Saturday, April 13, 2024

Martyrdom of Blessed Rolando Rivi, Cassock Martyr

Blessed Rolando Maria Rivi ( Castellarano, 7 January 1931 – Monchio , 13 April 1945 ) was a Catholic seminarian , killed by communists during the Second World War. He is the patron saint of seminarians and altar servers of the archdiocese of Modena-Nonantola.

Born in San Valentino, a hamlet of Castellarano , the second of the three children of Roberto Rivi and Albertina Canovi [1] , he entered the seminary of Marola in the autumn of 1942 but in 1944 , following the German occupation of the town, he was forced to return home. However, he did not stop feeling like a seminarian or wearing the cassock, despite the contrary opinion of his parents, who were worried about the anti-religious acts of hatred widespread in the area: acts of violence and the killing of priests became very common in that period.

On 10 April 1945, during the last stages of the war of liberation , he was kidnapped by a group of communist partisans, [2] [3] [4] who forced the fourteen-year-old boy to follow them into the countryside. A note was left for his parents saying "Don't look for him. He'll come with us partisans for a moment". [2] Accusing him of spying [5] for the fascists, after three days of beatings, humiliation and torture, they killed him with pistol shots in a wood in Piane di Monchio , a hamlet of Palagano . [6] [7]

Following the indications of some partisans, including those of the murderer himself [8] , on the evening of 14 April Roberto Rivi and Don Alberto Camellini, curate of San Valentino, found his body with a face covered in bruises, a tortured body and two fatal wounds, one to the left temple and the other at the heart. The next day they transported him to Monchio, where he had a Christian funeral and burial. [9]

After the Liberation, on 29 May 1945 the body was moved and buried in the San Valentino cemetery, with the homage of all the parishioners. Since his tomb had become a destination for pilgrimages, on 26 June 1997 , with a solemn ceremony, he was given a new burial inside the church of San Valentino, in the shrine of the parish priests of the parish.

In 1951 the Court of Assizes of Lucca sentenced those responsible for the killing, Giuseppe Corghi, who had shot, and Delciso Rioli, commander of the 27th Garibaldi "Dolo" Brigade, to 23 years of imprisonment. The conviction was confirmed in 1952 by the Court of Assizes of Appeal of Florence and became final in the Supreme Court. [10] The two were then convicted - in all three levels of justice - for murder to 22 years in prison, but they served only 6 as a result of the Togliatti Amnesty .

Giuseppe Corghi (1919-1998) (left) and Delcisio Rioli (1922-1996), (right) convicted in 1951 for the murder of Rolando Rivi.

After a series of healings recognized as miraculous by the Catholic Church, as they were obtained with his intercession, his cause for canonization was opened on 7 January 2006 by the Archdiocese of Modena . In May 2012, the competent Vatican commission of theological "censors" approved the validity of his martyrdom of him in odium fidei . [11]

On March 28, 2013, Pope Francis authorized the Congregation for the Causes of Saints to promulgate the decree recognizing his martyrdom. [12] On 5 October 2013 the beatification ceremony was celebrated in front of thousands of people gathered in the Palazzetto dello Sport in Modena . [13] [14]

After the Angelus at Saint Peter's Square on 6 October 2013 Pope Francis said:

"Dear brothers and sisters, yesterday in Modena Rolando Rivi was proclaimed blessed. He was a seminarian of that land, Emilia, who was killed in 1945 when he was 14 years old out of hatred for his faith. He was guilty only of wearing a cassock during a period when violence was unleashed against the clergy for having raised their voice in the name of God to condemn massacres that immediately followed the war. But faith in Jesus conquers the spirit of the world! Let us give thanks to God for this young martyr and for his heroic witness to the Gospel. And how many 14-year-olds today have this example before their eyes: a courageous young person who knew where he had to go, who knew the love of Jesus in his heart and gave his life for him! A beautiful example for young people!"

In autumn 2013, a traveling exhibition entitled " I am of Jesus " was also prepared, consisting of twenty panels. [15] In some places, such as Rio Saliceto, the exhibition was boycotted by the parents of the local " Anne Frank " school [15] [16] who, on the grounds that the exhibition "sullied the memory of the Resistance ", obtained the suspension of visits educational. [15] [17] The bishop of the Diocese of Reggio Emilia-Guastalla Massimo Camisasca responded to the stop on visits:

«The beatification of Rolando Rivi was presented by the diocesan Church as a great moment of reconciliation. This is the meaning of the Church's recognition of martyrdom. Reconciliation cannot occur through the denial of historical truth. No one should be afraid of historical truth. If there is an evil that has been done we must denounce it: we must forgive those who committed it, but not hide what happened."

( The bishop of the Diocese of Reggio Emilia-Guastalla Massimo Camisasca regarding the Rio Saliceto controversy [15] )

On 15 April 2018, on the 73rd anniversary of the martyrdom, Mrs. Meris Corghi, daughter of Giuseppe Corghi, in the presence of Bishop Massimo Camisasca, shook hands with the sister and other living relatives of the Martyr, sending a message of peace and of union for the end of all wars "...this handshake between our two families is the symbol of the right atonement for the brotherly hatred for every father, for every grandfather, for every great-grandfather that everyone has in our family returned alive from the war." [18] [19] [20]

The liturgical memory of Blessed Rolando is celebrated on May 29 , the day of his transfer to the San Valentino cemetery in 1945 . The liturgical feast is celebrated all over the world and in the Philippines there is a group of "friends of Rolando". Relics of the young seminarian are widespread throughout the world, generally fragments of the wooden box in which his body was kept [21] .

Notes
1. Andrea Muni, Holy children, holy boys , Lulu.com publisher, 2011
2. Jump to:a b "Victim of communist partisans will be beatified", article inStoria in retenº 91 of May 2013, page 4
3. Rolando Rivi will be blessed. This is his story | Tempi.it
4. From "Il Foglio"
5. Andrea Zambrano, Blessed Rolando Maria Rivi. The child martyr , Imprimatur editore, 2014
6. From "il Giornale"
7. Rolando Rivi , in Saints, blessed and witnesses - Enciclopedia dei santi , santiebeati.it. URL consulted on 2 April 2013 .
8. The seminarian killed by partisans will soon be blessed - Vatican Insider
9. « Die decima quinta mensis aprilis 1945. Rivi Rolandus, filius Ruperti et Canovi Albertinae, statu celebs, e S. Valentino (Regii Lepidi) hic, aetate annorum 14, die 13 aprilis currentis, hora 19, per manus hominum iniquorum, in Comunione Sanctae Matris Ecclesiae, animam Deo reddidit. Cadaver autem eius, hodie, sacris persolutis exequiis, ac Missa celebrated, in coemeterio parochial, sepultum est. » Death certificate taken from the parish register of Monchio.
10. Article by Luigi Accattoli
11. "Yes to the beatification of Rolando Rivi", in Resto del Carlino of 18 May 2012.
12. PROMULGATION OF DECREES OF THE CONGREGATION OF THE CAUSES OF SAINTS Archived on 31 March 2013 in the Internet Archive .. Rolando Rivi will be blessed on 5 October, as announced by the Archbishop of Modena Monsignor Antonio Lanfranchi on the day of commemoration of the death of the seminarian killed by the partisans on April 13, 1945.
13. Rolando Rivi, "one more priest" in the ranks of the blessed on Agenzia Zenit dated 5/10/2013
14. Rolando Rivi is blessed on Agenzia Zenit of 7/10/2013
15. Jump to:a b c d School: visit to Rolando Rivi exhibition prevented | News | www.avvenire.it
16. Negri: the no to the Rolando Rivi exhibition is serious | Tempi.it
17. Elementary school bans exhibition by Rolando Rivi | Tempi.it
18. From "Avvenire"
19. From "Famiglia Cristiana"
20. From "La nuova Bussola Quotidiana
21. Aldo Cazzullo , The priest shot by the fascists, the seminarian killed by the partisans: secrets and truths of the "Italian civil war" , in Corriere della Sera , 30 May 2021. URL consulted on 30 May 2021 .

