Catholic Family News

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May 2020 Contents

The Death of Libertas Ecclesiae in Time of Pandemic (Brian M. McCall)

The worldwide outbreak of the COVID-19 coronavirus has wrought many rapid and dramatic changes in our world, the most significant of which has been the rapid closure of almost all Catholic churches in the United States – in many cases, by order of the civil authorities. This dramatic event has exposed for us the radical difference between the principles of Libertas Ecclesiae (“Freedom of the Church”) and Libertas Religionum (“Freedom of Religions”). The first phrase is traditional and was the battle cry of the Gregorian Reformers of the tenth and eleventh centuries. The second is the product of the French Revolution and the current era of rights grounded in human dignity. The rapid subjugation of the Church and deprivation of her liberty so quickly and without hardly any objection by the episcopacy illustrates for us the ephemeral and shallow nature of Libertas Religionum as opposed to Libertas Ecclesiae. In this article, we will briefly explain the difference between the two principles and then examine their application in the current pandemic.

Libertas Ecclesiae and Divine Law

At the dawn of the second millennium after the birth of Christ, the position of the Church was quite precarious. Throughout the turmoil of the ninth and tenth centuries, wrought by a combination of barbarian raids and constant warfare as well as the moral corruption of much of the clergy, the Church found herself subjugated to civil authorities. Kings and potentates wielded great power over the spiritual government of the Church. The epitome of this subjection of the Church to the civil authorities was the investiture of bishops by the emperor or king. The power of the temporal realm over the Church was consolidated by the weakness and corruption of the clergy, many of whom abandoned their vows of chastity and looked more toward temporal advancement in the civil bureaucracies than the state of their own and their flock’s souls. A new reforming movement that grew out of the Abbey of Cluny emerged near the dawn of the second millennium. Pope St. Gregory VII (r. 1073-1085) is the most well-known leader of this movement, although as in all historical changes he was aided by his immediate predecessors and successors.

The Gregorian Reform was rooted in two principles: (1) the moral reform of the clergy and (2) the freedom and independence of the Church from the civil powers. Ending lay investiture is the most historically well known of the practical aspects of the movement. The selection, appointment, and investiture with the spiritual power must be exclusively in the hands of the Church. Related changes were the abolition of the participation of the citizens of Rome in the papal elections (reserving it to what would become the College of Cardinals) and the removal of lay participation in the formulation of doctrine and disciplinary rules.

The phrase Libertas Ecclesiae was a slogan of the reformers. The phrase encapsulates the principle that the Church has been divinely founded and hence, although she must cooperate with civil authorities, she is independently sovereign from the civil authorities.  The Church possesses exclusive and supreme jurisdiction over all spiritual matters, including the teaching of doctrine, the administration of the Sacraments, and the government of the Church. Those who are subject to the Church’s jurisdiction, Christian people, are also subject to civil authority; therefore, the Church and Crown should collaborate and coordinate the exercise of their authority since it affects the same individuals. Nevertheless, the Church is a perfect society that in no way depends upon nor is subject to the kings of this earth. To continue reading, subscribe to the Catholic Family News E-Edition

Christus Resurréxit! Resurréxit Vere! Holy Week and Easter Publicly Celebrated in Florida (Sean Romer)

St. Thomas More Chapel in Sanford, FL celebrated Holy Week and Easter with great solemnity, dignity, and joy in a manner adapted to the circumstance of the worldwide coronavirus pandemic. The sung Masses were offered at an outdoor altar on the priory’s patio, and to adhere to the social distancing restrictions the faithful assisted while seated in their cars on the back lawn. This Easter, the Caesar of material concerns was rendered more than its usual due, but in the Florida chapels of the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX), God’s right to be publicly and fittingly honored continued to have the highest priority.

“Everything was perfectly balanced, and everywhere we respected all the directives of the civil authorities, one after the other,” said Fr. Marc Vernoy, the prior of St. Thomas More for the past 10 years. “This is a sign of God’s will for you: that everything comes together in a very peaceful way. It is the gift of Easter. After His Resurrection, when our Lord met the Apostles, He told them, ‘Peace be with you.’”

The Preparations

Owing to the worldwide epidemic, not everything at the chapel could go on as usual, but neither were the key elements needlessly sacrificed. Because the heaviest social distancing restrictions were enacted only a few days before Palm Sunday, a great many of the adjustments had to be made at the last minute.

