Thursday, April 30, 2015

The Rosary

The Rosary: Where it Came From and Why We Need it Now More than Ever - Aleteia

Our Lady of Schoenstatt, Germany

One of the great works of art is Michelangelo’s Last Judgment on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.  His uplifting mural combines the horror of damnation with the joy of eternal salvation in a vivid scene that should inspire any right-minded person to holiness.

Amid the panorama of the saved and the damned is an easily overlooked figure of an angel who is pulling up two saved souls, using a beaded rope as their lifeline to salvation.

A prayer for all seasons The Rosary has been an important sacramental that has enriched the faith of Catholics for centuries.
It is a timeless aid to contemplation that marks the special rhythm of human life on a beaded rope that can serve as a lifeline to individual salvation.
But what makes the Rosary an aid to salvation is the fact of its deep and powerful connection to the Bible and the Divine mysteries that are tied to Jesus’ redemptive stay on earth.

As author Father Oscar Lukefahr has written, "the mysteries of the rosary translate the Bible into prayer." The Rosary then binds Catholics to the historical life of Christ and foreshadows their eternal destiny and union with Christ in heaven.

Catholics must not forget that while a devotion to the Blessed Mother is a vital part of the Rosary’s historical and spiritual importance, it is primarily a Christ-centered prayer in which Catholics pray to the Son through His Mother.  In the words of the Hail Mary, it is Christ, as Luke reported, who is the ultimate object both of the announcement and of the greeting of the Mother of John the Baptist: Blessed is the fruit of your womb.

The Rosary blends easily with the Christian way of life.

In her essay, "The Rosary: A Prayer for All Seasons" Gloria Hutchinson compares the Rosary to "an Olympic champion emerging from early retirement." She writes that the Rosary has regained its lofty position as "an ever-reliable prayer for all seasons" since Pope John Paul II proclaimed 2002 the Year of the Rosary.  Hutchinson reminds Catholics that the Rosary has always been a peoples’ prayer. 

Poets have delighted in its mystical powers for centuries. Robert Cameron Rogers called it a string of pearls" while Joyce Kilmer saw it as "a harp that any hand can play."
An unlikely battleground

The recent history of the Rosary has been anything but rosy. This simple devotion has become an unlikely setting in the battle for the spiritual direction of the modern Church. Since Vatican II the Rosary has suffered a precipitous decline in popularity among post-conciliar Catholics. Some fault the Rosary for being too mechanical, repetitive and boring.
Others contend that the Rosary is an exercise in false piety and even a superstition. Many of the Church’s so-called reformers have chided the Rosary for being "theologically retrograde," a veritable relic of the preconciliar church, destined to the ash heap of outmoded devotions.

At the heart of some of these attacks is the Rosary’s inadvertent guilt by association with the sale of indulgences that rocked the pillars of the Church in the 15th and 16th centuries. At that time indulgences or papal dispensations of purgatory sentences were often attached to the recitation of the Rosary. Some prelates were abusing this privilege by selling the indulgences to the highest bidder. When Martin Luther broke with the universal church in the early 16th century, the Rosary was tarred with the stain of this corrupt practice.

While traditionalists have always come to the prompt aid of the Rosary, one of its best defenses has come from Garry Wills’ 2005 book, The Rosary: Prayer Comes Round. Wills, who is known for his heterodox views on Catholic morality and papal history, has written a splendid apologia for the time-honored religious tradition that surprises because of its truly traditional point of view and the author’s deep-felt devotion. The Rosary is a marvelously written exercise in love and respect for one of the Church’s oldest traditions. Wills clearly demonstrates that the Rosary is deeply grounded in Scripture and serves as an excellent way for Catholics to participate in the life of Christ.

As many post-conciliar Catholics have ignored the Rosary’s saving powers, countless have sought inner fulfillment in the Eastern methods of meditation, such as transcendental meditation, yoga and mysticism. The bookstore shelves bristle and groan with a plethora of titles that promise inner peace through meditation.

The Rosary is relevant for these times, a way for Catholics to satisfy their need to meditate, contemplate, and find the inner calm (with Christ) that the Eastern methods only promise.
A conflicted history

The true history of the Rosary is not without its own controversy. Its roots lie in the efforts of lay people in the Middle Ages to have their own extended prayer, not unlike the Divine Office that was reserved for the religious, friars and monks.

A new prayer for the layman began with the recitation of the 150 entries in the Book of Psalms in the Old Testament. When this practice proved cumbersome, they divided the 150 Psalms into three parts. Soon even the shortened use of the Psalms proved too unwieldy to become widely accepted. Others suggested that they say the Pater Noster (Our Father)150 times, 100 times or even 50 times. This new form of prayer became known as the Pater Noster Psalter, later changed to the Pater Noster Rosary.
Some histories attribute the Rosary’s origins to Saint Dominic (1170-1221). Legend has it that the Virgin Mary appeared to him in 1208 in a French church in Prouille and gave him the Rosary to help combat the Albigensian heresy of that time.

Another Dominic, a Carthusian monk from Prussia, (1382-1460) is regarded as the first to connect the Rosary to different episodes in the life of Christ. In keeping with the psalm-based numerology, this Dominic proposed 50 events in Christ’s life to serve as meditations for the Rosary.

The history of the Rosary is further conflicted by the fact that the word Rosary comes from rosarium, or rose garden. Rosarium was used as a secular symbol for romantic love in classical times.

This prompted the 15th-century Dominican monk, Alanus de Rupe, to reject its use for the Virgin. He favored the old designation, the Psalter of the Virgin. However, Christian usage increasingly connected the word with a rose garland or chaplet of the Virgin to suggest a circulet of beads, so even the word has a life of its own.

History does prove that whatever its true origins, the Dominican Order has been the principal promoter and defender of the Rosary throughout history.

