30 June 2024

Is a Pope Beyond Criticism?

The history of opposing the Pope on non-infallible matters has a long history, from St Paul opposing St Peter 'to the face', through St Catherine of Siena, to the Filial Correction.

From Crisis

By Steve Ray

Since the Church claims that the pope has the special gift from Christ as the successor of St. Peter, we must ask what this infallibility consists of and if a pope is then beyond scrutiny and criticism?

The pope holds a unique position in all the world. No other existing religious or civic government has a leader of an office that has lasted for two thousand years like the Chair of St. Peter. No other religious leader represents over one billion people in a successive role founded by Jesus Christ Himself. What leader of such a longstanding organization with such massive global proportions and authority can rightfully claim to possess the charism of infallibility?

The successor of Peter uniquely fills a successive role founded by Jesus Christ Himself—to be the rock upon which the Church is built, to be the keeper of the kingdom’s keys (Matthew 16:17-19), to be the shepherd of God’s flock (John 21:15-17), and to be the visible source of unity and protector of the deposit of truth. The pope and the structure of the Church are ordained by God to maintain Christ’s visible presence and unity among the faithful.

Since the pope has the charism of infallibility, some feel that it is schismatic or heretical to question, challenge, or criticize the pope, even when he is not exercising that charism within the strictly defined conditions. Since the Church does claim that the pope has the special gift from Christ as the successor of St. Peter (CCC 891), we must ask what this infallibility consists of and if this pope, or any pope, is then beyond scrutiny and criticism?

Infallibility is a concept and power that must be defined. For example, it does not mean a pope is impeccable. Nor does it mean that everything he says or does is without error. He cannot predict baseball scores or next week’s weather. His charism of infallibility is carefully defined by the Church as to what it is and what it is not. 

According to the Catechism (citing Vatican I), 

The Roman Pontiff, head of the college of bishops, enjoys this infallibility in virtue of his office, when, as supreme pastor and teacher of all the faithful—who confirms his brethren in the faith—he proclaims by a definitive act a doctrine pertaining to faith or morals. (891) 

The conditions for infallibility are that 1) he acts freely as supreme pastor, speaking “ex cathedra,” or “from the chair”—not expressing his own personal opinion, 2) when he intends to specifically define a doctrine binding on the Universal Church and pertaining to the Church’s deposit of faith, and 3) when the definition pertains to and is in harmony with the Church’s constant tradition regarding faith and morals. This is a very high bar that has been invoked only rarely in Church history.

Of course, a pope may freely express his opinions and teach on any matter, but infallibility does not extend to areas extraneous to faith and morals—such as science, climate change, or immigration. When the pope teaches or speaks not “ex cathedra,” are the clergy and lay people able to analyze, scrutinize, and even criticize? The answer is yes—but, certainly, with all respect for the office and deference to the successor of Peter.
We read in Scripture that Paul, who was not the “keeper of the keys,” felt it necessary to publicly criticize Peter himself. Peter had taught the truth regarding circumcision and the full acceptance of uncircumcised gentiles into the Church. But Peter, though teaching the truth, was acting hypocritically, not living out the truth he had earlier proclaimed. St. Paul called him out: “But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned” (Galatians 2:11).

These are strong words indeed. St. Augustine, referring to this passage, says, “Peter gave an example to superiors, that if at any time they should happen to stray from the straight path, they should not disdain to be reproved by their subjects.”

In like manner, Thomas Aquinas, referring to Galatians and the words of St. Augustine, wrote, “If the faith were endangered, a subject ought to rebuke his prelate even publicly. Hence Paul, who was Peter’s subject, rebuked him in public, on account of the imminent danger of scandal concerning faith.”

A classic example of a pope being criticized is found in Catherine of Siena, who severely reproved Pope Gregory XI and ultimately persuaded him to return the papacy from Avignon to Rome. Regarding St. Catherine’s bold admonishment, I have previously stated:

Can anyone imagine a fourteenth-century woman reproving the Pope, especially with such a severe tone? And imagine, she was not only canonized a saint, but she was declared a Doctor of the Church! So much for the Pope’s insulation from reproof and criticism. (Upon This Rock: St. Peter and the Primacy of Rome in Scripture and the Early Church)

When Pope Benedict XVI published his three-volume Jesus of Nazareth in 2007, he said, right in the introduction of volume 1 (xxiii-xxiv), that people were free to criticize his work, since it was “in no way an exercise of the Magisterium.” 

On a plane interview on September 10, Pope Francis himself said, 

Regarding the case of the Pope [one may say]: “I don’t like this aspect of the Pope, I criticize him, I speak about him, I write an article and ask him to respond, this is fair…This is clear: a fair criticism is always well received, at least by me.

Criticism of the pope should never arise out of a mere reaction to something he says or does. If possible, criticism should be informed by knowledge of the facts and from a position of respect—and communicated through proper ecclesiastical channels.

In the Catechism, we also read,

In accord with the knowledge, competence, and preeminence which they possess, [lay people] have the right and even at times a duty to manifest to the sacred pastors their opinion on matters which pertain to the good of the Church, and they have a right to make their opinion known to the other Christian faithful. (907)

It seems clear that respect for the office and deference to its occupant is incumbent upon all the faithful; but blind obedience or obsequious submission is never required of believers. And though respectful criticism is within the purview of Catholics, especially of bishops and prelates of the Church, it should go without saying that denying the authority of the pope or his office, or causing or inciting divisions or schisms is strictly outside the bounds.

