31 May 2018

A Humorous Post About a Serious Wish

Earlier today, my Good friend, Mr Theodore Harvey of Theodore's Royalty & Monarchy Site,   Royal World and Monarchy Forum, tweeted his wish that HI&RH Archduke Ferdinand Zvonimir von Habsburg, an auto racing driver, was using his racing career as a facade to build a secret army to put his Father, HI&RH Archduke Karl, the rightful Emperor of Austria and Apostolic King of Hungary, on his Thrones.

As you can see, the Archduke saw Mr Harvey's tweet, and answered it. I'm not sure who the dwarf kings under the mountains of Austria are, but I hope they will assist in the Restoration.

Immediately after Archduke Ferdinand replied, one of his cousins also replied. Archduke Eduard is the Hungarian Ambassador to the Holy See and to the Sovereign Military Order of Malta. I wish Mr Harvey had discovered their 'zecret maszter plan'! I would volunteer to help. Of course, Archduke Ferdinand's grandfather, HI&RH Otto, was Godfather to my youngest daughter, so I owe them service.

The Best in Catholic Blogging

Whilst I can't vouch for every blog on this list, several are in my blogroll, Fr Z, Fr Hunwicke, The Amish Catholic, the Catholic Herald, Crisis, and Fr Longenecker. One I am, however, excited about is The Traditian Order. I've written a couple of articles for the blog (neither of mine are the article cited) and I am a proud member of the Order.

From the National Catholic Register

Pope Francis on Same-Sex Attraction; Hell, Some Thoughts for the Scrupulous; and More Great Links!

Pope Francis on Same-Sex Attracted Seminarians to Italian Bishops Conference: This Bridge is Closed! - Fr. Z’s Blog+++

Hell: Some Thoughts for the Scrupulous – Cecily Lowe, Catholic Stand

Frank Duff: The Founder of the Legion of Mary & Champion of the Rosary – Fr. Donald Calloway M.I.C., Catholic Exchange

4 Simple Ways to Increase Your Devotion at Every Mass – Chloe Langr, epicPew

Why Theologians Trained in Catholic Graduate Schools Can’t Find Work – John M. Grondelski Ph.D., Crisis Magazine

The Radical Assault on Marriage & Family, from Karl Marx to Supreme Court Justice Kennedy – Carl E. Olson, The Catholic World Report

Love – For If the Heart Doesn’t Pray, The Tongue Labours in Vain – David Torkington, Catholic Stand

Artificial Intelligence & the Vatican; The Vision of Science-Fiction* – Bob Kurland Ph.D., The American Catholic

Apostasy – Fr. John Hunwicke, Fr Hunwicke’s Mutual Enrichment

For the Housebound, Internet Masses can be a Great Comfort – Fr. Matthew Pittam, Catholic Herald

Remarkable Photos of St. Bernadette & Her Miraculous Beauty – Philip Kosloski, Aleteia

So You Seek A Miracle? – The Traditian Order

A Relic of the 1965 Liturgy - Rick Yoder, The Amish Catholic

Popes Ideas for Overcoming False Dichotomy in Catholic Moral 
Discussion – Fr. Matthew Schneider L.C., Through Catholic Lenses

What Nietzsche Got Right – Fr. Dwight Longenecker

For the Most Recent in 'The Best in Catholic Blogging' click on  Big Pulpit .

Report from Rome: What Do Vatican Officials Think to Gain in their Agreement with China? (And What Will Chinese Catholics Lose?)

If you read nothing else on this blog today, I beg of you, read this!

I have been banging on about Francis' plans to betray the Faithful Catholics of China. This article paints an even blacker picture than I had imagined.

From One Peter Five

 from Abode of Chaos. (CC 2.0)

