What does the Church say about Freemasonry?


Catholic Answers Staff

August 05, 2011


Full Question

What is the Catholic Church’s official position on Freemasonry? Are Catholics free to become Freemasons?


Freemasonry is incompatible with the Catholic faith. Freemasonry teaches a naturalistic religion that espouses indifferentism, the position that a person can be equally pleasing to God while remaining in any religion.

Masonry is a parallel religion to Christianity. The New Catholic Encyclopedia states, “Freemasonry displays all the elements of religion, and as such it becomes a rival to the religion of the Gospel. It includes temples and altars, prayers, a moral code, worship, vestments, feast days, the promise of reward or punishment in the afterlife, a hierarchy, and initiation and burial rites.”

Masonry is also a secret society. Its initiates subscribe to secret blood oaths that are contrary to Christian morals. The prospective Mason swears that if he ever reveals the secrets of Masonry – secrets which are trivial and already well-known – he wills to be subject to self-mutilation or to gruesome execution. (Most Masons, admittedly, never would dream of carrying out these punishments on themselves or on an errant member).

Historically, one of Masonry’s primary objectives has been the destruction of the Catholic Church; this is especially true of Freemasonry as it has existed in certain European countries. In the United States, Freemasonry is often little more than a social club, but it still espouses a naturalistic religion that contradicts orthodox Christianity. (Those interested in joining a men’s club should consider the Knights of Columbus instead.)

The Church has imposed the penalty of excommunication on Catholics who become Freemasons. The penalty of excommunication for joining the Masonic Lodge was explicit in the 1917 code of canon law (canon 2335), and it is implicit in the 1983 code (canon 1374).

Because the revised code of canon law is not explicit on this point, some drew the mistaken conclusion that the Church’s prohibition of Freemasonry had been dropped. As a result of this confusion, shortly before the 1983 code was promulgated, the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued a statement indicating that the penalty was still in force. This statement was dated November 26, 1983 and may be found in Origins 13/27 (Nov. 15, 1983), 450.

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Times of India on Mass wine production in Kerala Why brandy when you have wine? By K P Sai Kiran

Times of India on Mass wine production in Kerala

Why brandy when

you have wine? By K P Sai Kiran, in Times of India, Apr 1, 2017

Representative image

(Note: This front page report in the ‘Times of India’ on Kerala Bishops’ demand to the State Government for a 900 % hike in their permit for Mass wine production is a clear proof of the double standards they follow in their preaching and practice.

On the one hand the bishops vehemently oppose making God’s own country drown in Alcohol, on the other they want for themselves a huge hike in the permit – from the present 259 litre to 2,500 litre — to produce Mass wine, for their Holy Mass. Beer and Toddy freely sold in the State have an alcohol content of 6% and 8.1% respectively. Bishops’ wine used for Mass has 8.15.5% of alcohol content.

The general assumption is Bishops and priests are teetotalers since they consider alcoholic drinks a vice to be avoided at all cost. Also the canard spread among believers is that sacramental wine is alcohol free or the celebrant offering Mass drink it only after the wine is transformed into the blood of Jesus, which is the mystery of ‘Transsubstantion’, above human

intelligence to grasp. So the conclusion is Bishops and priests drink the blood of Jesus and not wine. Any doubtr? Proof of the pudding is in the eating. What is to be done is to make the priest or bishop drink two glasses of consecrated wine and see if he goes tipsy.

The fact of the matter is that bishops and priests are caught in a web of contradictions. They have to decide if they are followers of Jesus of Nazareth or a man-made religion and its traditions. Jesus started his public life with a wine party at Cana where he changed water into wine. He went through his life eating and drinking following the Gospel principle: “Eat and drink whatever is placed before you” and earned the infamous reputation: “Friend of drunkards and prostitutes” and finally crowned his life with a “wine party” at last supper promising he will drink again only in the next life. So how can a teetotaler become a priest and literally imitate Jesus reputed to be a friend of drunkards?

Nay he lashed out at the high priests and Pharisees of his time saying: “Drnkards and prostitutes will go to heaven before you.” If Jesus were born in Kerala, perhaps he would have celebrated his last supper with “Tappiocca and Toddy, or Rice and Payasam.” Eating and drinking should not be central to religion and spirituality, but what comes out of one’s mouth should be. Commemorating the Last supper is symbolic and can be meaningful only when one uses the food and drink of the place, not liquor and bread imported or made to order. This is a theological debate which will lead us nowhere and therefore is left to each one’s taste. De gustibus non est disputandum (Don’t waste time discussing tastes which is different from people to people.)

