vision problems in astronauts.

The researchers compared before and after brain scans from seven astronauts who had spent many months in the ISS, and compared them to nine astronauts who had just made short trips to and from the US space shuttle, which was decommissioned in 2011.

The one big difference between the two was that the long-duration astronauts had significantly more cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) in their brains than the short-trip astronauts, and the researchers say this - not vascular fluid - is the cause of the vision loss...(continued)

Monday, November 21, 2016

A Message from President-Elect Donald J. Trump

Trump's TV summit: The Donald summons network executives and anchors from 'the dishonest media' to Trump Tower

Trump Tower is once again transition-central following a weekend of meetings at Trump's golf course in New Jersey

Update from the New York Post:

“Trump started with Jeff Zucker and said I hate your network, everyone at CNN is a liar and you should be ashamed….

“The meeting was a total disaster. The TV execs and anchors went in there thinking they would be discussing the access they would get to the Trump administration, but instead they got a Trump-style dressing down,” the source added.

A second source confirmed the encounter.

“The meeting took place in a big board room and there were about 30 or 40 people, including the big news anchors from all the networks…,” the source said.

“Trump kept saying, ‘We’re in a room of liars, the deceitful dishonest media who got it all wrong. He addressed everyone in the room calling the media dishonest, deceitful liars. He called out Jeff Zucker by name and said everyone at CNN was a liar, and CNN was network of liars... (continued)

Update from Deadline Hollywood:

UPDATE, 11 22 AM: The campaign manager of Donald Trump’s winning Presidential run says that the off-the-record meeting today between the President-elect and top brass from ABC News, CBS News, NBC News, CNN and Fox News was “excellent.”

Calling the now over gathering “unprecedented,” Kellyanne Conway also said in the lobby of Trump Tower on Monday that the bigwig talk was “very candid and honest.” Noting that, even after a campaign where the media was often the focus of Trump’s distain, there was “no need to mend fences,” Conway added that it was still “great to set the reset button” in Monday’s media sit-down. “Thanks for sharing your bosses with us today,” Conway told reporters with a laugh.

Executives from The New York Times are set to drop by tomorrow with other media chiefs in the upcoming days too.

Original, from The Daily Mail:

By David Martosko, Us Political Editor For

(Daily Mail) Donald Trump met with executives and on-air anchors from the largest television networks in the United States on Monday afternoon at Trump Tower.

The surprise get-together came as a shock given some of the comments Trump made during his campaign about the 'dishonest media,' and was not mentioned in a mid-morning conference call that his transition team held with reporters.

Itw as organized by Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway, who was also in attendance on Monday and demanded that the discussions that took place be off the record.

Representatives from CNN, Fox News, NBC, ABC and CBS will file in to Trump Tower for the sit-down with Trump and Conway.

The entire meeting will be conducted 'off the record,' meaning attendees must promise not to report on what is said or who is in the room.

Past presidents and presidents-elect have held similar meetings, but they were easier to keep secret since attendees didn't have to tromp through a landmark gold-encrusted marble office lobby in full view of TV cameras managed by the same media companies that took part.

ABC News was represented by president James Goldston and anchors George Stephanopoulos, David Muir, and Martha Raddatz.

Nightly News host Lester Holt and Meet the Press moderator Chuck Todd were on hand for NBC News, along with president Deborah Turness.

Face the Nation host John Dickerson arrives at Trump Tower alongside CBS This Morning anchor Charlie Rose

And rounding out the broadcast network presence at the meeting was Face the Nation host John Dickerson and the entire CBS This Morning team of Charlie Rose, Gayle King and Norah O'Donnell.

CNN president Jeff Zucker attended with on-air talent Wolf Blitzer and Erin Burnett.

Fox News had a handful of executives present at the meeting, including co-presidents Bill Shine and Jack Abernathy, vice president of news and editorial Jay Wallace and Suzanne Scott, the vice president of programming and development at the network.

MSNBC president Phil Griffin was there for his network.

Tight-lipped transition officials wouldn't discuss the purpose for the meeting on Monday afternoon.

But it's expected that the Trump team would make a cease-fire overture to end his campaign's war on the press.

Trump referred to America's political press corps as 'the dishonest media, 'the most dishonest people' and 'unbelievable liars' while he ran for president, often drawing sternum-rattling boos and storms of shouted insults from his rally crowds.

He also referred to specific reporters as 'sleaze' and 'slime' when he thought their pro-Hillary Clinton biases were showing, and sometimes named them from the podium while thousands jeered.

The president-elect hasn't held a press conference since late July.

Questions are also swirling about what his administration might do to redefine the White House's relationship with the media.

Print, wire and broadcast reporters currently get the benefit of a lengthy on-camera briefing from a spokesperson every day, along with the chance to send a representative to follow the president everywhere in a 'protective pool.'

The pool makes note of everything from presidential small-talk to the exact time, down to the minute, he leaves and enters the White House or individual rooms inside.

Mike McCurry, who served as press secretary to President Bill Clinton, told National Journal last week that both institutions should be re-thought.

He explained that it was a mistake for him to implement the televised briefings without any restrictions.

McCurry also said that '[t]he idea of nonstop body-watch pool coverage is a bit ridiculous.'

Trump has yet to take questions from the assembled press corps in a formal news-conference setting since his Election Day triumph.

He did, however, take a handful of questions from pool reporters over the weekend in between meetings with potential cabinet appointees.

And the CBS '60 Minutes' program aired an hour-long broadcast last Sunday that included lengthy interview segments.


Pope extends Jubilee mandate on abortion, SSPX confession

.- Although the Jubilee of Mercy has ended, Pope Francis has decided that some of the novelties he applied to the Church during the Holy Year will continue.

He is allowing all priests to absolve the sin of abortion from here on out, while SSPX priests will be able to continue hearing confessions validly...

The Pope announced his decision in his new Apostolic Letter “Misericordia et Misera,” meaning “Mercy with Misery.” Published Nov. 21, the letter was signed by the Pope Nov. 20 during Mass for the close of the Jubilee of Mercy.

In the letter, Pope Francis said that “the Sacrament of Reconciliation must regain its central place in the Christian life.”