After expressing my concerns from afar about the Vatican’s proposed agreement with the China here and here, I decided to go to Rome to talk directly with senior Vatican officials.
As someone who has worked with the Chinese Catholics for decades, I wanted to find out what these officials thought the Church would gain from inking an agreement with the Chinese Communist Party.  I also wanted to let them know that, in my opinion, such an agreement would be seen by Chinese believers as nothing short of a rank betrayal.
So it was that last week in Rome I met with several officials who, for well over a decade, have been directly involved in the long-running Vatican-China negotiations.  I found them to be intelligent, attentive, thoughtful, and candid. I have been invited back for further discussions, so I would rather not reveal their names.  But to give you a sense of what these prelates are thinking when it comes to China, I recount one such conversation below.
*          *          *
I began my meeting with Archbishop X by describing how China under Xi Jinping is descending into a new Cultural Revolution. It is important for him to know that the tolerance of ten or fifteen years ago has been replaced by outright hostility to the Church.
“Xi is the new Red Emperor, and the more power he accumulates, the more tyrannical he becomes,” I told him. “He is purging his enemies under the guise of an anti-corruption campaign.”
Over 1.5 million Communist Party officials have been charged with corruption over the past five years, I went on, yet not a single one of Xi’s own supporters has been charged. And now that Xi is President for Life, the purge is expanding.  Everyone who criticizes Xi is in the crosshairs.
“I was recently told by a Chinese visitor that Xi had no choice but to stay on,” the Archbishop responded. “He told me that corruption was so deeply entrenched in China that it would take Xi another 20 years to root it out.  So naturally he had no choice but to stay on as President to finish the job.”
We both laughed at the absurdity of this explanation, which the prelate himself dismissed as “fantastical.”
“Xi already has more power than Mao Zedong,” I continued. “He is not only the head of the Communist Party, as Mao was, but is also the head of the government and of the military, which Mao wasn’t. His cult of personality is growing. Like Mao, he wants the Chinese people to worship him, not the God of the Bible. That is why Xi Jinping has been tightening controls on religious activities of all kinds.”
Over the past few years of Xi’s rule, Chinese believers have faced an increasingly harsh reality.   Crosses have been pulled down and churches demolished. Priests and bishops have been imprisoned and tortured.
The new regulations, issued on February 1, are even worse. They make it illegal to take one’s own children to Mass, require all Catholics to register with the government, and forbid illegal religious assemblies, including catechism and Sunday school classes. “These new regulations are intended to stamp out Catholicism,” I told him.
We talked at length about the on-again, off-again negotiations that he and others have been carrying on with the Chinese authorities.  The Archbishop gave me to understand that a draft agreement concerning the joint appointment of bishops had been finalized: “We are waiting for the Chinese to move forward.”
“I predict that the Chinese Communists will never move forward with the agreement,” I responded. “The people you have been dealing with in the Bureau of Religious Affairs are no longer in power. The Bureau itself has been dissolved. Xi has given responsibility for religious matters to the United Front Department of the Chinese Communist Party. This means that Xi doesn’t want to simply regulate the activities of the Catholic Church in China. He wants to eliminate the Church entirely.”
An agreement might have been possible 15 years ago, under the weak leadership of then-President Hu Jintao. At that point most of the bishops of China, even the Patriotic ones, had been recognized as licit bishops by the Holy Father. But in recent years the Communist Party has been “ordaining” more and more illicit bishops. “I think that these ordinations by the Patriotic Church will continue,” I told him.
“Yes, there are now seven illicitly ordained Patriotic bishops,” the Archbishop agreed sadly. He then went on to say, almost plaintively: “We are trying to prevent a schism.”
Here was the crux of the matter: He and other senior officials in the Vatican believe that, by signing an agreement with the Chinese Communist Party, they will somehow avoid a formal separation of the Church in China from Rome.
The problem with this belief is that the Patriotic Church is already in schism. In fact, it was to create just such a schism that the Communist Party established the Patriotic church in 1958.
Even during the capricious tolerance of 10 or 15 years ago, when it was sometimes possible to build new churches and quietly ordain bishops, there were Patriotic bishops at the highest levels of the state-controlled Patriotic church who had turned their backs on the Magisterium. At no point in time had the schism actually been healed.
Coming back to the proposed agreement, I told the archbishop, “I really think it is a dead letter. The new Red Emperor, who grows more powerful by the day, will not tolerate the kind of ‘foreign interference in internal Chinese matters’ that such an agreement would imply.”
“But if it should happen that China does want to move forward,” the Archbishop said mildly, “then we will be signing an agreement with Xi Jinping himself. So will he not abide by it?”
I quickly recited a litany of agreements that the Chinese government had signed only to violate. These included the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, the Sino-British Agreement over Hong Kong, and the World Trade Organization covenants. “To answer your question, your Excellency,” I concluded, “I do not think that he or his colleagues will honor such an agreement. These are not honorable men.”
“Chinese Catholics will see the signing of such an agreement as a betrayal,” I told him. “I urge you not to sign an agreement with a viciously atheistic regime that is actively trying to stamp out all religious belief and practice within China, starting with Catholicism.”
* * *
In all, my several meetings on China with various Vatican officials lasted over five hours. I took this as a positive sign of their deep concern for the suffering Church in China.
Did I convince them that the proposed Vatican-China agreement would be—as I believe it to be–a surrender of the Chinese faithful to the Communist Party?
I am not sure.
But I am certain of one thing: They now understand the increasingly harsh political reality faced by our co-religionists in China.
Steven W. Mosher is the President of the Population Research Institute and the author of Bully of Asia: Why China’s Dream is the New Threat to World Order.