Bibliography
  • Mino Martelli, One war and two resistances, 1940-1946. Works and blood of the Italian clergy and in particular the Romagna-Emilian clergy in the war and in the resistance on two fronts , Bari, Edizioni Paoline, 1976.
  • Paolo Risso, Rolando Rivi, a boy for Jesus, Camposampiero, Edizioni Del Noce, 1997. ISBN 88-86115-85-7 . Available online .
  • Emilio Bonicelli, Blood and Love. Novel , Milan, Jaca Book, 2004. ISBN 88-16-30403-0 .
  • Roberto Beretta, History of the priests killed by the partisans, Casale Monferrato, Piemme, 2005. ISBN 88-384-8459-7 .
  • Emilio Bonicelli, Rolando Rivi, martyr seminarian (preface by Luigi Negri ), Camerata Picena, Shalom, 2010. ISBN 978-88-8404-220-0 .
  • Emilio Bonicelli, Rolando Rivi witness to the truth, in Il Nuovo Areopago , nn. 1-2/2014, pp. 45–49.
  • Andrea Zambrano, Rolando Maria Rivi, il martire bambino, Edizioni Ares, 2023.

Thursday, April 11, 2024

The Cross is Back Atop Santissima Trinità dei Pellegrini


TLM (The Liturgical Movement) has a post featuring pictures of the newly restored facade of Santissima Trinità dei Pellegrini, with one gross omission: the capstone cross on top of the typanum! None of the photos on that page features that most obvious restoration on the facade: the restored crowning cross at the pinnacle, the absence of which I often lamented and am now happy to see returned! 

I first noticed that cross was missing when a friend made for me a sketch of the facade, sine cruce! When I objected, he simply replied that it had no cross on top. Now it does. Deo gratias!

Perhaps I should now commission another sketch.

N.B. The past couple of days Father Z's posts on the restoration have consistently featured the cross on top, though he also neglects to mention that newly returned member of the restored facade.
Historically the Church had a large cross mounted on an elaborate pedestal.
Before the recent restoration.
Fully Restored

Sunday, April 7, 2024

An Earthquake and an Total Eclipse


Everyone here is talking about the earthquake of the day before yesterday and tomorrow's total solar eclipse, on the transferred Feast of the Annunciation.

Today is the Octave Day of Easter, Divine Mercy Sunday. Two Fridays ago was Good Friday, the 1991 anniversary of the act of Redemption by Jesus Christ our Blessed Lord.

"Now from the sixth hour (when he was crucified) there was darkness over the whole earth, until the ninth hour (when he died on the cross)." Mt. 27:45

"And Jesus...yielded up the ghost. And behold the veil of the temple was rent in two from the top even to the bottom, and the earth quaked, and the rocks were rent. And the graves were opened: and many bodies of the saints that had slept arose...Now the centurion and they that were with him watching Jesus, having seen the earthquake, and the things that were done, were sore afraid, saying: Indeed this was the Son of God." Mt. 27:50-54

Christ is the Lord of heaven and earth. Even they give testimony to His victory of sin and death!

Happy Easter!

Christus resurrexit!

Saturday, April 6, 2024

Easter is the Time to Enjoy the Virtue Acquired in Lent


"After all your Lents do you see any progress?"

Thus the question put to me by a freshman at the (first-class Liberal Arts Catholic) College where I am chaplain, a question which won't stop nagging me.

I never thought of Lent explicitly in those terms before, of measured progress, as with the life of virtue/vice (for example in our devotion of frequent confession, deliberately trying to uproot the predominant fault by exercising the opposite virtue). 40 days is ample time to acquire the virtue of the "Lenten Fast," which one might (and, perhaps, should) freely and joyfully continue throughout Easter and the whole year. That is the implication of his question. How has Lent made you better? And the succeeding years one should do the same, with a new virtue every Lent! In other words, if we are doing Lent right, the rigor, having become habitual, is no longer rigorous but pleasurable and easy: a virtue! And that virtue is itself a cause of Easter joy.

This really changes my perspective on the Lenten penance. Lent could become the school of permanent change, instead of an exercise in temporary "virtue" to be quickly discarded at Easter, returning routinely then to the troublesome vice of before. Why shouldn't we Christians revel gladly and freely in a life of great (indeed, heroic) and ever growing virtue, growing from Easter to Easter, to the eternal Easter of every perfection!

P.S. This, exactly this, might be my sermon for tomorrow, the Sunday of the Octave of Easter (Quasimodo Sunday).

Friday, March 29, 2024

How Do I Love Thee? (Sonnet 43)

Elizabeth Barrett Browning 1806 –1861

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of being and ideal grace.
I love thee to the level of every day’s
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for right.
I love thee purely, as they turn from praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints. I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life; and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.


Happy Easter!

Thursday, March 21, 2024

Castitas: Thomas Aquinas' Preeminent Virtue

HIS PERSONALITY

It has been said that the work of St. Thomas is the most impersonal of the entire thirteenth century. It is true that, in the thirty volumes of his Opera there is hardly a single immediately personal trait to discover—unless we consider this very absence as a mirror of his personality. It is doubtless an accident, though a significant one, that only one letter of St. Thomas has come down to us—the letter he wrote, shortly before his death, to the abbot of Monte Cassino. This single letter, however, deals with a textual difficulty in Gregory’s Commentary on Job and is too much an expression of expert opinion to afford the opportunity—as Goethe puts it—“of preserving the immediacy of living existence” and revealing it to us.

Those, however, who knew Thomas personally, must have sensed from his immediate presence the qualities of saintliness. And he must have been singularly impressive—a man of tall and erect bearing, at once strong and sensitive; with a mighty and commanding forehead, his skin gleaming like golden wheat, his face shining with a radiance that was never extinguished. There could be no doubting the special holiness of this friar, who frequently could be seen pacing up and down the convent halls in great strides, head erect, alone, meditating. The witnesses at the canonization process, many of whom had long been associated with Thomas, had nothing to report concerning unusual ascetic exercises or mortifications. But they testified that Thomas loved peace; that he was sparing regarding himself, humble, and full of goodness for his fellows. He was a lover of poverty and his heart was entirely directed toward the divine.

One particular trait was named most frequently by the more than thirty witnesses, and often in first place: castitas. St. Thomas must have been a man of such purity and radiance of character that everyone coming into his presence seemed to feel something like a fresh, cool breeze.

When Thomas was held prisoner in the isolation of the castle of San Giovanni, his brothers had tried in various ways to turn him from his decision to become a mendicant friar. (Reginald, one of the two brothers who had imprisoned him, was a poet of some note in his own day, known in particular for love poems in the vernacular. A Swedish scholar edited these poems during World War I [O. Tallgren, Les poesies de Reginaldo d'Aquino. Memoires de la Societe Neophilologique de Helsingfors, VI. Bd. {1917}; S. 174-303].) One day the brothers sent a practiced courtesan into Thomas’s chamber. We know only that he turned her out roughly. However, it seems that the twenty-year-old lad went in those few moments through a terrifying interior struggle. William of Tocco writes: Thomas immediately thereafter collapsed at the threshold of his chamber and fell exhausted into a deep sleep out of which he awoke with a loud scream. The scream was caused by an exceedingly painful operation. An angel had girded him tightly with a cincture in order to make him inviolable against all future temptation to impurity. Toward the end of his life Thomas related all of this to his friend and secretary, Reginald of Piperno.