I have spoken more extensively on this issue. If you would like to hear more, you can watch my keynote address to the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre, Northwestern Lieutenancy: “How can a John Paul II Catholic Survive in a Pope Francis World.” 

A Woke Globe

Shakespeare's Globe Theatre has been reconstructed. 'If only the productions of the Bard’s plays were as authentic as the theater in which they are performed, instead of being the puerile pastiches that their producers foist upon us.'

From The Imaginative Conservative

By Fr Dwight Longenecker

The reconstructed Globe theater is a masterpiece, a beautiful dream-come-true and a wonderful contribution to the universal Shakespeare industry. If only the productions of the Bard’s plays were as authentic as the theater in which they are performed, instead of being the puerile pastiches that their producers foist upon us.

It was a glorious June day when our pilgrimage group strolled up the South Bank of the Thames from Tower Bridge to tour the re-constructed Globe Theater. The special project of American filmmaker Sam Wanamaker, the Globe is located across the river from the City of London just a short distance from the actual historical site of Shakespeare’s theater.

A tour of the Globe whisks you back to the sixteenth century. The heavy oak beams are held together with wooden pegs, the thatch on the roof we were told, is authentic—albeit treated with a modern fire retardant. The Globe is not just a Disney-esque replica, but an actual working theater. Tickets for the groundlings go on sale the day of the show for just five quid, while the rest of the seats vary in price. Renting a cushion for three pounds is an extra luxury.

While the theater is a faithful reconstruction of Shakespeare’s venue, don’t expect the plays themselves to be authentic. The globe is woke. During our tour the company were busy rehearsing an upcoming production of King Lear with a female Lear. I realize that in Shakespeare’s day gender confusion was not unknown: Queen Elizabeth was famously masculine, and in the theater female parts would have been played by boys, but must the whirligig of time bring in such revenges that Shakespeare’s male characters must now be played by actresses? A female King Lear? I did not see the whole cast list, but are Lear’s daughters now bad boys instead of spoiled girls? Do they complete the charade by calling the play Queen Lear?

No. Of course not. The feminist agenda is not about elevating women but forcing women to assume masculine traits. The same feminist propaganda was evident in the production of Much Ado About Nothing we enjoyed when we returned to the Globe that afternoon. If you remember the play, Leonato is the patriarch whose daughter Hero is maligned by her fiancé Claudio. Leonato’s brother Antonio plays a supportive role in the drama as Leonato berates the unjust Claudio and attempts to steer the cast to a fair conclusion. But wait. In the Globe’s production Leonato and Antonio have been replaced by “Leonata” and her sister “Antonia.” Hero doesn’t have a Dad. There is no loving, protective patriarch. Instead “Leonata” plays the single parent and berates Claudio not with the thundering tones of a righteous father, but with the nagging anger of a momma bear. This switch in the cast is simply presented to the audience without explanation. The directors have therefore emasculated and mutilated Shakespeare’s play without so much as a “by your leave.” This sort of wanton vandalism is like painting a mustache on the Mona Lisa.

The woke approach—a feminist reading of the play which intentionally undermines the patriarchal premise—may be interesting in an academic way, but is it necessary? When I was studying scriptwriting it was hammered home that we should avoid all preaching. “Tell a good story” we were told, “Don’t preach a sermon. Nothing destroys a script more quickly than imposing your message on the story.” Or, as the movie mogul growled to the novice screenwriter, “You wanna send a message? Use the Western Union.”

The same should apply to the interpretation of a play. Spare us the heavy-handed feminist reading, the gay play, the lesbian subtext, and the Marxist reconstruction. It’s not clever, and it’s not funny. I don’t say this because I disagree with the particular sermons being preached, but because it is just so awfully sophomoric, bombastic, crude, and obvious. A female King Lear? Really? Substituting Leonato and Antonio with “Leonata” and “Antonia”? Come now. Remember Ogden Nash’s dictum “Here is a good rule of thumb: Too clever is dumb.”

That this feminist tract should be imposed on Much Ado About Nothing is even more absurd because the play itself deals with the timeless war between the sexes perfectly adequately not only in the dramatic injustice done to Hero, but also in the delicious subplot between Benedick and Beatrice. In Beatrice Shakespeare has created a compelling, fully feminine, boisterous and feisty female. Why drown out this subtle and beautiful interplay and conflict between male and female with a heavy handed feminist re-interpretation of the play? Imposing “Leonata” as a domineering harridan diverts our attention from the truly sympathetic feminist in the play: Beatrice.

The other ridiculous irony in this gender-bending, woke approach to Shakespeare is that it has no logical end point. Shall we have a female Hamlet? Will she be called Hamlette? If so, must Ophelia be a fella? Why not have a Lord MacBeth who manipulates his wife to do the dirty deed rather than the other way around? Or for that matter let us have a Lady MacBeth played by a man, while MacBeth is played by a woman. We’ll call him “Mack” and she can be “Beth.” The Globe is all the world, and if all the world’s a stage and all the men and women merely players, then why not let all the men play the women and all the women play the men, and then the Globe can be complete in its woke sermonizing, and be one huge self-congratulatory, self-righteous celebration of transgenderism.