“Given this need, lest any obstacle arise between the request for reconciliation and God’s forgiveness, I henceforth grant to all priests, in virtue of their ministry, the faculty to absolve those who have committed the sin of procured abortion,” the letter read...

He noted how during the Jubilee, he allowed “that those faithful who, for various reasons, attend churches officiated by the priests of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Pius X, can validly and licitly receive the sacramental absolution of their sins.”

“For the pastoral benefit of these faithful, and trusting in the good will of their priests to strive with God’s help for the recovery of full communion in the Catholic Church, I have personally decided to extend this faculty beyond the Jubilee Year, until further provisions are made, lest anyone ever be deprived of the sacramental sign of reconciliation through the Church’s pardon...” (continued)


Sunday, November 20, 2016

Could Pope Francis reconcile SSPX Tomorrow?

Update 11/21/16: Pope extends Jubilee mandate on abortion, SSPX confession

From Fr. John Zuhlsdorf:
I, as many others, have over the last couple weeks wondered whether or not Pope Francis would extend beyond the Year of Mercy the opportunity for penitents to seek out priests of the SSPX for sacramental confession and valid absolution.  There have been rumors – rumors – to that effect but nothing concrete.

That was an opportunity extended during the Year of Mercy.

The Year of Mercy is now over.

That opportunity for confession, as far as I know, is now over as well.

Hope springs eternal.

Today, however, I see a different of story, which is even better than the mere chance to go to confession (as great as that is).

Today I read at the German site Katholisches that Pope Francis may – may – regularize the SSPX in the structure of a Personal Prelature, similar to Opus Dei.  He may – may – do this on Monday.  That’s tomorrow... (continued)


Friday, November 18, 2016

Transition official says Trump will make Mike Huckabee ambassador to Israel and move U.S. embassy to Jerusalem: 'Governor Huckabee is going to see it through'

By David Martosko, Us Political Editor For In Washington

(The Daily Mail) Mike Huckabee is headed back to the Holy Land.

The two-time White House hopeful, former Fox New Channel weekend host and former governor of Arkansas will be America's next ambassador to Israel, a presidential transition official confirmed to on Friday. He is scheduled to meet with President-Elect Donald Trump Friday at 2:00 p.m.

Huckabee, an ordained Baptist preacher and electric bass player, will become the tip of Trump's spear as he seeks to shake up U.S. foreign relations in the Middle East, beginning with relocating America's embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

'That's going to happen,' the transition official said. 'Governor Huckabee is going to see it through.'

Despite congressional approval for moving the U.S. embassy, American leaders have historically tap-danced around the issue of where in Israel America's diplomatic footprint should fall. No other nation has its embassy in Jerusalem.

Still, Israel's Knesset and Supreme Court are located in West Jerusalem. And the nation captured East Jerusalem in the 1967 'Six-Day War,' taking control of it from Jordan.


Pope criticises ‘legalism’ after cardinals’ request for clarification

By Staff Reporter

(Catholic Herald) The debate over Amoris Laetitia has intensified, after Pope Francis suggested that some responses do not understand the document.

In an interview with the Italian newspaper Avvenire, partially translated by La Stampa, the Pope criticised “a certain legalism.” He said that responses to Amoris Laetitia exemplified this, and that some people thought issues were “black and white, even though it is in the course of life that we are called to discern”.

The Pope added: “The Council told us this, but historians say that a century needs to pass before a Council is properly assimilated into the body of the Church… we are half way.”

It comes after four senior cardinals asked the Pope to clarify Amoris Laetitia. In a letter to the Pope, Cardinals Raymond Burke, Carlo Caffarra, Walter Brandmüller and Joachim Meisner submitted five “dubia” – a traditional way of asking for clarification.

The cardinals asked the Pope whether certain Church teachings about Communion and the moral law, which Amoris Laetitia discusses ambiguously, are still valid.

These included the doctrine that the divorced and remarried cannot receive Communion unless living as brother and sister, and the doctrine that some acts are intrinsically wrong.

The submission of “dubia” invites a yes-or-no answer. In this case, it was a question of whether the Pope thought some teachings, especially Catholic doctrine on the moral law, should still be regarded as true.

The letter was sent in September, but the Pope has not replied. The cardinals said they took this as an invitation to publish the letter and let the debate continue in public.

In an interview with the Vatican journalist Edward Pentin, Cardinal Burke said that if the Pope remained silent, it might be necessary to issue a “formal act of correction of a serious error”.

Pentin told EWTN yesterday: “I do understand, from sources within [the Pope’s residence] Santa Marta, that the Pope is not happy at all, that he’s quite at his…boiling with rage.” Fr Antonio Spadaro, an associate of the Pope, has dismissed these reports...

Meanwhile, two American archbishops have clashed over implementation of Amoris Laetitia.

Archbishop Charles Chaput has issued guidelines for his own archdiocese of Philadelphia, in which he says that the divorced and remarried should be treated with mercy. He also restates the Church’s teaching that they may not receive Communion unless they endeavour to live as brother and sister.

In an interview with Catholic News Service, Cardinal-designate Kevin Farrell criticised the guidelines, saying: “I don’t share the view of what Archbishop Chaput did, no...” (continued)


Thursday, November 17, 2016

Trump: Ford to Keep Lincoln Plant in Kentucky

BREAKING: Archbishop Fulton Sheen's returning to Peoria

By WEEK Producer

(HOI-19) PEORIA, Ill. -- The New York Supreme Court has ordered Archbishop Fulton Sheen's body to be returned to Peoria immediately.

Diocese of Peoria attorney Patricia Gibson confirms the order was made by a New York State judge today.

The burial site of Sheen's body has been a long term dispute between the Archdiocese of New York and Sheen's family. He is currently interred in St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City.

It is hoped that moving Sheen's body back to Peoria will allow the process to grant him sainthood to move forward.

Gibson said she hopes the body will be transferred back to Peoria within the next few weeks.


Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Cardinal Burke on Amoris Laetitia Dubia: ‘Tremendous Division’ Warrants Action

By Edward Pentin

(National Catholic Register) Four cardinals asked Pope Francis five dubia questions, or “doubts,” about the apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia (The Joy of Love) in a bid to clear up ambiguities and confusion surrounding the text. On Nov. 14, they went public with their request, after they learned that the Holy Father had decided not to respond to their questions...