Pope Francis Raises the White Flag

Damian Thompson is a great Catholic journalist, and I always enjoy reading him, however, I think he's altogether too kind to Francis in this essay!

From The Spectator

The pontiff seems to have given up defending Catholic teaching on the sanctity of life

Illustration by Morten Morland

Just before Ireland voted overwhelmingly to end the country’s constitutional ban on abortion, Catholics in the fishing village of Clogherhead could be seen storming out of Sunday mass halfway through the service. Why? Their parish priest had come on too strong. He had not only ordered them how to vote but also supplied grisly details of an abortion procedure.
Presumably some of them voted to repeal the eighth amendment. The ‘Yes’ campaign couldn’t have won its two-thirds majority without the support of practising Catholics. Very few of these, we can assume, were militantly pro-choice. Instead, they were reassured by promises that any future law would be limited in its impact — and determined to ignore a Catholic hierarchy contaminated by child abuse.
The only Catholic bishop who could have changed their minds was Pope Francis, whose 70 per cent approval rating in Ireland puts him ahead of any other world leader. But he said nothing, before or after the referendum. This isn’t surprising. Although Francis loves to make headlines, any deliberately controversial things he says — as opposed to accidental faux pas — tend to challenge social conservatism, and especially the socially conservative teachings of his own church.
Last month, for example, he reportedly told Juan Carlos Cruz, a gay Chilean abuse victim: ‘Juan Carlos, that you are gay does not matter. God made you like this and loves you like this and I don’t care. The Pope loves you like this. You have to be happy with who you are.’
It’s no good saying, as some conservative Catholics have, that we have only Mr Cruz’s word for this. The Vatican did nothing to correct or finesse these comments. This is the Pope’s modus operandi: he leaves the reporting of his views to third parties and then sits back and enjoys the storm. Provided, of course, that it is the right sort of storm: one that batters the faith of Catholics who are committed to upholding the church’s most unpopular doctrines — on the indissolubility of marriage, the prohibition of all extramarital sexual acts and the reality of Hell. Francis doesn’t want to destroy their faith: the point of the battering is to remodel their beliefs in order to achieve a neater fit with the western secular consensus.
Only now is this becoming clear. Francis himself is not a conventionally secular churchman. Few Jesuits are, even when, as in his case, they move sharply to the left in old age. However fashionable the causes they adopt, Jesuits bring with them the whiff of the spiritual battlefield. Even their diplomacy is the pursuit of warfare by other means.
Jesuits have always known how to take the temperature of society, and Francis is no exception. He knows that we live in an era of identity politics. That doesn’t mean that he subscribes to all its fads. He’s no keener on ‘abortion rights’ or hanging out with transgender people than your average 81-year-old Argentinian Catholic. But, as Henry Sire points out in his devastating short biography of him, The Dictator Pope, he belongs to a generation of Catholics shaped by Juan Perón, whose malleable ideology reflected the essential cruelty of Argentine society. Perón could switch from socialist to fascist to capitalist depending on the day of the week. Bergoglio has revolved more slowly — from tormentor of progressive clergy in the early days of John Paul II to discreet champion of LGBT rights in the later days of his own pontificate.
Admittedly, the most famous thing Francis has ever said — ‘Who am I to judge?’, in response to a question about homosexual Catholics — came within months of his taking office. It wasn’t clear what he meant, and in a later interview he presented it as no more than a merciful gloss on the rules: he doesn’t judge if a gay Catholic is trying to live chastely.
Since then, however, Francis appears to have shifted his ground. His line on homosexuality has grown closer to his position on allowing divorced and remarried Catholics to receive Holy Communion. If we read between the lines — the only way to understand this pope — we find the same de-petrification of teachings once set in stone. If, on examining your conscience, you believe that your monogamous but sexually active straight or gay partnership is consonant with your life as a Catholic, then you must make your own decision about receiving the sacraments.
This is Francis’s understanding of Christian compassion. It isn’t identical to that of the current catechism of the Catholic Church; nor is it dictated by secularism — which, after all, embraces gay marriage and abortion, both opposed by Francis. But it does reveal his ambition to reconcile the two. In the case of abortion, the Pope has concluded that Catholics can best achieve this by not banging on about ‘mass slaughter’. He may be right. Then again, secularists may decide that silence is consent.
Either way, commentators who depict Francis only as a reformer doing battle with Catholic reactionaries, or a near–heretic undermining the deposit of faith, are in danger of missing the full implications of his pontificate. The Irish vote for abortion, although influenced by factors specific to Ireland, was fundamentally just another instance of the rejection of social conservatism throughout the developed world.
There was never going to be a Trump or Brexit-style upset, because none of the recent populist surprises sprung on liberal elites have been rooted in moral values. (They may have invoked them, but that’s not the same thing.)
The process of secularisation can’t be reduced to an assault on faith by atheists. Just as important, if not more so, is the accommodation to secular norms by religious organisations and their members — ‘believers’ who, confronted by the intense moral dilemmas thrown up by the modern world, quietly choose to believe something different.
The Catholic Church has, until now, had more success in preserving awkward doctrines than any other western religious body. The problem was that everything depended on its pope. Francis, like a true Jesuit, carries himself with the self-assurance of a commander-in-chief. But nothing can disguise the fact that he’s lowering the papal flag and waving a white one.

