This month’s edition of Catholic Family News contains the articles listed below. Only a few of these are reprinted on this website. To read all of the articles contained in this month’s edition, choose one of our subscription options, each of which comes with access to the E-Edition of the paper so you can start reading these articles now.
Existing paper subscribers already have access to the E-Edition. Click here to access the CFN E-Edition homepage. Once there, click on the “Account” tab and either a) “Create New Account” (first-time users) or b) enter your username and password, click the “Login” button, and enjoy!
April 2021 Contents
Pope’s Interreligious Meeting in Iraq: Who Are the True Children of Abraham? (Matt Gaspers)
“A Pilgrim of Peace, Seeking Fraternity”
Early last month, after over a year of ‘staying at home’ due to COVID-19, Pope Francis travelled to the war-torn nation of Iraq (March 5-8, 2021), his first venture outside of Italy since visiting Thailand and Japan towards the end of 2019.
In a video message sent ahead of his arrival, the Pope told the Iraqi people:
“I am coming as a pilgrim, as a penitent pilgrim, to implore from the Lord forgiveness and reconciliation after years of war and terrorism, to beg from God the consolation of hearts and the healing of wounds. I am coming among you also as a pilgrim of peace, to repeat the words: You are all brothers and sisters” (Mt 23:8). Yes, I am coming as a pilgrim of peace, seeking fraternity and prompted by the desire to pray together and to walk together, also with our brothers and sisters of other religious traditions, in the steps of Father Abraham, who joins in one family Muslims, Jews and Christians. …
In these trying times of pandemic, let us help one another to strengthen fraternity and build together a future of peace. Together, brothers and sisters of every religious tradition. From here, thousands of years ago, Abraham began his journey. Today it is up to us to carry on that journey, in the same spirit, pursuing together the paths of peace!”
His “desire to pray together and to walk together” with “brothers and sisters of other religious traditions” was realized at the interreligious meeting held in Ur, the birthplace of Abraham (cf. Gen. 11:27-32).
According to a Vatican summary of the event: “After the initial hymn, the singing of readings from the Book of Genesis and from the Quran, two young people gave testimonies, followed by those of a woman of the Sabean-Mandaean religion and a Muslim man.” (Is Francis aware that the Quran commands Muslims to wage war against non-Muslims?)
The Pope then gave his prepared speech, the central theme of which echoed his pre-trip video message that Jews, Christians, and Muslims — together with people “of every religious tradition” — form “one family” under a common father, Abraham. Here are a few examples (with a few comments of mine interspersed):
- “This blessed place [Ur] brings us back to our origins, to the sources of God’s work, to the birth of our religions. Here, where Abraham our father lived, we seem to have returned home. … Today we, Jews, Christians and Muslims, together with our brothers and sisters of other religions, honor our father Abraham by doing as he did: we look up to heaven and we journey on earth.”
- “May we – the descendants of Abraham and the representatives of different religions – sense that, above all, we have this role: to help our brothers and sisters to raise their eyes and prayers to heaven. … This is true religiosity: to worship God and to love our neighbor. In today’s world, which often forgets or presents distorted images of the Most High [as does Islam and other false religions], believers are called to bear witness to His goodness, to show His paternity through our fraternity.” (Note to Francis: Islamic teaching considers it blasphemous to say that God is Father in any sense whatsoever.)
- “Brothers and sisters of different religions, here we find ourselves at home, and from here, together, we wish to commit ourselves to fulfilling God’s dream that the human family may become hospitable and welcoming to all His children; that looking up to the same heaven, it will journey in peace on the same earth.”
“Prayer of the Children of Abraham”
At this point, the theme of this meeting, of Francis’ trip to Iraq, and increasingly of his entire pontificate, appears obvious: we are all brothers and sisters, regardless of our respective religious traditions, because Abraham is somehow everyone’s common father. To continue reading, subscribe to the Catholic Family News E-Edition
Bishop Barron’s Taupe Catholicism (Christopher A. Ferrara)
Three Distinct Constituencies
Innumerable devastating consequences have resulted from the post-Vatican II “renewal” of the Church — above all, a disastrous “renewal” of the Roman liturgy that Msgr. Klaus Gamber (with the future Pope Benedict XVI’s approval) rightly described as, “The real destruction of the traditional Mass, of the traditional Roman rite with a history of more than one thousand years.” The demolition of the liturgy — the Church’s lex orandi — has been accompanied by a splintering of the lex credendi, so that today there are three distinct constituencies in the ecclesial commonwealth that never existed as such before the Council: the liberal, “conservative,” and “traditionalist” modes of Catholicism now firmly established as elements of ecclesial life.
The traditionalist mode, of course, involves nothing more or less than the unreconstructed Faith of our fathers as practiced by Catholics who have simply refrained from altering traditional Catholic belief or practice in ways never actually imposed on them by binding pronouncements of ecclesiastical authority, either during or after the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965). Not even the New Mass, the supposed crown jewel of the “great renewal,” was made binding on the universal Church. Quite the contrary, as Pope Benedict XVI informed the world’s bishops in 2007 (to the surprise of no traditionalist) the traditional Latin Mass “was never juridically abrogated and, consequently, in principle, was always permitted.” Traditionalists, quite simply, are those Catholics whose lived Faith did not change after 1962, before which every Catholic who seriously practiced the Faith was what is now called a traditionalist.
