Shun princely, clerical attitude! Pope’s Morning Homily …JAMES KOTTOOR

Shun princely, clerical attitude!

Pope’s Morning Homily

‘Real’ Authority Enters Hearts JANUARY 10, 2017, DEBORAH CASTELLANO LUBOV, in the Zenit

At Casa Santa Marta, Francis Speaks on 3 Characteristics of Jesus’ Authority. Give up Princely, Clerical psychology. Take up the “kneeling to serve attitude” of the Good Samariton.

L’Osservatore Romano

(Note: Cardinals are called the “princes of the Church”! What a contradiction to the explicit teaching and example of Jesus and Pope Francis. CCV sent repeated requests to CBCI and the Synod of Syromalabar bishops now in Synod in Kerala to stop forthwith the abominable practice of being addressed as princes, “Your Grace,Excellency et.” They have not and they will not even answer those requests. They will pretend they have not seen or heard it. That is how they lord it over the Laity.

When are our bishops going to give up the psychology of princes and take up the psychology of ‘servaants’? Listen to Francis: “These,” Francis said, “had a psychology of princes: ‘We are the masters, the princes, and we teach you. Not service: we command, you obey.’

Our bishops and priests have princely or clerical psychology, not the servant psychology of Jesus which is exemplified best in the parable of the Good Samaritan, who never hesitated to kneel down beside the man robbed and wounded on the road.

Just think of our own aversion to touch a leper. Honestly this scribe thought of it hundreds of times and of my own attitude and aversion in comparison to Fr. Damian of Molokau or Francis embracing a man borne deformed or the example of Mother Teresa and said several times: “Mea culpa” for my natural aversion in spite of my wanting to do the opposite. But suppose, I did it purposely and deliberately after thinking of it?

To which category do our bishops and priests belong? It is for them to evaluate themselves and do the needed correction. But “kudos” to Francis for speaking it out without mincing words to our ‘princely’ battalion. Will any of them dare to open their mouth and admit they are guilty of “princely, clerical” attitude and behavior?

Bishop Alex Dias of Portblaire, whom I have never met, has written to me the longest letters ever from bishops. In one of them he wrote, since he is always busy on his missionary journies from Island to Island and has little tie to spare: ‘James don’t expect

any emails from me but I wll be sending you my “Kneemails” regularly’. This is what I understand by servant attitude Pope speaks of and Jesus exemplifies.

There is no cure for the ones who do not admit they are sick. james kottoor, editor)

Authority, if true, will enter hearts, like Jesus’ did. But if it’s just formal, it won’t ….According to Vatican Radio, Pope Francis stressed this to faithful during his daily morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta, as he shared the three characteristics of Jesus’ ‘real’ authority, as opposed to that which was just formal, that of the Pharisees.

Recalling that today’s Gospel speaks of the amazement of the people because Jesus taught “as one who has authority” and not like the scribes, whose teachings never entered the people’s hearts. He was not a “seducer,” He taught the Law “down to the last point,” He taught the Truth, but with authority.

Being at Service of Others

Noting the first characteristic was ‘serving people,’ Francis stressed how Jesus always served others, and took on the attitude of servant, which gave him authority.On the other hand, the Pope explained, these doctors of the law that the people, even if they listened to and respected, didn’t really feel they had authority over them.

“These,” Francis said, “had a psychology of princes: ‘We are the masters, the princes, and we teach you. Not service: we command, you obey.’ And Jesus never passed Himself off like a prince: He was always the servant of all, and this is what gave Him authority.’”

Closeness to the people

The second characteristic that confers authority, Francis stressed, is being close to the people, one which Jesus demonstrated, and the Pharisees did not.

“Jesus did not have an allergy to the people: touching the lepers, the sick, didn’t make Him shudder,” Pope Francis explained, noting how on the other hand, the Pharisees despised “the poor

people, the ignorant,” they liked to walk about the piazzas, in nice clothing.”

“They were detached from the people, they were not close [to them]; Jesus was very close to the people, and this gave authority. Those detached people, these doctors, had a clericalist psychology: they taught with a clericalist authority – that’s clericalism.”

The Pontiff also expressed how he enjoys reading about the closeness to the people the Blessed Paul VI had. In number 48 of Evangelii nuntiandi, Francis noted, “one sees the heart of a pastor who is close [to the people].”

Coherence

The third point that distinguishes the authority of the scribes from that of Jesus, Francis stressed, is ‘coherence.’

Jesus “lived what He preached,” the Pope highlighted, while criticizing the ‘princes’ who possessed ‘clericalist attitudes.’ The Pope, in order to make this better understood, recalled the parable of the Good Samaritan, and reiterated the servant, close, and coherent real authority of our Lord.

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Transgenders in Kerala? Shawn Sebastian, Kochi , in UCAANews, January 3, 2017

Transgenders in Kerala?

