Monday, January 28, 2019

Cardinal Dolan Denies Church Abortion Excommunication Law

In a Fox Channel Interview during the past hour His Eminence Timothy Cardinal Dolan said that the Church no longer has a law of excommunication for abortion, that this erstwhile stance was softened by Pope John Paul II and Pope Francis. Surely the Cardinal must know that the 1983 Code of Canon Law, promulgated by Pope John Paul II says

Can. 1398 -- A person who actually procures an abortion incurs a latæ sententiæ excommunication.

That law remains in full force.

Regarding the duty of the minister to refuse communion to the excommunicated or otherwise public sinner, the law is also clear. It says

Can. 915 -- Those upon whom the penalty of excommunication or interdict has been imposed or declared, and others who obstinately persist in manifest grave sin, are not to be admitted to holy communion.

In addition to those laws, every priest must know that Pope Francis lifted the abortion excommunication impediment for the sake of sacramental confession by giving all of the priests of the entire Catholic Church a faculty to implicitly lift the abortion excommunication and grant absolution in the confessional, a power which was previously already routinely given by local bishops to all of their priests. I have had that power my entire priesthood, over twenty years. Pope Francis' measure means that the person who aborts a baby or has his baby aborted is still in fact excommunicated from the moment of having the abortion. If that excommunicated person should repent and go to confession the priest has the power to give absolution. In other words, the Holy Father has given an implicit lifting of the excommunication for the purpose of a worthy confession only in the context of confession, so that the repentant sinner may return to the fullness of faith, at the discretion of the absolving confessor. The law has not changed on the excommunication penalty for abortion. What has changed is that the return of those excommunicated by abortion is made presumably easier, or at least better known. Here is what the Holy Father decreed in this matter.

One of the serious problems of our time is clearly the changed relationship with respect to life. A widespread and insensitive mentality has led to the loss of the proper personal and social sensitivity to welcome new life. The tragedy of abortion is experienced by some with a superficial awareness, as if not realizing the extreme harm that such an act entails. Many others, on the other hand, although experiencing this moment as a defeat, believe they they have no other option. I think in particular of all the women who have resorted to abortion. I am well aware of the pressure that has led them to this decision. I know that it is an existential and moral ordeal. I have met so many women who bear in their heart the scar of this agonizing and painful decision. What has happened is profoundly unjust; yet only understanding the truth of it can enable one not to lose hope. The forgiveness of God cannot be denied to one who has repented, especially when that person approaches the Sacrament of Confession with a sincere heart in order to obtain reconciliation with the Father. For this reason too, I have decided, notwithstanding anything to the contrary, to concede to all priests for the Jubilee Year the discretion to absolve of the sin of abortion those who have procured it and who, with contrite heart, seek forgiveness for it. May priests fulfil this great task by expressing words of genuine welcome combined with a reflection that explains the gravity of the sin committed, besides indicating a path of authentic conversion by which to obtain the true and generous forgiveness of the Father who renews all with his presence.
 "Letter of His Holiness Pope Francis According to which an Indulgence is Granted to the Faithful on the Occasion of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy," 1 September 2015 

12. Given [the need for the forgiveness of the repentant sinner], 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 provision I had made in this regard, limited to the duration of the Extraordinary Holy Year, [cited above] is hereby extended, notwithstanding anything to the contrary. I wish to restate as firmly as I can that abortion is a grave sin, since it puts an end to an innocent life. In the same way, however, I can and must state that there is no sin that God’s mercy cannot reach and wipe away when it finds a repentant heart seeking to be reconciled with the Father. May every priest, therefore, be a guide, support and comfort to penitents on this journey of special reconciliation.
Pope Francis, Apostolic Letter Misericordia et misera, 20 November 2016, Feast of Christ the King

Cardinal Dolan invokes "mercy" while he erroneously explains the Church's present discipline on excommunication. Where is the mercy for the ongoing slaughtered babies? With no punishment for the criminals while they carry out their crimes there can be no mercy for the victims. To extend "mercy" to abusers as they abuse their victims is merciless to the innocent victims. When will the bishops of our Church finally understand that they must stand up for victims and protect them, by all means, in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord?

Cardinal Dolan should excommunicate Governor Andrew Cuomo for his obstinate public promotion of abortion, and, according to Canon 915 of the Code of Canon Law, cited above, no minister of the Church has the authority to administer communion to him, as long as he remains unrepentant in that grave manifest sin. It would be the mortal sin of sacrilege by the minister to administer holy communion to a person who is obstinately and manifestly in unrepentant mortal sin, it would be a sacrilege to administer the communion and a sacrilege to receive it. It is a scandal that the Cardinal of New York should ignore this sacred discipline of the Church or dismiss it as a private pastoral matter which he cannot discuss in public.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Latin Poets Set to Music --Stefan Cybulski

The book is in Polish but the songs are in Latin from the ancient poets.

Scroll down to pages 11 - 77 for the classic poetry set to music.

Below is the last song in the book.

                                              Gaude Mater Polonia: Polyphony

 Here is the first page of music from that volume (page 11 of the pdf file).

Below is a review of that music book of Latin poet classics.

Stefan Sylweriusz Cybulski’s „Ancient Music” and Compositions to the Poetry of Maciej kazimierz Sarbiewski. Tomasz Jasiński, MUZYKA LVIII 2013/ 4 (231), from a Gallery of Curiosities and Falsifications.

