Sunday, March 29, 2015

GERMAN BISHOPS - THE FAITHFUL ONES , AND A SWISS , STAND UP




Cardinal Reinhard Marx Chairman of the German Bishops' Conference
Some weeks ago Cardinal Reinhard Marx , Chairman of the German Bishops' Conference spoke in surprising terms about the forthcoming October Synod on the Family which is the continuation of the contentious late 2014 Synod.

Briefly, Cardinal Marx told reporters that after the Synod, the German Bishops intend to produce their own pastoral document. The Synod he said, must lead to " further progress" in finding a common position on fundamental issues, but it " cannot prescribe in detail what we are to do in Germany". But he said that the German Bishops could not wait for the Synod statements.  " We are not just a subsidiary of Rome" said Cardinal Marx continuing that each episcopal conference is responsible for its own pastoral care in its own culture in " its own unique way".

This expression of view is of course totally alien to the truth and reality of the Catholic Faith. But for days it went unanswered at the highest levels. But finally it seems that " at the highest level" the pfennig dropped.

Cardinal Gerhard Muller seen here with Pope Benedict XVI
Cardinal Gerhard Muller, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, himself a German with a good knowledge not only of the German culture but also of the characters of the members of the German Bishops' Conference, finally fired a devastating broadside destroying the Marx assertions.

Cardinal Muller, referring to Cardinal Marx, noted that " the President of an Episcopal Conference is nothing more than a technical moderator , and he does not have any particular magisterial authority." He reminded a French newspaper that doctrinal, or even disciplinary, decisions regarding marriage and the family are not up for determination by national bishops' conferences. 

"It is an absolutely anti-Catholic idea that does not respect the catholicity of the Church" Cardinal Muller said. " Episcopal Conferences have authority on certain matters, but they are not a magisterium beside the magisterium, without the Pope and without communion with all the Bishops." He went on " an episcopal conference is not a particular council, much less an ecumenical council . The President of an episcopal conference is nothing more than a technical moderator, and he does not have any particular magisterial authority due to this title."

"Hearing that an episcopal conference is not " a branch of Rome" gives me the occasion to recall that dioceses are not the branches of the secretariat of a Bishops' conference either, nor of the Diocese whose Bishop presides over the episcopal conference."  He continued that such an attitude " risks in fact reawakening of a certain polarization between the local churches and the universal Church, out of date since Vatican I and Vatican II. The Church is not the sum of national churches , whose Presidents would vote to elect their chief on the universal level."  The Church is " not a philanthropic organization. To say that we respect the opinions of all , that we wish for the good of all, is not enough."

Further he said " To present the Gospel as a simple therapeutic message is not very hard , but it does not respond to the demands of Jesus.'Blessed are you when people insult you , persecute you and falsely say  all kinds of evil against you because of me ' Jesus says. The first apostles, the Fathers of the Church, very often sailed against opposing winds.How could it be any different for us?"

Cardinal Cordes (left) seen here with Pope Benedict XVI in times past.
Cardinal Paul Cordes President Emeritus of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum and a  German originally from Paderborn in Germany was strenuous in his objections to Cardinal Marx' statements in a letter to the Editor of " Die Tagespost" on 7th March.

Speaking of Cardinal Marx ' assertions, Cardinal Cordes stated that the "We are not a branch of Rome" was more suited " to the counter of a bar" he said. 

" The President argues about the drama of the divorced and remarried! This matter reaches far beyond regional particularities of a pragmatic nature, of a given mentality and cultural background. This matter is bound to the very center of theology. In this field not even a cardinal can loosen such a complex Gordian knot in a single swordstroke. He has the sacramental theology of the Council of Trent. He has also the words of Benedict XVI, who only recently (January 21, 2012) told the Roman Rota, the ordinary court of the Apostolic See, that no-one can simply brush over binding legislation of the Church when it comes to pastoral matters. A responsible shepherd cannot be guided by a blurred 'mercy.' And while the president repeats that regarding the Magisterium, he wants to 'stay within the community of the Church,' he either ignores the limits that this Magisterium gives to pastoral care, or he is carefree in making a statement to make himself sound good.”