Papal devotions

The Rosary has always enjoyed a long and intimate relationship with the papacy. Popes have used the Rosary to fight battles, defeat diseases, overcome natural disasters and reinvigorate the faith.
In 1571 Pope Pius V instituted Our Lady of Victory as an annual feast to commemorate the victory of Lepanto.
As a Rosary procession was offered in St. Peter’s Square in Rome for the success of the mission of the Holy League, just before Lepanto, this seminal Christian naval victory over the invading Muslim forces was attributed to Our Lady’s intercession.

Since then most of the modern popes have enjoyed a special devotion to the Rosary.

In the 1880s Pope Leo XIII highlighted devotion to the Rosary with several encyclicals to Catholics urging the faithful to a devout recitation of Mary’s Rosary, especially during October. He saw the Rosary as an "effective spiritual weapon against the evils afflicting society."

Pope John XXIII also had a special devotion to the Rosary. 
In his 1959 letter, Grata Recordatio, Prayer For the Church, Missions, International and Social Problems, the Pope stressed a special call to the rosary.

Pope Paul VI said that "by its very nature the recitation of the rosary calls for a quiet rhythm and lingering pace." He is also reported to have held up his Rosary and proclaimed "this is the Bible for those who can neither read nor write."
No pontiff had a greater devotion to the Rosary and Our Lady then Pope John Paul II. When he nearly was assassinated in St. Peter’s Square on May 13, 1981, he credited his survival to the protection of Mary and expressed his gratitude by way of the Rosary. He knew only too well that May 13th was the anniversary of the first appearance of Our Lady to the children at Fatima in 1917.

In his Apostolic Letter, Rosarium Virginis Mariae (The Rosary of the Virgin Mary) Pope John Paul II proclaimed 2002 as the Year of the Rosary and expressed his hope that families would once again embrace the Holy Rosary.

The pontiff emphasized that "the West is now experiencing a renewed demand for meditation, which at times leads to a keen interest in aspects of their religions..." He added that "the Rosary is situated within the broad gamut of religious phenomena and transports the person into the heart and soul of so many of the pivotal events in Jesus’ life."

The sweet chain of prayer

The form of the Rosary remained essentially unchanged until 2002 when John Paul II instituted five new mysteries.
He called them the Luminous Mysteries because they portray Jesus’ public ministry, including His baptism, Cana, the Sermon on the Mount, the Transfiguration and the Last Supper in a new light. Since His public ministry is an important link between His early years and His passion and death on the Cross, these new mysteries reveal the true meaning of His earthly presence, while filling in the public gap between his joyful youth and the sadness and pain associated with Calvary. The Pope also added the Luminous Mysteries to enkindle a renewed interest in the Rosary as a true gateway into the Incarnation.
With the addition of the Luminous Mysteries the Rosary’s intimate connection with the Gospels is even more apparent.
It completed what Blessed Bartolo Longo (1841-1926) called "the sweet chain linking us to God." It is Christ’s years of his public ministry that most demonstrate the Incarnation as a "mystery of light." As John’s Gospel says "while I am in the world, I am the light of the world."

The mystery of light that best illustrates the importance of the Luminous Mysteries is the Transfiguration.
The glory of the Godhead shines forth from the face of Christ as the Father commands the astonished apostles to listen to him and to prepare to experience with Him the agonies of Good Friday, so that they may be able to enjoy their own Easter with Him in heaven.
Mary and the Rosary

Even Mary’s relationship to the Rosary has not been without conflict. Since the Hail Mary is the dominant prayer of the Rosary, her critics contend that Mary and her Rosary are a distraction from Jesus Christ, the true focal point of Christianity. Religious scholars have long noted that this is a canard that has no bearing on the Rosary’s true history.
The Council of Ephesus in 431 settled her title in the Hail Mary, the "Mother of God" in light of the Arian heresy that denied Christ’s divinity. Arians called Mary only the Mother of Christ because they believed Jesus to be just a man and so His mother could not be the Mother of God.

On another note, to correct what some theologians thought was an unbalanced devotion to Mary, the post-Vatican II Church has toned down its devotional practices honoring Mary in order to refocus on her Son.

Mary’s Fatima apparitions are the event that has most dramatized the power and majesty of the Rosary.
On October 13, 1917, Our Lady of Fatima told three Portuguese shepherd children, "I am the Lady of the Rosary.
I have come to warn the faithful to amend their lives and to ask pardon for their sins…. People must say the Rosary." Mary impressed upon the children how important it was to pray the Rosary daily for world peace.She warned them that Russia would spread its errors throughout the world.

During a 1957 interview, the sole surviving witness, Sister Lucy, urged her interviewer: "Tell them…that many times the Most Holy Virgin told my cousins Francisco and Jacinta, as well as myself, that many nations will disappear from the face of the earth."  She also said that Russia would be the instrument of chastisement chosen by Heaven to punish the world if we do not beforehand obtain the conversion of that poor nation.

A secret weapon

In fact the Rosary has been a constant source of devotion throughout the history of the Church. Garry Wills’ book, The Rosary highlights that for countless Catholics who matured before the Second Vatican Council the Rosary was a daily habit. He cites the story of the late William F. Buckley who developed the habit of saying the rosary as a small boy.
In his published diary, Overdrive, Buckley revealed that he had learned to count on his fingers the decades of the Rosary when one wasn’t available. It was to him "a lifelong habit acquired in childhood."
It is a fact that innumerable preconciliar Catholics fervently prayed the Rosary in their homes or parishes.
To them saying the Rosary has always brought back fond memories of their grandparents and parents who used the Rosary to further their devotion to Christ and His Church.

The Rosary can help Catholics transform their communities into genuine schools of prayer.