The philologist Stefan Sylweriusz Cybulski (1858–1937), an internationally renowned classics scholar and populariser of ancient culture, made a great contribution to the field of music as well. He was involved in theatrical-musical events based on classical Greek and Latin texts. In his musical writings, he touched on subjects related to sacred music and ancient music, approached mainly from a didactic perspective. For Cybulski, music served primarily to enhance philological instruction: it was supposed to assist teachers and students of classical languages and to deepen their interest in philology. This teaching-oriented approach gave rise to Poezja łacińska w pieśni [Latin poetry in song] (Lviv and Warsaw, 1924), an anthology of compositions for one or more parts to words by classical Latin poets. It is a kind of guidebook, in which the combinations of poetry and music are used to demonstrate the principles that ought to govern the attuning of musical structures to the metric patterns of classical poetry. The textual part is dominated by Horace. Out of 61 texts, 43 are poems of his, while the remainder are by Ovid, Virgil and others. The music dates from various periods, with the Renaissance proportionately the best represented (Paul Hofhaimer, Ludwig Senfl, Petrus Tritonius, Benedictus Ducius, Johann Wolfgang Grefinger, Orlando di Lasso), whilst other composers belong to later epochs (François André Danican Philidor, Benedetto Marcello, Carl Loewe and Cybulski’s contemporaries Wincenty Gorzelniaski and Piotr Mooss). The majority of the anonymous songs are labelled as ‘ecclesiastical melodies’. In most cases, Cybulski noted the century in which a song was written (mainly the sixteenth), although he also used less precise expressions, such as ‘old composition’, ‘early music’ (for works dating from the Middle Ages to the seventeenth century), ‘earlier music’ (the eighteenth century), ‘newer music’ (Loewe) and ‘new composition’ (Gorzelniaski). Only once did Cybulski use the label ‘ancient music’, for a setting of Ode 22 Quando te dulci sine prole solam from Book IV of the poetry of Maciej Kazimierz Sarbiewski (1595–1640). In this case, a striking combination of terms is used: ‘ancient music’ and ‘ecclesiastical melody’. The reasons for this peculiar choice of labels became clear during analysis. A closer look at the melody of the vocal part reveals that its pitch structure is derived from two hymns: Ecce jam noctis and Rerum Deus. The melody of the former is used in the first section of the work, while the latter provides the melody of the second section. The designation ‘ecclesiastical melody’ is justified by the fact that sacred song was indeed used here, although in the form of not one ‘ecclesiastical melody’, but two. Why then the labelling of this composition as ‘ancient music’? For reasons that will remain a mystery, Cybulski most probably decided that the two hymns were particularly archaic examples of ‘ecclesiastical melody’ that had its origins in antiquity. The composition under analysis is an example of accompanied monody. The upper plane can be identified as a solo soprano part, while the lower plane can probably be interpreted as the part of a plucked string instrument. It is also possible that the composition was intended for a keyboard instrument, e.g. piano, which would cover the whole structure (by doubling the vocal part). As a whole, the composition is characterised by an absence of tonal uniformity, which is a consequence of the compilation of melodies. Its harmonic layer, for the most part chordally conceived, displays great simplicity, with an almost complete lack of dissonant tensions. The final cadence – with a 4-3 suspension, typical of early music and later stylisations – is an extraneous element. A similar impression of ‘randomness’ is created by a passage with a movement of parallel thirds. Consistency is found, however, in the musical declamation, which reflects the guiding principle of the anthology. The most intriguing question concerning this peculiar composition is that of authorship. The entire discourse, taking into account various comparisons of Quando te dulci sine prole solam with other compositions in the collection, tends to the conclusion that the music to Sarbiewski’s poem was in all probability composed by Wincenty Gorzelniaski (1872–1929). As he was Cybulski’s close collaborator on the anthology, it is difficult to say whether it was Gorzelniaski himself who combined the melodies and provided the rhythm, or whether he was working on an existing compilation. Irrespective of all the doubts, we are forced to conclude that the composition in question is truly bizarre, as we are dealing with a piece of ‘ancient music’ with no connection to antiquity, an ‘ecclesiastical melody’ not intended to be sung in a church and, finally, a short and yet inconsistent work. At the same time, the piece bears the hallmarks of a falsification, mainly because Cybulski’s anthology purports to be scholarly in nature. The setting of Quando te dulci sine prole solam is an example of a situation in which the noblest of motives, enhanced by genuine fascination, a desire to recreate the past and extensive knowledge in many fields, leads to essentially false and misleading results that create pseudo-history.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Mozart Modulating Prelude for Harpsichord

March For Life 2019 1-Minute Video of Full March >500,000!

I stood on the side and counted the people of the procession for an hour, counting more than 350,000 people (more than a hundred people per second, 3600 seconds => 360,000 people). Then I joined the procession just after the huge yellow sign across the procession toward the last seconds of the video 1-minute instagram video above.

Below is the entire EWTN live broadcast  and coverage of the event.

Below is the Annual Nellie Gray Mass at Saint Mary's, Washington D.C. 2017
Immediately after the March for Life
This year's music (2019) was especially beautiful, though I do not find a video of it yet.

Monday, January 21, 2019

"The shout your abortion era" rebuttal. --Ben Shapiro

Last Friday Ben Shapiro did his Daily Wire podcast on the March for Life stage at 10 AM. Masterful pro-life and anti-abortion rhetoric.

He debunks the pro-abortion arguments one by one.

This year's March for Life theme was that pro-life is pro-science. "Unique from day one."

It must be noted that Mr. Shapiro is pro contraception, which distorts and contradicts his pro-life stance and his Jewish religion: cf. Genesis 38:8.

Archbishop Joseph Naumann's Homily at Opening Mass

"There is a type of churchman that Francis seems to favor: the morally compromised and the doctrinally suspect." --NR

The Case against Pope Francis
National Review, Michael Brendan Dougherty
October 11, 2018 9:52 AM

Just over five years ago, the Argentine cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio came out onto the loggia of St. Peter’s as Pope Francis. It is useful to recall the situation of the Church that he inherited.

The sex-abuse scandals that had rocked the Church in America and some European countries at the turn of the millennium were subsiding, or so it seemed. But the dysfunction at the Vatican under Pope Benedict XVI had overwhelmed the scholarly pontiff. Benedict’s chosen reformer for the corrupt Vatican Bank, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, initially had success in turning blood-red deficits toward the black, but he was swiftly undermined and sent packing to be the Vatican’s ambassador to the United States. Benedict’s butler, Paolo Gabriele, was arrested for stealing and leaking to the media documents revealing the intrigue and backbiting within Vatican City. Benedict assigned three cardinals to investigate the VatiLeaks scandal. They returned to the pope a long dossier, which was widely reported to contain an account of the financial and sexual misdeeds of senior officials in the Vatican itself. At about this time European banks began squeezing the Vatican Bank, and by the turn of the New Year the Vatican’s own ATMs stopped working. Their function was restored days after Benedict announced that he would resign the papacy, the first papal resignation in five centuries.

Two storylines emerged out of the election of Bergoglio. The first was that the Church had elected a man who had a common touch and would stop the Church from becoming a museum of dead dogmas. The second is that the Church had chosen him because he had shown the energy to reform the dysfunctional curia.