For example, it is tasteless for Syrobalamarians to wash the feet of women, not for the pope or the Latins. Ash Wenesday is still Ash Monday for Syros in USA, since they tried and failed in Kerala. When a religion is overloaded with rituals(externals) that religion is dead. That seems to be happening to Churchianity (conflict of churches) in Kerala because there is no Christianity (following and imitating Jesus) alive and kicking here. This happens to be the considered view of CCV.

Those who differ are most cordially and humbly invited to send their views so that we may learn from them. Our cordial greetings to the KCBC President, Archbishop Soosai Pakiam of TVM, who is known more as a Pastor in the footsteps of Francis than a Ruler or a Diplomat. james kottoor, editor)

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Kerala Catholic Bishops Council (KCBC) has been vehemently opposing any attempt to raise the availability of alcohol in the state but that hasn’t stopped its president archbishop M Soosa Pakiam from seeking 900% enhancement of the wine production quota under his Trivandrum (Latin) Archdiocese.

Soosa Pakiam has made the request in an application submitted to excise commissioner last week, which was accessed by TOI. The Latin archdiocese has a licence under the Cochin Mass Wine Rules 1117 for producing 250 litres of wine per year for religious purposes. “This is hardly sufficient to meet the needs of the increasing number of parishes and convents. We request you to enhance the quantity from 250 litres to 2,500 litres,” the application says.

He said the archdiocese has 408 priests -including two bishops, 176 parish priests and assistant parish priests and 130 religious priests -who require “one to two litres of wine every month” for conducting Mass. The licence issued by the excise department to the archdiocese in 2006, accessed by TOI, shows it had 230 priests, while going by the latest figures there had been an increase of 77% in the number of priests. Under the present licence, 230 priests can produce only less than one litre of wine per year to cater to believers.

However, the application itself says that one priest requires two litres of wine per month. The fee for such a licence is meagre -Rs 1.25 per litre for a year, which means that only Rs 312.50 has to be paid as gallonage fee.

Interestingly, the archbishop had on March 21 warned the government against any plan to dilute the existing liquor policy. He had warned that his organisation would launch an agitation if the government came out with a wrong policy.

Meanwhile, the Latin Archdiocese said the latest application was submitted to the excise department on the basis of a realistic scenario and it was purely meant for religious purposes. In the wake of increased number of priests after the creation of Neyyattinkara diocese, which is being catered from here, the quantity of wine is too insufficient for religious ceremonies,” vicar general of Latin archdiocese Eugene H Pereira said.

As per the latest figures of the excise department, 24 bishops of major bishop houses in the state are holding the special licence to manufacture, issue and transport wine, which has at least thrice alcohol content than beer. These include eight bishops in Ernakulam district, four in Kottayam, two each in Thrissur and Kozhikode and Thiruvananthapuram, and one each in Pathanamthitta, Kollam and Kasargod districts.

Meanwhile, the Kerala Catholic Bishop’s Council has welcomed the SC directive to close down bars functioning on NH KCBC spokesperson Varghese Vallikkatt said the order upheld welfare of people, and public health should be given prominence than revenue loss,


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Bergoglian Prelate Par Excellence- Christopher A. Ferrara

Remember this fellow?

It’s Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, whom Pope Bergoglio appointed head of the Pontifical Academy for Life at the same time he ordered the Academy’s demolition to make way for a new “integral human development” think-tank under the same name which will no longer have a pro-life mission as such — a development I discuss here.

I had always thought the above photo was quite revealing of the man, rainbow-coloured sunglasses included. But more than that, the image of a grinning, mocha-latte-sipping, sunglass-bedecked prelate seems to me a kind of icon for the entire state of the Church under this pontificate. I mean the Bergoglian regime of “who am I to judge?” that never ceases to judge observant Catholics and other politically safe targets of opprobrium while “welcoming” and “accompanying” all manner of people who find the Sixth Commandment unduly burdensome but wish to partake of Holy Communion as they “discern” whether they might obey it someday, once they have sorted out their “complex circumstances.”