What happens if the Holy Father does not respond to your act of justice and charity and fails to give the clarification of the Church’s teaching that you hope to achieve?

Then we would have to address that situation. There is, in the Tradition of the Church, the practice of correction of the Roman Pontiff. It is something that is clearly quite rare. But if there is no response to these questions, then I would say that it would be a question of taking a formal act of correction of a serious error.


Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Pope Francis declines to answer four cardinals’ Amoris appeal

The cardinals have taken the unusual step of publicly requesting clarification on Communion and the moral law

By Dan Hitchens

(Catholic Herald) Pope Francis has declined to answer an official appeal from four cardinals to clarify his recent apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia.

Cardinals Raymond Burke, Carlo Caffarra, Walter Brandmüller and Joachim Meisner sent a request for clarification to the Pope in September. They received an acknowledgment but no reply, which they said they have taken as “an invitation to continue … the discussion, calmly, and with respect”, by making the appeal public. It is highly unusual for cardinals to take such a step.

The letter takes the traditional form of asking theological “dubia” – questions to the Holy See which ask for a yes/no ruling on doctrinal matters. The cardinals’ dubia relate to the sacraments, and to absolute moral norms.

The first of the dubia asks whether “it has now become possible to grant absolution in the Sacrament of Penance and thus to admit to Holy Communion a person who, while bound by a valid marital bond, lives together with a different person more uxorio [as husband and wife] without fulfilling the conditions provided for by Familiaris Consortio”.

In Familiaris Consortio St John Paul II reaffirmed the Church’s practice of not admitting the remarried to Communion if they are still in a sexual relationship with their new partner.

The other four dubia relate to actions which Catholic teaching considers “intrinsically evil”. The cardinals ask whether there are still “absolute moral norms that prohibit intrinsically evil acts and that are binding without exceptions”, and whether those who habitually commit these acts are “in an objective situation of grave habitual sin”.

It also asks whether St John Paul II’s teaching in the encyclical Veritatis Splendor is still valid: that, in the words of the encyclical, “circumstances or intentions can never transform an act intrinsically evil by virtue of its object into an act ‘subjectively’ good or defensible as a choice”.

Finally, the cardinals ask whether Catholics should still follow Veritatis Splendor’s teaching on conscience: that, as the cardinals paraphrase it, “conscience can never be authorised to legitimate exceptions to absolute moral norms that prohibit intrinsically evil acts by virtue of their object”.

The cardinals say that the letter should not be seen as a “conservative” attack on “progressives”. They say they are motivated by their concern for “the true good of souls” and their “deep collegial affection that unites us to the Pope”.

The cardinals refer to “grave disorientation and great confusion” among Catholics, including bishops, about “extremely important matters”... (continued)


Keep calm and follow Jesus, US bishops say after the election

By Matt Hadro

(CNA/EWTN News) Regarding the recent presidential election, Archbishop Kurtz said earlier on Monday that he had written to President-elect Donald Trump expressing a “willingness to work together” for the “protection of life” and the “promotion of human dignity.”

The bishops “have been very clear for the right to life of the child in the womb,” Archbishop Kurtz insisted, adding that the Church is defending human dignity by opposing the legalization of assisted suicide, which was recently approved by voters in Colorado and by the city government of Washington, D.C.

Trump’s victory has been met with protests in cities across the country, capping what was already a polarizing election cycle.

Bishops responded to the protests by stating their respect for freedom of speech while insisting that a “peaceful transition of power” take place. “I think that these can be reconciled,” said Archbishop Thomas Wenski of Miami, chair of the bishops’ domestic justice and human development committee, of the protests and peace.

There is nothing “more American than a peaceful transition of power,” he stated...


Monday, November 14, 2016

Theresa May BEGS Donald Trump for a meeting after Nigel Farage humiliation

By Jack Blanchard

(The Daily Mirror) Humilated Theresa May is now begging for a meeting with Donald Trump before
Christmas after being shown up by Nigel Farage.

The UKIP leader was the first foreign politician to meet the President-elect after his shock victory at the polls.

But Mrs May insisted relations with the Trump camp were “working well” and said they would meet “at the earliest opportunity”.

Mr Farage is furious after his bid to become a special envoy to liaise with Mr Trump was rejected.
The PM’s spokeswoman said: “The President-elect has talked about enjoying the same relationship that Reagan and Thatcher did.

"I don’t remember there being any third person in that relationship.”

Mr Farage said: “It shows they don’t care about the country.”

Mrs May’s spokeswoman claimed No10 had “an established route” to Mr Trump’s team.

Russian leader Vladimir Putin called Mr Trump and the pair agreed to tackle ISIS.

Mr Putin said he was ready to talk to the US “on the basis of mutual respect and non-intervention into each other’s internal affairs”.

In Brussels, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said Mr Trump’s election could be “a moment of opportunity”.

And Mrs May suggested Mr Trump was right to say globalisation had “downsides” for many people, in her Mansion House speech last night.

She said “globalisation in its current form has left too many people behind”.


Sunday, November 13, 2016

U.K., French foreign ministers snub emergency EU meeting about President-elect Donald Trump

By Yvette C. Hammett

BRUSSELS, Nov. 13 (UPI) -- French and United Kingdom foreign ministers opted out of a European Union emergency meeting being held in response to the election of Donald Trump as U.S. president.

U.K. Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault do not plan to attend but instead will send representatives to Brussels for the meeting called by EU Council President Donald Tusk, at the suggestion of Germany.

EU members plan to discuss how far they believe Trump will go to live up to his pledges to turn U.S. foreign policy upside down on issues including Syria, Iran, Russia and NATO, The Guardian reported.

"We do not see the need for an additional meeting on Sunday because the U.S. election timetable is long established," a spokesman for Johnson said. "An act of democracy has taken place, there is a transition and we will work with the current and future administrations to ensure the best outcomes for Britain..." (continued)


Priest abducted in Mexico Gulf region found alive, tortured

MEXICO CITY (AP) — A priest who was abducted in Mexico has been found alive after three days, but "with notable signs of torture," the Roman Catholic Church said Sunday.