The late Joseph Cardinal Mindszenty, who knew more about Communism than his contemporaries, strongly believed that the Rosary was "a secret military weapon of the Catholic Church." In his last sermon before his Communist imprisonment he said, "Give me a million families with Rosaries in their hands, uplifted to Mary, they will be a military power, not against other people but for all mankind…for their welfare, for their healing…"

The Cardinal echoed the fact that since the Albigensian heresy in the 12th century through modernism with its socialist, fascist and communist derivatives, the Rosary has stood up to the evils that have plagued mankind.

But the message of its power as a lifeline for salvation needs to be revitalized for a new generation of families who have been battered in a sea of moral relativity, secularism and apostasy.

All this underscores the fact that the Rosary can be an effective antidote for the tremors of the times and an important way of fostering among Catholics a deeper commitment to the contemplation of the Christian mystery and as a genuine training in holiness. And more importantly the regular devout use of the Rosary can serve as a Michelangeloean Lifeline to Heaven.

William Borst holds a PhD in American History from St. Louis University. 
 He is the editor of the Mindszenty Review and has published commentaries in many local and national publications. This article was originally published by CatholicJournal.

Nigerian Bishop: Hillary Clinton's Remarks About Religious Beliefs Show She "Thinks She Is a God" - Aleteia

ROME—In this far reaching, follow-up interview to a story Aleteia brought you in February, Bishop Emmanuel Badejo, who serves as Director of Communications for the African Bishops, discusses with Aleteia the latest developments regarding Boko Haram, and his fellow Nigerian bishop’s claim that he had vision of Jesus Christ, who told him the terrorist organization would be defeated through the power of the rosary. 
He also offers his perspective on Hillary Clinton’s statement last week that “deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs and structural biases have to be changed” for the sake of giving women access to “reproductive health care and safe childbirth”; and calls the US administration’s recent appointment of its first “LGBT” envoy evidence of a growing “dictatorship of the minority”.
Your Excellency, let’s begin close to home. In our conversation in mid-February, you spoke at length about the nature and activities of Boko Haram. At the time, you stated that you wouldn’t be surprised if there would be an attempt made by the terrorists from different parts of the North of Africa and the Arab world — ISIS, Al-Shabaab and Boko Haram — to link up, and that this needs to be prevented.
Since then, Boko Haram has in fact pledged allegiance to ISIS. What can you tell us about recent developments in the fight against Boko Haram in Nigeria?
It all sounds like prophecy now, but it was quite easy for me to see at the time. Evil tends to find strength in other evil. I was sure that Boko Haram, ISIS, and Al Qaida were going to somehow try to link up resources and strength to do more harm than they’ve been doing, because they’re simply evil. I was wondering why that was so difficult for the powers that pretend to want to help us to see. 
What I said in the February interview about the current US administration actually making aids and grants to Africa conditional on our accepting anti-life values seemed absurd to some ears at the time. But this is exactly what has been happening, and I think they are coming out even more in the open now.
I heard it in a radio discussion, and I agreed with it, although it sounded absurd. For some reason, a week after our interview, there were so many reports in the Nigerian newspapers and media that America was actually helping us technically. I don’t know who was behind it.
The hope we have now is that we have had our elections. Thank God, they were largely successful, and we are hoping that the approach will be different. 
Six weeks before the elections, the government stepped up activities against Boko Haram. And the bombing and the killing has largely diminished. In many parts of the north of Nigeria where you couldn't go before, now you can hear a pin drop. People are returning to their homes, and Boko Haram is largely consigned to the borders of Nigeria.
To what do you principally attribute the positive shift?
For one thing, the government that is outgoing needed to win elections, and needed to convince Nigerians that it could do what it had never been able to do for 6 years. 
As the elections approached, the government communicated their desire to postpone them by 6 weeks. Of course, this met with great disapproval. One of the reasons the government gave for the postponement was to have time to rout Boko Haram and ensure safe elections. 
There followed a massive build up of arms and alleged mercenaries fighting for the purpose.  Surprisingly it has been effective. The government managed to do in 6 weeks what it could not do in 6 years.
Secondly, I think that Boko Haram had caught the Nigerian government in bed, so to speak. For many years, the Nigerian army had not been actively engaged in combat. Corruption was a large part of the problem, and so it was an army that had obsolete equipment and undertrained officers. The army itself has admitted this several times. Therefore, it took time to prepare and obtain the necessary equipment.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Sloth: Escape from God, Pursuit of the World‏ vs St Fidelis

Published on Apr 26, 2015
The vice of SLOTH is not just laziness but rather a certain spiritual cowardice motivated by a perverted sorrow. Slothful people are sorry about their spiritual state and find a distraction in something of the world...and end up whiling away the precious time give to them by God to save their souls. Let us always resist this vice! The saints show us how. We look at St Fidelis on how he avoided this. For more please visit & remember to say 3 Hail Marys for the priest.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Ignorance of God is Not Bliss


"Yet I know, my brothers, that you acted out of ignorance, just as your leaders did." —Acts 3:17

Contrary to the old sayings, ignorance is not bliss and what you don't know can hurt you and others very much. In addition to sin, ignorance was the cause of the worst crime ever committed — our murder and execution of God by crucifixion on Calvary. Paul taught: "None of the rulers of this age knew the mystery; if they had known it, they would never have crucified the Lord of glory" (1 Cor 2:8). We "perish for want of knowledge" (Hos 4:6). 
If we know God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, we have eternal life (see Jn 17:3). However, if we don't know the Lord, even if we say we do (1 Jn 2:4), we are caught up in "a great war of ignorance" (Wis 14:22). In this state of war and ignorance, people "celebrate either child-slaying sacrifices or clandestine mysteries, or frenzied carousals in unheard-of rites, they no longer safeguard either lives or pure wedlock; but each either waylays and kills his neighbor, or aggrieves him by adultery. And all is confusion — blood and murder, theft and guile, corruption, faithlessness, turmoil, perjury, disturbance of good men, neglect of gratitude, besmirching of souls, unnatural lust, disorder in marriage, adultery and shamelessness" (Wis 14:23-26). 
The Lord doesn't expect us to know everything. He may not even expect us to know that much. Nonetheless, He does expect us to know as much as possible. Know the truth. Know the teachings of Christ's body, the Church, especially those in the Bible. Know God (Phil 3:10).
Prayer: Father, may I not be misshapen in ignorance (1 Pt 1:14).
Promise: "He opened their minds to the understanding of the Scriptures." —Lk 24:45
Praise: Praise Jesus, risen from the dead! "Death is swallowed up in victory" (1 Cor 15:54). Alleluia forever!