Since we nowadays think that all a man needs for acquisition of truth is to exert his brain more or less vigorously, and since we consider an ascetic approach to knowledge hardly sensible, we have lost the awareness of the close bond that links the knowing of truth to the condition of purity. Thomas says that unchastity’s first-born daughter is spiritual blindness. (Cf. Pieper on Temperance in The Four Cardinal Virtues, Notre Dame Press, 2006, 159ff.) Only he who wants nothing for himself, who is not subjectively “interested,” can know the truth. On the other hand, an impure, selfishly corrupted will-to-pleasure destroys both resoluteness of spirit and the ability of the psyche to listen in silent attention to the language of reality.

To perceive this language, i.e., to grasp the truth of real things—this is the true passion of St. Thomas. This fundamental character trait leads us to an understanding of his astonishing courage and his no less astonishing humility. When Thomas, for instance, ranged himself on the side of the pagan Aristotle against the traditional philosophico-theological trends (an undertaking requiring great boldness), he did this not from a spirit of opposition to traditional doctrines or from a mania for innovations, but rather because his intrepid approach to truth recognized the voice of reality in Aristotle’s work. This same boldness for truth made him ask, in his Commentary on the Book of Job whether Job’s bold conversation with the Lord God did not violate reverence—to which he gave the almost outrageous answer: truth does not change according to the standing of the person to whom it is addressed; he who speaks truthfully is invulnerable, regardless of the interlocutor. (Thomas Comment on Job, chapt.13, lecture 1.)

Another facet of this courage is shown in an incident pertaining to his last years in Paris—a time when the eyes of all Europe were fixed on him. At a public and formal disputation of some controversial points of his teaching, Thomas, after calmly presenting his arguments, had no hesitation to submit them for the final decision to the Bishop of Paris and the university faculty. (Many years later, the fiery Franciscan John Peckham, become Archbishop of Canterbury, who was Thomas’s opponent in the dispute, recalled the incident with great admiration.) If Thomas, at the height of his fame as a teacher, was capable of such humility, we have to see in it not so much the sign of modest self-effacement, but rather the courage to face the truth, to which belongs the courage to see in a thesis neither less nor more than its premises warrant. This tranquil courage for truth, neither afraid of rejection nor overly eager for approval, shows that Thomas was happily free of all self-importance. We have a prayer he wrote in which he asks God to let him be cheerful without falling into frivolity, and become mature without falling into pompousness.

We have become used to see in an intellectual dispute something in the nature of a fencing match, or at least of a contest with victors and vanquished. And by and large such disputes are carried on according to the rules of such contests. Thomas would have thought it unbearably self-important had anyone spoken of his “victory” over Averroes or Siger of Brabant. For him, an intellectual dispute was a common striving for the victory, not of one of the contenders, but of truth. Even the erring party, he says, is meritorious; for error, too, may serve the enlightenment of truth. (Cf. Thomas Comment. on Arist. Metaphysics, Bk. 2, Lecture 1.) Accordingly, in his disputes with opponents of contrary positions, Thomas violates all fighting codes. He challenges the opponent not at the weakest spot in his position—too cheap a procedure for Thomas, who was noble in more than name—but, rather, he meets him precisely in the area of his strongest arguments. Often enough Thomas is the first to bring the actual force of these arguments to light; frequently, it is through his formulations that the objections of his adversaries gain their persuasive power. Thus, in the study of such a work as The Summa Contra Gentiles it is an exhilarating experience to see an intrepid mind meet the essential questions squarely, with no attempt at side-stepping them.

One cannot touch on the theme “Thomas and the truth” and remain silent about the devotion with which he was the teacher of truth. To lead a man from error to truth—this he considered the greatest service which one man can render to another. (Cf. Thomas Comment on Dionysius, Chapt. 13, Lecture 4.) And nothing characterized Thomas the teacher so strongly as his prayer and hope that his life would not outlast his teaching. Once he could no longer teach, then life itself might as well be taken away from him. Teaching, for Thomas, is something other and greater than to impart by one method or another the “findings of research”; something other and greater than the report of a thinker on the results of his inquiry, not to mention the ways and by-ways of his search. Teaching is a process that goes on between living men. The teacher looks not only at the truth of things; at the same time he looks at the faces of living men who desire to know this truth. Love of truth and love of men—only the two together constitute a teacher. No small part of the whole work of St. Thomas was written in answer to requests of friends—sometimes the request of a prince, or, just as often, the request of a nobody. Once a young confrère from Venice, a “beginner,” submitted to him no less than thirty-six separate questions, which were not even clearly formulated, and requested an answer within four days. Thomas, who could legitimately have excused himself with the excessive demands made on him by more important work, not only supplied the answers but also formulated the questions more precisely; and in addition to that, he met the requested time limit.

Teaching demands above all else the capacity of survey and of simplification, and the ability and effort to think from the premise of a beginner. St. Thomas possessed his capacity of true simplification to a high degree, and he made every effort to take his student’s point of view as his lead. The best energies and the best part of his life he devoted not to a work of “research” but to a textbook for beginners, which is nonetheless the result of the deepest immersion into truth. The Summa Theologica is expressly written ad eruditionem for the instruction of beginners, as it is plainly stated several times in the preface. In this preface Thomas mentions the boredom produced by the over-familiar, and the confusion experienced by beginners through the excesses of misplaced scholarship. The teaching method of St. Thomas, contemporaries report, fascinated his students precisely through its freshness and originality. (Cf. Summa Theologica, I, prologus.) To quote Martin Grabmann, Thomas was the first to eliminate the underbrush of “scholastic” hair-splitting, which had already become traditional in the thirteenth century—to be revived, it is true, in new profusion by the late Scholastics.

What astounding capacities of survey and simplification are revealed in the threefold division of the Summa Theologica: “In the first part we will treat of God, in the second, of the turning back of spirit-endowed creatures to God, in the third of Christ, Who is in His Humanity the Way on which we will arrive at God. What power of simplification in a sentence such as the following, which embraces a "Summa" of Christian teaching on life: “Three kinds of knowledge are necessary to man for his salvation: the knowledge of what he must believe, the knowledge of that for which he must pray, and the knowledge of what he must do. The first is taught in the creeds of our Faith, the second in the prayer of the Lord, the third in the commandments." (Cf. Thomas On the Commandments.)

The intimate fusion, in this towering mind, of the innate gift for probing, grasping, and illuminating reality to its depth, and the capacity for giving it an inspired and convincing form as a teacher, becomes overwhelmingly evident in the tersely formulated eleventh chapter in the fourth book of The Summa Contra Gentiles. In this chapter, that stands perhaps unmatched even in Thomas’s own work, he undertakes to describe the ordered structure of total reality, building it up from stone to angel and to God Himself, in a truly ravishing range of vision. This is what it says:

Where things differ in nature, we find different modes of emanation. The more this emanation takes place in the innermost reality of a thing, the higher is its order of being. Now, of all things, the inanimate take the lowest place and from them no emanation is possible except by the action of one on another . . .

The next higher order after inanimate bodies is formed by the plants whose emanation proceeds from within inasmuch as the plant’s inner juice is converted into seed, which being committed to the soil grows into a new plant. Accordingly, we find here the first traces of life, since living things are those which move themselves into activity. Nevertheless, the plant’s life is still imperfect, for although its emanation proceeds from within, that which emanates emerges out of it and is ultimately entirely outside it. Thus, from the juice of the tree, first the blossom is produced and then the fruit which, although still connected with the tree, is outside its bark. When the fruit is ripe it separates itself entirely from the tree, falls to the earth, and brings forth out of its own seminal force a new plant. Indeed, if we consider the matter carefully we shall see that the first principle of this emanation is something extraneous, for the inner juice of the tree is sucked up by the roots from the earth, whence the plant draws its nourishment.