The Rev. Jose Luis Sanchez Ruiz was the third priest abducted in the Gulf coast state of Veracruz since September. The other two were found shot to death a few days after they were kidnapped.

Although Sanchez Ruiz was spared that fate, his abduction brought new attention to attacks on priests in Mexico, which also saw another priest killed in the western state of Michoacan in September.

Prosecutors have suggested that robbery may have been the motive in all three killings this year. But fellow priests suggested something else may have been involved in Sanchez Ruiz's kidnapping.
Bishop Fidencio Lopez said Sunday that Sanchez Ruiz "had been dumped, with notable signs of torture" at an undisclosed location.

His disappearance sparked two days of unrest in the town of Catemaco, which is known for its faith healers and exuberant jungle. Angry residents burned part of the town hall and a police patrol truck while demanding the release of the priest.

The Rev. Aaron Reyes, spokesman for the diocese, told the Milenio television news channel that Sanchez Ruiz had been threatened in recent days because of his activism.

The priest "had received threats in recent days because he is a defender of human rights and social causes. He has criticized the system of corruption and the crime problem in Catemaco," Reyes said.
Sanchez Ruiz took part in a recent protest of high electricity bills, an important issue in the town because of its extreme heat.

At least 31 priests have been killed in Mexico since 2006. Most of the attacks occurred in areas of Mexico plagued by drug cartel violence.

Mexico's Catholic Media Center says Veracruz, Guerrero and Mexico states are the most dangerous for priests. Along with Michoacan, they are among the states with the worst drug-cartel problems.


President-Elect Donald J. Trump Announces Senior White House Leadership Team

(New York, NY) - President-elect Donald J. Trump today announced that Trump for President CEO Stephen K. Bannon will serve as Chief Strategist and Senior Counselor to the President, and Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus will serve as White House Chief of Staff.

Bannon and Priebus will continue the effective leadership team they formed during the campaign, working as equal partners to transform the federal government, making it much more efficient, effective and productive. Bannon and Priebus will also work together with Vice President-elect Mike Pence to help lead the transition process in the run-up to Inauguration Day.

“I am thrilled to have my very successful team continue with me in leading our country,” said President-elect Trump. “Steve and Reince are highly qualified leaders who worked well together on our campaign and led us to a historic victory. Now I will have them both with me in the White House as we work to make America great again.”

“I want to thank President-elect Trump for the opportunity to work with Reince in driving the agenda of the Trump Administration,” noted Bannon. “We had a very successful partnership on the campaign, one that led to victory. We will have that same partnership in working to help President-elect Trump achieve his agenda.”

“It is truly an honor to join President-elect Trump in the White House as his Chief of Staff,” added Priebus. “I am very grateful to the President-elect for this opportunity to serve him and this nation as we work to create an economy that works for everyone, secure our borders, repeal and replace Obamacare and destroy radical Islamic terrorism. He will be a great President for all Americans.”


BREAKING: Trump says he will 'immediately' deport two to three million illegal immigrants with criminal records - and insists he WILL build a wall

By Khaleda Rahman For

(The Daily Mail) President-elect Donald Trump has said that he plans to deport two to three million undocumented immigrants immediately - and that he will be building his wall along the US-Mexico border.

In an interview with CBS's 60 Minutes that airs on Sunday - his first since winning the election - Trump insisted that he will build the wall that was a vital part of his presidential campaign.

'What we are going to do is get the people that are criminal and have criminal records, gang members, drug dealers, where a lot of these people, probably two million, it could be even three million, we are getting them out of our country or we are going to incarcerate,' Trump said.

'But we're getting them out of our country, they're here illegally.'


Saturday, November 12, 2016

Cardinal Burke “very happy” with Donald Trump’s election victory

By Christopher Lamb

(La Stampa) Donald Trump was “undoubtedly” preferable to Hillary Clinton due to her stance on abortion while the new president will be well-placed to tackle government corruption, according to Cardinal Raymond Burke.

The cardinal, a leading conservative figure in the United States, said that care for refugees and the poor were important but do not carry the same moral weight as abortion and euthanasia: Trump has said he is pro-life while Clinton supports legal terminations.

Pope Francis, however, has made care for outcasts a central part of his papacy and questioned the president-elect’s Christian faith after he proposed building a wall between the United States and Mexico to prevent migrants crossing the border.

During the 2004 presidential campaign Cardinal Burke, a former Archbishop of St Louis, Missouri, said he would deny communion to John Kerry and other pro-abortion Catholic politicians.

In an interview originally reported in The Tablet the cardinal, now Patron of the Order of Malta and based in Rome, talks about the United States’ election results.

What is Your Eminence’s reaction to Donald Trump’s election?
I am very happy that my fellow Americans have chosen a new President, and given him a strong mandate to address resolutely the corruption that has beset the federal government in recent years. I pray that Our Blessed Lord bestows on President-elect Trump all the graces necessary for him to fulfil this mandate for the true promotion of the Common Good. It is my hope that my homeland will soon be united again, so that we can work for the good of all.

Was President-elect Trump a preferable candidate to Secretary Clinton given her support for late term abortion?
Undoubtedly, yes.

President-elect Trump holds positions that would be harmful to migrants and other vulnerable groups and has been accused of committing indecent acts against women. But he said he was pro-life on the abortion question. Is a political candidate who is anti-abortion preferable even if he holds policies contrary to other elements of Catholic teaching and has been accused of indecent behaviour?
Firstly, to be accused of something is not the same thing as to be guilty of it. Secondly, abortion is the systematic murder of human beings at their most vulnerable stage of development — we need to remember that. Thirdly, we do need to draw a distinction between a migrant and a refugee. How many economical migrants a country accepts is a prudential matter, about which people in good faith are free to disagree. One’s heart must always be open to the genuine refugee, fleeing death, terror and persecution however.

In your given example, I do not see any moral equivalence between abortion, and the welfare of migrants. I hope it is obvious that I think migrants, made in the image and likeness of God like you and me, should be treated with every care and respect. But to put the two issues on the same plane is simply wrong (as the Church clearly teaches)... (continued)


Did Jersey photographer's video of Clinton stumble change course of history?