Is Selfishness a Virtue? Russell Kirk takes on Ayn Rand.

Ayn Rand was quite popular with many of my friends 50+ years ago when I was in high school. Personally, I never fell for her pseudo-'philosophy'. Dr Kirk, on the other hand, was and continues to be, a formative influence on my beliefs.

From Intellectual Takeout

In her introduction to The Virtue of Selfishness, Ayn Rand gives us a fairly clear understanding of her definition of selfishness.
“Since selfishness is ‘concern with one’s own interests,’ the Objectivist ethics uses that concept in its exact and purest sense. It is not a concept that one can surrender to man’s enemies, nor to the unthinking misconceptions, distortions, prejudices and fears of the ignorant and the irrational. The attack on ‘selfishness’ is an attack on man’s self-esteem; to surrender one, is to surrender the other.”
Throughout the book, she adds more detail to her thinking. Here’s an example:
“The basic social principle of the Objectivist ethics is that just as life is an end in itself, so every living human being is an end in himself, not the means to the ends or the welfare of others – and, therefore, that man must live for his own sake, neither sacrificing himself to others nor sacrificing others to himself. To live for his own sake means that the achievement of his own happiness is man’s highest moral purpose.
If you’re not familiar with the term “Objectivist”, it was coined by Ayn Rand to describe her philosophy. You can learn more here.  
Ayn Rand is often classified as being Right-leaning in her politics. Whether she would agree would probably be another matter, especially today. What can be assured is that Russell Kirk, author of The Conservative Minddid not think highly of her ideas on ethics. He shares a few of his thoughts about the battle of ideas in the 20th century in The Sword of Imagination:
“Conservatism is the negation of ideology… But a conservative impulse, if denied intelligent leadership and moral imagination, may be diverted banefully into ideological fanaticism…
Among these ideologues of the alleged Right, the most conspicuous was Ayn Rand, the author of an ideological novel of extreme and ruthless individualism entitled The Fountainhead; later her novel Atlas Shrugged would have tremendous sales. Miss Rand, born in Russia, made a living in Hollywood. Communism has been called the inversion of Christianity; Ayn Rand, reacting against practical communism, negated the negation. But she did not turn back to Christianity or any other religion: she was a militant atheist and materialist…
Hating collectivism and sentimentality, Ayn Rand was determined that the modern world must rid itself of what she called ‘altruism’ – that is, the theological virtue of charity – and exalt self-interest. Literally she would have put the dollar sign in the place of the cross. At every opportunity she preached the doctrine of ‘the virtue of selfishness.’ It is a sign of metaphysical madness that the ideological zealot insists upon his followers’ total acceptance of the most repugnant and improbable of his doctrines; so was it with Ayn Rand. If one will concede that selfishness is a virtue, one will concede anything; even a man perfectly selfish himself works against his own interest if he urges other folk to be equally selfish; it is as if a burglar, moved by principle, should urge his neighbors to rob his own house.”
 That all may come as a surprise for many to learn that there would be discord and fundamental rifts within what has been labeled “the Right”. For the Objectivists selfishness is virtue, for the old-school conservatives, rooted in the Christian-Hellenist tradition, selfishness is a vice. And yet they both found common cause in defeating the Communists.