Above the level of plant life is a higher level, that of the sensitive soul, the proper emanation whereof, though beginning from without, terminates within. Also, the further the emanation proceeds, the more does it penetrate within, for the sensible object impresses a form on the external senses, whence it passes to the imagination and, further still, to the storehouse of the memory. Yet in every process of this kind of emanation, the beginning and the end are in different subjects, for no sensitive power reflects on itself. Therefore, this degree of life transcends that of plants insomuch as it is more intimate; and yet it is not a perfect life, since the emanation is always from one thing to another. The highest degree of life, therefore, is that which is according to intellect, for the intellect reflects on itself and can understand itself. There are, however, in the intellectual life several levels to be distinguished. The human intellect, although it is capable of knowing itself, still takes the beginning of its knowledge from without. Man is not able to know without a sense image. More perfect is the life of the angel, whose knowing spirit does not acquire self-knowledge from without, but rather knows itself through itself. Even so, life has still not reached its last and highest step, because the angel’s spiritual image of itself, although wholly within it, is still not one with its being. For in the angel, to know and to be are not the same thing. The highest perfection of life belongs to God, Whose understanding is not distinguished from His Being.

For its true effect, this sovereignly constructed passage should be heard in the Latin. The language of St. Thomas does not have the quality of beauty proper to a work of art, as we find it, for instance, in Augustine; it is beautiful as a perfect instrument is beautiful. And yet, there are in the writings of St. Thomas numerous chapters whose sentences move in such rhythmic cadence toward their final “therefore,” that one can think of no more fitting comparison than that with the determined stride of the final measures in an organ fugue by Johann Sebastian Bach. It would be strange indeed if, as a shallow judgment of the humanists has decreed, the secret of language should have been barred to the very man who gave Christendom the hymn: Adoro Te devote, latens Deitas.

Josef Pieper, The Silence of St. Thomas, Faber: London, 1957, 24-35.

Saturday, March 16, 2024

Elon Musk with Tucker Carlson: Full Interview


PART 1 (April 17): 0:00 PART 1: AI dangers 11:37 TruthGPT 16:21 Twitter acquisition 19:57 How to use Twitter 21:08 Twitter manipulation 26:30 Mark Zuckerberg 27:21 Donald Trump 28:27 Media industry 30:51 Twitter staff reduction PART 2 (April 18): 33:42 PART 2: AI kill switch 35:53 Larry Page 37:57 AI timeline 39:00 Democracy 39:44 Banking crisis 44:14 Inflation 46:23 Aliens 48:44 Birth rates & lifecycle for civilizations

Twitter, after Musk takeover, is 20% of original staff. Musk: (30:00) "If you're not trying to run some sort of glorified activist organization. If you don't care that much about censorship. Then you can really let go of a lot of people, it turns out...It was absurdly over-staffed...It's working better than ever. We've increased the responsiveness of the system, in some cases, over 80%. We are trying the make Twitter the most trusted place on the internet, the least untrustworthy place on the internet."

Monday, February 19, 2024

Faggotry is not a Minority & Poverty is not Perversion

There is a huge (ancient and Jewish) error in present politics which falsely equates material prosperity with virtue and material poverty with vice.

Beware of those who equate sexual perversion with racial equality. That is the age-old racist stance which equates minority with moral evil and perversion: the notion that "those who are not like us are bad."

Beware of those who claim to love the poor but promote abortion, and sexual perversion (faggotry), her mother. Abortion is the bloody daughter of faggotry. And homosexualism, that dirty and infanticidal mother, is not a racial, a minority, category. It is moral perversion raised to the ideological, the political, level.

Both Marx and Hitler (both atheistic anti-Catholic leftists) equated poverty with vice. They theorized that those who are poor will necessarily be in the grip of vice. That is not a self-evident principle any more than the apparently opposite but related Romantic/Positivist principle of the noble savage, that civilization is the source of vice, that man in his natural state is pure and good. This is a denial of the fact of original sin on the one hand and of the glorious cultural achievement of Christian civilization on the other. It is a Hegelian rejection of Christ and His great Virtue in the world, the ideological source of those totalitarian twin brothers Marx and Hitler.

Saint Teresa of Calcutta had a wonderful principle in this regard: poverty does not mean filth. Poverty and cleanliness can and should coincide. On the one hand, minorities and the poor are often the finest Catholics, virtuous to the highest degree, and, there are countless saints among the Catholic royals of history.

Poverty and Virtue are one in Christ, and in His followers, as witnessed by the African exemption to Fiducia supplicans.

Homosexualism, a Western "white" phenomenon in our day, is trying to hijack the hispanics, the blacks, and, now, with Fiducia supplicans, the Catholic faith itself.

Saturday, February 17, 2024

DOES FIDUCIA SUPPLICANS AFFIRM HERESY?

Gerhard Cardinal Müller

Does the Vatican’s recent declaration Fiducia Supplicans contain teachings contrary to the divine and Catholic faith? The Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith (DDF) addressed this question in a press release issued on January 4, in response to concerns from many bishops and entire Episcopal Conferences. The press release defends the orthodoxy of Fiducia Supplicans by quoting it, arguing that the declaration does not change the Catholic Church’s teaching on marriage and sexuality and does not state anything heretical. It argues that Fiducia Supplicans concerns not doctrine, but practical matters, and that it simply needs to be adapted to different contexts and sensitivities.

But is it that simple? In reality, the criticism from concerned bishops is not that the declaration explicitly denies Church teaching on marriage and sexuality. Rather, the criticism is that by permitting the blessing of couples who have sex outside of marriage, especially same-sex couples, it denies Catholic teaching in practice, if not in words. The criticism is based on a solid traditional principle: lex orandi, lex credendi—the principle that the way the Church prays reflects what the Church believes. As the Catechism puts it: “When the Church celebrates the sacraments, she confesses the faith received from the apostles.”

There are, in fact, Catholic practices that cannot be altered without rejecting Catholic doctrine. Think, for example, of what the Council of Trent calls the substance of the sacraments, that is, those elements of the sacraments that were established by Christ himself. A change that affects this substance, even if it is a practical change, would be a rejection of Catholic doctrine. For example, if someone were to affirm in words the Catholic teaching on baptism, but then admit to the Eucharist those who are not baptized, he would be rejecting Catholic teaching. St. Thomas said that such contradictions created “falsehood in the sacramental signs.”

The question, then, is whether to accept the “pastoral” and non-liturgical “blessings” proposed by Fiducia Supplicans for couples in irregular situations is to deny Catholic doctrine—not in explicit affirmation, but in practice. The press release issued by the DDF does not answer this question. It is therefore necessary to examine it in detail.

First of all, we must consider the distinction between liturgical blessings and purely pastoral blessings, for it is on this distinction that Fiducia Supplicans relies. Fiducia Supplicans argues that these new “pastoral blessings” for couples in irregular situations are not liturgical. Now, this distinction between blessings is a novelty that Fiducia Supplicans introduces, which has not the slightest basis in Scripture, the Holy Fathers, or the Magisterium. Fiducia Supplicans claims that “pastoral blessings” are not liturgical. Yet they have a liturgical structure, according to the example given in the DDF’s press release (a prayer accompanied by the sign of the cross). And in any case, what is liturgical in Christianity is not measured, as in other religions, by objects, vestments, or altars. The fact that it is a priest, representing Christ, who imparts this “pastoral blessing” makes it a liturgical act in which the authority of Christ and the Church is at stake. The Second Vatican Council emphasizes the inseparable link between all the priest’s actions and the liturgy (see Presbyterorum ordinis).

Moreover, every blessing, whatever its solemnity, implies the approval of what is being blessed. This is what the constant tradition of the Church, based on Sacred Scripture, has taught. In fact, the Greek word used in the New Testament for “blessing” is eulogein, which, like the Latin benedicere, literally means “to say that something is good.” Moreover, in Scripture, to bless something is not just to declare it good, but to say that it is good because it comes from the Creator. Blessings are addressed to God’s creation, which he saw as very good, so that God himself may bring it to maturity and fullness. For this reason, a blessing cannot be invoked over relationships or situations that contradict or reject the order of creation, such as unions based on homosexual practice, which St. Paul considers a consequence of denying the Creator’s plan (Rom. 1:21–27). This need to be in harmony with the order of creation applies to every kind of blessing, regardless of its solemnity.