Cardinal Cordes lamented that in Cardinal Marx' comments, the idea of communion – among bishops, and with the Bishop of Rome – was sorely lacking, “even though the bishops expressly promised 'unity with the College of Bishops under the Successor of Peter' during their episcopal consecration. The sentence: 'We cannot wait for a synod to tell us how we have to shape pastoral care for marriage and family here' is not imbued with a spirit of 'Communio'.”


Cardinal Cordes said that the message sent by Cardinal Marx was "a deeply political strategy which creates "facts" in order to dominate the process of decision-making and to put pressure on their colleagues."He asked " Does he want to say that the dogma of the inseparability of marriage becomes intolerable because of the life situations of remarried people?"


Cardinal Kurt Koch with Pope Benedict XVI in the background some time ago.


The Swiss Cardinal Kurt Koch who had succeeded Cardinal Walter Kasper as President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity on 1st July, 2010,also spoke vigorously against the words of the German Bishop Bode who had backed up Cardinal Marx and, like Marx  is also to be a  delegate to the October, 2015 Synod. His approach was devastating : he said that Bode's words brought to mind a similar historical situation - namely "the time of the Third Reich , where the "German Christians" adjusted their Faith to the world view of National Socialism, namely its racist and nationalistic ideas."

As the National Catholic Register said " With this comment, Koch made it clear that it is not the Catholic Church's mission to adapt her irreformable teaching to the spirit of the time, the Zeitgeist,but, rather, the Church has to follow Christ's teaching all times , throughout history."

Cardinal Koch summed it up :

" To see how and in which way people are living their Faith to-day, is of course helpful and important , in order to recognize the challenges of the pastoral duties of the Church. However this ( the "life realities") cannot be a third reality of the revelation next to Holy Scripture and the Magisterium."  

   











 

Thursday, March 26, 2015

POPE FRANCIS, THE MEERKATS AND THE CHAMELEONS













The election of Pope Francis just two years and a few days ago, certainly has brought in its wake a vigorous stirring of the waters within the Catholic Church. Anxiously, various groups of interested Catholics have looked for signs as to what the new Pontificate might mean for them.

Two special groups whose activities are not often identified are those I have chosen to call the Meerkats  and the Chameleons. Meerkats , not so much for the "loveable" characteristics usually imputed to those animals , as for the custom of the Meerkats to suddenly stand up craning for the best view possible to protect themselves and their interests. And Chameleons for their ability to change their colouring to blend in with the prevailing local colour range.

These first two years of Pope Francis' activity have been times of radical superficial change, and this has demanded the attention of both groups.The Modernist Meerkats had been steadily forced into a prolonged period of inactivity in the Pontificates of Saint John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI. They had lain slumbering in the " long grass" and rarely visible - it suited them in some ways. As one of them told me some years ago " We are all tired after all the struggle". The "struggle" was to get into the Church as much radical false " spirit of the Council" change as they could manage - extirpating the sense of the sacred, wrecking the interiors of churches,preaching thinly veiled heresies or sometimes blatant heresies, suppressing traditional groups, getting rid of clerical attire, confronting popular piety etc. 

Then Pope Francis arrives , the clamour of the Conclave attracted their attention . Roused from their slumber they stood erect in many places to see what was going on. As the novelties of the new Pontificate mutiplied, and all seemed to be useful to their aims, more and more of them stood up and thus identified themselves. They came to believe they were back in business. From layfolk to religious, to clergy and Prelates they became increasingly noisy and active. 