As for the liberal mode, since the mid-19th century the Church has been plagued by liberal Catholics (later denominated Modernists), to be sure, but they were repeatedly denounced as ecclesial outliers and outlaws by the pre-Vatican II Popes, including Pius IX (r. 1846-1878), who famously declared: “I have always condemned Liberal Catholicism and I will condemn it forty times over if it be necessary.” Liberal Catholicism has numerous pestilent elements, but they all come under the heading of Condemned Proposition No. 80 in Pius IX’s Syllabus of Errors (1864): “The Roman Pontiff can and should reconcile and adapt himself to liberalism, and modern civilization.” Which is to say that the Church as a whole, in all departments, should reconcile itself with progress, liberalism, and modern civilization.
Enter Bishop Barron
Enter the likes of Bishop Robert Barron, ordained by the disgraced arch-Modernist Joseph Bernardin and co-consecrated as auxiliary bishop of Los Angeles — under Pope Francis, of course — by that inveterate ultra-liberal hound of traditionalists, Cardinal Blase Cupich, who is currently engaged in defending putative President Joe Biden against some timid criticism by his fellow bishops. Barron is a purveyor of one of the many brands of reformed Catholicism being offered in place of what was handed down intact for nearly 2,000 years (with gradual and organic growth and development) before everything that Popes Pius IX and St. Pius X dreaded came to pass with the worst crisis in Church history.
Dubbed “Bishop of the Internet,” Barron has become of the many celebrity clerics self-created via social media. A lot of what he has to say is unobjectionable, albeit within the safe limits of accommodation to the very liberalization of the Church the great pre-conciliar Popes, foreseeing disaster, labored to prevent. Accordingly, Barron’s response to the crisis in the Church staring him in the face is, as Crisis magazine rightly observes, “pitiful (but honest)” because it writes off any militant action by the hierarchy in “reforming the Church and Western culture,” including Barron himself, leaving it to “families [to] preserve tradition, form close communities committed to the gospel, and, yes, show some courage against the thugs attacking their property and freedoms….”
Worse, the price Barron must pay for celebrity and maintenance of his good standing in the ecclesial establishment is that, like all the other relatively orthodox celebrity clerics, he is obliged to distance himself from the traditionalist constituency lest he fall victim to the ecclesial variant of cancel culture. He must, therefore, avoid anything resembling a critique of the conciliar aggiornamento, including its fatuous “opening to the world,” which is precisely the reason he and his fellow establishment hierarchs are now impotent to engage in true reform of the Church or serious opposition to the world’s ever-fiercer attacks against what remains of the ecclesial bulwarks. (Which is not to suggest that the world will ultimately succeed in conquering the Church completely, given that divine assistance will sooner or later overcome even treachery, incompetence or cowardice on the part of the pastors, not excluding wayward Popes.)
The Rule of Goldilocks
Accordingly, rather than simply working for a restoration of what has been wrecked or cast aside in the name of the Council, as traditionalists are doing in thriving communities, religious orders and seminaries, Barron turns up his nose at the traditionalist constituency while dithering on about his own home-brewed prescriptions for what ails the Church today. His “Word of Fire” website is thus all about what he thinks ought to be done in keeping with a safely anodyne brand of nouveau orthodoxy devised according to the Rule of Goldilocks: neither liberal, which is too cold, nor traditionalist, which is too hot, but rather Barron’s notion of the Faith, which he deems just right. Click here to continue reading
*The Popes Speak* Pius XII’s Encyclical Mystici Corporis Christi on the Church, Part I
Editor’s Note: As the theme of “human fraternity” continues to dominate the current pontificate, it is crucial for Catholics to recall that true and everlasting fraternity is found only in Christ and His Church. Thus, over the next several months we will be reprinting in its entirety Mystici Corporis Christi, the Encyclical of Pope Pius XII (r. 1939-1958) in which he so thoroughly and beautifully expounds the true doctrine concerning the nature of the Church (ecclesiology) and her divine mission in the world.
Just as there were “grave errors…being spread among those outside the true Church” when Pius XII issued his Encyclical in 1943, as well as “inaccurate or thoroughly false ideas” circulating amongst Catholic people, the same is true today — the difference being that “grave errors” of all kinds have penetrated deep into the Church’s human element, in particular, the minds and hearts of her leaders.
This disturbing reality calls to mind the famous words of Cardinal Eugenio Pacelli (the future Pius XII) uttered in the early 1930s to a friend: “I am concerned by the Blessed Virgin’s messages to Lucia of Fatima. Mary’s persistence about the dangers that menace the Church is a divine warning against the suicide of altering the Faith, in her liturgy, her theology and her soul. … A day will come when the civilized world will deny its God, when the Church will doubt as Peter doubted. She will be tempted to believe that man has become God.” A prophetic warning, indeed.