CDF Prefect: It’s ‘Definitive’ That Women Can’t Be Ordained as Priests

Will wonders never cease!? Francis has appointed a Catholic to head the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, once known as the Holy Office of the Inquisition.

From the National Catholic Register

Archbishop Luis Francisco Ladaria Ferrer at the Holy See Press Office Sept. 8, 2015. 
(Daniel Ibanez/CNA.)

‘Christ wanted to give this sacrament to the twelve apostles, all men, who, in turn, transmitted it to other men,’ Cardinal-elect Ladaria explained.
VATICAN CITY —The teaching of the Catholic Church on the impossibility of ordaining women to the priesthood, now or in the future, is clear — and to sow confusion by suggesting otherwise is a serious matter, wrote the Vatican’s top authority on doctrine.
In a May 29 article in Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano, Cardinal-elect Luis Ladaria, head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, wrote that “Christ wanted to give this sacrament [of holy orders] to the twelve apostles, all men, who, in turn, transmitted it to other men.”

“The Church has always recognized herself bound by this decision of the Lord, which excludes that the ministerial priesthood can be validly conferred on women.”

Taking this into account, as well as Pope St. John Paul II’s 1994 apostolic letter Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, which states that all Catholics must “definitively” follow this teaching, Cardinal-elect Ladaria said, “it is a matter of serious concern to see the emergence in some countries of voices that question the finality of this doctrine.”

To argue that the Church’s prohibition on women priests has not been defined “ex cathedra” and that a pope or council could change the teaching in the future “creates serious confusion among the faithful,” and undermines the authority of the magisterium, he said.
Cardinal-elect Ladaria spelled out several reasons why the Catholic Church cannot ordain women to the priesthood, the first being that it is part of the substance of the sacrament of holy orders that the person receiving ordination be a man. And the Church cannot change this substance because the sacraments, as instituted by Christ, are the foundation of the Church.

Contrary to what some have argued, this limit on holy orders, Ladaria explained, does not prevent the Church from being effective in her ministry, because if the Church cannot change something, it is because “the original love of God intervenes on that point.”

God is “at work in the ordination of priests, so that the Church always contains, in every situation of her history, the visible and efficacious presence of Jesus Christ ‘as the principal source of grace,’” he said, quoting Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium.

Following the tradition of the Catholic Church in this teaching is a matter of obedience to the Lord, he continued, noting that the Church is called to deepen her understanding of the sacramental priesthood: that the priest stands “in the person of Christ” and is a spouse of the Church, making his being a man an “indispensable part” of the sacrament.

Cardinal-elect Ladaria pointed to the fact Benedict XVI and Pope Francis have both confirmed Pope St. John Paul II’s teaching in Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, on the impossibility of ordaining women in the Catholic Church.

In a press conference aboard the papal plane returning from Sweden Nov. 1, 2016, Pope Francis said: “On the ordination of women in the Catholic Church, the last clear word was given by St. John Paul II, and this remains.”

Cardinal-elect Ladaria also wrote about the example of the Blessed Virgin Mary, who is the most “complete figure” in the Church’s history though she was never an ordained minister.

“Thus we see that the masculine and the feminine, the original language that the creator has inscribed in the human body, are taken on in the work of our redemption,” he said.

“Precisely the fidelity to the design of Christ on the ministerial priesthood allows, then, to deepen and further promote the specific role of women in the Church, given that ‘in the Lord, neither man is without woman, nor woman is without man’ (1 Corinthians, 11:11).”

The Catholic Church can also bring light to the culture concerning “the meaning and the goodness of the difference between man and woman,” he continued.

“In this time, in which the Church is called to respond to the many challenges of our culture, it is essential that [the Church] remains in Jesus, like the branches in the vine,” Cardinal-elect Ladaria said, quoting Jesus’ words from the Gospel of John: “If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love.”