At first, Pope Francis seized the momentum on both fronts. He quickly earned a great deal of positive media for making symbolic breaks with his predecessor. Some of the more traditional vestments were immediately dropped, along with the red shoes. He decided against taking up residence in the papal apartments. Instead he would live in Casa Santa Marta, a Vatican hotel. And he quickly began making his earthy and endlessly quotable comments to the media. He gave candid interviews to the atheist Italian journalist Eugenio Scalfari. Asked to comment on how he would counsel gays, he responded: “Who am I to judge?” Francis also quickly formed a special group of nine cardinal advisers to help him accomplish the work of reforming the Vatican itself.

The Francis pontificate was to be an era of mercy for sinners at the peripheries and accountability for malefactors at the Vatican. Instead, almost the opposite has taken place.

While trying to please the progressives who elected him, Pope Francis has plunged the Church into acrimony and confusion. He has put forward a revision of the Church’s teaching on the sacraments that puts traditional concepts of Christian virtue out of reach for all but the most “heroic” Christians. It is a theological revolution that not only threatens the coherence of the Catholic faith but has the potential to affect all Christians.

As for reform? Forget it. Nearly half of the members of Pope Francis’s reformist team have been pulled into sexual-abuse scandals themselves. Cardinal George Pell has returned to his native Australia to face charges of fondling children. Cardinal Óscar Rodríguez Maradiaga has been accused of protecting churchmen who fostered a culture of sexual predation in the seminaries of Honduras. The German cardinal Reinhard Marx was revealed to have been negligent in investigating an abusive priest when he was bishop of Trier. American cardinal Sean Patrick O’Malley, who heads the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, has been exposed as having passed the buck when a priest tried to inform him of the serial sexual predation of Cardinal Theodore McCarrick against seminarians.

These twin scandals of the Francis papacy became intertwined this summer. Reports came out of the Archdiocese of New York that McCarrick had sexually abused a child, and he resigned from the College of Cardinals. But that was not the end of the story. The frustrated reformer of the Vatican Bank, Archbishop Viganò, soon issued a stunning set of public accusations against Francis and his closest collaborators. Viganò charged the pope with having knowingly rehabilitated Cardinal McCarrick and collaborated with other immoral churchmen in order to pursue his progressive theological agenda. Viganò called on the pope to resign in disgrace.

The Vatican’s response to Viganò has been to denounce him forcefully — to accuse him of breaking communion with the pope — while at the same time admitting by inference that his main charge is correct. The Vatican noted that McCarrick had not been formally sanctioned during the Benedict papacy, owing to a lack of evidence — but thereby admitted that McCarrick had at least been restricted. McCarrick took on a larger public profile after the election of Francis, indicating either that these restrictions were lifted or that the Vatican was negligent in continuing to enforce them.

Perhaps we should have seen this coming. The fact is that Pope Francis has conducted his papacy in a way that made Viganò’s claims immediately credible. Francis appointed a bishop in Chile, Juan Barros Madrid, over the loud protests of laity there who accused him of covering up child abuse. Francis scolded these people as calumniators, but eventually the scandal overwhelmed him — and he was forced to send in investigators, who uncovered a Chilean church mired in corruption. In Italy, after interventions by two influential allies of his theological agenda, Francis restored to ministry an infamous priest, Mauro Inzoli, who had molested children in the confessional and who had been defrocked by the relevant Vatican authorities. As civil trials in Italy revealed to the public the depth of Inzoli’s depravity, Francis removed him from ministry again.

There is a type of churchman that Francis seems to favor: the morally compromised and the doctrinally suspect. The archbishop of Bruges, Jozef De Kesel, was known to promote the ordination of women and the making voluntary of priestly celibacy, and was credibly accused of knowingly appointing a pastor who had molested a child. Francis made him a cardinal. There was the archbishop of Stockholm, Anders Arborelius, who ignored calls to investigate a pedophile priest for years. The victim was told to go see a therapist instead. Arborelius is sympathetic to the idea of creating a female version of the College of Cardinals. Francis made him a cardinal, and Arborelius speculated that his elevation was a way for the pope to honor Sweden’s commitment to refugees. There’s also Giovanni Becciu, who was working for the pope’s secretary of state. When the accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers began uncovering financial fraud in the Church, Becciu suspended its audit. The auditor general from PwC later said he was forced out on trumped-up accusations; Becciu accused that accountant of being a spy. Francis then made Becciu a cardinal. Another cleric, Archbishop Luis Ladaria Ferrer, is set to stand trial in France for his role in covering up a child-sex-abuse scandal in Lyon. Francis made him the head of the Vatican’s doctrinal office, which adjudicates abuse cases.

Or consider Monsignor Battista Ricca, reportedly Francis’s “eyes and ears at the Vatican Bank.” Ricca was widely known for engaging in affairs with men at different posts during his clerical career. He was attacked in an area of Montevideo known for cruising, and he had to be rescued from an elevator in which he was trapped with a rent boy. (It was a question about Ricca that Francis made the occasion of his headline-grabbing statement “Who am I to judge?”) And finally there is the man known as the “vice pope,” Cardinal Rodríguez Maradiaga, the one being charged by seminarians in Honduras with allowing a culture of predation to flourish. Rodríguez Maradiaga first became famous across the Catholic world for saying that the Church scandals in Boston in 2002 were the invention of Jewish-controlled media who were avenging themselves on the Catholic Church for “confirm[ing] the necessity of the creation of a Palestinian state.”

The truth is that Jorge Bergoglio had another mandate. It is candidly discussed by journalist Austen Ivereigh in his book The Great Reformer. Ivereigh, who has become the Anglo­phone world’s papal hagiographer, details how a group of progressive European churchmen that had been meeting for decades at St. Gallen in Switzerland to discuss their views on the Church had come to see Bergoglio as their candidate. Among these were the archbishop of Brussels, as well as the Belgian cardinal Godfried Danneels and the German cardinal Walter Kasper. What they wanted was a pope who would open up all the theological debates that had been closed by John Paul II and Benedict XVI. Communion for the divorced and remarried. A revision of Church teaching on homosexual relations and relationships.