Let us, therefore, carefully consider the true Catholic doctrine set forth in this important papal text. Click here to read Pius XII’s Mystici Corporis Christi
Cardinal Robert Sarah as the Antithesis of Archbishop Hannibal Bugnini: The Mass Should Not Be a Hegelian Experiment (Brian M. McCall)
As of Feb. 20, 2021, Cardinal Robert Sarah is no longer the Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments (CDW), the office of the Roman Curia responsible for the sacred liturgy. Cardinal Sarah tendered his resignation last June upon turning 75, but Pope Francis chose to defer accepting it until February of this year. No successor has been named as of the date of this article, and there are rumors in Rome that before a successor is named an outside canonical visitation of the Congregation is being conducted.
Many priests and laity who have been troubled by the liturgical upheavals of the past several decades have looked to Cardinal Sarah as a friend of the Church’s liturgical tradition. Although he served three different popes — John Paul II, Benedict XVI, and Francis — he is very much a prelate in the mold of Benedict XVI. In some ways, he is the liturgical side of the doctrinal coin that epitomizes the approach of Benedict XVI to the crisis in the Church. An interview of the retired Cardinal made available on Mar. 10, 2021 underscores this understanding of his position and role in the CDW.
Cardinal Sarah: A Voice for the Appearance of Sacrality in the Liturgy
Throughout his approximately two decades of service in the Vatican, Cardinal Sarah has often been seen as a prelate who advocated for the traditional liturgy. Subjectively, he certainly seems to appreciate the essence of the liturgy as the worship of God. In the recent interview (mentioned above), he affirms this understanding: “The Church exists to give men to God and to give God to men. This is precisely the role of the liturgy: to worship God and to communicate divine grace to souls.” The liturgy for Cardinal Sarah is primarily about God: our worship of Him and our reception — through the priest — of graces from Him. He also acknowledges that when the liturgy is harmed, the whole Church suffers. He observes: “When the liturgy is sick, the whole Church is in danger because her relationship with God is not only weakened but deeply damaged. The Church then runs the risk of cutting herself off from her divine source to become a self-centered institution that has only herself to proclaim.”
Certainly, we who hold fast to the Traditional Mass and Sacraments would agree with this assessment of the Cardinal. In the interview, as in prior writings and interventions, he has made clear his support for the legitimacy and perhaps superiority of offering Mass ad orientem, with the priest and people facing the altar and the crucifix. He has rightly observed that when the priest and laity face each other, they are praying towards each other rather than towards God. He has also called for the reintroduction into the liturgy of periods of silence and even penned an entire book extolling the virtues of silence, which in our noisy distracting world is almost absent.
Aesthetics Are Important, But Doctrine is More Important
Yet, both of these observations of the Cardinal, although true, are merely on the aesthetic level. They affect how efficacious the Mass is in our souls — how it disposes us to receive grace. He is correct that the restoration of these practices (celebration ad orientem and silence) is important for souls, yet the now-half century objections to the New Mass are not primarily on the level of aesthetics or efficaciousness but on the level of doctrine.
The “Critical Study of the New Order of Mass” by a group of Roman theologians (commonly referred to as the “Ottaviani Intervention”) was not critical of the loss of silence or proper orientation of the priest but of the doctrinal ambiguities and omissions of the Latin text of the New Mass. In the cover letter that transmitted the Critical Study to Pope Paul VI, Cardinals Ottaviani and Bacci explained that the enclosed study showed “quite clearly that if we consider the innovations implied or taken for granted which may of course be evaluated in different ways, the Novus Ordo represents, both as a whole and in its details, a striking departure from the Catholic theology of the Mass as it was formulated in Session XXII of the Council of Trent. The ‘canons’ of the rite definitively fixed at that time provided an insurmountable barrier to any heresy directed against the integrity of the Mystery.” Even if the New Mass can be evaluated aesthetically, the Critical Study makes clear that it is “as a whole and in its details a striking departure” from the infallible teaching on the nature of the Mass. Sprinkling in a few bits of silence or turning the priest back to the altar, even if good in and of themselves, will not correct this doctrinal deficiency of the New Mass. To continue reading, subscribe to the Catholic Family News E-Edition
Cardinal Tobin’s New Plum (George Neumayr)
In early March, Pope Francis tossed a new plum to Cardinal Joseph Tobin of Newark, New Jersey. The Pope added him to the Congregation for Bishops, the powerful Vatican body that plays a central role in selecting bishops across the world. Tobin replaces Cardinal Donald Wuerl, archbishop emeritus of Washington, D.C. (2006-2018), who has reached the mandatory retirement age of 80.
Giddy over Tobin’s promotion, Michael Sean Winters of the heretical National Catholic Reporter noted its import:
“Pope Francis continues to turn the barque of Peter slowly into the wind. Nowhere has he met with greater opposition than in the United States. In Tobin, Francis will have someone with the right experience and a shared vision joining Chicago’s Cardinal Blase Cupich at the meetings of the Congregation for Bishops. We can count the days — OK, maybe the months — until Team Francis has a majority of the bishops voting at the bishops’ conference plenary meetings!”