Church offers support for

Kerala’s transgender people

Shawn Sebastian, Kochi , in  UCAANews, January 3, 2017

Priests, nuns act to combat discrimination, exploitation of the community

 

                     (Note: Are there that many transgenders in Kerala? Do you know what is called “Afganistanism”? It is also called “farther-franker-view”. For people in the west ‘Afganistan’ is very far away and they publish any unbelievable stories happening in Afganistan, with additional embellishment of their own to make it eye-popping. If the same is reported from their own country they won’t publish it, proving they are not prepared for a “nearer franker view”. We are all prone to this defect: ‘Frank, when it is about acknowledged ‘barbarians’ or ‘loose-living’ westerns! The moral is that we should be equally subscribers of “nearer-franker-vew” as we are of “frather-franker-view”.

                  So we publish this story about ‘unbelievable number of transgenders’ in Kerala. Standing in the middle of the picture above in red is Vijaya Raja Mallika,  a  transgender, in the midst of Priests, Sisters and laity, among whom is ‘Sabu’ of ‘Love and Care’ at the extreme right, I personally know.

 

                 Kerala, the most literate state in India, loves to be with the most advanced as well as the backward peoples of the world. They love the extremes, not the middle although the approved maxim says: ‘Virtue stands in the middle’(Virtus stat in medio) Thus the Catholic Church hierarchy in Kerala is out and out Right-leaning and the laity in general is left leaning, (with Francis, “who am I to judge”)  providing an entertaining scenario for critics to watch and relax.

                 So for information the idea of a residential school for  trans- gender people is  a world first happening in Kerala; it is first of its kind in the country; there are about 500,000 transgender people in India; Vijaya Raja Mallika is a leading transgender activist in Keral;  Mallika worked  for 3 months for the pastoral needs of transgeners in Bombay Diocese; Cardinal Oswald Gracias of Bombay is one of the outspoken supporters of the pastoral care for gay people.

                  

                   Yes Francis was the first to speak up in support of gay people. But there is much to be explained to people who are deeply buried in the old belief, that it is a mortal sin, that they lived in Sodom and Ghomora destroyed by fire and brimstone by God for their sins. Old beliefs die hard and so people have to be awakened to new truths with utmost caution. james kottoor, editor)

 

The church in Kerala has formed a group of priests, nuns and laypeople to respond to the pastoral needs of transgender people. Formed in Kochi under the aegis of Pro-Life Support, a global social service movement within the church, the ministry is significant as it is one of the few outreach programs for the transgender community by the institutional church in India.

“The whole church has a big role to play,” said Father Paul Madassey, who is in charge of Pro-Life Support for the Kerala Catholic Bishops’ Council (KCBC). He noted Pope Francis had talked about the need to give “pastoral care to the LGBT community.”

“There is an active sex racket from north India eyeing transgender people in Kerala. They are trying to exploit the discriminatory situation they face,” said Fr. Madassey.

 

India has an estimated 500,000 transgender people. They are often ostracized from their families and without adequate state support in terms of employment, health and education, end up on the street begging for money or are exploited in the sex trade.

In mid-December, Sisters of the Congregation of Mother Carmel offered their buildings to form an exclusive school for dropouts among transgender people, considered the first of its kind in the country. The nuns offered their venue after at least 50 building owners declined to let out their buildings, indicating the discrimination prevalent in the society, says Father Madassey.

 

Earlier this year, Caritas India, the social service wing of the Catholic Church, announced a program to fight such discrimination. Vijaya Raja Mallika, a leading transgender activist in Kerala, is pioneering a three-month pilot school for transgender school dropouts in Kochi. Mallika said the “church has been very supportive” to their struggles. “Religion plays an important role in social and behavioral change at the grass-roots level,” said Mallika.

 

“We don’t stand for exclusion but stand for inclusion along with education and employment support from society and the state.” Mallika has worked in the past with Bombay Diocese for about three months to support the pastoral needs of transgender people there.

Mallika calls the idea of a residential school for transgender people a world first. It will be opened at Kochi on Dec. 30. The school will follow a National Open School Curriculum and will conduct classes, enabling students to finish class 10 and 12 examinations.

“The school will cater to those transgender people who had dropped out from schools in their early age due to various reasons,” said Mallika, noting that many transgender children undergo psychological trauma at school which forces them to abandon education at an early age.

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Happy New Year 2017 of Hope & Joy james kottoor

 

              We wish you a very Happy  grace-filled New Year 2017 just dawning. This we do with confidence because we are to be creators of our own destiny for good or bad, if only we set to work with determination until we succeed. Success is never for the ones who give up half way.