We should note that the DDF implicitly recognizes that these blessings (including pastoral blessings) approve what is being blessed. That is why the press release takes pains to distinguish between the blessing of the couple and the blessing of the union. If it were true that these pastoral blessings do not legitimize anything, there would be no problem in pastorally blessing the union. The DDF’s effort to clarify that the union is not blessed betrays that the DDF considers the “pastoral blessing” an approval, and therefore insists that it is the couple and not the union that is blessed.

Consequently, given the impossibility of distinguishing between liturgical and pastoral blessings, one must conclude that Fiducia Supplicans is doctrinally problematic, no matter how much it affirms Catholic doctrine in words. It cannot be said, therefore, that the question is merely practical and that it depends on the sensibilities of different regions. We are dealing with an issue that touches on both natural law and the evangelical affirmation of the sanctity of the body, which are no different in Malawi than in Germany.

But the DDF has also used two other distinctions to avoid admitting that Fiducia Supplicans implies approval of homosexual unions. The first distinction is between the blessing of the union and the blessing of the couple. Is this distinction possible? Indeed, if one blesses the couple qua couple, that is, as united by a sexual relationship other than marriage, then one is approving that union, since it is the union that constitutes them as such a couple. It would be a different matter if the couple were blessed not as a same-sex couple, but, for example, as a couple of pilgrims approaching a shrine. But this is not what Fiducia Supplicans means, and that is why it speaks of blessing couples in an irregular situation, including same-sex couples.

Let us now examine a second distinction: Could it be said that what is blessed is not the couple as united by the sexual relationship, but the couple as united by other aspects of their life, for example, by the help they give one another during an illness? This distinction does not change the fact that the couple is blessed as a couple that is united by sexual relations outside of marriage. For what continues to constitute the couple as such is the sexual relationship that unites them. The other aspects of their life as a couple are not what constitutes them as a couple, nor do all these aspects succeed in making good the sexual lifestyle that makes them a couple, as the 2021 Responsum of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith already affirmed.

When Cardinal Víctor Manuel Fernández, prefect of the DDF, discussed how to give these blessings, he implied that it is not a matter of blessing the couple. For example, he suggested that the sign of the cross should be made on each person, not on the couple. However, the cardinal did not want to clarify that the couple cannot be blessed, and continued to accept signs—such as the common prayer over the two persons—that give legitimacy in the eyes of the Church to the existence of the couple as a good for the persons united. The cardinal has also refused to condemn certain blessings, such as the one that Fr. James Martin gave publicly, which are clearly addressed to the couple.

Recently, we have noticed a new semantic change in the official explanations of Fiducia Supplicans. They no longer speak of giving the blessing to “couples,” but to “persons,” adding that it is about persons who are “together.” Now, to bless two people together who are together precisely because of the homosexual relationship that unites them is no different than to bless the union. No matter how much one repeats that one is not blessing the union, that is exactly what one is doing by the very objectivity of the rite being performed.

Having established that the basic question is doctrinal, how should we describe the error of Fiducia Supplicans? Is this heresy?

Consider the classical teaching on the various objects of magisterial teaching and of the believer’s adherence to it. This doctrine is contained in John Paul II’s motu proprio Ad tuendam fidem, which presents three “paragraphs” of the Profession of Faith made upon assuming various ecclesiastical offices. The first paragraph refers to the truths contained in revelation; the denial of these truths constitutes heresy. The second paragraph refers to truths that, while not contained in revelation, are intimately related to it and necessary to the preservation of the revealed deposit. These are truths that, because of their historical or logical connection with the revealed truths, must be accepted and held firmly and definitively. Those who deny such truths are in opposition to the teaching of the Catholic Church, even if their assertions cannot be considered heretical in themselves. The third paragraph of the profession of faith refers to the truths taught by the ordinary Magisterium, to which religious assent of mind and will must be given.

How does this apply to our case? The affirmation that homosexual acts are contrary to the law of God is a revealed truth; to deny it would violate the first paragraph of the Profession of Faith and would be heretical. This denial is not found in Fiducia Supplicans. It would also be heretical to accept a nuptial blessing for same-sex couples. This is likewise not found in Fiducia Supplicans. Thus, Fiducia Supplicans does not seem to violate the first paragraph. Then how do we classify its affirmation that sexual unions outside of marriage can be blessed with a non-nuptial blessing? Even if one were to argue that this affirmation is not explicitly rejected in revelation, this affirmation violates, at least, the second paragraph of the Profession of Faith, for, as we have seen, to bless these persons as same-sex couples is to approve their unions, even if they are not equated with marriage. This is therefore a doctrine contrary to the teaching of the Catholic Church, since its acceptance, even if not directly heretical, logically leads to heresy.

For all these reasons, Fiducia Supplicans must be considered doctrinally problematic, for it contains a denial of Catholic doctrine. For this reason, it is also problematic from a pastoral point of view. In fact, a good pastor approaches every person in difficulty as a teacher of God’s commandments, recommends him to God’s prayer, and, in the case of grave sin, leads him to repentance, confession, and renewal of life through forgiveness in sacramental absolution. What he will never do in the pastoral care of Catholics in irregular sexual relationships is to draw analogies between God’s blessing for the marriage of man and woman and a so-called non-liturgical blessing for persons in sinful relationships. In the case of two persons living in an irregular situation, what pastoral reason is there for blessing the persons together rather than as individuals? Why would these persons want to be blessed together, if not because they want God’s approval of their union? To bless them together, therefore, is to confirm them in their sin and thus alienate them from God.

Nor does the principle that we are all sinners, and that therefore no distinction can be made between some sinners and others, befit a good shepherd. Scripture distinguishes between types of sin, as we read in John: “All wrongdoing is sin, but there is sin that is not deadly” (1 John 5:17). The Church’s teaching, based on Scripture, distinguishes between venial sins (which do not necessarily require sacramental absolution to be forgiven) and mortal sins (which do). It also distinguishes those sins that are public from those that are not, as well as sinners who stubbornly persists in their sins from sinners who are open to repentance. These distinctions are important, not for judging people, but for offering them healing. Similarly, a good doctor needs to offer different diagnoses for different cases, for not every illness can be treated in the same way.

In conclusion, as long as the DDF does not correct Fiducia Supplicans by clarifying that blessings cannot be given to the couple, but only to each person individually, the DDF is approving statements that are contrary to at least the second paragraph of the Profession of Faith—that is, it is approving statements that are contrary to the teaching of the Catholic Church, which, without being heretical in themselves, lead to heresy. This means that these pastoral blessings for irregular unions cannot be accepted by the Catholic faithful, and especially by those who, in assuming an ecclesiastical office, have taken the Profession of Faith and the Oath of Fidelity, which calls first of all for the preservation of the deposit of faith in its entirety.

This refusal to accept Fiducia Supplicans, which can be expressed publicly insofar as it concerns the common good of the Church, does not imply any lack of respect for the Holy Father, who signed the text of Fiducia Supplicans; on the contrary. For service to the Holy Father is due to him precisely insofar as he is the guarantor of the continuity of Catholic doctrine, and this service is honored primarily by exposing the grave defects of Fiducia Supplicans.

In short, the exercise of the Magisterium cannot be limited to giving dogmatically correct information about the “truth of the Gospel” (Gal. 2:14). Paul openly and unhesitatingly opposed the ambiguous exercise of the primacy by Peter, his brother in the apostolate, because the latter, by his erroneous conduct, endangered the true faith and the salvation of the faithful, not precisely with regard to the dogmatic profession of the Christian faith, but with regard to the practice of Christian life.