That this travesty of Shakespearean interpretation takes place in the perfectly-restored Globe theater is especially ironic. There are the oak beams and wooden pegs, the wattle and daub, the thatched roof and the authentic-looking stage, but the directors have distorted the plays with their woke sermonizing. The play, the play’s the thing wherein they’ll catch the conscience of the Queen.

To be consistent with the banal modernistic interpretation, the globe theater should be made of plastic, vinyl, steel, and glass and fitted with jumbo flat-screen TVs with a booming sound system instead of a stage. You wanna be modern and up-to-date? Go the whole hog and do Shakespeare meets a rock concert. You want Queen Lear? Why not just do Queen and have the leather clad cast sing “We Will Rock You?”

I rant. But if my rant verges on the ridiculous it is only because the producers and directors at the Globe have pushed Shakespearean re-interpretation to the edge of the absurd. The reconstructed Globe theater is a masterpiece, a beautiful dream-come-true and a wonderful contribution to the universal Shakespeare industry. If only the productions of the Bard’s plays were as authentic as the theater in which they are performed, instead of being the puerile pastiches that their producers foist upon us.

The featured image, uploaded by Jack1956, is a photograph of a “View of Shakespeare’s Globe set up for a performance of Romeo and Juliet in March 2019.” This file is made available under the Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Bishop Challoner's Meditations - July 1st


Consider first, how precious a thing time is which we are so apt to squander away, as if it were of no value. Time is the measure of our lives; therefore as much as we lose of our time, so much of our lives is absolutely lost. All our time is given us, in order to our employing it in the service of our Maker, and by that means securing to our souls a happy eternity; and there is not one moment of it in which we may not store up for ourselves a treasure for eternity; so that, as many as we lose of these precious moments, they are so many lost eternities. Our time is a talent with which God has entrusted us, and of which he will one day demand of us a strict account how we have spent every hour of it. Our salvation or damnation for eternity will depend upon the good or bad use of our time. Ah! how little do we think of this? How little do we think of the sins we are daily guilty of, in squandering away so much of this precious time? 

Consider 2ndly, how short is the whole time of this mortal life; a mere nothing compared with eternity, and how very quickly it passes away. When past 'tis gone - it is no more; it leaves no footsteps behind it. The time to come is not ours: we cannot promise ourselves one moment of it. The present time is all we can call our own, and God only knows how long it will be so. It fies away in an instant, and when once it is gone it cannot be called back. Our hours, one after another, all post away with precipitate haste into the vast gulf of eternity, and are swallowed up there, and then appear no more. The very moment in which we are reading this line is just passing, never, never more to return. And as many of these hours, as many of these moments as are once lost are lost for ever: the loss is irreparable. Learn hence, O my soul, to set a just value upon thy present time - learn to husband it well, and employ it all to the best advantage.

Consider 3rdly, that as all time is short and passes quickly away, so all the temporal enjoyments of the honours, riches, and pleasures of this world are of the like condition: they all pass away with time - they are all transitory, uncertain, and inconstant. Only eternity and the goods or evils which it comprises, are truly great, as being without end, without change, without comparison; admitting of no mixture of evil in its goods, nor any alloy of comfort in its evils. O how quickly does the glory of this world pass away! How very soon will all temporal grandeur, all worldly pride and state, all the riches and pleasures of worldlings, be buried in the coffin! A few short years are more than any one can promise himself. and after that, poor sinner, what will become of thee? Alas! the worms will prey upon thy body, and merciless devils on thy unrepenting soul! Thy worldly friends will all forget thee. The very stone on which thou hast got thy name engraved will not long outlive thee. O how true is that sentence: 'vanity of vanities, and all is vanity but to love God, and to serve him alone!' - Kempis.

Conclude to make such use of this present time and of all temporary things as to make them serviceable to thy soul in her journey towards eternity. But take care not to let thy heart cleave to them by any disorderly affection, lest thou be entangled in them and perish with them.

1 July, Antonio, Cardinal Bacci: Meditations For Each Day

Moments of Silence

1. Such is the speed of modern life that many people forget God and do not even pause to think about themselves. Action is everything. There is no time for reflection, no time for prayer. Life has become mechanical and superficial, for nobody has the time nor the inclination to think about spiritual matters.

What is the result? Since men are not machines but living beings composed of soul and body, and are capable of feeling and of passion, their lower inclinations break loose and insist on being satisfied. In the absence of prayer and of all effort to lead a good life, grace is lacking to inspire the mind, to strengthen the will and to keep the heart pure. Rapid materialistic progress has accustomed men to accept as inevitable the most shameful falls. The absence of any kind of contact with God makes the soul the slave of sin.

Examine yourself. Perhaps you have not yet sunk to this low level of spirituality and are still capable of feeling remorse and the urge to do good. But you must listen for God's voice, and a certain amount of silence is necessary if His voice is not to be drowned in the tumult of the world. We are in real need of solitude, recollection and prayer. 