Friday, April 24, 2015

Ask Father Mike: Is Saying "OMG" Wrong?

That's it!  I've had enough!

Ask Father Mike: Is Saying "OMG" Wrong? - Aleteia

Is taking the Lord's name in vain still a big deal?

Well, that depends. Is God still a big deal? If He isn’t, then don’t worry about it, but if He is, then there is a certain degree of reverence that we owe Him.

But this can be a really foreign concept for us for at least two reasons. As a culture, we have lost our natural sense of reverence in general, and a sense of reverence for God’s Name in particular. We tend to honor people the less reverent they can be. You have most likely heard of comedies or comedians described as “irreverently funny." I have had many conversations with people who were intent on convincing me that some joke making fun of Christ or the Catholic Church was actually “really funny," and I would realize it if only I wasn’t so uptight (Ha! Me? Uptight?). It seems that the more something is revered, the greater the reward for making fun of it. [Maybe this is an American thing. Maybe it comes from our national identity as people who are “beholden to no one." I don’t know. All I know is that we don’t know what real reverence is. We either think it is “stick-in-the-mud-ness” or we think of people who would take it upon themselves to blow someone up for an irreverent remark (or cartoon). But reverence is simply realizing that there are greater things than me. It is realizing that the higher things aren’t meant for you and I to be looked down upon, but to make us look up and see what is really there.]

We have also lost the sense of the power of God’s Name. And not just the “power,"  but the fact that God’s Name is sacred. I want to state that again: God’s Name is sacred. Try this: imagine that you are God and you are going to reveal to people the things they need to do and the things they need to avoid in order to live really well. Only you limit yourself to ten things (we’ll call them “commandments”). What would they be? Clearly, they would be pretty important. Don’t kill. Don’t steal. Don’t commit adultery. “You shall not take the name of the Lord, your God, in vain.” Huh? How does that fit?
Try again. Imagine you are God (still) and you are going to teach your disciples how to pray. Fast forward to the second line, “Hallowed be thy name." It is right up there again! Maybe we should pay attention to that. The Catechism talks about the ways in which we can take the Lord’s name in vain. This includes both false oaths and oaths made lightly, perjury, magical use of the divine name, and blasphemy.

Blasphemy?! People still use that word? Yup. Basically, blasphemy is “uttering against God – inwardly or outwardly – words of hatred, reproach, or defiance; in speaking ill of God; in failing in respect toward him in one’s speech; in misusing God’s name. … The prohibition of blasphemy extends to language against Christ’s Church, the saints, and sacred things.” (CCC 2148). It is also blasphemy to do evil using God or religion as one’s rationale.

I want to focus on something important here. It is something that we can hear virtually everywhere we go. When we are talking about the “Lord’s Name,"  we are dealing directly with the names God has revealed as His very own “personal” names. This refer most clearly to the sacred YHWH and the holy Name of Jesus Christ. But blasphemy also includes “speaking ill of God” and “language against…sacred things."

What about common phrases we hear all the time, like “Jesus, Mary, and Joseph” or “Oh my G-d”? This means that the phrase we hear so often, “Oh my G-d” is blasphemy as well. Did we catch that? Not only is damning someone in God’s name blasphemous, but so is the common “Oh my G-d." The Catechism goes on to say that “Blasphemy is contrary to the respect due God and his holy name. It is in itself a grave sin” (CCC 2148). Remember how serious grave sin is? That means that if I know this is grave and I freely choose to do it, this is at the level where it can kill the life of grace in my soul. Kind of a big deal!

If a person finds that they have made this sin a regular part of their everyday speech they may get discouraged because they will be running to Confession every time they stub their toe, get nervous, are exasperated, or win the lottery. For this kind of person, OMG is still objectively wrong, but it may not necessarily be a mortal sin (but start fighting it, man!) If you are honestly trying to root this grave evil out of your speech, it will happen through God’s grace. In the meantime, don’t give up. God loves you…that’s why He told you His Name: “God confides his name to those who believe in him; he reveals himself to them in his personal mystery. The gift of a name belongs to the order of trust and intimacy. “The Lord’s name is holy.” For this reason man must not abuse it. He must keep it in mind in silent, loving adoration. He will not introduce it into his own speech except to bless, praise, and glorify it.” (CCC 2143)

Father Mike Schmitz is the chaplain for Newman Catholic Campus Ministries at the University of Minnesota Duluth. He also serves as the Director of the Office of Youth Ministry for the Diocese of Duluth. This column is a feature of and is published here with permission. You can submit questions to Fr. Mike at You can also listen to Fr. Mike's homilies here  and at iTunes .