Apparently, however, I underestimated how revealing the photo is. As LifeSiteNews has just reported, Paglia commissioned a huge blasphemous and obscene painting for the interior of the cathedral in his former Diocese of Terni-Narni-Ameila. This monstrosity, painted by an openly homosexual Argentinian, Ricardo Cinalli, depicts Christ lifting up toward Heaven a pair of nets filled with nude and semi-nude figures whose postures are intended to demonstrate that in the nets “everything is permitted” according to the Bergoglian notion of “mercy” — everything including acts related to the homosexual “orientation” of Cinalli himself.

Odd, is it not, how this grotesquerie glorifies violation of the Sixth Commandment at the same time an attempt is underway to institutionalize sexual license in the Church under the guise of “discernment” and “accompaniment.” And from the Fatima perspective it is telling indeed that, as Our Lady warned the Fatima seers, more souls are lost on account of sins against the Sixth Commandment than any other.

LifeSite notes that Paglia not only personally selected Cinalli from a list of ten internationally known candidates, but also minutely supervised his work — even to the point of having himself painted into the disgusting depiction as a semi-nude figure “clutching a bearded man.” Also represented is the late Father Fabio Leonardis, who died in his fifties. Leonardis was head of the ludicrously misnamed diocesan Office of Cultural Heritage. “Fr. Fabio,” as Cinalli calls him, is shown in the nude “with a tattoo of a cupid’s arrow running through a heart containing the word ‘love’…”

As LifeSite recounts, many in the diocese “were so outraged by the work that Cinalli believed it might be destroyed after Fr. Fabio’s death. However, Bishop Paglia resisted such pressures until he left the diocese in 2012, and his successor has also left the mural in place.”

Since the election of Francis, Paglia has increasingly revealed the mentality suggested by the photo and the mural in which he had himself obscenely memorialized. As LifeSite summarizes:

* In 2013 Paglia opined that “the Catholic Church favors ‘legal protections and inheritance for people living together but are not married’ and opposes making homosexuality a crime.”

* In early 2015, “under the direction of Archbishop Paglia, the Pontifical Council for the Family hosted a series of lectures that raised the possibility of giving Holy Communion to people living in adulterous remarriages, after some period of public penance.”

* In July of 2016, “still under the direction of Paglia, the Pontifical Council for the Family issued a new sex-ed program that includes lascivious and pornographic images so disturbing that one psychologist suggested that the archbishop be evaluated by a review board in accordance with norms of the Dallas Charter, which are meant to protect children from sexual abuse.”

* In August of 2016, Pope Bergoglio “moved Paglia from the Pontifical Council for the Family to the presidency of the Pontifical Academy for Life… Soon it became apparent that the Academy was being radically transformed when new statutes were issued that no longer required members to sign a declaration of fidelity to the Catholic Church’s perennial teachings on the right to life… [and] all Academy memberships [were] terminated, leaving only Paglia and his staff at the top of an otherwise empty organization.”

* On the same day, as I discuss here, Paglia “gave a speech praising the recently-deceased founder of Italy’s Radical Party, Marco Pannella, a promiscuous bisexual whose career was largely spent attacking the values of the Catholic faith,” and who “had fought vigorously for the legalization of abortion, homosexual ‘marriage,’ transgender ‘rights,’ divorce, and free unions…” Yet Paglia called Pannella a “man of great spirituality” and pronounced his death “a great loss, not only for the people of the Radical Party, but also for our country.”

This is the man Pope Bergoglio has elevated to a position of great prominence in the Vatican apparatus. But it should be clear at this point in Bergoglio’s reign that Paglia is a Bergoglian prelate par excellence. He is emblematic of the reality that Phil Lawler — reflecting rising

alarm among faithful Catholics — has honestly acknowledged: “the current Pope’s leadership has become a danger to the faith.”

From the Fatima perspective, this situation is horrifying but not surprising, for Our Lady came to earth to warn us about it a hundred years ago. That warning is known as the Third

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Imploding Papacy Signals Triumph of Immaculate Heart- Christopher A. Ferrara

Pope Bergoglio is a man in a hurry. It is almost as if he working on some sort of deadline to impose his designs upon the Church—a deadline of four years to be exact, as LifeSiteNews reminded us regarding an anonymous comment by one of the cardinals who voted for this disaster of a Pope: “Four years of Bergoglio would be enough to change things.”