2. Even though the Apostles lived in times which were very different from ours, they were asked by our divine Master to spend a little time in solitude and recollection. They had been sent by Jesus to preach in the villages of Palestine and had been successful in their mission. When they returned they told our divine Redeemer with some satisfaction what they had accomplished in His name and with His grace. They may have been inclined to boast a little, and it is quite certain that they had become spiritually dissipated as a result of their work. So Jesus said to them: “Come apart into a desert place and rest a while.” (Mark 6:21; Mt. 14:13; Luke 9:10; John 6:1) 

We must take this advice also, for a certain amount of silence and recollection is absolutely essential. We should go on retreat every year and set aside one day every month for the same purpose. We need to spend at least a quarter of an hour every day in meditation, if possible a quarter of an hour in conversation with Jesus in the Blessed Eucharist or, if we cannot do any better, an interval of prayer in some other secluded place. If we have not been doing at least this much, let us make sure to do so in future. 

3. Solitude and recollection will make our lives more peaceful and more purposeful and will enable us to co-operate with God's grace by striving to become more perfect. “Be renewed in the spirit of your mind,” says St. Paul, “and put on the new man, which has been created according to God in justice and in holiness.” (Eph. 4:23-24) 

The turmoil of a purely external life leads to hardness of heart, tepidity and sin. Recollection and prayer place us in contact with God, Who will give us the grace to lead holy lives.

Eastern Rite - Feasts of 1 July AM 7531

Today is the Feast of the Holy Unmercenaries and Wonderworkers Cosmas and Damian.

The Holy Martyrs, Wonderworkers and Unmercenary Physicians Cosmas and Damian were born in Rome, brothers by birth, and physicians by profession. They suffered in Rome during the reign of the emperor Carinus (283-284). Brought up by their parents in the rules of piety, they led strict and chaste lives, and they were granted by God the gift of healing the sick. By their generosity and exceptional kindness to all, the brothers converted many to Christ. The brothers told the sick, “It is not by our own power that we treat you, but by the power of Christ, the true God. Believe in Him and be healed.” Since they accepted no payment for their treatment of the infirm, the holy brothers were called “unmercenary physicians.”

Their life of active service and their great spiritual influence on the people around them led many into the Church, attracting the attention of the Roman authorities. Soldiers were sent after the brothers. Hearing about this, local Christians convinced Saints Cosmas and Damian to hide for a while until they could help them escape. Unable to find the brothers, the soldiers arrested instead other Christians of the area where the saints lived. Saints Cosmas and Damian then came out of hiding and surrendered to the soldiers, asking them to release those who had been arrested because of them.

At Rome, the saints were imprisoned and put on trial. Before the Roman emperor and the judge, they openly professed their faith in Christ God, Who had come into the world to save mankind and redeem the world from sin, and they resolutely refused to offer sacrifice to the pagan gods. They said, “We have done evil to no one, we are not involved with the magic or sorcery of which you accuse us. We treat the infirm by the power of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and we take no payment for rendering aid to the sick because our Lord commanded His disciples, ‘Freely have you received, freely give’ (Mt. 10: 8).”

The emperor, however, continued with his demands. Through the prayer of the holy brothers, imbued with the power of grace, God suddenly struck Carinus blind, so that he too might experience the almighty power of the Lord, Who does not forgive blasphemy against the Holy Spirit (Mt. 12:31). The people, beholding the miracle, cried out, “Great is the Christian God! There is no other God but Him!” Many of those who believed besought the holy brothers to heal the emperor, and he himself implored the saints, promising to convert to the true God, Christ the Savior, so the saints healed him. After this, Saints Cosmas and Damian were honourably set free, and once again they set about treating the sick.

But what the hatred of the pagans and the ferocity of the Roman authorities could not do, was accomplished by black envy, one of the strongest passions of sinful human nature. An older physician, an instructor, under whom the holy brothers had studied the art of medicine, became envious of their fame. Driven to madness by malice, and overcome by passionate envy, he summoned the two brothers, formerly his most beloved students, proposing that they should all go together in order to gather various medicinal herbs. Going far into the mountains, he murdered them and threw their bodies into a river.

Thus these holy brothers, the Unmercenary Physicians Cosmas and Damian, ended their earthly journey as martyrs. Although they had devoted their lives to the Christian service of their neighbours, and had escaped the Roman sword and prison, they were treacherously murdered by their teacher.

The Lord glorifies those who are pleasing to God. Now, through the prayers of the holy martyrs Cosmas and Damian, God grants healing to all who with faith have recourse to their heavenly intercession.

The Unmercenary Saints Cosmas and Damian of Rome should not be confused with the Unmercenary Saints Cosmas and Damian of Asia Minor (November 1), or the Unmercenary Saints Cosmas and Damian of Arabia (October 17).

Troparion — Tone 8

Holy unmercenaries and wonderworkers, Cosmas and Damian, visit our / infirmities. / Freely you have received; freely give to us.

Kontakion — Tone 2

Having received the grace of healing, / you grant healing to those in need. / Glorious wonder-workers and physicians, Cosmas and Damian, / visit us and put down the insolence of our enemies, / and bring healing to the world through your miracles.


IN LUMINE FIDEI: 1 JULY – THE MOST PRECIOUS BLOOD: O Blood of my crucified Jesus, dwell in my soul to purify it. O Blood of my crucified Jesus, dwell in my heart to inflame it. O B...