                 Yes it is true, we are in the midst of prophets of gloom and doom predicting despair at the sight of the triumph of a Trump in US, a cashless India under Modi, the rise of right wing divisive forces in Europe led by Brexit and other countries yearning exit from the European union in spite of the age-old, time-tested    maxim  warning us, “united we stand, divided we fall”, and that we are, and have to be masters  of our destiny. We are not to be a mindless mass of matter to be tossed about by the wind and waves to be scattered on forgotten shores.

Be a Realist

                  Of course we can’t see future for sure, not even beyond our nose. But we have been overcoming such dilemmas daily, more often successfully, with our  God-given insight, foresight and hindsight. These three in turn are the product of our  innate capacity to be an optimist, pessimist or realist. What are we to do now as we stand at the cross roads of 2016 and 2017:  hope or despair? We don’t have to be necessarily a pessimists or optimists. There is the third option to be  realists. Then why hesitate to  build on it an edifice of hope, not of despair?

 

                  What do we actually see as we peep into 2017 through the dark prism called Trump and other things we mentioned  blurring our vision?  It is Confusion confounded let lose by  the dance or duel of two heavenly and hellish  bewitching beauties called hope and despair. Commenting on it opinion columnitst E.J. Dionne Jr. writes in Washinton Post:

                  Gloom is a terrible way to ring out the old, and despair is of no help in trying to imagine the new. So let us consider what good might come from the political situation in which we will find ourselves in 2017. Doing this does not require denying the dangers posed by a Donald Trump presidency or the demolition of progressive achievements he could oversee. It does mean remembering an important distinction President Obama has made ever since he entered public life: that “hope is not blind optimism.”

 

                   “Hope,” he argued, “is that thing inside us that insists, despite all evidence to the contrary, that something better awaits us if we have the courage to reach for it, and to work for it, and to fight for it” even when your country is bitterly divided.

 

                  “It is this spirit that began to take hold almost immediately after Trump’s election. Americans in large numbers, particularly the young, quickly realized that the coming months and years will require new and creative forms of political witness and organization.

 

                  “Trump’s ascendancy is already calling forth social and political initiatives aimed at defending the achievements of the Obama years (particularly Obamacare), protecting the environment, standing up for immigrants and minorities, preserving civil liberties, civil rights and voting rights, and highlighting how Trump’s policies contradict his promises to working-class voters. Here is a bet that the mobilization against Trump will rival in size and influence the tea party uprising against Obama.

 

                   “Another positive for the future: Trump’s campaign forced elites and the media to pay attention to the parts of the country that have been falling behind economically and to the despair that afflicts so many, particularly in rural and small-town America.

 

                    “It should not have taken Trump (or Bernie Sanders) to bring their problems to the fore. If the powers that be had been paying more attention, the resentments and dissatisfactions that Trump exploited might not have been there for him to stoke.

 

                     “In 1972, Richard Sennett and Jonathan Cobb wrote a memorable book called “The Hidden Injuries of Class.” We forget about economic inequality at our peril. Every generation or so, it seems, we need to be reawakened to the injustices of both class and race and rededicate ourselves to remedying them together. We can now move forward with this in mind.

 

                         “From the outline of his policies so far and from the right-wing Team of Billionaires he has chosen to run large parts of his government, it’s hard to see how Trump will advance the material interests of those who voted for him. But justified skepticism about Trump is no substitute for fresh thinking by his opponents about what they will do when they next take power…..

 

                          “It is also useful that Republicans will be put through a series of tests. If they fail to apply to Trump the same ethical standards they demanded of Hillary Clinton, voters will notice. The Republicans’ claims to fiscal prudence will be exposed as fiction if they follow through on pledges to combine large tax cuts, mostly for the rich, with big increases in military spending.

                        

                          “Republicans …….claim to be pleased that they can now enact their full agenda on shrinking Medicare, Medicaid and other social programs. But as their plans move closer to reality, voters — including Trump’s supporters — will start counting the costs. In large numbers, they will find them too high. Lastly, it’s hard to imagine a president more likely to inspire Obama Nostalgia than Donald Trump. Folk singer Joni Mitchell might as well have been talking about politics when she taught us that you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.”

                      Fight Hopefully

Hoping against hope we have to fight on until we errace all black spots and red threats that 2017 challenges us through modern prophets of gloom. Like it or not, all of us have to live in hope or die in despair.

 For believers hope is not based on what is today and no more tomorrow, but on a God of goodness who writes straight with crooked lines(that is, each one of us),  who creates and preserves humans for a glorious end which is to be found out by us mortals themselves, as in a treasure hunt in  relentless search. In this search,  every human being, you and I,  has to contribute his/her share.

 

So for believers there should not be room for despair  which is the complete lack of hope. Hope instead is  not a wishful thing but a confident expectation, a certainty in the final triumph of the good, in spite of or because of challenging hurdles like the passing triumph of  a solitary Trump. May be, as St.Paul says (2 Cor’4:8): “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair.” So let the battalion  or the caravan march on in hope to overcome all obstacles. United, we  shall overcome!  Make 2017 happy, adventurous and glorious! 

