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August 2019 Contents
Amazon Synod Poised to Wage Total War on Catholic Faith (Roberto de Mattei)
The Synod on the Amazon will lead to a “rupture” in the Catholic Church: “nothing will be as it was before.” These words were spoken on May 2, 2019, by German Bishop Franz-Josef Overbeck, in charge of the organization Adveniat which provides Catholic relief for Latin America.
This is a clear confirmation that the revolution which is being prepared is linked to the Instrumentum Laboris (IL), the document released in mid-June which will be the focus of the work of the bishops who gather for the Synod in the Vatican from October 6-27, 2019. No document like this “instrument of work” expresses the “new paradigm” of Pope Francis so clearly, bringing to light many of the theses which were already implicit in his 2015 encyclical Laudato Sì. Click here to continue reading online
Opposing “LGBT” Errors with Truth and Charity (Matt Gaspers)
Father Martin’s Tweet
On the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul, which happened to fall on the last weekend in June this year (Saturday, June 29), I was browsing my Twitter feed and happened upon a tweet from Fr. James Martin, S.J., arguably the most prominent activist for what he calls “LGBT Catholics”.
In his tweet, Fr. Martin was lamenting the fact that “a man [had] ripped down and stole” banners made by the “LGBT outreach program at the Church of St. Francis of Assisi in NYC”. The purpose of those banners, Fr. Martin explained, was to help advertise the “5:15 PM Pre-Pride Mass” – so called because of its proximity to the annual NYC “Pride” March (Sunday, June 30) – for which he was the scheduled celebrant. “No matter,” he concluded. “Love always wins. And I will see you all there! #PrideMonth”.
Those who follow Fr. Martin online can attest that the 58-year-old Jesuit (ordained in 1999) does little else on social media than push a leftist agenda, especially homosexuality. Instead of honoring the Sacred Heart of Jesus during the month of June, he insists on celebrating “Pride Month”, tweeting on June 1: “[…] Happy #PrideMonth[.] Be proud of your God-given dignity, of the gifts God has given you, of your place in the world, and of your many contributions to the church. For you are ‘wonderfully made’ by God (Ps 139).” (Note the implication that God makes some people “LGBT”, i.e., that homosexuality is a matter of genetics, an unproven hypothesis he repeats incessantly.) Click here to read the expanded online version
Popes Speak: Encyclical Rerum Ecclesiae on Catholic Missions (Pope Pius XI)
Editor’s Note: In light of the upcoming Pan-Amazon Synod, whose Instrumentum Laboris (released in mid-June) has been characterized by Cardinal Walter Brandmüller as “heretical” and outright “apostasy”, it seems ever more urgent to ground ourselves in the truth about the Church’s missionary mandate.
While the synod’s working document stresses the importance of “[c]onstructing a missionary Church with a local face” (IL, n. 114), which in one sense is true (establishing a native clergy is vital), nowhere does the document mention the quintessential purpose of missionary work, namely, to convert unbelievers to Christ and His one true Church. On the contrary, the synod’s IL speaks of the “process of conversion to which the Church is called” (n. 102), as well as “the ecological conversion of the Church” (n. 141). In other words, the Church is the one in need of “conversion” (change), not the natives of the Amazon region, many of whom remain entrenched in idolatry and other wicked practices.
Hence, we offer readers the following excerpts from Pope Pius XI’s Encyclical on Catholic Missions, whose wisdom and insights remain as timely today as when the text was first issued in 1926. Contrary to what many modern churchmen would have us believe, the Church has historically displayed great solicitude for both the temporal and spiritual welfare of the peoples she has evangelized and civilized throughout the world (e.g. Pope Paul III’s 1537 letter Sublimus Dei, in which he condemned the enslavement and/or dispossession of native peoples). This sincere concern and esteem for all people is evident in the text of Pius XI, who founded the Vatican Missionary Exhibition in 1925 to display cultural artifacts from around the world and who stated quite bluntly, “Anyone who looks upon these natives as members of an inferior race or as men of low mentality makes a grievous mistake” (Rerum Ecclesiae, n. 26).