Hubris seemed to get the better of them. And the more senior they are the more this is true. Cardinal Kasper and a number of the other German Bishops were really high in this heady atmosphere. It is true that the Holy Father's favour, and remarks in Kasper's regard seemed 
to warrant their confidence. Seemed is the operative word. Their brash performance in the lead-up to the Synod and in the Synod seems to have blown up in their faces. The stalwart defence of Catholic Truth and orthodox practice by Cardinals Pell, Burke, Muller, Caffarra, Napier and Sarah and the majority of Synod members has mobilised a massive preparation for the October 2015 Synod which will return to the subject of Marriage and the Family .Despite administrative manipulations by the Meerkats, the defenders of the Faith and of orthodox practice will be ready for them.

What of the Chameleons? These are more subtle and deceitful creatures who " run with the fox and hunt with the hounds".  They will kneel in smiling admiration before Pope Benedict XVI and go back to their Diocese  and kow tow to the liberal majority there. Comes along Pope Francis and " Who am I to judge?" and they begin to espouse the liberal agenda openly  and facilitate the advancement of their more openly liberal fellows. From Southern Australia to the North they can be found to-day.Their new colouring shocks those who have known them, but it is the nature of the beast, and will revert to its former hues after the next Conclave no doubt.

Indeed, both groups will be already on the alert fearing that they have been flushed out in a false dawn. For in recent weeks reports from usually reliable sources record Pope Francis distancing himself from the views of Cardinal Kasper and moving his favour very strongly to Cardinal Caffarra (Archbishop of Bologna) who has always been a staunch defender of Catholic orthodoxy and a vigorous opponent of the Kasper approach. In addition they would note that the radicalist "unity" of the German Bishops is cracking with Cardinal Cordes and another Bishop openly opposing the stance of the radical majority.

Equally, they have come to see that on matters of Doctrine and Tradition the Holy Father is constantly affirming the Church's Magisterial teaching. His casual remarks may serve to grab attention but they never affect the orthodoxy of his considered teaching.

Life for Meerkats and Chameleons can be very "interesting" not say, distressing in these times, especially with the Holy Father publicly voicing his view that his Pontificate will be brief.

  


Saturday, March 21, 2015

" UNLESS A MAN........"


" UNLESS A MAN......."


POPE BENEDICT XVI BAPTISES A CHILD IN THE SISTINE CHAPEL

"UNLESS A MAN......."
We saw in our last post that the ONLY way to gain an authentic personal relationship with Our Divine Lord Jesus Christ, is to be a member of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church He founded. To be authentic, our relationship with Jesus Christ must be founded on the basis He determined, and be nourished by the means He provided.
Indeed, God's very purpose in crashing through from Eternity into time , was to achieve the Salvation of Man through the Passion, Death and Resurrection of His Divine Son. It was this Divine Son, Jesus Christ, Whose project for continuing His Salvific work on Earth, after His Ascension, is the Catholic Church - the very Kingdom of God of which He spoke so often.
This is a fascinating concept. 
No. More than that, as an act of God upon Earth - a theophany - it is an electrifying miracle. Not just another institution, the Catholic Church is wonderfully unique. God did this.
God did this, for us - she, the Catholic Church is His gift of Love to mankind.
In what character did God give Her to us? She knows herself well, thanks to the guidance of the Holy Spirit which Jesus Christ Himself sent to guide and inspire her - and she tells us she is "Mater et Magister" , Mother and Teacher. And so it is that God's faithful children gather at her knee to learn in humble and loving simplicity.
But, But, you say........ how  does one come into this happy family of God, this Catholic Church?
Jesus Christ Himself, God made Man, has words for you, as you might expect. We recall with reverent awe the occasion of the visit by Nicodemus , a member of the ruling Jewish elite, probably a member of the Sanhedrin. In Saint John's Gospel 3:1-12 we are told Nicodemus came to Jesus " by night". We assume that this powerful man, though he had the germ of Faith at least, did not want it known abroad that he had spoken to Jesus. No. This was to be a private, indeed, a secret visit.
But it was to this weak reed that Jesus revealed the absolute necessity of Baptism by water and the Holy Spirit. So important is it, that Jesus, God Himself, uses twice in a few sentences, His most earnest affirmation of His statement using His sacred formula : "Amen, Amen I say unto thee..."
Now you might think that would be sufficient to establish the fact forever and aye. But so essential, so vitally important is this, that later, following His Resurrection, at the time of the Great Commission, Jesus sent forth His Apostles, charging them to : "Go therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and behold, I Am with you all days, even unto the consummation of the world."
And those words, Jesus had prefaced with these:
"All power in heaven and on earth is given to Me."
Now God does not waste words. He has no time for small talk. He did not even respond to praise of the Temple and it's magnificence - save to foretell its destruction. But here, He goes to the trouble of underlining that ALL power in heaven and on earth is His, only to proceed to insist yet again , on the inescapable importance of Baptism! Once again we have water and the Holy Spirit.
Here we have it in the classic formula  : a visible sign, instituted by Christ , to give Grace - it is a Sacrament.
Saint Paul elaborates on the nature and operation on the Sacrament of Baptism in Ephesians 4  : 1-6, when he says :
"I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, exhorting you to walking in a manner worthy of the calling to which you were called, with all humility and meekness, with patience , bearing with one another in love, careful to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the abound of peace: one body and one Spirit, even as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one Faith, one Baptism........" There it is again. fundamental, essential Baptism.
There are seven Sacraments entrusted by Christ to His Church for her ministry and protection. Baptism, of its very nature, is the first administered, for it initiates the non- Catholic into the family of the Faith, making them a child of God.
They must as yet work out their Salvation "in fear and trembling" as Saint Paul tells us, and their Faith will be dead without good works as Saint James tells us, but by Baptism they are entitled to hope that, sustained by the seven Sacraments and with sincerity of heart, they might at last reach the Kingdom of Heaven, and Eternal Life with Jesus Christ, His Father and the Holy Spirit. 