By Sam Carchidi 

(The Philadelphia Inquirer) In the days after Donald Trump's stunning presidential win over Hillary Clinton, Zdenek Gazda has been bombarded by phone calls and texts, telling him he changed the election.

He doesn't disagree with them.

Gazda is a freelance photographer from New Jersey who filmed the video of Clinton after she became ill and stumbled at a campaign event two months ago.

"People say to me that it showed she's not strong," Gazda said on Friday. "If I wasn't there, nobody would have known what happened....People need to know the truth..."

Gazda, who lives in Verona, said people have told him he "changed history" because after the video went viral, Clinton's officials announced she was suffering from a bout of pneumonia that was diagnosed two days earlier.

Clinton's campaign initially said Clinton left the 15th annual observance at Ground Zero because she felt "overheated."

Gazda, who had made more than $100,000 for his famous 20-second clip, said after he turned off his video, said he saw Clinton shaking inside the van.

He admitted he wasn't sure what his video had captured until he looked at it. "I was shocked at what I saw," Gazda said...


Pope Francis Breaks Silence on Trump Triumph

By Josephine McKenna

Pope Francis has urged Donald Trump not to forget the poor and marginalized in his first comments on the president-elect to be published after the Republican’s stunning election win...

“I do not judge people or politicians,” the pope told Eugenio Scalfari of La Repubblica when asked what he thought of Trump. “I only want to understand what suffering their behavior causes to the poor and the excluded...”

According to the Pew Research Center, Catholics and evangelical Christians played a critical role in Trump’s election — 52 percent of Catholics voted for the real estate mogul and neophyte candidate...

He also dismissed suggestions he was a communist. “My response has always been, if anything, is that there are communists who think like Christians.... (continued)

This article originally appeared in Religious News Service.


Friday, November 11, 2016

Iranian general: Trump’s threat to attack Iranian ships ‘a joke’

By AP and Times of Israel staff

(The Times of Israel) TEHRAN, Iran — Iran’s semi-official Fars news agency is reporting that the armed forces chief of staff has criticized Donald Trump for his past harsh words about confronting Iranian boats in the Persian Gulf.

The Thursday report quotes General Mohammad Hossein Bagheri as saying, “The person who has recently achieved power, has talked off the top of his head! Threatening Iran in the Persian Gulf is just a joke.”

He said American presidential candidates during their campaigns “eat too much sugar,” a reference to a Farsi proverb about those who talk nonsense.

In September, Trump said Iranian ships trying to provoke the US “will be shot out of the water” if he were president.

In January, Iran took 10 American sailors prisoner after their ship veered off course into Iranian waters; they were released a day later.

Trump has strongly criticized the nuclear deal, formerly called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, reached with Iran to halt its development of nuclear weapons technology, calling it “one of the worst deals in history...” (continued)


Thursday, November 10, 2016

Trump Picks Top Climate Skeptic to Lead EPA Transition

By Robin Bravender

(Scientific American) Donald Trump has selected one of the best-known climate skeptics to lead his U.S. EPA transition team, according to two sources close to the campaign.

Myron Ebell, director of the Center for Energy and Environment at the conservative Competitive Enterprise Institute, is spearheading Trump’s transition plans for EPA, the sources said...

Ebell appears to relish criticism from the left.

In a biography submitted when he testified before Congress, he listed among his recognitions that he had been featured in a Greenpeace “Field Guide to Climate Criminals,” dubbed a “misleader” on global warming by Rolling Stone and was the subject of a motion to censure in the British House of Commons after Ebell criticized the United Kingdom’s chief scientific adviser for his views on global warming.

More recently, Ebell has called the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan for greenhouse gases illegal and said that Obama joining the Paris climate treaty “is clearly an unconstitutional usurpation of the Senate’s authority.”

He told Vanity Fair in 2007, “There has been a little bit of warming ... but it’s been very modest and well within the range for natural variability, and whether it’s caused by human beings or not, it’s nothing to worry about...”  (continued)


Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Bishop displeased with pope's leadership

By Matt C. Abbott

(RenewAmerica) I very recently asked Bishop Rene Henry Gracida, bishop emeritus of Corpus Christi, Texas, the following question:

Would you say that this pontificate [of Pope Francis] has thus far been more heterodox and confusing than orthodox and edifying?

Bishop Gracida's answer:


He added:

Most Catholics are unaware that there have been instances in Church history when a pope either taught heresy, or failed in his duty to suppress heresy. And if it happened before, it can happen again.

For example: Pope Nicholas I said that baptism was valid whether administered in the name of the Three Persons of the Most Holy Trinity or in the name of Christ only. In this Pope Nicholas was mistaken. Baptism in the name of Christ only is not valid.

Pope Honorius, in order to justify a compromise with heretics, said in 634: 'We must be careful not to rekindle ancient quarrels.' On this argument, the pope allowed error to spread freely, with the result that truth and orthodoxy were effectively banished.

St. Sophronius of Jerusalem, almost alone, stood up to Pope Honorius and accused him of heresy. Eventually the pope repented, but died without repairing the immeasurable harm he did to the Church due to his compromising principle. Thus, the Third Council of Constantinople cast its anathema upon him, and this was confirmed by Pope St. Leo II... (continued)


Friday, September 30, 2016

Curt Smith of Tears for Fears and Ted Yoder

"In August 2016 we wrote about Ted Yoder, a truly talented hammer dulcimer player, who performed a seemingly flawless version of the Tears for Fears song “Everybody Wants to Rule the World“. As a result of the incredible popularity of this performance, singer Curt Smith and drummer Jamie Wollam traveled to Yoder’s Arkansas home where all three musicians performed the song together. Rickie the raccoon made an impromptu appearance as well."


Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Scorsese’s Jesuit epic gets December US release

Silence, starring Liam Neeson, is based on Shusaku Endo's novel about Portuguese missionaries travelling to 17th-century Japan

by Associated Press

Martin Scorsese’s Silence, a historical drama about faith in feudal Japan, will open in time to qualify for the Academy Awards.

Paramount Pictures said on Monday that Silence will open with a limited release on December 23 with a nationwide expansion to follow sometime in January.