Monday, April 20, 2015

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

A surge in reports of symptoms of evil possession

Father Cesare Truqui says that dioceses in Italy and beyond were experiencing a surge in reports of symptoms of possession

The proliferation of “beautiful young vampires” in TV series and Hollywood films including True Blood and the Twilight movies is encouraging young people to dabble with occult forces, a leading authority on demonic possession has warned a Vatican-backed exorcism course.
“There are those who try to turn people into vampires and make them drink other people’s blood, or encourage them to have special sexual relations to obtain special powers,” said Professor Giuseppe Ferrari at the meeting in Rome, which heard that the number of such possessions is rising globally. “These groups are attracted by the so-called beautiful young vampires that we’ve seen so much of in recent years.”
‘True Blood’, starring Rutina Wesley and Kristin Bauer van Straten, is one of the cult vampire series apparently fuelling occult pursuits‘True Blood’, starring Rutina Wesley and Kristin Bauer van Straten, is one of the cult vampire series apparently fuelling occult pursuits
Professor Ferrari, who heads an Italian occult watchdog, The Group on Research and Socio-Religious Information, said exorcisms should only be conducted by properly trained priests. Although the Vatican regards genuine demonic possession as rare, with many suspected cases proving to be people with mental illnesses, Pope Francis has urged dioceses to ensure that they follow Catholic law and have at least one trained exorcist each.
Swiss exorcist Father Cesare Truqui told The Independent that this week’s course, attended by exorcists, priests and lay people, was vital in order to raise awareness and hone priests’ skills in fighting evil. “The ministry of performing exorcism is little known among priests. It’s like training to be a journalist without knowing how to do an interview,” he said, noting that dioceses in Italy and beyond were experiencing a surge in reports of symptoms of possession.

In 2012 it emerged that the diocese of Milan, the biggest in the world, had installed an exorcism hotline to cope with demand. Monsignor Angelo Mascheroni, Milan’s chief exorcist, said that his diocese had doubled the number of exorcists from six to 12 to cope with the 100 per cent rise in the number of requests for help over the last 15 years.
“That has to tell us something,” said Father Cesare. He claims to have seen possessed people speaking in tongues and exhibiting unearthly strength, including one “small woman, who could not be pinned down by three strong men”.
Father Cesare is a protégé of Father Gabriele Amorth, the Vatican’s chief exorcist for 25 years, who claims to have dealt with 70,000 cases of demonic possession. Father Amorth said that sex abuse scandals in the Roman Catholic Church were proof that “the Devil is at work inside the Vatican”. He took a similarly dim view of fantasy novels and yoga. Practising the latter, he once warned, was “satanic; it leads to evil just like reading Harry Potter”.
READ MORE: Rise in 'irregular exorcisms'
Vatican caught in two minds over damnation
Catholic church trains more priests to perform exorcisms
Gay rights and IVF fertility treatment were listed as signs of existential evil in society by Monsignor Luigi Negri, the Archbishop of Ferrara-Comacchio. “There’s homosexual marriage, homosexual adoption, IVF and a host of other things. There’s the clamorous appearance of the negation of man as defined by the Bible,” he declared.

Exorcism guidelines: don’t try this at home

Professor Giuseppe Ferrari gave delegates at the Vatican-backed course a checklist for improve the effectiveness of exorcisms.
* Exorcisms should only be carried out by properly trained priests, licensed to do so by the diocese in which they work. Priests can not perform exorcisms in different dioceses without special permission.
* Lay people should never perform exorcisms, say the special prayers of liberation, nor bless or touch a possessed person.
* Exorcists should defer to qualified doctors or psychiatrists, though priests may help by praying.
* Priests should not perform the Eucharist during an attempt to exorcise somebody because that can make the process “too Hollywood”.
* Priests must welcome and pay heed to anyone who reports that a demonic possession may have taken place.
* Exorcists should consider the possibility that symptoms may be due to known medical conditions and seek appropriate professional advice if they suspect this to be the case.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Clueless protesters in San Francisco prove Archbishop Cordileone's point

Clueless protesters in San Francisco prove Archbishop Cordileone's point

Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone of San Francisco, right, with Jesuit Father Paul J. Fitzgerald, in an October 2014 photo. (CNS photo/Shawn P. Calhoun, courtesy University of San Francisco) 
A wise woman, commenting on the increasingly irrational ways of the post-Christian world, notes:
It is worse than useless for Christians to talk about the importance of Christian morality, unless they are prepared to take their stand upon the fundamentals of Christian theology. It is a lie to say that dogma does not matter; it matters enormously. It is fatal to let people suppose that Christianity is only a mode of feeling; it is vitally necessary to insist that it is first and foremost a rational explanation of the universe. It is hopeless to offer Christianity as a vaguely idealistic aspiration of a simple and consoling kind; it is, on the contrary, a hard, tough, exacting, and complex doctrine, steeped in a drastic and uncompromising realism. And it is fatal to imagine that everybody knows quite well what Christianity is and needs only a little encouragement to practice it. The brutal fact is that in this Christian country not one person in a hundred has the faintest notion what the Church teaches about God or man or society or the person of Jesus Christ. ... Theologically this country is at present is in a state of utter chaos established in the name of religious toleration and rapidly degenerating into flight from reason and the death of hope.
Considering the events of just the past few days here in the United States, it's hard to argue with her. However, the essayist, novelist, playwright, and translator Dorothy L. Sayers wrote those words in 1949, in England, and with an eye toward the Anglican Communion, to which she belonged. But, if anything, her essay, "Creed or Chaos?" (see The Whimsical Christian: 18 Essays), is more timely than ever—a searing (and often sarcastic) indictment of a Christianity that is ignorant, sentimental, and thoroughly secularized. I have in mind here those who protested yesterday in San Francisco, demanding that Abp. Salvatore Cordileone cease being a Catholic bishop and instead become a capitulating sentimentalist, like those in the emotional, moralizing crowd:
Carrying signs reading “Who Am I to Judge?” and “Love One Another,” hundreds of students, teachers and supporters marched Monday evening from the Mission Dolores Basilica to the Cathedral of St. Mary in San Francisco, where they delivered petitions opposing the archbishop’s “morality clauses” at four Catholic high schools.