Friday, March 20, 2015

" FUNDAMENTALIST" FINDING JESUS ? OR SOMEONE ELSE?


"FINDING JESUS" FUNDAMENTALIST EXPERIENCES

"Discovering Jesus" at HILLSONG
I had a very interesting conversation over a light lunch the other day with another friend and a Priest recently returned from travelling for some time. In the course of a wide-ranging discussion, Father mentioned encountering some college friends who had abandoned the Faith because they had " discovered Jesus" in a fundamentalist "Christian " sect.In the conversation the emphasis was on his sorrow at seeing these folk slide away from the Faith.

Later, it came back to my mind, when I was reading some Meditations on the Life of Christ ( Father Nicola Avancini S.J.). Have these folk , who have abandoned Jesus' Mystical Body - the Catholic Church , really "discovered Jesus? 

We are of course not talking about some merely human founder of an organisation, or some mere philosopher . No we are talking about God made Man. The God/Man Who said of Himself :

"4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in me, and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If a man does not abide in me, he is cast forth as a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you will, and it shall be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you; abide in my love."(John 15: 4 - 9)

This is the same Jesus Who said :

"....18 And I tell you, you are Peter,[c] and on this rock[d] I will build my church, and the powers of death[e] shall not prevail against it.[f] 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven,[g] and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” (Matt. 16: 18-19)"
and later He said :

"....19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age.”

"....that they may all be one; even as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. 22 The glory which thou hast given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, 23 I in them and thou in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that thou hast sent me and hast loved them even as thou hast loved me."
(John 17: 21-23)

Here we see Jesus' Will for His followers in its fullness and integrity. And so it remained essentially , for 1,000 years until the political strength of Constantinople seduced the Church in the East to flatter itself with false teachings and separate itself from communion with the Successor of Saint Peter. Then, after nearly 500 years of relative peace the Protestant Deformers of the Church burst upon the scene bolstered by local Monarchs who eyed the lands and buildings of Christ's Church to finance their wars with one another. Since then an estimated 40-60,000 Protestant sects have broken of into ever dwindling fragments.

All of this we see from Jesus' own words is directly contrary to His Divine Will.