IN LUMINE FIDEI: JULY – THE MONTH OF THE MOST PRECIOUS BLOOD: Like devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, devotion to His Precious Blood is one of the oldest forms of Catholic piety, and over th...

1 July, The Chesterton Calendar

JULY 1st

The average man votes below himself; he votes with half a mind or a hundredth part of one. A man ought to vote with the whole of himself, as he worships or gets married. A man ought to vote with his head and heart, his soul and stomach, his eye for faces and his ear for music; also (when sufficiently provoked) with his hands and feet. If he has ever seen a fine sunset, the crimson colour of it should creep into his vote. If he has ever heard splendid songs, they should be in his ears when he makes the mystical cross. But as it is, the difficulty with English democracy at all elections is that it is something less than itself. The question is not so much whether only a minority of the electorate votes. The point is that only a minority of the voter votes.

'Tremendous Trifles.'

1 July, The Holy Rule of St Benedict, Patriarch of Western Monasticism

CHAPTER XXIV. What the measure of excommunication should be

1 Mar. 1 July. 31 Oct.

The measure of excommunication or chastisement should be meted out according to the gravity of the offence, the estimation of which shall be left to the judgment of the Abbot. If any brother be found guilty of lighter faults, let him be excluded from the common table. And this shall be the rule for one so deprived: he shall intone neither Psalm nor antiphon in the Oratory, nor shall he read a lesson, until he have made satisfaction. Let him take his meals alone, after those of the brethren so that if, for example, the brethren eat at the sixth hour, let him eat at the ninth: if they eat at the ninth, let him eat in the evening, until by proper satisfaction he obtain pardon.

2 July, The Roman Martyrology

Sexto Nonas Iúlii Luna vicésima quinta Anno Dómini 2024

July 2nd 2024, the 25th day of the Moon,

On the morrow we keep the feast of the visit of the Blessed Virgin Mary to Elizabeth.
On the same 2nd day of July, were born into the better life:

At Rome, upon the Aurelian Way, the holy martyrs Processus and Martinian, who were baptized by the blessed Apostle Peter in the Mamertine Prison, and crowned with martyrdom under Nero by being slain with the sword, after suffering the beating of their mouths, the rack, thongs, cudgels, fire, and loaded whips.
At Rome also, the three holy soldiers who turned to Christ at the martyrdom of the blessed Apostle Paul, and thus earned a share with him in the glory of heaven.
On the same day, the holy martyrs Ariston, Crescentian, Eutychian, Urban, Vitalis, Justus, Felicissimus, Felix, Marcia, and Symphorosa, who were all crowned with martyrdom in the Campania while the persecution was raging under the Emperor Diocletian.
At Winchester, in England, the holy Swithin, Bishop of that city, [in the year 863,] whose holiness shone forth in the grace of working miracles, and whose feast day we keep upon the 15th day of this present month of July. [His head was taken to the cathedral of Évreux at the end of the fourteenth century.]
At Bamberg, [in Bavaria,] holy Otto, Bishop of [that see,] who preached the Gospel to the Pomeranians, and turned them to the faith, [in the year 1139.]
At Tours, the holy woman Monegund, [about the year 573]
℣. And elsewhere many other holy martyrs, confessors, and holy virgins.
℟. Thanks be to God.

Feasts of Early July

From My Book of the Church's Year, by Enid M. Chadwick; Forward by Peter Kwasniwesi, PhD

Meme of the Moment

Meme of the Month

July is dedicated to the Precious Blood of Jesus.

Happy Dominion Day! God Save the King!

Well, it's 00.00 NDT in Newfoundland, so it's Dominion Day in Canada! For the youngsters among you who don't remember the real name, Happy Canada Day! Here's some music to celebrate the 157th birthday of the True North, Strong and Free!

First the Royal Anthem, in honour of His Majesty Charles III, King of Canada.

O, Canada, in English, with the original lyrics, 'In all Thy sons command', not the bastardised ones Daddy's Little Boy wants people to sing.

O, Canada in French, with lyrics in French and English. I'm surprised Justin 'Bieber' Trudeau hasn't tried to Islamicise the lyrics to this version. 

And, The Maple Leaf Forever, the 'unofficial national anthem' for decades before O, Canada was adopted.

Not music, but the 'I Am Canadian' rant from the Molson's beer commercial. A classic!

And no Dominion/Canada Day would be complete without a mention of THE Canadian, Stompin' Tom Connors. Here is the last letter he wrote to his fans, just before his death.

Charles Thomas "Stompin' Tom" ConnorsOC (February 9, 1936 – March 6, 2013) 

Hello friends, I want all my fans, past, present, or future, to know that without you, there would have not been any Stompin' Tom.

It was a long hard bumpy road, but this great country kept me inspired with its beauty, character, and spirit, driving me to keep marching on and devoted to sing about its people and places that make Canada the greatest country in the world.

I must now pass the torch, to all of you, to help keep the Maple Leaf flying high, and be the Patriot Canada needs now and in the future.

I humbly thank you all, one last time, for allowing me in your homes, I hope I continue to bring a little bit of cheer into your lives from the work I have done.