“Florida gets hurricanes a lot, and it helped the people of the state in this situation,” Fr. Vernoy said. “We had less anxiety in Florida because of this experience with natural disasters. We have a protocol – our churches know what to do. From the beginning we made everyone responsible. We told our faithful that if you are 65 or older, or if you feel even slightly sick, be safe at home, don’t come to church. If you need a visit, we will visit you. People were very responsible. Even here in the priory, we practice social distancing – we don’t shake hands, we do everything that we ask of others. We also added more Masses and we asked people to come to a different Mass. Since the time of Pope Pius XII, we can have Masses in the evening. Already throughout the year we have evening Masses, so the faithful are already used to that. We also have a blessing of the sick after the High Mass on the third Sunday of the month all during the year. For half of the year during hurricane season, we also have the blessing of the weather. All of these sacramentals and resources and blessings are a great help. It makes us used to all these things. There are many things you cannot control or understand, but you still have a job. The big lesson is to continue to do your job and put everything into the hands of God. This crisis reminds us clearly of our duties. What is the duty of a priest? It is the glory of God and the salvation of souls – nothing else.” To continue reading, subscribe to the Catholic Family News E-Edition

*The Popes Speak* Excerpts from Pius XII’s Ad Apostolorum Principis on Communism and the Church in China

Editor’s Note: For several weeks, now, as readers well know, life in both the civil and ecclesiastical spheres has been dominated by COVID-19, a novel coronavirus which originated in late 2019 in the central Chinese city of Wuhan (capital of Hubei province). The dramatic effect that this virus has had on Church and State – a virus which has proven itself much less deadly than predicted by various “experts” – is the subject of a few different articles in this month’s issue. Simply put, COVID-19 has been used as a pretext to enforce a near-total shutdown of civil society and the Church, the likes of which are rather unprecedented – that is, outside of Communist countries.

In the words of Bishop Athanasius Schneider (see page 8), “The current atmosphere of an almost planetary panic is continuously fueled by the universally proclaimed ‘dogma’ of the new Coronavirus pandemic. The drastic and disproportionate security measures with the denial of fundamental human rights of freedom of movement, freedom of assembly, and freedom of opinion appear almost globally orchestrated along a precise plan. Thus, the entire human race becomes a kind of prisoner of a world ‘sanitary dictatorship,’ which for its part also reveals itself as a political dictatorship.”

It is interesting, to say the least, that the catalyst for this new “sanitary dictatorship” (COVID-19) originated in Communist China, a nation whose Catholics have suffered tremendously since the “errors of Russia” (Our Lady of Fatima) infested and overtook the country in the mid-20th century – and all the more so since Sept. 2018, when Pope Francis and the Vatican essentially handed over the underground (true) Church in China to the Chinese Communist Party.

In light of all this, it seems quite fitting to review some brief excerpts from Pope Pius XII’s 1958 Encyclical on Communism and the Church in China, recalling that the Church has repeatedly condemned Communism/Socialism as intrinsically evil and something that must be resisted. The divinely ordained means to defeat this evil remains the consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary by the Pope and all Catholic bishops in union with him, according to Our Lady of Fatima’s specific instructions. Let us also recall that without this consecration, according to Sister Lucia, worldwide Communism is inevitable (cf. interview with Professor William Thomas Walsh, July 15, 1946). Click here to read Pius XII’s Ad Apostolorum Principis

May His Kingdom Come – Catholic Social Teaching, Part II: Hierarchy and Egalitarianism (Peter Kwasniewski, Ph.D.)

The political revolutions of modernity have tended to waffle between the exaltation of unrestricted liberty (more properly termed license) and the enforcement of a kind of social equality that is contrary to the plan of the Creator and the good of the body politic. These two aspirations are in permanent tension: an increase of liberty necessarily increases inequality, while enforcement of equality necessarily limits liberty. In next month’s column, I will look at the Catholic conception of liberty and how it differs from license; in the present column, my attention will be focused on the Church’s understanding of equality, which is more timely than ever, given tireless efforts on the part of political liberals to push through “equality acts” of various sorts.

True Notion of Equality

As with most aspects of Catholic Social Teaching, it was Pope Leo XIII who offered the most thorough analysis, as he strove to give guidance to a world seduced by liberalism and at constant risk of revolutionary discord. Whereas socialists (he wrote in 1878) “proclaim the absolute equality of all men in rights and duties,” the Christian tradition teaches that:

“the equality of men consists in this: that all, having inherited the same nature, are called to the same most high dignity of the sons of God, and that, as one and the same end is set before all, each one is to be judged by the same law and will receive punishment or reward according to his deserts. The inequality of rights and of power proceeds from the very Author of nature, ‘from whom all paternity in heaven and earth is named.’” (Quod Apostolici Muneris, nn. 1 and 5)

Drawing upon the ancient theme of the “body politic” and the cosmic organism which, in modified form, was also a central image of St. Paul’s when speaking of the Church as “body of Christ,” Leo XIII’s encyclical Humanum Genus (1884) elaborates further:

“No one doubts that all men are equal one to another, so far as regards their common origin and nature, or the last end which each one has to attain, or the rights and duties which are thence derived. But, as the abilities of all are not equal, as one differs from another in the powers of mind or body, and as there are very many dissimilarities of manner, disposition, and character, it is most repugnant to reason to endeavor to confine all within the same measure, and to extend complete equality to the institutions of civil life. Just as a perfect condition of the body results from the conjunction and composition of its various members, which, though differing in form and purpose, make, by their union and the distribution of each one to its proper place, a combination beautiful to behold, firm in strength, and necessary for use; so, in the commonwealth, there is an almost infinite dissimilarity of men, as parts of the whole. If they are to be all equal, and each is to follow his own will, the State will appear most deformed; but if, with a distinction of degrees of dignity, of pursuits and employments, all aptly conspire for the common good, they will present the image of a State both well constituted and conformable to nature.” (n. 26)

This argument, incidentally, is nicely developed in Pius XII’s Christmas Address of 1944, on true and false democracy.