Gerhard Cardinal Müller is former prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Saint Peter Damian, Saint for our Time

LIBER GOMORRHIANUS: The judgment of the Doctor of the Church S. Pier Damiani on homosexuality...



Summer readings for our readers.
HERE to buy it. (Italian)

By San Pier Damiani (Introduction by Roberto de Mattei)


His Liber Gomorrhianus appeared around 1049, in an era in which corruption was widespread, up to the top of the ecclesiastical world. In this writing, addressed to Pope Leo IX, Pier Damiani denounces the perverse vices of his time with a language that knows no false mercy and compromises.

He is convinced that of all the sins, the most serious is sodomy, a term that includes all acts against nature, which aim to satisfy sexual pleasure by diverting it from procreation. “If this absolutely ignominious and abominable vice is not immediately stopped with an iron fist, – he writes – the sword of divine wrath will fall upon us, bringing many to ruin”.

Pope Leo gratefully welcomed the Liber Gomorrhianus, writing to Pier Damiani that "each of the statements in this writing meets with our approval, like water thrown on the diabolical fire" and, taking up the saint's indications, he intervened firmly against the sodomites in the Church. Today, writes Roberto de Mattei in his introduction to the work, “Liber Gomorrhianus reminds us that there is something more serious than practiced and theorized moral vice. It is the silence of those who should speak, the abstention of those who should intervene, the bond of complicity that is established between the wicked and those who, under the pretext of avoiding scandal, remain silent and by remaining silent consent and, worse still, the acceptance by men of the Church of homosexuality, considered not as a very serious sin, but as a positive 'tension' towards the good, worthy of pastoral welcome and legal protection [...]. Will the reading of Liber Gomorrhianus instill the spirit of Saint Pier Damiani in the heart of some prelate or lay person, shaking him from his torpor and pushing him to speak and act?”

San Pier Damiani (1007-1072), abbot of the monastery of Fonte Avellana and later cardinal bishop of Ostia, was one of the most prominent personalities of the Catholic reform of the eleventh century.

Roberto de Mattei is professor of Modern History and Christianity at the European University of Rome and president of the Lepanto Foundation.

Gianandrea de Antonellis, writer, taught Christian literature at the Higher Institute of Religious Sciences in Benevento.
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Luisella Scrosati, La Nuova Bussola Quotidiana , 14-1-24

Great reformer and hermit, Pier Damiani denounced plagues such as simony and homosexuality among the clergy. But his Liber Gomorrhianus was uncomfortable even for the popes who agreed with him, probably because they felt the pressure of the sodomite clerics.
A great saint reformer, unfairly little known. Born in Ravenna in 1007, his father died very early and abandoned by his mother (she also died shortly after) due to the extreme poverty of the family, he was first raised by a brother, who treated him very harshly; then he was raised by another brother, the archpriest Damiano, and started to study the arts of the trivium and quadrivium. Having become a professor, he was deeply affected by an episode in which he read a divine warning: having refused a poor man alms, according to some, or white bread, according to others, he risked suffocating to death due to a bone stuck in his throat. He thus decided to embrace the solitary life, entering the hermitage of Fonte Avellana, a not very large Camaldolese monastery, which was however a hotbed of saints (76, according to Camaldolese tradition) and future bishops, very important for the reform of the Church.

Pier Damiani was elected prior in 1043 and became the protagonist of numerous new foundations, zealously propagating the hermitic life as the culmination of cenobitic monastic life. But it is enough to take a look at his letters, collected in eight volumes in the Opera omnia, to understand how this hermit was particularly attentive to the plagues from which the Church of his time suffered, especially simony and homosexuality in the clergy, trying to denouncing evil, advising pastors, including popes, to implement a courageous reform. For this reason, Pope Stephen IX (1020-1058) appointed him bishop of Ostia and cardinal in 1057; a position which he seems to have accepted only under penalty of excommunication and which he endured for only ten years, then managing to return to the hermit's life.

But let's take a step back. With the pontificate of Leo IX (1002-1054), Saint Pier Damiani began his significant influence on the reform of the Church. There are two writings denouncing the sins of the clergy, widespread and very serious, with the proposal of a more decisive and rigorous line by the Pope: the Liber Gratissimus of 1052, on simony, and the Liber Gomorrhianus, composed in 1049, on homosexuality in ecclesiastics. Both writings were welcomed by Leo IX, but something in the relationship between the two soon ended up cracking. Later, in 1059, he also wrote a small book, De cælibatu sacerdotum, precisely to urge Pope Nicholas II (ca 980-1061) to act against prelates who had concubines and who violated the chastity typical of their state.

As for the first publication, Pier Damiani proposed a firm line against simony, but at the same time explained that the ordinations conferred to or by simoniacious prelates were still valid. On the opposite front, Cardinal Umberto da Silva Candida (†1061), in his Adversus simoniacos, instead supported the need to reorganize those who had received ordination from simoniacious bishops. Leo IX appeared strongly undecided in this regard, and it was only with Nicholas II, during the Roman Synod of 1060, that the definitive position of non-reordination was taken.

But Leo IX's management of the problem of homosexuality appears even more curious. The Liber Gomorrhianus represented the strongest and clearest attempt to strike at the heart of this plague present in the clergy, which Pier Damiani called "quadruple vice", in reference to the four concrete ways in which homosexual practice took place, starting from sinning with oneself , which he considered as a first degree of sin against nature, up to the properly sodomite act. The position of Pier Damiani, who also did not intend to arrogate himself the authority to impose ecclesiastical sanctions, was very firm and decisive not only due to the gravity of the unnatural sin, but also and above all due to the fact that it was committed by clerics. In fact, he declared "contrary to reason and to the sanctions of the Fathers" that "those who habitually stain themselves with this purulent disease dare to enter the order and remain in their rank".

Saint Pier Damiani therefore maintained that those who were habitually implicated in any of these quadruple faults, even if not the most serious, had to be dismissed from the clerical state. Leo IX, in the letter Ad splendidum nitentis (1054), responded personally to the hermit, sharing the firm condemnation of the «unbridled license of muddy lust» and recognizing that those who have been guilty of these sins have always been «removed from all degrees of immaculate church", in accordance with the sacred canons. But, not without disapproving Pier Damiani, the Pope decided to operate "with greater benevolence", allowing those who had been purified by a "worthy penance" and having put "a curb on lust" to be reinstated in their rank of sacred order. they were indeed guilty, "but with not a long practice nor with many people" and provided they had not "sinned in the back".

A decision that was certainly condemnatory, but which left wide margins for interpretation, risking weakening the fight against active homosexuality in the clergy: what did a "not long practice" mean? And what was meant by “many people”? A letter (cf. PL ​​144, 208B-209C) written between 1050 and 1054 seems to attest to the fact that there was a certain distance between the two; Pier Damiani reproaches the Pope for having believed some lies against him, without wanting to verify the facts. It is not known who and for what reason spread falsehoods to the detriment of the hermit; and we don't even know the content of these lies. The fact is that the pontificate of Leo IX slipped away, without too much harm to those ecclesiastics who practiced homosexuality.

But Liber Gomorrhianus was to encounter an even more singular misfortune. When, in 1061, Anselmo da Baggio was elected Pope, choosing the name of Alexander II (+1073), the hour seemed to have come for perversions in the clergy. Anselmo da Baggio had been, together with Pier Damiani, the protagonist of the reform of the Church of Milan; between them there was communion of intent and friendship. Furthermore, Pope Alexander owed his friend a strenuous defense of the legitimacy of his election against the antipope Honorius II. Even his positions as pontiff indicated a desire to fight strenuously against simony and Nicolaism. Yet, in a letter (cf. PL ​​144, 270A-272C) addressed to two cardinals (including Hildebrand of Soana, future Gregory VII), Pier Damiani complained that the Pope had borrowed the copy, probably the only one, of a book dear to him (which many identify with the Liber Gomorrhianus), and he had never returned it to him. In essence, a kidnapping. It is not difficult to think that the book in question must have been very inconvenient and annoyed more than one of the ecclesiastics who worked in the Roman Curia.