Canada Day, Up Canada Way.
by Stompin' Tom Connors

Take Me Back to Old Alberta
I wasn't born in Alberta, but as I say, I'm a Kansan by birth and an Albertan by choice.

Blue Berets, honouring Canada's
Peace Keepers

Believe in Your Country

So Long, Stompin' Tom
A song written by Mike Plume, a fan of Stompin' Tom's, on hearing of his death.

1st Vespers of the Feast of the Precious Blood

From the Canons Regular of the New JerusalemYou may follow the Office at Divinum Officium.

Happy Birthday, Dr Sowell!

Today is Thomas Sowell's 94th birthday.

European Court Upholds Hungary’s Ban on ‘Assisted Suicide’

Whilst the Court ruled in favour of sanity in this case it still accepts the concept that murder is something that can be legalised 'democratically'.

From The European Conservative

By Jean-Paul Van De Walle

While the Court ruled correctly in this case, it fails to recognize the duty of states to reject assisted suicide.

The European Court of Human Rights has upheld the right to life by striking down a challenge seeking to permit ‘assisted suicide’ in Hungary. In the new ruling handed down on June 13th, Europe’s top human rights court has held that Hungary is entitled to “maintain a complete ban on assisted suicide” and thus should not be forced to allow the practice.

The case at hand concerns Hungarian national Dániel Karsai, currently in the advanced stages of ALS, a progressive neurodegenerative condition, who sought to undermine Hungary’s legal protections for life by challenging its ban on assisted suicide. Karsai looked to assert his ‘right’ to obtain assisted suicide under the right to privacy established under the European Convention on Human Rights. Now, the Court has held that Hungary is under no obligation to allow Mr. Karsai to end his life by way of assisted suicide.

As stated in the judgment, there exists “no basis for concluding that the member states are thereby advised, let alone required, to provide access” to assisted suicide. 

We should applaud the Court’s decision to uphold Hungary’s essential human rights protections. Although we deeply empathize with Mr. Karsai’s condition, Hungary has both the right and the duty to safeguard human life. The Court is absolutely correct to affirm that Hungary has the right to safeguard the human life of its citizens. A hallmark of an advanced society is the investment of all available resources in providing the best standards of care and support for the suffering, not the promotion of institutionalized death.

The position of the Hungarian government before the Court was that there is no positive obligation on the state to support any form of assisted dying. ADF International, along with UK-based NGO Care Not Killing, intervened in Karsai v. Hungary, arguing that Hungary’s legal prohibition on assisted suicide must be upheld in line with the obligation under the European Convention on Human Rights (Article 2) to protect the right to life. 

In its submission to the Court, ADF International highlighted the inevitable abuses that ensue when legal protections for the right to life are eradicated. Removing protections for life under the law creates a dangerous scenario where pressure is placed on vulnerable people to end their lives in fear of being a burden upon relatives, caregivers, or a state that is short of resources. In essence, the acknowledgment of the false ‘right to die’ quickly morphs into a perceived duty to die.

Specifically at issue in this case was the law in Hungary, which would have imposed potential criminal liability on anyone who would have supported Mr. Karsai in obtaining assisted suicide, even if out of the country. The Hungarian law holds that “a person who induces or provides assistance for another person to commit suicide is guilty of a felony.” Hungary thus protects the lives of its citizens by criminalizing the act of supporting someone to obtain assisted suicide, whether the act is committed in Hungary or abroad. Mr. Karsai maintained that this effectively prevented him from ending his life via assisted suicide. 

While the Court came to the correct conclusion with regard to Hungary in this case, where it falls short is in failing to recognize the duty of states to reject assisted suicide. In its 2022 ruling in Mortier v. Belgium. the Court found that Belgium violated the right to life in the circumstances surrounding the euthanasia of Mrs. Godelieva De Troyer, given the lack of sufficient ‘safeguards.’ In Karsai, it ruled that the European Convention on Human Rights neither obliges nor prevents states from legalizing assisted death, as long as “appropriate and sufficient safeguards” are in place.

The Court holds in Karsai that should a state legalize euthanasia, it must develop a “robust regulatory framework” to keep it “safely applied in practice.” However, it is apparent the world over that the legalization of state-sponsored death leads to an onslaught of abuses. The Court is cognizant of these abuses, thereby leading it to affirm a state’s “margin of appreciation” to balance its ability to establish and enforce these safeguards against the desire of an individual to procure legal assisted death. It ultimately finds Hungary’s criminal ban “not disproportionate” on account of the risks of abuse. What the Court fails to recognize in its weighing exercise is the clear fact that there is no ‘right to die.’

As the Court pointed out, of the 46 member states of the Council of Europe, only six have legalized assisted suicide. But wherever it is allowed, legal ‘safeguards’ have proven insufficient to prevent abuses. These manifest as most harmful to the truly vulnerable, including the elderly, the disabled, and those suffering from mental illness or depression. Suicide, regardless of whether it is carried out by one’s own hands or under the auspices of the system, is always a tragedy. The intentional taking of human life can never be safe. Countries that have legalized euthanasia now allow the intentional killing of children, those who are physically healthy, and those who have not given their consent.  