San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone has come under fire for calling on teachers and staff members at high schools within the archdiocese — Sacred Heart Cathedral, Archbishop Riordan, Serra and Marin Catholic — to accept contract and handbook language against homosexuality, same-sex marriage, abortion, contraceptives and artificial insemination.
Imagine if a group of Catholics gathered together and protested the archbishop's stand for the poor, against pornography, against slavery, and against rape and murder. Would they treated as heroes and brave martyrs speaking truth to the face of cold, hierarchical rigidity? I doubt it. But since they are whining and wailing on behalf of sodomy, killing the unborn, and the use of chemicals and technology to subvert the natural, God-given means of reproduction, they are indeed saints—albeit in a thoroughly secular and inhumane mold. 

That such a protest even took place is surreal and ridiculous (granted, it is San Francisco), but it does prove one point quite emphatically: Abp. Cordileone is quite right to think that Catholic youth in his archdiocese deserve far better teaching, catechesis, and instruction. Consider, for example, the embarrassing locutions of one young student:
Many of the demonstrators at Monday’s peaceful procession and vigil, which came at the beginning of a religious period known as Holy Week, said the archbishop’s proposals go against the spirit and teaching of Jesus.
“At the core of the religion is love, acceptance, respect and dignity,” said Gino Gresh, 18, a senior at Sacred Heart. “Whatever the archbishop is doing is completely contrary to that.”
Personally, I'm ashamed of several things I said and did when I was eighteen, but I knew—even when I wasn't walking the talk—that the core of Christianity was the God-man, Jesus Christ, and that his love is the most challenging, daunting, and searing force I had ever known, and that it was not offered on the cheap or with a wink at my sins. On the contrary, Christ's love was and is a call to death—to take up the Cross and to become a disciple. That means, first and foremost, dying to my sentimental, cloying notions of fairness and recognizing that I am not the first or final authority when it comes to objective truth, authentic love, and real holiness.
But, as Sayers noted decades ago, most Christians don't really know much about the real Jesus. Many of them are "ignorant Christians, who combine a mild, gentle-Jesus sentimentality with vaguely humanistic ethics—most of these are Arian heretics." That, I think, it probably an insult to the followers of Arius, who at least had some sense of what they believed, even as they rejected the Council of Nicaea and the definitions of the early Church's Magisterium. Compare that to this:
Many Catholics in the group had no trouble reconciling their opposition to the archbishop’s position with the teaching of the Catholic Church, which does not support homosexuality or same-sex marriage.

“I can be a Catholic and a follower of Jesus without accepting what the hierarchy says but accepting what I think Jesus would have said,” said Sue Fandel, a parishioner of Most Holy Redeemer Church in the Castro who married her longtime female partner this month.

“The world already has enough hate,” said Mary Petrini, the mother of a freshman at Sacred Heart. “We don’t need any more.”
Who's hating who here? Does Ms. Fandel or Mrs. Petrini really believe that Abp. Cordileone, in upholding the Church's clear and consistent teaching on these matters, is promoting and fomenting hate? If so, they must take the logical step and denounce the Catholic Church, since the archbishop is simply upholding the teachings of the Church, which is part of the job description, contra the young Mr. Gresh. And, yes, they should denounce Pope Francis as well, who has spoken out against "gender theory" and "ideological colonization"against contraceptionagainst abortion, and, yes, against "gay marriage"
Of course, none of that matters. Even people who should know better are pitting Abp. Cordileone against Pope Francis, as if the two men are shepherds of souls in parallel but radically different Catholic Churches. Thus, Garry Wills desperately tries his hand at channeling an emoting, angry 18-year-old teenager and, sadly, succeeds:
Some “traditional” Catholics also see the church as a battlefield; but they go out after battle to shoot the wounded. They are typified by hierarchs like Cardinal Raymond Burke, who says Catholics who remarry outside the church are like murderers, living defiantly in public sin. Or like Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, who issued a guide for teachers in the Catholic schools of San Francisco, requiring them to oppose—in the classroom and in their private lives—abortion, contraception, artificial insemination, same sex marriage, adultery, fornication, masturbation, and pornography. He also installed a water system in the overhang at Saint Mary’s Cathedral to soak homeless people who were trying to sleep there. Every hour or half hour, for 75 seconds, the pipes would gush down on those below and flush them away like human refuse.

Contrast that with the reaction of Pope Francis when he found that homeless people were sleeping at the entrance to the Vatican piazza.
Never mind the facts (the Archdiocese of San Francisco is apparently the largest charitable organization in the city), or more facts (the water system was not installed to flush away homeless people like human refuse, but to wash away human refuse left by homeless people), or, again, that there is no contradiction or conflict between Christ, His Church, the teachings of Pope Francis, and the actions of Abp. Cordileone. 

Wills, just like the protesters in San Francisco, wants a "nice religion," as Sayers put it, without the theology, the doctrine, or the Creed. As she noted, "if you really want a Christian society, we must teach Christianity, and ... it is absolutely impossible to teach Christianity without teaching Christian dogma.The dogma is the drama; the protests against dogma and morality are, in the end, cries of capitulation that reveal and revel in moral, intellectual, and spiritual chaos. 

Saturday, April 4, 2015

I Am Not Going To Your Gay Wedding;

I Am Not Going To Your Gay Wedding; Please Protest So I Can Set Up A GoFundMe Account
John Hawkins | Apr 04, 2015

A black man shouldn't be forced to bake a cake for a KKK party. A Jew shouldn’t be forced to bake a cake for a Nazi shindig. A Muslim shouldn't be forced to bake a cake with pork. A gay man shouldn't be forced to bake a cake for a Westboro Baptist Church’s "God hates F@gs" party and a Christian business should not be forced to participate in a gay marriage. For that matter, a Christian shouldn't be forced to bake a cake for an orgy, a Satanist mass or an atheist meeting either.

When you say that a Christian shouldn’t become a baker, florist or wedding photographer unless he’s willing to violate his religious beliefs, you’re directly contradicting the First Amendment which “prohibits the making of any law…impeding the free exercise of religion.” When you make it impossible for a Christian to enter a profession without violating his faith, then you are violating the First Amendment. That should make Freedom of Religion laws completely unnecessary and if that doesn’t do the trick, then common sense should do the job because businesses already refuse to serve customers for every reason under the sun.