At the end of Humanum Genus, Leo XIII takes occasion to commend the Christian understanding of the famous slogan of the French Revolution – liberté, égalité, fraternité:

“not such as the Freemasons absurdly imagine [these three], but such as Jesus Christ obtained for the human race and St. Francis aspired to: the liberty, we mean, of sons of God, through which we may be free from slavery to Satan or to our passions, both of them most wicked masters; the fraternity whose origin is in God, the common Creator and Father of all; the equality which, founded on justice and charity, does not take away all distinctions among men, but, out of the varieties of life, of duties, and of pursuits, forms that union and that harmony which naturally tend to the benefit and dignity of society.” (n. 34)

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Pope Calls for “Universal Basic Wage”, “Ecological Conversion” on Easter (Matt Gaspers)

In a letter addressed to members of “popular movements and organizations” and dated April 12 (Easter Sunday), Pope Francis opined, “This may be the time to consider a universal basic wage,” in the context of assessing the hardships caused by the near-total shutdown of society in many places due to the global pandemic.

“In these days of great anxiety and hardship,” wrote Francis, “many have used war-like metaphors to refer to the pandemic we are experiencing. If the struggle against COVID-19 is a war, then you are truly an invisible army, fighting in the most dangerous trenches; an army whose only weapons are solidarity, hope, and community spirit, all revitalizing at a time when no one can save themselves alone.”

Identifying his audience as “[s]treet vendors, recyclers, carnies, small farmers, construction workers, dressmakers, the different kinds of caregivers” and others who work “in the grassroots economy” and “have no steady income,” the Pope acknowledged that “the lockdowns are becoming unbearable” for the poorest in society and proceeded to call for “a universal basic wage” – presumably, a tax-funded check from the government – “which would acknowledge and dignify the noble, essential tasks you carry out. It would ensure and concretely achieve the ideal, at once so human and so Christian, of no worker without rights.”

The letter goes on to express “hope that this time of danger will free us from operating on automatic pilot, shake our sleepy consciences and allow a humanist and ecological conversion,” a theme reminiscent of Laudato Si and the Amazon Synod, “that puts an end to the idolatry of money and places human life and dignity at the center.” To continue reading, subscribe to the Catholic Family News E-Edition

*Lessons in Catholic Education* Rediscovering a Classic Work: What is Education? by Father Leen, Part III (Fr. David Sherry, SSPX)

Let us have a look at what Fr. Leen recommends for the design of a good secondary or high school curriculum.

Education Is Not Indoctrination

Education and indoctrination are not the same thing. “The task of education is to banish confusion of thought.” Schools often pursue indoctrination instead of education. Indoctrination focuses on filling students with information that they can regurgitate at the all-important exam or test where the ability to tell the examiner what he wants to hear will lead to success. (The focus on exams is typical of European state systems rather than North American ones.) Education aims at methodical training of memory, imagination, and intellect to know, to think, and to judge. It might seem that a focus on developing the ability to think would be at the expense of the teacher instructing the student. Some modern “educationalists” hold that truth should not be “imposed” by the teacher but should be found by the student in the sense where “truth comes out of the student.”

There is a true and good sense of indoctrination where both natural and supernatural truths are passed from parent to child and teacher to student and priest to layman. You cannot progress unless you have the essential elements: you have to learn to write and spell and count; you need to know your times tables and your catechism off by heart. You cannot learn to think unless you learn the principles of thought which are given to you from reality and your teacher. The child must trust and believe his parents and his teacher. If he doesn’t, then he can’t learn anything. However, the purpose of the teacher is to lead the pupil to adulthood where he is capable of thinking for himself.  But, “thinking for yourself” but not in the way the Beatles said:

“Do what you want to do

And go where you’re going to

Think for yourself

‘Cause I won’t be there with you.”

What the Beatles and the anti-God world mean by “thinking for yourself” is making your own ultimate goal, your own reality, and doing whatever you want to do. This is not thinking for yourself; this is you taking the place of God. What the Catholic means by teaching children to think for themselves is you, yourself, being able to reason and make sound judgments based on the truth and not on your whims. I often explain to my students that a truly Catholic school does not indoctrinate like a public school indoctrinates its poor captives, and they can see it for themselves: there is no question that they are not allowed to ask. It’s true that we have a rule, “Don’t argue with the coach,” but it only applies in practical matters: do what you are told by your teacher without arguing. But it doesn’t apply in speculative matters: argumentation is essential to learning. To continue reading, subscribe to the Catholic Family News E-Edition

Vatican’s New Attack on the Old Mass (Brian M. McCall)

On March 25, 2020, in the midst of the largest global shutdown of the Catholic Church in history in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Vatican released two decrees of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (both dated Feb. 22) relating to the Traditional Latin Mass. Some in the Traditionalist world have seen these documents as either benign or positive developments. In this article, I will explain why I believe these decrees pose a serious threat to the integrity of the Traditional Latin Mass. Every priest committed to the exclusive use of the Traditional Latin Mass should refuse to opt into these changes and should oppose similar ones until the crisis in the Church comes to an end and proper authority is restored.