Contact at: jameskottoor@gmail.com

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The saffronised Indian rite “squatting-on-the-floor Mass”- Michael Prabhu

The saffronised Indian rite “squatting-on-the-floor Mass”

by EPHESIANS-511.NET


SEPTEMBER 24/30, 2016


The saffronised Indian rite “squatting-on-the-floor Mass”

 

The “squatting Mass” is the only “Mass” of the heretical Catholic Ashrams movement and has a number of aberrations apart from those “approved” (read as “fraudulently obtained from”) by the Vatican.

It has spawned some variations such as the “shawl” Mass in which priests do not squat but are not vested.

 

To understand the genesis of these squatting and shawl-sans-vestments Masses, read CATHOLIC ASHRAMS

http://ephesians-511.net/docs/CATHOLIC_ASHRAMS.doc,

NBCLC-HARBINGER OF THE INDIAN RITE MASS AND LITURGICAL ABUSE

http://ephesians-511.net/docs/NBCLC-HARBINGER_OF_THE_INDIAN_RITE_MASS_AND_LITURGICAL_ABUSE.doc
and

THE TWELVE POINTS OF ADAPTATION FOR THE INDIAN RITE MASS-WAS A FRAUD PERPETRATED ON INDIAN CATHOLICS?

http://ephesians-511.net/docs/THE_TWELVE_POINTS_OF_ADAPTATION_FOR_THE_INDIAN_RITE_MASS-WAS_A_FRAUD_PERPETRATED_ON_INDIAN_CATHOLICS.doc
and the starred files* in/at the end of the present file.

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The wilful misinterpretation of Church documents by Indian inculturationist theologians- Michael Prabhu

New post on EPHESIANS-511.NET- A Roman Catholic Ministry Exposing Errors in the Indian Church

The wilful misinterpretation of Church documents by Indian inculturationist theologians

by EPHESIANS-511.NET

OCTOBER 22, 2016

The wilful misinterpretation of Church documents by Indian inculturationist theologians

 

The Document Nostra Aetate declares that “The Catholic Church rejects nothing that is true and holy in these religions. She regards with sincere reverence those ways of conduct and of life, those precepts and teachings which, though differing in many aspects from the ones she holds and sets forth, nonetheless often reflect a ray of that Truth which enlightens all men” #2.

NOSTRA AETATE-DECLARATION ON THE RELATION OF THE CHURCH TO NON-CHRISTIAN RELIGIONS
PAUL VI, VATICAN COUNCIL II OCTOBER 28, 1965

http://ephesians-511.net/docs/NOSTRA_AETATE-DECLARATION_ON_THE_RELATION_OF_THE_CHURCH_TO_NON-CHRISTIAN_RELIGIONS.doc

 

In my three-plus decades of Catholic ministry, I have heard the arguments and read the writings of many priests, theologians, progressives, liberals, modernists and inculturationists (Hinduisers) who cite those two sentences to justify what they believe, teach and practise and which conservatives find to be erroneous, New Age, and even heretical.

But not a single one of them EVER reproduces the sentence that IMMEDIATELY follows in the very same paragraph:
“Indeed, she proclaims, and ever must proclaim Christ “the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6), in whom men may find the fullness of religious life, in whom God has reconciled all things to Himself.”

 

The Document says absolutely NOTHING about our being obliged to assimilate, adapt, adopt or incorporate the “ways of conduct and of life, those rules and teachings” of the adherents of pre-Christian religions into our faith, rituals and way of life. It simply says that Catholics need not reject but may respect what is true and holy for them.

Those first two sentences are made out of deference to the religions that non-Christians hold to because of their “invincible ignorance” and to remind Catholics who have through no merit of their own received from God the free gift of the Faith through Baptism to treat with dignity those not similarly blessed by God with the fullness of revelation and who live in partial or complete ignorance of the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

They are not a mandate for Catholics to imitate or borrow what they might think is “holy” from those religions.

 

Psalm 95:5

For all the gods of the Gentiles are devils…

The Douay-Rheims Catholic Bible

Psalm 96:5

For all other gods are worthless idols…

(Even the syncretistic) St. Pauls 2008 New Community Bible

 

St. Paul’s teaching on Christians’ being “all things to all men” does not give licence to believers to participate in idol worship and pagan rituals, no matter what some liberal or modernist interpretations might say even using a sentence or two from Nostra Aetate (#2) or other Pontifical Documents in isolation from the context.

I prefer to reflect on our ‘jealous’ God’s many warnings to His Chosen People especially in the Old Testament books of Exodus and Deuteronomy. He wanted the people of Israel to maintain not their racial purity but also their spiritual purity. He knew that any interest by the Israelites in the religious activities of the neighbouring tribes would lead to the assimilation of their rituals, practices and even adoption of their gods, and to monumental disaster to the Jewish people, and this is exactly what happened several times over.