Lastly on the scene are these so-called "Fundamentalist" or even " Pentecostalists" claiming to be inspired by the Holy Spirit - and claiming to offer people a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Their whole activity is driven by emotionalism and hype and opposed to the use of reason and therefor opposed to a thorough understanding of Sacred Scripture. Concentrating on a relatively few passages without regard for their context , they sweep the gullible ,or the willful guilty, off their feet with emotional appeals and pop music in mass meetings and bombard them with essentially empty repetitious slogans. And these people then claim to have " discovered Jesus".


JESUS IS WITH US UNTIL THE END OF TIME
AS HE HAS BEEN SINCE THE NIGHT OF THE LAST SUPPER


NO. It is not possible to establish a " personal relationship with Jesus" by ignoring His words, His instructions in fact. We cannot " find" Him by refusing His Will for us.

What then have they found? What can we say of an organisation that deliberately perverts the Word of God in Sacred Scriptures, that seeks to intoxicate people with a totally false representation of Jesus Christ's teaching. There is no plainer example of the work of the Father of Lies. It is NOT Jesus Christ they have met but the work of Satan himself. He who hates God and Man is marvellously subtle in presenting himself in such a way as to appeal to peoples' better instincts with much "God" and " Jesus" talk and then , whipping them into an excited mob he leads them off just like a wolf in sheeps' clothing.

No-one can " find Jesus" by doing the very opposite of what Jesus desired and required.


Thursday, March 19, 2015

A PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP WITH JESUS CHRIST


A PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP WITH JESUS CHRIST

"COME TO ME ALL YOU WHO LABOUR AND ARE BURDENED AND I WILL GIVE YOU REST"
We hear a great deal these days from Protestant Fundamentalists about the need to establish a " personal relationship with Jesus Christ " - sounds like a great idea - sounds reasonable.

But Catholics have been there in reality for 2,000 years.

It occurred to me most forcefully at Holy Mass this morning and at Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament following Holy Mass. Could we have a more personal relationship with Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ than to belong faithfully to the one Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church He founded and guaranteed to remain with until the end of time?

Could we have a more personal relationship  with Jesus Christ than to enjoy the 7 Sacraments He left in the care of that Church? And really, could we have a more utterly personal relationship with Jesus Christ than to be present at Holy Mass as Bread and Wine are miraculously transubstantiated into His Body, Blood ,Soul and Divinity at the Consecration by His Priest acting truly "in persona Christi", and then to receive and consume that same Real Divine Presence in Holy Communion? That Communion in which Jesus Christ becomes One in us and we one in Him.

Could we have a more personal relationship with Jesus Christ than to have been Baptised into His Mystical Body, that One ,Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church? Than to be confirmed as He intended receiving the Holy Spirit He sent? Than to receive absolution from His Priest acting again in His stead to forgive our sins as He had commissioned His Priests?

Could we have a more personal relationship with Jesus Christ than to live through the Liturgical Year with His Church, listening to the inspired word of Sacred Scripture, to the prayers and reflections His Holy Church has brought forth in 2,000 years of accumulated holy study and reflection?And in that way marking and celebrating the events of His Life here on Earth .

At the Heart of our personal relationship with Jesus Christ is His Real Presence with us and in us, just exactly as He, in His Divine Wisdom chose  to be and then provided for.

Who are these people who so insist on a " personal relationship " with Jesus Christ? And what do they mean?

Well, firstly they are separated from the Church Christ founded, cut off from Him the "true vine" and He told us that such severed branches will wither and die  and that " without Me you can do nothing." They do not teach the truths He taught wholly and with integrity, they deny most of the Sacraments He instituted as visible signs to give Grace. Their "personal relationship" accommodates the secular spirit of the age which denies objective Truth and therefore any chance of really knowing Jesus Christ, of being one with Him. They are the false teachers of which the Holy Apostles warned from the very beginning as we see in the writings of Saints Peter and Paul.

Is this Catholic "triumphalism"? This strange term is a perversion of the Church's analysis of her existence : Militant (struggling here on Earth) and Triumphant ( rejoicing in Salvation in Heaven with Jesus Christ). Are we wrong to insist on our unique status as Christ's true followers? 