The Prototypical Francis Toady
In other words, Tobin will join Cupich (the only other American on the body) in stacking the U.S. episcopate with as many Francis-style liberals as possible. That the Pope selected Tobin for this task is no surprise. Tobin is the prototypical Francis toady. He mirrors the Pope’s theological and political liberalism perfectly.
In 2016, Pope Francis plucked then-Archbishop Tobin from the obscurity of Indianapolis, an archdiocese with fewer than 250,000 parishioners, and turned him into the cardinal of Newark, New Jersey. The Associated Press called the promotion a “political message” from the Pope to Tobin’s colleagues, given Tobin’s reputation for political liberalism: “Tobin has openly opposed efforts by Indiana Governor Mike Pence, now Donald Trump’s running mate, to bar Syrian refugees from being resettled in the state.”
Sparring with Donald Trump’s future vice president was a good career move for Tobin. His résumé also included, among other heterodox flourishes, a vigorous defense of liberal nuns in the United States. The Vatican reporter John Allen has written that it was Tobin, the former superior general of the Redemptorist religious order, who objected to the “two separate investigations of American nuns” that took place under Pope Benedict XVI. “Tobin was publicly critical of these probes, suggesting they had been launched without dialogue or consultation with the women religious,” wrote Allen.
This, too, no doubt added to his appeal in the pope’s eyes. (Pope Francis squashed those investigations shortly after he entered the papacy.)
Since his elevation to the College of Cardinals under Francis, Tobin has only grown more explicit in his liberalism. For example, he would like to see a female cardinal in the Church. “Maybe my theology isn’t sophisticated enough,” he has said, “but I don’t believe that there’s a compelling theological reason why the pope couldn’t name a woman cardinal.” He also muses that the Church’s teachings on sexuality should change. Speaking in 2019 at an event titled, “Pope Francis and the Future of the American Church,” he ventured, “A rethinking of the mystery of human sexuality is important, is incumbent. It’s not going to be done in a weekend. But I think we have to be able to ask questions of each other as we go forward. And listen.” To continue reading, subscribe to the Catholic Family News E-Edition
Six Decades to Slow the Spread: Parallels Between COVID-19 and Vatican II (Kennedy Hall)
A Year Like No Other
As this edition of Catholic Family News goes to press, we have now passed the one-year anniversary of the plandemic that has enwrapped our globe in a moronic daze of subservience to the host of imbeciles who call themselves ‘experts’. I still remember last March, hearing about the coronavirus for the first time, only because we were told we would be off work for a couple of weeks. I had no idea what I was in for, and literally had no idea there was even a virus that we should worry about. I was on an internet fast as part of a Lenten regimen, and was not using social media or surfing the net for news. So, when I received word that schools were closing for an extended March break, I opened my browser and checked an article by Chris Ferrara. It is providential that this was the first piece I read on the topic, as he has been at the forefront of debunking the narrative since the outset. Thus, I did not take any of the claims about ‘superspreading’ or ‘overwhelming hospitals’ seriously — and I still don’t, as the whole narrative has been routinely destroyed by the actual facts.
In any case, I was so aloof to the whole situation that I went to a small fiddle concert in a pub with a few friends. This was the first outing for my wife and I in a long while (finding a babysitter for four small children in order to enjoy a date night isn’t always easy), so we made a trip to Toronto to hear some wonderful music. When we arrived in the big city, we were shocked at what we saw. Nothing was closed at that point, and there were no restrictions in place, but Toronto was a ghost town. Toronto is not unlike any other major city, and is always busy, so the contrast was startling. Now, our friends had the same thoughts about the virus that we did, and so did everyone at the pub; no one was taking it seriously and thought the whole panic was sort of funny. Even the fiddler — a world-renowned musician who long played with the famous Irish Rovers — was saying how silly it was that he had to quickly jet back to Ireland because of something that was, in his words, a “mild flu.”
Needless to say, our aloofness garnered a dose of vitriol from the corona-obsessed internet, as we posted a picture of our first date night in a long time. We were immediately attacked by a seeming pack of virtual wild dogs for our supposed disrespect for other people’s lives, ‘killing grandma,’ etc. It was shocking, and a bit bizarre. Within hours of getting home, we noticed that the social media universe had become infested with branding, monolithic ‘stay-at-home’ messaging, and even graphic-decorated poetry about nurses and superheroes. I recall one poem written about nurses ‘walking into the fire,’ and as my wife read it to me from her phone, we weren’t sure if we should laugh or if some new worldwide health worker cult had emerged.
It was the strangest thing. Even family members seemed like they were ideologically possessed when I would try to tell them that what they were hearing wasn’t accurate. Then, when the Church started to shut down, I was even more alarmed. The whole world was losing its mind and auto-destructing over a flu. “Two weeks,” we were told, then it became a month, then two months, and then… well, more than that. All logic and prior wisdom were thrown out the window, and the few sane politicians and doctors were ostracized as medical heretics who just didn’t understand the way things were now. You see, it didn’t matter how health officials had handled literally every illness for all of history; there was a new way of doing things, and the spirit of the ‘rona dictated the direction of society.