San Pier Damiani therefore did not have an easy life precisely in terms of denouncing homosexuality in the clergy. The popes were certainly against this plague, but they seemed to approach the reform with a handbrake. A certain vagueness on the part of Leo IX first, and a probable desire not to offend Pier Damiani's adversaries on the part of Alexander II then, make it clear that the problem was evidently not only widespread, but also penetrated even to the men closest to the popes. Who evidently felt the pressure. The case of Leo IX is then particularly significant: behind his "more human" way of acting, one cannot perhaps see the very practical problem that, in dismissing from the clerical state all those who were guilty of the "fourfold vice", would there have been many problems finding sufficient replacements?
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What did Saint Pier Damiani think about homosexual practice? He said: it's the worst of vices!

Written by the Saint and Doctor of the Church San Pier Damiani , perhaps for the pro-gay Vatican lobby that wants to change the Catechism of the Catholic Church on the subject of sodomy: 1867 " The catechetical tradition also reminds us that there are "sins that cry out to heaven". They cry out towards heaven: the blood of Abel; the sin of the Sodomites ( Cf Gn 18,20; 19,13) ; the lament of the oppressed people in Egypt; the lament of the foreigner, the widow and the orphan; the injustice towards the wage earner ".

Louis


Throughout the Middle Ages, i.e. in the period of formation of Western Christian civilization, the Church never stopped promoting the virtue of temperance and renewing the condemnation of unnatural vice; in this way she managed to reduce it to a very rare and marginal phenomenon.
Among the saints who fought homosexual vice in the Middle Ages, one of the greatest was Saint Pier Damiani, Doctor of the Church, reformer of the Benedictine order and great writer and preacher. In his Liber Gomorrhanus, written around 1051 for Pope Saint Leo IX, he denounces with great vigor the spiritual ruin to which those who practice this vice are condemned. A vice is spreading in our parts that is so gravely nefarious and ignominious that if zealous punitive intervention is not opposed as soon as possible, the sword of divine wrath will certainly rage enormously, destroying many. (…) This turpitude is rightly considered the worst of crimes, since it is written that the almighty God hated it always and in the same way, so much so that while for the other vices he established limits through the legal precept, this vice he wanted to condemn him, with the punishment of the most rigorous revenge. In fact, it cannot be hidden that He destroyed the two infamous cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, and all the neighboring areas, sending rain of fire and brimstone from the sky (...)


And it is quite right that those who, against the law of nature and against the order of human reason, hand over their flesh to the demons to enjoy such disgusting relationships, share the cell of their prayer with the demons. In fact, since human nature profoundly resists these evils, abhorring the lack of the opposite sex, it is clearer than the light of the sun that it would never taste such perverse and alien things if the sodomites, who have become almost vessels of wrath destined for ruin , were not totally possessed by the spirit of iniquity; and in fact this spirit, from the moment it takes possession of them, fills their souls so gravely with all its infernal wickedness, that they crave with their mouths wide open not what is solicited by their natural carnal appetite, but only what it proposes. them in his diabolical solicitude. Therefore, when the mean man rushes into this sin of impurity with another male, he does not do it because of the natural stimulus of the flesh, but only because of the natural impulse. (…)


This vice should not be considered an ordinary vice at all, because it surpasses all other vices in severity. In fact, it kills the body, ruins the soul, contaminates the flesh, extinguishes the light of the intellect, drives out the Holy Spirit from the temple of the soul, introduces the demon instigator of lust, leads into error, uproots the truth with a deceived mind, prepares snares for the traveler, throws him into an abyss, closes him there so as not to let him out again, opens Hell for him, closes the door of Paradise to him, transforms him from a citizen of the celestial Jerusalem into the heir of the infernal Babylon , from a star in the sky to straw destined for eternal fire, separates him from the communion of the Church and throws him into the voracious and seething hellish fire. This vice strives to undermine the walls of the heavenly Fatherland and to repair that of the burned and revived Sodom. In fact, it violates austerity, extinguishes modesty, enslaves chastity, kills irrecoverable virginity with the dagger of an impure contagion, defiles everything, stains everything, contaminates everything, and as far as it can does not allow anything pure, chaste to survive. , of a stranger to filth. (…).


This pestilential tyranny of Sodom makes men shameful and drives them to hatred towards God; he plots wicked wars against God; it crushes its slaves under the weight of the spirit of iniquity, severs their bond with the angels, takes away the unhappy soul from its nobility by subjecting it to the yoke of its own dominion. It deprives its slaves of the weapons of virtue and exposes them to being pierced by the arrows of all vices. It makes them humiliate in the Church, it makes them condemned by justice, it contaminates them in secret, it makes them hypocrites in public, it gnaws at their conscience like a worm, it burns their flesh like fire. (…) This plague shakes the foundation of faith, weakens the strength of hope, dissipates the bond of charity, eliminates justice, undermines fortitude, takes away temperance, dampens the acumen of prudence; and once he has expelled every wedge of virtue from the curia of the human heart, he intrudes every barbarity of vice. (…) As soon as one falls into this abyss of extreme ruin, he is exiled from the celestial Fatherland, separated from the Body of Christ, refuted by the authority of the universal Church, condemned by the judgment of the holy Fathers, despised by men and rejected by communion of saints. (...) Let these wretches therefore learn to repress such a detestable plague of vice, or manfully tame the insidious lasciviousness of lust, to restrain the annoying incentives of the flesh, to viscerally fear the terrible judgment of divine rigor, always keeping in mind that threatening sentence of the Apostle (Paul) who exclaims: “It is terrible to fall into the hands of the living God” (Heb 10). (…) As Moses says “If there is anyone who is on God's side, let him join me!” (Ex. 32). That is, if someone recognizes himself as a soldier of God, he should fervently set about overcoming this vice and should not neglect to destroy it with all his strength; and wherever it is discovered, let him attack it to pierce it and eliminate it with the sharpest arrows of the word”. (San Pier Damiani OSB, Liber Gomorrhanus, in Patrologia Latina, vol. 145, coll. 159-190).

(The texts above were translated by Google Translate)

I am a Spiritual, Doctrinal African



SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 11, 2024

On January 29, the Holy Father gave an interview with the Italian newspaper, La Stampa. Many of us cringe when we hear about another papal interview, since we’ve learned it’s rarely good news. And Pope Francis’ recent interview lived up to expectations.

We were told in Fiducia supplicans, which claimed to be crystal clear about permitting blessings of “irregular couples”: “beyond the guidance provided above, no further responses should be expected about possible ways to regulate details or practicalities regarding blessings of this type.” Yet it seems the Vatican can’t stop talking about that Declaration from the Dicastery on the Doctrine of the Faith. The papal interview was just one more of those supposedly unneeded responses. And, true to form, it has brought more frustration and division than peace and unity.

As I read the English text of the interview provided by Vatican News, I was surprised to learn that the opposition to Fiducia supplicans is only found among those in “small ideological groups.” Later, in an apparent reference to these groups, the pope said: “In the Church, there have always been small groups that manifest reflections of a schismatic nature.”

As a pastor and moral theologian, I’ve expressed my concerns in various settings about both the theological underpinnings of Fiducia Supplicans, as well as my opposition to its approval of blessings for couples in states of sin.

And so, I had to ask myself, do I belong to a “small ideological group” that manifests a “schismatic nature?”

The answer is “no.” I don’t belong to a small group that wants schism. I love the Church and believe in her Catholic and Apostolic faith, transmitted through Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture.