What Do the Decrees Say?

The first decree, Cum Sanctissima, permits priests offering Mass according to the 1962 Roman Missal the option of substituting for certain feasts on the calendar various “saints” who were purportedly “canonized” in the post-Conciliar era. These Masses can be offered on the dates on which they appear on the New Mass calendar or may be offered as votive Masses on days that permit votive Masses. Since the Traditional Mass rubrics would not permit a priest to change the Propers of the Mass on any day ranking as a First, Second, or Third-Class Feast, this change would have only permitted this substitution of New Mass “saints” on feasts of the Fourth Class or ferias that are not privileged (such as those in Lent).

To increase its potential impact, Cum Sanctissima makes a sweeping rubrical change. It permits these optional new “saint” Masses to be used on some, but not all, Feasts of the Third Class. The decree creates a list of 70 saints of the Third Class that cannot be trumped by one of the long line of post-Conciliar “canonized saints.” Those saints that don’t make this cut to be super Third Class (such as St. Louis of France, St. Stephen of Hungary, and St. Edward the Confessor of England) can be passed over in favor of a Mass for the likes of Pope Paul VI. The decree requires one of the existing sets of Propers contained in the 1962 Missal (or a national supplement in use at that time for local or national feasts), using as a last resort the appropriate common.

In a separate decree, Quo Magis, the CDF permits a priest offering the Traditional Mass to substitute one of seven additional prefaces for the one prescribed in the 1962 Missal. Four of these prefaces—namely, the Prefaces of the Angels, of St. John the Baptist, of Martyrs, and the Preface for Weddings—are lifted from the Novus Ordo Missal with an ending that corresponds to the Traditional Prefaces tacked on to the conclusion. The drafters of the Novus Ordo claimed these four prefaces were merely the restoration of ancient lost prefaces. Yet that claim, like so many other claims about the New Rite, is not quite true. The texts in the New Mass are loosely based on ancient prefaces of the same name, but their content was rewritten to comport better with the new spirit of the New Mass. In transposing them into the Traditional Mass (other than the endings), those revisions remain. As the press release of the International Federation Una Voce (discussed below) notes, the claim that these prefaces were adapted from ancient sources for the New Mass “implies that these ancient Prefaces have been adapted for use in the Ordinary Form, a process which makes them conform less, rather than more, with the spirit of the Extraordinary Form. If the value of these Prefaces lies in their antiquity, it is not clear what is to be gained by their being used in the Extraordinary Form in a redaction designed to make them conform to the themes and preferences of the Ordinary Form.”

It has also been claimed that the other three prefaces (All Saints and Holy Patrons, the Blessed Sacrament, and the Dedication of a Church) are historical, pre-Vatican II texts. It is true that these texts had been permitted prior to 1962 in some local dioceses, but they were not universally permitted. They do not derive from the Roman Rite but rather from the Neo-Gallican Rite and are therefore not organic to the Roman Rite. As with Cum Sanctissima, no priest is obligated by law to use any of these optional prefaces but may choose to do so. Click here to continue reading

Traditional Catholic Masculinity, Part I: What Is a Man? (Kennedy Hall)

Is There a Definition?

With this article, we begin a series on Traditional Catholic Masculinity. Our world offers competing ideas of what masculinity is, but in its purest form it is distinctly Catholic.  Throughout this series, it will become obvious to the reader as to why this is.

In my research for this article, I consulted multiple dictionaries as well as the Catholic Encyclopedia for a definition of masculinity. In all of these resources, I was not able to find a satisfactory explanation of the essence of masculinity. In the secular dictionaries, I found definitions like “characteristics that usually pertain to men” and other similar explanations. In the Catholic Encyclopedia, there is not a section devoted to masculinity. This poses a problem: How are we supposed to define masculinity if both the secular and Catholic resources we trust don’t provide clear definitions?

Now, in other Catholic resources there are references to masculine characteristics. I am sure that with a little digging I could find a great sermon from a Doctor of the Church that references the subject, and certainly we will find strong Scriptural examples of masculine men. Nevertheless, the concept of masculinity is not easily understood by many, or easily defined.