“You will be lured into following them*.

Do not inquire regarding their gods, ‘How did these nations worship their gods? I, too, would do the same’.”
Deuteronomy 12:30, New American Bible

 

*The New Jerusalem Bible:
“Beware of being entrapped into copying them.”

Whenever that passage comes to my mind, I like to imagine that God was saying “Do not EVEN inquire regarding their gods.”

The Philippines Bishops’ Conference’s Christian Community Bible translation reads as “Do not look at their gods, saying…”

The Knox Translation, Catholic, 1955, reads “Do not hanker after their observances.”

 

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Sharing the Bad news of Donald Trump’s “Theology of Glory” BY MATTHEW DODRILL, NOVEMBER 23, 2016

Sharing the Bad news

of Donald Trump’s

“Theology of Glory”

BY MATTHEW DODRILL, NOVEMBER 23, 2016

IN RELIGION DISPATCHES

Photo of Clarence Jordan at Koinonia Farm, 1940s

(Note: Matthew J. Dodrill is an ordained Baptist minister in Southwest Virginia. A graduate of Duke Divinity School, his interests include liberation theologies, apocalyptic readings of Paul, and the intersection of mysticism and prophetic ministry.

Churches and churchmen around the world are analyzing political happenings or upheavals around them to see how they are a reflection of their religious beliefs and convictions or a total

negation of them, like preaching a theology of the Cross and practicing a theology of Glory. According to Dodrill the triumph of Trump is a telling example of one at variance with the other. Not only they are at variance but poles apart.

Apply this equally to what is happening in India where both the political class starting with Modi triumph and the religious leadership in dressing up, building churches worth crores and reveling in expternal show while proclaiming themselves to be servants of the poor and oppressed. Words and works of those at the top are an exhibition of deadly conflict, leaving the common people wondering if a compromise is ever possible.

In short Christians have to stop being admirers of Jesus and start becoming His followers, not up to, but on to his cross. james kottoor. Editor.)

The Baptist theologian James William McClendon once reported a story about Clarence Jordan, the founder of an interracial community called Koinonia Farm. Jordan, who described his community as a “demonstration plot” for the Kingdom of God, asked his brother, Robert, to assist him in the struggle against the racial injustices of the Jim Crow South.

Robert was keenly aware of the community’s hardships: Local citizens boycotted the farm, the Ku Klux Klan bombed the produce stands, and ominous letters flooded the mailbox. The cost weighed heavily on him.

“Clarence, I can’t do that,” Robert said, declining his brother’s request. “I follow Jesus, Clarence, up to a point.” “Could that point by any chance be—the cross?” Clarence replied. “That’s right. I follow him to the cross, but not on the cross. I’m not getting myself crucified.”

Today we find ourselves in the cleft between Clarence’s invitation and Robert’s refusal. White Christianity in America is mounting a breach that’s too wide to straddle. A house that sits on a fault line will crumble, forcing those who have lived in it to leap the gap to one side or the other.

This predicament is common to the entire cosmos, a certain theological reading would have it—this is the stage on which God’s apocalyptic incursion births a new Adam. And this cosmic dualism—old age/new age, old Adam/new Adam—gives rise to an ethical dualism. Either we participate

in the suffering service of Jesus Christ, our tradition tells us, or we don’t. Either we’ll follow him onthe cross, or we won’t. At this juncture of the ages, resurrection life is hidden and revealed in our cruciform service to the least of these, and everything else is in league with Sin and Death. There is no third way. There is no straddling the chasm.

The election of Donald Trump to the presidency of the United States is a moment of reckoning for white Christianity. According to the exit polls, approximately 81 percent of white evangelicalsvoted for a man whose campaign was fueled by demagoguery, Islamaphobia, the exploitation of racial animus, and the criminalization of his political opponent.

Trump has incited violence at his rallies, expressed desire to commit war crimes, and re-inserted coded racial language into the social lexicon (“law and order”). He denies the reality of climate change, flirts with the idea of forcing Muslims to register, plans to deport undocumented immigrants by the millions, and picked a running mate whose hostility toward the LGBTQ community is stunning. He effectively promised to hand over “all these kingdoms” if evangelicals fell down and worshipped him, and they chose a mighty lion over the peaceable lamb whose power is manifested in weakness.

Back in July, episcopal priest and theologian Fleming Rutledge claimed that the status confessionis was upon us. She was right. This Latin term, often associated with the Confessing Church’s opposition to the Third Reich, describes a moment during which the essence of the Gospel is at stake.