Kasper was a theological progressive who believed that the Church was no longer able to reach modern man in a pluralistic society. He was also given to sometimes grand pronouncements, writing that “dogma never settles a theological issue once and for all.” Danneels was Belgium’s leading bishop from 1979 to 2010; as it did in Ireland and Quebec, secularization seemed to come almost overnight in Belgium, and Danneels has occasionally been a cheerleader for these changes. He wrote a private letter to his prime minister, Guy Verhofstadt, praising the government’s decision to allow same-sex unions. It was a position he would reiterate emphatically years later, telling two newspapers that the Church “has never opposed the fact that there should exist a sort of ‘marriage’ between homosexuals, but one therefore speaks of a ‘sort of’ marriage. But it is not true marriage, that between a man and a woman, therefore you have to put another word in the dictionary. But that it is lawful, that the law can legitimately provide for it, that’s something about which the Church has nothing to say.” In a major public scandal, Danneels was revealed to have pressured the victim of sex abuse by a Catholic bishop, the victim’s uncle, to remain silent. He was enduring a quiet and disgraced retirement, but after pushing for the election of Bergoglio, he appeared on the loggia next to the new pope. He was also invited by Francis to contribute to the Synod on the Family.

That is why it is easy to credit the allegations against Francis. He’s done it all before.

What is a pope for Catholics? The Council of Florence said that he is “the true Vicar of Christ, and the Head of the whole Church, and the Father and Teacher of all Christians; and that to him in blessed Peter was delivered by our Lord Jesus Christ the full power of pasturing, ruling, and governing the whole Church.” The first Vatican Council rejected those who claimed the pope can deliver new doctrines, saying that his responsibility was to protect and safeguard the existing truths of the Catholic faith. “To satisfy this pastoral duty, our predecessors ever made unwearied efforts that the salutary doctrine of Christ might be propagated among all the nations of the earth, and, with equal care, they watched that it might be preserved, genuine and pure, where it had been received.”

Francis’s defenders have rejected that modest duty. One of his chief apologists and attack dogs, Father Thomas Rosica, has grandly claimed that “Pope Francis breaks Catholic traditions whenever he wants because he is ‘free from disordered attachments.’” He explains that the Church has entered a “new phase,” and that “with the advent of this first Jesuit pope, it is openly ruled by an individual rather than by the authority of Scripture alone or even its own dictates of tradition plus Scripture.” By this definition, the papacy would be transferred from a guardian of truth to its living oracle. It would be easy to dismiss Rosica as a mere enthusiast but for the fact that Francis openly challenges Church teaching. Most recently, Francis revised the Catechism of the Catholic Church to say that the death penalty had become inadmissible, effectively declaring that the Church had been in error until his arrival.

But most crucially, Francis has worked to undermine the moral teachings of the Church that touch on matters of sex. Francis called the two-year Synod on the Family and immediately reopened a controversy that had seemingly been put to bed. He heavily promoted a thesis of Cardinal Walter Kasper that those who had left their first marriage and made a second one could be admitted back to Holy Communion without re­penting of the second adulterous union.

The synod turned into a rancorous and confusing spectacle, and it ended with Pope Francis hysterically denouncing the conservative faction that was resisting his revisions. The resulting document, Amoris Laetitia, soft-pedaled the change Francis wanted, suggesting only in a footnote that people in unions the Church was obliged to recognize as adulterous could receive Holy Communion.

To most non-Catholic Christians this may seem like the most sectarian of concerns, touching on an obscure matter of discipline that is unique to Catholicism’s particularly exalted view of marriage. But in fact this revision was accomplished by dropping a depth charge into the heart of Christianity.

The pope, with the bishops, had recast adulterous second marriages as “irregular unions,” as if the matter were something to do with paperwork rather than a sacramental reality. And instead of “living in sin,” the remarried were in a state described as “not fully the objective ideal.” The Vatican’s own translation is eye-opening:
Yet conscience can do more than recognize that a given situation does not correspond objectively to the overall demands of the Gospel. It can also recognize with sincerity and honesty what for now is the most generous response which can be given to God, and come to see with a certain moral security that it is what God himself is asking amid the concrete complexity of one’s limits, while yet not fully the objective ideal.
Beyond this, the pope proposed to judge these cases not by the categories of Christian faith but by bourgeois norms. Pastors are urged to “include” people who are in “irregular” marriages. Instead of seeking signs of penitence, contrition, and a willingness to amend one’s life in confession, pastors are to look for signs of “stability” in the lives of those who are in a non-ideal state.

The logic of transforming commandments that one must obey into ideals that one more or less, but never fully, approximates is to turn all sins into semi-virtues. And the implications of this revolutionary change become obvious when applied to other moral matters. Some Canadian bishops read the pope’s teaching as licensing them to offer the Last Rites to people before euthanasia. After all, who are they to judge whether the soul before them fully understands and is culpable of the sin of suicide? What do you expect them to do, start instructing them in the faith?

It may seem crazy to focus on the footnotes in a mostly unread and forgettable document, but the theological revolution at work can spread across all Christianity. Under Francis the Church now teaches that sometimes God’s commandments are simply impossible to follow, that it would be cruel to urge someone to obey them, and that it would be foolish to tell people that God will generously grant them help in actually obeying them. Cardinal Kasper had occasionally defended this understanding by saying that following the Church’s teaching on marriage required “heroism” in certain circumstances, but that “heroism is not for the average Christian.” Francis was widely reported to speculate privately that perhaps half of all Christian marriages are invalid because modern man is so morally deformed he cannot be expected to understand what a marriage is. This is a kind of B-school Christianity, for moral mediocrities. It is a place where God’s love stops short of transforming your life. It’s a mercy where, in the name of in­clusion, the Church blesses the sins that break up families and create orphans.

Ultimately the vision Francis has promoted presents a God who is not merciful but indulgent, even lazy, and indifferent. It is God as a Baby Boomer parent. He expects less of you, and you can expect less of Him. In this new religion, where our faults become semi-virtues, salvation itself is changed. Instead of a free gift from God, it becomes a debt owed to us. Christ is not moved by an act of love to sacrifice himself as a propitiation for sinners. Instead, he dies on the cross because our human dignity, revealed in our semi-virtues, obliges him to do so.