Let us consider the definitions given by the dictionary. What would it mean if we took the secular definition of “characteristics that usually pertain to men?” If we were students of history, perhaps we would be able to form a solid concept of how a man should act by analyzing various examples. However, it is more likely that we would simply imitate the men around us in the culture, thereby adopting the characteristics that seem to apply to men. If we adopt the characteristics of men in our current culture, there is a good chance we will become less masculine by doing so. Our societies are in so many ways the furthest thing from Catholic, so it is obvious that we cannot adopt the culture’s formula in a pursuit of improvement in virtue and morality. Adopting the cultural norms of male behavior would mean accepting rampant pornography use and other infantile behaviors. Clearly, we need a truly Catholic alternative.

The Catholic Framework

While it is true that in the Catholic Encyclopedia we do not find a section devoted to masculinity, it is not true that the resource has nothing to offer on the subject. In my research, I changed my search term from masculinity to manliness. Although there was not a section entitled manliness, I was led to the entry on virtue. The first sentence from the definition of the word virtue is as follows: “According to its etymology the word virtue (Latin virtus) signifies manliness or courage.”

I should have known; the Latin word for man is vir. This means that in the most basic sense, to be a man is to be virtuous; or put another way, virtue is that which pertains to manliness. To continue reading, subscribe to the Catholic Family News E-Edition

Living by Faith, Not Fear: Wartime Lessons for the Coronavirus Age (Amanda Evinger)

Surviving Nazi Tyranny

If I close my eyes, pray a little, and think intensely back to what my father’s home in the Netherlands looked like, I can envision how it may have looked during World War II. My father, Tuenis, and his eight brothers and sisters lived with their Dutch Reformed parents in a small town about 14 miles outside of Amsterdam named Nieuw-Vennep. For five brutally long years, their town was occupied by Nazi soldiers, who did what they could to destroy it. They specifically worked at shutting down means of travel and escape routes. My dad recently wrote about his experiences during World War II in a historical account of his life, wherein he explains:

“Our town was in close proximity to the airport in Schiphol, and to Amsterdam. Both the airport and our town were situated in the polder below sea level and below surrounding waterways. It could be flooded by blowing a gap in the surrounding dyke system. The Germans had a plan to cause such a flood to put Schiphol out of commission. This, by God’s grace, never happened.”

At some point, the soldiers took over the Christian school which my father and his siblings had attended, in order to use it for their living quarters, exercises, and other activities. Even though the school was located directly across from my father’s home, my grandparents did not allow this to keep them from accomplishing heroic anti-Nazi feats, and saving many lives thereby.

My dear grandparents risked their lives on a daily basis by allowing an Underground Resistance Soldier named Gerrit to live in their home. The soldier’s job was to kill Nazi soldiers in the middle of the night and harvest sugar beets during the day. Throughout those years, the Nazi soldiers were constantly and relentlessly scanning the town for suspicious or “anti-Nazi” activity. Whenever they would raid my father’s home, which happened frequently, my grandparents would hide the soldier in a secret potato cellar. My dad wrote, “During a raid, and not without angst, Gerrit would hear the soldier’s steel-heeled boots walking over the ramp right above his head while hiding in the cellar.”

My grandfather also possessed “forbidden” items which could easily incur punishment or imprisonment if found, such as a grain mill, bicycles, and a radio. He used the radio to stay informed regarding Nazi activity and to listen to encouraging messages from Queen Wilhelmina, who had reigned as queen of the Netherlands until the German invasion in 1940. Having fled to Britain, Queen Wilhelmina had taken charge of the Dutch government-in-exile and was regarded as a symbol of the Dutch resistance. My grandfather would spread her uplifting daily messages throughout the town by means of verbal carriers.

Ultimately, no matter what my dad and his family went through, their faith in Christ was paramount. It was their one lifeline and the source of all of their hope. It inspired them and without it, they knew they could not survive. Lately, I have found myself reflecting on this truth more often and how it applies in my own life, particularly in light of the coronavirus pandemic. Although we aren’t currently facing a threat like Hitler or the Third Reich, a new form of tyranny does seem to be rising in connection with COVID-19.

From Fascism to Socialism

Recently, I asked my dad what he thinks of everything that is going on in America with the COVID-19 virus craze. In a matter of words (he has a thick accent and somewhat inaccurate grammar), he said, “After the fall of Hitler, the Netherlands became a socialist country. People became so reliant on the government for everything that they lost their sense of ingenuity and creativity. They lost the desire to work and make a life for themselves. This is why I decided to leave the Netherlands and come to America – because I never wanted to live in a socialist country. And now I see the same thing happening to America. I never thought I would see the day.” My dad believes that his immigration was providential, and that living in America has helped him to keep his Christian faith, which is why he is so disturbed by recent trends. To continue reading, subscribe to the Catholic Family News E-Edition

Our Lady of Fatima, Mother and Teacher: Part IV – Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament, Mary of the Angels and the Martyrs (Marianna Bartold)

In this fourth installment of my new Fatima series, highlighted will be only specific parts of the Virgin’s first apparition which, upon reflection, also show her as Mother and Teacher.