By no means - in fact if we do not, with Charity properly assert the standing of the Catholic Church , we are denying Christ and His Will. We must do what He has commanded us - "go out into the whole world...." and preach the Good News , never forgetting, hiding or apologising for the unique status  which the Church has and calling all those in error to return to the Truth.

Defending the Truth, extolling the Truth with Charity to all is our obligation. We must not compromise that Truth for the sake of  "tolerant"(of anything) niceness . There is an abundance of what is truly lovely in our Catholic Faith. Mere niceness is not worthy of it.


Tuesday, December 30, 2014

REFLECTIONS ON THE SYNOD - AND THE CARDINALS



The dust is beginning to settle after the Synod. And it could be said to have been quite a "dust up"! 

Synods are in recent centuries a post - Conciliar times "novelty" for the universal Church.Since the time of Pope Saint John Paul the Great, they have been held and have labored mightily but quietly - even though the full detail of each of the Synod Fathers' interventions was fully available  on the Holy See Website within a day or so of their being made.Then , in due course, the Holy Fathers, Pope Saint John Paul and his successor Pope Benedict XVI, issued their Post - Synodal Exhortations .The whole process was normalised and a routine well-established.

Pope Francis brought a bit of South American  excitement to the process. Firstly, he had Cardinal Kasper of Germany deliver an address to a preparatory commission, and he warmly commended Cardinal Kasper's ideas and spoke of his writings as " theology on its knees".(Some might have thought " brought to its knees".)

As it happened, Cardinal Kasper espoused ideas inconsistent with Catholic teaching , pastoral practice and Theology. That this was so , was made abundantly clear in the lead - up to the Synod by the Prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy Australian Cardinal George Pell, by the  Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith , another German, Cardinal Gerhard Muller, by the Prefect of the Apostolic Segnatura Cardinal Raymond Burke, and others and evidenced in the publication of no less than five books expanding on their views as the Synod approached.

Cardinal Kasper had evidently thought he had the inside running, but this vigorous universal rebuttal of his novelties led him to complain of being attacked and ambushed.

When the Synod got down to work, Pope Francis was seen to have arranged a novel approach to its proceedings. There would be no more daily , not even weekly, release of the Fathers' intervention texts. Rather, each day an anonymous editor's summary of all the interventions would be released by the Vatican Information Service. The Holy Father urged the Synod Fathers to be open and forthright and free in expressing their opinions in the Synod. 

The first few days Vatican Information Service reports on Synod deliberations caused a great deal of concern because of  their emphasis almost exclusively on Kasperite views, ignoring the contributions of others who formed the Synod majority. The ease with which this could be done on this anonymous, no names basis was a cause for great concern among the Synod Fathers. They knew that the reports were not truly reflecting what most of them were saying.

But the wheels were really blown off the wagon the Synod management had gotten rolling, when they produced at the end of Week One, an interim Relatio (a summary of discussions so far) which was put forward for the Fathers to vote upon.There was almost universal consternation at its content , which the Fathers vigorously refuted, and they wanted to know who had prepared it. The Head of the management team Cardinal Baldisseri did not give them much satisfaction - " it was the result of the process" - begging the question " who were the processors?". But even he was apparently annoyed by the paragraph advocating more sympathetic treatment of the attitudes and activities of homosexuals, and he did reveal that it was the work of Bishop Bruno Forte whom he left to try justifying it to the Fathers - without success.

At about this time the Australian Cardinal George Pell is reported to have stood up and, thumping his fist on the desktop demanded  "You must stop trying to manipulate this Synod!" addressing Cardinal Baldisseri. He went on to demand that the Reports of the individual small Groups of Cardinals and Bishops should be made public to clearly show what was really going on.

This left Cardinal Baldisseri in an awkward position - he was evidently not in charge as had seemed . He is reported to have turned to the Holy Father who was looking down and simply slowly nodded his OK.