The crucial difference between Pius XI and his Conciliar/post-Conciliar successors, however, is that whereas the former recognized the ability of native peoples to rise (with the help of grace) to the higher standards of Christian civilization, the latter think the Church must lower herself through “inculturation”, “mutual enrichment”, and other such banal practices which only serve to water down the Faith and deprive souls of the riches of Catholic Tradition. May the Church’s hierarchy soon return to the perennial Catholic principles articulated so well by the pre-Conciliar Popes! Click here to read Pius XI’s Rerum Ecclesiae
*Book Review* de Mattei vs. Socci: Two Very Different Approaches to the Same Grave Problem (Brian M. McCall)
Two books were recently published that address the serious problem of the bizarre and totalitarian papacy of Francis. The first is written by Dr. Roberto de Mattei, who often contributes to CFN and spoke at our 2018 annual conference. His book, Love for the Papacy and Filial Resistance to the Pope in the History of the Church (Angelico Press, 2019), is based upon a series of essays and lectures by Dr. de Mattei dating from throughout the current pontificate (including one chapter based upon his lecture at the CFN conference, “Tu es Petrus: True Devotion to the Chair of Saint Peter”).
Finding the Road to Proper Resistance in the Tradition of the Church
As an historian, Dr. de Mattei brings all of the historical precedents of problematic papacies to bear in his understanding of a Catholic’s duty to love the pope but to resist him when necessary. He provides clear and informative historical context and explanations for many of the past situations that are often bantered about by amateurs who have not studied these events in context. He thoroughly explains how the Church survived the Arian civil war, the heretical Pope Honorius, the theological errors of John XXII, and the Great Western Schism. In addition, he reviews lesser known incidents such as St. Bruno’s resistance to Pope Paschal II, the resistance to the “synod of adultery” (the one that occurred in the ninth century, not the recent one held under Francis). He reviews several key doctrinal documents of the Church on the nature and power of the papacy and the right and duty to resist the pope when he errs. Recognizing that the root of the problems with Francis lies in the documents of Vatican II, he considers another time when the Church condemned a conciliar document, Haec Sancta (Apr. 6, 1415), issued during the Council of Constance (1414-1418). To continue reading, subscribe to the Catholic Family News E-Edition
*The Philosopher’s Corner* The Theory of Evolution: A Simple Knockdown (Fr. Richard Munkelt, Ph.D.)
Since Charles Darwin (1809-1882), the theory of evolution has itself evolved into a complex web of scientific fields ranging from paleontology, genetic science, molecular biology, cytology, anatomy, embryology, stochastic mathematics, informatics, biostatics, natural history, and so on. Needless to say, acquiring a thorough knowledge of the modern evolutionary synthesis is a daunting task. How can one hope to mount a defense or critique of the evolution of life without taking the time to acquaint, let alone master, the bewildering number of highly technical disciplines involved? Moreover, how can anyone, under the above intellectual circumstances, presume to launch a simple and decisive refutation of evolution? The answer lies, like everything, in definition. In that light, we must resort to the Socratic method and ask, what is evolution?