Furthermore, as time went on and thinking people began to see that lockdowns and wearing wash-cloths over your face weren’t actually going to do anything… well, it wasn’t that the measures weren’t working or that they couldn’t work; it was just that they hadn’t been done ‘properly’ or for ‘long enough’. It became clear to me that this was the same logic as all Communist rhetoric you hear amongst the average person with a Marxist (i.e., public-school) education. You have surely encountered this before: “It isn’t that Communism doesn’t work, it just hasn’t been done right,” or, “Communism would work if people weren’t so selfish.” I could go on, but suffice it to say that common sense was completely cancelled by then, and we had entered into a new paradigm — a ‘new normal’. To continue reading, subscribe to the Catholic Family News E-Edition
Pope Saint Leo the Great: Lion of Orthodoxy, True Shepherd of Souls (Mark Fellows)
Of the 266 popes of the Catholic Church, only three have been proclaimed “Great”: St. Nicholas I (r. 858-867), St. Gregory I (r. 590-604), and St. Leo I (r. 440-461), the first to be honored with the title, whose feast we celebrate this month (Apr. 11) on the traditional Roman calendar.
Leo’s pontificate began on Sept. 29, 440, and ended with his death on Nov. 10, 461. His exact birthdate is not known, but he was thought to have been born in the early 400s. Leo came from a family named Quintianus, in Tuscany, Italy, which would later be the birthplace of St. Catherine of Sienna.
While some sources label him a “Roman aristocrat,” there is little to substantiate such a claim. If Leo was in fact an aristocrat, it is curious that his position in the Church prior to becoming Pope was as a deacon — not an especially appealing position for an aristocrat. Yet he served as such during the pontificate of St. Celestine I (r. 422-432), and continued his relatively lowly position during the reign of Celestine’s successor, St. Sixtus III (r. 432-440).
During the pontificate of Sixtus, Leo was entrusted with difficult diplomatic problems that caused him to travel outside of Rome, where he achieved successful outcomes. In this skill he was like Pope Sixtus himself, who settled disputes arising from the Ecumenical Council of Ephesus (431) and kept peace between Rome and the East. Thus, when Sixtus died on Aug. 19, 440, his peers elected a man with similar skills only one month later: that most unusually talented deacon of Rome who took the name Leo I.
(As an aside, in the early centuries of the Church, popes often used their real names as their papal title. Therefore, the papal name “Leo” could have been his real name. Such was the significance of his pontificate that twelve subsequent popes took the name Leo, which is Latin for “lion”.)
When Leo became Supreme Pontiff, much of Rome was still under reconstruction after being sacked in 410 by the Visigoths. Leo continued the efforts begun by Sixtus with the rebuilding of Roman churches. At this time, the western Roman Empire was in decline, but Rome itself was slowly rebuilding the wealth and prominence that would result in the grand city of later centuries.
Rich or poor, Rome was a magnet for Visigoths, Huns, Vandals, and other barbarian hordes. Hence, it was a tad predictable that Attila the Hun would travel towards Rome to vanquish it yet again. His army was intercepted in upper Italy near Mantua by Pope Leo, who came unarmed except for his faith and exceptional diplomatic skills. Accounts vary about what was actually said between the two (they surely needed superb interpreters). But whatever was said, Attila — known as “the Scourge of God” — must have noted the exceptional bravery of this pope who came to meet him and his army with only a small entourage.
Perhaps the superstitious Attila remembered the fate of the last villain to sack Rome, Alaric, leader of the Visigoths, who after his plunder of Rome lost his fleet in a storm, and then suddenly lost his life in what became known as “the Alaric curse.”
According to another legend, Attila saw an apparition of Sts. Peter and Paul, swords drawn, silently and ominously overshadowing Pope Leo and the Huns during their meeting. Or perhaps Leo worked some of his own magic with his extraordinary faith and diplomatic skills. What we know for sure, though, is that after his meeting with Leo, Attila and his army withdrew abruptly and left Italy, never to return. To continue reading, subscribe to the Catholic Family News E-Edition
The Growth of Tradition in Florida (Sean Romer)
In Florida, the Traditional Catholic Faith has grown rapidly in the past year.
In a time noted for worldwide concerns over a global pandemic and wide-ranging lockdowns, with many families experiencing job losses, grave financial concerns, and other grave challenges, the Florida churches and missions of the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) increased in membership and, as the Year of St. Joseph commenced, they were blessed with abundance in their fundraising efforts. After years of the Florida priests and faithful sowing the seeds with many prayers and sacrifices, Almighty God in His loving beneficence saw fit to give the increase.
In Sanford, St. Thomas More Church reached its fundraising goal of $250,000. Next comes the expansion of the sacristy and the addition of four new altars that will allow the priory’s several priests to more fittingly serve and honor Almighty God in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
In Jacksonville, St. Michael the Archangel Church attained its fundraising goal of $500,000. The overcrowded church – which had gone from one to three Masses on Sundays to accommodate all the new parishioners – will be expanded to allow more seating, and a new side altar to St. Philomena will be added to honor the patroness who so greatly aided their efforts.