Whether the film, a decades-long passion project for Scorsese, would be ready in time for release this year had been a major question mark in Hollywood’s awards season. Scorsese’s last two feature films, The Wolf of Wall Street and Hugo, collected a total of 16 Oscar nominations.

Silence, which stars Andrew Garfield, Adam Driver and Liam Neeson, is based on Shusaku Endo’s 1966 novel. It’s about two Portuguese Jesuit missionaries travelling to 17th-century Japan to spread Christianity and find their missing mentor.


Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Vatican Radio confirms Pope’s leaked letter on Amoris Laetitia as authentic

By John-Henry Westen

September 12, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – On Friday LifeSiteNews published leaked documents showing for the first time the Pope’s own opinion on the matter of Holy Communion for divorced and remarried Catholics who do not qualify for annulment. The letter set off an explosion of comments since many held that the Pope did not agree with the thesis of Cardinal Walter Kasper which was that in certain cases Holy Communion could be administered for such couples. Many comments suggested that the letter could not be authentic.

Now, however, Vatican Radio has itself reported the letter as authentic, including specifically in its most controversial aspects – that of allowing communion to divorced and remarried Catholics in some cases and that there is “no other interpretation” other than that.

Says the Vatican Radio report: “Pope Francis has written a letter to the bishops of the Buenos Aires region of Argentina, praising them for their document which spells out ways in which priests should apply the teachings of his apostolic exhortation ‘Amoris Laetitia’.”

The Vatican Radio report relates, as LifeSite reported Friday, that in the letter Pope Francis responded “to a document by the bishops entitled ‘Basic criteria for the application of chapter 8 of ‘Amoris Laetitia.’

“That chapter focuses on the need to support and integrate divorcees into the life of the Church, specifying that ‘in certain cases, this can include the help of the sacraments,’” says the Vatican Radio report.  “Expressing his appreciation for the ‘pastoral charity’ contained in the bishops’ document, Pope Francis insists 'there are no other interpretations' of the apostolic exhortation which he wrote at the conclusion of the two synods on the family in 2014 and 2015.”


Monday, September 12, 2016

Clinton team avoided ER to conceal details of her medical treatment

By Yoav Gonen, Shawn Cohen, Tina Moore and Bruce Golding

(New York Post) Hillary Clinton was headed to an emergency room following her sudden collapse during the Sept. 11 memorial ceremony — but ditched her NYPD escort and detoured to daughter Chelsea Clinton’s apartment to keep details of her medical treatment under wraps, The Post has learned.

Secret Service protocol called for the Democratic presidential nominee be taken to a state-designated Level I Trauma Center in the wake of her Sunday morning health crisis at Ground Zero, sources said.

But a campaign operative decided to change course to avoid treatment by doctors, nurses or other medical workers who could leak details to reporters, a source said.

Clinton’s van was supposed to be escorted by an NYPD protective detail, but the Secret Service whisked her away from Ground Zero before cops could accompany her, another source said.

Clinton had told police officials that she didn’t want the escort at all, but the NYPD overruled that request, the source added.

Clinton emerged from her daughter’s Manhattan apartment about two hours after her health crisis, proclaiming, “I’m feeling great. Thanks,” before bizarrely adding: “It’s a beautiful day in New York” — even though thousands of people were still honoring the victims of the terror attack that destroyed the World Trade Center.

Clinton’s campaign said she was later examined at her home in Chappaqua by her personal physician, who pronounced that she was “recovering nicely” after becoming “overheated and dehydrated” due to a bout of previously undisclosed pneumonia.


Sunday, August 28, 2016

Church of England parishes consider first step to break away over sexuality

By John Bingham, Religious Affairs Editor

(The Telegraph) A group of parishes is preparing what could be the first step towards a formal split in the Church of England over issues such as homosexuality, with the creation of a new “shadow synod” vowing to uphold traditional teaching.

Representatives of almost a dozen congregations in the Home Counties are due to gather in a church hall in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, later this week for the first session of what they say could eventually develop into an alternative Anglican church in England.

Organisers, drawn from the conservative evangelical wing of Anglicanism, say they have no immediate plans to break away - but are setting up the “embryonic” structures that could be used to do so if the established church moves further in what they see as a liberal direction.

The new alliance will be viewed as a “church within a church” but founders have not ruled out full separation if, for example, the Church of England offers blessing-style services for same-sex unions - a move expected to be considered by bishops in the next few months... (continued)


Young priest whom Pope encouraged in battle against cancer dies

By Carolina Requena

Santiago, Chile, Aug 17, 2016 / 12:36 am (CNA/EWTN News).- A man of God. Someone who endured illness with faith and fortitude until the end. This is how those who knew Father Francisco Rencoret remembered him.

The 35-year-old Chilean priest died of cancer early August 13.

Ordained in 2013, Fr. Rencoret had been studying Canon Law at the Gregorian University in Rome. He was forced to return home to Chile in order to receive cancer treatments after his diagnosis.

In recent weeks, expectations of recovery had increased, as tests showed a noticeable improvement of the sarcoma with metastasis in the lungs which had been detected. But it was two unexpected brain tumors that finally took his life.

In June, Fr. Rencoret received an unexpected phone call from Pope Francis. Father told CNA that the Holy Father had heard about his illness and called him to “find out about my health and to tell me that he was praying for me, to give me a lot of support, encouragement and the love of the Church.”

Before finishing the conversation, the priest told the Holy Father that “I am offering some of my sufferings for your vocation, difficulties and sorrows” and that they were “very much in communion because in fact God is merciful...” (continued)


Monday, August 22, 2016

Cardinal Burke insists he is serving Francis, not opposing him

Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke attends a news conference by the conservative Catholic group "Voice of the Family" in Rome on Oct. 15, 2015. Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi

By David Gibson

(RNS) Ever since Pope Francis was elected in March 2013, he has faced strong opposition from traditionalists unhappy with his push for church reforms — and the face of that opposition has often been Cardinal Raymond Burke, an American prelate who has worked in senior positions in Rome for most of the past decade.

Francis eventually moved Burke out of key Vatican jobs and into a more ceremonial post as patron to the Knights of Malta, an apparent downgrade that both Burke and the pope insist wasn’t tied to the cardinal’s criticisms.