Defining Our Terms
Definitions address the nature or essences of things. A common scientific understanding of the nature of evolution might be expressed thus: life on earth has evolved through natural selection and random variation. Of course, there is the classic Darwinian description of evolution as descent with modification, that is, the theory that species vary over generations and change into new species (speciation) that share a common ancestor. But the mechanism of the Darwinian theory, the “how” of evolution, is fundamentally the idea that changing environments selects, or better, eliminates poorly adapted individuals in populations (natural selection) subject to unpredictable genetic mutation (random variation) , which in turn affects phenotypic adaptability. The better individuals are adapted, the better the rates of survival and reproduction of the well adapted. Therefore, those life forms that are most fit pass on their genes, which in turn vary over time in relation to environmental pressures. Darwin did not succeed in explaining variation, the material upon which natural selection works in shaping new species. It took the recovery of Mendelian laws of heredity and the discovery of genetic structure, chromosomes, DNA, and mutation in the 20th century to expose the mechanisms of variation. To continue reading, subscribe to the Catholic Family News E-Edition
The Synod on the Amazon: The Final Phase of a Papal Dictatorship (Christopher A. Ferrara)
Members of the faithful the world over are rightly outraged and alarmed by the bizarre and truly ridiculous Instrumentum Laboris for the upcoming “Synod of Bishops for the Pan-Amazonian Region.” With good reason has Dom Giulio Meiattini, a monk of the abbey of Madonna della Scala in southern Italy, warned that the IL “proposes and contains nothing less than a reversal ab imis fundamentis [in its deepest foundations] of the very idea of Church and Christian faith…. The Person of Christ and His Gospel disappear; they are literally swallowed up by the lush tropical forest.”
An Appropriate Dose of Mockery
It is no insult to call the IL ridiculous, for that is simply the fact of the matter. The document simply cannot be taken seriously. Hence, Meiattini is unsparing in his mockery of the thing:
- “After the attempts of the flower children, what is now being proposed is a cultural model which is ecologically more sustainable and as minimally neurotic as possible: life brought back to its beginnings, to bows and arrows, to shamanic healing rituals…”
- “In reading this hymn to the Amazonian paradise on earth (which is presented as a new Eden of innocence and communal and cosmic harmony without stain, except those brought by Western civilization; cf. n. 103), it is difficult to understand how and why this portion of humanity needs faith in the Incarnation.”
- “If there is still something Christian in this Instrumentum laboris, i.e., a few words and expressions here and there, there is no need to worry: it is undoubtedly biodegradable!”
This synod, like the sham synods on “the family” and on “young people,” is of course a contrivance that hides a predetermined outcome (barring unforeseen circumstances): the introduction of married clergy and some sort of faux female diaconate—a twin catastrophe for the Church. The “Pan-Amazonian” region has evidently been chosen as the ideal location to begin smuggling these disastrous innovations into the wider Church on the pretext that the tribes of the Amazon have a special need for them. To continue reading, subscribe to the Catholic Family News E-Edition
On Modernism, Capital Punishment, and Whig History (Alexander Hilton)
Modernist “Evolution of Doctrine” on Capital Punishment
On June 13, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) voted to revise the U.S. Catechism for Adults in a way that clearly departs from two millennia of consistent Catholic doctrine. By a vote of 194-8 (and 3 abstentions) at the USCCB’s general assembly in Baltimore, the bishops revised the text to say that “today it is no longer just nor reasonable to apply the death penalty.” They added that the death penalty is “inadmissible because it is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person” and that the Church should labor “with determination for its abolition worldwide.” The new “inadmissible” clause is taken directly from Pope Francis’ revision of para. 2267 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC), a change which he ordered last August despite its profound theological problems.
As stated in point 28 of the recent Declaration of Truths, the Church had, until recently, affirmed the death penalty’s legitimacy as a matter of revealed truth, while making room for prudence to dictate that it needn’t always be applied in practice. Its consistency with the moral law in principle, however, is affirmed throughout Sacred Scripture (e.g. Gen. 9:5-6; Rom. 13:1-4), by the Church Fathers, St. Thomas Aquinas, the Doctors of the Church, and every pope to have spoken on the matter through Benedict XVI. Even Pope John Paul II, who regrettably spoke of capital punishment as a violation of human dignity [cf. Encyclical Evangelium Vitae (Mar. 25, 1995), n. 56],[iv] formally acknowledged vis-à-vis CCC (Latin Typical Edition, 1997), “The traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude recourse to the death penalty…” (para. 2267). To continue reading, subscribe to the Catholic Family News E-Edition
*Lessons in Catholic Education* Revisiting the Preventive Method of Education (Fr. David Sherry, SSPX)
In the February edition of this column, we saw that St. John Bosco, patron of Catholic educators, extolled the “Preventive Method” as the one most apt for educating young people. The “Repressive Method” relies chiefly on punishment and thus on servile fear. Because fear can indeed be a powerful motivation to actually do or not do something, it can bring about an exterior conformity with rules but, by itself, it does not make the person actually want to do what is right and so, he says, it is not good for forming the will of young people. The Preventive Method, on the other hand, seeks to form the child chiefly by means of reason, religion, and kindness so that he may voluntarily learn virtue (constant good habits) under the guidance of an adult.