“Only fidelity to his words, which will not pass, ensures our rooting in Christ and in his love,” he concluded. “Only the acceptance of his wise design, which takes shape in the sacraments, reinvigorates the roots of the Church, so that it may bear the fruit of eternal life.”

Irish Pro-Lifers Organize 40 Days of Public Penance Over Abortion Referendum

This began yesterday on St Joan of Arc's Day. May it bear much fruit and set Ireland on the path to reinstate the 8th!

Here is a pdf of the full 40 day schedule, 40 Days of Reparation for Life and Faith.

From LifeSiteNews

Pro-life advocates gather on the Irish coast to pray for life in November 2017.
Credit: Rosary on the Coast for Life and Faith / Facebook

CORK, Ireland, May 31, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — The pro-life group that rallied 30,000 people to pray the Rosary on the coasts of Ireland in the fall is now organizing a public penance in the wake of the abortion referendum.
“Forty Days of Reparation for Life and Faith” will give Irish Catholics the opportunity to “come before God and ask for His mercy and forgiveness” in response to last week’s right-to-life catastrophe.
In Ireland’s national referendum, held last Friday, two-thirds of the ballots voted to repeal the pro-life Eighth Amendment to their nation’s constitution. This has spurred Ireland’s pro-abortion government, led by Leo Varadkar, Ireland’s first homosexual Taoiseach (or “Chief”),  to introduce legislation liberalizing Ireland’s abortion laws before its summer recess. 
But Rosary on the Coast organizer Kathy Sinnott told LifeSiteNews that the national will to abolish the right to life of the unborn child wasn’t as strong as has been reported.  
“I was devastated not just by the loss of protection for the baby before birth but by the size of the vote,” Sinnott told LifeSiteNews. “[But] as the litany of irregularities in the voting process mounts up, I no longer am so sure that the election figures are real and the gap as big as it appears.”
Heartened by this suspicion, she is now organizing a spiritual battle against Ireland’s new culture of death.
“My focus now is countering our pro-abortion politicians who for the next 40 days will be in the Oireachtas/Parliament debating and passing abortion legislation,” she said.  “We will counter them with 40 Days of Reparation for Life and Faith.”
The “40 Days” began on May 30 and will continue until July 6.  A full schedule of devotions and activities can be found here.
Sinnott explained that unrepented sin and attachment to sin is a major block to God’s grace, and also cited the 2010 letter of Pope Benedict XVI to the Irish stating that penance, contrition and reparation were means of healing Ireland’s Church and people.
In a press release, “Rosary for Life and Faith” explained that reparation is the act of making amends for wrongdoing.
“To understand it, think of ourselves,” the group advised. “If we have fallen out of grace with God, we have to go to confession with a contrite heart so that we can make our peace with God, so that He can again begin to flood our hearts with His grace, and we can receive that grace.”
As with the individual, so with an entire country.
“We as a people have to come before God and ask for His mercy and forgiveness,” the group continued, “so He can shower us with His grace and we can receive it. When we fail to do this, there is a blockage.  This is one of the problems currently in Ireland.”
Rosary on the Coast for Life and Faith, held around the coasts of Ireland on November 26, 2017, attracted 30,000 people from the Republic and Northern Ireland. Northern Ireland is currently experiencing intense pressure from both the Republic and from the rest of the United Kingdom to liberalize its strict abortion laws.
The Irish Republic, once a bastion of Catholicism, has experienced rapid change in the forty years following its rapturous reception of Saint John Paul II, the first pope to visit the Emerald Isle. In his letter to the Irish, Benedict XVI acknowledged “new and serious challenges to the faith” including  the clerical child abuse scandals that rocked the nation.
“Fast-paced social change has occurred, often adversely affecting people’s traditional adherence to Catholic teaching and values,” he wrote.  “All too often, the sacramental and devotional practices that sustain faith and enable it to grow, such as frequent confession, daily prayer and annual retreats, were neglected.”
 “Significant too was the tendency during this period, also on the part of priests and religious, to adopt ways of thinking and assessing secular realities without sufficient reference to the Gospel,” the pontiff continued.
“The programme of renewal proposed by the Second Vatican Council was sometimes misinterpreted and indeed, in the light of the profound social changes that were taking place, it was far from easy to know how best to implement it. In particular, there was a well-intentioned but misguided tendency to avoid penal approaches to canonically irregular situations. It is in this overall context that we must try to understand the disturbing problem of child sexual abuse, which has contributed in no small measure to the weakening of faith and the loss of respect for the Church and her teachings,” Benedict stated.  