It’s this Catholic and Apostolic faith that the magisterium is supposed to interpret as its servant, in a posture of docility and reverence, as the opening of Vatican II’s Dei Verbum states: “Hearing the word of God with reverence and proclaiming it with faith. . . .this present council wishes to set forth authentic doctrine on divine revelation and how it is handed on, so that by hearing the message of salvation the whole world may believe, by believing it may hope, and by hoping it may love.”

In the interview, the Holy Father addressed African opposition to Fiducia supplicans, saying the African continent is “a special case,” since “for them, homosexuality is something ‘ugly’ from a cultural point of view; they do not tolerate it.”

When I read that, I felt a spiritual affinity and a unity in the Spirit with Africa.

Our shared Catechism of the Catholic Church still echoes the Church’s perennial moral teaching: “Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that ‘homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.’ They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.” [No. 2357]At the 2019 meeting of the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM) [Vatican News]

If being an African means being opposed to homosexual relationships, and seeing homosexual acts as “ugly,” since they offend the complementarity of man and woman and mock the selfless act of nuptial intimacy, and if being an African means not tolerating such relationships, and efforts to normalize them, especially in supposed “gay marriages” and other such ways, then I had to start asking myself some hard questions.

Since I’m not a part of a small ideological group seeking schism – and never would be – I realized for the first time in my almost fifty years: I’m an African! Spiritually, doctrinally, I’m an African.

“The unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace,” praised by Saint Paul (Ephesians 4:3), compels me to recognize my connection with the believers in Africa and my newly recognized status as a spiritual African.

Years ago, while I was a seminarian at the Pontifical North American College in Rome, I visited Nigeria.

One of the local archbishops, a friend of my home bishop, hosted me for a visit to his diocese. I saw there the strong and vibrant faith of the people, which was reflected in beautiful Masses, inspirational singing and prayers, the people’s love for their shepherds, the building of hospitals and churches literally by the hands of the faithful, and by an intense and warm sense of welcome and hospitality. I had never experienced anything like it. It was like walking into the Acts of the Apostles.

During my stay, the archbishop made time for me every evening to discuss what I had seen or learned that day. As my time in Nigeria was coming to a close, he asked me, “Jeffrey, why is God in Africa?” Honestly, I was confused by the question. My face must have shown my perplexity because the archbishop asked me again, “Jeffrey, why is God in Africa?” I finally had to respond, “I don’t know, Your Grace.”

The archbishop, who was an apostolic man of conspicuous faith and love, smiled at my answer. He then looked directly into my eyes and said, “Jeffrey, God is in Africa because God goes where He is wanted!”

Yes, God goes where He is wanted, and the believers of Africa want Him. They want Him as He has revealed Himself and exactly how as He has taught us to live as His children. There’s no equivocation, no compromise, no adulteration possible.

As a Catholic Christian, I want the same, as do tens of millions in the West and all over the world. And so, in a sense, we are all spiritually African, hardly “small ideological groups,” bound with the believers of Africa in our shared Catholic and Apostolic faith and greatly wanting God and yearning for Him to come where He is wanted – and to open all eyes and hearts still closed to Him.

Thursday, February 15, 2024

Courtship


A parish priest for over 25 years, and now a chaplain at an excellent Catholic liberal arts College for the past few years, I am completely familiar with the natural science of courtship.

Righteous (chaste) courtship has five stages.

1. Getting acquainted. Men and women get acquainted with each other in various honest social settings.

2. First dates. Those who are interested in each other go on dates to explore their mutual compatibility/interest. If after the first date they are still both interested they may go on a few successive dates. It is proper for the man to take the initiative in asking the woman "out."

3. Dating/going steady. If the dates go well then they begin a particular friendship, they decide to try to become best friends in steady dating, "going steady." The man and the woman begin to "date." Again, usually at the suggesting of the man, who should typically take the initiative along every major step in the courtship.

4. Engagement. If the dating goes well they decide to get married. The man proposes marriage to the woman.

5. Marriage. They marry for love of God, each other and the plan of God for their marriage, open to the children he might want to send them.

Two important points need to be added regarding courtship.

1. "If you like her, date her!" A clear and immediate transition from stage 1 to stage 2 is important to avoid unnecessary confusion in the relationship. There is no intermediate stage between being simply friends (stage 1) and "going-together" (stage 2). In other words, a young man and a young woman are not fit to simply be best friends, even with the presumption of no romance. Such a platonic arrangement is fiction. It causes great confusion and people get hurt because the relationship--an exclusive male/female relationship--is, by its very nature, sexually oriented, and, therefore, always, at least, ambiguous. A male is 100% male, and a female is 100% female. If a young man and a young lady are to be best friends, they must be so as male and female, and make that clear by dating. If they want to be best friends they must date. Otherwise they must not have an exclusive friendship. That would not be healthy.

2. Chastity is essential throughout courtship. The relationship should not be at all a physical relationship until stage 5 (after marriage; and, in marriage, marital chastity is to be observed). The relevant acronym for courtship is KISS ("Keep It Simple Stupid"). It would be entirely contrary to the true friendship proper to courtship for the couple to habitually and deliberately cause each other to commit even the least sins of lust, because lust would greatly inhibit any real relationship. The flesh and the passions would be an obstacle to the union of persons which happens primarily on the level of the human souls, getting to know each other as persons, not as mere objects. Couples that are dating are not properly lovers, they should simply be best friends who are chastely exploring the possibility of becoming lovers, in the exclusive domain of marriage. Lust and near occasions of sins of unchastity should be carefully avoided and shunned throughout any courtship worthy of the name. Love is the opposite of lust. Lust is selfishness, theft; love is a generosity, gift, self-gift.


Tuesday, February 13, 2024

International Condom Day: WHO

"WHO (The World Health Organization) joins communities and partners in celebrating International Condom Day on 13 February 2024. It is important to bring visibility back to this safe, inexpensive and highly effective tool to prevent transmission of HIV, sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and unplanned pregnancies." --Google

Lies!

The prophylactic is not safe nor highly effective in the prevention of the transmission of HIV or any sexually transmitted infections or unplanned pregnancies. Rather, it promotes lust and every manner of sexual immorality and gives a false sense of security and even a pretended nobility to this most perverse tool of sexual license in Gaydom. The Condom is one of the greatest causes of sin, preventable disease, abuse, and murder (e.g. abortion) in our present, especially among the young. Its acceptance and diffusion is a terrible scandal leading innumerable souls to perdition, physical as well as spiritual.

"Thou shalt not commit adultery," says the Lord. Sexual sins are death to the soul and they also destroy the flesh itself! Chastity, Virginity and Celibacy are necessary virtues for world health. The World Health Organization is clueless. Cf. Proverbs 5-7Matthew 19:12.

Condomastic sex is multiple adultery, it is more that one sexual sin, adding to the particular improper extra-marital sexual relation the distortion of the natural procreative end of marriage.
"...[W]hen [Onan] went in to his brother's wife [He] spilled his seed upon the ground, lest children should be born in his brother's name. And therefore the Lord slew him, because he did a detestable thing." Genesis 38:9b-10.
Condom use is detestable! It is dirty, shameful, abusive; it is mutual-masturbation; it is akin to sodomy. It is a grotesque misuse of what is meant to be the temple of God, the human body.
"Know you not that your bodies are the members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid. Or know you not, that he who is joined to a harlot, is made one body with her? For they shall be, saith he, two in one flesh. But he who is joined to the Lord, is one spirit. Fly fornication. Every sin that a man doth, is without the body; but he that committeth fornication, sinneth against his own body. Or know you not, that your members are the temple of the Holy Ghost, who is in you, whom you have from God; and you are not your own? For you are bought with a great price. Glorify and bear God in your body." 1 Cor. 6:15-20.
May Christ Our Sweet and Blessed Lord and Our Lady, the Ever Virgin and Immaculate Mary, Mother of God and our Mother, save us!



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