It declares that the mistreatment of aliens is an affront to divine precepts, and that building walls interferes with the baptismal communion that transcends borders. Racial provocation is antithetical to the new humanity created in the flesh of Christ, and the principality of whiteness should be resisted with the full armor of God. Love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control are among the fruits of the Spirit, but what we find in Donald Trump are works of the flesh: sexual immorality, licentiousness, strife, jealousy, anger, quarrels, and envy. Most troubling of all, the president-elect and his cabinet pose a threat to the most vulnerable among us—the ones we’re called to serve: the widow, the orphan, the hungry, the naked, the prisoner and the stranger.

Despite claims to the contrary, the ascension of Donald Trump is not an American aberration, but a particular iteration of empire’s loathsome cruelty. Indeed, “Trumpism” is not a phenomenon unto itself, nor is it merely a symptom of party ideology, cultural polarization, or the implosion of establishment politics. Rather, it’s an extraction of a deep-seated desire that has been at the core of the American experiment all along—namely, the mastery of black, brown, and indigenous bodies. This quest for mastery is often manifested in ways that make it difficult to locate, embedding itself in systems of class and economics and even geography, which illustrates the insidious nature of white supremacy.

But when white nationalists and members of the KKK are galvanized by the racially tinged rhetoric of an autocrat who wins the presidential election, that’s a good indication that the implicit logic of American imperialism are becoming explicit. This beast is rising out of the sea for all to behold.His number is 666.

He has always been there. He finds covert ways to carry out his mission, but there are times when the beast steps fully into the light, making it easier to discern allegiances. These moments accentuate the vast chasm between a theology of the cross and a theology of glory, and it is our responsibility to expose the latter’s deceit.

A theology of glory, said Martin Luther, calls evil good and good evil. It prefers strength to weakness and wisdom to folly, and it orchestrates a grand collusion between Christianity and the powers of darkness. It gets into bed with the strongman rather than plundering his house, and it uses the Lord’s name in vain every time it ascends the pulpit. In Donald Trump’s America, a theology of glory is bad news for immigrants, Muslims, people of color, women, the disabled, and members of the LGBTQ community. It is not good news. It is not the Gospel.

If the status confessionis is truly upon us, then a theology of the cross must be proclaimed with greater urgency than has ever been required in many of our lifetimes. It will require, at minimum, a public repudiation of the false gospels that bolster violence, racism, ableism, misogyny, Islamophobia, homophobia and transphobia. Preachers must do the work of unmasking the principalities and powers that animate these false gospels, and the church must embody an alternative social reality that counters the perception that this election was a referendum on the character and integrity of God’s people.

Quite possibly, bearing the cross might mean opening our homes to immigrants, confronting our racist uncles at Thanksgiving dinner, taking to the streets, and putting our bodies on the line. Following Jesus to the cross won’t cut it. We must follow him onthe cross.

As McClendon tells the story, Robert’s denial of crucifixion elicited a candid response from his brother:Then I don’t believe you’re a disciple. You’re an admirer of Jesus, but not a disciple of his. I think you ought to go back to the church you belong to, and tell them you’re an admirer, not a disciple.

“Well now,” Robert replied, “if everyone who felt like I do did that, we wouldn’t have a church, would we?” “The question,” Clarence said, “is, ‘Do you have a church?’Do we have a church?

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Four Cardinals Throw Down Gauntlet Before Cunning Pope

Four Cardinals Throw Down Gauntlet Before Cunning Pope Featured

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cardinali204For the past three-and-a-half years we have witnessed the bizarre, completely unprecedented spectacle of a wayward Roman Pontiff engaged in clever maneuvering to impose upon the Church a disastrous fracturing of her bimillenial moral and Eucharistic discipline respecting the divorced and “remarried”—and, even worse, via Amoris Laetitia (especially Ch. 8, ¶¶ 300-305), a form of situation ethics that would institutionalize admission to the sacraments of all manner of people living habitually in situations that are mortally sinful.

The entire sinister program, the centerpiece of Bergoglianism, is summed up in Francis’ shocking declaration at ¶ 303 of Amoris:

Yet conscience can do more than recognize that a given situation does not correspond objectively to the overall demands of the Gospel. It can also recognize with sincerity and honesty what for now is the most generous response which can be given to God, and come to see with a certain moral security that it is what God himself is asking amid the concrete complexity of one’s limits, while yet not fully the objective ideal. In any event, let us recall that this discernment is dynamic; it must remain ever open to new stages of growth and to new decisions which can enable the ideal to be more fully realized.

Francis here reveals nothing less than an insane attempt to conjure up exceptions to exceptionless, divinely imposed negative precepts of the natural law respecting intrinsically immoral conduct, such as adultery, reducing those precepts to mere “ideals” to which God does not expect strict conformity “amid the complexity of one’s limits.” This, of course, would represent the total destruction of the moral order in practice.

To accomplish this moral sedition, Francis, post-Amoris, has been winking and nodding to prelates who are now admitting divorced and “remarried” people to Holy Communion, purporting to “absolve” them of their continuing adultery in “certain cases.” At the same time, he observes a studious silence in the face of urgent entreaties from other prelates and large numbers of the laity that he “clarify” his position and retract the errors of Amoris.