Top Irish Bishop Backtracks, Clarifies Remarks on ‘Safe’ Abortions

My God! No wonder the Church in Ireland is in such a shambles if this is Her leadership. First we have the Archbishop of Armagh, Primate of All Ireland, parroting the babykiller's slogan 'rare, safe, and legal' regarding the violent murder of society's most defenceless members.

Then we have the Archbishop of Dublin, Primate of Ireland, saying the results of the referendum should inspire pro-lifers to fight injustices other than abortion, instead of calling on Catholics to fight to stop the baby murdering legislation, and begin the fight to reinstate the 8th!

From LifeSiteNews

Archbishops Diarmuid Martin of Dublin and Eamon Martin of Armagh

IRELAND, May 30, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Ireland’s top Catholic prelate has backtracked comments he made about keeping abortion “rare,” “safe,” and “legal,” saying he shouldn’t have used that language.
Archbishop Eamon Martin, the archbishop of Armagh and the Primate of All Ireland, used the pro-abortion phrasing in an interview with RTE. His use of the mantra typically repeated by abortion advocates was shown in a clip that was “heavily edited” and “taken out of context,” his spokesman told LifeSiteNews.
“I would hope that those who advocated a ‘no’ during the campaign will now work very actively to try to ensure that the legislation that is passed, as the Taoiseach himself said, allows for abortion which is rare, which is safe, and which is legal,” Archbishop Martin said in a pre-recorded video interview with RTE. That was the only clip of Martin shown in a segment on how Ireland just voted to legalize abortion.
According to the newscaster, “The Primate of all Ireland said he was challenged by the personal stories shared in the referendum campaign and that it made him realize how little he personally knows about the pressures women can be under.”
“Archbishop Eamon Martin’s words were heavily edited in the broadcast by RTÉ and these were taken out of context for that very short prerecorded clip,” Martin Long, communications director for the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference, told LifeSiteNews. “The Archbishop continues to call on all people to reject abortion and to choose life.”
“The Archbishop asked me to tell you he agrees fully with the Church’s teaching on abortion and that he should not have used the quotation which you cite[,] which came from the Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar,” Long said when LifeSiteNews asked how an abortion could ever be “safe” for the baby it destroys, and why Martin chose to suggest that.

Long referred LifeSiteNews to the archbishop’s pro-life record and his Sunday homily, during which he said, “Like many others who advocated a NO vote in the referendum, I am deeply saddened that we appear to have obliterated the right to life of all unborn children from our constitution and that this country is now on the brink of legislating for a liberal abortion regime.”
“I am very concerned about the implications for society of interfering with the fundamental principle that the value of all human life is equal and that all human beings, born and unborn, have inherent worth and dignity,” he said. “At a time when scientific and medical evidence is clearer than ever about the beginning of life, we have effectively decided that some human lives – in this case the lives of the unborn - are less significant and deserving of protection than others.”
Archbishop Martin used his 2018 Pastoral Message for the New Year to ask Catholics to be “missionaries for life” and to remind them, “abortion ends the human life of an unborn girl or boy.” 
“No doubt Archbishop Martin is appalled by abortion, yet it is emblematic of the problems within the Church that the Primate of Ireland should be so misguided that he would adopt the language of the abortion lobby,” Maria Madise of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children and Voice of the Family told LifeSiteNews. “Using the slogan ‘safe, legal, and rare’ can only mislead Catholics into thinking that there is an acceptable level of abortion. Every single abortion is an act of lethal violence directed at an unborn child. It is intrinsically evil and can never be justified.”
“The Bishops in Ireland do not seem to recognise the responsibility they bear for the actions of their flock in voting for abortion,” said Madise. “The Irish Church needs leaders who will preach the Gospel fearlessly and make it clear that it’s impossible to support the legalisation of abortion and remain a faithful Catholic.”
Archbishop Diarmuid Martin (not related to the other archbishop), the archbishop of Dublin, said the results of the referendum should inspire pro-lifers to fight injustices other than abortion.
He told RTE, “We have to revamp all the things we do to be pro-life, because pro-life isn’t simply about birth and death – it’s about all the time in between...and to show a real commitment to the many other ways which lives are at risk in Irish society.”
On May 16, Dublin’s Archbishop Martin said repealing the pro-life Eighth Amendment would be a “point of no return.”