In Davie, Operation Lepanto raised funds that will be used to acquire land and build a new shrine large enough to accommodate the combined faithful of two churches, Our Lady of Victory in Davie and St. Philomena, now closed in Miami. On Jan. 8, it was announced at the church banquet that the incredible had happened: the joint parishes had attained their goal of raising $1,000,000 in a mere five weeks.
Changes are coming elsewhere in Florida. The parish in Miramar Beach is growing, and plans are being laid for building a new church for the growing number of faithful. In Fort Myers, work to beautify the church enthusiastically continues with new flooring, paintings, trim work, and a front door, and they are working with Br. Marcel in Platte city on building a new altar. In West Palm Beach, the faithful meet in the basement of their church while the upstairs sanctuary is being steadily renovated.
In the past year, many faithful in Florida found the Society’s churches after the diocesan parishes were closed to them. Astonished that the houses of worship they had long attended were shut down in the middle of a worldwide crisis, and eagerly desiring the Divine aid and consolation that only the Catholic Church can provide, they sought and found the pearl of great price in the Traditional Mass, catechism, and sacraments that, by the grace of God, the Society of St. Pius X provides. To continue reading, subscribe to the Catholic Family News E-Edition
Defending the Truth of Our Lady of Fatima, Part I (Marianna Bartold)
“Repeat a lie often enough and people will eventually come to believe it.” Such is the abiding law of dishonest propaganda. In contrast, Our Lord taught, “If you continue in My word, you shall be My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:31-32). Due to certain falsehoods once more arising against one particular “request” of the Fatima Virgin, it is time to revisit and defend the truth regarding the collegial consecration of Russia to her Immaculate Heart, which includes a public act of reparation and the papal promulgation of the Five First Saturdays devotion. This must be done because, as I often say, Fatima is a work of God, and Our Lady’s concise commands—although unfulfilled—still stand.
The three main resurrected deceptions are as follows: 1) Pope Pius XII made the “requested” consecration, although imperfectly, for which reason the Lord gave the post-WWII world the promised “era of peace” but not the conversion of Russia; the rest is up to the priests and laity; 2) conversely, only John Paul II fulfilled Our Lady’s “requests” — he did all he could and, again, the rest is up to everyone else in the Church; and 3) to the aforementioned fallacious pretexts, there are a multitude of variations, including the ignorant excuse that the Virgin cannot command a Pope or even the bishops, as well as the oft-repeated misinformation that either Our Lord or Our Lady said the consecration will come “too late.”
First, to begin in “setting the record straight,” all Catholics must understand and accept Our Lady’s office and her prerogatives. Why? To correct the serious error of vocal “Catholic” critics who deny that the Virgin, Queen and Mother of the Church, can issue a command to the Pope and the hierarchy. Such Catholics do not understand that Our Lady is not merely what earthly royalty would call “Queen Mother” (who, as the reigning monarch’s mother, is given respect but holds no right to command). To the contrary, the Church upholds and teaches thusly: “Jesus is King of the Eternal Ages by nature and by right of conquest; through Him, with Him, and subordinate to Him, Mary is Queen by grace, by divine relationship, by right of conquest, and by singular election. And her kingdom is as vast as that of her Son and God, since nothing is excluded from her dominion.”
Second, when he read or speak of the Madonna’s “requests,” we must grasp that she is not politely asking us for favors. The Virgin’s “requests” to the Pope, bishops, and the entire Church Militant are the mandates or decrees of the Catholic City’s Queen to her Steward (Pope), her Princes (bishops), and her people (in all walks of life). Thus, when Our Lady of Fatima made her “requests,” she was in truth giving commands to every level of the Catholic Church.
Third, to repeat what I state in my book, Fatima: The Signs and Secrets: “Our Lady of Fatima has waited almost 100 years for a reigning Pope to heed her requests for the following: 1) Worldwide devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, 2) Papal promulgation of the Five First Saturdays of Reparation for the five major blasphemies committed against the Virgin’s Immaculate Heart, 3) the public dissemination of the Third Secret Text, and 4) the solemn and public collegial consecration of Russia (and Russia alone) to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.”
The collegial consecration of Russia is Heaven’s “foremost request,” which is another truth to which I’ve frequently drawn attention. That is a historical fact, just as it is a fact that “only a Pope can take action to fulfill the other requests of the Virgin. Only a Pope can command and lead the bishops to join him in a solemn, public act of consecration of Russia to Our Lady’s most pure Heart. Only a Pope can universally promote the Five First Saturday devotions, and now (at this point in history, since in 1957 the Vatican ordered Lucia’s bishop, who was entrusted to release the Third Secret in 1960, to send it and all other Fatima documents to Rome) only a Pope can ensure that the Third Secret Text is fully released to the entire world.”