Our Lady’s first visit to a small hamlet called Fatima, Portugal took place when the sun was directly overhead (called solar noon) on Sunday, May 13, 1917. Appearing in an open field known as the Cova da Iria (“Cove of Irene”), “a Lady dressed all in white” stood lightly atop a carrasqueira, a young holmoak sapling, that stood about three feet high and bore glossy, green leaves. On that day, the Lady appeared to three young children − Lucia dos Santos (age 10) and her two younger cousins, Francisco and Jacinta Marto (ages 9 and 7, respectively) – and she asked them to return each month through October, “on the 13th day, at this same hour” (solar noon). Promising to later give her name, she said only of herself, “I am of Heaven.”

The Star of Esther

Another interesting detail became known years later. When assisting Fr. Thomas McGlynn, O.P., who sculpted the first statue of Our Lady of Fatima, Lucia told him, “She always had a star on her tunic,” and, “She always had a cord with a little ball of light.” As he asked for details of color, Lucia said, “The light of Our Lady was white, and the star was yellow…She was all of light. The light had various tones, yellow and white and various other colors. It was more intense and less intense. It was by the different tones and by the differences of intensity that one saw what was hand and what was mantle and what was face and what was tunic.”

Questioned again at a later point, she thrice confirmed to Fr. McGlynn that the star and the cord were yellow, not the color of gold. Lucia, incidentally, described both the cord and the star as a more intense and yellow light.

The yellow star that shone between the knee and hem of the Fatima Virgin’s tunic is known as the “Star of Esther,” a symbolic reference to the Old Testament history of Queen Esther, the Jewish queen of pagan Persia, who saved her people from total annihilation on the 13th day of Adar. Church Doctors like St. Albert the Great (called “the Great” for his surpassing knowledge and wisdom in science, philosophy, and theology) and St. Alphonsus de Liguori (Italian Catholic bishop, spiritual writer, scholastic philosopher and theologian) recognized Queen Esther as a historical figure-type of the Virgin Mary.

Twelve years ago, my study on the Star of Esther became a series, with the first article published in Catholic Family News (May 2008) under the title “Hidden Revelations: The Star of Esther and the Secrets of Fatima.” The series detailed my exposition on the Book of Esther—including, but not limited to, the meaning of Esther’s true Hebrew name, the date of 13 Adar (according to the ancient Hebrew calendar), Queen Esther’s three secrets, and many other of Esther’s correlations to the Fatima Message, from the significance of the 13th day, the Great Secret in three distinct parts, the Miracle of the Sun, and finally, apparent links to St. John’s Apocalypse.

Too long to fully share here, the typology now compromises three chapters in my book, Fatima: The Signs and Secrets, from which on the topic of Queen Esther and the Virgin Queen Mary, I shall quote this key excerpt: “Among the many women who are figure types of the Virgin, Esther is foremost for three reasons: she intercedes for her people, her Star appears on Our Lady’s dress, and the number ‘13’ is central to her history.” To continue reading, subscribe to the Catholic Family News E-Edition

*Roman Catechism Series* On the Sacrament of Baptism (Matthew Plese)

What is Baptism?

After discussing the seven Sacraments in general, the Roman Catechism proceeds to offer a more focused look at each Sacrament beginning with Baptism, the gateway to the other Sacraments. As the Catechism states, “Baptism is, as it were, the gate through which we enter into the fellowship of the Christian life and begin thenceforward to obey the Commandments.”

Baptism is the means by which we are made children of God and have the stain of original sin removed from our souls. While all seven Sacraments were instituted by Our Lord Jesus Christ, Baptism itself is explicitly mentioned several times in Sacred Scripture (John 3:3-5, Matthew 28:19, and Acts 2:38-39 are three such instances). The Roman Catechism, in referencing the Scriptures which bear explicit testimony to the Sacrament, defines Baptism as: “The Sacrament of regeneration by water in the word. By nature, we are born from Adam children of wrath, but by Baptism we are regenerated in Christ, children of mercy. For He gave power to men to be made the sons of God, to them that believe in His Name, who are born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God [John 1:12-13].”

Proper Matter and Form of Baptism

As the Catechism previously set forth, the validity of all Sacraments depends on proper matter and proper form; both are essential. Baptism is no exception to this universal rule. The Sacrament of Baptism consists not only of water but also the necessary words that must be said, as the Roman Catechism explains:

“…the faithful are to be informed that this Sacrament consists of ablution, accompanied necessarily, according to the institution of our Lord, by certain solemn words. This is the uniform doctrine of the holy Fathers, as is proved by the following most explicit testimony of St. Augustine: The word is joined to the element, and it becomes a Sacrament.

It is all the more necessary to impress this on the minds of the faithful lest they fall into the common error of thinking that the baptismal water, preserved in the sacred font, constitutes the Sacrament. The Sacrament of Baptism can be said to exist only when we actually apply the water to someone by way of ablution, while using the words appointed by our Lord.”