The first part of the system is reason. The equivalent term in Italian, ragione, approximates to our “common sense.” This means two things: (1) the educator should use his common sense in dealing with young people; and (2) he should awaken reason in the young person.
Common-Sense Tips for Parents and Educators
Reasonableness and common sense on the part of the educator requires them (among other things) to… To continue reading, subscribe to the Catholic Family News E-Edition
The Life of Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre (Bishop Bernard Tissier de Mallerais, SSPX)
Editor’s Note: In this month’s selection, we continue to learn about the pastoral work of the Archbishop to build up the Church in Africa. We see how his approach, rooted as it was in sound doctrine, bore great fruits in the decades just prior to the Council. We also see in his founding of bishops’ assemblies the true doctrine of the Church on the authority of the local bishop, which would be undermined at the Council by the novelty of collegiality. – Brian M. McCall, Editor-in-Chief
Founder of Bishops’ Assemblies
There was already an embryonic bishops’ assembly in Madagascar. Under orders from Pius XII, Archbishop Lefebvre granted it statutes, and created three others—the Bishops’ Assembly of French West Africa, the Bishops’ Assembly of Cameroon, and the Bishops’ Assembly of French Equatorial Africa—on the same model. He would himself chair their meetings biannually. Each assembly had to create a permanent commission of six elected bishops whose president would choose a permanent council staffed by the federal directors of Church projects, although the president would remain responsible for decision-making.
Common Projects – Differences – Unity
Common pastoral standards were discussed in the light of Fr. Joseph Greco’s 1958 study Twenty-five years of Pastoral Work in the Missions commissioned by the Apostolic Delegate. All the bishops were warned against the danger of interreligious initiatives, such as the taking up the defense of “non-denominational education” instead of fighting for Catholic education. In these assemblies they discussed common projects: intervicariate or even regional seminaries, Catholic education, Catholic Action, and the press. To continue reading, subscribe to the Catholic Family News E-Edition
Our Lady of Fatima and the Dogma Most Denied — Part II (Marianna Bartold)
Part I of this essay began with the opening sentence of the Third Secret of Fatima: “In Portugal, the dogma of the Faith will always be preserved, etc.” Explaining that to this day the words of Our Lady have never been completely released, we know that Lucia and others who knew it (or who thoroughly studied it) collectively gave enough information to put the matter in context. We also know that this incomplete sentence, with its telling phrase of “the dogma of the Faith”, refers to the Church’s primary dogma, thrice infallibly defined: “Outside the Church, there is no salvation.”
As observed in Part I: “Today, this singular dogma about the Church is either unknown or rejected within the Church, which is another sign of Fatima’s veracity, lending further credence that the Third Secret’s smothered Message centers on ‘an apocalyptic crisis of the faith in the Church starting from the top’−namely, the revolt which St. Paul said must come first [2 Thess. 2:3] …The dogma of the Faith is, in our time, also the dogma most denied. Known by the acronym of EENS (‘Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus,’ or ‘Outside the Church, there is No Salvation’), it is truly the foremost dogma of the Church about herself.”