But Burke, a former archbishop of St. Louis who has a devoted following among conservatives, has continued to use his Roman platform to speak his mind.

He did that again most recently in a book-length interview in which he hits many of the themes that have drawn attention in the past: critiquing “radical feminism” and homosexuality (“a wounding of nature,” he calls it) as well as the “secularization” and moral relativism that he says have infected society and the Catholic Church.

The reforms that followed the Second Vatican Council of the 1960s are also a recurrent target, as he again champions a return to the old Latin Mass and voices nostalgia for the Catholicism of his boyhood (Burke says that he first felt a tug to the priesthood at the age of 8). The cardinal also has a provocative new take on Islam, which he said “wants to govern the world.”

Notably absent from the book, however, and from direct criticism, is Francis himself. Throughout the extended interview with French journalist Guillaume d’Alançon, which was published under the title, “Hope for the World: To Unite All Things in Christ,” Burke approvingly and frequently cites Saint John Paul II, the pope who named him a bishop back in 1995, and Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, who brought him to Rome in 2008 and made him a cardinal two years later.

He even praises Saint Pius X, the pope who a century ago was famous for his campaign to expunge the heresy of “Modernism” from the church — errors that the cardinal says “are still current.”
But Francis is mentioned only in passing, which seems just fine by Burke.

“I know about all these depictions. People call me ‘the enemy of the pope’ and so forth. I have never been and I am not presently the enemy of the pope,” Burke told RNS by telephone recently from his home state of Wisconsin, where he was spending time this summer.

“I have never, in anything I’ve said, shown disrespect to the papal office, because the Catholic Church doesn’t exist without the office of Peter,” he said, referring to the apostle who Catholic tradition views as the first bishop of Rome and therefore the first pope in an unbroken succession up to the present day.

“I’ve said to the pope himself, in conversations with him — and these by the way are friendly conversations — I told him, ‘Holy Father, the only way I can serve you is by speaking the truth in the best and clearest way possible.’ His response to me is: ‘That’s what I want.’”

The cardinal said that his own critics — his outspokenness has left no shortage of those — “would like to construe my relationship with the Holy Father as some kind of ongoing hostility or war between this reform of the church, this revolutionary reform (that Francis is promoting), and these old die-hards who resist it. That simply is not the case.”

During the course of a half-hour conversation, Burke did continually return to his commitment “to simply speak up to defend what the church has always taught and practiced.”

That commitment means that Burke will continue to push hard against the heart of Francis’ reformist approach, and that he will continue to be seen as, if not an enemy of the pope, at least his counterweight, and a favorite of those who would love to see the 68-year-old Burke one day succeed Francis, who turns 80 in December.

One of the chief targets for Burke of late has been the pope’s controversial document, “Amoris Laetitia,” or “The Joy of Love,” in which Francis synthesized the intense debates about church teachings and the modern family that took place across two major meetings of bishops from around the world that Francis convened in Rome in 2014 and 2015.

The pontiff’s lengthy exhortation, as it is known, was viewed as enshrining a new, more welcoming approach to Catholics who do not fit the textbook ideal of the catechism — single parents and gays, for example, and divorced and remarried Catholics.

“The Joy of Love” seems to leave open the possibility that divorced and remarried Catholics could receive Communion, for example. It has opened the door to the kind of discernment and appeals to conscience that critics say are misguided and in fact undermine long-standing Catholic doctrines and practices, and that’s why it has become a focal point for conservative dissent.

Burke is one of those critics. One of his main arguments of late is that the papal exhortation is not an expression of the “magisterium,” that is, authoritative church teaching, but that parts of it may be correct but others are not. “A mixture of opinion and doctrine,” as Burke put it in his interview with RNS.

“We can’t understand this document to be magisterium in the way other documents have been because Pope Francis simply has a different approach to the papacy,” the cardinal said. “In his documents he mixes his own thoughts and approaches, which are personal, with questions of doctrine.”

Burke says he knows some disagree with him, but he said that he and “many serious-minded people” in the church hierarchy are calling for Francis to issue a follow-up document.

“I trust that something will have to happen also because some very formal calls for clarification are in process and they simply will demand a response,” Burke said, “not in any kind of hostile or aggressive way, but simply for the sake of souls because people are getting confused.”

Indeed, “confusion” is the word that Burke said he would use to describe the mood in Rome these days over “what direction the church is going...” (continued)


Sunday, August 21, 2016

Louisiana gov: Trump helped 'shine a spotlight' on flood recovery

By Rebecca Savransky

(The Hill) Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) said Sunday that Donald Trump has helped draw attention to recovery efforts after the recent devastating floods in his state.

In an interview on CNN's "State of the Union," the governor downplayed critical remarks he made before the Republican presidential nominee visited his state.

"I didn't dismiss his trip as a photo-op. Before he came down, I said we welcome him here, we want him to be helpful," Edwards said. "And we hope that it doesn't turn into a mere photo-op."

Edwards said Trump's visit to the state was positive for Louisiana.

"Because it helped to shine a spotlight on Louisiana and on the dire situation that we have here, that it was helpful," he said.

"I also appreciated the good phone call, the conversation that I had with Gov. [Mike] Pence [R-Ind.], who was sincere and genuine when he called, and we spoke for a long time on Friday morning about their desire to be helpful," he said about Trump's running mate...  (continued)


Friday, July 15, 2016

St. Maria Goretti and the Demise of the Catholic Blogosphere

By Austin Ruse

(Crisis MagazineDid you know that St. Maria Goretti was even the least bit controversial?

The facts of her case are not disputed.

She was a peasant girl of 11 who came under sexual assault from a twenty-year-old male who shared the building where she lived with her family. She resisted, telling him it would be a sin and that he would go to Hell. He stabbed her 14 times, as she lay before him and as she tried to flee.

It is said to have taken hours to get her the few miles to the local hospital where she was operated on without anesthesia. So primitive was her everyday poverty-stricken existence, some say it was at the hospital where she first saw electric lights. Goretti died but not before forgiving her attacker whom she hoped to see one day in Heaven.

What is controversial is the response to Maria Goretti.