“It seems incongruous that just as medical science allows us to understand much more about the evolution of the baby in the womb and his or her originality and unique identity that we should simply throw out all Constitutional protection of the unborn child,” he said. “For that reason I will be voting No.”
In the same message, though, he said that the “narrow moralistic culture” that ostracized and “humiliated” single mothers was “often sadly enhanced by the attitude of the Church.”
During Holy Week in 2017, he also suggested Catholicism has left people “oppressed by guilt,” something with which many who experienced Irish Catholicism's soft approach over the past half-century would strongly disagree.

Chevalier Charles Coulombe on the Queenship of Mary

Since today would normally be the Feast of the Queenship of Mary, the complement to the Feast of Christ the King on the last Sunday of October, six months from now, here is a talk by the Chevalier on the Queenship of Mary.

A Catholic Quest for the Holy Grail by Charles A. Coulombe (Review, Roger Buck)

I reviewed this book here, Sort of a Review of 'A Catholic Quest for the Holy Grail', by Chevalier Charles Coulombe, back in January. However, my good friend, Mr Roger Buck, has returned to Ireland from the Continent, and he recently posted his review. I thought I'd share it, so my readers can get a second opinion.

From Cor Jesu Sacratissimum

“Christianity is boring” – this, alas for humanity, is what so many people think today …
The reasons are not hard to find. Partly they lie in the media, partly in the Protestant Reformation and the more recent Protestantization of Catholicism – as a result of which the Church is now frequently associated with all that is dull, literalist, deprived of living mystery.
And it is thus, I think, that many today search out New Age “mysteries”. For in the arid lands of soulless materialism, many souls thirst for the living Mystery.
If only they would read Charles A. Coulombe’s latest book: A Catholic Quest for the Holy Grail! For the glory of this luminous new work is that the author knows – with every fibre of his being – that Christianity is NOT boring.
Rather, it is filled with magic.
Every page of this book bears testimony to this – the author’s vivid sense of how rich, how miraculous Catholic Christianity truly is.
Now, ostensibly, this book concerns the legends and traditions surrounding the Holy Grail, along with its links to devotion to the Precious Blood, the Eucharist and the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
But I say ‘ostensibly’ because truly it strikes me as all this – and so much more. For the book concerns not only the Grail, but Catholic chivalry and monarchy.
And Coulombe takes us on a marvellous tour of medieval and even modern Europe where miracles – Eucharistic and otherwise – happen still …
As such, the book offers witness to just how astonishing the Mystery of the Catholic Church has been as its effects have rolled out across the planet for the last two thousand years.
Really, it is fascinating. Even profoundly knowledgeable and traditional Catholics may yet catch their breath in wonder at all the author invokes here.
For me, then, this book is pure joy. Now, I have raved about this author in previous reviews – but I think this is possibly his finest book yet (although it is hard to beat his enormous epic Puritan’s Empire – which I reviewed here).
Written in a popular, easy to read style, A Catholic Quest for the Holy Grail has something for anyone interested in restoring Christendom.
Buy it, read it, steep yourself even deeper in the miracles of Catholicism.

German Bishops Jeopardize Identity Of Catholic Church

This is a point I have been making. If Rome approves the heresy of many of the German Bishops, it is the beginning of the end for the Catholic Church as a distinct body claiming to be the Church of Christ.

However, no matter how bad it gets, with heresies galore rampaging through the Church, we have Christ's promise that he will never abandon his Body, His Bride. How long, O Lord, how long?

From Gloria.tv

Archbishop Chaput
Doctrinal differences among Catholics and Protestants regarding the Eucharist are “not just verbal debris from a dead past” but have a meaning, according to Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia, USA.

Talking to cruxnow.com (May 28), Chaput explains that the German proposal for Protestant Communion puts a lot at stake: the identity of the Church, the meaning of the sacraments, or the nature of the Real Presence.

Once the first step towards Protestant Communion is taken, “pressure to widen intercommunion will naturally increase, with diminishing reasons and credibility to resist it”.

Chaput adds, “What happens in Germany will not stay in Germany.”