Here at the beach, many businesses have a “No Shoes, No Shirt, No Service” sign. In certain areas, bars and restaurants will ask you to leave if you’re wearing gang colors. If you make too much noise in a movie theater or even try to take in your own food, you will be told to leave. If a liberal atheist gives speeches for pay, you can’t legally force him to give a conservative speech to a group of Christians. For that matter, even Apple, which attacked Christians in Indiana and Arkansas who don’t want to violate their religious beliefs, can and does reject applications it finds offensive. Apple also does business with nations like Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Iran and Qatar that despicably murder their own citizens for being gay -- but that’s a different column.

Moreover, the people being discriminated against here are Christians, not gays. If you’re gay and a cake shop, florist, photographer or even a pizza place doesn’t want to participate in your wedding, you should go to the next one down the street. If you suffer any damage at all, it’s only to your fragile self-esteem that apparently can’t deal with the fact that someone exists who doesn’t approve of everything you do. On the other hand, a Christian company that lives up to its principles may be fined into oblivion or lose its business entirely because it refuses to abandon its beliefs. This isn’t a theoretical argument; it has happened multiple times already. Who’s actually the victim? The Christian who politely declines to cater an event because it conflicts with his values or the gay grifter who deliberately picks a principled small business to try to ruin, feigns shock when it won’t cater his wedding and then tries to turn destroying a decent person’s livelihood into a way to gain money and attention?

Of course, non-Christians might ask what the difference is between baking a cake for say, an adulterer, or creating one for a gay marriage. The answer is that we’re ALL sinners, but there’s a big difference between serving a sinner and actively participating in his sins. No Christian business should participate in a gay wedding and that’s not a controversial point among Christians. Gay marriage is incompatible with Christianity and if you are unfortunate enough to be at one of the relatively small number of churches that tells you otherwise, it has put pleasing the world ahead of being faithful to God and you should move elsewhere as soon as possible.

Even if that’s so, didn’t Jesus sit down with sinners? So, shouldn’t Christians cater to gay weddings? Jesus certainly did sit down with sinners, but He didn’t do it on their terms. Jesus was there to help people who had gotten off track, not to get down in the mud and sin with them. If Jesus was forced to lend His carpentry services to a gay wedding, chances are He’d tell the guests that they shouldn’t engage in sodomy and would suggest that they call off the wedding. Then, MSNBC would be railing against Him, Dan Savage would be calling Him a bigot and Jesus would end up making tens of millions in contributions to a GoFundMe Account set up in His name that He’d end up giving to the poor, because He’s just that kind of guy.

If people can lose their jobs for opposing gay marriage (and they have) and small businesses can be fined and harassed until they’re closed for opposing gay marriage (and they have), what’s next? Will we be jailing people for refusing to go to gay weddings? Will Christian churches that oppose gay weddings (which is all of them except for a few slowly dying, corrupted liberal denominations) be run out of business? Christianity has been around since before America was a country and assuming the planet lasts that long, it will be around long after this nation is gone. So, the question isn’t whether Christianity is going anywhere: it’s whether Christianity in America will continue going strong. The answer to that question depends on the courage of America’s Christians and their willingness to stand up for their faith.

Friday, April 3, 2015

HIDDEN CAM: #GayWeddingCakes at Muslim Bakeries?

The Wound of Rejection on Holy Thursday- by Bl. Mother Theresa

Posted: 02 Apr 2015 04:02 PM PDT
The Wound of Rejection on Holy Thursday:
What a Holy Hour Means to Our Lord
by Bl. Mother Theresa

On Holy Thursday night Jesus showed us the "very depth of his love" (Canon of the Mass), by giving us the complete gift of Himself and His total love in the Holy Eucharist. Then, He appealed to His apostles for the first Holy Hour of prayer when He took them into the garden in the middle of the night and asked them to watch and pray with Him.

As He started to pray, He began to sweat blood. The agony He suffered was the realization that the Holy Eucharist would be rejected by so many and appreciated by so few. To reject the Holy Eucharist is to reject Jesus Himself.

He saw down through the ages how He would be left alone, "spurned and avoided by men" in so many tabernacles of the world, while He comes to bring so much love and so many blessings. He is the rejected Lover; the Prisoner of  Love in the tabernacle. "He came into His own, yet His own received Him not." (Jn 1:11) How few would believe in His Real Presence, and fewer still respond to His appeal to be loved in the Blessed Sacrament.

And His heart was "filled with sorrow to the point of death." (Mk 14:34) The blood He sweat was grief poured out from a broken Heart, caused by the sorrow of His Eucharistic Love being so rejected. Then an angel brought Jesus indescribable strength and consolation by showing Him every Holy Hour that you would ever make. At that moment in the garden, Jesus saw you praying before Him now and He knew that His love would be returned. This is why your visit today is so important to Him. Your Holy Hour consoles Him for those who do not love Him, and wins countless graces for many to be converted...

So many are unwilling to make even the slightest sacrifice to visit Him, while He was willing to sacrifice everything to be with us in this most Blessed Sacrament. He laid down His mortal life for us so that He may raise us up to Divine Life in this Holy Sacrament...

Jesus could fill every Catholic Church, day and night, by letting a single ray of His glory shine out from the Sacred Host. People would come from all over the world to see the miracle, but He prefers to remain hidden that we may come to Him in faith; because only in faith are we drawn by love and not by curiosity.
Rosary Meditations by Mother Teresa of Calcutta

Are we re-living the days of Sodom and Gomorrah?