Goretti was beatified in 1947 by Pope Pius XII and canonized by him three years later as a “virgin-martyr.” At her canonization Pius called her “this sweet little martyr of purity.” He said this to a crowd of 200,000, a crowd so large, mostly of young people, that for the first time ever a canonization Mass was held outside in St. Peter’s Square rather than inside the basilica.

At her beatification, Pius said, “Maria Goretti resembled St. Agnes in her characteristic virtue of fortitude. This virtue of fortitude is at the same time the safeguard as well as the fruit of virginity. Our new beata was strong and wise and fully aware of her dignity. That is why she professed death before sin. She was not twelve years of age when she shed her blood as a martyr, nevertheless what foresight, what energy she showed when aware of danger! She was on the watch day and night to defend her chastity, making use of all the means at her disposal, persevering in prayer and entrusting the lily of her purity to the special protection of Mary, the Virgin of virgins. Let us admire the fortitude of the pure of heart. It is a mysterious strength far above the limits of human nature and even above ordinary Christian virtue.”

On the 100th anniversary of her death, Pope St. John Paul the Great underscored the importance of her virginity to her final struggle, “She did not flee from the voice of the Holy Spirit, from the voice of her conscience. She rather chose death. Through the gift of fortitude, the Holy Spirit helped her to ‘judge’—and to choose with her young spirit. She chose death when there was no other way to defend her virginal purity.”

She chose death when there was no other way to defend her virginal purity. And there is the controversy. There are certain voices in the blogosphere who are offended at this notion that Maria Goretti died defending her virginal purity.

Simcha Fisher is so incensed at the notion she wrote a whole column entitled “Maria Goretti Didn’t Die for Her Virginity.” Fisher is smart enough to know she couldn’t get away with that headline so she tries to cover herself with her first sentence, “Or she wasn’t canonized just because she managed to remain a virgin, anyway.”

However, Fisher argues that Goretti was canonized because she focused on her attacker’s soul rather than on her own virginity. Goretti tried to convince him that he was committing a mortal sin and would go to Hell for what he was threatening to do. Fisher says Goretti was not in love with a particular virtue but rather in love with the humanity of a particular person, her attacker.
Fisher says such notions as “holiness, chastity, humility, charity, diligence” are “bathwater” surrounding the “baby” which is “love in action.”

On Facebook, Fisher actually dismisses those who maintain the view held by both Pope Pius XII and St. John Paul the Great as the “Maria Goretti died out of love for her hymen” crowd.
Fisher was not the only one.

Where Pius XII and John Paul the Great called young people to emulate Maria Goretti, a blogger at the ever-diminishing Patheos says, not so fast! Blogger Kari Persson is concerned that Goretti’s response unto death may be considered “normative.” She says such a response to Goretti is “possibly deeply damaging” and could result in “frustration, hatred, and anger, mixed with envy and self-reproach” among those “affected by rape, whether victims or those close to victims.” She also says, “Not everyone can express forgiveness for their attackers as readily as St. Maria…” We should view all of this as miraculous and certainly not normative.

Persson seems fully subscribed to the commonality of our age where trophies are given just for showing up, where winning first prize somehow diminishes those who are second, or third, or last.
Of course, the Church has never taught that all are called to martyrdom. However, we are called to emulate or to draw inspiration from them.

Here is John Paul II on the centenary of her death, “I am especially holding up this saint as an example to young people who are the hope of the Church and of humanity.” He also said her “martyrdom” heralded the beginning of the great century of martyrs, a century where Catholics died for their faith, as she did.

Yet another blogger at Patheos joined the Goretti fray. Mary Pezzulo begins her blog-post with a big sigh: “It’s that time of year again. Today is Maria Goretti’s feast day.” Maria Goretti’s feast day is an annual trial for Pezzulo.

Pezzulo recalls a moment a few years ago when a Franciscan nun exhorted her that Maria Goretti “died rather than give up her purity.” Pezzulo left the bookshop where this horror happened “as quickly as possible” and then regretted not telling the Nun “how many people the sister might hurt by repeating the story in that way.”

Pezzulo writes, “Becoming the victim of someone else’s sin is never a sin. It wouldn’t have been for Maria Goretti, either.” Had she fought her attacker and been raped nonetheless, “she would have incurred no guilt. God would have still known her to be pure.” Pezzulo seems to accuse the nun, and others like her, of canonizing Goretti because Goretti refused to be a victim of rape.

One Patheos blogger named Max Lindeman suggested that Maria could not be considered a martyr since she did not die for hatred of the faith and that “martyr of charity” was not “coined until the beatification of Maximillian Kolbe.” For that, though, we can turn to the Angelic Doctor who wrote, “Not only is he a martyr one who refuses to deny a truth of the faith, but he who dies for the sake of some virtue, or to avoid sin against any commandment.” We also note the words of Pius XII and John Paul the Great.

To see how all this has become so unhinged, when Deacon Jim Russell went to the comment boxes to quote John Paul II on Maria Goretti and her virginity, another Patheos blogger named Cynthia Schrage asked him, “What is your f***ing problem?” and accused him of being a “spiritual stalker.”
It is hard to understand this odd fight over Maria Goretti and her canonization. The Church —as expressed in the words of the Pope who canonized her and his successors—regards Goretti as a martyr to her virginity. That is a fact not even Patheos and Aleteia bloggers can get around, try as they might.

It could be because of our hyper-sexualized world, also a world where there are demonstrations to defend those criticized for the way they dress or how they act-out sexually in ways inappropriate to their station in life. They call this “slut-shaming.” What greater slut-shaming could there be than a feast day for a girl who would rather die than lose her virginity?  Pius XII, in his homily for Maria, exhorted parents to keep their children “away from the training places of wickedness and moral perversion.” Today we march to defend those who so indulge.  These days, it is nearly impossible for anyone to get out of their teens, and even tweens, with their virginity intact. It is possible that Goretti’s purity is an offense to those with a “past” or who are sympathetic to those with such regrettable pasts. We also live in a world inordinately concerned with giving offense, even at the expense of celebrating goodness.  You cannot celebrate the traditional family for fear of offending the children from broken homes. You can’t even say “broken home” anymore. You cannot celebrate the virginity of Maria Goretti for fear of offending those who are not virgins or those who have been raped... (continued)