Shortly before His Ascension, Our Lord Jesus Christ told His disciples the exact formula that must be used for a valid Baptism when He said: “All power is given to Me in heaven and in earth. Going therefore, teach ye all nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world” (Matt. 28:18-20).

Everyone who is baptized must be baptized in the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. To be baptized only in the Name of Jesus does not constitute an authentic baptism because it does not follow the Trinitarian formula established by Our Lord. As previously stated, each Sacrament must be administered using the form and matter proper to it. “The matter, then, or element of [Baptism],” the Roman Catechism states, “is any sort of natural water, which is simply and without qualification commonly called water, be it sea water, river water, water from a pond, well, or fountain.” As for the proper form, water must be poured over the individual’s head three times, or immersed three times in water, while the words, “I baptize you in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost,” are pronounced by the one baptizing (ordinarily a priest). To continue reading, subscribe to Catholic Family News E-Edition

Indomitable Hope: Origin of Our Lady’s Saturday Memorial (Timothy Flanders)

Friday has always been a day of penance for the universal Church, commemorating the blessed Passion of Our Lord. Sunday is “the Lord’s Day” (Apoc. 1:10), the day of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass – commemorating, together with Calvary, Our Lord’s glorious Resurrection. In the Latin Church, the custom is well established to dedicate Saturday to Our Lady as a special commemoration.

This custom seems to have originated in the 10th century. During this era, the Church in the West suffered under what is known as the saeculum obscurum (“dark age”). Impious and wicked Roman nobility held power over the papacy as a pawn of their own ambitions. It was the era of the infamous Pope John XII (r. 955-964), whom St. Robert Bellarmine (1542-1621) called “practically the worst of all pontiffs.”

In this dark time, the stalwart monks of Cluny began the reform which eventually took back the Papacy for Christ, cleansing the Church of the dominion of filth. It was a major figure of this salutary reform, St. Hugh of Cluny (1024-1109), who spread the Saturday Marian devotion. Special Saturday Mass propers for Our Lady can be found in the Leofric Missal which dates to this period. The custom of the Saturday Marian devotion spread in conjunction with the Cluniac reform, causing a lasting impact on popular devotion and the sacred rites of the Church.

In rubrics for the 1962 Missal, the Mass for Our Lady is said on every Saturday which is IV class, as is the Office of Our Lady in the Benedictine and Roman Breviaries. In other words, Mary is commemorated on every Saturday outside Lent and Advent, unless superseded by some other feast.

Why is Mary Commemorated on Saturday?

The origins and reasons for this custom remain somewhat obscure from a historical perspective. However, the time of the Cluniac effort against the darkness of that time corresponds to the meaning popularly given to Mary’s veneration on Saturday in particular.

Here we recall Holy Week and find a most salutary devotion in the Marian Office of Saturday, especially for our times. At the time of this writing (mid-April 2020), much of the world is on lockdown due to the China virus pandemic crisis and economies around the globe are facing collapse. The Church’s bishops, other than a few laudable exceptions, seem to have run and hid from the flock. Pope Francis has said this crisis is nature “having a fit”[vi] and has also appointed a new commission of “experts” to inform us as to why the question of deaconesses is still not settled. This situation has only exacerbated the decades-long Church crisis wherein thousands souls have been lost from the Ark of Salvation.

Consider for a moment the scene of Holy Saturday in the Upper Room and the events of previous day. Our Blessed Lord has been crucified and laid in the tomb. Despite their solemn assurances that they were ready to die with Him (cf. Matt. 26:35), all of His Apostles fled at the time of His arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane (cf. Mark 14:48-53), although Sts. Peter and John followed at a safe distance afterward (cf. John 18:15-16). The Prince of the Apostles denied his Lord (cf. Luke 22:55-62) and one of the Twelve, Judas the betrayer, killed himself (cf. Matt. 27:3-5). The Romans hold power and the Jewish temple guards patrol the tomb. Jesus Christ is dead. The disciples hide “for fear of the Jews” (John 20:19), weighed down by the shame of their own betrayal while their hope has evaporated. They had “hoped that it was He that should have redeemed Israel” (Luke 24:21), but now all hope is lost and darkness covers the earth.

Think of a time when you felt like despairing. I assure you, their despair was worse.

All the followers of the would-be Messiah now sit and mourn. They “mourn as those who have no hope” (1 Thess. 4:13). It is the Sabbath observance of resting from work. But their strength has left them (cf. Ps. 37:11) and they water their bed with tears (cf. Ps. 6:7). They now slumber from despondency (cf. Ps. 118:28) and cry out: “Lord, where are Thy ancient mercies, according to what Thou didst swear to David in Thy truth?” (Ps. 88:50). On this Saturday, all the faithful have lost hope.