Ultimately, a so-called ‘right to die’ does not exist and is fundamentally incompatible with the clear right to life enshrined in both European and international human rights law. However, the Court’s ruling in favor of Hungary’s sovereign jurisdiction on this issue is an important win. Should the Court have ruled against Hungary, forcing the state to allow assisted suicide, it would have ushered in a terrifying new era of overreach. Every state has both the right and the obligation to maintain laws that protect human life, and no body should ever wield its authority to contravene this basic role of the state in safeguarding its citizens.

Catholics Petition Rome To Officially Investigate The Resignation of Benedict XVI

The Holy Rosary

Sunday, the Glorious Mysteries, in Latin with Cardinal Burke.

The British Royal Family Orders

In this video I explore the history of the Royal Family Orders that the late Queen Elizabeth II, Queen Camilla, the Princess of Wales and female members of the British royal family wore or wear. The wearing of these is a recent tradition, relatively speaking, around two hundred years old and in this video, I explain when and how this tradition began, and I look at the various family orders bestowed over the course of the past two centuries.

What Does it Mean to Call Mary the Virgin Mother of God?

With Fr Thomas Joseph White, OP, DPhil (Oxon), STL, Rector Magnificus of the Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas (Angelicum), Rome.

The Catholic Church traditionally ascribes the title of Mother of God to the Virgin Mary. Why is that and what does it mean? Is it a form of exaggerated devotion, medieval speculation without biblical foundation, or is it a basic confession of Christological faith rooted in the most basic teaching of the New Testament? If we consider Aquinas’s treatment of the mystery of the maternity of the Virgin Mary we can see that the doctrine contains profound teachings about both Christ and the mystery of the church. It is these ideas we will explore in this lecture.

The Pope Is NOT an Absolute Monarch! Catholics Must Understand the Limits of Episcopal Authority!

Just because he has the power doesn't mean he necessarily has the authority. There have been Popes before Francis who have overreached their authority.

From Les Femmes

By Mary Ann Kreitzer

People tend to think of the pope as the head of a large company with the ultimate power to make all the decisions and impose them on his underlings beginning with the heads of the various departments. They can express their opinions to him, but he is the ultimate authority and if they disagree they can obey anyway or "off with their heads!"

That is not a proper image for the Catholic Church.

The pope is not a dictator with the ultimate power to throw out bishops on a whim because he doesn't happen to like them. Unfortunately, the bishops themselves have promulgated that image by the unjust treatment some have dished out to their spiritual sons. Cancelled priests are a growing problem. I know some of them and it is disturbing to see how unjust some bishops are. The sad truth for those bishops is that you reap what you sow. They will be measured out the same measure and rotten fruit they've dished out to others. Get ready for it, Your Excellencies!

Crisis Magazine has an interview with Peter Kwasniewski that explores this issue of the proper way to look at the pope's role and his relationship to the bishops. The interview addresses a recent book of essays edited by Kwasniewsk rooted in the pope's treatment of Bishop Joseph Strickland, Unresolved Tensions in Papal Episcopal Relations: Essays Occasioned by the Deposition of Bishop Joseph Strickland. The title of the piece Should Bishops Ignore the Vatican? certainly pertains to the recent situation with Archbishop Vigano as well. So let's look at some of the points, first how the Church looks at the role of the bishops in relation to the papacy:

Basically, what we have to understand is that the church teaches, and teaches consistently, that the bishops, no less than the pope, are successors of the apostles...they’ve been appointed by the pope and they have to be consecrated, but once they’re in possession of that episcopal office, they rule and they teach and they sanctify with a rite proper to them...They’re not like branch managers hired by the CEO of a corporation who can hire and fire at will. That’s not the way the church has ever thought about it. In fact, throughout church history, some of the points of tension, which have arisen from time to time between the episcopacy and the papacy have precisely to do with an overreach, either on the part of the one or on the part of the other.

So obviously, it's possible that either the pope or a bishop can "overreach" his authority. 

There have been times when popes have tried to dictate to bishops, “This is the way you’re going to rule your diocese. You’re going to establish or disestablish this religious community or this monastery. You’re going to appoint my favorite nephew into one of your posts.” The bishops have had to say, “No, with all due respect, Your Holiness, this is going too far. You don’t have the authority to do whatever you want.”...the pope is subject to the constitution of the church. There are certain rights and responsibilities, duties, obligations that the pope has, given the nature of the Church of Christ, that he can’t simply sidestep because he doesn’t feel like it. He’s not omnipotent. He’s not absolute in that sense...What I mean there is the divine constitution of the church. What our Lord, Jesus Christ, wills for His church. In terms of what her common good is, what her sacramental structure is, what is the role of tradition in the church, this is also part of the divine constitution of the church, and I don’t just mean scripture and tradition as revelation, as divine revelation, but I also mean the normative value and function of tradition of, “I hand on what I have received,” that very important principle which is fundamental to Catholicism.

Many Catholics seem to think every pronouncement of a pope is a Church doctine. It's not! And in fact,  we've had a number of evil men sitting in Peter's chair. Nothing we are experiencing today is a first! In the award for worst pope ever contest, Francis has a number of rivals. However, he seems to be leading in the "Sack the bishops you don't like" category.

And, not only does he sack them, but they are generally deprived of their canonical right to a trial. Archbishop Lefebvre also experienced the grave injustice inflicted on Bishop Strickland. No trial, no real hearing, just the hobnailed boot.