Then Cardinals Muller, Burke , Napier and others added their voices to Cardinal Pell's and the jig was up. Or so it seemed. Later in a public Press Conference Cardinal Napier of Durban South Africa made clear the dissatisfaction of the Synod Fathers with what had gone on. The discomfort of the Vatican Press Office Head was obvious.This is not a matter of interpretation - it is all plainly visible on video of the Press Conference.

The whole affair has reflected very badly on Pope Francis' administration. It might not have been so if it were not for the fact that his stamp was all over the business. From the selection of Cardinal Kasper to "set the scene" , to his personal endorsement of Cardinal Kasper's bizarre ideas, to the selection of the officers of the Synod and their obvious dependence on his nod for their manner of proceeding.

That adverse reflection was heightened when, in the days following the Synod's conclusion, Cardinal Kasper criticised the African Bishops and questioned their right to " tell US" about these theological and moral issues. His remarks were widely publicised and often characterised as racist. He then denied having made the comments. Alas for him the highly regarded reporter had, and made publicly available, the recording of the Cardinal's remarks.

 But if the Cardinals and Bishops thought that they had induced a change of heart in those seeking to manipulate the Synod, they were in for a shock. When the final Synod document was published it contained the three contentious clauses which the Synod Fathers had NOT approved in the clause by clause voting process. And it was made clear that this had been done as a result of the intervention of the Holy Father.

Clauses 52, 53 and 55 of the Relatio Synodi which are included in Part 1 of the Lineamenta of the 2015 Synod  are those specifically failing to gain the Synod Fathers' approval.

The evident willful riding roughshod over the intentions of the Synod Fathers working within the established norms, is disturbing to many.



                                   Pope Francis at the time of the La Nacion interview


Meantime some significant insight into the personality of Pope Francis was given in his answers in an interview very recently in the Spanish language Argentinian daily newspaper La Nacion.One of the most revealing of the Holy Father's comments was this:

"
"God is good to me, he has bestowed on me a healthy dose of unawareness. I just do what I have to do. From the start I said to myself, 'Jorge, don´t change, just keep on being yourself, because to change at your age would be to make a fool of yourself'"."

The "unawareness" of which the Holy Father speaks, relates to the comments of others upon his actions.  " Just keep being yourself..." is OK for a few occupations, but it has a strange sound when one has become the Vicar of Christ upon Earth. Surely one is obliged to rise to the occasion. And again, to espouse "unawareness" of what is being said about one, is a very strange stance for anyone, let alone someone in public life, let alone someone charged with " strengthening the brethren" and "teaching, sanctifying and governing" Christ's Church.In fact, as the interview went on the Holy Father's own words made it very clear that he does keep a close eye on what is being written and said about him.

A couple of weeks later, in his end of the year address to the Curia, which instantly became very public, the Holy Father launched into what amounted to a heavy attack on the Curia, listing at length 15 "diseases" affecting it collectively and its members.These were highly critical remarks given the Sacred character of the roles the members fulfill and the role of the Holy Father himself fulfills. Whether it was consistent with the injunctions of Sacred Scripture on the appropriate manner of correcting one's brethren, or consistent with the obligations of Charity, let alone Prudence in the management of those who serve one, is a matter for each individual to assess. No doubt the Curial Prelates will be doing just that for some time to come.

Surprisingly within a few days, in an annual address to the workers in the Vatican, the Holy Father warned them about carrying gossip and making uncharitable remarks among other things.This would have been read with great interest in the Curia.


All eyes are now firmly fixed on the 2015 Synod which will have to bring all of the pressures to a head and produce a result consistent with Catholic Teaching. In a move re-assuring many the Holy Father has named Cardinal Napier (mentioned above) to the leadership level of the Synod.

The situation seems far from ideal,in many respects. We are left to pray and that is greatly re-assuring : pray for the Holy Father and for the Synod Fathers. 



















   

Sunday, December 07, 2014

INFAMY!!! AND GLORY!!!!