In this essay, I will mainly focus on that which pertains to the collegial consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary (to which is attached the necessary papal promulgation of the Five First Saturdays of Reparation), its simple but explicit points, the many times and diverse ways in which Lucia of Fatima made clear this “request,” and the fact that at no time has any Pope led the world’s Catholic bishops in its accomplishment. To continue reading, subscribe to the Catholic Family News E-Edition
*Roman Catechism Series* The Ten Commandments: The Fifth Commandment (Matthew Plese)
Thou Shalt Not Kill
“Thou shalt not kill” (Ex. 20:13). While most Catholics are not guilty of the sin of homicide, the Fifth Commandment is not one that any Catholic may ignore. This Commandment both prohibits a number of a sins, of which homicide is only one, and also enjoins on everyone a commandment of charity towards one another. On this point, the Roman Catechism is clear:
“In the explanation of this Commandment the Lord points out its twofold obligation. The one is prohibitory and forbids us to kill; the other is mandatory and commands us to cherish sentiments of charity, concord and friendship towards our enemies, to have peace with all men, and finally, to endure with patience every inconvenience.”
While the Commandments were first given to Moses on Mount Sinai, the prohibition against killing extends back further to the beginning of creation with our first parents. It was original sin, which is an attack against God Himself, that drove Adam and Eve from paradise and brought about the consequences of original sin to humanity. And in only one more generation, murder would enter human history as Cain murdered his brother Abel out of jealousy (cf. Gen. 4:3-8). Even before Moses received the Tablets of the Law, the Lord spoke clearly about the seriousness of killing, as the Roman Catechism insightfully demonstrates:
“Immediately after the earth was overwhelmed in universal deluge, this was the first prohibition made by God to man. I will require the blood of your lives, He said, at the hand of every beast and at the hand of man [Gen. 9:5]. In the next place, among the precepts of the Old Law expounded by our Lord, this Commandment was mentioned first by Him; concerning which it is written in the Gospel of St. Matthew: It has been said thou shalt not kill [Matt. 5:9], etc.”
Sins Against the Fifth Commandment
The Fifth Commandment forbids willful murder, abortion, suicide, fighting (outside of self-defense, of course), quarreling, scandal, bad example, anger, hatred, and revenge. As stated by Canon Francis Ripley, “Life is man’s greatest good, so God wishes to safeguard it against attack. God alone is the author of life; He alone may take life — apart from the circumstances of a just war, the execution of a criminal, and legitimate self-defense.” The Baltimore Catechism concurs: “The fifth Commandment forbids all willful murder, fighting, anger, hatred, revenge, and bad example.”
The wisdom of the Roman Catechism expounds on these prohibitions and mentions that the Commandment similarly condemns those who encourage or assist with the death of another, not merely those who commit the act. And further, that the Commandment applies to everyone without exception:
“As to the person who kills, the Commandment recognizes no exception whatever, be he rich or powerful, master or parent. All, without exception or distinction, are forbidden to kill.
With regard to the person killed, the law extends to all. There is no individual, however humble or lowly his condition, whose life is not shielded by this law.”
Suicide is also forbidden without exception, as the Roman Catechism affirms:
“It also forbids suicide. No man possesses such power over his own life as to be at liberty to put himself to death. Hence, we find that the Commandment does not say: Thou shalt not kill another, but simply: Thou shalt not kill.
Finally, if we consider the numerous means by which murder may be committed, the law admits of no exception. Not only does it forbid to take away the life of another by laying violent hands on him, by means of a sword, a stone, a stick, a halter, or by administering poison; but also strictly prohibits the accomplishment of the death of another by counsel, assistance, help or any other means whatever.”
Savoring the Words of Bishop Bernard Fellay (Amanda Evinger)
Many traditional Catholics marvel at the blazing courage and inspiring generosity of bishops such as Bishop Athanasius Schneider and Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò – and rightly so. Their willingness to send out the life rafts of authentic Catholicism in the midst of the “murky waters of Vatican II” is definitely awe-inspiring. In the face of persecution, they do not desist from revealing the splendor of the Absolute Truth through their words and works; and in the face of opposition, they do not fail to stand by those who love this Truth.
It is consoling to know that there are other faithful (though perhaps less well known) Catholic bishops dwelling deep in the recesses of the Church who continue to fight to save her, their spiritual mother on earth, no matter what it costs them. One such beautiful soul is Bishop Bernard Fellay (b. 1958), who served as the superior of the Society of Saint Pius X (SSPX) from 1994 to 2018, and now serves as General Counselor of the Society alongside its current Superior General, Fr. Davide Pagliarani. For decades, Bishop Fellay has given his life to Holy Mother Church and his heart to God’s people. As she has weathered the turbulence of crisis after crisis and bore the plague of scandals, he has not left her side, nor abandoned his post as a captain steering the ark of traditional Catholicism.
Though his recent work, For the Love of the Church (Angelus Press, 2020), Bishop Fellay lends strength to the faithful and buoys them with an ethereal sense of hope. This book-length interview summarizes Bishop Fellay’s advice on numerous topics which affect Catholics and the Church today, such as: the ongoing crisis in the Church, Holy Matrimony, the traditional liturgy, abortion, the importance of Marian devotion, human suffering, missionary work, the effects of the Second Vatican Council, relations between the SSPX and Rome, and the priestly way of life in contemporary society. Throughout the book, he shows how the mission of the SSPX was born from a whole-souled, loyal love of the Church, and not from a spirit of rebellion or desire to stir up controversy. With refreshing honesty and openness, he shares the reasons why the Society was originally founded and how Divine Providence continues to carry it on.