Respecting that stonewall of silence, however, Francis’ cunning has finally caught up with him. Having refused to answer a private petition for clarification of Amoris submitted by four cardinals in September, these Princes of the Church—Carlo Caffarra, Walter Brandmuller, Joachim Meisner and Raymond Burke—have taken the extraordinary step of making the document public. EWTN’s National Catholic Register and The Catholic Herald are among the Catholic organs that have just published the entire text of the intervention, which presents five questions for the Pope to answer. The contents are explosive, to say the least. More than that, they constitute what will undoubtedly be a landmark in the history of the Church.

As even the resolutely mainstream Catholic Herald put it in the headlines of its story: “Pope Francis declines to answer four cardinals’ Amoris appeal. The cardinals have taken the unusual step of publicly requesting clarification on Communion and the moral law.” Let me stress the key phrase: “publicly requesting clarification on Communion and the moral law.” That is, the four cardinals recognize that Francis, who is supposed to be the Vicar of Christ, has called the moral law itself into question. Leaving no doubt of this, they note that “while the first question of the dubia is a practical question regarding the divorced and civilly remarried, the other four questions touch on fundamental issues of the Christian life.”

The five questions the cardinals presented to Francis, and now to the Church at large, express grave doubts about his teaching in Amoris:

1.     It is asked whether, following the affirmations of Amoris Laetitia (300-305), it has now become possible to grant absolution in the sacrament of penance and thus to admit to holy Communion a person who, while bound by a valid marital bond, lives together with a different person more uxorio [as if they were married, including sexual relations] without fulfilling the conditions provided for by Familiaris Consortio, 84 [ending the adulterous relationship by separating or living as brother and sister for grave reasons, such as caring for children], and subsequently reaffirmed by Reconciliatio et Paenitentia, 34, and Sacramentum Caritatis, 29. Can the expression “in certain cases” found in Note 351 (305) of the exhortation Amoris Laetitia be applied to divorced persons who are in a new union and who continue to live more uxorio?

2.     After the publication of the post-synodal exhortation Amoris Laetitia (304), does one still need to regard as valid the teaching of St. John Paul II’s encyclical Veritatis Splendor, 79, based on sacred Scripture and on the Tradition of the Church, on the existence of absolute moral norms that prohibit intrinsically evil acts and that are binding without exceptions?

3.     After Amoris Laetitia (301) is it still possible to affirm that a person who habitually lives in contradiction to a commandment of God’s law, as for instance the one that prohibits adultery (Matthew 19:3-9), finds him or herself in an objective situation of grave habitual sin (Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, “Declaration,” June 24, 2000)?

4.     After the affirmations of Amoris Laetitia (302) on “circumstances which mitigate moral responsibility,” does one still need to regard as valid the teaching of St. John Paul II’s encyclical Veritatis Splendor, 81, based on sacred Scripture and on the Tradition of the Church, according to which “circumstances or intentions can never transform an act intrinsically evil by virtue of its object into an act ‘subjectively’ good or defensible as a choice”?

5.     After Amoris Laetitia (303) does one still need to regard as valid the teaching of St. John Paul II’s encyclical Veritatis Splendor, 56, based on sacred Scripture and on the Tradition of the Church, that excludes a creative interpretation of the role of conscience and that emphasizes that conscience can never be authorized to legitimate exceptions to absolute moral norms that prohibit intrinsically evil acts by virtue of their object?

These five questions are a direct challenge to Francis to declare whether he purports to contradict infallible teachings of the Magisterium “based on sacred Scripture and on the Tradition of the Church” as well as “absolute moral norms.” The polite language of petition aside (the reader may consult the document as a whole in that regard), the four cardinals are essentially demanding publicly that Francis declare whether he intends to teach heresy and undermine the entire moral edifice of the Church!

Further on in the document the cardinals provide an analysis of each question that has clearly been written to force Francis to declare himself. Respecting the first question, the cardinals write that admitting divorced and “remarried” people to Communion while they continue to engage in sexual relations would mean that, in practice, Amoris is teaching “one of the following affirmations about marriage, human sexuality and the nature of the sacraments”:

  • …[That] people who are not married can under certain circumstances legitimately engage in  acts of sexual intimacy.
  •  A divorce dissolves the marriage bond…. The divorced and remarried are legitimate spouses and their sexual acts are lawful marital acts.
  • A divorce does not dissolve the marriage bond, and the partners to the new union are not married… [but] the faithful can approach the Eucharistic table even with consciousness of grave sin, and receiving absolution in the sacrament of penance does not always require the purpose of amending one’s life. The sacraments, therefore, are detached from life: Christian rites and worship are on a completely different  sphere than the Christian moral life.