What Francis is slowly instituting is a religion of presumption. A religion of “good enough,” where our misguided efforts put God in our debt. Communion becomes a participation trophy. And by freeing the Church from its preoccupation with outdated sins such as adultery, Francis can refocus the Church on the things he likes to denounce, such as the building of border walls, or air conditioning.

And no wonder, then, that the Vatican itself is filled with moral mediocrities, with men who are sexually and financially compromised. No wonder the Vatican investigates and inveighs against whistleblowers immediately but waits decades to investigate predator bishops. Believing in sin is now worse than sin itself. No wonder this church has a pope who refuses to wear red shoes. They symbolize martyrdom. That’s for heroic Christians, not for men like Pope Francis.
MICHAEL BRENDAN DOUGHERTY — Michael Brendan Dougherty is a senior writer at National Review Online. @michaelbd

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Una, Sancta, Catholica et Apostolica Ecclesia Christi Est!

I like to watch a little of Joel Olsteen on television on Sunday mornings. His is a prosperity Gospel with a self-fulfillment in-this-life message, based in faith in the Person of Jesus Christ. We could call it the Gospel of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes. God will take care of your physical and spiritual needs, He is omnipotent, all-loving and all good. He can and will see you through. Don't give up. Entrust yourself to Him. He never fails. Jesus Christ is He.

That is surely part of the Gospel message, but it neglects the centrality of the Cross and of the need for repentance and conversion, and for hope in life everlasting. In the end we will lose everything in this life, but God will, if we are faithful and live and die in his sanctifying grace, repentant and forgiven of our sins, we will be saved beyond death and given eternal glory with Him and all his angels and saints. But that partial emphasis of the Gospel is not my greatest criticism of Mr. Olsteen, because he seems to believe the entire Gospel message, although he chooses to emphasize the this-life prosperity slant. My real issue with Olsteen is the closing message of every show which is patently false in its direct contradiction to Mr. Olsteen's own principles and the testimony of Sacred Scripture itself, and sounds like anti-Catholic code language.

Joel Olsteen closes every preaching hour with the imperative to all to "Get into a bible based church..." The implication is that there are many churches that are sufficient for salvation, and that it is all the same; that the key to salvation is the bible guiding your church, doesn't matter which church. But the bible says it different. The bible says that the Church is one (Cf. Matthew 16:18) and that it is that one and only Church which is the only legitimate guarantor of the integrity of the faith, by the power of the Holy Spirit.

"The church of the living God [is] the pillar and ground of the truth." 1 Timothy 3:15

Credo in unam, sanctam, catholicam et apostolicam Ecclesiam, sanctorum communionem...

It is true that every man needs to get into the Church, not "a church, but "the Church." So says the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Monday, January 14, 2019

15 Principles for True Plurality in the Unity of Faith



1. Unity and plurality in the expression of the Faith have their ultimate basis in the very mystery of Christ that, while being at the same time a mystery of universal fulfillment and reconciliation (Eph 2:11-22), goes beyond the possibilities of expression of any given age and thus eludes exhaustive systematization (Eph 3:8-10).

2. The unity-duality of the Old Testament and the New, as the fundamental historical expression of the Christian Faith, provides a concrete point of departure for the unity-plurality of this same Faith.

3. The dynamism of Christian faith, and its missionary character, requires an account of it in rational terms; faith is not a philosophy, but it does give a direction to man’s thinking.

4. The truth of the Faith is bound up with its onward movement through history, from Abraham on to Christ, and from Christ to the parousia. Consequently, orthodoxy is not consent to a system but a sharing in the onward movement of the Faith and so, in the Church’s own selfhood that subsists, identical, through all time, and the true subject of the Credo.

5. The fact that the truth of the Faith is lived in an onward movement involves its relation to the praxis and to the history of this Faith. Since Christian faith is founded on the incarnate Word, its historical and practical character distinguishes it in its essence from a form of historicity in which man alone would be the creator of his own direction.

6. The Church is the comprehensive subject giving unity both to New Testament theologies and to dogmas as they arise throughout history. It is founded on confession of faith in Jesus Christ dead and risen, which she proclaims and celebrates in the power of the Spirit.

7. The criterion that makes it possible to distinguish between true and false pluralism is the Faith of the Church expressed in the organic whole of her normative pronouncements: the fundamental criterion is Scripture as it relates to the confession of the believing and praying Church. Among dogmatic formulas, those of the earlier Councils have priority. The formulas that express a reflection of Christian thought are subordinate to those that express the facts of the Faith themselves.

8. Even if the present situation of the Church encourages pluralism, plurality discovers its limits in the fact that faith creates the communion of men in the truth, which has been made accessible in Christ. This makes inadmissible every conception of faith that would reduce it to a purely pragmatic cooperation, lacking any sense of community in the truth. This truth is not linked to any theological systematization, but it is expressed in the normative proclamations of the Faith. Faced with doctrinal statements that are gravely ambiguous, even perhaps incompatible with the Faith of the Church, the Church has the capacity to discern error and the duty to dispel it, even resorting to the formal rejection of heresy as the final remedy for safeguarding the Faith of the people of God.

9. Because the Christian Faith is universal and missionary, the events and words revealed by God must be each time rethought, reformulated, and lived anew within each human culture, if we wish them to inspire the prayer, the worship, and the daily life of the people of God. Thus, the Gospel of Christ leads each culture toward its. fullness and at the same time submits it to a creative criticism. Local Churches that, under the guidance of their shepherds, apply themselves to this difficult task of incarnating the Christian Faith must always maintain continuity and communion with the universal Church of the past and of the present. Thanks to their efforts they contribute as much to the deepening of the Christian life as to the progress of theological reflection in the universal Church, and guide the human race in all its diversity toward that unity wished by God.


10. Dogmatic formulations must be considered as responses to precise questions, and it is in this sense that they remain always true. Their permanent interest depends on the lasting relevance of the questions with which they are concerned; at the same time it must not be forgotten that the successive questions that Christians ask themselves about the understanding of the divine word as well as already discovered solutions grow out of one another, so that today’s answers always presuppose in some way those of yesterday, although they cannot be reduced to them.

11. Dogmatic definitions ordinarily use a common language; while they may make use of apparently philosophical terminology, they do not thereby bind the Church to a particular philosophy but have in mind only the underlying realities of universal human experience, which the terms in question have enabled them to distinguish.