Even in her most hidden days, when the founder of the SSPX, Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, unjustly bore the stigma of being “excommunicated”, the Society was merely seeking to protect the Church from internal enemies bent on destroying her and inundating her with the spirit of the world. With candid responses throughout the book, Fellay helps the reader comprehend how the Archbishop surrendered nearly all that he had in order to preserve: the dignity of the priesthood, the fortress of Sacred Tradition, and the Immemorial Mass. Despite tremendous persecution, Archbishop Lefebvre sought to embrace the Eternal Priesthood of Jesus Christ with all of his spirit. “Our dear founder, Archbishop Lefebvre, frequently insisted on this reality: a priest is another Christ,” Fellay explains (p. 29). “I also like to recall this essential connection between the priest and the Mass. The priest is a mediator. He is an intermediary between God and human beings. His task is to offer an expiatory sacrifice in reparation for sins and to reconcile men with God, but also to present to God the petitions of men. And God in His mercy gives this grace abundantly by way of the priest.”
Steadfastness in Response to Conciliar Novelties
In the midst of the radically unhinging liturgical, spiritual, theological and doctrinal havoc which has accompanied the implementation of Vatican II and its aftermath, the SSPX has simply held fast to the dogmas which have been officially proclaimed by Holy Mother Church over time. In doing so, they have merely clung to the primary authority of Sacred Tradition over the “living Magisterium”, which is the proper order of things, after all. As Roberto de Mattei expounds in his marvelous little work, Apologia for Tradition (Angelus Press, 2019):
“In descending order of importance, Tradition is first, then the Church and after that the Magisterium, which is a ‘power’ that the Church exercises to perpetuate the Tradition. The Magisterium, in itself, is not a ‘source,’ but a ‘potestas,’ and can in no way take advantage of Tradition. … Before the Magisterium there is the Church, before the Church there is Tradition, before Tradition there is the Revelation, and before Revelation there is the Revelator, who is Christ Himself.” (p. 84)
Consequently, when confronted with doctrinal and theological confusion and contradiction, particularly as a result of the Second Vatican Council, the SSPX has taken the “tried and true” route by trusting the safeguard of Sacred Tradition to direct its course. To continue reading, subscribe to Catholic Family News E-Edition
A Meditation in Preparation for Easter (Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò)
Surveying the Landscape after a Year of COVID
Last year, with a decision as incomprehensible as it was wretched, for the first time in the Christian era, the Catholic hierarchy placed limitations on the celebration of Easter, following the mainstream narration of the pandemic. Many of the faithful, constrained by measures of confinement that were as demonstrably useless as they were counter-productive, were able to unite themselves spiritually to the Holy Sacrifice, assisting at the liturgical functions via computer. One year later, nothing has changed with respect to then, and we hear it repeated once again that we ought to prepare ourselves for a further lockdown in order to allow the population to be subjected to an experimental genetic serum, imposed by the pharmaceutical lobby despite their not knowing what long-term side effects there may be. In many nations they are beginning to ban their use, due to the suspicious deaths that are following inoculation; and yet, despite the pounding campaign of media terrorism, basic treatments show themselves to be effective and capable of drastically reducing the number of hospitalizations and, consequently, also the number of deaths.
As Catholics, we are called to understand the scope of how much, for more than a year, all of humanity has been forced to undergo in the name of an emergency that – according to the official data in hand – has caused a number of deaths that is no different from that of preceding years. We are called to understand, even before believing: because if the Lord has endowed us with an intelligence, He has done so in order for us to use it to recognize and judge the reality which surrounds us. In the act of Faith, the baptized person does not renounce his own rationality in an acritical fideism, but rather accepts what the Lord reveals to him, bowing before the authority of God, Who does not deceive us and Who is the Truth itself.
Our capacity to intus legere events preserves us, in the light of Grace, from going down the path of that sort of reckless irrationality which vice-versa those display who up until yesterday were celebrating science as the necessary antidote to “religious superstition,” and who today celebrate the self-styled “experts” as new priests of the pandemic, denying the most elementary principles of modern medicine. And if for the Christian a true plague is a salutary call to conversion and penance for the faults of individuals and of nations, for the initiates of the health religion a treatable flu syndrome is said to be the cry of Mother Earth violated by humanity – a step-mother Nature, to which many turn with the words of Leopardi: Why do you not later return that which you promised then? Do you deceive your children so much? We realize that the tribal cruelty, the primitive force like a planetary virus which would like to exterminate us, does not reside in Nature, of which the Creator is the admirable architect, but rather in an elite that is subservient to globalist ideology, which on the one hand wants to impose the tyranny of the New World Order, and on the other, in order to maintain power, generously rewards those who put themselves at its service. The rebels, those who resist, are conversely annihilated in their possessions, deprived of freedom, forced to undergo unreliable testings and ineffective vaccines in the name of a superior good which they must accept without any possibility of dissent or criticism. Click here to continue reading