All save one: Mary, Our Lady. Our Queen and Mother. She is the one who never lost hope on that Saturday. To continue reading, subscribe to Catholic Family News E-Edition

Pope Bergoglio and the “Mystical” Body of COVID-19 (Christopher A. Ferrara)

No Stranger to the Virus

As I write this article for Catholic Family News (April 19), my father, Joseph, age 96, is battling the effects of the Wuhan virus. His case is complicated by a nearly fatal case of dehydration because a bewildering assortment of ever-changing federal and state “regulations” have caused the veterans’ nursing facility in which he resides to be locked down totally since March 12, with no visits by family members allowed. By the time my sister and I were allowed a “compassionate visit” on the assumption that my father was about to become a victim of the virus, on April 17, he was nearly dead for lack of the supplemental water my sister would provide him every day before the “lockdown” but which the nursing staff, stretched too thin, were unable to supply.

My father was rushed to a nearby hospital with an admitting diagnosis of dehydration on top of the viral infection, for which he had been given hydroxychloroquine, zinc, vitamin C and an antibiotic. At age 96, my father may not survive. But had he died of dehydration at the outset of this crisis, he would have been chalked up as another “COVID-19 death” and added to the padded statistics which have been used to justify the panic narrative that the Democrat-media complex are psychopathically exploiting in the hope of burning down the entire United States economy via statewide lockdowns of normal activity in order to deny President Trump a second term.

The predictive “models”—including the Bill-Gates funded Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) model—have been exposed as wild guesses disguised as fake science. The American people are rising up against an absurd attempt to quarantine an entire nation to “limit the spread” of a flu-like illness whose mortality rate, even if it includes my own father, will turn out to be no higher than that for influenza, as even Fake News CNN has finally admitted. Yet the American and globalist left remain united in a veritable cult of the virus, which they almost gleefully preach as the gateway to a “post-COVID world” in which all their hellish designs will finally be realized.

NWO à la Bergoglio

And at this point in the Bergoglian pontificate, it should come as no surprise that a leftist Pope is likewise seizing upon the virus as a change-agent for the globalist New World Order (NWO) he has been promoting relentlessly since the calamity of his election. On that score recall Bergoglio’s promotion of the “Global Educational Pact,” which he says “will result in men and women who are open, responsible, prepared to listen, dialogue and reflect with others, and capable of weaving relationships with families, between generations, and with civil society, and thus to create a new humanism.”

Then, of course, there is Bergoglio’s infamous “Document on Human Fraternity and World Peace for Living Together,” which he signed with the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar in Abu Dhabi last February following his speech to the “Global Conference on Human Fraternity.” Therein we read the following objectively heretical (and never really retracted) statement:

“The pluralism and the diversity of religions, color, sex, race, and language are willed by God in His wisdom, through which He created human beings. This divine wisdom is the source from which the right to freedom of belief and the freedom to be different derives.” (Emphasis added)

Bergoglio’s Vatican is participating in a “Higher Committee” to implement the Abu Dhabi Statement. The Statement’s utopian notion of global religious harmony regardless of religion, the essence of the Masonic worldview, is to be manifested in the Abrahamic Family House, to be completed by 2022 on Saadiyat Island in Abu Dhabi.

Globalism to the Rescue

The exploitation of a viral pandemic to promote “change” approved by the globalist Left was so utterly shameless that Bergoglio emitted this outburst on Easter Sunday. And not even in the concluding paragraph of this appalling missive could he bring himself to mention Christ: “I want to ask God our Father to bless you, to fill you with his love, and to defend you on this path, giving you the strength that keeps us standing tall and that never disappoints: hope….”

Hope in what? Hope in globalism, of course. That hopes requires, as Bergoglio has made clear more than once, opposition to the greatest perceived impediment to the final triumph of globalism: Donald J. Trump, who unaccountably became President of the United States and is now the subject of an attempt to exploit fear of a virus to wreck a nation and destroy him politically.

If that claim seems extravagant, consider the stunning admissions of Jeffrey Sachs, the radical Left “economist” who places Trump at the bullseye of the globalists’ target. Sachs, observes the redoubtable Edward Pentin, “has used the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences to launch a scathing attack on the Trump administration, accusing it of threatening multilateralism by bullying other nations and saying President Trump’s possible re-election in November would be ‘absolutely dangerous.’” Sachs, writes Pentin, “told delegates at the Vatican conference on fostering new economic forms of solidarity that the Trump administration is operating with ‘complete lawlessness,’ blocking ‘every multilateral initiative’ since 2017” — including the disastrous Paris Accord on “climate change” from which Trump had the audacity to withdraw the United States, the document having no legally binding effect in the first place.

Pentin continues: “To the visible delight of Bishop Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo, chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, who was seated next to him, Sachs said multilateralism is not under threat per se in most of the world, but it is ‘under threat because of the United States.’”  That is, Sachs sees Trump as the last remaining impediment to the “change that can no longer be put off,” as Bergoglio put it in his Easter Sunday leftist rant.  To quote Sachs: “This is truly what we are facing. I’m sorry to say it, it’s my country and I’m not very happy to say it, but it’s an imperial power in decline and it’s a dangerous country right now and it will be absolutely dangerous if Trump wins re-election.” To continue reading, subscribe to Catholic Family News E-Edition

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