Kwasniewski mentions two questions from a book by Bishop Athanasius Schneider scheduled for release in mid July, Flee from Heresy. It addresses the laity's sensus fidei about obedience to dictates from the pope or a bishop:

Alerted by his sensus fidei, the lay faithful may deny assent, even to the teachings of legitimate pastors when these appear evidently contrary to right faith or morals, or undermine their integrity. St. Paul warned even of bishops who would teach error as ravening wolves, Acts 20:29, formulating this principle for both clergy and lay faithful. Even if we or an angel from Heaven should proclaim to you a gospel contrary to what we proclaimed to you, let that one be a curse. As we have said before, so now we repeat, if anyone proclaims to you a gospel contrary to what you received, let that one be a curse, Galatians 1:8-9.”

Then his next question is exactly what you said. Isn’t this sinful disobedience, dissent from the Magisterium and a form of Protestantism? That’s the next question. And he answers, this is a short answer, “No. Rather than treat oneself as the ultimate criterion of truth, which is a form of Protestantism, the faithful Catholic, faced with a disturbing, yet ‘authorized’ teaching, merely defers to the superior authority of the universal perennial traditional teachings of the church, rejecting what departs from it.”


With the bombs already dropped on the TLM and the other traditional sacraments and the likely nuke coming soon, Kwasniewski supports the legitimate approach of continuing to attend the TLM where it is offered with the caveat of remaining in union with the Church:

For me, the number one principle is that we, as Catholics, need to adhere to our traditional lex orandi lex credendi lex vivendi. We have to do that. That is...it’s not just about a liturgical preference. It’s about the entire religion. Everything is connected to this. If people want to see why that’s the case, they should just check out my book, The Once and Future Roman Rites. That’s really where I make the case most fully....Law has to be rational or reasonable in order to go into force and to have binding force on us. That’s another point here that we have to bear in mind. When Pope Francis says, “The Novus Ordo is the only form of the Roman rite, the unique form of it.” That’s false. That’s a falsity. It isn’t even the Roman rite. That’s what my book, The Once and Future Roman Rite demonstrates. There’s the Roman rite and then there’s the modern rite of Paul IV and they’re not the same rite. They’re two different rites. That can be shown by all of the criteria that liturgists use to define rites.

There's much more in the interview, but I'll stop here with a plea to faithful Catholics to study the faith. In a time of confusion, that becomes an absolute necessity. You can't keep the faith if you don't know the faith. I always start my day with the prayer to the Holy Spirit, the source of wisdom. Remember from your Confirmation the seven gifts. Wisdom is always mentioned first. As confirmed Catholics let us strive for the gift of wisdom followed by those of understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord. God will always say yes to those who pray for the gifts. Let us beg for them in great abundance!

Holy Spirit, have mercy on us.

Mary, Seat of Wisdom, pray for us.

St. Joseph, patron of the universal Church, pray for us

The Vatican INSULTS The Faithful By Announcing Another Real Estate Venture

2nd Worldwide Campaign for the Preservation of the Traditional Latin Mass

As with most problems, prayer is the answer! Offer your Mass and Rosary today for the intention of the preservation of the Vetus Ordo.

From One Peter Five

By Timothy Flanders, MA

Amid swirling rumors of another Vatican crackdown, the organizers of Missae pro Missa (“Masses for the Mass”) have announced a second worldwide spiritual bouquet for the preservation of the Traditional Latin Mass. Similar to the first campaign launched for Lent 2023, there are four ways to participate:

  1. Request Masses to be said (e.g., through a parish, religious order, or another group) for the preservation of the Traditional Latin Mass (or if you’re a priest, celebrate Masses for this intention)
  2. Offer your own hearings of Mass for this intention
  3. Pray rosaries for this intention
  4. Share the Missae pro Missa initiative with others

Please submit your spiritual offerings via the website form. The worldwide totals are displayed on the homepage and updated daily. You may also leave a comment describing why you love the Traditional Latin Mass and desire to see it preserved in the life of the Church.

To date, participants in Missae pro Missa from more than 30 countries have offered over 6,700 Masses (requested or heard) and nearly 22,000 rosaries for this intention. Additionally, hundreds of comments, viewable on the homepage, testify to participants’ love of the Traditional Mass and desire to see it remain a flourishing and normal part of the life of the Church.

The goal of this second campaign is extremely ambitious: one million Masses and one million rosaries by the Feast of Christ the King (October 27, 2024). Yet this target is also entirely reachable. If each of the estimated million-plus traditional Catholics worldwide simply offers his next Mass and rosary for this intention, we will hit our goal tomorrow.

Will it really make a difference? Participants in the first campaign will recall that it was also launched amid difficult and uncertain times, with the February 2023 “rescript” having just been issued and rumors of an impending Apostolic Constitution that would formally codify Traditionis Custodes. Only God knows the exact effect of so many thousands of Masses and rosaries offered for the singular intention of preserving the traditional liturgy. What we do know, however, is that the Catholic Mass is the most powerful prayer on Earth. Offering the Mass on behalf of the Mass itself is therefore infinitely more powerful than all the forces of evil seeking to destroy it.

To participate in the spiritual bouquet, please visit: https://www.missaepromissa.com/