The co-conspirators themselves have openly admitted the existence of a plot to elect Bergoglio to “change things” in the Church rapidly and “irreversibly” in ways exceeding even the catastrophic innovations of the past fifty years—or so they thought. Pope Benedict’s secretary, Archbishop Georg Gänswein, spoke of “a dramatic struggle” during the 2005 Conclave “between the “so-called ‘Salt of the Earth Party’ (named after the book interview with Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger) comprising ‘Cardinals Lopez Trujillo, Ruini, Herranz, Ruoco Varela or Medina’ and their adversaries: ‘the so-called St. Gallen group’ that included Cardinals Danneels, Martini, Silvestrini or Murphy O’Connor’ — a group Cardinal Danneels referred jokingly to as “a kind of mafia-club…” Another member of the “mafia-club” is Walter Kasper, the German arch-heretic who had fallen into obscurity until Bergoglio’s arrival on the scene.

With Bergoglio’s election at the 2013 Conclave the conspirators finally succeeded in achieving the proximate object of the conspiracy, but only after the hated Benedict XVI had been driven from the Chair of Peter, having semi-abdicated while clinging to his papal name, papal title, papal garb, papal insignia, and even the papal office in its supposedly “passive” versus “active” dimension. He thus became the first “Pope Emeritus” in Church history—a total novelty that in and of itself suggests Benedict is somehow still a Pope.

The conspirators have also succeeded in achieving a further object of the conspiracy: the admission of public adulterers to Holy Communion without an amendment of life, following a sham “Synod on the Family” in which were intimately involved none other than co-conspirator Kasper, whose heretical notion of “mercy” Francis began promoting immediately upon his election, and co-conspirator Danneels, the Modernist protector of a priest-rapist and a supporter of “gay marriage.”

And now the bimillenial Eucharistic discipline of the Church, integrally linked to her infallible teaching on the Eucharist and the indissolubility of marriage, stands divided along the fault lines Bergoglio has created. No less than the President of the Pontifical Council for the Interpretation of Legislative Texts, Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio—whose name has a disturbing assonance with the name of certain bird—has just given an interview with Edward Pentin wherein he announces the new Bergoglian Rule: one who is living in an adulterous “second marriage” can be absolved and admitted to Holy Communion while continuing to engage in adulterous sexual relations, so long as he declares to his confessor something like “I want to change, but I know that I am not capable of changing, but I want to change.” So much for the constant teaching of the Church that absolution requires a “firm purpose of amendment,” which even the Catechism the very Pope that Francis declared a saint describes as “sorrow for and abhorrence of sins committed, and the firm purpose of sinning no more in the future.” Bergoglio will have none of that sort of merciless rigorism. As Coccopalmerio explains: “If you wait until someone changes their style of life, you wouldn’t absolve anymore anyone at all.”

But one might ask: How would a confessor know that the penitent who invokes the Bergoglian Rule and claims “I want to change but cannot” is sincere and thus should be absolved even though it is understood that he will continue to commit same sin? Not to worry, says Coccopalmerio: “You have to pay attention to what the penitent says. If you know — you can tell if he is misleading you.” You can tell! Really, you can!

Need I mention that the Bergoglian Rule flirts with the Council of Trent’s anathematization of Luther’s heresy that it is impossible to keep the Commandments even if one is in the state of grace? Then again, the difference between Bergoglian and Lutheran theology appears to be vanishingly small, which perhaps explains Bergoglio’s journey to Sweden to pay tribute to the arch-heretic’s “legacy.”

On February 24, during another rambling homily at Casa Santa Marta, Bergoglio told us yet again that a staunch defence of the moral law concerning matrimony is mere casuistry worthy of the Pharisees. In the Gospel According to Bergoglio, Jesus did not tell the Pharisees that divorce is unlawful: “Jesus does not answer whether it is lawful or not lawful; He doesn’t enter into their casuistic logic…. Casuistry is hypocritical. It is a hypocritical thought. ‘Yes, you can; no, you can’t.’”

Pope Bergoglio appears to have overlooked the same verses he has been ignoring for the past four years: “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another, commits adultery against her; and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.” Thus it would appear that even Jesus succumbed to the “casuistic logic” of the Pharisees, according to the Bergoglian Hermeneutic. So did God the Father when He declared: “Thou shalt not commit adultery” as well as “thou shalt not” do various other things enumerated in what were once known as the Ten Commandments, but have since been redefined—by Bergoglio in Amoris Laetitia—as the Ten Objective Ideals or the Ten General Rules (cf. AL nn. 300-305). This papacy has become such a mockery that it is now arousing open opposition from deep within the Catholic mainstream, which is finally awakening to the alarm “radical traditionalists” have been sounding for decades. In a piece entitled simply “This Disastrous Papacy,” Phil Lawler recounts how “something snapped” when he read Bergoglio’s claim that Jesus did not say “you can’t” to the Pharisees regarding divorce. He declares: “I could no longer pretend that Pope Francis is merely offering a novel interpretation of Catholic doctrine. No; it is more than that. He is engaged in a deliberate effort to change what the Church teaches.” The Bergoglian pontificate, he concludes, “has become a danger to the faith.”