THE "DAY THAT WILL LIVE IN INFAMY"


A day on which we remember a heroic young Catholic Priest who gave his life acting in Persona Christi just 73 years ago to-day, and pray for his intercession on behalf of our present day Priests.


"Haec Dies"...This is the day, but unlike the prayer which goes on "..which the Lord has made...", this is the day , the anniversary of the day,  "which will live in infamy". For to-day is the 73rd  Anniversary of the cowardly Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour which began the War in the Pacific.
Like to-day, 7th December, 1941 was also a Sunday.

FATHER ALOYSIUS SCHMITT U.S.N

Father Aloysius Schmitt was a 32 yrs old Catholic Priest, serving in the United States Navy as a Chaplain with the rank of Lieutenant(JG) -Junior Grade. He served on one of the United States Navy's Pacific Fleet Battleships - U.S.S. OKLAHOMA . Sunday morning had dawned beautifully at his Pacific island base.Father's day began like any other in his recently-commenced Naval career as Chaplain ,which had commenced nearly 6 months ago on 28th June. He celebrated Holy Mass for the Catholic members of the crew at 0615 and, after making his thanksgiving, slid his Breviary into his jacket pocket.

U.S.S. OKLAHOMA
U.S.S.OKLAHOMA was moored in the tropical charm of Pearl Harbour. Situated in the Hawaiian Islands, Pearl Harbour was the great Western bastion of United States Naval power. Here row upon row of mighty battleships, cruisers and destroyers were moored in idyllic peace. Life can be good -balmy weather, gentle island breezes, the order and glamour of the great fleet, then add the sublime - the devout celebration of Holy Mass. 

Unnoticed simple actions can have the most serious consequences.
   
Within minutes, the devastating and treacherous Japanese attack - prepared as the Japanese Ambassador gained time with phoney Peace Talks in Washington - had begun. Father Schmitt went straight to his Battle Station in the great ship's Sick Bay to minister to the injured and the dying. Suddenly OKLAHOMA herself was struck and shaken by exploding torpedoes. She took on water rapidly and commenced to list badly, then steadily rolled over as the weight of her huge main armament gun turrets had effect.
THE STRICKEN OKLAHOMA IN WHICH FATHER SCHMITT DIED AFTER SAVING NUMEROUS LIVES

In the turmoil, the young Priest followed his charges in the search for a safe compartment. They found one with a porthole still giving access to the open air. Father Schmitt stood back and helped push men to safety through the small opening. When his turn came, those outside, now pulling him, found that they could not get him through, as the Breviary in his pocket jammed in the porthole. 

 As they frantically struggled, Father insisted that they let him go as more men had entered the compartment."Please let go of me and may God bless you all", he said and slipped back to resume his work, pushing the newcomers to safety. In all Father Schmitt pushed 12 men to safety.  Within 20 minutes of the first torpedo hit , OKLAHOMA settled in the mud of Pearl Harbour.
Father Aloysius Schmitt drowned when the compartment finally flooded. He was an authentic hero and an authentic Alter Christus faithful even unto death - giving his life so that his flock might live. We pray often for a good death. Father Schmitt as a holy and faithful Priest could not have served his Master better.
Father Aloysius Schmitt was posthumously awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Medal with the citation "His magnanimous courage and self sacrifice were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave up his life for his country."

Well, Father Schmitt was acting in the highest traditions of another band of brothers, the Priesthood of Jesus Christ, Who gave up His Life that all may have eternal life. "

The story of Father Aloysius Schmitt is told with the help of information in the HAWAII NAVY NEWS 14 October, 2005. Father Schmitt was the first United States Chaplain to die in World War II.

When we think of that terrible day, at least as far as Father Schmitt's heroic sacrifice, perhaps we can, in considering him, conclude the prayer we referred to at the beginning "....let us rejoice and be glad in it."


Father Aloysius Schmitt, pray for us and our priests. May your Priestly heroism never be forgotten.