Gay Totalitarianism and the Coming Persecution of Christians

If you have been following mass media over the past few days, you will have learned from an economist at the U.S. Department of Labor that defenders of religious freedom are “Nazis.” Take a moment to ponder that assertion. Roll it around in your head for a while. You’ll be hearing a lot more fighting words as we enter the next phase of Christian life in America.
Sample the hate that has been spewed at the state of Indiana in the past week, and faithful Christians in recent years, by gay activists and their allies. We are “bigots,” “Neanderthals” and “haters,” whose views must be ritually rejected by anyone hoping to keep a job in today’s America — even in a Catholic high school. Where will this end? Is there a logical stopping point for this aggression, where Christians are left in peace?
History teaches that mass vilification rarely stops short of spilling blood. The French Jacobins who spent the 1780s slandering the clergy in pornographic pamphlets went on in the 1790s to slaughter Christians by the hundreds of thousands. The Turks paved the way for killing a million Armenian Christians with a wave of propaganda. The Bolsheviks followed their “anti-God” crusade of the 1920s with starvation camps and firing squads. The Communist governments of Eastern Europe obeyed the same script, as scholar Anne Applebaum documents in her sobering study The Iron Curtain. The Hutu government of Rwanda prepared for its assault on the once-powerful Tutsis by incessantly describing them as “cockroaches” on radio broadcasts, which triggered a genocide.
If the media, the law and our elite institutions succeed in lumping Christian sexual morals in with white racism, how long will it be before believing Catholics, Protestants, Orthodox (and many religious minorities) find themselves labelled as members of “extremist sects,” no more to be trusted with the care of their own children than the Branch Davidians were?
Does that sound crazy to you? Then ask yourself why the German government, and the European Court of Human Rights, felt justified in seizing a Christian home-schooled student — with the apparent approval of the Obama administration. Think about the moral views you teach your own kids. Would your local education bureaucrats approve?
Perhaps Chicago’s cardinal, Francis George, wasn’t guilty of hyperbole when he said, “I expect to die in bed, my successor will die in prison and his successor will die a martyr in the public square.”
Joining him would be many Christians who affirm the Gospel in its integrity — instead of the neutered version that’s now sweeping the denominations to swell the ranks of the persecutors. See the Episcopalians and Presbyterians who are now blessing same-sex marriages; see “Catholic” universities such as Marquette, which fired a professor for defending the Catholic Catechism on this subject, and bishops such as Paul Bootkowski of Metuchen, N.J., who backed up a Catholic school that suspended a Catholic teacher for her Facebook comments critical of gay activism. With shepherds like these, who really needs wolves?

From Libertarian to Totalitarian in Twenty Years

It’s stunning how quickly the demands of gay activists went from libertarian (“Don’t arrest us for sodomy”) to totalitarian (“Take part in our weddings or we’ll destroy your livelihoods.”)
But I am not surprised. I was in New York City when the radical gay activists of ACT UP targeted John Cardinal O’Connor for upholding biblical teaching on sexuality — even as he spent millions offering free care for indigent victims of AIDS. The “Stop the Church” demonstrations featured images of O’Connor in Nazi uniform, and culminated on Dec. 10, 1989, in an orchestrated attack on St. Patrick’s Cathedral during a Mass, where gay militants shouted down the celebrant, and demanded Holy Communion — only to throw it down and stomp on the body of Christ.
This bigoted attack on a religious service did not discredit ACT UP; indeed, you can now read an article celebrating it courtesy of the U.S. government-sponsored Radio Free Europe. Here’s a triumphalist video of the event, which includes appalling footage inside the cathedral:

If Indiana caves and guts its religious freedom law — as Gov. Mike Pence has already promised — it will prove an equal triumph for those who are so enraged at Christian teaching that they are willing to persecute Christians.
If these zealots succeed, they will tear up the civil peace in this country, forcing millions of Americans to choose between church and state. If laws or government policies beggar Christian businesses, close Christian colleges and schools and force faithful Christians into third-class citizenship — making us virtual dhimmis, like the Christian Copts in Egypt — what should we do? What should be our response now that we know what they want to do, and are overplaying their hand, but before they complete their coup d’etat?
We need to ask ourselves some brutal questions: How should the faithful in the U.S. military respond? What about those in the state and local police? City, state and federal employees? What about religious shareholders in corporations led by anti-Christians, such as Apple?
Should we engage in large-scale, non-violent civil disobedience, as black Americans once did in the face of Jim Crow laws? We have the numbers to bring this country to a sudden screeching halt, if we can stand up to the media’s blows and spitting. Those who resist these unjust laws will be treated with all the violence and contempt that was poured out on the pro-life Operation Rescue in the 1980s and ’90s. Local cops from West Hartford, Connecticut, to Los Angeles, California, brutalized teenagers, old women, even nuns and pregnant mothers.
But we need not act alone, like these isolated bakers and florists. The marriage deconstructionists can only succeed by dividing us, vilifying us and picking us off one at a time. This is the essence of their strategy — they’re now trying it with an entire state. Tim Cook (or Apple’s shareholders) would backpedal in an instant if he learned the hard way that he was insulting and infuriating 2/3rds of American states, and half the population.
The frog must jump out of the pan, before it boils.
We should not let the possibility or even the likelihood of “failure” make us timid. Witness is utterly different from propaganda, more fragile but far more enduring.
For centuries, the early Christians endured far worse than we might face, dying in the Colosseum to the taunts of jeering crowds — whose grandchildren would flee the moral chaos of collapsing Rome and flock to the underground churches. All the persecution that a government like China can deal its native Christians has not stopped the church from exploding there, and striking fear at the highest levels of a totalitarian government. The battered church in Poland led the movement that brought down the Iron Curtain, through sober, persistent resistance.
Perhaps the future we face is the one that Cardinal George envisioned. Speaking of a future bishop who would someday die a martyr, George predicted, “His successor will pick up the shards of a ruined society and slowly help rebuild civilization, as the church has done so often in human history.” If we stand for eternity, then history is on our side.