But Bergoglio has much more danger in mind as he rushes to fulfil his megalomaniacal “dream” of “transforming everything, so that the Church’s customs, ways of doing things, times and schedules, language and structures can be suitably channelled for the evangelization of today’s world rather than for her self-preservation.” Nothing as trivial as the Church’s self-preservation—or God, for that matter—can be allowed to interfere with the apotheosis of Bergoglianism. Thus there are rumours (based on leaks from Casa Santa Marta, which tend to be accurate) of a new payload of blockbusters Bergoglio is planning to drop before he drops:

some sort of non-ordained “female deacon”;

a Novus-Novus Ordo, under construction by a secret commission, that would permit a form of intercommunion with Protestants;

the transformation of Catholic parishes into “ecumenical communities” administered not only by priests but also Protestant ministers on the theory that their ministries possess “partial” validity, as Coccopalmerio suggests at the end of his interview with Pentin.

Like a runaway train on a sharp curve, the Bergoglio Express has left the tracks. Now, even a significant number of the cardinals who made the mistake of voting for him at the 2013 Conclave can see the wheels coming off the train. With opposition and even outright mockery of Bergoglio rising everywhere, the Times of London, quoting Antonio Socci in Il Libero, reports in a headline story that “A large part of the cardinals who voted for him is very worried and the curia . . . that organised his election and has accompanied him thus far, without ever disassociating itself from him, is cultivating the idea of a moral suasion to convince him to retire…”

Socci observes that “Four years after Benedict XVI’s renunciation and Bergoglio’s arrival on the scene, the situation of the Catholic church has become explosive, perhaps really on the edge of a schism, which could be even more disastrous than Luther’s, who is today being rehabilitated by the Bergoglio church… The cardinals are worried that the church could be shattered as an institution. There are many indirect ways in which the pressure [to resign] might be exerted.”

It isn’t going to happen. Bergoglio will cling to power until his dying breath. As one Vatican insider (who prefers to remain anonymous) confided to the Times: “A good number of the majority that voted for Bergoglio in 2013 have come to regret their decision, but I don’t think it’s plausible that members of the hierarchy will pressure the Pope to resign. Those who know him know it would be useless. [He] has a very authoritarian streak. He won’t resign until he has completed his revolutionary reforms, which are causing enormous harm.”

But there is an auspicious development in all of this: The recognition that Bergoglio is running amok and that, to recall Lawler’s words, his pontificate “has become a danger to the

faith,” is now well established in the Catholic mainstream. The neo-Catholic knee-jerk defence of every papal word and deed (lest the traditionalist critique of the post-Vatican II innovation of the Church be in any way vindicated) is no longer operative, a few shameless diehards excepted. Intellectual honesty is blooming everywhere as Pope Bergoglio rubs the Church’s face in the ugly reality of what the post-conciliar revolution has been all about from the beginning: Quite simply, the end of Catholicism, if that were possible.

For the past four years, Bergoglio has been labouring to bridge the gap between concept and reality in these final stages of the revolution. But his cunning faux magisterium of the wink and the nod, the either and the both, the employment of subalterns to put forth what he is thinking while he maintains the thinnest pretense of plausible deniability, has been exposed for what it is: a fraudulent abuse of papal authority. Everyone knows this now. The question is: What are we to do about it?

When historical trends reach such a climax—what the historians call a “climacteric”—great reactions set in. But the Church is no mere human institution, guided solely by human movements. The reaction is this case will indeed occur on the human level in the form of growing resistance to Bergoglio’s madness. The infinitely greater element of the reaction, however, will come from on high, as Heaven itself intervenes when all seems lost. So Our Lady of Good Success assures us: “To test this faith and confidence of the just, there will be occasions when everything will seem to be lost and paralyzed. This, then, will be the happy beginning of the complete restoration.”

In this year of the centenary of the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima, we have good reason to hope that our heavenly rescue is near at hand, even if the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart may occur amidst the ruins of the visible Church and the body politic. But after all, what are such travails in view of the eternal felicity to which we are all destined if only we persevere

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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].”


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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