12. These definitions must never be considered apart from the particularly authentic expression of the divine word in the sacred Scriptures or separated from the entire Gospel message to each age. They also provide, for that message, norms for an ever more suitable interpretation of revelation. Yet this revelation remains always the same, not only in its substance but also in its fundamental statements.


13. Pluralism in morals appears first of all in the application of general principles to concrete circumstances, and it is accentuated when contacts occur between cultures that were ignorant of one another or as a result of rapid changes in society.

A fundamental unity is manifested, however, in a common esteem for human dignity, carrying with it imperatives for the conduct of human life.

The conscience of every man expresses a certain number of fundamental demands (Rom 2:14), which have been recognized in our times by public expressions of the essential human rights.

14. The unity of Christian morality is based on unchanging principles, contained in the Scriptures, clarified by Tradition, presented to each generation by the Magisterium. Let us recall the principal emphases: the precepts and example of the Son of God revealing the heart of his Father; conformity to his death and his Resurrection; [and] life in the Spirit in the bosom of the Church, in faith, hope, and charity, so that we may be renewed according to the image of God.

15. The necessary unity of faith and communion does not hinder a diversity of vocations and of personal preferences in the manner of coming to terms with the mystery of Christ and of life.

Christian liberty (Gal 5:13), far from implying a limitless pluralism, demands a struggle toward totally objective truth no less than patience with less robust consciences (cf. Rom 14:15; 1 Cor 8).

Respect for the autonomy of human values and legitimate responsibilities in this area carries with it the possibility of a variety of analyses and options on temporal matters for Christians. This variety is compatible with total obedience and love (cf. Gaudium et Spes, n. 43).

* The text of the propositions approved by the plenary meeting held on 10-11 October 1972, the whole text was unanimously approved by all members present.

List of Members of the International Theological Commission
The First Five Years
Appointments of May 1, 1969; cf. DC 66 (1969), 495

President: His Emminence Cardinal Franjo Seper (Yugoslavia)

Rev. Barnabas Ahern, C.P. (United States)
Rev. Hans Urs von Balthasar (Switzerland)
Rev. Louis Bouyer of the Oratory (France)
Rev. Walter Burghardt, S.J. (United States)
Msgr. Carlo Colombo (Italy)
Rev. Yves Congar, O.P. (France)
Msgr. Philippe Delhaye (Belgium)
Rev. Johannes Feiner (Switzerland)
Rev. André Feuillet, P.S.S. (France)
Rev. Lucio Gera (Argentina)
Rev. Olegario Gonzalez de Cardedal (Spain)
Rev. Ignace Abdo Khalifé, S.J. (Lebanon)
Rve. Franz Lakner, S.J. (Austria)
Rev. Marie-Joseph Le Guillou, O.P. (France)
Rev. Joseph Lescrauwaet, M.S.C. (Holland)
Rev. Bernard Lonergan, S.J. (Japan)
Rev. Henri de Lubac, S.J. (France)
Rev. Andreas H. Maltha, O.P. (HOlland)
Msgr. Jorge Medina Estevez (Chile)
Rev. Peter Nemeshegyi, S.J. (Japan)
Msgr. Stanislaw Olejnik (Poland)
Msgr. Gérard Philips (Belgium)
Rev. Karl Rahner, S.J. (West Germany)
Rev. Joseph Ratzinger (West Germany)
Msgr. Roberto Mascarenhas Roxo (Brazil)
Rev. Tomislaw Sagi-Bunic, O.F.M. Cap. (Yugoslavia)
Msgr. Rudolf Schnackenburg (West Germany)
Rev. Heinz Schürmann (East Germany)
Msgr. Tharcisius Tshibangu (Zaire)
Rev. Cipriano Vagaggini, O.S.B. (Italy)

International Theological Commission: Texts and Documents 1969-1985, San Francisco: Ignatius, 1989, 89-92, 327, 329.

Plinthos: the principles on morals are weak, e.g. no mention of the decalogue!

Cf. ITC, "The Interpretation of Dogma," 1989.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Masterful Assessment of Present State of Francis Papacy

A Failing Papacy
by R.R. Reno
February 2019

The current regime in Rome will damage the Catholic Church. Pope ­Francis combines laxity and ruthlessness. His style is casual and approachable; his church politics are cold and cunning. There are leading themes in this pontificate—­mercy, accompaniment, peripheries, and so forth—but no theological framework. He is a verbal semi-automatic weapon, squeezing off rounds of barbed remarks, spiritual aperçus, and earthy asides (­coprophagia!). This has created a confusing, even dysfunctional atmosphere that will become intolerable, if it hasn’t already.

Every pope sets a particular tone, a party line. Benedict made no secret of his desire for the Church to recover the dignity and transcendent orientation of the old ways of worship. But he was measured and never denounced or insulted those who prefer guitars and casual liturgies. St. John Paul II’s great intellectual project was to redeem the promise of mid-century Catholicism’s turn toward cooperation with secular humanism. He sought to fuse the modern turn to the subject and freedom with a full-spectrum affirmation of the doctrinal tradition. One can judge his project a success or a failure, but it is beyond dispute that his intention was to span the gap between today’s individual-­oriented ethos and Catholicism’s theocentrism.

Pope Francis, by contrast, is quick to denounce, widening gaps rather than closing them. More often than not, he targets the core Catholic faithful. He regularly attacks “mummified” Christians and “rosary counters.” On many occasions, Francis has singled out doctrinally orthodox priests for ridicule. The same holds for those who favor the Latin Mass, whom he derides as suffering from a “rigidity” born of “insecurity.” Early in his pontificate, his Christmas sermon to the curia recited a litany of condemnations.

Francis expresses little sympathy or support for regular Mass-goers and the men laboring in parish ministry. “Go to the peripheries!” That’s one of his signature exhortations. In practice, that has meant neglecting (if not attacking) bishops, priests, and laity who do the ordinary work of sustaining the Church’s institutions and traditions.

In November, Francis intervened to prevent the bishops in the United States from taking decisive action to address their failure to hold one another accountable. Meanwhile, it appears that the Vatican has come to an agreement with the Chinese government to regularize the underground Church in that country. The deal seems to allow communist bureaucrats to play an integral role in the selection of bishops.