Regarding the second question, the cardinals inquire whether Francis accepts the teaching of the very Pope he canonized, in Veritatis Splendor, that “that there are acts that are always evil, which are forbidden by moral norms that bind without exception (‘moral absolutes’),” including “‘Do not kill.’ ‘Do not commit adultery.’ Only negative norms can bind without exception.” Here the cardinals target Francis’s novel moral notion of “discernment” of “particular situations,” requesting to know whether Francis accepts that: “with intrinsically evil acts no discernment of circumstances or intentions is necessary. Uniting oneself to a woman who is married to another is and remains an act of adultery, that as such is never to be done… and that it is enough to know the species of the act (‘adultery’) to know that one must not do it.

Quite simply, the cardinals—incredibly enough—are asking a Pope to clarify whether he accepts the most basic moral teaching of the Church, which even a child can understand: that God’s commandment “thou shalt not” admits of no exceptions under any circumstances.

Respecting the third question, the cardinals further inquire whether Francis accepts the teaching of John Paul II, also the constant teaching of the Church, that “the question of the admission to the sacraments is about judging a person’s objective life situation and not about judging that this person is in a state of mortal sin.” The cardinals wish to know whether “even after Amoris Laetitia, it is still possible to say that persons who habitually live in contradiction to a commandment of God’s law, such as the commandment against adultery, theft, murder or perjury, live in objective situations of grave habitual sin, even if, for whatever reasons, it is not certain that they are subjectively imputable for their habitual transgressions.”

That is, the cardinals wish to know if Francis has overthrown the bimillenial Eucharistic discipline of the Church respecting habitual public sinners!

Respecting the fourth question, the cardinals further inquire—rather archly, I must say—whether:

Amoris Laetitia,too, is agreed that any act that transgresses against God’s commandments, such as adultery, murder, theft or perjury, can never, on account of circumstances that mitigate personal responsibility, become excusable or even good.

Do these acts, which the Church’s Tradition has called bad in themselves and grave sins, continue to be destructive and harmful for anyone committing them in whatever subjective state of moral responsibility he may be?

Or could these acts, depending on a person’s subjective state and depending on the circumstances and intentions, cease to be injurious and become commendable or at least excusable?

That is, once again, the cardinals query whether Francis purports to undermine the entire moral order by condoning intrinsically evil acts as excusable or even commendable in certain situations!

Finally, respecting the fifth doubt, citing the astounding affirmation of ¶ 303 of Amoris, which I quote above, the cardinals wish to know if Francis is in accord with the teaching of John Paul II—once again, also the constant teaching of the Church—rejecting attempts “to legitimize so-called ‘pastoral’ solutions contrary to the teaching of the magisterium, and to justify a ‘creative’ hermeneutic according to which the moral conscience is in no way obliged, in every case, by a particular negative precept.”

Here the cardinals note that if this “creative” pastoral approach were permitted “it will never be enough for moral conscience to know ‘this is adultery,’ or ‘this is murder,’ in order to know that this is something one cannot and must not do.” That is, the cardinals indicate that Amoris appears to condone situation ethics, and they ask Francis to “clarify” that this is not his intention—quite an astonishing public request to make of a Roman Pontiff.

To their eternal credit, the cardinals have politely demanded from Francis a simple yes or no answer to each of these five questions, noting that they have presented them in the form of dubia precisely to avoid further Bergoglian equivocation: “What is peculiar about these inquiries is that they are worded in a way that requires a “Yes” or “No” answer, without theological argumentation. This way of addressing the Apostolic See is not an invention of our own; it is an age-old practice.”

In sum, what the four cardinals have issued is, in essence, a politely worded indictment framed in such a way that Francis must, if he says anything at all, plead Guilty or Not Guilty—Guilty or Not Guilty, that is, of teaching objective heresy and engaging in ecclesiastical treason, no matter what his subjective culpability may be in the sight of God.

In the face of an accusation—which is what the cardinals’ document is—a common criminal can remain silent and his silence cannot be used against him in a court of law. But the Catholic Church is not a court of law. It is the Household of the Faith, and the head of that household now has a duty to speak clearly, for once, to the souls who inhabit it, for whose eternal welfare he is directly responsible. If Francis continues to refuse to speak, even when four of his cardinals publicly call upon him before the whole Church to give an answer, his silence will speak for him; the truth he refuses to affirm will convict him, and the bar of history will pass sentence on his disgraceful pontificate, just as it has done with other wayward Popes.

To recall the eerily apt condemnation of the infamous Pope Honorius I by his own successor, Leo II: “We anathematize… also Honorius, who did not attempt to sanctify this Apostolic Church with the teaching of apostolic tradition, but by profane treachery permitted its purity to be polluted.” May the good God deliver us from the profane treachery of the current occupant of the Chair of Peter.

Catch Chris Ferrara’s regular column in the print/e-edition of The Remnant.

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