Regarding this dogma, Part I shared about the Church’s three infallible definitions. The essay then proceeded to prove that, due to Tradition and Scripture (the only two sources of Divine Revelation), the Church has always held this dogma. Providing quotes ranging from the early Church to recent times (from St. Augustine to John Paul II), it was then stated… To continue reading, subscribe to the Catholic Family News E-Edition
*Roman Catechism Series* He Descended into Hell; The Third Day He Rose Again from the Dead (Matthew Plese)
Christ Descended into Hell
After having carefully considered the sacred Passion and Death of the Son of God, which we addressed over the past two months, the Roman Catechism opens its chapter on the Resurrection of the Lord with the sublime words: “To know the glory of the burial of our Lord Jesus Christ, of which we last treated, is highly important; but of still higher importance is it to the faithful to know the splendid triumphs which He obtained by having subdued the devil and despoiled the abodes of hell. Of these triumphs, and also of His Resurrection, we are now about to speak.”
Furthermore, the wisdom of the Church continues in the opening of the Fifth Article of the Creed by clearly stating, “[W]e profess that immediately after the death of Christ His soul descended into hell, and dwelt there as long as His body remained in the tomb; and also that the one Person of Christ was at the same time in hell and in the sepulchre.”
Seeking to clarify the meaning of Christ’s descent to hell, the Catechism of St. Pius X explains: “Hell here means the Limbo of the holy Fathers, that is, the place where the souls of the just were detained, in expectation of redemption through Jesus Christ.” The Roman Catechism corroborates this understanding by explaining for the faithful: “Hell, then, here signifies those secret abodes in which are detained the souls that have not obtained the happiness of heaven. In this sense the word is frequently used in Scripture” (cf. Philip. 2:10). To continue reading, subscribe to Catholic Family News E-Edition
Understanding Modesty: Objective Standards and Practical Insights (Stefanie Nicholas)
Conversion to Modesty
By the time I converted to Catholicism in the spring of 2018, I already thought myself to be quite modest in my dress. I never wore shirts that showed my midsection or with super low necklines. I didn’t wear “daisy dukes”, or leggings as pants, or bikinis without a t-shirt and shorts, or skirts that would show my underclothes if I were to bend slightly over. When I first converted and began attending a Novus Ordo parish, I immediately started wearing only dresses or skirts on Sundays, and then over time I gave myself the same rule for daily Mass. At a minimum, I began wearing long shirts or sweaters that covered over the top of my jeans at Mass, and then outside of it, realizing that my favorite comfy skinny jeans showed pretty much everything.
Several months later, I attended a traditional Catholic conference in Ireland and realized that, compared to the majority of the women there, my dresses and skirts were far too short and my necklines were far too revealing. I feel the sting of humiliation when I look back on how I looked when speaking to holy nuns and priests, all of whom who treated me with the utmost kindness and respect despite my attire!
I felt a conviction stirring in my heart after that conference, but it was not a new longing. I remember that even years ago, while I was living an entirely secular life, I would look at photographs and blog posts from women who went “skirts only”. I saw the beauty of it, I wanted to take those steps myself, but I was terrified of what people would think. And, as a functional agnostic, I had no reason to really follow this wild dream! My conversion to Catholicism was a surprise to me. My conversion to modesty? Not so much. To continue reading, subscribe to Catholic Family News E-Edition
The Two Cities in History Mysterium Iniquitatis — Part II (Roberto de Mattei)
The Suicide of Revolution
To the Lord, Who says of Himself, “I am He Who is” (Exod. 3:14), Satan, leader and animator of the Revolution, shrieks: “There is nothing beyond me and I hate myself because I am.” The devil wishes to precipitate the creation of nothingness and cast himself into nothingness. The mysterium iniquitatis is the mystery of the urge of evil towards nothingness, without the ability to reach that goal. If this total suicide could be accomplished, the Revolution would have prevailed over God, since annihilation is the supreme act of dominion, possible only for God, but also because evil exists only as the privation of good, and without the good it cannot exist, just as disease cannot exist without the body of the diseased person attacked. Death signifies the end not only of the diseased person, but also of the disease.
This is why the journey of the Revolution towards nothingness cannot achieve its purpose, namely, the radical and definitive destruction of the Church and Christian civilization. The good which remains and which the Revolution needs to survive is the germ of its defeat. Click here to continue reading online