The contrast is shocking. On the one hand, the pope slaps down men who have devoted their lives to the Church and proven their loyalty over decades of service. On the other hand, he is solicitous of the interests of commissars and accommodates them, even to the point of suspending one of the most important canonical principles of modern Catholicism, designed to protect the Church against secular control.

Any particular action by Francis and his team may be defensible. Some have devoted themselves to marshaling arguments of one sort or another to show that each move is principled and exemplary. But Francis seems ­uninterested in developing a coherent theological justification for his actions. He governs with gestures, slogans, and sentiments.

Pope Francis has also revised the Catechism in a way that suggests a fundamental change in the Church’s teaching. This was done in a peremptory fashion without discussion or explanation. It is as if Francis had meditated on St. Ignatius’s Spiritual Exercises, which guides one toward galvanizing discernments that come with commanding immediacy, rather than consulting moral theologians. This can’t help but create the impression that everything is up for grabs. Who knows what will come next?

“Time is greater than space.” Pope Francis put this forward as one of his guiding principles. It means that movements of the spirit matter more than official liturgies, authorized doctrines, and established structures. This principle is anti-institutional. It is a characteristic sentiment of ­Jesuits formed by the Spiritual Exercises who are old enough to take the Church’s institutions for granted.

I taught for a number of years at a Jesuit University. I’m familiar with a pastoral approach that treats disruption and rule-breaking as a spiritual tonic. Many Jesuits I knew were “liberal” in style and rhetoric. But I came to see that this was not always out of conviction. It was a tactic, a posture meant to enhance their evangelical effectiveness. Breaking rules and adopting heterodox views puts people at ease, they thought. It opens up space for the Holy Spirit, getting people onto the “ladder of love” that brings them into the Church.

This is not a crazy approach. In some circumstances, it works. As St. Paul said, “I have become all things to all people,” suggesting a mobile strategy for the proclamation of Christ crucified. This Jesuit adoption of multiple, even contradictory ecclesial masks helps us understand why Pope Francis can tack so quickly from “liberal” to “conservative” positions, suggesting a relaxation of the Church’s judgments about sexual morality (“Who am I to judge?”), while at the same time making striking statements about the unfitness of homosexual men for the priesthood. This approach coheres, moreover, with the Peronist tradition that seeks to transcend ideology in the service of the people. A true Peronist is left-wing—except when he is right-wing.

This does not work as a general strategy for the Church. The Francis mode of improvisation depends on the underlying stability of the tradition for its effectiveness. If the Church becomes the agent of her own disruption and rule-breaking becomes the rule, then Jesuit freelancing tactics lose their spiritual effectiveness. They become, instead, futile gestures in an atmosphere of disorder and confusion. This, I fear, is the effect of the Francis pontificate. He’s like the Baby Boomer who can’t understand why the kids aren’t inspired by his now clichéd and conventional unconventionality. “You shoulda been at Woodstock . . .”

Bishops, leaders of religious orders, and curial officials have institutional responsibilities. I’m not privy to their private conversations. But the disorder and anti-institutional bias of the ­Francis pontificate must be unsettling. The tendency of this pope is to undermine the Church’s most loyal servants. This is surely galling. His lack of interest in ­theology—in ideas generally—reduces his pontificate to the raw exercise of ecclesiastical power. This creates a dictatorial atmosphere that is unpleasant for those who run the Church’s institutions.

Like all Christians, Catholics believe in Christ, who is the same yesterday, today, and forever. We also believe in mother Church. This does not replace faith in Christ. It means we trust that, in her main outlines, the Church is not just a reliable witness to Christ, but also his real presence—the mystical Body of Christ. This is why Catholics often use the word “Church” as a synonym for God’s grace in Christ. A Catholic is loyal to the Church—her teaching, traditions, and liturgies, to be sure, but also her institutions, even the very stones of her buildings. (In Rome, the cobblestones are known as sampietrini, “little St. Peters.”) This loyalty can become exaggerated. The regalia of the Knights of Malta are not essential. But on this whole, the spirit of devotion to the Church’s long-standing traditions and outward forms is evangelical. It is an embodied form of faith in Christ. To cling tenaciously to “space” is a first-fruit of Jesus’s lordship over all things.

Pope Francis seems to regard the uncertainty and instability as desirable. His anti-institutionalism tends to disembody the Catholic faith. A “field hospital” church can pick up and leave. The Church of brick and stone makes a claim to permanence. It contests with the City of Man for territory. It bears witness to the certainty and stability of God’s covenant fulfilled in Christ.

Looking back, we can see that Jorge Bergoglio wrecked some of the institutions he was in charge of before he was seated on the chair of St. Peter. He sowed division at the Jesuit seminary during his term as rector. When he stepped down as head of the Argentine Jesuit province, conflict and bad feelings reigned.

To be sure, some things need to be broken. I’ve written about the sclerotic chancery culture in the United States. Long ago, Joseph Ratzinger warned that the Church in the West must discard self-important illusions, legacies of her role in Christendom, in order to restore salt to her witness. By some accounts, Bergoglio broke down some of the corrupt connections between the Church and elite interests in Argentina. We can all think of needed reforms.

But those occupying the offices of leadership in the Church must also build up, unify, and encourage the troops. This Francis seems unwilling to do. He’s like a supreme commander who prizes his bold commando platoons while deriding the common foot soldiers. This leads to disaster, for the everyday soldiers, the grunts, are the ones who take and hold territory.

The Son of God came in order to take territory. The sharp edge of conquest can be found in the witness of the martyrs, the holiness of the saints, and the courageous words of prophets. But the “rosary counters,” the regular Mass-goers, the priests who care about canonical norms, the bishops who oversee their dioceses—they occupy and secure the territory.

I have the impression that the majority of the cardinals and other churchmen in positions of responsibility are increasingly aware the Francis pontificate is a failure. This judgment need not indicate theological disagreement. Indeed, part of the concern stems from the growing realization that Francis has no theology. (“Reality is superior to the idea,” as he puts it.) Authority without principle and rule without law run on intuition and discernment, which means either tyranny (the authority of one man’s intuitions) or anarchy (the authority of everyone’s discernments). Either way, the Church loses her specific gravity, and the world and its principles invade and advance to take territory.

A sagacious pope would try to temper the uproar in the American Church by appointing a man of impeccable reputation to the seat in Washington made vacant by the departure of the discredited Cardinal Wuerl. Francis is expected to do the opposite. And his proxies are sure to denounce any criticism of his pick as stemming from a cabal of rich conservatives who want to hijack the Church for political purposes.

Meanwhile, for all its talk of the poor, this pontificate has a close and cozy relationship with the Davos elite that is without precedent. Again, I’m not privy to the thoughts of cardinals and Vatican prefects, but I can imagine that a far-seeing ecclesiastical eminence rightly suspects that this pontificate will cut deals with the secular West not unlike its power-sharing agreement with the communist government in China. Instead of claiming territory, the Francis pontificate is turning Catholicism into a chaplaincy for the elite interests in the emerging global world order. Those who know Jesuits will recognize this as their historical pattern, still very much the norm amid lots of chatter about social justice.

Cuban 50's Christmas Music for the last day of Christmas

Christus natus es de Maria Virgine
(Tempore Nativitatis)

Christus apparuit nobis, Venite adoremus.
(In Epiphaniæ Domini)

Christus Mariæ et Ioseph subditus fuit.
(In festo sanctæ Familiæ)

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Healthy Modesty Boundaries

Chastity is a virtue which depends on the virtue of modesty. Everyone should get in the habit of avoiding the giving and receiving of temptations against the ninth and sixth commandments.

I recall that in a tour book for Israel there is a note on female decorum in Middle-Eastern society, for example, females should not go about unaccompanied. There are similar admonitions regarding modest attire.

It is interesting to note the norms on this in Saint Augustine's Rule for Sisters. In the present #MeToo world we do well to consider how "unwanted advances" may often be intentionally and unintentionally invited. What is more, Sodom necessarily requires a specific code of modesty. Remember that only one family was saved from Sodom, the family that left, and only those who left without looking back! "And [Lot's] wife looking behind her, was turned into a statue of salt." Genesis 19:26

Chapter X.

Let there be nothing remarkable in your habit and do not seek to please by your dress, but by the dispositions of your heart. Let not your veils be so thin as to show the head-dress beneath; nor shall your hair be uncovered so that it may be neither negligently dishevelled, nor artfully put up in a knot.
When you go abroad, walk together; when you come to your destination remain together. Whether you walk, stand still, sit, or make any movement, let nothing be done which may stir any one to concupiscence, but let all be conformable to holiness, that is, to the holiness of your vocation.

Chapter XI.

If you cast your eyes on any man, nevertheless fasten them on none. You are not indeed forbidden to see men when you go abroad; but to desire them, or to wish them to desire you, is a criminal fault; for it is not only by the touch, but by the mind and the eyes, that a woman is desired and desires. And do not say that your intention is modest if your eyes be immodest; for an immodest eye is the messenger of an immodest heart, and though the tongue keep silence, when hearts wantonly entertain each other with mutual glances, and concupiscence moves them to take pleasure in sinful desires, even if the body remain chaste, chastity none the less perishes in the heart. And she who fastens her eyes on a man, and likes him to return her look, must not imagine that her so doing will be unobserved. She is certainly seen and by those she little thinks on. But suppose that no one notice her conduct, how will she hide herself from Him Who looks on from on high from Whom nothing can be hid? Can we, I ask, think that He sees not our actions, because he sees them with patience proportioned to His wisdom and knowledge? Him, therefore, let the devout woman fear to displease, that she may not cherish the evil wish to please any man. Let her remember that God sees all, that she may not desire any man to cast sinful looks upon her; for the fear of Him is enjoined on us,, and for this very reason where it is written; He is an abomination to the Lord (Pr 11, 20), who fixes his eye on evil.

Chapter XII.

When, therefore, you are together in the Church or elsewhere in the presence of men, take a mutual care to preserve one another's chastity, for by this means God, Who dwells in you, will preserve you from yourselves. And should you perceive that any one of you is making free with her eyes in the way I speak of, admonish here at once, that those beginnings may not go any farther, but be then and there corrected. And if, after your admonition, you see her repeat the same, or perhaps another day, then she who shall have perceived ti, whoever she be, shall make her known as one already wounded, that she may be cured. But before this be done, the same fault ought to be brought to the notice of one or two others, that she may be convicted by the testimony of two or three (cf. Mt 18, 16) and corrected with suitable severity. And think not that by detecting this evil you are showing her any ill will; for , on the contrary, the fault would be were you by your silence to permit your sisters to perish, when by accusing them, you might lead to their amendment. For if your sister had a sore in her body which she wished to conceal for fear of an incision, would it not be cruelty to keep silence and kindness to make it known? How much more then ought you to manifest a spiritual ulcer, that it may not fester more dangerously at the heart?

Rules of the Institute of St. Augustine, for the Sisters

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Music for Octave of Epiphany

Solus cum sola non dicunt 'Ave'

That is my response to yesterday's news of a prominent Opus Dei priest's past sexual misconduct with an adult woman. It means that it is always dangerous for a man to be alone with a woman.

The entire Church needs to re-institute the age-old norm of not hearing confessions of women or children outside of a traditional confessional.

"Entre santa y santo pared de cal y canto." --Teresa of Avila
(Between a [male] saint and a [female] saint you need a very thick and impenetrable wall!)

Solus Cum Sola

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Pope Francis Anti-Clerical Letter to US Bishops, Ignoring Homosexual Problem and Chastity

The most striking thing about the January 1st Letter of Pope Francis to the Bishops of the United States is the misplaced "clericalism" theme which continues to expose the Holy Father's anti-clericalism. Though in the introduction he mentions a "culture of abuse" he goes on for eight pages on the evil of division and bureaucracy in the hierarchy while not once mentioning chastity, virginity, celibacy, truth, church discipline. He does not even allude to homosexuality, or to the homosexualism which is ignoring and perpetuating it, buttressed by the grave and scandalous error that homosexual activity is not the problem.

What needs to happen in the Church is simply the following and the enforcing of Canon 521! The problem in the Church in 2019 is the promotion and toleration of bad leaders: doctrinally unsound and of notoriously immoral lives, and the ignoring and denial of that problem, and the Holy Father too obstinately continues to exhibit and encourage that!

Expose and Depose the Homophiles Who are Running the Church, at Every Level! THE VIGANO PLAN

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Christmas Oratorio --Liszt

Happy Year of the Lord MMXIX!
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